Prelude to a Chill

Hey there friends, beloved patrons, and fellow mythical astronomers of the starry host, its your starry host, LmL! I’m here with a fresh new series for you! That’s right, blow your horns of winter, strum your silver harps, and let the crossbows WANG… well maybe hold the crossbows. I didn’t realize you all had crossbows, I thought you were musicians. Who hired these guys?

Anyway, yes, it’s true – quite unexpectedly, it seems we are starting a brand new series today. It just sort of happened – I was writing what I thought was going to be Moons of Ice and Fire 6, and as I blew past the two hour podcast threshold (which is about 20,000 words), I knew I had to split the episode up. After thinking about it, I realized I was really writing about a contained subject centered around the origins of House Stark and the Starks’ connection to the Others, and that it would actually work quite nicely as its own short series.

Something like this happened when I stumbled upon the weirwood goddess idea while writing Weirwood Compendium 5 – I thought it was just going to be one episode of the Weirwood Compendium, but I realized it was a cool topic on its own with more than one episode’s worth of material. So, I made a new series, and I think it’s worked out really well! The Sacred Order of Green Zombies series was also an outgrowth of writing an episode for the Weirwood Compendium, actually – weirwoods are just such a huge topic and lead to so many other things that they just give birth to new series, left and right.

This new series is called Blood of the Other, and it is indeed about the connection between House Stark and the Others. In Part 1, we’ll establish that connection, and in doing so, we’ll discover a cool new ASOIAF archetype that we haven’t discussed before. One disclaimer: acquiring  an understanding of R+L=J as a symbolic alchemical wedding, as we did last time, is essential to understanding this connection between Starks and Others. So if you haven’t listened to Moons of Ice and Fire one through five, then press pause on this one and listen to those first, it’s just going to be a lot more enjoyable that way, buh-LIEVE me.

In the last episode, R+L=J, A Recipe for Making Ice Dragons, we saw that both Jon and the Others are children of icy moon queens and dark solar kings – Rhaegar and Night’s King are both dark solar kings, and Lyanna and Night’s Queen are both icy lunar queens. This creates a strange parallel between Jon and the Others which certainly demands explanation! The coming confrontation between Jon and the Others is going to be a major part of the climax of the story after all, so it’s something we want to understand. I think most of us expect it’s going to be a little more complicated that just a sword fight, and whatever link the Starks have with the Others is bound to be the thing which defines their engagement. As we’ve seen, it’s not just Jon Snow who seems to parallel the Others, and yet oppose them – we could say that the Starks in general, those ice-eyed, snow-bearded ‘Kings of Winter’ who also wield a sword called Ice, also seem to symbolically parallel the Others in many ways – and yet both Jon and the Starks are famously dedicated to fighting the Others. Fight ice with ice, right?

Bloodstone Compendium
I: Astronomy Explains the Legends of I&F
II: The Bloodstone Emperor Azor Ahai
III: Waves of Night & Moon Blood
IV: The Mountain vs. the Viper & the Hammer of the Waters
V: Tyrion Targaryen
VI: Lucifer means Lightbringer

Moons of Ice and Fire
I: Shadow Heart Mother
II: Dawn of the Others
III: Visenya Draconis
IV: The Long Night Was His to Rule
V: R+L=J, A Recipe for Ice Dragons

The Blood of the Other
–  Prelude to a Chill
I: A Baelful Bard & a Promised Prince
II: The Stark that Brings the Dawn
III: Eldric Shadowchaser
IV: Prose Eddard
V: Ice Moon Apocalypse

Sacred Order of Green Zombies
I: The Last Hero & the King of Corn
II: King of Winter, Lord of Death
III: The Long Night’s Watch
IV: The Zodiac Children of Garth the Green

Weirwood Compendium
I: The Grey King & the Sea Dragon
II: A Burning Brandon
III: Garth of the Gallows
IV: In a Grove of Ash
V: To Ride the Green Dragon
VI: The Devil and the Deep Green Sea
VII: Daenerys the Sea Dreamer

Weirwood Goddess
I: Venus of the Woods
II: It’s an Arya Thing
III: The Cat Woman Nissa Nissa

Signs and Portals
I: Veil of Frozen Tears
II: Sansa Locked in Ice

Now in PODCAST form!

