Block Change Request: Sweetcorn Plant

Scubooty

Bookbinder
Request: Sweetcorn Plant

Request Type: Unique Addition (specific to a build, region, or culture)

Describe the use of this block in said build, region, or culture. How is it unique? To the best of your knowledge how could it be used in a different context?
Sweetcorn is canonically grown in the Riverlands area around the Godseye lake. The addition of this plant could be only as a Central Riverlands exclusive plant as that's where the only mention of it being grown in the books is at. The current plant blocks most similar in resemblance would be bedstraw and nettle but neither of them look convincing enough to represent sweetcorn stalks. For the block itself, it could be a basic CTM like the nettles and other plants that adjust to being taller when stacking the block, this would be useful in showing growth stages.

Types of evidence to support your request: Canon

Canonical Evidence
"Outside a holdfast called Briarwhite, some fieldhands surrounded them in a cornfield, demanding coin for the ears they'd taken. Yoren eyed their scythes and tossed them a few coppers. "Time was, a man in black was feasted from Dorne to Winterfell, and even high lords called it an honor to shelter him under their roofs," he said bitterly. "Now cravens like you want hard coin for a bite of wormy apple." He spat.
"It's sweetcorn, better'n a stinking old black bird like you deserves," one of them answered roughly. "You get out of our field now, and take these sneaks and stabbers with you, or we'll stake you up in the corn to scare the other crows away."
They roasted the sweetcorn in the husk that night, turning the ears with long forked sticks, and ate it hot right off the cob. Arya thought it tasted wonderful, but Yoren was too angry to eat. A cloud seemed to hang over him, ragged and black as his cloak. He paced about the camp restlessly, muttering to himself." (A Clash of Kings, Arya III)

- Sweetcorn is found in the areas around the Godseye near Briarwhite and its surroundings.
 

Azulejo

Skinchanger
Sweetcorn is not only grown in the Riverlands. There's at least another quote that suggests that it is grown in the area around Highgarden (or broadly the Reach, Lord Caswell is lord of Bitterbridge:​
"Of food there was plenty. The war had not touched the fabled bounty of Highgarden. While singers sang and tumblers tumbled, they began with pears poached in wine, and went on to tiny savory fish rolled in salt and cooked crisp, and capons stuffed with onions and mushrooms. There were great loaves of brown bread, mounds of turnips and sweetcorn and pease, immense hams and roast geese and trenchers dripping full of venison stewed with beer and barley. For the sweet, Lord Caswell's servants brought down trays of pastries from his castle kitchens, cream swans and spun-sugar unicorns, lemon cakes in the shape of roses, spiced honey biscuits and blackberry tarts, apple crisps and wheels of buttery cheese."

A Clash of Kings, Catelyn II
This is a direct reference to sweetcorn, but I think we should also consider the fact that when GRRM used "corn" in other parts of the books he may be refering to maize and not generic grains. This can be backed up by the fact that a) sweetcorn exists in the world and is mentioned, b) when he mentions corn he rarely uses the term alone and tends to list other grains. The quotes I selected here, in my opinion, highlight the possibility that indeed "corn" in ASoIaF usually means "maize". Of course they're more debatable than the explicit mentions to sweetcorn, but I think theres a strong case behind many of them.
Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, was a gruff old man with an immense bald head and a shaggy grey beard. He had a raven on his arm, and he was feeding it kernels of corn. "I am told you can read." He shook the raven off, and it flapped its wings and flew to the window, where it sat watching as Mormont drew a roll of paper from his belt and handed it to Jon. "Corn," it muttered in a raucous voice. "Corn, corn."
A Game of Thrones, Jon III

A "kernel" is a seed or nut from a plant. That includes wheat and other grains. Very broadly speaking though, kernel is usually used more when refering to maize grains rather than other cereals (at least that is what I percieved as a non native speaker). I think that if GRRM wasn't refering maize here, using the expresion "kernels of corn" could be potentially confusing to readers, as they may easily interpret it as maize. I would say this is a weak argument in favour of the possibility that corn=maize, but it should be noted.


