I was curious about this phrase and if there might be any connection between the two places it is prominently used. Those two being The Black Gate and The House of Black and White. The doors at each location both respond to a password that opens the doors, both doors involve weirwood. I can't think of any other connections between these locations, but I was wondering if you guys might have some ideas that would be interesting?
Arya has an interesting thought when she stands outside the door to the HoBaW; the faces it is decorated with reminds her of weirwoods, and she feels like they are watching her.
As we only see the Black Gate once, it's hard to say if there are any more specific correlations between the two. But the Black Gate is probably connected to the weirnet, and if we broaden our look in that direction, some startling ties from Bloodraven's cave to the HoBaW appears!
- Both seems to be way larger inside than one would think on the outside (at least that is my impression of Arya's description)
- The cave has niches with skulls, the House niches with faces
- Arya enters a house of black and white, Bran enters a cave of black and white
- Both places contain many dead bodies (though we don't know what happens to the bodies in Braavos after they are "processed")
- When the Kindly Man meets Arya for the first time, he is wearing Bloodraven's face...
This is what I came up with in the go, it might be more similarities. In the end, both places seems to be connected to say the least. Question is why...
I think the House of the Undying Ones could fit into this puzzle too. It has ties to black tree's (an inversion of the weirwoods, perhaps) and a face in the door that opens into a mouth.
It was darker than she would have thought under the black trees, and the way was longer. Though the path seemed to run straight from the street to the door of the palace, Pyat Pree soon turned aside. When she questioned him, the warlock said only, "The front way leads in, but never out again. Heed my words, my queen. The House of the Undying Ones was not made for mortal men. If you value your soul, take care and do just as I tell you." ACOK-Daenerys IV
The black barked blue leaved trees seem to be either an inversion of the weirwoods, or perhaps they are the Essos version of the weirwoods, which seems to connect to The Black Gate. None of these trees are carved as far as we know... but there is a path you must follow through that is surrounded by them before you can enter the House of the Undying. Are these tree's watching, too?
Also, Dany will enter through this door, but she also will seem to exit through the same door, which Pyat Pree tells her it is not a two-way door. So, how does this work for Dany, and what might it mean for Bran (who enters The Black Gate) or Arya (who enters the House of Black and White)?
"When you come to the chamber of the Undying, be patient. Our little lives are no more than a flicker of a moth's wing to them. Listen well, and write each word upon your heart."
When they reached the door—a tall oval mouth, set in a wall fashioned in the likeness of a human face—the smallest dwarf Dany had ever seen was waiting on the threshold. He stood no higher than her knee, his faced pinched and pointed, snoutish, but he was dressed in delicate livery of purple and blue, and his tiny pink hands held a silver tray. Upon it rested a slender crystal glass filled with a thick blue liquid: shade of the evening, the wine of warlocks. "Take and drink," urged Pyat Pree. ACOK-Daenerys IV
The door is not described as either of black wood or white wood, but it does have a tall mouth, or the door itself is a tall mouth, which certainly mirror's The Black Gate. This tall mouth is set into the likeness of a human face, which hints at the Black Gate as well as the faces carved into the weirwoods.
And while there seems to be no words that Dany has to say to enter, one requirement seems to be that she drink the Shade of the Evening. There might be a parallel in place with Bran eating the weirwood paste in Bloodraven's cave.
Dany left him behind, entering a stairwell. She began to climb. Before long her legs were aching. She recalled that the House of the Undying Ones had seemed to have no towers.
Finally the stair opened. To her right, a set of wide wooden doors had been thrown open. They were fashioned of ebony and weirwood, the black and white grains swirling and twisting in strange interwoven patterns. They were very beautiful, yet somehow frightening. The blood of the dragon must not be afraid. Dany said a quick prayer, begging the Warrior for courage and the Dothraki horse god for strength. She made herself walk forward.
Beyond the doors was a great hall and a splendor of wizards. Some wore sumptuous robes of ermine, ruby velvet, and cloth of gold. Others fancied elaborate armor studded with gemstones, or tall pointed hats speckled with stars. There were women among them, dressed in gowns of surpassing loveliness. Shafts of sunlight slanted through windows of stained glass, and the air was alive with the most beautiful music she had ever heard. ACOK-Daenerys IV
Leading to a great hall in the House of the Undying is a set of doors of weirwood and ebony, much like the pair of doors that lead into the House of Black and White. Dany doesn't describe the patterns that are carved on the doors, but does note that they are beautiful and frightening and interwined in some swirling and twisting pattern. Could that pattern look like a face, or faces?
Outside a long dim passageway stretched serpentine before her, lit by the flickering orange glare from behind. Dany ran, searching for a door, a door to her right, a door to her left, any door, but there was nothing, only twisty stone walls, and a floor that seemed to move slowly under her feet, writhing as if to trip her. She kept her feet and ran faster, and suddenly the door was there ahead of her, a door like an open mouth.
When she spilled out into the sun, the bright light made her stumble. Pyat Pree was gibbering in some unknown tongue and hopping from one foot to the other. When Dany looked behind her, she saw thin tendrils of smoke forcing their way through cracks in the ancient stone walls of the Palace of Dust, and rising from between the black tiles of the roof.
