Weirwood

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Weirwood
Cat visits Ned by the Heart Tree - by Thomas Denmark. © Fantasy Flight Games
Ice against a weirwood © Fantasy Flight Games

The weirwood is a species of deciduous trees found in Westeros, now found most commonly in the north and beyond the Wall.

Description

See also: Images of Weirwood Trees

The five-pointed leaves and the sap of weirwoods are blood-red, while the smooth bark on their wide trunks[1] and wood are bone white.[2] Most weirwoods have faces carved into their trunks. This was done by the children of the forest in ancient days, and is now done by the free folk as well as other descendants of the First Men, such as followers of the old gods in the Seven Kingdoms praying to heart trees in godswoods. In some cases sap has collected in the crevices of the carved faces, giving the trees red eyes which have been known to drip sap as if the trees were weeping.[1] A weirwood will live forever if undisturbed.[3]

Religion

Weirwoods are considered sacred to the followers of the old gods, and children of the forest believe weirwoods are the gods.[4] The greenseers of the children of the forest can see through the eyes of weirwoods with carved faces. Since trees have no sense of time, the greenseer can see into the past or present when looking through the eyes of a tree. It is said that through the faces the old gods watch over the followers and bear witness to important events.

Weirwoods are used to bear witness to important ceremonies such as marriages. It said that it is impossible to lie in the presence of a heart tree. Thousands of years ago, the entrails of the condemned were sometimes placed in the branches of weirwoods.[5][6] The Skagosi allegedly still maintain this practice.[7]

The Night's Watch uses a grove of nine weirwoods in the haunted forest half a league from Castle Black as a godswood when necessary.[1]

Material

The wood of the weirwood is an excellent, though expensive,[8] building material because it does not rot. Weirwood can be used for making bows, spears, and arrows; Ygritte and Brynden Rivers both have horn and weirwood bows, and the children of the forest are said to have used weirwood bows.[9][10][11] Styr has a long bronze and weirwood spear.[12]

Weirwood can also be used to make furniture. The meeting table of the Kingsguard in the Red Keep is made of white weirwood fashioned into the shape of a shield and supported by three white stallions,[13] and the throne, as well as the Moon Door, of House Arryn in the Eyrie are carved out of weirwood.[14] Weirwood is also used in architecture for things such as the Black Gate of the Nightfort and the rafters of Harrenhal[15] and Whitewalls.[8] The Bower was made entirely of weirwood.[16] The main door of the House of Black and White in Braavos is made of weirwood and ebony, as are its chairs. Tobho Mott's shop in King's Landing has doors carved out of ebony and weirwood showing a hunting scene.[17] Additionally the doors of the room with the "splendor of wizards" are made of weirwood and ebony in the House of the Undying[18]

Val has a pin with a "carved weirwood face" that holds her cloak,[19] and Morna's mask is made of weirwood.[20] The High Septon has a staff made of weirwood topped with a crystal orb.[21] Some legends state Galon Whitestaff carried a tall staff of weirwood.[22]

History

Weirwoods once grew throughout Westeros, although they never took to the thinner soil of the Iron Islands.[23] The children of the forest are said to have carved faces in weirwoods during the Dawn Age, before the coming of the First Men across the narrow sea.

After the First Men took up the faith of the old gods they created godswoods within their castle walls and villages where a single weirwood, known as a heart tree, was planted so the gods could be worshiped.

With the invasion of Westeros by Andals came the Faith of the Seven. Some First Men allied with children of the forest, such as the Weirwood Alliance,[24] but the Andals eventually conquered most of Westeros. Weirwoods came to represent the older faith and most were cut or burned down.[2] Many Andal kings retained weirwoods in their castles' godswoods, however, in order to prevent religious warfare and consolidate their victories.[25]

Wild weirwood groves are said to remain on the Isle of Faces where the children and the First Men agreed to the peace. The Andals never conquered the north, however, and worship of the old gods remains strong there. Weirwoods still grow in the forests of the north, and are prevalent beyond the Wall.

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

Jon Snow sees an enormous weirwood with a gaping mouth growing in the village of Whitetree beyond the Wall with a trunk that is eight feet wide.[26]

A Storm of Swords

Bran Stark learns of the Knight of the Laughing Tree, a mystery knight whose shield bore a weirwood heart tree with a laughing face.[27]

Arya Stark sees weirwood roots growing throughout the hollow hill in the riverlands.[28]

A Feast for Crows

Brienne of Tarth discovers a slender young weirwood at the ruins of the Whispers. She buries Dick Crabb beneath the tree after he is killed by Shagwell.[29]

A Dance with Dragons

Varamyr Sixskins, a skinchanger not known to be a greenseer, can see through the eyes of a carved weirwood briefly as he is dying.[30]

Bran travels to the cave of the three-eyed crow beneath a great weirwood north of the Wall. He observes weirwood roots in the cave.[31] Snowylocks feeds Bran a paste of weirwood seeds from a carved weirwood bowl.[32]

Lord Tytos Blackwood desires to bury the bones of his son Lucas, killed in the Red Wedding, beneath the great dead heart tree of Raventree Hall.[33]

Quotes

You will find a grove of weirwoods half a league from this spot, and mayhap your gods as well.[1]
Jeor Mormont, to Jon Snow


The old gods have no power in the south. The weirwoods there were all cut down, thousands of years ago.[1]
Osha, to Bran Stark

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  3. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 34, Bran III, p 503.
  4. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 34, Bran III, p 495.
  5. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
  6. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, The North.
  7. The World of Ice and Fire, The Stoneborn of Skagos.
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Mystery Knight.
  9. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  10. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
  11. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
  12. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 69, Jon IX.
  13. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
  14. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  15. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
  16. The World of Ice and Fire, The Westerlands.
  17. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  18. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
  19. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.
  20. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 58, Jon XII.
  21. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  22. The World of Ice and Fire, Driftwood Crowns.
  23. The World of Ice and Fire, The Iron Islands.
  24. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Andals in the Stormlands.
  25. The World of Ice and Fire, The Arrival of the Andals.
  26. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 13, Jon II.
  27. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
  28. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 34, Arya VI.
  29. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 20, Brienne IV.
  30. A Dance with Dragons, Prologue, p 15.
  31. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 13, Bran II.
  32. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 34, Bran III.
  33. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.

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