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Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

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3 hours ago, Matthew. said:

A belated observation, but it also brings to mind GRRM's criticisms of the Lost finale, which I think does reveal GRRM's philosophy as a writer; I haven't seen Lost, but I'm given the impression that it was polarizing because people spent years developing theories that never paid off, because the show either chose anticlimaxes, or just left stuff purposely ambiguous and unaswered. Given what I've seen of Lindelof's other work, I'm going to assume the latter.

In that sense, GRRM, both as a writer and a reader/viewer, believes in payoff; that's not a guarantee that it will satisfy every reader, but he certainly has something in mind, and I'm inclined to believe that the Others, the dragons, and the broken seasons will all come together in climactic fashion. 

Yes, this is almost certainly true, but GRRM was also directly referencing the purported puzzles on the show, which he doubted would have any adequate logical, well-set-up, yet subtle explanation.  (I did too at the time.)

He was right.  The puzzles weren't puzzles, but just stuff the producers made up to engage the audience week by week.  The "solutions" were half-assed.

Lindelof later said about GRRM's writing that in fantasy, there are no puzzles, so GRRM had no idea what he was talking about.  It wasn't a fair comparison, he said.

I laughed out loud at that.  We shall see!  I'm certainly on record predicting that TWOW is going to blow quite a few minds...

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6 hours ago, Matthew. said:

To be frank, "what if the Others aren't the center of the final arc, and the action shifts to Essos" is a point of view that is incompatible with an awful lot of the theories in which people feel most invested, so it's probably going to be difficult to launch a robust discussion on that front; heck, even though I can see where you're coming from, I quite selfishly hope that you're wrong--I like my theories as well. :dunno:

Honestly, I don't feel it's that incompatible. It shuts down all the theories about X getting this and that castle and Y ending up on the Iron Throne, but I don't think that sort of ending is essential to the story, or even all that interesting when you come down to it; and it's bound to disappoint some people anyway. There may not be a winter version of the defense of Gondor against the armies of darkness, but the Others still play a pivotal part, which the set up does demand, and the scenario is open to teaching us more about their origin and their magic, and even to presenting them in a neutral light.

In any case, George doesn't seem very keen on giving readers what they expect. He's more interested in subverting those expectations:

Quote

I killed Ned because everybody thinks he’s the hero ... sure, he’s going to get into trouble, but then he’ll somehow get out of it. The next predictable thing is to think his eldest son is going to rise up and avenge his father ... So immediately killing Robb became the next thing I had to do.

He could be doing the same thing with Daenerys. Everybody thinks she will eventually get to Westeros, so maybe she won't... maybe George is teasing the readers by giving her all these obvious moments when she could get on her way, but chooses not to, all these secondary plot lines that slow her down... and the readers get frustrated and stomp their feet, but eventually everything will pay off in an entirely different way, and they will have to do a reread to understand all the important plot points they ignored.

Same for Jon. Everybody thinks he is this Aragorn-like character who will defend the realm against the Others... so maybe instead of that he will leave the realm and save his people. Maybe exile, rather than defending Gondor, is the correct choice for him. And readers will speculate that maybe if he had accepted Winterfell from Stannis, the Others wouldn't have invaded, because a Stark in Winterfell was what kept them beyond the Wall... but we will never know for sure.

3 hours ago, JNR said:

It's not just the summary.  He's explicitly told the world why he parked Dany in Meereen in numerous interviews, including multiple post-ADWD interviews.

He parked her there, starting in ASOS, to give her time to "grow up," he said.  

It's the same reason he originally intended to do the five-year gap, he said.  

Because he originally considered her, and other young characters, too young to do... the impressive things they're gonna do.

It wasn't because he intends for her to hang out in Essos... a thing Dany clearly doesn't need to grow up to do, because GRRM's had her hanging out in Essos since book one.   (Maybe you should read some of these interviews in which he spells it all out; I linked one on the previous page.)

I did read the interview you linked. The one linked by @Matthew. as well. Maybe there are others that support what you're saying, but it's not these two. The "growing up" refers primarily to the Stark children, and he says the 5 years gap would have worked for Arya and Bran, but not so much for other characters, like Cersei and Jon. Dany isn't even mentioned, so I suppose she was somewhere in the middle.

