skinchange

3

Maybe on the morrow she would tell him about the cat that had followed her home last night from Pynto’s, the cat that was hiding in the rafters, looking down on them. Or maybe not. IF HE HAD SECRETS, SO COULD SHE.

Important Female Characters that have been cut out of Game of Thrones

Arianne Martell: The female heir to Dorne who demands recognition and acknowledgement and refuses to be passed over.

“You will not rob me of my birthright!”

Wylla Manderly: Grandaughter of Wyman Manderly, insults the Freys in front of a hall full of people and refuses to be married off. And she has green hair which is pretty sick.

“He was our king! He was brave and good, and the Freys murdered him. If Lord Stannis will avenge him, we should join Lord Stannis”

Val: Sister of mance Rayder’s wife Dalla (who has also been cut) said to be extremely beautiful yet is fiercely independent and strong.

“I am no southron lady but a woman of the free folk. I know the forest better than all your black cloaked rangers. It holds no ghosts for me.”

Mya Stone: One of Robert Baratheon’s bastards, lives in the vale and is in charge of helping people up to the Eyrie.

“Men come and go. They lie, or die, or leave you. A mountain is not a man, though, and stone is a mountain’s daughter. I trust my father, and I trust my mules. I won’t fall.”

Lady Stoneheart: *spoiler alert or not really because she won’t be in the show* Catelyn Stark resurrected seeking revenge on the Frey’s and leading the Brotherhood without banners (there’s your revenge plot D&D)

“She don’t speak. You bloody bastards cut her throat too deep for that. But she remembers.”

Asha Greyjoy: not to be confused with whoever “Yara” Greyjoy is, Asha does not believe in flippantly calling people “cunts” and is not scared of dogs.

“My mother raised me to be bold”

Alysane Mormont: Fights with Stannis’ army and guards Asha when she is captured (oops not really spoilers again) and don’t tell me that they don’t become best friends because they do.

“Mormont women are skinchangers. We turn into bears and find mates in the woods.”

Barbrey Dustin: The widow of Lord Dustin, hates the Starks because she blames Ned for the death of her husband. She is cunning, intelligent and one of Roose Bolton’s biggest supporters in Winterfell (but you know in the show no northern lords are in Winterfell because logic)

The bride weeps … Dressing her in grey and white serves no good if the girl is left to sob. The Freys might not care, but the northmen … they fear the Dreadfort, but they love the Starks.“

All these women are unique, different and complicated, even though some of them do not fit into d&d’s “strong women” or “sexually empowered” archetypes they are important and interesting parts of the story. All of these amazing characters were axed in favor of a storyline depicting a violent rape and that is truly unforgivable and disgusting.

Interesting

Originally posted by avengers-of-mirkwood

Originally posted by legolas-imagines

Originally posted by avengers-of-mirkwood

A/N: This is part 1 of a request made by @floofy-halfling. I don’t know if this is what you wanted so like just tell me if I’m on the right track :)

Italics: Elvish

Word Count: 1,806

Part 2 - Part 3

Master Lists: Drabbles/Imagines, and Completed Series

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The Bear’s Lady

Imagine being Beorn’s wife.

Word count: 1884

“Come on, get inside!” Someone cried, disturbing your slumber. Something smashes against the door, startling you awake. Thinking that it might just be your husband, you turn over, pulling the blanket back up to your chin. More thuds make you frown. Beorn wouldn’t come to the house in bear form, unless things were more dire than you could imagine. “Open the door!” You frown, hearing the same voice speaking. It is not Beorn.

“Quickly!” Another voice roars. Swinging your feet over the side of the bed, you grab your large shawl, wrapping it around your shoulders. The night is not cold, and usually you sleep naked, more than warm enough with Beorn in the bed with you, but tonight he had smelled Orcs on the wind and gone hunting, keeping the riverlands safe from the black scourge.

