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nanother

Old Gods, cold gods and Starks: a Heretic re-read

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What? Does a 5 yr old still count as babe in arms or is he just exaggerating?

Traditionally in many societies children are cared for by women until they are about seven years of age. I will not speculate how long Jon was breastfed but likely longer than today, because water was not safe to drink. Rickon is a baby in AGoT, and in the crypt flashback in Arya chapter Bran is his age and called baby by Arya.

Does anybody remember at which point wildling kids get names?

Previous chapters:

Arya being able to stab the stableboy with "a wild, hysterical strength" so that the blade comes through - another 'elk incident'?

Bloodraven* whispering to her:

"Calm as still water, a small voice whispered in her ear. Arya was so startled she almost dropped her bundle. She looked around wildly, but there was no one in the stable but her, and the horses, and the dead men.

Quiet as a shadow, she heard. Was it her own voice, or Syrio's? She could not tell, yet somehow it calmed her fears.

She stepped out of the stable."

*No, really, this is him. He also skinchanged into the Balerion the Black Cat to play tag with her, and obviously was spying on her dancing lessons. Come on, he said as much to Bran. *tralala I hear nothing tralala you can't convince me to the contrary*

The crypts of Winterfell:

So they only dig deep enough to accommodate the current family members?

Eddard I

Ned stopped at last and lifted the oil lantern. The crypt continued on into darkness ahead of them, but beyond this point the tombs were empty and unsealed;

Likely, she meant the end of the rows of statues, not of the crypt. It is dug out all right, all ready and waiting. :P

The corpses:

Animals will not go near. Furthermore, the corpses do not rot. Yes, the bacteria no longer move inside them.

Ghost is an exception and not afraid.

He is connected with old gods and not afraid of the wights. Maybe relevant for the Other-CoTF question? In this chapter, when Othor passes by the door and kills the guard Ghost will try to open the door and attack, later he will not hesitate attacking. Other animals won't go near.

What if he is the hero? Ghost is Azor Ahai, Jon is his Lightbringer! /crackpot

Othor had an axe and doesn't now. Compare to Prologue where wildling wights have left their weapons. IRON?

The dead men were carried to one of the storerooms along the base of the Wall... chiseled from the ice...

Later I will check, but I think in ADWD the storerooms are beneath the Wall?

The severed arm was wriggling out of its torn sleeve [...] Ghost pounced and got it between his teeth. Finger bones crunched. [...] Gnawed and fingerless, the arm thrashed on the floor, wriggling toward him.

It didn't stop moving when the bones were crushed.

The blame and the "lost" lore:

"Two of our brothers butchered almost within sight of the Wall, yet your rangers heard nothing, saw nothing. Is this what the Night's Watch has fallen to?"

Ahahaha they walked. It seems that all the tidbits about the wights are no longer 'known' in the Realm.

"The wildlings have axes too."

HOW MANY DEATHS ARE BLAMED ON THE WILDLINGS? For how long have Others been snipping the small groups? NW has become a kinslaying institution.

Mormont rounded on him. "So you believe this is Mance Rayder's work? This close to the Wall?"

"Who else, my lord?"

Jon could have told him. He knew, they all knew, yet no man of them would say the words. The Others are only a story, a tale to make children shiver. If they ever lived at all, they are gone eight thousand years. Even the thought made him feel foolish; he was a man grown now, a black brother of the Night's Watch, not the boy who'd once sat at Old Nan's feet with Bran and Robb and Arya.

"Eight thousand years, if they ever lived at all" is the same info we get from Eddard and from the same source. Therefore, we may disregard this repetition, Jon is the secondary source. (Heh, I love sounding uppity)

Dywen is an old forester, guaranteed not to have any castle/measter education. He remembers.

This is most probably a class/rank issue. He doesn't dare speak before the Sam has spoken, Sam is a boy, but he is a noble. What does that tell you about 'proving yourself' at the Wall? The nobles talk the talk but don't walk the walk?

"Burn them," someone whispered. One of the rangers; Jon could not have said who. "Yes, burn them," a second voice urged.

Again, they dare not speak though they all know. WHY? We had the same thing in the Prologue.

Later on, Jon will jump and grab the lamp from Mormont before the raven says "Burn". He knows what to do.

**I would just like to point out that blue eyed corpses are on the list of things they are supposed to protect the realms of men from.

*** Crackpot: this is why Bloodraven left the Wall and went to look for the Children, the Watch was hopeless and doomed in his time already.

Old Nan:

In that darkness, the Others came riding. Cold and dead they were, and they hated iron and fire and the touch of the sun, and every living creature with hot blood in its veins. Holdfasts and cities and kingdoms of men all fell before them, as they moved south on pale dead horses, leading hosts of the slain. They fed their dead servants on the flesh of human children...

Hated iron! This can't be the same long night of the Last Hero story, or somebody has gotten details mixed up.

Miscelania:

"You're fat but you're not stupid, boy" Master of tact! I really, really want to start an Old Bear bashing thread just now. He is soooooo grr..

"It was a bad thing, your lady mother taking him captive-"

"Lady Stark is not my mother"

"Be strong boy. The gods are cruel."

Sam jumped in front of a berserk Jon who was slashing with a knife. :bowdown:

We should keep and eye out for references of female storytellers. From what we know of Old Nan, Osha, Dalla, wisewoman who healed Mance, Will's mother... it would seem that in the olden days it was women who transmitted lore.

Off topic but relevant:

Dosh Khaleen. Khals come and go, they are a constant.

Let us also keep an eye out for similar customs between Dothraki and First Men: like loophole abuse between Frey pies and crowns of molten gold: There is no good or evil, just taboo?