Click to open in iTunes

At the end of the RLJ episode I left you with the question of why, if Jon and the Others are both symbolic ice moon children, do they come out different? Why does Jon have black ice armor, an inversion of the crystalline, mirror-like ice armor of the Others? Why is Jon symbolized by dragonglass, which is frozen fire, while the Others seem to personify the concept of ‘burning ice?’ Well in the Blood of the Other series, we are going to answer every version of that question. And in doing so, we will manage to pull all this celestial ‘dragon locked in ice’ claptrap firmly down into the conflicted hearts of flesh and blood people… though I can’t swear their hearts aren’t cold.

Another thing I did in the last episode (or two) was piss off hundreds of people who love House Stark by claiming that Night’s King was Azor Ahai or a blood of the dragon person. Old Nan told us Night’s King was a Stark, how f___ing dare I claim otherwise? Am I calling Old Nan a liar?

Well.

Of course I’m not calling Old Nan a liar. She is as real as the news gets in Westeros, outside of a direct link to the weirwoodnet. There is an eminently plausible way all this meets up, or rather, a range or possibilities which could explain how this can all work. These possibilities have echoes in the current plot of the story, as we know the right answers to history’s mysteries always should. We’ll discuss those possibilities in this series.

That the Starks are tied to the Others, few have any doubt – the question is how. ‘How are they tied to the Others?’ ‘How did it happen?’ and ‘What does it mean?’ – those are the questions we want to answer, and we’ll do so in Blood of the Other Part 1: A Baeful Bard, a Promised Prince. But first, here in this prelude to a chill, I want to address some of the accepted history that we are contradicting. In particular, I want to try to dispel some of the certainty which has formed around a certain interpretation of the Night’s King legend: namely, that because he was said to be the 13th Lord Commander, that he must have lived some time after the Long Night, as opposed to during the Long Night as the symbolism repeatedly, repeatedly suggests.

This little prelude here will take a decidedly logical and analytical focus, which some of you will enjoy more than others. You guys know this is primarily a symbolism-based podcast, but we do have to discuss the logistics of what the symbolism suggests every now and again so that we can make sure what we are proposing makes sense. I do actually love to talk about the timeline, so let’s get to it.

This prelude is a short episode with only one section, and it’s going to be sponsored by our very first dragon patron – that’s right, one mythical astronomer out there bravely volunteered to be sacrificed and transformed into a dragon. The exact process must remain a mystery, but it’s safe to say that obscene rites and eldritch incantations were performed, the bloodlust of dark gods was sated, and where once stood a man like any other, now we have a dragon patron. Additionally, I’ll be reading the names of the entire starry host up to the Sacred Order of the Black Hand at the end of the podcast version of this episode, since it’s short, and we’ll have more new patrons in Part 1, which will follow hot on the heels of this prelude. Thanks everyone, I couldn’t do it without your support 🙂


8,000 Years Ago, Give or Take a Few Decades

This Prelude is brought to you by our first Dragon Patron, Bronsterys of the lily-white scales and bronze wingbones, horns, and spinal crest, a wise old dragon who riddles with sphinxes. It is said that Bronsterys once forged a life-size Valyrian steel cyvasse set in a single night. 


