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GRRM: Some folk got it right.

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48 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

How so?

There is too much exposition, even regarding locations or events that haven't been involved for 5 books. Dany in that chapter is more of a Viserys history robot. Which is fine, because we need to get into the story somehow. It is at the same time too revealing (isle of faces) and too unreflected (Dany's thoughts about Rhaegar, the rebellion and how the houses will rise up for them. I am sure there is more unreflected fantasy from teenager Dany. ). At it's core everything that is not a naive Dany thought, is a revelation. The prefect example for that is Dany's version of "Rhaegar died for the woman he loved". It is both unreflected in the sense that she just seems to repeat what was told to her (her later reaction to Selmy telling her about the tourney at Harrenhal show this, where she is surprised how Rhaegar could crown Lyanna. While at the same time, she thinks from the first chapter onward in cryptic words (the woman he loved) instead of Elia. ), as well as revealing (why is it so cryptic ? Does Dany know ? Obviously not.)

As far as I know there is even an Interview, where GRRM says he regrets mentioning the Isle of Faces in that chapter. I searched it but didn't find the interview. But I am very sure it exists somehwere. 

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8 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

There is too much exposition, even regarding locations or events that haven't been involved for 5 books. Dany in that chapter is more of a Viserys history robot. Which is fine, because we need to get into the story somehow. It is at the same time too revealing (isle of faces) and too unreflected (Dany's thoughts about Rhaegar, the rebellion and how the houses will rise up for them. I am sure there is more unreflected fantasy from teenager Dany. ). At it's core everything that is not a naive Dany thought, is a revelation. The prefect example for that is Dany's version of "Rhaegar died for the woman he loved". It is both unreflected in the sense that she just seems to repeat what was told to her (her later reaction to Selmy telling her about the tourney at Harrenhal show this, where she is surprised how Rhaegar could crown Lyanna. While at the same time, she thinks from the first chapter onward in cryptic words (the woman he loved) instead of Elia. ), as well as revealing (why is it so cryptic ? Does Dany know ? Obviously not.)

I read some of this differently, I guess. I took it more as the set-up for the (then three book) series. The first several chapters had to set up a lot that would have been "revealed" at a sooner time. I still think the reveal is there, it is now just a slow tease across more chapters. I think it also shows development in character "maturity" on some levels. Going from the hearsay fantasy to learning the truths of the world. This isn't restricted to Dany alone, in my opinion.

One example I think of is not just what is told within each chapter, but what chapter proceeds and then follows, and what the leading subject matter was in the transition. That's a lot of mouthy shyte to say that Dany 1 gave some exposition which carried over in the immediate Eddard 1 chapter, and that shared info was Rhaegar then Lyanna (respectively) ;)

I hear ya about the cryptic, that drives readers NUTS! I guess it is because we so desperately want these final answers. I know I do :), which is why we keep coming back.

8 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

As far as I know there is even an Interview, where GRRM says he regrets mentioning the Isle of Faces in that chapter. I searched it but didn't find the interview. But I am very sure it exists somehwere. 

Never seen/read this one, but will keep an eye out for it. Thanks.

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6 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Not sure if we are thinking of the same thing but I remember I saw or maybe read an interview where he was asked about reading the fans theories. He talked about reading fan forums, which back then I think was called Dragonstone? Anyway he saw people figuring out what he thought of as subtle clues and well hidden secrets and panicked wondering if he should change the story. He ultimately decided not to because then it wouldn’t be a natural story growth, but iirc that is the point in time he largely stopped pursuing online forums. 

I would hunt down the interview or video but im too lazy

This is essentially the story, but it was told by someone who saw the receiving end of a panicked phone call from GRRM to an agent, editor or someone like that.

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1 hour ago, SirArthur said:

As far as I know there is even an Interview, where GRRM says he regrets mentioning the Isle of Faces in that chapter. I searched it but didn't find the interview. But I am very sure it exists somehwere. 

Could that be because he changed his mind about using it? Because it's mentioned five times in AGoT, then not at all in ACoK, then it's referenced in Howland Reed's story in one of Bran's chapters in ASoS and mentioned again by Jon, and afterwards it vanishes completely from the main series.

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19 hours ago, J. Stargaryen said:

I'm pretty sure GRRM has been saying this, or something a lot like it, for years.

There's even the story that he had a minor meltdown way back when (ACoK-ish maybe?) because internet fans had figured out the ending. Supposedly he called his agent or editor or someone like that, and another author happened to witness the receiving end of that call. They posted the story somewhere a few years ago, though I don't recall if it was here or linked from elsewhere. From what I recall, the story seemed to check out at the time, but I cannot vouch for it beyond that. Maybe someone else wants to look into it.

