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Lady Rhodes

The Regret of Killing Characters

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Hi all! 

By now, I am assuming that many of you have read the interview in which, supposedly, GRRM revealed to another author that he killed off a character that he realized he needed.  Now, I am sure that he will find someway out of this with or without that character, but I am curious: who do you think this character is, what part of the plot/subplot were they involved in, and how do you think it is affecting the story?

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Well, there are so many that we have to assume it was someone of at least reasonable significance or was in a place to be significant and now they aren't, so I think we can rule out Mycah the butcher's boy.

Wouldn't it be funny if it was Jon? :devil:

It can't be Benjen since we have no confirmation that he's dead.

Mance? Is he really dead or was that just assumed when everything went south at WF?

Mormont, The Halfhand? No, they needed to die to move things along.

Slynt? He seems to have served his purpose.

Tywin? Could be a real possibility, but I doubt he would have let the zealots do what they did to Cersei or even allow them to exist. He would see them as dangerous.

That sleazy black brother that Arya assassinated? Maybe. He could have been useful in his desertion/exile in Braavos I suppose.

Craster? Nah, I doubt it.

I'm going to have to go with Oberyn Martell. Considering the fits and stops of plot in the Dorne arc, I would think someone like him would move things along nicely. He certainly wouldn't need to worry about his brother as much as Arianne has to.

 

EDIT: On further reflection, I'm changing my answer to Arys Oakheart. I was always of the mind that he had more chapters planned, if not written that were dropped.

 

 

 

Edited by Trefayne

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9 hours ago, Trefayne said:

Wouldn't it be funny if it was Jon? :devil:

Might be. I think the dead waking up is a used plot in the books with Berric Dondarrion and Lady Stoneheart so most probably,  it won't happen. 

I actually think it might be Quentyn.

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All excellent suggestions.

I would agree that they were either  significant or in a position to be significant. Aemon for backstory, Arys for Dorne plot, Quentyn for Daenerys/Dorne plot hit the position to be significant well. 

Oberyn and Tywin are trickier. While their continued existence would certainly impact the plot, it would do so in a way that would drastically change AFFC forward. If some of those changes are required for end game, I don’t know how they could be achieved any other way. 

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I'd be hesitant to pick Aemon simply because Sam is at the Citadel and can get all the back story needed, even if it is through something Aemon wrote about his youth or a proper history of the time with annotations by an interested party (Aemon in this case).

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I have wondered if it is Pycelle. If Aegon is fake, then there would need to be a way to prove that he is fake (it is not GRRM's style to leave such a huge question ambiguous). Although, with what we have been told, Pycelle would not have had the knowledge to know if the baby brought from Dragonstone was actually Aegon, this deficiency could be easily remedied. As it is, the only two other people who would be in a position to know (Illyrio and Varys) would have no reason to reveal that. On the other hand, there are people who could potentially reveal Aegon is genuine.

ETA: Actually, I was really surprised that Pycelle was killed at all. Although some people doubt it, Pycelle was a Varys/Littlefinger level of plotter. And it didn't seem to me that all of his perfidy had been revealed.

Edited by bent branch

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I think it must be Kevan. Frankly no other character is that much a prominent position and he may have needed things in King's Landing not to fall apart quite as fast as they would. Though Margaery could play that role. She seems to have the capacity and the motivation to keep things together for a little while longer. 

The other probability is that this death occurred early in Winds and he came up to the dead-end much further along. Come to think of it, that is greater probability. And probably not the only snag in the road. Considering what happened with Dance he has probably written three or four versions of Winds by now. 

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It can't be anyone whose death was essential to move the main characters significantly forward like Oberyn or Tywin. Their deaths were necessary. I agree that Quentyn is likely the best bet. Maester Aemon is intriguing as well, but the Bran Bot will provide all the backstory we need with Jonny Targ.

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Characters whose deaths triggered greater events that help the story evovle are not the case (Robert, Ned, Renly, Rhaego, Viserys, Robb,Twyin,Joffrey, Catelyn).

Barristan Selmy is a good choice. He can give insight about Aerys's reign and pass that information to Daenerys. If he is killed during the Battle of Fire he cannot do that.

Same for Aemon and Targaryen history.

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All speculated dead should be instantly ruled out. Without a POV character giving  100% doubtless observation of the dead character. 

