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Master thread on what the Show means for the book plot

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16 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Guys, you should stop bother making sense of things. With things like Headey telling us publicly that Cersei was supposed to have a miscarriage back in season 7 (which was filmed!) we do know that there was no coherent plan for anything. In fact, if there had been the miscarriage we would have gotten a real breakup between Jaime and Cersei and then Cersei would have been the one to burn down KL in the end because she had nothing to live for, etc.

And in relation to who is king in the end or other such crap - somebody has to. In the books Jon and Dany and Tyrion and Aegon and Arianne and Sansa all can have children before the curtain falls. But the show rushed things - so if the throne were to pass to an infant/toddler they simply did not have in the books they would have to pick somebody else for the job.

Agreed.  Trying to make sense of the last two Seasons is like applying lipstick to a pig.

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32 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Agreed.  Trying to make sense of the last two Seasons is like applying lipstick to a pig.

Not just those. And the idea of there being some children to certain crucial characters is not something that comes out of thin air. The morons actually hinted at Dany having a child in one of the audio commentaries for season 7 if I'm not mistaken.

But there is also Dorne as a some sort of last minute idea, the stupid approach they took the Winterfell battle nonsense with Ramsay (where there was clear buildup for Ramsay actually being abandoned by his men before his ultimate downfall - which then couldn't be worked into the episode because the production was a nightmare, etc.).

If I had to guess (and I really don't care enough to make good guesses) there is a chance that somebody might burn KL in the books, just as there is a chance that Dany might not survive the books - even that she might die some sort of sacrificial death in the fight against the Others - but I'm pretty sure the end of the books will be nowhere near what we got there in the show.

And not just because so much changed - but because the people adapting the material had no idea what they were doing, and when they did something it was what they wanted to do (like with Ramsay and Sansa) not what was actually in the books.

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7 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Not just those. And the idea of there being some children to certain crucial characters is not something that comes out of thin air. The morons actually hinted at Dany having a child in one of the audio commentaries for season 7 if I'm not mistaken.

But there is also Dorne as a some sort of last minute idea, the stupid approach they took the Winterfell battle nonsense with Ramsay (where there was clear buildup for Ramsay actually being abandoned by his men before his ultimate downfall - which then couldn't be worked into the episode because the production was a nightmare, etc.).

If I had to guess (and I really don't care enough to make good guesses) there is a chance that somebody might burn KL in the books, just as there is a chance that Dany might not survive the books - even that she might die some sort of sacrificial death in the fight against the Others - but I'm pretty sure the end of the books will be nowhere near what we got there in the show.

And not just because so much changed - but because the people adapting the material had no idea what they were doing, and when they did something it was what they wanted to do (like with Ramsay and Sansa) not what was actually in the books.

Jon Con is the obvious candidate for someone who burns KL.

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

Jon Con is the obvious candidate for someone who burns KL.

Jon Con is the obvious candidate for someone who loses their shit at the sound of the bells.

I think Dany will burn King's Landing but I think that at point the city will be beyond saving, infested with all kinds of monsters and diseases.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Guys, you should stop bother making sense of things. With things like Headey telling us publicly that Cersei was supposed to have a miscarriage back in season 7 (which was filmed!) we do know that there was no coherent plan for anything. In fact, if there had been the miscarriage we would have gotten a real breakup between Jaime and Cersei and then Cersei would have been the one to burn down KL in the end because she had nothing to live for, etc.

And in relation to who is king in the end or other such crap - somebody has to. In the books Jon and Dany and Tyrion and Aegon and Arianne and Sansa all can have children before the curtain falls. But the show rushed things - so if the throne were to pass to an infant/toddler they simply did not have in the books they would have to pick somebody else for the job.

This is true. I clearly remember that in the spoilers. It was supposed to be one of the last scenes of season 7 after Jaime leaves and the snow in King's Landing starts falling.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Not just those. And the idea of there being some children to certain crucial characters is not something that comes out of thin air. The morons actually hinted at Dany having a child in one of the audio commentaries for season 7 if I'm not mistaken.

I remember that too. I read that in the spoilers. Apparently, 

I don't know why all these pregnancy storylines were axed. Apparently, when they first decided to save Cersei's miscarriage for season 8, Dany was supposed to find out she was pregnant the same episode Cersei was to lose her baby. But...however...

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

Jon Con is the obvious candidate for someone who burns KL.

Possibly. Or Cersei or Euron or Aegon himself or whoever holds KL in one of the future books. George told us that several people would sit the Iron Throne before the books were over (which is contradicted by the show which had only Cersei on the iron chair after Tommen).

But if the place burns it won't be a dragon doing it. That's not going to work in winter. It must be wildfire. Dany's dragons might be able to burn down Oldtown with dragonfire (since it snows 'almost never' down there) but KL is already caked in snow in the Epilogue and this snow is not going to melt in time for a dragon to burn it.

11 minutes ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

Jon Con is the obvious candidate for someone who loses their shit at the sound of the bells.

I think Dany will burn King's Landing but I think that at point the city will be beyond saving, infested with all kinds of monsters and diseases.

I can see her sack and burn other cities (Oldtown, for some reason, although I think the Hightowers will be smart enough to join her, or, a much more likely possibility, Lannisport) but not KL. It is the Targaryen city, the city her ancestors built. She is not going to destroy that. She might kill the denizens but not the place and especially not the castle Aenys and Maegor built.

11 minutes ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

This is true. I clearly remember that in the spoilers. It was supposed to be one of the last scenes of season 7 after Jaime leaves and the snow in King's Landing starts falling.

