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“I don’t want to sound too glib about this. This is a serious concern.”
March 19, 2014 7:41 AM   Subscribe

Vanity Fair interviews George R.R. Martin about his plan for staying ahead of HBO.
posted by the man of twists and turns (337 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
According to the episodes TV reviewers got there is a time jump to explain certain growth spurts among the younger cast members and it's apparently handled really well.
posted by The Whelk at 7:48 AM on March 19


Why, it's almost as though time is moving forward at constant rate, no matter how little writing George R.R. Martin gets done.
posted by gauche at 8:01 AM on March 19 [58 favorites]


The book characters are all too young anyway, Rickon is supposedly 3 at the beginning. Bran is like 7 or 8. Even Rob is only 15, and Richard Madden wasn't even close to passing for 15, he was 24 when the show started.

It works better in the show, Rickon looks to be 6, possibly 7 at the start. Bran and Arya are probably Irish twins at 10 and 11, Sansa is 13 or 14 and Rob a manly 17 or 18. Those ages are more plausibly in line with thier actions.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:03 AM on March 19 [10 favorites]


But I notice Martin's plan for "staying ahead" didn't really involve him doing anything differently, like writing faster or doing less side projects. It was more, "the show runners have enough material to drag it out for a few more seasons".

Get ready for a looooot of Dany puttering around in Mereen. And Greyjoys. Lots and lots of Greyjoys.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:06 AM on March 19 [11 favorites]


To be honest, if I had a choice between watching 3 seasons worth of Feast/Dance or just letting the TV guys come up with an ending on the fly, there's no question I let them freelance the ending. There is not 3 seasons worth of TV content in those books. Hell, most of the changes they've made so far have probably been positive or at least neutral, and almost anything would be better than a 35 year old Sophie Turner playing a 16 year old Sansa in 2031 or whenever he actually finishes the books.
posted by Copronymus at 8:07 AM on March 19 [27 favorites]


It's been way too long for me to remember clearly, but isn't the bigger issue that nothing happens in any of the books after "Storm of Swords"?
posted by selfnoise at 8:07 AM on March 19 [24 favorites]


HBO is not your bitch.
posted by Fizz at 8:08 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


It's been way too long for me to remember clearly, but isn't the bigger issue that nothing happens in any of the books after "Storm of Swords"?

Yup. Cersei gets some plot relevant to the larger story, but everyone else is basically off having adventures of their own.
posted by gsteff at 8:09 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


It's been way too long for me to remember clearly, but isn't the bigger issue that nothing happens in any of the books after "Storm of Swords"?

There's at least 5 episodes worth of Brienne wandering aimlessly around the woods.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:10 AM on March 19 [12 favorites]


Copronymus: There is not 3 seasons worth of TV content in those books.

There isn't 2 books worth of book content in them either, if I'm being honest.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:14 AM on March 19 [22 favorites]


I would love to get a look at his contract with HBO. I'm not even a fan of the show, but as a fan in general of the entertainment industry, I'm kind of dying to know what the agreement is. Obviously HBO has the right to take certain liberties with the material; and they knew going in that he was unreliable with schedules. If they catch up to his books and he fails to deliver, do they have the right to continue and end the story?

I would have to think yes, but I'd love to get a look at the language.
posted by cribcage at 8:14 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Martin surely was writing a conventional fantasy novel about an ancient evil and an exiled princess but somehow got distracted by what probably was summed up in some original one page outline in about one sentence (“Westeros monarchy weakened by infighting and succession problems”). Having fallen in love with what was supposed to be a bit of window dressing, he has continually expanded its role within the series even though it threatens to completely drown out what the series was supposed to be about in the first place. Is it any wonder that he has suffered from the contemporary genre’s most famous case of writer’s block? I’m sure that long ago he planned what would happen to Daenerys and the Night’s Watch, but now he feels obligated to give equal time to characters like Brienne who are likable yet serve little purpose to the central narrative and are instead dragged through increasingly arbitrary make-work scenes to keep them available for some later bit of relevance.
Matt Hilliard argues that Martin's world building has written him into a corner, which is why he has not (and possibly, can not) finish the series: original post, followup.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:15 AM on March 19 [9 favorites]


Fullmetal Alchemist did a thing where the anime ending diverged from the manga, and I kinda liked that touch. I don't think I'd mind that at all for Game of Thrones except that you might suss out what the book ending might end up being because of what the show ending wasn't, or at the very least it would close off some lines of speculation, which would rob some of the enjoyment from the books' ending.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:20 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


HBO and Martin have said previously that if the TV show outpaces the books, he will give them his drafts and outlines and the TV series will go infront of the books.

There are also quotations from martin in the past that he is writing faster than before.

“So I need to write faster. The last two books took a really long time, so I’m hoping this one [the Winds of Winter] will go a little faster. But I make no promises. I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game.”

My real scare is that the editing will take a hit. Martin is a gifted fantasy author, but no-one would accuse him of being a gifted writer. The books are already bloated and the last thing we need is Harry Potter syndrome where the books just balloon in size now because of a lack of good editing.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 8:21 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


I'm not getting worked up about any of it. I've not read book 5 yet, but I've enjoyed every other bit of the show and books. As long as I'm being entertained, HBO and Martin can do whatever they damn well please.

I am concerned about Martin pulling a Robert Jordan and not finishing due to *ahem* age, but it is what it is.
posted by Twain Device at 8:23 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


HBO may need to get ready to take the 2001: A Space Odyssey route, which Kubrick functionally cowrote and was written at the same time as the making of the film. But, in this case, the showrunner may need to complete Martin's story and then he will simply have to transcribe what they came up with.

There's no shame in this. Long-running comic strips often have ghost writers, and some of the best strips were written by the ghosts. Sometimes you start a story and then let somebody else finish it. As I understand it, the television show is already working as a sort of better second draft of the books.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:24 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I really enjoy the books, and I love a lot of the additional detail and worldbuilding that the show just doesn't have time to delve into - never mind the huge battles that the show can't really duplicate regularly without exploding its budget. Overall, though, I can't argue that the show's managed to keep things moving at a tremendous pace without sacrificing the 'soul' of the books, and on balance, I think it's the better 'version' of this work.

Which, in fact, makes me kind of weirdly hopeful that one day we might get an adaptation of The Wheel of Time that strips out 80% of the viewpoint characters (leaving only, say, a couple dozen), moves at a reasonable pace, and doesn't have so much goddamn braid-tugging from what really should be some meaty, Bechdel-approved roles for women.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:27 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


My real scare is that the editing will take a hit.

I don't think he gets any substantial editing. In the interview linked in this post, he says that before he started on ASOIAF, he just wrote novels on his own, then handed them off to his agent to sell once each was finished. Nowadays, he gets help from the fan community in keeping minor details straight.
posted by gsteff at 8:28 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


According to the episodes TV reviewers got there is a time jump to explain certain growth spurts among the younger cast members and it's apparently handled really well.

If this is true it is hilarious because one of the big excuses GRRM gave for stretching the series out is scrapping a big time jump. I suppose he would have handled it really well.

Look, I don't think he's into writing the series anymore. And that's fine. I am against slavery. So let him do his junkets and write about New York football (lol) and let the showrunners wrap this thing up. The fact that they reversed one of his (incredibly common) bad editing decisions shows they have a firm enough grasp on the concept.

On Preview:

HBO may need to get ready to take the 2001: A Space Odyssey route, which Kubrick functionally cowrote and was written at the same time as the making of the film. But, in this case, the showrunner may need to complete Martin's story and then he will simply have to transcribe what they came up with.

GRRM has already given them the notes for the broad arc of the story. They already know how it ends.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 8:30 AM on March 19


The fact that they reversed one of his (incredibly common) bad editing decisions shows they have a firm enough grasp on the concept.

I've read the books but have not watched the show. I don't mind spoilers -- can you memail me what you are referring to? I am very curious.
posted by gauche at 8:31 AM on March 19


While it's true that digressions seem to be a problem for Martin, I disagree that the issue is one of a simple fantasy premise being dragged down by them. As far as I am concerned, the most interesting thing about the books is that they start with a conventional premise of an ancient evil and an exiled princess, and then dump it in a world where everyone is making choices based on limited information, and even when you can tell who is trying to do the right thing, it's not at all clear which side is the "right" one. And that is hard to write, because you can't just follow the good guys and the bad guys and set up conflicts between them.
posted by Nothing at 8:31 AM on March 19 [18 favorites]


They're going to just keep making episodes until they run out of written material then cut to black in silence. Fans across the globe will argue if it meant Danerys was killed.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:32 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Am I the only one who holds A Feast for Crows in high esteem? Coupled with A Storm of Swords, I think it has some of the most interesting character development. Certainly Jaime/Brienne is my favorite narrative thread.
posted by echocollate at 8:32 AM on March 19 [15 favorites]


HBO may need to get ready to take the 2001: A Space Odyssey route, which Kubrick functionally cowrote and was written at the same time as the making of the film. But, in this case, the showrunner may need to complete Martin's story and then he will simply have to transcribe what they came up with.

Gauche, my friend, no spoilers are necessary. ADWD was a good book, but it could have been a third shorter. There were typos as well. It's clear that the book went to the publisher with only a cursory glance.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 8:34 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


gauche: "The fact that they reversed one of his (incredibly common) bad editing decisions shows they have a firm enough grasp on the concept.

I've read the books but have not watched the show. I don't mind spoilers -- can you memail me what you are referring to? I am very curious.
"

Doublewhiskeycokenoice probably means the time jump he mentioned in his first paragraph.
posted by crazy with stars at 8:35 AM on March 19


Am I the only one who holds A Feast for Crows in high esteem? Coupled with A Storm of Swords, I think it has some of the most interesting character development.

You are not. It's a book about people recovering after a war. Not a lot of action I'll grant, but it's still great.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 8:36 AM on March 19 [6 favorites]


"I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game.”

Substitute "read metafilter" instead of the video games and man this hits way too close to home right now.
posted by inigo2 at 8:37 AM on March 19 [7 favorites]


I personally like how there are exiled princesses and anicent evils and the like that everyone is ignoring cause, unlike the omniscient reader/watcher, they have more immediate, pressing concerns ( a drawn out battle of succession , etc) that in the end will amount to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanric but they don't know that yet.
posted by The Whelk at 8:38 AM on March 19 [19 favorites]


Here's the Marc Simonetti Iron Throne art mentioned.
posted by zamboni at 8:38 AM on March 19 [8 favorites]


Fans of the series should hope that the series plows on and does their own ending, because it's likely to be the only ending they get, until the posthumous ghostwriter.
posted by tavella at 8:40 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I'm personally on the Sansa On The Throne In The End Camp, she's got all the elements of a Heroic Backstory after the fact.

I mean it may be a "queen of a frozen hellscape." but whatever.
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 AM on March 19 [7 favorites]


Jon and Dany meet, marry, and fight ice wraiths with dragons.

Arya kills Littlefinger. Sansa becomes queen. Rickon rules Winterfell.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:45 AM on March 19 [12 favorites]


My understanding was that GRRM had told them the broad strokes of the ending and that if needed (when needed), they could go on ahead of him. Which I hope they do -- it's not going to get 15 seasons. Also I prefer the show to the books.

The fact that they reversed one of his (incredibly common) bad editing decisions shows they have a firm enough grasp on the concept.

I too am curious about which decision this is.
posted by jeather at 8:47 AM on March 19


Jon and Dany meet, marry, and fight ice wraiths with dragons.

The dragon has three heads.
posted by gsteff at 8:47 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


According to the episodes TV reviewers got there is a time jump to explain certain growth spurts among the younger cast members and it's apparently handled really well.

If this is true it is hilarious because one of the big excuses GRRM gave for stretching the series out is scrapping a big time jump. I suppose he would have handled it really well.


Speaking as someone who's actually seen the episodes in question, they're not claiming a time jump at all. They're just straight-up saying "yeah, Ned Stark died three years ago" and suggesting that one season of show equals one year of real time in the show. Which frankly works just fine, because many of the characters are traveling vast distances overland anyway.
posted by mightygodking at 8:50 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game

Dear Creator of Flappy Bird:
THANKS AGAIN FOR PULLING YOUR ADDICTIVE APP.

Signed,
The Approaching Greyjoy Armada
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:50 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Jon and Dany meet, marry, and fight ice wraiths with dragons.

Jeez, spoilers! I mean, we're not supposed to guess at the Grand Ending for at least another 1000 unedited pages.
posted by Nelson at 8:52 AM on March 19


...the showrunner may need to complete Martin's story and then he will simply have to transcribe what they came up with.

There's no shame in this.


It is a good death; a man's death, a man who has done fine works.
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:52 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


*crosses fingers for a typhoon to knock out the Greyjoys forever.*
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


tbh the Greyjoys (minus Damphair) are the best parts of Feast/Dance. Theon's character arc is awesome. Victarion is about to either cause or at the very least be part of something big in Merreen (and that'll likely be the end of him). Euron is crazy as hell but so far relatively "minor" - I'm still expecting big things from him.

It'll be disappointing (but expected and mostly acceptable) if/when the show combines or reduces the Greyjoys next season.
posted by ish__ at 8:57 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


My understanding was that HBO won the right to adapt the books by successfully guessing who Jon Snow's mother is*, but in return, they demanded enough of an outline to finish the show with out Martin.

I also understand that Martin has claimed that the reason books 4 and 5 took so long is because he wrote himself into a corner wrt Daenerys** that he couldn't figure out how to solve, and that things should be much easier now. I also, however, note that it's been three years since book 5 and we still don't have a book 6.

*I have my own theory about this, which I am DESPERATE to have either confirmed or denied, memail me if you want to excitedly gasp over perhaps-plausible theories

**also trying to avoid spoilers here, memail if you want details
posted by KathrynT at 9:00 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Fans of the series should hope that the series plows on and does their own ending, because it's likely to be the only ending they get, until the posthumous ghostwriter.

Kevin J. Anderson?
posted by pseudocode at 9:00 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Greedy. You have enough money already, man. Write at your own pace and to hell with the leeches.
posted by Decani at 9:09 AM on March 19


There's even a question as to who Jon Snow's mother is? It's clearly- *dies of a crossbow shot to the back*
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 AM on March 19 [18 favorites]


Ive decided I need to start rereading the series. Maybe with book two. I think I was too much in a hurry the first time thru to find out what happened.
posted by sio42 at 9:11 AM on March 19


The book characters are all too young anyway, Rickon is supposedly 3 at the beginning. Bran is like 7 or 8. Even Rob is only 15, and Richard Madden wasn't even close to passing for 15, he was 24 when the show started.

Yeah, and Dany is 13 when she's first introduced in the book (15 in the TV series ). Which I think means she becomes leader of the tribe or whatever at 14 or 15 when Drogo dies?
posted by Bwithh at 9:26 AM on March 19


Mind you, a lot of time things are out of whack in that world, so maybe people just mature really quickly and early in westeros etc
posted by Bwithh at 9:27 AM on March 19


If the actress is aging too fast, I think they should find a new Arya.

In fact, since no character is safe, neither should be a cast member. Swap em all out.
posted by surplus at 9:28 AM on March 19


Time for the Bount arc.
posted by charred husk at 9:29 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Fullmetal Alchemist did a thing where the anime ending diverged from the manga, and I kinda liked that touch. I don't think I'd mind that at all for Game of Thrones except that you might suss out what the book ending might end up being because of what the show ending wasn't, or at the very least it would close off some lines of speculation, which would rob some of the enjoyment from the books' ending.

