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Prediction: Winter is coming. Pretty sure.
August 15, 2014 9:30 AM   Subscribe

I finally gave in and started reading Game of Thrones. When I got to the end of the first chapter, I texted a bunch of my nerd friends like, "Why do people think this is surprising? It is like super-obviously signposted!" From there, it turned into a project where I try to predict what will happen in Game of Thrones. Predicting Game of Thrones, a blog by Eyebrows McGee, with an accompanying predictions log. NOTE: this is full of spoilers for the first two books, and the first half of Book III (Storm of Swords) will be online soon. Plus any number of theories could come true in the later books. [via mefi projects]

If you wish for Eyebrows McGee's knowledge and insight, it helps to be well read (and studied) in the source materials (including the SFF genre in general and epic and grimdark fantasy in particular; British history; and religious epics), look into typology (predictive relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament), read up on Jungian archetypes (see also: Archetypes 101 and twelve character archetypes (PDF)), and generally be a skeptical reader.
posted by filthy light thief (92 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
I would suck at this. I was all, "I can't wait for that guy to go across the sea and give her the chair made of iron!" Oh. "Once Robb gets to Kings' Landing things will get interesting!" Oh. "I can't wait for that little viper to sting the fucking mountain to death!" Oh. "Now that the little guy is the Hand the Lanisters will really start kicking ass with someone with brains behind the throne!" Oh.

Seriously, my latest prediction is Bran will be the guy who wins the Game. This alone says, "Oh." Poor Bran.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:49 AM on August 15 [6 favorites]


Oh my GOD, Eyebrows McGee. I LOVE YOU. Now I don't have to keep reading, because it is horrible for all the reasons you list and more. I took one for the team in my friend group by reading/summarize-mocking Twilight and 50 Shades for them, I couldn't do it one more time.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:49 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Her predictions at the start we're suspiciously good but have gotten believably worse though still impressive. I feel like she underplays the advantage of her background books/tv knowledge though: that everyone dies and that GRRM is obsessed with foreshadowing/portents, which I think most reader/watchers (where it is less clear) don't realise coming in is very key to understanding the series.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 9:49 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I will never read those silly books but I love her blog!
posted by ReeMonster at 9:50 AM on August 15


I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.
posted by The World Famous at 9:52 AM on August 15 [18 favorites]


Man I love eyebrows mcgee, and I would love to hear Ice-T read the shit outta her motherfuckin blog. Jeez he just said "pegasi," it's sublime.

Anyway yeah, good on ya eyebrows, thanks for the entertaining read.
posted by Mister_A at 10:00 AM on August 15


Shit, now I feel like I have to read faster. :)

As he introduces more and more side characters I'm finding it harder to guess what's going to happen; the character arcs of the Starks seem to conform more to what I'm expecting. It's getting much much harder here in book 3.

But yeah, there is just a lot of foreshadowing, and the third or fourth time he ends a chapter with someone saying as an exclamation mark, "BOY, I SURE HOPE THIS THING DOESN'T HAPPEN!" and then two chapters later that thing happens, you start to notice. My biggest current rule is to pay close attention to the last line of the chapter because he sure goes big for "famous last words" sorts of things.

I have been quite surprised by a couple of things in the second half of ASoS (notably the wedding after the red wedding -- again! so soon! -- and Arstan's identity) but I'll save it for the post so I don't spoil anything in the thread!

Also Catelyn really needed to get over Jon Snow being a bastard seeing as how apparently 30% of the population of Westeros are bastards this is a social reality you must surely be able to cope with, woman.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:00 AM on August 15 [16 favorites]


I stopped at the 3rd book. They all had a dynamite, action-packed introduction that devolved into the characters adjusting their doublets and moping about the castle or spreading carnage across the countryside. Then at page 900, the author remembers he's gotta wrap things up and we have a betrayal and execution or a king-sized battle. My prediction - he will never finish it.
posted by jabo at 10:02 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Oh boy a thread of GRRM skeptics! This is where I tell everybody that even if they hated ASOIAF, they should really give the novella A Song for Lya a shot, because it is wonderful and SHORT and is the reason I ever bothered picking up the ASOIAF books in the first place.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:05 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Let us now praise Eyebrows McGee
posted by The Whelk at 10:05 AM on August 15 [17 favorites]


I also predict Arya is going to grow up to be a badass and be able to change her shape. She's screwed.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:07 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


( the number of times I have been accused of "reading ahead" and I'm all no, I just understand typical narrative arcs, set up and resolution, and basic mythic forms!)
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


When I read the first few chapters of the first book I immediately locked onto the idea that the base was a fantasy version of the War of the Roses. That served me for quite awhile.
posted by linux at 10:08 AM on August 15


Turns out Daenerys is a dude.

