Ok, so there was a thread yesterday about a different Dany-related topic, that changed into an argument about whether she's really the savior of the story, or a red herring. And then it devolved into other unrelated arguments and got closed. And I figured that the topic was big enough to deserve its own thread, anyway.
Anyway, for context, here are the posts that sparked this thread:
My first post: http://asoiaf.wester...-7#entry5016089
My second post: http://asoiaf.wester...-7#entry5016126
The reply: http://asoiaf.wester...-7#entry5016133
A little groundwork:
- I DO believe that in the universe of ASOIAF, magic, dragons, prophecies, visions, gods, curses, etc. are not superstitions. They are all Very. Real. Things. And, by extension, Fate is also real in ASOIAF.
- I DO believe that the prophecy of Azor Ahai is true. It's a little too literally accurate to Dany to be a coincidence.
- I DO believe that Melisandre is right about one thing: this is a story about the war between life and death, good and evil, and it will end with Azor Ahai saving all of mankind from the forces that seek to destroy it.
- I DO believe that the Azor Ahai in the prophecy is Dany.
- I DO NOT believe that this means that Dany will swoop in and save the day all by herself, rendering everybody else inconsequential. The truth is quite different: I have a certain view of what I think will happen, and this causes me to automatically group the major POV characters (except Cersei and some of the Ironborn, who are more antagonists) into two categories: those who will be very important to the saving of the world (either directly, if they live that long, or indirectly, if they don't), and those who will be absolutely vital to the saving of the world. Dany is in the latter category. And so are most of the Starks. I rank them equally - you're either absolutely vital, or you're not (you're merely very important).
- Dany is not my favorite character. She's actually in my top... five? Ish? I don't know, it changes all the time. I was bored with her in books 1 and 2, but she was my absolute favorite at the end of book 3, but then... Jaime happened to me.
So now that that's done...
I do see (or rather, anticipate - not done with ADWD yet) why people can think she's a red herring from a story perspective. We have this other character that comes along that probably (again, haven't gotten that far yet) seems a lot more worthy of the title of "savior of the world" than Dany.
But... she can't be a red herring. She really can't... it doesn't work from a literary perspective.
Think back to the experience of reading GoT and CoK:
- Here is what's going on in King's Landing, with Ned Stark.
- ...and now, here is what's going on, on the road, with Tyrion Lannister, who's with Catelyn Stark.
- ...and now, here is what's going on, at the Wall, with Jon Snow (who, in the mind of the reader, is really a Stark in every way that counts).
- ...and now, here is what's going on, in Winterfell, with Bran Stark.
- ...and now, here is what's going on, back in King's Landing, with Arya Stark.
- ...and now, here is what's going on, thousands of miles away, with a character who's never even heard of most of the Starks, and whom most of the rest of the characters have never even heard of.
- ...and now, here is what's going on, back in King's Landing, with Sansa Stark.
For two full books, roughly a thousand pages each, you could basically break everything down into "The story of the Starks and the Lannisters," "The story of the Wall," and, "this other story, which, while interesting in its own right, is not even remotely connected to the story of the Starks and the Lannisters, or the Wall."
We kept reading because we had faith, that the three stories would wind up, not only connecting, but somehow being vitally important to each other. And finally... finally... in BOOK THREE... there started to be the beginnings of connections.
A red herring is a false lead. But an author has to be careful with them. They can't take up too much time, unless it's a mystery, or it's a story from a single POV, and that single POV is wrong (i.e. Harry Potter thinking through most of Sorcerer's Stone that Snape is the villain, when he's not). Otherwise, we get angry. At the author. Because he wasted our time. There are limits to what an author can do with reader expectations. Especially when it comes to the expectation of "importance to the story."
Besides... Ned Stark began the story, already a hero. And he's dead. I kind of get the impression that GRRM is more interested in the hero's journey (or, as my brother described it to me (paraphrased), "the journey towards competence for the job of being a hero") than in telling the story of somebody who's already a hero.
Edited by Katerine459, 04 October 2013 - 11:56 AM.