The Coconut God

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  1. @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.
  2. What is that world building telling us, though? Brienne's chapter show us that the Riverlands and Crownlands are broken. Displaced villagers, beggars, orphaned children, outlaws hiding in the woods, corpses strewn everywhere and little to no remaining able bodied soldiers. They're absolutely ripe for a zombie invasion, and we even get a nice bit of foreshadowing with stories of squishers and talking heads. The North is covered in snow, so there's little chance we'll see another conventional conflict there after Stannis defeats the Boltons. Once that happens, there won't be any more plots waiting to be resolved in the North anyway. The wildlings made it through the Wall (there won't be any Hardhome rescue in the books, Mel already made that clear), Jon resolved the Karstark situation and the Grand Northern Conspiracy is baked in with Stannis's story and will be resolved early on, same as Davos bringing Rickon back into the plot. The only other thing George added was White Harbor... Why did he spend a whole chapter to meticulously describe it? Because that's where the Others will strike at Team Jon. As for the Vale and the South, they still have a whole book worth of action before the Others get there. The Battle of White Harbor will take place halfway through the book at the earliest, we still need the Battle of Ice to happen, the Wall to fall and Stannis to have his defeat first, plus all the parallel chapters. Sansa won't know about of the Others' invasion earlier than that, and she won't need to leave until the the end of the book, so there's still a lot of time for conventional storylines in the Vale, and the South will be occupied with the Aegon vs Cersei conflict for the entire book, with the Others reaching the Crownlands in the epilogue at the earliest... so world building in the South and Vale is not wasted. @Horse of Kent I enjoyed reading your post, but I get the feeling you're allowing symbolism to get ahead of character development with all that. Yes, there are some nice connection with the names of the wolves, but they're not "hugely important". Lady and Summer are very generic. Sansa's story is not greatly influenced by the wolf, it would have been entirely realistic without that connection, and the same can be said about Bran - one doesn't need a magical wolf to want summer to return. Ghost hints at one major event in Jon's life, and the role the wolf will play, but not his overall arc or personality. If you want a parallel between Arya and Nymeria, it already exists. Just like Nymeria, Arya fled her oppressors across the Narrow Sea, stopping in various locations and having different adventures along the way until she finally found safety in a new way of life. But if you want Arya to literally parallel Nymeria and lead people, I'm sorry, but she needs far more development than she has time for in Winds. Dany took more than half the series to grow into a leader, and Arya has yet to start. She may not be a warrior like Brienne, she is a spy and assassin, but neither of those spells "political figurehead"... yet. @chrisdaw That's a cool idea, but incompatibility with a crackpot theory, cool as it is, is not a good enough argument to counter my own. Where would all the water go anyway if the sea dries out? And why can't the Others attack from the land as well?
  3. We don't have a back story because it hasn't been shown yet. It's probably connected to Ilyrio and it will tell us much about his character and his past. There was absolutely no need to have it there unless he wanted to do something with it. The Tattered Prince could have been motivated by gold, or lack of trust in the slavers, or a castle in Dorne, or even the second dragon, but George chose to make him want Pentos. Same with Hotah and Norvos. He could have been Dornish and nobody would have batted an eye. In fact, readers might have liked him more. But no, George made him a former slave from Norvos, and decided to also install Quentin's mother in this slaver city from Essos. You have to keep in mind that AFFC & ADwD are for the final books what AGoT was for ACoC and ASoS. We didn't really get a lot of information about Stannis in AGoT, or Renly, or Balon, or the Tyrels, hell, even Jaime, and Walder Frey could have easily been a throwaway character for how much we saw him... but they all played major parts later on. And you can't say the details about Braavos are shallow. There are a lot of plots that gravitate around it, too. Arya is still deeply rooted in her storyline with the Faceless Men, Jon and Stannis have their loan agreements, The Crown has its debt, Tyrion has Tysha and The Happy Port, we have FM connections with Euron and Oldtown, and the Braavosi have a history with dragons and slavers that will make their attitude towards Dany very interesting to see. It has to play a major part.