And so she rode behind him, beneath the shadow of the Bloody Gate where a dozen armies had dashed themselves to pieces in the Age of Heroes. On the far side of the stoneworks, the mountains opened up suddenly upon a vista of green fields, blue sky, and snowcapped mountains that took her breath away. The Vale of Arryn bathed in the morning light.
It stretched before them to the misty east, a tranquil land of rich black soil, wide slow-moving rivers, and hundreds of small lakes that shone like mirrors in the sun, protected on all sides by its sheltering peaks. Wheat and corn and barley grew high in its fields, and even in Highgarden the pumpkins were no larger nor the fruit any sweeter than here. They stood at the western end of the valley, where the high road crested the last pass and began its winding descent to the bottomlands two miles below. The Vale was narrow here, no more than a half day's ride across, and the northern mountains seemed so close that Catelyn could almost reach out and touch them. Looming over them all was the jagged peak called the Giant's Lance, a mountain that even mountains looked up to, its head lost in icy mists three and a half miles above the valley floor. Over its massive western shoulder flowed the ghost torrent of Alyssa's Tears. Even from this distance, Catelyn could make out the shining silver thread, bright against the dark stone.

A Game of Thrones Catelyn IV​

Corn is mentioned alongside wheat and barley. It could mean "generic grain", but it a bit would be strange given that two other grains are specified and that corn appears between them rather than at the end of the list. I think it is also worth mentioning that corn, when describing regions and the crops that appear on them, is only used for The Reach, Riverlands and specially the Vale. If "corn" was used as "generic grain" one would expect that it appeared on more descriptions and not so specifically centered on those 3 regions.​


A little farther up the road, they glimpsed a forester's cabin surrounded by old trees and neatly stacked logs ready for the splitting, and later a ramshackle stilt-house leaning over the river on poles ten feet tall, both deserted. They passed more fields, wheat and corn and barley ripening in the sun, but here there were no men sitting in trees, nor walking the rows with scythes. Finally the town came into view; a cluster of white houses spread out around the walls of the holdfast, a big sept with a shingled wooden roof, the lord's towerhouse sitting on a small rise to the west . . . and no sign of any people, anywhere

A Clash of Kings, Arya IV

Same arguments as before: corn appears between two other grains, pointing imo towards maize rather than "generic grain". I think it is also worth metioning that the houses nerbay these fields are white, thus very likely whitewashed, and thus having access to lime, important when processing maize (I will elaborate on this at the end).


"Sausage," said Dirk. "Them long black ones, they're like rocks, they keep for years. I bet he's got a hundred hanging in some cellar."
"Oats," suggested Ollo Lophand. "Corn. Barley."
"Corn," said Mormont's raven, with a flap of the wings. "Corn, corn, corn, corn, corn."

A Storm of Swords, Samwell II​

We all know about the crows that constantly demand corn as feed: there are many quotes that fall under this category. What I would like to highlight about this quote is that when enlisting foods "corn" is mentioned, alongside another grain again. It could perfectly mean "generic grain" but there's still a chance that it doesn't.​


"We all shed our blood for the Watch. Wear thicker gloves." Jon shoved a chair toward him with a foot. "Sit, and have a look at this." He handed him the parchment.
"What is it?" asked Sam. The raven began to hunt out corn kernels amongst the rushes.
"A paper shield."

A Feast for Crows, Samwell I

Just as the first quote that I listed, the expression "corn kernels" appears again. Could be generic grain, could be maize. In my opinion if it was supposed to be "generic grain" using "corn kernels" is a interesting choice, since it can clearly lead to misinterpretation.


They had no eggs, no more than they had bacon. The Eyrie's granaries held sufficient oats and corn and barley to feed them for a year, but they depended on a bastard girl named Mya Stone to bring fresh foodstuffs up from the valley floor. With the Lords Declarant encamped at the foot of the mountain there was no way for Mya to get through. Lord Belmore, first of the six to reach the Gates, had sent a raven to tell Littlefinger that no more food would go up to the Eyrie until he sent Lord Robert down. It was not quite a siege, not as yet, but it was the next best thing.

