"The term Chekhov’s Gun refers to a literary technique built around playwright Anton Chekhov’s assertion that, “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.”
. . .
Chekhov’s Gun is more a warning against unnecessary clutter in your story. Chekhov is advising us writers against frivolous detail.
Let the Words Flow
Okay, so we're 5 books and 5,000 pages into this saga, give or take, and still none of the pistols hung on the wall in book one have gone off. Or maybe they aren't guns, maybe they're just Red Herrings, MacGuffins, Big Dumb Objects, Alien Space Bats, future Plot Holes or . . . unnecessary clutter.
There is, arguably, a lot of frivolous detail in ASOIAF, but a reader skims what appears to be such at his peril.
So I've made a list of items and people I think are guns that still have to be fired, and there are an awful to be fired in the two (?) remaining volumes. These items or people have been mentioned with more or less detail and some have disappeared off the plot horizon, but have left me with the definite feeling that we'll see them again. Other things on my list are still involved in the plot, but have left me with the definite feeling that they haven't fulfilled their true purpose. I've left out the Things That Make Me Go Hmmmn, for example, Brienne's shield, which got a lot of onscreen time. She adopted the coat of arms used by Ser Duncan the Tall, aka Dunk, aka Dunk the Lunk. Did she do that because she, like Dunk, is pure of heart, but also something of a Lunk? Or could she be one of Dunk's descendents (that would be a long story because he never married)? Could GRRM be setting up a future D&E story? Or is this just colorful, but unnecessary, clutter? Hmmn?
I've also left out Minor Events That Make Me Go Hmmmn. For example, in AFFC, Cersei and her small council are considering additional demands by the Freys. Someone – Pycelle? I'm too lazy to look at the moment – mentions that there are rumblings among the newly religious crowds in KL about the Red Wedding, who regard the whole event as a sacrilege (paraphrasing). It is suggested that "someone should be seen to be punished." Hmmn?
Anyway, I thought it would be useful, and fun, to have a complete list of suspected Chehkov's guns to use as a scorecard, so I could check off the ones that finally go off, and complain about the ones that go nowhere. I'm sure I missed some. Could y'all help me with my list?
I. Things in no particular order. (I left out Lightbringer, which may be a Big Dumb Object)
Black amethyst hairnet
Rhaenys' cat (the bad black tomcat at the red keep)
Ned's promise to Lyanna
Cersei's fleet under Aurane Waters
The cracked horn Sam brought to the citadel
The Daynes' sword Dawn -- in fact all the missing Valyrian blades
Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail (because they were made from Ice)
The Hound's helm
Sandor's dirty white cloak
The crypts at Winterfell
The Northern caverns
The Night Fort
2. People, in no particular order (omitting the obvious, like the PWWP, Azor Ahai, and Jon's g-d parents, which I guess could be regarded as mysteries central to the plot.)
The hooded man at Winterfell
The Great Other – in fact, the entire race of Others
The Knight of the Seashells (The Westerling son who may or may not have been killed at the Red Wedding)
Tom O'Sevens at Riverrun
Nymeria (c'mon, she's a people) and her wolfpack
The Lame Gravedigger
Edited by amalfitana, 04 September 2011 - 07:04 PM.