Howling curses, Pyat Pree drew a knife and danced toward her, but Drogon flew at his face. Then she heard the crack of Jhogo's whip, and never was a sound so sweet. The knife went flying, and an instant later Rakharo was slamming Pyat to the ground. Ser Jorah Mormont knelt beside Dany in the cool green grass and put his arm around her shoulder. ACOK-Daenerys IV
To leave the House of the Undying, Dany must also exit a door that appears to be an open mouth, again perhaps a mirror of The Black Gate. It's also a door that Pyat had previously told her was not an exit. And while Dany again doesn't need to whisper any words to get back out the door, Pyat Pree is "gibbering in some unknown tougue" outside the door. What is he saying? Are they some words that allow the door to open?
Dany's trip, pardon the pun, into the House of the Undying has other similarities to the House of Black and White, and to Bloodreven's cave which is important in Bran's journey north and he can only reach it by stepping into/through The Black Gate, but I tried to stick to the door connections between the places, or at least ideas of the black and white woods.
Another place in our story that I can think of off the top of my head that has both a weirwood and ebony door with faces carved into it is Tobho Mott's workshop in King's Landing.
Ned turned off the square where the Street of Steel began and followed its winding path up a long hill, past blacksmiths working at open forges, freeriders haggling over mail shirts, and grizzled ironmongers selling old blades and razors from their wagons. The farther they climbed, the larger the buildings grew. The man they wanted was all the way at the top of the hill, in a huge house of timber and plaster whose upper stories loomed over the narrow street. The double doors showed a hunting scene carved in ebony and weirwood. A pair of stone knights stood sentry at the entrance, armored in fanciful suits of polished red steel that transformed them into griffin and unicorn. Ned left his horse with Jacks and shouldered his way inside. AGOT-Eddard VI
While the ebony and weirwood door are not carved into a face, the two woods seem to combine to show a scene that might foreshadow Ned's path. He is both hunting for the mystery of Jon Arryn's death but his hunting turns up the bastard son of a king, a king who loves to hunt!
And another door that is carved of weirwood and might be seen to have a face is the Moon Door in the Eyrie.
Her small mouth twitched in a petulant smile. "If you are tried and found to be guilty of the crimes for which you stand accused, then by the king's own laws, you must pay with your life's blood. We keep no headsman in the Eyrie, my lord of Lannister. Open the Moon Door."
The press of spectators parted. A narrow weirwood door stood between two slender marble pillars, a crescent moon carved in the white wood. Those standing closest edged backward as a pair of guardsmen marched through. One man removed the heavy bronze bars; the second pulled the door inward. Their blue cloaks rose snapping from their shoulders, caught in the sudden gust of wind that came howling through the open door. Beyond was the emptiness of the night sky, speckled with cold uncaring stars. AGOT-Tyrion V
There is no face carved into the weirwood door, but it does have the crescent moon carved into it. The moon is sometimes associated with a face on it's surface, although it's usually in reference to a full moon and not a crescent moon, such as we see here. There is a full moon carved into the door of the House of Black and White, a crescent moon here, but still a moon carved into a weirwood door is certainly a connection worth noting.
The moon door is a part of revealing secrets, a major secret in the story, the reveal of the person who killed Jon Arryn. The Black Gate leads Bran north into his journey to Bloodraven's cave and the the secret's the weirwoods can hold for Bran. The doors to Tobho Mott's lead Ned to discovering not the truth of Jon Arryn's death, but steps that Jon Arryn took also into a mystery, and the reveal behind this door is Gendry, Robert's hammer wielding bastard son. And the doors of the House of the Undying lead to many possible truth's for Dany, but it could also lead to possible lies and untruths, things that might happen or might never happen. It's a tricky place. The House of Black and White also has truth's that are revealed when Arya walks through the doors, the truth of life and death, but it is also a tricky place, perhaps just as tricky as the House of the Undying.
I also think that The Black Gate which leads to Bloodraven's cave, the door into the House of Black and White, and the door into the House of the Undying might be carefully laid traps, and once a person enters, it might not be so easy to return. So far, Bran and Arya are trapped behind the doors that they walked through, Arya is still in training as a Faceless Man and Bran is stuck in the cave full of skeletons, and while Dany does make it out of the House of the Undying, she is forever changed by her experience there, and is perhaps a prisoner of the visions that she seen and her attempts to puzzle out these "prophecies".
I have just one more thought on Arya entering The House of Black and White.
At the top she found a set of carved wooden doors twelve feet high. The left-hand door was made of weirwood pale as bone, the right of gleaming ebony. In their center was a carved moon face; ebony on the weirwood side, weirwood on the ebony. The look of it reminded her somehow of the heart tree in the godswood at Winterfell. The doors are watching me, she thought. She pushed upon both doors at once with the flat of her gloved hands, but neither one would budge. Locked and barred. "Let me in, you stupid," she said. "I crossed the narrow sea." She made a fist and pounded. "Jaqen told me to come. I have the iron coin." She pulled it from her pouch and held it up. "See? Valar morghulis."
