A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Out Of My Vulcan Mind, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think it remains to be seen whether the people of Meereen are going to be better off with a dragon queen than those of Astapor were without one.
    I don't care whether Daenerys ever goes to Westeros, actually, provided her story is interesting wherever it takes her, as (for me) the Slaver's Bay arc has been. I think it was a mistake for her to stay in Meereen because she doesn't have the right temperament to rule there well. Even the minimal concessions she's willing to make to the customs of her new subjects are so upsetting that she can't take the steps that would be needed to actually secure her throne. The culture of Meereen bothers her so much that all she wants to do is fix it, but as Barristan says in one of his few moments of insight and candor, you can't force people to be better (by your alien social ideals) than they are.

    One of the going fan theories is that Jon will die and be resurrected (probably by Melisandre, in the same manner Thoros resurrected Beric), and that with his "death" his watch will end and he'll be released from his vows. I don't like the idea, but I wouldn't rule it out as an argument someone in the text might make.
     
  2. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Game of Thrones season one has just won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form), according to people tweeting from the event. The Best Novel nomination for A Dance with Dragons is still pending.

    Edit: A Dance with Dragons lost to Jo Walton's Among Others.

    Son of Edit: The official statistics confirm that A Dance with Dragons, like A Feast for Crows, finished in last place among the five Best Novel nominees. Not a surprise to me, given the controversial fan reception of both books.

    Grandson of Edit: Anne Groell, Martin's American editor, was nominated as Best Editor (Long Form), and also came in fifth among the five nominees. I'd say I agree with that, given the structural problems of A Dance with Dragons, but the winner was DAW's Betsy Wollheim, no stranger to bloated fantasy novels.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  3. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah. There really isn't much reason either of those books needed to be as long as they were. There is a reason most of these events were intended to be skimmed over in flashbacks originally. One book comprised just of the important stuff happening to just the important characters would have been plenty and probably much stronger. Here's hoping the next couple are a return to form.
     
  4. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nit-picking here, but that's not strictly true. There was no five-year gap originally; that idea only came into the picture during the writing of A Clash of Kings, when Martin expanded the series from four books to six. In hindsight, it seems to me like he was trying to keep the series from expanding even beyond six books, not really giving enough thought to how practical it would be to skip over certain events. The "problem" of AFFC and ADWD is, I think, less that their events were never supposed to be described, and more that the scope of the story had simply ballooned beyond the manageable. (There's also the fact that A Storm of Swords closes off so many plotlines that the next book was always bound to be less dramatic and more transitional than that one. In the original, trilogy version of the series, book one ended with the Red Wedding, which means that a lot of Storm's plot was once part of A Dance with Dragons. I think that would have worked better.)

    What frustrates me about A Dance with Dragons is that the character arcs all reach some kind of turning point, but every single plotline ends on a cliffhanger, some of which are deeply unnatural. The entire book is building toward the battles at Meereen and Winterfell; excluding them is like ending A Clash of Kings before the Battle of the Blackwater. Anne Groell mentioned in an interview that Martin wanted to add two major story sequences to the book, but she felt that it was eventful enough, and that including that material would have required another year of writing and made the book too large to be published. I think the solution there would have been to take the time and make cuts as necessary to produce a complete, coherent book. I love the Tyrion and Theon chapters, for example, but there could really be less of them. I certainly hope that if The Winds of Winter ends up facing similar problems, dramatic structure wins out over sheer scope.
     
  5. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    Important things happened in the last two books? You could have fooled me.:p

    All I remember is Dany sitting on her ass doing nothing and Tyrion riding a pig. Also lots and lots of desciption of food by Martin.
     
  6. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ASoS wraps up a lot of stories (or introduces an acceptable "holding pattern" like in Arya or Jon's cases) because that gap was supposed to exist and was planned for from the start (originally between books 2 & 3 in the trilogy plan, then moved later when the books expanded to 4 and then 6[now 7] books). You can use that as an excuse for the bad editing and plodding story but AGoT introduces the entire world and still manages to tell a good story with an enthralling plot that moves quickly and effectively with very few wasted pages. Arya's story has just been sped up, not much change from the original plan. Sam's story would have probably just been glossed over with those same events being revealed in a few quick flashbacks. Jon's story would probably have been about the same, just taking place later. Brienne's story was mostly filler and our introduction to her could have easily been her last chapter, with few changes. Dany's story likewise could have (and probably would have) played better if most of the boring "ruling" and "teen angsting" was in flashbacks with the plot against her being one that has fomented for years suddenly arising to upset her complacency and force her to action. etc. etc. A handful of character's literally just had travelogues describing where they were going and what their motivations were. Tyrion for example accomplishes pretty much nothing, nor does pretty much anyone else in Essos. Whole chapters are dedicated to events that would have been glossed over in passing in AGoT (Cat travels to KL from Winterfell in between two chapters and it takes about a page of recounting the voyage before she moves on to the events in KL)

