My answer to ASOIAF Is there any significance or dual meaning behind the reason the bones of the Starks are buried …
Answer by Ava Monroe:
The Secret Dual Religious Aspects and Implications as Suggested by the Presence of the Stark Bones in the Sepulchres, Combined with the Deeper Definition and Meaning of ‘Sepulchres’ which are Specific to the Crypts of Winterfell
There are a number of characters from the Holy Bible which I believe GRRM has drawn inspiration from and has represented rather beautifully in his A Song of Ice & Fire series. The deeper definition of the word sepulchres and the Starks in the crypts helped me tie it all together. Here goes my theory….
The Crypts of Winterfell, Death & the Stone Starks
Upon death, the bones of the King of Winter, aka Lord of Winterfell, are buried in stone sepulchres in the enchanted crypts, which are placed behind a giant stone likeness of the dead Stark. This stone Stark giant is seated on a stone throne, and a giant stone direwolf is carved and placed at the feet of each stone Stark.
- “…Flickering light touched the stones underfoot and brushed against a long procession of granite pillars that marched ahead, two by two, into the dark. Between the pillars, the dead sat on their stone thrones against the walls, backs against the sepulchres that contained their mortal remains – A Game of Thrones, Eddard I
This visual sounds a lot like the Valley of Bones from the Christian Bible. While burying one’s bones in a stone sepulchre is not necessarily significant at first glance, and was practiced throughout history in the past, when we take a deeper look at the alternate meanings of the word ‘sepluchre’, we can find more sneaky deaky GRRM wordplay clues, foreshadowing some very intriguing aspects to the Stark bloodline….. religious aspects, which lead us to a few significant juicy reveals.
A sepulchre is defined as:
- a place of burial, a tomb; (crypts of Winterfell)
- a crypt (crypts of Winterfell)
- a receptacle for religious relics especially in an altar
Whoa whats that?
Religious relics are located in the crypts of Winterfell?
Could the bones of the Starks truly be religious relics?
It is this 3rd definition of sepulchre which got me digging like a mad-woman.
Let us say for arguments sake, GRRM is into duality in the form of dual meanings (along with so many other aspects of duality we find riddled throughout the series).
If we consider this possibility, the definition of ‘sepulchre’ has one heck of a powerful double meaning, as does the word ‘relic’.
A relic is defined as:
- a corpse; remains (the Starks in the crypts)
- a surviving memorial of something past (the Starks in the crypts)
- something cherished for its age or historical interest (the Starks in the crypts)
- an object of religious veneration, especially a piece of a body or the personal item of a saint; something associated with being holy
Here we find nestled within the definitions of both ‘sepulchre’ and ‘relic’ there exists the possibility of a religious aspect CONNECTED to the BONES of the STARKS.
A religious relic implies an element of holiness.
In this case, since we are addressing the bones of the Starks, this implies the Starks are in some way connected to:
- God, or
- a greater power,
- and/or possess an aspect of holiness.
A saint is one regarded as possessing a likeness or similarities to God, one with a degree of holiness about his or her being.
While many comments we hear regarding the Kings of Winter imply they were oh so very far from ‘saint-like’, the kicker that puts a different spin on things can be found in the way in which one becomes a saint:
- a living human cannot become a saint
- sainthood can only be achieved upon death.
Upon death the bones of the dead Starks are buried in an enchanted crypt and a change or shift does appear to occur once this happens as those stone Starks are not ‘dead’ in the traditional sense, as in the books they are given attributes which are associated with the living, things that are ‘alive’.
- Upon death and burial in the Crypts, do the Starks of Winterfell go through a partial resurrection of sorts?
- A resurrection of the soul, not the body?
Resurrection is a direct connection to a higher power, or God of some kind.
ASOIAF characters which GRRM has drawn inspiration from the Holy Bible:
Fallen Angels from Heaven on the side of Light
- the Kings of Winter and Lords of Winterfell, the Starks, who are buried underground in the ‘Valley of Bones’ aka the Crypts of Winterfell. (They will rise from the crypts as Stark Stone Giants and fight the White Walkers. When/if they succeed and the Walkers are destroyed, these Starks succeed in rightng a terrible wrong from long ago – this will link to the White Walkers – which will result in the release of the Stone Starks ‘vengeful spirits’ from their earthly underground chains, allowing the Stark spirits to rise up and go wherever spirits go.)
Fallen Angels from Heaven on the side of Darkness
- White Walkers
The Grigori who Watch over Mankind, Protecting humans from Darkness
- The Watchers on the Wall (now check out their vows with this in mind)
Jesus of Nazareth, Saviour of the Souls of Mankind
- Jon Snow, Saviour of Mankind, who wields the sword forged from a fallen star from the Heavens (Dawn), which transitions into Lighbringer, enabling Jon to save mankind from Darkness.
Starks in the Crypts of Winterfell are ‘Alive’ – Their Spirits Resurrected
Those stone Starks in the crypts certainly are not ‘dead’ in the traditional sense, yet in the books are given many attributes which are associated with the living, and as we know,
- the bones are the memory of the soul,
- and memory exists in things which are ‘alive’….
The Crypts of Winterfell remember.
The Kings of Winter remember.
The Bones of Winter Remember.
While the living Starks have forgotten, the ‘dead’ Starks do not forget a thing. The dead Starks remember everything, even things which they never knew during their lifetime.
The enchanted crypts of Winterfell act as a network of knowledge, similar in the way weirwood trees share a collective consciousness, and as we know, the weirwoods retain memories of Westeros reaching farther back than any other living being or entity.
The roots of the weirwoods in the Godswood of Winterfell reach deep and are directly connected to the Kings of Winter in the crypts.
Upon burial of a Stark’s bones in the crypts under Winterfell, not only does the dead Stark’s consciousness return to him, living on in his bones, but he also absorbs the knowledge and memories of every other Stark buried down there as well, from the first King of Winter right up to, and including, Lyanna Stark herself. This is yet another aspect of ‘life’ existing in a ‘dead’ Stark.
The bones are the key to Stark resurrection.
Over 8000 years of memories and knowledge which was once lost, becomes known again, deep in the earth.
- What is dead may never die, but rises harder, stronger.
The Stone Stark Giants in the crypts contain the spirits of the Starks and are very clearly conscious in the books. Down in the ground the stone Starks of Winterfell are watching, waiting, listening, alive, and drawing strength from the earth, much in the way the weirwoods are. The Kings of Winter have not forgotten a thing.
- "The bones help," said Melisandre. "The bones remember.” – A Dance with Dragons, Melisandre I
Bones are the memory of the soul after all, and the Bones of Winterfell are stirring, as are the giant Stone Starks who sit upon their stone thrones in the ‘Valley of Bones’ deep beneath Winterfell … the stone giants, the giants the Horn of Winter will awaken.
The Stones of Winter remember.