The Prince That Was Promised to the Others

A Song of Ice and Fire is nothing if not roughly symmetrical. The Others and dragons aren’t perfect equivalents, but they both essentially serve as magical incarnations of the titular elements of the series. The dragons are called “fire made flesh,” while the Others literally have flesh made of ice. The dragons and the Others are both thought extinct by the realm of men, but are similarly emerging from the far corners of the map as the story progress, clearly headed on a collision course that will engulf Westeros in a magical war of ice and fire.

That magical war will in part be fought with zombies – and once again, we find that even the undead march to the song of ice and fire. Up north, we have that growing army of cold wights – someone should really do something about that, I’m thinking – and we also have the R’hllor-powered fire wights Beric and Lady Stoneheart, and perhaps eventually Jon Snow. Again we can see that they aren’t quite the same – the fire wights still have a bit of personality left, so they’re more fun at parties, while the cold wights… well let’s just say you’re giving them the wrong address when they ask where the party’s at.

Most importantly, we have the families of ice and fire – House Stark and House Targaryen. They certainly seem roughly affiliated with the magical monsters of ice and fire – Targaryens with dragons and Starks with Others – but at first glance, these relationships aren’t parallel at all. The Targaryens and Valyrians before them (and even the Great Empire of the Dawn people before them, perhaps) are called “the blood of the dragon,” and are magically bonded to their dragons in a way which enables basic communication and some degree of control. The occasional lizard babies that Targaryens pop out, which can have features such as scales, tails, and wings, suggest that “the blood of the dragon” is a literal concept, that there has been commingling of reptilian and human DNA – presumably as a means of creating the magical “dragon bond.” The end result is that all three dragon-blooded peoples – Targaryens, Valyrians, and Great Empire of the Dawnians – used their control of dragons to conquer the largest kingdoms this world has ever seen.

The big question has long been – is there any sort of loosely equivalent connection between the Starks and the Others? Well again, at first, it doesn’t appear so, since the Starks seem to be concerned with opposing and defeating the Others, as opposed to using them to conquer empires. The Starks do magically bond with animals, but the direwolves aren’t ice spiders or some sort of ice animal (if anything, they often have burning eyes and serve as symbolic hellhounds).

But what if I told you that the idea of a Stark who is magically bonded to the Others, and who can use them to conquer, isn’t so silly? Not sure if Starks riding ice spiders is a thing, who knows, but what I do know is that there is abundant evidence that House Stark is “the blood of the Other” in much the same way as those who are “the blood of the dragon.” Understanding this potential blood tie between Starks and Others, if it exists, will surely be a key ingredient to dealing with the threat of the white walkers.  To make matters worse, the origins of this blood tie may be rooted in an ancient pact between humans and white walkers, one which calls for human children to be given to the white walkers. The breaking of this pact may be part of the cause of the Others’ enmity for humankind, and unfortunately for Jon, who might be the Prince That Was Promised, this broken pact may mean that Jon is The Prince Who Was Promised to the Others.

So there’s actually two related theories here that I’m presenting to you, both of which have to do with the Night’s King of Westerosi lore, the one Old nan tells Bran about. One theory is simply that Night’s King and Queen “sacrificing to the Others” – i.e. giving their children to be made into the Others, as Craster does – was part of some sort of pact the humans made with the white walkers that involves promising to give them babies every so often. The thinking is that the humans didn’t carry up their end of the deal – I guess Craster’s sons aren’t quite enough to meet the quota – and so the only way to actually stop the Others from from killing everyone in Westeros is to sort of resurrect that pact by giving them someone important – someone like Jon Snow. This means Jon might have to become Otherized at the end of the story, a sacrifice the likes of which is truly terrifying to comprehend.

The second, related theory is the “Blood of the Other” theory, which is that the Starks descend from a child of Night’s King and Queen who was supposed to be transformed into a White Walker, thereby giving the Starks “the blood of the Other.” This compounds the notion of a pact or a promise to the Others with a magical blood tie and a specific act of theft, so at this point the white walkers are pretty stinkin mad. It also makes the Starks a better magical counterpart to the blood of the dragon, and means that Jon truly would have the bloodlines of ice and fire – of both dragons and Others – in his veins. Which seems kind of poetic and fitting of the title of the series, and a whole heck of a lot more interesting of a way for the author to use the R+L=J thing than just as a political wedge related to the Iron Throne.