    I still love the books, but the Martin of the last decade needs an editor willing and able to kill his babies because he has clearly lost the disciplined brevity that made him so unique in the fantasy epic milieu.
     
  7. Shurik

    Shurik Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Some important stuff happened - for example Cercei's (and probably the Lannisters) downfall, Ironborn creating problems in places where they weren't seen for centuries, Jon allows wildlings to cross to the southern side of the Wall and resettle the abandoned castles, Stannis tries to conquer the North. Oh, and the winter finally came.

    It's not that AFFC and ADWD had nothing happening in them, it's just that chapters where important stuff happened were mixed with lots of chapters that were basically a pointless filler, and every single storyline in those books ended with a cliffhanger. Indeed, GRRM needs much better editors.
     
  8. Ayelbourne

    Ayelbourne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This. So much. There is pretty much no payoff whatsoever in AFfC and ADwD. You read through over a thousand pages and just feel robbed.

    Anne Groell should be fired.
     
  9. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    Victarion begins the book en route to Meereen, and he ends the book... en route to Meereen. That's probably the most galling example.

    As for Martin adding more stuff to the book, that actually depends how he wanted to do it. Like, all the dawdling we got in this book plus new plots, not so much. Cutting down on the dawdling for new material perhaps better (and why AFFC was far less of a problem for me - a shorter read and the new content about Ironborn and the Dornish read well).
    Basically, although I consider this a much bigger problem in ADWD than in AFFC. You could cut virtually the entirety of Tyrion's chapters from the book and not lose a lot - his talk to Griff and the fact he meets Jorah Mormont is about it. Hell, if they revealed that one of the dwarves Daenerys saw was Tyrion - and make that his first chapter - it would have been a much stronger introduction.

    There's been a gradual bloating of the narrative, beginning with A Clash of Kings, as a general rule whichever character's chapters serve more as travelogue than narrative are going to feel more extraneous (like Arya's material in books two and three). ADWD is as worse as it's got, though, with entire chapters more or less restating earlier plot points or dragging their heels about saying anything concrete about a plot at all.

    Whenever I think of ADWD I keep going back to Bran's chapters, becuase in their brevity and impact they're one of the best structured things about that book.

    Benefit of hindsight, and Daenerys' poor judgement calls since arriving in Meereen would factor in anyway.
     
  10. Kosh Naranek

    Kosh Naranek Captain Captain

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    Please forgive the length of this post.

    I used the long weekend to finish up ADWD. I can see how Martin used the last two books to push and pull the characters into place for his finale. I found the books by turn compelling and maddening.

    Based off info I have read on this board and others, I understand how filling in a part of the narrative he never originally intended to visit in such detail could have been grueling for the author.

    However, as a reader, I have mixed feelings about the last two books. Certain POVs worked brilliantly, but others just left me scratching my head over their inclusion.

    I would say that Quentyn wins my personal award for most pointless POV. I cannot think of anything contained in his chapters that could not have been brought out in some other way. We knew of his intent from Hotah’s chapters. The chapters of Dany and Barristan could have provided us with the rest of the info. Dany could have learned the purpose Dornish delegation and even their manner of arriving there. Barristan could have let the readers know that Quentyn loosed Rhaegal and Viseron, dying as result.

    Some of Tyrion’s material did get a bit tiring. However, I do not recall becoming personally annoyed with his story until he ended up on that ship with Penny and Jorah. Perhaps Martin wanted to give everyone’s favorite imp an bit of humility, but it just came off as a tad contrived. Martin has never shied from piling coincidence upon coincidence, but Tyrion meeting back up with one of the dwarves from Joffrey’s wedding....It just screamed filler. Tyrion being kind to Penny tells us nothing new. The readers know that under Tyrion’s glib exterior is a good heart. The Tyrion and Jorah show would have been enough for me. (I did like the nod to what got Jorah exiled in the first place. He sold slaves. There was a great symmetry to him ending up one himself.)

