Moon Visions: Bran is Already Seeing the Future

I’ll get straight to the point:

Bran’s last chapter in A Dance with Dragons is rife with hidden meaning.

In particular, there are carefully hidden allegories buried in the various transitions of the moon.

By unraveling these mysteries, we realize that Bran’s powers of omniscience were already blooming, even before he—or the reader—was consciously aware of them.

Specifically: We can find intriguing possibilities that might support predictions about the fates of both Jon Snow and Stannis.

Lets start with Bran’s narrative: upon finally settling in at the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven, his narrative becomes increasingly distorted.

Bran’s last chapter in A Dance with Dragons is especially conspicuous, containing frequent—almost rhythmic—breaks in the storytelling—breaks which in almost every case describe the the moon overhead. These interludes all begin with one of the following phrases:

The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

The moon was fat and full.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

The moon was a black hole in the sky.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

These phrases clearly mark the passage of time, and make it clear that BRAN III—ADWD covers a period spanning several months.

Now this leads to an interesting question:

  • ?
  • Can we connect these passages to events happening elsewhere?

At first blush that seems absurd because Bran’s chapter and these sentences seem so abstract and independent of everything and everyone else. But all I’m really asking is–Can we find events in other chapters where the moon can be found in the same phase, or other evidence that events are happening concurrently with the events in BRAN III—ADWD as shown by Bran’s descriptions of the moon?

You may harbor serious doubts about this idea. However, if you’ll indulge me the opportunity to compare two passages from A Dance with Dragons, I believe you will be convinced that reading the remainder of this essay is worthwhile.

We start with Bran’s very first “moon vision” (a term I will use throughout this essay for simplicity’s sake):

The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife. A pale sun rose and set and rose again. Red leaves whispered in the wind. Dark clouds filled the skies and turned to storms.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

This paragraph provides us with basic description of the moon’s phase, as well as some vivid imagery: a pale sun undergoing a figurative cycle of death and rebirth, red leaves whispering, looming storms. Per my claim, we are looking for non-Bran point-of-view chapter wherein we find the moon in a similar phase… and bonus points if other details match the imagery in the moon vision.

It’s actually not that difficult with this example—just three chapters later we have Theon ‘reemerge’ from his identity as Reek, in order to present “Arya Stark” to Ramsay Bolton. Notice the following details:

Up above the treetops, a crescent moon was floating in a dark sky, half-obscured by mist, like an eye peering through a veil of silk.
— THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

“Theon,” a voice seemed to whisper.

His head snapped up. “Who said that?” All he could see were the trees and the fog that covered them. The voice had been as faint as rustling leaves, as cold as hate.
— THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

First and foremost, the moon’s phase is as described in Bran’s vision, thus answering our first question: It is entirely possible that Bran’s first ‘moon vision’ was happening at the same time as the wedding of Ramsay and “Arya”. Certainly, I have not proven that Bran’s vision can only refer to the wedding, nor have I yet explained the meaning of the other imagery in the vision.

Let’s tackle the latter first—what about the other imagery from Bran’s vision? To that end, notice the other striking similarities. The red leaves whispering in the wind is certainly the most obvious match. Although not in the citations, we know that the blizzard began to arrive in earnest soon after the wedding, so the description of clouds filling the skies isn’t far off—indeed, Theon’s passage does refer to a ‘dark sky’ in any case.

However, there is no easily grasped explanation for the imagery concerning the pale sun and its cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

We need just a little more to make a compelling connection:

  • ?
  • What could be meant by the description of the ‘pale sun’ in Bran’s vision?

Of course Occam’s Razor suggests that there is nothing beyond literary license in Bran’s description of the sun and it’s cycle. However, step back and look at the possible connection to Theon.

  • ?
  • Is he not a pale son—one who has all but literally died, only to be ‘reborn’ to the world in the very same chapter that Theon has these conspicuously similar experiences?

If you are willing to see the conceit with wordplay here–that the pale sun is actually a pale son–then the hypothetical connection between Bran’s vision and Theon’s experiences at the wedding becomes extremely compelling.

Further compounding this idea is the very fact that Theon himself anthropomorphized the moon in a very specific fashion:

Up above the treetops, a crescent moon was floating in a dark sky, half-obscured by mist, like an eye peering through a veil of silk.
— THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

The idea of an ‘eye’ watching events below is a motif that manifests in the visions that follow, as I will show you later in this essay.

