Rhaegar Targaryen's Ghost

The Bittersweet Ending That Must Be

105 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, MinscS2 said:

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.

Great post. Based on George's original outline where he says who survives and based on how he has described the bittersweet ending, what you outlined here def. feels like the most likely outcome. I get the feeling Cersei is going to do something horrible to King's Landing before it's over based on the Scouring of the Shire.

Edited by jcmontea

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22 minutes ago, jcmontea said:

Great post. Based on George's original outline where he says who survives and based on how he has described the bittersweet ending, what you outlined here def. feels like the most likely outcome. I get the feeling Cersei is going to do something horrible to King's Landing before it's over.

Ah yes, I was gonna bring up "5 safe characters" as well but I got carried away, good catch. :P
They have probably expanded into the "7 safe characters" by this point due to D&D having two favorite characters of their own who they are unlikely to kill off themselves even if GRRM decides to do it in the books. Still, I won't believe that these characters are truly safe until I see them alive at the end of season 8 episode 6.

 

Ironically, this means that 7 out of the 8 characters I mentioned as "good guys likely to survive" are "safe". Poor Theon.

:P 



And yes, I can definitely see Cersei doing something horrible to Kings Landing, something akin to "If I can't have it, no one can! F*ck you Aegon and Daenerys!" when her enemies approach and she's run out of options.
Would explain why the Red Keep looked partially destroyed in Daenerys vision in season 2.

Edit: I just realized the irony and the similarities of LotR-Sam and ASoIaF-Sam. Their character arcs are very similar. Both began as overweight cowards and end up as brave and (mostly) unsung heroes.

Edited by MinscS2

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26 minutes ago, MinscS2 said:

Ah yes, I was gonna bring up "5 safe characters" as well but I got carried away, good catch. :P
They have probably expanded into the "7 safe characters" by this point due to D&D having two favorite characters of their own who they are unlikely to kill off themselves even if GRRM decides to do it in the books. Still, I won't believe that these characters are truly safe until I see them alive at the end of season 8 episode 6.

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Ironically, this means that 7 out of the 8 characters I mentioned as "good guys likely to survive" are "safe". Poor Theon.

:P 



And yes, I can definitely see Cersei doing something horrible to Kings Landing, something akin to "If I can't have it, no one can! F*ck you Aegon and Daenerys!" when her enemies approach and she's run out of options.
Would explain why the Red Keep looked partially destroyed in Daenerys vision in season 2.

Edit: I just realized the irony and the similarities of LotR-Sam and ASoIaF-Sam. Their character arcs are very similar. Both began as overweight cowards and end up as brave and (mostly) unsung heroes.

Agree. Sansa feels very safe at this point and Theon as well after we got the shot with Dany's throne behind him which i tool as foreshadowing for him to rule the Iron Islands. 

Its probably going to be a bloodbath next season for characters not in that core 7 we have been following since the beggining. 

Before Cersei gets to that extreme Aerys like point, i want to see a scene where she gets pissed that Dany has an open relationship with her nephew like how she always wanted with Jaime. Bitter hateful Cersei is the best Cersei. 

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10 hours ago, jcmontea said:

Before Cersei gets to that extreme Aerys like point, i want to see a scene where she gets pissed that Dany has an open relationship with her nephew like how she always wanted with Jaime.

Well, if Cersei hadn't been so possessive of Jaime, she could have some nephews of her own to sleep with who weren't also her sons. Nobody to blame but herself.

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2 minutes ago, falcotron said:

Well, if Cersei hadn't been so possessive of Jaime, she could have some nephews of her own to sleep with who weren't also her sons. Nobody to blame but herself.

Lol. 

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All of these theories fail to recognise the time loop of a world GRRM has created... The ending for this story is very obvious at this point. Jon Snow becomes the Night King and Dany becomes the Night Queen. Their child is the Lightbringer aka The Prince That Was Promised who sits on the throne and rebuilds the Targaryen dynasty. His hand will most likely be Tyrion. In the very end Samwell writes this story down on the books of Oldtown. The song of ice and fire depicts one these time loops from one of the dooms of House Targaryen to one of its restorations. In the end no one will dare to hurt the Targs due to their scary parents. But one day the threat from the north is a mere myth yet again and the Targs are killed yet again and the undead return yet again. But that's a story we already know.