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kmoritz19  asked:

I saw this quote in another ask “The northern girl. Winterfell’s daughter. We heard she killed the king with a spell, and afterward changed into a wolf with big leather wings like a bat, and flew out a tower window.” Its kinda cool that it's Sansa here being described as the winged wolf, and doubly cool as it's one of the few indirect allusions to the stark kid's whent ancestry. Do you think that bloodline has anything to do with the rebirth of watching in the young starks? Love your blog!

Thanks so much! And the rebirth of warging? But the Whents weren’t the magic family of Harrenhal, that was the Lothstons. Specifically Mad Danelle Lothston (the Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Westeros), accused of sorcery and bathing in blood and cannibalism and dispatching giant bats to take naughty children back to Harrenhal. The Whents were merely knights in the service of House Lothston, who were granted Harrenhal by the crown in return for helping bring down the Lothstons. Though it’s possible House Whent does have some Lothston blood – their sigil, after all, has nine black bats on a yellow field, in comparison with the Lothston single bat on gold and silver, and sometimes younger daughters marry household knights. But nothing we know about the Whents ties them into any kind of magic, other than the curse of Harrenhal (which possibly led to the fertility problems that plague some family members).

Either way, no, I don’t think the Stark kids’ Whent ancestry (through Catelyn’s mother Minisa Whent) has anything to do with their ability to warg or skinchange. Jon Snow is a warg, after all, and he’s not related to Catelyn in the slightest. I think it has something to do with ancient First Men blood – thus why Brynden Rivers, half Blackwood, is a raven skinchanger. There’s a brief tantalizing mention in TWOIAF of the subject:

Chronicles found in the archives of the Night’s Watch at the Nightfort (before it was abandoned) speak of the war for Sea Dragon Point, wherein the Starks brought down the Warg King and his inhuman allies, the children of the forest. When the Warg King’s last redoubt fell, his sons were put to the sword, along with his beasts and greenseers, whilst his daughters were taken as prizes by their conquerors.

Since the Warg King’s daughters married into House Stark (and probably House Blackwood, before the Starks drove them out of the wolfswood and into the Riverlands), that could explain much.

But for the details, for the reason why this wasn’t a known Stark trait until recently, why GRRM says all of the Stark kids of this generation are wargs, we’re just going to have to wait, I’m afraid. It’s one of those long-running mysteries of ASOIAF that probably won’t be resolved until the last book, alas.

As for Sansa and her being a bat-winged wolf, it should be noted that this was pure slander. (Even if it is a delightful image.) The guy relating this rumor was Polliver, one of Gregor’s rats, even. That the people of Westeros are slandering Sansa with accusations of black magic is not exactly a good thing. They probably aren’t even thinking of her Whent ancestry (if they even know about it), they’re just like bats=evil magic :: Sansa=evil magic. (Especially among Riverlanders, because of the children’s stories of Mad Danelle.)

However, some think that this rumor could foreshadow Sansa inheriting Harrenhal. (Personally I say hell no – that cursed castle needs to be nuked from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.) A greater possibility, IMO, is that Sansa may come to Harrenhal at some point after she leaves the Vale, especially since Littlefinger is its current lord. Which could involve my semi-crack theory that Harrenhal is the prophesied “castle made of snow”… and perhaps Sansa could be more magically safe there due to her connection to the Whents

Sansa and Animal Wife Folklore

Numerous times in the books the Starks are associated with skinchanging. The children’s connection to their wolves leads all the Stark children towards warging to various degrees. Robb is rumored to turn into a wolf during battle and the same rumor is spread about Sansa when she flees King’s Landing.

Some say that Sansa loses her Stark connection when Lady dies but I am going to argue that this connection is alive in a very important way.

In various folklore around the world, the animal wife is a shape changer, usually a beautiful woman who will shed her animal skin and gain the attentions of men. These stories often involve a man spying on the beautiful woman as she sheds her skin and stealing the skin so that she cannot turn back into her animal form and must remain with him as his wife.

Sansa is first sent south as Joffrey’s betrothed, and after Lady’s death she loses an essential part of her northern identity, and must hide that part of herself. Cersei tries to claim Lady’s skin but Ned sends it back north specifically so the Lannisters will never get hold of it.