Having looked at all of this, one comes to the following conclusion:

GRRM deliberately hid a connection between Bran’s vision of the moon and Theon at the wedding.

It’s possible that he (GRRM) could have done this more than once.

Or you could be thinking this…

*   *   *

SO. F***ING. WHAT.


three_eyed_crow_by_zippo514-d62bzn9You might be thinking that all I’ve managed to show is that GRRM might have meant to connect that ‘moon-vision’ to Jeyne’s wedding… that it’s a far cry from substantiating that we can simply begin looking for similar meaning in the other ‘moon’ visions.

Hopefully, I can persuade you to be open-minded by showing you that GRRM has been deliberately playful with his words in this way already… with TWO great examples:

The Crowned Tower

Behind him the broken tower stood, its summit as jagged as a crown where fire had collapsed the upper stories long ago. As the sun moved, the shadow of the tower moved as well, gradually lengthening, a black arm reaching out for Theon Greyjoy. By the time the sun touched the wall, he was in its grasp.
— THEON VI, A CLASH OF KINGS

Think about that paragraph for a moment. This is freaking amazing!

Why is this so amazing?

Because it’s an absurdly precise allegory for the method by which Stannis killed Cortnay Penrose and took Storm’s End. To wit:

  • The tower had a crown.
  • The tower’s shadow moved in accordance with the sun.
  • The shadow is described like a black arm that reached threatening for Theon…
  • …but was unable to grasp him until the sun had breached (touched) the walls of Winterfell.

Now consider these observations against the following rhetorical questions:

  • Does this shadow not resemble the shadow of a king?
  • Does the shadow’s conveyance (the sun) also not bear striking similarity to Melisandre (who glowed when she disrobed in the secret entrance to Storm’s End)?
  • Is it not striking that the shadow could only finally reach Theon when the sun had touched the walls of Winterfell, much like how Melisandre’s shadow of Stannis could not affect Cortnay until she breached the walls of Storm’s End?

It’s so dead-on for being an allegory for Melisandre at Storm’s End that I personally find it unreasonable to think otherwise. Furthermore, it is more than a tad coincidental that the circumstances that Theon is dealing with in that chapter are eerily reminiscent of the exact same scenario facing Cortnay Penrose prior to his assassination: both are holed up in a nigh-impregnable fortress with a fledgling force.

But Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride doesn’t just stop there folks, on to the second example…

The Horn that Wakes the Sleeping Giants

The Horn of Winter. The Horn of Joramun. We all know about it, that it supposedly wakes the giants that were sleeping in the earth and causes earthquakes so forth. Well… how closely did you pay attention to this passage in A Dance with Dragons:

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

Once again, think about the details in the excerpt… they are amazing:

  • Martin deliberately compares Wun Wun’s manner of waking to that of a boulder coming to life.
  • Further compounding the parallel to the legend is the thunderous peal given off by the giant.

Am I saying that Wun Wun’s awakening was the fulfillment of ancient prophecy? …. Maybe. As with all things that involve prophecies in ASOIAF, we’re unlikely to ever know for certain. However, I do believe that it is entirely fair to conclude that readers were meant to notice the connections. Just as with Winterfell’s broken tower and Melisandre.

And with Bran’s first moon vision and Jeyne’s wedding.

*     *     *

Hopefully by now you can see my point: GRRM likes to bury ‘easter eggs’ and hidden connections in his prose. Consequently, assuming that my hypothesis is correct–Bran’s moon visions can be connected to events elsewhere–its important to begin with asking ourselves why such observations even matter.

  • ?
  • Even if it is true that Bran’s first ‘moon vision’ in BRAN III is a vivid abstraction of events surrounding the wedding at Winterfell, why is this important?

This discovery is tremendous for two main reasons:

  • It means that Bran somehow ‘witnessed’ some or all of the events surrounding Ramsay’s wedding. Bran unfortunately makes none of these insights, nevertheless it still stands that Bran’s ‘moon vision’ was a window into something happening elsewhere.
  • If this first vision could be so easily paired with its matching ‘vision target’, what if the remaining ‘moon visions’ have matching targets that can be readily discovered?