A Feast for Crows, Alayne I​

Again, another mention of "corn" when describing the production of The Vale, and again listed between mentions of other grains, in my opinion reducing the chances that "corn" is been used as an equivalent of "generic grain" instead of "maize".​


"I will." Sam sounded relieved. "My lord, if I might ask … I saw Gilly leaving. She was almost crying."
"Val sent her to plead for Mance again," Jon lied, and they talked for a while of Mance and Stannis and Melisandre of Asshai, until the raven ate the last corn kernel and screamed, "Blood."
"I am sending Gilly away," Jon said. "Her and the boy. We will need to find another wet nurse for his milk brother."

A Dance with Dragons, Jon II

"Corn kernel". I think I said it enough hahahah.


Asha tried to picture herself abed with Erik Ironmaker, crushed beneath his bulk, suffering his embraces. Better him than the Red Oarsman or Left-Hand Lucas Codd. The Anvil-Breaker had once been a roaring giant, fearsomely strong, fiercely loyal, utterly without fear. It might not be so bad. He's like to die the first time he tries to do his duty as a husband. That would make her Erik's widow instead of Erik's wife, which could be better or a good deal worse, depending on his grandsons. And my nuncle. In the end, all the winds blow me back toward Euron. "I have hostages, on Harlaw," she reminded him. "And there is still Sea Dragon Point … if I cannot have my father's kingdom, why not make one of my own?" Sea Dragon Point had not always been as thinly peopled as it was now. Old ruins could still be found amongst its hills and bogs, the remains of ancient strongholds of the First Men. In the high places, there were weirwood circles left by the children of the forest.
"You are clinging to Sea Dragon Point the way a drowning man clings to a bit of wreckage. What does Sea Dragon have that anyone could ever want? There are no mines, no gold, no silver, not even tin or iron. The land is too wet for wheat or corn."
I do not plan on planting wheat or corn. "What's there? I'll tell you. Two long coastlines, a hundred hidden coves, otters in the lakes, salmon in the rivers, clams along the shore, colonies of seals offshore, tall pines for building ships."

A Dance with Dragons, The Wayward Bride
Same as other cases: corn is mentioned alongside another grain, reducing in my opinion the chances of it been used as a synonym of "generic grain".​


"Impossible," declared the young maester by Lady Rohanne's side. "Coldmoat supports twenty times as many smallfolk as does Standfast. Her ladyship has fields of wheat and corn and barley, all dying from the drought. She has half a dozen orchards, apples and apricots and three kinds of pears. She has cows about to calf, five hundred head of black-nosed sheep, and she breeds the finest horses in the Reach. We have a dozen mares about to foal."
"Ser Eustace has sheep, too," Dunk said. "He has melons in the fields, beans and barleycorn, and . . ."

The Sworn Sword

Another reference to corn alongside other grains, this time on The Reach.


There is disagreement even on his name. Garth Greenhand, we call him, but in the oldest tales he is named Garth Greenhair, or simply Garth the Green. Some stories say he had green hands, green hair, or green skin overall. (A few even give him antlers, like a stag.) Others tell us that he dressed in green from head to foot, and certainly this is how he is most commonly depicted in paintings, tapestries, and sculptures. More likely, his sobriquet derived from his gifts as a gardener and a tiller of the soil—the one trait on which all the tales agree. "Garth made the corn ripen, the trees fruit, and the flowers bloom," the singers tell us.

The World of Ice and Fire, The Reach: Garth Greenhand​

Here it is more than likely that "corn" is in fact "generic grain" anf not maize. Added it just in case​


I also looked at the use of "kernel" in the books, to see if the word is used with other grains or exclusively with "corn", suggesting that it in fact refers to maize kernels. All quotes but two ("kernels of truth" and "kernels of knowledge", neither cereals) where kernel is mentioned are alongside corn or in the context of feeding the crows, so it's not bold to assume that corn kernels are the ones that are been talked about. Here are some that I found interesting:

I'm trying, the crow replied. Say, got any corn?
Bran reached into his pocket as the darkness spun dizzily around him. When he pulled his hand out, golden kernels slid from between his fingers into the air. They fell with him.
The crow landed on his hand and began to eat.
A Game of Thrones, Bran III

"Kernels" not only is mentioned alongside "corn", but the colour of said kernels is mentioned too: "gold". Wheat or other grains can have a golden colour, but it is no dobut that maize is very intesly yellow/orange colored, so it's very plausible that they are maize kernels.

