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redriver

Mormonts Raven-a re-read

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IF it was being warged why would Bloodraven waste time repeating one word over and over knowing full well no one was going to take it seriously? I think he would be smarter than that. If he really wanted to communicate with them he could have.

You think that way because now we know from the Children that ravens in the past used to talk the messages they were given, instead of carrying them.

I believe that if BR is/was warging the raven, he would only try to give clues, that is, he follows the conversation and repeats words that are important to the characters[mostly Jon, Sam, and the Old Bear].

However, imagine how some of them would react when the raven would suddenly begin to talk like any normal person. If the knowledge of the Children is lost[according to Luwin] and it is lost, then imagine how the Old Bear himself would react if his raven suddenly starts talking normally. Yes, the Mormonts have skinchanging history, but that's what it is: history, not present. I am inclined to believe that Ally Mormont's [Asha's keeper in Stannis' camp] skinchanging abilities are a novelty, just like the powers of the Stark kids.

Not to lose my train of thought, I believe it was safer for BR[if he is warging that raven] to just follow and try to give clues that would alter a situation, be like a fly on the wall[no pun intended], rather than risk the disposal of the raven as some sort of devilish creature because he can talk.

Also, I believe that when the raven arrived at the election for new LC of the Watch really helped set the mood for the Watch to choose Jon. Which means that even though BR is not actively talking to his peers, he has at least a minor influence to events that are happening, and in future, might have a bigger role in the same way.

Although, since we never had the POV of the Old Bear, we can assume he talked to him properly, but I doubt it. People can be very afraid of the unknown and forgotten.

PS. We can connect, however, the crows Bran feeds in WF and LC raven with BR. They ate corn, rather than meat[like Sam's ravens].

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-snip-

I think you might be right, and that Bloodraven could be only giving them clues so people wouldnt be scared, start hunting down ravens and such. A different explanation has occurred to me, though: what if, even if the ravens could speak long sentences in the past, after hundreds of years (a thousand?) that ability was simply lost? Because they were probably trained to speak when warged, since I don't believe even if this magical words that a raven's body would be able to produce sentences in human languages naturally; we just have to think of Sam's ravens and how he could only get them to repeat one word (though, of course, he did that more for fun than for any specific purpose).

It could be that Mormont's raven was either trained by someone (could it be Bloodraven himself? either when he was in the NW, or in his cave, then having the bird migrate south?), or maybe by being warged many times through the years, maybe by different people, or maybe even because of a better developed natural ability, and that is how he can speak different words even when no one used them before so they could be repeated. And yet not even that brilliant creature could say more than a few select words at a time.

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I think you might be right, and........

Yes, I agree that the ravens might have simply lost the ability to string sentences.

As for BR training the raven: I don't really know the general life span of any kind of a bird, but if we assume that this is a magical world, albeit not very magical, may be when a raven is warged, his lifespan grows?

Anyway, maybe the raven wouldn't even be completely understood if it started stringing sentences, because Jon always describes his words as hisses or croaks or shrieks.

As for people warging into the raven, well, it was mentioned before that may be the raven comes with the position, like a crown for a king for example. Which makes me wonder whether the Old Bear was warging into the raven. Every Stark kid knew the emotions of his direwolf, and while that might be connected to simply because they were taking care of their direwolves every day[i always know what my cat wants, for instance] but I always got the feeling that there was a bigger connection between the Bear and the raven, almost the same as with Jon and Ghost and Bran and Summer.

What if the raven knows so much simply because he's been warged by the LCs over the years? If part of the skinchanger's character and attitude stays with the animal after the skinchanger has died, I see no reason why some part of their memories and knowledge would stay with the animal as well. May be the raven's not warged at the moment, but has been in the past, and that's why he knew to say "Fire!" when the wight attacked the Old Bear, but it still doesn't explain his other words that are not just repeats of the conversation.

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I am not sure if this part in aGoT was mentioned yet, I have read this whole tread but have since forgot the exact examples.