The latter point is where the juice emerges. Why? First, recall that many chapters were excised from A Dance with Dragons in order to reach the publication date. This leads directly to third and perhaps most alluring element of the entire hypothesis:

  • ?
  • What if there are ‘moon visions’ in BRAN III that do not correspond to events found elsewhere in A Dance with Dragons, but instead correspond to events from The Winds of Winter?

With knowledge of the chapters culled from A Dance with Dragons, this means that there is the very real possibility of just such a lunar connection… moon visions in BRAN III that refer to events that will only be revealed in The Winds of Winter.

The remainder of this essay blows the cover off of these mysteries: first by revealing the target of every moon vision that can be unraveled within A Dance with Dragons, then by ruminating on those visions that remain, in light of known theories and details concerning future events.

*   *   *

MORE VISIONS


Bran_stark_by_teiikuA single connection between Bran and Theon doesn’t substantially show that Bran’s other visions have similar meaning.

In order for me to even begin to argue that Bran’s chapter has predictive qualities, I first need to show that Bran’s ‘moon visions’ represent a pattern.

Thus, I want to briefly tackle each of them and provide explanations for their ‘true’ interpretations. Furthermore, in doing so I can show the passage of time and connect the timing of Bran’s chapter to events elsewhere.

Across a Black Sky

The next example of the Bran’s perception of the moon is as follows:

The moon was fat and full. Stars wheeled across a black sky. Rain fell and froze, and tree limbs snapped from the weight of the ice. Bran and Meera made up names for those who sang the song of earth: Ash and Leaf and Scales, Black Knife and Snowylocks and Coals.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Now at first it seems rather difficult to find a corroborating event, but this is because you are most likely not noticing the reach of Bran’s vision. Instead of looking for a ‘vision candidate’ in the north of Westeros, look at Tyrion. Shortly after BRAN III—ADWD, we have Tyrion’s adventures aboard the Selaesori Qhoran in TYRION IX. This just so happens to be during the (presumed) hurricane that destroys the ship:

Nearby midnight the winds finally died away, and the sea grew calm enough for Tyrion to make his way back up onto deck. What he saw there did not reassure him. The cog was drifting on a sea of dragonglass beneath a bowl of stars, but all around the storm raged on. East, west, north, south, everywhere he looked, dark clouds rose up like black mountains, their tumbled slopes and colossal cliffs alive with blue and purple lightning. No rain was falling, but the decks were slick and wet underfoot.
— TYRION IX, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Then the rains came, black and blinding, and forecastle and sterncastle both vanished behind a wall of water. Something huge flapped overhead, and Tyrion glanced up in time to see the sail taking wing, with two men still dangling from the lines. Then he heard a crack. Oh, bloody hell, he had time to think, that had to be the mast.
— TYRION IX, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Again, decide for yourself… but these are once more striking parallels in abstract imagery: breaking limbs and masts, crushing water and ice, a wheel or bowl of stars… once more the choice to see a connection is yours, but it certainly seems potent to me.

Recall from the first vision I pointed out that Theon described the moon like an eye that was watching from above. It begs the question:

  • ?
  • Where is the eye in Tyrion’s situation?

The answer might be off-putting: Where is Tyrion if not within the eye of a hurricane?

Bear in mind that it is the repetition of this eye/watcher motif across many visions that is what makes it compelling. I can’t blame you for finding one or more of them odd… it is the overall pattern that bears merit.

Assuming these insights are correct there is another minor point to make: Bran’s moon visions shows us when Bran’s activities are happening with regards to other characters. In other words, Tyrion’s hurricane is happening at roughly the same time Bran is coming up with names for the children of the forest.

*   *   *

Wolves Howled in the Woods

The next moon vision comes a page or two later and has a lot of content to it:

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

This paragraph is much easier to corroborate, it matches with Jon’s trek to the weirwood grove from JON VII—ADWD. Look at the number of major details:

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.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

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. The evening sky had turned the faded grey of an old cloak that had been washed too many times, and the first shy stars were coming out.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

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

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

It goes without saying that the ‘murder of crows’ in Bran’s vision actually corresponds to Jon’s band of men that ride to the grove. They (and their horns) are even characterized as bird-like. The ‘wolf sniffing after dead things’ is almost certainly a reference to Ghost: the direwolf immediately vanished during the ride to the grove, most likely to look for more dead bodies—consider that’s exactly what he did the first time he visited the grove. Everything else is a striking match.