The Blood of the Other theory is a little more complex and a little more dependent on some of my heretical head-cannon, so we’ll start with the more simple idea of there having been a pact between humans and Others that lies at the heart of their ancient conflict. This is very much an outflow of the notion that “defeating the white walkers,” whether in the distant past or near future, needs to involve something more complex than just chopping them with the right magic sword or burning them with dragonfire. Those things may be involved too, but it’s certainly smart to look for something a little more nuanced and more centered around the human “conflicts of the heart” that George talks so much about. Wars are often settled with pacts – marriage pacts in particular, or fostering arrangements were children are exchanged as a polite sort of hostage – so perhaps there was a magical version of this during the time of the first Long Night.

As I just alluded to, Night’s King and his Corpse Queen were “found to have been sacrificing to the Others,” and because Craster’s practice of giving his sons to the Others is referred to as “sacrificing” to them, we can extrapolate that Night’s King and Queen must have been doing something similar. If people have been giving children to the Others both in the ancient past and in the current timeline, well, that starts to sound more like a persistent cultural tradition than just a weird thing that Craster does, right? It’s also said in TWOIAF that the wildlings of the Frozen Shore worship “gods of snow and ice,” so this practice may occur in various places and times north of the Wall.  Point being, we just said that pacts are often sealed by an exchange of children, so perhaps this “tradition” of giving children to the Others may have originated with a pact between humans and Others, a pact that helped end the Long Night. Because what does Craster say about he receives in return for his “offerings”? This is from a Sam chapter of ASOS:

There had been no attacks while they had been at Craster’s, neither wights nor Others. Nor would there be, Craster said. “A godly man got no cause to fear such. I said as much to that Mance Rayder once, when he come sniffing round. He never listened, no more’n you crows with your swords and your bloody fires. That won’t help you none when the white cold comes. Only the gods will help you then. You best get right with the gods.”

Gilly had spoken of the white cold as well, and she’d told them what sort of offerings Craster made to his gods.

This pretty much spells out the arrangement – the Others and wights do not attack Craster because he gives them his male children, which they use to create more Others or transform into Others, something like that (video forthcoming). Perhaps this is simple mutual self-interest – the Others are farming Craster’s sons, essentially – but it’s also struck many people in the fandom as indicative of an existing agreement between humans and Others. The Others clearly go away when you give them babies, to put it simply, so perhaps this is how we got them to go away the first time.

Some people have even taken this to mean that Night’s King might have been a hero as opposed to a villain, someone just trying to keep the Others away and honor the pact, you know! Or perhaps it’s more of a “necessary evil,” one of those bittersweet ending things we hear so much about, where humanity had to accept the Others’ blood price to end the war. Did the last hero make this pact with the Others? Was he smuggling babies through the Black Gate at the Nightfort before Night’s King did, or was he himself Night’s King? Has the watch been giving babies to the Others since its foundation? What a dark twist that would be, ay?

I can certainly see some version of these ideas turning out to be the truth of the matter, for a couple reasons. First, the Irish, Celtic, and Germanic folklore from which George Martin fashioned much of his own Others, wights, and general northern culture, is full of myths about fae creatures stealing human children or swapping in changelings for human babies, things like that. If the Others are all about stealing children in order to reproduce, it would just kind of make sense in terms of slotting them into this folkloric family tree.

Secondly, this sets up an interesting motivation for the Others in regards to what must be done to defeat / appease them, and ties in with what I believe is the true heroic ideal of ASOIAF, self-sacrifice. If Jon and other heroes must make various kinds of unbelievable sacrifices to save humanity, I think most of us would find that bittersweet, yet gratifying, and in general this just seems more consistent with ASOIAF than a climax that primarily revolves around wielding spectacular power and might and smiting the foe in glorious battle – though again, George will surely slip that in somewhere.

The reason Jon Snow would be the likely sacrifice to the Others, according to this theory, would be that it was a Stark who originally made this pact with the Others, either the last hero or Night’s King, or maybe Brandon the Builder himself, if one person by that name existed. This kind of makes sense of the “there must be a Stark in Winterfell” idea – perhaps this is an indication that responsibility for this pact falls on the Starks, like ‘there must always be a Stark in Winterfell’ in case the Others show up and demand a baby, right?

