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The Horn of Winter: will Joramun’s Horn destroy the Wall?

The Horn of Winter: will Joramun’s Horn destroy the Wall?


So in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones,
Westeros is divided by a big icy Wall. To its south are the Seven Kingdoms, with all
its cities and castles and ladies and lords and almost all the main characters in the
series. North of the Wall is a vast frozen wilderness , populated by people known as
the wildlings. The wildlings are in trouble, because recently, they’ve been under attack
from the mysterious Others, or white walkers. Mance Rayder, the “King-beyond-the-Wall”
who unites and leads the wildlings, tries to fight the white walkers at first, but
he can’t stand against them, so instead he decides to lead his people to safety south
of the Wall. But the Night’s Watch who man the Wall see the wildlings as enemies,
as dangerous savages, and they don’t want to let them through. So Mance, determined
to get his people south, prepares to do something drastic. He searches for an ancient artefact
said to have the “power” to “break” the Wall – something called Joramun’s
Horn, or the Horn of Winter. Mance searches for the Horn in the Frostfangs, and “all over the valley of the Milkwater”, digging up “half a hundred graves” of
ancient “kings and heroes”. Ygritte tells Jon that for all their searching, the wildlings
never find the Horn. But later in Storm, Mance says that Ygritte lied, and that he
did find it – he shows Jon a “great warhorn”, eight feet long, banded in gold, and engraved
with runes. Mance says that unless the Watch lets the wildlings through the Wall, he’ll
blow the horn and destroy the Wall, even though he knows that if the Wall falls, there’ll
be nothing to stop the Others. In the end Stannis captures Mance and Melisandre burns
the horn, and Jon lets many of the wildlings through the Wall anyway. So it looks like
the story of the Horn is cut short. But later, Tormund tells Jon that Mance’s horn wasn’t
actually the real Horn, that it was as an empty threat. So Jon asks, “If Mance’s
horn was just a feint, where is the true horn?” We might also ask what the Horn actually does,
exactly, and who made it, and why. We’re never directly given answers to these questions
in the text but we can make some pretty good guesses. Let’s start at the beginning – with
Joramun. According to legend, Joramun was “The first
King-Beyond-the-Wall”, the first person to unite and lead the wildlings. He lived
thousands of years ago , so we don’t really know anything about him for certain, but we
hear a few different stories. Jeor Mormont implies that Joramun tried to invade the south,
but was defeated, either by the Wall, or by the Starks of Winterfell. In another story,
Joramun apparently fought alongside the Starks in the overthrow of the Night’s King , a
Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who seemed to be involved with the Others. But
the main thing we’re told about Joramun is that he “blew the Horn of Winter, and
woke giants from the earth”, which apparently means the Horn has the power to “bring down
the Wall”. So these legends raise a lot of questions – like, if blowing the Horn
of Winter brings down the Wall, and Joramun blew the Horn of Winter, why’s the Wall
still standing? Was the Horn not used to its full power, or maybe not directed at the Wall
or something? And did Joramun try to invade the south, or did he fight with the Starks,
against the Night’s King, or both? Was the Horn used in these conflicts? And most of
all – what does it mean to “wake giants from the earth”?
Fans have a lot of different ideas about what this phrase means. Like, maybe it’s literal
– maybe there are giants in some kinda hibernation under the ground and the sound of the horn
will wake them and make them tear down the Wall. Some suggest there are ice dragons frozen
within the Wall, or huge weirwood trees that could be described as giants. But there’s
evidence for a different explanation in The World of Ice and Fire, in the bit about the
Breaking of the Arm of Dorne. Basically, thousands of years ago, the first humans came to Westeros
across a land bridge called the Arm of Dorne. They started warring with the children of
the forest, so to try to stop more humans coming, the children used the magic of the
old gods to break the Arm – “the old gods stirred, and giants awoke in the earth, and
all of Westeros shook and trembled. Great cracks appeared in the earth, and hills and
mountains collapsed and were swallowed up. And then the seas came rushing in, and the
Arm of Dorne was broken”, leaving “only [the] few bare rocky islands” we see today. So George R. R. Martin uses waking giants from the earth as a metaphor for a huge earth-shaking
cataclysm – presumably, that’s what the Horn of Winter does, and that’s how it could
destroy the Wall. This may also hint at the Horn’s origins
– it sounds like the Horn uses the magic of the children of the forest. But the physical
form of a horn itself seems like something humans would make, especially if it’s banded
in metal, which we know the children didn’t use. So maybe the Horn was made by the children
of the forest and the First Men working together – which makes sense because the Horn dates
back to a time of friendship and peace between the children and the Men. In fact, it was
not long before Joramun that the children and the Men apparently worked together to
