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Heresy 41

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Welcome to Heresy 41, this week’s edition of the most dynamic thread on the board, which offers an alternative view of the Song of Ice and Fire.

Heresy essentially is about challenging the orthodoxy that the Others are evil incarnate; that the Children of the Forest will give Bran the knowledge of how to defeat the Others and that Jon 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.

While it certainly looked as if that might be the outcome way back in the beginning, the story as it has progressed has become much more complex, darker and a lot less certain

After all, as GRRM himself has stated:

…it was always my intention: to play with the reader’s expectations. Before I was a writer I was a voracious reader and I am still, and I have read many, many books with very predictable plots. As a reader, what I seek is a book that delights and surprises me. I want to not know what is gonna happen. For me, that’s the essence of storytelling and for this reason I want my readers to turn the pages with increasing fever: to know what happens next. There are a lot of expectations, mainly in the fantasy genre, which you have the hero and he is the chosen one, and he is always protected by his destiny. I didn’t want it for my books.

Instead we think it far more important that if R+L really does =J, it is more important that he is the son of Lyanna Stark rather than the lost heir to the Iron Throne, and far from being Azor Ahai he and his magical white direwolf may be on the other side.

As to that Other side, we look closely at who or what the Others really are, 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 underpin Martin’s version of the Faerie realms, leading us through the Arthurian Legends, 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.

It was the Crone who let the first raven into the world and we note the way in which crows (same difference) 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 God – and oddly enough as it happens the Goddess of the Wind is another attribute of the Morrigan. The crows in short appear to be players rather than convenient vessels for warging.

Conversely its hard to avoid the fact that the Children (who so far have conspicuously said nothing to Bran about the Others) 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 lot.

We also look at the Wall itself of course 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 pretty well 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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Since nobody replied yet to pick a theme I propose to take a look at the mechanics of the story.

If we take for granted that all will be done snd dusted within the next two books, we have about a third of what is left to be told covering the north.

But northern POVs are outnumbered. We have Bran, who could more or less spoil everything, Jon Snow, who might be dead, Theon, who might get sacrificed, ditto for Asha, and Melisandre. The wild card might be Davos, who IMHO needs to be the Hooded Man so we have a POV in Winterfell for the upcoming battle. And we shouldn't spend more time on aimless travels in order to finish within two books.

To me this implies that most of the problems in the north will be solved from someone else. Daenerys and her amazing dragons come to mind, but as GRRM is opposed to predictable endings, this won't happen.

I don't know what to make of this, my cliche story guessing asks for Bran - Jaime and UnCat - UnJon resolutions and the Boltons and Freys and Greyjoys to be killed.

My crackpot is that the Theon sacrifice goes wrong, Asha bites it, Jon Snow ends up in Theon's body while Theon dies in Jon's. Jon kills Ramsay with arrow and retakes the black as Theon after learning whatever his parentage is from the Winterfell crypts. And Mance Rayder is a villain after all.

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We have too many POVs at Mereen not to see that battle, but the Winterfell battle could very much happen off page. Even if Theon is kept alive he wont actually be in the battle, same as Asha as she is a prisoner? I think the only way we see the battle is if its the prolog is from the POV of the Frey commander.

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We have too many POVs at Mereen not to see that battle, but the Winterfell battle could very much happen off page. Even if Theon is kept alive he wont actually be in the battle, same as Asha as she is a prisoner? I think the only way we see the battle is if its the prolog is from the POV of the Frey commander.

Yes, I pretty much have the same thought. Meereen will be the big battle moved from aDwD, and WF will be bloody( likely mostly the Freys) but nothing much about settling the North.

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Yes, I pretty much have the same thought. Meereen will be the big battle moved from aDwD, and WF will be bloody( likely mostly the Freys) but nothing much about settling the North.

I'm still hoping for Davos to be the Hooded Man so he can tell us about the battle for Winterfell from Winterfell. He doesn't know that Stannis got rid of the Karstarks and what happened with Theon and Jeyne so GRRM wouldn't need to spill all at once.

For Mereen I couldn't care less but I feel it would advance the story if Tyrion bites it. It is time for a major character death and until Jon Snow stays dead this is the best opportunity.

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New poster, hope this isn't off topic.

With the red priests so prevalent In the lands across the sea Is it possible that at some point winter held a stronghold on any of these islands?

Or are the others and children of the forest completely unique to Westeros? The invasion of the Andals obviously killed all of the children of the forest

south of the wall did winter have a hold prior to this?

Is it crazy to assume that the children and their magic also affect the weather and climate of the land in which they live?

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I'm still hoping for Davos to be the Hooded Man so he can tell us about the battle for Winterfell from Winterfell. He doesn't know that Stannis got rid of the Karstarks and what happened with Theon and Jeyne so GRRM wouldn't need to spill all at once.