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29 minutes ago, MakeThemBurn said:

All of these theories fail to recognise the time loop of a world GRRM has created... The ending for this story is very obvious at this point. Jon Snow becomes the Night King and Dany becomes the Night Queen. Their child is the Lightbringer aka The Prince That Was Promised who sits on the throne and rebuilds the Targaryen dynasty. His hand will most likely be Tyrion. In the very end Samwell writes this story down on the books of Oldtown. The song of ice and fire depicts one these time loops from one of the dooms of House Targaryen to one of its restorations. In the end no one will dare to hurt the Targs due to their scary parents. But one day the threat from the north is a mere myth yet again and the Targs are killed yet again and the undead return yet again. But that's a story we already know.

what is the evidence for the time loop? 

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4 minutes ago, jcmontea said:

what is the evidence for the time loop? 

With all due respect, everything. Everything that has happened in the story has happened before. Even the characters have had their counterparts in history. House Stark has a dozen Brandon Starks, House Lannister has had its Tyrion who plotted to rule Casterly Rock, House Targaryen has faced several dooms and restorations, Dany is practically Aegon the Conqueror, winters keep coming etc etc. Everything here is on a constant repeat. Even the seven gods of the faith are about the heroes of the story: Mother/Dany, Father/Jon, Stranger/Night King, Crone/Melisandre, Warrior/Jaime, Maiden/Sansa, Smith/Gendry.

(Interestingly Tyrion is not given a God-status which hints that Quaithe was right to warn about him. He will indeed betray Dany. In the end, Sansa could very well be the younger, more beautiful queen who sits on the Throne with Gendry until baby Targ is of age. Jaime is most likely the baby's hand, not Tyrion. This would make all the Houses that destroyed House Targaryen work for its restoration together.)

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1 hour ago, MakeThemBurn said:

With all due respect, everything. Everything that has happened in the story has happened before. Even the characters have had their counterparts in history. House Stark has a dozen Brandon Starks, House Lannister has had its Tyrion who plotted to rule Casterly Rock, House Targaryen has faced several dooms and restorations, Dany is practically Aegon the Conqueror, winters keep coming etc etc. Everything here is on a constant repeat. Even the seven gods of the faith are about the heroes of the story: Mother/Dany, Father/Jon, Stranger/Night King, Crone/Melisandre, Warrior/Jaime, Maiden/Sansa, Smith/Gendry.

(Interestingly Tyrion is not given a God-status which hints that Quaithe was right to warn about him. He will indeed betray Dany. In the end, Sansa could very well be the younger, more beautiful queen who sits on the Throne with Gendry until baby Targ is of age. Jaime is most likely the baby's hand, not Tyrion. This would make all the Houses that destroyed House Targaryen work for its restoration together.)

I don't see it at all. Yes, GRRM seems to like to put in historical events that in certain ways are to understood as presaging the future. But as Mark Twain is reputed to have said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes." So the future events will be reminiscent in some respects to the past events -- but not a simple repetition point by point.

I don't think there is a time loop, and I don't think we "know" the ending based on the information provided in the books.

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Sweet (and, imo, a given) Walkers are defeated.

Bitter: Life and the game goes on.

That would be very different from Tolkien, who starts from an idyllic Shire then moves into the dark, dingy, post-war world of men. There's no Shire for GRRM. He and the show start from a dark place, and I think most watchers/readers are hoping that the war against the Walkers turns into a teachable moment for humanity: reforming king/queen takes the throne and the game comes to an end. That doesn't happen. There's possibly some reform, but greed, betrayal, the game go on, and the common people continue to suffer. That would be historically true. Reform comes in microscopic increments.

 

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All this speculation and one possibility has me legit scared. That the show is the butter sweet  ending he is referring to. That would be bitter sweet. 

 

Bitter: the current state of the show not doing the source any justice. Book readers knowing that they will never have a complete collection. And the possibility that Martin dies. 

