Rhaegar Targaryen's Ghost

The Bittersweet Ending That Must Be

107 posts in this topic

1 minute ago, Khorkalba said:

^ I'm hoping for quite a bit more ambiguity than wondering whether Jon will make a good king or whether Sansa can ever trust men again *yawn* (thank god you're not the one writing ASoIaF).

A satisfyingly ambiguous ending would be the Others being defeated only after they've wiped out most life on Westeros and completely destroyed all seats of power, including King's Landing.

This would raise the interesting question - what now? There's no throne to sit on, and no seven kingoms to rule. How do the survivors start over and build a better world?

I tend to think that would be too much ambiguity. I think GRRM wants to have some sense of how things have worked out for the main protagonists who survive -- just not every detail.

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I think most of westeros dying makes no sense. good thing your not writing the story either. 

the ambiguity has to center around the core characters key personal conflicts/ traumas/ contradictions. 

The clearest one for me in Daenerys since on the one hand she is a revolutionary yet on the other hand she represents a return to the status quo and restoration. Its a lot easier to be revolutionary when your the last of your line and fighting to get into power then when you have power and actually have kids you can pass that power to.

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More GRRM talking about LOTRs as the ideal bittersweat ending 

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Here are some more quotes from GRRM about the bittersweet ending:

Quote

I think there’s going to be a bittersweet ending. I’ve always taken my influence from J.R.R. Tolkien and if you’ve read Lord of the Rings, Sauron is defeated and the ring is destroyed in the end but it’s not a happy, happy ending. There’s a real sense of things lost too, and I found that very powerful and very moving. So I think my ending will also have a bittersweet tone, I hope, if I can bring it off the way I want to bring it off.

https://youtu.be/HaFViB8mZ9I?t=2m15s

Quote

The number one question people ask me about the series is whether I think everyone will lose—whether it will end in some horrible apocalypse. I know you can’t speak to that specifically, but as a revisionist of epic fantasy—


[GRRM]: I haven’t written the ending yet, so I don’t know, but no. That’s certainly not my intent. I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet. I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord of the Rings. It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives. And the scouring of the Shire—brilliant piece of work, which I didn’t understand when I was 13 years old: “Why is this here? The story’s over?” But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve it or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge.

http://observer.com/2015/08/george-r-r-martins-ending-for-game-of-thrones-will-not-be-as-brutal-as-you-think/

Quote

"I think you need to have some hope," he said, referencing the manners in which sagas end. "We all yearn for happy endings in a sense. Myself, I’m attracted to the bittersweet ending. People ask me how Game of Thrones is gonna end, and I’m not gonna tell them … but I always say to expect something bittersweet in the end, like [J.R.R. Tolkien]. I think Tolkien did this brilliantly. I didn’t understand that when I was a kid — when I read Return of the King." Now, however, he notes that Tolkien's use of allegory to reveal life's grittier truths (the tragedy of post-war Britain in the late ’40s and early ’50s, in the case of Lord of the Rings), even in the face of a well-earned victory is brilliant. You can't just fulfill a quest and then pretend life is perfect, he said. Life doesn't work that way.

http://www.vulture.com/2015/11/george-r-r-martin-northwestern-talk.html

Edited by Shmedricko

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6 minutes ago, Shmedricko said:

Reminds me of Littlefinger's quote this year. 

"One of two things will happen-- either the dead will defeat the living, in which case all our troubles come to an end, or life will win out"

the only thing we can truly say from the bittersweat ending is that life will win out and all of the living's troubles will not come to an end

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9 hours ago, Khorkalba said:

A satisfyingly ambiguous ending would be the Others being defeated only after they've wiped out most life on Westeros and completely destroyed all seats of power, including King's Landing.

Luckily you're in the minority, and luckily this doesn't seem to be the end GRRM has in mind.
A Song of Ice and Fire ending in the near extinction of life on Westeros would be absolutely horrible.
 