The question of the hooded man's identity isn't something I've really participated in, but having co-incidentally just read the bit in Feast for Crows where Jaimie talks with the Blackfish , I really do have to say that the hooded man snarls just like him.

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New poster, hope this isn't off topic.

With the red priests so prevalent In the lands across the sea Is it possible that at some point winter held a stronghold on any of these islands?

Or are the others and children of the forest completely unique to Westeros? The invasion of the Andals obviously killed all of the children of the forest

south of the wall did winter have a hold prior to this?

Is it crazy to assume that the children and their magic also affect the weather and climate of the land in which they live?

There has been speculation as to Children beyond Westeros but I don't recall any hard evidence. As to Winter as mentioned in the OP we have a shrewd suspicion that the Wall is the demarcation line rather than a defensive structure. And as for the Children GRRM admitted in his recent Barcelona interview that there is a connection between the Children/Singers and the Others/Sidhe, which he declined to explain presumably because its going to be an important area of Winds of Winter.

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With the red priests so prevalent In the lands across the sea Is it possible that at some point winter held a stronghold on any of these islands?

Or are the others and children of the forest completely unique to Westeros?

The CotF do seem to be unique to Westeros -- not too surprising given what we're told, which is that they came to Westeros over a "thousand thousand years ago," and have been evolving in isolation there ever since, rather like the giants (which also seemingly have no parallel elsewhere).

It's not much stretch to imagine that for the huge majority of its existence, with rare exceptions, the Arm of Dorne was submerged, and it was only when that ceased to be the case that the First Men migrated to Westeros. This rather closely parallels England's own history (cf. Doggerland, submerged, and not, at various times in the last hundred thousand years).

Now, the Others... well, that is quite another matter. Extra cheese on that pizza.

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While I think its possible that the Blackfish is the Hooded Man, I don't see any motivation for him to go there. If I remember correctly, he's spent the majority of his life in the Vale. Why veer north to Winterfell? I read someone's theory that the Hooded Man was actually Theon himself. Sort of like a split personality or a loss of sanity. The Hooded Man does what Theon is afraid to do.

Just a thought to add to what was discussed at the end of H30 regarding 13 men or heroes. The symbolism of 13 comes from sun worship with the sun god as the central figure and the 12 followers are both the 12 months of the year and the 12 signs of the zodiac. I've posted before, many Heresies ago, about the astrological ages and the precession of the equinoxes as well as the horn symbolism pointing towards Aries the Ram. Jewish people today still use a lot of ram symbolism in their worship because their "savior" hasn't yet come, so they are still in the age of Aries, while Christ's followers moved into the Age of Pisces, thus the two fishes. Daenerys is the Christ-like leader that is ushering in the Piscean age in Westeros, but I also see Arya as another leader ushering in the Age of Aquarius with her water symbolism and also an age of enlightenment, which by the way, us humans in the real world are also experiencing the dawning of Aquarius.

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Yes I've wondered Feather Crystal if the thirteen is significant in the last hero story, but my thinking was that it was a solar return story with the twelve who died representing the months that have to be completed before the year can end and the new year with a new spring come - which would tie in with Persephone story echos in ASOIAF and the 'deaths' of the stark children :dunno:

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Since nobody replied yet to pick a theme I propose to take a look at the mechanics of the story.If we take for granted that all will be done snd dusted within the next two books, we have about a third of what is left to be told covering the north.But northern POVs are outnumbered. We have Bran, who could more or less spoil everything, Jon Snow, who might be dead, Theon, who might get sacrificed, ditto for Asha, and Melisandre. The wild card might be Davos, who IMHO needs to be the Hooded Man so we have a POV in Winterfell for the upcoming battle. And we shouldn't spend more time on aimless travels in order to finish within two books.To me this implies that most of the problems in the north will be solved from someone else. Daenerys and her amazing dragons come to mind, but as GRRM is opposed to predictable endings, this won't happen.I don't know what to make of this, my cliche story guessing asks for Bran - Jaime and UnCat - UnJon resolutions and the Boltons and Freys and Greyjoys to be killed.My crackpot is that the Theon sacrifice goes wrong, Asha bites it, Jon Snow ends up in Theon's body while Theon dies in Jon's. Jon kills Ramsay with arrow and retakes the black as Theon after learning whatever his parentage is from the Winterfell crypts. And Mance Rayder is a villain after all.
Not necessarily Heresy material; but the northern POV's outnumbered got me thinking...which is alway a dangerous undertaking. :uhoh:I went back to ADwD and took inventory of the POV's. NOTE: if someone has "cashed in their chips" (i.e. Quentyn Martell) or if they did not have a POV but were important (Sam and Sansa) I've exlcluded them:

At Slaver's Bay (3):Tyrion, Daenarys and Vicatrion

Southern Westeros (5):Arya (okay she's in Braavos), Jaime, Aegon, Arianne and Cersei

Finallly, in the North (6):Jon, Bran, Davos, Theon (Reek), Melisandre and Asha.

