Project Application - Greywater Watch by SerLoras

I can understand the argument for a moving Greywater being heresay. Especially since the people who actually reference to Greywater being moving in the books are people who have never been to Greywater, and who aren't exactly friends of the Reeds.
However, there is no actual evidence to Greywater being stationary, and since our guests would expect a moving Greywater, that is what we should cater to.
 

AerioOndos

Donkey Lord
Staff member
So, how to do so. Perhaps obvious moorings could be made to show it is being pinned in place, or cables strung from some sections to nearby trees?
 
I know this probably won't fly either...
But it could be a series of smaller stationary castles, that the Reeds move between. Whichever castle they are currently at would be Greywater Watch. Sort of like the European Parliament "moving" back and fourth between Bruxelles and Strasbourg, with the physical buildings being stationary.

I am more for making an actual moving Greywater, though.
 

SerLoras

Playwright
Your entire argument rests on the assumption that every piece of evidence that we have regarding Greywater Watch is totally incorrect.

I see it the entirely opposite way. We have many pieces of evidence regarding Greywater Watch, the Neck Terrain, and the crannogmen's culture. All of these pieces of evidence point away from it physically moving except the vague, second-hand, word of mouth tales that "it moves."

Ot also has a great point about the implications for guests and our wider viewing community. We know nothing about GWW other than that it is supposedly a moving castle - how could we decide to rob it of its one defining characteristic in good faith?

This point strikes me as misguided. Accuracy to the canon should be the primary consideration. Whichever way you think the canon points, visitor expectations aren't really relevant to that determination. Furthermore, some of the most interesting visitor experiences on the server occur when someone comes to visit a location and finds it isn't exactly what they expected. This opens a dialog and creates an opportunity to learn more about the story or to consider the story in a new way. There is great potential in both meeting and subverting visitor expectations, so I don't think that consideration should weigh towards one side of the argument or the other.

I very rarely hear the magical angle discussed in regards to the crannogmen, even though it is referenced just as often as the "moving" bit. It is actually quite peculiar to me that so many people seem to believe the crannogmen have magic. Most people in Westeros don't take magic seriously, and magic has not been so specifically and routinely attributed to any other house besides the crannogmen. Rather than viewing a stationary Greywater as leaving out part of the Greywater legend, it is more correct to view it as including an important part of the legend that is often overlooked.
 
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SerLoras

Playwright
I think the castle should look more like pictures 2 and 3 of your inspiration artworks. This is a chance to do something unique on the server and I feel like a stone keep is both a bit underwhelming and unlikely solution.

Yes, I definitely see the benefit of incorporating more of the wood and less of the stone. Also, the plan was for the stone elements to be much more ruined in the final version, as well as more closely integrated with the wooden structures.
 

SerLoras

Playwright
But the overarching legend is that it moves. When I think of the location the first thing I remember is that it moves. So, even if you want to argue its not possible, then use the magic of the children to give it an excuse to move rather than to build a stagnant castle.

This does actually sound like a short-cut to me. There is evidence in the text of making "castles appear and disappear," not making castles magically float over otherwise insurmountable terrain obstacles.
 

SeapunkPeaches

Cersei's Left Bob
What exactly is the main argument for a non-movable castle? If we don't get first-hand descriptions of GWW in the books (possible, but I doubt we will) that would contradict arguments for a floating castle, why would we miss the chance to build a unique floating castle in the middle of a huge bog? If realism is the answer, we should remind ourselves that a lot of the locations in aSoIaF are fantasy. We tend to strive too much for pure realism on the server.
Just curious.
 

SerLoras

Playwright
What exactly is the main argument for a non-movable castle? If we don't get first-hand descriptions of GWW in the books (possible, but I doubt we will) that would contradict arguments for a floating castle, why would we miss the chance to build a unique floating castle in the middle of a huge bog? Just curious.

There are basically only two choices, and both of them require extrapolation from the canon.

We could recognize that a large floating/moving structure in the terrain of the Neck would be wildly impractical, if not completely impossible. Then we can extrapolate using clear indicators from the text for why people might think the castle moves when it doesn't.

Or, we can regard a vague, second-hand, and unlikely word of mouth claim as gospel and then extrapolate jerryrigged schemes (that have no textual support) for a "castle" that sort of moves, so long as we disregard everything we know about navigating narrow, obstructed water ways.

My argument is that the bulk of the canon evidence points away from a moving castle. People are putting way to much weight on the vague mentions of a moving castle. These statements may seem straight forward, but they actually raise more questions than they answer. It is also not at all clear that they can be taken at face value. GRRM often employs unreliable narrator, and the distortions of legend are an important theme in his work. All we have to suggest that Greywater moves are second-hand accounts. Greywater is unique among almost every other castle in Westeros in that almost no outsider has ever set foot there. We should be especially wary about second hand knowledge of Greywater because once a misleading legend takes hold there is no mechanism for the record to ever be corrected.

