Count Winter

The Night's King masterplan

40 posts in this topic

On 15.9.2017 at 0:59 AM, MrJay said:

This guy created a massive army with no where to go. They can't swim. They can't even get near the wall. He would have just been sitting there for thousands of years and waiting for the ice to melt.

Which pens up another plot hole. If he could never pass the wall (you know, since it exists to keep them out and has worked since being built) why was he ever a threat? Why the need to gather soldiers, convince cersei, go on a suicide mission or even care? This was a non issue. 

 

- Problem: The dead are coming!

- Solution: Magical wall keeps them out.

The problem was solved before it ever began.

That's a problem in the books too, horn or not. Why does the Wall have to be manned when it's magical? And why is it a problem that the Night's Watch isn't properly staffed and equipped any more?

We have seen zombies cross the Wall, both in the books and the show. This indicates that the magic in the Wall is only good against the White Walkers themselves (and humans like Benjen who have been touched by similar magic).

Dragons are magical, but they can be killed. I think it's possible that the Wall is vulnerable in a similar way, that it can be destroyed physically with enough brute force. It has been the Night's Watch's duty to prevent that from happening but they clearly aren't ready to do this any more. 

So the NK could always have used his first wave of zombies to hack a huge hole in the Wall. This was probably the original plan. Bear in mind that the guy is in no hurry, he was waiting for the perfect opportunity.

I don't think it's impossible that the NK is somehow aware of the existence of the Dragons. Maybe Dragons were involved the first time the White Walkers were beaten back too. Lightbringer does not have to be a sword afaik. The legends are thousands of years old, they could also refer to dragon fire. Or mix it up and fuse it together with the other elements that brought the Long Night to an end - like dragonglass. 

Anyway, Dany's Dragons were born a while after the Walkers stirred up again. If the rebirth of Dragon magic was a reaction to the rebirth of Ice Magic and if something similar has happened the first time around, it would make sense that the NK was armed for bear this time. And that he tried to get one of them on his own team and destroy the others as soon as possible.

If the NK has some greenseeing abilities - which I believe he has - he could have known about the stupid plan to catch a wight and decided to try to accomplish this earlier than he would have expected otherwise. A few days waiting was worth the effort. He is in no hurry. If Dany hadn't shown up, he'd just have killed the idiots later. Or maybe they'd have sent a rescuing party from Eastwatch, which would mean more recruits to the AotD. Either way, strategically, the NK had nothing to lose and quite a bit to gain by trapping the party and allowing Gendry to run to Eastwatch. 

 

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On 9/15/2017 at 9:00 AM, Tagganaro said:

I agree, Bran breaking the Wall's magic like he did with the cave by passing through makes more sense.  But there's no visual satisfaction in seeing that, there's no "oh shit" moment leading up to that.

Agreed, but even looking at things from an in-universe perspective, it makes sense.

Marking Bran did give the NK a way through the Wall, but it required getting his whole army through a 15' wide gate against enemy defenses. He'd lose thousands of wights, and maybe even a few Walkers, and only get a few hundred Watchmen and Wildlings to replace them with. Sure, he can kill more humans and make more wights he's into the North, and that was presumably his plan. But after the humans screwed up and gave him a dragon, he had a much better option, so of course he used it, just as any halfway intelligent person (or ice demon thing) would.

The question of why bringing a wight to Cersei was a good idea, that one's a lot harder to handle. But if you just assume that for a moment, pretty much everything else related to it makes sense.*

---

* Well, there are lots of minor quibbles along the way, like why Jon was never in contact with Sansa the whole time, where they could plausibly have been geographically, etc. But the big stuff works.

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On 16.9.2017 at 6:10 PM, Zapho said:

That's a problem in the books too, horn or not. Why does the Wall have to be manned when it's magical? And why is it a problem that the Night's Watch isn't properly staffed and equipped any more?

But isn't that one of the underlying book puzzles ? We get hints about ways through the Wall. About Black Gates and magic Walls in other parts of the World. 

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10 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

But isn't that one of the underlying book puzzles ? We get hints about ways through the Wall. About Black Gates and magic Walls in other parts of the World. 

Um... Depends. If you ask most, everything is a riddle with a hidden meaning. I think this is one of the few times where Martin just goes with the "it's fantasy bro" things. 

Perhaps I'm wrong. I don't know. Why are you even reading this? You're listening to a crazy person. 