Yeah, FMA did a good job with this, and to me got more interesting as the anime started to diverge because you were no longer sure what was going to happen next.

The ultimate advantage is that once both the anime and manga series were finished they released a second anime series that was true to the manga. As a fan you get two series with surprise endings and then a faithful adaptation of the book. Everyone is happy this way.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:31 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


The Fullmetal Alchemist example is a neat and possibly enlightening thought experiment for writers and other narrative artists: imagine that your current work in progress has been adapted into a wildly successful television series. Congrats! There's just one problem…the show has caught up to where you are on your project right now in the real world. You want to give the viewers of the show an appropriate and rewarding finale, but at the same time you don't want to undermine your own work and the vision you have for its ending.

Can you come up with a totally different ending for your current project that is still satisfying and organic? And, more importantly, does this new alternate ending inform or even enrich your original ideas for the evening?
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:32 AM on March 19


My real scare is that the editing will take a hit. [...] the last thing we need is Harry Potter syndrome where the books just balloon in size now because of a lack of good editing.

I think that particular ship has already sailed, hit the rocks, and sunk without survivors. Martin has already done the one-book-whoops-now-it's-two thing (twice, in some markets: A Storm of Swords was broken into two volumes due to its length by some publishers), which is worse than Rowling: the HP books got larger and larger over time, but she at least managed to keep them physically publishable.

Whether that's because he's a prima donna auteur who refuses to listen to an editor, or his editor won't go to bat to keep the books reasonable, or perhaps because nobody wants to keep the books reasonable as long as the damn things are selling and making everybody rich... who knows?

At this point I'm all for taking it out of his hands and giving it to a crack team of HBO writers so they can just finish the damn thing. I'm not even sure I want to read the damn books, I just want a plot summary and maybe a nice highlight reel, and then GRRM can go in and write another million words detailing who stabs who and introducing and then killing off a bunch of bit characters at his leisure.

On the other hand, the longer it gets the more reasonable Stephen King's Dark Tower series looks by comparison. I think I'm going to have to withdraw my past criticisms of the length of time SK took on that, and the relative weakness of the final volumes, since the whole thing is only around 4,500 pages ... which will probably turn out to be the length of the next GRRM tome by itself. Wonder if HBO has ever reconsidered their decision to adapt ASOIAF instead of Dark Tower?
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:34 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory: "HBO and Martin have said previously that if the TV show outpaces the books, he will give them his drafts and outlines and the TV series will go infront of the books. "

At this point, the show could start airing seasons five years apart and still outpace the books.
posted by zarq at 9:34 AM on March 19


Can you come up with a totally different ending for your current project that is still satisfying and organic?

Since ADWD ends with all the pieces in a place that the story could really go anywhere, I think you really couldn't ask for a better series to do the divergent endings thing. ASoIaF forums have been at Peak Speculation for a while now and that would, imo, make two different tellings of the story very enjoyable, so that you get to see how some of the more likely theories play out on TV and some in the books.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:41 AM on March 19


Especially since it's not just that the plot could move in any number of directions arbitrarily, it can do that because there are so many pivotal characters who could make a whole set of decisions that would still be perfectly in their character and would change things drastically.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:44 AM on March 19


From Samuel Johnson's Lives of the Poets series, published in 3 volumes between 1779 and 1781, on Alexander Pope:

…the distance is commonly very great between actual performances and speculative possibility. It is natural to suppose, that as much as has been done to-day may be done to-morrow; but on the morrow some difficulty emerges or some external impediment obstructs. Indolence, interruption, business, and pleasure; all take their turns of retardation; and every long work is lengthened by a thousand causes that can, and ten thousand that cannot, be recounted. Perhaps no extensive and multifarious performance was ever effected within the term originally fixed in the undertaker's mind. He that runs against Time, has an antagonist not subject to casualties.
posted by janey47 at 9:45 AM on March 19 [8 favorites]


One of the things I find most remarkable about GoT is the restraint displayed online by those who've read the books in not providing plot spoilers to the nonreaders/TV watchers. That's some real respect for GRRM and his sacred text.
posted by wensink at 9:49 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the way the internet as a whole collectively refused to spoil the RW episode of the show really warmed my black, shriveled little heart.
posted by KathrynT at 9:52 AM on March 19 [19 favorites]


I think we readers haven't spoiled things for the TV only folks because we take sadistic glee in knowing that it will soon be their turn feel the shock and horror we experienced a couple years ago.
posted by chatongriffes at 9:58 AM on March 19 [29 favorites]


I’d just drawn the map of the one continent that would come to be called Westeros.

Drawn? Didn't he just ctrl-c, ctrl-v England and then flip it?
posted by Carillon at 9:59 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


@chatongriffes As someone who hasn't the read the books, I just assume nothing good will happen and that bad things will happen to the characters I care about most. That said, if GRRM touches a hair on Arya's darling little head, I'll...
posted by wensink at 10:04 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Don't forget characters you hate actually becoming some of the characters you care about most.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:07 AM on March 19 [10 favorites]


We should all just leave him alone and let him write in his own time. Although I wonder if he could speed up writing progress by...I dunno...not introducing a gajillion new characters in each book? HBO is just going to have to cut them out anyway.
Yeah, I'm looking at you, people of Dorne.

Also, at this point, I think the number of people who have figured out Jon Snow's parentage is roughly equivalent to the population of the entire Seven Kingdoms, Essos, and the Summer Islands.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:08 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Well it's not like that matters anymore Dr. Zira given certain events.
posted by Carillon at 10:10 AM on March 19


I am surprised if the books have not been extensively edited. I know they are horrendously long, but I assumed they were even worse before hand!
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 10:10 AM on March 19


Part of me wonders if one of the reasons for the slow writing is that GRRM looks at popular theories going around like Jon's parentage and decides he needs to rewrite because the audience guessed what he was going for.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:11 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


I think we readers haven't spoiled things for the TV only folks because we take sadistic glee in knowing that it will soon be their turn feel the shock and horror we experienced a couple years ago.

but not the shock and horror of realizing that any character that you thought was mercifully dead could come back as a zombie...
posted by ennui.bz at 10:12 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


jason_steakums: I think I remember reading that GRRM said he was not going to change around those things (because, in reality, it's only a hardcore of fans who "get" the Jon Snow thing, but in an echo chamber it seems obvious). He also said that he kind of stays away from fan speculation nowadays.
posted by dhens at 10:13 AM on March 19


Though it's not as if there's one definitive answer to Jon's parentage. People have pretty much guessed almost all the possible known possibilities. It hasn't been answered yet and would be hard to actually create something that isn't on the top of someones list.
posted by Carillon at 10:13 AM on March 19


I feel like I'd have a hard time not falling into that trap personally, if I was famous for writing books that threw total curveballs at the audience. Here's hoping he really does resist the temptation, though.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:14 AM on March 19


Jon and Dany meet, marry, and fight ice wraiths with dragons.

That's the obvious way a normal fantasy novel would go, yes. That's the arc we're supposed to expect.
posted by bonehead at 10:15 AM on March 19


Google knows who Jon Snow's mother is. (Google's new "present facts from wikis" search feature has picked a name for us.)
posted by Nelson at 10:15 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I personally like how there are exiled princesses and anicent evils and the like that everyone is ignoring cause, unlike the omniscient reader/watcher, they have more immediate, pressing concerns ( a drawn out battle of succession , etc) that in the end will amount to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanric but they don't know that yet.

I completely agree, and I really want the ending to run with this.

It turns out the ice wraiths are just another group of beings vying for power in an ancient and grander bullshit political game with the Children of the Forest and maybe Valyria or whatever. A lot of fighting and drama happens, but in the end whoever/whatever is left standing in the smoking/frozen wreckage sets up a new political order, and the infighting begins anew.

Basically, I want The Fantasy Wire. That's what I was hoping for when I began reading the books, and was deeply disappointed in finding yet another iteration of "the ancient evil is rising".
posted by Sangermaine at 10:16 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


It turns out the ice wraiths are just another group of beings vying for power in an ancient and grander bullshit political game with the Children of the Forest and maybe Valyria or whatever. A lot of fighting and drama happens, but in the end whoever/whatever is left standing in the smoking/frozen wreckage sets up a new political order, and the infighting begins anew.

I believe there's some speculation that the maesters in Oldtown know some crazy shit about the cosmology of their world and why all of the magic is coming back at once and that the actual ending might not be that far from what you're imagining, as wizards fight elves fight zombies fight dragons and no one really gives a fuck about the humans.
posted by Copronymus at 10:20 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


My hope for Dany is that she realizes that everything she's been doing is to meet the expectations of a family and society she's never known outside of a shitpile brother, and she finally just does what she wants, whatever that may be and however that may affect the rest of the world. I mean, she goes through the motions of playing the avenging daughter of prophecy well, but it's still just going through the motions.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:20 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


As my brother points out, you could literally start the story with "Daenerys Targaryen stood on the Wall, surveying the shattered landscape. There had already been several decades of political intrigue and infighting at this point, and the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros were in ruins" and not really lose anything.
posted by KathrynT at 10:22 AM on March 19 [7 favorites]


wizards fight elves fight zombies fight dragons and no one really gives a fuck about the humans

The show will not possibly have an ending as epic and rad as the metal video that is happening inside my brain right now...
posted by heatvision at 10:25 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Also, at this point, I think the number of people who have figured out Jon Snow's parentage is roughly equivalent to the population of the entire Seven Kingdoms, Essos, and the Summer Islands.

It's like how basically ALL of Gotham City knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne. They just don't bring it up cause they don't want to upset him.
posted by permafrost at 10:26 AM on March 19 [12 favorites]


I can see Sansa on the Iron Throne, but that would only work if Tyrion dies or agrees to a divorce (which AFAIK isn't a thing in Westeros). Growing to love him as a husband just seems impossible for the character.

And Tyrion's not allowed to die because he is the best character.

I think the Jon & Dany thing makes sense, not least because of his obvious parentage. In light of that it would be drawing on something of a familial tradition.

But the dragon has three heads, which makes one wonder who the third head is.

Arya has to end up killing someone important. Bran is going to end up being pivotal in throwing back the Others. Rickon ends up with Winterfell.

I strongly suspect that Littlefinger is going to end up as power behind the throne somehow--which would fit with Sansa on the throne.

I also see the Seven Kingdoms breaking up back into their constitutent parts.

What I'm trying to figure out is which sympathetic character is going to lose big. It's part of GRRM's schtick, and what saddens me is that Tyrion is probably going to be the disposable one. (Though I guess from a literary point of view that would be the most interesting outcome for his character.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:26 AM on March 19


The most recent book, as I understand it, took so long to even exist in draft form that cursory spelling and grammar edits could happen, but it was so vastly behind schedule that I don't think it got much in the way of story editing. It shows.

I figure HBO will be more concise than GRRM, and I've lost patience with the meandering books. They'll certainly finish shooting ahead of him.
posted by tautological at 10:29 AM on March 19


Omg. IDEA.

Dany rampages through Westeros with the help of whatsisname who already started invading.

She's walking into the throne room of the Red Keep.

Tyrion kills her, raises an eyebrow at his brother, and takes his seat on the throne.

~ Fin ~
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:32 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


I can see Sansa on the Iron Throne, but that would only work if Tyrion dies or agrees to a divorce (which AFAIK isn't a thing in Westeros). Growing to love him as a husband just seems impossible for the character.

And Tyrion's not allowed to die because he is the best character.


Tyrion could "die" so that he could just walk away from all this Westerosi drama to a life of hedonism across the Narrow Sea, maybe with a few chests of liberated Casterly Rock gold in tow. That'd be a nice ending for him. Maybe take Bronn with.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:33 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Littlefinger is the big villain so far. He started the war, after all, for his own benefit. Cersi and Tywin are just his catspaws.
posted by bonehead at 10:34 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Littlefinger is so primed for a comeuppance to hit him right in his smug face and I can. not. wait. It'll be Sansa's doing, too, and it'll be great.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:35 AM on March 19 [8 favorites]


The show is so much better than the tedious poorly written books that the idea of the showrunner eclipsing and finishing Martin's work is the happier outcome.
posted by xmutex at 10:35 AM on March 19 [7 favorites]


But the dragon has three heads, which makes one wonder who the third head is.

Pretty obvious as far as the books go. The show hasn't gotten that far yet.

It seemed like a lot of the last two books was just moving pieces into place. Now that they're mostly where they need to be, it seems like the endgame should be pretty straightforward and there's really only a few paths forward from here. Just based on what Martin's said and where DwD leaves off, you can probably suss out about 1000 pages worth of plot points yourself, which is likely 1/3 to 1/2 of the novels yet to come.
posted by LionIndex at 10:36 AM on March 19


Littlefinger is so primed for a comeuppance to hit him right in his smug face and I can. not. wait. It'll be Sansa's doing, too, and it'll be great.

YES THIS PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN

LionIndex, Memail me? I'm stuck on trying to figure out who the third is, and I try to stay away from places like Tower of the Hand and /r/AGOT because oh my god.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:38 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I just hate how thoroughly I fell out of love with ASOIAF. I waited years for AFfC and upon reading it just put it down and said the Eight Deadly Words.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:41 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I Will Never Read This Book Again Ever?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:42 AM on March 19


I think sonic meat machine means this.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:44 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


"You laughed at me behind my back and to my face, but now know Hodor is MASTER OF THE LONG CON, Bitches!" screams Hodor as he kicks Snow and Danny off the wall from behind.

"Aww, look at him sleep," whispers Bran as his faithful steed stirs slightly, murmuring Hodor-Hodor under his breath.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:46 AM on March 19 [18 favorites]


I believe there's some speculation that the maesters in Oldtown know some crazy shit about the cosmology of their world and why all of the magic is coming back at once and that the actual ending might not be that far from what you're imagining, as wizards fight elves fight zombies fight dragons and no one really gives a fuck about the humans.

Yeah, my understanding is that the end is going to reveal why the seasons are so long and the answer is going to hinge on the magical nature of the world.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:50 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I mean I could be wrong, but yeah, at this point in the books, I also thought it was fairly obvious who the third head of the dragon is.

Not that they won't also probably die a horrible death, but hey. There's worse ways to go out than on dragonback.
posted by dogheart at 10:52 AM on March 19


I groaned OUT LOUD when I first read about the Sand Snakes. He needs an editor. I'm a fan, but he needs an editor.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 10:55 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Oh god yes the Sand Snakes just... just fuck off. Apart from Myrcella being there I don't think Dorne needs to be anywhere in the books. They don't have the military capability to be independent let alone take anything over. They just shouldn't be a factor. Ugh.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:58 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Dorne is a land best left for the inevitable Expanded Universe to get to after the books and show.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:03 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Dorne will be important for the political satire spinoff in which the characters age in real time, Dornesbury.
posted by COBRA! at 11:12 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


I've been reading this genre since the early 70's, with a sizable gap after 1990, pretty much up to the beginning of GoT.
The moment it became clear that he was going to Robert Jordan this thing I stopped caring.
It's just a whispy fantasy story with some nice twists, but not enough is riding on it to make me really care about the resolution of the tale.
i do enjoy reading the books and i do enjoy watching the show, but i've been disappointed by too many fanstasy authors over the decades to expect that GRRM is going to somehow blow me away by what he has planned. it's just another fantasy story.