When I say that the symbolism repeatedly suggests that Night’s King and Queen ruled during the Long Night, I’m referring to examples such as the first two Night’s Queen figures we studied, Visenya Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, and the Long Night-like circumstances under which they did things to symbolize the creation of the Others. It was during the black time remembered as “the years of the dragon’s wroth” that followed the death of fire moon queen Rhaenys Targaryen that her sister Queen Visenya created the Kingsguard, those white shadow knights with snowy armor and snow-white cloaks. Rhaegar and Lyanna, some two and a half centuries later, absconded to conceive Jon Snow during a vicious cold snap where King’s Landing was snowed in, the Blackwater Rush frozen over, and the cold winds howled. The Kingsguard at Jon’s birth supply the Others symbolism, of course.

We also had Jon’s two parallel black ice / red fire scenes at the Wall, scenes where his conception was symbolized in parallel with Jon either talking about manning the Wall against the Others or dreaming about doing so. There seems to be extensive symbolism linking Jon’s birth to the onset of Winter and the invasion of the Others, to sort of sum it up in brief.

And so on and so forth, and everything else we’ve mentioned so far in the Moons of Ice and Fire series.

You guys know what I think about a symbolic message that is presented that clearly and that often – it’s not lying to us. Symbolism is subjective to a large extent, so we must always use caution and judgement when interpreting, but we can be confident in the basic message when it’s coming at us from so many angles. If you generally understand and agree with the way I and other fellow analysts view Martin’s use of symbolism, I think there can be little doubt that some part of the origin of the Others lies with the cold womb of the Night’s Queen.

Similarly, we’ve seen enough ice queens in action to know that they always marry and conceive in the coldest of winter, surrounded by the symbolism of the Others and the Long Night, and thus we can have little doubt that Night’s Queen and King  create the Others during the Long Night.

Now if we’re correct about that, then there should be logical ways to explain the apparent conflict with the “official history,” and we should be able to find clues left by the author about which parts of the official history we should cast an especially suspicious eye at. By way of comparison, we were told Azor Ahai was a hero, but we noticed he was stabbing his wife and breaking the moon, and so we began to question it. When the symbolism seemed to point unmistakably towards Azor Ahai as some kind of dark lord who brought on the Long Night, we found the sort of agreement we are looking for – clues to question a theory in conjunction with symbolism that points towards a sensible alternative.

 

Another great example is the Hammer of the Waters. We are told the Hammer of the Waters fell thousands of years before the Long Night, and that greenseers of the children of the forest worked powerful blood magic to cause it. But the maesters flat out admit it doesn’t make much sense for the children to break the Arm of Dorne after thousands of First Men had already crossed:

Even if we accept that the old gods broke the Arm of Dorne with the Hammer of the Waters, as the legends claim, the greenseers sang their song too late.
No more wanderers crossed to Westeros after the Breaking, it is true, for the First Men were no seafarers…but so many of their forebears had already made the crossing that they outnumbered the dwindling elder races almost three to one by the time the lands were severed, and that disparity only grew in the centuries that followed, for the women of the First Men brought forth sons and daughters with much greater frequency than the females of the elder races. 

Kind of a ‘closing the barn doors after the horses have escaped,’ if you will. Jojen even says “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.” So, it’s exactly like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped – it was essentially pointless. When we’re being openly invited to question the history like that, we should!

I’d also argue that if the children possessed the kind of magic that can cause earthquakes to happen at specific places of their choosing, why wouldn’t they have just dropped smaller “hammers”on the ringforts of the First Men, when they were all conveniently gathered in one spot? Wouldn’t simply demonstrating that power a couple of times be sufficient to cow mankind? I guess is the question I’m asking is ‘who would want to build castles in a land where the elves can cause earthquakes?’ I also question the notion of the children – who are caretakers of the earth and the wood, as all elves are – would destroy so much of the earth to win a war for self preservation. That sounds more like the rationale of a human  being retroactively applied to the children of the forest.

All things considered, the story about the children of the forest dropping the hammer has plenty of holes in it, and it even has Maesters pointing at some of them. So when the symbolism around the Hammer of the Waters and the places where it dropped, like Sunspear and Bloodstone, all point flashing red arrow signs towards a moon meteor impact as the explanation, we again find what we are looking for: clues to question a theory, and symbolism which points towards a sensible alternative.