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Some of this I have to think about. A few quick comments:

Does anybody remember at which point wildling kids get names?

Not before they're 2. For Varamyr, it was much later.

About Ghost and the wights, I think skinchanged animals are just more daring, we'll see various examples later on.

It didn't stop moving when the bones were crushed.

I was wondering about that, but then maybe all the bones need to be cracked?

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Othor had an axe and doesn't now. Compare to Prologue where wildling wights have left their weapons. IRON?

Okay, so I did a search on iron

Prologue wildlings:

“Some swords, a few bows. One man had an axe. Heavy-looking, double-bladed, a cruel piece of iron. It was on the ground beside him, right by his hand.”

So yes, the axe was made of iron. :)

Prologue when Will is in the tree:

He put it between his teeth to keep both hands free for climbing. The taste of cold iron in his mouth gave him comfort.

The Wall's gates:

"Three times their way was blocked by iron bars,..."

The cage that brings people to the top of the Wall:

He went instead to the iron cage beside the well, clambered inside, and yanked hard on the bell rope, three quick pulls.

Crypts:

They’d only had one candle between them, and Bran’s eyes had gotten as big as saucers as he stared at the stone faces of the Kings of Winter, with their wolves at their feet and their iron swords across their laps.

Winterfell's portcullis

He sat straight atop his horse, watching as the iron portcullis was winched upward.

And all those quotes are in addition to Old Nan saying that the Others hated iron. I think the heresy threads have discussed about Faerie and iron, but I'm not too familiar with the myth and lore behind it.

There are more mentions of iron in the books, but I thought these were the more relevant ones. Also, I have kindle for pc, and it seems to only return 100 results so I might have missed some. And these are just the mentions in GoT...I didn't do the search for the other books because we'll get to those later. The only quote that I don't think we got to yet is the Winterfell's portcullis.

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Jon's age last spring: Old Nan nursed a Brandon until he died at three years old. So babies are with nurses until after that age. Now, Jon might be circling the length to ten years, maybe he miscalculated his own age.

nenya~,

Thank you for the search. It would seem that wights leave their weapons - iron weapons, and that the gates in the Wall are of iron, and that kings are to stay dead because of iron.

Old Nan says that Others hated iron, fire and sun.

And yet during the Last Hero story humans didn't have iron, and it is obsidian that kills the Other. When Jon slashes at the wight the weapon is steel and does nothing magically. Hacked off arm still attacks (eww..).

We only see the gates at two castles on the Wall, I think. One iron, and one deep inside that is weirwood and has a password. [but that chapter is far away yet]

Aaand.. there is a thread on 'corpsicles'. Linking for the sake of completeness. Ice Cells are under the Wall and Jon's corpses in iron chains. These wights in AGoT were in cells along the Wall and.. just deposited there? Apparently. *shakes head*

ETA: Dothraki First men parallels: some houses (Ryswells, Brackens, more?) have red stallion in the house sigils. I will try to find out more but I wanted to put it here just in case somebody else has an idea they want to add.

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And yet during the Last Hero story humans didn't have iron, and it is obsidian that kills the Other. When Jon slashes at the wight the weapon is steel and does nothing magically. Hacked off arm still attacks (eww..).

Hmm, how sure are we that they didn't have iron at the time though? I know they had bronze weapons when they first arrived to Westeros, but we don't really know how much time passed between that (and the Pact) and the Long Night. It's possible they could've taken up iron sometime in between. They do mine iron on the Iron Islands after all. I think the better question is, what the hell is dragonsteel, but that may be jumping too far ahead in the books to discuss :). I can't remember if it's mentioned what type of weapons the First Men used when the Andals arrive since they are the ones that brought steel.

For the steel vs iron, it may be that the Others hate pure iron. Like I said, it may have something to do with the whole folklore of faerie/iron thing. I may have to jump to the actual heresy threads to ask someone who knows more about the lore.

It could also be that the Others hate iron because it prevents wights from being raised e.g. the dead bodies in the ice cells with iron chains and kings in the crypts. Mance was looking for the Horn of Joramun in graves, and there were Others and/or wights at the time if you can believe the whole Night's King story with his corpse bride.

Oh and when I did a search on iron, ironwood came up as well, such as the crypt's door being made of it. Not sure if there would be a relation with iron and ironwood though.

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Hmm, how sure are we that they didn't have iron at the time though?

It is in the wikipedia article on history of westeros, with some of the references pointing to Sworn Sword which i don't have. :dunno:

Maester Luwin says that FM come with horses and bronze,

The old songs say that the greenseers used dark magics to make the seas rise and sweep away the land, shattering the Arm, but it was too late to close the door. The wars went on until the earth ran red with blood of men and children both, but more children than men, for men were bigger and stronger, and wood and stone and obsidian make a poor match for bronze. Finally the wise of both races prevailed, and the chiefs and heroes of the First Men met the greenseers and wood dancers amidst the weirwood groves of a small island in the great lake called Gods Eye.

So, no iron until the pact, at least. But the quote only goes that far, we don't know about later, and I don't have D&E novellas. Everything else is Sam, Sansa, Jon etc. which we will come to eventually.

I'd say that we don't really know, from what we have read up until now.

Off the top of my head, ironwood could be some kind of wood that was in an iron rich swamp or something. It would have fossilized and become tough and iron-y as a result. But that is just my opinion. Lets see what happens in the text.

Dragonsteel would have been invented in Valyria which was founded 5000years b. present (?), so it is still 'Long Night' untested unless that is what Azor Ahai was making, or if there had been other long nights in the meantime or the timeline is more condensed that we know.

