GRRM has said many times that he based the Wall on Hadrian’s Wall. He spoiled us. Hadrian’s Wall is not the northern-most wall. The Antonine Wall is the most northern-most wall in Scotland.
‘No there is another.’ – Master Yoda
There are parallels between The Bloody Gate of The Vale and The Black Gate of The Wall. Both gates guard The Dawn. And both gates are guarded by men in “black.” But The Bloody Gate may be even more important in restoring The Dawn.
The Bloody Gate was lead by it’s (Lord) Commander, Brynden Blackfish who took no wife and fathered no children. The Gold Cloaks of Kings Landing have a thousand men but still report to a “Captain.”
This commander of The Bloody Gate traditionally asks the question, “Who would pass the Bloody Gate?” to all who would pass through. Brynden keeps this formality even when he sees his sister.
His horse and his armor were grey, but his cloak was the rippling blue-and-red of Riverrun, and a shiny black fish, wrought in gold and obsidian, pinned its folds against his shoulder. “Who would pass the Bloody Gate?” he called.
“Ser Donnel Waynwood, with the Lady Catelyn Stark and her companions,” the young knight answered.
“May we enter the Vale?” Ser Donnel asked. The Waynwoods were ever ones for ceremony.
“In the name of Robert Arryn, Lord of the Eyrie, Defender of the Vale, True Warden of the East [notice it is not Jaime Lannister], I bid you enter freely, and charge you to keep his peace,” Ser Brynden replied. “Come.”
And so she rode behind him, beneath the shadow of the Bloody Gate where a dozen armies had dashed themselves to pieces in the Age of Heroes. On the far side of the stoneworks, the mountains opened up suddenly upon a vista of green fields, blue sky, and snowcapped mountains that took her breath away. The Vale of Arryn bathed in the morning light.
It stretched before them to the misty east, a tranquil land of rich black soil, wide slow-moving rivers, and hundreds of small lakes that shone like mirrors in the sun, protected on all sides by its sheltering peaks.
-A Game of Thrones – Catelyn VI
So we have men of the “black” armored in obsidian, a peculiar formality in a ceremony in passing through, and men, or one man at least, who have taken no wife and fathered no children. A dozen armies had dashed themselves to pieces in the Age of Heroes. I would venture to say those pieces were broken shards of Others. Once you entered the vale we have black from the soil. But the castle is bathed in morning light. Another name for morning light, is The Dawn. With small lakes that mirror the sun, as Others hate light, mirrors may yet play a role.
Now lets think about another gate of the First Men, The Black Gate. But first lets take a closer look at the Night’s Watch vow.
Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.
It does not say I am the watcher on the Wall. It says I am the watcher on the walls. Plural.
We have the Five Forts in Essos. We have The Wall in The North. That makes six. The Seven may still play their part with the magic number. Could The Gates of The Moon be the seventh wall?
Lets explore how Sam went through The Black Gate.
When someone approaches the Black Gate, the eyes open. They are white and blind, and then the door asks:
“Who are you?”
“I am the sword in the darkness,” Samwell Tarly said. “I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers. I am the shield that guards the realms of men.”
“Then pass,” the door said. Its lips opened, wide and wider and wider still, until nothing at all remained but a great gaping mouth in a ring of wrinkles. Sam stepped aside and waved Jojen through ahead of him. Summer followed, sniffing as he went, and then it was Bran’s turn. Hodor ducked, but not low enough. The door’s upper lip brushed softly against the top of Bran’s head, and a drop of water fell on him and ran slowly down his nose. It was strangely warm, and salty as a tear.
-A Storm of Swords – Bran IV
They are both creations of First Men and/or The Children and it sounds like The Bloody Gate may be built in part by Weirwood. That is the reason for it’s true name was lost to history. Blood sacrifice. The dozens of armies that had dashed themselves to pieces in the Age of Heroes and since have only made it more powerful.
In The Garden of Edenos I speculated for the reason the wall was erected and the purpose of the Night’s Watch was to keep men away from The Ironwood Tree of Eternal Life, the counterpart to The Weirwood Tree of Knowledge that men ate from. This caused us to forget why The Watch fought against the Freefolk; so they did not get to the Ironwood and start an apocalyptic war.
The reason I believe there is another Wall in The Vale is directly connected to House Royce.
The First Men only left us runes on rocks, so everything we think 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.
– A Feast for Crows – Samwell I
The ancient crown of the Kings of Winter had been lost three centuries ago, yielded up to Aegon the Conqueror when Torrhen Stark knelt in submission. What Aegon had done with it no man could say. Lord Hoster’s smith had done his work well, and Robb’s crown looked much as the other was said to have looked in the tales told of the Stark kings of old; an open circlet of hammered bronze incised with the runes of the First Men, surmounted by nine black iron spikes wrought in the shape of longswords. Of gold and silver and gemstones, it had none; bronze and iron were the metals of winter, dark and strong to fight against the cold.