So Maester Aemon is a prime example of someone we are sure is dead. Along with Ned, Robb, Robert, Renly, Joff, Tywin, Kevan, Aerys Oakhart and Oberyn.

Characters like Sandor and Mance are not. Any idiot writer could dig up a character only reported to be dead by a third party.

I'm afraid I have to include Quentyn in the 'speculated' dead category. He was burned beyond recognition. That's the mystery writer equivalent of 'we didn't find the body'. 

And can't be anyone too trivial... I want to say Maester Aemon, too, but I agree that Sam can probably find a book that does damn near the same thing. 

How about Jeor Mormont? He could have showed back up at the Wall and said Jon did everything right, and how dare they disobey him...type thing, freeing Jon 100% of his vows upon being resurrected.

So many dead characters to choose from :/

 

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It must be someone who is needed for driving the plot forward and/or provide informations. But not something one can read up, nor a situation were someone simply has to do or say something to make something happen or hinder it to happen:

We are talking about information and drive only doable bye said characters, so no info-dumb found in books, no simple POV, as this could be handled by any still living character.

Also - as already said multiple times - we can rule out characters not confirmed dead and also characters who are still alive in the published books, as this deaths could be unmade (into coma, vanishing, mystery, etc. or simply written out again) by GRRM. So at this moment not Benjen, nor Barristan, Jon, Alliser, Sandor, Mance etc. As this people are (at this moment in the already published books!) still alive or MIA.

I also do agree that it's not one of the "big" one, like Ned, Robb or Tywin etc., because their deaths were necessary for the plot and also because in the case of Tywin he would be too influential.

So I think you all have boiled it down already:

Quentyn (yes, I think he is dead): Would be a connection between Daenerys and Dorne, is now missing. Also would have had a nice impact on the whole plot, as Doran's children would belong to two different dragons. It also would make it a lot trickier for Dorne to choose sides, if we see a new Dance of the Dragons in the future.

Maester Aemon: At this moment on his endless journey in a barrel of rum toward Daenarys, together with Maewyn and - most likely - Gilly, as I doubt that Sam will have the time to get her off the Cinnamon Winds (and she would certainly not leave on her own, running around Old Town). If Martin is regretting killing of Aemon, it would not be because of Old Town (as you all have correctly stated, Sam is our man in Oldtown), but because the old man wanted to reach Daenarys. So could he have been important to convince her to move west and against the Others? Provide inside on the family, her brother, father, legends not even Maewyn knows? Maybe about dragons?

Maester Pyrcell: He was maester in the red keep when Ellias children were born, wasn't he? Maybe he would have been important to provide informations how one could distinguish the true Aegon from an imposter? But this could well be the reason he was killed, so maybe Martin did think another character was able to provide this informations but now it doesn't works out?

Dareon (Night's Watch singer, killed by Arya): Could have been a link between Essos and Westeros, another one confirming the "problem with the Others", and also one way for Arya to go home.

Kevan: I, too, agree that without him King's Landing is falling apart too quickly, too quickly for anyone to reach the city and make a move. Also it may be more difficult than Martin imagined to make Cersei and the Tyrells work together and efficiently against fAegon, thus making them a too lightweight enemy.

After writing this list, I would think that either Kevan, Aemon or Quentyn could be the person Martin regrets killing off, as the other can still be worked around.

But neither can Maerwyn & Co. know as much about the Targs, Dragons or the Other as Maester Aemon did, nor would they be as convincing to Dany as her great-great(?)-uncle could be. No one in KL has as much influence with both Cersei and the Tyrells and is competent enough to replace Kevan. And Quentyn was the only real chance to split the Martell family in two by having both kids on different sides in a DwD.

Still, I miss all three (yes, even the frog).

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Well remember, Kevan's death puts the Tyrells in complete, absolute control of the city. Not to mention that Randyll Tarly is also there. I actually have the feeling that once Mace leaves (Margaery will be cleared), Margaery will be left behind as the new Queen Regent. Except it will come with the condition that she will be forced into a close working relationship with the High Sparrow (like the show).

I think Martin made the mistake of having Cersei's trial happen too early in the book.