Funerary practices:

FM do bury their dead, wildlings burn them. There are many graves of giants and old kings beyond the Wall so the borders before the Wall were very different: there were kingdoms of First Men there as well. Legitimate kingdoms, not some savages. And it could be argued that the cremation was only after LN and only beyond the Wall, because South of it there were no wights. And it could be argued that FM who resisted the Children buried their dead in the rocky places where the WWW net will not reach them. But that is going too far ahead. Lets just keep our eyes sharp for the future.

You might like this. Bran Vras has made some seriously awesome connections, although he has some logic holes there as well.

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There is a simple explanation to this business of whether or nor dragonsteel and Valyrian steel are one and the same. The arguments have been predicated on the Others not having been seen since the end of the Long Night, which supposedly occurred some 8,000 years ago and therefore long before the rise of the Valyrian empire and the technology and magicks which produced those swords. Yet as we've uncovered on the main Heresy thread, there is ample evidence of the Others/Sidhe being around all the time up north beyond the Wall, and that the references to dragonsteel may therefore relate to encounters between men of the Watch and/or Azor Ahai long after that Long Night - remember the AA prophecy was written 5,000 years ago which allowing for a tolerable degree of inexactitude brings us within the Valyrian timeline.

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Boards have been a pain lately and now I'll be travelling for a few days starting tomorrow. I'll try to post the next chapter before that, but it might not happen.

Re: wights, weapons ad iron:

I kind of assumed the wights abandon weapons because they don't have need for them/don't keep track f their 'possessions'. It didn't occur to me that it might have to do with the iron content, but it's definitely possible - we should watch out for wights using weapons of any kind. As far as I can remember, most of the time they use their hands, though. We know they're fine with armour (IIRC Small Paul wore a chainmail/ringmail - I'd think that's likely to be iron?). OK, so we have to watch out for wights using weapon (or other tools) or wearing armour.

As for the WW, I suppose they still might hate iron, even if they're not particularly vulnerable to it... they're also supposed to hate fire, even though they can snuff them out... It's not clear whether iron came with the Andals (I recall some sources suggesting that, but nt sure what they were) or the First Men figured out how to work it. The books make it sound like there was no significant interaction with Essos apart from invasions, but surely the Narrow Sea was crossed every now and then, and technology was transferred.

Also, there are clues pointing to more than one long nights or, at the very least, further encounters with Others (see for example BC's post above). If so, I wonder if the Wall was built after one of the later ones? Or did it simply not stop the Others? And where does the 8000 years come from? Hardly any details about the building of the Wall made their way into the books, although part of the legend appears in the preview pages of TWoIaF, connecting it with Brandon the Builder. King Robert in Eddard I does seem to think it's 8000 years old, but he's not particularly reliable I think...

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nanother, maybe you are right about wights. Maybe it has nothing to do with iron, will watch for wights using weapons/tools. I do get carried away occasionally very often.

There was a study published about a year ago if I remember right, it claimed: Euroasian nomads from the east and west of the Caspian sea have intermarried and we have proven this (!!!).

And everybody kind of reacted with: Jeez, you think neighboring tribes have intermarried? Congratulations, you have discovered the wheel.

I have felt kind of sorry for them ever since. They have proven it beyond doubt, so whereas before that we were right to believe, now we know, but it was soo obvious.

What I am trying to say is: yes, it is blindingly obvious, but there is a difference between knowing something has happened/must have happened because it is common sense and finding evidence in the text. In the text, from what I have seen on the wikipedia (wiki on westeros.org doesn't cite the sources) Andals brought iron, and the citation is in Sworn Sword which I don't have.

Depending on context, it could be reliable or not. If it is in the introduction, then it is So Spake Martin, unless he says 'it is believed' in which case, we can doubt all we want. :P

I have already demonstrated how several claims that 'Others have been gone 8000 years and Children as well' come from maester Luwin and thus are in fact only one source.

Same with 'iron keeps Lords of Winterfell dead' - all that I can find comes from Winterfell itself and can be sourced to Eddard (and possibly Old Nan). Eddard was 8 when fostered, wasn't the heir his father trained, his father died at Kings Landing... How reliable is he? Where did he hear this? Brandon? We don't know that this is the reason.

Robert would know the basics of history, but he himself is not a historian, so Robert gives us a conventional timeline, and confesses that he might misremember. In ADWD one hostage will discuss timelines with Jaime, but to call upon that here would be over-anticipating.

As for wildling/NW contact with WW, it is very obvious that there was contact with Others and several nights that last a generation in contradiction to maester Luwin - CoTF had contact with the NW, so Luwin is wrong, he is then probably wrong about other things (But that is yet to come in Sam's chapters in ACOK).

I think the important queston here is not whether there were WW in the interim, of course there were, but why is it such a secret? Why can't they vocalize what they know in order to fight them? What has happened to make existence of Others a heresy in the very NW that is supposed to guard against them. And the timeline of that.

8000 years for almost 1000 lord commanders is not too much. The oldest lists have several hundred LCs so, again, not a problem. The only way I see for the timeline to be contracted is to say that before the Wall there were several concurrent LCs, and that after the Wall there was only one. Or that septons were into promoting every person remembered by name as a NW brother into a LC. Or that, if the watch wasn't about 'no crown, no land, no wife' rule back then, there would be a LC for every one of the kingdoms.

Actually, now that I think of it, there is quite enough 'common sense' evidence to contract the timeline. :D But let's leave that for the chapters to come.

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What I am trying to say is: yes, it is blindingly obvious, but there is a difference between knowing something has happened/must have happened because it is common sense and finding evidence in the text. In the text, from what I have seen on the wikipedia (wiki on westeros.org doesn't cite the sources) Andals brought iron, and the citation is in Sworn Sword which I don't have.

