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What do you think caused Martin to loose his grip on the material?

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Take a look at this: https://winteriscoming.net/2018/06/18/video-diana-gabaldon-talks-about-a-conversation-she-had-with-george-r-r-martin-about-writing-shell/

I haven’t been able to find a thread, that discussion in depth, exactly what it was that made him loose his way, especially in comparison that he churned out the first three books in about four years.

I don’t believe for a moment it’s just because he added some new POV characters; which is the complaint I’ve been hearing contantly for nine years...

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A Feast for Crows feels like a burn-out book. There are several threads about the originally planned five-year-gap, how A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons were supposed to be one book, and threads how the chapters of these books should be read in a chronological order and ...

Basically, the books get filled with details but the narration (and action) dwindles.

And, IMHO, R+L=J is cheesy as hell and diminishes the story.

 

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12 minutes ago, alienarea said:

A Feast for Crows feels like a burn-out book. There are several threads about the originally planned five-year-gap, how A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons were supposed to be one book, and threads how the chapters of these books should be read in a chronological order and ...

Basically, the books get filled with details but the narration (and action) dwindles.

And, IMHO, R+L=J is cheesy as hell and diminishes the story.

 

The thing is; AFTER Feast and Dance it’s worse! This has been the longest gap between books when it should’ve been the shortest!

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We've had this discussion 4 million times over the last twenty years, I think people got burned out on talking about it. But to reiterate the general points:

  • George took nine years to write the first three books (not four). They were originally planned to be one book and he was effectively forced by his agent to write an outline (albeit loose and quickly-superseded, but still helpful) for them. He also had an unusual planning period for these books where'd work on ideas for them whilst working on a TV pilot, so there was a lot more pre-planning - at least in thinking about them - than for the later books.
  • George originally planned to tell the entire ASoIaF story with just the starting characters, minus first Ned and later Catelyn after they were killed off. So Bran, Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Arya and Sansa would basically tell the entire story by themselves, right through to the end of the series. That only changed when he split AGoT and ACoK and realised he needed a character in the Greyjoy camp (so brought in Theon) and another in Stannis's (so brought in Davos). Once freed of that restriction, his go-to solution for any narrative problem was "add another" POV, which worked brilliantly for ACoK and ASoS and then got out of control in AFFC.
  • During the writing of ACoK, GRRM created another outline which sketched the rest of ACoK/ASoS in a lot of detail and then featured a blank bit where the story would jump forwards 5 years and rejoin the action much later on. He wrote the rest of ACoK and all of ASoS with this 5-year gap in mind (note that, contrary to some reports, the 5-year gap was not the plan from day one, but was introduced at this point).
  • After completing ASoS, he spent 18 months writing Book 4 with the idea of it picking up 5 years later. This didn't work for many of the characters and in the end he junked all of that work and started again from scratch. When he started writing again, he had no pre-planning, outline or real ideas for what he was going to do, meaning that AFFC and the first third or so of ADWD (which was also written at this time) was made up out of thin air on the spot.
  • To get around the problem of not having any planning for AFFC, GRRM added a ton of new characters using a new, "super-prologue" format (possibly inspired by Robert Jordan's super-prologues that open every Wheel of Time book, or at least similar to them) that would very quickly touch base with lots of different areas (most notably Dorne) and bring those regions into the story without having to create detailed new storylines for loads of new characters. This didn't work either and GRRM ended up breaking up the prologue into lots of shorter chapters and scattering them between the two books. And this pretty much meant him having to create (off-the-cuff) story-arcs for a large number of new POV characters he hadn't originally planned for (Victarion, Aeron, Asha, Quentyn, Arianne, Areo Hotah, Arys Oakheart etc).
  • Having done all of that, he realised he had 1,600 manuscript pages and complete or semi-complete storylines for some characters but not others, so after a chat with his friend Daniel Abraham, he split the book into AFFC and ADWD.
  • Completing ADWD and bringing the two stories back in synch and matching up everything and telling a cohesive story that made sense and gave all of the characters their due proved to be monstrously complicated without an outline (and a refusal to write one), and took six years to resolve.
  • During this time period sales of ASoIaF shot through the roof, everyone wanted a piece of GRRM and his property and various secondary and side-projects opened up (including the TV show) which GRRM had to spend more time dealing with.
  • After ADWD came out, the TV show became the biggest thing on the planet and demands on GRRM's time for other things grew (as well as GRRM himself initiating or agreeing to commitments that in retrospect maybe he shouldn't have).