Look at the chapter summary I linked. I think it's very likely that it's the same chapter mentioned here:

Quote

There's a Dany scene in the book which is actually one of the oldest chapters in the book that goes back almost ten years now. When I was contemplating the five year gap [Martin laughs here, with some chagrin], that chapter was supposed to be the first Daenerys chapter in the book. Then it became the second chapter, and then the third chapter, and it kept getting pushed back as I inserted more things into it. I've rewritten that chapter so much that it ended in many different ways.

At the time he read the chapter in February 2003, less than 2 and a half years after ASoS was published, that was Dany's first chapter; in the published ADwD, the scene George refers to (Drogon in Daznak's pit) ended up being her ninth. Yet in that original version, all the setup for the conflicts in Meereen was there. It would seem that George fully intended to show us Dany's conflict with Yunkai, even with the 5 years gap in place. How do you explain that?

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, JNR said:

There's no instance of such a creature in ASOIAF.   The nearest approximation, certainly never verified as existing, would be the abstract concept of the Great Other as referenced by red priests Melisandre and Moqorro.  

In that context, I am yet unsure about the evil of Memory, Sorrow, Thorn. It is kind of a trollish comparison, as the books share so much on the surface and so little in the detail. But somehow I don't know if there is really a Dark Lord at work here. Yes, on the surface we have Ineluki. A character hand made as a template for a Great Other. 

 

edit: And in GRRM's writing style we may only hear legends of him here and there. Because there is no reason to throw it in the face of the reader. Like all the staircases going down, we never explore: King's Landing, Dragonstone, the Harrenhal Bear Pit, Queenscrown, the end of the Winterfell crypts. There is something down all those stairs and the reader never gets informed. 

Edited by SirArthur

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6 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Honestly, I don't feel it's that incompatible. It shuts down all the theories about X getting this and that castle and Y ending up on the Iron Throne, but I don't think that sort of ending is essential to the story, or even all that interesting when you come down to it; and it's bound to disappoint some people anyway. There may not be a winter version of the defense of Gondor against the armies of darkness, but the Others still play a pivotal part, which the set up does demand, and the scenario is open to teaching us more about their origin and their magic, and even to presenting them in a neutral light.

In any case, George doesn't seem very keen on giving readers what they expect. He's more interested in subverting those expectations:

He could be doing the same thing with Daenerys. Everybody thinks she will eventually get to Westeros, so maybe she won't... maybe George is teasing the readers by giving her all these obvious moments when she could get on her way, but chooses not to, all these secondary plot lines that slow her down... and the readers get frustrated and stomp their feet, but eventually everything will pay off in an entirely different way, and they will have to do a reread to understand all the important plot points they ignored.

Same for Jon. Everybody thinks he is this Aragorn-like character who will defend the realm against the Others... so maybe instead of that he will leave the realm and save his people. Maybe exile, rather than defending Gondor, is the correct choice for him. And readers will speculate that maybe if he had accepted Winterfell from Stannis, the Others wouldn't have invaded, because a Stark in Winterfell was what kept them beyond the Wall... but we will never know for sure.

Killing Dany wouldn't be the same as killing Ned.  Dany's POV would become irrelevant if she died, why tell the story of her and Essos if it is irrelevant to everyone else?  Ned and Rob are still very relevant after their death.

Jon, Bran and Dany are somewhat unlike everyone else in that they aren't gray characters,  they are well liked throughout the series.   So I keep coming back to the idea that one of them is going to be our Darklord.

 

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30 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

Killing Dany wouldn't be the same as killing Ned.  Dany's POV would become irrelevant if she died, why tell the story of her and Essos if it is irrelevant to everyone else?  Ned and Rob are still very relevant after their death.

Jon, Bran and Dany are somewhat unlike everyone else in that they aren't gray characters,  they are well liked throughout the series.   So I keep coming back to the idea that one of them is going to be our Darklord.

I'm not saying he will kill Dany, but rather that the Others will overwhelm Westeros before she gets there and the surviving population will migrate to Essos, so she won't actually get to retake the Seven Kingdoms and the IT. Likewise, instead of fighting the Others, Jon and his people will flee East with the Manderly fleet, allowing his story to connect with hers.

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All of Westeros becomes the domain of the Others.  That is a bitter ending,  not bitter sweet. 