Depending on context, it could be reliable or not. If it is in the introduction, then it is So Spake Martin, unless he says 'it is believed' in which case, we can doubt all we want. :P

Right before the actual story of the Sworn Sword, it has the setting with a brief history of Westeros. Here's the iron part:

Other invaders came in turn. The Andals crossed the narrow sea in ships, and with iron and fire they swept across the kingdoms of the First Men, and drove the children from their forests, putting many of the weirwoods to the ax.

It says they brought iron AND fire, but I'm pretty sure the First Men already had fire =P

Although it's seems more like an intro for someone who might not be familiar with ASOIAF, so I'm not sure how accurate it would be. It also says that the First Men came from the east with "their bronze swords and horses."

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What I am trying to say is: yes, it is blindingly obvious, but there is a difference between knowing something has happened/must have happened because it is common sense and finding evidence in the text. In the text, from what I have seen on the wikipedia (wiki on westeros.org doesn't cite the sources) Andals brought iron, and the citation is in Sworn Sword which I don't have.

Depending on context, it could be reliable or not. If it is in the introduction, then it is So Spake Martin, unless he says 'it is believed' in which case, we can doubt all we want. :P

I think I can access Sworn Sword (not for a few days, though). I recall reading that recap and not wanting to believe it for some reason - I think it might have contradicted Luwin's timeline (who, of course, could very well be wrong). Not sure.

I think the important queston here is not whether there were WW in the interim, of course there were, but why is it such a secret? Why can't they vocalize what they know in order to fight them? What has happened to make existence of Others a heresy in the very NW that is supposed to guard against them. And the timeline of that.

Agreed. It does seem like there might have been more than one large-scale confrontations - could those have been compressed into one 'Long Night'?

There will be some WW talk by Osha in the next chapter (the Bran one just after this Jon chapter). After that, we have 3 further Jon/Bran chapters (and whatever stuff there might be in the chapters in between; ETA: in AGoT, obviously) - I'm thinking it would be a good idea to have a break then, and try to organise the info we have so far. And also think about how to proceed afterwards.

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Here's the Sworn Sword Intro:

The setting for the books is the great continent of Westeros, in a world both like and unlike our own, where the seasons last for years and sometimes decades. Standing hard against the sunset sea at the western edge of the known world, Westeros stretches from the red sands of Dorne in the south to the icy mountains and frozen fields of the north, where snow falls even during the long summers.

The children of the forest were the first known inhabitants of Westeros, during the Dawn of Days: a race small of stature who made their homes in the greenwood, and carved strange faces in the bone-white weirwood trees. Then came the First Men, who crossed a land bridge from the larger continent to the east with their bronze swords and horses, and warred against the children for centuries before finally making peace with the older race and adopting their nameless, ancient gods. The Compact marked the beginning of the Age of Heroes, when the First Men and the children shared Westeros, and a hundred petty kingdoms rose and fell. Other invaders came in turn. The Andals crossed the narrow sea in ships, and with iron and fire they swept across the kingdoms of the First Men, and drove the children from their forests, putting many of the weirwoods to the ax. They brought their own faith, worshiping a god with seven aspects whose

symbol was a seven-pointed star. Only in the far north did the First Men, led by the Starks of Winterfell, throw back the newcomers. Elsewhere the Andals triumphed, and raised kingdoms of their own. The children of the forest dwindled and disappeared, while the First Men intermarried with their conquerors.

The Rhoynar arrived some thousands of years after the Andals, and came not as invaders but as refugees, crossing the seas in ten thousand ships to escape the growing might of the Freehold of Valyria. The lords freeholder of Valyria ruled the greater part of the known world; they were sorcerers, great in lore, and alone of all the races of man they had learned to breed dragons and bend them to their will. Four hundred years before the opening of A Song of Ice and Fire , however, the Doom descended on Valyria, destroying the city in a single night. Thereafter the great Valyrian empire disintegrated into dissension, barbarism, and war.

Westeros, across the narrow sea, was spared the worst of the chaos that followed. By that time only seven kingdoms remained where once there had been hundreds—but they would not stand for much longer. A scion of lost Valyria named Aegon Targaryen landed at the mouth of the Blackwater with a small army, his two sisters (who were also his wives), and three great dragons. Riding on dragonback, Aegon and his sisters won battle after battle, and subdued six of the seven Westerosi kingdoms by fire, sword, and treaty. The conqueror collected the melted, twisted blades of his fallen foes, and used them to make a monstrous, towering barbed seat: the Iron Throne, from which he ruled henceforth as Aegon, the First of His Name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, and Lord of the Seven Kingdoms.

The dynasty founded by Aegon and his sisters endured for most of three hundred years. Another Targaryen king, Daeron the Second, later brought Dorne into the realm, uniting all of Westeros under a single ruler. He did so by marriage, not conquest, for the last of the dragons had died half a century before.The Hedge Knight, published in the first Legends , takes place in the last days of Good King Daeron’s reign, about a hundred years before the opening of the first of the Ice and Fire novels, with the realm at peace and the Targaryen dynasty at its height. It tells the story of the first meeting between Dunk, a hedge knight’s squire, and Egg, a boy who is rather more than he seems, and of the great tourney at Ashford Meadow. The Sworn Sword, the tale that follows, picks up their story a year or so later.

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Hi, long time lurker here. I just wanted to thank you guys for the heresy thread. I'll keep on lurking and post whatever daft idea that pops into my head. Rock on, people

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Thanks for the quote, BC!

Bran VI

The Karstarks came in on a cold windy morning...

...