Either way on page 657 of the paperback version, after Jon is given Longclaw by Mormont, Mormont is dismissing Jon and telling him that he wants some spiced wine because it is going to be cold that night and that he doesn't want boiled mutton again: "'...That last haunch was grey. Even the bird wouldn't touch it.' He stroked the ravens head wit his thumb, and the bird made a contented quorking sound. 'Away with you. I've work to do.'"

Now on first read it is clear (?) that He is talking with Jon, dismissing after giving directions. But in light of what we have already talked about here, and the way this scene is written, it is possible that he is talking with the Raven, telling BR to leave now, he has given Jon Longclaw as BR wanted. It is a throw away line and part of the book but when looked at in light of the raven is being wargged then, well, it gets far more suspicious and important.

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....'Away with you. I've work to do.'"...

... it is possible that he is talking with the Raven, telling BR to leave now ...

I can see him talking to the Raven here, but I don't think this goes far enough to prove that Mormont was aware of BR's presence within the bird. I'll tell my cat to get off the table, but not because I think she understands me. Mormont and Jon certainly think that raven is 'special', but I don't feel it goes beyond that.

I think BR values his anonymity to highly to give himself away through his use of the Raven. How would the Night's Watch react if if they realized the bird was being warged? Paranoia seems likely, as surmised above. Then if they ever discovered the truth of a 'wizard' who was able to warg wights, it might come to torch and pitchfork time.

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I can see him talking to the Raven here, but I don't think this goes far enough to prove that Mormont was aware of BR's presence within the bird. I'll tell my cat to get off the table, but not because I think she understands me. Mormont and Jon certainly think that raven is 'special', but I don't feel it goes beyond that.

I think BR values his anonymity to highly to give himself away through his use of the Raven. How would the Night's Watch react if if they realized the bird was being warged? Paranoia seems likely, as surmised above. Then if they ever discovered the truth of a 'wizard' who was able to warg wights, it might come to torch and pitchfork time.

Actually, I see the Old Bear sensing that Jon is a warg and that BR is warging the raven. He's of the North, not some southern lord who'll freak if the magic is not explained. I believe that's why he gave Jon Longclaw. Not just because he saved his life, but because he sensed something in Jon that singles Jon out from the rest of the Watch. Also, I believe that the Old Bear did not forget the old tales and probably knew more than what he ever let on. That's why he went North of the Wall. And if he sensed BR in there, he would know it is better not to show it because:

1. If BR is a powerful evil mastermind, then feigned "ignorance is bliss" is the best action

2. If BR is not an evil mastermind, then the Old Bear would probably collaborate with him. However, if BR never actually let the Old Bear know, than I believe the Bear would have just waited until called upon in the action.

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Excellent thread, Mormont's raven is one of my favorite characters and one I enjoy to read.

I like the theories laid out here, that "corn" signifies change to a character or that it is payment for a message. I do not doubt the mythological context of rebirth or of the cornu, as others have mentioned. Many times I also wonder if "corn" is a mispronunciation or complex word the bird cannot say, but the variety. Of phrases the bird says might disprove that. I do not think "corn" means death, as many times the bird says this and people have not died. The most notable example is in AFFC/ADWD, when Sam visits Jon before being sent to Braavos.

As for phrases that are not corn, I think they are general truths/prophecies. And when the bird wakes Jon after his warging dreams, I think it is either influencing them or drawn to them (the dreams being influenced by something else possibly).

I also believe the bird is under bloodraven's control, or another strong presence in the book, such as the old gods. It's purpose, to keep tabs on the night watch and/or Jon.

I DO NOT believe the raven is Mormont's or Benjen's skinchanger-animal. The pecking at Mormont's face was to show that animals are animals, despite the pleasantries you may award them. Also most characters that are skinchangers or wargs usually make note of Jon and Ghost, either in thought to vocalizing them. Based on the fact that Mormont and Benjen have been pseudo-mentors to Jon and have not made allusions to warging, cements the idea to me, that they are not involved with the bird. HOWEVER the fact that bird says Benjen's name, makes me think Bloodraven or someone else is aware of Benjen, and his current status.