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1 minute ago, MrJay said:

Um... Depends. If you ask most, everything is a riddle with a hidden meaning. I think this is one of the few times where Martin just goes with the "it's fantasy bro" things. 

I don't really see a riddle ... more like a puzzle with missing key parts. It all starts with the Gorge. I would take the wights in castle black as a hint that magic is not working everywhere. And once you can accept that the magic fails at least locally, you can also see why someone would want to build and man a huge ice wall.

 

1 minute ago, MrJay said:

Perhaps I'm wrong. I don't know. Why are you even reading this? You're listening to a crazy person. 

How do you know this answer is not in your imagination ? B)

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On 9/15/2017 at 10:01 PM, MrJay said:

Now, many people just want to see cool lights and giant monsters blow stuff up. That's why we are now at Transformers#??. That's fine. To each their own. I am just not happy that these guys turned GoT into another generic Michael Bay film when we have so many already. If this was the end goal, they should have just taken some crap book like Eragon and made it into a show. Or at the very least start episode#1 with Bran sword fighting Jaime until he kicks him out the window into a pile of explosives or something. Then have Robb get murdered in an epic battle with the Mountain while fire arrows fly all over. Since Spectacle and making things look epic on TV is all these guys care about . 

This was my exact problem with Tom Cruise being cast as Jack Reacher. Seen one Cruise action movie and you've seen them all. But Reacher is supposed to be different, he's the anti hero. When he shoots a guy he just shoots him. There's no monologing, no catch phrases or gloating afterwards. He just does what needs doin' then moves on to the next thing. But with Cruise we get the cop movie equivalent of cool lights and giant monsters. There will be catch phrases, monologing and gloating abound.. at least one car will blow up and burn and of course, Tom will run at some point in the movie. Think about all Tom Cruise movies and you'll see he runs at some point in virtually all of them. He seems to favor the diagonal sprint away from the camera at night in the rain.

I guess this is why I prefer books. In a book, we get the character precisely how the author wants us to get him and they are not bound and obligated to adopt all the cliches and commercialism of movies and tv.

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16 hours ago, falcotron said:

The question of why bringing a wight to Cersei was a good idea, that one's a lot harder to handle. But if you just assume that for a moment, pretty much everything else related to it makes sense.*

---

* Well, there are lots of minor quibbles along the way, like why Jon was never in contact with Sansa the whole time, where they could plausibly have been geographically, etc. But the big stuff works.

This exactly.  I think this season was built on a really shaky foundation since you can tell (and they even admitted it), that D & D worked backwards from the Viserion blowing down the Wall.  I don't know if there was any way to make the wight capture plan seem like a good idea, but I really wish they had put more effort and logic into the execution of the plan.  That being said, even with my issues with the stupidity of the wight capture plan, I still really enjoyed this season overall and think they made it work.  

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41 minutes ago, Tagganaro said:

This exactly.  I think this season was built on a really shaky foundation since you can tell (and they even admitted it), that D & D worked backwards from the Viserion blowing down the Wall.  I don't know if there was any way to make the wight capture plan seem like a good idea, but I really wish they had put more effort and logic into the execution of the plan.  That being said, even with my issues with the stupidity of the wight capture plan, I still really enjoyed this season overall and think they made it work.  

Agreed. The white capture plan was stupid. Although I think it was supposed to be stupid as in highly risky. It is called such several times in universe. It was a high risk maneuver to try and bring about an end to the war in the south. 

I think where the execution could have been better was not so much in the plan, but more in terms of really explaining the why behind it. Why at this point are the characters so desperate to try to stop the war in the south that they are willing to take the risk they took? Its left to the audience to infer a bunch of this stuff as opposed to being shown. 

This is where not focusing on the strategic aspect of the war hurt the audiences acceptance of the plan. If the audience understood that a succesful seige would have taken X months. Specifically Cersei would have been able to do Y had they just moved north. If she did Y, then that would have reduced Dany’s chances of ultimatley prevailing by Z. They didn’t have X though because the Night King was marching on East Watch so they had to do something. And they needed to have someone mention again why not just take out King’s Landing. Then people could have understood that desperation themselves instead of just having to accept it. 

Edited by jcmontea

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"That's spot on, but also why I dislike this season. These guys write for spectacle. It's clear as day when you listen to them talk. They wanted a Zombie Polar bear because it looked cool and they wanted it. That's it. No other reason."

I wish they had spent the CGI money on Ghost instead of a random bear.