Winter is coming, there are walkers streaming down from the north to destroy humanity; Danaerys has dragons that breath fire, fire that kills walkers. At some point, when Jon Snow and his tattered band of warriors have reached the bitter end of their resistance, dragons will fill the sky, ridden by Khaleesi and her kin, to save the day. Jon and Danni get married, happy ending.
just wrap it up and start something new ffs.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:13 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Winter is coming, there are walkers streaming down from the north to destroy humanity; Danaerys has dragons that breath fire, fire that kills walkers. At some point, when Jon Snow and his tattered band of warriors have reached the bitter end of their resistance, dragons will fill the sky, ridden by Khaleesi and her kin, to save the day. Jon and Danni get married, happy ending.

On the other hand, there's no better target than that to aim at missing in this story, which is kind of his M.O.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:15 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


A silly, but serious question: What exactly is the White Walkers' beef with the world? Given this year's brutal winter, I get how seemingly unending snow and ice can make people cranky. But their behavior is truly beyond the pale.
posted by wensink at 11:18 AM on March 19 [9 favorites]


I see what you did there
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:19 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Oh god yes the Sand Snakes just... just fuck off. Apart from Myrcella being there I don't think Dorne needs to be anywhere in the books.

Huh? The beachhead that the surviving Targaryens were going to use to start their reconquest of the kingdoms, the alliances that underlie that, and the secrets held about it don't matter?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:26 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, there's no better target than that to aim at missing in this story, which is kind of his M.O.

Hit or miss this target i want an arrow in the air, not 2k pages of heroic sounding names for characters that are on the page for a paragraph and then gone again, and a story that is allowed to noodle about because he doesn't know how to age his characters without aging his audience at the same rate.
In the article he envisions a future reader buying the boxed set of the entire story and reading it as one long novel. fine, but that's only going to happen if the story ends with a payoff that makes it worth that imaginary reader's time and money.
He knows the end of the story he started writing, all he has to do now is write that ending, and then we can all move on.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:38 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


to save the day. Jon and Danni get married, happy ending.

But just before that the huge war between the White Walkers and the SandSnakes destroys most of the world and as the last dragon dies killing the last Walker Jon and Dannis find each other. They look at the destruction and the few survivors then at each other and say we must change everything, even our names. I'll call you Adam and I'll be Eve.

There tied up neatly.

Oh as Arya is walking away into the wilderness we see her fade and understand she's always been a cylon.. er angel.
posted by sammyo at 11:40 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Is this the complaining about DwD thread? Because I would like to register some complaints.

Oh here is Martin's plan for staying ahead of HBO: ____________

there is no plan.
posted by Justinian at 11:45 AM on March 19 [6 favorites]


Huh? The beachhead that the surviving Targaryens were going to use to start their reconquest of the kingdoms, the alliances that underlie that, and the secrets held about it don't matter?

"Matter" is relative. Most if not all of that could have been revealed in other ways and not require Yet More Viewpoint Characters.

I wish all the Greyjoys and Martells would die in a blazing inferno. Like that one dude. Who thought it would be fun to say hi to the dragons. I forget his name which just illustrates the problem.
posted by Justinian at 11:48 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Jon and Danni get married, happy ending.

I prefer: Jon and Dani beat the magical creatures then they take a look at each other realise all of this could have been prevented and set up a representative democracy with an independant judiciary and cut the military out of government altogether.

Sansa is a half wit. Her ending up as queen is too dystopian for even Martin.
posted by fshgrl at 11:49 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Game of Thrones: "How I Met Your Mother" for fantasy fans.
posted by outlier at 11:52 AM on March 19 [13 favorites]


I used to want to see Arya somehow end up on top. Now, she scares the shit out of me. I'd rather have Sansa at this point.
posted by Area Man at 11:56 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Martin is a gifted fantasy author, but no-one would accuse him of being a gifted writer

I dunno, have you read Dying of the Light or Sandkings? You don't write those by being unable to write anything but a bloated mess. Something about the epic fantasy genre seems to require bloaty bloatfests.
posted by Justinian at 11:56 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Vote Baylish for President of Westeros!
posted by bonehead at 12:05 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I keep hoping that the peasants will rise up and lop all their heads off and then HBO will do a direct to internet deal and bankers will go to jail and i'll win the lottery and they will discover an inexpensive cure for arthritis using chocolate and potato chips and lifespans will get extended to around 300 years and I'll learn how to punctuate in that order over the next 3 weeks.
posted by srboisvert at 12:09 PM on March 19 [13 favorites]


Vote Baylish for President of Westeros!

Not My President -- I voted for Baltar
posted by Copronymus at 12:18 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


psst Petyr Baelish
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:23 PM on March 19


Vote Baylish for President of Westeros!

President Littlefinger. Sounds like one the goofy nicknames George W. would've coined.
posted by wensink at 12:28 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


You will never be able to convince me that "Littlefinger" is not a dick joke.
posted by dogheart at 12:45 PM on March 19


So, am I the only one that thinks Varys wins? (I have not read the books.)

I think he wins.
posted by oddman at 12:54 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


You will never be able to convince me that "Littlefinger" is not a dick joke.

It's explicitly a dick joke in the books. The explanation given in the TV show at the tourney is out of deference to the delicate sensibilities of young ladies.

So, am I the only one that thinks Varys wins? (I have not read the books.)

Winning is a complex thing to define. You might want to read the books.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:58 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I think Varys was a good frontrunner when he looked purely pragmatic and all about the self-preservation, but they've revealed a bit of the idealist in him and now I'm leaning towards Varys' schemes crumbling in the final act. Now he wants something and this is a story where wanting something very often dooms you.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:59 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


It becomes gross when you compare Martin's output with some others. There are authors who weren't writing when Martin published Storm of Swords who have published more than Martin has at this point. I mean, it's a matter of taste, but I think Brandon Sanderson is as good as Martin; and he started writing around 2005 and has written multiple series since. He began his Massive Fantasy Series with The Way of Kings and I feel confident that he will both finish it and probably not fall off a cliff in terms of quality.

Gene Wolfe is better than Martin, and eighty years old, and he still puts out a book just about each year, most of which are excellent (An Evil Guest excepted).

At this point I just think Martin lost the thread, never had a plan for the arc of the series, and won't be able to finish it in any kind of satisfying way. He's deep in the Dark Tower woods now.
posted by sonic meat machine at 1:17 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Dunno, I think Sanderson is as good as A Dance with Dragons but I don't think he's half the writer of Martin's early stuff. Or even Martin through A Storm of Swords. Martin has simply, as you say, lost the thread.

Martin had been a professional author for twenty years before he published A Game of Thrones.
posted by Justinian at 1:21 PM on March 19


I tried to re-read A Game of Thrones, Justinian, and I found that my impression of it was that the loss of the thread in Feast actually tainted my reading of Game. Instead of feeling cohesive, as if Martin was showing us a world in a different way than any other author, it just felt unedited. When first reading Game, it can give the impression that something bigger is lurking, that the many characters are going to play some role, and that things are building up to major events. With the benefit of Martin's later... swirling around the drain, so to speak, it instead looks like he just never had a plan, and all the things that were so fascinating in Game just become a smoke screen.

Sanderson has tics, and probably needs a better editor (The Way of Kings is bloated), but it never feels like he doesn't know what story he's writing.
posted by sonic meat machine at 1:28 PM on March 19


Oh, and yes, he'd been a professional author for 20 years, but published only four novels in that span of time. Gene Wolfe, as a comparison, had written four novels in 10 years when he wrote The Book of the New Sun (1980–1983), and followed that with a further 22 novels, most of which are excellent. Even Robert Jordan, generally viewed as a "slow" author and suffering his terminal illness, got out two novels between Storm and Feast.

I mean, there's slow, and then there's just "What are you doing all day?"
posted by sonic meat machine at 1:34 PM on March 19


Well we know what he's doing. Posting on Not A Blog and going to a whole bunch of conferences.
posted by Carillon at 1:42 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I love the show, and I love the first three books in the series. In fact, I have a cat named Daenerys. But AFFC was disappointing, except for the Sansa and Jaime chapters, and ADWD was a Festering Pile of Bad, with the exception of Davos (whose chapters moved the plot forward, what a miracle!), the one Jaime chapter (because Jaime is fun to read about) and...many people who have read ADWD might figure out the third, but you can MeMail me if you want to know (because spoilers).

I've actually told new fans to either watch the show, or read up to the end of ASOS and then read fanfic. (I know that GRRM hates fanfic, but as the Queen of Thorns put it, that cow has been milked and you can't squirt the cream back into the udder. Fanfic is here to stay.)

At this point, I'm going to assume GRRM is not going to finish and that the show will forge on ahead. I hope Sansa sits the Iron Throne or becomes a ruling figure in the North, not least because her actress, Sophie Turner, puts me in mind of a young Elizabeth I. I also want to see her make the bad Littlefinger fly.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:43 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Oh, and yes, he'd been a professional author for 20 years, but published only four novels in that span of time.

He did a lot of TV writing too
posted by thelonius at 1:47 PM on March 19


From 2009, Charlie Stross' take on writing Game of Thrones has some insight on why the books take so long to finish.
posted by permafrost at 1:48 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Why the hell didn't HBO wait twenty years until the series finished before starting a TV show? Then we wouldn't have these problems.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:49 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I've had the Clone Wars cartoon bouncing around in my head a lot lately since I've been marathoning it on Netflix, and also thinking about Game of Thrones mashed the two together in my head in a way that I kind of totally love. Strip the characters and story down to broad Lucasian strokes, do an action serial with that same bombastic opening recap narration - so great.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:58 PM on March 19


If someone who has read the books could answer my question about the White Walkers asked upthread, I would praise the gods, old and new.
posted by wensink at 2:02 PM on March 19


How to Speak Dothraki (90's Muzzy Parody)
posted by homunculus at 2:03 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I mean Stephen King only finished Dark Tower because he got hit by a van, if I'm reading his output right. And while that was, well. Less than satisfactory, I think-- even though I'm probably in the minority of absolutely loving what he did with Roland, Song of Susannah was just not good, and the less said about Mordred the better. At least he finished.

I hope it wouldn't take Martin that kind of life-altering event to make him start freakin' writing, already. (And of course I wouldn't wish that on anyone, least of all someone that's produced work I adore.) As it stands, I'm not hopeful that we'll ever have a written ending, but at least the HBO guys have an idea of what's going to happen, so we're going to get some kind of closure.

(And! FFFM, are you talking about the bit where Sansa comes down from the Eyrie and talking with the more experienced gal? That's the only thing I remember about Littlefinger dick jokes.)
posted by dogheart at 2:05 PM on March 19


Yep, that's totally Gandalf's sword in Game of Thrones' Iron Throne
posted by homunculus at 2:05 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


That's the obvious way a normal fantasy novel would go, yes. That's the arc we're supposed to expect.

After a certain number of dashed expectations, getting what you expect becomes unexpected.

What that number is, is where the art lies.

Order of the Stick's Rich Burlew is a fucking past master at this - it was made known that a particular main character would die about two years ago, and Burlew has been both specific and vague enough about the passage of time that it could have plausibly happened any time in the last year of strips. The understated tension it creates is just phenomenal.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:06 PM on March 19


wensink, the Others have not yet been explained.

dogheart, maybe my memory is playing tricks on me but I'm 99% certain the actual derivation of Baelish's nickname was covered in the first book.

Yep, that's totally Gandalf's sword in Game of Thrones' Iron Throne

Okay see that's not acceptable. Glamdring is a sword of legend made by the Elves who don't even exist in Westeros so just STOP IT
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:07 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


If someone who has read the books could answer my question about the White Walkers asked upthread, I would praise the gods, old and new.

I don't recall ever seeing a motivation for the White Walkers' actions in the books. Maybe there'll be a POV White Walker character in an upcoming book and we'll find out all about the White Walker society and ruling family and what last name they give their bastards.
posted by LionIndex at 2:08 PM on March 19 [10 favorites]


If someone who has read the books could answer my question about the White Walkers asked upthread, I would praise the gods, old and new.

If you're looking for an answer beyond "Undead Gotta Spread Unlife", I'm not sure there's much to see at this point. If Bran's story ever goes anywhere beyond him slowly turning into a sentient tree or whatever the fuck, we might get some answers.
posted by Copronymus at 2:10 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Yep, that's totally Gandalf's sword in Game of Thrones' Iron Throne

Okay see that's not acceptable. Glamdring is a sword of legend made by the Elves who don't even exist in Westeros so just STOP IT

Elves sound suspiciously like Children of the Forest.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:11 PM on March 19


Sansa is a half wit.

Sansa is the only Stark alive and not in exile. I wouldn't count out her brains just yet.
posted by KathrynT at 2:11 PM on March 19 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I think Sansa coming into her own power was pretty well foreshadowed by... shit. Book.

Also I don't think Bran will submit to that fate.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:12 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Look, all I want is Dany, Tyrion and Arya riding into King's Landing on the dragons. I'm not picky otherwise.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:17 PM on March 19 [8 favorites]


Sansa is the only Stark alive and not in exile. I wouldn't count out her brains just yet.

Hell, I'd put some money down on her being the only one still remotely recognizable as herself at the end, partly because I have a certain amount of fear that he's going to turn Jon into a warg or something.

Oh wait, Rickon. I forgot about him, but that's OK because no one really cares about Rickon.
posted by Copronymus at 2:19 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Sansa FiveEver, if she does end up on the throne her entire life story up to that point reads like one of those biographies of window queens who modernized empires and killed a bunch of archdukes.

I also like the idea of someone who was basically a Knights And Fairytale fan girl wielding ultimate authority.
posted by The Whelk at 2:20 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Psh better Rickon than Bran.
posted by Carillon at 2:23 PM on March 19


via the GoT Wiki:

Petyr Baelish is the head of House Baelish and the lord of an extremely minor holding, so small it has neither name nor maester, located in a small area within the Fingers, a coastal region in the northeastern shores of the Vale of Arryn. In reference to his family's humble domain in the smallest of the Fingers, as well as his small size, Edmure Tully nicknamed him "Littlefinger" when they were children and Petyr was fostered at Riverrun. The nickname would stick with him throughout his life. Eventually even Baelish sarcastically embraced the nickname, due to the fact that it demonstrated how far he had risen, from a poor minor noble from the "little Finger" peninsula to one of the most powerful officials in the Seven Kingdoms.
posted by wensink at 2:24 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


(I've also never been able to figure out how and why such a terribly minor lordling would be fostered by one of the more prominent families of Westeros)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:29 PM on March 19


In case anyone hasn't seen it: There’s a 15-Minute Teaser for Season 4 of Game of Thrones, And You Definitely Want to Watch It

Why Yes, We Did Make 38 Game Of Thrones Preview Screencaps To Geek Out On
posted by homunculus at 2:30 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Brienne can be the Lady Commander of Sansa's Queensguard.

And thanks, wensink!
posted by dogheart at 2:36 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


If the actress is aging too fast, I think they should find a new Arya.


Maybe if she makes her way to Braavos that won't be a problem? (I've not read the books)
posted by The Hamms Bear at 2:37 PM on March 19


It, uh, won't.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:39 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


People are slagging on authors for having a low output rate now?

