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Matthew.

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  1. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    While GRRM has said that the broken seasons have a magical cause, I do think it's possible for that idea to be applied too strictly and literally--for example, the Hammer of the Waters is an event with a magical cause that can, nonetheless, be partially described in scientific terms. My own argument in the past for the "Long Night as Volcanic Winter" premise is that, like the flooding of the Neck and breaking of the Arm of Dorne, it's something that could technically fall into the purview of CotF magic--violent seismic activity unleashed by the song of earth. Along those lines, the Long Night could represent a final act of desperation, a volcanic winter to cleanse the surface while the CotF huddle in their warded caves. These days, I don't really expect GRRM to go that route, but I do selfishly like the idea of Joramun's horn being a "Horn of Winter" because it unleashes a volcanic winter--and, accordingly, its sounding would be a far more widespread narrative moment than just localized damage to the Wall, and instead be an event that could be covered from several different POVs as people feel the fallout.
  2. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    I think that's a fair possibility, since - along those same lines - it seems likely to me that the whole thing with the burning of the three leeches was something of a performance on Mel's part--that it was meant to "prove" to Stannis that there is power in king's blood, when she probably had already foreseen the imminent deaths of the three respective kings within her fires, and was able to frame the whole thing as evidence of R'hllor's power.
  3. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    I agree that Stannis might be able to justify the burning of Edric Storm to himself, as part of a shifting world view--which is what potentially makes him dangerous. Since Melisandre came into his life, Stannis now approaches certain choices in utilitarian terms, instead of absolutist terms. In the midst of the Edric Storm discussion, Stannis speaks of seeing things in the flames, and appears to be seriously considering the prospect that he is Azor Ahai, that Melisandre can deliver a dragon, that he has a responsibility to protect the realm from the coming darkness. Significantly (to me) is that, while Stannis' "Lightbringer" used statues of the Seven as the sacrifice in its unveiling, and he has variously pondered sacrificing Edric Storm, Mance, and Mance's son, none of these seem to quite meet the allegorical lesson of the tale of Azor Ahai, nor the template of the terrible price that we saw Dany pay in the east. Melisandre herself touches upon the idea in relation to Edric Storm: _____ All of this consideration, of course, is moot if Stannis dies at the Battle of Winterfell, but if he doesn't, I think he will once again be tempted by the prospect of waking dragons from stone. Dangerously, the empirical evidence - Melisandre's legitimate magical powers, the return of the Others - is compelling, from the perspective of a character living on Planetos
  4. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    I don't think this will be the case; almost by definition, show only watchers feel no particular investment in whatever GRRM will decide to do, anymore than, say, people who only watched Jaws without reading the book care about adaptation changes. Of course, we're living in an era in which people get really, really passionate over what is and is not "canonical" in something like Star Wars, where "canon" means that content has the official approval of a corporate license holder, so maybe I'm underestimating how betrayed people will feel by something that doesn't seem all that important Regardless of how people feel about the show, I'm sure they'd mostly be delighted if GRRM can deliver to them a well-told story that can still go in unexpected places, and ignite their imagination. If anything, the bigger obstacle GRRM is facing is time--not just whether he can get the story out before he dies, but for those people that have been waiting five years, ten years, fifteen years, or longer, can anything meet that level of anticipation?
  5. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    As just a slight addition, I should make clear I'm not arguing against other possible routes for Stannis' arc to play out: that the author might kill Stannis at the Battle of Winterfell and have the Pink Letter turn out to be true would be one way to upend expectation, to have Melisandre take initiative (assuming Stannis is dead) and sacrifice Shireen, only for Stannis to return and to have this turn into a fallout between Stannis, Melisandre, and Selyse would be another route, and so forth. Rather, I am making the case that Stannis' arc taking a darker turn merits consideration in addition to all other routes the author might go, and that I think certain authoritative declarations as to what Stannis is and is not capable of might be premature, or too narrowly considered.