 

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14 hours ago, Tagganaro said:

This exactly.  I think this season was built on a really shaky foundation since you can tell (and they even admitted it), that D & D worked backwards from the Viserion blowing down the Wall.  I don't know if there was any way to make the wight capture plan seem like a good idea, but I really wish they had put more effort and logic into the execution of the plan.  That being said, even with my issues with the stupidity of the wight capture plan, I still really enjoyed this season overall and think they made it work. 

I'm pretty sure they know where they want everything to be for the final season (presumably to match the endgame GRRM has given them, suitably modified for their merging of characters and plotlines), and realized after S6 that most of the characters and situations were nowhere near there yet, so they had to scramble to come up with a plot that would get everyone there.*

In many ways, they did an impressive job—but only if gloss over a few points, like the why behind the wight capture, and that makes it a lot less impressive.

There are definitely better ways they could have come up with to give a dragon to the NK; the problem that I think was a lot harder was how to make the Cersei armistice make sense. The idea that "even if you believe Jon, you don't really grok the problem until you've seen a wight in person" isn't necessarily a terrible answer to that, but it surely would have worked better if they'd established it before the final episode.

More generally, I wish they were doing more multi-season planning. The whole idea of sketching out a bare outline and then not doing any more until they start writing each season makes perfect sense for a serial, but not so much for an epic that's supposed to have a real endpoint. If they'd thought more about where they needed to be for S7 while writing S5 and S6, I'm sure it would have turned out better.

But the good news is that, if I'm right, S8 should be a lot better than S6 and S7, because S8 will start with everyone where they need to be for the finale (no matter how plausibly or implausibly they got there), and it's just a matter of writing the ending they already know.

---

* Of course GRRM is probably in the same position, but he can afford to take a couple extra years, and put out a novel that won't even fit into 1000 pages with small print and small margins if necessary. So hopefully he'll do a much better job. We'll see.

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In response to the topic: This is of course a somewhat generous interpretation of the script, but my assumption was that the Night Kings plan (per season 7) to get through the wall was to use the massive amount of undead to mount gigantic metal chains to the gate at Eastwatch and pull and simply pull down the gate. If there ever was a magical block of the wall that stops white walkers, the NK interaction with Bran earlier would have removed that.

With the appearance of the dragons and the, the NK got an easier journey with the chains instead used to pull up Viserion, which in turn was used to open the wall, without the great less loss of wights which would otherewise been the case. So my naive assumption is that getting the dragon was not some part of clever plan, it was just catching the opportunity when it arose.

But then, there are many facinating theories about Bran and the Night King...

 

Edited by HMJ

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14 hours ago, falcotron said:

I'm pretty sure they know where they want everything to be for the final season (presumably to match the endgame GRRM has given them, suitably modified for their merging of characters and plotlines), and realized after S6 that most of the characters and situations were nowhere near there yet, so they had to scramble to come up with a plot that would get everyone there.*

In many ways, they did an impressive job—but only if gloss over a few points, like the why behind the wight capture, and that makes it a lot less impressive.

There are definitely better ways they could have come up with to give a dragon to the NK; the problem that I think was a lot harder was how to make the Cersei armistice make sense. The idea that "even if you believe Jon, you don't really grok the problem until you've seen a wight in person" isn't necessarily a terrible answer to that, but it surely would have worked better if they'd established it before the final episode.

More generally, I wish they were doing more multi-season planning. The whole idea of sketching out a bare outline and then not doing any more until they start writing each season makes perfect sense for a serial, but not so much for an epic that's supposed to have a real endpoint. If they'd thought more about where they needed to be for S7 while writing S5 and S6, I'm sure it would have turned out better.

But the good news is that, if I'm right, S8 should be a lot better than S6 and S7, because S8 will start with everyone where they need to be for the finale (no matter how plausibly or implausibly they got there), and it's just a matter of writing the ending they already know.

---

* Of course GRRM is probably in the same position, but he can afford to take a couple extra years, and put out a novel that won't even fit into 1000 pages with small print and small margins if necessary. So hopefully he'll do a much better job. We'll see.

I'd be really interested in knowing what exactly GRRM gave them as far as an outline goes.  With GRRM's "gardening" writing style, it's plausible that he himself doesn't have a great idea of where this story will end (and I'd venture maybe even likely based on how long these past few books have taken and the open struggles GRRM has had with issues like the Mereeneese knot).  Honestly, I'm not sure D & D have a lot to work off of regarding GRRM's plans- maybe even by design considering that GRRM probably wants to tell his own story and the deviations the show has taken are likely very major ones (I think no Stoneheart, Faegon, Arriane, even Victarion and the dragon horn etc.)  I mean these seem like pretty major deviations that could impact the end of the story in a major way.