In the animal wife tales and in asoiaf, the taking of skin illustrates ownership, domination, control over an individual. The total obliteration of the self. Sansa may be forced to hide who she really is, to marry against her will, even to change her name, but her wolf skin remains in Winterfell, untouched by those who wish to make her theirs, and Sansa will return to reclaim it one day.

sularking3  asked:

Do you think it's fair to say that some aspects of magic with ASoIaF have been, or shown signs of being, systematized? I think skinchanging is the best example: we have a bunch of POV chapters from skinchangers, including Varamyr's prologue which is brimming with information on the subject.

I wouldn’t say so, no, sorry. Systematized magic is, well, you put 250 fluid ounces of water and 5 ounces of African sea salt in a silver beaker, add 10 drops of essence of wormwood with your right hand and then another 10 drops with your left hand, stir 10 times clockwise, heat at 200° for 15 minutes, etc, etc. If becoming a skinchanger required that a child from a certain race needed to be exposed to a certain animal by a certain age for a certain amount of time, with certain potions to drink to put him into the right state of mind for bonding, with specific magic words he needs to say to transfer into an animal’s head, with an established school that potential skinchangers were required to attend and read books about what animal should be assigned to which kind of person and learn the magic words and how to brew the skinchanging potions – and most importantly, if all these rules were not followed precisely, then skinchanging wouldn’t work – then, yes, it would be systemized.

Instead what we learn from Varamyr’s chapter is that a young boy from a wildling family started skinchanging with one of the family dogs by pure magical instinct, and after his abilities were discovered (after he used the dog to kill his little brother, and screamed when the dog was put down), he was abandoned by his parents and sent to a local warg, because he wasn’t fit for normal human society. The warg introduced him to other local wildling skinchangers, and endeavored to teach him what he knew about skinchanging by experience and lore: (a) what animals were easiest to bond with and which were the hardest, (b) that the animal you bond with affects your personality and therefore he didn’t think some animals were good to skinchange into, © the “abominations” that skinchangers hold are forbidden to do, and (d) what happens to skinchangers after they die.

But notably this is all custom and oral tradition, not rules. If a skinchanger does one of the abominations – say, stays inside their animal while it’s having sex – it’s not that skinchanging stops working, it’s that other skinchangers will think you’re a horrible person if they find out, and maybe the gods will think that too. Maybe it’ll affect your mind in some way, maybe you’ll change in ways you won’t like. (Maybe you won’t even realize how much you’re changing.) But the important word there is maybe. For all Haggon believed that skinchanging birds was the worst, that those who’d tried birds ended up staring at the sky all day only wanting to fly, we’ve encountered several bird skinchangers who appear to be quite centered and not “moony” at all.

There aren’t systemized rules for becoming a skinchanger – you don’t have to drink a potion or say magic words, you form a connection to an animal, feel their feelings (and they feel yours), and one day you just fall asleep and dream you’re the animal. And as you grow stronger, you can reach out and move into an animal’s mind deliberately, and later any animal, not just the one you originally bonded to. But how do you do it? You just do it. It just happens. It’s by acts of will and acts of instinct, not by a system. Some things make it easier – if an animal has been bonded before, if it’s a domesticated animal, if you have someone else guiding you and explaining things. But it could be someone would follow everything exactly and never be able to touch an animal’s mind, because they weren’t right for it, the magic wasn’t right for it, who knows. (And I wouldn’t doubt if some maester tried it and got nothing, and came away believing that skinchanging was never real in the first place.) It’s not a system, it’s not a science, it just is.

Hmm… I think the best comparison is to wizardry and witchcraft, per Terry Pratchett’s Equal Rites. Wizardry is very precise, very systemized, words and exact potions and stars and books and geometry, taught in a regimented hierarchal school with rules for entry. Witchcraft is instinctual, intuitive, emotive, recipes that are just a pinch of this and a drop of that (or just a colored water placebo), drawing on psychology and just knowing how people work, taught individually to an apprentice or just by picking things up all by yourself. (And notably, Granny Weatherwax’s “borrowing” is straight up skinchanging under a different name.) Skinchanging, all of the magic of ASOIAF, is far more like the latter than the former.