Now I suppose it could be any Stark, as opposed to Jon, so what about Bran or Rickon? Bran did go north of the Wall at the Nightfort, where Night’s King “sacrificed to the Others,” but it’s pretty much been confirmed that Bran will end up King as he did on the show, and I think his magical destiny is to become the final repository for the greenseer hive-mind, which in my opinion never belonged inside the trees. As we saw in the Lord Snow video, it’s Jon who has all the foreshadowing about ice transformation and about being given to the Others, and there’s more specific symbolic foreshadowing about this that I will show you today as well. Jon is also the one who has the mystery of Craster’s children and the Others unfold before him… as if this were important to his story arc or something.

Plus, he is the one named snow.

There may also be significance to Jon’s Targaryen heritage here as well. I’ve theorized that Azor Ahai, who would have been a dragonrider in all likelihood, became Night’s King and fathered the Others with Night’s Queen, which means that the first children transformed into white walkers would have had the blood of the dragon in their veins – albeit with the fiery nature of the dragon blood flipped over to ice via the magic of Night’s Queen. I think there’s a ton of symbolic evidence for this, especially in cold star eye imagery of the Others and the ice dragon symbolism we find lurking about up north and with the Starks – check out Symbolism of the Others: Ice Dragon along with the Night’s King Azor Ahai video for more on that – but the point for now is that unfortunately for Jon Snow, being a Targaryen-Stark might make him the perfect sacrifice to the Others. Sorry, but there’s a lot of “unfortunately for Jon Snow” the further we get into ASOIAF, isn’t there?

So that’s basically it for that part of the theory – the Others go away when you give them babies, and giving them babies may be the way the Long Night was ended, at least in part.

Stealing babies from the Others, on the other hand, may be how the Winterfell Starks began.

This theory starts with a stunningly simple observation and question – if Craster giving his sons to the white walkers to be transformed into white walkers is an echo of Night’s King and Queen doing something similar, what do we make of Sam and Gilly stealing a baby meant for the Others, the baby called Monster? They even smuggled him through the Wall at the Nightfort, the exact place where Night’s King and Queen ruled. This seems like an obvious parallel, so we have to ask – did some brave Night’s Watchmen steal one of the babies that Night’s King and Queen were giving to the Others? And if so, what happened to that kid?

Now again I want to be clear that I’m operating on the premise that Night’s King and Queen lived during the Long Night and created the first Others, the case for which I laid out in the Night’s Queen video, but even if you think they lived sometime after the Long Night, the question simply kicks back to whomever it was that first created the white walkers, the people whom Night’s King and Queen would have been imitating. We pretty much know for a fact that the white walkers need human children to procreate, so at some point, someone became the first person to use a child to work some sort of magical abomination that created the first white walker. Thus, when we see Sam and Gilly saving a child from that frosty fate and bringing him south of the Wall, we have to wonder if, in a book series where all the major plot developments seem to have echoes throughout history, there might not have been such an event in the past, where a child was stolen from the Others by the Watch.

And by the way, I hope you can see how useless and dumb it would be if Night’s King and Queen had nothing to do with the Long Night story. It’s the only story we have about Other creation, and Martin does all this work to set up Craster and his wives – Gilly in particular – as parallels to Night’s Queen and King, and I just don’t see why the author would do all that work if he wasn’t trying to show us something very important, like the origin of the Others.

Here’s the real clincher for the blood of the Other / stolen Other baby theory, at least for me: Jon Snow’s birth scene at the Tower of Joy also spells out the idea of stealing a baby from the Others. Ned is playing the role of last hero, the Kingsguard are playing the role of the Others, and Lyanna is playing the role of Night’s Queen, with Night’s King Rhaegar in absentia. Ned and his wraith warriors fight through the Other-like Kingsguard and claim a child of the symbolic Night’s Queen, with Ned then bringing the child home to Winterfell to raise as his son. The eye-popping historical parallel to this would the last hero taking a child of Night’s King and Queen home to be raised as a child of Winterfell, which would put the mojo of the white walkers into the Stark bloodline, or even back into the Stark bloodline if Night’s King or Queen was a Stark to begin with. All Starks born since may therefore carry the icy blood of the Other, making them a more perfect parallel to the Targaryens being the blood of the dragon.