I'm definitely expecting Season 8 to be better regarding logic and planning than this past season for the reason you mentioned.  

On 9/24/2017 at 10:50 AM, jcmontea said:

Agreed. The white capture plan was stupid. Although I think it was supposed to be stupid as in highly risky. It is called such several times in universe. It was a high risk maneuver to try and bring about an end to the war in the south. 

I think where the execution could have been better was not so much in the plan, but more in terms of really explaining the why behind it. Why at this point are the characters so desperate to try to stop the war in the south that they are willing to take the risk they took? Its left to the audience to infer a bunch of this stuff as opposed to being shown. 

This is where not focusing on the strategic aspect of the war hurt the audiences acceptance of the plan. If the audience understood that a succesful seige would have taken X months. Specifically Cersei would have been able to do Y had they just moved north. If she did Y, then that would have reduced Dany’s chances of ultimatley prevailing by Z. They didn’t have X though because the Night King was marching on East Watch so they had to do something. And they needed to have someone mention again why not just take out King’s Landing. Then people could have understood that desperation themselves instead of just having to accept it. 

I think the whole war was sort of necessarily hazy and lacked complexity and detail due to the limited amount of time the show had as well as deviations from the books.  Additionally, going into detail about the war would likely involve spending time on houses and people the show didn't want to- like for example Dorne would presumably play a major part but the show (rightfully so IMO) decided to just cut bait with Dorne after the massive failure it was.

There were 2 major issues for me as far as the wight capture plan being stupid that I don't think the show suitably addressed.  The first was obvious- the idea that Cersei would see the wight and accept peace terms because of it was inherently stupid, and Tyrion should know her much better than that by this point.  I think the show felt that they did their work by having Tyrion mention that Jaime was the reasonable one and he could maybe convince Cersei otherwise, but to me they simply failed to ever even remotely address that issue in a satisfactory way.

The 2nd major issue is the execution of the plan in the first place.  Episode 6 was IMO one of the worst of the series due to lazy, short-sighted and illogical writing all- around.  There was probably a much better way to have Jon and co. go about executing the plan, maybe starting with a planning episode with heavy involvement from Bran telling them exactly where the White Walkers were and having Jon lead a strategy session of "We're gonna try to do this specifically, and then that, and then this."  As Episode 6 unfolded, it was mind-boggling that the plan seemed to be "blunder blindly beyond the Wall into the place where Bran said he saw the NK and his army with 10 or so men."  There was nothing regarding how they planned to separate a wight from the army of the dead or how they then planned to survive long enough to take that wight back south of the Wall.  It was very clear that was all left blank on purpose to set up the "drama" of Dany coming and saving them, which was really their only possible way out.  

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2 hours ago, Tagganaro said:

I'd be really interested in knowing what exactly GRRM gave them as far as an outline goes.  With GRRM's "gardening" writing style, it's plausible that he himself doesn't have a great idea of where this story will end (and I'd venture maybe even likely based on how long these past few books have taken and the open struggles GRRM has had with issues like the Mereeneese knot). 

I think GRRM does actually have an ending in mind, and that it hasn't changed that much, but he just has no idea how to get there.

The Meereenese Knot actually seems to be an example of that, not a counterexample. He knew he had to get certain characters together in Essos and then get them all over to Westeros, but he had no idea how to push those characters to go the right way (once he dropped the time skip, which should be a great way to "cheat" around that problem—although he says he ended up writing half the story as flashbacks to the skipped-over time, which would kind of defeat the purpose…). But, rather than change his plans to follow where the characters were going, he kept fighting to get them where they're supposed to be, even if it took five times as long and twice as many words as he'd planned.

2 hours ago, Tagganaro said:

Honestly, I'm not sure D & D have a lot to work off of regarding GRRM's plans- maybe even by design considering that GRRM probably wants to tell his own story and the deviations the show has taken are likely very major ones (I think no Stoneheart, Faegon, Arriane, even Victarion and the dragon horn etc.)  I mean these seem like pretty major deviations that could impact the end of the story in a major way.