..who was dead the whole time.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:11 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Also the foreshadowing is about as subtle as a thunderstorm and screaming pipe organ.
posted by The Whelk at 10:12 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


So, it was all just a crazy dream? What a twist!
posted by filthy light thief at 10:12 AM on August 15


I do think Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory has a very good point, though.

Thanks to the show's popularity the series has really seeped into the general culture and so certain (in)famous traits of the series like main characters dying and lots of unexpected but foreshadowed twists have become well-known.

It's hard to say how Eyebrows McGee would have done if she'd picked up the in late 90s/early 2000s without this knowledge in mind.

It seems like the difference between "watch this movie" and "watch this movie, there's a big twist in it".
posted by Sangermaine at 10:16 AM on August 15 [5 favorites]


I'll admit people who talk about ASOIAF as a gritty, hyper-realistic, breathtakingly original epic are annoying, but the glee with which people point out how GRRM relies on a lot of standard fantasy tropes is itself fairly off-putting.
posted by skewed at 10:19 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


"Rosebud" turns out to be a dragon.
posted by yoink at 10:19 AM on August 15 [7 favorites]


It's fair to point out, too, that there is much more room to establish these foreshadowed events in print, when you have ∞-1 pages per book.
But this is still fun to read.
posted by Mister_A at 10:22 AM on August 15


"It's hard to say how Eyebrows McGee would have done if she'd picked up the in late 90s/early 2000s without this knowledge in mind."

I read the first two chapters or so and went, "Ugh, I don't like this." :)

"It seems like the difference between "watch this movie" and "watch this movie, there's a big twist in it"."

Absolutely! But this isn't, like, for prizes or anything. (In the Game of Predicting you win or you ... are surprised by plot twists and there are no further repercussions.) It's just for fun. I am not a pure-as-Snow (heh), completely-Unsullied (heh) reader because the books and show are so very popular -- and because GRRM's style has changed how fantasy novels are written in the last 15 years, it is not as "new" as it was.

I do think, though, that because it's hard for me to get wrapped up in the text (because of the POV switches, which throw me out of my suspension of disbelief), I notice on first read a lot of things friends who read in a similar state of knowledge/lack of knowledge missed. The POV switches make me feel a little bit like I'm reading for a high school English assignment where I have to stop at the end of every chapter to answer questions; it forces me to notice things. It's impossible for me to read it very fast because of the POV switches.

I have many Complaints, but I am actually enjoying the story now. And I really admire GRRM's worldbuilding and the care with which he constructs the plot. I think that so many events ARE predictable if you're reading carefully enough speaks really strongly of his plot construction and his refusal to rely on narrative suspension of disbelief. Books with twists are often really LAZY and the twist is shocking because nobody saw it coming because nobody COULD have seen it coming; GRRM grounds all of his twists in the narrative so that you're like "HOLY SHIT! I can't believe that just happened! Argh, I should have seen it coming because of [earlier events]." That's good writing.

This series is not my "thing," but it is a very well-done thing and I totally understand now why people like it.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:30 AM on August 15 [29 favorites]


I was thinking something similar; foreshadowing events is not a mistake, it's a technique!
posted by Mister_A at 10:34 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Also the fact that I am texting with several people making my predictions allows me to blow off steam about the parts that are dumb, like SERIOUSLY HOW OLD IS SANSA THAT SHE KEEPS CALLING IT HER "TUMMY" IN HER INTERNAL MONOLOGUE? (COROLLARY QUESTIONS: WHY HAS GEORGE R R MARTIN NEVER MET A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF SIXTEEN? DO THEY NOT HAVE CHILD DEVELOPMENT BOOKS IN NEW MEXICO THAT MIGHT HAVE HELPED WITH THIS PART?) That makes it easier to focus on the good parts and not stew over the clunky parts that don't quite land.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:35 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


I read the first two chapters or so and went, "Ugh, I don't like this." :)

What were you reading back then, if I may ask? I was in high school in the late 90s when I started reading them, and for me they were a refreshing change from the Robert Jordan clones that dominated fantasy at the time (though I also read WoT). I was also a huge fan of Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series that Martin has said was a big inspiration for him, so it was something I was primed to like.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:40 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


the real question is whether you can predict whether a character who is dead, or appears dead, is actually dead or will come back to life... as the books roll along the list of possibly dead, possibly undead characters just keeps growing.

the other problem is that zombies are rapidly becoming so passe that he's going to have to totally rewrite the zombie invasion. but at this point, he's probably auctioning off possible plot points to teams of rival HBO execs in order to determine the direction of the series.
posted by ennui.bz at 10:52 AM on August 15


Not to cast aspersions on E. McGee, but I'm getting a bit skeptical of just how much is obvious from the text and how much is from spoilers (maybe in the form of different photo memes). I'd think that, if you have a female she-wolf dead from a wound from a stag, that that would be a prediction regarding Catelyn, and that her killer would have been, you know, a real Baratheon. I'm not accusing E. of deliberate deception, but I know that I was spoiled regarding Ned's death (and lots of other plot points) without anyone really trying to do so.