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3 minutes ago, MinscS2 said:

Luckily you're in the minority, and luckily this doesn't seem to be the end GRRM has in mind.
A Song of Ice and Fire ending in the near extinction of life on Westeros would be absolutely horrible.
 

Would be so bad. Would also be some what of a cop out. Part of the reason building a new world is difficult is because you have to deal with entrenched interests and insitutions that resist changes to the status quo. If the world is wiped out, then our heros don't have to figure out how to break the wheel. The white walkers would have done it for them.

Edited by jcmontea

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1 minute ago, MinscS2 said:

Luckily you're in the minority, and luckily this doesn't seem to be the end GRRM has in mind.
A Song of Ice and Fire ending in the near extinction of life on Westeros would be absolutely horrible.
 

More horrible than the current state of the story?

The good guys don't have to win. If it makes sense, I would be fine with the WW's winning and the last scene being a cold dead Westeros as a blizzard wipes through the land and the NK having the dead versions of the heroes at his side.

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Jon King and Drogon as his pet dragon is the only endning I will accept

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Sweet: They defeat the white walkers, and Dany + Jon end up on the throne, and they have a little "bundle of joy".

Bitter: Westeros is so broke that they can expect to spend generations repaying the debts. King's Landing and a lot of major cities are destroyed, and they need even more money to rebuild. Groups of people hate the new person on the throne, and they try to rebel. As a result, much of Westeros is put under strict military occupation. The war has destroyed much of food supplies for winter, and people starve. Not at all the kind of kingdom Dany hoped to build.

Also: one of Dany's dragons ate Ghost for dinner. 

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2 hours ago, 4 Eyed Crow said:

Sweet: They defeat the white walkers, and Dany + Jon end up on the throne, and they have a little "bundle of joy".

Bitter: Westeros is so broke that they can expect to spend generations repaying the debts. King's Landing and a lot of major cities are destroyed, and they need even more money to rebuild. Groups of people hate the new person on the throne, and they try to rebel. As a result, much of Westeros is put under strict military occupation. The war has destroyed much of food supplies for winter, and people starve. Not at all the kind of kingdom Dany hoped to build.

Also: one of Dany's dragons ate Ghost for dinner. 

This makes sense. Westeros has suffered practically seven years of uninterrupted War after having a big war just 20 years prior. Just rebuilding and healing should be a laborious process that takes a generation. 

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9 hours ago, jcmontea said:

Would be so bad. Would also be some what of a cop out. Part of the reason building a new world is difficult is because you have to deal with entrenched interests and insitutions that resist changes to the status quo. If the world is wiped out, then our heros don't have to figure out how to break the wheel. The white walkers would have done it for them.

You say "our heroes" like we're all emotionally invested in Jon and Dany and want them to save the day. Speak for yourself please.

I find them to be two of the most boring characters in the entire series. All they represent to me is the possibility of a very generic and predictable ending, so they're not my heroes. They're the villians of the story i'm following.

i've seen enough movies and TV shows where a Chosen hero saves the day to last me a lifetime. I want something interesting and unpredictable to happen in the end, like the bad guys winning for a change.

Edited by Khorkalba

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10 minutes ago, Khorkalba said:

You say "our heroes" like we're all emotionally invested in Jon and Dany and want them to save the day. Speak for yourself please.

I find them to be two of the most boring characters in the entire series. All they represent to me is the possibility of a very generic and predictable ending, so they're not my heroes. They're the villians of the story i'm following.

i've seen enough movies and TV shows where a Chosen hero saves the day to last me a lifetime. I want something interesting and unpredictable to happen in the end, like the bad guys winning for a change.

Lol... ok. 

I stand by my statement. If you your hero is Cersei or the Night King - the only other factions at this point - great than clearly my statement does not encompass you. 

But i am going to go out on a ledge and say the majority of people watching the show are not rooting for Cersei or the Night King to win nor does the actual show and narrative structure paint them as the protaganists of the story. 

 

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10 hours ago, MrJay said:

More horrible than the current state of the story?

