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Only 2 more books?

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5 hours ago, YOVMO said:

In fact, any actual resolution to the problems that winds up being static is what I would call the most unsatisfying

Someone ending up on the Iron Throne isn't necessarily static, or absurdly Disney, or anything like that.

The fact that the world survived its existential threat and was able to recover relatively easily doesn't mean the ending is automatically Aragorn ruling wisely and well for a century. For example, if we see Dany on the throne, determined to push through even more radical reforms than Aegon V, with dragons and a strong royal army to back her up, and we don't know for sure whether that's going to lead to the first steps toward a modern enlightened monarchy or to tyranny under her son or to chaos as her lords are all either too weak or too recalcitrant… that would mean that ultimately, the day-to-day ruling of a kingdom is just as important as surviving the every-8000-years crises, but that would fit the themes of the story pretty well, not sell them out.

And if Dany is bitter over finding Jon, loving him, losing him to death, and having to make a political marriage to produce an heir, that would mean the personal is sometimes just as important as the grand scale, which also fits pretty well. It may be exactly the same kind of bittersweet as LotR, but GRRM has actually used LotR as an example of what he means by bittersweet, so that wouldn't be too surprising.

So GRRM doesn't need to nearly wipe out the world and set it on the long process of rebuilding from a post-apocalyptic wasteland to make the ending satisfying. Not that he couldn't do that and pull it off if he wanted to, just that it's by no means the only thing he could do.

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6 hours ago, YOVMO said:

The point of the story would be the same as the point of life...nothing. The idea that there has to be a point is contrary to a lot of what I think George has done. The beauty of his books is that there is an underpinning nihilistic realism.

I can see how it could be unsatisfying, but life often is very unsatisfying. I think that my dream ending could be done very well or very poorly depending on that leads up to it over the course of 2 novels.

For whom would it be bitter sweet? Well for me. 30 years of beloved characters dead, no answers to some long standing questions that I have had for decades all very bitter...but sweet in the sense that the world has been cleansed and is starting a new with hope like after Noah gets off the arc.

I don't think it is lazy. I think that it shows the larger piece of the puzzle....Mike Tyson said it best, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.

It isn't shock value either. Not to me at least. There has been all these binary sets ups of Magic Versus Science and Nobility Versus Peasantry and the sort, but in the end there is this doomsday cult that has been playing an increasingly important roll since the first book. It would be ultimately more satisfying than some absurd ending where someone sits the iron throne and there is peace and the force ghosts of Jon Arryn, Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark look on approvingly as ewoks dance around kings landing. In fact, any actual resolution to the problems that winds up being static is what I would call the most unsatisfying. Instead having a new spring be a literally new spring where flowers are blooming and the whole wheel starts over again would be really terrific to me, very Finnegan's Which begins midsentence and ends, some 900 pages later, in the beginning of the sentence that opens the book. That first word, btw, was riverrun which is, by grrm's own admission, where he gets the name for Riverrun from.

Not a lot of people complaining that Joyce's Finnegan's Wake is lazy and I have no reason to think that GRRM ending this series in a post apocalyptic spring with the world starting over anew would be lazy either.

A story has a point otherwise it wouldn't get written.  Stories don't just come to be out of the void.  I don't mean it needs a moral or a message, but GRRM has spent years showing his characters's struggles and borrows from Faulkner in saying the only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.  That's not the cornerstone or the concern of a nihilist but a realist who wants to show the messy complexity of human existence and the troubles, sometimes nightmarish, that this characters go through.

Each to their own but the idea that an entitre species has to die because God / in story powers decided to press the factory reset button is in no way sweet or satisfactory.  We might tell the story of Noah's ark as a children's story with all the animals going up two by two sung to a nursery rhyme but I fail to see how Noah and a few animals being saved from what is tantamount to a planetary genocide is a good example of how a story should go.

Mike Tyson, though very quotable in this case, was not an author.  Robb Stark got punched in the face at the Red Wedding and a lot of other characters have too but the idea that everyone does takes away from any dramatic tension or realism.

The doomsday cult is of course merely one of many factions or actors in the novels.  There is no reason to give them any more weight in deciding how the story is going than the Dothraki or the Volantese.

And again, each to their own, but the idea that everyone dies is more satisfactory than a peaceful ending seems incomprehensible to me.  GRRM isn't writing Disney and he has said it will be bittersweet so I don't think the peace that may descend on Westeros or Planetos at the end will be the saccharine children's fable you fear.  GRRM is after all concerned in showing us the light and the dark side of human nature and of course human nature doesn't change.

It seems to me the ending you have in mind might suit a novella or a short story in an anthology but not an epic the author has poured so much effort into over the decades.