So let’s back up a bit and fill in the details on these claims. As I laid in Symbolism of the Others: Kingsguard, the symbolism of the white knights of the Kingsguard is 100% white walker, 100% of the time. Armor and cloaks like snow and ice, ghost in the moonlight imagery, white sword symbolism, and above all, the shared “white shadow” monicker. This Kingsguard / White Walker parallel a big hint that the white walkers were created by a dragon king, Azor Ahai, just as the Kingsguard were created by Visenya and Aegon. Nowhere is this symbolism better spelled out than in the weirwood stump dream Jaime Lannister has of being in a watery cavern below Casterly Rock with Brienne of Tarth. They are both armed with flaming swords – they seem to the be the last hero people in this role play – when they are confronted by dead Rhaegar and his ghostly Kingsguard:

“Listen.” She put a hand on his shoulder, and he trembled at the sudden touch. She’s warm. “Something comes.” Brienne lifted her sword to point off to his left. “There.”

He peered into the gloom until he saw it too. Something was moving through the darkness, he could not quite make it out …

“A man on a horse. No, two. Two riders, side by side.”

“Down here, beneath the Rock?” It made no sense. Yet there came two riders on pale horses, men and mounts both armored. The destriers emerged from the blackness at a slow walk. They make no sound, Jaime realized. No splashing, no clink of mail nor clop of hoof. He remembered Eddard Stark, riding the length of Aerys’s throne room wrapped in silence. Only his eyes had spoken; a lord’s eyes, cold and grey and full of judgment. “Is it you, Stark?” Jaime called. “Come ahead. I never feared you living, I do not fear you dead.”

Brienne touched his arm. “There are more.”

He saw them too. They were armored all in snow, it seemed to him, and ribbons of mist swirled back from their shoulders. The visors of their helms were closed, but Jaime Lannister did not need to look upon their faces to know them.

Five had been his brothers. Oswell Whent and Jon Darry. Lewyn Martell, a prince of Dorne. The White Bull, Gerold Hightower. Ser Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning. And beside them, crowned in mist and grief with his long hair streaming behind him, rode Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone and rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

Rhaegar’s shade later “burns with a cold light” in this dream, which is a dead ringer match for the “burning cold” descriptions of the Others and their cold star eyes. He’s leading misty, snow-armored shades riding ghostly horses that make no sound, and their swords also make no sound when they are drawn. So here you can really see the symbolic picture – Night’s King is like a ghostly, transformed dragon king, and the Others are like his Kingsguard. They ride out of the mists and darkness on the lookout for heroes with burning swords, whose flames they would like to extinguish. In fact the whole thing feels similar to the others confronting Waymar in the AGOT prologue, especially when the flames of Jaime’s sword go out and the Other-like shades rush him as he wakes.

So now picture the Tower of Joy, with those three Other-like white knights standing outside the tower, guarding baby Jon and lady Lyanna inside. The blue eyes of death are watching from the sky, as we discussed in the Lord Snow video, a symbolic representation of the Others’ interest in the goings-on here. It shouldn’t be hard to see Ned Stark as a last hero figure, and this is emphasized by his six companions being twice called “grey wraiths,” as the Night’s Watch are often described as black shadows and have all the death symbolism I discussed in the Green Zombies series. Coldhands is literally a wraith Nights Watchmen, Jon will be one too after he’s resurrected, and I believe the original last hero also became a zombie. It’s really the best way to handle the frozen dead lands, because when you’re undead you don’t need to eat, sleep, or stay warm, which are all the challenges of an arctic climate, but I digress.

All of this sets up a very nice “last hero and the Watch vs. the Others” type of duel here, with the presence of Arthur Dayne and Dawn adding an extra layer of “War for the Dawn” symbolism to the mix. I’ve made a pair of videos about the possibility that Dawn was the “dragonsteel” sword of the last hero, and thus the original “Ice” of House Stark after which they named their later swords, and here we see last hero Ned essentially taking that sword from the symbolic Others along with Jon after the fight. Don’t wont to go too far down the magic sword rabbit hole, but it certainly lends more weight to the interpretation of this exchange as a parallel to the affairs of the Long Night.