defeat the Others and build the Wall – which raises another question – why would the
children and the Men make a Horn that can destroy the Wall just after they built the
Wall? Maybe this supports the theory that the Wall was actually built by the Others.
But if the children and Men actually wanted to destroy the Wall, why put that power into
a horn, instead of just using that power and destroying the Wall right away? Maybe the
Horn was designed not to destroy the Wall, but as a power play to show that you could
bring down the Wall – kinda like nukes in the Cold War. Being able to threaten someone
with complete destruction can be more powerful than actually destroying them. This is what
Mance Rayder does in Storm, right? He doesn’t want to use the Horn to bring down the Wall,
because he knows that would make everyone vulnerable to the Others. But he threatens
to do it anyway to force the Watch to do what he wants. Maybe that’s why the Horn was
made in the first place – not so much as a way to destroy the Wall, but as a way to
project power by showing you could destroy the Wall – it might have first been used
against the Night’s King. The Night’s King apparently took over the Night’s Watch
and the Wall “with strange sorceries” and made sacrifices to the Others . Maybe
the way the wildlings and Starks defeated him was by threatening to use the Horn – maybe
Joramun sounded it at less than its full power, enough to show he could destroy the Wall without
actually doing it, in doing so, forcing the Night’s King to stand down. That’s just
a guess, there’s no solid evidence to support this, but it does make sense for the Horn
to be designed more as a threat than to actually be used.
To speculate a little more we also guess at where the Horn was kept after the business
with Joramun and the Night’s King. Maybe the Horn of Winter was held by the Stark “Kings
of Winter” at Winterfell. Maybe that’s why it’s said that “there must always
be a Stark in Winterfell” – the Starks historically guarded the Horn. Maybe the Horn
was kept in the Winterfell crypts – there are lots of hints that there’s something
important down there – both Bran and Jon have many dreams about the crypts. Also,
Mance Rayder has shown a suspicious interest in the crypts – he actually infiltrates
Winterfell, twice – in the first book , and in Dance – Mance is still alive in the books.
In Dance, Mance gets into Winterfell and tries to find out from Theon where the crypts are. Is it possible that Mance believes that the Horn of Winter is in the Winterfell crypts?
Is that why he keeps sneaking into Winterfell? Maybe we’ll find out in the next book.
But it’s also possible that the Horn’s not in Winterfell anymore, if it ever was,
because it seems likely that the Horn of Winter is now in the possession of Samwell Tarly.
In Clash, Jon finds a cache of dragonglass weapons wrapped in a Night’s Watch cloak
and buried on the Fist of the First Men, possibly by Benjen or Coldhands for Bloodraven. Along
with the dragonglass daggers and arrowheads is an “old warhorn, made from an auroch’s
horn and banded in bronze”. It’s cracked and chipped and Jon can’t get any sound
from it, so he gives it to Sam, who “like[s] old things, even worthless old things”.
Basically this horn doesn’t seem to be important, but Sam hangs onto it and the books keep subtly
reminding us that he still has it – four times in two books, the horn is offhandedly
mentioned, often right after Jon chapters where he mentions the Horn of Winter. Why
would this horn keep coming up unless it was important? It looks like George Martin is
setting us up to reveal that Sam’s “worthless” old horn is actually the legendary Horn of
Winter. Which could lead to some pretty crazy shit
happening – like, what would happen if Sam repairs and blows the Horn while he’s in
Oldtown? Would the Wall suddenly fall, hundreds of miles away? Or if the Horn, is, like, directional,
would Oldtown collapse around Sam? It’s also worth considering that magic in this
story, especially the magic of the old gods, often has a cost of blood or human life. When
someone uses another magic horn in the story, Dragonbinder, his lips blister and his chest
bleeds and he ends up dead. Whoever uses Joramun’s Horn might suffer something similar.
There is an interesting symmetry between the fiery Dragonbinder and the icy Horn of Winter…
Also there’s apparently “a magic horn” that summons “krakens from the deep” which
sounds pretty sick. But anyway. We could speculate all day about Joramun’s
Horn, but here’re our best guesses based on what we know now. According to legend,
it’s an ancient horn with the power to bring down the Wall. It was probably originally
made by the children of the forest and the First Men, maybe not because they wanted to
destroy the Wall, but because they wanted to be able to threaten to destroy it, like
a mutally assured destruction type deal. After Joramun and the Night’s King, the Horn may
have been kept by the Starks in the Winterfell crypts, though now it seems likely that the
horn is held by Samwell Tarly in the Citadel, which could have hilarious and/or disastrous
consequences. We’ll hopefully learn much more about the Horn in the next book, it’s
apparently on the cover, after all. Until then, we’ll keep on guessing.
Thanks for watching. For more Game of Thrones discussion and analysis, you might like to
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Comments (93)

