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  1. To me, that Cersei could claim the throne is convenient for the writers (usually read: the wrong choice), but in a way, I suppose it works that she's gotten away with it so far. As many others have said, she's surrounded by people who are (at least for now) supporting her position. And as for the people rising up in revolt... it actually makes sense that they haven't. This isn't, say, America, where regular people are raised to believe they have a role to play in the shaping of the country. This is a world with a solid class system. The only time the common people would revolt is when they are suffering, blame the monarchy, and are made to feel like they have no other recourse. As Jorah said, "The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are." In the eyes of the people, committing mass murder and blowing up the Sept of Baelor would be an unforgivable crime... if anybody suspected. Of course, everybody who knows Cersei knows that she was responsible, but the common people don't know Cersei, and the official story is that it was a tragic accident. They may be completely ignorant of her role. And that's about the only reason the common people would have for revolt, at least until winter starts in earnest and they realize they have no food. [Edit] Never mind. I was half-asleep when I wrote that last part. I'd completely forgotten that it was common knowledge that, when the Sept blew up, Cersei was supposed to have been there, because it was the day of her trial. If she wasn't responsible, she'd be dead along with the rest of them. So... yeah, why aren't the people in revolt?
  2. ADWD Dany was frustrating, personally, but not out-of-character - her sole experience with ruling up until that point had been with people like the Dothraki, who are very straightforward, and not at all cunning. It was frustrating to the reader because we had come off of reading KL chapters, so we had long been immersed in the machinations of the court, so the idea of not seeing through what the slavers were doing was a little alien. But Dany hadn't been reading the books. She was new to machinations, and to ruling in general, and had a lack of good counselors. She relied on bad counsel (for lack of anything better) and fell for Hizdahr's schemes. I thought it was very in-keeping, and the only reason we expected otherwise was because we were used to people like Tyrion. In fact, this nicely emphasized just how much she needs Tyrion. (The show, not so much) As traumatized as Jon was by his brothers attacking him, he's far more traumatized by the Night King. He also still had the loyalty of Sam, and Edd, and would have felt the need to be loyal to his other friends' memories (Grenn, Pyp, LC Mormont). He'd also taken an oath, and while the oath said that "it shall not end until my death," and he had, technically, died... he'd been raised by Ned Stark. There's no way he wouldn't be contemptuous of technicalities like that. Especially when there was a war to fight, with the fate of the world at stake. Nobody was calling him "King in the North" at the time. He was still just Ned Stark's bastard... to the world, and to himself. His entire identity... all his pride and honor... was tied into being a Brother of the Night's Watch. It takes more than a trauma to make somebody like Jon turn his back on that. He was raised by Ned Stark, after all. Also, he had no way of knowing that he'd be any good at all to the war effort without being part of the Night's Watch - it would have looked to him like the only way to make any difference. Sansa doesn't bother me nearly as much as Arya. It's not so much that they fought, but how they fought. Arya starts by being suspicious of LF, so she follows him, and finds a note where Sansa pleads with Robb to bend the knee to Joffrey. She's upset. So far, so good. But the way she confronted Sansa just seemed off, and then there was the scene where Sansa found the faces. She's naturally shocked and confused, and Arya... what the hell was with that speech that Arya gave her? Why on earth would she say that? It's not anger, and it's not genuine (Arya never had the slightest wish to become Sansa)... why on earth wouldn't she just tell Sansa a bit about the Faceless Men, and about what she'd gone through? Other than plot. My issue with Arya goes back further, though. She'd joined a cult. One with some pretty significant secrets. They wouldn't just let her go. And I don't think she was just using them... she believed in the Many-faced God, and she believed in the work of the Faceless Men. She was hungry for a father figure at that point. She'd want to stay. Regardless of what the viewer would want... she'd want to stay. That's what I mean when I say that somebody's out of character. I don't mean that it isn't what I want... in fact, there are many things that I do, and do not, want to see, all the time... I do want to see them because they would be cool, or they would be good for my favorite characters, but I don't want to see them because they don't fit with what the character would do. I don't want to see Arya (in the