One other thing worth mentioning – both the scene here and Jaime’s weirwood stump vision involve extensive discussion of oaths and vows that have been kept and broken, which makes you think about the possibility of pacts and oaths between humans and Others, doesn’t it? Even last hero Ned makes a new oath to the dying Night’s Queen figure, Lyanna – “promise me, Ned,” her famous last words – and surely that promise involved raising Jon at Winterfell as his son. The potential parallels here leap off the page. Even the fact that the Night Queen figure is the last hero’s sister is worth pondering, perhaps another day…

Now as to that Night’s Queen Lyanna thing, let me show you why we can feel confident about that symbolic parallel.  The blue winter roses are her most famous symbol of course, and the blue rose crown that Rhaegar sets in her lap with his black long lance (and yes that’s supposed to symbolize what you think it’s supposed to symbolize) is called “as blue as frost.” Frosty winter crowns go on frosty winter queens, I’m sure you’re catching my drift here (and yeah that was a snow drift joke). I’ll also add that Gilly, another Night’s Queen figure, is named for a flower, the Gillyflower. Wikipedia tells me that the Gillyflower is featured in Shakespeare’s “Winter’s Tale,” so perhaps Martin chose the name with that in mind to match Lyanna’s blue winter roses.

And in case we had any doubt equating Lyanna with Night’s Queen, Martin gave us this passage from TWOIAF describing the circumstances around Rhaegar and Lyanna’s coming together:

..with that simple garland of pale blue roses, Rhaegar Targaryen had begun the dance that would rip the Seven Kingdoms apart, bring about his death and a thousand more, and put a welcome new king on the iron throne.

The False Spring of 281 AC lasted less than two turns.

As the year drew to a close, winter returned with a vengeance. On the last day of the year, snow began to fall upon King’s Landing, and a crust of ice formed atop the Blackwater Rush. The snowfall continued off and on for the best part of a fortnight, by which time the Blackwater was hard frozen, and icicles draped the roofs and gutters of every tower in the city.

  Huge green fires burned along the walls of the Red Keep for a moon’s turn.  Prince Rhaegar was not in the city to observe them however.  Nor could he be found in Dragonstone with Princess Elia and their young son Aegon.  (. . .) Not ten leagues from Harrenhall, Rhaegar fell upon Lyanna Stark of Winterfell, and carried her off, lighting a fire that would consume his house and his kin and all those he loved – and half the realm besides.

Winter returned with a vengeance, hammering Kings Landing with its “cold winds,” encasing the city in ice, and even causing the Blackwater Rush to freeze over. It was the sort of winter people tried to fight off with fire magic, folks! Fires set along the walls… gosh that sounds Melisandre burning Nightfires at the base of the Wall, as she does in ADWD. I’ll also point out a sneaky wordplay clue that Martin likes to employ whenever he talks about Night’s King stuff, which is the word “fortnight” – fort-night, Night-fort, you see – and here it’s a fortnight of falling snow and cold winds blowing. Don’t snicker, skeptics: Martin is a writer and an uber-nerd and we writerly uber-nerds love wordplay stuff like this. The key is to surround simple word puns like this or like all those “other” double entendres with actual symbolic clues we can recognize, such as the phrase “cold winds” and the idea of fighting off a vengeful winter with fire magic.

Oh yes and this winter lasted two turns – that’s two moon’s turns or two months, but it’s also a way of reminding us of the Qarthine moon-cracking myth: “Once there were two moons in the sky, but one wandered too close to the sun and cracked from the heat. A thousand thousand dragons poured forth…” and of course those moon dragons were really moon meteors, which is why this fable is really a foggy memory of the Long Night cataclysm. Those moon dragon meteors caused the terrible winter of the Long Night, and of course you’ll recall from the Lord Snow video that we’ve repeatedly seen moon-destruction language and moon meteor language surrounding Jon. At the Tower of Joy, the blue eyes of death rose petals are the moon meteors, I told you that last time, and the cracked and bleeding moon in the scene would be Lyanna, who lies atop the tower (i.e. in the sky) in her bed of blood; and indeed, we even see the blood streaked sky outside to complete that “Lyanna in the sky with bleeding stars” imagery. Thus it’s no wonder to find the “two moons” clue here in this narrative about Rhaegar and Lyanna’s love affair that sounds so very much like the Long Night.