  4. That's some nice circular logic you've got here... You doubled down on the parallel, but did nothing to support it. I don't really have much invested in this notion because it's not really apparent or meaningful so far. Certainly not meaningful and apparent enough to counter my own theory, as @chrisdaw suggested. Can we see Arya develop more into a leader and savior figure in the future? Maybe... I doubt it, but maybe. Maybe when she's in her late twenties, in the epilogue of the last book, we can see Arya leading her people back to Westeros. But this isn't relevant to what's happening in TWoW. And so far the biggest parallel Arya has with Nymeria is that she named her wolf after her, but most Stark children named their wolves after a childhood fancy. Sansa named hers Lady, a concept she only dreamed about without really understanding, just like Arya dreamed about an idealized adventurer queen. Bran named his Summer, and we know where he is now. If the wolves' names pay off in any way it's not going to be in TWoW (except perhaps for Ghost). Of course she's allowed a plot, a plot that develops organically from her current character and situation. That plot, however, is a lot harder to guess. In any case, this is quite a tangent. Do you have any thoughts on my actual theory? If you do, I would love to hear them!
  5. This would have been a good argument for the first three books, but AFFC and ADwD are setting up the second large arc of the series (the first being the War of the Five Kings), the content of these books has to be deliberate. I believe George had a pretty good idea where all the storylines where headed, even if he's taking a long time to tinker with the execution. You don't add something like the Tattered Prince's interest in Pentons at the very end of the book unless you know where you want to go with it.
  6. Aren't they supposed to be a threat to everyone, though? If they only mess up the North and Riverlands, which were already messed up the most by the previous conflicts, then where's the payoff? That means everyone in the South was entirely justified in ignoring the Others and it's only the Starks and their allies who have to pay the price, over and over again. If the Others invade the entire continent however, it's the Westerlands and Reach who ultimately suffer the most. Everyone else can try to evacuate to Essos, but these kingdoms are cut off on the wrong the side of the continent, and they're lacking ships because of Euron's raids.
  7. I have a couple of problems with this interpretation. Not saying it's not going to happen, just that I have doubts: 1. It would be a lot more dramatic if Stannis decides to burn Shireen himself. It would feel like a cop-out if Mel or Selyse do it, because those characters are not developed enough for us to care if they do something like that. Stannis doing it, on the other hand, would get you right in the heart, especially if you were rooting for him (and I'll be honest, I like Stannis a lot myself). You don't want to imagine it, but he would be capable of it if he truly believed it was his duty. Remember what he said about Edric Storm? “What is the life of one bastard boy against a kingdom?” Wouldn't it be satisfying if he had to make the same choice with his daughter's life at stake (err... pun not intended)? 2. If Mel is going to resurrect Jon (by burning Shireen or some other method), she can do it immediately. If he's going to be resurrected immediately, or in a matter of days, then what's the point? I believe Jon is going to be out cold (ok, pun intended) throughout the fall of the Wall and Stannis's defeat. There will be a sense of "if only Jon was here with us, things could have gone better", and once he's back it will be to late for any of his previous plans to work. I also don't believe that people will be as protective of Jon's corpse as they were in the show. That made absolutely no sense. He's either not going to die from the wounds immediately, or something will happen that prevents them from burning him right away (in which case he might very well spend some time as a wight before being resurrected). Euron isn't like Varys or Doran. He wants Dany because he thinks he can control her dragons, and maybe because she's a trophy wife who would give him legitimacy. He has absolutely no reason to help Aegon. He might not even know about him, he only knows about Dany from the warlocks he captured. Aegon himself can't do anything to Euron because he doesn't have dragons and doesn't have a fleet (he used Lysene transports who dumped the Golden Company all over the Stepstones), so where is the motivation coming from? "After every battle crows come in their hundreds and their thousands to feast upon the fallen. A crow can espy death from afar. And I say that all of Westeros is dying. Those who follow me will feast until the end of their days." - this is Euron (a quote that also supports my theory that Westeros will soon be lost to the Others, hehe). He isn't hedging his bets for which Targaryen pretender to serve. He only wants to take advantage of the carnage, if not trigger the Others' invasion himself. I don't think Aegon vs Dany is such a sure thing. The story can go either way and still be satisfying, there's no thematic or character-driven pressure that requires this conflict to happen. There is, however, a character-driven need for Dany to deal with the slavery plotline. There is foreshadowing that