Post by voice on Mar 10, 2017 18:58:33 GMT
voice, you make a convincing argument man, I'm not going to lie but I struggle with it. I struggle because I can't see an elegant way all of this information could be imparted to anyone. I mean, maybe BR could fill Bran in but that would start to be a bit "Neo & The Architect". That said, you do make a convincing argument.
Again, I totally agree that Gared is a plot device and that he deserted because he was filled with fear, rather than some higher purpose. But I think that in the case of the Others, that fear is the higher purpose.
Will and Gared felt it all day. An old, primal fear.
It is one thing to hear crib tales of demons. It is quite another to feel them around you, and quite another to begin to see them.
Don't get me wrong, Gared still deserted. I'm just pointing out that if any of the three (Gared, Waymar, Will) would survive this close encounter, Gared would normally be our last bet. He's really old, lost some body parts, uses a short sword that's knicked from hard use, and the other two are young and whole.
GRRM has a way of making us see the hubris in honor and duty, and I think Waymar is an early example of this. Ned is another. In this light, Gared's desertion seems more like an act of humility and acquiesence to the Old Powers who have awakened.
I'm not saying he understood that. His mental state seems to suggest he was quite broken. But I think the Others were quite willing to let the broken, scrawny, seven-toed old man wander away as a warning that winter is coming. And, I think they knew he would not be escorted to Castle Black.
Winterfell likely has a strong enough magnetic field for all things Winter that Gared would have ended up there whether he wanted to or not. But I think that is where he walked. And I think he himself was the message, or the harbinger. The Others have no need for ravens or pink wax.
He does, but not as much as I'd like:
A Game of Thrones - Jon IX
He remembered Robb as he had last seen him, standing in the yard with snow melting in his auburn hair. Jon would have to come to him in secret, disguised. He tried to imagine the look on Robb's face when he revealed himself. His brother would shake his head and smile, and he'd say … he'd say …
He could not see the smile. Hard as he tried, he could not see it. He found himself thinking of the deserter his father had beheaded the day they'd found the direwolves. "You said the words," Lord Eddard had told him. "You took a vow, before your brothers, before the old gods and the new." Desmond and Fat Tom had dragged the man to the stump. Bran's eyes had been wide as saucers, and Jon had to remind him to keep his pony in hand. He remembered the look on Father's face when Theon Greyjoy brought forth Ice, the spray of blood on the snow, the way Theon had kicked the head when it came rolling at his feet.
He wondered what Lord Eddard might have done if the deserter had been his brother Benjen instead of that ragged stranger. Would it have been any different? It must, surely, surely … and Robb would welcome him, for a certainty. He had to, or else …
A Clash of Kings - Jon III
"Aye, those three I recall. The lordling no older than one of these pups. Too proud to sleep under my roof, him in his sable cloak and black steel. My wives give him big cow eyes all the same." He turned his squint on the nearest of the women. "Gared says they were chasing raiders. I told him, with a commander that green, best not catch 'em. Gared wasn't half-bad, for a crow. Had less ears than me, that one. The 'bite took 'em, same as mine." Craster laughed. "Now I hear he got no head neither. The 'bite do that too?"
Jon remembered a spray of red blood on white snow, and the way Theon Greyjoy had kicked the dead man's head. The man was a deserter. On the way back to Winterfell, Jon and Robb had raced, and found six direwolf pups in the snow. A thousand years ago.
A Storm of Swords - Jon V
You must not balk, whatever is asked of you. Ride with them, eat with them, fight with them . . . But this old man had offered no resistance. He had been unlucky, that was all. Who he was, where he came from, where he meant to go on his sorry sway-backed horse . . . none of it mattered.