As J. Stargaryen asked me if I recalled this, I'll just say I'm not aware of any such story and I think it sounds pretty apocryphal to me. I have an extremely vague recollection of an SF/F author in George's circle making some humorous statements about George's writing of the series at a convention or an interview, that maybe kind of sounded something like the above, but they were definitely joking. For the life of me, I can't remember their name other than they were male and someone who has worked in the genre for some decades, as George has. 

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37 minutes ago, Ran said:

As J. Stargaryen asked me if I recalled this, I'll just say I'm not aware of any such story and I think it sounds pretty apocryphal to me. I have an extremely vague recollection of an SF/F author in George's circle making some humorous statements about George's writing of the series at a convention or an interview, that maybe kind of sounded something like the above, but they were definitely joking. For the life of me, I can't remember their name other than they were male and someone who has worked in the genre for some decades, as George has. 

This isn't what I'm talking about either. The story I relayed may or may not be true, I can't say. I do think it sounds believable if you piece together things GRRM has said through the years about how he stopped reading forums, people figuring out his ending, and whether or not he should change it. Something caused GRRM to stop reading forums, and something caused him to consider whether or not he should change his ending. He's talked about it enough that it seems like he's given it some thought.

As I said, the story seems to fit with what we know. On the other hand, the person telling it claimed to be an author, so maybe it's historical fiction. :dunno:

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The thing that caused George to stop reading forums was that all the noise was distracting him -- people coming up with ideas that were "better" than his own, people figuring out certain things, etc. An unsourced apocryphal story that no one else seems to have any source for is not needed when we have George's own words on the topic. It only adds confusion and propagates what may be pure falsehood. 

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Posted (edited)

Not needed—fair enough. I thought it might be of interest in this thread.

Edited by J. Stargaryen

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5 hours ago, Ran said:

As J. Stargaryen asked me if I recalled this, I'll just say I'm not aware of any such story and I think it sounds pretty apocryphal to me. I have an extremely vague recollection of an SF/F author in George's circle making some humorous statements about George's writing of the series at a convention or an interview, that maybe kind of sounded something like the above, but they were definitely joking. For the life of me, I can't remember their name other than they were male and someone who has worked in the genre for some decades, as George has. 

We do this type of speculation on Rothfuss too. But mainly about Rothfuss shitting himself playing videogames instead of writing.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

"I guess you are technically correct, but it's also pretty much the only scenario that could impact the plot in a major way."

We don't know what the plot is.  Any scenario could impact the plot in a thousand ways we can imagine, and a thousand million more that we did not think of.

You cannot seem to let go of the idea that you already know the plot.

"My initial argument was that Jon's parentage reveal wouldn't have a significant impact on the plot."

Maybe.  Maybe not. 

"While I agree that we should stay open minded towards unlikely theories, I would also warn against forcing a mystery where one isn't needed."

Your ideas of what is "needed" are very subjective.  And if anyone is trying to force anything, it is not me.

"Stannis, for example, needs to fail at fulfilling the Azor Ahai role and "break before he bends" because that has been thematically set up in the series."

No.  He doesn't.  He might do both those things.  But he does not have to do either of them.

Also, Azor Ahai could be a sinister and villainous role.  But Stannis could fulfil it either way.

"The winged wolf, on the other hand, already has a satisfying solution, and therefore doesn't demand anything."

Bran as the winged wolf MIGHT be satisfying.  I'll decide when I read it.  A million other things might be satisfying, too.  

"Lyanna is still a character we care about and she still had a story we are invested in even though she died long before the events in ASoIaF. If nothing else, finding out that R+L=J is still relevant for her story."

Finding out the identity of the baby born at the TOJ will be relevant to Lyanna, no matter who the baby turns out to be.  It does not have to be Jon.

"The whole point of this mystery could be to turn the "secret prince" idea on its head."

Or not.  

"Jon's heritage can certainly be relevant without being the centerpiece of a book (or the series)."

Right.  So, we've got lots of options.

Edited by Platypus Rex

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6 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

We don't know what the plot is.  Any scenario could impact the plot in a thousand ways we can imagine, and a thousand million more that we did not think of.

You are pushing this "anything is possible" argument a bit too far. Of course anything is possible, technically speaking. For all we know, Jon could travel back in time through the weirnet, warg into Wylla the peasant girl, sleep with Ned, get pregnant and become his own mother. That shouldn't stop us from having a more grounded discussion based on narrative conventions and logic.