As for the eye/watcher motif I’ve been touting this whole time? Check this out:

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. It was a long, slow, endless trek. The snow clung to their boots and breeches, and the wind rattled the pines and made their cloaks snap and swirl. Jon glimpsed the red wanderer above, watching them through the leafless branches of great trees as they made their way beneath.
— JON VII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Before moving on, take note that you can have some especially noteworthy fun with the line: “A red sun rose and set and rose again, painting the snows in shades of rose and pink.”

  • ?
  • What if the ‘snows’ are ‘Snows’ instead?
  • ?
  • And if the first moon vision described Theon’s rebirth, what or who could a red sun symbolize?

Indeed, isn’t it further curious that the two colors Martin chooses here are ‘rose’ and ‘pink’, both strongly affiliated with two well-known northern bastards? It seems especially odd from a writing perspective to write a sentence that uses rose three times in the same sentence, but one of those times under a different meaning (my point being that sentence works very well as written, but doesn’t sound as good spoken aloud). At the very least, it makes you wonder what Martin might be saying here.

But what about the red sun? If we return to the insights regarding the ‘pale sun’ from Bran’s first vision, then we immediately seek for any characters (sons especially) who are going through a similar cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The obvious candidate? Aegon VI “Young Griff” Targaryen.

First of all, we already know that Aegon VI was certainly born and is believed dead, thus fulfilling the same birth and death cycle we attributed to Theon’s pale sun. And while it’s not directly observed, we know that Aegon formally comes out of hiding around the time of Bran’s visions. So much like Theon, Aegon VI’s life matches the sun cycle described in the vision. And Aegon is obviously appealing as a candidate because he is a Targaryen, and thus a ‘red sun’.

NOTE: Other theories might contend that Jon Snow is actually the ‘red sun’. Perhaps so, but Aegon makes much more sense in the context of Bran’s vision and with matching the tone established with Bran’s first vision about Theon.

But still there are more…

*   *   *

Snowflakes Drifted Down Soundlessly

The next moon vision:

The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife. Snowflakes drifted down soundlessly to cloak the soldier pines and sentinels in white. The drifts grew so deep that they covered the entrance to the caves, leaving a white wall that Summer had to dig through whenever he went outside to join his pack and hunt. Bran did not oft range with them in those days, but some nights he watched them from above.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Once more we don’t have far to look. Shortly after Jon’s trek to the grove, we follow Asha’s captivity in THE KING’S PRIZE. This chapter ends on a quietly terrifying note:

Yet when light came, the camp woke to snow and silence. The sky turned from black to white, and seemed no brighter. Asha Greyjoy awoke cramped and cold beneath the pile of sleeping furs, listening to the She-Bear’s snores. She had never known a woman to snore so loudly, but she had grown used to it whilst on the march, and even took some comfort in it now. It was the silence that troubled her. No trumpets blew to rouse the men to mount up, form column, prepare to march. No warhorns summoned forth the northmen. Something is wrong.

Asha crawled out from under her sleeping furs and pushed her way out of the tent, knocking aside the wall of snow that had sealed them in during the night. Her irons clanked as she climbed to her feet and took a breath of the icy morning air. The snow was still falling, even more heavily than when she’d crawled inside the tent. The lakes had vanished, and the woods as well. She could see the shapes of other tents and lean-tos and the fuzzy orange glow of the beacon fire burning atop the watchtower, but not the tower itself. The storm had swallowed the rest.

Somewhere ahead Roose Bolton awaited them behind the walls of Winterfell, but Stannis Baratheon’s host sat snowbound and unmoving, walled in by ice and snow, starving.
— THE KING’S PRIZE, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

First of all, Bran’s abstract ‘wolf visions’ have always characterized the dwellings of men in terms of dens and caves, so it’s hardly a stretch to see that this moon vision might be a reference to the many tents and huts inhabited by Stannis’s men.

Next, the reference to the soldier and sentinel trees is doubly relevant. Taken without artifice, it means a forest covered with snow, which we can see in Asha’s chapter. However every forest will be snowed over, so its lacking in specific relevance. This is where I point out that Martin mentioned sentinels and soldier trees specifically, two words that he regularly uses elsewhere to describe military men.