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3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I'm not saying he will kill Dany, but rather that the Others will overwhelm Westeros before she gets there and the surviving population will migrate to Essos, so she won't actually get to retake the Seven Kingdoms and the IT. Likewise, instead of fighting the Others, Jon and his people will flee East with the Manderly fleet, allowing his story to connect with hers.

It all depends who Jon and "his people" are. This is the Song of Ice and Fire. As a very old heretic joke goes it may not be a case of the Dragons saving Westeros from the Others, but of the Others saving Westeros from the Dragons.

That's not to say though that Jon [and Bran] and Danaerys are to become the embodiment of evil in a struggle for mastery over Westeros, but rather that they will also have to fight against expectations in order to swear it by Ice and Fire. Traditionally there has been an easy assumption by too many readers that this will all get sorted by Jon being revealed as Azor Ahai and riding a dragon to victory over the Others on the Trident. [whoops sorry, that was Danaerys' dream] Moving that fantasy option to Essos won't achieve anything; descending into the Winterfell crypts and bringing down the Wall will be a very different matter 

:commie:

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

It all depends who Jon and "his people" are. This is the Song of Ice and Fire. As a very old heretic joke goes it may not be a case of the Dragons saving Westeros from the Others, but of the Others saving Westeros from the Dragons.

That's not to say though that Jon [and Bran] and Danaerys are to become the embodiment of evil in a struggle for mastery over Westeros, but rather that they will also have to fight against expectations in order to swear it by Ice and Fire. Traditionally there has been an easy assumption by too many readers that this will all get sorted by Jon being revealed as Azor Ahai and riding a dragon to victory over the Others on the Trident. [whoops sorry, that was Danaerys' dream] Moving that fantasy option to Essos won't achieve anything; descending into the Winterfell crypts and bringing down the Wall will be a very different matter 

:commie:

I keep thinking how badly would people take an ending in which the Others are nothing more than a boogeyman used by the Weirnet to reach peace between survivors of the Long Nights. No real saviours nor evil lords, just a fake enemy to stop the killing triggered by strong winters.

Edited by Tucu

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28 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

It all depends who Jon and "his people" are. This is the Song of Ice and Fire. As a very old heretic joke goes it may not be a case of the Dragons saving Westeros from the Others, but of the Others saving Westeros from the Dragons.

That's not to say though that Jon [and Bran] and Danaerys are to become the embodiment of evil in a struggle for mastery over Westeros, but rather that they will also have to fight against expectations in order to swear it by Ice and Fire. Traditionally there has been an easy assumption by too many readers that this will all get sorted by Jon being revealed as Azor Ahai and riding a dragon to victory over the Others on the Trident. [whoops sorry, that was Danaerys' dream] Moving that fantasy option to Essos won't achieve anything; descending into the Winterfell crypts and bringing down the Wall will be a very different matter 

:commie:

While that saying of yours is fascinating, I don't believe Jon will play for the side of the Others. Shocking and interesting as it may be, it invalidates much of his character development and the relationships he created throughout the series. Twists and mysteries are great, but characters should matter the most. If any Stark is going to follow that path, it should be Bran.

I don't see the Others as a force of evil, and I don't imagine there will be a great climactic battle to ensure their defeat. George, I believe, likened them to a force of nature. So it's not so much a matter of how to fight them or what their motives are, but how they will impact our characters and the people of Westeros - how they will push them to their limits and force them to change.

If the books will have an explicit arc about stopping them, or about them stopping something worse, I hope that is kept separate from the larger, social and political aspects of the story. The dragons are fine as they play the role of a weapon of mass destruction, but magic in general, especially the "revealed secret" type, risks cheapening the human element, so it should be kept in the background, like Bloodraven and Bran. That's why I believe the answers will come from a small team travelling North to find, aid or kill Bran rather than a political figure like Jon messing with it.

I think the final stakes of the series will be the face of the new world that survives to see the Spring. Will it be a "benevolent" tyranny under Dany, bought with fire and blood, or will it truly be free? And Braavos is the perfect location to play around with this theme. All the major characters except Bran have a connection to Braavos: Dany because she grew up there, but also because she might try to conquer it, Arya because she's a Faceless Man, Jon because he will owe Braavos a great debt (figuratively and metaphorically), Tyrion because the Sailor's Wife is Tysha, and Sansa through Littlefinger.