I hope that helps!

10

Some Celebrated Children of Garth Greenhand

John the Oak, the First Knight, who brought chivalry to Westeros (a huge man, all agree, eight feet tall in some tales, ten or twelve feet tall in others, sired by Garth Greenhand on a giantess). His own descendants became the Oakhearts of Old Oak.

❀ Gilbert of the Vines, who taught the men of the Arbor to make sweet wine from the grapes that grew so fat and lush across their island, and who founded House Redwyne.

❀ Florys the Fox, the cleverest of Garth’s children, who kept three husbands, each ignorant of the existence of the others. (From their sons sprang House Florent, House Ball, and House Peake).

 Maris the Maid, the Most Fair, whose beauty was so renowned that fifty lords vied for her hand at the first tourney ever to be held in Westeros. (The victor was the Grey Giant, Argoth Stone-Skin, but Maris wed King Uthor of the High Tower before he could claim her, and Argoth spent the rest of his days raging outside the walls of Oldtown, roaring for his bride.)

 Foss the Archer, renowned for shooting apples off the head of any maid who took his fancy, from whom both the red apple and green apple Fossoways trace their descent.

Brandon of the Bloody Blade, who drove the giants from the Reach and warred against the children of the forest, slaying so many at Blue Lake that it has been known as Red Lake ever since.

Owen Oakenshield, who conquered the Shield Islands, driving the selkies and merlings back into the sea.

Harlon the Hunter and Herndon of the Horn, twin brothers who built their castle atop Horn Hill and took to wife the beautiful woods witch who dwelled there, sharing her favors for a hundred years (for the brothers did not age so long as they embraced her whenever the moon was full).

Bors the Breaker, who gained the strength of twenty men by drinking only bull’s blood, and founded House Bulwer of Blackcrown. (Some tales claim Bors drank so much bull’s blood he grew a pair of shiny black horns.)

Rose of Red Lake, a skinchanger, able to transform into a crane at will—a power some say still manifests from time to time in the women of House Crane, her descendants.

Ellyn Ever Sweet, the girl who loved honey so much she sought out the King of the Bees in his vast mountain hive and made a pact with him, to care for his children and his children’s children for all time. She was the first beekeeper, and the mother to House Beesbury.

Rowan Gold-Tree, who was so bereft when her lover left her for a rich rival that she wrapped an apple in her golden hair, planted it upon a hill, and grew a tree whose bark and leaves and fruit were gleaming yellow gold, and to whose daughters the Rowans of Goldengrove trace their roots.

Men’s Lives Have Meaning, Part 7: Conclusion

Full series here

A Dance with Dragons begins, appropriately enough, from the point of view of a dragon. 

Before Mance, Varamyr Sixskins had been a lord of sorts. He lived alone in a hall of moss and mud and hewn logs that had once been Haggon’s, attended by his beasts. A dozen villages did him homage in bread and salt and cider, offering him fruit from their orchards and vegetables from their gardens. His meat he got himself. Whenever he desired a woman he sent his shadowcat to stalk her, and whatever girl he’d cast his eye upon would follow meekly to his bed. Some came weeping, aye, but still they came. Varamyr gave them his seed, took a hank of their hair to remember them by, and sent them back. From time to time, some village hero would come with spear in hand to slay the beastling and save a sister or a lover or a daughter. Those he killed, but he never harmed the women. 