 

Sweet: You at least got something. Many fans of the show care not for the source material. You had a fun ride for a little while at least. 

 

 

Edited by MrJay

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Not to state the obvious, but "bittersweet" is a term used by Martin who doesn't write for the show anymore.

As someone who read the plot leaks and thinks they're legit albeit likely not the final draft, I'm expecting something extremely cheap and unsatisfying. The good guys win but only a few of them survived. Yawn.

I doubt there's anything that resembles what Martin was talking about when he said "bittersweet".

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On 11.9.2017 at 3:11 PM, jcmontea said:

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.

I could even see GRRM (not sure about D&D) to make Dany's ending even more bitter, like: After the last betrayal and lighting the funeral fire for her love, she enters the throne room all in white, the red door of happiness is closing forever, all is left for her is the Iron Throne. She is married to England Westeros.

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9 hours ago, kimim said:

Sweet (and, imo, a given) Walkers are defeated.

Bitter: Life and the game goes on.

That would be very different from Tolkien, who starts from an idyllic Shire then moves into the dark, dingy, post-war world of men. There's no Shire for GRRM. He and the show start from a dark place, and I think most watchers/readers are hoping that the war against the Walkers turns into a teachable moment for humanity: reforming king/queen takes the throne and the game comes to an end. That doesn't happen. There's possibly some reform, but greed, betrayal, the game go on, and the common people continue to suffer. That would be historically true. Reform comes in microscopic increments.

 

I think this is true. Littlefinger had a great quote even foreshadowing this when he said either one of two things will happen, either the dead when and all our problems come to an end or life goes on. 

Even if they ended with the idea that Dany/ Jon rule together and are good rulers they could still leave this idea there of problems just around the corner. After all, the greatest Targ King/ Queen - Jaeherys and Alissane - were followed just a generation later by the Dance of the Dragons. 

The wheel is never broken. Daenerys can do everything in her power to change things but ultimatley she will die and there are no guarantees the people that come afterwards will share her ideals, motivations etc. every succesive generation has to keep up the good fight and they won't because of human nature yet despite our nature life is still worth fighting for. 

if they hit this point home well could be very powerful. 

Edited by jcmontea

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1 hour ago, jcmontea said:

The wheel is never broken. Daenerys can do everything in her power to change things but ultimatley she will die and there are no guarantees the people that come afterwards will share her ideals, motivations etc. every succesive generation has to keep up the good fight and they won't because of human nature yet despite our nature life is still worth fighting for. 

if they hit this point home well could be very powerful.

This. As you say, there are hints that the show is heading in this direction. If so, it should work, so long as they remember that they need a script as well as visual effects to get them anywhere.

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18 hours ago, Ser Maverick said:

Not to state the obvious, but "bittersweet" is a term used by Martin who doesn't write for the show anymore.

As someone who read the plot leaks and thinks they're legit albeit likely not the final draft, I'm expecting something extremely cheap and unsatisfying. The good guys win but only a few of them survived. Yawn.

I doubt there's anything that resembles what Martin was talking about when he said "bittersweet".

Do. Not. Say. That.

(Actually, I think likewise ... the inconsistencies in the leaks were due to it being a draft ... it was a logical extrapolation from season 7 plotlines and of the same quality - not utterly awful, but far from inspiring or GRRM level.  

My main disappointment/despairing suspicion is that it is in fact GRRM's ending, albeit without a lot of the complications due to the cuts to the recent novels in the show ... that is, GRRM never had a good ending, or lost his good ending as the books kept growing.

That is, given the disappointment of the last two novels, I don't think there's any reason to think GRRM has a better ending in store.

And that is truly depressing.)

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1 hour ago, Aemon Targaryen said:

Do. Not. Say. That.

(Actually, I think likewise ... the inconsistencies in the leaks were due to it being a draft ... it was a logical extrapolation from season 7 plotlines and of the same quality - not utterly awful, but far from inspiring or GRRM level.  

My main disappointment/despairing suspicion is that it is in fact GRRM's ending, albeit without a lot of the complications due to the cuts to the recent novels in the show ... that is, GRRM never had a good ending, or lost his good ending as the books kept growing.