The doors made no reply, except to open. AFFC-Arya I
Is it the words that make the door open, or is it the iron coin in Arya's hand? It's the coin that get's her passage to Braavos, the coin that get's her delivered to the steps of the House of Black and White. Will that iron coin pay Arya's way back out of the Faceless Men like it paid the way in? It has hints of the Iron Born paying the Iron Price!
Their father understood as well. "You want no pup for yourself, Jon?" he asked softly.
Thank you shymaid,and stdaga,for replying! I have always thought that the white Weirwood compared to the ebony wood, or Ironwood is a direct hint to the Yin and Yang. Especially when the two types of wood are placed together as a set of doors like in the HoBW and Tobho Mott's shop. If this is what we are meant to think of when we see these doors in the books, the HoBW is the only place that seems to possibly have a dualistic nature to me. I have no idea why these type of doors would be located at Tobho Mott's shop. When I started this thread I was thinking of the phrase "Who are you?" and how this was asked at the Black Gate and also asked by the Kindly Man at the HoBW. I wondered if there might be any further significance to this phrase other than what we take at face value? I have some other thoughts on this topic, but it's late and I can't seem to put them in order right now. Thanks!
Thank you shymaid ,and stdaga ,for replying! I have always thought that the white Weirwood compared to the ebony wood, or Ironwood is a direct hint to the Yin and Yang. Especially when the two types of wood are placed together as a set of doors like in the HoBW and Tobho Mott's shop. If this is what we are meant to think of when we see these doors in the books, the HoBW is the only place that seems to possibly have a dualistic nature to me. I have no idea why these type of doors would be located at Tobho Mott's shop. When I started this thread I was thinking of the phrase "Who are you?" and how this was asked at the Black Gate and also asked by the Kindly Man at the HoBW. I wondered if there might be any further significance to this phrase other than what we take at face value? I have some other thoughts on this topic, but it's late and I can't seem to put them in order right now. Thanks!
There could be a dualistic relationship with white wood and black wood. One think I do wonder about is the black barked blue leaved trees. We are never told that the wood is black, only the bark. Now, when we get descriptions of the weirwood, the bark and wood itself is white. I am not sure if that lack of information on the black "barked" tree's is important or an oversite. But I have always noted that the description is always "black barked" tree's and never "black" trees. I have toyed with the idea that the wood of these black-barked blue-leaved tree's isn't black at all!
The other tree that we have in the story that seems to be curious is ironwood. It's a tree found in Westeros, we get no real description of it, but the doors to the crypts are made in ironwood, which I think must be important. Ironwood is noted to be black! But could it have a reddish appearance as it ages, like rusty iron can have? Could that be the "red door" that Dany dreams about, if it is red (pardon that very tinfoily question). But, if ironwood is black and stays black, does that hint to us about the tree's that give us Shade of the Evening. The godswood at Winterfell has ironwoods growing in it, and IF those tree's were the same blue-leaved black-barked tree's we see in Essos, then it's a huge clue we have not been given.
Ironwood plays a role early in the story. In the prologue of Game, the wildling "far-eye" is up a ironwood, Gared is executed on an ironwood stump and his blood spays on it, the bridge that Ned and Co cross when they are near the dead mother direwolf and her pups is ironwood, as mentioned above the doors to the winterfell crypts is ironwood, ironwood in the godswood, the chest that Arya takes Needle to Kings Landing with is made of ironwood. At one point Bran notes that the ironwood stump is black (a stump would have no bark, so the wood must be black) and later Jon will noted that ironwoods have black-bark. I still wonder if there is some connection to the Ironwood trees/wood and the tree's that give us Shade of the Evening? Are they the same tree? Or a variation of one another?
I have also toyed with the idea of inversions and negatives in this story, and I think that the negative image of a weirwood with it's red leaves and white bark might appear to have blue leaves and black bark if looked at through a negative image, which again fits the concept of ying and yang somewhat.
Just one more thought on the ironwood tree's. We have a powerful family in Dorne that is Yronwood. Powerful enough that Oberyn was sent there as a squire and than after Oberyn angered the lord of House Yronwood, Doran actually sent his eldest son to be a squire/hostage to them. Yronwood is a powerful house in Dorne, very powerful if Doran would make this choice. House Yronwood used to be kings of much of Dorne. When I think of the north, I see some parallels. Perhaps in Rickard Stark sending Brandon to House Dustin to foster. House Dustin used to be kings in the north, and might still be very powerful in the story. As far as we know, the blood of House Dustin ended with the death of Lord Dustin at the toj, but some thing about them is still important. It might be the barrowlands themselves that are important, but it might be House Dustin itself. House Yronwood and the ironwood tree might be spelled differently, but I think they are based on the same thing, something old and powerful. The even more tinfoil question would be is ironwood/Yronwood tied to the blue-leaved black-barked tree's of Essos?
Their father understood as well. "You want no pup for yourself, Jon?" he asked softly.