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The Coconut God

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  1. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    A "plan for the ending" doesn't necessarily mean specific plot points that absolutely must be brought into the story; that sounds more like something the mummers would do. It could just be a good understanding of what the major characters' arcs will be and what kind of tone he wants for the ending. Forget about Lost and think Breaking Bad: seasons were never planned in advance and the plot often grew around good actors they wanted to keep around, but the main arc was always going to be "Mr Chips turns into Scarface"; they stayed true to that and they stayed true to the characters, so it feels like a strong, cohesive story anyway. I'm sure George knows what kind of characters Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Arya, etc. will eventually become, whether they'll remain sympathetic or not, what kind of general role they will play in the endgame (hero, villain, foil, tragic figure, etc) and stuff like that. He also knows that the tone will be bittersweet. I'm less convinced he is fixated on non-character-driven stuff, like "the story is about Westeros", "there must be a battle at Winterfell/on the Trident" and especially "someone must win the Iron Throne".
  2. The Coconut God

    What are your Choices for the Most Literate Works of Fantasy

    Honestly, Perdido was so disappointing and aggravating I doubt Mieville will get another chance from me. There are too many other authors who might deserve it more. If you want to know why I dislike this book so much, flip to chapter 19 and read the first few pages (a single phrase or paragraph wouldn't do). It's emblematic of the problem with his writing. This is also apparent with many other aspects of Perdido; there's a lot of potential everywhere, but Mieville doesn't invest in it. The setting and the politics fall in the background, even though they started out strong. The characters start out as deep and flawed, haunted by trauma and desperation, a thirst for freedom and justice, love, a passion for art, deep scientific curiosity... but they never feel driven by these emotions, they always blindly follow the plot, so the more you see them, the more artificial they become... On the flip side, some characters are aliens with very creative physiques, but once you get inside their heads, their thought process is very human, even for those who claim otherwise. For the sake of other readers, I hope Mieville managed to overcome this major shortcoming, but it's so fundamental that I have sincere doubts.
  3. The Coconut God