Also, the thing that really pulled me out of the first book at one point? Melting gold over a jumped-up campfire.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:53 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I'll admit people who talk about ASOIAF as a gritty, hyper-realistic, breathtakingly original epic are annoying,

Well, it felt that way in the late 90's for those of us who grabbed it as just another rhino-choker fantasy book to while away the long subway rides. I mean, thinking that you're going to bite into another Shannara/WheelOfTime/SwordOfTruth pastry and getting a mouthfull of roast beef sandwich was a hell of a shocker.

It's only gritty, realistic, and original compared to the crap-fest that the large majority of fantasy has traditionally been.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:54 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


"What were you reading back then, if I may ask? "

Probably all-Tamora-Pierce, all-the-time. :) And also college and law school, so not as much for leisure as I normally would have.

I had just read a couple of BAD fantasy novels right in a row that were really misogynistic but relatively explicit about sex, in ways that felt like they weren't so much about plot as about the author's masturbation fantasies, so the incest right at the beginning was pretty off-putting, and the misogyny of the narrative really jumped out at me. But honestly what made me put it down so QUICKLY (because I will hate-read bad books for a very long time before giving up) was the POV-switching. It's hard to explain to people how much I dislike it and how much trouble I have with it; it's like someone is sitting next to me and every 20 pages they grab my shoulders and shake me while screaming in my ear, "STOP READING! PAY ATTENTION TO SOMETHING ELSE!" and then expect me to go back to reading like nothing happened. You know when you're at the climax of a book and you get interrupted and the book's world comes crashing down around you and you can't get back into it and recapture the magic of it? A POV switch is like that for me, EVERY TIME, so I don't usually read books with frequent POV switches for pleasure.

This time around I am putting the book down at the end of just about every chapter and then coming back to it even if it's just 10 or 15 minutes later, which seems to help me be less annoyed. But it's still, like -- I can't fall into it unless it's a long chapter, and then I am inevitably annoyed when the chapter ends. I'm looking forward to watching the HBO show to see how some of the stories "feel" when they're more fluid for me, as POV switches don't bother me nearly as much in movies or TV.

(" female she-wolf dead from a wound from a stag" -- confessing that the idea that the wolf was female did not even occur to me, and since all the kids matched with same-sex direwolves, I now feel dumb that it did not. I think we didn't see Catelyn right at first and I may have already formed my Ned idea? Or maybe I knew Ned was dead and didn't know I knew it, that is totally possible. (I don't really do ASoIaF photo-memes, though ... my biggest exposure to it has been through casting news on a pop-culture blog, so I often recognize the NAME of a character being introduced, but not much else about them. Also they don't typically post when someone is, uh, un-cast. Although I knew Sansa's direwolf was "fired.")
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:56 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


I should also add that I, too, was upset about Weasel just sort of disappearing. Yes, I know that War Is Bad, and that Bad Things Happen To The Innocent, something that Gurm is not particularly shy about hammering home on a regular basis.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:57 AM on August 15


Fun project!

Not to cast aspersions on E. McGee, but I'm getting a bit skeptical of just how much is obvious from the text and how much is from spoilers (maybe in the form of different photo memes).

Back when season 4 was airing and we had two threads for book readers and show-onliers, one poster who posted to the show-only threads made predictions that seemed preternatural. He was indistinguishable from someone who had read the books and was trolling the non-book-readers by dropping spoilers into the thread under the guise of speculation. (Book-readers who tracked both threads know who I mean!) I'm confident that this poster hadn't actually read the books and was acting in entirely good faith. I think what happened is that he read a whole lot of material about the show that was allegedly spoiler-free, but that material covertly conveyed information about the books.

It was a little weird at the time, because just pointing out that the speculation was accurate would unambiguously flag it as spoiler material.

I think there's probably similar subconscious contamination going on in Eyebrows McGee's project. When the novels were first published and before spoiler contamination was possible, readers' speculation and predictions were way more wild and off-track.
posted by painquale at 11:04 AM on August 15


Also the foreshadowing is about as subtle as a thunderstorm and screaming pipe organ.

While true, there's a surfeit of foreshadowing.

