hallam

How to capture a wight with fewest casualties

97 posts in this topic

20 hours ago, Col Cinders said:

Oh back to the thread title...

If you went to Dragonstone to get dragon glass for fighting the undead and then you left Dragonstone to purposely go past the wall would you oh I don't know take some dragon glass weapons with you?  I know this sounds foolish but hey why not bring a few you know just in case you might want to kill an undead WW or something.  Maybe even a quiver of dragon glass tipped arrows?  nah that would be just silly.

Really, bringing a bunch of expert swordsmen with metal swords seems like the worst possible move. If I were their GM, I wouldn't feel bad if it ended in a total party kill; it's entirely their fault. In fact, I think the GM was too nice to them, tossing in an implausible last-minute group of NPCs that include the only two flaming sword wielders in the world. They should be thinking fire, ranged fire, dragonglass, crushing weapons, some control weapons to deal with the straggler they're hoping to find, fire, fire, and fire. Maybe Jon with Longclaw in case a WW surprises them up close, but that's as much swords as they need.

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1 minute ago, falcotron said:

Really, bringing a bunch of expert swordsmen with metal swords seems like the worst possible move. If I were their GM, I wouldn't feel bad if it ended in a total party kill; it's entirely their fault. In fact, I think the GM was too nice to them, tossing in an implausible last-minute group of NPCs that include the only two flaming sword wielders in the world. They should be thinking fire, ranged fire, dragonglass, crushing weapons, some control weapons to deal with the straggler they're hoping to find, fire, fire, and fire. Maybe Jon with Longclaw in case a WW surprises them up close, but that's as much swords as they need.

And for fuck's sake don't break the mezes. Need some caster who knows good CC and a party that won't break the mezes.

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37 minutes ago, Samwell_Tarly said:

I'm 99% sure Jorahs two daggers he uses are like make shift dragon glass ones

Thank you Sam. Like I said I haven't seen it yet but I would hope for the sake of common sense that they would equip everyone on that raid with something that could kill a wight. He now literally has a boatload of dragon glass so that there's no excuse not to other than poor writing. 

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6 hours ago, Green Knight said:

I appreciate your analysis but I don't think you can pigeonhole someone's storyline like that. To seperate a story into those three basic and seperate categories is to dictate what someone can or can't do with his own tale. Why shouldn't or couldn't you have elements of all three? I'm not picking on you personally so don't take this the wrong way but that article you sighted is just someone's opinion. Doesn't mean it's cannon. I don't think anyone should limit anyone else's creativity. That's what it sounds like the author of that article is doing by categorizing fantasy like that. The LOTR trilogy is a good example of both horror and fantasy mixed as just one example. There are tons of others in both literature and film in my opinion. . . 

I'm not suggesting a cohesive narrative can't involve multiple extra normal elements, just that to resolve and tie in with the normal it has to eventually decide on what it's extra normal is in relation to its primary story. Like Tyrion can marvel over dragons, Dany can love and understand them, whilst Jamie fears them - but the narrative can't really conclude in a satisfying manner without deciding exactly which protagonist is most correct for Westeros as a whole. Because this isn't a story about Tyrion, Dany or Jamie - it's a story about Westeros.

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6 hours ago, DirePenguin said:

Disn't Mormont sent Thorne to diliver a zombie hamd before?

Yeah, but Tyrion was hand at the time and since he hated Thorne he kept ignoring him.   Inevitably the hand Thorne had decayed and stopped moving.  

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10 minutes ago, ummester said:

Because this isn't a story about Tyrion, Dany or Jamie - it's a story about Westeros.

But when it started, it was a story about Tyrion, Dany, and Jaime—and that's why we loved it. The early books and seasons are all about how the characters' internal struggles and interpersonal relationships drive everything, not about the inexorable march of history. Even the big battle scenes that appear every so often are more about seeing how Tyrion, Joffrey, etc. deal with the battle than about the tactics or the action. (Surely nobody read or watched this series as great military fiction.)

Yes, it ultimately has to turn into a story about Westeros—but figuring out how to pull that off without ruining everything that made it work is the hard part, not something that we can expect to automatically happen.

