SoftSpot

ASOIAF becoming a GOOD VS BAD story

33 posts in this topic

The success of ASOIAF novels has been IMO greatly due to the "grayness" of their charatcters. As GM said himself:

It is certainly a genuine, legitimate topic as the core of fantasy, but I think the battle between Good and Evil is waged within the individual human hearts. We all have good in us and we all have evil in us, and we may do a wonderful good act on Tuesday and a horrible, selfish, bad act on Wednesday, and to me, that’s the great human drama of fiction. I believe in gray characters, as I’ve said before. We all have good and evil in us and there are very few pure paragons and there are very few orcs. A villain is a hero of the other side, as someone said once, and I think there’s a great deal of truth to that, and that’s the interesting thing. In the case of war, that kind of situation, so I think some of that is definitely what I’m aiming at.

However, all the novels are building up to a finale where there are some obviously BAD/BLACK agents - i.e. the Others - who are PURE EVIL coming down to destroy the world of men, who may be better or worse but once assessed against the Others, are clearly the GOOD guys most of us is going to root for.

Aren't you afraid that ultimately the last novels will lose all of their nuances and cleverly described inner morality concerns, only to become just a great battle of BAD GUYS vs HUMANITY?

How is GM going to manage the situation the books have been building up to in a way that's not obvious and caricatural?

Don't you think this will be the greatest challenge while writing the next books?

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Or it may be that humans are the "bad guys" while the "Others" try to survive from extinction caused by Humans and their actions!

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Well, I think that "grey" characters fighting against a common enemy can also make a very interesting read. For instance, imagine Ramsay leading an heroic charge against the Others. Would you be rooting for him, or you would prefer him to die leaving thousands of Northern civilians at their mercy? Or imagine Jaime and Jon having to fight side by side, the Golden Company having to aid Bloodraven, or Melisandre's followers and the Faith Militant holding a keep together. It has potential.

 

 

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I never thought that it would end with just all the humans killing al the Others and thus ending the Long Night, again. Because that happened 8000 years ago as well. Something different will go down. Not that there will be no long night or that the Others will 'win'. But more of a "pact'. GRRM has something special up his sleeve, that is for sure.

28 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

Well, I think that "grey" characters fighting against a common enemy can also make a very interesting read. For instance, imagine Ramsay leading an heroic charge against the Others. Would you be rooting for him, or you would prefer him to die leaving thousands of Northern civilians at their mercy? Or imagine Jaime and Jon having to fight side by side, the Golden Company having to aid Bloodraven, or Melisandre's followers and the Faith Militant holding a keep together. It has potential.

 

 

Interesting as well! I could see this. Overcoming their own desires to fight the common enemy together. The Others are then a sort of metaphor for giving up your own desires to help each other.

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No time has been wasted on characterising the Others, they may as well be a natural phenomenon. The struggles between characters will remain the story until the last few chapters. 

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6 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

No time has been wasted on characterising the Others, they may as well be a natural phenomenon. The struggles between characters will remain the story until the last few chapters. 

Doubtful, movie makers are still making this mistake. Bad guys need invested in too. 

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No the Others must be one dimensional, single minded evil. To make them otherwise is to undermine the theme that westeros is bringing about its own destruction by playing the game of thrones when there is such an obvious inevitable apocalyptic threat that they should be uniting against.

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7 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

No the Others must be one dimensional, single minded evil. To make them otherwise is to undermine the theme that westeros is bringing about its own destruction by playing the game of thrones when there is such an obvious inevitable apocalyptic threat that they should be uniting against.

Okay, if you say so. 

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On 3/2/2017 at 4:04 PM, The hairy bear said:

Well, I think that "grey" characters fighting against a common enemy can also make a very interesting read. For instance, imagine Ramsay leading an heroic charge against the Others. Would you be rooting for him, or you would prefer him to die leaving thousands of Northern civilians at their mercy? Or imagine Jaime and Jon having to fight side by side, the Golden Company having to aid Bloodraven, or Melisandre's followers and the Faith Militant holding a keep together. It has potential.

 

 

This is true, to some extent, but still we would see everybody teaming-up to fight the super-enemy...and then, supposing they win, going back to same old conflicts? It seems to be that the optimum would be to have the incumbernt Others having a bigger and bigger impact on characters' choices...but never quite invading Westeros!

Edited by SoftSpot

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On 4/2/2017 at 8:22 AM, chrisdaw said:

No time has been wasted on characterising the Others, they may as well be a natural phenomenon. The struggles between characters will remain the story until the last few chapters. 

So you are expecting an invasion and resolution in the very last chapters? It could be...sometimes I have the impression that the announced invasion is kept on hold by GM because he has still to make up his mind clearly on what to do with them...just my impression, however...

Edited by SoftSpot
typo

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1 hour ago, SoftSpot said:

This is true, to some extent, but still we would see everybody teaming-up to fight the super-enemy...and then, supposing they win, going back to same old conflicts?

If the death toll of a civil war that has been little more than a distraction has been as high as it has been, an full scale invasion from the Others will decimate most of Westeros. All the wannabe kings and valiant knights are likely to die. So the old conflicts will be forgotten because the old leaders will be dead.