And that brings us up to where we are now. We'll see when the sixth book arrives if a lot of these key problems (too many POVs, too many storylines, insufficient forward planning) have been resolved that may give us the last book or books in a faster timeframe.

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14 hours ago, Werthead said:

We've had this discussion 4 million times over the last twenty years, I think people got burned out on talking about it. But to reiterate the general points:

  • George took nine years to write the first three books (not four). They were originally planned to be one book and he was effectively forced by his agent to write an outline (albeit loose and quickly-superseded, but still helpful) for them. He also had an unusual planning period for these books where'd work on ideas for them whilst working on a TV pilot, so there was a lot more pre-planning - at least in thinking about them - than for the later books.
  • George originally planned to tell the entire ASoIaF story with just the starting characters, minus first Ned and later Catelyn after they were killed off. So Bran, Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Arya and Sansa would basically tell the entire story by themselves, right through to the end of the series. That only changed when he split AGoT and ACoK and realised he needed a character in the Greyjoy camp (so brought in Theon) and another in Stannis's (so brought in Davos). Once freed of that restriction, his go-to solution for any narrative problem was "add another" POV, which worked brilliantly for ACoK and ASoS and then got out of control in AFFC.
  • During the writing of ACoK, GRRM created another outline which sketched the rest of ACoK/ASoS in a lot of detail and then featured a blank bit where the story would jump forwards 5 years and rejoin the action much later on. He wrote the rest of ACoK and all of ASoS with this 5-year gap in mind (note that, contrary to some reports, the 5-year gap was not the plan from day one, but was introduced at this point).
  • After completing ASoS, he spent 18 months writing Book 4 with the idea of it picking up 5 years later. This didn't work for many of the characters and in the end he junked all of that work and started again from scratch. When he started writing again, he had no pre-planning, outline or real ideas for what he was going to do, meaning that AFFC and the first third or so of ADWD (which was also written at this time) was made up out of thin air on the spot.
  • To get around the problem of not having any planning for AFFC, GRRM added a ton of new characters using a new, "super-prologue" format (possibly inspired by Robert Jordan's super-prologues that open every Wheel of Time book, or at least similar to them) that would very quickly touch base with lots of different areas (most notably Dorne) and bring those regions into the story without having to create detailed new storylines for loads of new characters. This didn't work either and GRRM ended up breaking up the prologue into lots of shorter chapters and scattering them between the two books. And this pretty much meant him having to create (off-the-cuff) story-arcs for a large number of new POV characters he hadn't originally planned for (Victarion, Aeron, Asha, Quentyn, Arianne, Areo Hotah, Arys Oakheart etc).
  • Having done all of that, he realised he had 1,600 manuscript pages and complete or semi-complete storylines for some characters but not others, so after a chat with his friend Daniel Abraham, he split the book into AFFC and ADWD.
  • Completing ADWD and bringing the two stories back in synch and matching up everything and telling a cohesive story that made sense and gave all of the characters their due proved to be monstrously complicated without an outline (and a refusal to write one), and took six years to resolve.
  • During this time period sales of ASoIaF shot through the roof, everyone wanted a piece of GRRM and his property and various secondary and side-projects opened up (including the TV show) which GRRM had to spend more time dealing with.
  • After ADWD came out, the TV show became the biggest thing on the planet and demands on GRRM's time for other things grew (as well as GRRM himself initiating or agreeing to commitments that in retrospect maybe he shouldn't have).

And that brings us up to where we are now. We'll see when the sixth book arrives if a lot of these key problems (too many POVs, too many storylines, insufficient forward planning) have been resolved that may give us the last book or books in a faster timeframe.

That is a good summary from a friendly POV.

