The Long Night
It has become clear that what we think is the timeline for Westeros of the past 10,000 years is wrong. Precisely how though is debatable. It should be obvious to everyone that the stories we have been fed regarding the coming of the Others, the Pact, how the First Men came to worship the Old Gods, and so on does not add up. For one thing, why would it take years for the Last Hero to find the Children of the Forest when we know that it was the war between the First Men and the Children which is what caused them to create the Others in the first place? Did the Children really create the Others as the show implied? Why did the First Men start worshiping the Old Gods?
Here is a possible explanation for what really happened.
It was the creation of the Others that caused the Hammer of the Waters. The power the Children invoked affected the entire planet, causing Westeros to sink. This is why the Neck became flooded and why the Arm of Dorne collapsed. These were not separate events as we’ve been previously told.
But it did more than that. LML thinks the Long Night was caused by a comet. This causes what is referred to as a volcanic or nuclear winter. I find this impossible because even the largest impact would settle after less than a year unless it is so large as to resurface the entire planet, in which case there would be no life at all. The Long Night is supposed to have lasted an entire generation. Even with exaggeration, it had to have lasted for a long time.
There is one thing that can throw up enough dust and debris to cover the sun for years on end - a volcano. And there is an island in the Jade Sea south of Yi Ti that is clearly the exploded cone of a volcano, Marahai. The ritual that created the Others also caused Marahai to explode and the continuing eruption lasted for a generation. It is off in the middle of the ocean and so any spectators to the event would have been killed by it.
In other words, the creation of the Others itself caused the Long Night, as well as shattering the Arm of Dorne. The Others, once born if that is the proper phrase, immediately attacked their creators. The Children never had control over them. Thus the Children made an alliance with the First Men. Both recognized the Others as the greater threat, though it’s doubtful the Children ever admitted their role. The First Men adopting the worship of the Old Gods was likely a part of this agreement, The Pact. As mentioned in the article on the Others, neither First Men nor Children understood why the Others attacked them. Given the division within the mind of the weirwoods, this is understandable.
How many Others are there? In the present we don’t know, but we do have a clue as to how many they started with. ‘The Children sacrificed a thousand captive men.’ I think we have our answer. They almost certainly lost a few. And added others by kidnapping human babies. Men who gave their infants to the Others were likely spared and this is where the tradition Craster was practicing came from.
Why did this happen? Simple. There is no indication the Children had any idea of what they were doing or that they had ever tried anything like this before. They were messing around with things they did not understand. So why were they doing it? It seems highly reckless to stake everything on a ritual you know nothing about. And where did they get the idea from? A possible answer is through their Greenseers' visions.
This adds a further question. How did the Others learn necromancy? Certainly not from the Children because there is no indication the Children ever knew necromancy. There is one person we know was alive at that time who most certainly did - the Bloodstone Emperor. So how could the Others, or the Children if they were acting as a go between, learn from the Bloodstone Emperor? There is no sign either of them knew him.
Here I agree with Gray Area. The visions are corrupted. We know just from Bran’s story that the Greenseers and the Red Priests trust their visions implicitly. And the Children trust their Greenseers. But should they? The Bloodstone Emperor was a powerful sorcerer and he had his ‘Black Stone’ which enhanced his power even further. Added to that the likelihood that the belief in the benevolence of the Old Gods is misplaced. He could easily have manipulated the Children using their visions. Why we don’t know. Spite? Maliciousness? He needed them to perform a ritual of his own? Maybe this will be answered in the new prequel. Regardless, it seems likely that the Bloodstone Emperor fed the idea to the Greenseers who then performed the ritual that led to their doom.
This now leads to another question. Just how did the Long Night end? This is a long and complicated explanation.
In the age before the Dawn Age there existed a great and powerful race, much like humans but smarter and longer lived. They were similar in some ways to the elves of Middle Earth. But in some very crucial respects were very different. This powerful race, in keeping with the Lovecraftian themes we’re going to call them ‘the Elder Gods’, created great works. They are the ones who created the black stone monuments and cities. They were also the creators of the dragons and other monsters of Planatos. But they were also corrupt and greedy. They enslaved other races and made them fight terrible wars. They also interbred with their slaves, producing children who had their silver-gold hair and gemstone eyes, though not their prolonged lifespan. Let's call them 'the Great Race'.