And so, it is during this symbolically potent winter that Night’s King stand-in Rhaegar, in all his black armor, “carried off” his ice queen, just as Night’s King saw Night’s Queen and “chased her and caught her and loved her” and then “brought her back to the Nightfort and proclaimed her a queen.” Just as the unholy union of Night’s King and Queen was, in my opinion, the origin of the Others and thus of their invasion of Westeros, Rhaegar’s carrying off of Lyanna was an act which “ripped the seven kingdoms apart” and consumed his house and half the realm. This war only ended when a last hero type showed up at a fortress guarded by symbolic Others and rescued the child of Night’s King and Queen… and brought him home to be raised with the Starks as his own child. And although Jon is a “Snow,” he is in line to potentially become a Stark for true and the Lord of Winterfell due to Robb’s will that legitimizes Jon as a Stark. If this happened with the original “stolen other baby,” then all of the Starks born since that day would indeed be “the blood of the Other.”

So now you can really see why it has to be Jon, if there is some sort of baby-debt owed to the Others. George has used the scene of Jon’s birth to tell the story of the stolen Other baby, and then when Jon grows up, George uses his chapters to reveal the secret of Craster giving his children to the Others, which again informs us about Night’s King and Queen and the baby someone might have stolen from them.

Speaking of Jon being legitimized, there’s a quote about Stannis offering that very thing to Jon which mentions baby Monster – the actual stolen Other baby in the story – and compares him directly to Jon. If you recall, Stannis’s offer of Winterfell and the title of Stark comes along with marrying Val, the wildling princess who is, of course, another ice queen / Night’s Queen figure, as we have discussed.

I would need to steal her if I wanted her love, but she might give me children. I might someday hold a son of my own blood in my arms. A son was something Jon Snow had never dared dream of, since he decided to live his life on the Wall. I could name him Robb. Val would want to keep her sister’s son, but we could foster him at Winterfell, and Gilly’s boy as well. Sam would never need to tell his lie. We’d find a place for Gilly too, and Sam could come visit her once a year or so. Mance’s son and Craster’s would grow up brothers, as I once did with Robb.

This narrative creates a double layer of “Night’s Queen baby becomes the Lord of Winterfell” symbolism, actually. Jon is the son of a Night’s Queen and King figure, and he’s becoming Lord Stark, and his potential child with Val, another Night’s Queen figure, would then be his heir and next Lord of Winterfell. At this point you might be thinking of the story of Bael the Bard, since that’s presented as an obvious parallel to Rhaegar and Lyanna’s story; Bael is a singer and musician like Rhaegar, and he “abducts” a maiden of Winterfell associated with a blue rose as Rhaegar did. Bael’s child with the winter rose Stark maiden grows up to be Lord of Winterfell however, which repeats the symbolism yet again, as another Night’s King figure has slipped his seed into the Stark bloodline, just as Rhaegar did, and yet another Night’s Queen child becomes Lord of Winterfell.

There are more parallels between Rhaegar, Bael, and Night’s King which I detailed in the “A Baelish Bard and a Promised Prince” video, so be sure to check that  out. One of my favorites is that Bael “abducted” his blue rose maiden to the crypts of Winterfell, while the Night’s King carried his queen back to the Nightfort. Both locations reek of death and underworld symbolism, and though the Tower of Joy doesn’t fit that, Lyanna’s statue is now in the crypts as well, with Robert also complaining that Rhaegar really won because he “has Lyanna,” meaning that they are together in the afterlife. All of these abductions are very much modeled after the story of Hades and Persephone, as many of you will know, so feel free to dig into that for further mythical context.