What is missing IMHO is that even if the tv show is just a lose indication of future events in the books, and factoring in the story arcs that got cut from the tv show but need to be resolved in the books (Lady Stoneheart, (f)Aegon, ...), ASoIaF is not likely to be completed within two more books. And, by conclusion, will not be completed by GRRM.

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Retrospectively it is obvious that he never had a grip on the material.  From a technical point of view, the problem is the pacing of the story.  The pacing is all wrong and was from book one.  The fundamental reason behind this is GRRM's, self confessed, gardening approach.  That approach isn't anywhere near optimum for a book series, let alone a huge saga like ASOIAF.  As the books progressed small changes had a ripple effect that caused big problems further down the line.

The writing was already on the wall before AGOT made it to the small screen.  But it turning into such a massive success undoubtedly exasperated the problem further because it took GRRM's focus off of writing the books.  Then because GRRM was enjoying the success and fame so much his writing slowed down even further and before he knew it the show had overtaken the books.  It was clear at this point a rift opened up between GRRM and the showrunners.  GRRM had basked for years in people speculating over his books and the show started revealing things and that means the thunder had been stolen.

This is pure speculation on my part, but I believe the rift has caused GRRM to re-evaluate the plot.  I think the current delay is because GRRM is waiting for the show to finish before commencing on TWOW again.  He wants to change his tale so that it is completely different to the TV show.  I think he is working towards a new ending.  I know he has claimed that the show hasn't influenced his writing but over the years GRRM has claimed a lot of things that retrospectively turned out to be false, e.g. like when he said his sole focus was on TWOW and wouldn't be working on anything else until it was finished.

So in reality it's unlikely we'll ever get to read TWOW, let alone a literary conclusion to the series.  I think the best we can hope for is that the TV show concludes and GRRM then announces he has abandoned writing ASOIAF and that the rest of the tale will be published in a fake historical style book so we at least find out in broad strokes what he had planned.

 

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6 hours ago, Ser Gareth said:

Retrospectively it is obvious that he never had a grip on the material.  From a technical point of view, the problem is the pacing of the story.  The pacing is all wrong and was from book one.  The fundamental reason behind this is GRRM's, self confessed, gardening approach.  That approach isn't anywhere near optimum for a book series, let alone a huge saga like ASOIAF.  As the books progressed small changes had a ripple effect that caused big problems further down the line.

The writing was already on the wall before AGOT made it to the small screen.  But it turning into such a massive success undoubtedly exasperated the problem further because it took GRRM's focus off of writing the books.  Then because GRRM was enjoying the success and fame so much his writing slowed down even further and before he knew it the show had overtaken the books.  It was clear at this point a rift opened up between GRRM and the showrunners.  GRRM had basked for years in people speculating over his books and the show started revealing things and that means the thunder had been stolen.

This is pure speculation on my part, but I believe the rift has caused GRRM to re-evaluate the plot.  I think the current delay is because GRRM is waiting for the show to finish before commencing on TWOW again.  He wants to change his tale so that it is completely different to the TV show.  I think he is working towards a new ending.  I know he has claimed that the show hasn't influenced his writing but over the years GRRM has claimed a lot of things that retrospectively turned out to be false, e.g. like when he said his sole focus was on TWOW and wouldn't be working on anything else until it was finished.

So in reality it's unlikely we'll ever get to read TWOW, let alone a literary conclusion to the series.  I think the best we can hope for is that the TV show concludes and GRRM then announces he has abandoned writing ASOIAF and that the rest of the tale will be published in a fake historical style book so we at least find out in broad strokes what he had planned.

 

Do you think that GRRM has made a lot of progress on Winds and that he is just waiting to release the book after the TV show ends?

Or do you think that he has done little - if anything at all?

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On 6/22/2018 at 1:00 PM, Werthead said:

And that brings us up to where we are now. We'll see when the sixth book arrives if a lot of these key problems (too many POVs, too many storylines, insufficient forward planning) have been resolved that may give us the last book or books in a faster timeframe.