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13 hours ago, SirArthur said:

And in GRRM's writing style we may only hear legends of him here and there. Because there is no reason to throw it in the face of the reader. Like all the staircases going down, we never explore: King's Landing, Dragonstone, the Harrenhal Bear Pit, Queenscrown, the end of the Winterfell crypts. There is something down all those stairs and the reader never gets informed.

Well, the reason to throw it in the face of the reader is reason it was done in all those other series: A dark lord drives the plot.

Without Sauron in LOTR, there is literally no lord of the rings!  No master of the One Ring, who must be stopped... no Shadow, that will spread over Middle Earth... nobody commanding the Ringwraiths, no attacks on Helm's Deep or Minas Tirith, no reason for Saruman to flip, or anybody for him to flip to.

In ASOIAF, GRRM solves that issue by creating new central forms of conflict, quite different from Tolkien's, because his root inspiration is the Middle Ages in England, which didn't have a dark lord -- it had a lot of politics, and they got nasty.  

GRRM tells us what the threats to Westeros will be in the summary, and he's been writing them out ever since: the political stuff (war of five kings) in Westeros, which got completely out of control, so much so it ate up five books instead of one... then Dany invading Westeros with her dragons and trying to reclaim the throne (which is, really, more political stuff -- just with added drama)... and finally, the Popsicles.  

The Popsicles are clearly the last, best hope for any sort of dark lord to emerge in this series.  But if they have a dark lord commanding them, we've surely seen no sign of him or her outside Mel's imagination.  

And even if one shows up, it will still be much, much later than in the earlier series GRRM disliked, so it will still seem pretty innovative to me.  (For instance, if some in Heresy are right and Bran somehow becomes one, that would be quite distinct from the usual flavor of dark lord -- but I think Bran will end up Lord of Winterfell when all is said and done.)

Now... if someone were to do a Hollywood version of ASOIAF at some point, I'm sure that someone would look at GRRM's design and say "Well, damn!  What this story needs... obviously... is a dark lord.  Let's create one."  

And they would, and then that dark lord would show up really early in the story, far earlier than the end of the last sample chapter from TWOW, at which point no dark lord has emerged in canon.  Not sure how GRRM would feel about that, but maybe one day he'll tell us in an interview -- if Hollywood ever does a version of these books, I mean.

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15 hours ago, Tucu said:

I keep thinking how badly would people take an ending in which the Others are nothing more than a boogeyman used by the Weirnet to reach peace between survivors of the Long Nights. No real saviours nor evil lords, just a fake enemy to stop the killing triggered by strong winters.

Oh indeed, as I've said before any revelation that R+L=J was a red herring is likely to have GRRM entering some form of witness protection programme :D 

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14 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I don't see the Others as a force of evil, and I don't imagine there will be a great climactic battle to ensure their defeat. George, I believe, likened them to a force of nature. So it's not so much a matter of how to fight them or what their motives are, but how they will impact our characters and the people of Westeros - how they will push them to their limits and force them to change.

The Others are clearly mad, bad and dangerous to know, but that's not the same as being evil. Craster provides the best possible clue to their true nature and origin. In physical terms they may, as GRRM put it, a different form of life, but they have their origin in men; hard flawed men, Craster's sons and sons of Winterfell. They can't be dismissed as something alien but rather confronted as the side of the family nobody talks about. Its precisely because Jon is a Son of Winterfell, not a political animal, that he needs to tackle this, especially if his stabbing and probable death brings about physical changes and clads him in ice. The magic is low key in so far as we don't see much in the way of low level stuff beyond Mel's tricks, and the dragons and the walkers, but its there and always has been and ultimately this isn't a disaster movie with the survivors washing up in Essos; it is the song of Ice and Fire and the deep magic must be confronted.

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Tolkien's inspiration to write LOTR was mythology and legends (King Arthur, Beowulf, etc), almost all of which have a clearly defined good vs evil.  Melkor's story is almost exactly Satan from the Bible and associated literature.  He fought in ww1 and lost many friends and certainy knew the world was not clearly defined good vs evil , maybe that even drove him to create a fantasy world with good and evil clearly defined with no ambiguity.  Even still, we have themes like Elves and Dwarves killing each other even though they are basically good,  and Sauruman, a good character becoming evil.

Lots of people were inspired by Tolkien,  GRRM included,  and GRRM wanted to go back to a more realistic, or possibly more moral relativistic,  view of good and evil.  This is why I am so suspicious of Jon, Bran and Dany.   They are characters who have been good throughout the series,  and contrast greatly with the other, gray characters. 