One of the things I like about Martin is how he handles prophecy. In the classic tradition, it's both true and unhelpful. How many perfumed seneschals do we have now? Four?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:09 AM on August 15 [6 favorites]


I'm a little surprised at how jarring the POV-switching seems to you. Isn't that a very established technique for larger epic books, especially SF/F? William Gibson has hardly written a book that doesn't do it, and I can think of a bunch of other books that do the same thing, especially when the narrative is geographically spread out. Even LotR kind of does it.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:12 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Popping my head in to say this is what ultimately largely drove me away from Stephen King: the whole "...and that was the last time his friends saw him alive" ForeShadowing Visible From Outer SPace routine.
posted by hearthpig at 11:14 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I'd think that, if you have a female she-wolf dead from a wound from a stag, that that would be a prediction regarding Catelyn

Catelyn is a fish, not a wolf. She and the Stark traditions get along like Cat and dogs.
posted by fleacircus at 11:16 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


It's pretty obvious in A Dance with Dragons that Bran Stark takes the place of the Last Greenseer, cjorgensen. Ain't exactly "winning the game" but it's a throne of sorts. Assuming he stays put, a living weirwood will grow into his body, so he'll never walk again but mentally travel through the weirwoods, animals, etc. At present, I'd expect Bran outlives everyone by thousands of years, but presumably he'll share the fate of the last of the children : maybe Melisandre, R'hllor, etc. will destroy them, maybe the Others will break-in and destroy them, or maybe they'll leave/die willingly after it's all done.

I suspect Arya has retained more of herself than the Faceless Men would allow this far into her training, maybe due to her being warged into her Nymeria and the cats. And maybe the Faceless Men never dealt with wargs before given they're an ancient westerosi thing. Arya is therefore likely to commit murders the House of Black and White does not approve, maybe Cersei, but using their skills, so they'll likely kill her in return. Arya isn't nearly as powerful a warg as Bran, but, if she became stronger, like through Bran's help, then she might survive her death. I therefore predict the Faceless Men will wind up fearing and despising the cats of Bravos.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:18 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Where does the food for all these Unsullied come from? I have concerns about supply chains in these novels.

Oh, this is so much fun!
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:25 AM on August 15


"Not to cast aspersions on E. McGee, but I'm getting a bit skeptical of just how much is obvious from the text and how much is from spoilers...

I read the first two-thirds of the first book and put it down wondering why they were taking so long to kill Ned Stark. When the first season of the show came on, people were all hushy-hushy about it, and many shocked when it happened. Jeepers, people, it wasn't subtle. The story demanded it.

--Ned's a Man of Honor in Depraved Times. Of course he's also Not Like the Other Nobles.
--Ned's a straightforward guy in a book that spends a lot of time on backstabbing.

Oh, so he's the hero, right? The lone figure of decency in a world of...

--Ned has five children, each of whom has storylines of their own. They are all capable and try to be interesting, but all are still vulnerable.

OH MY GOD HE IS SO DEAD.

And yep, he sure was.

Didn't take spoilers to figure that one out.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 11:26 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


"I'm a little surprised at how jarring the POV-switching seems to you. Isn't that a very established technique for larger epic books, especially SF/F?"

The POV switches are okay if they're widely-spaced and match with transition points in the narrative. Like it doesn't bother me when it's a prologue. Or if it switches after big CHUNKS of the book. "Gone Girl" was fine (not fantasy, but two first-person narrators, which I recently read for book club. One narrates about 30% of the book with journal entries from the other interspersed; the other narrates the next 50% or so; and the first comes back to wind it up.). But the more frequent the switches, the more they aggravate me. And GoT is particularly difficult for me because GRRM often ends the chapter on a bit of cliffhanger; I have a much easier time with it when the POV switches after a natural "falling action" sequence. Taking me away from the action to go somewhere else drives me NUTS. David Eddings in the Belgariad sometimes switches to an outsider POV for a single chapter in order to show something going on on the other side of the world that's about to impact our heroes, but sticks with the primary voice the rest of the time. Those aren't as bad because they're a) infrequent; b) the primary voice narrates for huge unbroken chunks; and c) they occur after a Plot Element has finished up and another one is about to begin, not in the middle of Plot Happening. But that's still where I usually put the book down and go take a pee-break and browse for snacks in the kitchen because my suspension of disbelief comes un-suspended.

(It's actually kind-of hard for me to think of examples because I don't read too many books with frequent POV switches.)

And I confess that I like LotR right up until the Fellowship splits up and then I find it intensely aggravating and hard to keep track of wtf is going on. I was so pleased when the movies came out and I could finally get the narrative straight in my head.

I totally recognize it as an established and valid technique that people can use extremely effectively, and that it is my own weird thing that I hate it so much. I will read books with frequent POV switches when people who know my tastes are enthusiastic about recommending them, or when I know they're considered really good or classics, but it's definitely a hurdle for me and I know I don't enjoy the book as much. When it's a beach read sort of thing, I don't usually have the patience to put up with it.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:27 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


"Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal death!"
posted by infinitewindow at 11:30 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Eyebrows McGee: Also Catelyn really needed to get over Jon Snow being a bastard seeing as how apparently 30% of the population of Westeros are bastards this is a social reality you must surely be able to cope with, woman.

