Reading several pages of this thread and loving it. Then I come about the part of Shaggydog and GRRM as a troll. Shaggydog story: I am really starting to wonder if we aren't all being massively trolled by GRRM, and if asoiaf isn't one massive shaggydog story. It fits the definition. I really think he just writes whatever comes into his head at the time and has helpers read through a new manuscript to edit inconsistency for the sake of continuity. I am wondering if the readers don't put more thought into the story and characters than grrm himself. Somehow, sadly, in the end I can see him rich, fat, and happy laughing his ass off about all these people who put their money and thought into something that he finished as anti-climacticaly as possible. It would make him a legendary troll. After Ned got axed GRRM might have said to himself, "holy shit, not only are these idiots still reading, but they are clamouring for me". I can imagine him having drinks with a buddy and he says, "I'll bet I can cut off Robbs head and have his wolves head sewn onto his body with a crown and these fools will still read my books and be more involved than ever" and his buddy says, "No way, your crazy, no one would read your books again after something like that.." and then he did it anyways and here we are. I don't think this is nescessarily absolutely true, but the possibility of it is strong enough to make me think twice about investing so much thought into this story.