And the few survivors will be forced to work together to rebuild Westeros. They'll have plenty of empty land to distribute among them, anyway.

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2 hours ago, SoftSpot said:

So you are expecting an invasion and resolution in the very last chapters? It could be...sometimes I have the impression that the announced invasion is kept on hold by GM because he has still to make up his mind clearly on what to do with them...just my impression, however...

Invasion and defeat will not be so soon behind each other. The wall has to fall, then they've got to win their way south, Westeros has to be on the brink of total defeat, and then will come a resolution in the final chapters. And during all this the lead POV's are going to very messily butt heads, ally or destroy each other.

The Others themselves are not the story, they just serve character arcs. Some characters will cower in their coming, some will not be able to see past themselves to immobilise in common cause against the threat, some will turn to terrible means like sacrificing other people to defeat them, others will necessarily sacrifice their honour, others will sacrifice themselves, and some will hold true. The Others are a catalyst to bring to culmination the central character arcs, they'll be loosed when the character arcs are in place and ready for them.

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On 2/3/2017 at 6:23 AM, SoftSpot said:

The success of ASOIAF novels has been IMO greatly due to the "grayness" of their charatcters. As GM said himself:

[...]

Don't you think this will be the greatest challenge while writing the next books?

Unless you're totally wrong, the Others are not a threat and GRRM has just been leading us on with that bit of ridiculousness as the real story emerges.  

We know the Others are nasty - they're hard, maybe impossible, to kill without obsidian and their weapons can freeze and shatter human weapons, not to mention their ability to raise dead things to fight for them.  But the Wall was built for a reason.  They've got pretty much absolute control of the North now.  Passing the Wall should be impossible for them.  Sure, there are legends of a horn that can take down the Wall and someone may even have it, but there's no reason to believe that the horn would work and the Wall would come down.  Nah, I think the Others are a distraction.  A bit of misdirection to mess with our heads.  

Or not. 

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I believe GRRM himself has said the Others are very misunderstood. I don't think they are this great evil that people south of the wall have made them out to be, and they, like almost everyone else in the series, are more gray than you think.

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23 hours ago, SuperMario said:

I believe GRRM himself has said the Others are very misunderstood. I don't think they are this great evil that people south of the wall have made them out to be, and they, like almost everyone else in the series, are more gray than you think.

Well, if my theory holds and they were created by the Singers (CotF), then they are eco terrorists or something.

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I don't think it ever will. GRRM is a hippie who grew up during the Vietnam War. Basically everything he writes is anti-war, and any battles or war therein are meant to show how horrible war is.

Personally I think the Others are a metaphor for the tribal tendency to demonize members of another group, hence the name Other. I don't think they're inherently evil. For all we know they could be mutated humans who can't reproduce and they're trying to turn human babies into Others to continue their species.

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On 2/3/2017 at 8:23 AM, SoftSpot said:

The success of ASOIAF novels has been IMO greatly due to the "grayness" of their charatcters. As GM said himself:

It is certainly a genuine, legitimate topic as the core of fantasy, but I think the battle between Good and Evil is waged within the individual human hearts. We all have good in us and we all have evil in us, and we may do a wonderful good act on Tuesday and a horrible, selfish, bad act on Wednesday, and to me, that’s the great human drama of fiction. I believe in gray characters, as I’ve said before. We all have good and evil in us and there are very few pure paragons and there are very few orcs. A villain is a hero of the other side, as someone said once, and I think there’s a great deal of truth to that, and that’s the interesting thing. In the case of war, that kind of situation, so I think some of that is definitely what I’m aiming at.

 

There might be two sides to every story ... err, two sides to every war, but telling both sides of the story would be narrative suicide because it kills the sense of tension. In the real world, wartime leaders always portray their conflict as GOOD vs. EVIL. It's simply Psychology 101. How do you motivate your people to fight and kill good people? Hence, the enemy is always EVIL.. wink, wink.

For example, what would happen if the Nazi leaders said "We're good people and our enemies are good people also. So let's just go out and murder them by the millions!" Errr... no that definitely does not work. Instead, the Nazi's said "We are the good honest people. Our enemies are SO SO SO EVIL that we need to kill all of them. ALL OF THEM!"

So when George Bush the younger says "Our enemies are an AXIS OF EVIL." You just know that he's preparing for war.  

Edited by MorgulisMaximus

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No, I don't think it will end up being "black and white", nor do I think GRRM ever intended for the Others to represent "pure evil". He's said in the next books we will learn more about the Others than we ever have and they will probably be much more fleshed out.

The only character I'm worried about being too one-dimensional as a villain is Euron tbh.

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On 2/7/2017 at 6:43 PM, Praetor Xyn said:

For all we know they could be mutated humans who can't reproduce and they're trying to turn human babies into Others to continue their species.

Which is why they're going around murdering tons of people who pose no threat to them?

GRRM has included plenty of bad guys in this story that are more or less pure evil, so I don't think the Others will represent that big a change.

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