The Coconut God

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  1. @falcotron With TV series it's easier to keep up the pace because they use a team of writers instead of a single author. If they work well together. This can be a huge advantage during the plotting stage, because they can encourage and stimulate each other, keep bad ideas in check and bring a more diverse array of ideas and perspectives to the table. And when it comes to the actual work, each of them will write 2 45 minutes episodes over a period of 4 or 5 months, which is not that much. We could eventually see a fantasy series written by a team of authors (it wouldn't be the first time in commercial literature), but it's probably a lot harder to write prose as a team than to write a script. I don't know how publishers think either, but expecting the next Harry Potter in any genre sounds like hoping for the Moon. Not even Harry Potter was expected to be the phenomenon it was, it's very unlikely that the next big thing will be recognized as such before it gets on the market. And in the mean time they have to publish something, or they'll go out of business. A publisher that specializes in fantasy has to keep delivering new material even if it's not bestselling or groundbreaking, otherwise he will lose brand recognition and the next Harry Potter may not even be brought to him, but to a smaller publisher like you suggested. Long-running fantasy series will die out only if people lose interest in reading them... which can happen if the already existing series oversaturate the market (i which case George can't be held personally accountable) or if ASoIaF (or any other series, really) will end up being so good that the rest of the market pales in comparison and readers lose interest in it (but that's not really a bad thing).
  2. The reviewer mentioned doing a few edits in the comments, but goodreads doesn't explicitly state when the last edits were made. However, the book is still marked as abandoned as of 2016, and the text still implies that he stopped reading after 400 pages. There's also no review by Keely for ACoK, so he probably picked up the information from comments, interviews, and other reviews. To understand a little better where his criticism is coming for, here's a quote from his review of Perdido Street Station, where he opens up a bit more about his views on fantasy: George is pretty much anathema to the kind of fantasy he likes, so he feels the need knock him off his pedestal. Reminds me a little of the critic from Birdman - "I don't need to see your work, I'm going to destroy it anyway because I hate what you represent"... Which is absolutely fine, of course, as long as it doesn't pretend to be anything more than personal taste, but it must be taken with a grain of salt by others. In my opinion, the flaws he sees in the series are either minor issues or misguided interpretations. The "male gaze" is probably the most objective. I noticed it as well in a few instances, particularly on re-reads. But then again, it's not that pervasive and it is compensated by pretty complex and compelling female characters. I'm not a connoisseur of fantasy from the Italian Renaissance, but I doubt classic fairy tales challenged gender roles much, so I don't know how much not mentioning tits count for. And I wouldn't even say the example he used is particularly good. The quote is cut from a larger paragraph that read as follows: Sure, a prudish mind can say that mentioning the breasts and/or their size is gratuitous, but the scene isn't as sexual as the selective quoting would make you believe. Breasts moving freely beneath the vest is just part of her trying to look like a savage... But of course the reviewer didn't know that, because he didn't take the quote from the book, he took it from an article filled with general outrage and entitled 5 ways modern men are trained to hate women. His arguments that George's story isn't realistic are also rather weird. He complains that gritty and violent doesn't automatically equal realism, and that's true. but that's also not why ASoIaF is realistic. ASoIaF is realistic because actions and circumstances have believable consequences, because the world and the rules that define it are consistent and because all the events depicted hold up very well on re-reads. The twists surprise you the first time around, but once you go through the series again you can see the events that lead to them in the subtext. Even less popular plot lines, such as the Dornish Master Plan, are consistent with the overall events of the series. "New" villains such as Euron were set up as early as ACoK, etc. And on top of that there is the political (and geopolitical) dimension, which is not often seen in fantasy (at least not to my knowledge). Keely quotes George saying that he killed Ned and Robb because he wanted to subvert fantasy tropes and he concluded that he's wasting characters pointlessly for shock value, but he fails to realize that those deaths are the results highly believable circumstances and they both end very beautiful, thematically powerful tragic arcs. Quite the opposite of what the reviewer claims: ^Again, he draws that conclusion without reading the #^@$ing text... Sure, George wanted to kill Ned and Robb from the start, but that doesn't mean he didn't build a good story around it, like that hack Shakespeare did when he decided to write a love story and kill the main characters at the end. The criticism reads as if it was addressed to superficial fan interpretations of the series treated like they were actually true rather than the series itself. The last major point he makes (I'm not going to discuss the bit about originality because that doesn't really have much to do with quality) is that George manage do.... "kill the longrunning High Fantasy series". This is a sort of idea that no doubt emerged during the long wait for ADwD, after the unfairly but perhaps predictably poorly received AFFC. Does it hold any water now? Hell no! Even without TWoW, this series is an insane cash cow. I can't imagine publishers being afraid to take in fantasy series because of Martin. After all, standalone books are just as risky as the first book in a series (which doesn't need to be marketed as such, if there are concerns about it), but with the added bonus of more predictable sales for sequels. Even if ASoIaF is never finished, I don't think it will kill serialized fantasy (or, indeed, its own popularity)... Not more so than all the series out there that have rushed and disappointing endings. If you look at things from a consumer's perspective and make a comparison with TV series, unfinished shows (like Firefly, Twin Peaks, etc) tend to become cult classics, and there are many series with longer than usual waits between seasons that are highly acclaimed or beloved (Fargo, Rick and Morty). It's all the crap out there that declines in quality in later seasons because writing teams don't have the time to recharge their creative juices (Lost, Dexter... GoT, as it will sadly be the case) that undermine the concept of serialized TV. Why wouldn't it be the same for novels?