So when you add all of these up, the North is indeed outnumbered. If the story's emphasis as we've discussed is more ASoIaF and less GoT. then it would seem detrmental to your health to not be wading in Snow once TWoW comes around. I just can't help but think that there may be one too many Lannister's running around and also Greyjoy's. And dare I say it.....don't do it......too many Starks.

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Haven't we actually got more POV in the north than previously? We've gained Theon, Melisandre, Asha, Davos while back in the day we just had Jon and Bran.

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I only took the POV's from ADwD. I didn't go back to previous books:

0.Prologue 25.The Windblown 50.Daenerys VIII 1.Tyrion I 26.The Wayward Bride 51.Theon I 2.Daenerys I 27.Tyrion VII 52.Daenerys IX 3.Jon I 28.Jon VI 53.Jon XI 4.Bran I 29.Davos IV 54.Cersei I 5.Tyrion II 30.Daenerys V 55.The Queensguard 6.The Merchant's Man 31.Melisandre I 56.The Iron Suitor 7.Jon II 32.Reek III 57.Tyrion XI 8.Tyrion III 33.Tyrion VIII 58.Jon XII 9.Davos I 34.Bran III 59.The Discarded Knight 10.Jon III 35.Jon VII 60.The Spurned Suitor 11.Daenerys II 36.Daenerys VI 61.The Griffin Reborn 12.Reek I 37.The Prince of Winterfell 62.The Sacrifice 13.Bran II 38.The Watcher 63.Victarion I 14.Tyrion IV 39.Jon VIII 64.The Ugly Little Girl 15.Davos II 40.Tyrion IX 65.Cersei II 16.Daenerys III 41.The Turncloak 66.Tyrion XII 17.Jon IV 42.The King's Prize 67.The Kingbreaker 18.Tyrion V 43.Daenerys VII 68.The Dragontamer 19.Davos III 44.Jon IX 69.Jon XIII 20.Reek II 45.The Blind Girl 70.The Queen's Hand 21.Jon V 46.A Ghost in Winterfell 71.Daenerys X 22.Tyrion VI 47.Tyrion X 72.Epilogue 23.Daenerys IV 48.Jaime I 73.Appendix 24.The Lost Lord 49.Jon X

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But the story is naturally shifting from the Game of Thrones to the Winds of Winter in the north, and some of the characters have been drawn there as the story unfolds, such as Melisandre. Moqorro and Marwyn will help draw Daenerys there too. I think most readers are expecting Arya's return as well.

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Haven't we actually got more POV in the north than previously? We've gained Theon, Melisandre, Asha, Davos while back in the day we just had Jon and Bran.

Indeed, we actually had Sam as well but he's moved south. Davos I'm not so sure about, if he's gone off to Skagos in search of Rickon he mat not be available so to speak when it all goes down. Theon I think will live, at least a while longer simply because too much offort has been invested in his character and between him and his sister we've got the battle of Winterfell covered - assuming we don't have Stannis as the sacrificial prologue.

The interesting one is Jon, and possbly Melisandre. I'm not sure about her simply because we've only had the one POV and that appeared to be provided primarily to let is know what she isn't seeing and emphasise how badly she's reading things. Jon, on the other hand has to be the one who goes up into the Land of Always Winter. We've been promised we're going to see it and the very necessary answers to a lot of stuff about the Others, which can't be explained away by a narrator telling all. Its going to have to be seen, in real time, and acted upon in real time.

Bran will presumably have a part to play and there may well be dirty deeds in the darkness of the caves, but Bran can't do it all by himself, it needs at least another player and that player can only be Jon.

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But the story is naturally shifting from the Game of Thrones to the Winds of Winter in the north, and some of the characters have been drawn there as the story unfolds, such as Melisandre. Moqorro and Marwyn will help draw Daenerys there too. I think most readers are expecting Arya's return as well.

I'm not so sure about Dany and her entourage, but its always worth remembering that GRRM promised at the end of ADwD that everybody should be back and shivering in Westeros in Winds.

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I think the frustration with the Daenerys storyline comes from readers who just want her to come to Westeros already. But, I think she'll have a resurgence in popularity similiar to the Stannis love that happened with the Theon gift chapter. I know I had a case of Stannis infatuation after reading!

If history repeats itself and the key to restoring balance is for the current players to not repeat their predecessor's choices, who is playing which part? Bran as the greenseer and sacrificed Stark, Sam as the Last Hero, Jon as the Prince that was Promised and Daenerys as Azor Ahai? Actually, Daenerys cannot be Azor Ahai since she'd have to slay her own dragons. Jon must be Azor Ahai and Daenerys the Princess that was Promised.

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