Then I guess Harper Lee, Emily Brontë, and Pierre Choderlos de Laclos must all totally suck, right?
posted by kyrademon at 2:46 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Well how many tits, swords, and dragons epics on HBO does Harper Lee have?
posted by Nelson at 2:48 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


The Hitchcock watch:

Martin filmed a cameo appearance in the unaired pilot episode, as a background Pentoshi merchant wearing a gigantic hat, though this was later cut. It is planned that he will film a replacement cameo appearance for the fourth season. [GoT Wiki]
posted by wensink at 2:49 PM on March 19


Oh, and yes, he'd been a professional author for 20 years, but published only four novels in that span of time.

Four novels. But also, what, half a dozen collection of his short fiction and rather a lot of anthology series? The natural length of science fiction is the short story so you can't ignore it.

In any case my point wasn't that he doesn't actually write slowly (he does) it's that judging his authorial output based on the last couple of Ice and Fire novels is like judging Kubrick based solely on Eyes Wide Shut. Martin's first Hugo was in 1975. That was 39 years ago. People were not yet born who are approaching middle age.
posted by Justinian at 2:49 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


The Others are dead spirits woken during the search for the Horn Of Winter. Ygritte mentions that.

I don't think they want anything other than our lives. That's a pretty traditional motivation for the returned dead in fantasy.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:02 PM on March 19


So did we ever find out what happened with all those skeletons in the cave? Why could that guy suddenly walk again after the crash? What's in the hatch?
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:03 PM on March 19 [8 favorites]


By that metric, Salanger is one of the worst writers ever. His last book was in '61 and his next isn't coming out until 2015!
posted by bonehead at 3:04 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Beautiful Death: The Official death-by-death countdown to game of thrones season 4
posted by homunculus at 3:09 PM on March 19


I guess I am in a minority, but I love the length of the books. They are reliably entertaining for a good long read, I love the details about clothing, food, bastard last names, whatever. I have low tolerance for bad writing and generally HATE fantasy novels (unless they are written by Richard Morgan), but I love this series. Love it. Although I could do with much less of What Happened to Theon. Because ew.

But yeah, write faster please.
posted by biscotti at 3:10 PM on March 19 [10 favorites]


For the first three, I totally agree, biscotti. The last two felt excessively stretched out, though.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:29 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Yay! (or Godamnit maybe.) I need to get the books already.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 3:36 PM on March 19


I don't mind the creeping sprawl in epics, it's so often part of the package that I just expect it and have actually come to enjoy it.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:39 PM on March 19


There was one passage in ADWD which was nothing but a list of items in the Night's Watch's storerooms. A couple of pages worth of riveting stuff like "there was ham, and turnips, and onions." And there was an infamous passage several pages long, which painstakingly detailed all the turtles found in a particular river and what they looked like. It was a boring slog to read through and felt like filler/padding.

As for authors like Harper Lee and John Salinger - they weren't writing a series. I don't care if an author of a stand-alone novel writes another one, except for wanting to see more work of an author I like. To Kill A Mockingbird didn't have a sequel and didn't need one. GRRM, on the other hand, is writing a series, and by not finishing, he's leaving the storyline unfinished, and the readers hanging. (Again, fanfic rushes in where authors fail to tread. And by now I'm past caring if GRRM ever finishes the canon, because there is some really good fanfic out there to fill the gap.)

Emily Bronte only wrote one book because she died soon after finishing Wuthering Heights. There was no-one interested in making her the V.C. Andrews of the moors. IIRC there were some attempts by 20th century authors at continuing the story, but none that made much of a mark.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:40 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


The sequel to the Harper Lee classic; Faster Mockingbird, Kill! Kill!
posted by The Whelk at 3:45 PM on March 19 [12 favorites]


There was one passage in ADWD which was nothing but a list of items in the Night's Watch's storerooms.

You should see the crap one Greek epic fantasy hack spit out. This old Jewish fantasy is kind of repetitive too.

Random Game of Thrones related link: I am Hafþór Júlíus "Thor" Björnsson of Iceland, Ask Me Anything. An IAmA with the man playing The Mountain in the upcoming season.
posted by Nelson at 3:53 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I'm not slagging off on people who are slow writers. Pynchon went what, fifteen years between Gravity's Rainbow and Vineland? The problem is when you're a slow writer and you start an epic fantasy series and end everything with cliffhangers and you spiral off into the land of ever-more-subplots and bringing-them-back-from-the-dead and so on.

You can be a slow writer putting out standalone novels and I have no grouchiness with you. You can be a fast writer (or even a normal speed writer) putting out massive tomes and long series, and I have no grouchiness. When you are slow, know you're slow, and still start writing a multi-volume epic at the edge of physical possibility, you have troubles. Especially if you then proceed to periodically get indignant that anyone expects you to write. Seriously?

I think the first time I actually started being annoyed at Martin's writing speed was before AFfC came out, when there was still supposed to be a time-skip. He said something on Not a Blog about how he was sick of all the fans "expecting things," and the book would be out when it was out, and how dare we have expectations anyway?

Furthermore, I respect cstross and love his books and follow him and jscalzi on Twitter (hai guyz) but the analysis from 2009 is flawed. For example, Martin isn't getting paid meaningfully in advances any more. The man has monetized the brand. He's got board games, video games, comic books, an HBO series, replica swords, collectible card games—everything that you can imagine to pull a buck out of his fans. He's been rolling in that third-channel money since before Feast came out. He feels no pressure from his publishers at this point. He also controls some of the aspects that make the series hard to write: he creates too many subplots, too many characters.

At this point, I think he's afraid. No matter what he does, someone is going to hate it, and as a result he does nothing. That's why Feast and Dance were such a debacle; he didn't do anything because he can't think of anything to do that he's confident about, and if he screws it up, all that monetization is wasted...
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:15 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


fffm: Yeah, I think Sansa coming into her own power was pretty well foreshadowed by... shit. Book.

Would you mind MeMailing me this? (I've read all the books, but not getting what you mean).

Copronymus: Oh wait, Rickon. I forgot about him, but that's OK because no one really cares about Rickon.

He has to have some part in the story though, surely, or why have him as a character at all? (Maybe he ends up as the Stark in Winterfell?).
posted by Pink Frost at 4:20 PM on March 19


I think it's a good bet Rickon will end up as the Stark in Winterfell.
posted by Justinian at 4:36 PM on March 19


Well, in all honesty, when you talk about “the gay community,” you are talking about MY community - An interview with Hodor (Kristian Nairn) about DJing, warcraft, and more.
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:00 PM on March 19


Rickon exists so I can yell SHAGGYDOG very loudly every time he appears on the TeeVee.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:04 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I figured Rickon was just a back up. In case GRRM kills all the other characters and suddenly realizes he needs a Stark for REASONS.
posted by politikitty at 5:27 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


He has to have some part in the story though, surely, or why have him as a character at all?

Hahahahaha. You'd think so, wouldn't you? But having read all of the books thus far, so many characters come and go that I am not at all sure that is a given with GRRM.

I don't want Sansa as Queen, no way no how. She has never properly appreciated Tyrion, which shows an appalling lack of sound judgment. Everyone has to painstakingly explain the significance of issues which ought to be obvious to her ( and surely would be to Arya, who is much younger than she is, or Margery, or Dany). She knows what a proper Lady looks and sounds like, but she is at best a figurehead.

Sansa is just the more feminine version of Renly Baratheon.
posted by misha at 5:34 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I'm less surprised that Hodor is gay and more surprised that he's a DJ from Belfast.
posted by The Whelk at 5:36 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


(please tell me there is a gay porn parody in the works called Game Of Bones)
posted by The Whelk at 5:36 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Game of Bones trailer (SFW video, naughty language) from Wood Rocket. Surprisingly funny, sadly heterosexual. The costumes are better than the accents.
posted by Nelson at 5:41 PM on March 19


To be fair to Sansa, she pretty much never left the "childish dreams of courtly romance" part of her life until it was shattered in a pretty effed up series of events, she's kind of learning on her feet. I expect Sansa's transformation is going to be a big part of the last two books, but first Littlefinger's gotta dig his own grave by seeing no reason not to underestimate her.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:43 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


But having read all of the books thus far, so many characters come and go that I am not at all sure that is a given with GRRM.

True, especially with characters introduced later on. But Rickon was there at the start (when things were more tightly plotted), he got a direwolf, there has to be some significance (also I'm re-reading at the moment and found the end of Book One interesting, where Rickon and Shaggydog are all angry and hiding down in the crypt. I think that's significant, somehow).

first Littlefinger's gotta dig his own grave

He gets no grave. Sansa pushes him out the Moon Door, Sweet Robin gets to see him fly. This is known.
posted by Pink Frost at 5:47 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: Sadly heterosexual.
posted by The Whelk at 5:54 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Though I do worry that GRRM's set up the dominoes to fall for Sansa with her whole misremembering a kiss that didn't happen and building up The Hound as a sort of flawed knight in shining armor in her mind, because that's a perfect setup for GRRM to yank the rug out from under her if she pins her hopes on The Hound saving her in the future (if that's still a possibility).
posted by jason_steakums at 5:58 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


JMO, there's all kinds of good reasons why Sansa shouldn't have to "appreciate Tyrion." I always get a whiff of Nice-Guy-ism when I hear about how a young girl in a forced marriage ought to appreciate her husband, who is from an enemy family, and who is, in the eyes of the world, a deformed whoremonger. It was an utterly humiliating time for Sansa and I don't think she has to appreciate Tyrion one bit. (And he doesn't get a cookie for not raping his barely-teenage bride on her wedding night either.) By all this I mean book!Tyrion and not show!Tyrion, who is much more likeable (not to mention not hideous, in the books he's a "twisted little monkey demon" missing a nose).

I'm a huge Sansa fan - at first out of sheer contrariness, because it seemed she caught flak for being conventionally "feminine" than anything else. And I've grown to like book!Tyrion much less after ADWD, (and the legions of neckbeard misogynists who project themselves onto him don't help). Show!Tyrion I like much more. I just feel a bit defensive about the "why doesn't Sansa appreciate Tyrion" line because it just carries too much flavor of Nice Guy (tm) thinking.

Yet another instance where show and book diverge. I used to post on the Pawn to Player Sansa threads on westeros.org and, among many other conversations, we talked about how the Sansa/Tyrion marriage on TV is not the utter horrorshow that it was in the books. Sansa is older in the show, and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion is much more appealing than his character in the books.

Anyhow, to end the derail: I will be interested to see what happens on the show when it catches up to and eventually surpasses the books. There was a lot in AFFC and ADWD which would be mind-numbingly boring if it was filmed, so that will happen pretty soon unless they manage to stretch it out somehow. GRRM is going to have to have Winds of Winter finished PDQ if that isn't going to happen.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:20 PM on March 19 [14 favorites]


Like Pink Frost said above, Littlefinger is going to sample the air through the moon door. He's giving Sansa the playbook and shit, she is the daughter of Cat and Ned, with enough tragedy and horror to make her realize that she can't rely on honor and decency. Nope, I see her on that throne saying, "boys, let's see Littlefinger FLY."
posted by Ber at 7:20 PM on March 19


I think Sansa coming into her own power was pretty well foreshadowed by...

Actually there's a great scene pretty early on in the show that foreshadows this well. It's a scene in the first couple episodes, before shit really gets crazy, while the king et famille are at Winterfell. Sansa is super serious about marrying Joffrey -- who she met like 20 minutes ago -- and keep saying she HAS to marry him, because then she will be QUEEN, and duh, mom, why would anyone not want that?

That was when I realized she could win the proverbial game, if only by not dying.
posted by Sara C. at 7:47 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Maybe I haven't read closely enough Rosie, but I did just reread ADwD and I didn't find Tyrion to be a little shit anymore than in the books. I'm curious why you think he's so much MORE unlikeable?
posted by Carillon at 7:48 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Vanity Fair also did an interview with the showrunners, and this is really interesting (and, imo, promising) in light of them knowing how the series will end:
Benioff: "But what this series will not ever become is the epic conflict of good and evil. And that’s one of the very first things we said to HBO when we came in. Every fantasy we’ve seen, in the movies at least, has been that, where it’s good versus evil. There’s never been a fantasy movie of the epic battle of good versus evil that ended with evil winning. I mean, I’d like to see that movie, but..."
posted by jason_steakums at 7:58 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


(I've also never been able to figure out how and why such a terribly minor lordling would be fostered by one of the more prominent families of Westeros)

I believe the explanation is that Littefinger's father had fought alongside Hoster Tully during the War of the Ninepenny Kings (approx. 40 years before the beginning of AGOT), and Tully was impressed and decided to do this Baelish dude a solid by fostering his son. Of course, that esteem did not reach high enough for him to consent to Petyr marrying Lysa...
posted by dhens at 8:05 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


That was when I realized she could win the proverbial game, if only by not dying.

That's a good point, and really it depends on how much she learns between now and the endgame oh I just realized who she could marry and it would all actually make sense.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:29 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I love the books. I stopped watching the TV show when I started reading the books, and find it impossible to go back now. I don't mind the TV show diverging from the books as needed. I don't mind if Martin is a slow writer; he doesn't, like, personally owe me stories. In fact, I think the most satisfying ending would be Martin leaving it unfinished and someone else stepping in to write a "quasi-canon" final book. That seems like it would satisfy all the people who read (/watch) for Starks and direwolves and dragons and Epic Battles, etc., while giving those of us who enjoy it for its character development and themes a clean exit. The way the series is structured, an ending seems impossible. If Martin could pull one off, I'd be delighted, but I'd prefer a non-ending to a sub-par ending.

And, I don't think all the stuff about the Others and Coldhands and dragons and the Terrible Return of Magic will add up to anything. The most satisfying conclusion to that aspect of the story for me would be that it all just...fizzles out; turns out to not be truly important. Does something remarkably unsettling, then fades in the light of day, like reports of UFOs/paranormal stuff(/fairies/other folkloric trickster races). The second most satisfying end there would be that it all becomes cataclysmically important, all of it is way weirder than anyone guessed (think SCP), none of it is even fully comprehensible to humans and it triggers the extinction of humanity in the series' world. Anything in between meh-gic and total magical singularity feels like it's lost the spirit of what "magic" is supposed to be in this world. The transcencent, the inexplicable, the chaotic, the eternal, the shadow.

Jaime is my favorite character.
posted by byanyothername at 8:34 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


The Hamms Bear: "I need to get the books already."

If you have a Kindle you can get the five-book bundle (A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons) for $20.

(I'm rereading the series - well, actually, re-reading the first three books and reading the following two for the first time - and it is thoroughly enjoyable, in part, I think, because I'm not really keeping track of which "book" I'm on. It's feeling like one long sweeping story that at this point I'm only "63%" through, so I'm not having the same expectations I normally would of what should be contained/presented in the format of individual finite/distinct "books"... if that makes sense.)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:20 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Though it would be totally contrary to the spirit of AskMeFi, I am so tempted to go to this thread ("I'm starting a book club among my friends where we just read the dirty bits from popular books to each other... Anyway, can you remember and recommend any notably hot sex scenes from books you might have read?") and post about some of the, uh, gems from ASOS, AFFC (also here) and ADHD.