While I’m on the subject of sentinels and soldiers, I should point out that while Stannis’s camp is being buried, we have a similar experience happening in Winterfell. Take a close look at the following:

Outside the snow was falling still. Wet, heavy, silent, it had already begun to cover the footsteps left by the men coming and going from the hall. The drifts came almost to the top of his boots. It will be deeper in the wolfswood … and out on the kingsroad, where the wind is blowing, there will be no escape from it. A battle was being fought in the yard; Ryswells pelting Barrowton boys with snowballs. Above, he could see some squires building snowmen along the battlements. They were arming them with spears and shields, putting iron halfhelms on their heads, and arraying them along the inner wall, a rank of snowy sentinels.
— THE TURNCLOAK, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

So you can see that Bran’s vision could apply to either, or perhaps both. It is especially telling that the two chapters (THE KING’S PRIZE and THE TURNCLOAK) are adjacent to each other in the book.

  • ?
  • But what about the line where Bran says he would watch from above?

Well, we already know or suspect that Bran was watching Theon via the weirwood in the Winterfell godswood. But that’s not especially awe-inspiring. A more compelling insight would be for me to point out that there was a raven present at Stannis’s camp:

She blundered back onto the village green unknowing. The pinewood stakes still stood, charred and scorched but not burned through. The chains about the dead had cooled by now, she saw, but still held the corpses fast in their iron embrace. A raven was perched atop one, pulling at the tatters of burned flesh that clung to its blackened skull.
— THE SACRIFICE, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

It’s a bit odd that in the middle of a massive blizzard a raven is innocuously eating away at the burned corpses. Generally speaking, most animals take shelter in a storm. And it’s especially conspicuous when you consider the context of Bran’s vision: when Bran says in the vision that he would watch from above, he is just then beginning to skinchange into ravens in the cave–an eerily well-timed development given the raven in the crofter’s village.

With this observation I’m not trying to convince you of anything sinister… only that Bran’s ‘moon vision’ about the snows refers to Stannis’s camp being snowbound, or Winterfell being buried, or—more likely—both.

*   *   *

Take a moment to look at the chapter order from A Dance with Dragons, especially once you annotate where and when the prospective moon visions are occurring:

  1. BRAN III (all the moon visions occur here)
  2. JON VII (Jon’s trek to the weirwood grove – Bran’s third vision)
  3. DAENERYS VI
  4. THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL (Theon at the weirwood grove – Bran’s first vision)
  5. THE WATCHER
  6. JON VIII (no vision but Jon dispatches Val under a half-moon)
  7. TYRION IX (The hurricane – Bran’s second vision)
  8. THE TURNCLOAK (heavy snows – Bran’s fourth vision)
  9. THE KING’S PRIZE (heavy snows – also possibly the fourth vision)

It’s novel that all of the visions occur in a tight cluster shortly after BRAN III. Once you account for the likelihood that events in these various storylines are occurring contemporaneously, its rather conspicuous.

*   *   *

THE REMAINING VISIONS


comp_blizzardBut there are six moon visions in BRAN III—ADWD. The remaining two?

The moon was fat and full. Summer prowled through the silent woods, a long grey shadow that grew more gaunt with every hunt, for living game could not be found. The ward upon the cave mouth still held; the dead men could not enter. The snows had buried most of them again, but they were still there, hidden, frozen, waiting. Other dead things came to join them, things that had once been men and women, even children. Dead ravens sat on bare brown branches, wings crusted with ice. A snow bear crashed through the brush, huge and skeletal, half its head sloughed away to reveal the skull beneath.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

The moon was a black hole in the sky. Outside the cave the world went on. Outside the cave the sun rose and set, the moon turned, the cold winds howled.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

However, I do not believe these map to events that occur with A Dance with Dragons. They may actually have occurred during the span of time covered by the book, but I do not believe they were witnessed by any point-of-view character; and/or they will occur in The Winds of Winter.

Keep in mind that Martin wrote many chapters that were later culled from A Dance with Dragons, thus if the pattern of Bran’s moon visions mapping to other points-of-view holds true, we should see manifestations of these two visions in at least some abstract—but fairly recognizable—format.