With this in mind, let’s consider what we know about Night’s King, the Night’s Watch, the Long Night, and the War for the Dawn, beginning with the idea of Night’s King being the “thirteenth man to lead the watch.” As we go, we’ll look for clues that we should be questioning what we are told.

Most people assume the Watch was formed during the Long Night, and in fact TWOIAF clarifies this, saying that

Alone he finally reached the children, despite the efforts of the white walkers, and all the tales agree this was a turning point. Thanks to the children, the first men of the Night’s Watch banded together and were able to fight—and win—the Battle for the Dawn: the last battle that broke the endless winter and sent the Others fleeing to the icy north. 

This is only the recounting of folklore by skeptical maesters, and not fact, but it is nevertheless true that most seem to think the Watch originates with the battle against the Others during the Long Night.

Butttttt….. the maesters also say that “the Age of Heroes” is regarded to have ended with the Long Night – hence the name “the last hero” for the man who helped end the Long Night. So why does Sam, reading from the oldest histories at Castle Black, tell us about the Night’s Watch existing during the Age of Heroes?

“Long ago,” Jon broke in. “What about the Others?”

“I found mention of dragonglass. The children of the forest used to give the Night’s Watch a hundred obsidian daggers every year, during the Age of Heroes. 

Either the Age of Heroes was after the Long Night – which I absolutely think is possible, and perhaps even probable – or the Night’s Watch existed before the Long Night. Or maybe the records are simply mistaken. And here’s the thing: George wants this stuff to be foggy.

“The Others.” Sam licked his lips. “They are mentioned in the annals, though not as often as I would have thought. The annals I’ve found and looked at, that is. There’s more I haven’t found, I know. Some of the older books are falling to pieces. The pages crumble when I try and turn them. And the really old books … either they have crumbled all away or they are buried somewhere that I haven’t looked yet or … well, it could be that there are no such books and never were. The oldest histories we have were written after the Andals came to Westeros. The First Men only left us runes on rocks, so everything we think we know about the Age of Heroes and the Dawn Age and the Long Night comes from accounts set down by septons thousands of years later. There are archmaesters at the Citadel who question all of it. Those old histories are full of kings who reigned for hundreds of years, and knights riding around a thousand years before there were knights. You know the tales, Brandon the Builder, Symeon Star-Eyes, Night’s King … we say that you’re the nine-hundred-and-ninety-eighth Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, but the oldest list I’ve found shows six hundred seventy-four commanders, which suggests that it was written during—”

“Long ago,” Jon broke in. “What about the Others?”

And then Sam goes on to tell Jon about the Night’s Watch receiving dragonglass form the children of the forest during the Age of Heroes. As you can see, what George has done is recreate the fog of history and legend, as well as the political bias of the conquerors which often shapes the history we are given – and he’s done a good job of it. That’s what makes this fun! In any case, I think I’ve made my point – when it comes to the sequence of events that happened thousands of years ago, the accepted history could be off by centuries and even eons, and much of it may be stylized or metaphorical.

With all that said, let’s go ahead and work with the premise that the Night’s Watch was established in the form that we know it during the Long Night, as I think that makes the most sense. In terms of Night’s King being the thirteenth Lord Commander, the thinking goes like this: if the first man to lead the watch lived during the Long Night. thirteen Lord Commanders later would be like 100 – 200 years after the War for the Dawn, and thus Night’s King must have lived a couple of centuries after the Long Night. That’s the commonly held timeline, at least in the fandom if not in the minds of the people in universe who care to consider such matters.