(Though, as some people have mentioned in different forums, GRRM is not necessarily writing these sex scenes to titillate, but rather to give us insight into the characters', well, character.)
posted by dhens at 9:51 PM on March 19


Apropos of very little I'll say that I liked the books only OK (and my enjoyment decreased with each volume), and really wish I'd just watched the TV show fresh.
posted by Sara C. at 9:56 PM on March 19


The most satisfying conclusion to that aspect of the story for me would be that it all just...fizzles out;

This would be the most satisfying resolution for me as well. I have hardly read any other works of the fantasy genre, but I read a lot of history so it is this viewpoint that informs my reading of A Song of Ice & Fire. And one common trend to be found in many historical eras is that attempts to re-create lost empires and previous Golden Ages either fail or reach a point along the way beyond which further progress is impossible.

This is also the reason why I've been enthralled by the change of direction from AFFC onwards as a larger, era-defining meta-narrative begins to form, where all the events of the first three books have left many of the major houses in chaos, creating a power vacuum in which the minor houses try to make a grab. As the original narrative over the first 3 books can be said to have reached a point of irreconcilability, I can see a situation where this meta-narrative also ends up similarly unresolvable. As GRRM mentions in the linked article that "time moves very slowly in the books", I'd be content with a descent into stalemate or uncomfortable cease-fire, for the major players to realize that the power and glory of their past are lost to time, especially once winter arrives.

(FWIW, my favourite character/viewpoint of the series is Melisandre because I'm impressed at the very overt parallels between worship of the Lord of Light and Zoroastrianism, Azor Ahai == Ahura Mazda and all that.)
posted by all the versus at 9:59 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Bran gets grafted to a motorized tank.
posted by newdaddy at 10:01 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


all the versus -- basically what you're saying is that you predict Elagabalus?
posted by Sara C. at 10:03 PM on March 19


Sara C., not sure I understand your question..? If I'm predicting anything, it is that the story will *not* climax or end with a Gotterdammerung-style event.
posted by all the versus at 10:15 PM on March 19


Elagabalus was a third-century Roman emperor who was sort of the sad-sack dregs of the Severan line. He was a teenager, Syrian, pretty uniquely unsuited to the gig. It's the Roman equivalent of someone like Robin ending up on the Iron Throne.

Basically, had Commodus not been a colossal disaster, Septimius Severus wouldn't have ended up emperor. Then his sons, Caracalla and Geta, battled it out for the throne, then some rando, then well ummmmm I dunno what about this kid?

I guess basically I'm asking if Game Of Thrones = the crisis of the third century.
posted by Sara C. at 10:25 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


As for as avoiding a Goterdammerung endng, has anyone noticed that the whole "Menace from the North" plot-line is essentially resolved? The Wildings are thoroughly defeated, and methods for killing the Wights and Others are on the table. The entire North could e resolved in a couple chapters, leaving Stannis to concentrate on throne politics. It's quite possible the other magic elements, such as Melisandre and the dragons may similarly be quickly disposed of. So the entire "magic is returning" plot may be a red herring.


Of course based on what Martin has written on his blog, this is my prediction for how the rest of the story goes: In the next book, Danaerys gets poisoned, and Tyrion is drowned in a wine cask. Sansa gets killed by the Hound, who is in turn knifed by Arya, who then slips on a roof tile and breaks her neck. Bran gets turned into a tree, Rickard gets eaten by a swarm of cats, Cersei bites it from high cholesterol, and similar nasty deaths dispose of everyone else who has a speaking part.

The final novel, "A Dream of Spring" opens with a 200 page dissertation on the invention and evolution of football in Westeros. It then follows a new cast in their attempt to settle the matter of the kingship through the device of an all-Westeros football championship. The title of course comes from the fact that Free Agency begins in spring.
posted by happyroach at 11:02 PM on March 19 [10 favorites]


I'm just waiting for the Krakens, they're obviously the Checkov's Gun here.
posted by sevensixfive at 11:07 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


leaving Stannis to concentrate on throne politics

Oh god this would be so

b

o

r

i

n

g

Which means it's probably what's going to happen.
posted by Sara C. at 11:09 PM on March 19


I like the idea of magic becoming A Super Big Deal cause it would reverse the set up from the start where it's all what? Ice demons? Those are fairy tales and all those stories of the winter are exaggeraed and no one actually buys that crap. In the show universe at least, we're constantly seeing magic creep back into the world and, this is my favorite part, it FREAKS PEOPLE THE FUCK OUT. The standard fantasy novel thing is to be almost blasé about motherfucking magic, but here's it's all dangerous and unknowable and chaotic and becoming frighteningly real and more common. Having the world swing from "feh, fairy tales" to "AHHHHHHHH WE WHERE SO WRONG WE ARE SO SMALL AND POWERLESS AND UNDERSTAND NOTHING AAAHHH." would be excellent.

But yeah, Anything inbetween? Not gonna cut it.

( and I think the series could survive a gootadamrung level event and keep the History Series cred if it end up with lots of lesser houses Suddently on top, hastily made unions, and the general reworking of the borders into something unrecognizible to Ned Stark.)
posted by The Whelk at 12:27 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I don't want Sansa as Queen, no way no how. She has never properly appreciated Tyrion, which shows an appalling lack of sound judgment. Everyone has to painstakingly explain the significance of issues which ought to be obvious to her ( and surely would be to Arya, who is much younger than she is, or Margery, or Dany). She knows what a proper Lady looks and sounds like, but she is at best a figurehead.

I think Sansa would make a pretty good queen, actually. It takes *a lot* to make her sweat, she kept her head in all kinds of situations where I would have lost it for sure (and Arya arguably did lose it). She doesn't need to be a master strategist, she'd have advisers for that. Her job would be to actually voice the orders and wave to the people and not let anyone bring her to her knees, and she's a pro at all those things. I actually think Cersei's problem is that she gets all caught up in strategy and pissing contests and what not too much, and forgets to actually be a damn queen. Cersei's pigheadedness and that massive chip on her shoulder are what I love about her, but they also make her easy to manipulate (poor dear).

I love Tyrion, too, he's my favorite character by far, but (in the books anyway) everything good/interesting/likeable about him is actually in the narration -- if you pay attention to what he actually says aloud and his visible actions, they're just awful. It's really no wonder everyone (his family, everyone) hates him. In the third book, there were a couple scenes between him and Cersei that are in both Tyrion's chapters and Cersei's chapters, so you get to hear about it from both sides -- and in Tyrion's POV it's all about tricking him and goading him and he's trying to bluster to get her to back off and she just salts his wounds even more and he freaks out, but in Cersei's POV she's trying to ask for help or advice and he's just flipping out at her and threatening her kids and all kinds of absolute nonsense. The same kind of miscommunication went on between Tyrion and Sansa, it seemed to me, though I don't think that there were specific scenes for which we got both POVs for the same scenes. IIrc, Tyrion was also always sloppy drunk around Sansa, which was never going to show him at his best, and I think like at one point he literally got piss-the-bed drunk at a huge dinner (I think Joffrey's birthday?)? Poor Sansa had thought she was going to marry the heir-apparent and instead she got thrown away to a man with half a face and a drinking/whoremongering problem and a *truckload* of baggage who is so disliked he walks around with his own Security. Even when they were alone together, instead of ever talking to her, he just seemed to have creepy silent dinners and drink himself into a constant stupor. I think it was pretty badass of Sansa just to go into that marriage with her shoulders back and her head high. She doesn't owe anyone (including herself) more than that, and even if she did, there's not a way she can force herself to love someone anyway. Also, Tylwin had arranged for them to marry with the idea by making Sansa marry a "monster," it would make her family into a mockery, which pretty much spoiled the match for Tyrion, too. (I can't imagine a person worse than Tylwin, to be honest, and maybe that's partially because I'm naive but that's also at least partially because he is a hateful motherfucker).

Sigh. But I can't watch the show because Tyrion's my favorite for all his "let's start a new economic system" storylines and all his palace intrigue storylines and all the fabulous fights he's in, but I have been unable to stand Peter Dinklage since his "Nip/Tuck" days (when he was Julia's nanny/boyfriend who looked eerily like Christian). That just ruins the whole thing for me somehow. Well that, and also, when it comes to the books I can skip the chapters in the POVs of characters I couldn't care less about, like Daenerys and Jon Snow, but it's hard to watch a show that way.
posted by rue72 at 12:42 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Sara C., Thanks for the clarification. I don't want to draw strong parallels between GoT and any one particular historic period; the books cannot be pinned down that easily, in my opinion. I see it as drawing inspiration from dozens of different historical periods and narratives -- GRRM has drawn parallels to the War of the Roses period in Medeival England, but I end up speculating on more (none of these I take too literally): the Targaryen story arc has a bit of the Byzantine attempts to restore the (Western) Roman Empire; Volantis as Carthage; Stannis as a loose analogue to the Persian king Darius, which is also biased by the Lord of light/Zoroastrianism dichotomy I mentioned in the earlier comment. And then there are the low-hanging fruit: The Wall == Hadrian Wall or China, take your pick. Ironmen == Norsemen; Dothraki == Steppe horse-tribes. The meteor in the sky in CoK == Halley's comet on the eve of the Battle of Hastings.

Well, thoughts like these are why I liked the books, anyway. Yet to see a single episode of the TV show though.
posted by all the versus at 12:52 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I can skip the chapters in the POVs of characters I couldn't care less about, like Daenerys and Jon Snow

That's hilarious. They are the characters who make me feel like the whole miserable thing might turn out to be worthwhile in the end. Tyrion is entertaining as hell, Arya makes me feel all big-brotherish, but it's Daenerys and Jon Snow who make me think there might be any kind of hope at all for Westeros.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:06 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I burned through each book like crack cocaine. Whenever the latest season comes on the TV, I dumbly spend $25 on it and binge watch. I'm a happy little pig.
posted by angrycat at 3:30 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


That's hilarious. They are the characters who make me feel like the whole miserable thing might turn out to be worthwhile in the end. Tyrion is entertaining as hell, Arya makes me feel all big-brotherish, but it's Daenerys and Jon Snow who make me think there might be any kind of hope at all for Westeros.

Arya has always bothered me because I can't believe her fights at all, I just can't imagine a child being as agile and (successfully) deceptive as she's supposed to be. GRRM is alright at writing fights, I think, except that the further you get from his body type the more ridiculous the characters' physical movements/feelings become altogether. Arya doesn't work for me, and the worst is Daenerys, who doesn't even seem to live in a body at all, the way she never seems to get sweaty when it's hot or itchy when her hair grows in or feel much pain. That makes their chapters seem so dry to me. (Brienne, Sansa, and Cersei, on the other hand, are basically ruled by their bodies -- other characters are always reacting to them, they are forced to use their bodies in relatively believable ways in terms of playing on their strengths and compensating for their weaknesses, etc -- and those are some of my absolute favorite characters. Thinking about it, that's pretty much true of Tyrion, too. I dunno, maybe that's just a personal quirk of mine, though, I'm not sure how much a character's relationship to/use of her own body matters to other people?).

In terms of "hope for Westeros," though, I don't care if it stays intact as a kingdom or remains powerful or really what happens to it. To be honest, it seems like a pretty crummy place to me already, and I don't think having a supernatural dictator like Daenerys would be an improvement (though I guess she's free to give it a shot). Jon Snow to me seems like Sansa stripped of all personality and too lucky for his own good. Think of all the awful, dehumanizing, painful crap that Sansa has been through, and meanwhile Jon Snow is "the youngest whatever in the history of the Wall" and butter still wouldn't melt in his mouth. Since he is pretty much Mr. Square-Jawed-Hero, I guess he'd make a good king, but I have trouble caring at all because I don't feel like his character has ever been developed in a way that feels realistic or has been in situations that forced growth by forcing him to make real (disillusioning) mistakes or really forced him to play the bad guy. I guess I feel that those are by and large the *only* kinds of situations that Sansa has been in, so I respect her a lot more (as square-jawed hero/heroine archetypes go).

Also, I think it's one of the tragedies of the story that Cersei was too lacking in confidence and power and too ignorant to actually take Sansa under her wing and set her up to be queen, because I think they would have been much stronger together than apart, but that's just spilled milk I guess.

Anyway, to get back to your point, I actually think that Tyrion is the one who's going to end up doing the most to modernize Westeros, because he's got this thing about using money instead of brute force to strong-arm people, and I think that's eventually going to help trigger an overall shift from feudalism more toward capitalism. If people die off in a massive way from the coming Winter, that'll only speed that shift (like the Black Death did in real life). The change from (late) feudalism to (early) capitalism wouldn't necessarily *better* per se, but at least it'll be different, and different people will end up on the top and different people will end up on the bottom, and there will probably be a different form of government as well once everything is said and done. Otherwise, the characters involved/interested in politics just seem to me to be stuck in the same old ways of doing things, even though if this mess of a succession tells us anything it's that the time for those old ways has passed (I think the old Westeros died when the Targaryens were deposed and what's done is done by now).

But that's not really counting things like the White Walkers and the dragons, because I personally couldn't care less. They're purely physical threats, I think, and they don't seem to have any real strategy or even the brainpower for strategy -- what's the fun in that? The best way to fight them would just be to build big bombs and walls and things, and those kinds of weapons can be interesting in real life but are boring to read about. I'm honestly more interested in knowing how many root vegetables are in the damn storehouse because at least I know there's going to be a lot of scheming and fighting between people over who gets the last ones, whereas things like the alchemists trying to make fire/bombs bad enough to take on the White Walkers is some magic/technical achievement that doesn't really mean anything to me within the context of a fantasy story. But that's also why I don't tend to read a lot of fantasy -- I prefer stories that are heavy on the interpersonal/political stuff rather than the technical or scientific (or pseudo-scientific), and to each his own.
posted by rue72 at 10:04 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I think that's eventually going to help trigger an overall shift from feudalism more toward capitalism

Interesting idea, but I think the Braavosi are way ahead on that one. One of the few redeeming things in the story expansion of the last two books is learning more about what's going on in Essos, with the Free Cities and Qarth and Valyria and all. Westeros sounds like some backward-ass feudal savages compared to the exquisite culture and productivity of the Free Cities. It's not clear civilization would lose much if the big bad just consumed all of Westeros in ice. Essos is the one carrying the fire, that's what matters.
posted by Nelson at 10:17 AM on March 20


Yeeech, I'm kinda hoping that the Supernatural Winter has the same effect as the Black Death in Europe, huge holes in the ruling class structure, massive rewrites to the legal/feudal code and a more ...Braavosi type economic structure with a stronger merchant class and weakened Royal power. I can easily see Tyrion forming the First National Bank of Westeros.
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 AM on March 20


But I could also see the other thing happening, Westeros becomes a brutal frozen apocalypse that the more civilized world rightly ignored and considers terra incognita full of horrors.
posted by The Whelk at 10:28 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Dany flies over the icy wastes of Westeros on her dragon.

She sees Jon Snow below, standing atop the Wall, shivering.

She calls down to him, "Hey, you like wanna ride?"

He yells up at her, "Sure where you goin?"

