Cave of the three-eyed crow
The cave of the three-eyed crow is a cave found beyond the Wall and named after its occupant, the three-eyed crow, Lord Brynden Rivers. The precise location is not specified in A Dance with Dragons, but The Lands of Ice and Fire places it within the haunted forest, east of the Fist of the First Men and southwest of the Antler River.
The cave is actually a great cavern under a wooded hill, deep within a system of caves. Lord Brynden is seated on a weirwood throne in the great cavern, by an abyss, attended to by the remaining children of the forest.
Before the abyss
The entrance is a cleft in a hillside, halfway up, between some weirwood trees. It is warded so that dead men, such as wights and Coldhands, cannot enter. Another way in is a back door three leagues north, down a sinkhole. After a perilous journey and a near fatal attack by wights, Bran Stark and his companions, Hodor, Jojen Reed, Meera Reed, and Summer gain entry through the cleft. Outside the hillside entrance the snows later bury most of the dead men, but they are still there, waiting. Summer digs his way through the snowdrifts at the entrance to the cave whenever he goes outside to join his pack to hunt.
Under the hill is a vast, silent cave system extending far below and home to more than three score living singers, the children of the forest, and the bones of thousands dead. Leaf warns that men should not go wandering in this place, as many routes are forgotten and lead deep into the earth. Leaf says that even the children have not explored them all, even though they have lived there for millenia.
While passing through cramped and branching tunnels full of weirwood roots, Bran sees slitted eyes that glow bright. The travelers discover an echoing cavern as large as the great hall of Winterfell, with stone teeth hanging from its ceiling and more poking through the floor. Further on, the passage is littered with bones of birds and beasts, children and giants. Skulls of various creatures are placed in stone niches in the walls.
The three-eyed crow
The route steeply descends to a great cavern opening on a black abyss, with a rushing river echoing below in the darkness. The river is 600 feet below, down steep slopes and twisty passages, with the last part requiring a rope. The river is swift and black, flowing down to a sunless sea. Near a natural bridge across the abyss is the three-eyed crow, the last greenseer, Brynden Rivers, sitting on a throne of woven weirwood roots. He says:
|“||And now you come to me at last, Brandon Stark, though the hour is late.||”|
Exploring the caves by slipping inside Hodor's skin, Bran finds chambers full of bones, shafts that plunge deep into the earth, and a place where the skeletons of gigantic bats hang upside down from the ceiling. In Hodor's skin Bran crosses the slender stone bridge that arches over the abyss and discovers more passages and chambers on the far side. One room contains singers, enthroned like Brynden, in nests of weirwood roots. Most look dead to Bran, but as he nears their eyes open and follow his torch, and one of them appears to try to speak.
Life in the cave
Under the hill Bran sits on a weirwood throne of his own, made by the children of the forest. It is white weirwood flecked with red, dead branches woven through living roots. The children place it in the great cavern by the abyss, next to Lord Brynden's throne, where the black air echoes to the sounds of running water far below. The singers make his seat of soft grey moss; once he has been lowered into place they cover him in warm furs.
No sunlight, moonlight, or starlight reaches the caves beneath the hill. Its inhabitants eat a hundred kinds of mushrooms, as well as blind white fish swimming in the black river. They have cheese and milk from goats sharing the caves with the singers, in addition to oats, barleycorn, and dried fruit. Almost everyday they eat a blood stew, thickened with barley and onions and chunks of meat. Bran and his friends sleep in a small chamber off the big cavern where the singers make beds for them to sleep. Jojen grows increasingly sullen and often looks out the entrance of the cave toward the haunted forest.
|“||All the color is gone … The world was black soil and white wood.||”|
|“||Men should not go wandering in this place.||”|
Chapters that take place at the cave of the three-eyed crow
References and Notes