I'm pretty sure he wanted the show to be as faithful an adaptation as possible. He's obviously given up hope that it can be anywhere near as faithful as he originally wanted, but I don't think that would make him swing to the opposite direction and deliberately misdirect D&D (or change his own ending) so that they'd end up being completely different stories. Why would a writer want that? I mean, I can imagine someone like Alan "fuck Hollywood" Moore wanting it, but a writer like that wouldn't have gotten involved in the adaptation process in the first place.

As for how much they have, we know it was a weekend of discussion that gave them the outline. I'm sure a lot of that time was spent hemming and hawing over alternatives, and diving into things that were fun to talk about but not all that important, and so on. But still, they came out of it describing it as where all the major characters end up and their major plot beats on the way there.

I think the biggest problem is that D&D didn't flesh that outline any further. They probably did put some thought into "OK, all these fAegon beats have to be redistributed among Dany, Cersei, and Jon", but I don't think they went any further than that to ask, e.g., "So, if Cersei is going to be a serious opponent to Dany, how can that happen?" until it came to writing each season. So they end up starting the S7 writing by realizing—for the first time—that holy shit, the S6 scripts left Dany with an overwhelming advantage even though Cersei was supposed to be a serious opponent to her, and having to scramble to fix it.

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56 minutes ago, falcotron said:

I think GRRM does actually have an ending in mind, and that it hasn't changed that much, but he just has no idea how to get there.

The Meereenese Knot actually seems to be an example of that, not a counterexample. He knew he had to get certain characters together in Essos and then get them all over to Westeros, but he had no idea how to push those characters to go the right way (once he dropped the time skip, which should be a great way to "cheat" around that problem—although he says he ended up writing half the story as flashbacks to the skipped-over time, which would kind of defeat the purpose…). But, rather than change his plans to follow where the characters were going, he kept fighting to get them where they're supposed to be, even if it took five times as long and twice as many words as he'd planned.

I'm pretty sure he wanted the show to be as faithful an adaptation as possible. He's obviously given up hope that it can be anywhere near as faithful as he originally wanted, but I don't think that would make him swing to the opposite direction and deliberately misdirect D&D (or change his own ending) so that they'd end up being completely different stories. Why would a writer want that? I mean, I can imagine someone like Alan "fuck Hollywood" Moore wanting it, but a writer like that wouldn't have gotten involved in the adaptation process in the first place.

As for how much they have, we know it was a weekend of discussion that gave them the outline. I'm sure a lot of that time was spent hemming and hawing over alternatives, and diving into things that were fun to talk about but not all that important, and so on. But still, they came out of it describing it as where all the major characters end up and their major plot beats on the way there.

I think the biggest problem is that D&D didn't flesh that outline any further. They probably did put some thought into "OK, all these fAegon beats have to be redistributed among Dany, Cersei, and Jon", but I don't think they went any further than that to ask, e.g., "So, if Cersei is going to be a serious opponent to Dany, how can that happen?" until it came to writing each season. So they end up starting the S7 writing by realizing—for the first time—that holy shit, the S6 scripts left Dany with an overwhelming advantage even though Cersei was supposed to be a serious opponent to her, and having to scramble to fix it.

I am not even sure she is a serious opponent now. All they really did was allow Cersei to get her revenge on Elaria and Olena. 

she was done after the field of fire. If not for the NK marching on eastwatch that thing was over. 

She could become a serious opponent only if Dany withstands massive losses up North and NK doesn’t make it south. 

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3 hours ago, jcmontea said:

I am not even sure she is a serious opponent now. All they really did was allow Cersei to get her revenge on Elaria and Olena. 

she was done after the field of fire. If not for the NK marching on eastwatch that thing was over. 

First, the field of fire hadn't happened yet at the start of S7.

And as for late S7, it was pretty obvious the NK was going to breach the Wall at some point. Dany didn't know that at the start of the season, and didn't believe it in mid-season, but once Jon convinced her and her team, everyone was pretty sure that they couldn't fight both enemies at the same time. And "let's commit all of our forces to some sieges and hope that the second front that's guaranteed to open up at some point happens to not open up until after we've won" is hardly a brilliant strategy. Because it doesn't take nearly as much force to hold a fortified position as it does to meet someone in an open field, and even less force to hold a fortified position where a million civilians who your opponent doesn't want to kill unless absolutely necessary happen to living.

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Quote

 It was very clear that was all left blank on purpose to set up the "drama" of Dany coming and saving them, which was really their only possible way out.  

Am I the only one that doesn't need these cheap attempts at thriller? I'm here thinking how I would do it, and I admit my way may be considered lame to some. If I were forced to make that ranging scene happen, I'd pawn it off, lol. Then when they demanded I write it or be fired I'd do this. 