  1. New favorite channel

  2. horn of winter = old gods/ or the great other
    dragonbinder horn (hell horn) = lord of flames
    horn summons kraken = sea god?
    … is it just me or are these gods a bit horny… hmmm

  3. I think the horn was made by the children to threaten humans with the pending death of whites and the others to keep them back.

    But I think they lost it to the Starks in a battle in the north sometime after the long night

  4. or how i learned to stop worrying and love the wall

  5. Maybe it's gonna be like Lord of Rings when all the mystical creatures woke up including the trees to defeat the orcs , and all old magic in the north will awaken. Athens when the one who was promise comes defeats the other. Magic will slowly disappear again and all mystical creatures and and magic will go away.

  6. Well the Horns Puropose was a sword of power. The Arm was broken by it and after the Wall was built it was seen that it could possibly break the wall. The Wildlings seized it and some giants As a power grab and threat.

  7. There must always be a Stark in winter fell because the dragon that escaped from underneath winter fell that Summer saw when winter fell burnt. The horn of winter will call back the dragon

  8. A dragon breathing fire destroyed the wall.

  9. Coldhands is German the one who blew the horn during the battle with the night King the one who is sacrificing children. And the cost of using the horn was to become a green zombie permanent servants to the children of the forest just a thought. I wonder what exactly happened to the body / soul of the guy who blew the dragonbinder horn especially if it did not consume him inflamed.

  10. you dont build the door without a key

  11. Call me crazy but i think the horn is in the tomb of the 13th lord commander back in winterfell, following the tale that this man was a stark

  12. Unfortunately something much worse happened…

  13. I bet Dany can use dragonbinder. After all, fire cannot kill a dragon. Perhaps Jon can as well?

  14. Wall is already broken. No need of horn

  15. I have a theory….

    One of Danys dragons gets hit with a spear thrown by the night king..
    The night king then revives the dead dragon..

    Then the night king uses the dragons fire to bring the wall down..

    Just a guess.

  16. I know there might not be that much, but might it be an idea to check in on Rodrik the Reader? Rodrik Harlaw, to me, seems he might have even more insights than perhaps dear Samwise, excuse me, Samwell has uncovered so far. 🙂 Love your work, thanks ever so much for loving his work with me!!

  17. im sure some one has said this…but a horn from the north would be a woodwind instrument of winter right?

  18. I always love to watch these old videos to see how completely wrong perdictions about the show are.

  19. They are gonna wake up the Wall Titans.

  20. The horns seem to be tied to the various faiths. Horn of winter = old gods (possibly the other's god). Dragonbinder = r'llor. the kraken horn = the drowned god. i wonder if the seven have a horn

  21. So far I am at the season 7 finale of the show and I just don’t see a horn destroying the wall

  22. The horn Sam Tarly has might be a red herring, meant for us to think that it is the horn of winter when George actually has something else planned and Sam's horn is only a distraction.

  23. Why build a wall if they could just sepearate the north(base of the zombiez) the same way as they did in the arm of dorne?

  24. In Deep Geek's theory of Horn of Winter and Crypts of Winterfell sounds more accurate and evidently backed up

  25. Maybe "the horn that can destroy the wall" is a metaphor… by setting forth a sequence of events that lead to the wall being brought down.

    Spoilers: Turned out to just be a zombie ice dragon… what happens when you run out of material to work off of and have to wing it.

