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Chekhov's Armory

Too many guns not enough gunfire?

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113 replies to this topic

#1 Sand Snake No. 9

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 06:16 PM

Chekhov's guns

"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.
Spoiler
Lordy only knows what I've missed, skimming the POVs I don't like.

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

Robb's will

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)

Ned's bones

The Hound's helm

Sandor's dirty white cloak

The crypts at Winterfell

The Northern caverns

The Night Fort

Shireen's greyscale

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

Quaithe

Spoiler


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)

Spoiler


Tom O'Sevens at Riverrun

Spoiler


Nymeria (c'mon, she's a people) and her wolfpack

Darkstar

The Lame Gravedigger

Lanna

Gerion Lannister

Tyrek Lannister

Edited by amalfitana, 04 September 2011 - 07:04 PM.


#2 brashcandy

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 06:42 PM

Sorry, this is what I really wanted to say, but my comp is playing the fool /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />
Ok, great list /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> My biggest checkov gun right now is Sandor's cloak. She kept it for sentimental reasons obviously, but I just feel as though it has to be come back in the plot somehow. But how and why? And that mismemory of the kiss as well.

ETA:
Spoiler

Edited by brashcandy, 04 September 2011 - 06:43 PM.


#3 gonzoaster11

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 07:42 PM

Black amethyst hairnet - You can take this off the list, it's been deployed (mechanism for killing Joffrey).

Robb's will - This will return with GreatJon. There's a reason GRRM didn't kill the GreatJon, and my money is on Robb's will.

Rhaenys' cat (the bad black tomcat at the red keep) - Doubt this is a Gun, probably just something to enrich the world.

Ned's promise to Lyanna - This will DEFINITELY come back. This feeds into the most popular theory out there (R+L=J)

Cersei's fleet under Aurane Waters - This could be a Gun or it could be clutter. I haven't an idea.

The cracked horn Sam brought to the citadel - Possibly the Horn of Joramun, which, by the way, definitely needs its own heading on the list of possible Chekov's Guns. Another deserving horn is the one on the isle that the Queen's Men (Stannis) plotted on attacking, which is supposed to wake monsters from the deep.

The Daynes' sword Dawn -- in fact all the missing Valyrian blades/Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail (because they were made from Ice) - I have only speculation on this, but I'd be fairly confidant in saying these are Guns and not Clutter.

Ned's bones - The fact GRRM brought them back up in ADWD means he has not forgotten these, and they will be relevant again. My guess is the bones will be important at the very end of the series, sort of as final closure for the events transpired. They may also be important in introducing Howland Reed. Final verdict: Not a gun, but not clutter.

The Hound's helm - As long as UnCat is around, consider this as coming back. Gun or Clutter? Unknown.

Alright, I'm getting tired. Someone else can take up the helm if they like.

#4 Zar Lannister

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 08:15 PM

Gerion Lannister keeps being mentioned every now and then...
Spoiler
I think he'll be back...

And the broken Horn
Spoiler
is probably going to come back. Considering Sam's luck, I believe it's the
Spoiler


#5 Lord Damian

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 09:15 PM

Do not forget about Patchface.

#6 Sand Snake No. 9

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 11:06 PM

Black amethyst hairnet - You can take this off the list, it's been deployed (mechanism for killing Joffrey).


Sansa took the hairnet with her to the Vale, and it's still full of "black amethysts." Is this gun going to be fired again?

#7 Jude-the-Obscure

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 11:08 PM

Do not forget about Patchface.


I'll second that. his songs are some of the most intriguing things in the books.

Hodor - who is he, and why does he say Hodor. This could be a red herring, or possibly a great white lurking under the surface of the plot.

#8 Marvin

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 11:13 PM

Brienne is almost certainly a descendant of Dunk, but that's for another Dunk and Egg story. In another thread somebody mentioned that GRRM had stated that there were four descendants of Dunk in ASOS. Hodor is probably one, too. The Hound and the Mountain would be candidates as well.

#9 gonzoaster11

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 11:22 PM


Sansa took the hairnet with her to the Vale, and it's still full of "black amethysts." Is this gun going to be fired again?


That I did not know. I retract my earlier comment about them.