Also, why are you expecting that the story has to end with whoever's most correct for Westeros winning? That "… and Aragon was a good king and wise" thing is exactly what GRRM was reacting to when he started this. If we end up with Dany on the throne, I hope it's still ambiguous whether she's going to live up to her potential, or there's still an uneasy feeling that she might have a bit of her father in her, or that people might not accept her even though she doesn't, or that even a good queen and wise has a lot of trouble in store that may not have good answers, or that she will be great but the realm might be heading for chaos in a couple decades because she doesn't have an heir, or… really anything other than "And Dany was a good queen and wise, and everyone lived happily ever after."

Unless the Night King wins. I can live with "and everyone died happily ever after."

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2 hours ago, falcotron said:

Snip - agree in full

The problem is that the story is inexorably turning into a story where the dragons and the Others are central to everything that happens, while the game of thrones is becoming almost a distraction. That's a major shift in tone, and it's one that has to be planned out and executed carefully. The show seems to be just jerking in fits and starts from one to the other, while the novels seem to be putting the shift off as long as possible. (The latter strategy could certainly work—I personally can't see how to engineer the shift in tone between ADwD and TWoW to pull it off, but then I couldn't have written AGoT either; I'm not an award-winning fantasist who's been struggling near-full-time with the question for years… But we don't yet know that it will.)

Surely GRRM framed his mostly realistic medieval politics show in fantasy for a reason?

There doesn't really need to be a shift in tone, because the fantastical elements have always been part of the story. Is the ending of IT a shift in tone where they finally realise there is some kind of Eldritch horror living beneath the Earth? Not really, because it is hinted at throughout the story. Just as ASoIaF/GoTs hints of magical things rising from the get go.

Pushing dragons and zombies to the forefront isn't the issue, it's the schizophrenic way they are portrayed that is.

Part of this may be that the show has to explain multiple POVs visually - the dragons can be terrifying monsters as far as Westeros is concerned and still be Dany's babies but how does the show hide that Dany's babies are actually horrible monsters until the end without trying to paint them in a sympathetic light along the way?

The bad tonal shift with the wights is obvious though - it was back in season 4 when they did a CG homage to Jason and the Argonauts. That was so out of place in the established world - many didn't notice it, because it looked kind of cool, but I did recognise it as the beginning of an unworkable tonal shift.

Arya, Bran and Jon all have magic in their plots and seem to be suffering from schizophrenic tonal presentation also. Is Arya some kind of faceless horror or a likeable little girl? Has Bran's molten magical brain turned him into some kind of misanthropic wizard or is he still a sympathetic boy? Is Jon Jesus or the son of Satan, being reincarnated by a priestess that has no qualms burning little girls?

Contrary to popular opinion, I think the issue is that they are drawing it out. They know if Jon and Dany are Jesus or Satan, to the story, but they are putting off showing us until season 8. So, in the interim they are filling it with poorly written crap to tie some exciting set pieces together.

BTW - my bet is on all the Stark kids and Dany being kind of more like Satan, or at the least deeply misanthropic magical beings, by the time this all wraps up and they are just putting off the surprise. Why do I think this? Because it works with the tone established at the start.

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7 minutes ago, falcotron said:

But when it started, it was a story about Tyrion, Dany, and Jaime—and that's why we loved it. The early books and seasons are all about how the characters' internal struggles and interpersonal relationships drive everything, not about the inexorable march of history. Even the big battle scenes that appear every so often are more about seeing how Tyrion, Joffrey, etc. deal with the battle than about the tactics or the action. (Surely nobody read or watched this series as great military fiction.)

Yes, it ultimately has to turn into a story about Westeros—but figuring out how to pull that off without ruining everything that made it work is the hard part, not something that we can expect to automatically happen.

Also, why are you expecting that the story has to end with whoever's most correct for Westeros winning? That "… and Aragon was a good king and wise" thing is exactly what GRRM was reacting to when he started this. If we end up with Dany on the throne, I hope it's still ambiguous whether she's going to live up to her potential, or there's still an uneasy feeling that she might have a bit of her father in her, or that people might not accept her even though she doesn't, or that even a good queen and wise has a lot of trouble in store that may not have good answers, or that she will be great but the realm might be heading for chaos in a couple decades because she doesn't have an heir, or… really anything other than "And Dany was a good queen and wise, and everyone lived happily ever after."

Unless the Night King wins. I can live with "and everyone died happily ever after."