books) continue to serve the Many-Faced God and become an antagonist (and likely a Walter White figure), but that is where she's likely heading, and it's more important for her to stay true to her own characterization than it is to get what the fans want. I was actually thinking of other things entirely. I think he'd be inclined to think the worst of Cersei, and so he wouldn't just jump to the idea of convincing her by showing her a wight. He'd know that she'd see it and, once the shock was over, she'd try to find a way to use it to her own advantage. (Which, I think, is demonizing her a little too much, and the fact that the writers had her actually do it made her rather one-dimensional, but that's how Tyrion would see her). And his trying to keep Jaime alive makes sense, especially given the lack of any rift (on his part) in the show, but Cersei? I'm specifically talking about my complaints, of course. There are a number of things that D&D had happen, that didn't happen in the books, that I have no complaints with, and that I even like. I know others have complaints about Tyrion freeing the dragons on his own, for example, but that made perfect sense for a pragmatist like Tyrion, who was probably also still retained a bit of his old death wish, and who was faced with the prospect of the dragons... his protector's greatest strength... wasting away. He'd also grown up wishing to someday see a dragon, and he'd studied the subject of them extensively. I also liked that Tyrion has actually met Dany in the show, even though... I thought she accepted Tyrion too easily in S6, mainly. He didn't really have to prove himself to her in any real way. She'd grown up fearing the Lannisters and running for her life from Robert, whom the Lannisters served.
  3. Oh. Thanks - I'd forgotten all about that. Ok, that makes quite a bit more sense. Still quite a gamble on LF's part. Not that he's not a gambler, but still... he had no way of knowing that Cersei would just be satisfied with his version of events, and that she wouldn't send a raven to Winterfell demanding that Sansa be returned to KL... or that the Boltons wouldn't comply. Or worse, let Cersei know exactly how Sansa came to Winterfell in the first place. Or both. I think he viewed Cat as a prize. Which is in keeping, not only of his psychology, but also the social politics of the time. I also think he'd deluded himself into thinking that Cat secretly loved him, and would be free to love him openly if he got rid of Ned. You can see it in his face when he gave Cat Ned's bones; he was genuinely shocked when Cat started screaming and throwing things at him. Like it never occurred to him that she might actually be angry with him, or that she might actually have loved Ned. But the point is, whatever else they were, Cat, and later Sansa, were definitely more than just... pawns... to him. And he wasn't just "nice" to Sansa... he also taught her things. Demand by raven, for starters. I agree about the rest. Yes, most of the character stuff is what I fill into the blanks, or what comes from the books, not what's actually in the show. Basically, I think he was obsessed with Cat, and saw Ned as a rival for her affections, so he wanted to get rid of Ned, without Cat suspecting. First mission accomplished (almost). Then she died, so his next mission was to steal Sansa away for himself. And also to climb the ladder. So far, so good. But once he's got Sansa... that's when his actions start to make no sense whatsoever. And again, LF's just one example. Of many. Don't even get me started on Jon leaving the Night's Watch. Others have already said all there is to say about Sansa and Arya in S7 (the only words I can muster are, "what the hell?") And Tyrion, and Dany, and... yeah. *sigh*
  4. That is in fact how it's supposed to work. That would be my point. It doesn't work when characters don't act consistently with their history and their motivations, in order to more easily further the plot, which is usually referred to as "plot driving the characters." That's what's bad. Well-written characters, like the ASOIAF characters, have minds of their own. If you try to write them doing something they wouldn't do in that situation, a good author can feel resistance to the idea, and will heed it. A good author will prioritize knowing the characters, and staying faithful to them (faithful in the sense that they don't write them doing something they wouldn't do, or saying something they wouldn't say), over plot. Not that plot doesn't matter, but it must evolve naturally from the characters doing what they would do. That's what it means to have the characters drive the plot. It sometimes means giving up on plots, or taking a longer road to them, if the characters don't want to comply right away. Characters come first. Always. I get the feeling this is all based on a misunderstanding. This is character-centric fiction, and you're right; that's subjective. What I'm talking about is the distinction between "characters driving the plot" (good) vs. "plot driving the characters" (bad), and the thought processes, on the part of the writer, that lead to each of those scenarios.
