Who blew the Horn of Joramun?

  • What if there never was an actual, fabled ‘Horn of Winter’, to wake giants from the earth or collapse the Wall?


  • What if there is (was?), and it has already been used?


  • Who would have used it and to what purpose?

I believe there is sufficient evidence in the text to support the argument that the prophesied power of the horn has already been used in the books, right under our noses.

I believe that no such ‘Horn of Winter’ exists, or that if it did or does, it is not relevant.

I believe that the effects of the horn have all been observed, and it is just left to us readers to ascertain what the figurative horn was.

I hope that my arguments and evidence in this essay will entertain and inform you, and leave you ready to draw your own conclusions.


What the Horn supposedly does…

According to the fables and oral histories, the horn has fabled powers:

And Joramun blew the Horn of Winter, and woke giants from the earth.
— JON II, A STORM OF SWORDS

Specifically the horn is suggested to be capable of collapsing the Wall.

The implicit function of this legendary horn then is to invoke some sort of massive earth-moving power that will destabilize the Wall and cause its collapse. This sounds very much like an earthquake. In fact, I once made a well-founded argument to this effect which I recommend reading (click here to read it).


So when did giants wake from the earth?

In the middle of A Dance with Dragons, Jon has a chance encounter with some wildling refugees at the weirwood grove north of the Wall. His band of men surprise these wildlings as they are sleeping. Among the wildlings is a sleeping giant. Most notable is the scene when the giant actually wakes up:

The giant was the last to notice them. He had been asleep, curled up by the fire, but something woke him—the child’s cry, the sound of snow crunching beneath black boots, a sudden indrawn breath. When he stirred it was as if a boulder had come to life. He heaved himself into a sitting position with a snort, pawing at his eyes with hands as big as hams to rub the sleep away … until he saw Iron Emmett, his sword shining in his hand. Roaring, he came leaping to his feet, and one of those huge hands closed around a maul and jerked it up.

Ghost showed his teeth in answer. Jon grabbed the wolf by the scruff of the neck. “We want no battle here.” His men could bring the giant down, he knew, but not without cost. Once blood was shed, the wildlings would join the fray. Most or all would die here, and some of his own brothers too. “This is a holy place. Yield, and we—”

The giant bellowed again, a sound that shook the leaves in the trees, and slammed his maul against the ground. The shaft of it was six feet of gnarled oak, the head a stone as big as a loaf of bread. The impact made the ground shake. Some of the other wildlings went scrambling for their own weapons.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

This is beyond the point of being coincidence.

It’s clearly a sleeping giant who is awoken. We see a clear association between the sleeping giant and the earth in the form of a boulder. Further we see that his voice and the mighty swing of his hammer cause both the trees and the ground to shake. Lastly, if you have read my linked theory about the Horn and agree that it must have been made by the children of the forest, then the ‘child’s cry’ becomes much more compelling.

At the very least, the prose certainly lends an air of mystery as to what actually woke the giant up. The deliberate effort to confound the reader as to what woke the giant only heightens the comparison to the prophesied Horn.


And when did the Wall come down?

In the literal sense, the Wall never came down.

However, after the giant from the previous passage is becalmed, Jon and his men perform the ritual that drew them to the weirwood grove in the first place, with their new recruits taking the oath of the Night’s Watch before the heart trees. Jon is deep in thought while the vows are shared, and we observe the following passage:

The shield that guards the realms of men. Ghost nuzzled up against his shoulder, and Jon draped an arm around him. He could smell Horse’s unwashed breeches, the sweet scent Satin combed into his beard, the rank sharp smell of fear, the giant’s overpowering musk. He could hear the beating of his own heart. When he looked across the grove at the woman with her child, the two greybeards, the Hornfoot man with his maimed feet, all he saw was men.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

This paragraph is principally the moment when Jon realizes that even the wildlings count as ‘men’ and should be protected by the oaths of the Night’s Watch. This is when his opinion about admitting the wildlings into the realm changes. And since he’s the Lord Commander, one could argue that this is when the Wall figuratively fell, allowing wildlings into the seven kingdoms.