Additionally, I don't think a stationary Greywater detracts from its "uniqueness" to any significant degree. A community of interconnected stilt crannogs built a long a water channel and integrated into the surrounding large trees is not something that I have seen anywhere else on the server, and I think it creates an eerie and wild atmosphere.
 
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Kuzlov

Messenger
Loras I one hundred percent agree that it's not very realistic to have a moving castle, but I gotta say that the old tests of the boats that are sitting in the swamp right now are in my opinion one of the most unique projects we have currently on the server. Would having "interconnected stilt crannogs" still be unique and a first for the server? Yes, but having entire villages on boats moving around the swamp with a huge castle boat in the middle is also unique, and this is probably the only place we could do it both canon wise and "realistically" -- huge quotes. We have loads of rivers where we could add crannogs or houses on stilts, pretty sure I saw a project in the riverlands that was going to put houses on stilts but this is the ONLY region with a swamp/marsh large enough to justify a crazy boat based city and I think that would be way cooler than yet another stationary castle to add to the hundreds of already built stationary castles with wooden fortifications or wooden reinforcements.
 

AerioOndos

Donkey Lord
Staff member
Loras I one hundred percent agree that it's not very realistic to have a moving castle, but I gotta say that the old tests of the boats that are sitting in the swamp right now are in my opinion one of the most unique projects we have currently on the server. Would having "interconnected stilt crannogs" still be unique and a first for the server? Yes, but having entire villages on boats moving around the swamp with a huge castle boat in the middle is also unique, and this is probably the only place we could do it both canon wise and "realistically" -- huge quotes. We have loads of rivers where we could add crannogs or houses on stilts, pretty sure I saw a project in the riverlands that was going to put houses on stilts but this is the ONLY region with a swamp/marsh large enough to justify a crazy boat based city and I think that would be way cooler than yet another stationary castle to add to the hundreds of already built stationary castles with wooden fortifications or wooden reinforcements.

except most of the Neck is named as being impassable by boat. having large boats the size of what are currently would not be able to traverse much of the neck
 
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EStoop

Knight of Fairmarket
Hey Loras,

I skimmed over your app and have the following remarks. Since everyone seems to have an opinion regarding Greywater Watch itself I will focus more on the other aspects of the project.
  • Ruins | Moat Cailin was once a formidable castle with 20 towers and a basalt wall as large as Winterfel's, which by the time our story starts is nothing more than a few basalt blocks and 3 towers. We know this castle has been used throughout Northern history, so it would have had some upkeep or repairs. I don't think much structures would be left standing elsewhere in the Neck, especially so since most First Men build their seats from wood rather than stone.
  • Economy | The Crannogmen are known to be reclusive. I don't think they would care much about rare goods from outside of the Neck (or at least not enough to make a living out of it in a village).
  • The Neck | In your map it seems the Neck extends all the way up to Ironman's Bay. There is supposed to be a forest West of the Neck; there is no mention of the swamps of the Neck extending to the sea on the western side.
  • Houses | In your test it seems the houses are on poles, while canon indicates villages are made on floating islands made of reed and thatch.
  • Watchtowers | One of the strengths of the Crannogmen is that they are hard to find. Building watchtowers such as in your test gives attackers an indication wether they are close to a settlement. I think it's much more likely they would build platforms in the trees and hide in or near the canopy.
 

SerLoras

Playwright
Ruins | Moat Cailin was once a formidable castle with 20 towers and a basalt wall as large as Winterfel's, which by the time our story starts is nothing more than a few basalt blocks and 3 towers. We know this castle has been used throughout Northern history, so it would have had some upkeep or repairs. I don't think much structures would be left standing elsewhere in the Neck, especially so since most First Men build their seats from wood rather than stone.

Thanks Stoop, that's a good point on the ruins. Sounds like I definitely need to dial those back some.

Economy | The Crannogmen are known to be reclusive. I don't think they would care much about rare goods from outside of the Neck (or at least not enough to make a living out of it in a village).

When I say "rare goods" I mean rare in the neck, but more easily available in more conventional settlements (perhaps down the green fork). I am basing this mostly on the description of Meera and Jojen's attire. They are not wearing anything super fancy, but I'm not sure if it all could have been made in the Neck. Meera is wearing lambskin with bronze armor and weapons. Jojen's garb has been dyed green. Perhaps that can all be sourced locally, but it seems like there may be a few incidentals that higher status houses might occasionally want from outside the Neck. If there were to be importers included in the project, it would just be one or two people who live in the most well-off crannogmen settlements such as Greywater and the more prosperous crannogmen houses.

The Neck | In your map it seems the Neck extends all the way up to Ironman's Bay. There is supposed to be a forest West of the Neck; there is no mention of the swamps of the Neck extending to the sea on the western side.