I think he has too much story and not enough room to tell it in.  I recently tried to divide the 20 (!) POVs into 73 chapters (the same number as ADWD, described as being as long as possible).  It wasn't easy and the result was ugly!  If there is any hope of it working he is going to have to bring POV characters together, so that they tell each other's stories, and jettison a bunch of less important story lines.  Which he probably doesn't want to do.  Hence the delay, as he decides which of his children (so to say) to throw overboard.  Or wastes time trying to keep them all alive.

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I also think that the "gardening approach" is to blame. It would have been easier to have a clear outline from start to end. 

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15 hours ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

Do you think that GRRM has made a lot of progress on Winds and that he is just waiting to release the book after the TV show ends?

Or do you think that he has done little - if anything at all?

I think it is a toss up between him not having done much because he is waiting to see what the show includes or him working hard on rewriting a lot of the story to include much more book time for the characters who are dead in the show but who are not dead in the novel.

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In my opinion, AFFC/ADWD killed the series. Martin added way too many subplots into the story and wrote himself into a corner. I think trying to untangle the mess he made has taken its toll and has caused Martin to lose interest in the series.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Faydra said:

I also think that the "gardening approach" is to blame. It would have been easier to have a clear outline from start to end. 

Yeah.

Can you imagine if J.K. Rowling gardened her way through the Harry Potter series?

22 hours ago, Nevets said:

I think he has too much story and not enough room to tell it in.  I recently tried to divide the 20 (!) POVs into 73 chapters (the same number as ADWD, described as being as long as possible).  It wasn't easy and the result was ugly!  If there is any hope of it working he is going to have to bring POV characters together, so that they tell each other's stories, and jettison a bunch of less important story lines.  Which he probably doesn't want to do.  Hence the delay, as he decides which of his children (so to say) to throw overboard.  Or wastes time trying to keep them all alive.

I don't think it's a POV problem.

Take for example, the ice age zombie apocalypse invasion of the Others. With that plotline, a buttload of POVs actually works well here. Because you can have:

  • a couple characters taking the fight to the Others
  • a couple characters recruiting more fighters or tools or food from Essos or from different parts of Westeros
  • a few characters locking themselves up in the realm's strongest fortresses to play yet another game of thrones, maybe it's because they don't care or maybe it's because they don't want to believe it's the end of the world
  • a few characters providing logistical and financial support to the warriors and the recruiters from within the lockdown castles
  • a few unlucky characters who have been missed out on receiving any kind of sanctuary and who have to just fend for themselves with what little they have
  • and maybe even a couple characters siding with or being held captive by the Others

The problem he has isn't a straight POV problem. It's the fact that his lack of disciplined planning regarding POVs and character positioning has led him to make decisions that have overcomplicated an already complicated epic story.

Because, for example, he has yet to get Tyrion, Victarion/Moqorro, Marwyn, Barristan/Missandei and the rest of Daenerys' Meereenese court to all converge and unite under Daenerys and the Dothraki and whoever else that she brings back to the table. That's the Meereenese Knot and he found a very clunky, half-baked way of resolving it.

Because, truthfully, Quentyn got to Meereen too soon (he should've gotten there at the same time as Tyrion and Victarion did). Martin couldn't just have Quentyn treading water; that's why I believe he killed him when he did the way that he did. Sure, Quentyn would've died eventually - probably sometime during the Dance - but ugh. Some people would say that a Quentyn POV was superfluous at the best of times and that GRRMartin should've axed it the moment he couldn't slow down or preoccupy Quentyn with a non-fillery subplot. But no, he had to keep. And I understand why he kept it (he wanted to deconstruct the whole plain-looking-pauper/prince-goes-on-an-adventure-of-a-lifetime-with-his-friends-and-meets-a-beautiful-princess-in-a-foreign-land-who-is-way-out-of-his-league-but-they-somehow-manage-fall-love-and-get-married-and-live-happily-ever-after trope)

But no.

As a matter of fact, Martin admitted that the whole point of the Barristan POV is because Daenerys had flown the coup (pun intended!), he couldn't have Quentyn take charge and it was absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for him to get Tyrion to Meereen in time to meet Daenerys and earn her trust so that he could be her Hand and Regent.