This isn’t just conjecture on my part. The idea that ‘all he saw was men’ is his basis for allowing the wildlings through the Wall is specifically cited by Jon when he justifies releasing Val:

“I know what I swore.” Jon said the words. “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. Were those the same words you said when you took your vows?”

“They were. As the lord commander knows.”

“Are you certain that I have not forgotten some? The ones about the king and his laws, and how we must defend every foot of his land and cling to each ruined castle? How does that part go?” Jon waited for an answer. None came. “I am the shield that guards the realms of men. Those are the words. So tell me, my lord—what are these wildlings, if not men?”
— JON X, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Notice that the line from the oath –I am the shield that guards the realms of men– is in both passages. It further unifies them and shows the connection between them.

But that only puts wildlings at the Wall. As we can see, Jon’s distribution of the wildlings throughout the castles of the Nights Watch is a far cry from the wildling flight from the Others.

It’s hardly the kind of figurative wall-collapsing they probably wanted.


Ok, so what about a ‘stronger’ collapse of the Wall?

Finally, the very same giant who so cleverly symbolized waking giants resurfaces at the end of A Dance with Dragons, to once again make reference to giants collapsing the Wall:

Then he heard the shouting … and a roar so loud it seemed to shake the Wall.
— JON X, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

This is the beginning of the end for Jon’s final chapter in A Dance with Dragons.

Most notably we’ve got some hilariously relevant text here, the first is a brief thought from Jon:

The giant was dangling a bloody corpse by one leg, the same way Arya used to dangle her doll when she was small, swinging it like a morningstar when menaced by vegetables. Arya never tore her dolls to pieces, though.
— JON XII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Oh-ho, but Sansa sure tore Robert Arryn’s doll up!

“Winterfell is the seat of House Stark,” Sansa told her husband-to-be. “The great castle of the north.”

“It’s not so great.” The boy knelt before the gatehouse. “Look, here comes a giant to knock it down.” He stood his doll in the snow and moved it jerkily. “Tromp tromp I’m a giant, I’m a giant,” he chanted. “Ho ho ho, open your gates or I’ll mash them and smash them.” Swinging the doll by the legs, he knocked the top off one gatehouse tower and then the other.

It was more than Sansa could stand. “Robert, stop that.” Instead he swung the doll again, and a foot of wall exploded. She grabbed for his hand but she caught the doll instead. There was a loud ripping sound as the thin cloth tore. Suddenly she had the doll’s head, Robert had the legs and body, and the rag-and-sawdust stuffing was spilling in the snow.

Lord Robert’s mouth trembled. “You killlllllllled him,” he wailed. Then he began to shake. It started with no more than a little shivering, but within a few short heartbeats he had collapsed across the castle, his limbs flailing about violently. White towers and snowy bridges shattered and fell on all sides. Sansa stood horrified, but Petyr Baelish seized her cousin’s wrists and shouted for the maester.
— SANSA VII, A STORM OF SWORDS

So you see, if you re-imagine Ser Patrek as the doll and Wun Wun the giant as Robert Arryn, you can see a huge allegory for a potential earthquake.

The hilarity of this connection continues when you remember the prophecy from the Ghost of High Heart, the one that predicted a maid would slay a ‘savage giant’ in a castle built of snow. What’s funny about it is that the wildlings are considered ‘savage’ in general, there was one wildling custom which was called out as savage in the same chapter:

“Has Val been told, Your Grace?” asked Jon. “Amongst the free folk, when a man desires a woman, he steals her, and thus proves his strength, his cunning, and his courage. The suitor risks a savage beating if he is caught by the woman’s kin, and worse than that if she herself finds him unworthy.”

“A savage custom,” Axell Florent said.

Ser Patrek only chuckled. “No man has ever had cause to question my courage. No woman ever will.”
— JON XII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Finally, we have this show-stopper near the end:

Jon had to put an end to this or more men would die. They had no idea of Wun Wun’s strength. A horn, I need a horn.
— JON XII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

This all accumulates to suggest a seismic event –most likely figurative– that will happen after Jon’s assumed death. This could be the event that causes the wildlings to finally break free from the Wall and move south to their own hearts’ content.