The first potential issue with this is that we do not know how long the Long Night went on, and because it seems to have involved a deadly war against the Others, it’s well possible that twelve commanders died during the course of the war. Here’s the key Old Nan quote about this:

“The Others,” Old Nan agreed. “Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell that was cold and hard and endless beyond all memory of man. There came a night that lasted a generation, and kings shivered and died in their castles even as the swineherds in their hovels. Women smothered their children rather than see them starve, and cried, and felt their tears freeze on their cheeks.” Her voice and her needles fell silent, and she glanced up at Bran with pale, filmy eyes and asked, “So, child. This is the sort of story you like?”

“Well,” Bran said reluctantly, “yes, only …”

Old Nan nodded. “In that darkness, the Others came for the first time,” she said as her needles went click click click. “They were cold things, dead things, that hated iron and fire and the touch of the sun, and every creature with hot blood in its veins. They swept over holdfasts and cities and kingdoms, felled heroes and armies by the score, riding their pale dead horses and leading hosts of the slain. All the swords of men could not stay their advance, and even maidens and suckling babes found no pity in them. They hunted the maids through frozen forests, and fed their dead servants on the flesh of human children.”

What Old Nan is describing here is more than a battle – it’s a war of conquest that swept of kingdoms, plural, and armies, plural. The Long Night was said last “a generation,” which is a flexible length of time, but I have to think it lasted at least 6 – 12 years at a minimum, and the humans seem to have been at war with the Others for at least part of that time. Honestly you could go through several commanders in a single pitched battle against the Others, and it’s easy to see how 12 commanders could perish over the course of several battles, let alone several years of battles.

Although the “first men of the Night’s Watch” were said to band together to win the War for the Dawn and end the Long Night, we can’t take that so rigidly as to rule out the idea that the previous commanders of the armies of men might be regarded as the first twelve “men to lead the Watch.” What if the first Night’s Watch was grew out of an elite fighting force that already existed before the Long Night in a different form, like, oh, I don’t know, “The Sacred Order of the Green Men?” Or perhaps it was the “Gemstone Emperor Royal House Guard?” Be it one of those or something else entirely, it’s easy to see that there could have been an earlier incarnation of the Watch during the Long Night, before there were sworn to man the Wall for all eternity at the end of the Long Night. Maybe that’s where the plural form of “walls” in the “I am the watcher on the walls” part of the oath comes from – the days when the Watch was stationed somewhere else with multiple walls, be that the Nightfort or Winterfell or Moat Cailin or even the far-off Five Forts in Essos.

That plural “walls” line that doesn’t quite fit is the sort of thing we’re looking for – logic dictates that George worded it that way intentionally to create the sense that there’s an unsolved mystery there, and the obvious question is “what walls?” Why wouldn’t the oath say the more obvious “I am the Watcher on the Wall?” There is only one 700 foot tall wall of ice, after all.

Besides unexplained mysteries like this, we are also looking for clues about parts of the legends which may not be literal truth, but rather an embellishment of the ‘bard’s truth,’ or perhaps more of a symbolic truth, or simply a distortion of time. One thing that sticks out like a sore thumb to me is all the thirteens – was Night’s King really the thirteenth Lord Commander AND he ruled for thirteen years? AND the last hero led a group of thirteen?

This seems like the kind of thing which is likely to be symbolic, and not literal; it seems more likely thirteen is a number significant to old northern folklore, and over the centuries, everything about these two related legends simply became thirteen. The numbers of things in legends and myths of the real world are very frequently symbolic, and this trio of 13’s is very likely to be so as well.

Here’s another thing that sticks out as stylized, bard’s truth language. Old Nan says “Night’s King was only a man by light of day, but the night was his to rule,” and we could take it literally and suppose Night’s King is like a werewolf with special powers active only at night… but I think it makes a lot more sense to think about a person who transformed once when the Long Night fell, with the Long Night being his to rule, as it was for the so-called “Bloodstone Emperor” in eastern legend. Thirteen years isn’t a bad guess for the length of the Long Night, for what it’s worth, so you can see how some of this might fit together – Night’s King was only a man before the Long Night, but became something more than a man when it fell, seizing power for the next thirteen years until he was defeated at the War for the Dawn. I really think something along those lines makes more sense than the werewolf thing. I mean, you’d just attack him during the day, problem solved.