So, when you tell a story, you need to give the reader/viewer a protagonist to relate to right? You need to give them eyes to see through and a life to live through. GRRM did this very well with multiple POVs - but, these POVs did not perceive the unfolding story in the same way and all had there own bias which often caused them to be antagonistic to each other. This is much like real people, in real life. But, because GRRM never really picked a side - he kind of made us sympathetic to Dany and the Starks but he did adjust that perception as the story went on - it becomes increasingly obvious his core story is actually bigger than any of those characters.

No, I'm not expecting some good queen or king to win, if that happened it would feel entirely out of place. I'm not expecting anyone to win and I am betting on the Night King showing them how flawed all of their personal journeys were.

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3 minutes ago, ummester said:

Surely GRRM framed his mostly realistic medieval politics show in fantasy for a reason?

Yes, he's talked about it quite a bit. I won't get into all the things behind that decision (unless you're interested), but he definitely knew he was setting out to write an epic fantasy trilogy that started out as a gritty medieval personal/political saga but gradually turned more fantastic.

The thing is, I'm not sure he ever really worked out how to do that. So his trilogy has ballooned into seven oversized and overdue novels, and most of the epic fantasy has been pushed out past the end of the fifth book. To take just one example, I'm pretty sure he doesn't want the Others to be either faceless agents of death or mindless orcs in service of some big bad, but after five novels we still have no idea how they're going to be anything different. That's not the same as IT, because that's just a single novel, plotted out before the first chapter was written.

If you compare (the first three books of) ASoIaF to the "grimdark fantasy" stuff that it's inspired, or even the "post-grimdark" stuff that uses other settings (Richard K. Morgan's anachronistic series, Paul Cornell's urban cop fantasies, whatshisname's stories in Clark Ashton-Smith's old world), they all play the fantasy elements a lot bigger early on. And honestly, that's part of the reason ASoIaF is better than most of what it's inspired—but it may also end up being the reason ASoIaF doesn't finish as well as it starts (or doesn't finish at all).

PS, one last thing on your older post (and hopefully it'll quote the right post and person…):

19 hours ago, ummester said:

I read an article once, can't remember the details, but it suggested literature that deals with the extra-normal falls into basic groups - Sci Fi, Fantasy and Horror - separated by how the extra normal is represented.

I paraphrased Alan Moore to respond to this, but I can do better and go straight to GRRM. In his 2005 Deep Magic interview, he says he never saw a distinction between Heinlein, Lovecraft, and Lieber (and a whole list of other authors). He loved them all as a child, never thought about categorizing them separately, and that's why he writes in all of their genres, because to him they're all one genre. In another interview, he says he's still not sure which of Jack Vance's novels are supposed to be called sci-fi and which fantasy, so it's a good thing he's a writer rather than a critic.

Not that the difference is completely useless, but it only goes so far. There are some writers who make a clear distinction between their fantasy and their horror, but those writers wouldn't have littered the background of their epic fantasy saga with a bunch of Lovecraft references. For GRRM, I think it's most important that we don't understand magic (and if there are characters in-story who think they can, we often see them suffer for their mistake); it shouldn't be just another science as in a John Campbell story or an RPG. And that works for both fantasy and horror. And I think it's working for both ASoIaF and GoT, at least so far.

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41 minutes ago, falcotron said:

Yes, he's talked about it quite a bit. I won't get into all the things behind that decision (unless you're interested), but he definitely knew he was setting out to write an epic fantasy trilogy that started out as a gritty medieval personal/political saga but gradually turned more fantastic.

The thing is, I'm not sure he ever really worked out how to do that. So his trilogy has ballooned into seven oversized and overdue novels, and most of the epic fantasy has been pushed out past the end of the fifth book. To take just one example, I'm pretty sure he doesn't want the Others to be either faceless agents of death or mindless orcs in service of some big bad, but after five novels we still have no idea how they're going to be anything different. That's not the same as IT, because that's just a single novel, plotted out before the first chapter was written.

You can plot out a saga just as well as a single novel. Certainly this does not have to prevent exploration of various themes and ideas on the journey - but without knowing where it's all headed, you will invariably get lost, as GRRM seems to have done.

He forgot the rule of Ps - prior perpetration and planning prevents piss poor performance :D

And this ties into the overall discussion about various extra normal fictional genres. Sure, Sci Fi, horror and pure fantasy can be interchangeable. Magic can remain mysterious, with undefined rules. But it all needs to work within the overall logic of the story and the overall logic of the story is determined by the point (or points) of the story. Aimless creation is fine and can produce some artistically intriguing results but for a narrative to make sense, the writer needs to know why they are writing it and what message they are trying to deliver.