And when was the horn blown?

As I noted earlier, there is an air of mystery regarding what woke the giant up in the weirwood grove. Virtually all of the prose involving this giant can be tied directly to the prophesied horn’s powers. As such, one can’t help but conclude that this ‘mystery noise’ was the ‘real’ Horn of Winter: it precipitated everything that has followed.

But was there an actual horn or something similar that symbolized the manifestation of the prophesy? I think so.

When Jon and his party return from the oath-swearing ceremony at the weirwood grove, they are greeted at the Wall by a horn of the Night Watch:

A sentry’s horn greeted them as they approached, sounding from on high like the cry of some huge, deep-throated bird, a single long blast that meant rangers returning.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Personally I could take or leave this as far as it substantiates anything –it could simply just be fanciful prose. I don’t expect it to convince anyone –by itself. The description of the horn’s sounding might also be indicative of the person behind the prophesy’s realization: Bloodraven (as I argue later).


Who blew the horn?

I’ll be honest, I don’t have all the answers. What follows here is a theory based on evidence, but it could always be wrong.

That said, this is a tricky subject to answer. If a person is so inclined to have entertained my ideas thus far, there are two real possibilities.

The first option is Melisandre. I personally find this to be the weaker of the two options, and the one that is somehow -more obvious- to me. I’m not really interested in writing that one, since it’s more or less straightforward … and in my opinion unlikely.

The second is that the horn was ‘sounded’ in some fashion by Bloodraven. To explain this requires it’s own section.


How could have Bloodraven ‘sounded’ the horn?

I believe there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Ghost visited (or attempted to visit) the cave of the Three-Eyed Crow immediately prior to Jon’s band of rangers arriving at the weirwood grove in Jon VII, ADWD.

Hmm… where to begin? I hate to be obvious, but let’s start at the beginning. Let’s start with the wolf dream from Jon’s very first chapter in A Dance with Dragons:

The white wolf raced through a black wood, beneath a pale cliff as tall as the sky. The moon ran with him, slipping through a tangle of bare branches overhead, across the starry sky.

“Snow,” the moon murmured. The wolf made no answer. Snow crunched beneath his paws. The wind sighed through the trees.

Far off, he could hear his packmates calling to him, like to like. They were hunting too. A wild rain lashed down upon his black brother as he tore at the flesh of an enormous goat, washing the blood from his side where the goat’s long horn had raked him. In another place, his little sister lifted her head to sing to the moon, and a hundred small grey cousins broke off their hunt to sing with her. The hills were warmer where they were, and full of food. Many a night his sister’s pack gorged on the flesh of sheep and cows and horses, the prey of men, and sometimes even on the flesh of man himself.

“Snow,” the moon called down again, cackling. The white wolf padded along the man trail beneath the icy cliff. The taste of blood was on his tongue, and his ears rang to the song of the hundred cousins. Once they had been six, five whimpering blind in the snow beside their dead mother, sucking cool milk from her hard dead nipples whilst he crawled off alone. Four remained … and one the white wolf could no longer sense.

“Snow,” the moon insisted.

The white wolf ran from it, racing toward the cave of night where the sun had hidden, his breath frosting in the air. On starless nights the great cliff was as black as stone, a darkness towering high above the wide world, but when the moon came out it shimmered pale and icy as a frozen stream. The wolf’s pelt was thick and shaggy, but when the wind blew along the ice no fur could keep the chill out. On the other side the wind was colder still, the wolf sensed. That was where his brother was, the grey brother who smelled of summer.

“Snow.” An icicle tumbled from a branch. The white wolf turned and bared his teeth. “Snow!” His fur rose bristling, as the woods dissolved around him.Snow, snow, snow!” He heard the beat of wings. Through the gloom a raven flew.
— JON I, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

This is a wolf dream that Jon has. In it Ghost is remembering Summer, and knows that Summer is north of the Wall.