The good guys don't have to win. If it makes sense, I would be fine with the WW's winning and the last scene being a cold dead Westeros as a blizzard wipes through the land and the NK having the dead versions of the heroes at his side.

Someone with good editing skill should make posters based on this if for no other reason than to just taunt people hoping for happy ending... :rolleyes::P:D

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10 hours ago, 4 Eyed Crow said:

Sweet: They defeat the white walkers, and Dany + Jon end up on the throne, and they have a little "bundle of joy".

Bitter: Westeros is so broke that they can expect to spend generations repaying the debts. King's Landing and a lot of major cities are destroyed, and they need even more money to rebuild. Groups of people hate the new person on the throne, and they try to rebel. As a result, much of Westeros is put under strict military occupation. The war has destroyed much of food supplies for winter, and people starve. Not at all the kind of kingdom Dany hoped to build.

Also: one of Dany's dragons ate Ghost for dinner. 

 

I think this would be too bitter for me. I care more about the realm than I do about the happiness of two characters. Guess that's the beauty of "bittersweet" everyone imagines something different.

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, zugzwang said:

I think this would be too bitter for me. I care more about the realm than I do about the happiness of two characters. Guess that's the beauty of "bittersweet" everyone imagines something different.

I guess I was thinking something like 90% bitterness and 10% sweetness would still qualify as 'bittersweet'. After re-reading it, this does seem to be a bit too bitter. 

Edited by 4 Eyed Crow

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On 9/8/2017 at 3:52 PM, UnmaskedLurker said:

I tend to think that would be too much ambiguity. I think GRRM wants to have some sense of how things have worked out for the main protagonists who survive -- just not every detail.

I agree with this. Ambiguity doesn't seem like George's style for an ending and I can't imagine this playing well for television either. 

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I didn't think this would actually happen, but the more I think about it and after reading GRRM's stance on the LotR-ending, the more I actually believe that we might get a ending that many viewers (and by extension, readers) in general would consider "happy". It won't be a Disney-ending where everyone live happily ever after, but it most certainly won't fall into the "if you think this has a happy ending you haven't been paying attention"-category either. (Yes, I a lot of people seem to want this saga to have a tragic ending where either the Nightking or Cersei wins. It won't happen unless GRRM has been misdirecting us all along.)

GRRM seems very influenced by LotR in general, and there are alot of similarities between the two sagas (and differences as well, thankfully.)
He's gone on record saying that he likes the LotR-ending and considers it bittersweet, and it's that sort of ending he has in mind for ASoIaF.
I personally don't agree with the man, or rather I didn't at first. In my opinion, LotR's ends in a way that I'd consider happy, but he's right that there are some very sad/tragic elements to it, so in a way it is bittersweet, just more sweet than bitter:

Sweet: Sauron is defeated and the lands of middle earth are finally safe from his looming threat. A long history of bloodshed and war has finally come to an end. Now is the time to finally build a better world, and not only hope for it. The rightful king has finally returned, and alongside his new queen they will usher in a new age of prosperity and peace. All of the main characters of the story even survive this ordeal, the only ones who die in the final battles are minor characters.

Bitter: Sauron was the big villain of the story, but ultimately he wasn't the last. The movies didn't bother with the Scouring of the Shire, but in the books, the horrors of war doesn't end for the hobbits just because Sauron died. After the big threat to the world is eliminated and everything thinks they are safe, the hobbits arrive home to find their homeland desecrated, and a final battle with Saruman and his thugs waiting for them. They ultimately win this fight and cleanse the Shire, but the entire thing makes the major victory against Sauron seem a little hollow (even if it isn't.)
In addition, many of the main characters are forever scarred, both mentally and physically from their experiences. Some will recover with time, but for some there will be no happy ever after in the life they once enjoyed and wanted. Ultimately this leads to Frodo (and Bilbo, and later Sam), the most scarred of them all, leaving his friends and middle earth behind forever. The hobbits are the true heroes of the story, but they are prevented from having their happy ever after, due to the trauma they've suffered. 