The Elder Gods fought endless wars with one another, likely driving their species to the edge of extinction. Whether they did or not is not yet answered, but what most likely happened is that their own half-breed children, the Great Race, rose in rebellion against them. When their offspring realized their mixed blood allowed them to control dragons they knew they had the power to defeat the Elder Gods. It was this war which likely drove the First Men into Westeros in the first place. The Great Race then created the Empire of the Dawn.
But the Elder Gods influence was still present. The quest for their ancestors’ power is probably what led to the rise of the Bloodstone Emperor. Its a quest that would last all the way through to the Doom of Valyria. Whether it was coincidence, something he did, or something the Others did, the volcano that would one day be named Marahai in the Jade Sea exploded. Now I doubt there was any connection between the Others and the Bloodstone Emperor directly, but it hardly matters if there was. He did not need to communicate in person with the Children, or the Others if they had been created earlier. The massive explosion resulted in a ‘volcanic winter’ wherein the volcanic ash blocked out the sun and created a winter which lasted a generation. It also froze the sea channel separating Essos from Westeros.
In Westeros there was a man who would later be referred to as The Last Hero. He saw how the clouds of ash were blocking out the sun and he went to find their source. This led him to acquire the name Eldric Shadowchaser. He had many other names in Essos, but I think we can infer his real name: Eldric Dayne.
Eldric probably did make an alliance with the Children, but this was only the beginning of his quest, not the end. Even with the Children defeating the Others was impossible. They had to end the darkness which allowed the Others to move freely across Westeros and very probably was also necessary for they're raising the dead. Sunlight kills the undead and almost certainly the Others too. Eldric’s search for the shadow resulted in the journey that cost him all his companions and eventually brought him to the Empire of the Dawn.
So the Last Hero goes seeking the source of the clouds blanketing the sun. This leads him north, through the Lands of Always Winter, across the world’s North Pole, and down again into Essos. In Essos he acquired the title Eldric Shadowchaser along with others.
To understand what happened then we have to go back in time a little. The Emperors of the Empire of the Dawn were almost certainly the true ancestors of the Valyrians. And they definitely had dragons. Like the Valyrians they practiced incest. The Bloodstone Emperor was both the brother and husband of the Amethyst Empress. Her name was Nissa. They had a daughter whose name was also Nissa. In later telling’s the two women got combined together to become Nissa Nissa. The daughter was a dragon rider, as were both of her parents probably. It was her dragon that likely was called ‘Lightbringer’ for obvious reasons.
The Emperor found a ‘Black Rock’ one day.
We don’t know when or how long he had it. What we do know is it gave him immense power. And probably drove him mad. He took a piece of this Black Rock and forged a Sword with it, a Sword as pale as milk glass. To finish the Sword he plunged it into the heart of his sister-wife. And usurped her place, creating a story that would be twisted into the legend of Azor Ahai. Perhaps this is connected to the Children causing the Long Night. We don’t know yet.
When her father murdered her mother Nissa rebelled against him, leading many others to do so as well. The empire was split between what we’ll call the Emperor’s Men and the Princess’ Men. It was into this situation that Eldric appeared. He joined forces with Nissa and later married her. Together the two somehow ended the eruption of Marahai. How is a mystery for now, but likely involved the death of her dragon. It also involved them stealing the Black Stone and the Sword. Whether they killed the Emperor is another mystery, though Ideas of Ice and Fire believes he is still very much alive. And taking part in the events of ASOIAF. I have my own opinions on that, but we’ll leave it for now.
With the eruption ended the clouds dissipated and the sun exterminated most of the Others and their undead armies. The survivors fled into the Land of Always Winter. Eldric and his wife returned to Westeros with their prizes. They decided that such power must be kept hidden to prevent another such catastrophe from happening. They gave the Rock to his closest friend Brandon Stark, who used it to create a giant Wall of ice to shield the realms of men from any return of the Others. Eldric took the Sword and his wife far to the south, as far from the Rock as they could, and there formed their own House, House Dayne. It is misremembered stories from him which led to his home being named Starfall.