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The one thing that gives me pause is if there is to be an eighth book, why that hasn't been spoken of yet. I suppose George could wait until TWOW is published to announce any changes in the series' length, but that doesn't seem to be his style. I can't imagine how the story could be concluded in only two books, but I would imagine that he would have realized this by now as well after working on TWOW for six years. 

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12 hours ago, falcotron said:

Someone ending up on the Iron Throne isn't necessarily static, or absurdly Disney, or anything like that.

The fact that the world survived its existential threat and was able to recover relatively easily doesn't mean the ending is automatically Aragorn ruling wisely and well for a century. For example, if we see Dany on the throne, determined to push through even more radical reforms than Aegon V, with dragons and a strong royal army to back her up, and we don't know for sure whether that's going to lead to the first steps toward a modern enlightened monarchy or to tyranny under her son or to chaos as her lords are all either too weak or too recalcitrant… that would mean that ultimately, the day-to-day ruling of a kingdom is just as important as surviving the every-8000-years crises, but that would fit the themes of the story pretty well, not sell them out.

And if Dany is bitter over finding Jon, loving him, losing him to death, and having to make a political marriage to produce an heir, that would mean the personal is sometimes just as important as the grand scale, which also fits pretty well. It may be exactly the same kind of bittersweet as LotR, but GRRM has actually used LotR as an example of what he means by bittersweet, so that wouldn't be too surprising.

So GRRM doesn't need to nearly wipe out the world and set it on the long process of rebuilding from a post-apocalyptic wasteland to make the ending satisfying. Not that he couldn't do that and pull it off if he wanted to, just that it's by no means the only thing he could do.

To each their own. For me the ending you describe would be as hokey as Star Wars ewok dancing and force ghosts. In the end, if George ever writes the damn books (something seemingly increasingly unlikely) my guess is that he will do it, as he has done everything else, masterfully and whether it is what I guess at or otherwise I imagine being quiet pleased with it.

Dany on a throne with an army and dragons, however, would literally make me groan out loud and wonder why I bothered reading the books in the first place.

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11 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

And again, each to their own, but the idea that everyone dies is more satisfactory than a peaceful ending seems incomprehensible to me.  GRRM isn't writing Disney and he has said it will be bittersweet so I don't think the peace that may descend on Westeros or Planetos at the end will be the saccharine children's fable you fear. 

As you say, to each their own. You and I totally disagree on what would be bittersweet. In the end, should grrm finish the series, the end will be something that he finds bitter sweet...maybe a sentiment you and I will agree with or not. For me, the real beauty of asoiaf is in its post modern nihilism. For others it might be elsewhere. Either way, as I said before, George has a master hand and I truly believe that whatever his ending is will be satisfying whether my guesses and hopes are right or wrong. The bigger issue is to get the books out.

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It is doable in 2 books.  Now that Winter is here, and most of the crops lost to war, there won't be as many feasts or meals to describe and that will save George about 100 pages a book.

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2 minutes ago, Chris Mormont said:

It is doable in 2 books.  Now that Winter is here, and most of the crops lost to war, there won't be as many feasts or meals to describe and that will save George about 100 pages a book.

I know you are just making a joke but what is it with readers resenting the descriptions of food?  For me, they are a part of the rich world building that GRRM has done and they help to create an immersive experience.

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43 minutes ago, White Ravens said:

I know you are just making a joke but what is it with readers resenting the descriptions of food?  For me, they are a part of the rich world building that GRRM has done and they help to create an immersive experience.

You cannot have narrow, narrow intimate detailed focus, and vast, vast breathtaking scope, always, and all the time.  God Almighty can have that; but mere mortals like you, I and GRRM cannot.  Something has to give; or he will never finish his story.

LOTR often had a narrow focus.  But in the mid-section of the book, when the heroes were scattered to the 4 winds, Tolkien tended to adjust his style and focus to allow for a broader scope, without getting too bogged down in details.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Lew Theobald said:

You cannot have narrow, narrow intimate detailed focus, and vast, vast breathtaking scope, always, and all the time.  God Almighty can have that; but mere mortals like you, I and GRRM cannot.  Something has to give; or he will never finish his story.

LOTR often had a narrow focus.  But in the mid-section of the book, when the heroes were scattered to the 4 winds, Tolkien tended to adjust his style and focus to allow for a broader scope, without getting too bogged down in details.

 

 

I get where you are coming from but I disagree.  I like the books exactly the way they have been written and I think the number of words devoted to food descriptions is highly exaggerated by the people that have strangely decided to take exception to them.  You probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that I love cooking and eating food and I have a great appreciation for the magic that happens in real life when a good wine is perfectly matched with the flavours of a specific meal.  I believe that the food descriptions enhance the story and that they are often used to support the mood of the scenes in which they are described.  The food served at the Red Wedding, for example, is unappealing and the most appetising thing served is undercooked lamb.

