This is a quick and easy one 🙂 and maybe a tad crackpot.
- Edric Dayne is not named for Eddard Stark. I am not sure where readers got that idea and pass it around. The connection is through history repeating right under the readers nose (described below). In the books the most we hear about that name is how it elicits an emotional reaction from Arya:
A Storm of Swords – Arya VI
“Ned, help me remove my breastplate.”
Arya got goosebumps when Lord Beric said her father’s name, but this Ned was only a boy, a fair-haired squire no more than ten or twelve. He stepped up quickly to undo the clasps that fastened the battered steel about the Marcher lord. The quilting beneath was rotten with age and sweat, and fell away when the metal was pulled loose. Gendry sucked in his breath. “Mother have mercy.”
- Wow, I never noticed that Sam is a “new” Brandon Ice Eyes as Jon is a “new” Edrick Snowbeard Stark (discussed below). History repeats, just with a twist.
Essentially, Sam, who gave up the seven in place of the old gods, defeats a slaver (well, a thrall of the slaver) that is the Great Other, all while wearing his ice yes and crashing in to the wight. So, Sam also knows ‘winter’ because Jon is (will be) the King of Winter. Go figure .
A Dance with Dragons – Davos IV
After their fall, the castle had passed through many other hands. House Flint held it for a century, House Locke for almost two. Slates, Longs, Holts, and Ashwoods had held sway here, charged by Winterfell to keep the river safe. Reavers from the Three Sisters took the castle once, making it their toehold in the north. During the wars between Winterfell and the Vale, it was besieged by Osgood Arryn, the Old Falcon, and burned by his son, the one remembered as the Talon. When old King Edrick Stark had grown too feeble to defend his realm, the Wolf’s Den was captured by slavers from the Stepstones. They would brand their captives with hot irons and break them to the whip before shipping them off across the sea, and these same black stone walls bore witness.
“Then a long cruel winter fell,” said Ser Bartimus. “The White Knife froze hard, and even the firth was icing up. The winds came howling from the north and drove them slavers inside to huddle round their fires, and whilst they warmed themselves the new king come down on them. Brandon Stark this was, Edrick Snowbeard’s great-grandson, him that men called IceEyes. He took the Wolf’s Den back, stripped the slavers naked, and gave them to the slaves he’d found chained up in the dungeons. It’s said they hung their entrails in the branches of the heart tree, as an offering to the gods. The old gods, not these new ones from the south. Your Seven don’t know winter, and winter don’t know them.“
A Storm of Swords – Samwell III
His fumbling fingers finally found the dagger, but when he slammed it up into the wight’s belly the point skidded off the iron links, and the blade went spinning from Sam’s hand. Small Paul’s fingers tightened inexorably, and began to twist. He’s going to rip my head off, Sam thought in despair. His throat felt frozen, his lungs on fire. He punched and pulled at the wight’s wrists, to no avail. He kicked Paul between the legs, uselessly. The world shrank to two blue stars, a terrible crushing pain, and a cold so fierce that his tears froze over his eyes. Sam squirmed and pulled, desperate . . . and then he lurched forward.
Small Paul was big and powerful, but Sam still outweighed him, and the wights were clumsy, he had seen that on the Fist. The sudden shift sent Paul staggering back a step, and the living man and the dead one went crashing down together. The impact knocked one hand from Sam’s throat, and he was able to suck in a quick breath of air before the icy black fingers returned. The taste of blood filled his mouth. He twisted his neck around, looking for his knife, and saw a dull orange glow. The fire! Only ember and ashes remained, but still . . . he could not breathe, or think . . . Sam wrenched himself sideways, pulling Paul with him . . . his arms flailed against the dirt floor, groping, reaching, scattering the ashes, until at last they found something hot . . . a chunk of charred wood, smouldering red and orange within the black . . . his fingers closed around it, and he smashed it into Paul’s mouth, so hard he felt teeth shatter.
Yet even so the wight’s grip did not loosen. Sam’s last thoughts were for the mother who had loved him and the father he had failed. The longhall was spinning around him when he saw the wisp of smoke rising from between Paul’s broken teeth. Then the dead man’s face burst into flame, and the hands were gone.