In any case, Martin has claimed the Meereenese Knot has been mostly resolved.

So sure, he has to unite them all under Daenerys; at this point, that`s easy enough. But now he has to take them and their stories (remember: Daenerys, Tyrion, Victarion, Barristan are POV characters - they all have their own story arc) to Qarth, Volantis, Pentos, Yunkai, Astapoor, probably Asshai and maybe even Braavos.

Then he has to get them across the Narrow Sea to Westeros where their stories must interact and intertwine with the stories of the Westerosi characters. But before that (and at the same time as that), you have to prepare the Westerosi characters - who are still scattered all across the continent, some of them are nowhere near to converging upon and harmonizing with each other - to interact with the stories of the characters coming from Essos. It'll be easy enough to get the southern Westerosi characters to be invested the westbound Targaryen-Lannister-Greyjoy-Dothraki-R`hllor-former slave super-alliance. But the characters north of the Neck won't really give a damn because they'll be snowed in, fighting each other, R+L=J, Littlefinger, evil ice elves and whatever zombies manage to come their way.

Worse, the southern and eastern characters don`t know absolutely anything about the horror that will be visited upon the North. So, now, Martin has to get them all up to speed before he is forced to turn northern Westeros into the largest graveyard in the entire history of fiction by killing off every single character north of the Twins.

The only way I can see him pulling this off is if he pulls another FeastDance and separates the characters geographically into different. One for the North, one for the South. For the east, depending on if he truly has resolved the Meereenese Knot to his liking, he can either squeeze it into to the northern and southern books or he might have to write make another book for the east.

It's crazy yo.

7 hours ago, Ser Gareth said:

I think it is a toss up between him not having done much because he is waiting to see what the show includes or him working hard on rewriting a lot of the story to include much more book time for the characters who are dead in the show but who are not dead in the novel.

I think what would help GRRM focus is if he pulls a Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens' books (as well as the stories of Edgar Allen Poe and other 19th century writers) were usually published in piecemeal. I can`t remember if it was monthly, weekly, bimonthly or twice every month. But I know it wasn't happening quarterly or annually. So, yeah: the epic A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations were broadcasted bit by bit.

If Martin had some of deadline (artificial or real) where he had to stick to a schedule, he'd definitely start hacking away at it in an organized fashion. Because once it's out, it's out. There's no chance at a rewrite, a remix or a re-positioning (i.e. moving the Sansa and Arianne sample chapters out of Dance and into Winds). So he'd have to get it absolutely right the first time.

So, in a nutshell, I think that the editor(s), the publisher and the distributor(s) also have not done their job. For one reason or another, they have either refused or failed to put pressure on Martin.

Edited by Jabar of House Titan

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28 minutes ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

The problem he has isn't a straight POV problem. It's the fact that his lack of disciplined planning regarding POVs and character positioning has led him to make decisions that have overcomplicated an already complicated epic story.

I basically agree with this.  The POV issue is more of a symptom than a problem in itself.  I was merely using it as a way of showing that he has too much going on and not enough room to tell it.  And a good third or so of the POVs are there essentially to provide coverage.  

 

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On 6/23/2018 at 12:01 PM, Ser Gareth said:

This is pure speculation on my part, but I believe the rift has caused GRRM to re-evaluate the plot.  I think the current delay is because GRRM is waiting for the show to finish before commencing on TWOW again.  He wants to change his tale so that it is completely different to the TV show.  I think he is working towards a new ending.  I know he has claimed that the show hasn't influenced his writing but over the years GRRM has claimed a lot of things that retrospectively turned out to be false, e.g. like when he said his sole focus was on TWOW and wouldn't be working on anything else until it was finished.

I very strongly disagree w/ this. There's no way Martin would do that IMO. Firstly because he has said so and I have no reason to think he is lying. Secondly, all the clues and hints and foreshadowing throughout prevent it even if he wanted to. 

I think the book is not out because it isn't done yet, it's that simple. Just trying to coordinate timelines for the several PoVs must be a nightmare... That said, if the book is done or mostly done and Martin is just sitting on it, then it's more likely the reason is to prevent the show from trying to adjust course n its final series. 

