- See also Images of Ravens
Westerosi ravens are similar to common ravens of Earth, only stronger with better homing instincts. Ravens are used to carry messages between castles and other settlements. While doves and pigeons can also be trained to carry messages, ravens are stronger flyers, larger, bolder, far more clever, and better able to defend themselves against hawks.
The maester of each castle usually tends to its own flock of ravens. Maesters raise a breed of large of white ravens at the Citadel that are said to be more intelligent and are sent out to mark the change of seasons. Ravens sometimes imitate human speech like parrots.
Most ravens are trained to fly to a specific castle, but some few can be taught to fly between two castles and are therefore greatly prized. Once in a very great while, a raven can learn the names of three or four or even five castles, and fly to each upon command. Birds as clever as that come along only once in a hundred years.
The children of the forest taught the First Men to use ravens to communicate over long distances. The greenseers of the children could change their skins and speak through the birds. Unlike humans, ravens can speak the True Tongue, the language of the children. Some priests of the Iron Islands believe that ravens are servants of the Storm God. In the Faith of the Seven, the first raven is said to have been let into the world when the Crone peered through the door of death.
In the godswood at Raventree Hall in Blackwood Vale there is a dead weirwood of colossal size. Every evening at dusk hundreds of ravens come and roost on the tree all night, as they have for thousands of years.
|“||Most ravens will eat grain, but they prefer flesh. It makes them strong, and I fear they relish the taste of blood. In that they are like men ... and like men, not all ravens are alike. Doves and pigeons can also be trained to carry messages, though the raven is a stronger flyer, larger, bolder, far more clever, better able to defend itself against hawks ... yet ravens are black, and they eat the dead, so some godly men abhor them.||”|
|“||The crow is the raven's poor cousin. They are both beggars in black, hated and misunderstood.||”|
|“||It was the singers who taught the First Men to send messages by raven… but in those days, the birds would speak the words. The trees remember, but men forget, and so now they write the messages on parchment and tie them round the feet of birds who have never shared their skin.||”|