You appealed to a certain sense of order yourself when you said that it would be cheating to introduce mysteries and not resolve them - I say this applies to more than just mysteries, it's the whole Chekhov's Gun concept. And I say it works the other way around too, something can't become really important out of the blue, in defiance of the established rules of the story. Jon's parentage seems to have been set up as somewhat of a mystery, but not really a game-changing plot point.

I am stressing, once again, on the game-changing part. I'm not saying Jon's parentage reveal wouldn't be important for Jon, I'm saying I have a hard time believing it would be important for the wider story. To make you understand better where I'm coming from, let's compare two important character deaths: Ygritte and Tywinn. Ygritte's death had a huge impact on Jon's character, and a great emotional impact on the reader... but it didn't change the situation at Castle Black very much. The driving vectors of that story came from other places. Tywin's death, however, was a game-changer. Most of the events in AFFC and beyond were triggered by it. Even Aegon's decision to invade without Dany, another game-changing decision, was to a great degree a repercussion of his death. Can Jon's parentage reveal have an equally large impact on the story? I don't think so!

Does he need the reveal in order to become a Hero that battles the Others? No, his character development so far is enough for that. Does he need the reveal in order to become King in the North? No, we already have at least one great avenue for that (arguably more, aside from the the other serviceable one he chose not to take). And if he becomes King in the North, he's already on equal footing with the likes of Dany and Aegon and their stories can converge. Sure, the story can pretend that his parentage factors into this development, but that would be cheating, because technically speaking Robb's will and the support of the Northern Lords should be enough. I mean, if Robb's will is never used, then that will become the unresolved plot point.

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1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

You are pushing this "anything is possible" argument a bit too far. Of course anything is possible, technically speaking

I'm not making an "anything is possible" argument at all.  I am making a "lots of things are possible" argument.  And if you want to include scenarios that are technically possible but not reasonable, feel free to increase my numerical estimate by a factor of a billion.

Nor was I even talking about the number of plausible theories about Jon's parentage., which is probably fairly small.  I was talking about ways in which such a solution might affect the plot.

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44 minutes ago, Platypus Rex said:

I'm not making an "anything is possible" argument at all.  I am making a "lots of things are possible" argument.  And if you want to include scenarios that are technically possible but not reasonable, feel free to increase my numerical estimate by a factor of a billion.

Nor was I even talking about the number of plausible theories about Jon's parentage., which is probably fairly small.  I was talking about ways in which such a solution might affect the plot.

And how many of those scenarios would have a game-changing impact? Aside from the obvious yet unlikely "Jon becomes an active contender for the Iron Throne", can you suggest five? Three?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

And how many of those scenarios would have a game-changing impact? Aside from the obvious yet unlikely "Jon becomes an active contender for the Iron Throne", can you suggest five? Three?

And what on earth is "game changing"??  I was merely talking about things that might affect the plot.  I was not necessarily talking about things that will affect who sits on the Iron Throne, and/or will affect anything you personally will care about.

I don't see the point in my making up imaginary scenarios that no-one can predict, merely so you can complain that no-one can predict that or that you don't like it.  There is no rule of literature that says the ending must be predictable, or that everyone will like how things go.  But here goes nothing:

Jon finding out his parentage could alter his relationship to certain other people.  Arya might no longer be his sister.  Aegon VI (whoever the real Aegon VI might be) could be his brother.  Bonifer Hasty (who, let's say, is Rhaegar's real father, and Dunk's grandson) might be his grandpa.  And perhaps Rhaegar had a 3rd child (the dragon has 3 heads, after all).  Why will Jon's relationship to these people matter to the story?  Well, that depends on what those characters get up to in the next volume, which you and I cannot predict.  So, there's a thousand and one possibilities right there.

Maybe the answer to your question intersects with the question of what happened at Summerhall.  Do you know what happened at Summerhall, or why it matters?  Neither do I.  That's a thousand and one possibilities right there. 

Edited by Platypus Rex

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50 minutes ago, Platypus Rex said:

And what on earth is "game changing"??  I was merely talking about things that might affect the plot.  I was not necessarily talking about things that will affect who sits on the Iron Throne, and/or will affect anything you personally will care about.

I explained what I consider game-changing in my earlier post. A twist that actually drives the plot, instead of just the mood of a character. Jon deciding the Iron Throne should be his would be game-changing. My original argument was that it was hard to imagine a plot development that would turn Jon's parentage into the main conflict or the resolution of the series.