    What are your Choices for the Most Literate Works of Fantasy

    Nabokov's Ada or Ardor and Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita are the best that come to mind, although it could be argued the fantasy elements lean more towards SF in the former and supernatural in the latter. One Hundred Years of Solitude can also be added to the list. Do yourselves a favor and steer away from Mieville, though. He's not literary, he's just pretentious. Fancy words covering up a cheesy, unfocused plot and cliched, poorly developed characters, or at least that's the impression I got from Perdido Street Station.
  4. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    The Others are a Chekhov's gun aimed at Westeros. A key element in this scenario is that the Seven Kingdoms ignored the Watch's last minute warnings and calls for help and chose instead to fight each other. This is a monumental mistake that easily eclipses those made by Ned and Robb, and by George's storytelling principles it should elicit dire consequences. If the South still has time to rally for a fight at the Trident, or even Winterfell (!), this collective failure becomes meaningless. Worst case scenario, the North and the Riverlands will once again take all the punishment, best case scenario the Others will only occupy a largely uninhabited area before being stopped. It sounds way too convenient to be true. As for the LotR ending, did George like it for the structure, or the themes? Structurally, the Scouring of the Shire is an anticlimactic side-quest with distracting real world references (whether Tolkien intended to make them or not). Thematically, the episode is all about consequences: it showed us that the Shire didn't completely escape the influence of evil, even though it was as far as it could be from the front lines; it showed us that the conflict had left deep scars that could not be healed, not only on Frodo, but on Middle Earth as well, with the migration of the Elves; and it showed that the fight against evil isn't won in one big battle, but it's an ongoing struggle, with many little battles to come. We already know George likes these themes. But will he also try to replicated the questionable structure, or will he incorporate them in a better plotted ending?
  5. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    But we already have this wonderful foreshadowing that King Jon the Warg will see through Arya's faceless disguise: How can the King of Seals metaphor work if Jon doesn't set forth from Seal Rock with his northmen and wildlings dressed in furs to cross the Narrow Sea on ships bearing the Merman flag? In Latin, Casso meant "to bring to naught, to destroy", and in Italian one of its meanings is "deprived/dispossessed". The king of a destroyed land, leading his dispossessed people into exile. Sneaky George
  6. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    That's a brilliant idea, I never thought the fall of the Wall could connect so well visually with Mirri's prophecy. The Others and the wights don't really need the Wall to fall all at once, technically speaking they only need the wards to be removed. I still don't buy that the wildlings = the Others, though. The wildlings need to get to Braavos! The Lyseni slave ship they captured already set a precedent for this to be a plot point in TWoW!
  7. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    Catelyn made them swear they would bring her back her daughters, but at that time she didn't know her sons were alive. Jaime and Brienne don't know where Sansa and Arya are, but what if Bran contacts them? Wouldn't they go to him? Jamie crippling him was what started the whole war, it would be very fitting.
  8. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    My vote goes to Jaime and Brienne with the BWB.
  9. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    You and your love for Winterfell... George already made us get used to the idea that the Starks lost that castle. Stannis's victory over the Boltons and the Freys will give us cathartic satisfaction for the great Stark tragedy; dramatically speaking we don't need anything more. Make no mistake about it, this will be a Stark victory, even if King Stannis is in command. He got crucial advice from Jon, men from the mountain clans and insider support from the Grand Northern Conspiracy. The glory very much belongs to the Starks. Later on, when the Northmen abandon him and Stannis loses Winterfell to the Others, the defeat will be his alone. And look, as far as Dany's story in TWoW is concerned, we already know we'll get the Battle of Fire, a few chapters with the Dothraki and some sort of resolution in Meereen. Lhazar would happily declare for Dany if she can keep the Dothraki from raiding them, and presumably the Ghiscari will be defeated and all their cities will submit to Dany. Qarth will get a resolution as well, otherwise it wouldn't have been brought up again, but we don't need to see any more than an envoy offering submission. That's already half of Essos right there. Qohor wouldn't take more than a chapter. Since we don't know much about it, there's no dramatic need for more. But a victory there would have enormous symbolic importance, since the Siege of Qohor was the one major historical event that greatly increased the popularity of the Unsullied and dealt such a blow to the Dothraki that they largely stopped attacking cities. Both of those groups are very important in Dany's story. Saath and Morosh are basically colonies of Lorath and none of them keep slaves, so they would have little interest to oppose her. A passing mention is more than enough for them. From then on, we already have established plot points in Volantis with the slave rebellion and in Pentos with Illyrio and the Tattered Prince, and a less obvious one in Norvos with Mellario Martell. These are larger arcs, but I would expect at least one of them to belong to Tyrion. What do we have left? Only Braavos, the most important player on the continent, and the Lemontea cities, which are weakened by war and bereft of the Golden Company? I know you desperately want Dany in Westeros, and maybe George will completely ignore the set up and shove her that way regardless, but as Egg often said to Dunk... "It's right there!".