Besides the obvious previously stated characters (i.e. Quentyn, Dareon, Maester Aemon), I'm thinking it's these:

  • Beric Dondarrion
  • Barristan Selmy or Jorah Mormont
  • Osha or Rickon Stark
  • Brynden Tully, the Blackfish (is he even confirmed)

If Barristan or Jorah dies (especially Barristan), then Daenerys is going into Westeros blind. Victarion is an unreliable source of information because he's stupid. Tyrion is going to be an unreliable source of information because he's becoming villain and so he's going to use Daenerys like he used Joffrey's crossbow.

I think killing off Rickon Stark before Dream is a huge mistake for several reasons. If Rickon is going to be unintelligible to speakers of the Common Tongue like I think he will be, then Osha might just well be unnecessary.

Does Ser Hyle Hunt know that Sansa's in the Vale?

Basically, I don't think that the death that GRRM regrets has already happened. I think it's a death that happened either "offscreen" in Feast or Dance or it's a death that happens early on in Winds.

Speaking of Winds, there's just way too much stuff that needs to happen in this book before Dream. Way too much? And all of it takes so much freaking time. Like Cersei's trial is only a week away? Is her first seven chapters in Winds going to take place within a week (it will be eventful that's for sure) whereas Daenerys' story in Winds is going to have to play out over several months to half a year. 

On 7/28/2018 at 5:55 PM, bent branch said:

I have wondered if it is Pycelle. If Aegon is fake, then there would need to be a way to prove that he is fake (it is not GRRM's style to leave such a huge question ambiguous). Although, with what we have been told, Pycelle would not have had the knowledge to know if the baby brought from Dragonstone was actually Aegon, this deficiency could be easily remedied. As it is, the only two other people who would be in a position to know (Illyrio and Varys) would have no reason to reveal that. On the other hand, there are people who could potentially reveal Aegon is genuine.

ETA: Actually, I was really surprised that Pycelle was killed at all. Although some people doubt it, Pycelle was a Varys/Littlefinger level of plotter. And it didn't seem to me that all of his perfidy had been revealed.

It can be revealed post-humously don't worry.

I think it's already pretty much confirmed that Pycelle had told Cersei that Jon Arryn and Stannis were onto her. Cersei was probably gearing up to make her move on Jon Arryn but she must have felt that she needed to wait until Robin Arryn was fostered out to her father. And that's why Littlefinger and Lysa beat her to the punch.

I still have a hard time imagining how Cersei was ever going to be able to get rid of Stannis and Renly. Especially Stannis. I don't think that would have ever happened; if it did, it would have backfired and we would've had another civil war. See, war was inevitable. It's not Catelyn's fault!!!

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I wonder if someone of the Stark's household people would be needed later on to reveal something, might even be a secret passage?

 

 

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10 hours ago, Jabar of House Titan said:
  • Barristan Selmy or Jorah Mormont
  • Osha or Rickon Stark
  • Brynden Tully, the Blackfish (is he even confirmed)

 

But as has been stated above, this "deaths" are either not written at all yet, or may-bes (Blackfish - no, he is not confirmed, and I'm quite sure he is alive, even Jaime thinks so), so I wanted to tell you, that you are wrong, as such deaths can easily be changed and undone... ;)

But then I realized: What if the "regret of killing a character" is not about them not being there anymore, but about having to rewrite long passages in TWoW to first bring the person back to live and then all the chapters in which the person was already dead?

So maybe we can boil it down to:

1.) The obvious choices (see above) for a character needed, but not longer available

or

2.) Any character dying or dead off-screen or in an early chapter in TWoW, for having to rewrite the book again?

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I think it can't be a character whose death is somehow doubtful, i.e. there is no body, or the body cannot be identified. For that reason, any disappeared characters (Benjen topping the list) can be ruled out, as can Quentyn. Even if Quentyn was intended to be dead when ADWD was written, it would be easy to shoehorn in that the man they found was somebody else. It would take a huge suspension of disbelief to write Eddard Stark back into the series, but someone whose mysterious death has spawned multiple fan theories per month since it was mentioned on page could easily have their death undone. 

Similarly, if the death in question has not been published yet, it would be easy for Martin to undo the decision. It might involve having to write large sections of the book over again, but it's not an insurmountable obstacle. I can see why that would be regrettable, however. But I don't think Martin divulges any material he has not yet published, so he wouldn't speak out about deaths the readers haven't seen. I mean, could you see him saying something to the effect of "I initially decided to kill of ser Barristan early in the book, but then I changed my mind and had to re-write all the Meereen chapters"? If so, not until after the book is published. So I think we can certainly rule out that he meant any of those who were still alive when we last saw them.