Old Nan said they had Stark blood in them, going back hundreds of years, but they did not look like Starks to Bran. They were big men, and fierce, faces covered with thick beards, hair worn loose past the shoulders. Their cloaks were made of skins, the pelts of bear and seal and wolf.

What does that mean? There's this thing called 'the Stark look' – do they not have it, or is it just hard to tell because they looks so wild. Could indicate that the current Starks are somewhat Andalised in their sense of fashion while the Karstarks retained mre of the North? Although then the Karstarks should still resemble to the statues in the crypts... Eh, I'm probably overthinking it.

As they passed beneath the gatehouse portcullis, Bran put two fingers into his mouth and whistled. Summer came loping across the yard. Suddenly the Karstark lancers were fighting for control, as their horses rolled their eyes and whickered in dismay. One stallion reared, screaming, his rider cursing and hanging on desperately. The scent of the direwolves sent horses into a frenzy of fear if they were not accustomed to it, but they’d quiet soon enough once Summer was gone. “The godswood,” Bran reminded Hodor.

Seems non-supernatural, but reminds me slightly of the Others inducing fear...

The godswood:

Summer lapped at the water and settled down at Bran’s side. He rubbed the wolf under the jaw, and for a moment boy and beast both felt at peace. Bran had always liked the godswood, even before, but of late he found himself drawn to it more and more. Even the heart tree no longer scared him the way it used to. The deep red eyes carved into the pale trunk still watched him, yet somehow he took comfort from that now. The gods were looking over him, he told himself; the old gods, gods of the Starks and the First Men and the children of the forest, his father’s gods. He felt safe in their sight, and the deep silence of the trees helped him think. Bran had been thinking a lot since his fall; thinking, and dreaming, and talking with the gods.

“If Robb has to go, watch over him,” Bran entreated the old gods, as they watched him with the heart tree’s red eyes, “and watch over his men, Hal and Quent and the rest, and Lord Umber and Lady Mormont and the other lords. And Theon too, I suppose. Watch them and keep them safe, if it please you, gods. Help them defeat the Lannisters and save Father and bring them home.”

A faint wind sighed through the godswood and the red leaves stirred and whispered. Summer bared his teeth. “You hear them, boy?” a voice asked.

Bran lifted his head. Osha stood across the pool, beneath an ancient oak, her face shadowed by leaves. Even in irons, the Wildling moved quiet as a cat. Summer circled the pool, sniffed at her. The tall woman flinched.

“Summer, to me,” Bran called. The direwolf took one final sniff, spun, and bounded back. Bran wrapped his arms around him.

An unfriendly reaction, but not quite so bad as in Tyrion's case...

“They are my gods too,” Osha said. “Beyond the Wall, they are the only gods.”

So Craster's worship of the 'cold gods' is non-standard among the wildlings. That's a relief, although nothing we didn't already suspect anyway.

“No, stay,” Bran commanded her. “Tell me what you meant, about hearing the gods.”

Osha studied him. “You asked them and they’re answering. Open your ears, listen, you’ll hear.”

Bran listened. “It’s only the wind,” he said after a moment, uncertain. “The leaves are rustling.”

Who do you think sends the wind, if not the gods?” She seated herself across the pool from him, clinking faintly as she moved. Mikken had fixed iron manacles to her ankles, with a heavy chain between them; she could walk, so long as she kept her strides small, but there was no way for her to run, or climb, or mount a horse. “They see you, boy. They hear you talking. That rustling, that’s them talking back.”

“What are they saying?”

“They’re sad. Your lord brother will get no help from them, not where he’s going. The old gods have no power in the south. The weirwoods there were all cut down, thousands of years ago. How can they watch your brother when they have no eyes?”

Bran had not thought of that. It frightened him. If even the gods could not help his brother, what hope was there? Maybe Osha wasn’t hearing them right. He cocked his head and tried to listen again. He thought he could hear the sadness now, but nothing more than that.

I guess Osha's making this up... I mean, they quite possibly are talking back (and are sad) (I wonder if there'll be a scene with Bran looking at himself), but there's just no way Osha would understand...

She seems to be mistaken about them not being able to see without the weirwood eyes, although she's probably correct about their power being weaker down south....

Also, the recently revealed TwoIaF sample pages mention the True Tongue (the language of the singers of the song of earth) sounds like leaves rustling and other sounds of nature – so they could be talking in the True Tongue...

Giants (and worse):

"Hodor,” Hodor agreed. He was dripping wet from the neck down, steaming in the chill air. His body was covered with brown hair, thick as a pelt. Between his legs, his manhood swung long and heavy.

Osha eyed him with a sour smile. “Now there’s a big man,” she said. “He has giant’s blood in him, or I’m the queen.”

“Maester Luwin says there are no more giants. He says they’re all dead, like the children of the forest. All that’s left of them are old bones in the earth that men turn up with plows from time to time.”

“Let Maester Luwin ride beyond the Wall,” Osha said. “He’ll find giants then, or they’ll find him. My brother killed one. Ten foot tall she was, and stunted at that. They’ve been known to grow big as twelve and thirteen feet. Fierce things they are too, all hair and teeth, and the wives have beards like their husbands, so there’s no telling them apart. The women take human men for lovers, and it’s from them the half bloods come. It goes harder on the women they catch.

...

“Giants and worse than giants, Lordling. I tried to tell your brother when he asked his questions, him and your maester and that smiley boy Greyjoy. The cold winds are rising(1), and men go out from their fires and never come back…or if they do, they’re not men no more, but only wights, with blue eyes and cold black hands. Why do you think I run south with Stiv and Hali and the rest of them fools? Mance thinks he’ll fight, the brave sweet stubborn man, like the white walkers were no more than rangers, but what does he know? He can call himself King-beyond-the-Wall all he likes, but he’s still just another old black crow who flew down from the Shadow Tower. He’s never tasted winter. I was born up there, child, like my mother and her mother before her and her mother before her, born of the Free Folk. We remember(2).”