the united Dothraki will conquer the Free Cities. Each of these, even individually, weighs heavier in the story than a Dany vs Aegon conflict, especially one as rushed as to start in the middle of Winds, before Aegon is even developed properly as a character and ruler. Why abandon or rush two plotlines that have existed since AGoT (via Eroeh and the Stallion Who Mounts the World prophecy) for one that the series can entirely do without? It doesn't make any sense. Aegon vs Cersei already serves a point in the story, mainly making the South as vulnerable to the Others as the North and Riverlands are. I expect less Dany in the South and more death, destruction and a greyscale epidemic. We'll see where Aegon ends up in ADoS, but only after another book's worth of development. As for the name of the Dance, it doesn't really need to refer to a Targaryen succession dispute. The name is already apt, because the book is full of schemers like Illyrio, Varys, Doran, Quentin, Tyrion, Hizdhar, Euron, Victarion etc., who aim to use Dany, Aegon or the dragons themselves to achieve their own goals. "Dancing with dragons", the same way the characters in book one were playing "a game of thrones". By the way, the whole point of my theory is to mix up the storylines in a way that would allow the series to be finished in two books, while also making use of all the elements in AFFC and ADwD that were decried as filler, especially the focus on characters and locations from Essos. What role do you think Braavos or Pentos will play if all the PoVs return to Westeros before the second half of Winds? What will happen with Volantis? Why did George feel the need to introduce Norvos through a PoV character who could have been from anywhere else, and why is Quentin's mother there? Why did he introduce a character who wants to rule Pentos? Why did he hint that Tysha is in Braavos and why did he put that mummer's play in the Mercy chapter if Tyrion isn't going there? At what point are we going to trust George that he actually put all these things in the books with a payoff in mind?
  8. Even if George cuts everything in Essos to the minimum (which I doubt he will do, because there's too much set up there, especially from AFFC and ADwD), there's still no way that Dany will get to Westeros before the end of Winds. So Aegon vs Cersei is still going to be the main plotline in the south. There are a lot of factions there that won't win or lose or change sides over a single chapter. Keep in mind that George already released two Arienne chapters, and she has yet to meet Aegon in them. Euron has absolutely no reason to support Aegon, and if anyone in Westeros is going to have a dragon, it's going to be him. Later on, this gives Jon the opportunity to kill or capture his dragon via warging during the second Narrow Sea crossing/rescue mission for Sansa, which is going to be interesting, especially if he does it before meeting Dany. As for Cersei, Euron will probably marry her to gain legitimacy as Tommen's regent. After Tommen dies/King's Landing burns, he will keep her as a prize on the Silence until he gets Sansa and passes Cersei over to Victarion. I'm not sure how Dany will interact with Aegon, that plotline is too far away to tell. They could fight, or Aegon could end up being the third head of the Dragon, after all he's the only other important character with (presumably) Targaryen blood. If Stannis takes Winterfell, Selyse will go there with Shireen, she's not going to want to stay at the Nightfort. She probably won't be able to anyway if the Others invade. I can see Stannis burning Shireen if he is convinced that's the only way to save the realm. He will put his duty as king and savior before his personal feelings and the life of his daughter. In the show it didn't make any sense because the stakes were too low, but if the Others invade and the Long Night sets in it might start looking like a reasonable idea. Her burning will clear the weather for a bit, and the Northern lords, rather than random sellswords, will abandon Stannis. Cue Selyse coming back as a wight after she kills herself (ultimate proof that the Others are still there) and we have a pretty good parallel to the show. I'm still not sure Mel will be the one to resurrect Jon. It was too contrived on the show. He could simply stay in a coma for a while (which would explain why everyone cares about protecting his body). His loyalists will take him to Karhold when the Others invade (because that has to play a part too), where he will finally "die". They will attempt to burn him on a pyre, only when the fire goes out he will come out alive, just like Dany did with her dragons. He kind of has to be resurrected by fire, otherwise everyone will just assume he is a wight. Another reason I don't think Mel will resurrect Jon is that Mel will probably be the last PoV for Stannis. She will encourage him to fight the Others head on and burn Shireen and ignore all the unbelievers abandoning him, and at the very end, because the one thing she is good at sensing is danger to herself, she will realize Stannis will lose and she will flee Winterfell, and that's the last we'll see of it in Winds (although we might see Stannis's dead men, or even Stannis himself at the attack on White Harbor for a final confirmation that he lost). If it plays out like that, it's not like Mel can take Jon's corpse with her, so it stands to reason that it won't be there at all.
