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Black Crow

Heresy 38

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Welcome to Heresy 38, this weeks edition of the thread that offers an alternative view of the Song of Ice and Fire.

Its an eclectic thread all about challenging orthodoxy, as we try to figure out what’s really going on not in the Game of Thrones but the over-arching Game of Ice and Fire. We reject the easy orthodoxy that the Others are evil incarnate; that the Children of the Forest will give Bran the knowledge how to defeat the Others and that he will pass this knowledge on to Jon, who is Azor Ahai, and will save Westeros astride one of Dany’s amazing dragons before taking his rightful place alongside her on the Iron Throne as Jon Targaryen First of his Name.

Instead we think it far more important that if R+L=J, he is the son of Lyanna Stark rather than the lost heir to the Iron Throne, and far from being Azor Ahai we note this passage, where he’s reunited with Ghost, just outside the Wall:

Red eyes, Jon realized, but not like Melisandre’s. He had a weirwood’s eyes. Red eyes, red mouth, white fur. Blood and bone, like a heart tree. He belongs to the old gods, this one. And he alone of all the direwolves was white. Six pups they’d found in the late summer snows, him and Robb; five that were grey, and black and brown, for the five Starks, and one white, as white as snow.

Jon isn’t Azor Ahai. “He belongs to the old gods, this one.” He’s on the other side.

As to that Other side, we look at who or what the Others really are and why some of them at least are Craster’s sons, noting both GRRM’s reference to them being like the Sidhe made of ice and to the way they behave not as an invading army but like the Wild Hunt of legend. Inevitably then this means drawing not just on the books themselves but on the real world mythologies, chiefly Celtic but Norse as well, which firmly underpin Martin’s version of the Faerie realms, leading us through the Mabinogion, the Tain bo Culaidh and the Norse Eddas amongst others to discover Bran the Blessed, Tam Lin, Cu Chulainn and above all the Morrigan – the Crow Goddess, associated with death and with three human aspects as maiden, mother and crone.

The Crone of course, according to Catelyn Stark, let the first raven (all ravens are crows) into the world and we note the way in which crows dominate the whole story, which is why some of us have our suspicions about their true significance, because after all, according to the Ironborn they belong not to the Children but to the Storm Lords.

Conversely its hard to avoid the fact that the Children (who so far have conspicuously said nothing to Bran about the Others, far less hinted how they can be defeated) are not just of the Forest, but of the Darkness as well, that darkness feared and hated by Melisandre and the followers of the Lord of Light. Certainly whatever the real motives of the Children, it can cheerfully be assumed that they are no friends of the Red pyromaniacs.

We also look at the Wall itself and of late have come to a certain consensus that it is not a defensive structure at all but marks the magical boundary between the realms of Ice (or Faerie), and Men and given the curious silence in the histories as to when and how it was built, some of us have come to think that it was not built after the Long Night to prevent the return of the Others but is much, much older. We are also agreed that it is the Wall itself which is at the heart of what’s wrong with Martin’s World and that it must come down.

As heretics we neither promote nor defend a particular viewpoint, in fact we argue quite a lot, but we do reckon that the Starks’ role in all of this is a lot darker and more ambiguous than once it seemed. They are after all the Kings of Winter.

If you’re already actively involved in the Heresy business it needs no further introduction. If you’re new, or simply intimidated by the sheer scale of it all, not to mention the astonishing speed with which it moves, and wonder what we’re talking about and why we’ve come to these peculiar ideas, just ask. We’re friendly and we don’t mind going over old ground again, especially with a fresh pair of eyes.

All that we ask is that the debate be conducted by reference to the text, with respect for the ideas of others, and above all great good humour.

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according to the Ironborn they belong not to the Children but to the Storm Lords

I think you meant Storm Gods there. But I'd love to see Stannis with a crow perching on his shoulder, so why not :laugh:

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One very interesting question was raised in Heresy 37...... Can Bran use his greenseeing abilities without connecting with Weirwoods ?

In his coma dream, he can very well see everything under the sun. So, does this mean , Bran could be Omniscient whenever he chooses to be ?

And, was Bloodraven such a Greenseer when he lived as Brynden Rivers ?