There’s also some really wild far-flung parallels such as Petyr “BAELish,” who is not a bard but employs one. This BAELish scoundrel essentially abducts Sansa Stark to the cold and dead Eyrie, which serves as a symbolic Others temple, and when Sansa gets there, she receives copious winter rose and Night’s Queen symbolism. More on that in the Baelish Bard video, for you Sansa fans, as well as in the “Signs and Portals” podcast videos. Then there’s Alannys Harlaw – Alannys being a variation of Lyanna -who’s married to BALon Greyjoy, and her baby Theon is stolen from her and… taken to Winterfell and raised with the Starks! Oy! When she finally sees Theon again, whom she calls “her baby boy,” she says that “the cold winds have worn her away.” Asha sees her “parchment-thin” skin and “long white hair” and think to herself, “is this my mother, or her ghost?” So like I said – the pattern of Night’s Queen babies being taken and raised at Winterfell is repeated many, many times.

Going back to the passage about Jon fostering baby Monster at Winterfell with Mance’s son, well, that my friends is yet another suggestion that the stolen Other baby should be raised at Winterfell! Like I said, repeated many times, the symbolic patterns are. Are you not entertained???? As for Monster and baby Aemon Battleborn growing up like brothers as Jon and Robb did, well… that simply places Jon in parallel with baby Monster, further confirming Jon’s identity as a symbolic stolen other baby. Coldhands calls himself a monster, and therefore resurrected Jon will also be a kind of monster – especially if the Others steal Jon’s body as recompense for all this baby stealing.

Let’s finish by talking about what this “Blood of the other” theory could mean. It certainly could amount to the Others wanting to steal Jon’s body because they are owed a Stark baby, but here’s another thing to consider. Set aside the idea of pacts and theft and simply consider the fact that Jon may have the the blood of the white walkers in his veins, because that’s loaded with potential. Dany’s blood is part of what allows her birth her dragons and even to dream of them before they are born, and certainly it’s part of what enables her to command and ride Drogon. So… could Jon’s blood make him capable of commanding and controlling the Others or the wights?

Bloodraven tells Bran that “your blood makes you a greenseer,” while eating the weirwood paste and tripping his little Stark nuts off will “awaken your gifts and wed you to the trees.” Bloodraven is saying that ‘in the blood lies magical potential,’ but that it must be activated and awakened, so what will happen with Jon’s latent Other blood, should the walkers try to raise him?

This is one reason why I was speculating last time that the Others may want to possess Jon’s body and make him a Night’s King in order to break the Wall or even the moon, thereby causing a new Long Night they can use to invade Westeros. We already saw Jon’s blood as magical because of his Targaryen lineage and skinchanger lineage, but it seems like he’s actually the red / green / blue trifecta of magic if he has the blood of the Other as I suggest.  That’s potent stuff, right?

It’s also possible that even outside of Other possession – say if Jon’s resurrected by Melisande or Bran, or if he’s freed from Other possession and his spirit put back in his body – Jon simply being undead might allow him to “awaken his gifts” from his white walker lineage. Perhaps he’ll be able to command the wights, or even the white walkers. This would be at the very end of the story, if so – think of Jon controlling the Others in order to lead them back north and away from the lands of men, something like that. After all, the Wildlings have been used extensively to symbolize the Others, and Jon uses his connections to the Wildlings to forge peace between them and the realms of men. If you want some real master-class level mythical astronomy on this idea, check out “We Should Start Back: The Prologue of AGOT.” The idea of Jon leading the white walkers of the woods “back into the woods” is directly suggested.

This would really take the cake as far as bittersweet goes, and would be a series of interesting subversions of expectations – yes, Jon is the Prince That Was Promised, but it doesn’t mean what you think it does. Yes, Jon is a type of new Night’s King – but that turns out to be good, because it allows Jon to control the Others and save everyone. My goal with these videos, as ever, is to first point out the repeating symbolic motifs and patterns, and secondly to take a stab at interpreting them, but as always I invite you all to have your own go at all this and see what you can make of it. The clues pointing to an icy transformation for Jon are myriad, and I hope with this video and the Lord Snow video that I’ve managed to lay out some interesting possibilities for how that symbolism could play out. From Jon being possessed by the Others and leading them through the Wall to Jon using his white walker bloodline to save the realm – or possibly both, at different times – I think it’s clear that Jon’s remaining storyline is going to be a LOT more interesting than what we saw on the show. That may be a low bar to clear, but then Jon may clear it by leaping the Wall, or even pulling down the moon.



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