  26. No it wont. Because the stupid mother of dragons and etc., just burned the woirld bny giving the Others a Dragon!

  27. Maybe the horn is a power play by the nights watch to stop any southern kingdoms attacking them? There might be a reason why a southern kingdom would want to control the nights watch, but the nights watch could just hold them off by threatening the attackers with no more protection.

  28. What if Sam uses the horn at the white walkers get near to the wall to bring the wall down around them and destroy them by bringing the wall down around them

  29. Well, I guess you were wrong ^_^

  30. I think it’s more symbolism than anything.

  31. first men used bronze, and worked closely with the children so i always thought the horn being bound in bronze was a big clue, especially after Brans vision of the ritual using the bronze sickle

  32. Well, if the others built the wall. Why do they return but not immediately crush any resistance before anyone knows? Do they need to get used again to using their powers?

  33. Step 1 Sam takes the horn of the winter to the university of westeros.
    Step 2 sam repairs and blows the horn thousands of miles away from the wall.
    Step 3 hilarity ensues.

  34. Nope zombie dragons do it

  35. The Horn was actually in Winterfell . Then Benjen found it and took it with him because the Nights Watch uses horns . But, when Benjen and his squad got attacked he tried to blow it and it didn't work.
    After Benjen got saved he knew that they could kill Wight Walkers with Dragonglass . So, he went to the fist of the first men and buried the Dragonglass with the horn

  36. Brandon the builder builded the wall.

  37. I like how Varys's quote "Power resides where men believe it resides" is added in 5:18

  38. The giants is a metaphor for a earthquake end of discussion

  39. He din`t destroy the wall cz he realized people may need it again one day…

  40. The Horn of Winter reminds me of The Ultimate Nullifier if anyone is familiar with Fantastic Four. It destroys anything but also destroys the user. Pretty sure it was the first thing to get rid of Galactus, could be wrong about that though

  41. Alt Shift X : “Waking giants from the earth” seems like it’s just the way that olden-times-people named Earthquakes… just like humans thousands of years ago on earth, they wouldn’t actually KNOW the Real Cause of an event like that, so “Earth Giants” waking up and stirring is basically the only justification they could come up with for the ground shaking so violently out of the blue like that … “ignorant” people (not used as a negative here) always have come up with other-worldly explanations for things they couldn’t understand at the time,,, I think this is similar

  42. you should make a video about how GRRM can possibly finish these books without contradicting all of this lore he made lol

  43. what if at the end the white walkers come and jon gets the horn from sam and sacrifices himself as it somehow summons something that can bring end to the whites

  44. YOU WERE WRONG DELETE THIS JESUS

  45. woke giants from the earth …what if it raises the dead its the horn of winter giants as in the mighty men the old kings raises the old stark's to fight against the night king

  46. Or it could be a regular horn used by The First men or other Watchmen to signal danger and stuff 🤷🏻‍♂️

  47. 2 years later
    “Nope!”

  48. I think the "giants" that the horn "woke" from the ground WAS the Wall, I think the horn of winter has the power to build/repair the wall as well as bring it down. and that Sam, Jon, (or whoever has it at the time) will use it to repair the hole that the Night King made in the wall. but hey, that's just my thoughts on it~

  49. No
    But a dragon does

  50. COULD YOU DO THE ODYSSEY ? I KNOW its not maybe fantasy but you do such a good job with speculation and Depth.

  51. thus video was very horny…idh! made changes in my mood. c u guys l8r, gonna go to ZZ 😉

  52. I like your concept of the horn as a threat, but I think you have it backwards. The horn isn't the nuclear weapon of men, it's of the Children of the Forest. If you go by the theory that they created the others, then they could threaten to break the wall and release them on mankind.

  53. Ohh 2016, you were so young and innocent!

  54. World building gods
    one piece > game of thrones >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the rest

  55. Well, now we know the answer to this but it would be GREAT to see if one of the horns make a cameo in one of the last 3 episodes left in season 8!!!!! Don't Euron and Samwell both have horns??? 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻

  56. i was hoping the horn would appear in the show :"(

  57. Is that why he's called Brandon the breaker? Because he broke the wall?

  58. Horn of winter was actually D&D all along. They destroyed terrifying and almost unstoppable the long night, westeros, all the back stories GRRM built and eveything we held dear.

  59. This is the horn tormund drink wine in

  60. Well
    No it did not

  61. welp They got the final episode to blow the horn I guess LOL…

  62. I watched most of these lore videos for the first time in the two years between the seventh and the final season of the show and it reminds me how hopeful and excited I felt to see it all pay off.