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15 minutes ago, ummester said:

You can plot out a saga just as well as a single novel. Certainly this does not have to prevent exploration of various themes and ideas on the journey - but without knowing where it's all headed, you will invariably get lost, as GRRM seems to have done.

Sure, you can plot it out. And when it actually is a saga with an ending that everything else has to converge to, you probably should. But it is harder.

Actually, it's pretty rare for anyone to write a saga consisting of separate converging plotlines, much less ones that start scattered around the world. Most fantasy sagas are either a single plotline, or they're really more serials than sagas, or both.

There's Lord of the Rings, but that was written as a single work over 12 years and then published all at once, not as 6 books written and published separately every couple years.

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9 hours ago, Green Knight said:

Thank you Sam. Like I said I haven't seen it yet but I would hope for the sake of common sense that they would equip everyone on that raid with something that could kill a wight. He now literally has a boatload of dragon glass so that there's no excuse not to other than poor writing. 

I think that Jorah and Jon are actually the the only ones with Valyrian steel/dragon glass. Beric and Thoro have flaming swords and the the rest have plain steel weapon...... 

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5 hours ago, falcotron said:

Actually, it's pretty rare for anyone to write a saga consisting of separate converging plotlines, much less ones that start scattered around the world. Most fantasy sagas are either a single plotline, or they're really more serials than sagas, or both.

It seems obvious to me Essos was never meant to be dealt with in any detail - it's much less developed than Westeros. I think it was just meant to be a place holder country for Dany to grow in, before she returns to Westeros - but GRRM needlessly expanded for some reason.

Dany could never save Slavers Bay without staying there and I'm pretty sure that was never the original intent of her character with regards to the story in Westeros.

But I haven't read that much fantasy since my younger years (other than ASoIaF) so I don't know if it's been done on other modern sagas. Seems to me he just needs a big map, or even a virtual one, with little pointers for where everyone is that he can move around in time to keep track of it all, as well as a spreadsheet with all the major character journeys over time - perhaps people shouldn't try and take on such expansive endeavours unless they have a solid plan for keeping track of it all.

 

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On 08/17/2017 at 7:25 PM, Forlong the Fat said:

For one thing, I don't think the dragons speak the common tongue.  They're animals.  The only command we know they can follow is to burn stuff.

Actually no. Daenerys has a specific command meaning "fly !"  (I believe she uses it to flee the riot in the Meereen's fight pit)

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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, falcotron said:

Sure, you can plot it out. And when it actually is a saga with an ending that everything else has to converge to, you probably should. But it is harder.

Actually, it's pretty rare for anyone to write a saga consisting of separate converging plotlines, much less ones that start scattered around the world. Most fantasy sagas are either a single plotline, or they're really more serials than sagas, or both.

There's Lord of the Rings, but that was written as a single work over 12 years and then published all at once, not as 6 books written and published separately every couple years.

 

14 hours ago, ummester said:

You can plot out a saga just as well as a single novel. Certainly this does not have to prevent exploration of various themes and ideas on the journey - but without knowing where it's all headed, you will invariably get lost, as GRRM seems to have done.

He forgot the rule of Ps - prior perpetration and planning prevents piss poor performance :D

And this ties into the overall discussion about various extra normal fictional genres. Sure, Sci Fi, horror and pure fantasy can be interchangeable. Magic can remain mysterious, with undefined rules. But it all needs to work within the overall logic of the story and the overall logic of the story is determined by the point (or points) of the story. Aimless creation is fine and can produce some artistically intriguing results but for a narrative to make sense, the writer needs to know why they are writing it and what message they are trying to deliver.

I've long suspected that that is exactly what happened to GRRM with this story. I think he started out with a pretty complex - albeit manageable - outline. He knew where he was going with it and how to tie it all up. But as time went by he started adding things here and there and it got more than he could handle. He got lost in the shear size of the world he created. There are so many seperate plot lines going on that it's almost impossible to tie them all up without dumbing down the writing.