But what is the ‘cave of night where the sun had hidden’?

  • The entire description could simply be a vague metaphor for the west. In this case, the cave is simply an abstract representation of the horizon, beyond which the sun hides when it sets.
  • The ‘cave’ could simply be a man-made dwelling, and the ‘sun’ some sort of light within. I find this to be especially inappropriate, because that describes every man-made dwelling. Being described as a ‘cave of night’ suggests something far darker and more … sinister, for lack of a better word.
  • It could also represent the Cave of the Three-Eyed Crow. In this case, where the ‘sun had hidden’ might represent Summer, or Summer’s golden eyes. Or it could represent something else entirely…

But which is more likely? Which has textual support? Note: We are interpreting a wolf dream here, so ‘artistic license’ will be involved. Hopefully with discretion.

One interesting passage supports the idea that the sun is indeed ‘hidden’:

The shafts of sunlight had vanished when the last thin slice of the sun was swallowed beneath the western woods.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

It loosely suggests that the sun was ‘eaten’ by the woods. It also refers to the sun being beneath the western woods.

Now, the cave of the three-eyed crow is further described as a mouth:

They passed another branching, and another, then came into an echoing cavern as large as the great hall of Winterfell, with stone teeth hanging from its ceiling and more poking up through its floor. The child in the leafy cloak wove a path through them.
— BRAN II, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

The cave is clearly described as a mouth, one that Bran and Summer had to willingly enter. So from an artistic perspective, it’s not entirely alien to suggest that Summer (and in the abstract, the sun) were indeed ‘swallowed’ and are quite literally beneath the woods.

In my list of possible explanations for the ‘cave of night’ I argued that it would have to be a place of great darkness… since every cave is dark by nature. A ‘cave of night’ would have to be darker than imaginable. Again, the cave of the Three-Eyed Crow is specifically called out for this, multiple times:

“Never fear the darkness, Bran.” The lord’s words were accompanied by a faint rustling of wood and leaf, a slight twisting of his head. “The strongest trees are rooted in the dark places of the earth. Darkness will be your cloak, your shield, your mother’s milk. Darkness will make you strong.”
…The great cavern that opened on the abyss was as black as pitch, black as tar, blacker than the feathers of a crow. Light entered as a trespasser, unwanted and unwelcome, and soon was gone again; cookfires, candles, and rushes burned for a little while, then guttered out again, their brief lives at an end.
…No sunlight ever reached the caves beneath the hill. No moonlight ever touched those stony halls. Even the stars were strangers there.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

So Bloodraven’s cave certainly seems like the most logical (and literal) ‘cave of night’.

But what if I bring up something else that supports the ‘cave of night’ being the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven? What if the ‘sun that had hidden’ was a reference to the children of the forest?

Consider their eyes, and their description of their vanishing race:

Their eyes were big too, great golden cat’s eyes that could see down passages where a boy’s eyes saw only blackness…
…That was in the dawn of days, when our sun was rising. Now it sinks, and this is our long dwindling.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Even Bloodraven himself uses the sun when describing the children when he says “Those you call the children of the forest have eyes as golden as the sun“.

Certainly I think these observations render Bloodraven’s cave the preeminent ‘cave of night’ to which Ghost is racing.

Now I ask you to read this:

The moon was a black hole in the sky. Wolves howled in the wood, sniffing through the snowdrifts after dead things. A murder of ravens erupted from the hillside, screaming their sharp cries, black wings beating above a white world. A red sun rose and set and rose again, painting the snows in shades of rose and pink.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Notice the striking similarity in the sunlight, taken from the Jon chapter where he treks to the weirwood grove (the very next chapter in the book):

Half a mile from the grove, long red shafts of autumn sunlight were slanting down between the branches of the leafless trees, staining the snowdrifts pink…

…Night was falling fast. The shafts of sunlight had vanished when the last thin slice of the sun was swallowed beneath the western woods. The pink snow drifts were going white again, the color leaching out of them as the world darkened.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Further, when Jon and his party are returning from the grove, they have no moonlight:

They had no moon to guide them home, and only now and then a patch of stars. The world was black and white and still.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Now given that these samples are taken from two chapters

  • immediately adjacent to each other
  • both refer to a new moon
  • and both have pink snows

I have no choice but to conclude that Jon’s trek happens during Bran’s paragraph about the red sun. This is also roughly consistent with the extremely detailed timelines of events in the series that you can find on the Internet.