And they ride off to the south together. Fuck Westeros.
posted by Sara C. at 10:30 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


and the worst is Daenerys, who doesn't even seem to live in a body at all, the way she never seems to get sweaty when it's hot or itchy when her hair grows in or feel much pain

The Dragon doesn't feel fire--from that one could reasonably extrapolate that any heat they can largely shrug off. And there's an explicit mention in a Dany chapter that she never remembers feeling sick ever--I think around the time of the Pale Mare.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:44 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Re: a new system of government in Westeros, it may just be that Dany's affinity for freeing slaves will come into play there if she gets a good look at the feudal system and sees that it's not entirely unlike slavery.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:30 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Arya has always bothered me because I can't believe her fights at all, I just can't imagine a child being as agile and (successfully) deceptive as she's supposed to be.


Arya is a child prodigy at murder.
posted by yonega at 11:31 AM on March 20


My pet theory is that Arya leads a peasant uprising.
posted by Sara C. at 11:31 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


What I'm trying to figure out is which sympathetic character is going to lose big. It's part of GRRM's schtick, and what saddens me is that Tyrion is probably going to be the disposable one. (Though I guess from a literary point of view that would be the most interesting outcome for his character.)

He's one of my favourites, but in ADWD there was too much Tyrion doing inconsequential stuff. I really want to see what happens with religion in Westeros though.
posted by ersatz at 11:32 AM on March 20


I can easily see Tyrion forming the First National Bank of Westeros.

I've solved it! The secret of ASoIaF is that it's a prequel to Discworld!
posted by SPrintF at 11:35 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Apparently there's a new The Winds of Winter chapter being released today on the World of Ice and Fire app.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:40 AM on March 20


Either that or Tyrion Lannister = John Law, and he is going to go down in flames, hard, when he destroys the economic system.
posted by Sara C. at 11:40 AM on March 20


Huh, Maybe Jon Snow does end up on the throne.

And the series closes with him realizing how much he is completely unable to do the job, and over there in the background is ______, plotting, plotting.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:41 AM on March 20


feckless fecal fear mongering: And the series closes with him realizing how much he is completely unable to do the job, and over there in the background is ______, plotting, plotting.

Hodor.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:48 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


I worry that no resolution to what's going on in Winterfell will be half as intriguing as what's suggested by the Great Northern Conspiracy and its variations.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:54 AM on March 20


Arya is one rider of the dragons. Danerys rides the black one. Bran rides one with a clever saddle that Tyrion designs. The three of them smack shit up together, and the Red Woman and the White Warriors are defeated by their acts of bravery.

Also, I forgot to mention that Bran and Arya get the dragons with their mind control. See? It all works out.
posted by angrycat at 12:16 PM on March 20


Bran + dragon is a hell of an idea that I'd never thought of.

All hail King Brandon Stark, First of his Name.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:30 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Bran couldn't be First of his Name, since he's named after Bran the Builder.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:58 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


I worry that no resolution to what's going on in Winterfell will be half as intriguing as what's suggested by the Great Northern Conspiracy and its variations.

I don't really understand the Great Northern Conspiracy (likely out of ignorance) because what's conspiratorial about Northerners trying to get a Stark on the Iron Throne? I thought keeping relations strong between the Starks, the Wildings, and the Night Watch was the point of sending Jon to the Wall in the first place (in a totally above board way)?

Anyway, I don't think anyone is going to need to lead a revolution. The revolution will come on its own when the food runs out.

To be honest, if I were any of the characters in the East, I'd be trying to figure out ways to transport and store Eastern food for Western consumption, because whoever controls those shipping routes is going to control the West once Winter sets in.
posted by rue72 at 1:10 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I don't really understand the Great Northern Conspiracy (likely out of ignorance) because what's conspiratorial about Northerners trying to get a Stark on the Iron Throne? I thought keeping relations strong between the Starks, the Wildings, and the Night Watch was the point of sending Jon to the Wall in the first place (in a totally above board way)?

Trying to be as non-spoilery as possible, first the post-ASOS status quo in the north needs to be dealt with to even get a shot at a Stark on the Iron Throne, which is where the sneaky conspiracy stuff comes in. Lots of players in Winterfell in ADWD manipulating things, and there's a lot of speculation about who knows what, who's behind the events in and around Winterfell, and what the end goals of these players actually are. Some of these plots may have been in motion since before the RW as plan B for Robb and some members of his inner circle.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:21 PM on March 20


Bran couldn't be First of his Name, since he's named after Bran the Builder.

Hm, yeah he could be. Bran the Builder was King In The North, he never sat at King's Landing.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:32 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


How To Draw Game Of Thrones (With Detail) (NSFW @ 3min. unless you're in Europe.)
posted by homunculus at 4:10 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


dhens: "I believe the explanation is that Littefinger's father had fought alongside Hoster Tully during the War of the Ninepenny Kings (approx. 40 years before the beginning of AGOT), and Tully was impressed and decided to do this Baelish dude a solid by fostering his son. Of course, that esteem did not reach high enough for him to consent to Petyr marrying Lysa..."

An interesting side-note to that is something that I think got brought up in the last GoT/ASoIaF thread and gives a little background about why things are such a mess right now is that up until the Robert/Ned generation, high lords like the Tullys used political marriage in a very different way, namely to strengthen relationships with their own bannermen. After the War of the Ninepenny Kings (and probably some other one I'm forgetting), the high lords started marrying their children to the children of high lords from very distant parts of the realm. Basically, in the normal course of history, there should have been no way that Hoster Tully would have ever known about the Baelishes at all, and Lysa and Catelyn would have ended up with Freys or Mallisters or whoever. But a couple small wars happened and people mixed a little more freely in those armies, and that generation saw ways to expand their influence with advantageous marriages that spanned the whole continent. Unfortunately for their children, it turned out that those bonds weren't as strong as when you're marrying bannermen, and the whole thing fell apart and basically destroyed the social order that had stood for hundreds of years.
posted by Copronymus at 5:41 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


George R.R. Martin Says Game of Thrones Film Being "Actively Discussed"
posted by homunculus at 6:27 PM on March 20


I don't get why people want to pair up Jon and Dany, considering that it is incredibly likely that they will never, ever meet. Where the fuck did that ship come from?

I don't think GRRM is ever going to finish the series. I don't mean that he's gonna die necessarily, but the dude only knows how to go big(ger and bigger), he doesn't know how to bring it home. Dude needs to start winding the story DOWN and all he can do is throw in more and more characters, like the godawful Greyjoys (drown everyone but the sister for good, I say) and the folks in Dorne, I'm not even sure why they got brought in.

We want to see Arya grow up and become a badass assassin and work her way through Westeros killing everyone on her list. We want to see Dany go "Fuck this shit, I'm actually gonna GO to Westeros and ditch the Meerenese, they hate me and I hate them anyway" and then actually MAKE IT TO KING'S LANDING, because of all of the candidates, she strikes me as being the one who could best learn how to rule. I want Tyrion as her King's Hand. With dragons ablazing. I want Sansa to not get raped and/or married to Littlefinger, which I strongly suspect is gonna happen in the next book. (Yeah, I know I'm gonna get a new hole ripped in me for saying it, but creepy old dudes who lust after young ladies, and are left alone with young ladies, are gonna get them that damn poontang when they have the power to do it.) I want Cersei to get permanently trumped by the awesome evil of Margaery Tyrell. I want Jamie and Brienne to reunite under um...better circumstances. I want things to get to a point and start coalescing and making one big story.

Unfortunately, I don't think that is likely to happen. But since the TV show has done a darned good job of correcting a lot of the book issues, they'll probably finish things for us very nicely.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:25 PM on March 20


HBO is free to depict a lot of things, but I'm pretty sure they're not going to go for the rape of a 15 year old girl by a semi-sympathetic regular character.
posted by Sara C. at 8:39 PM on March 20


I don't get why people want to pair up Jon and Dany, considering that it is incredibly likely that they will never, ever meet. Where the fuck did that ship come from?

One theory: Dany arrives in Westeros, dragons are needed to fight the Others, Jon and Dany meet at the Wall.

There's another theory that's widely discussed on fan forums - might be a bit of a spoiler to post it, but I will if you like?

Re: Sansa, I think she's safe. Although there's a lot of sexual assault it doesn't seem to happen to POV characters (for no "logical" reason: e.g. LF will happily mistreat Jeyne Poole, but not Sansa; everyone's always telling Arya she's at risk of assault, but it doesn't happen; Brienne always manages to avoid it, even when captured by the sort of people who cut off Jaime's hand for a laugh).
posted by Pink Frost at 8:46 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


up until the Robert/Ned generation, high lords like the Tullys used political marriage in a very different way, namely to strengthen relationships with their own bannermen. After the War of the Ninepenny Kings (and probably some other one I'm forgetting), the high lords started marrying their children to the children of high lords from very distant parts of the realm.

There are several interrelated conspiracy theories about this, under the heading "Southron Ambitions." Basically, they say that the Tullys and the Starks (in Hoster's generation) may have actually been involved in a plot to create connections between different parts of the Seven Kingdoms, and that Aerys may actually not have been completely paranoid to see people conspiring against him. I don't know how much I buy into that, personally...
posted by dhens at 9:26 PM on March 20


Thank god this is a spoiler-free thread, because if it wasn't I'd be nerding out on ridiculous ASoIaF conspiracy theories nonstop in here. That's one of the reasons I don't mind the sprawl in the series, people spin theories out of every little thing during the wait between books and it's all wonderfully entertaining.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:34 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


HBO is free to depict a lot of things, but I'm pretty sure they're not going to go for the rape of a 15 year old girl by a semi-sympathetic regular character.

Ned Stark was Sansa's father. Littlefinger may lust after Sansa all he wants, but I feel like his part in what happened to Ned has to come out. That's going to make him far less sympathetic a character in any Sansa storyline.
posted by misha at 9:40 PM on March 20


That's one of the reasons I don't mind the sprawl in the series, people spin theories out of every little thing during the wait between books and it's all wonderfully entertaining.

These theories often range from the brilliant (such as the hidden history of Young Griff, IMHO) to the maddening. One of my favorite examples is the fact that Jeyne Westerling's hips are described differently in the original English editions of ASOS and AFFC, which led some readers to theorize that Jeyne had been replaced. GRRM admitted that he just made a mistake; the discrepancy was eliminated in translated editions...
posted by dhens at 9:43 PM on March 20


Ned Stark was Sansa's father. Littlefinger may lust after Sansa all he wants, but I feel like his part in what happened to Ned has to come out. That's going to make him far less sympathetic a character in any Sansa storyline.

Indeed. Littlefinger's treatment of Ros (in the show) and of Jeyne Poole (in the books) also makes him far less sympathetic. Not to mention another act that he will soon commit...
posted by dhens at 9:44 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying Littlefinger is a stand-up guy, but usually on TV (even cable) child-rape is reserved for only the most deeply depraved characters. I could see Sansa raped by someone like Gregor Clegane or Tywin Lannister (though raping doesn't seem like his thing), but if that's what GRRM has in mind for Littlefinger and Sansa, the TV show is going to go in a different direction.

What I'm wondering is how much veto power HBO has over the content in future books.
posted by Sara C. at 10:01 PM on March 20


My fear about Sansa is that she will become an apt pupil of Littlefinger, and give a certain someone too much sweetsleep in his milk.
posted by dhens at 10:07 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Much as I hate to root for child murder, sweetsleep in the milk would be a lot nicer than "out the moon door." Which I would also bet would happen.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:22 PM on March 20


And now I can't stop laughing at how awful I am for ROOTING FOR CHILD MURDER.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:23 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


jenfullmoon, Did you get my MeMail?
posted by dhens at 10:56 PM on March 20


HBO has no say of any sort about the content of future books. None. They have 100% of the say on what appears on HBO, though.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 AM on March 21


I thought keeping relations strong between the Starks, the Wildings, and the Night Watch was the point of sending Jon to the Wall in the first place

Not really, no. Jon went to the Wall because there was literally no place for him. His stepmother despised him (though that's entirely Ned's fault for Reasons), he's a bastard with no prospects, etc. In many ways, Jon is boy-Sansa; she thought she'd go to court and be a princess and have ladies-in-waiting and knights vying for her favour and all that rot, he thought he'd go to the Wall and be an honourable soldier serving in an honourable capacity defending the realm.

Littlefinger may lust after Sansa all he wants, but I feel like his part in what happened to Ned has to come out. That's going to make him far less sympathetic a character in any Sansa storyline.

One hopes that when (if...) his uppance comes, it'll be at Sansa's hands for precisely this reason. I too want to see Littlefinger fly... but I have a sneaking suspicion that will never happen. GRRM likes to subvert tropes, and one of the oldest tropes there is is Bad Guy Gets His Due. I strongly suspect Littlefinger will be left standing when (if...) the books conclude. Cockroaches tend to survive.

I also doubt that Littlefinger would rape Sansa in any way--he doesn't actually see her, he sees Catelyn redux. He's going to try to force a marriage, mark my words.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:03 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


There's another theory that's widely discussed on fan forums - might be a bit of a spoiler to post it, but I will if you like?

Presuming you're referring to possible incestuous relationships in the the former ruling house of Westeros, I'm always amused to seeing people dance around this topic like it was some big secret. It isn't. There's nothing here to spoil. It is one of the more sensational speculations about some of the scenes in the books and the TV shows, but there's no textual proof one way or the other. It's not the Red Wedding.
posted by bonehead at 10:17 AM on March 21


there's no textual proof one way or the other

Well, you are correct in that Howland Reed hasn't sent a gold-lettered scroll by raven to every lord in the Seven Kingdoms with those tidings. But there is a huge amount of evidence in the books that supports R+L=J.
posted by dhens at 10:24 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


As far as I can tell, it's the only possible explanation for J.

Which doesn't in any way explain Ned's behaviour.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:25 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I don't necessarily think it's a spoiler per se (most of the evidence is in Ned's chapters in the first book), but many -- I would venture to say most -- readers do not pick up on it. I've met lots of fairly devoted readers for whom it was a revelation.
posted by dhens at 10:25 AM on March 21


I've met lots of fairly devoted readers for whom it was a revelation.

Same here.
posted by KathrynT at 10:28 AM on March 21


Which doesn't in any way explain Ned's behaviour.

Hmm, I think it explains why (for example) he doesn't want Jon coming to King's Landing where Bobby "I'mma kill all dragonspawn" Baratheon makes his home. Regarding Ned not telling Cat, I've read speculation that Ned thought that if Cat did not act bitter toward Jon, people would suspect something was up.

I will admit that Ned basically letting Jon join the Night's Watch is a bit odd. Maybe Ned thinks this is the only place that Jon will be safe? Maybe he hoped Benjen would eventually tell Jon the truth (Benjen could probably put two and two together, if Ned didn't straight up tell him). Still, it's hard to believe that Lyanna's "promise me" meant "... that my son will spend his life up at a giant ice wall, never to know love or a normal life."
posted by dhens at 10:32 AM on March 21


My preferred theory about Jon is that he's one of Robert's bastards, maybe one that needed to be especially protected for Reasons. Though I haven't read the last couple of books, so maybe that's not an option.

Could Jon be Robert and Lyanna's child? Could Ned be protecting him from Cersei?
posted by Sara C. at 10:40 AM on March 21


It also explains why Ned would care so much about the specific wording of Robert's will. "the king's true heir" implies that he has someone specific in mind. And he couldn't be stupid enough to think that King Gendry would be any better than King Joffrey.
posted by Sara C. at 10:42 AM on March 21


Oh certainly it explains why Jon could/would never go to King's Landing.