  5. Skipping the fanfic thing, because I've already modified the definition in my post to kimim. I'm a bit confused. Didn't the Boltons side with the Lannisters and conspire with them in the Red Wedding? And the Boltons had the Lannisters' blessing to take Winterfell? Why would Littlefinger have the Lannisters' blessing to take out the Boltons, if the Boltons had then defeated Stannis? Most of Littlefinger's behavior towards Cat and later Sansa indicated that he was indeed in love with Cat (in a way), and then viewed Sansa as a viable substitute now that Cat was gone. At least... that's what it looked like to me. Especially given all the lessons he taught Sansa about how to be more cunning... like he was training his future wife to become more like him. I really do think he loved Sansa in a way, and he definitely wanted her for himself, even if you're right and the motive wasn't love. I don't know. Maybe you're right. If so, it wasn't properly explained... or really explained at all... in the show. It looked extremely random. And not at all in keeping with Littlefinger's established motivations. And I still don't get why Cersei didn't just demand that Sansa be turned over, along with any information about how she got to Winterfell, the second she found out where Sansa was. Other than, you know, plot. Not that I wanted a first-season-with-the-prostitutes type scene again. Ever. Again. (God, that scene was awful. There was absolutely no reason for Littlefinger to pour out all his secrets about how he was going to fuck Ned Stark to a northern prostitute he'd just met, and who he was in the process of training. It was just weird, and it took me way out of the story). *ahem* Sorry. Got a little carried away on a tangent there. But anyway, surely they could have found some way to show us his motivations, so it didn't just seem like, "Let's give Sansa to the Boltons, because plot." Like, what if the Boltons somehow found out about Sansa and blackmailed Littlefinger, so he figured out this way around it? That would actually have been in character for everybody concerned. Anyway. Sorry. I'm just ranting now.
  6. Ok. Fanfic: any work by fans based on a world and/or characters that the fans did not invent (and is not real life), that goes beyond the realm of pure adaptation, that isn't specifically licensed by the original work's creator. That's about as far as I can take it, while still including works where there are broad licenses by creators who love when their work inspires creativity from their fans. Pure adaptation: a work that's primarily focused on retelling a story that's been told before, which credits the source material. Variations do not exclude works from this category; only going past, or wildly diverging from, the source material would cause something to be excluded from this category. Characters drive the plot (as opposed to the other way around) in all "good fiction," because that mirrors real life. That is probably the biggest thing, in fantasy especially - that, and world consistency - that enables readers/viewers to suspend disbelief, and to care about the characters. Without suspending disbelief and caring about the characters, there's boredom. Boredom = death for the show. I agree that plot is important. But it should always come from the characters and the world (which is also a character, in a way) and its history. Never from the Hand of the Writer imposing its will.
  7. First, the thing I disagree on: I agree that words must have meanings. But I would contend that the definition I gave ("Fanfic: any work by fans based on a world and/or characters that the fans did not invent (and is not real life), that goes beyond the realm of pure adaptation") is the correct one, and is the commonly-accepted definition anywhere that's not... here. It's the definition that's usually bandied about here ("Fanfic: sucky, amateurish wish-fulfillment writing") that's wildly incorrect, and is very akin to defining "anime" as "porn." (Certainly there is a lot of porn anime, but that definition ignores the wide, diverse category of anime-that-is-not-porn.) Anyway, about the rest: in retrospect, I agree that the GOT world's primary responsibility is to remain internally faithful to the world and characters as established in the show, not in the books. And I fully agree about character consistency within the show, and how that's really just about being a good writer. I guess it was just thinking in terms of how the show started out as an adaptation, and is now moving beyond that, that made me think that the show's responsibility is to be faithful to the characters and world as portrayed in the books, even if it makes some changes to the plot here and there. That said... Littlefinger's actions still make no sense. He wanted Sansa for himself. And he didn't want Cersei to suspect him of having anything to do with the Purple Wedding. Both of those are excellent motivations for not giving Sansa to the Boltons. You listen to the interviews with the writers, and they just shrug it off as Littlefinger being a sociopath... as though that explains everything. It doesn't. It explains nothing. The truth is, they just wanted Sansa to have a more interesting storyline than she had in the books, and they didn't care how she got there. The truth is, this is just one example of many, of the writers prioritizing plot over characters, which is always the wrong approach. Characters drive the plot, not the other way around. Anyway, sorry about that little tangent. Except for your definition of "fanfic," I completely agree with you. Yes (to the first paragraph). Characters should always drive the plot. Not the other way around.
