Sunday, August 2, 2015

Everything You Know about Game of Thrones Is a Lie

In an earlier post, I talked about why the White Walkers are suddenly back after being MIA for 8,000.

But what if I was wrong?

I read a fan theory which asserted that -- Wait for it . . . -- the Walkers are the 'good guys.'

Image: HBO

And the theory kind of makes sense. In fact, here is some evidence to support it:
1. The Pact of the Isle of Faces

What does the Isle of Faces have to do with the White Walkers, you ask? Maybe a lot.

Birch trees which mimic the appearance weirwoods in ASOIAF.

The Isle of Faces is where the First Men and the Children of the Forest declared an end to their war with one another, thus ending the Dawn Age.

As terms of the treaty, the First Men agreed not to cut down any more weirwoods, and the Children agreed to let the Men peacefully settle in the open lands (coastal lands, mountains, bogs, meadows). The Children carved faces into the weirwoods on the Isle to mark the declaration of the pact. Under this agreement, the First Men and the Children existed in harmony for thousands of years, until the Andals came to Westeros.

Why does any of this matter?

2. What if the Men made a similar "Pact" with the White Walkers?

Many characters in ASOIAF mention that White Walkers and other similar "magical creatures" cannot pass through the Wall because of ancient spells "woven" into the Wall during its construction. Clearly, due to the sheer size of the Wall itself and these supposed spells being part of its crafting, the White Walkers were meant to stay one one side of the wall. But what if the Wall's secondary purpose was to keep Men on the other side?

Image: HBO

Here is the summation of the theory that everything you know about Game of Thrones is a lie:

Somewhere along the way, the First Men and the Others had a war (the Long Night) similar to the war had between the Men and the Children of the Forest. Also like the war between the Men and the Children, an agreement was reached and a pact made: the Others would stay in the far North, in the Land of Always Winter, and the Men would stay in the South.

As a way to ensure that future generations did not unintentionally break this pact, Brandon the Builder constructed the Wall. Interwoven with spells to prevent the Others from crossing into the South, the sheer size of the Wall kept Men from crossing into the North.

The Walkers are beginning to attack the Wall and the Night's Watchmen because the Night's Watch has been violating the Pact by ranging north of the Wall. This ranging would, in essence, be seen as a breaking of the Pact and an open call to war.

Bonus support for this theory: 

Samwell Tarly points out to Jon Snow that:
"[E]verything 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."
Much like our Earth prime history, the truth of something could very well have been hidden in the retelling.

What do you think of this theory? Does it have merit, or are there too many flaws for it to be true? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think!

4 comments:

Kody Kasper said...

If its breaking the pact, why do you think we are just now seeing the white walkers after thousands of years?
Can they only travel in "Winter," or is Winter a metaphor for the White Walkers?

Majesta Miles said...

That is a really good question, Kody. I think the White Walkers are coming around in part (potentially) because the Pact (if such a pact exists) was broken, and because dragons are back in the world. Clearly there has to be some interaction between "Ice" and "Fire," and all evidence points to that battle being between Daenerys and the Others.

As far as the Others traveling in Winter only, that seems logical. Not only do we see multiple references in the books to such a notion, but the war between the First Men (and the Children) and the Others took place during "the Long Night," when cold and darkness covered the world. However, we also see similar battles existing in various Earthos legendary constructions, specifically with the Yi Ti legend of the Lion of Night (whose demons sound oddly like wights).

It is definitely a topic worthy of consideration . . .

Anonymous said...

My spin on this would be that perhaps this isn't a story about "good guys" versus "bad guys" at all, such that any attempt to identify who the "good guys" are may prove to be a non-starter as an interpretive approach. All sides (humanity/white walkers/children of the forest, the lord of light/the god of death/the great other/the old gods) are morally complicated (at best). There are very serious "black marks" against any obvious candidate for being the "good guys"--for humanity, see, e.g., the behaviour of the Boltons, or of the cannibalism of some of the wildling tribes. For the lord of light, see, e.g., how human sacrifices seem to be demanded/rewarded. We seem to know less about the children of the forest/old gods at this stage, but they seem more along the lines of nature, which I would suggest is generally amoral in orientation (neither moral nor immoral--I think Ned remarks at some point about how it is Catelyn's new gods that have all the "rules"). As for the white walkers/the god of death/the great other, again I think we know less, but I wonder if the great other (the god of the white walkers and enemy of the lord of light?) is related to (another aspect of or even the same thing as?) the god of death that is followed by the faceless men. If so, it would seem that we have already been given a sense that death can be seen as a blessing/mercy (this is perhaps especially true in a world as starkly dangerous and frequently as brutal and unforgiving as the setting for this story). In any event, I wonder if it makes more sense to just abandon the "good guys" versus "bad guys" interpretive approach altogether.

One other random thought on the concept of a "pact": among the Stark clan, does it feel like Arya is becoming aligned with the god of death (via faceless men, and perhaps the god of death is related to the white walkers/great other?), Bran is becoming aligned with the old gods (he has tapped into the network of the weirwoods and seemingly has accessed some sort of communal consciousness/living memory passed down through the ages through the weirwoods) and Jon is becoming aligned with the lord of light (he is likely a Targaryen, perhaps a rider-in-waiting of one of the three dragons, perhaps even Azor Ahai reborn)? If so, could this perhaps help the various "sides" reach a new "pact" in the end?

Majesta Miles said...

Anon,

I completely agree with your assertion that the ASOIAF characters are too morally complicated and multifaceted to assign them labels of "good" or "bad." ASOIAF is one of the most delicately crafted novels in terms of character/world development, and part of this delicacy comes from the way GRRM makes his characters so complex. When I used the term "good" in my post and in my taglines for social sharing, I was using it in a VERY heavy-handed manner :)

I like your assertion that the Great Other could be the God of Death worshiped and revered by the Faceless Men. Your analysis of this assertion makes a lot of sense, and it is also worth mentioning that a figure similar to the Great Other appears in multiple legends throughout the ASOIAF world.

Also, though I have been keeping tabs, so to speak, on what the Stark children are doing, I have not thought of their potential roles in terms of this new "pact" idea. The concept is really new for me, so I have yet to give it a great depth of thought. I could easily see your idea of Arya, Bran, and Jon -- through their various world ties -- making a new type of "pact." I have a few questions about that idea, though:

1. Where does Daenerys come in? In the pact-making between Starks, what role will she play?
2. How could the Others factor into such a plot? Will it just be the Starks against the Others, or will there be something more complex?
3. What do you see as potential courses for inclusion for Sansa and Rickon? Both are kind of off of the ASOIAF radar at the moment, so GRRM could easily spring them as Stark wildcards.

Let me know your thoughts?

--M