  9. It would be interesting indeed to see Dany and Stannis interact somehow, but I don't think the story has room for that. Dany still has a lot of things to resolve in Essos. I firmly believe her next step is conquering the Free Cities, too much of her story builds to that. If she gets to Westeros, it will be in the second half of the final book, and she will go there to fight the Others, not the other pretenders to the IT. Stannis's story, on the other hand, has a perfect opportunity to end in TWoW with a bloody, bittersweet victory against the Boltons followed by the Others invading a nearly defenseless North and a last stand similar to the one on the show, Shireen burning and all. I agree that the Vale has to play a part, but so do a lot of other dangling threads from the existing books. These threads need to start connecting to each other if we are to believe George can realistically hope to finish the series in two books. Plot-wise, Jon has very few opportunities for growth in the Vale.There's no reason he would be calling any shots there, and ultimately it's the same theme as in any other castle, "the Heroes are holed up in a fortress, waiting for Evil to attack them". Where would the story go with Jon in the Vale? Essos, on the other hand, provides a lot more opportunities. It gives Jon something to do that he hasn't done before, and it brings him closer to Dany and Arya without artificially displacing those two from their respective storylines, which are firmly rooted in Essos, and it drives in the point that the good guys couldn't beat the Others and actually had to run away. That doesn't mean the Vale doesn't play its part. In fact, I see a lot of developments in the Vale, from taking in refugees from the Riverlands (it would be even more interesting if one of those refugees was Howland Reed and he told Sansa about Jon's real parentage, because who else would find out about that if not the schemer in training?), to facing an Others invasion themselves, to facing Euron's fleet in a bid to cross the Narrow Sea. The Vale falling to the Others is even hinted in Alayne's first (I believe?) AFFC chapter, if you choose to read it like that: "The room had grown chilly during the night. It will be worse when winter has us in its grip, she thought. Winter will make this place as cold as any tomb." I still expect Jon and Sansa to end up in the same camp eventually, but it has to happen naturally and we'll probably have to read through the entire book to see it. Note that it would make a lot more sense for the Vale forces to stick with the Northerners and even take orders from Jon if both groups are displaced from their lands, trying to carve a pieces of Essos for themselves. In fact, if we ignore the locations and keep in mind that D&D frequently give main characters lesser characters' storylines for streamlining purposes, I think my theory lines up pretty well with the show so far. Just imagine Dany wants Jon's support to take one of the Free Cities while Aegon is the one who actually fights Cersei, and the parallels are there. I'm not sure about Bran's vision, but the three faces he sees are also around Ned and Arya, so maybe they reference things that already happened? Or maybe they symbolize evils the three of them unleashed? Joffrey for Ned, Rorge (wearing the Hound's helm) for Arya, and Robert Strong for Sansa (because it's her part in Joffrey's murder and subsequent escape that led to Tyrion's trial and the Mountain's final fate)?
  10. Thank you for your replies, guys. I don't think Stannis will be roasted by Dany. I don't remember that vision exactly, but I think Stannis burning is metaphorical and is meant to represent the way his mission is consuming him. He was built up as a "fake Azor Ahai", so he has to die trying and failing to fulfill the Azor-Ahai prophecy. I don't see how that would play out opposite Dany. She's just not the sort of enemy a would-be Azor Ahai would face. The one thing I'm almost sure of in all of this is that Jon's people will have to leave the North soon. If the Others attack, and I believe they will, because there are no other dangling plotlines left in the North, there's no way Jon will be able to hold them back with whatever forces are left after the Battle of Ice and the mutiny at Castle Black. And I don't think Martin introduced the Manderly fleet and set up two PoV characters who also happen to be experienced ship captains (Davos and Asha) in the North storyline for no reason, so they will most likely retreat by ship from White Harbor. That's pretty much a given. Will they head for the Vale rather than Essos? That's certainly possible, but I still think Essos is more likely, for a number of reasons: - From the characters' perspective, Essos is a lot safer, they would put a whole sea between themselves and the Others rather than a bay and some mountains. - As far as they know, the Vale might be hostile to them, because it's still part of the Seven Kingdoms and the refugees would be mostly rebels and wildlings. - Even if Sansa reveals herself to the Vale lords and manages to work her way in a position of power before Jon has to abandon the North, which in itself is doubtful, information still travels very slowly in the books, so he will more than likely not find out in time. - Jon has that loan agreement signed with the Iron Bank. If he takes his people to Essos, he can just swing by Braavos, cash the gold and reliably supply himself by land from any of the other Free Cities. If he stays on Westeros, with the Others causing chaos, poor harvests pretty much everywhere and constant winter storms wracking the Narrow Sea, making use of that loan would be almost impossible. Nymeria was Arya's favorite character from Old Nan's stories, but the real Nymeria was nothing like Arya. Even though she was painted as a "warrior princess", Nymeria was a commander, not a fighter, and most of all she was a leader. Arya couldn't even get Hot Pie and Gendry to stick with her. Furthermore, Nymeria made a political marriage with Mors Martell in order to secure the future of her people in Dorne, which doesn't sound like something Arya would do. At all. I don't see Arya paralleling Nymeria herself, but Jon, her favorite sibling, paralleling her favorite character? We might have something here. @Dorian Martell's son Judging by your signature, I take it you like my theories?