Cannon clearly states that "A dozen streams drain the wetwood, all shallow, silty, and uncharted." From that passage the most plausible location for where these streams drain is Ironman's Bay. Perhaps these streams drain through a forests when they get closer to the coast, but they would eventually transition into swampland as you go further up them.

Out of curiosity, do you know where the canon for that western forest comes from? The streams I mentioned are clearly described in A Storm of Swords, but I have never seen them depicted on any map for some reason.

Houses | In your test it seems the houses are on poles, while canon indicates villages are made on floating islands made of reed and thatch.

To be clear, the canon says the houses are made of thatch and reed, not necessarily the floating islands.

"Floating" is also somewhat ambiguous. I assume by "floating island" it is referring to a crannog. AFAIK crannogs are not floating islands, so much as they are artificial islands. They are constructed by piling stones, wood, mud, etc. on a lake bed until it forms a mound that sticks up above the water line. Crannogs have also taken the form of logs driven into a lake bed to form a sort of raised platform, such as here at Loch Tay. My proposal is to use a combination of these two crannog styles, with most all of the platform crannogs located at Greywater Watch itself.

Most of the crannogs I am planning for villages will be larger artificial islands ringed by a palisade wall. The tests houses (the lower to the ground ones) together on those large crannogs to form a village. There will also be some more isolated individual houses built on small crannog islands. The still houses are really only intended for Greywatcher water. They will be used very sparingly elsewhere in the Neck.

In my tests I was having a hard time representing reed as a building material for the houses. I settled on using wood planks as a stand in for woven reeds. If you have any suggestions on a better way to depict reeds. I'd love to hear them.

Watchtowers | One of the strengths of the Crannogmen is that they are hard to find. Building watchtowers such as in your test gives attackers an indication wether they are close to a settlement. I think it's much more likely they would build platforms in the trees and hide in or near the canopy.

Another very good point. My intention was always for the "watchtowers" (a term I am using loosely to refer to small structures that the crannogmen "watchers" use as bases) to be well hidden and of a wide range of different constructions depending on the environment. I'll work on some better tests to reflect that.
 

SerLoras

Playwright
I have made some new house tests using lighter wood blocks that I think better match the light color of woven dried reeds.

zY5oaIn.png


Also, here is something I am working on for the a new version of the current hall for Greywater.

JLLY3s0.png


It's inspired by this.

U1uGSne.jpg


Additionally, here are a bunch of illustrations of different types of crannog. I am still unable to find any that are floating, as opposed to be built upon the lake-bed.

 
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Thamus_Knoward

Shadowbinder
Ranger
I haven't yet read through the entire thread so pardon my ignorant post (which I'll remove if it proves redundant).

If/ when we get to redoing the neck I hope we can strike a balance between:
- the 'southern US states' inspired canon (alligators, snakes, fungus covered half-drowned trees)
- the 'north north-west British isles' inspired canon (crannogs, geographical similarity to the real UK)
- its creation myth
- and its geomorphological relevance as THE source and major watershed of the green fork of the trident.

I see a conflict in the fact that swamps typically occur in areas of low topographic relief towards the lower sections of larger rivers (eg. Amazonas, Mississippi) or lakes, and the fact that the neck must be in an area of high relief to support the current flow of the Green Fork. Raised bogs and fens (which really only differ in their nutrient content) could occur at the required relatively higher elevation needed to ensure a southward flow of the Green Fork, and would match the position of Westeros in the Northern Hemisphere. However, raised bogs and fens can't support the dense growth of tall trees that we currently have in our rendition of the Neck (and which I believe is strongly hinted at in the canon, which would need to be verified). A wetland landform that supports inundated, dense, tall trees is a carr or Bruchwald, which only works for us if we can argue that the surface is permanently close to the ground-water table. All of this, of course, ignores the fact that the preferred body temperature of Alligators is between 29 to 34 degrees Celsius, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense geographically for that part of Westeros.

“'I need two of your longships to sail around the Cape of Eagles and up the Neck to Greywater
Watch’...’A dozen streams drain the wetwood, all shallow, silty, and uncharted. I would not even call them
rivers. Te channels are ever drifting and changing. Tere are endless sandbars, deadfalls, and tangles of
rotting trees. And Greywater Watch moves. How are my ships to find it?’...’Go upriver flying my banner.
The crannogmen will find you.’”

This quote makes me think that the waters of the Neck are raised higher than sea level (unlike our current terraforming). Furthermore, it is either a region of recurring rainfalls or riddled with subterranean sources of water which drain in all directions (south as the Green Fork, north as the Fever River, west for the canon above to work and possibly east too?!)


tl:dr: The neck don't make no sense, yo.
 