Another thing which makes people think Night’s King lived after the Long Night is the part of the Night’s King legend which says he spied the lovely Corpse Queen from atop the Wall, indicating the Wall was already built when Night’s King did his thing. Since most think the Wall was built after the Long Night, the chronology again seems to place the reign of Night’s King after the Long Night. However, this is far from ironclad.

We still don’t even have a strong bead on who built the Wall, how it was built, or even why it was built, let alone when. There is logic to the classic explanation of keeping out the armies of the dead and the Others, but many problems too. The obvious answer to the question of ‘who would have been able to build a magical 700 foot high wall of ice?’ is of course the Others, whom our author says “can do things with ice that we can’t imagine and make substances of it.” But the Others are supposedly the very ones the Wall was built to stop! If it wasn’t built by the Others, but to stop the Others, why build it out of ice, which the Others have superior control over?

The Wall, courtesy HBO’s Game of Thrones

Consider also that Bran the Builder was said to have been associated with the building of the Wall… but Bran was also said to have lived in the Age of Heroes, which supposedly took place before the Long Night, and Bran was also associated with other seemingly pre-Long Night structures like Storm’s End and the final version of the Hightower of Oldtown, and with their affiliated Age of Heroes monarchs, Durran Godsgrief and Uthor Hightower. In other words, the official timeline appears to contradict itself where it concerns the building of the Wall and when Bran the Builder lived. Once again the Maesters point to this problem, and suggest multiple Brandons building multiple buildings to be more likely.

This is more fog of history stuff, and it’s pretty fun to debate in its own right. “How many Brandons does it take to build an ice wall?” Nobody but the greenseers and the children know the truth.

We in the fandom have developed good theories and solutions for a lot of the mysteries in the series, but the question of who built the Wall and when and for what purpose is still fairly opaque. (hardy har) Until the writing of this essay, I didn’t have any sort of real clue about it either! (That’s right, I found a couple, which I’ll show you in due course.) Additionally, we don’t know if Bran the Builder lived before or after the Long Night, or maybe even both if he survived through it, or if “Bran the Builder” is simply a line of people who were advanced masons and architects back in the day, as is suggested in TWOIAF. Therefore, it is difficult to use the building of the Wall as a way to date when Night’s King lived, and as you can see, we’ve stumbled upon several more unresolved issues with the official timeline and the accepted history.

Here’s another thought to consider: it’s quite possible that the Wall would not have been the first thing built in that area. Before wanting to build a giant Wall to defend the land, you’d have to be established there already. You’d be trying to mark a boundary, effectively, and you’d do that at the edge of your claimed territory – usually kingdoms have fortresses (or ‘forts,’ you might say) on their borders. And if humans were involved in building the Wall on some level, then you’d want to built an outpost or fortress first to use as a base of operations. We are told that the Nightfort is the largest and oldest castle on the Wall, so it is the likely candidate to be this first fortress. It probably wasn’t as big at first, like all castles, but the fact that it’s the oldest means it could have actually been built before the Wall, and that’s something I don’t hear anyone else pointing out. The mainstream media just won’t cover it! Anyway.

Here’s another big clue about the possibility that the Nightfort predates the Wall: the Black Gate. The Nightfort, in my opinion, seems likely to have been built around the magical weirwood organism that lives there – the Black Gate, a.k.a. the freaky-deaky, blind, talking weirwood face down in the well. I think it’s probably similar to Wintefell, where the castle was built around the underground crypts and the godswood (“They were old, those eyes; older than Winterfell itself. They had seen Brandon the Builder set the first stone, if the tales were true; they had watched the castle’s granite walls rise around them.”)