 

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43 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

Lots of people were inspired by Tolkien,  GRRM included,  and GRRM wanted to go back to a more realistic, or possibly more moral relativistic,  view of good and evil.  

For Tolkien fantasy was always a way to escape. For some reason some people need their own world around them when they escape. And it's ok, I just do not understand how you can travel with a camping bus and then claim you travel by backpack. 

I don't know how GRRM travels and if he really wants to move the slave question or climate change with him. I guess we will see. Personally I regard ASOIAF as SciFi and Star Wars as fantasy, but that is just me. 

One of the oldest fantasy sagas (Troy and the Odyssey) are so memorable, because they have their escape routes. The dragons are the same escape route for ASOIAF. However, the books are not about the dragons, but about the children of Winterfell. And I argue that so many people look for a dark lord connected to Winterfell, because a fantastic, magical escape element is missing. The direwolves fullfill part of the role, but not everything. 

R+L=J ist another such wanted escape route. Break free from the rules of bastardy and inherit law, break free from the rules of marriage and politics. 

I do not know what I prefer, what I know is, that I too need a northern escape route from the Tywinism, that rules Westeros. 

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12 hours ago, JNR said:

Well, the reason to throw it in the face of the reader is reason it was done in all those other series: A dark lord drives the plot.

Without Sauron in LOTR, there is literally no lord of the rings!  No master of the One Ring, who must be stopped... no Shadow, that will spread over Middle Earth... nobody commanding the Ringwraiths, no attacks on Helm's Deep or Minas Tirith, no reason for Saruman to flip, or anybody for him to flip to.

In ASOIAF, GRRM solves that issue by creating new central forms of conflict, quite different from Tolkien's, because his root inspiration is the Middle Ages in England, which didn't have a dark lord -- it had a lot of politics, and they got nasty.  

The middle ages seems to be a root setting because he has told this same story of his time and again, just sometimes it is in space, sometimes it is on the river, and sometimes it is set in a contemporary late 80's city (where he uses the Lancaster/York conflict as a basis).

12 hours ago, JNR said:

GRRM tells us what the threats to Westeros will be in the summary, and he's been writing them out ever since: the political stuff (war of five kings) in Westeros, which got completely out of control, so much so it ate up five books instead of one... then Dany invading Westeros with her dragons and trying to reclaim the throne (which is, really, more political stuff -- just with added drama)... and finally, the Popsicles.  

Well, Jon is also involved in the political stuff. Aside from Stannis wrapping Jon up in politics that makes him uncomfortable, and the Bolton issue, Jon writes Kings Landing and asks for help and is ignored. Also the issue with Slynt (a political lickspittle) and Marsh are also overarching problems for Jon.

Have you ever listened this interview with George from TusCon 2016? It is worth a listen if you have some time. Very good stuff in here and I will list out a few times to jump to for some of those points that he does say have some influence on his work . http://dndjourneyofthefifthedition.podbean.com/e/tuscon-43-an-hour-with-george-r-r-martin/

  • 13 mins ideas about one life vs many
  • 16:15 his ideas on rakings and oaths
  • 35:15 Indians/natives and the empathy for them
  • 29:45 "under the sea/waves" type discussion and how the ice melting is the real problem that politicians are ignoring.
    • [me speaking] if GRRM is using this as inspiration in his story to some degree as he says, then there is a chance that the popsicles are the parallel to the ice caps melting and those in KL really are the ignorant politicians who are ignoring the scientist, from the perspective of the author.
  • 47 mins (starts with an audience question) he implies no more purity because because we need to all be more "mutts and mongrels".
  • and then there is a hint about Tanselle Too Tall in the questions part of near the end :)

It is where this quote from George comes from:

  • I'm not an "American First" (and maybe because I read science fiction) I'm a "Terran First". I'm a human being first. And I have this sympathy for other human beings no matter what side of the giant ice wall they happen to be born on.
12 hours ago, JNR said:

The Popsicles are clearly the last, best hope for any sort of dark lord to emerge in this series.  But if they have a dark lord commanding them, we've surely seen no sign of him or her outside Mel's imagination.  

We still have a Dance of Dragons v2 coming as well. I don't think Aegon/Young Griff counts because he seems to be the cloth dragon to slay first.

