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Black Crow

Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

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Just dropping in to say hi and happy mother's day to all the moms of Heresy. Sorry, I haven't been around been super busy lately with work:ack: .

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8 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Sorry, you've lost me

Pretty sure it's a reference to Lost... the ending of which GRRM compared, rather aptly, to a bag of turds someone had dropped on his doorstep.

Of course, it's an open question whether fans of a given project would rather have (1) a bag of turds or (2) no ending whatever.   I'm not sure Lost fans then were unhappier than ASOIAF fans now.

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4 minutes ago, JNR said:

Pretty sure it's a reference to Lost... the ending of which GRRM compared, rather aptly, to a bag of turds someone had dropped on his doorstep.

Of course, it's an open question whether fans of a given project would rather have (1) a bag of turds or (2) no ending whatever.   I'm not sure Lost fans then were unhappier than ASOIAF fans now.

Yes, young padawan, it is indeed a reference to lost as indeed was my response, and yes notwithstanding GRRM's dislike of the ending, I agree that his own will satisfy very few of those who already "know" how it will end and will be mightily displeased when it isn't their ending

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4 hours ago, Black Crow said:

notwithstanding GRRM's dislike of the ending, I agree that his own will satisfy very few of those who already "know" how it will end and will be mightily displeased when it isn't their ending

Yeah, the outcome you describe is one GRRM has been afraid of since at least 2011:

Quote

I want to give them something terrific. What if I fuck it up at the end? What if I do a Lost? Then they’ll come after me with pitchforks and torches.

But his concern on this point seems to overlook the more likely outcome... 

...which is that the pitchforks and torches will come out because he doesn't finish ASOIAF in any conventional sense.  

And there will be more of both than if he had just followed through with the planned solutions to his various mysteries in two good books.  Hopefully he won't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

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I fear that includes someone important...

Seriously though, I hadn't come across that particular SSM before. While its all very well speaking of his gardening proclivities and just how far he may be straying from the original synopsis, surely he must have a plan for the ending?

It strikes me that it can be interpreted in two ways

Either, like the guys in Lost he really has no idea how to wrap this, which would in turn suggest that some things spoken of with assurance are not written in blood far less set in stone, or

He has the ending he always envisaged but fears that it doesn't match the expectations which have already grown up 

What I do hope is that he has at least outlined the final chapter, just in case...

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2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

surely he must have a plan for the ending?

Obviously none of us can know for sure.  But I think so; I believed him all those times he said he knew where he was going, and that it was only the route that was changing, and I still do.

If so, he always had the big picture.  His musing is more a matter of detail.  Example:

Quote

There’s this character, which I always knew would die -- from the moment of introduction she was doomed to die. But I did not know how she was going to die. Since last night, I know it.

Which brings us to:

2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

He has the ending he always envisaged but fears that it doesn't match the expectations which have already grown up

This I think is the case.  That is, he worries that

1) He will not write it well enough to live up to his own expectations... which at this point are pretty epic, having been called "the American Tolkien," etc.

2) In certain cases (such as Jon's parents) he knows the fanbase has become religious in endorsing a particular idea or set of them, and he also knows they think the show has spoiled the books, instead of being a fundamentally different universe from the books.

Still I think if he just does what he considers a good job on the two final books... implements his long-planned solutions to all the mysteries (which will blow Lost out of the water)... and (above all) doesn't let the series drag on forever either in book count or time to completion... then he'll be pleased with the outcome.

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13 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Seriously though, I hadn't come across that particular SSM before. While its all very well speaking of his gardening proclivities and just how far he may be straying from the original synopsis, surely he must have a plan for the ending?

It strikes me that it can be interpreted in two ways

Either, like the guys in Lost he really has no idea how to wrap this, which would in turn suggest that some things spoken of with assurance are not written in blood far less set in stone, or

He has the ending he always envisaged but fears that it doesn't match the expectations which have already grown up 

What I do hope is that he has at least outlined the final chapter, just in case...

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".

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7 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

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".

I agree as to the Iron Throne, but here we are coming at the story from different perspectives. I and I believe most heretics hold true to the original concept, that the story is chiefly about the children of Winterfell and how they will adapt, overcome or succumb to the Musgrave Ritual represented by Winterfell, the Wall and what lies beyond.

Others see it as the fight for the Iron Throne and defending it against all-comers, blue-eyed or otherwise. 

The latter outcome is where JNR and I see GRRM's concern that the true believers may not take kindly to an ending that does not see Jon Snow as the rightful lawful king who will lead the Royal Targaryen Airforce to a fiery victory on the banks of the Trident

Edited by Black Crow
silly spelling mistake

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20 hours ago, JNR said:

In certain cases (such as Jon's parents) he knows the fanbase has become religious in endorsing a particular idea or set of them, and he also knows they think the show has spoiled the books, instead of being a fundamentally different universe from the books.

 

I think the reference to pitchforks and flaming torches suggests that may be what he principally fears. I have said many times before that the issue of Jon's mother doesn't seem to be a big deal in the synopsis, or at least not the big deal that the R+L=J true believers have made it. I don't think its the pitchforks and torches he fears so much as the stake those carrying them will drag him to if disappointed

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

I think the reference to pitchforks and flaming torches suggests that may be what he principally fears.

It's possible, but bear in mind he said that in 2011.  That was a point well before the show had become a global phenomenon, and the size of the fanbase exploded, and so did global analysis of various puzzles, such as Jon's parents. 

Also, he's done various interviews since in which he's asked about these topics.  This is quite a recent one, from about ten months ago:

Quote

In the case of any of my novels, I know where I’m starting from, I know where I want to end up, more or less. I know some of the big turning points along the way, the stuff I’m building for, but you discover an awful lot along the way.

This is the same thing he's always said on this topic, so yes, he's got an ending in mind.  This is interesting too:

Quote

So even as late as that meeting I never dreamed that the show would catch up to the books, but it has, so we are where we are now. And hopefully we’re taking two roads to the same destination.

Hopefully?  Really?

So he didn't know, a mere ten months ago, when season seven was almost finished being aired, whether the show and books would end the same way.  That is quite a telling statement.  (He also says in that interview that he really hasn't much been involved in the show since season four.)

Then we come to this, which is the real kicker:

Quote

Instead of just writing a story, there’s this little guy in the back of my mind saying: “No, it has to be great! It has to be great! You’re writing one of the great fantasies of all time! Is that sentence great? Is this decision great?” When I started in 1991, I was just trying to write the best story I could. I didn’t think this will be a landmark thing for all time. The fact that this has gotten all this favorable attention and praise, wonderful reviews, award nominations, it does increase the pressure to do it again.

I think this is more or less in the same vein as the bit I quoted above from 2011 about "pulling a Lost."  

He just wants the series ending to be seen as kickass, instead of bleh.  He doesn't want us saying "Who dropped this turd on my doorstep?"

So he's trying to perfect his writing in a broad, abstract sense... but the consequence of his perfectionism is that no book has been published at all, nor will be in 2018, and God knows whether he'll finish ASOIAF in two books (or at all).  

So it seems to me the outcome of his perfectionism, to date anyway, doesn't rise to the level of the Lost ending, which for all its faults did at least exist.

However, I optimistically reserve the right to radically alter this opinion on turning the last page of TWOW.  :D

Edited by JNR

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