  3. @Dragonsbone That is a very popular negative review taken from AGoT's goodreads page. The guy who wrote it (all the way back in 2007) didn't even finish the first book, let alone the series, but he felt entitled to make all-knowing comments about George's style, plotting and ability to finish the series based on interviews and hearsay. I wouldn't take him seriously... Around the same time he was bashing AGoT he was giving high praise to the incredibly overrated and obnoxious piece of garbage that is Perdido Street Station, so he was clearly in a "style over substance", edgy kind of phase (I actually remembered him for his AGoT burn, so after I read Perdido and I was desperately looking for scathing reviews in an attempt to cleanse the taste of intellectual vomit from mind I checked goodreads and it really made me scratch my head that he hated Martin's book but liked that one). In any case, I highly doubt @Jedi Exile is J.G. Keely, so he should have at least credited the article.
  4. The only thing I know George said about the Meereenese knot is in the link I provided. I'll just post it here so it's easier to keep track of: Nowhere does he say anything about getting Dany to Westeros, it's all about what happens in Meereen and how all these suitors impact the story based on the order in which they arrive. You only think it's about Westeros because that idea was seeded in the first two books and you assume that's the obligatory path that the story has to follow. I used to think the same. But the set up from the prototype chapter, written before he split the books, before he removed the 5 year gap, before the knot became a problem, strongly suggests that the events in Slaver's Bay would have played out roughly the same way. The only logical conclusion is that the events themselves are important to the story and they are not a result of George having to keep Dany occupied in Meereen longer than he had anticipated. Oh, and don't worry, I'm not that easily offended. Hope you aren't taking offense at my disagreements either, because none is intended.
  5. I don't think I am confusing anything. You, on the other hand, are falling for as very widespread logical fallacy with that argument I bolded. This is a series that first earned its fame for being subversive. In fact, here's a quote from George that conveniently rose up in a recent thread: "I killed Ned because everybody thinks he’s the hero ... sure, he’s going to get into trouble, but then he’ll somehow get out of it. The next predictable thing is to think his eldest son is going to rise up and avenge his father ... So immediately killing Robb became the next thing I had to do." This is the author himself telling you that if a plot line is blatantly obvious, he's going to want to take in a different direction... And yet you take it as absolute truth that Dany has to invade Westeros because that's what was hinted in the first book when she was still married to Drogo.... And then you use this misguided notion to wave away an entire book worth of development as poorly plotted filler, even though up to that point the series was, once again, notorious for its plot consistency and foreshadowing of major twists a couple books in advance without giving them away. Really now? I give you, it's not entirely impossible... the series can accommodate Dany going to Westeros, of course. It's also possible that George lost his mojo and is going to write crap. But none of these premises are supported by facts for the time being, so we might as well assume things will make sense. As for the Meereenese knot, it was never about keeping Dany busy with random stuff and then untangling her in time for a major series arc. It was about all the other characters coming into Meereen, Tyrion, Quentin, Victarion, etc., plus the other major events in the city (you can check how George explained it here). George need not have bothered with all that if the whole point was to get Dany out of Slaver's Bay. Xaro was a perfect ex-machina for that, but instead he used him to make a point that Dany thinks her responsibility to her freedmen > her dream to return "home". Ask yourself why he did that. To further cement my point, I suggest reading this summary of an early Dany chapter from the initial version of ADwD, back before George decided to remove the 5 year gap. The summary is from February 2003 and it's for an early version of the chapter with Drogon in Daznak's Pit. The fact that one of the first chapters after the gap was moved to the very end of the published ADwD seems to imply that everything else in the book is merely describing what was supposed to happen during those five years, but if you look at the summary closely, you'll realize that this assumption is very, very wrong. While the prototype chapter did have a couple of scenes that were ultimately kept, including Drogon flying in the pit to feed on Barsena and the