  11. A few notes I took while watching (I'm going to try to skip the obvious stuff everyone else mentioned): - The wine fake Walder calls "the finest Arbor gold" is actually red. I guess Arya doesn't know anything about wines, she served them whatever swill was left in the cellars, but she called it "Arbor gold" because that is the coolest-sounding wine in Westeros. - Saying you're "not going to waste wine on a woman" after you already allowed her cup to be filled. - Is one of the serving girls the same face Arya used to kill Walder? Is she controlling them remotely? That would explain how she baked those pies, at least. - Li'l Lady Mormont doesn't plan to sit idle while men do her fighting for her. So where was she at the Battle of the Bastards? Sneaking into Winterfell with 20 good li'l girls to plant that bear shield for Jon? - "The castles committed no crimes". Wiser words have never been spoken. This line is obviously referencing Stanley Kubrick's interpretation of Steven King's "The Shining", and D&D put it there to affirm the idea that they should be free to creatively reinterpret elements of the book to the point of being in exact opposition to what the author intended. You lot just don't get it. - Training women and children for battle had only just been suggested and was a somewhat controversial idea, but Ned Umber and Alys Karstark, children of traitors of yet uncertain loyalties, are already armed with swords, a detail made even more puzzling by the fact that Alys is actually wearing a dress. They also don't have a single word to say in their defense while their future is being decided. - Cersei asks Jon to bend the knee but doesn't ask him to send over Sansa, who she blames for murdering Joffrey. - The Lannisters had been waiting their whole lives to have a map painted. On the ground to be trod upon and in a court yard, exposed to the elements. - All those Greyjoy sails look absolutely identical and they're exquisitely detailed. Do you think they are industrially produced? - Sam's montage... Cleaning shit pails... handling books... serving food... cleaning shit pails... handling books... serving food... What, would it have been too boring to show him wash his hands once? Or was that simply not a part of his daily routine? - Old dead guy cock. - Sam is not nearly desperate enough given his mission and the fact that nobody believes him the White Walkers exist. - Sansa is mean as hell to Littlefinger just before claiming that she needs him. I don't think he should be that crucial for the Vale support given the current circumstances, but if you need him and you aren't stupid don't take him for granted. What, are we to believe Littlefinger has so little self respect that he's just going to allow her to treat him like this? - I actually kind of liked the scene with Arya and the Lannister men. It had a point and didn't seem stupid... well, until she said she wanted to murder the Queen, but I suppose I can get over that. She better not kill them after she shared their meat and mead though... - The abrupt change from Beric the outlaw fighting in the name of the old King to Beric the fighter against the Wight Walkers doesn't seem to be supported by anything, but that's a last season issue I guess. More importantly: - Why didn't Sandor and the bloody R'hllor worshipers bloody burn the bodies? Are they that certain they'll stop the White Walkers in the north? Or is Sandor patiently planting that little girl in the grown so he can cut her to pieces once she ripens and pops out again? - That map of Dragonstone would have been more complex if it was in a children's coloring book. There was nothing there except the contour of the island, the castle that would be obvious anyway and a stylized drawing of the rocks Sam needed to find. And somehow they managed to get the history wrong in this scene too, the Targeryans built the castle on Dragonstone before they decided to invade Westeros... - That Baratheon banner fell to a light tug like there was nothing holding it up, and I couldn't really tell if that was dust on the table or just the texture of the stone/wood. I'm going to go ahead and assume there was no dust because this is a rant thread.