But Ned Stark The Honourablest Honourable Idiot in Westeros not telling his wife (remember, they did actually love each other) that he didn't, in fact, fuck another woman?

It's just stupid. There's no good reason for him not to--and Cat would have looked like a saint for being nice to her husband's alleged bastard.

Could Jon be Robert and Lyanna's child? Could Ned be protecting him from Cersei?

Mind. Blown.

"the king's true heir" implies that he has someone specific in mind.

Except that Jon wouldn't be Robert's heir, what with being a bastard and all. He'd have to be legally declared Robert's heir, by robert (cf Bolton). Ned didn't have someone specific in mind to sit on the throne, he had three specific people in mind who he didn't want on the throne.

Stannis is actually Robert's heir, in the absence of any legitimate children.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:44 AM on March 21


You know how GRRM often flips the script and forces us to love a hated character?

What if he could also flip the script and have us look back on a sympathetic character and realize that they were behaving in a selfish and short-sighted manner?

Maybe he thought he could get Jon declared the heir, somehow?
posted by Sara C. at 10:48 AM on March 21


Are there any real-life historical cases of people not knowing who a supposed heir's mother is? We know GRRM likes to draw from history. Not knowing the father is as common as adultery of course, but biology makes it unusual to be uncertain about the mother.
posted by Nelson at 10:48 AM on March 21


A living woman would definitely know if she gave birth to a given person, or at least if she could plausibly have done so. Jon definitely can't be either Cersei or Katelyn's child. (Though there's a little moment early in the first book where Cersei and Katelyn talk about child mortality, where Cersei mentions having a son who died in infancy, a dark-haired boy, which did cause me to start wondering...)

But Jon could be Lyanna's child, because Lyanna isn't around to say yes or no.
posted by Sara C. at 10:53 AM on March 21


You know how GRRM often flips the script and forces us to love a hated character?

I can't think of a single time he's done that. Tyrion was amazing from the get-go, Jaime has gone through some serious personal growth making him sympathetic (thus not 'forcing' us; Jaime by ADWD is decidedly not the Jaime of AGOT). Who are you thinking of?

I don't think anyone would ever argue that Ned wasn't short-sighted. The man only ever did the right thing, right now. The next thing? He didn't care about until it happened. Foresight was never his strong suit.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:54 AM on March 21


I thought there was lots and lots of evidence in the books for Jon as Lyanna's son, but much less evidence for who his father was.
posted by jeather at 10:55 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Jamie.

I almost stopped reading the books when, suddenly, out of the clear blue, I was expected to sympathize with the one character who had so far been portrayed as unmitigated evil.

The man pushed a child out of a tower, presumably to his death, and now I'm supposed to think his adventures are super fun and compelling? Fuck that. I get that shades of grey, unreliable narrators, and moral relativity are the overarching theme of the series, but nope. Jamie can suck a bag of dicks as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Sara C. at 10:57 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is one of my all time favorite names right now, though. So I suppose the existence of Jamie as a character is a little bit redeemed.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
posted by Sara C. at 11:00 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


My preferred theory about Jon is that he's one of Robert's bastard

In the books, Jon has dark brown hair, similar to Ned's. All Robert's bastards are famously black-haired, so there's a bit of a problem there. TV Jon, though....

There's also a bit of timing problem for the most likely Baratheon paring, with Lyanna Stark.
posted by bonehead at 11:08 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I thought there was this whole big thing in the first book about Robert's bastards all sharing a similar look.
posted by Area Man at 11:12 AM on March 21


The TV show is baffling about the whole hair color dark vs. fair and who takes after who thing, in general.

From the books I expected both Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon to have very dark hair and eyes, more along the lines of Kit Harington. Instead, on the show they both look like WASPy dudes with kinda brownish hair, and not a particularly prominent "dark" look. Which makes it hard to parse the books' obsession about who has what features. I mean, Robert's hair is maybe a shade or two darker than Jamie Lannister's? So why are all his offspring black of hair? Confusing.
posted by Sara C. at 11:16 AM on March 21


It's Rhaegar. Jon's father is Rhaegar. Sheesh. It's obvious.
posted by Justinian at 11:19 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


I agree, but the one hole in the theory is that the Targaryen blood famously confers white-blonde hair and violet eyes.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:20 AM on March 21


It's also obvious that Martin loves a head fake. Who is Aegon anyway?
posted by bonehead at 11:21 AM on March 21


It's Rhaegar. Jon's father is Rhaegar. Sheesh. It's obvious.

Totes. And Lyanna was legit in love with him, he didn't rape her. That's why Robert could. never. know.

The arguement over Jon Snows stupid parentage reached epic proportions in our house a while ago and had to be banned. If Martin dies of old age before this is settled (and I win the bet) I'm going to be pissed.
posted by fshgrl at 11:48 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


It's Rhaegar. Jon's father is Rhaegar. Sheesh. It's obvious.

Totes. And Lyanna was legit in love with him, he didn't rape her. That's why Robert could. never. know.


I'm on board with that theory. It also makes me think it's even more likely that Jon and Dany will get together. I thought Jon's bio father was Robert for a bit but in ASoIF, hair color = paternity testing, and apparently Jon has "dark brown" not "black" hair (not exactly sure what the diff is there, but...).

I think Ned didn't tell Catelyn not because he was thought he had to protect Jon from Catelyn specifically but because he was sworn to secrecy and is serious about keeping his word.
posted by rue72 at 12:10 PM on March 21


The thing that I really want to know is what's in the damn crypts that everyone's so interested in? Something in there was completely missed by everyone in pre-ASOS Winterfell but is hugely important to all these third parties skulking around post-ASOS, and I don't buy that it's just that the swords that the boys/Hodor/Osha took because just seeing that swords are missing isn't in any way proof that they're alive.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:47 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


I think the physical resemblance thing is that Jon has a strong "Stark look", even more so than many of Ned's (other?) children, while all of Robert's Bastards have different, but mutually similar, Baratheon features. The black hair is the most important of those.
posted by bonehead at 12:54 PM on March 21


Also, a resemblance between Arya and Jon is remaked upon. Arya is supposed to be a spitting image of Lyanna.
posted by bonehead at 12:56 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


I agree, but the one hole in the theory is that the Targaryen blood famously confers white-blonde hair and violet eyes.

Rhaenys, Rhaegar's daughter with Elia Martell, had the brown hair and Dornish complexion of her mother.
posted by dhens at 12:56 PM on March 21


Yeah, features other than white hair/purple eyes have entered the Targ bloodline a bunch of times before, IIRC.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:57 PM on March 21


Derp.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:58 PM on March 21


what's in the damn crypts that everyone's so interested in?

Besides Barbrey Dustin going down there to visit Brandon Stark's tomb (and spit on Ned Stark's memory), the only person I can think of who is interested is Jon, who has visions about not belonging in the crypts. I've read theories that say that Lyanna could be buried with something that would prove a connection to Rhaegar (his harp, a dragon egg, a Targaryen wedding cloak)...
posted by dhens at 1:00 PM on March 21


Who is Aegon anyway?

I think that "Aegon" truly believes that he is Aegon, as does Griff. There's a theory as to his real identity that really only makes sense if you've read the Dunk and Egg novellas, and which also explains why Illyrio and Varys are so invested in him. As Illyrio Mopatis says, "Black or Red, a dragon is still a dragon..."
posted by dhens at 1:05 PM on March 21


I don't really get how they deal with the genetics -- the Targaryans all have the same colouring, except when they don't, so Jon Snow not looking like one isn't proof against him, but the Baratheons all have the same colouring because their DNA is stronger? I don't have any particular feelings about the Rhaegar vs Robert as parent debate (and, to be honest, can't remember half the details anyhow), but the hair colour argument seems the absolute weakest one.
posted by jeather at 1:09 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I think one of the reason the Targaryens typically have the same coloring is because they are also typically products of incest.

I try not to think too much about the logic of genetics in the world of Ice and Fire.
posted by dhens at 1:15 PM on March 21


Besides Barbrey Dustin going down there to visit Brandon Stark's tomb (and spit on Ned Stark's memory), the only person I can think of who is interested is Jon, who has visions about not belonging in the crypts. I've read theories that say that Lyanna could be buried with something that would prove a connection to Rhaegar (his harp, a dragon egg, a Targaryen wedding cloak)...

I thought Abel's group made a trip down there, or at least it was hinted that they were interested in it.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:27 PM on March 21


I thought Abel's group made a trip down there, or at least it was hinted that they were interested in it.

Ah yes. That is interesting.
posted by dhens at 1:33 PM on March 21


The TV show is baffling about the whole hair color dark vs. fair and who takes after who thing, in general.

There's also the fact that in the books, all three Tully siblings (Catelyn, Lysa and Edmure) shared a strong resemblance. In the show, Tobias Menzies (Edmure) and Kate Dickie (Lysa) look nothing like Michelle Fairley (Catelyn), or each other for that matter. And Kate Dickie is very thin while Lysa is described as fat.

And Gendry Baratheon is supposed to be the spitting image of his uncle Renly, but Joe Dempsie (Gendry) and Gethin Anthony (Renly) don't look at all alike. In fact, show!Renly doesn't look much like book!Renly either.

But I can forgive that when I tell myself that a) the show is not the books - I think of it as a separate canon, and b) writers can write whatever family resemblance they want, but casting directors have a finite pool of actors, and they have to consider things like talent, availability, and budget. And every reader has a different "head canon" as to what characters look like.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:46 PM on March 21


I can totally see a resemblance between Catelyn and Lysa. If anything I like the fact that they look similar but not like TV similar.

I don't remember the books saying that Lysa was fat, but to be honest I sort of hate the books and did not read terribly closely.
posted by Sara C. at 1:50 PM on March 21


The fact that Kit Harington (JS) could be Mark Addy's (RB) TV son (if you squint a bit), makes this whole discussion more interesting, particularly considering that the story could play out in the TV series before the corresponding books are published.
posted by bonehead at 1:52 PM on March 21


In fact, show!Renly doesn't look much like book!Renly either.

yeh but show Renly was the hottest motherfucker that ever tried to wear a crown
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:53 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's definitely more from watching the TV show that I feel strongly that Jon is Robert's bastard, not Ned's.

In reading the books it never occurred to me at all.
posted by Sara C. at 1:54 PM on March 21


Jon Presuming you're referring to possible incestuous relationships in the the former ruling house of Westeros, I'm always amused to seeing people dance around this topic like it was some big secret. It isn't. There's nothing here to spoil

Indeed I was. I actually got a MeMail (from someone who knew the theory) suggesting I not post it, but I see the thread has overtaken me overnight. "Spoiler" is a funny word when it's not something that has been explicitly revealed, but I figured maybe some wouldn't want to know.

Anyway, now that we're all theorizing away, I like Sara C's suggestion that Jon is Robert's son - not with Lyanna though, the timings don't work. She is with Rheagar at the time, either willingly or unwillingly (as Robert believes). But Jon as Robert's son would work quite well, I think. (Also, there's a bit in the first book where Jon is at the Wall and thinks about how he should go south to join his brother and avenge his father - thinking his father is Ned, but it would work as interesting foreshadowing if his father is someone else - either Rheaghar or Robert).
posted by Pink Frost at 2:03 PM on March 21


If Jon were Robert's bastard there'd have been no reason to hide him nor for Ned to claim parentage; Robert & Lyanna were supposed to marry, Cersei wasn't in the picture until after the rebellion and wasn't known to be dangerous yet.

In fact, if Jon were Robert's bastard (Lyanna died in childbirth; Cersei was Tywin's price for funding Robert's rebellion), it would have made a lot more sense for Robert to immediately declare him his legitimate heir, in order to cement the line of succession, no matter who the mother was.

Rhaegar is pretty much the only potential father who makes any sense at all and fits the facts as given.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:07 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


In the books, Robert visits L's tomb in the crypts first thing when he visits Winterfell, and Ned-- loyal, honorable, but too naive for politics Ned--loves him for it.

But it takes on a more cynical cast if he suspects L had a child with Rh that could threaten his own kids' inheritance. And in the show--where the writers know more than we do about the outcome--Robert confesses to Cersei that he really can't even remember L's face.

So the move was almost certainly, at least, cynically calculated to get Ned to feel favorably about agreeing to be Robert's Hand rather than grieving devotion for L.
posted by misha at 2:20 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'll be another voice saying that Jon as Robert's bastard makes no sense. If Ned thought of Jon as Robert's heir, why did he try to send a messenger to Stannis* on Dragonstone? (In the show, the messenger actually gets there; in the book, he does not.)

*The One True King
posted by dhens at 2:35 PM on March 21


Also, in the books, Ned remembers Lyanna thinking that Robert was a bit of an oaf. Robert had a bastard daughter before the rebellion, and Lyanna thought that he would never change his ways. As we know from the Reeds' telling of the story of the Tourney at Harrenhall, however, Lyanna was totes crushing on Rhaegar (and vice versa).
posted by dhens at 2:37 PM on March 21


If Jon were Robert's bastard there'd have been no reason to hide him nor for Ned to claim parentage; Robert & Lyanna were supposed to marry, Cersei wasn't in the picture until after the rebellion and wasn't known to be dangerous yet.

Yeah, of course. Jon was born before Rob+C married. Interesting theory but doesn't work. (dhens: I wasn't thinking J=L+Rob, though, but J=?+Rob, and Ned agreed to look after him. But then Rob teases Ned about Jon's mother, so that's another counter-argument).
posted by Pink Frost at 2:39 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Targaryens had multiple wives, too, which means that Jon might not even be anyone's bastard but a legitimate heir to the throne. As Rh was actually Dany's brother (which feels weird because of the age difference, but that's what the books say), Jon would be Dany's nephew.
posted by misha at 2:58 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


Because of the way Targaryen succession works, descent through oldest sons first, that means Jon's claim would trump Dani's (and "Aegon's").
posted by bonehead at 3:03 PM on March 21


But Jon wears the black, thus denouncing any claim to titles and lands, supposedly.
posted by misha at 3:05 PM on March 21


misha: Yeah, at one point Jorah Mormont tells Dany she could take multiple husbands, following the Targaryen tradition of plural marriage.

The evidence for Jon being legitimate is the dialogue in Ned's memory of the showdown at the Tower of Joy:

“I looked for you on the Trident,” Ned said to them.
“We were not there,” Ser Gerold answered.
“Woe to the Usurper if we had been,” said Ser Oswell.
“When King's Landing fell, Ser Jaime slew your king with a golden sword, and I wondered where you were.”
“Far away,” Ser Gerold said, “or Aerys would yet sit the Iron Throne, and our false brother would burn in seven hells.”
“I came down on Storm's End to lift the siege,” Ned told them, and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and all their knights bent the knee to pledge us fealty. I was certain you would be among them.”
“Our knees do not bend easily,” said Ser Arthur Dayne.
“Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him.”
“Ser Willem is a good man and true,” said Ser Oswell.
“But not of the Kingsguard,” Ser Gerold pointed out. “The Kingsguard does not flee.”
“Then or now,” said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.
“We swore a vow,” explained old Ser Gerold.
Ned’s wraiths moved up beside him, with shadow swords in hand. They were seven against three.
“And now it begins,” said Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. He unsheathed Dawn and held it with both hands. The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.
“No,” Ned said with sadness in his voice. “Now it ends.”