boar, the background details are much closer to the beginning of ADwD: - It establishes the Sons of the Harpy (called there Sons of Ghis) as opponents to her rule in Meereen. - It introduces Raznak and Skahaz, shave pates and brazen beasts, as well as the murders of Unsullied city guards. - It introduces Hizdar as an important political figure and prospective husband, but Dany is not married with him yet, she's merely opening the pits as a gesture of good will to former gladiators and an attempt to mollify the Ghiscari. - It establishes that Barristan training knights. - It establishes Cleos the Butcher King, who is waging war with Yunkai at the time the chapter takes place. - It establishes that the Yunkai'i are hiring sellsword companies and the Golden Company is brought up. - The dragons are still free and stealing sheep from the surrounding villages, which Dany pays for. - There is no attempt on Dany's life and she does not go in the pit to ride Drogon. The chapter seems to end on the ominous note of Drogon eating human flesh. This leads me to believe that in the early version Daznak's Pit was either the reason Drogon fled and Dany locked up her other dragons, or at least a precursor to Hazzea. The similarity of all these plot points to the situation at the beginning of the published book leads me to believe that even with the five year gap in place, George intended Dany's ADwD arc to be about the war in Slaver's Bay. There is no reason to believe his struggle with the story, Meereenes knot or 5 year gap, changed her intended path in any meaningful way.
  6. The proof that she betrayed Dany is in the way she talks to her when she goes to see Drogo. She's not sympathetic to her pain at all, she doesn't try to comfort her or ease the news, she never claims something went wrong, doesn't say she regrets the result. Every time Dany asks her something, she replies with a cold gut punch, and this is way before she starts threatening her. Say a doctor turns someone's spouse into a vegetable after a failed operation and that person, not yet realizing the seriousness of the situation, asks the doctor to give them an estimate of when their loved one would recover. Do you think "When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, etc." would be an appropriate response for a remorseful physician? Or is that more of a smug "I want to look at your face as you realize that it means never" sort of response? Their following exchanges are even more proof: Only after these exchanges does Dany decide to imprison Mirri, and as she is taken away, she "smiled at her [...] as if they shared a secret". I think all of this on top of the fact that Mirri never warned Dany explicitly about either result (she might have implied the child for a sane Drogo if she entered the tent at most) makes it pretty clear that she did it on purpose.
  7. Neither of those situations sounds right to me... Say she defeats the Ghiscari and leaves someone "trustworthy" to rule Meereen, and maybe Yunkai & New Ghis (which in itself is a dubious resolution - she left someone "trustworthy" in Astapor as well, and it didn't turn out well). That still doesn't resolve the problem of slavery. The demand is still strong from the Free Cities and Qarth, so someone else will specialize on training slaves, or they will just produce them in house. It's a sad, ineffective and unsatisfying Half Measure if you're invested in that plot line at all, and Dany still needs an external trigger such as the three I mentioned to switch her priorities. If Dany's allies are defeated (I presume you did not mean Dany herself, since she's learning how to ride her dragon and is about to unite the Dothraki), wouldn't she try to avenge them before anything else? Wouldn't she stick to her goal? If the Volantene army burns down Meereen, why wouldn't she move on to Volantis? The slave rebellion there is already set up. Not to mention riding on the back of a loss is a very odd way to move on to a goal that was presumably more difficult and more important to you than the one you just failed to accomplish. She'd be sailing to Westeros like a whipped dog with a fanfare... Not to mention that I really don't think the Greyjoy and Volantene fleets would be enough for all the Dothraki soldiers and their horses. If both of these forces defect to Dany, she will have all their ships, but also the soldiers, so there would be little extra room. If they fight her and lose or betray her, she wouldn't get all the ships. No doubt many would be destroyed in battle and some would retreat. Going on land is a lot more plausible. And just out of curiosity, why do you think moving the story to Essos would be unsatisfying? Both the Zombie Apocalypse and Dragon Conquest storylines would play out, characters would encounter each other in unexpected ways and the political intrigue would continue in the Free Cities. It sounds very compelling to me...