The whole bird/children of the forest/skinchanger thing that BR reveals to Bran abut the past lives and essences left in these birds, is a clue. And in TWOW chapter with Theon, we see crows chanting "tree" and "Theon" Is another. Now whether this is an indication of:

1. The old gods

2. Bloodraven

3. Bran

4. Old skinchangers

We don't know. BUT, upon a re-read, I thought Mormont's raven might have traveled down to where Stannis is, as we don't know the bird's whereabouts after Jon is stabbed. But this also might seem unlikely, despite some nightwatchmen being in that area.

One last thing: based on the assumption of R+L=J, I do think the mention of "king" is directed at Jon and AA/TPTWP.

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It's hinted in the Dunk & Egg stories, as well as ASOIAF, that Bloodraven used animals to watch friends and enemies, not to communicate with them. Clearly a pet that didn't announce its connection to a presumed-dead Lord Commander would make the better spy.

I also think that all the raven symbolism that surrounds Brynden Rivers makes it clear that he controls them. After all, Brynden Rivers is the son of a Blackwood from Raventree Hall, so-called because hundreds of ravens have roosted in its dead weirwood for hundreds of years. Brynden, an albino with red eyes, bears the marks of the old gods (red-and-white coloring, like the weirwoods) and including a red birthmark in the shape of a raven. His nickname is Bloodraven, for pete's sake. Bloodraven was sent to the Wall where he became a member of the Night's Watch, in other words, a crow. He is most likely the Three-eyed Crow (the two eyes of the crow plus BR's one eye, which is also the third eye of enlightenment). One of the first things he teaches Bran is how to possess a raven. BR is clearly the raven boss.

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First,the bird can speak.Not a major shock,as parrots on our own planet (Earth) have been known to talk.It doesn't reveal any great conversational skills and the reader is given the impression of a bird who can recite words in a limited and repetitive way.

You know ravens are no different on our own planet, right?

Among those who welcomed Augustus on his return in state from his victory at Actium was a man with a raven which he had taught to say: "Greetings to Caesar' date=' our victorious commander." Augustus was charmed by this compliment and gave the man twenty thousand sesterces for the bird. But the bird's trainer had a partner, and, when none of this large sum of money had come his way, he told the Emperor that the man had another raven and suggested that he should be made to produce it as well. The bird was produced and repeated the words which it had been taught to say: they were: "Greetings to Antony, our victorious commander." Augustus, however, instead of being at all angry, simply told the first man to share the money with his mate. He was greeted in a similar way by a parrot, and he ordered that bird to be bought and a magpie too, which he fancied for the same trick. These examples encouraged a poor cobbler to try to train a raven to repeat a like form of greeting, but the bird remained dumb, and the man ruined by the cost incurred, used often to say to it: "Nothing to show for the trouble and expense." One day, however, the raven began to repeat its lesson, and Augustus as he was passing heard the greeting. "I get enough of such greetings at home," he replied. But the bird also recalled the words of his master's customary lament and added: "Nothing to show for the trouble and expense." This made Augustus roar with laugh, and he ordered the bird to be bought giving more for it than he had given for any of the others.

http://janusquirinus.org/Octavian/humour.html

[/quote']

Over all, I'd dismiss this theory on the single notion of an arguably very competent warg possessing an already intelligent bird probably enhanced with the minds of one or several Children of the Forest and still not being able to speak more fluently then the halfway point between Hodor and Mord.

I'd say it's probably more efficient (for men) to simply have the ravens speak, rather than composing a ballad for them to recite, even though the Children of the Forest arguably would have them sing sad songs in the True Tongue in the face of immanent extinction.

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I DO NOT believe the raven is Mormont's or Benjen's skinchanger-animal. The pecking at Mormont's face was to show that animals are animals' date=' despite the pleasantries you may award them. Also most characters that are skinchangers or wargs usually make note of Jon and Ghost, either in thought to vocalizing them. Based on the fact that Mormont and Benjen have been pseudo-mentors to Jon and have not made allusions to warging, cements the idea to me, that they are not involved with the bird.[/quote']

I must concur for the most part, but consider this: Biter "pecking" at Brienne's face shows us that men are animals (confer Jorah Mormont, "There's a beast in every man, and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand"), and as we already know from multiple wargs, the opposite is equally true, i. e. animals are men and sometimes murderous little girls (despite the pleasentries you may award them).

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