I'll confess, I'm only into the second book, but Catelyn made it pretty clear (at a point when she's reflecting on how she is nothing if not dutiful) that her main gripe was with Ned getting into bed with some lady just after he and Catelyn were marriedyet Ned would tell Catelyn nothing of that other lady, so she must be special. It's not so much about Jon, but about Ned's relationship to/with the other lady (though Jon having Ned's looks while their "true born" children looked more like her was an additional insult to Catelyn, because of the expectations for the wife to sire copies of her husband or some such "traditional" nonsense).


lumpenprole: just another rhino-choker fantasy book

I've never heard of "rhino-choker," but I like it.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:33 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


I'm still not getting the beef with foreshadowing. I think The Sixth Sense has kind of poisoned popular entertainment such that some people expect every momentous event to come as a shock or surprise, when sometimes dropping hints about the event can serve to heighten the tension and keep the reader/viewer riveted. And you can let people know that something bad is going to happen without completely revealing the manner and intensity of the badness, right?
posted by Mister_A at 11:34 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


OH MY GOD HE IS SO DEAD.


well, he resurrected Catelyn even though she was thoroughly dead. really it makes sense to bring Ned back, in terms of packing in the cliches. you already have:

dragons!

zombies!

vampires! i.e. the white walkers

ninjas! i.e. Arya

wolfmen! i.e. Bran

frankenstein! i.e. the Mountain (coming soon!)

so bringing back Ned as the headless horseman would totally work.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:35 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


The POV switches are okay if they're widely-spaced and match with transition points in the narrative. Like it doesn't bother me when it's a prologue. Or if it switches after big CHUNKS of the book

Not a fan of As I Lay Dying, I take it?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:35 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


OK, I would sign on for Ned as the Headless Horseman.
posted by Mister_A at 11:36 AM on August 15


'eadless Ned.
posted by The Whelk at 11:43 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Also, the thing that really pulled me out of the first book at one point? Melting gold over a jumped-up campfire.

I can think of at least one camping trip I've been on where a combination of too much beer and too much firewood have resulted in a fire hot enough to make the steel National Forest Service firegrates glow white hot. The internet tells me this means we'd gotten it to around 1300F (Jesus Christ), and that gold melts around 1945F. So, I don't know. That's a pretty big gap, but you also have to figure that the Dothraki are going to roll even harder, fire-wise, than a couple of drunk Minnesotans.
posted by COBRA! at 11:45 AM on August 15 [12 favorites]


Woo, come a long way since being a top Consumerist poster! Looking forward to her second novel.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:47 AM on August 15


I suspect Arya has retained more of herself than the Faceless Men would allow this far into her training,

I've always assumed that she will snap back to herself when reunited with her direwolf. But, honestly, I don't care about Arya anymore. She's had the most eye-rolly and boringiest story of all the Stark offspring as far as I'm concerned. And I think Sansa is a vegetable so it's a low bar.

I want to know what's going to happen go the little feral toddler Stark that no one remembers.
posted by fshgrl at 11:51 AM on August 15


Catelyn made it pretty clear (at a point when she's reflecting on how she is nothing if not dutiful) that her main gripe was with Ned getting into bed with some lady just after he and Catelyn were marriedyet Ned would tell Catelyn nothing of that other lady, so she must be special.

This, combined with the fact that Ned was utterly honorable, plus his and Robert's post-death obsession with Lyanna, convinces me that Jon was in fact not Ned's son at all, but Lyanna's. And since Lyanna died after Rhaegar kidnapped her -- but, the books have already told us pretty clearly, as a willing sexual partner -- that strongly suggests Jon is a Targaryen bastard, the last living male of the line. I think Ned loved Catelyn but that was the sort of explosive information he would not have entrusted to her, particularly given her strong preference for her own children.

This makes me think Jon still has a critical central role to play, with Daenerys, in the eventual windup of these books. I predict Dragons back in control of Westeros.
posted by bearwife at 11:56 AM on August 15


The problem with Jon and Dany winning, falling in love and living happily ever after is that she cant have kids. No establishing a new dynasty from her. That and the other thing, that we shant mention in case people haven't read that far of course.
posted by fshgrl at 11:59 AM on August 15


The problem with Jon and Dany winning, falling in love and living happily ever after is that she cant have kids.

Missed the bleeding in her last chapter?

Not that I think it'll be that neatly wrapped up
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:02 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


GRRM is judgy about sexual relationships. People who attempt to coerce others or have disapproved-of sexual relationships will end up evil and/or dead (Joffrey, Jaime, Cersei, Verys, Littlefinger). People who wait for enthusiastic consent for adultery are good (Tyrion, Drogo, Robert) as are those who respect their marriage vows (Ned). The “rapers” with Jon at the wall are actually okay dudes because the girl was inside the window begging them to come in. Whores who sell sex will end up bad/evil/dead (Shae).

