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The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors
September 22, 2013 6:33 PM   Subscribe

A Tale of Benjen Stark is a short Game of Thrones fan-fiction film by VonWong, Five Knights Productions and friends. It tells "the beginning of the adventure of Benjen Stark following his return to the wall shortly after his visit to Winterfell. On a scouting mission Benjen Stark stumbles upon the bloody aftermath of an attack on a wildling camp. A pair of survivors are discovered as Ben attempts to unravel the mystery behind the carnage." [Via]
posted by homunculus (29 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was surprisingly well-done. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:42 PM on September 22, 2013


The thing I like most about the Game of Thrones universe is that I can be certain when someone is lost in the wild and is "probably dead", they're dead. There will be no corny, miraculous rescues of Benjen Stark. It will not turn out he was okay after all. When someone's gone, they're gone.

Sure, magic is real, but if some demon god resurrects you for its own inscrutable purpose, it's going to be nightmarish. Nothing is nice. No one lives ever after, or even happily.
posted by clarknova at 6:45 PM on September 22, 2013


When someone's gone, they're gone.

By and large yes, and I'm not going to spoil anything for you, but I can think of numerous counter-examples, by various means.
posted by LionIndex at 6:50 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I call shenanigans, this doesn't involve nearly enough conspiracy and Merlings for Benjen fanfic.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:48 PM on September 22, 2013


There will be no corny, miraculous rescues of Benjen Stark. It will not turn out he was okay after all. When someone's gone, they're gone.

If by "gone" you mean "liable to rise from his shallow grave when Jon Snow is at his most vulnerable", then OK.
posted by wayland at 7:52 PM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


You guys don't think Coldhands is wight-Benjen?
posted by Justinian at 8:41 PM on September 22, 2013


I think Coldhands is older than that.
posted by dumbland at 8:50 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


This seems just slightly like those guys who made a music player for the Mac in 1998 and then said "no" to Steve Jobs when he asked them to work for him and told them they really, really should, only to watch iTunes be released to enormous success.

I mean, come on. Benjen Stark is central to the story. There is no way Martin won't deal with him in the coming two books.

Although I do love GoT fanfic, if only because George R R Martin hates fanfic and thinks it's a violation of his work.
posted by koeselitz at 9:14 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's really going to hate it when his series gets finished by what is, in effect, high class fanfic then.
posted by Justinian at 9:17 PM on September 22, 2013


clarknova: “The thing I like most about the Game of Thrones universe is that I can be certain when someone is lost in the wild and is 'probably dead', they're dead.”

This is basically the least true thing I've ever heard about Game of Thrones. The rule with Game of Thrones has been almost exactly the opposite: unless you see somebody's head roll, they are not dead.

There will be sort-of [SPOILERS] below, but here is a partial list of people who appear to be dead and then (it turns out) aren't:

Bran Stark
Rickon Stark
Arya Stark
Catelyn Stark
Ser Barriston Selmy
Ser Jorah Mormont
Ser Beric Dondarrion
Ser Thoros of Myr
Sandor Clegane
Gregor Clegane
Ramsay Snow
Theon Greyjoy


That's just the first dozen that comes to mind. Honestly, I could go on. I love GoT too, and I think it's great, but the "they're dead... or are they?" thing is pretty much an established plot contrivance at this point.
posted by koeselitz at 9:25 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Book spoilers below):

Some of the better theories I've read about why Benjen Stark is AWOL (in terms of storytelling) are that:
1. His absence means that only Jon Snow can fill the leadership void in the Night's Watch in A Storm of Swords.
2. Benjen Stark, because he knew all of the principal people involved better than anyone except Ned, probably suspects (if he doesn't straight out know) that R+L=J. Having him away means he can't take Jon aside and let him in on the secret when he hits his 16th nameday (or whatever).

I have also seen speculation that Benjen Stark will be one of the Prologue/Epilogue POVs in the coming books, providing us with a view of the Lands of Always Winter. Sadly, this means he will be a goner...
posted by dhens at 9:26 PM on September 22, 2013


koeselitz:

Truth. But (tiny nit): Thoros of Myr is not a knight (he doesn't believe in the Faith of the Seven, for one thing...)
posted by dhens at 9:27 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another big one for koeselitz list:

SPOILERSSSSSSSSSSSSS


Jon Snow.
posted by Justinian at 9:31 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another one for the koeselitz list (again, spoilers etc.):

Ser Davos Seaworth
posted by dhens at 9:33 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Benjen Stark was a warg who possessed Ygritte because he was hot for Jon Snow but couldn't do anything about it, having taken the black. When Jon finds out, they pull an Alexander & Hephaestion, and Jon marches out to unify the seven kingdoms and Essos, only to weep when he casts eyes on the endless extent of the Dothraki Sea.

So, that's done.

Sorry Sanderson. Find another job.
posted by R. Schlock at 9:35 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


SPOILER:

dhens beat me to my favorite GRRM death fakeout, which is my favorite because it involved the amazing reveal of how very much of a badass a certain portly lord is.

I also tend to agree with dhens about Benjen's absence, especially WRT Jon's parentage. I am actually really curious about Benjen's knowledge of and maybe involvement in Lyanna's disappearance, and whether or not it had anything to do with him taking the black - which didn't really make sense (as far as tradition goes) once Brandon Stark was dead.