Basically you can just kill off a character and you're done with it, but that is a piss poor way to do it after you've built the character up unless the death has something meaningful to contribute to the story - like the red wedding. That made sense. It added to the story. Contrast that to: Anybody remember how Martell went looking for Dany and ended up getting roasted by the dragons? IMHO, that whole storyline was a complete waste of time. 

The other thing that always struck me about this series as opposed to others is that with most normal ones, as the story plays out, you naturally get invested in certain characters. They do certain things and you find yourself pulling for them. They may die further on in the story but by that time it's probably pretty much played out and you'll get some sort of closure cause your guy was around for most of it.

This series is very different. The characters you start out liking may or may not be there at any given point. In fact most of the characters you like may end up gone, and then you have find someone else to identify with that you may not have liked as much previously. Case in point: Rob and Ned - my two favorite characters in the book. After the beheading of Ned I got fully invested in Rob. After the Red Wedding I found myself scrambling because there was no other character I liked as much. 

This story is about the story, not about any one in it. That makes it very interesting but a bit challenging to invest yourself in as well. 

Edited by Green Knight

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2 hours ago, Green Knight said:

Basically you can just kill off a character and you're done with it, but that is a piss poor way to do it after you've built the character up unless the death has something meaningful to contribute to the story - like the red wedding. That made sense. It added to the story. Contrast that to: Anybody remember how Martell went looking for Dany and ended up getting roasted by the dragons? IMHO, that whole storyline was a complete waste of time.  

Quentyn Martell isn't a waste of time, it's just a different kind of story from Robb's. (Of course he's important to Doran's story and to Dany's, but if that's all he was there for, he wouldn't get a PoV, he'd just get a few pages in other people's chapters at the start and end.)

Quentyn's story takes one of the people who are secondary characters in someone else's story, who have no plot armor and no magic charm (unlike Tyrion, whose travelogue of ordeals plays in counterpoint to Quentyn's), and shows us that they have the same kind of PoV even if you rarely get to read it. If you set off on a heroic quest that you were completely unprepared for, it wouldn't be a tragedy like Robb's, where you succeed against all odds until finally being taken down by the machinations of a brilliant foe, you'd just have things go from bad to worse because these are the kinds of things that happen. And these kinds of stories are happening to countless people in ASoIaF (and in other fantasies, and in real-life histories like the Crusades or the Anarchy), but we rarely give them a thought, because we usually only share stories of the handful that have a heroic victory or a tragic defeat.

3 hours ago, Green Knight said:

The other thing that always struck me about this series as opposed to others is that with most normal ones, as the story plays out, you naturally get invested in certain characters.

One of GRRM's stated influences here is Homer. Reading the Iliad, it's not a story of the heroic Greeks defeating the evil Trojans. People on both sides are written as heroic (even though they're all doing all kinds of unheroic things), and draw you into getting invested in them, and then half of them die. You don't see that as much in modern fiction, especially fantasy, and he wanted to try to capture the same thing.

And I think he succeeded wildly at that part. Robb is a naive idiot, and Tyrion is a selfish asshat, but you still desperately want to know how they're going to get out of each jam, until finally maybe they don't. And that gives the story a kind of power that LotR or Harry Potter, or even most of GRRM's grimdark fantasy followers, don't have.

2 hours ago, Green Knight said:

This story is about the story, not about any one in it. That makes it very interesting but a bit challenging to invest yourself in as well. 

Actually, I think this story is about everyone in it. Including the people you don't like, and the people who you get invested in and have to watch die, often in tragic or horrible ways. In most stories, the character you care about are safe because they have destiny on their side. But in ASoIaF, as in reality, destiny doesn't care about people, even if people (including the reader) do. That's a big part of what makes ASoIaF work, and it's an even bigger part of why AFfC and ADwD are a key part of the story rather than 2000 pages of pointless digression.

Anyway, I agree with you that the story got away from GRRM. And not just the plotlines—the world-building (geography, history, etc.) also turns wonkier as it gets more detailed. But ultimately, while I can wish that he'd done a better job planning it out, I can't really point to anyone who did plan it out and managed something as sprawlingly impressive. I guess the moral is that too much ambition is a problem, but it's still better than not enough ambition?

 

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On 2017-08-17 at 11:21 AM, Fiery Heart said:

I can't imagine how cheesy and underwhelming that would be.

It would be an utter travesty.
Given some of the choices the showrunners that the have made this season, I'm not counting it out.

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