What if, BR's powers to affect people's dreams, minds, actually came about him when he connected with the weirwoods ?

So, Greenseeing (Omniscience) can be available without joining with weirwood, though you can join, and actually influencing Beings happened through Weirwoods .... what say ?

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I still haven't re-read that chapter, so I'm not sure, but I think it's Bran who can do this without the weirwood throne, that it's not something any greenseer can do. Now, if this is because of the weirwood paste, I don't know. I'm on AGoT re-read, so I don't want to jump ahead <_< If someone could look up that chapter (Bran's last one in Dance)...

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I think Bran's coma dream might have been assisted by the 3EC...there's no way of knowing whether he can achieve the same on his own. His connection to the Winterfell heart tree seems special, though, he had 'tree dreams' (whatever that means) even back in Winterfell, and when he talked to Jon from the crypts he appeared as a weirwood...I'd guess that he could access that particular tree from anywhere at all. How that compares to other greenseers, no idea :dunno:

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No no no. Not talking about that. I'm talking about remembering how Bran's last chapter in Dance ends - with him being able to have visions while lying in bed - out of the weirwood throne... all on his own. But I don't know if I'm misremembering or not :frown5:

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As I specifically said, I don't believe that the Nights Watch and the Andals are adherents of R'hllor, but there is a commonality which suggests that there was once long long ago a common origin, which isn't quite the same thing.

This is quite a walk-back from what I originally responded to, however, which was a post that seemed to imply a much closer relationship than a common origin point a long time ago.

one thing we have noted is that the core of the oath...appears very closely related to the prayers offered up by the Red lot and that there may...be a connection to the temple guards, watching on the walls and tending the nightfires until dawn.
(emphasis mine)

That goes beyond a common origin story to commonalities in heirarchy, practices and beliefs. Also, the explanatory power this common origin thesis provides has tended, in the posts that I've read, to question the true motives surrounding the foundation of the Night's Watch by using said proposed commonalities as a way to link the Night's Watch to the "red lot", which, among Heretics seems to be the closest thing to a true antagonist in the series.

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No no no. Not talking about that. I'm talking about remembering how Bran's last chapter in Dance ends - with him being able to have visions while lying in bed - out of the weirwood throne... all on his own. But I don't know if I'm misremembering or not :frown5:

You're remembering right. He sees stuff through the eyes of the Winterfell weirwood. That's why I brought up his special connection with that tree.

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Ah, okay, thanks nanother :)

Is this the deal with all the greenseers? Is this what BR meant with "you will see beyond the trees"? If this is a property exclusive to Bran, I'm thinking he'll keep that to himself, like Arya kept to herself how she saw the Kindly Man, and escape the cave with Hodor's and Summer's help at some point...

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One very interesting question was raised in Heresy 37...... Can Bran use his greenseeing abilities without connecting with Weirwoods ?

In his coma dream, he can very well see everything under the sun. So, does this mean , Bran could be Omniscient whenever he chooses to be ?

And, was Bloodraven such a Greenseer when he lived as Brynden Rivers ?

What if, BR's powers to affect people's dreams, minds, actually came about him when he connected with the weirwoods ?

So, Greenseeing (Omniscience) can be available without joining with weirwood, though you can join, and actually influencing Beings happened through Weirwoods .... what say ?

I would like to weigh in with my thoughts on this....I haven't read any textural evidence that Bran can see through the weirwoods without being connected to the weirwoods...that being said, greensight is an ability. Jojen had greensight, which is the ability to see the future in dreams, but since he cannot warg, he is not a greenseer. I can't think of any text where Bran had a dream about the future, which would be the description of greensight, but he had what Jojen called "wolf dreams" which was actually just warging his wolf in his sleep.

@Black Crow...some thoughts from Heresy 37:

1) Ned didn't open his third eye in the Black Cell because he wasn't a greenseer. As you may already remember, greenseers have to also be wargs, but only 1 in a 1000 wargs is also a greenseer. He may have been a warg, or had the ability to be a warg, but without a direwolf he probably didn't realize he had that gift. On the other hand, if he had both gifts, warg and greenseer, he may not have been a believer since he has already been confirmed by Catelyn to be a disbeliever in signs, and since he's poo-poo'd Old Nan's stories, I'd have to say that he just doesn't believe in any of the magical stuff.