  12. This is an idea I already mentioned in the Timeframe thread, but I've been mulling it over lately and I decided it deserves its own topic. Basically, I believe that the final act of the story won't be about stopping the Others but about surviving them in the only way possible: fleeing across the Narrow Sea. There may be a last stand at the end of the series to prevent them from crossing the Broken arm of Dorne, or a desperate quest to reverse the Long Night that might eventually lead to the Others retreating back North, but before that happens Westeros will fall. This is a story where mistakes have dire consequences, and the Seven Kingdoms have done nothing to prepare for the Others; in fact, they are weaker than they've ever been. Stannis will no doubt try to fight them, but he will fail tragically, bringing his arc to a satisfying conclusion through a series of events that parallel what happened to him on the show. Soon after regaining consciousness and becoming the leader of the North (either through Robb's will, the impact made by his resurrection or as regent to Rickon, it doesn't really matter), I believe Jon will realize he no longer has a chance to fight the Others, so he will try to get as many survivors as he can to White Harbor and use the Manderly fleet to ferry them to Braavos. I suspect this is what actually inspired the show's Hardhome episode, and it will play out similarly, with wights swarming the city and Jon narrowly escaping with heavy losses. Once they reach Essos, the Braavosi will most likely not allow the refugees to remain near their city, but the loan agreement Jon hammered out with Tycho will probably pay off here, and the coin will be used to start a colony further south in Andalos, between Pentos and Norvos (both of which are likely to play a role in the next books). I can see all this happening by the 50th chapter (give or take a few), around the point where the Red Wedding happens in Storm. As news of the Others arrive in the Riverlands, people will seek refuge in the Vale of Arryn, but whether they all get it or not, in the second act of the book the Vale will need to be evacuated as well. It's hard to say if Sansa will still be in hiding at this time, but I suspect she won't, and she will probably play a role in allowing the refugees inside the Vale. It's pretty clear that Sansa won't have anything to do with Ramsay in the books, but she may have to face another sadistic psychopath in Euron. If my theory is true, Euron, by now most likely allied with Cersei, will serve as a perfect foil for the second fleet of refugees headed for Essos. Whether Sansa will try to seduce him to gain his support and ships, oblivious to his real character, or he simply captures her during the crossing it's hard to say. If she does succeed in keeping him interested enough make him demote Cersei to salt wife, she could be the "younger more beautiful queen" from the prophecy, although I suspect in the end she won't be very happy with the situation either (the Valonqar will probably be Victarion and it will come completely out of left field for Cersei). In the final act of the book, or early in ADoS, I can see Jon becoming entangled in the Euron plot; if he's not the one sending the Manderly fleet back to the Vale to begin with, he will at least eventually try to rescue his sister. I'm not sure about any details in the south, but I think it's safe to assume both Cersei and Connington/Aegon will ignore the invasion, either because they don't believe it's true or because they don't think it will spread beyond the North. The last remaining great armies of the south will probably slaughter each other just as the Others spill into the North and Riverlands. If she does burn King's Landing, Cersei might end up reigning from aboard Silence, which would be a way for her to eventually interact with Sansa and end up at Victarion's mercy. There may or may not be a grey scale plague triggered by Connington. Either way, I believe the South will fall to the Others as well, but probably not in Winds. As for Dany, well, she is the main reason I came up with this theory. Dany and Jon are the titular Fire and Ice of the series, so their arcs are expected to merge before all is said and done. The only problem is that she is very far away from Jon plot-wise. As of ADwD, she apparently has to unite the Dothraki, subdue the Ghiscari, pacify Volantis, march West, deal with Pentos, get past Euron... and that's just to get to Westeros. Unless Jon somehow comes south by the time Dany arrives, she also has to deal with Cersei, Aegon and Dorne before she can get to him and the Others. Many people don't even think she can cover so many plot lines in two books... not without rushing them all. But what if she doesn't have to cover them? What if Euron is Jon and Sansa's villain, not Dany's? What if Jon himself comes east to meet her half way? Suddenly there's a lot less pressure on Dany to move west. She doesn't have to be rushed ahead to propel the plot. She can follow her own arc, which I believe is using the Dothraki to conquer the entirety of Essos, effectively ending slavery on the