So how can the influences from LotR affect the ending of ASoIaF?
Well, most of the sweet and bitter parts of the LotR ending can actually end up happening in ASoIaF, or at the very least something very similar. This would lead to ASoIaF having a bittersweet (mostly sweet) ending as well.

Sweet: The Nightking and the AotD are defeated and Westeros is finally safe from the threat of the long winter. Unlike LotR, the future doesn't look bright yet, they still have to deal with Saruman Cersei in The Shire Kings Landing. After this Westeros will finally be at peace, many years of war and bloodshed will come to an end. The rightful king and/or his queen has returned to usher in a new age of prosperity and peace in a united Westeros, possibly with the help of their small council. No one expects all of the currently living "good" main characters of the story to survive, but just as Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas and Gimli survived the events of LotR, we might very well see Jon, Daenerys, Arya, Sansa, Bran, Tyrion, Samwell and Theon survive the events ASoIaF. Of course, some of them or even all of them might end up dying before the end, we don't know yet, but I personally believe that they wont. A lot of minor/side/secondary characters will probably die in the Great War though, just as in LotR.

Bitter: Just as Sauron being the big threat to human life, the Nightking is the big threat in ASoIaF, but neither will be the last. There was no time to rejoice after the Battle of Minas Tirith, and there will be no time to rejoice after the Great War, there are still enemies to fight.
Just as with LotR, the events in ASoIaF will leave many of the main characters scarred for life both mentally and physically, and put them in a position where they won't be able to go back to the life they once had and enjoyed, nor have the happy-ever-after that they might or might not deserve. Heck, we have 1 more season to go but we can already see how many of the main characters in the show are so scarred and changed by what's happened during the last years that they are no longer the same person they where in season 1, and the chance of them going back to that life is slim and none even if they wanted it.

I wouldn't want for anyone to go trough what Arya, Sansa, Bran, Jon, Danerys, Tyrion and Theon have been trough.
The Stark-children lost their parents and 2 siblings at a young age which is enough to traumatize anyone.
Arya wanted to grow up to be a knight, instead some traumatizing events made her become a psychopathic assassin who might or might not be able to readjust to the new world order instead. Maybe she'll take the boat west, just like Frodo did.
Sansa wanted to grow up to be a princess and sit next to a king, living a relaxed life in luxury. 5 traumatizing years and a few rapes later, she ends up in a position where she rules herself, something she never expected to do (being a girl and not being the oldest child). Sansa isn't as broken as Arya, but she is damaged goods for sure as well.
Bran is essentially dead at this point, he became a different entity altogether.
I don't think I have to go further into detail how Theon and Tyrion have been scarred for life: The Theon and Tyrion from season 1 are dead and will never come back.
Jon is about to have a revelation that will shake his identity to the core, and might very well end up doing a thing he hates for the rest of his life: rule. He has also been trough some extremely traumatizing events and seen some shit he won't be able to forget. Can you spell post traumatic stress?
Dany is also about to have a revelation that will shake her identity to the core, and has also been trough some extremely traumatizing events. The show has done a poor job of showing this, but Dany's real dream is having a loving family and a home, something that she's been denied all her life.
I know a lot of people hate the idea of Jon and Dany ending up as co-rulers, but I can't see either of them as good and efficient rulers without having each other to complement the flaws of the other. Aragorn and Arwen needed each other, and Jon and Dany need each other.
This leaves Samwell, who is basically the only "good" main character that hasn't (yet) been trough some massively traumatizing events, but who still is far from the coward he was in season 1. Sam of season 7 is a brave intellectual, willing to perform forbidden experiments and fight White Walkers.

So there's my take on the "bittersweet" ending LotR-style.
The world is saved from total destruction, Westeros is united against the threat and under their new rulers, the wheel is broken (perhaps only temporarily), most of the good main characters who are still alive will survive, but they are forever changed and traumatized by what they've been trough, and the persons they once were are long dead.

Edited by MinscS2

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Sweet.  The main characters defeat the White Walkers and survive.

Bitter.  They turn on each other, as they vie for power.

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