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22 minutes ago, White Ravens said:

I get where you are coming from but I disagree.  I like the books exactly the way they have been written and I think the number of words devoted to food descriptions is highly exaggerated by the people that have strangely decided to take exception to them.  You probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that I love cooking and eating food and I have a great appreciation for the magic that happens in real life when a good wine is perfectly matched with the flavours of a specific meal.  I believe that the food descriptions enhance the story and that they are often used to support the mood of the scenes in which they are described.  The food served at the Red Wedding, for example, is unappealing and the most appetising thing served is undercooked lamb.

I cannot argue with your preferences, except that if you think these preferences are somehow consistent with the story ever finishing, you are almost certainly wrong.

Again, something's got to give.  GRRM can get away with a food description or two if he drops something else.  Like maybe sex scenes.

Or how about first refocusing the story, so that the 20+ odd plot threads unite into 2 or 3 plot threads supported by 6 or 7 POV  characters.  Once he does that, maybe then he can afford to waste time on poo scenes, pee scenes, sex scenes, itchy underwear scenes, food scenes, turtle scenes, squirrel scenes, bath scenes, and still have time to tell us exactly what everyone is wearing.

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8 minutes ago, Lew Theobald said:

I cannot argue with your preferences, except that if you think these preferences are somehow consistent with the story ever finishing, you are almost certainly wrong.

Again, something's got to give.  GRRM can get away with a food description or two if he drops something else.  Like maybe sex scenes.

Or how about first refocusing the story, so that the 20+ odd plot threads unite into 2 or 3 plot threads supported by 6 or 7 POV  characters.  Once he does that, maybe then he can afford to waste time on poo scenes, pee scenes, sex scenes, itchy underwear scenes, food scenes, turtle scenes, squirrel scenes, bath scenes, and still have time to tell us exactly what everyone is wearing.

GRRM has already stated that as his characters converge he will eliminate POV characters (kill them).  He has also said that he doesn't intend to introduce any new POV characters.  So there you go, simplicification of the plot will happen.  His excellent stories aren't going to improve by making all of the changes you are promoting.  

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7 minutes ago, White Ravens said:

GRRM has already stated that as his characters converge he will eliminate POV characters (kill them). 

The key word is "will".  He does not claim to have done this already.  Until he gets there, getting there is a problem, one that will be slowed to a crawl by any attempt to combine intimate intimate focus with vast vast scope.

Quote

He has also said that he doesn't intend to introduce any new POV characters.  

I should hope not.  The problem results from the number of separated POVs and plot threads he already has.

Quote

So there you go, simplicification of the plot will happen.  

LOL!  If wishing things made them so, this series would have been finished 15 years ago!

Edited by Lew Theobald

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2 hours ago, White Ravens said:

I know you are just making a joke but what is it with readers resenting the descriptions of food?  For me, they are a part of the rich world building that GRRM has done and they help to create an immersive experience.

Because they are pretty much just random listings of food.

 

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11 hours ago, YOVMO said:

As you say, to each their own. You and I totally disagree on what would be bittersweet. In the end, should grrm finish the series, the end will be something that he finds bitter sweet...maybe a sentiment you and I will agree with or not. For me, the real beauty of asoiaf is in its post modern nihilism. For others it might be elsewhere. Either way, as I said before, George has a master hand and I truly believe that whatever his ending is will be satisfying whether my guesses and hopes are right or wrong. The bigger issue is to get the books out.

I think our understanding or at least definition of bittersweet is poles apart.  I always understood his intent as to deliver an ending that was both bittersweet for the reader and for his characters, those that remian at any rate.  I don't know what a "post-modern nihilist" considers bittersweet but it appears to be changing the meaning of the word so far beyond it's actual meaning as to render your use misleading.  If you just said you wanted an apocalyptic nihilistic ending I'd understand what you meant though I would not share your wishes.

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12 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

I think our understanding or at least definition of bittersweet is poles apart.  I always understood his intent as to deliver an ending that was both bittersweet for the reader and for his characters, those that remian at any rate.

In my example Arya and Jon are "alive" yet warged into their wolves. So for them it would be bitter sweet.

12 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

  I don't know what a "post-modern nihilist" considers bittersweet but it appears to be changing the meaning of the word so far beyond it's actual meaning as to render your use misleading.  If you just said you wanted an apocalyptic nihilistic ending I'd understand what you meant though I would not share your wishes.