  8. Yes. Yes they are. And they are often very well-written, and deservedly much-loved. Like I said, "fanfic" is in no way, shape, or form, an insult or criticism of any kind, weak-sauced or otherwise. The distinction is useful from an analytical standpoint, because it defines the right mindset for the author to take. Instead of inventing a world, and characters, from scratch, a great fanfiction author immerses himself or herself in a pre-existing world and characters, and takes them forwards.
  9. It's licensed, yes. From a legal standpoint, it's not fan fiction. But it is from a creative standpoint, albeit one with some more information available to them than the average fanfic writer would have. They are writing characters and a world that they did not invent, and they're writing beyond what's in the source material. That makes it fanfic, in all the ways that truly matter. And no, that's not an insult. "Fanfic" is not an insult. That was my entire point. There's nothing stopping fanfic from being great, beyond the limitations of the writers, and their desire to make it great. But, since they started with writing an adaptation, they have to start with the established world and the established characters, when determining where the story goes. They have to let the characters determine their own behavior. Since it's fanfic, they have to follow the rules of what makes for great fanfic, if they want their story to be great. That's what I mean when I say that it's fanfic in every way that truly matters: "fanfic" provides the framework for defining the rules for how to write a great story.
  10. Hi guys, OP here. Sorry I've been away so long. I have read all of the comments, and many of them are fantastic; I just haven't been up to replying until now. First of all, to the later comments in the thread, I need to clarify one thing: I wrote the post on the assumption that the show strives to be great. Not merely good enough to keep people entertained and keep the producers happy, but great enough to inspire people to obsess about the show even when they're not actively watching it. I always assume that show writers want their show to be great, and don't bother watching shows that don't appear to even have that goal. As Joss Whedon once said, a long time ago (this is from memory, so I might get the words wrong), "I'd rather write a show that 10,000 people need to watch, than a show that 1,000,000 people like to watch." My comments are comments on why (not necessarily how, but why) the show is failing to be great, not why the show is failing to be good. It's a failure on the part of their entire writing process, not a failure on the part of this or that plotline. As MrJay pointed out, the show's writers are writing fanfic. I get the sense that he (you) meant that as a slight, but I mean it literally: they're no longer writing an adaptation, because there's no longer anything to adapt; they've been taking the show past what the books have reached. That makes it fanfic. I've written fanfic before (not of ASOIAF, because GRRM doesn't allow that, but of other books and shows), and I've read some fantastic, amazingly-written fanfic. Fanfic can, in fact, be great. Rule #1 of writing great fanfic: be a fan. In the original sense of the word: fanatic. Know the characters and the world inside and out. When you're blessed with a plethora of well-written characters and an interesting, well-developed world with a rich history and social and economic systems, know them all. Know what motivates the characters, what they would do in any given situation. And then let them dictate their own actions, just like real people do, and let the plot evolve from there. There is some leeway there. Character's future behavior isn't set in stone, any more than real people's future behavior is. I repeat... any more than real people's future behavior is. There is some leeway. But not much. Do not, under any circumstances, make the characters do something they would not do in that situation, just to further the plot. That immediately diminishes the greatness of the story, in the most fundamental way: it makes the characters inconsistent, which makes it harder to think of them as real, which makes it harder to care. GRRM does a fantastic job of keeping his characters consistent, while still letting them evolve, and letting them evolve the plot. There's nothing stopping the show's writers from doing the same, even if it's not in quite the same direction. But you have to start with the characters, and the world, not with the plot, and certainly not with a fan wishlist. You have to start with the characters and the world. Otherwise, it will always fall short of greatness.