This leaves us with seemingly minor characters that were definitely killed on-screen in books that were already published. I agree about Kevan, he was the one that put Lannister force behind Cersei's decisions. Pycelle is another likely candidate, having served all the kings since Robert's Rebellion, and a likely source of history-altering information. Arys Oakheart would also have been a pair of eyes on the events in Dorne.

However, I think all the aforementioned ones are unlikely too. Martin would have thought hard about it before killing any of them off. You don't terminate the only characters carrying vital pieces of information without being certain to have other means to deliver that information. 

I think the most likely candidate is someone somewhat minor. Someone who would meet a main character or divulge a piece of information. The regret of killing them would not be something that hampers the entire plot of the series, it would more be a case of "I had the perfect character for this minor role, but they are dead, and now I have to introduce someone else to do it instead." Small annoyance, not spend-days-staring-into-ceiling regret.

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I personally think it's Jon. Not because he can't bring Jon back. But because of how long it's going to take to get Jon back and moving that plot forward again. I guess he can get it so the others start their attack and Stannis basically takes over the battle for a while. But after Jon comes back (gotta be at least passed the halfway point of the book) he has to be able to get over being stabbed and resurrected and get people on his side. I just see that taking a long time and maybe he sees it as another Meereenese Knot problem?

I feel like everyone else he could figure out ways around somewhat easily... but who knows.

 

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On ‎8‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 11:01 AM, Morte said:

But as has been stated above, this "deaths" are either not written at all yet, or may-bes (Blackfish - no, he is not confirmed, and I'm quite sure he is alive, even Jaime thinks so), so I wanted to tell you, that you are wrong, as such deaths can easily be changed and undone... ;)

But then I realized: What if the "regret of killing a character" is not about them not being there anymore, but about having to rewrite long passages in TWoW to first bring the person back to live and then all the chapters in which the person was already dead?

So maybe we can boil it down to:

1.) The obvious choices (see above) for a character needed, but not longer available

or

2.) Any character dying or dead off-screen or in an early chapter in TWoW, for having to rewrite the book again?

Ok.

But my point was that if - say Ramsay Bolton - dies early in Winds and Martin suddenly realizes Ramsay becomes absolutely necessary at the end of the book (maybe even in Dream). 

Personally, I think Quentyn is the one he regrets killing. Quentyn should have at least visited Norvos before going to Meereen.

If Martin messed up so bad that he would have to go back and rewrite old books, then he should just forget it and come up with an alternative and then share what he would have liked to do after the fact....

On ‎8‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 1:56 AM, alienarea said:

I wonder if someone of the Stark's household people would be needed later on to reveal something, might even be a secret passage?

 

Right? Ser Rodrick was the first one who popped up in my mind.

Is Old Nan still alive?

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47 minutes ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

But my point was that if - say Ramsay Bolton - dies early in Winds and Martin suddenly realizes Ramsay becomes absolutely necessary at the end of the book (maybe even in Dream).  

Personally, I think Quentyn is the one he regrets killing. Quentyn should have at least visited Norvos before going to Meereen.

If Martin messed up so bad that he would have to go back and rewrite old books, then he should just forget it and come up with an alternative and then share what he would have liked to do after the fact....

Yes, he should. But stories are tricky beasts, and it could well become another nod he has to entangle, if something like this would really happen.

This would be truly a reason for him to "regret killing a character".

50 minutes ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

Right? Ser Rodrick was the first one who popped up in my mind.

Is Old Nan still alive?

Old Nan is dead, they all are. But I don't think a simple info-dumb would be a reason to regret killing them off; this could be done by someone else or even a book, chronicle or diary. It wouldn't even look strange that the surviving Stark-children did not know it existed. So one could well work around something like that.

53 minutes ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

Personally, I think Quentyn is the one he regrets killing. Quentyn should have at least visited Norvos before going to Meereen.

Quentyn is on my list too, even if I still think that Kevan or Aemon are more likely, he would be necessary if Martin does plan to make Dorne question which dragon to side with.

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