He is an old man, Jon told himself. Fifty, maybe even sixty. He lived a longer life than most. The Thenns will kill him anyway, nothing I can say or do will save him. Longclaw seemed heavier than lead in his hand, too heavy to lift. The man kept staring at him, with eyes as big and black as wells. I will fall into those eyes and drown. The Magnar was looking at him too, and he could almost taste the mistrust. The man is dead. What matter if it is my hand that slays him? One cut would do it, quick and clean. Longclaw was forged of Valyrian steel. Like Ice. Jon remembered another killing; the deserter on his knees, his head rolling, the brightness of blood on snow . . . his father's sword, his father's words, his father's face . . .
With these, I'm reminded of Qhorin's instructions to Jon for his dutiful desertion, and Jon's admiration of deserter-Mance. We learn from them that desertion can be dutiful and admirable. And Jon himself tells us that desertion requires courage:
A Clash of Kings - Jon I
"You didn't break your fast with us, and your bed hadn't been slept in." Rast suggested that maybe Sam had deserted, but Jon never believed it. Desertion required its own sort of courage, and Sam had little enough of that.
I apologize for all these quotes. I just really, REALLY like Gared's story. LOL
Let me just expand one I quoted upthread. This one highlights (for me) that Gared was intended to lead Jon to Ghost.
A Game of Thrones - Bran I
Halfway across the bridge, Jon pulled up suddenly.
"What is it, Jon?" their lord father asked.
"Can't you hear it?"
Bran could hear the wind in the trees, the clatter of their hooves on the ironwood planks, the whimpering of his hungry pup, but Jon was listening to something else.
"There," Jon said. He swung his horse around and galloped back across the bridge. They watched him dismount where the direwolf lay dead in the snow, watched him kneel. A moment later he was riding back to them, smiling.
"He must have crawled away from the others," Jon said.
"Or been driven away," their father said, looking at the sixth pup. His fur was white, where the rest of the litter was grey. His eyes were as red as the blood of the ragged man who had died that morning. Bran thought it curious that this pup alone would have opened his eyes while the others were still blind.
"An albino," Theon Greyjoy said with wry amusement. "This one will die even faster than the others."
Jon Snow gave his father's ward a long, chilling look. "I think not, Greyjoy," he said. "This one belongs to me."
Ghost bears Gared's eyes. Now, I know that sounds a bit too cute, but it's right there in the text. Gared's eyes alone were opened too, you'll remember:
Royce paused a moment, staring off into the distance, his face reflective. A cold wind whispered through the trees. His great sable cloak stirred behind like something half alive. [like the banner of the Starks of Winterfell will, in a few pages]
“There’s something wrong here,” Gared muttered. [Like that moment Jon stops halfway across the bridge]
The young knight gave him a disdainful smile. “Is there?” ["What is it, Jon?" - Ned]
“Can’t you feel it?” Gared asked. “Listen to the darkness.” ["Can't you hear it?" - Jon]
Will could feel it. Four years in the Night’s Watch, and he had never been so afraid. What was it? [Bran in the quote above]
“Wind. Trees rustling. A wolf. Which sound is it that unmans you so, Gared?” When Gared did not answer, Royce slid gracefully from his saddle. He tied the destrier securely to a low-hanging limb, well away from the other horses, and drew his longsword from its sheath. Jewels glittered in its hilt, and the moonlight ran down the shining steel. It was a splendid weapon, castle-forged, and new-made from the look of it. Will doubted it had ever been swung in anger. [Words are Wind, Trees have Eyes, Jon's Weirwood Wolf speaks silently and has red eyes]
“The trees press close here,” Will warned. “That sword will tangle you up, m’lord. Better a knife.”
“If I need instruction, I will ask for it,” the young lord said. “Gared, stay here. Guard the horses.”
Gared dismounted. “We need a fire. I’ll see to it.” [Gared is listening to the darkness]
“How big a fool are you, old man? If there are enemies in this wood, a fire is the last thing we want.” [see: A Weirwood Ghost]
“There’s some enemies a fire will keep away,” Gared said. “Bears and direwolves and . . . and other things . . .”
Gared has "direwolves" and "other things" on his mind, even now. Can it be mere happenstance that he would go from Others to Direwolves in but a few more pages?