  6. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    I have some thoughts on the bolded--for one, I'm not sure that Stannis burning people for what he personally deems "deserving reasons" necessarily says great things about his character trajectory, and most significantly, the Edric Storm dilemma is the elephant in the room with interpreting Stannis. I have a different take on Stannis, on his respect for law and tradition, his hard, fair, and just nature, and his unyielding tenacity. These are all defining qualities, fundamental to what people think of Stannis, what some characters like about him, what some characters despise about him--and they're heavily informed by the man he was, the Stannis that withstood siege at Storm's End, and both punished and elevated Davos. Stannis, in the present, is a man that has spent years stewing in resentment over the perceived slight of being made Lord of Dragonstone instead of Storm's End, resentment over what is rightfully his (which has now expanded to the Iron Throne), and in the midst of all of this, the toxic influence of Melisandre has begun to exert itself. Cressen's prologue is a tone setter for Stannis arc, and the tone is "all's not well in Dragonstone;" we see a maester willing to take an extraordinary step, a healer (among other things) attempting assassination out of concern for Stannis, his "sad sullen boy," the "son he never had." The most explicit moment regarding Stannis' decline is when Selyse and Melisandre suggest Cressen wear Patchface's fool's helm, and Stannis orders Cressen's humiliation: "This is not you, not your way." Eventually, Stannis stops the humiliation--eventually. But the implication here is clear: before the years spent on Dragonstone, before Melisandre, Stannis would have never permitted this cruelty in the first place. I'm not saying we're looking at a character that has pulled a full 180, I'm arguing that we're looking at a character in conflict, a character whose longstanding values are being compromised. Burning statues of the seven, burning people, leaving his marriage bed to sleep with Melisandre, interfering in the affairs of the Night's Watch and attempting to politicize them, seriously considering human sacrifice with Edric Storm--these are all things we might assume would have been non-starters for Old Stannis. Now? How far he'd go to get the Iron Throne, how thoroughly he believes in R'hllors power, these are open questions, questions Stannis himself struggles with, that define his character arc and internal conflict. A man who is having a utilitarian debate with Davos over what his nephew's life is worth is no longer a man that is operating with a clear, rigid sense of right and wrong, an unwavering devotion to law. Implicit in Davos' choice to smuggle Edric Storm away from Stannis is an insight into what Davos is seeing in the man that he respects, the man to whom he owes his status: he's no longer sure that he can trust Stannis to make the right choice, that Stannis is not beyond temptation.
  7. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    For, one there's this: https://www.ew.com/article/2016/05/24/george-rr-martin-3-twists-game-thrones/ Which you have previously cited in relation to the theoretical third twist; again, we can go down the road that maybe the interview has poorly paraphrasing them, or maybe they're lying, but the phrasing of the second part (Hodor) is consistent with their elaboration in other interviews about the twist (eg, that GRRM has been sitting on the Hodor thing for 20+ years). Like, this isn't a black and white thing where I'm declaring the opposite point of view - that D&D have spoken truthfully and accurately, and that the show unquestionably depicts a bunch of plot points from GRRM -, I'm keeping an open mind to what they've said, and to the broader context of the meeting itself, a week long, "character by character" assessment, an addressing of end point goals. I'm moderating my expectations for future volumes, for some of the plot developments that I don't like but may come to pass (eg, the potential of Greensight), and for the possibility that the badness of the show does not just reflect showrunner incompetence and an author that has withheld a great deal, but that it reflects an author with truly limited guidance to provide, even if this week long meeting were largely held in good faith--that he was writing TWOW at the time, and is now, five years later, still writing struggling with his own story, is suggestive of how much help he can truly provide for them in shaping their own story.
  8. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    I don't think the situation is entirely hopeless, but my pessimism specifically stems from GRRM seeming to follow an approach where he "solves" the problem of his narrative being unwieldy by adding new eyes to ease the storytelling--then giving those new "eyes" an arc unto themselves, and then having the sudden inspiration for a twist he thinks is great, then reworking the story to accommodate new character arcs and new twists, only to discover the narrative has become even more unwieldy. On the one hand, I can see the value in GRRM following his instincts--if GRRM weren't a gardener, maybe he would have focused on writing Avalon instead of following the whim that spawned Bran I and ASOIAF wouldn't exist at all, or maybe he would have delivered the underwhelming version of AGOT laid out in the 1993 letter, instead of the arc that eventually grew into AGOT/ACOK/ASOS. On the other hand...20+ years of a writing process that includes excessive rewrites, an aversion to planning, and Anne Groell eventually convincing him he needs to publish some of what he has, and push the rest of his material to a future novel--it almost feels like his bad habits are only getting worse with time, rather than being improved and corrected by experience.