2) I agree that the dreamers Bran saw impaled may have been scare tactics to help him fly.

3) Yes, the Children "saved" the Last Hero from the White Walkers, but when humans say they accept Christ as their savior they are also "saved", so I think the definition of "saved" can be expanded to also include being raised from the dead.

@wolfmaid - "brothers and our bane" could also mean that the Children warged the giants and were ashamed. The Children may have been blackmailed into warging the giants in order to build the Wall, for instance.

Also, @woldmaid...I was thinking we could expand the winter season (wind element) to think about greenseers being able to fly, like Bran. And all the other crows and ravens that fly. If we think about winter that way, then this season is definitely short of flyers.

@alienarea...I'm thinking, not that Jon has to be resurrected, but that the Children have to allow themselves to actually die out. They created the White Walkers out of desperation, because they thought they had to do it in order to preserve balance, but they may now realize that if they can destroy magic, they themselves would be unnecessary as guardians of balance as long as the seasons were returned to normal.

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I would like to weigh in with my thoughts on this....I haven't read any textural evidence that Bran can see through the weirwoods without being connected to the weirwoods.

He can see out of the weirwood throne, as nanother said in his previous post, but here's the textual evidence:

The singers carved eyes into their heart trees to awaken them, and those are the first eyes a new greenseer learns to use … but in time you will see well beyond the trees themselves.”

“When?” Bran wanted to know.

“In a year, or three, or ten. That I have not glimpsed. It will come in time, I promise you. But I am tired now, and the trees are calling me. We will resume on the morrow.”

Hodor carried Bran back to his chamber, muttering “Hodor” in a low voice as Leaf went before them with a torch.

Watching the flames, Bran decided he would stay awake till Meera came back.

(...)

… but then somehow he was back at Winterfell again, in the godswood looking down upon his father.

So, Bran was in his chamber, not in a tree, having his visions and through time no less.

Edited for weird copy paste results...

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Remember the raven in the caves that Bran tries to slip into. He says that there is someone in there, a CotF who BR said died a long time ago, longer ago than when the bird could have been alive.

Viserys_the_Transformed brought up a quote in Heresy 37:

"Children of the forest. The roots had grown in and around and through them, every one. A few had ravens perched atop them, watching them pass with bright black eyes."

What if the CotF in the back room are only dead in the sense that they can no longer use their true bodies, but can still skinchange into animals? Certain ravens perched on certain CotF: given the option, I would perch on my own shoulder. This explains why the CotF could still be in a bird hundreds of years after they "died."

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He can see out of the weirwood throne, as nanother said in his previous post, but here's the textual evidence:

The singers carved eyes into their heart trees to awaken them, and those are the first eyes a new greenseer learns to use … but in time you will see well beyond the trees themselves.”

“When?” Bran wanted to know.

“In a year, or three, or ten. That I have not glimpsed. It will come in time, I promise you. But I am tired now, and the trees are calling me. We will resume on the morrow.”

Hodor carried Bran back to his chamber, muttering “Hodor” in a low voice as Leaf went before them with a torch.

Watching the flames, Bran decided he would stay awake till Meera came back.

(...)

… but then somehow he was back at Winterfell again, in the godswood looking down upon his father.

So, Bran was in his chamber, not in a tree, having his visions and through time no less.

Edited for weird copy paste results...

It seems important that Bran sees out through the Winterfell tree and not the tree that he was recently sitting in. Perhaps the real trick is in combining the powers of seeing out of (1) the tree you are attached to (assuming the sap Bran had was from the tree he was attached to) (2) the tree that you are most familiar/connected to (for Bran, the Winterfell tree)

One very interesting question was raised in Heresy 37...... Can Bran use his greenseeing abilities without connecting with Weirwoods ?

In his coma dream, he can very well see everything under the sun. So, does this mean , Bran could be Omniscient whenever he chooses to be ?

And, was Bloodraven such a Greenseer when he lived as Brynden Rivers ?

What if, BR's powers to affect people's dreams, minds, actually came about him when he connected with the weirwoods ?

