Crow v. Raven: Why Bloodraven Not Being the Three-Eyed Crow Is Important to Understanding George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”

Order of the Green Hand on You Tube may be off about R + L = A and N + A = J and Arthur Dayne being Mance Rayder, but they did catch almost the entirety of the fandom including yours truly in a pretty important mistake – not being able to tell the difference between a crow and a raven. It is a biological fact that ravens are different from crows. Their tails are different. They group differently. And, they behave differently. They are different species. Crows are carrion feeders while ravens are hunters. As a result, humans characterize them differently both in mythology and use. Ravens are the traditional helpers of humans giving knowledge, tools, and conveying messages. Odin has two ravens for example that relay information. Crows on the other hand are tricksters often associated with evil and wrongdoers. What is also apparent is that George R. R. Martin knows the difference and has applied it in “A Song of Ice and Fire”.


Ravens are the messenger birds of Westeros with white ravens signaling the change of the seasons. They are also the helper birds to Brynden Rivers, known as Bloodraven for his birthmark and his character. Bloodraven, whether misguided or not, is attempting to serve the realm with the greater cause of humanity his larger motivation. Jeor Mormont’s bird, which helps Jon become Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, and utters suspicious words at various times (“king” being the most telling while looking at Jon), is a raven.


At the same time, crows also make several appearances, none of them favorable. The title of the fourth book in the series, A Feast for Crows, is about mass death. The Wildlings or Free Folk refer to the members of the Night’s Watch as crows for their black garments, but also to mock them as carrion feeders, harbingers of death, and targets. Crows show up at various times after battles to feed on the dead. And, then there is the most famous of them all – the three-eyed crow. The vast majority of the fandom mistakenly believe that Bloodraven is the three-eyed crow, but, as the Order of the Green Hand pointed out, that is not correct.


First and foremost is the distinction between Bloodraven and the three-eyed crow as laid out above. Bloodraven is associated with ravens, never crows except as a member of the Night’s Watch, and that is a label the Wildlings or Free Folk would call him, not something with which he associates himself or his role as a helper of humanity, not a carrion feeder or a trickster. Second, when Bran and company first encounter him, Bran asks him point blank whether he is the three-eyed crow, and Bloodraven and Leaf deny it. Specifically, Bloodraven does not recognize the creature, but relates that he was once a “crow”, that is, a member of the Night’s Watch. Leaf corrects Bran and calls Bloodraven the last greenseer. Thus, the three-eyed crow that has not only contacted Bran and Jojen, but also seems to have contacted Euron given his crow’s eye obsession, is a separate entity from Bloodraven with its own ability to enter into dreams and give people their third eye.


Given that crows opening a third eye is in order to take their souls in mythology, the three-eyed crow seems to be using Bloodraven’s greensight for nefarious purposes. In Jojen’s case, the three-eyed crow convinced him to secret Bran away from Winterfell. If Preston Jacobs’ analysis in his “Minds of Wolves and Robins” videos is correct, it also provided Theon and Ramsay the inspiration to bring Jojen’s greendreams’ predictions of Winterfell drowning to fruition. Also, Order of the Green Hand convincingly argues in “Game of Thrones: The Old Powers Are Waking: The Winged Wolf” video that the three-eyed crow used Bran to get into the crypts and unleash a powerful winged serpent. Combined with Lackadaddy’s deductions about the White Walker nature of the Starks in the crypts, we have the three-eyed crow manipulating Bran and company into taking the iron swords, which were holding the spirits within, out of the crypts unleashing the ice dragon serpent.


Last, but not least, Euron Greyjoy’s kingsmoot speech takes on an even more ominous meaning once we understand Euron not as a manipulator of events, but as a tool of the three-eyed crow. He proclaims that Westeros is dying, not weak, not enfeebled, but dying. He promises that the Ironborn will feast before the fall of the night. That is, they will feast before the end of days. Euron, as Preston Jacobs concluded in “The Forsaken: Finale” video, sees himself as a euthanizer. Only, in this case, Euron is seeking to euthanize Westeros. In other words, the three-eyed crow is not Bloodraven seeking to aid the realm, but an entity seeking to kill all of humanity.


There is only one group that could use Bloodraven for that purpose. It is the same group that seeks the death of all humanity. It is the same group that is behind the Faceless Men who want to give the gift of mercy killing to all humanity – valar morghulis. It is the same group that has its consciousness absorbed into a collective mind that goes back hundreds of millennia. It is the same group that has been driven to near extinction by humanity and is harboring a grudge. They sing the song of earth and every song must have its balance. The Children of the Forest in the weirwoods are the three-eyed crow and they do not have benevolent motives. It is thanks to the Order of the Green Hand’s recognition of the difference between crow and raven that we owe this deeper understanding of what really is happening in “A Song of Ice and Fire”.


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