  9. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    Maybe? I'm going by interview phrasing--"Stannis sacrifices his daughter," "Hodor's origin story (or backstory, depending on the interview)," and something "from the very end." One can go down the speculative road of assuming the interview has inaccurately paraphrased them, or that they're lying, or that they just made a massive leap without any elaboration from GRRM on the ostensible twist, but I'm not sure that's entirely convincing. In any case, in the absence of Stannis' involvement, it becomes less clear as to why this particular plot point is one of the ones that generates a strong reaction from D&D in the room, why it has a particular weight for them--they say the meeting took place between Season 2 and 3, so at this point they hadn't even bothered with casting Shireen or including her in the Stannis plot line. This is only true of the very specific scenario within the show, and not broadly true of what Stannis might be capable of before series' end. I am talking about the potential of the plot point in the abstract, and not the specific circumstances and storytelling choices. If Stannis wins the Battle of Winterfell - or loses, but escapes with his life, as he did at the Blackwater - and returns to the Wall, then he would eventually reunite with Shireen--more ominously, reunite with her at the Nightfort, which he is planning to make his seat. This, and other logistical scenarios, for now, remain possible in Book World. For clarity, I don't object to the characterization argument (I disagree with it, but I think it's a fair argument position), I object to the premise that Stannis sacrificing Shireen is logistically impossible, especially since we don't know how much longer he might be sticking around in the books; logistics and circumstance play out differently in the show even when they're working from published material, for reasons of budget, hubris, incompetence, and the limitations of the medium.
  10. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    I'm not assuming that when they say "these are things that GRRM told us," that those comments are meant to imply that they adapted, verbatim, every single aspect and circumstance of whatever iteration of those respective stories GRRM might theoretically tell--the implication is that the "holy shit" comes from the essence of the idea (Shireen is sacrificed and Stannis is complicit, "Hodor's backstory" and "the meaning of Hodor's name," as they characterize the twist), as distinct from the narrative they built around those ideas. For example, "Talisa of Volantis, the Field Medic" is a very stupid narrative that is, nonetheless, bundled around a 'real' plot point. So, is GRRM going to tell a story in which Shireen is sacrificed near Winterfell, before a failed battle with the Boltons? No, but that doesn't mean he can't tell a story in which Stannis is complicit in her sacrifice. Win or lose, if he survives Winterfell (not certain, but we'll see), he's going to be at his nadir, which could prompt a "heart in conflict" moment--law, tradition, morality vs. the pursuit of the Iron Throne, his unyielding nature in conflict with itself. Would he acknowledge the futility of his cause and bend the knee, or will he break? If it's the latter, then Mel's pitch that she can wake dragons from stone might eventually win out. I agree--well, that, and deciding how much of AFFC and ADWD were on the chopping block. GRRM has said occasionally that he knows what he's working toward--and Anne Groell claims that he has told her Bran's ending, and told Daniel Abraham Tyrion's ending, so I would guess that he's always known what he's working toward with the Starks, Lannisters, Dany, the Others, and the broken seasons. I'm not worried about whether or not GRRM has an ending in mind, I'm worried about whether or not he's capable of writing his way toward that ending. I'm repeating myself, but that SSM where GRRM happily declares that he "solved" the Meereenese knot by adding a bunch of unplanned Barristan chapters, in hindsight, seems like a real canary in the coal mine in terms of how much longer the wait for TWOW was going to be--that the author is not learning from his mistakes.
  11. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    The latter is right, and they have articulated what a "holy shit" moment meant in an interview where they spoke about Hodor and the Santa Fe meeting. They're having this week long meeting in a hotel room that is, in essence, a business meeting, a character by character discussion that is a bit emotionally sterile, a bit abstract in story terms, so when GRRM is telling them about "Hodor's backstory" and "the meaning of his name" (their words) it was one of the moments that, in spite of the storytelling circumstances, was still enough to draw a "holy shit" out of them. So, it's "holy shit" relative to their personal perspective and the setting of the meeting, and not necessarily "GRRM was only willing to give away three secrets," or however else it might be interpreted. That said, I feel as though, for both people who want to use show choices as "proof" of their theories, or alternately, to use show choices to speculate that it is unthinkable that GRRM told D&D anything whatsoever, there's an incredibly important caveat here. Weiss, in a 2017 Time interview, about the Santa Fe meeting:
  12. Matthew.

    Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

    I agree with your interpretation of that season 2 scene--which is why I don't think it fits as one of the three things that drew a strong reaction out of them during the Santa Fe meeting, since the Santa Fe meeting was in 2013. Either they made up their minds early to fashion their own distinct ending for Dany, or GRRM gave them enough broad strokes to prompt their version of the HotU--before Season 1 aired, D&D did give an interview in which they said they'd had conversations with GRRM about Dany (they cited her specifically) and the ending that assured them that GoT wasn't going to "pull a Lost," or have an unsatisfying/cop out ending.
  13. Matthew.

    Heresy 212 The Wolves

    In addition to the passages you raised, I'm also fond of reading this segment of Varamyr's prologue as possibly symbolizing/foreshadowing the relationship between the spirits of the weirwood, and the white walkers:
  14. Matthew.

    Heresy 212 The Wolves

    Along these lines, my personal suspicion is that they're a step further removed from humanity than even Coldhands, and that the Green Men are to earth and life as the Others are to ice and death--a full transformation into a different form of life, perhaps something akin to the Faun in Pan's Labyrinth. I once read a theory that suggested something similar, the premise being to interpret the weirwood as something repulsive--a massive, unified organism whose roots interconnect with one another and run everywhere in Westeros, that can writhe and wriggle on their own when fully awakened. Subjectively, I don't really love the idea, but I will play devil's advocate and point out that the section of ADWD where Theon is hearing words in the godswood - presumably, attempts by Bran to communicate - does seem to suggest that the weirwood is rustling on its own, rather than in response to any environmental condition: The narration is vague enough that it might be alternately suggested that Theon hasn't necessarily seen the leaves physically rustle, just heard the sound and assumed that they must be rustling because he has no personal context for True Tongue, or greenseer speech, or whatever is really happening--nonetheless, stranger possibilities don't seem entirely out of the question.
  15. Matthew.

    Heresy 212 The Wolves

    The post I was responding to, from you, literally contained what you intended to be a grammar lesson on the usage of the word "and;" my response only proceeds from the contents of your post, and clarifies the way those of us that disagree with you are interpreting that passage. On the contrary, I've tried several times to meet your explanation halfway, to say that I see the potential for a double meaning in these passages possibly relating to (or foreshadowing) things regarding the Starks, and possibly revealing a deeper potential to Jon's magic, while also defending the idea that they have something interesting to say about Ghost and the direwolves, and their own magical potential. Your response has been to express no interest in being met halfway, to insist upon on an either/or interpretation, and to talk down to people who interpret the "four remain/one who can't be felt" portion a particular way--while hypocritically bemoaning being talked down to. Come what may, I'll not say another word about the passage in question from this point forward, but you might consider revisiting the tone of your own posts if you're going to make a call for civility.
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