12 hours ago, JNR said:

And even if one shows up, it will still be much, much later than in the earlier series GRRM disliked, so it will still seem pretty innovative to me.  (For instance, if some in Heresy are right and Bran somehow becomes one, that would be quite distinct from the usual flavor of dark lord -- but I think Bran will end up Lord of Winterfell when all is said and done.)

Now... if someone were to do a Hollywood version of ASOIAF at some point, I'm sure that someone would look at GRRM's design and say "Well, damn!  What this story needs... obviously... is a dark lord.  Let's create one."  

And they would, and then that dark lord would show up really early in the story, far earlier than the end of the last sample chapter from TWOW, at which point no dark lord has emerged in canon.  Not sure how GRRM would feel about that, but maybe one day he'll tell us in an interview -- if Hollywood ever does a version of these books, I mean.

I am fairly convinced we have seen the "dark lord" the whole time and it isn't who we think it is. The Others, or Great Other, seem to be the "common enemy", but I would not be shocked at all to read of a real "dark lord" and a battle with that after the main threat is cancelled out. But one of the issues that GRRM has with Tolkien and the mimics that followed Tolkien was that all of their dark lords are just simply born evil. Evil baby orcs born from evil female orcs that are never seen. Based on what I tend to see as his methods in his past stories, we are reading the birth of the dark lord happen as a result of all of the trials s/he has been through so far. When we get TWOW, that is when the DL will be realized.

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4 hours ago, Black Crow said:

The Others are clearly mad, bad and dangerous to know, but that's not the same as being evil. Craster provides the best possible clue to their true nature and origin. In physical terms they may, as GRRM put it, a different form of life, but they have their origin in men; hard flawed men, Craster's sons and sons of Winterfell. They can't be dismissed as something alien but rather confronted as the side of the family nobody talks about. Its precisely because Jon is a Son of Winterfell, not a political animal, that he needs to tackle this, especially if his stabbing and probable death brings about physical changes and clads him in ice.

But this would just be a repeat of Jon's arc with the wildlings, with a slightly more magical spin. There's no opportunity for further character growth and transformation here, other that one induced through magic or plot twist revelation - a revelation, mind you, whose importance is probably overestimated by the reader - realistically, knowing his true ancestry can't really help Jon with any of his problems; we just assume the reveal will come with some plot contrivance that allows it to help.

I don't think the point of Jon's death is so much to transform Jon, or even to give him a way out of the Night's Watch on a technicality, but to allow certain events to unfold while he is not able to do anything about them. Without Jon, Stannis will face the Others alone - no sound advice to steer him away from blunders, no insider knowledge about the North, no glue to bind the wildlings, the Night's Watch and the Northern Lords to him (or to each other). At the same time, if things go to shit, Jon can't be blamed for the poor leadership. He will be the shining beacon of hope that would have known what to do, but was stopped by the evil men who killed him.

That's why I believe he's not dead yet. I think he's comatose and he will die later, after his loyal followers take him to Karhold, Winterfell or White Harbor, where he will be resurrected by fire when people unsuspectingly attempt to burn his corpse. Because there's no way in the Seven Hells he wouldn't be incinerated or mashed into a pulp if he woke up "clad in ice".

2 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Have you ever listened this interview with George from TusCon 2016? It is worth a listen if you have some time. Very good stuff in here and I will list out a few times to jump to for some of those points that he does say have some influence on his work . http://dndjourneyofthefifthedition.podbean.com/e/tuscon-43-an-hour-with-george-r-r-martin/

  • 13 mins ideas about one life vs many
  • 16:15 his ideas on rakings and oaths
  • 35:15 Indians/natives and the empathy for them
  • 29:45 "under the sea/waves" type discussion and how the ice melting is the real problem that politicians are ignoring.
    • [me speaking] if GRRM is using this as inspiration in his story to some degree as he says, then there is a chance that the popsicles are the parallel to the ice caps melting and those in KL really are the ignorant politicians who are ignoring the scientist, from the perspective of the author.
  • 47 mins (starts with an audience question) he implies no more purity because because we need to all be more "mutts and mongrels".
  • and then there is a hint about Tanselle Too Tall in the questions part of near the end :)

Very interesting interview, thank you for the link! The part about migration in the wake of global disasters and people abandoning places with extreme temperatures (29:30 to 31:00) is particularly compelling. It gives me hope that there might be something to this theory.

