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Saturday, 15 September 2012

A Game of Thrones History: The Children of The Forest

Who were the Children of the Forest?
They were a mysterious non-human race that were thought to be the original inhabitants of the continent of Westeros. They were already living in Westeros when the First Men migrated to the continent. They were last seen during the Andal Invasion, many believe that they did not exist and those that do believe in them say they are long gone and extinct.

The Children of the Forest were said to be human like creature's, but when they were grown to manhood they were no taller than human children. They preferred living in the depths of the forest in hidden villages, in crannogs in the swamps or in caves, keeping themselves hidden. As a result they became known as ''The Children of the Forest''


Culture

The Children of the Forest worshipped nature gods, the spirits of every tree, rock and stream. According to stories and legend it was the Children of the Forest that carved the faces into the sacred Weirwood trees. These trees were the closest things to shrines in their religion.
A Weirwood Tree
The Children of the Forest were very skilled in the crafts with wood and had great knowledge of the plants and animals of the forest. They hunted using bows made of weirwood and used blades of Dragonglass (also known as obsidian).

There were also Children of the Forest who were said to have wielded powerful magic, these wise men were known as ''Greenseers''.


History

It is believed that before the First Men arrived in Westeros that the Children of the Forest Ruled Westeros for thousands of years. It is thought that Giants also inhabited Westeros at the same time and they often clashed with the Children of the Forest. However whatever events did take place were not recorded and have long since been forgotten.

Approximately 12,000 years ago the First Men from Essos migrated to Westeros by crossing a land bridge known as the Arm of Dorne. They began cutting down the Children's forests including the sacred weirwood trees. This led them into conflict and war with the Children. For the next 2000 years frequent wars and battles ensued between the two races. During this time the Children destroyed the Arm of Dorne and flooded the Neck with the sorcery of the Greenseers.

A Greenseer of the Children of the Forest
After two thousand years of near constant fighting and violence the war came to a standstill. The Children of the Forest and the First Men came to an agreement to coexist peacefully. The Pact was signed on the Isle of faces in Gods Eye lake (An Island on a large lake in the Riverlands),it granted the open lands to the First Men and the Forests to the Children.

The Pact lasted for about 2000 years until the Long Night and the invasion of the White Walkers. The Children of the Forest and the First Men rallied together to drive back the White Walkers in the ''War for the Dawn''. Both the First Men and the Children of the Forest suffered huge losses. After the battle, the Children were said to have helped Bran the Builder raise the Wall to protect from another invasion.


The Children of the Forest never had a huge population to begin with, and suffered huge losses in the war against the White Walkers, from which they never really recovered. Over the centuries the numbers gradually declined until they had all but disappeared. By the time the Andals invaded Westeros there was only a handful left. Those that remained were driven off or slaughtered by the Andals. Those that survived are said to have fled beyond the Wall to the far North. By the time Aegon Targaryen conquered the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros there had been no contact with the Children of the Forest for thousands of years.


The maesters in today's Westeros believe that either the Children are extinct or never existed at all. This is disputed by the people in the North who say that they inherited their worship of the Old Gods1 from the Children of the Forest.

Eddard Stark and Catelyn in the Godswood in Winterfell
Physical Appearance 
It is important to note that the Author of the books, A song of Ice and Fire, on which Game of Thrones is based, George R.R Martin, insists that the Children of the Forest are not simply his version of Elves. In the books the Children are described as dark and beautiful. They are smaller than humans with nut-brown skin, large ears, and glowing gold eyes, slitted like a cats. They also have 4 digit hands (3 fingers and a thumb) that in in small claws instead of primate fingernails. They interwove vines and flowers into their hair and clothing.

1. The Old Gods: The Gods that the Children of the Forest worshipped became known as the Old Gods when the Andals invaded and introduced their ''New'' Gods.