    Dany’s time in Meereen did allow her to grow as a person and a ruler, and I think she has learned some hard lessons. Even though she has never set foot there, she is a Westerosi at heart. She was trying to remake another land into Westeros and it won’t work. Perhaps she will stay with the Dothraki but I doubt it. The Dragon has three heads, and as just one beast, its heads need to be together. Her pale backside can only sit on one dragon, and even she notes that no Targeryn has ridden more than one dragon. That means that Rhaegal and Viseron need riders.

    At first, I thought Aegon was a pretender, but now I am not so sure. Why would Varys want to put a fabulous fake on the throne? Most of what we have seen Varys do relates to him in some way scheming to put the descendents of Aerys on the throne. I don’t think he would put a fake on the throne ahead of Dany. I do not believe that Connington would be so fiercely loyal, unless he was sure he had his beloved Rhaegar’s son. Also, Keven recalls that baby Aegon’s face was smashed. You could not be sure...

    As much as I love Arya, I found her chapters to be maddening. The house of black and white was intriguing, but...I just kept thinking – Your direwolf is in Westeros child. You are a Stark and a warg. You need to stop denying who you are and get your butt in gear.

    I don’t think any of the current contenders for Azor Ahai fit the bill. Mel thinks it is Stannis and she is wrong. Aemon thought it was Dany and I think he was wrong. Rhaegar thought that the 3 headed dragon would be comprised of his 3 children and he was wrong. Prophecy has bitten them all in the butt cheeks and it makes me laugh. However, no one suspects Jon that we know of. Therefore, I say that Jon is the promised one.

    Just like Dany’s chapters. Jon’s showed us a green youngster learning to wrestle with command and make some hard decisions and some massive mistakes. His advice to Stannis about the hill tribes was very astute. His marriage plot for Alys Karstark made me giggle. He gave his very distant cousin an army to stomp out her false family members and got rid of a dangerous Wildling band in one fell swoop. However, he did not learn from Mormont’s demise. He should have looked at his sworn brothers a little more closely. Taking the black did not confer sainthood on them, and he should have been more wary.

    Wyman Manderly wins my favorite secret badass award. I love that the Freys went missing on the way to Winterfell. He is loyal fat man and pretty good at being sneaky. And his line about it being a good thing that the Frey boy was dead because he would only grow up to be a Frey had me hooting out loud. Even if he perishes at Winterfell he has laid good groundwork. One of the Glovers also knows that Bran and Rickon are alive as does Davos. The Stark children have great marks of authenticity. Who else in the seven kingdoms can waltz into a room with a direwolf loping at their heels?

    Now for the speculation....
    As it stands right now, I see the 3 heads being-
    1. Dany – learning to rule
    2. Aegon – groomed to rule since birth
    3. Jon – learning to rule

    I don’t know that Jon is dead. Yes his wounds appear grievous and possibly fatal but...We know that he received one slash at the neck that was not deep. One knife went into the torso, and one struck home in between his shoulder blades. The narrative states that he never felt the fourth. I assume from the text it is because he warged into Ghost. He was saying the wolf’s name. Perhaps he will survive the attack or perhaps Mel will revive him ala Cat and Beric.

    If Jon is truly dead, then Martin spent a lot of time building him up for nothing. There has been this great mystery surrounding his parentage since book one. Plus, there have been hints of there being more to Jon’s story than him just being Ned’s bastard.

    1. Ned promised Lyanna something that haunted him. (And I don’t count hauling her bones home as being “haunting.”)
    2. When Ned is imprisoned he worries about Jon especially. (Granted that could be just because Ned was the only parent Jon had, but...I did not get that vibe.)
    3. At the feast at Winterfell in book one, Benjen says something odd to Jon about wishing he had been Jon’s father. What in the world for other than Benjen being his father would have made things simpler?
    4. When Mels asks the flames for Azor Ahai, she sees Jon.
    5. Melisandre seems oddly attached to Jon. From the way Melisandre was treating Jon there at the end, Stannis would have been jealous if around. Plus, her flames kept showing her more and more about Jon.
    5. Those Ravens know things. Mormont’s raven said King and Jon Snow.
    6. Azor Ahai is supposed to battle the Others. Who else in the narrative is poised to do so?