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Thamus_Knoward

Shadowbinder
Ranger
On the matter of Greywater:

I totally agree with Loras' point on GRRM frequently employing an unreliable narrator (gee just look at Eyrie-stage Sansa's distorted recollection of Winterfell), but I also see the appeal of building something totally novel and out-of-this-world based on the wildest descriptions in canon we can find. So with the two fronts hardening (static but magic vs. moving but literally moving) I'd like to suggest a third approach:

Let's just not build it at all. We don't know for sure if it exists since we're never actually taken there as a reader. If we plonk it down somewhere be it as a dirt/wood/reed castle that's magically hidden, quick to disassemble or a collection of floats, we would break the mystery that surrounds it and for the lifetime of the server bind its existence to a single location. If we never build it at all, it can still be everywhere and nowhere at once in a visitor's mind. They too get lost looking for it effectively reliving the experiences of any non-crannogi Westerosi setting out to find it.

I think it would be a lovely meta-twist and solve this headache until we get more canon.
 
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SerLoras

Playwright
I haven't yet read through the entire thread so pardon my ignorant post (which I'll remove if it proves redundant).

If/ when we get to redoing the neck I hope we can strike a balance between:
- the 'southern US states' inspired canon (alligators, snakes, fungus covered half-drowned trees)
- the 'north north-west British isles' inspired canon (crannogs, geographical similarity to the real UK)
- its creation myth
- and its geomorphological relevance as THE source and major watershed of the green fork of the trident.

I see a conflict in the fact that swamps typically occur in areas of low topographic relief towards the lower sections of larger rivers (eg. Amazonas, Mississippi) or lakes, and the fact that the neck must be in an area of high relief to support the current flow of the Green Fork. Raised bogs and fens (which really only differ in their nutrient content) could occur at the required relatively higher elevation needed to ensure a southward flow of the Green Fork, and would match the position of Westeros in the Northern Hemisphere. However, raised bogs and fens can't support the dense growth of tall trees that we currently have in our rendition of the Neck (and which I believe is strongly hinted at in the canon, which would need to be verified). A wetland landform that supports inundated, dense, tall trees is a carr or Bruchwald, which only works for us if we can argue that the surface is permanently close to the ground-water table. All of this, of course, ignores the fact that the preferred body temperature of Alligators is between 29 to 34 degrees Celsius, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense geographically for that part of Westeros.

“'I need two of your longships to sail around the Cape of Eagles and up the Neck to Greywater
Watch’...’A dozen streams drain the wetwood, all shallow, silty, and uncharted. I would not even call them
rivers. Te channels are ever drifting and changing. Tere are endless sandbars, deadfalls, and tangles of
rotting trees. And Greywater Watch moves. How are my ships to find it?’...’Go upriver flying my banner.
The crannogmen will find you.’”

This quote makes me think that the waters of the Neck are raised higher than sea level (unlike our current terraforming). Furthermore, it is either a region of recurring rainfalls or riddled with subterranean sources of water which drain in all directions (south as the Green Fork, north as the Fever River)


tl:dr: The neck don't make sense, yo.

Thanks for those hydrological insights, Thamus. That basically confirms my prior suspicion that yes, the Neck does in fact make no sense.

Rain and subterranean sources are probably the best real world explanation, but I haven't found anything in the canon that references those possibilities. The Maesters suggest "sinking land" and "rising ocean waters," but the information you provided seems to rule that out. Personally, I take it as further evidence of the Neck's magical origins (and perhaps even as evidence of some continued magical process that is still sustaining the Neck's inexplicable water flows).

On the matter of Greywater:

I totally agree with Loras' point on GRRM frequently employing an unreliable narrator (gee just look at Eyrie-stage Sansa's distorted recollection of Winterfell), but I also see the appeal of building something totally novel and out-of-this-world based on the wildest descriptions in canon we can find. So with the two factions hardening (static but magic vs. moving but literally moving) I'd like to suggest a third approach:

Let's just not build it at all. We don't know for sure if it exists since we're never actually taken there as a reader. If we plonk it down somewhere be it as a dirt/wood/reed castle that's magically hidden, quick to disassemble or a collection of floats, we would break the mystery that surrounds it and for the lifetime of the server bind its existence to a single location. If we never build it at all, it can still be everywhere and nowhere in a visitor's head. They too get lost looking for it effectively reliving the experiences of any non-crannog Westerosi setting out to find it.

I think it would be a lovely meta-twist and solve this headache until we get more canon.

That is a very intriguing suggestion.

I guess I should lay my cards on the table here and say that my primary motivation in attempting this project was to advance what I think is very well supported and under appreciated interpretation of the text (i.e. a stationary, magically concealed Greywater). I have very little interest in constructing Greywater Watch as a literally floating and/or moving castle.

If currently the only acceptable version of Greywater is a floating/moving interpretation, then your mysterious non-existent approach sounds like a very good compromise to me.