That’s what Varamyr was: an archetypal monster-in-a-cave, the classic village dragon that every RPG needs. The Sixskins preyed on all life within a prowl’s reach, his entire life a tribute to domination of others on every possible plane, breaking every border that another being might think to set around themselves. He began feeding on those unlucky “dozen villages” after killing his mentor and eating his fuckin’ heart, and they’ve been living with the monster in the woods ever since. It’s not something anyone ever has to talk about. It’s something that everyone simply knows, out here in this particular stretch of the wild. A fact of life, a splinter in your mind, a fire behind a shadowcat’s eyes, and the fire whispers walk with me…

Varamyr thus combines the ruthless exploitation of your average feudal lord with supervillain powers and a serial killer’s personal life; even the Boltons would have to doff their caps at the pain-racket the skinchanger had going north of the Wall. Mance shoulda killed him and threw his head at the villagers’ feet, but the temptation to use him as a weapon proved too strong. After all, who needs the real Horn of Winter when you have an apocalypse that walks like a man, the closest approximation we get to the nuclear-fired cthuloid maw of a Euron Crowseye POV? Varamyr was It, Pennywise the goddamn dancing clown, for a generation of wildlings across a dozen villages. He was the darkness at the edge of town, feeding off of them and among them at will. He’s there to…what’s the phrase…ah yes: “to give the heroes something to fight.”

It was only natural, then, that they started showing up at his doorstep. Never quite as tall as they thought they were, these heroes, the dragon would sigh every time as he uncoiled and moved towards the door. Never so strong, nor so quick. They must have thought it would feel differently than this, he mused as he approached them. They thought they would be able to hear the songs to be written of their triumph in their ears, rather than their own heart drumming a nervous beat and the shrieks of their companions (those that had made it this far). They thought the gods would guide their hand to strike the beast true, or some such rot, never realizing until it was too late that the gods weren’t home and it was just them and the nightmares. They are (the dragon would always pause to think in the heartbeat before he began bathing in their blood) doing what they think they’re supposed to do, the best thing they know how to do, as far as their cattle brains are concerned. Scared, maybe–certainly–but they were there. They were going to save their lovers, avenge their families, slay the feared and hated Sixskins, or die trying. They were ready, in the name of Story, to dance with dragons. 

The dragon was only too happy to oblige. He killed them as they came, one by one, ultimately putting about as much effort into it as you or I might put into scrubbing dead skin away in the shower. Like the Wild Hares, their songs and screams waft together, blurred, intertwined, one amidst the brittle branches, before slipping up, out, and away, caught on the stiff morning breeze. In a tossed-off paragraph, Varamyr offers us a glimpse of dozens of Hero’s Journeys that he personally short-circuited.

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theexistentiallyqueer  asked:

honestly i've been wishing for years that it's sansa that reconnects with nymeria first, symbolizing sansa's return to her stark roots and instigating arya's return to her own (maybe through a wolf dream in which she realizes sansa is alive?). do we know if a warg can bond with another warg's wolf? would siblings make the bonding easier? nymeria is called a warrior queen but in truth she was a commander of men, not a fighter, which would fit with sansa

I haven’t been hoping this as such, but I have thought it is possible that Sansa could encounter Nymeria before Arya returns to Westeros – and in fact perhaps it would be seeing Sansa through Nymeria’s eyes that might incite Arya to return to Westeros. (I don’t think it’s that likely, though – it’ll probably be Jeyne Poole in Braavos and the news about Jon’s death that does it, if not something else entirely.)

But I wouldn’t expect such an encounter to be particularly… um… pleasant? No, it would be Sansa encountering a giant feral direwolf and a huge pack of man-killing wolves, she’d be goddamn terrified. Maybe, maybe Sansa’s arrested skinchanging abilties could let her sense Arya in Nymeria, but more like she’d be bewildered by what she senses, if anything. I’d imagine even if Nymeria recognizes Sansa as pack, or if Arya-in-Nymeria halts any possible wolf attack on whatever camp in the Riverlands Sansa’s in, Sansa herself wouldn’t have the experience with wolf-warging to know what’s going on. And unless Sansa runs away with the wolves (I… just don’t see that happening, although I’ve read some interesting fics with that concept), she’s not going to have a chance to learn to bond with any of them. It’ll just be a terrifying, bewildering encounter where scary wolves show up, the giant packleader looks at Sansa funny, Sansa looks back and feels something strangely familiar (maybe even recognizes Nymeria’s markings), and then the wolves run off and Sansa’s all what the hell just happened.