Jon's solar was back beyond the racks of spears and shields. He was reading a parchment when Sam entered. Lord Commander Mormont's raven was on his shoulder, peering down as if it were reading too, but when the bird spied Sam it spread its wings and flapped toward him crying, "Corn, corn!"

Shifting the books, Sam thrust his arm into the sack beside the door and came out with a handful of kernels. The raven landed on his wrist and took one from his palm, pecking so hard that Sam yelped and snatched his hand back. The raven took to the air again, and yellow and red kernels went everywhere.

A Feast for Crows, Samwell I​

Colour is mentioned again: yellow and red. Unlike golden, yellow is a less common way of describing wheat, barley or other grains. Red wheat exists, having a more "toasted" appereance. Its colour is given by the husk, tho the seeds can be a bit rusty toned too. Maize on the other hand has very prominent and known varieties with intense and clearly yellow/red coloring. The possibility that those kernels aren't maize is honestly slim. If that was the case the chances that the corn fed to crows during the whole series is indeed maize is very high.

I highly encourage reading both the quotes and the explanation behind them as they are the backbone of the text below. Without them these points may come up as a reach

What I extract from this quotes is that when "corn" is used most of the times it means "maize". It appears alongside other grains as part of a list and usually not at the end, making it harder for it to be "generic grain". Its also worth mentioning that its appereance is linked to The Vale, The Reach and The Riverlands, in that orther. If corn was used as a synonym of grains it would be expected that it appears mentioned more on other regions. It would seem like GRRM made The Vale specially, but also The Reach, an area where corn is grown and is somewhat common. Both regions have fertile lands and plentiful water, so corn can easily be grown.

It is also worh noting that it these two regions white and whitewashed architecture, as well as white stone/limestone is prominent both in the books and what we made in the server, so access to lime should be easy in most cases. This is important since the consumption of corn that hasn't been nixtamalized (process that requires an alcaline solution, usually lime based) can lead to a deficit of vitamin B, if corn is very promient on the diet and there aren't any other sources of said vitamin. This can lead to developing illnesses such as pellagra, something that was quite promient in the wet regions of Europe that adopted maize as it's main grain crop after the Columbian exchange. When corn was bringed to this areas the knowledge of nixtamalization did not come along, and thus vitamin deficits began to appear.

I would like to point out that nevertheless pellagra wouldn't be that big of a thread in Westeros by two reasons: a) the areas where corn seems to be grown also seem to have relatively easy access to lime (whitewash is prominent in the Reach as well as in the Vale), b) corn is not the only grain grown in the areas where it appears, suggesting that it may be a complementary source of food and thus the lack of access to lime for nixtamalization is not as important, since there are other grains to complement the diet.

Hominy_(maize).jpg
Nixtamalized maize

Maize wouldn't be the first New World plant to be incorpored into Westeros/Essos: pumpkins, squash, peppers, sunflowers and something that resembles nopal/chumbera or pitaya have been mentioned. Our general approach seems to limit the use of New World crops and plants to those that have been mentioned, something that I agree with.

TO SUM UP: Corn (maize) is mentioned several times on the books and there's a strong case behind it. It would seem like it is a crop in the Mander basin, some areas of the Riverlands and The Vale (most likely The Vale of Arryn/The Vale proper).
:corn:
 
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Scubooty

Bookbinder
I'm glad you brought up some more uses of maize from the books! If used in the Reach I would imagine it could be contained to the northern reach close to the Riverlands, this would avoid having to integrate it into other parts of the Reach that are more complete. For the areas it is being grown it is reasonable to say they grow other food crops as well and thus it is not the bulk of their diet, this is supported by the fact that when it is being consumed it is usually just basic maize there's not any mention as far as I know of maize/corn products which are common in the areas of the real world that depend on it as their primary product. Nixtamalization could be represented in areas of limestone deposits that can support the limewashing of buildings as well as using it in agricultural practice. I doubt that was something GRRM considered when mentioning "corn" in canon so I wouldn't let that hinder the use of the crop, this is still Minecraft. Lastly, I support the addition of baskets and even hanging ears of corn alongside the crop itself!
 