To the bold, no. Martin said Winds was his priority, he never claimed it was his sole project. There is a difference. 

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18 hours ago, Nevets said:

I basically agree with this.  The POV issue is more of a symptom than a problem in itself.  I was merely using it as a way of showing that he has too much going on and not enough room to tell it.  And a good third or so of the POVs are there essentially to provide coverage.  

 

Yep. For the life of me, I can't understand what was the point of making Arys Oakheart a POV. I can kind of see why he felt like he had to make Areo a POV (personally I think he has something big planned for Dorne) but Arys?!?! One chapter?!?!

Like, why didn't he just make that chapter into an Arianne chapter?

On the other hand, I think the series - it's very, very good as it is, don't misunderstand me - has suffered because he failed to make Robb Stark and Margaery Tyrell POV characters. Like everything we know or suspect about the Tyrell is secondhand or thirdhand information. And the absence of Robb Stark for huge swathes of Clash is an egregiously missed opportunity.

I also think that it wouldn't have hurt to make Oberyn a POV character. Cersei's character arc would've benefited from having been made a main POV sooner; perhaps in the post-Red Wedding portions of Storm as a foil to Catelyn's super-matriarchal POV.

 

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37 minutes ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

Yep. For the life of me, I can't understand what was the point of making Arys Oakheart a POV. I can kind of see why he felt like he had to make Areo a POV (personally I think he has something big planned for Dorne) but Arys?!?! One chapter?!?!

Like, why didn't he just make that chapter into an Arianne chapter?

On the other hand, I think the series - it's very, very good as it is, don't misunderstand me - has suffered because he failed to make Robb Stark and Margaery Tyrell POV characters. Like everything we know or suspect about the Tyrell is secondhand or thirdhand information. And the absence of Robb Stark for huge swathes of Clash is an egregiously missed opportunity.

I also think that it wouldn't have hurt to make Oberyn a POV character. Cersei's character arc would've benefited from having been made a main POV sooner; perhaps in the post-Red Wedding portions of Storm as a foil to Catelyn's super-matriarchal POV.

 

I've been thinking about this a lot lately going through rereads of AFFC and ADWD and also dealing with my frustration for the wait for TWOW.  Werthead's post above is well-taken, but I still struggle with every new POV that isn't Jaime or Brienne.  I just don't think any of them should be there, and if you have to take a break from King's Landing or not show what's going on in Dorne or the Iron Islands then don't.  I still don't really see the point for any of these new POVs except that GRRM wanted to write them- we could have gotten all this info through exposition in other chapters and then had Dorne show up only in Dany's POV or if they interracted with another POV, and same for the stuff with the Greyjoys.  

On top of that even a character like Brienne who I really like and I think her chapters are beautifully written, upon reread I'm shocked by what I find to the total pointlessness and meandering nature of them- so much time in my mind is wasted on what may be entertaining but not remotely relevant backstory for houses like the Darklyns and characters like Nimble Dick, Ser Hyle, even Randyll Tarly who I don't see why we need to check in on.  Same goes for Cersei who I find has really grated on me on re-read- I imagine GRRM had a lot of fun writing for her but what's the point in the grand scheme of these novels?  Do we really need to see her blunder through her rule in King's Landing when we otherwise could get a ton of useful exposition about what's going on there through Jaime's eyes and maybe through Sansa's eyes re Littlefinger?

And don't even get me started on Dorne and Pyke- the Kingsmoot is fantastic but why do we need POVs for each of Aeron, Victarion, and Asha?  Just leave Ashas in there if you really need it.  Same goes for Dorne- stick to Arrianne and don't add on Hotah and Oakheart.

And I think part of the reason Oberyn worked so well is that his stay was short and sweet and his appearance was very naturally fitted in with Tyrion's POV- I just wish GRRM stuck with that model and left stuff that he couldn't find a way for an existing POV to see off the page.  

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10 hours ago, Tagganaro said:

upon reread I'm shocked by what I find to the total pointlessness and meandering nature of them

The series isn't over yet, so you still may find out what their pourpose was.