If humans can interbreed with giants that slightly increases the probability of other races interbreeding as well. How about CotF? Can the bits about wildling women laying with Others be inspired by this? At least they're 'conventional' life forms. I just hope there will be no actual human-Other crossbreeding :ack: Also, sounds like that Osha considers giants bad news, mostly.

(1) The same phrase Mormont uses from time to time; also, on the one hand she makes it sound like men disappearing/coming back as wights is a normal consequence of 'cold winds rising', on the other hand she also makes it sound like it's the wights they're running from. So is this smething that happens eery winter? Or from time to time, the last one still being remembered? Are these particularly nasty winters behind major wildling incursions? Possibly, all she's saying is “if it's this bad while it's still summer, I don't want to know what happens in the winter” :dunno:

(2) Everyone keeps saying that... also, seems like the female line is important. Is it how knowledge is passed down? Or does it depend on whether you're female yourself? Perhaps a man would talk about his father etc.

So what do they remember that Mance doesn't know? I don't think it's the wights, Mance would have encountered those already. Maybe it's the part about the mists and killing with cold?

Rickon:

His baby brother had been wild as a winter storm since he learned Robb was riding off to war, weeping and angry by turns. He’d refused to eat, cried and screamed for most of a night, even punched Old Nan when she tried to sing him to sleep, and the next day he’d vanished. Robb had set half the castle searching for him, and when at last they’d found him down in the crypts, Rickon had slashed at them with a rusted iron sword he’d snatched from a dead king’s hand, and Shaggydog had come slavering out of the darkness like a green-eyed demon. The wolf was near as wild as Rickon; he’d bitten Gage on the arm and torn a chunk of flesh from Mikken’s thigh. It had taken Robb himself and Grey Wind to bring him to bay. Farlen had the black wolf chained up in the kennels now, and Rickon cried all the more for being without him.

Wait, so Rickon is the wilder of the two? :shocked:

The bannermen:

“And when we are done with the Lannisters,” he promised, scratching Grey Wind behind the ear, “we will march back north, root you out of your keep, and hang you for an oathbreaker.”

Hang?

“I thought he was going to kill me,” Robb confessed. “Did you see the way he threw down Hal, like he was no bigger than Rickon? Gods, I was so scared. And the Greatjon’s not the worst of them, only the loudest. Lord Roose never says a word, he only looks at me, and all I can think of is that room they have in the Dreadfort, where the Boltons hang the skins of their enemies.”

“That’s just one of Old Nan’s stories,” Bran said. A note of doubt crept into his voice. “Isn’t it?”

Speaking of stories, they get an amazing variety of rumours about Ned and the king...

Direwolves:

“And she says nothing of Arya, nothing, not so much as a word. Damn her! What’s wrong with the girl?”

Bran felt all cold inside. “She lost her wolf,” he said, weakly, remembering the day when four of his father’s guardsmen had returned from the south with Lady’s bones. Summer and Grey Wind and Shaggydog had begun to howl before they crossed the drawbridge, in voices drawn and desolate. Beneath the shadow of the First Keep was an ancient lichyard, its headstones spotted with pale lichen, where the old Kings of Winter had laid their faithful servants(1). It was there they buried Lady, while her brothers stalked between the graves like restless shadows. She had gone south, and only her bones had returned.(2)

(1) What did they mean by 'faithful servants'? When did they stop burying there and why?

(2) See also Osha's comments about the Old Gods... Bran lists all the people who'd gone South 'recently', and I believe Ser Rodrik is the only one to return. And 'Arya', later. Well, there's still hope for Sansa and Arya...

“There are some who call my order the knights of the mind,” Luwin replied. “You are a surpassing clever boy when you work at it, Bran. Have you ever thought that you might wear a maester’s chain? There is no limit to what you might learn.”

“I want to learn magic,” Bran told him. “The crow promised that I would fly.”

Maester Luwin sighed. “I can teach you history, healing, herblore. I can teach you the speech of ravens, and how to build a castle, and the way a sailor steers his ship by the stars. I can teach you to measure the days and mark the seasons, and at the Citadel in Oldtown they can teach you a thousand things more. But, Bran, no man can teach you magic.”

He's certainly very observant and thoughtful for a 7-8 year old. He also thinks Summer is the smartest of the litter.

About the speech of ravens, I think the TWoIaF preview pages clarify that, saying that in the maester's interpretation it's all about telling if they're hungry or upset etc.

Hodor?

When the distant cheers had faded to silence and the yard was empty at last, Winterfell seemed deserted and dead. Bran looked around at the faces of those who remained, women and children and old men…and Hodor. The huge stableboy had a lost and frightened look to his face. “Hodor?” he said sadly.

“Hodor,” Bran agreed, wondering what it meant.

That sooo foreshadows... something. Will we ever find out what it means?

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Hodor?

That sooo foreshadows... something. Will we ever find out what it means?

I always thought it was a perfect illustration of how frightened and lost everybody in Winterfell felt... I hope it doesn't mean anything else. Bran and Hodor are miserable enough as it is :(

And I'd like to add that you're doing a wonderful job with these summaries. They are really interesting to read and you really get at the important stuff I think :)

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Black Crow,

Yay, it is only implied! Now we know even less. lol

nanother,

Thank you for the summary. There are some things that I would like to think about before posting, but these will do for now.