This conclusion allows us to make some inspired (but very speculative) observations which tie into the prose and the text. Assuming Bran’s paragraph about the red sun includes Jon’s trek leads to the following arguably stellar finds.

  • First, it makes mention of wolves howling and sniffing after ‘dead things’. Since Ghost doesn’t howl, this has long been assumed to be a reference to Summer and/or his pack. But what if it also referred to Ghost… possibly searching for more dead bodies near the grove?
    After all, it is what Ghost did the first time Jon went to the grove – couldn’t it be the most logical reason that Ghost takes off running at the start of their journey to the grove?

  • Second, it talks about ravens erupting from the hillside, screaming their cries and beating their wings.
    Recall that earlier passage I shared about the horn on the Wall that sounds when Jon returns after the ceremony is complete:

    A sentry’s horn greeted them as they approached, sounding from on high like the cry of some huge, deep-throated bird, a single long blast that meant rangers returning.— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Thus the horns of the Night’s Watch could be the manifestation of the ravens’ screams, and Jon’s band themselves the ‘murder’ of crows.

Why is Ghost racing towards this ‘cave of night’?

I’ve already shown how the cave of the three-eyed crow seems to be a dead-on match for Ghost’s ‘cave of night’. So why would he be trying to go there? And why would he seem to know where it is?

Perhaps because he’s been there before? In A Storm of Swords, Jon contemplates Stannis’s offer to be granted Lordship of Winterfell. He wanders while thinking and ends up north of the Wall, sitting on a stump at the edge of the haunted forest. He’s sitting for a few hours, as evidenced by the movements of shadows in his point-of-view.

Suddenly Ghost emerges from the woods and Jon has a great reunion with his lost direwolf. Isn’t it curious that Ghost just happened to end up back with Jon, just coincidentally when Jon is north of the Wall, just prior to the election of the Lord Commander? Very conspicuous. But you don’t need me to tell you that.

The weirwood grove is two-hours away from the Wall when traveling on horseback. If one considered the idea that the grove was somewhere near to Bloodraven’s cave, then it’s entirely possible that Ghost was hanging around this location at the time Jon was deep in his thoughts. This could be why Ghost already knows about the ‘cave of night’.

Last but not least, recall the very specific observation about the ‘red sun that rose and set and rose again’ that Bran makes. During Jon’s reunion with Ghost, he makes a futile effort to determine where Ghost had been:

“Gods, wolf, where have you been?” Jon said when Ghost stopped worrying at his forearm. “I thought you’d died on me, like Robb and Ygritte and all the rest. I’ve had no sense of you, not since I climbed the Wall, not even in dreams.” The direwolf had no answer, but he licked Jon’s face with a tongue like a wet rasp, and his eyes caught the last light and shone like two great red suns.

Red eyes, Jon realized, but not like Melisandre’s. He had a weirwood’s eyes. Red eyes, red mouth, white fur. Blood and bone, like a heart tree. He belongs to the old gods, this one.
— JON XIII, A STORM OF SWORDS

Notice that this event, Ghost licking Jon’s face and being affectionate, is the causal factor for Jon’s decision to reject Stannis’s offer.

So isn’t it just a bit odd that Ghost vanishes during their trek to the grove, reappears later, and then nuzzles up against Jon precisely when Jon makes his key realization about the wildlings being worthy of protection?

Ghost’s reappearance at the end of A Storm of Swords was exceedingly serendipitous, especially as it seems Bloodraven likely had a hand in helping Jon win the LC election (Kettle! Kettle!). It would appear that Bloodraven engineered the outcome.