Damn, I really hope books 6 and 7 actually happen ...
posted by lunasol at 12:18 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


> The thing I like most about the Game of Thrones universe is that I can be certain when someone is lost in the wild and is "probably dead", they're dead.

Hahahaha, yeah no. The thing I've learned from the books is: if there ain't a recognizable body, anything goes. And sometimes anything goes even if there IS a recognizable body...
posted by lovecrafty at 1:41 AM on September 23, 2013


I call shenanigans, this doesn't involve nearly enough conspiracy and Merlings for Benjen fanfic.

Wow. Um, hi there...

If someone needed to read this sort of thing, immediately, where might they go?

Totally asking for a friend.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 5:30 AM on September 23, 2013


the amazing reveal of how very much of a badass a certain portly lord is
"Though mayhaps this was a blessing. Had he lived he would have grown up to be a Frey."
- STRAIGHT-UP BALLER
posted by dhens at 7:26 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. Um, hi there...

If someone needed to read this sort of thing, immediately, where might they go?

Totally asking for a friend.


Oh it's just a running joke on ASOIAF forums about fan theories always involving Benjen secretly being Daario, the ridiculous Merling Theory, half the Northern characters being secret wargs who warged into other humans, secret Faceless Men, stuff like that.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:45 AM on September 23, 2013


Wow. Um, hi there...

If someone needed to read this sort of thing, immediately, where might they go?

Totally asking for a friend.


For all your ASOIAF tinfoil-hat needs (plus lots of legitimately interesting conversation: r/asoiaf

Yes, I know, reddit. It's one of the only subreddits I'll visit because the misogyny and general obnoxious-geek-bro vibe that pervades reddit is extremely minimal.
posted by lunasol at 11:01 AM on September 23, 2013


[SPOILERS]

You guys don't think Coldhands is wight-Benjen?

There's evidence against this in ADWD; see the quotes section of this (also spoilerful) AWOIAF page.
posted by wayland at 12:44 PM on September 23, 2013


Ah, thanks. I skimmed a bunch of ADWD given how disappointing it was.
posted by Justinian at 5:09 PM on September 23, 2013


I skimmed a bunch of ADWD given how disappointing it was.

I think that's a bit unfair (though, of course, there's no accounting for taste). While the Dany plotline gets boring (and super hard to follow) after a while, I liked the rest.
posted by dhens at 5:55 PM on September 23, 2013


ADWD is very good, though nothing could be as good as "A Feast For Crows," which is (full rationally) the "Empire Strikes Back" of the series, and which has more as-yet-undealt-with loose ends than all the other books combined.
posted by koeselitz at 9:52 PM on September 23, 2013


You guys are strange. The only great storyline in ADWD was Theon's storyline, and AFFC was interminable.
posted by Justinian at 2:03 AM on September 24, 2013


I can happily argue the superiority of "A Feast For Crows," though I know people hated it. The reason people hated it was because they had their favorite characters, and they wanted to see their favorite characters doing stuff. I understand this. I had my favorite characters, too. I hated losing Tyrion for a whole book.

But "A Feast For Crows" was just better-written, at the base of it, I think. Most of the vignettes seem to have had their source in George R R Martin's need to fill out the world and set up the necessary circumstances for "A Dance With Dragons," but as he generated these details he was building all sorts of interesting stories that were fresh and new to the series. "A Feast For Crows" introduces more characters and situations than any of the other books, which makes it a little harder to read – there's a recurring sense that you're not sure where in the world you are, and then when you realize where you are you aren't exactly sure what was supposed to be happening there or who the characters are that you're following. (Is there anyone who didn't feel that way about Dorne?) The only familiar characters left are those that seem to be spiraling into darkness – particularly at King's Landing – or are left almost utterly hopeless and drifting.

It makes sense that none of this is entirely pleasant; it doesn't really fulfill the sort of hedonistic desire for magical whimsy or nobility or beauty that people come to fantasy novels looking for. Of course, "A Song of Ice and Fire" has always taken some pride in vexing those stereotypes, but rarely has it ever done so as thoroughly as in "A Feast For Crows."

Meanwhile, in the tumult, I think there are some incredibly interesting characterizations of people and places in "A Feast For Crows" that stand up on second and third readings as very rich and full of interesting details. The descriptions of the Iron Islands, and Aeron Greyjoy's character, are incredibly evocative and dark. The threads concerning Dorne are rich and deserve rereadings, too – I think a lot of readers miss a chunk of them the first time around, waiting for the familiar characters to come back in, but the characters of House Martell are very well-drawn. Arya Stark's twisted vision quest among the Faceless Men of Braavos feels central to the series to me – a dark core that a lot of the spiritual themes revolve around – and it's like a shadowed reflection of the vision quest Bran has to take in "A Dance With Dragons." Most of all, for me at least, the bookending prologue and epilogue taking place among the Maesters of the Citadel, and describing the strange happenings there, are surreal and wonderful and (I think) portent-laden.

These are the reasons why it's my favorite of the books, anyway. I think it's certainly not the easiest book of the series; but that might be exactly because it has a lot of material that's worth taking the time and effort to go through.
posted by koeselitz at 8:22 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: AFFC might not be my number one favorite volume, but it does have possibly the saddest and most poignant line of the whole series:

"Egg, I dreamed that I was old."
posted by dhens at 12:56 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


What did you think about ADWD, koeselitz?
posted by Justinian at 4:22 PM on September 24, 2013


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