  8. It's not really as poorly prepared as you think. The Manderly fleet, the line of credit Jon arranged with the Iron Bank, the presence of two ship captain PoVs in the North, Justin Massey already heading for Essos, Davos day dreaming about sailing east with his sons to see the dragons after Stannis's war is over, the ship of wildling slaves that were freed in Braavos, the potential impact on Arya's storyline if Jon ends up in Braavos with a few thousand refugees, the fact that all the major plot lines in the North are about to wrap up, so we can safely abandon it if need be, unlike Meereen... A lot of seeds are already planted if George wants to take the story in this direction. I am not 100% convinced that it will, but it is the version I find most plausibly exciting, and the most likely to make sense in only two more books.
  9. We can't say if pruning was necessary or not until he releases Winds. If he actually wants Dany to reach Westeros and play a major role there by the end of the series, then yes, it will be very challenging for him not to make her journey seem entirely plot-driven and unsatisfying. At the very least he would have misjudged the length of the series again and we will get another title added before Dream. But this is by no means mandatory. Dany doesn't have any solid reason to cut her current arc short and abruptly head to Westeros*. Neither does Arya for that matter. But the impending Zombie Apocalypse the OP is dreading so much would be a very good reason for the characters over in Westeros to cut their current arcs short and head to Essos instead. The Zombie Apocalypse has been hinted at since the beginning of the series, so it would not feel contrived at all if it finally happens and it has a huge impact - not as the actual endgame, but as a means to move a chunk of the plot in a different direction. If the endgame of the series takes place in Essos, then Dance doesn't have a pruning problem; it is merely setting up plots, locations and factions for the following books. *Actually, there are at least three potential plot devices that George can use to make Dany head to Westeros quickly, but neither of them is very satisfying. The way I see it, they are: 1. She simply decides she can't be arsed with fixing Essos anymore and scrams. You can argue she is considering this when she has that Jorah vision in the grasslands, but i prefer to look at that as a "moment of doubt the Heroine has when she reaches her lowest point" rather than "sudden realization that Jorah was right all along". Doing this would put the character in a very bad light and it would be contradictory to her earlier development. What's the point of refusing Xaro's ships if she's going to break her commitment later anyway? Why have that scene at all, when you can avoid the contradiction simply by not giving her a choice - i.e., say she isn't leaving Meereen because the slavers would hunt her down for revenge. 2. She finds out about Aegon and goes to rescue or confront him. Again, this isn't really consistent with how the character is portrayed. Her answer to Quentin's proposal suggests she wouldn't have a knee-jerk reaction and change all her plans because of something happening half a world away. 3. She goes to rescue the dragon Victarion will steal. I think this is the most believable of the three, but it's still a knee-jerk reaction to something that can't be fixed in an obvious way. Sure, she probably cares more about her dragons than about Aegon, but what can she realistically do if she loses one? When Drogon left, she didn't go after him. How will she track him? How does she know he didn't go willingly or that whoever took him won't use the magic horn to enslave the other two? And most importantly, a rescue mission for her dragon is not the same thing as taking her whole army to Westeros for an invasion. Why would she take the Dothraki with her to hunt pirates? They're really bad at that. Ultimately, I don't think she will be influenced by any of these things (or any combination of them), though I suppose George has the path open to him if he really really wants her to change course.