continent (something that happens to be very convenient for all the Westerosi refugees, mostly women and children I'd assume, who would have likely ended up as chattel without her arc). Even if she gives up on Westeros entirely, she's still going to meet Jon when she moves to Norvos, or Lys, Tyrosh and Myr. Speaking of the Free Cities... the cherry on the top is that if my theory is true and much of TWoW and ADoS takes place in Essos, then all the side stories set up on this continent in AFFC and ADwD are that more likely to pay off in the end without slowing the story down. Areo Hotah introduced us to Norvos seemingly without a point - he could have easily been Dornish. Well, maybe that's where Jon and Dany meet (and Quentin's mother gets to play a part as well, react somehow to the mother of the dragons her own son died to claim). Maybe Euron is the reason they make an alliance; or maybe Jon slays or claims a dragon before Dany gets to him. What do you guys think? Do you see this being a possibility? Have there been similar theories? I'd like to read or listen to them if you remember any. Do you think it would propel the story or slow it down? Would you be satisfied with a story where Westeros falls to the Others, temporarily or permanently?
  13. That graph has too be wrong, I'm pretty sure Olly had more screen time.
  14. @StepStark I take it you're not convinced. Fair enough. Needless to say, I don't think the counter-arguments you came up with even come close to countering what I said, but if we go any further this will turn into a competition of which one of us can be more stubborn. I'm confident enough with what has been said so far to let other forum readers decide for themselves which one of us is right. In any case, I thank you for having this conversation with me. Whether I agree with you or not, your replies were appreciated, and I look forward to discussing other subjects with you if you are ever inclined. Oh, and this obstinate debate of ours reminded me of a funny old epigram... I'll try to translate it as best as I can: The two of us, with bitter smiles Could kill each other with our eyes Because you think that I'm unwise And I, of you, believe likewise I hope you won't take it the wrong way, it's certainly not meant like that.
  15. I'm not sure if and when HBO said that, but the fact remains that expensive costumes and sets and characters with unrelatable moral values make a very risky combination. It's not unreasonable to think executives would want to reduce those risks. I believe it is important to show the events that make Robb break his promise to Walder Frey. It's a crucial moment for his character, and the show has no discernible reason not to show it other than "we don't see it directly in the books". It's not about the romance at all, but it's kind of inevitable that Robb has to marry someone else for that to happen. I hope you realize they're all related... Large cast means there's less time for each character, there's only so much you can do with their scenes while also trying to advance the plot. Truly good scenes require build-up; it's easy enough to pick one scene and explain how to make it better, but if you do this for every character you end up doubling the length of each episode (no, I don't think giving up their original scenes would be enough). And high costs means that some scenes will be changed or cut if they require a whole new location or characters that aren't really needed anywhere else. But let's get on to your next quote and talk about writing (specifically dialogue): Let's analyze the scene again. The first time they see each other, Talisa is about to saw off a soldier's infected leg. Robb kneels down to help her. At Roose Bolton's remark that she should be taking care of Robb's men, she answers defiantly with the line "Your men are not my men". Is this unrealistic? I say it is not. Talisa is in the Westerlands, where Robb and his men are invaders. In the book, Oxcross is a training camp for new recruits that Robb eliminates so they ton't take his forces in the rear later during the campaign. He is not going to spend much time there either, as he'll soon need to return to the Riverlands to defend them from Tywin. There is no reason for anyone there to consider Robb their rightful king or to show him respect. Sure, they are taking a risk (and some characters pay for it with their lives), but it's not unusual in that world for people to be defiant or "rude" to invaders or captors. Here are a few examples from the book: "Maybe my brother will give me your head." - Sansa to Joff. "Aye, we know you for a sack of steaming dung!" - Mikken to Theon after he takes Winterfell (he insults them three times before being killed); "My father's going to kill you." - one of Ronnet's bastards to Jon Connington after he took Griffin's Roost; "Command them to fight for you, and they would look at one another and say 'Who is this man? He is no king of mine'." - Jon to Stannis, implying that the clansmen wouldn't automatically respect and obey Stannis just because he's a king marching an army through their lands. The following conversation