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Margaery_Tyrell

Shadowbinder
Sweetcorn is not only grown in the Riverlands. There's at least another quote that suggests that it is grown in the area around Highgarden (or broadly the Reach, Lord Caswell is lord of Bitterbridge:​

A big reason why new varieties of crop blocks aren't introduced generally is because there is a (substantiated) belief that they may outdate every single project that does not have them included, so there needs to be a convincing case of:

A) people either taking upon themselves to either update the entirety of Westeros with the newly introduced crops (a tall order since this would set us back even further, or create incomplete areas in finished projects) in the appropriate regions.

B) limit them to new projects or regions (like Harrenhal)

C) Or scrapping the idea all together (which I would want to avert with this suggestion).

A problem with block requests as a whole from my perspective is that we kinda throw every single want and dalliance at the wall without any consideration for the feasible implementation of the block, ergo. We don't consider the broader implications of adding a block to the server, we don't look at local application vs general application, we don't provide textures or models for easier implementation, etc. And what usually ends up happening is that the block request ends up dying on the vine so to speak because we keep piling on more and more things to include that makes its implementation impossible or too labor intensive.

It would be nice to increase the scope of new blocks to the entire server, but endlessly updating the server with every new block has been a pet peeve of mine since it tends to drag back the server's progress considerably especially when it comes to a new crop block which not only involves the depiction of the crop fields themselves, but of storage, preservation, harvesting, and preparation of those crops.

For Sweetcorn, I do rather like that this suggestion makes it clear that it would be confined to the Riverlands as a crop, as it would give it a regional crop that would help differentiate it from similar regions nearby (The Reach, Crownlands, and flatlands in the Vale) in terms of crop variety. And it also prevents the problem of depiction as they would have the opportunity to show the sowing, cultivation, harvesting, preservation and storage of corn as a grain without having to redo already completed projects.

In support of this, here are some corn stalk textures to help move this suggestion forward.

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Azulejo

Skinchanger
My approach with the wall of text I provided was taking advantage of this block request to discuss a common topic that has been lingering the server for a while. Being more specific, I think there's enough canon information suggesting a confined area where maize would be grown, thus evading outdating old projects from areas outside of the corn range. Not every project needs in x region needs to have everything that is said for that region, and we have more than enough chances of adding corn on untouched land on the 3 regions that have corn.​
  • Most of the central Riverlands is yet to be done and would be adressed by the God's Eye Megabuild.​
  • The Reach has ongoing projects in the North like the Tumbleton Mega, Codd or Orme, projects unstarted in Core Reach like Goldengrove, Hornhill, Norcross or Dunstonbury, and others that eventually may be updated like Cider Hall.​
  • The Vale will be redone when we get the increased height limit, an event that would significantly affect the Vale of Arryn, the area where I think corn would be grown in the Vale. On top of that theres Old Anchor, another ongoing project (which I also think will fall under the Vale of Arryn once the mountains are redone).​
For Sweetcorn, I do rather like that this suggestion makes it clear that it would be confined to the Riverlands as a crop, as it would give it a regional crop that would help differentiate it from similar regions nearby (The Reach, Crownlands, and flatlands in the Vale) in terms of crop variety. And it also prevents the problem of depiction as they would have the opportunity to show the sowing, cultivation, harvesting, preservation and storage of corn as a grain without having to redo already completed projects.
If we are sure about adding corn the builders of the ongoing projects could plan to leave areas for fields and processing before it gets added, just like what was done with hemp. I sincerely don't think that having projects in any of this 3 regions without corn would instatly outdate them. Highgarden or Holyhall can perfectly exists without them. All we know is that there's corn in the Reach. Cotton is also mentioned for the area, but not every single project has to have cotton, or plums, or peaches.

