Skinchanger

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Bran Stark is a skinchanger. Art by TeiIku ©

A skinchanger is a person with the ability to enter the mind of an animal and control its actions. It is much easier for a skinchanger to do so if a bond exists between the two parties. A skinchanger able to enter the mind of a wolf or dog is known as a warg.[1] The interaction between the skinchanger's and animal's mind will influence both personalities, with detrimental effects to the human if the animal’s influence is not fought. As yet, there has only been one known incidence of a skinchanger entering another human's mind, and only a simple-minded one at that. This incidence was particularly traumatic to the person involved, and difficult for the skinchanger. Such an event proves to be a moral and ethical dilemma.

An untrained skinchanger may unconsciously enter the mind of an animal, especially while sleeping, particularly if a bond exists. It is extremely traumatic if an animal is killed while its mind is inhabited by a skinchanger. If a skinchanger is killed while inhabiting a creature, a part of his consciousness will remain in the creature. Much fear and superstition exists around skinchangers, with many mistakenly believing them to be shape shifters. It is said the greatest of the skinchangers were the greenseers, who amongst many other things were also wargs. The greatest amongst them could wear the skin of any beast. One man in a thousand is born a skinchanger, and one skinchanger in a thousand could be a greenseer.

Contents

Notes about Skinchanging

Nature of the beasts, according to Haggon:

An unwritten code of ethics for wildling skinchangers, as told by Haggon, forbids them:

Second Life

A skinchanger can experience many deaths while in another body. It is only when the person's human body dies that the "true death" occurs. It is possible for the warg to live a type of second life, a much simpler life inside the mind of an animal he controls. In the second life, the skinchanger's memory slowly fades until nothing of the man is left and only the beast remains.[2]  

Known skinchangers

There have been few known skinchangers in modern times, with most people associating them with the legends of the children of the forest, particularly the greenseers.

Stark Children

The skinchanging ability is primarily seen amongst the current generation of Stark children. All of the children and their direwolves are said to exhibit common personalities, although in most instances this is entirely unconscious and is not likely to involve entering the animal's mind. The children are full wargs and can slip into just about anything, but Bran is the only one working on it.[3]

Wildlings

Other Skinchangers

Quotes

Bran: You're a greenseer.

Jojen: No, only a boy who dreams. The greenseers were more than that. They were wargs as well, as you are, and the greatest of them could wear the skins of any beast that flies or swims or crawls, and could look through the eyes of the weirwoods as well, and see the truth that lies beneath the world.[6]

- Bran Stark and Jojen Reed


"The free folk fear skinchangers, but they honour us as well. South of the Wall, the kneelers hunt us down and butcher us like pigs." [2]
- Haggon

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Organizations in A Song of Ice and Fire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Organizations in A Song of Ice and Fire. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

  1. World Fantasy Con (Saratoga, NY; November 1-4, 2007) So Spake Martin
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 A Dance with Dragons, Prologue.
  3. Trinoc*Con 8 (Durham, NC; August 3-5, 2007) So Spake Martin
  4. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
  5. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize (Asha II).
  6. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 9, Bran.
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