I don't want a nihilistic apocalyptic ending. That's the point. I am a reader. I want to see resolution. I also want to see world peace, free rum and a mountain of jellybeans but ya can't always get what ya want. In my eyes, having dany, or jon, or fAegon or anyone sit the iron throne is such an absurdly childish ending so such a gritty real life story that rather than bitter sweet it would be depressing. Seeing that the machinations of people and families and guilds all, like the effords of golden lads and girls in Cymbeline, according to Billy S, comes to dust is a far more bittersweet ending -- not to mention in line with grrm's ongoing view that the plotting and planning of the great houses are made of first rate hubris and arrogance and destructive to the world.

 

But like you say, we have a different vision on this and if we found 100 people my guess is we would get at least 75 different versions. In the end, should grrm finish, it is his that matters and I trust him. THis was merely my own wheels spinning at the lack of new material, one thing I am sure we both have in common ;) 

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17 minutes ago, YOVMO said:

. In my eyes, having dany, or jon, or fAegon or anyone sit the iron throne is such an absurdly childish ending so such a gritty real life story that rather than bitter sweet it would be depressing.

Yes and having Jon and Arya jump around as magical wolves, running free as the wind blows, frolicking in flower meadows and having a litter of cubs, is "gritty and realistic" :rolleyes: That's fanfic territory right there. Do they name their cubs Eddard, Catelyn, Brand, Rickon, Robb and Sansa, as well? 

And, just saying in the real world people ending up on a throne of a country that previously had fallen to civil war has happened considerably more often than people having their minds transplanted into animals.

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44 minutes ago, YOVMO said:

In my example Arya and Jon are "alive" yet warged into their wolves. So for them it would be bitter sweet.

I don't want a nihilistic apocalyptic ending. That's the point. I am a reader. I want to see resolution. I also want to see world peace, free rum and a mountain of jellybeans but ya can't always get what ya want. In my eyes, having dany, or jon, or fAegon or anyone sit the iron throne is such an absurdly childish ending so such a gritty real life story that rather than bitter sweet it would be depressing. Seeing that the machinations of people and families and guilds all, like the effords of golden lads and girls in Cymbeline, according to Billy S, comes to dust is a far more bittersweet ending -- not to mention in line with grrm's ongoing view that the plotting and planning of the great houses are made of first rate hubris and arrogance and destructive to the world.

 

But like you say, we have a different vision on this and if we found 100 people my guess is we would get at least 75 different versions. In the end, should grrm finish, it is his that matters and I trust him. THis was merely my own wheels spinning at the lack of new material, one thing I am sure we both have in common ;) 

Jon and Arya are human.  There is nothing bittersweet in losing that humanity and finally losing all trace of themselves in their wolves.  You're just left with two wolves in the end.  That's a sad and desolate ending.

As to the bolded I hate to break it to you but GRRM's criticism of LOTR was not that Aragorn became king but that "good King Aragorn ruled wisely and justly" throughout his reign like the kings in folk stories or fairy tales.  His famous rhetorical question about Aragorn's tax policy is about how JRRT ignored the realities of life: was there never a famine or plague in Gondor under Aragorn, were there never raids by the Easterlings or Corsairs of Umber, was he never criticised for not doing enough to prevent those or to instigate land or tax reform to help the suffering peasantry (who are totally invisible in LOTR of course)?

GRRM is a different sort of author and he has gone out of his way to show that whether the good guys "win" or not life is full of hardship and conflict.  We know that whoever is ruler will not usher in an age of nobility of spirit and universal well-being because human nature doesn't change and real life doesn't work like that (Dany in Meereen, Tyrion as Hand, etc).  That you consider anyone sitting the IT at the end of the story to be "absurdly childish" strikes me as a frankly silly over reaction.  It's as if you're not prepared to grant GRRM the ability to write a non-Disney ending to a story - that apparently has to involve an extinction event - and are, well, gnashing your teeth at the idea of it.

And if an ending that gives any hint of happiness to any of the characters depresses you I don't know what to say.  Maybe you're a fan of the death cult you attach so much importance to in story :dunno:

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7 minutes ago, the trees have eyes said:

And if an ending that gives any hint of happiness to any of the characters depresses you I don't know what to say

well I see you are pretty tied into your belief in this nice little clean ending. Disagreements aside here I am sure we can agree that we hope the books come out and one day we will know.

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18 hours ago, Lew Theobald said:

The key word is "will".  He does not claim to have done this already.  Until he gets there, getting there is a problem, one that will be slowed to a crawl by any attempt to combine intimate intimate focus with vast vast scope.

I should hope not.  The problem results from the number of separated POVs and plot threads he already has.

LOL!  If wishing things made them so, this series would have been finished 15 years ago!

LOL indeed.  I'm far more interested in letting GRRM write his excellent books however he wants than I am in reading the streamlined Lew Theobald version.

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