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Posted (edited)

I say this every time the "dark lord" topic comes up, but it never ceases to be curious to me--the emphasis people place on the lord part of the Dark Lord trope. 

The premise being that the Others, as they have already been written, is acceptable, but if their actions remain the same and one of the Others among their ranks has a leadership position, they become a fantasy cliche. In short, a lot of people's reading experience could be retroactively ruined if the Others were revealed to have a hierarchy.

I'm not even saying I disagree with the sentiment, but it is strange.

Edited by Matthew.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

I say this every time the "dark lord" topic comes up, but it never ceases to be curious to me--the emphasis people place on the lord part of the Dark Lord trope. 

The premise being that the Others, as they have already been written, is acceptable, but if their actions remain the same and one of the Others among their ranks has a leadership position, they become a fantasy cliche. In short, a lot of people's reading experience could be retroactively ruined if the Others were revealed to have a hierarchy.

I'm not even saying I disagree with the sentiment, but it is strange.

I see the Others as very different from the evil armies from Tolkien or other authors. In 5 books they have done only one frontal attack, some minor strikes and they herded the wildlings towards the Wall. To me their actions look more like covert operations using a front group, false flag attacks and propaganda.

This quote is from Littlefinger, but it surely applies to the actions of the Others.

Quote

Always keep your foes confused. If they are never certain who you are or what you want, they cannot know what you are like to do next. Sometimes the best way to baffle them is to make moves that have no purpose, or even seem to work against you.

 

Edited by Tucu

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

I say this every time the "dark lord" topic comes up, but it never ceases to be curious to me--the emphasis people place on the lord part of the Dark Lord trope. 

The premise being that the Others, as they have already been written, is acceptable, but if their actions remain the same and one of the Others among their ranks has a leadership position, they become a fantasy cliche. In short, a lot of people's reading experience could be retroactively ruined if the Others were revealed to have a hierarchy.

I'm not even saying I disagree with the sentiment, but it is strange.

I think it rather depends on how you define a Dark Lord. On the evidence thus far, whatever their true origin I currently see the Walkers as a form of Nazgul; there's a gang of them not an army. Do they have a leader? We've seen no evidence of one and even if there was, what of it? Turn to Bloodraven; its popularly believed that he's manipulating everything in sight, but is he? Bloodraven the man is dead and his consciousness is fading fast. What then of the trees he's fading into, and the tree-huggers who almost certainly aint the kindly elves of Old Nan's stories. Now yes, that's a good possibility for what's going on, but they have a motive for fighting; they are facing extinction and so are the other Old Races. That might make them an enemy but its very different from a dark lord scenario where an individual is out to dominate everything through sheer megalomania. There are all manner of bad guys in the story, some of them downright evil, and they do nasty things, sometimes unspeakable things but that don't make them dark lords

As GRRM said [sorry, no link]:

... at the L.A. Worldcon in 2006, George was on a panel and he was talking a bit dismissively about the cookie-cutter fantasies with a Dark Lord that's the ultimate evil, wants to destroy the world, etc. and he said, you know, nothing is ever that black and white in reality, history's greatest villains and monsters were, from their own perspective, heroic, etc. And he basically said he didn't want to write about a Dark Lord sort of situation.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Tucu said:

I see the Others as very different from the evil armies from Tolkien or other authors. In 5 books they have done only one frontal attack, some minor strikes and they herded the wildlings towards the Wall. To me their actions look more like covert operations using a front group, false flag attacks and propaganda.

 

Exactly so, I'm tempted to say these are not the enemies you are looking for.  For an ancient enemy that hates all living things they're not being too hateful. Everything we've seen them do so far has been in the nature of harrying and hustling rather than outright massacre. Yes they ganged up on Ser Waymar, but leaving aside speculation as to a possible connection with the she-wolf that was a pretty classic intimidation tactic. When your patrols keep disappearing without a trace there's eventually a reluctance to go patrolling. The fight on the Fist was a battle, but what did it really achieve? It stopped Mormont from intercepting Mance's trek. What was the effect of picking off stragglers from the trek? It kept them closed up and moving, and so on...

And of course there's Craster and whatever the truth of what was going on there Craster and his kin conspicuously weren't dead.

Edited by Black Crow

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