So, Greenseeing (Omniscience) can be available without joining with weirwood, though you can join, and actually influencing Beings happened through Weirwoods .... what say ?

I am wary of omniscience of any kind for Bran. Omniscience seems too close to breaking GRRM's rule of not seeing a god directly acting. Bran knowing all of past, present, and future seems too powerful to make a good story.

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-few things about

Catelyn resembles Hel more than anything else as lady stoneheart...

I think everyone has forgotten about the Valyrian Candles. One can enter peoples dreams just as easily with the Valyrian candles that are mentioned in feast for crowss.

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It seems important that Bran sees out through the Winterfell tree and not the tree that he was recently sitting in. Perhaps the real trick is in combining the powers of seeing out of (1) the tree you are attached to (assuming the sap Bran had was from the tree he was attached to) (2) the tree that you are most familiar/connected to (for Bran, the Winterfell tree)

I guess he saw through the Winterfell heart tree for the first time that he was seeing not connected to a tree in the cave, as a case of the heart wanting to go where the heart wants to go - home, if you'll excuse my sappiness :blush:

ETA: Also, forgot to mention - don't we have an indication that BR does see some things in the future when he says to Bran that he'll see beyond trees in a year, or three or ten - that he (BR) has not glimpsed, yet... !!! :o

“When?” Bran wanted to know.

“In a year, or three, or ten. That I have not glimpsed. It will come in time, I promise you.

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I guess he saw through the Winterfell heart tree for the first time that he was seeing not connected to a tree in the cave, as a case of the heart wanting to go where the heart wants to go - home, if you'll excuse my sappiness :blush:

Sappiness excused, in that in makes sense.

ETA: Also, forgot to mention - don't we have an indication that BR does see some things in the future when he says to Bran that he'll see beyond trees in a year, or three or ten - that he (BR) has not glimpsed, yet... !!! :o

Glimpses of the future or the dream Jojen has about why he has to help Bran are different from absolute Omniscience. Seeing possible futures in the fire or vague dreams that the viewer is not sure of is very different than having true absolute knowledge of the future.

Also, BR's could just be saying, "I know it will happen, because you are far enough along in your training, I am just not sure when."

(The degree to which I am a skeptic and a contrarian makes me sound/feel like a jerk. I am not trying to be one, I just am ever doubtful.)

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I think we're giving more significance to the Weirwood Throne than is deserved. For example the COTF seem to use weirwood for a lot of stuff. Bowls, arrows, bows for example. If the paste hadn't been served in a weirwood bowl would it make a difference? I doubt it. Keep in mind Bloodraven told him to follow the roots, not follow his chair to the roots.

"Slip your skin, as you do when you join with Summer. But this time, go into the roots instead. Follow them up through the earth, to the trees upon the hill, and tell me what you see".

And then:

"Tyryan, you just use the report function ;) I'll do it again this time, but just so you know for future reference..."

Oh snap, Little Wing, pullin the Little Zing :P

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Glimpses of the future or the dream Jojen has about why he has to help Bran are different from absolute Omniscience. Seeing possible futures in the fire or vague dreams that the viewer is not sure of is very different than having true absolute knowledge of the future.

Also, BR's could just be saying, "I know it will happen, because you are far enough along in your training, I am just not sure when."

(The degree to which I am a skeptic and a contrarian makes me sound/feel like a jerk. I am not trying to be one, I just am ever doubtful.)

Oh, I didn't mean he can see the future as in everything - I did say "BR does see some things in the future", but anyway, the reason I mentioned this is because whenever I talk about seeing the future mostly it's frowned upon... it's glimpses of the future, not omniscience... but it shouldn't be discounted... I still think Gared was spared because the Starks had to be out and about to find the pups. Someone had glimpses of that day happening?

"Tyryan, you just use the report function ;) I'll do it again this time, but just so you know for future reference..."

Oh snap, Little Wing, pullin the Little Zing :P

Whoops, didn't mean it as snark, was just trying to be helpful :)

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Bryden Rivers sounds to me as an obvious reference from Odin, who had a throne he could watch the 9 realms while he was seated, and two ravens, Huginn and Muninn.

Bran perhaps match Heimdall´s archetype...but I´m not sure.

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