Sam sucked in air, and rolled feebly away. The wight was burning, hoarfrost dripping from his beard as the flesh beneath blackened. Sam heard the raven shriek, but Paul himself made no sound. When his mouth opened, only flames came out. And his eyes . . . It’s gone, the blue glow is gone.
And to continue on from the Bran section about Sam the Slayer- Ice Eyes, Jon Snow is a parallel to Edrick “Snowbeard” Stark of days past, which is why Edric Dayne and Jon Snow are “milk brothers”, it is in that first name, not that Edric Dayne was named after Eddard Stark. This also connects Jon Snow to the Milkwater river of the north in more ways than one.
Compare the broad strokes of Jon now, to histories past:
A Clash of Kings – Bran VII
But it was only a game, and Bran knew it.
Their footsteps echoed through the cavernous crypts. The shadows behind them swallowed his father as the shadows ahead retreated to unveil other statues; no mere lords, these, but the old Kings in the North. On their brows they wore stone crowns. Torrhen Stark, the King Who Knelt. Edwyn the Spring King. Theon Stark, the Hungry Wolf. Brandon the Burner and Brandon the Shipwright. Jorah and Jonos, Brandon the Bad, Walton the Moon King, Edderion the Bridegroom, Eyron, Benjen the Sweet and Benjen the Bitter, King Edrick Snowbeard. Their faces were stern and strong, and some of them had done terrible things, but they were Starks every one, and Bran knew all their tales. He had never feared the crypts; they were part of his home and who he was, and he had always known that one day he would lie here too.
But now he was not so certain. If I go up, will I ever come back down? Where will I go when I die?
The World of Ice and Fire – The North: Winterfell [my notations]
The castle itself is peculiar in that the Starks did not level the ground when laying down the foundations and walls of the castle. Very likely, this reveals that the castle was built in pieces over the years rather than being planned as a single structure. Some scholars suspect that it was once a complex of linked ringforts, though the centuries have eradicated almost all evidence of this.
The outer walls of Winterfell were raised during the last two decades of the reign of King Edrick Snowbeard. Though Edrick is famed for a reign that lasted nearly a century, his rule in his dotage was increasingly erratic [*currently, there hasn’t been a Stark in Winterfell for a very long time]. Seeing this, many different factions tried to seize control of his faltering realm. The most obvious threats were from his own numerous—and fractious—descendants, but others took their chances as well, including ironmen [Theon], slavers from across the narrow sea [not sure, yet], wildlings [Mance], and Northern rivals such as the Boltons.
The inner walls, which were once the only defensive walls, are estimated to be some two thousand years old, and perhaps some sections are older still. In later years, a defensive moat was dug around them, then a second wall was raised beyond the moat, giving the castle a formidable defense. The inner walls stand a hundred feet high, the outer walls eighty; any attacker who succeeded in capturing the outer wall would still find defenders on the inner walls loosing spears and stones and arrows down at him.
*A Game of Thrones – Catelyn II
His words were like an icy draft through her heart. “No,” she said, suddenly afraid. Was this to be her punishment? Never to see his face again, nor to feel his arms around her?
“Yes,” Ned said, in words that would brook no argument. “You must govern the north in my stead, while I run Robert’s errands. There must always be a Stark in Winterfell. Robb is fourteen. Soon enough, he will be a man grown. He must learn to rule, and I will not be here for him. Make him part of your councils. He must be ready when his time comes.”
“Gods will, not for many years,” Maester Luwin murmured.
Jon Snow seems to have developed an actual “snow” beard:
A Clash of Kings – Jon VIII
Then he was through; drenched and shivering, but through.
The cleft in the rock was barely large enough for man and horse to pass, but beyond, the walls opened up and the floor turned to soft sand. Jon could feel the spray freezing in his beard. Ghost burst through the waterfall in an angry rush, shook droplets from his fur, sniffed at the darkness suspiciously, then lifted a leg against one rocky wall. Qhorin had already dismounted. Jon did the same. “You knew this place was here.”