Simple stuff like riding a dragon don't really count, because they would appear very convenient and born from circular logic:

Q: Why does it matter who Jon's parents were?

A: Because look, now he can ride a dragon! Only Targs can ride on dragons, and his dad was a Targ!

Q: Couldn't he skinchange into, or like, be really brave and ride it anyway? Why is it that only Targs can ride on dragons?

A: Because Jon is a Targ and we had to make that matter!

Kind of silly, don't you think? Sure, George could use that reasoning to pretend his parents are important, but from a narrative point of view you can remove it and the story is mostly the same, maybe with a slightly different tone.

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18 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

We don't know what the plot is.  Any scenario could impact the plot in a thousand ways we can imagine, and a thousand million more that we did not think of.

You cannot seem to let go of the idea that you already know the plot.

Uh huh, exactly.  His position is that he does know the plot, and that it involves the wights and their masters the Popsicles overrunning Westeros, and the human survivors abandoning Westeros and fleeing to Essos, which becomes the main stage of the story.

At least, that was his position in Heresy for some time (it didn't go over too well).

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

"I explained what I consider game-changing in my earlier post. A twist that actually drives the plot, instead of just the mood of a character."

Well, what I was responding to was "significant impact on the plot".  But in any event, Jon using his Targ heritage to ride a dragon would fit that.  Yes?  Dragons are game-changers.  They effect far more than just one' mood.  Except …

"Simple stuff like riding a dragon don't really count, because they would appear very convenient and born from circular logic:"

It follow the setup and the established rules of the universe.  "Circular" in the sense that it all comes back around to GRRM making it all up?  Sure.  It is fiction.  It is fantasy.

"Kind of silly, don't you think?"

Maybe you should read some nice well researched history books. 

"Sure, George could use that reasoning to pretend his parents are important …"

Yeah.  He's the author.  It is all his "pretend".

Edited by Platypus Rex

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26 minutes ago, JNR said:

Uh huh, exactly.  His position is that he does know the plot, and that it involves the wights and their masters the Popsicles overrunning Westeros, and the human survivors abandoning Westeros and fleeing to Essos, which becomes the main stage of the story.

At least, that was his position in Heresy for some time (it didn't go over too well).

I see my persistence had an effect on you! :D You learned the lesson well! I hope you and your friends didn't begrudge me that one little hijacked thread out of 216...

I must say, however, that my position in this thread is quite independent from the Exodus premise. Don't worry, since George's quote from the OP is from 2014, and I only came up with my theory less than two years ago, I know perfectly well that he didn't mean me (...unfortunately <_<)

2 minutes ago, Platypus Rex said:

Well, what I was responding to was "significant impact on the plot".  But in any event, Jon using his Targ heritage to ride a dragon would fit that.  Yes?  Dragon's are game-changers.  They effect far more than just one' mood.  Except …

"Simple stuff like riding a dragon don't really count, because they would appear very convenient and born from circular logic:"

It follow the setup and the established rules of the universe.  "Circular" in the sense that it all comes back around to GRRM making it all up?  Sure.  It is fiction.  It is fantasy.

My original comment was directed at people who believe the reveal of Jon's parents will be the culmination of the series.

For me, the reveal would be used well if it felt necessary for the outcome it leads to. It would get bonus points if it impacted a larger number of characters, not just Jon and his immediate entourage. I gave you the example of Tywin's death: it was necessary for the outcome we had in AFFC, and it affected the story throughout the realm, not only around the Lannisters.

When it comes to the outcome of Jon being able to ride a dragon, the reveal is just "good enough" as a reason. It's not the idea that George "made it up" that's the problem, but the fact that it could be replaced quite easily with something else without undermining the integrity of the story (i.e. "anyone can ride dragons", "brave people can ride dragons", "wargs can ride dragons", "Dany's soulmate can ride dragons", "Bran helps him by remotely controlling the dragon" work just as well). To make matters worse, we already know that Quentin got toast when he tried to ride one, so Jon having the right blood isn't even a sufficient condition. Try to swap Tywin's death with some other singular event and see if it holds water. That's real impact.

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31 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

My original comment was directed at people who believe the reveal of Jon's parents will be the culmination of the series.

I was not responding to that.  I was responding to the comment you addressed to me.

I have no opinion on whether the reveal of Jon's parents will be the "culmination of the series".  It is a question I would not care to debate.  The opinion I expressed was that R+L=J is a good theory, but not a certainty.  

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