  11. I wasn't thinking of Aerys specifically, just what I thought I knew about genetics, and what that implies about Tyrion's bastardy. Turns out I was wrong about that.
  12. I agree that the idea of Jaime and Cersei having different fathers is extremely unlikely. And even if it were true, I can't think it would affect much. The idea of Tyrion having a different father makes a certain amount of sense, given his physical description in the books (he isn't even fully blond). And given how much Tywin hated him... not just despised him, but hated him. And it turns out dwarfism is a highly dominant genetic trait, which makes it highly unlikely, if not impossible, for a dwarf to be born of two non-dwarf parents. But honestly, I think either GRRM doesn't know/care about that, or just as likely, Tyrion in the books isn't a typical dwarf (he isn't really described as one).
  13. Honestly, given that he's in love with Danaerys, I don't think the thought of Aerys being his grandfather would bother him nearly as much as the idea of Ned Stark not being his father. Or Bran, Arya, Sansa, Robb, and Rickon not being his siblings, but his cousins. Or his name not actually being "Jon Snow." It would feel like his entire life was a lie. Of course, Ned didn't actually lie to him. "You are a Stark. You may not have my name, but you have my blood." That's just as true now as it was before. But anyway, I see him having an identity crisis for a while, especially if Bran forces the issue on him. And worrying that he doesn't have time for an identity crisis, with the Night King out there. It would take the family banding together to make him realize that, where it counts, he's still the same person he always was, and he's still their family. I'm just worried, after hearing interviews with the writers, that they're going to use this as some bogus material for conflict between Dany and Jon, when the solution to any such conflict is really obvious, and if anything, this solves more problems than it causes. (The primary objection to Dany is that she is foreign. Jon grew up in Winterfell and lived at the Wall. Jon is a bastard, Aegon is not, and therefore he's a good candidate for Dany to marry. They're both good people and good rulers, who want what's best for the people. Dany has the strength, Jon has the legitimacy (especially in terms of not being foreign). And they really like each other, which isn't a prerequisite to marriage in that world, but it helps).
  14. I just finished watching S7. Watched S5-7 in short succession, and I've noticed a pattern in the show's writing that started as early as S5. To be clear, I have no problem with the show deviating from the books. Especially given that books 6 and 7 haven't been published yet, they really had no choice, and even if they did, some deviation would be necessary, unless they wanted to make each season 100 episodes long. I even like some of the changes. Tyrion meeting Dany early on, for example. But I think most people agree, the show has taken a notable downturn since S4. I first noticed it when Littlefinger gave Sansa to the Boltons. The reason... the established reason... that Littlefinger arranged the whole Purple Wedding thing, was because he wanted Sansa. He wanted her for himself. Not only that, but Sansa really had to stay in hiding because Cersei had a "warrant" out for her. The only reason Littlefinger gave Sansa to the Boltons in S5 is because the writers wanted him to -- never mind that it makes no sense with his established motivations -- and the only reason both Sansa and Littlefinger survived S5 is because the writers apparently never considered how Cersei would react. To me, this is the root of the problem. You can hear it in the interviews with them. They constantly talk about what they want to have happen. They keep trying to give the fans the things that they want to have happen. But it's all for nothing if you forget the basic rule: what should happen, is what would happen, given the characters involved. Littlefinger should not have given Sansa to the Boltons, not because we don't want to see that, and not because that's not what happened in the books, but because that's not what Littlefinger would have done. And Cersei shouldn't have allowed it, because that's not what Cersei would have done. ASOIAF has great worldbuilding, it's true. Many fantasy series have great worldbuilding. What makes the series great is the way everything... everything... that happens, in the entire series, feels organic. It feels natural. It feels like everything that happens is a direct result of the characters... all 1,995 diverse characters... acting like they would act in that situation. That's what makes the world feel real. That's what makes us care about