(Dogs or birds, that’s what Sansa needs to learn to bond to before she can even attempt an adult wolf, if her skinchanging abilities still have potential to grow again.)

But anyway, yes, a warg can bond with another warg’s wolf, or a skinchanger with another skinchanger’s animal.

“Once a horse is broken to the saddle, any man can mount him,” [Varamyr Sixskins] said in a soft voice. “Once a beast’s been joined to a man, any skinchanger can slip inside and ride him.” –ASOS, Jon X

He had known what Snow was the moment he saw that great white direwolf stalking silent at his side. One skinchanger can always sense another. Mance should have let me take the direwolf. There would be a second life worthy of a king. He could have done it, he did not doubt. The gift was strong in Snow, but the youth was untaught, still fighting his nature when he should have gloried in it. –ADWD, Prologue

None of [the skinchangers] had been as strong as Varamyr Sixskins, though, not even Haggon, tall and grim with his hands as hard as stone. The hunter died weeping after Varamyr took Greyskin from him, driving him out to claim the beast for his own. No second life for you, old man. –ADWD, Prologue

Slipping into Summer’s skin had become as easy for him as slipping on a pair of breeches once had been, before his back was broken. Changing his own skin for a raven’s night-black feathers had been harder, but not as hard as he had feared, not with these ravens. “A wild stallion will buck and kick when a man tries to mount him, and try to bite the hand that slips the bit between his teeth,” Lord Brynden said, “but a horse that has known one rider will accept another. Young or old, these birds have all been ridden. Choose one now, and fly.” –ADWD, Bran III

However, while Bloodraven is encouraging Bran to skinchange into ravens whose previous riders are all long dead, note that what Varamyr knows is possible – to tear an animal away from its living bonded skinchanger – is an awful thing to do. We know this because it’s Varamyr, who is a horrible, horrible person, a murderer and warlord and rapist, who performed all the abominations anathema to skinchangers (eating human flesh while in an animal, being in an animal while it’s mating, and skinchanging a human). Varamyr, who stole his teacher’s direwolf, preventing him from having a second life in the animal; Varamyr who wanted to overpower Jon and tear Ghost away from him.

Now, I’m sure you don’t think you’re suggesting anything like that with Sansa and Nymeria, but I don’t think a warg can connect to a bonded wolf without driving its master out (or unless its master is already dead). I don’t think the bond can be shared between two living people and one animal. Perhaps I’m wrong, but that’s what the “rules of warging” seem to me based on the text we have. So Nymeria is Arya’s, and will always be. If Sansa encounters Nymeria it will be to sense her sister in the wolf, not replace her. (And please don’t bring up that stupid spec about Arya dying and being in Nymeria after, I’ve said many times I reject that entirely.) And as for Arya’s strong connections to Princess Nymeria, please see these posts. Hope that helps!

The Walkers pt 1

Kind of the prequel for “The Bear’s Lady

word count: 3443

“Ullrae!” The scream is the last time you hear your mother’s voice, your name the last thing to pass her lips before the Orc’s jagged blade steals her life. The roar of anger as your father throws himself into the fight, shifting into a massive lynx in mid-air and slashing any and all throats he can, before he too is cut down. You can do nothing but watch, bound by some sort of evil that stops you from shifting, stops you from helping, keeps you still and only able to watch in horror as your family is slaughtered.

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“It is curious to find the wolf as a character in children’s literature, for all wolves in literature are creations of adult minds, that is, of adult fears, adult fantasies, adult allegories, and adult perversions.” Of Wolves and Men

all six stark children are born with the ability to become wargs and were each bonded to a direwolf but its the youngest, arya bran and rickon, who most fully embrace their gifts. i think theres a lot of factors that go into this but chief among them is social conventions. the older three, robb jon and sansa, are more bound by their roles as king lord commander and lady respectively. they believe they have to act a certain way and in doing so reject their wolves. they also buy into societies fears of wolves; they’re dangerous, people are afraid of them  and they dont belong among men. the core of their identities is in direct contrast with the wolf within and something is always lost as a result:

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