So too would the circumstances of Jon’s destiny-changing decision about the wildlings (and everything it leads to) seem like another engineered outcome. Just as with Stannis’s offer, Jon is lost in thought, uncertain on the wisest choice, when suddenly Ghost intervenes. And in both cases, after Ghost was off in parts unknown just prior.

If I had to speculate, I guess that Bloodraven uses Ghost as a primitive way to access or influence Jon, since Jon isn’t as skilled a warg or green dreamer as Bran or Jojen.


Additional Oddities

There are several strange observations that seem to further heighten suspicion of the horn’s manifestation as an abstraction of the prophecy, and of Bloodraven’s possible involvement. For lack of a better arrangement, there are covered here.

Wun Wun’s weird obsession

One of the oddest things about Jon VII, ADWD (the chapter with the swearing-in ceremony at the weirwood grove) is the bizarre behavior of the giant Wun Wun:

The journey back took much longer than the journey to the grove. The giant’s pace was a ponderous one, despite the length and girth of those legs, and he was forever stopping to knock snow off low-hanging limbs with his maul.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

From the same chapter, a vivid description of the snow and ice on the trees:

The soldier pines and sentinels wore thick white coats, and icicles draped the bare brown limbs of the broadleafs.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

So perhaps this suggests a relationship to the ‘tumbling icicle’ from Jon’s wolf dream. Sure it’s far-fetched from a logical point-of-view, but consider that I’ve already shown the giant to be a mountain of symbolism with regards to the mythical ‘Horn of Joramun’. Is it really too much to consider his playfulness with the snow to be similarly symbolic?

A superior sense of smell — that mysteriously fails

Let’s talk about Ghost’s awesome sense of smell, and Jon’s lesser access to it:

Jon smelled Tom Barleycorn before he saw him. Or was it Ghost who smelled him? Of late, Jon Snow sometimes felt as if he and the direwolf were one, even awake.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Ghost nuzzled up against his shoulder, and Jon draped an arm around him. He could smell Horse’s unwashed breeches, the sweet scent Satin combed into his beard, the rank sharp smell of fear, the giant’s overpowering musk.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Clearly Jon has a superior sense of smell in the presence of Ghost, particularly when they touch. Why is it then that he senses nothing when Ghost runs off at the beginning of the trek to the grove:

Beyond the ice, the trees stood tall and silent, huddled in the thick white cloaks. Ghost stalked beside Jon’s horse as the rangers and recruits formed up, then stopped and sniffed, his breath frosting in the air. “What is it?” Jon asked. “Is someone there?” The woods were empty as far as he could see, but that was not very far. Ghost bounded toward the trees, slipped between two white-cloaked pines, and vanished in a cloud of snow.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Jon has no clue why Ghost just appears to up and run off. This is inconsistent with the fact that Jon was able to smell Tom Barleycorn before Ghost was even visible — suggesting that the shared olfactory abilities work at some distance. So what was Ghost after, if not a scent?

Some observations I should bring up at this point:

  • This is isn’t the first time that Ghost has bolted off to places unknown during a trek to the weirwood grove. It happened in A Game of Thrones when Jon is traveling to the weirwood grove for the first time to say his vows:

    “Yes, my lord,” Jon said. Ghost’s head lifted. He seemed to taste the air. In the blink of an eye he was off, racing across the broad, weed-choked field to vanish in the trees.— JON VI, A GAME OF THRONES


  • In the first case, Ghost mysteriously found the bodies of Othor and Jafer Flowers. One possibility is that Ghost simply raced back to the same place, hoping for more bodies (which resonates with my earlier observation about the wolves ‘sniffing for dead things’). However that leaves the open question: what attracted Ghost to that place the first time?


  • As I speculated earlier, what if Ghost is trying to find that ‘cave of night’, the place he tries to find in Jon I, ADWD?
    Based off of the excerpt from Jon I, ADWD, it’s clear that Ghost isn’t using scent to navigate while he races towards the ‘cave of night where the sun had hidden’.
    If this is indeed Ghost trying to navigate towards Summer’s cave, it strongly suggests that the direwolf somehow just knows where it is. He seems to know about a cave, a ‘cave of night where the sun had hidden’. Wolf-radar?