 

 

1. Jon suggests they need to convince Cersei. Varys points out that this idea is stupid, but Daeny is feeling baby rabies and agrees with Jon. The advisors all hate this idea, but Tyrion likes it. Varys grows suspicious as does Missandei and Jorah. 

2. Tyrion thinks this may work. Varys and Co suggest he better bring some guarantees before they send a ranging party up there. He says he will talk to Jaime cause he is reasonable. Varys gives him snake eyes. 

3. So the plan is gonna happen. How? Jon says he will lead a party north. Immediately Davos calls him a damned fool. He does it in his usual Davos way. Jon decides to do it anyway and Davos says he won't go along with him just to watch him die. Davos is not happy with this. 

4. Daeny sends a small force of Unsullied north with Jon. (Cause she never sent them to CR cause that plan was dumb). Jorah goes too. It's his way to atone for the disgrace he brought on his family. Also, he misses the north. 

5. Varys points out they still have no plan. And reminds them its stupid.

6.Jon and Co hatch a plan. 

- Head North to eastwatch. Send a raven to have some gear ready ahead of time and some horses. 

- there will be two parties. Scout snatch and grab, and the diversion. 

- horse riders will locate the army and choose the best target to strike. 

- diversion will ambush, scouts will flank and quickly snatch a deaddy. Then drag it back to eastwatch. 

- The diversion team will most likely die and survival is slim. But unsullied know no fear so it's whatever. 

- twenty or so in total. 

7. Before Jon leaves Daeny tells him she will be waiting on his success. They take ravens with them so they can tell her of their victory or send word of their failure. 

??  While out Yue plan goes well, bit turns out big daddy night Kong isn't stupid. He scouted them out early on and moved his forces behind them. He only allowed that small party to get got because he wanted it. 

9. Jon and Co flee to Lake, but horses break ice and they have to scramble on foot. Ice breaks. Normally.

10. They send a raven off to tell Daeny they failed. They eat the rest as they wait to die. 

11. Ice freeze and dead March forward. Cue epic battle. 

12. Enter epic dragon. 

13.Jon has his stare down with NK part 2. But gets on dragon cause he isn't dumb. 

14. NK grabs one more ice Lance. It's game over. 100 yards EZ win GG. But Benjen rolls up and begins fighting. Jon sees his uncle died, but he saves them. 

15. Epic boat sex happens one episode earlier. 

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17 hours ago, falcotron said:

I think GRRM does actually have an ending in mind, and that it hasn't changed that much, but he just has no idea how to get there.

The Meereenese Knot actually seems to be an example of that, not a counterexample. He knew he had to get certain characters together in Essos and then get them all over to Westeros, but he had no idea how to push those characters to go the right way (once he dropped the time skip, which should be a great way to "cheat" around that problem—although he says he ended up writing half the story as flashbacks to the skipped-over time, which would kind of defeat the purpose…). But, rather than change his plans to follow where the characters were going, he kept fighting to get them where they're supposed to be, even if it took five times as long and twice as many words as he'd planned.

I see your point but I just don't view it that way.  Mainly because many of those characters (who for some reason are POVs) heading for Meereen could not possibly have been planned from the beginning.  I speak mainly of Victarion and Quentyn, to me 2 of the worst examples of GRRM's "garden" just getting out of control.  Long story short, I think if he had a real outline and gameplan on how he was gonna end, the Knot is just not an issue.

17 hours ago, falcotron said:

I'm pretty sure he wanted the show to be as faithful an adaptation as possible. He's obviously given up hope that it can be anywhere near as faithful as he originally wanted, but I don't think that would make him swing to the opposite direction and deliberately misdirect D&D (or change his own ending) so that they'd end up being completely different stories. Why would a writer want that? I mean, I can imagine someone like Alan "fuck Hollywood" Moore wanting it, but a writer like that wouldn't have gotten involved in the adaptation process in the first place.

As for how much they have, we know it was a weekend of discussion that gave them the outline. I'm sure a lot of that time was spent hemming and hawing over alternatives, and diving into things that were fun to talk about but not all that important, and so on. But still, they came out of it describing it as where all the major characters end up and their major plot beats on the way there.