#10 KnightWight

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 12:18 AM

Sorry, this is what I really wanted to say, but my comp is playing the fool /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />
Ok, great list /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> My biggest checkov gun right now is Sandor's cloak. She kept it for sentimental reasons obviously, but I just feel as though it has to be come back in the plot somehow. But how and why? And that mismemory of the kiss as well.


I was thinking it might fall into Arya's hands somehow... and that she'd use it as part of her disguise as Jaime when she fulfills that part of Cersei's prophecy, after all, there are a limited number of white cloaks out there.... ok maybe this is crackpot theory

#11 Sand Snake No. 9

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 12:55 AM

Brienne is almost certainly a descendant of Dunk, but that's for another Dunk and Egg story. In another thread somebody mentioned that GRRM had stated that there were four descendants of Dunk in ASOS. Hodor is probably one, too. The Hound and the Mountain would be candidates as well.


I did not know that, thanks! Four! Our Dunk was busy! I don't see him as an ancestor of the Mountain and Sandor, unless all Dunk's "nice" genes got severely scrambled somehow.

#12 Hugor Hill

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 04:48 AM

My random guesses:

Ned's promise, not so much gun as howitzer
Tom o'Sevens was explained wasn't it?
Maybe beside the point, but is Dawn Valyrian? I thought it was claimed to have been forged from the heart of a dying star? Clutter Other blades, possibly of use against others, but maybe not. Not clutter, but not a gun.

Rhaenys' cat - probably connected to a warg or Bran, Gun

Nymera - seems to be almost all that's left connecting Arya to Westeros. Gun

Theon's mmhmm, gun

Good call whoever said Patchface, also greyscale, gun

Hodor, not a gun,but not clutter

Others for consideration:
Tysha?
Bodies in the ice cells?
Jon's burned hand? Victarion's arm?
Faceless men?

#13 lupis42

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 07:09 AM


I did not know that, thanks! Four! Our Dunk was busy! I don't see him as an ancestor of the Mountain and Sandor, unless all Dunk's "nice" genes got severely scrambled somehow.


It's also possible that his height and strength didn't carry, in which case they'd be harder to spot...

I keep sort of hoping that we see a tall, red-headed knight with a spider for a sigil...

#14 Reposado

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 07:40 AM


Sansa took the hairnet with her to the Vale, and it's still full of "black amethysts." Is this gun going to be fired again?


Doubtful. It's served its purpose.


Maybe beside the point, but is Dawn Valyrian? I thought it was claimed to have been forged from the heart of a dying star? Clutter Other blades, possibly of use against others, but maybe not. Not clutter, but not a gun.

Dawn was forged from a meteor yes, it was not Valyrian, but it could be seen as equal or greater in prestige, so it is often mentioned with them

#15 dragginstoned

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:20 AM

Other Guns:

The mysterious Liddle

Needle

The hooded man

Where's Euron?

Where's Aeron?

How did Balon really die?

Podrick Payne?

What Ser Llyn Payne knows

Edited by dragginstoned, 05 September 2011 - 09:22 AM.


#16 Hugor Hill

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 02:33 PM

OK, so I'm probably wrong, and Dawn will show up and be useful. There are some interesting theories about it floating around here.

#17 Sand Snake No. 9

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 05:09 PM

I should add Gendry.

#18 CrypticWeirwood

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 05:47 PM

The Daynes' sword Dawn -- in fact all the missing Valyrian blades

It’s even kind of strange how close the two words are soundwise: Dayne and Dawn.

But I agree. There is simply far, far, far too much ever to be resolved in the number of pages that Martin has left to write.

#19 kg1982

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 07:51 PM

Dawn was forged from a meteor yes, it was not Valyrian, but it could be seen as equal or greater in prestige, so it is often mentioned with them


How much do you want to bet that Dawn turns out to be Lightbringer? It is forged from a falling star.

#20 Reposado

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 08:46 AM

Other Guns:

The mysterious Liddle

Needle

The hooded man

Where's Euron?

Where's Aeron?

How did Balon really die?

Podrick Payne?

What Ser Llyn Payne knows


these are more questions than guns.

Euron is raiding in the Reach. Aeron is on the Iron Islands preaching against him