  • But why would Ghost be driven to seek out the cave and/or Summer? Perhaps it’s because he can sense his brother Summer in the cave. Indeed, The Wall seems to ‘break’ Ghost’s ability to detect Summer, so the sudden reappearance of Summer on his wolf-radar may just be the stimulus that prompts Ghost’s frenetic dash into the forest. Also consider my earlier point that Ghost may already know about the cave from having been there before.

The Eye of Bloodraven

Lastly, the fire that the wildlings burn in the weirwood grove bears an uncanny resemblance to Bloodraven’s one red eye:

Bran could feel the eye staring at him, shining like a pool of blood in the torchlight.
— BRAN II, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS


The weirwoods rose in a circle around the edges of the clearing. There were nine, all roughly of the same age and size. Each one had a face carved into it, and no two faces were alike. Some were smiling, some were screaming, some were shouting at him. In the deepening glow their eyes looked black, but in daylight they would be blood-red, Jon knew. Eyes like Ghost’s.

The fire in the center of the grove was a small sad thing, ashes and embers and a few broken branches burning slow and smoky. Even then, it had more life than the wildlings huddled near it.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS


The only thing that looked alive in the pale ruin that was his face was his one red eye, burning like the last coal in a dead fire…
— BRAN II, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

3 thoughts on “Who blew the Horn of Joramun?

  1. Riusma

    Hi Cantuse,

    If Ghost is running toward the west from Castleblack, maybe he is running toward the Nightfort (the “cave of night […]”) where he may find evidences of the passage beyond the Wall of Bran and his companions, notably Summer who’s eyes are like two suns (“[…] where the sun had hidden”). Samwell has to swear thrice to keep secret that Bran is alive, so it seems that Bloodraven doesn’t want that Jon knows this fact. Both the moon and Mormont’s raven try to wake up Jon before he can reach the “cave of night” through Ghost, perhaps in fear that he may find evidences… There is also a real mouth that swallows peoples at the Nightfort. ^^

    I work on a timeline of ASOIAF respecting the observed lunar phases, and according to this (experimental) timeline ADWD, Jon VII (newmoon) is quickly followed by ADWD, The Prince of Winterfell (crescent moon), which give credence to your observation of “painting the snows in shades of rose and pink” (ADWD, The Prince of Winterfell begins with Theon “complaining” that Arya has a brother at the Wall with better rights than him for performing at the wedding… which links the two “Snows” as I was also thinking about your other essay “I dream of (Ramsay) Snow”).

    You may also find interesting that, according to my experimental timeline, ASOS, Jon XIII and ASOS, Sansa VII occurs at the same time (looking for another important event in Sansa’s timeline, Jon seems to lost his link with Ghost more or less when Sansa is married with Tyrion). But as Jon and Bran are very close to each other despite that Bloodraven don’t want that Jon knows that Bran is alive… Bloodraven may have played a role as well.

    Last time I read this essay back this summer I didn’t know what to think about it as a whole, but it was really worth a rereading with a timeline in mind, thank you ! 🙂

    PS : according to TLOIAF, Bloodraven’s cave is at the same latitude than the Fist of the First Men.

    Reply
  2. sarahp287

    The other figurative interpretation could be that the horn was blown years ago, and the fall of the wall has been seen in the decline of the Night’s Watch over recent years.

    Reply
  3. Varys' Swimsuit Area

    I know you are out of commission, I just thought I would throw a quick reply into this one. I think the passage you are referencing with the giant waking up is an allegory for what happens when the horn is blown. Wun Wun is compared to a boulder waking up and then shaking the earth. Thus, a horn blows, and a giant (boulder) is woken and proceeds to shake the earth. Thus the real horn of Joruman will be blown and will wake boulders (giants) from the earth and cause it to shake. The horn will cause an earthquake as I suspect it has done at least twice in Westeros previously.
    That is all, wishing you improved health!

    Reply

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