I disagree with - well, most of this, actually. It was pretty clear by the end of AGOT that Robert was a terrible person, for starters. I also thought it was pretty clear that many of the people at the wall with Jon are vile - there was nothing AT ALL that made me think the rapers were actually OK dudes. And by the end of ACOK we have some heroic prostitutes/courtesans as well as Shae. The shine pretty steadily comes off Ned after his death. The only reason he's perceived as a good guy in the first book is that our view of him comes from either him or his family (all biased characters!), but no one else.
posted by rednikki at 12:07 PM on August 15


Um, crazy idea, but maybe in a thread that is about predictions and their accuracy, which the person who is predicting things is following and posting in, maybe avoid dropping huge things and speculation on later books?

'course, if we are doing that, then
This, combined with the fact that Ned was utterly honorable, plus his and Robert's post-death obsession with Lyanna, convinces me that Jon was in fact not Ned's son at all, but Lyanna's. And since Lyanna died after Rhaegar kidnapped her -- but, the books have already told us pretty clearly, as a willing sexual partner -- that strongly suggests Jon is a Targaryen bastard, the last living male of the line. I think Ned loved Catelyn but that was the sort of explosive information he would not have entrusted to her, particularly given her strong preference for her own children.

That's exactly the thing that makes me believe the theory. Ned's biggest thing is his honor, he takes his vows dead serious and all that. For him to come home to his new wife with a baby and say he knocked up some mystery lady while off at war ... well, he'd never do that. He might barely even know Catelyn, but he's married, and he would take that seriously. It would take a hell of a Situation for him to decide that people believing that lie was better than people knowing the truth.
posted by kafziel at 12:10 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Isn't Robert Strong, the reanimated Mountain's name, both Frankenstein and the headless horseman already? You cannot have two headless horsemen! And who cares about a Ned that cannot speak? No, if Ned comes back, it's only as a head in a jar. And only the Others could reanimate him since so far only their creations can survive in jars, well afaik R'hllor actually restores life.

Ya know what? Qyburn could reanimate him too? Actually I bet the Robert Strong needed a head! I bet Ned's head has already been reanimated, as the head for Robert Strong, but now reprogrammed to serve. I like it! :) Just one problem though, this leaved the headless horsemen trope unused.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:18 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


In fairness, it was obvious that Ned was a dead man the instant Sean Bean was cast.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:21 PM on August 15 [10 favorites]


if Ned comes back, it's only as a head in a jar.

That would be fucking amazing. You should start a tumblr campaign.
posted by fshgrl at 12:21 PM on August 15


Nah, I'm pretty convinced that Ned is Robert Strong's head now.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:22 PM on August 15


Thesis: GoT is True Blood for boys.
posted by Mister_A at 12:24 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


I hope Sansa and Tyrion don't wind up together at the end. That would be every misogynist neckbeard's wet dream, is why. Beautiful yet snobby girl needs to be brought down a peg! She needs to be niiiiiice to her drunk, womanizing husband because he didn't rape her on their wedding night! Give him a chaaaaance!

Now that I've typed out the "drunk and womanizing" part, I see too much similarity with Robert and Cersei.

The people I most want a happy ending for are Sansa, Davos, and Brienne. I'm also very fond of Dany, but I don't know if she will have a happy ending or not. I'm reflexively defensive of her because of the misogyny flung her way from some parts of the fandom - incidentally this is why I became a Sansa fan as well.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:26 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Beautiful yet snobby girl needs to be brought down a peg!

Heightist.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:32 PM on August 15


This makes me think Jon still has a critical central role to play, with Daenerys, in the eventual windup of these books. I predict Dragons back in control of Westeros.

I just said nearly this same thing in the other thread about ASOIAF, but I'm coming around to thinking Jon Snow's parentage is to the readers of the books as Joffrey's parentage is to Ned in the first book -- specifically, a red herring that happens to be correct but is of no use whatsoever to anybody.

The whole point of the books is that intrinsic merit is worth fuck all in Westeros; who you are is entirely contingent on how many swords you can compel, how much power you can wield. Robert Baratheon is not, according to the laws of the land, the rightful King; he is the King because he took it from the Targaryens. In that universe, claims of right are ornamentation along the hilt of the sword; nice to have, but ultimately without practical weight. I think it would be really unsatisfying to have Jon Snow pull one of those long-lost-heir, unites-the-tribes, saves-the-kingdom endings because that ending doesn't belong in the world GRRM created. If it did, Ned would still be alive.
posted by gauche at 12:33 PM on August 15 [7 favorites]


Right. Only way Jon Snow sits on a throne is by force, which truth Danerys seems to have grasped early on in the thing.
posted by Mister_A at 12:35 PM on August 15


Re the other thing we shan't mention, fshgrl, I think we shall discover we don't know what we think we know. Assuming GRRM ever gets around to finishing the next book, of course.