Basically, Ned asks why the three remaining kingsguard didn't submit to Robert, or -- if Targaryen loyalists to the end -- join Viserys in exile. Gerold Hightower says "We swore an oath" -- that is, to protect the king. With Aerys and Rhaegar dead, Rhaegar's only legitimate surviving son would be the true king. So poor Jon Snow, the bastard who knows nothing, was Lord of the Seven Kingdoms as a babe, at least in the eyes of Gerold Hightower, Oswell Whent, and Arthur Dayne.

#tragedyx1000
posted by dhens at 3:06 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


Pretty jumped up for the bastard of a traitor and a washerwoman, anyway.
posted by bonehead at 3:07 PM on March 21


Because of the way Targaryen succession works, descent through oldest sons first, that means Jon's claim would trump Dani's (and "Aegon's")

Well, not the real Aegon, as he was the elder of Rhaegar's two legitimate sons (if Jon is legit). But I think the real Aegon died at the hands of Gregor Clegane.
posted by dhens at 3:07 PM on March 21


Ah, missed that. "Aegon" is described as fifteen or sixteen, while Jon is 14 at the beginning of GoT, right? They're very close in age.
posted by bonehead at 3:11 PM on March 21


Yes, but of course Tyrion is guesstimating at Young Griff's age. The real Aegon would be about a year or so older than Jon.
posted by dhens at 3:12 PM on March 21


Remember too that the prophecy-obsessed Rhaegar thought that "the dragon needs three heads," but the maesters said that Elia could not bear any more children after Aegon was born. Thus, the reason for Rhaegar's wandering eye (despite Ned's estimation of Rhaegar that he was not the kind of man who frequented brothels).
posted by dhens at 3:16 PM on March 21


She is fire, he is ice...

So, one thing I wondered. In AGoT, the "zombies" are White Walkers, so they don't freeze in the snow. But they do burn up.

Dany does not burn; she is the Dragon. Would her dragons freeze in the snow and ice, though?
posted by misha at 3:17 PM on March 21


Now see, I always took it that Jon himself is the song of ice (Stark) and fire (Targaryen). But I guess we will see, as long as GRRM gets the series finished.
posted by dhens at 3:19 PM on March 21


All I know is that no matter what happens Show!Jon is going to look all cute and confused about it.
posted by The Whelk at 3:22 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Whelky, there is no way in this universe for Kit Harrington to not be a smouldering pile of hot sex no matter what he does.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:41 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


OK, if one WANTED to read the Dunk and Egg novellas, how would one go about doing that?
posted by KathrynT at 3:43 PM on March 21


Kit Harrington is more squinting than smoldering but it's an adorable air of utter confusion.
posted by The Whelk at 3:46 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


My favorite House of the Undying vision:

"From a smoking tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire..."

Smoking tower: Storm's End, the Golden Company's next target.
Great stone beast: Jon Connington, afflicted with greyscale.
"shadow fire": Blackfyre, as in, Aegon's true lineage.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:53 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


OK, if one WANTED to read the Dunk and Egg novellas, how would one go about doing that?

By buying or checking out the anthologies in which they are located (two of them are available as stand-alone graphic novels). They are relatively short (ca. 80 pages each) and typically less unrelentingly brutal and more upbeat as the main Song of Ice and Fire, though I suspect that will change as the novellas treat more "recent" events. The novellas are projected to cover events from 90 years until about 40 years before ASOIAF.
posted by dhens at 4:06 PM on March 21


But Jon wears the black, thus denouncing any claim to titles and lands, supposedly.

"Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death."
posted by Justinian at 11:52 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


"Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death."

Everything is negotiable.

Or not, in which case somebody else will get to be king or queen. *shrug* I'm sure the Iron Throne won't go empty for long regardless.

Though frankly, I think this particular issue might be pretty negotiable. Thinking about it from the POV of a challenger to the throne, I think that if it turns out that he is the eldest surviving Targaryen son, Jon probably would seem like a threat regardless of being in the Night Watch. If it becomes clear that he's got a real claim to the title, Jon's real choices are probably going to be to either try getting on the Throne himself (in which case he might be able to call on a lot of Wildings and members of the Night's Watch and maybe other Northerners, and would be a major contender I think) or being killed/assassinated. I don't even think that marriage would be an option at that point, because if he is the eldest Targaryen son he'd have a stronger claim to the throne than either Dany or Sansa, so either one of them marrying him would basically mean abdicating her own power as ruler. The most interesting case would be if *Cersei* managed to marry him in order to hold onto her title, but she's not slick enough to get that done by herself and it's not really in anyone else's interests to make that happen seeing as she's already got these other random kids by Jaime and nobody particularly likes or trusts her, so I don't think that's a real possibility. Knowing Jon and his dull self, even if he's given the choice of either trying for the throne himself (and/or maneuvering himself into [whichever] Queen's bed) or being killed off, he is liable to just keep upholding his Oath and die as an "honorable" member of the Night's Watch, though. Which is why he's an annoying/boring character to me and if that's his choice I don't really care what happens to him, he might as well be eaten by White Walkers or beheaded in public or whatever.

On the other hand: I don't remember, does Jon have any kids? He was hooking up with that Wilding woman for a while, wasn't he? Maybe his kid could be the heir (to get Jon out of the hot seat), even if he's out of the running? I'm sure it wouldn't be tough to get Jon to recognize a bastard as his own, considering. (Or I guess somebody could just buy off some woman with a baby who looks like Jon to say that it's Jon's kid and the rightful heir, they don't have Montel or Ricki Lake or anybody to set straight that kind of paternity dispute!).

(Or they could just get rid of the hereditary kingship altogether, though unless/until the society changes substantially all that would probably happen would be that the leader of the military would become the de facto leader with the richest citizens pulling the strings, which isn't substantively different from the current situ).
posted by rue72 at 12:28 AM on March 22


rue72: Regarding Jon's oaths, Jon's death at the hands of his men means that the Night's Watch is no longer true, meaning not only that his watch has ended, but that the Wall will fall (there is a mention somewhere that the Wall will stand... as long as the Night's Watch is true).

I've read people say that Jon might marry Val, thereby integrating the Wildlings into Westerosi society.

I personally think it might be interesting if Jon learns about his Targaryen heritage but doesn't pursue the Iron Throne, instead dedicating himself to the task for which he was conceived -- to be, quite literally, the "Prince who was promised" ("Promise Me, Ned...") -- and lead the Battle for the Dawn, maybe dying (again) in the process.

Then Stannis can sit the throne that is rightfully his ;-)
posted by dhens at 12:37 AM on March 22


Also, there is a theory that poor sweet Shireen will die at the hands of Melisandre -- waking a dragon (Jon Snow) from the stone (Shireen with her greyscale -- people with greyscale are called stone men, and of course, there is power in a king's blood...).
posted by dhens at 12:38 AM on March 22


rue72: Regarding Jon's oaths, Jon's death at the hands of his men means that the Night's Watch is no longer true, meaning not only that his watch has ended, but that the Wall will fall (there is a mention somewhere that the Wall will stand... as long as the Night's Watch is true).

Would it have to be at the hands of his men? Couldn't it be at the hands of virtually anyone with the element of surprise? He could even be lured to court and killed there, like Ned. (Wasn't there even already a character from the Night's Watch that got lured to Court and murdered, with no truthful message sent back to the Wall so there wouldn't be a revolt? I feel like that happened sometime around when Stannis was going up North? Or am I getting confused? It's been a while since I read the books, they're a little hazy).

I'm not sure that the Night's Watch will hold anyway, because I do think there's going to be massive disaster once Winter sets in and food supplies start running low (especially if the Wildings try to rush into the North to escape White Walkers or just starvation). Also, isn't the Wall melted/crumbled/ruined in a lot of places? If the health of the Night's Watch and the Wall are linked, even symbolically, I would say the Night's Watch is already on shaky ground.

Honestly, the best use of the Night's Watch might not even be at the Wall if there's massive civil unrest and everyone is starving. They're the only public standing army in the West (as opposed to private mercenaries) aren't they? Not that they're all that great or big anymore, so I'm not sure they would be much use regardless -- but it seems like an awful waste to have a bunch of soldiers guarding a Wall to a barren wasteland when they could be shipping out across the world to try and bring back food or tech to keep people from starving. As scary as the White Walkers might be, I think Winter is a bigger threat. The Wildings or Northerners can rebuild the Wall just fine if somebody's got to do it, but loyal citizens (like members of the Night's Watch) have got to be the ones going out and collecting things from abroad because they're the only ones who could be trusted to come back. Plus, it's horrible, but if you send a military to go buy food/supplies and the people in their destinations don't want to sell, the soldiers can at least try and take the food/supplies anyway, which regular merchants wouldn't be able to do. I figure that Westeros wouldn't even have to worry about not causing wars with enemies abroad at that point, because they'd basically be like Russia and any invading army would just freeze or starve to death before becoming a truly disastrous problem anyway.

Well anyway, I'll stop playing my version of Sim City or Civilization or whatever, just musing.

Also, there is a theory that poor sweet Shireen will die at the hands of Melisandre -- waking a dragon (Jon Snow) from the stone (Shireen with her greyscale -- people with greyscale are called stone men, and of course, there is power in a king's blood...).

Yeah, I remember something about that. Isn't that when they [mumble possible spoiler? mumble] babies? Poor Shireen, she never catches a break. And Patches is a freaking nightmare.
posted by rue72 at 1:08 AM on March 22


Would it have to be at the hands of his men?

Well, Jon dying because of he got tricked by Cersei or something like that is not evidence that the Watch has gone "false" the way that being betrayed by his own men is.
posted by dhens at 1:13 AM on March 22


I'm not sure that the Night's Watch will hold anyway, because I do think there's going to be massive disaster once Winter sets in and food supplies start running low (especially if the Wildings try to rush into the North to escape White Walkers or just starvation).

The watch has to hold for at least a bit longer, because Jon was the 998th Commander. Somebody is going to be the 1000th (my bet would be Jon Stark, assuming that Robb legitimized him in his will).
posted by gsteff at 8:50 AM on March 22


So this thread has been great for my reading. sonic meat machine's comment got me to read Sanderson's The Emperor's Soul which was a lovely little fantasy novella with a beautifully explored single conceit. And now I'm boldly rereading the last two Ice and Fire books in this fan-suggested edit, the two books stitched together in a single narrative. Maybe that ordering will make all the meanders seem more relevant? It's an excuse to reread, at least.

But oh, dear readers, it is a tough slog so far. Some of the prose is sparkly and creative and rich. Some of it is just awful. The Prologue for a Feast for Crows contains the phrase "fearsomely strong cider" five times in a single chapter. Five times! That moves well beyond cliché territory into some sort of Homeric honorific, Martin's "rosy fingered dawn" or "Achilles of the swift feet". Usually the editor has the decency to at least clean up the first chapter in some 1000 page guaranteed best seller. Apparently no one edited Feast for Crows at all.

Still there's some fun writing. The sections about Damphair's soggy religion, drowning young men on the beach, is straight up WTF crazy. I like sevensixfive's comment about krakens; if we've got dragons and ice zombies, why not sea monsters?
posted by Nelson at 9:47 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


And Patches is a freaking nightmare.

I would put real folding money on the idea that Patches is more than he seems. Particularly considering that Euron Greyjoy offhandedly mentioned that he threw a dragon egg into the sea -- that seems like a chekhov's gun waiting to go off.

The sections about Damphair's soggy religion, drowning young men on the beach, is straight up WTF crazy.

Once I realized that the Greyjoys basically worship Cthulhu, their religion got a lot more menacing!
posted by KathrynT at 10:04 AM on March 22 [4 favorites]


The Greyjoys are interesting because there's so many things involving them that seem like they're kind of waiting to be revealed in another part of the story before the Greyjoys get to make another move, so their chapters spin their wheels a lot. Like, first of all there was no point in visiting them until Theon made his move, and once that happened GRRM had to quickly get the Greyjoys from point A to points B, C and D so you got Greyjoy oversaturation. And Euron is relegated to the background because he's clearly holding interesting answers GRRM doesn't want revealed yet, like his likely involvement with what the Faceless Men are doing in Westeros (since he probably hired them to take out Balon), but I doubt the reveal of that will come from a Greyjoy chapter - probably an Arya or Sam chapter - so he just sits there like a lump for now, waiting on that storyline and Victarion's Mereen mission to advance.

Likewise Aeron has "gets revenge on Euron for likely abusing him as a child" written all over him so he's just sitting there until Euron gets to move. And Asha's next move had to wait until the Winterfell stuff was lined up just right, Victarion was spinning his wheels until things in Mereen were in the right place, etc. Hopefully the show streamlines things much better with the Greyjoy clan, because except for maybe Theon taking Winterfell they're really not prime movers and tend to follow advances in the story revealed in the POV chapters of more important characters.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:17 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


And Euron is relegated to the background because he's clearly holding interesting answers GRRM doesn't want revealed yet

I think this is my entire problem with GRRM's writing style and literary constipation, in a nutshell. It's like his main issue is that he's trying not to say or do anything. When, uh, the traditional goal of narrative is for stuff to happen. Wanting to hold a few particular trump cards close to your vest is one thing. Deciding that every card is a trump card, so you simply can't play when your turn comes around, is a mistake.
posted by Sara C. at 2:45 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Euron Greyjoy offhandedly mentioned that he threw a dragon egg into the sea -- that seems like a chekhov's gun waiting to go off.

I'd really like to see how a dragon egg is going to get set on fire with some corpses underwater.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:05 PM on March 22


I'd really like to see how a dragon egg is going to get set on fire with some corpses underwater.

Hello Smoking Sea of Valyria!
posted by KathrynT at 10:30 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Booyah! I think you finally solved what happened to that place!
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:17 PM on March 22


Or Euron used the egg to pay the Faceless Men to bump off Balon, who was thrown off a bridge into the sea, could just be some wink-wink nudge-nudge phrasing.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:21 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


You Can Finally Buy That Flying Fire-Breathing RC Dragon (For $60,000)
posted by homunculus at 11:33 AM on March 23


Which is Worse: A Game of Thrones Spoiler, or Detention?
posted by homunculus at 11:38 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Maisie Williams Talks Arya Stark’s Character Development In Game of Thrones Season Four (No Spoilers)
posted by homunculus at 4:08 PM on March 23


I am seriously impressed at that teacher, if he exists. The nerve, sir, the nerve.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:14 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Another new TWOW chapter was released today.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:33 PM on March 26


You go, girl!

I continue to be relieved that chapters exist.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:05 PM on March 26


Ooh! A WofW chapter--with another Forel referenced? Be still my heart!
posted by misha at 9:54 PM on March 27


This Incredible Game of Thrones Flash Mob Takes What Is Theirs With Fire And Blood
posted by homunculus at 10:28 PM on March 30


Honest Trailers - Game of Thrones
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Game of Thrones Theme - Fans Demand More Dinklage
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Deciphering The Hidden Messages In "Game Of Thrones" Costumes
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If The Media Reported The Events Of "Game Of Thrones"

Spoilers, of course.
posted by homunculus at 2:16 PM on April 3


The Accursed Kings: The cult French novel that inspired George RR Martin
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The Many Philosophies Of Game Of Thrones
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:28 PM on April 4


Why We Have Total Faith in George R.R. Martin As Game of Thrones enters a period of uncertainty
posted by homunculus at 10:52 AM on April 5


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