    Oh well, we shall see.

    One more note – I hope they don’t kill Wun Wun. :(
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  11. Ayelbourne

    Ayelbourne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Nah, that crown goes to Arys Oakheart.
    Has one POV in which he does nothing but whine and then dies in a POV of another character. What was the point of that?

    Based on the fact that the Golden Company was founded by Daemon Blackfyre, there is speculation that Aegon could be a descendant of him and Varys a Blackfyre loyalist.

    Aw, you missed the best part. The missing Freys were the pie that Manderly served at Winterfell. That's why he sings about the ratcook.
     
  12. Shurik

    Shurik Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Aerys was pointless indeed, but Quentyn had more chapters.
     
  13. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And Quentyn was still more important to the plot of A Dance With Dragons than Tyrion. How do you write a fantasy novel that's over a thousand pages? Observe: Where do whores go? Where do whores go? Where do whores go? Where do whores go? Where do whores go? Where do...

    When Varys discusses Aegon with the dying Kevan he doesn't defend Aegon in the sense that Aegon is the rightful heir to the throne (which he may well be, of course) but that he's the best educated claimant to the throne - one who actually understands the burdens and not just the trappings of kingship, and thus having the potential to be a truly great King.

    I woldn't put it past Varys to support a fake claimant he thinks will make a better King than any of the 'real' contenders, to be honest.
     
  14. Kosh Naranek

    Kosh Naranek Captain Captain

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    I totally missed that hint. I remember him saying that about the rat cook, but he put them in a pie? Oh that is awesome and revolting all at the same time. I figured he had them hacked into little bitty pieces, but this takes the cake or in this case - the pie. :guffaw:

    That is a good point about the Blackfyres. I don't want Aegon to the be the real deal. It just feels like a cheat. Here is this dude that no one has heard of or cares about and he sweeps in and takes all? Pooh! :scream:

    I think my beloved Stannis will die, but I don't think it will be at the hands of the Boltons. Ramsay is such a loose cannon. I cannot believe that a shrewd man like Roose would stake so much on his volatile and demented child. Plus, now he has holed himself up with some of his worst enemies with enemies descending on him.

    I do love Mors Umber for making much of the snow storm and really playing up his advantages....Their blindness and his great use of war horns.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  15. Kosh Naranek

    Kosh Naranek Captain Captain

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    Another excellent point - Varys does say that he serves the realm.

    Aegon may be well educated and acquainted with the true burden of kingship, but what is to keep his offsrping from turning out entitled brats? It seems that being a prince = being a cunt (gotta love Bronn).

    If Jon is truly dead - who will take up the fight on the Wall? That question keeps running around in my head. No one else seems poised to do so. While the rest of the game may be up for grabs, I always thought that defending the Wall was Jon's destiny and his doom.

    Addendum - Rather than start a new post...
    Is this the end of the night's watch as we know it? From what Melisandre says - Cotter Pyke and his fleet will perish. Granted that does leave DM at "full" strength, but it seems that many men would have down with the fleet.
    Jon has just been stabbed by his brothers in a fort teeming with wildlings. Even if the wildlings don't get them, I could see their own brothers falling upon the guilty for killing Jon.
    A Queen's man has attacked Wun Wun (to get to Val, I assume) and been killed.
    It just seems that a blood bath is going to occur at castle black.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  16. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

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  17. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    my GOT stalking continues. I was going home today along Belfast's Dublin Road, when I saw Jerome Flynn walking along, looking very Bronn-esque. I shouted 'Hey, Bronn, great show' at him and he looked blankly, then seemed to realise that I meant him and waved back.

    I'm kinda surprised he's in Belfast, I would've thought that his role this season would have been small and would at any rate have been filmed in Malta (ie King's Landing).
     
  18. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    King's Landing hasn't been shot in Malta since season one. It's in Croatia now. And only certain exteriors for the city are done there; many King's Landing interiors are done on the sets in Belfast.

    There's not a lot of Bronn in the first half or so of A Storm of Swords, unless they're playing up the Symon Silvertongue thing (which I tend to doubt we'll see at all), but he's the sort of character the producers seem fond of, so I'm sure they've found something for him to do.
     
  19. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    The writers aren't afraid to expand minor characters' screen time (Robb being the best example I can think of), and Bronn seems to be a favorite with both the fans and the writers, so it wouldn't surprise me if they gave him more to do.
     
  20. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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