In particular, the first of these two visions is full of startling potentialities:

  • In light of the many theories that Stannis will fake his own death in order to sneak up on Winterfell unawares (you can read further on this in The Mannifesto), it is very conspicuous that the paragraph would describe ‘dead men’ who are ‘buried again’. This jives with the many ideas that Stannis would fake his own defeat and then use that cover to sneak up on Winterfell, his approach veiled by the snowy blizzard.
  • Notice that the paragraph also refers to a ward upon the cave’s mouth still holding, preventing the dead men’s entrance. FIrst off, this makes poetic sense because as will Storm’s End, Winterfell is rumored to have been constructed with old magic and thus is perhaps protected in someway. In any case, it matches with the theories that Stannis’s ‘fake death’ plot still would need to address the manner of eliminating this protection: by either removing the figurative ward or by emptying the castle of enemies.
    On a side note, look at the sentence a bit liberally: could the ‘ward’ be a reference to an actual ward—such as Theon? Or perhaps a reference to ‘warden’, such as Roose Bolton, the appointed Warden of the North.
  • Now notice that the vision mentions ‘other dead things’ joining the dead men, including women and children. Recall that many theories—including The Mannifesto—believe that Stannis’s army will be bolstered numerically after playing dead. Perhaps one of the most obvious and likely of mergers will be with Mors Umber’s force of ‘green boys’, when Stannis’s ‘dead army’ arrives at Winterfell.
    Furthermore, the Mannifesto makes a compelling argument that Stannis worked out some sort of alliance with the wildlings (in particular with Val), which means that Val and/or other spearwives might enter into the equation.
  • The ‘dead ravens’ is neatly apt as well, considering this would seem line up with with the idea of a dead Jon Snow.
  • And finally you have the line about a ‘snow bear’ crashing through the woods, huge and skeletal. First of all, we know from Theon’s sample chapter that Mors Umber himself wears a snow bear pelt as a cloak, with its hood being the head of the animal as well. That’s an eerily apt match. Setting Umber aside, another possible candidate is Tormund Giantsbane, who is often described as bearlike… and in fact is noted by Jon as being much more gaunt by the end of A Dance with Dragons.

So altogether, its a pretty striking match for many of the events predicted to occur in The Winds of Winter, particularly those already called out in The Mannifesto. I’ll openly admit that this seems like a pretty self-serving analysis… but what makes it so great is that none of these observations were made prior to writing the previous analyses in the Mannifesto… in other words it was purely by accident that I encountered these similarities, and the predictions of the Mannifesto do not require me to be correct at all about Bran’s ‘moon visions’.

Now this leaves us with only Bran’s final vision to decipher:

The moon was a black hole in the sky. Outside the cave the world went on. Outside the cave the sun rose and set, the moon turned, the cold winds howled.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Now I believe we’re finally beyond anything covered by the Mannifesto or any of the other solid theories regarding the north. All I’m left with is speculations—’educated’ so to speak, but speculations nonetheless.

In particular I believe the second line might specifically refer to Jon’s death and rebirth. Remember that in two of Bran’s earlier ‘moon visions’, the sun played a symbolic role of life, death and rebirth… first as a pale sun (Theon) and then again later as a red sun (Aegon VI). Here now we see it again… but we only see the initial rising and setting. Unlike with the other visions we do not see it rising again in plain text. Compare:

A red sun rose and set and rose again, painting the snows in shades of rose and pink.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Outside the cave the sun rose and set, the moon turned, the cold winds howled.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Now I could be talking out of my ass, but I believe we do not see a mention of it rising in ‘plain text’ because GRRM figured it would be too obvious. I honestly think he figured more readers would have picked up on the pale sun and red sun analogies, and would have sussed out a third sun analogy with ease; thus giving away Jon’s rebirth.

Instead, what I believe we have here is a description of Jon’s birth and death, followed by the moon turning… quite literally meaning a month passes, before finally the cold winds howling. In this case I of course can only speculate, but somehow makes sense that this howling could be symbolic of his resurrection.

*   *   *

Of course I can offer no great proof my speculations on these last two visions.

That said, my goal wasn’t really to predict the future, but rather to show you the tantalizing possibilities, as implied by an analysis of Bran’s moon visions:

  • First and foremost, I hope you realize how juicy those visions actually are, even if you disagree with some of my speculations.
  • Second, notice how well they correspond to various speculations (including the Mannifesto) regarding the fate of Stannis’s army following the battle at the crofter’s village.
  • Lastly, the final vision is pregnant with possible implications for Jon Snow.

 

20 thoughts on “Moon Visions: Bran is Already Seeing the Future

  1. Hardy

    Hey Cantuse. Nice that you are back. I hope, this is a good sign regarding your recovery process and your future health. Best wishes for the future for you (compleat recovery or as near as possible) and for us (more of your brilliant essays 😉 )!