  63. The horn Samwell finds is banded in bronze. The First Men didn't use iron, but bronze, iirc. Another hint that Mance's horn is a fake, and Sam's is the real one?

  64. I've come from the future to tell you the war horn has absolutely zero significance to anything.

  65. z o m b i e d r a g o n

  66. No!!
    It was a fucking Dead Dragon

  67. Giants from the earth are earthquakes

  68. Too original for D&D

  69. Well this goes in the bin

  70. Plot twist – the giants are in the wall, and we were Attack on Titans all along.

  71. Mance Raider is Ser Arthur Dayne …..whaaaaaat?

  72. Na im from the future and dragon actually destroys it

  73. didnt jon find a horn at the fist of the first men? i kinda assumed that was the horn of winter

  74. that moment when you realise jon snow's lineage doesnt even make the top ten of awesome soiaf theories.

  75. The lighthouse tower in Oldtown is clearly based off the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, especially when you consider that close to the lighthouse the Citadel has a vast library inspired by the Library of Alexandria, which was also close to the Lighthouse on Pharos. Ultimately the Lighthouse was destroyed by an earthquake (technically 3 earthquakes did the trick, but still). If Martin intends to destroy the Lighthouse in Oldtown, then perhaps blowing a repaired Horn of Joramun would destroy that man-made wonder like an earthquake. A Song of Ice and Fire does read like history, and it's part of the reason why it appeals to history buffs like myself and Nick Hodges, so who knows.

  76. I think the horn wouldn't work in the south because the old God's power does not reach there

  77. No it was the dragon duh

  78. Euron "Crow's Eye" Greyjoy is going to lift it off Sam and blow down the Wall.

  79. Perhaps one blast of Joramun's Horn awakens giants from the earth; two blasts to nullifies the magic woven into the Wall, and three blasts breaches the Wall if you're within range. That's a theory I propose for Joramun's Horn. I mean the Night's Watch does have a horn code system: one blast for rangers; two blasts for wildlings; three blasts for White Walkers.

  80. I appreciate that GRRM says Sam is the character most like him, because I'd say he's the most like me as well. Yup, I've totally collected old things that have no apparent value…and then sometimes it turns out they do. It's always a good laugh.

  81. A theory I had waaay back was that joromun was a stark who defected from the watch and became the first King beyond the wall. I believed that his motive was the fact that both the wildlings and the Starks descendants from the first men so he sees the wildlings just as entitled to rule the north as the starks and sees the wall as an insult to the stark honour and the first men culture that they would segregate their own brothers who helped Brandon the builder build the wall. Which is why he would choose to slay the night’s king because the nights king is a stark. It would be a perfect symmetry between the starks unleashing their inner blood of white walkers and wildlings to conquer the north and the Targaryens unleashing their inner dragon blood to conquer Westeros. It could easily make sense in GRRM mind as it raises many questions and it wouldn’t make the white walker vs starks conflict less black and white and it would make the starks vs wildlings conflict less black and white. Of course there are lots and lots of uncertainties in this theory and we have no idea whether Brandon had a brother but if old nan says that the nights king was a stark and joromun helped the starks defeat the night’s king it wouldn’t be that far fetched to say that joromun was a stark which would also symbolize Jon and Yggrite’s relationship as a stark embracing the his wildling heritage since the brother of house Stark’s founder was the king beyond the wall.

  82. Personally I think the whites will have the horn in the next book, and they will bring down the wall.

  83. Gilly's baby and the baby they had together! Baby Sam and the one coming ! Will be in the other book

  84. This came up in my recommended.
    After watching it again…
    It just made me so bummed out.
    I haven't even thought about game of thrones since the final.
    The last season literally killed my love for it.
    I got this wave of nostalgia of how I use to feel about game of thrones.
    The mystery.
    The worldbuilding.
    The anticipation.
    Sigh….

  85. I realize this is going to sound boring, but what if 'Waking the Giants' simply refers to a resonance created by the horn causing tectonic plates vibrating and creating earth quakes … Westeros Quakes?

  86. its very obvious that sam has the true horn

  87. I would love this guy to read the game of thrones books to me, Such a nice voice

  88. Thankfully George still has to drop another book so hopefully things turn out unbelievably better than this shit

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