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On ‎6‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 11:35 PM, kissdbyfire said:

I very strongly disagree w/ this. There's no way Martin would do that IMO. Firstly because he has said so and I have no reason to think he is lying. Secondly, all the clues and hints and foreshadowing throughout prevent it even if he wanted to. 

I think the book is not out because it isn't done yet, it's that simple. Just trying to coordinate timelines for the several PoVs must be a nightmare... That said, if the book is done or mostly done and Martin is just sitting on it, then it's more likely the reason is to prevent the show from trying to adjust course n its final series. 

To the bold, no. Martin said Winds was his priority, he never claimed it was his sole project. There is a difference. 

He certainly did.  It was back in 2012 or 2013.  Because not long after he made his statement it transpired he had bought a cinema and there was quite the outcry of "WTF, doesn't that contradict what he said a few months earlier?".

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On 6/24/2018 at 2:30 PM, Jabar of House Titan said:

Worse, the southern and eastern characters don`t know absolutely anything about the horror that will be visited upon the North. So, now, Martin has to get them all up to speed before he is forced to turn northern Westeros into the largest graveyard in the entire history of fiction by killing off every single character north of the Twins. 

I'm not at all convinced that isn't how it's going to be. Winterfell, with its volcanic heat source, magic defenses and glass gardens, will be a holdout, but the rest of the North is probably screwed. GRRM's other fictions don't have happy endings, none of them, not a one. I don't see why he would start now. The ending is likely "bittersweet" in the sense that the readers are given the understanding that there's a prophecy in motion to end the New Long Night, but that it won't come to fruition for a generation. I've predicted before that the last chapter of the last novel would show us the last surviving POV character (who hasn't become a monster themselves: probably Tyrion, if I were a betting man) watching the sun rise for the last time only to set moments later and never rise again in his lifetime.

But all that is hypothetical, because we'll never get a 7th book. We will never see the series end as it was intended to. Maybe that's for the best. Maybe that's what George wants.

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2 hours ago, Damon_Tor said:

I'm not at all convinced that isn't how it's going to be. Winterfell, with its volcanic heat source, magic defenses and glass gardens, will be a holdout, but the rest of the North is probably screwed. GRRM's other fictions don't have happy endings, none of them, not a one. I don't see why he would start now. The ending is likely "bittersweet" in the sense that the readers are given the understanding that there's a prophecy in motion to end the New Long Night, but that it won't come to fruition for a generation. I've predicted before that the last chapter of the last novel would show us the last surviving POV character (who hasn't become a monster themselves: probably Tyrion, if I were a betting man) watching the sun rise for the last time only to set moments later and never rise again in his lifetime.

But all that is hypothetical, because we'll never get a 7th book. We will never see the series end as it was intended to. Maybe that's for the best. Maybe that's what George wants.

You're probably right. If the rest of the North can't get to (or, rather, be housed within) Winterfell in time, they are _____ed. Particularly White Harbor because I'm expecting many people won't be willing or able to leave.

 

The Dreadfort is the one with the volcanic heat source. Winterfell has hot springs and a rather modern system of pipes. So, basically, Winterfell is just a step shy of 21st century indoor plumbing and heating. Dreadfort will be warm but nowhere near as comfortable as Winterfell.

If Roose or Ramsay survives into Dream (ugh!!!), they could feasibly hold up there. Which would make the northern situation that much more...painful. 

Winterfell's magical defenses are almost pure speculation and fanfic...but if it's real it seems to revolve around Stark blood. I don't know if you have be a patrilineal Stark (i.e. your father is a Stark by birth) or a matrilineal Stark (i.e. your mother is a Stark by birth) for all of the supposed but it's probably safer to bet on the father over the mother. Which wouldn't be a problem because Sansa, Arya and/or Bran (maybe even Rickon) will likely be in Winterfell in Dream or, in Sansa's case, the end of Winds.

Knowing Martin, the last chapter (at least before the epilogue, if there will be one) will probably be Bran. The story started with Bran and, in my opinion based on Bran's character arc and his powers, it's going to have to end with him. Especially if all of the other POV characters have died.

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