An unfriendly reaction, but not quite so bad as in Tyrion's case...

***

I guess Osha's making this up... I mean, they quite possibly are talking back (and are sad) (I wonder if there'll be a scene with Bran looking at himself), but there's just no way Osha would understand...

She seems to be mistaken about them not being able to see without the weirwood eyes, although she's probably correct about their power being weaker down south....

Also, the recently revealed TwoIaF sample pages mention the True Tongue (the language of the singers of the song of earth) sounds like leaves rustling and other sounds of nature – so they could be talking in the True Tongue...

I don't think that she understands the language, but she might know that it is speech and that it can be understood. Bran is a Stark and a warg maybe she is passing on her knowledge.

If humans can interbreed with giants that slightly increases the probability of other races interbreeding as well.

Crannogmen? :D

The cold winds are rising, and men go out from their fires and never come back…or if they do, they’re not men no more, but only wights, with blue eyes and cold black hands.

This part reminds me of what Jon says to Alys at the Wall: how old men will go hunting in winter, never to return. Osha here says something even worse, they do return, as wights.

FYI In eastern Serbia-western Bulgaria parents were killed by their children. Son would put a loaf of bread on his father's head and say "It is this bread that kills you, not I" then hit him with an axe. Martin toned things down. [1]

While we are on the subject of killing the unneeded:

"Some of the lord bannermen gave him queer hard stares as he sat there, as if they wondered by what right a green boy should be placed above them, and him a cripple too."

"I'll... sooner die than live like that" and Bran being too craven to take his own life.

OMG my poor baby.

I was born up there, child, like my mother and her mother before her and her mother before her, born of the Free Folk. We remember.

Comparable to "North remembers" - only I wonder if North hasn't forgotten... This phrase seems to have evolved in the North after it was divided from the South, wildlings would have no reason to change it.

I think that with the change in the organization of society from egalitarian to feudal (or from hunter-gatherer to agrarian if you like that comparison better) females lost quite a lot of power and standing. "Never believe anything you heard at a woman's tit" by our amazing ranger Waymar Royce etc.

It became fashionable to have maesters educate children, to be doctors and secretaries... They do not admit women into their ranks, so women are viewed as uneducated. Their knowledge of healing, midwifery, herbs, no matter how good, is superstition. When the women are commoners, it is even worse. Not to mention that in the South saying that old gods have power is heresy since there are only Seven.

I wonder in what words Osha tried to tell Robb of Others. "I tried to tell your brother when he asked his questions, him and your maester and that smiley boy Greyjoy. The cold winds are rising, and men go out from their fires..."

I can imagine her beginning from 'cold winds are rising...' and they interrupting with, "Yeah, Winter Is Comming, are there any more of wildlings in the forest?", I bet she wasn't very articulate.

She wasn't allowed to speak to him since.

So what do they remember that Mance doesn't know? I don't think it's the wights, Mance would have encountered those already. Maybe it's the part about the mists and killing with cold?

Excellent question. I think at the point Stiv and co. decided to leave Mance still had no idea what he was dealing with.

Also, he is just another black crow who flew down from the Shadow Tower. Just another... :D

Wait, so Rickon is the wilder of the two? :shocked:

Amazing, isn't it? Poor baby. I got the impression here that Rickon was having same premonitions Eddard did before going south on top of being an insecure abandoned child. Can you imagine what he must be going through.

Aand, he managed to lift that sword and slash with it?!

There is the part when Bran asks him to say farewell to Robb and Rickon says no one ever comes back. He is so right I wonder if this is more than a tantrum.

Hang?

Maybe it is hanging because of oathbreaking, like, they don't deserve an honorable death. This is what Jon wanted to do to Janos before he asked for a block. :) Wait, that occasion deserves a better emoticon: :drool:

What did they mean by 'faithful servants'? When did they stop burying there and why?

Good questions!

By faithfull servants I'd guess they mean the same the Pharaohs of Egypt meant for those graveyards near the royal tombs. An honor for people who would have otherwise been given an unmarked grave in their home towns or villages. This way they are remembered and belong with Winterfell forever. Maybe even get to enjoy afterlife?

I don't think Bran has witnessed a burial in his short years, maybe they still bury them there, only now retainers tend to go home more often when they get old, or back to the sept/citadel/their family graveyards?

People going south being doomed could be a superstition because three consecutive generations have snuffed it so far (Rickard, Brandon/Lyanna/Eddard, Arya?/Lady).

Bran prayed for for Robb to stay, for old gods to watch over Robb and his men, keep them safe, help them defeat the Lannisters and save Father and bring them home (Robb, Father, Mother, girls). And for Rickon to understand.

Robb did defeat the Lannisters, with help of Grey Wind no less. So, they did help IMO.

I am going to keep my eyes on Rickon and on old gods-Catelyn/Robb/girls.

Have you noticed that

  • Maege Mormont wanted to marry Robb to her granddaughter? lol
  • having a direwolf bite off fingers is a Stark thing to do? Eddard must have whitewashed the stories he told his children if that is the case.

"Rhaegar Thargaryen had returned from the dead and was marshaling a vast host of ancient heroes on Dragonstone to reclaim his father's throne"

OMG can't breathe :rofl:

[1] Grey plague will be fun.

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I kind of assumed the wights abandon weapons because they don't have need for them/don't keep track f their 'possessions'. It didn't occur to me that it might have to do with the iron content, but it's definitely possible - we should watch out for wights using weapons of any kind. As far as I can remember, most of the time they use their hands, though. We know they're fine with armour (IIRC Small Paul wore a chainmail/ringmail - I'd think that's likely to be iron?). OK, so we have to watch out for wights using weapon (or other tools) or wearing armour.