    Reply
  2. Alex

    A little more than halfway through ADWD, just read Brans last chapters and thought this article/essay was fantastic. Just began looking at stuff in ASOIAF reddit page and loving all my very vague theories coming to life with an incredible amount of evidence backing them up. like these “moon visions” and I had a thought that mormonts raven (jons now) was predicting the future every time he talked, and of course patchface being an all knowing godly entity. Great essay, love all these easter eggs in the books and the people backing them up with solid evidence.

    Reply
  3. Henry

    Makes me think of what possible connection there could be between Jon, Theon, and Aegon. Obviously, there’s the tie of all being reborn, (with the possible exception of Jon coming back changed) but it seems to me that if all three are important to Bran’s moon visions, there’d be something else tieing them together. Perhaps they’re the three heads of the dragon?

    Reply
  4. The Shameful Narcissist

    Overjoyed to see you’re back. I think you may have something in your speculation. Martin loves to play with words and visions, and the fact that part of Dance was moved to Winds makes me wonder if he put this in before revealing it in the next chapter we don’t see because it’s in the next book.

    Reply
  5. John

    Cool essay! After reading this I totally agree that something more is going on in Bran III.

    “Outside the cave the sun rose and set, the moon turned, the cold winds howled.”
    — BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

    Adding to your thoughts about the above quote, I agree it strikes me as Jon’s death. I think Jon will be in Ghost (howling) for a period of time after the stabbing until he is resurrected somehow.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Hot Link Sunday: Super Bowl Edition | Off The Bookshelf

  7. The Evening Squire

    … and rose again when winter was almost done;)! Good to have you back. Hope you are feeling okay. Looking forward to reading many more of your essays.

    Reply
  8. Scott

    I had typed up a longer comment with quotes, but it must have been eaten by a kraken. After reading your essay I did a reread of the Bran chapters. I found a similar instance to the examples you call out, but much earlier in “A Storm of Swords”. There are differences though.
    It is in the chapter at the Nightfort. Bran is falling asleep next to the fire. He describes the moon and the moonlight making a weirwood tree look like it is reaching up to grab the moon. He thinks he hears the 79 ghost sentinels sounding their horns.
    This is after the raid on castle black, but before the battle with Mance.

    Reply
    1. cantuse Post author

      Sorry about that. Your comment wasn’t eaten it was just waiting approval. I have it set to require approval for first-time comments from visitors. I know that sounds ridiculous, but there are lots of spammers who would abuse the comments if they could.

      Reply
  9. Preston Jacobs

    What is very interesting is Bran’s 5th vision corresponds to the first day of winter in King’s Landing. (Kevan notes that the moon is full and fat). Val also returns on a full moon and Jon is stabbed a few days later. Mel says that winter is almost upon them right before Jon in stabbed, meaning she likely has seen a white raven in her fires or she saw the white raven arrive. This means, that Val’s return full moon is the fat and full moon as well.

    Now, obviously it takes a raven longer to fly to the Wall than KL, but it seems that the Wall’s white raven is a little late. In fact, you’d think the Citadel would try to have the whites all arrive on the same day and stagger their release. Why does Kevan have a white raven, but Jon still lacks one?

    Now, I would say that Stannis’ comments about ravens in Theon I, TWoW, alludes to him wanting to use a white raven (one that can fly to any location from any location). But, of course, how would Stannis get a hold of a white raven? There are a couple options. He could have saved the one from the ACoK Prologue (awesome foresight). Or Sam and Jaqen, who control the white ravens, could have sent one to him around the 1st day of Winter. Then, its possible that, he, in turn, sent that white raven to the Wall with the Pink Letter

    The point being, the timing of your 5th vision claim (the first day of winter) matches perfectly with your Manifesto. And I would say Stannis is the “a long grey shadow that grew more gaunt with every hunt.” The lake’s ice is “The ward upon the cave mouth still held.” And, naturally “The snows had buried most of them again, but they were still there, hidden, frozen, waiting” describe his forces.

    Reply
  10. Marsant Gerephio

    Hey Cantuse! I have a small doubt, Does George Martin include the time differences [time zones] in the series? After reading all the books and novellas, I infer these are really BIG BIG kingdoms. So, is neglecting the time zones a blunder on part of GM? [or did I just miss those]. Thanks.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s