  10. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    It shouldn't shock you, really, plenty of things happened off-screen in the books. The Others claiming parts of Westeros where we don't have any PoVs and Dany extending her influence over cities that we don't know very well are perfect things to relate indirectly without making the readers feel cheated. The story could progress quickly over relatively few pages.
  11. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    Well, Jon wouldn't really "invade". He would rather get tangled up in Dany's conflicts (and she in his) as they become allies, and that's exactly what condensing the story means. Also, some of the Free Cities can easily surrender or be defeated in a single chapter or a single paragraph. We've already seen that in ASoS, it only takes 6 chapters for Dany to get the Unsullied and defeat Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen. If Dany recalls the sacking of Qohor as her khalasar marches towards Norvos and in the same chapter receives an envoy from Lorath who states that the city is swearing allegiance to her, we wouldn't feel like we missed anything, but Westeros has a lot of major and minor interconnected characters who we are invested in, so there would have to be a lot more political details about how they receive Dany, how she sees them, who and why they choose to ally with, etc. The wight invasion wouldn't have to be presented in the same amount of detail because it wouldn't be a political and military drama, but more like a natural disaster. Many of these character would be killed, and those who escape would be rolled into a faction of refugees and stripped of political power. The intricacies of who they'd ally with would matter less if they no longer have a castle and a feudal domain at their disposal.
  12. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    All of those are potential dramatic conflicts, which is a good thing. The crux of the matter is that Dany's story can only move on to Westeros if either: The plot lines in Essos, many of which were only introduced recently, are abruptly ended. Dany's storyline once on Westeros will actually be very short. The series will need a lot more than 2 books to reach its conclusion. Moving the other characters on Essos can be achieved more efficiently under the pressure of a wight invasion.
  13. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    I think I finally realized where the crack in your logic is in regards to the synopsis. You fully accept the changes made to characters and their arcs, but you think the original idea of Westeros is immutable. It's not. "Westeros" in that synopsis simply meant "Relevant Story Space". At that time Essos was nothing more than a place for Dany and the Dothraki to come from, so it didn't qualify, but things have clearly changed since then. Synopsis Jaime was split into Book Jaime, who kept the name but is a very different character, Tywin, who got some of his ruthlessness, and Cersei, who loosely inherited the plot line of becoming Queen. Why not apply the same principle to the "Relevant Story Space"? Originally, it was only Westeros, but later parts of Essos entered that sphere as well - Pentos and Braavos very early on. The general plot points need not change that much; Dany is still a conqueror who struggles with her subjects, only on a different continent. Maybe the original idea was for her to hold King's Landing while Jon led refugees south of the Neck, but now she will hold Volantis while he seeks refuge in Andalos. The circumstances of their encounter and their motivations would still be very similar. In the synopsis, Catelyn was supposed to be killed by the Others north of the Wall, but in the books she was killed by the Freys at the Red Wedding. How is this a bigger change?
  14. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    The North at least would be hit harder and sooner than Essos, and Westeros would have to deal with the Others and the wights on top of winter. Lastly, most of the Westerosi kingdoms lost a lot of crops and livestock as a result of the War of the Five Kings, while the cities in southern and western Essos should be well supplied at least for the first years of winter, and also have easier access to the Summer Sea for fishing. But the main benefit would be the condensation of the plot. Right now, the remaining length of the series is dictated by Dany and what she is expected do before her plot line finally intersects Jon's and the "Song of Ice and Fire" climax can happen, whatever it entails. The problem is, ADwD left her with several dangling plot threads in Essos that could easily take half a book to resolve, not counting the travel time, and the seeds of her conflicts in Westeros haven't been planted at all, aside from "Aegon exists". Then there are the Others, which would also need to be established somehow to Dany before that whole arc can start, and I don't even dare think of Euron, Pentos, Volantis and Braavos, all of which have potential reasons to enter her story. In a perfect world, George would tell all these stories with his usual pacing, pushing the series up to 10 or 11 books, and they would all be amazing, but at the moment the plan is to only have two more, which means some of these things need to be condensed or cut. An exodus to Essos provides a scenario where Dany is no longer required to go to Westeros in order to encounter Jon. That would shorten the required length of the series by a lot, and that's the main appeal. Many fans may not like an ending where the secret prince and the exiled princess don't manage to reclaim their respective castles, but it would be in keeping with George's penchant to challenge tropes and subvert expectations, and thematically the characters wouldn't end that far off from the original outline: Dany as the conqueror of an entire continent, and Jon as a savior figure for his people.
  15. The Coconut God

    Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

    @Brad Stark, @Tucu It's certainly possible that the story simply spun out of control and George refuses to acknowledge it. @Matthew. might have been prophetic when he said that the Wall will fall "in the Epilogue of Book X", even though that's not what he meant. But I don't think falling back to this argument is particularly constructive and fun. If we can think of creative ways in which the story can be condensed without breaking character motivation or sweeping plot lines under the rug, why not discuss them?
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