It also resulted in the people of Essos rising up and overthrowing the Great Race, thus forming the empire of Yi Ti. The survivors fled, to either Old Town, Asshai, or what would eventually become Valyria. Eldric was offered a kingdom by the new emperor, but he declined, giving it to the people who lived there. This is the Patrimony of Hyrkoon, another of Eldric’s names.
I have been asking myself what exactly the Emperor got out of his deal, formal or not, with the Others. Or the Children, depending on which version of history you subscribe to. Thinking about it the Others seem to have been the only real beneficiaries. Yes, having the Others attack his enemies is a plus, but surely he had all the forces he needed.
A video, possibly from Joe Magician or The Disputed Lands, but it could have been from Gray Area, read through the description of when Sam kills the Other. Its bones are described as looking like ‘milk-glass’. Another prominent thing is also described as looking like milk-glass. The sword Dawn. Could that be the secret of Dawn, the real secret? Could that be what ‘dragon steel’ actually is? Could Dawn be the original ‘Ice’? That’s an idea I have heard before.
Giving the Bloodstone Emperor the bones of an ice dragon could easily be the payment the Children/Others make to get him to cause the Long Night. He used the bones to make Dawn, which likely had a different name then. Ice? He tempered the blade in his wife/sister Nissa’s heart. Eldric Dayne and his daughter Nissa steals the Sword and his Stone to end the Long Night. Personally, I think my original analysis of the origin of Dawn is the correct one. But that does leave open the intriguing question of 'what was the original Ice?'
There are three more questions to answer:
1st) The Winterfell crypts. A lot of talk is going on about these crypts. I confess I don’t know what’s in them, but I can make a guess. Many people assume it has to do with Jon. But the question about the crypts date back thousands of years. Surely whatever secret is there has to also be pretty old. Looking at the evidence we have: the crypts and the Wall were both supposed to have been built by Bran the Builder. The Wall is supposed to have been made with magic. ‘The North remembers’, ‘A Stark must always be in Winterfell’, and ‘Winter is coming’ are all associated with the Starks. What does all this mean?
Given that magic in Westeros has to function like any other force of nature I contend that it has to be connected with the Wall somehow. The most likely answer therefore is whatever magic maintains the Wall must be located in the crypts. The hot springs, which we are told are only located there and at Dragonstone, are a natural energy source. Whatever power creates the Wall has to be very strong. The Wall is far too big to be made by a one off spell. Bran the Builder used the Black Stone to create the Wall, hiding it within the crypts to protect it and also to use the volcanic springs to fuel the magic. The magic however depends on one of Stark blood always remaining with a certain radius of the Black Stone. That’s why the Starks must be in Winterfell and what they are supposed to remember, though they obviously forgot. And that is also why they are seen as defenders of the Wall.
It is therefore ironic that by leaving Winterfell Bran has doomed the Wall. As soon as he and Rickon leave the confines of Winterfell there is no longer anyone of Stark blood close enough for the magic to work. It doesn't fall at once obviously. But even without any interference by the Others, eventually, maybe after years, it will collapse.
2nd) How will the Wall come down? There have been many suggestions, but none comes close to the truth in my opinion. Only something of tremendous power could do such a thing and fortunately we have the answer. As with so much of Martin’s clues it is staring us in the face.
There’s an event mentioned in the books called the ‘Tragedy at Hardhome’. Exactly what it is, is a mystery, but some have suggested that it sounds an awful lot like a volcanic eruption. If Hardhome is a supervolcano and it explodes…
It is conveniently located close to the wall and it also fits with Martin’s use of real life events to make his fantasy more credible. Remember the destruction of Valyria? It leaves open the possibility that the catastrophe might be either artificial or natural, something else Martin likes. A volcanic eruption would also cause a ‘volcanic winter’, a permanent night with no end. Kinda like the ‘Long Night’.
3rd) Where did the Black Rock come from? Damn good question. I don't know. But perhaps the 'Iron Tower' trilogy, written by Dennis L. McKiernan, offers a clue. The books are a blatant nockoff of Lord of the Rings, but one thing they do feature is the fragment of a comet which the villain uses to try and open a portal for his god. Ideas has suggested that the Rock may have originated from the Red Comet in ASOIAF.