That is, given the disappointment of the last two novels, I don't think there's any reason to think GRRM has a better ending in store.

And that is truly depressing.)

Hang on, now.

While GRRM's ending (if/when he ever gets there) might not hold up to the promise of the early books, I'm absolutely certain it'll be better than the the show's.

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12 minutes ago, Kytheros said:

Hang on, now.

While GRRM's ending (if/when he ever gets there) might not hold up to the promise of the early books, I'm absolutely certain it'll be better than the the show's.

I want to believe too.  But on what evidence?  

In all of the criticism of the show, ppl are forgetting that the books got steadily worse (subjective, yes, but the view is commonly held and I think it's right).

The s8 leaks have made me think on jettisoning asoiaf entirely from my life, because it is not only a question of will he ever finish before he dies, but also will he finish in an even half decent way?

Call me a cynic, but the probabilities seem something like this to me:

60% - series never finished in book form, all we have is show ending which is likely some version of s8 leaks (because ADOS never finished in even draft form, even if TWOW is published)

35% - series finished in book form, but weak like the last two novels and unsatisfying a la s8 leaks

5% - series finished in book form, masterful, taut like AGOT, satisfying character and plot resolutions

It might just be time to call it and not waste any more of my life thinking about asoiaf.

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53 minutes ago, Aemon Targaryen said:

I want to believe too.  But on what evidence?  

In all of the criticism of the show, ppl are forgetting that the books got steadily worse (subjective, yes, but the view is commonly held and I think it's right).

The s8 leaks have made me think on jettisoning asoiaf entirely from my life, because it is not only a question of will he ever finish before he dies, but also will he finish in an even half decent way?

Call me a cynic, but the probabilities seem something like this to me:

60% - series never finished in book form, all we have is show ending which is likely some version of s8 leaks (because ADOS never finished in even draft form, even if TWOW is published)

35% - series finished in book form, but weak like the last two novels and unsatisfying a la s8 leaks

5% - series finished in book form, masterful, taut like AGOT, satisfying character and plot resolutions

It might just be time to call it and not waste any more of my life thinking about asoiaf.

I spend way too much time thinking about ASOIF and the characters I care about so can respect wanting to get rid of ASOIF. 

But there are no season 8 leaks. 

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59 minutes ago, Aemon Targaryen said:

I want to believe too.  But on what evidence?  

In all of the criticism of the show, ppl are forgetting that the books got steadily worse (subjective, yes, but the view is commonly held and I think it's right).

The s8 leaks have made me think on jettisoning asoiaf entirely from my life, because it is not only a question of will he ever finish before he dies, but also will he finish in an even half decent way?

Call me a cynic, but the probabilities seem something like this to me:

60% - series never finished in book form, all we have is show ending which is likely some version of s8 leaks (because ADOS never finished in even draft form, even if TWOW is published)

35% - series finished in book form, but weak like the last two novels and unsatisfying a la s8 leaks

5% - series finished in book form, masterful, taut like AGOT, satisfying character and plot resolutions

It might just be time to call it and not waste any more of my life thinking about asoiaf.

It will be just for the fact of how different the show really is right now. Think about all the plot lines that will go COMPLETELY different. For instance, jamie is already done with cersei in the books...let alone sitting by her side after she goes full mad queen and blows up the sept.
They completely destroyed the dornish storyline/ Doran that will play out
Cersei is a complete idiot. her obviously selfish nature is destorying the realm. Varys kills kevan (hes not useless and still controls his spies even then) to allow cersei to continue to ruin the realm. IF the sept of baelor scene happens in the books...Kevan will nto be there...Loras Tyrell will not be, Likely then MAce may not be either. We wont have to fear george makes her into a secret genius late into the book because hes afraid there isnt a main villain left and he really likes the actress playing her....Tommen will not commit suicide from said Sept blowing up as he is like 6 years old and just learned how to spell his name.
I think it was true the overall..like literally the final ending will be the same...but everything else will be different. And we have every reason to believe that the stuff in between now and the ending which is what has bothered most of us, has promise to be better in the books. Also

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