  10. Dany isn't in Westeros because her story is not about conquering Westeros, it is about abolishing slavery on Essos. She is never truly invested in taking Westeros back, not personally. Initially, this is Viserys's dream. Later on and briefly, Westeros becomes a goal for Drogo, but again, he isn't really doing it because Dany wants it, he is doing it because Robert pissed him off with the assassination attempt, and he's promising the Iron Throne to their unborn male child, not to Dany herself. If Dany dreams of Westeros at all, it is because she's riding on the hot air of Viserys's stories. Every time she mentions it, it's not Westeros she really wants, it is a vague concept of home, of belonging - but the reader, having seen Westeros from other characters' PoVs, should know that conquering Westeros wouldn't fulfill that goal. The only way for her to find home and to belong is to forge her own place in the world, like she started doing by adapting to Dothraki customs, like she is doing by trying to leave her print on Slaver's Bay. Aside from that, there is her relationship with slavery that just keeps expanding as the series advances. From Dany being "sold" herself, to Eroeh and Miri Maz Duur, to the Unsullied, to Mereen. She already firmly opposed slave trainers for 2 huge books (and at least a few more chapters to come) and she will derail the slave "makers" anyway if she assumes control over the Dothraki. The next logical step would be to take on the slave users, the Free Cities themselves, and put an end to the trade entirely. Ending slavery would be a very cathartic moment for Dany, as opposed to reaching Westeros, which is something the readers have expectations for, not the character, mainly because George seeded the idea early on in GoT and we allowed ourselves to view it as a sort of barometer for the end of the series. I'm inclined to believe her journey to Westeros is just as subversive as the idea of Ned solving the political intrigues in KL, Robb winning the War of the Five Kings or Arya being reunited with her family at the Twins. We already spent five books trying to imagine how it will happen, what's the point of George showing us the same thing?
  11. There will almost certainly be an exodus to the East, but the Starks will not stay behind. O the contrary, Jon will be the first to lead his people away from Westeros with the Manderly fleet. I have a more elaborate thread about this on the TWoW sub-forum if you're interested in reading it. The prospect of people fleeing West as well, eventually reaching Yi Ti or a different, unknown continent is very interesting, but not that likely. Even if it happens, I don't see how it can impact the story over the remaining two books. We can get a hint that someone is attempting this, but no more. I don't really see how it can tie in with the main storylines. But the main issue with an exodus West is the lack of ships. We have to assume Euron took most of the Ironborn ships with him, and most of the others were destroyed or captured during his raids in the South and Balon's raids in the North. Lannisport was spared, but we already know the old Lannisport fleet was burned during the first Greyjoy rebellion and there are no hints that Tywin rebuilt it (it was probably not considered a necessity, since the Lannisters had control by proxy over King's Landing, a much better trade port, and Tywin was already lending a lot of gold to the Crown), so there probably aren't that many ships there.
  12. My most recent revelation was realizing that the little scene with Casso King of Seals from the Ugly Little Girl chapter in ADwD might foreshadow that a more feral post-Ghost-storage Jon will be able to recognize Arya even when she's wearing someone else's face.
  13. I don't think Euron is meant to be a nemesis to Dany, that's way too telegraphed not to be a red herring. He will steal a dragon from her through Victarion, but Dany herself has too many plot points to tie up in Essos; there is no time for her to also deal with Euron, certainly not in Winds. It's more likely that he will serve as an antagonist to people trying to escape across the Narrow Sea in the wake of the Others' invasion, particularly Sansa and potentially Jon. His stated goal is to feast on a dying Westeros. Dany and the dragons are just a means to an end, and he already sent someone else to get them for him.
  14. That's not the only WoW cinematic they borrowed from. They worked in a bit of this scene as well (but they failed to notice that Varian at least unfastened his shoulder plates before falling in the water). Edit: They also used a bit of this and a bit of that, though it might all be coincidence because I can't imagine when they'd have time to play WoW.
  15. @tugela Here's an interview with George from last december. This is the relevant quote: "It is called The Winds of Winter, and I’ve been telling you for 20 years that winter was coming. Winter is the time when things die, and cold and ice and darkness fills the world, so this is not gonna be the happy feel-good that people may be hoping for. Some of the characters [are] in very dark places…In any story, the classic structure is, ‘Things get worse before they get better,’ so things are getting worse for a lot of people." I don't think the show is portraying the Others just because they're cool. We're going to see them in the books as well. Otherwise, the people who've been motivated by them all this time, particularly Jon, will look beyond idiotic. Edit: This is not to mean that the battle against the Others is the thematic endgame of the series. Politics and alliances are still going to be the focus, but on an apocalyptic background. Think of it in terms of what would happen politically if we were struck by a global disaster.