As for intrinsic merit not winning out, I totally agree, gauche. I am not even sure Daenerys and Jon will have a good relationship or a firm grasp on Westeros. But I'm with Eyebrows that GRRM doesn't write carelessly, and I think these particular clues have been fairly subtly inserted, not shoved out there like the usual red herrings in GOT.
posted by bearwife at 12:39 PM on August 15


Ain't no guarantee that Sansa will stay beautiful, Rosie M. Banks, maybe she gets disfigured learns to deal with it from Tyrion. We'll call that the disfiguredly ever after ending.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:40 PM on August 15


Team Sansa Gets Everything She Wants And Deserves And More But Only After Every Single Person Who Wronged Her Knows Exactly How Well She Outmanuvered Them.
posted by The Whelk at 12:46 PM on August 15 [8 favorites]


showbiz_liz: a thread of GRRM skeptics!

...is, I believe, the title of the next book in the series.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:56 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


At this point I'm Team Everyone Gets Eaten by Zombies and its their own damn fault.
posted by fshgrl at 1:07 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


What? Sansa dies at the end, likely killed by the Faceless Previously Known As Her Sister.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:13 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


One of the things I like about Martin is how he handles prophecy. In the classic tradition, it's both true and unhelpful. How many perfumed seneschals do we have now? Four?

It doesn't help that people keep running around consciously trying to fulfill prophecies, often with as-yet-unclear amounts of success. But no, I'm sure that the next brightly colored knight to crown a Stark daughter with roses at a major tournament about a year before she's kidnapped will definitely lead to the Prince That Was Promised.
posted by Copronymus at 1:54 PM on August 15


I read the first two-thirds of the first book and put it down wondering why they were taking so long to kill Ned Stark.

You can only really say that in retrospect. The kinds of foreshadowing you do if you plan to kill a character and you plan to make the audience believe you are going to kill a character is identical. You're intending to create a feeling of creeping dread, either way. It's up to the author which way the final story beat goes, though.
posted by empath at 1:57 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


And in general, it's rather the intention of most authors of melodramas to make you feel like you know which way the story is going to go. That is what foreshadowing is. You are not smarter than the author for figuring out what the author wanted you to figure out.
posted by empath at 1:58 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


I'm just going to go ahead and predict the spanish inquisition.
posted by srboisvert at 2:03 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


You are not smarter than the author for figuring out what the author wanted you to figure out.

Now THAT is a triumph of pithiness.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:04 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


I'll give another example. My girlfriend was shocked and angry at a death at the end of the first season of the wire. It's not because she didn't see it coming. It's because she didn't know that the Wire was the kind of show in which the good guys don't win.

The surprise for people in Game of Thrones was similar. People have been conditioned to expect that fantasy ends with the heroes winning.

If you go into the books knowing that people are surprised by what happens in the book, then it's relatively trivial to interpret the foreshadowing given that you know it's going to resolve in an untraditional way.
posted by empath at 2:07 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


showbiz_liz: a thread of GRRM skeptics

Greg_Ace: ...is, I believe, the title of the next book in the series.

No, that's "A Threat of Grim Specters."
posted by filthy light thief at 2:10 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


It's because she didn't know that the Wire was the kind of show in which the good guys don't win.

She must have hated that series, then.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:13 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Actually, I bet Tyrion and Sansa's kids inherits house Lannister with Cersei living long enough to see it. In fact, even if we assume that Tyrion and/or Sansa dies, I'd still wager that first they bread, Jamie dies, and Cersei dies thinking Tyrion and Sansa's kid inherited house Lannister. Cersei is all about schadenfreude, both taking and giving.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:30 PM on August 15


THIS COMMENT REFERENCES THAT LAST SCENE IN DANCE WITH DRAGONS.



I totally read Dany's bleeding as her finally getting that wasting disease. They spend sooo long talking about how magical it is that she can be around the people without getting sick. And then she abandons her dragons and sleeps with the hot boy rather than care about her mission of Westeros, and so the gods decide to dump her as a contender.