I think the biggest problem is that D&D didn't flesh that outline any further. They probably did put some thought into "OK, all these fAegon beats have to be redistributed among Dany, Cersei, and Jon", but I don't think they went any further than that to ask, e.g., "So, if Cersei is going to be a serious opponent to Dany, how can that happen?" until it came to writing each season. So they end up starting the S7 writing by realizing—for the first time—that holy shit, the S6 scripts left Dany with an overwhelming advantage even though Cersei was supposed to be a serious opponent to her, and having to scramble to fix it.

Yes, I entirely agree that when the show first started and when he agreed to it, he wanted the show to be as faithful an adaptation as possible.  Who wouldn't?  That was done on the entirely reasonable assumption at the time that the books would easily be finished before the show finished.  Then you would actually have something to adapt.  Oh no, I don't think there's a deliberate misdirection at all.  GRRM wouldn't do that.  I do however think it's possible that there was an agreement to diverge and tell different stories, allowing GRRM to finish HIS story without it being told by D & D.  Short of a tacit agreement however, I think it's entirely possible that GRRM's "ending" has changed since the time he has told them it due to his writing style.  I mean, he has openly talked before about he's constantly getting new big ideas and twists IIRC.  It's not intentional misdirection, it's just major divergences that impact the story in a major way.  Take Stoneheart for example- it's likely that GRRM has pretty big plans for her as he was not too happy when D & D took her out of the show.  As GRRM has said, that's gonna have a major impact that ripples outwards towards many different character arcs and really completely changes the story.

To take Cersei in particular, I think the biggest issue was not a lack of outlining or anything like that- it's television.  Lena Headey is among the best, if not the best actors on the show and has turned Cersei into a major major character.  I have no idea what the book plans are regarding her but I'd imagine the books would be more willing to kill her off sooner rather than later, whereas the show probably feels they can't afford to do that.  

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14 hours ago, Tagganaro said:

I see your point but I just don't view it that way.  Mainly because many of those characters (who for some reason are POVs) heading for Meereen could not possibly have been planned from the beginning.  I speak mainly of Victarion and Quentyn, to me 2 of the worst examples of GRRM's "garden" just getting out of control.  Long story short, I think if he had a real outline and gameplan on how he was gonna end, the Knot is just not an issue.  

Well, I don't think he has a real outline at all, just because I think he has an ending in mind. 

He has things that need to happen to move toward that ending, but no idea how they're going to happen. And as the story gets longer and deeper, it gets harder and harder to make them happen. He tosses in some events that he hopes will push Dany in the right direction, and instead they end up pushing her farther away. So he keeps some and scraps others and then throws in some other stuff, and keeps trying until something works and he's finally ready to finish the book.

Although I think Quentyn may be a completely different case. I think that's more… I'm not sure of the right word. Opportunism, maybe? The idea of a stock fantasy heroic quest where everything plausibly goes wrong instead of implausibly going right, and it becomes not only more disastrous but also more meaningless as it progresses—that's thematically interesting. So he wrote it. Any effect on getting Dany or the Martells to the right setup point was almost completely beside the point. (Of course a good editor should have told him that it he can't make it have any effect on the plot or the existing characters' arcs or the other themes he's already developing, it probably doesn't belong, especially in a book that's way overdue and way over length… He could always have published it as a separate short story if he really didn't want to let go.)

14 hours ago, Tagganaro said:

Oh no, I don't think there's a deliberate misdirection at all.  GRRM wouldn't do that.  I do however think it's possible that there was an agreement to diverge and tell different stories, allowing GRRM to finish HIS story without it being told by D & D.

But telling different stories, when they intended to be the same stories, really would weaken both. To oversimplify things a bit, when ADoS comes out, you want people saying "You should read the books—it's the same story, but a lot deeper and more interesting" (as they do for, say, LotR) rather than "You should read the books—it's a different story that misleadingly seems pretty close for the first half, but I think it's a better one" (as they do for, say, HHGTTG).

14 hours ago, Tagganaro said:

Oh no, I don't think there's a deliberate misdirection at all.  GRRM wouldn't do that.  I do however think it's possible that there was an agreement to diverge and tell different stories, allowing GRRM to finish HIS story without it being told by D & D.  Short of a tacit agreement however, I think it's entirely possible that GRRM's "ending" has changed since the time he has told them it due to his writing style.  I mean, he has openly talked before about he's constantly getting new big ideas and twists IIRC.

Well, sure, but I don't think the twists are going to be on the order of "What if the Others actually win?" or "What if it's Jaime who fights the Others and saves the world?" or anything like that, so much as cool things that can happen on the way there.