starts like this: Robb: What is your name? Talisa: Talisa. Robb: Your last name? - this implies he thinks she is a noble, since only nobles and noble bastards have last names in Westeros (it is a safe assumptions, since a peasant wouldn't have had the means and opportunity to learn and practice medicine). Talisa: You want to know what side my family fights on? - here, Talisa is confirming his suspicions that she is indeed from a noble family, even though she isn't telling him which. From his point forward, as far as Robb and Talisa's characters are concerned, this is a conversation between two nobles. If you want to paint it any other way to make your argument look stronger, you are misinterpreting the scene. And before you claim not even a noble woman would be "rude" to a king, this is what Catelyn has to say to not one, but two self-proclaimed kings that she is actively trying to win as allies: "Listen to yourselves! If you were sons of mine, I would bang your heads together and lock you in a bedchamber until you remembered that you were brothers". Is this how you talk to a king? Like you're about to pull his ear and give him a spanking? Or are social norms different in this situation and this doesn't count as rude? Now let's look at the rest of Robb&Talisa's dialogue. You assume Talisa is giving him a rational sermon inspired by the principles of modern pacifism, but a more realistic interpretation is that her lines are emotional and come as a reaction to the horrors she just witnessed. Robb gallantly insists that she should give him her name, to which she replies: Talisa: That boy lost his foot on your orders. - instead of an answer, she gives the reason why she is sullen and reproachful towards him. Robb: They killed my father. Talisa: That boy did? Robb: The family he fights for. Talisa: Do you think he's friends with king Joffrey? He's a fisherman's son that grew up near Lannisport. He probably never held a spear before they shoved one in his hands a few months ago. Read the whole conversation and try to put the lines you find so problematic into context. Talisa is upset about the boy whose leg she had to cut off, that had an impact on her. As a healer in the vicinity of Lannisport, she probably tended to him or others like him in times of peace. Her character doesn't have any reason to sympathize with Rob's cause at this point. She is sullen about what happened to that boy (or the Lannister soldiers in general, personified by that boy), and that's why the conversation starts with him and circles back to him every time Robb gives her the opportunity. She isn't giving him a pacifist sermon, nor is she entirely rational; she is venting her frustration, as it is only human to do, sometimes in inappropriate situations. But sure enough, Robb is a good and honorable character, and he sees some wisdom in what she has to say, and in in turn she warms up to him as their dialogue continues. But the themes presented here aren't D&D's invention. They appears in the books as well. Here are few of Septon Meribald's lines from one of Brienne's AFFC chapters: - "Broken men are more deserving of our pity, though they may be just as dangerous. Almost all are common-born, simple folk who had never been more than a mile from the house where they were born until the day some lord came round to take them off to war." - "They don't know where they are or how to get back home and the lord they're fighting for does not know their names, yet here he comes, shouting for them to form up, to make a line with their spears and scythes and sharpened hoes, to stand their ground. And the knights come down on them, faceless men clad all in steel, and the iron thunder of their charge seems to fill the world..." Sure, the show's dialogue is blunter and the context is different (as well as talking about wounded men rather than men turned brigand because of the horrors of war), but the themes, message and even the imagery are almost exactly the same. The dialogue is not stellar (it's not horrible either), but this is very much an adaptation of ideas from the books, and it doesn't deviate too much from how social norms are presented in similar situations in the books, so it is eminently fine. That's all the dissecting I am willing to do, and I think it suffices. P.S. Yes, I didn't reply to every argument you posted, but that doesn't mean I don't read or consider everything. But I have to limit what I say or we'd both spend the whole day posting replies. If I think I already covered something, or it goes without saying given the rest of my response, I'm not going to elaborate. Other times I see what you mean and why you would think something, but I don't necessarily agree with your interpretation or the magnitude of importance you are giving it, and there's not much to say about that other than you're being subjective. In any case, if you're still not even slightly convinced by this post, we can just take a bow and call an end to it anyway. It's been fun (for me), but we've beaten this subject half to death. If we push it any further it's going to break, turn brigand and attack honest topics on the forum.