I can't recall any reference where the Wights are using anything but their hands and would agree with the "hands only" statement.

Conversely (and I realize this is not necessarily canon)...but I noticed in the GOT Season 3 opening episode, Sam is attacked by a wight branishing some sort of axe (IIRC), which would contradict this notion. Perhaps nothing more than HBO amping up the suspense factor.

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What does that mean? There's this thing called 'the Stark look' – do they not have it, or is it just hard to tell because they looks so wild. Could indicate that the current Starks are somewhat Andalised in their sense of fashion while the Karstarks retained mre of the North? Although then the Karstarks should still resemble to the statues in the crypts... Eh, I'm probably overthinking it.

I'm not sure. I think the Stark look could just be about having a long face, dark hair, and grey eyes which Ned, Arya, and Jon all have. Benjen has blue-grey eyes as well. I think the shaggy, wild look may just be a northern trait that some Starks have and some Starks don't, from what we see in the crypts. I think the most important part is the grey eyes though. Theon makes a big deal of "Arya" not having grey eyes in adwd.

The Karstarks are "big men" as well, but I'm not sure if that's a Stark trait. The crypt statues are described in more detail in a future chapter, so I'll wait until we get there. Benjen is described as being gaunt, but I don't think we're told if Ned is big, muscular, slender or what (unless I missed it). Jon and Arya are both slender, while Robb is muscular but he does not have the Stark look. I'm going to keep a lookout for more descriptions. :)

Bran had always liked the godswood, even before, but of late he found himself drawn to it more and more. (got, p. 553)

So it's not until after he's crippled that he becomes closer to the Old Gods.

When Hallis Mollen moved to restrain him, he knocked him to the floor, kicked over a table, and unsheathed the biggest, ugliest greatsword that Bran had ever seen. All along the benches, his sons and brothers and sworn swords leapt to their feet, grabbing for their steel. (got, p. 555)

I do have to wonder what the hell the Greatjon was planning to do to Robb if Grey Wind wasn't there.

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The cold winds are rising, and men go out from their fires and never come back…or if they do, they’re not men no more, but only wights, with blue eyes and cold black hands.

This part reminds me of what Jon says to Alys at the Wall: how old men will go hunting in winter, never to return. Osha here says something even worse, they do return, as wights.

FYI In eastern Serbia-western Bulgaria parents were killed by their children. Son would put a loaf of bread on his father's head and say "It is this bread that kills you, not I" then hit him with an axe. Martin toned things down. [1]

There's that, but not sure the wildlings follow that custom (precisely because they might come back as wights - there's a reason they burn their dead). I think the people Osha's talking about people who are wanted, and expect to be back.

BTW, there was some interesting stuff about sacrificing unwanted children (bastards, dwarves etc) in wells (and the Nightfort well in particular) in the main Heresy thread, although I can't keep up with the discussion there ATM.

Maybe it is hanging because of oathbreaking, like, they don't deserve an honorable death. This is what Jon wanted to do to Janos before he asked for a block. :) Wait, that occasion deserves a better emoticon: :drool:

Dunno, maybe. It never occurred to Ned to hand Gared, though... Maybe it's a southron thing? Maybe Robb added it for extra insult?

I don't think Bran has witnessed a burial in his short years, maybe they still bury them there, only now retainers tend to go home more often when they get old, or back to the sept/citadel/their family graveyards?

From the wording I get the impression that it hasn't been used for a looong time.

People going south being doomed could be a superstition because three consecutive generations have snuffed it so far (Rickard, Brandon/Lyanna/Eddard, Arya?/Lady).

Bran prayed for for Robb to stay, for old gods to watch over Robb and his men, keep them safe, help them defeat the Lannisters and save Father and bring them home (Robb, Father, Mother, girls). And for Rickon to understand.

Robb did defeat the Lannisters, with help of Grey Wind no less. So, they did help IMO.

I am going to keep my eyes on Rickon and on old gods-Catelyn/Robb/girls.

Good point. Too bad they couldn't force him to listen to his wolf...

Still, there does seem to be a tendency of Starks dying when they go south...

Have you noticed that

  • Maege Mormont wanted to marry Robb to her granddaughter? lol
  • having a direwolf bite off fingers is a Stark thing to do? Eddard must have whitewashed the stories he told his children if that is the case.

"Rhaegar Thargaryen had returned from the dead and was marshaling a vast host of ancient heroes on Dragonstone to reclaim his father's throne"

OMG can't breathe :rofl:

[1] Grey plague will be fun.

Don't think so, I think even Bran is aware that ancient Stark kings were nasty pieces of work... but: it's indeed odd that we don't hear stories about direwolves running with the ancient Kings of Winter. I'd like to think the direwolf statues in the crypts indicate that they used to be wargs, but then there should be some sort of memory of it, if only in Old Nan's stories...

I can't recall any reference where the Wights are using anything but their hands and would agree with the "hands only" statement.

Conversely (and I realize this is not necessarily canon)...but I noticed in the GOT Season 3 opening episode, Sam is attacked by a wight branishing some sort of axe (IIRC), which would contradict this notion. Perhaps nothing more than HBO amping up the suspense factor.

There happens to be a wight using a weapon mentioned in the upcoming Jon chapter - the one that killed Ser Jaremy with his own dagger.

@ nenya: yes, maybe it's the Karstarks being 'big' that makes the difference. We'll see if anything comes up in future descriptions...

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From the wording I get the impression that it [the lych yard] hasn't been used for a looong time.

Agreed, but hey, Winterfell is thousands of years old, there's a limit to how many servants you can bury in one place. I'd say it got filled up and then they planted them somewhere else.

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