The battle between the mountain clans and the ironborn after their retreat from Deepwood Motte reminds me of the Long Night. This has been written about by Lucifer Means Lightbringer, who has talked about how the trees resemble the Others, indicating that they were created by the Children of the Forest. He also discusses here some of the symbolism he sees in Asha.
I don’t have much to add, but wanted to post some quotes from the battle itself and see what you all thought. Am I reading too much into this? Probably.
The fight reminds me of the Battle for the Dawn.
No singer would ever make a song about that battle. No maester would ever write down an account for one of the Reader’s beloved books. No banners flew, no warhorns moaned, no great lord called his men about him to hear his final ringing words. They fought in the predawn gloom, shadow against shadow, stumbling over roots and rocks, with mud and rotting leaves beneath their feet. The ironborn were clad in mail and salt-stained leather, the northmen in furs and hides and piney branches. The moon and stars looked down upon their struggle, their pale light filtered through the tangle of bare limbs that twisted overhead.
Like the Last Hero, Asha loses her companions in the course of the battle.
Somewhere in the ebb and flow of battle, Asha lost Qarl, lost Tris, lost all of them.
”So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost.” He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions. For years he searched, until he despaired of ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities. One by one his friends died, and his horse, and finally even his dog, and his sword froze so hard the blade snapped when he tried to use it.”
She also loses her weapons, like the Last Hero did.
Her dirk was gone as well, and all her throwing axes; instead she had a sword in hand, a short sword with a broad thick blade, almost like a butcher’s cleaver. For her life she could not have said where she had gotten it. Her arm ached, her mouth tasted of blood, her legs were trembling, and shafts of pale dawn light were slanting through the trees. Has it been so long? How long have we been fighting?
This reminds me of the myth of Azor Ahai forging Lightbringer.
Both the northmen and the Others snuck up on their prey.
”And the Others smelled the hot blade in him and came silent on his trail, stalking him with packs of pale white spiders big as hounds.”
Half her men were on their feet by then, reaching for shields and spears and axes. They lit no torches either, Asha had time enough to think, and they know these woods better than we ever could. Then the trees erupted all around them, and the northmen poured in howling. Wolves, she thought, they howl like bloody wolves. The war cry of the north.
Finally, Asha is captured by Morgan Liddle.
And then her back came hard against a tree, and she could dance no more. The wolf raised the axe above his head to split her head in two. Asha tried to slip to her right, but her feet were tangled in some roots, trapping her. She twisted, lost her footing, and the axehead crunched against her temple with a scream of steel on steel. The world went red and black and red again.
I really don’t know what to take away from this. What do you think?