Of course most of any series is cool things that happen on the way there, and what counts as cool for a 1000-page novel isn't always the same thing that counts as cool for a season of a TV show (as your last paragraph alludes to), and so on. But that doesn't necessarily mean there's no "there" to get to.

ETA: It also doesn't necessarily mean there is a "there" to get to. But from what GRRM and D&D have said, it sounds to me like there is. But then I could be overweighting things they said earlier, or I could just be wrong.

Edited by falcotron

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10 hours ago, falcotron said:

Well, I don't think he has a real outline at all, just because I think he has an ending in mind. 

He has things that need to happen to move toward that ending, but no idea how they're going to happen. And as the story gets longer and deeper, it gets harder and harder to make them happen. He tosses in some events that he hopes will push Dany in the right direction, and instead they end up pushing her farther away. So he keeps some and scraps others and then throws in some other stuff, and keeps trying until something works and he's finally ready to finish the book.

Reasonable.  Don't get me wrong, I think he's had an ending in mind for a while, but I'm talking about way, way end like final .01% of the story, you know?  I think there's a lot of wiggle room on the way there that may be changing or capable of changing.  When you add in the major deviations the TV show has already taken, plus that ability to change things on the way to the end, I could see the TV story and the book story really ending up way differently.  I think Stoneheart is a good example of that.  GRRM pretty much said she has a major role to play otherwise he wouldn't have included her.  Who got her stuff?  Sansa?  Arya?  Both?  Beric? You've ended the last book with both Jaime and Brienne, two major characters, intersecting or likely to intersect with Stoneheart.  Those stories too are now completely different.

10 hours ago, falcotron said:

Although I think Quentyn may be a completely different case. I think that's more… I'm not sure of the right word. Opportunism, maybe? The idea of a stock fantasy heroic quest where everything plausibly goes wrong instead of implausibly going right, and it becomes not only more disastrous but also more meaningless as it progresses—that's thematically interesting. So he wrote it. Any effect on getting Dany or the Martells to the right setup point was almost completely beside the point. (Of course a good editor should have told him that it he can't make it have any effect on the plot or the existing characters' arcs or the other themes he's already developing, it probably doesn't belong, especially in a book that's way overdue and way over length… He could always have published it as a separate short story if he really didn't want to let go.)

Man, don't get me started on Quentyn :P.  That frustrated me even more than the Greyjoy and Areo Hotah chapters.  How Quentyn took up pages as a POV when you got all these major timing issues and lengthiness issues is beyond me.   In a book that builds up to 2 battles that never happen (Meereen and Winterfell) how you have a POV like Quentyn's taking up valuable real estate is really mind-boggling.

10 hours ago, falcotron said:

But telling different stories, when they intended to be the same stories, really would weaken both. To oversimplify things a bit, when ADoS comes out, you want people saying "You should read the books—it's the same story, but a lot deeper and more interesting" (as they do for, say, LotR) rather than "You should read the books—it's a different story that misleadingly seems pretty close for the first half, but I think it's a better one" (as they do for, say, HHGTTG).

Well, sure, but I don't think the twists are going to be on the order of "What if the Others actually win?" or "What if it's Jaime who fights the Others and saves the world?" or anything like that, so much as cool things that can happen on the way there.

Of course most of any series is cool things that happen on the way there, and what counts as cool for a 1000-page novel isn't always the same thing that counts as cool for a season of a TV show (as your last paragraph alludes to), and so on. But that doesn't necessarily mean there's no "there" to get to.

ETA: It also doesn't necessarily mean there is a "there" to get to. But from what GRRM and D&D have said, it sounds to me like there is. But then I could be overweighting things they said earlier, or I could just be wrong.

This is just a repeat of what I said above, but there are already major deviations which will change book 6 in particular in major ways from TV seasons 6 and 7.  Stoneheart was just one example I've cited above, but like I said before, you've got Faegon and many other examples as well.  I think that alone will make a different story, beyond even any adjustments to end game stuff that I think are likely, if not necessary, based on earlier deviations.  Like, even just think about the situation at Winterfell in the books and compare it to the show.  Sansa, Stannis, Jon, Ramsay, Roose, Brienne, Rickon, Davos- Every single one of those characters is in a FAR different place in the books than in the show.  I know the books are behind, but I highly doubt Jon, Brienne, Rickon, Davos, and Sansa will even be involved in the Battle for Winterfell between Stannis and Ramsay.  Maybe later on they will end up in similar places, but that battle will go far differently in the books.

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