If you notice, Melissandre's prophecy applies equally to Stannis and Dany. And I'm sure that there's some third character that in hindsight will metaphorically meet the all the requirements. Stannis is clearly too boring to win. Dany gives in to being a hormone driven girl. And it will all be a Lesson that lots of people might meet some of the requirements of the prophecy, but that doesn't mean they're destined to fulfill it.

posted by politikitty at 2:50 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Actually, I bet Tyrion and Sansa's kids inherits house Lannister with Cersei living long enough to see it.

cue Throne BabiesTM, the Cartoon Network spin-off...
posted by ennui.bz at 2:54 PM on August 15


Okay I have not read all the comments since my latest but I just finished Storm of Swords like instants ago and HOLY SHIT TULLY BITCHES BE CRAZY.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:58 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]


If you go into the books knowing that people are surprised by what happens in the book, then it's relatively trivial to interpret the foreshadowing given that you know it's going to resolve in an untraditional way.

Roger Ebert, reviewing The Sixth Sense: "I have to admit I was blind-sided by the ending. The solution to many of the film's puzzlements is right there in plain view, and the movie hasn't cheated, but the very boldness of the storytelling carried me right past the crucial hints and right through to the end of the film, where everything takes on an intriguing new dimension."

Me, halfway through the movie after reading the review: "Dangit."
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:02 PM on August 15 [3 favorites]


JM Straczynski crafted swell foreshadowing plots in Babylon 5. Some of the characters were endowed with prescience and could see glimpses of the future. But the implications of what they saw often unfolded in unusual ways.
posted by ovvl at 5:14 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


I missed it in the theater, but a friend who'd seen it and loved it and knew I loved horror movies bought the DVD the day it came out and insisted I come over and watch it. I obliged. I will say that I am sure I knew there was a twist, but I don't remember watching the movie trying to anticipate it. So it got to the scene where the kid says "They don't know they're dead," and I immediately said, "Oh. Bruce Willis is dead."

My friend stopped the DVD. He looked at me.

"Are you fucking for real? Did someone tell you?"

"No, man. It's just, you know. It's obvious. I dunno."

Joy gone, he nodded and put the movie back on.

And I liked it okay. Lots of pretty autumnal cinematography. The kid was better than kid actors usually are. Willis was a vastly better actor than I had ever imagined. The ghost with the hole in its head made me jump. Like that.

In the last few minutes, my friend mutters, "This movie isn't that great."

And it kind of wasn't, because most of what people liked about it was how shocking that twist was if you weren't expecting it. Take that away, it's just an all right movie. Which isn't to say that it's okay to spoil twists. A twist in an otherwise good story is to be protected. But if the twist is the whole thing, the story is just a folly.

The Sixth Sense is a potboiler, but I don't think GoT is. I'd have been pissed if someone had told me Ned died before I got there, but only because I'd never know what it would feel like to be surprised by it. I'd keep reading anyway, because the twist isn't the point.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:43 PM on August 15 [6 favorites]


Well we've also been doing this thing of watching lots of old Twilight Zone episodes on Netflix, where the big twists are usually known before hand, and they're well-made enough so that it's not all about OH NOES HOW COULD YOU HAVE GUESSED.

Like I knew going in what the ending to The After Hours was, but it made it better cause I could see it coming and appreciate the odd, fairy-tale tone.
posted by The Whelk at 5:57 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Oh, this is delightful. ALL HAIL EYEBROWS MCGEE!
posted by rmd1023 at 6:22 PM on August 15


Very good blog. I'm glad I read it. :)
posted by mordax at 11:16 PM on August 15


Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series

Oh holy fuck those books were so good. And Otherland, too. The War of the Flowers or whatever it's called was... not so good, but still very, very well written.

Gurm

Heh.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:59 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I half-heartedly watch GoT and have no interest in reading the books. I really enjoyed your commentary Eyebrows McGee!
posted by SarahElizaP at 9:35 AM on August 16


"So it got to the scene where the kid says "They don't know they're dead," and I immediately said, "Oh. Bruce Willis is dead.""

I saw it in the theater and had a near identical experience. But I thought they'd hung a lampshade on it, and spent most of the rest of the movie trying to figure out what this big twist was that everyone was talking about — Is the kid dead too? Is there a way to bring dead people back? WHAT IS THE TWIST?

The second twist was that there was no second twist and aww, man, fuck this movie.

Interestingly, Signs was mostly good up until the twist, which was terrible. I'm not sure where Shamalyan (sp?) ended up with the reputation of a master twister.
posted by klangklangston at 1:22 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure where Shamalyan (sp?) ended up with the reputation of a master twister.

HE WAS A HACK ALL ALONG!!?!
posted by The World Famous at 2:33 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I saw it in the theater and had a near identical experience. But I thought they'd hung a lampshade on it, and spent most of the rest of the movie trying to figure out what this big twist was that everyone was talking about — Is the kid dead too? Is there a way to bring dead people back? WHAT IS THE TWIST?

The second twist was that there was no second twist and aww, man, fuck this movie.


This is exactly how I felt reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
posted by kafziel at 3:36 PM on August 18


ASoIaF Storm of Swords part II predictions, and also added to the whole-series prediction log.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:17 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


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