15

And so the little crannogman’s prayer was answered... by the green men, or the old gods, or the children of the forest, who can say?

I thought 'green men' was another name for the children of the forest, but that line suggests they are distinct.

Who are these green men?

  • all children must grow up, eventually... seems to me that "green men" sound like adult children of the forest. – acolyte Jun 21 '13 at 13:59
  • @acolyte - The Children aren't actually children, they were just called that by The First Men due to their small size. – Omegacron Mar 12 '15 at 16:37
12

I didn't remember what the "green men" were either, but apparently they are the guardians of the trees in the Isle of Faces, which symbolize the peace pact between the First Men and the Children of the Forest.

4

I've read the books (and stayed away from the show) but Martin didn't explain much about the Green Men, or much more on this part, either. I took it to mean those who worshipped the Old Gods, as a nod to their naturistic Gods (green trees with faces of the Gods upon them). Martin does give some rather colorful names to seperate peoples (the White Walkers, the Green Men, etc.) but like the barely-yet-tantilizingly-described Ursurper's War, some things are just left up to the reader's imagination, as history sometimes is.

2

The Green Men are a group of "men" who formed an order to keep watch over the weirwoods on the Isle of Faces.

In the south the last weirwoods had been cut down or burned out a thousand years ago, except on the Isle of Faces where the green men kept their silent watch. Up here it was different. Here every castle had its godswood, and every godswood had its heart tree, and every heart tree its face.
A Game of Thrones, Catelyn I

"There they forged the Pact. The First Men were given the coastlands, the high plains and bright meadows, the mountains and bogs, but the deep woods were to remain forever the children's, and no more weirwoods were to be put to the axe anywhere in the realm. So the gods might bear witness to the signing, every tree on the island was given a face, and afterward, the sacred order of green men was formed to keep watch over the Isle of Faces.
A Game of Thrones, Bran VII

Although Maester Yandel is a bit skeptical in his writings in The World of Ice and Fire if the Green Men exist or not there have been a few tales of people going to meet them, the first is the Crannogmen and the second is of Ser Addam Velaryon.

"The lad knew the magics of the crannogs," she continued, "but he wanted more. Our people seldom travel far from home, you know. We're a small folk, and our ways seem queer to some, so the big people do not always treat us kindly. But this lad was bolder than most, and one day when he had grown to manhood he decided he would leave the crannogs and visit the Isle of Faces."
"No one visits the Isle of Faces," objected Bran. "That's where the green men live."
"It was the green men he meant to find. So he donned a shirt sewn with bronze scales, like mine, took up a leathern shield and a three-pronged spear, like mine, and paddled a little skin boat down the Green Fork."
...
"Did he meet the green men?"
"Yes," said Meera, "but that's another story, and not for me to tell. My prince asked for knights."
A Storm of Swords, Bran II

The dragon was Seasmoke, his rider Ser Addam Velaryon, determined to prove that not all bastards need be turncloaks. How better to do that than by retaking Tumbleton from the Two Betrayers, whose treason had stained him? Singers say Ser Addam had flown from King’s Landing to the Gods Eye, where he landed on the sacred Isle of Faces and took counsel with the Green Men. The scholar must confine himself to known fact, and what we know is that Ser Addam flew far and fast, descending on castles great and small whose lords were loyal to the queen, to piece together an army.
The Princess and the Queen

The following is also a tale of people trying to get to the Isle of Faces but never quite making it, though the ones that got close enough have said the Green Men are horned with green skin. Maester Yandel theorises that this is likely not true and just that the Green Men are wearing green clothes with horned headdresses.

Whether the green men still survive on their isle is not clear although there is the occasional account of some foolhardy young riverlord taking a boat to the isle and catching sight of them before winds rise up or a flock of ravens drives him away. The nursery tales claiming that they are horned and have dark, green skin is a corruption of the likely truth, which is that the green men wore green garments and horned headdresses.
The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: The Coming of First Men

It's worth pointing out that the stories/legends say that the Green Men had magical powers and that apparently they ride on elks. It's also been stated that they have antlers, similar to the quote above.

Bran shook his head. The day was growing old by then, and long shadows were creeping down the mountainsides to send black fingers through the pines. If the little crannogman could visit the Isle of Faces, maybe I could too. All the tales agreed that the green men had strange magic powers. Maybe they could help him walk again, even turn him into a knight. They turned the little crannogman into a knight, even if it was only for a day, he thought. A day would be enough.
A Storm of Swords, Bran II

"Coldhands," said Bran impatiently. "The green men ride on elks, Old Nan used to say. Sometimes they have antlers too."
A Storm of Swords, Bran IV

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.