Did ‘Game of Thrones’ just give away a crucial detail about the origin of the Others?

Deputy Entertainment Editor
12.09.14

Sometimes a story comes out and everyone latches onto the wrong thing. For example, when New York Magazine recently sat down with “Game of Thrones” costume designer Michele Clapton, everyone was so focused on the Sand Snakes” useless nipples (on their armor, you creeps) that this little tidbit of information sailed right under the radar.

And while the White Walkers have an armor of sorts, Clapton told us that it”s all found materials, “part of sculptures and architectures that they reused as armor,” nothing they made themselves. “The idea was that they maybe discovered an ancient society that was actually very sophisticated, but the leather bits were all kind of eaten away. That wouldn”t have survived.

Back right the hell up. Did this Clapton just casually drop brand-new information about the mythical “Unknown” third race that inhabited Westeros with the Children of the Forest and the Giants? The people that were dead and gone by the time the First Men arrived from across the Broken Arm in Dorne, leaving so few remnants behind they”ve all but disappeared from the annals of fictional history? I think she did.

Allow me to explain. All information after this point comes from the recent book “The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and Game of Thrones” and as such, contains potential spoilers for both book readers and show watchers. Also, it”s gonna be super nerdy.

In the Dawn Age, the time of magic and myth before humans had (supposedly) ever set foot on the shores of Westeros, the Children of the Forest and Giants shared an uneasy coexistence. But there may have been a third race.

“Among the iron born, it is said that the first of the First Men to come to the Iron Isles found the famous Seastone Chair on Old Wyk, but that the isles were uninhabited…[Maesters have] suggested that the chair was left by visitors from across the Sunset Sea, but there is no evidence for this, only speculation.”[1] The chair was then taken to Pyke, a castle so old that none know who first built it. In fact it is so ancient, the remaining complex of towers are only a tiny part of a vast fortress that fell into the sea when a cataclysm turned one large island into the now many Iron Islands.

The Seastone Chair is one of several ancient artifacts in Westeros made of the mysterious Black Stone, which pre-dates any Valyrian conquest and is implicated to come from Asshai (home of the Red Priestesses and their Lord of Light). Might they be remnants of a long forgotten advanced civilization? More evidence seems to back up this theory.

At another point in the “History of Westeros,” it is mentioned in passing that “impossibly ancient” Asshai”i texts speak of dragons originally being born of the Shadow. The scrolls go on to say a people so ancient they had no name first tamed the great Shadow dragons, before imparting their knowledge on the people”s of Valyria. Then these unknown people faded into the mists of mythology and eventually, forgotten all together.[2] Considering other histories have the Valyrians claiming to be descended from dragons and “kin to the ones they now controlled,”[3] there is a distinct possibility the people of Old Valyria are the product of this unknown race and ancient dragons.

Things get stranger still once you start rolling in various stories describing the Long Night. In Asshai, Azor Ahai used the red sword to beat back darkness, while Yi Ti legend states the sun “hid its face from the earth for a lifetime, ashamed at something none could discover, and that disaster was averted only by the deeds of a woman with a monkey”s tail.”[4] Perhaps the heroine of the Yi Ti story is of a champion the unknown race or even one of their dragon-hybrid children?

In Westeros, myths of the Long Night speak of a generation living and dying without seeing the sun. The Others roamed the land on the backs of ice spiders and undead horses, while “…they resurrected dead men to fight on their behalf.”[5] This seems to corroborate the idea that the Others are not zombies, but a race with the magical ability to raise the dead.

BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Okay, here”s where we have to leap. Martin”s given us a ton of bread crumbs, but we have to piece it together ourselves. Based on the available information, I think the Others ARE the unknown mystery race, but that there was an internal schism that erupted into a civil war in the time before time. A war between creatures so powerful, the effects are still reverberating today.

For example,the Citadel has long tried to figure out why the seasons make no sense, hypothesizing that “…the inconstancy of the season [is] a matter of magical art rather than trustworthy knowledge. […] the seasons might once have been of a regular length, determined solely by the way in which the globe faces the sun in its heavenly course.”[6] What could cause such a cataclysmic change in world weather patterns? Or was it even the world? Only Westeros speaks of the Long Night in terms of snow and ice, despite other countries being on the same latitude.

I propose that whatever event triggered the destruction of Pyke and caused some of the residents to flee to Valyria is the same that created the Others and the bizarre Westeros seasons. That Pyke is basically Atlantis. The Song of Ice and Fire may end up being the product of demigods with too much magic fighting amongst themselves for control of light and darkness and the Others still wear the remnants of their long dead civilization as they march south once more.

References:
#1: Page 7, #2: Page 13, #3: Page 13, #4: Page 11, #5: Page 11, #6: Page 11

Around The Web