Above the well at the Nightfort, we see a new growth weirwood pushing up through the masonry of the floor, and it seems a good guess the Black Gate weirwood face is connected to that sapling, and that there are a ton of weirwood roots under the Nightfort. The Black Gate itself must either open up to a cavern system or some kind of weird portal – it’s just not specified where Bran and company go after they go through the weirwood mouth.

In other words, the Nightfort is not just an old castle where a bunch of creepy things happened. It’s an ancient place with powerful and remarkably unique magic – I mean it’s the only talking weirwood face we’ve ever seen, that’s pretty unique. It’s a place we don’t know the full story of yet, and it’s just the sort of place with a story that might begin before the Long Night and the Wall. It may well have been a great castle of the First Men from before the Long Night, one that was then taken by evil Azor Ahai-turned Night’s King as his stronghold during the Long Night, with the Wall only being built around it afterward. The legend gradually changed to suppose Night’s King must have seen his Corpse Queen from atop the Wall, and presto. That’s how we get the me we have now.

Perhaps.

The Nightfort, courtesy HBO’s Game of Thrones

Here’s another self-contradiction in the accepted timeline, and one of my favorites: if Night’s King lived one or two centuries after the Long Night, why were there Others around to sacrifice to? Why, so soon after they had their ass kicked by the last hero and the Night’s Watch, would there be Others lurking around the Nightfort? In the present day of the story, we are led to believe the Others have not been seen in centuries before they began stirring some time in the last 2 decades, so it’s weird to think of them already stirring and walking the woods so soon after their big defeat at the Battle for the Dawn and the ending of the Long Night. It’s not impossible, but it doesn’t really make much sense.

Some have suggested Night’s King was “sacrificing to the Others” as part of keeping a pact with the Others, with that pact being the thing holding them back from invading. That doesn’t really work though, because if it was Night’s King’s sacrifice of his children that was holding the Others back, then the Others should have invaded after Night’s King was thrown down and the sacrifices stopped, breaking the pact – but they did not. That one is pretty hard to get around – if giving the Others babies mollifies and pacifies them, they really should have invaded after Night’s King was thrown down.

In current times, we have Craster giving many children to the Others, but they are stirring and preparing to invade anyway. Giving them babies just makes more Others, I think. Heck, it seems more likely that Craster giving up his sons to be made into Others might have helped the white walkers begin to stir, as opposed to holding them off, since Mance indicates they have been stirring for several years now. That’s what I am claiming about Night’s King and Queen too, that were making Others to enable the great White Walker invasion.

At this point in our Mythical Astronomy journey through the symbolism of the Others, you can see why I started off the Moons of Ice and Fire series with the topic of Night’s Queen and Night’s King making white shadows during the Long Night. It’s the main thing we need to understand about the Others that runs contrary to the accepted history, and it’s the thing that all the symbolism points to.

On top of the symbolism, George gave us Craster, the human white walker factory, to show us that “sacrificing to the Others” in fact means playing a part in in the process of white walker creation by “giving your sons to the wood.” We’ve been studying Martin’s writing long enough to understand that he likes to create these parallels between the in -world legends and the main action of the book, and the parallel between Gilly and Craster and Night’s King and Queen is one of the best precisely because it clues us in to part of the recipe for making an Other. Then when we read the legend of Night’s King for the second or third time, we recognize the phrase “sacrificing to the Others” and we realize – oh, Night’s King and Queen were not just worshiping the Others, they were creating them.

So if Craster and Gilly are these important parallel figures to Night’s King and Queen, at least in regards to sacrificing to the Others… what about the one that got away? What about Gilly’s child, the babe nicknamed Monster, who was meant to be given to the white walkers, but wasn’t? What kind of historical parallel does that suggest?


Tune in next time for Blood of the Other, Part 1: A Baelful Bard and A Promised Prince to find out!

34 thoughts on “Prelude to a Chill

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