– A Clash of Kings – Catelyn I
The words of House Royce are “We Remember.” Their seat is Runestone. The secret to The Dawn is inscribed in those runes.
However Littlefinger has just given House Royce The Gates of The Moon.
“Dragons came from the moon,” blond Doreah said as she warmed a towel over the fire. Jhiqui and Irri were of an age with Dany, Dothraki girls taken as slaves when Drogo destroyed their father’s khalasar. Doreah was older, almost twenty. Magister Illyrio had found her in a pleasure house in Lys.
Silvery-wet hair tumbled across her eyes as Dany turned her head, curious. “The moon?”
“He told me the moon was an egg, Khaleesi,” the Lysene girl said. “Once there were two moons in the sky, but one wandered too close to the sun and cracked from the heat. A thousand thousand dragons poured forth, and drank the fire of the sun. That is why dragons breathe flame. One day the other moon will kiss the sun too, and then it will crack and the dragons will return.”
-A Game of Thrones – Daenerys III
The light of a thousand thousand giant “dragons” may yet pour forth from The Moon.
But not the one above.
And Joramun blew the Horn of Winter, and woke giants from the earth. He looked for great swords ten feet long, but saw only clubs.
-A Storm of Swords – Jon II
The Vale was narrow here, no more than a half day’s ride across, and the northern mountains seemed so close that Catelyn could almost reach out and touch them. Looming over them all was the jagged peak called the Giant’s Lance, a mountain that even mountains looked up to, its head lost in icy mists three and a half miles above the valley floor. Over its massive western shoulder flowed the ghost torrent of Alyssa’s Tears. Even from this distance, Catelyn could make out the shining silver thread, bright against the dark stone.
The “Giant’s lance” is mentioned 22 times in the series and waking “giants from” the earth is mentioned 8 times. plus twice more in the new Alayne Winds of Winter chapter. Where Littlefinger, who himself once had the sigil of the giant Titan of Braavos had this cake prepared:
“I am the horn that wakes the sleepers” is the Nights Watch’s oath. But the giants are by “the other Wall.” The giants should not be on the other side of Westeros by The Wall if their Lance is in The Vale. “I am the watcher on The Walls.” The Walls are plural.
If the walls are plural there may even be a third secret wall, The Boneway in Dorne. The words of House Yronwood are We Guard the Way. But since we haven’t seen it yet, that is just conjecture.
Back to the Vale with Lord Protector Petyr Baelish:
The cooks prepared a splendid subtlety, a lemon cake in the shape of the Giant’s Lance, twelve feet tall and adorned with an Eyrie made of sugar… The cake had required every lemon in the Vale, but Petyr had promised that he would send to Dorne for more.
Petyr Baelish is not the giant we were hoping for though. His association with it concerns me. See this post on the role of Braavos and The House of Black and White in the coming battle for the dawn. Making Sansa destroy the giant by consuming it, going to great lengths to get every lemon in The Vale is not a good sign at all. There is something more fishy than lemony going on here.
There is a poison called sweetsleep that is used in sweet cakes:
Her part was mostly fetching, scrambling up ladders to find the herbs and leaves the waif required. “Sweetsleep is the gentlest of poisons,” the waif told her, as she was grinding some with a mortar and pestle. “A few grains will slow a pounding heart and stop a hand from shaking, and make a man feel calm and strong. A pinch will grant a night of deep and dreamless sleep. Three pinches will produce that sleep that does not end. The taste is very sweet, so it is best used in cakes and pies and honeyed wines. Here, you can smell the sweetness.”
-A Feast for Crows – Cat Of The Canals
I think Sweetrobin’s shaking sickness isn’t epilepsy, but withdrawal from the drug.
“Sweets?” said Colemon.
“Sweets. Cakes and pies, jams and jellies, honey on the comb. Perhaps a pinch of sweetsleep in his milk, have you tried that? Just a pinch, to calm him and stop his wretched shaking.”
“A pinch?” The apple in the maester’s throat moved up and down as he swallowed.
“One small pinch . . . perhaps, perhaps. Not too much, and not too often, yes, I might try . . .”
-A Feast for Crows – Alayne I
“It was too soon. My lady, you do not understand. As I’ve told the Lord Protector, a pinch of sweetsleep will prevent the shaking, but it does not leave the flesh, and in time . . .”
“Time will not matter if his lordship has a shaking fit and falls off the mountain. If my father were here, I know he would tell you to keep Lord Robert calm at all costs.”
-A Feast for Crows – Alayne II
I think Sweetrobin is being poisoned to death and his addiction to sweetsleep may be used as a weapon to control him which will be important when the Long Night comes to the Vale and it is the last stand for humanity after the floods and cold come after the Hammerhorn of the Waters is sounded.
The Bloody Gate will be the only “Wall” to remain standing… Unless Petyr Baelish has different ideas.
The Vale of Arryn may become a veil of Darkness.