Tower of the Hand

The Shades We Let Loose

Tags: ADWD, Discuss!
Feb 25, 2021, 6:00 AM ET
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"Not for fear!" She kicked savagely at the ice beneath her with a heel, chopping out a chunk. "I'm crying because we never found the Horn of Winter. We opened half a hundred graves and let all those shades loose in the world, and never found the Horn of Joramun to bring this cold thing down!" - Ygritte in Jon III, ASOS

It is weird. I have read A Storm of Swords ten times for sure already, and I'm currently rereading it for our podcast series. And yet, that quote totally flew by me. What shades did the wildlings let loose in the world when they dug all those graves in the Frostfangs? This is some seriously dark stuff.

It's getting a bit too far in unsustained BIG THEORY(tm) territory for me to posit that the wildlings actually woke up the Others - this doesn't seem supported by the text when you look at the stories about Mance getting his coalition together - but it seems they did at least add to the otherworldly menace in some capacity. So far we have yet to see ghosts in any form, so what could these shades be?

Maybe Ygritte is speaking more metaphorically here. But as with Ice Spiders, I have the nagging feeling that we're going to see whatever is called out as existing, save maybe for the Grumkins and Snarks. After all, there definitely are vengeful spirits in Harrenhal, so why not at the Frostfangs? Could it be a "thin place" like Harrenhal?

I'm sorry I have more questions than answers, but this really seems like something to look out for when The Winds of Winter finally blow...

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