the characters. That's what makes the story great. It's inconvenient to write that way, sure. Sometimes, it means you have to give up on the cool things you want to see happen. But it ultimately results in a much better story. S6 and S7 can basically be summed up as, "we want to see this happen, and the fans want to see this happen, so let's make it happen, and that'll make the fans happy." But writing that way is like giving us nothing but ice cream to eat. Sure, it's tasty for a while, but there's no substance there. Without organic character behavior, nothing else works. Some other specific complaints, off the top of my head: Not exactly a character complaint, but there was a change from the books that I didn't care for, just because I didn't care for it. I liked the meaning of the words, "the North remembers." How the entire North banded together against those who betrayed the Starks. While I love Arya, I felt having her responsible for everything cheapened things. Speaking of Arya, the House of Black and White is rather dedicated to its secrets and its religion, and I don't think it would let her go so easily. Even if she wanted to go. Which she wouldn't. At least, not just on the basis of being asked to fulfill a contract. Also speaking of Arya... what the hell was up with her behavior towards Sansa in S7? Seriously. What the hell? What exactly were all of those knights and lords showing up to Arya's/Littlefinger's trial thinking? Did they know in advance what was planned? If so, how is that smart? And if not, why did they just go along with the change of plans? Speaking of Littlefinger's trial: how does it make sense that Littlefinger was behind the cutthroat attack on Bran? That makes no sense. Littlefinger was a) all the way in King's Landing at the time and probably didn't even know that the younger son of Ned Stark had an "accident," and b ) in love with Cat, Bran's mother. Contrast with the explanation in the books, when Cat asked Littlefinger about the dagger, Littlefinger presumably recognized it immediately as belonging to Joffrey (who did it because he heard Robert saying that it would be better for the boy to die, so he did it to make Robert proud), but Littlefinger couldn't very well tell Cat that it belonged to Joffrey, so he made up a story about losing it to Tyrion. Not exactly a character complaint, just something I didn't care for: Danaerys was much more cunning in the show than in the books. In the books, all of us readers could see the machinations going on in Meereen, but she couldn't, when Hizdahr zo Loraq kept asking her to marry him and promised to make the attacks by the Sons of the Harpy stop if she married him. It kind of made sense that she would be naive, given her lack of experience with court machinations, and it emphasized very nicely just how much she needs somebody like Tyrion. I know the writers wanted her to be a strong female character, but... she is strong. Strong and flawless are two very different things. If they'd stayed true to the books in this, it would have shown a strong character who still has room for character growth. Back to character complaints: Why did Tyrion believe that they could convince Cersei to fight alongside them, just by showing her a wight? Why did he ever think that she would see it as anything other than a tool to use for her own ends? That's all Cersei, as portrayed in the show, is capable of seeing. That's always been an established fact. After they saw the army of the dead at Hardhome, why did they think that a small band of people would be enough to abduct a wight? Why would Elia consent to an annulment? For that matter, why would the High Septon, after their marriage was already consummated and she had given Rhaegar two children? And on a related note, why would Lyanna name her child Aegon, when Aegon is also the name of one of Rhaegar's other children? All of this screams "convenience" and "fan service." Not a character complaint, just a practical one: Sam got from Oldtown to Winterfell awfully quickly. In his horse-drawn wagon. With a woman and a toddler. In winter. It took him, what, a week? So... yeah. Those are my thoughts on where the show went wrong. In all fiction, but especially in fantasy, it's always best to start with what the characters would do. Not with what you want them to do. GRRM does this expertly. The show's writers, OTOH, are looking at it backwards. Thoughts?
  15. Check out this old thread: Every post in the three pages of that thread that has quotes in it, has somehow had all replies deleted. Sorry I can't think of a better way to phrase that; just look for any reply in that thread that has quoted text in it, and notice that there's somehow nothing there except the quoted text, anymore.