Limiting corn usage just for the Riverlands would be a mistake in my opinion, since theres enough canon supporting the existance of corn in two other regions and we are still on time for adding it on the 3 said regions. It would fix a missing piece that we have been wiping under the carpet for a long time. I'm always in favour of adding uniqueness and diferent touches to the server, but I don't think this is the time for it. Still, corn been exclusive to the Northern Reach, the Central Riverlands and the Vale of Arryn I think still adds a significant amount of uniqueness to these 3 regions. The Northern Reach and the Riverlands have (should have imo) common cultural features, adding corn to the Reach and The Vale doesn't interfere with the Riverlands having a feature that diferenciates it from the Crownlands, and I sincerely don't see how the Riverlands and the Vale valleys are either nerbay or on need of features that diferenciate them.

Thus I think I can say that adding corn would fall under the clause B) you mentioned, but obviously opening the scope of regions adressed.​
 

Azulejo

Skinchanger
A big reason why new varieties of crop blocks aren't introduced generally is because there is a (substantiated) belief that they may outdate every single project that does not have them included, so there needs to be a convincing case of:

A) people either taking upon themselves to either update the entirety of Westeros with the newly introduced crops (a tall order since this would set us back even further, or create incomplete areas in finished projects) in the appropriate regions.

B) limit them to new projects or regions (like Harrenhal)

C) Or scrapping the idea all together (which I would want to avert with this suggestion).

A problem with block requests as a whole from my perspective is that we kinda throw every single want and dalliance at the wall without any consideration for the feasible implementation of the block, ergo. We don't consider the broader implications of adding a block to the server, we don't look at local application vs general application, we don't provide textures or models for easier implementation, etc. And what usually ends up happening is that the block request ends up dying on the vine so to speak because we keep piling on more and more things to include that makes its implementation impossible or too labor intensive.

It would be nice to increase the scope of new blocks to the entire server, but endlessly updating the server with every new block has been a pet peeve of mine since it tends to drag back the server's progress considerably especially when it comes to a new crop block which not only involves the depiction of the crop fields themselves, but of storage, preservation, harvesting, and preparation of those crops.
I mostly agree with the points you made here, and it's safe to say that most builders do too. As someone who has made a lot of block request, the way I see them is a form of showing people a need that I think the server has, and then seeing the response that people may have regarding it.

Investing time and effort on making a texture before knowing if the suggestion has either chances or a funded reason I think its not worth it. That been said, and I think this is the case with many, I don't know how to make textures (or rather making them half decent, I'm trying hahaha), so it's not like I could add them even if I wanted. Expecting textures to back up every single block request is just a way of limiting who can make block requests, which sure may be a good thing from a certain point of view, but I don't think is fair. What I do to compensate that I don't provide them is dissecting and specifying as much as I can the needs of said request, so that whoever ends up adressing it can do it with the least ammount of work possible, something that I think many builders already do.

I think the whole point of the block request is throwing out our wants and thoughts regarding the server, I don't see that necessarily as a bad thing. Sure ideally we should think more about them before asking for stuff, but that's not going to happen. The process of screening and refining takes place here, on the forums. We get told what it would imply, the limitations, the risks of outdating projects and then it's decided if that request keeps going or not. If the block request hasn't been thought out enough by the builder and it's not good enough or has significant problems attached to it, well let it be, it would die because that's what needs to happen.​
 

Scubooty

Bookbinder
I believe in my posts I've said it can be contained to Riverlands and if needed implemented into the WIP or unstarted northern Reach projects, I left out the Vale because as Azul said it's going to get largely redone at some point. This block request and the few others I've made in the past week have been to support the Central Riverlands Megabuild, it is not just for the purpose of requesting a want of mine, they're all valid within the scope of the project needs. I think a lot of the points made in this thread are going to get missed by people since it's a small texture request, I'd suggest making a separate thread to speak about grievances with the texture requests.
 
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