I remember that too. I read that in the spoilers. Apparently, 

I don't know why all these pregnancy storylines were axed. Apparently, when they first decided to save Cersei's miscarriage for season 8, Dany was supposed to find out she was pregnant the same episode Cersei was to lose her baby. But...however...

The reason seems to be obvious. They changed 'the original plan' from Cersei the Mad Queen to Dany the Mad Queen because that was 'a better twist' - sort of like having Arya kill the Lich King was. If Dany were pregnant Jon could not possibly murder her, right? Nor would it make for a good story to have her being a loving mother and a nutcase, especially not in so few episodes. And if Cersei is not the Mad Queen but basically the victim of 'the real Mad Queen' then her losing her child also makes no sense - especially if they end the story with Jaime and Cersei dying together.

How silly the story there is can be seen - after all, a pregnant Cersei would have most definitely yielded TO SAVE HER UNBORN CHILD! Especially the Headey Cersei, but also the real Cersei from the books. If she were to get pregnant by Jaime again such a child would mean the world to her, especially if the other children were all dead by then (not likely to happen, though, unless Maggy's prophecy is wrong).

The decision not to make Jon the promised prince (i.e. in the show the guy who killed the Lich King) also should have greatly changed his story because it seems pretty much inconceivable that you can defeat the Others in the books and walk away alive from that. If we had a weirdo addendum like 'the finale' of the show in the books - i.e. a political conflict after the Long Night was over - Jon Snow is not likely to be around for that if he were the guy to defeat the Others. And if he and Dany do that together somehow they might be both dead by then. This, too, would make it unlikely we get a Jon-Dany stabbing scene for political reason. If Jon were to kill Daenerys it would be part of some magical thing in their attempt to save mankind.

And for Dany there is, of course, also the chance of her dying in childbirth. I'd hate such an ending for any of the female characters but it would fit George's pattern to a point.

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Thinking a little bit more about the Connington idea - we do have to keep in mind that he truly has the potential to become a loose cannon of enormous proportions.

I usually like to think of him as a carrier for the grey plague and I really think he is going to bring a pandemic to Westeros - but if they do not figure out he is the carrier (say, because he actually loses his hand/fingers in one of the coming battles, either intentionally or unintentionally) or Aegon keeps that secret because he doesn't want to throw his foster father to the wolves we have no idea what he might do if he ever finds out he had been working for a false king (if that's the truth) or to what lengths he might go prevent another Battle of the Balls failure.

We already saw how his certain death affected his decision-making process (he ultimately decided they would go to Westeros, not Aegon) and if certain death is joined with certain defeat the man might definitely lose it.

Dany has no connection to bells whatsoever - but one certainly could see Connington exploding at the prospect of bells signaling his own defeat.

Why on earth there would be a lot of wildfire stashed everywhere in KL under a King Aegon VI I don't know, but if there were enough at the various barracks of the City Watch and the gatehouses that could certainly burn down considerable portions of the city. Although even then the snow would prevent the city from burning down completely. Wildfire burns in water, but it wouldn't be everywhere, so those houses too far away from the wildfire inferno would likely not burn down.

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5 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I usually like to think of him as a carrier for the grey plague and I really think he is going to bring a pandemic to Westeros - but if they do not figure out he is the carrier (say, because he actually loses his hand/fingers in one of the coming battles, either intentionally or unintentionally) or Aegon keeps that secret because he doesn't want to throw his foster father to the wolves we have no idea what he might do if he ever finds out he had been working for a false king (if that's the truth) or to what lengths he might go prevent another Battle of the Balls failure.

I always speculated that Dany would be blamed for it. And that Arianne would find out some time after the fact and have some conflicted feelings about it.

Edited by BlackLightning

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45 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

I always speculated that Dany would be blamed for it. And that Arianne would find out some time after the fact and have some conflicted feelings about it.

Well, that would be very odd considering we are likely going to get such a plague months before Dany shows. Connington might have started to infect people at Griffin's Roost and might continue to do so at Storm's End and KL.

He soaks his fingers in wine and all, and one assumes some poor servants are going to clean up after him and wash the dishes, etc.

There is of course also the possibility that Connington is going to also infect crucial people - Aegon, Arianne, Haldon, Varys, Illyrio, etc. - but I don't think that's all that likely since Connington could be build up as this loose cannon kind of guy.

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We should've known they'd muck everything up back in season 2 when they completely bungled Cat's motivations for freeing Jaimie.

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20 hours ago, Ruki88 said:

 Did they blunder their way through and made small, big or horrific mistakes? Yes, obviously. If everything went hunky-dory for them then ppl would’ve complained that they’re Mary Sues and have plot armor as big as the Wall itself. If they make mistakes then they’re bad and stupid. Ppl already say they have plot armor as it is. Eh….

I guess my point was that they were never going to rule because they weren't written to be the history buffs like Bran, Sam, and Tyrion are. GRRM said that if Dany knew her own history in Essos, things would have gone differently. He appears to believe that if a person knows their history they will make better and smarter decisions. Even if they do have good intentions, it won't solve their own historical blind spots that cause them to be unsuitable to rule because they're just repeating their predecessor's mistakes. This appears to be true for Jon who doesn't learn from Robb or Ned, nor does he learn from wiser people who warned him about Targaryens. Jon put himself in that pickle in the end where he ends up committing war crimes and has to decide between Dany or his family. Dany makes similar mistakes by not really understanding the limitations of hard power, and why Targaryens never really got ahead because of their reliance on it. Dany and Jon are just blundering their way through, blind. And while I agree with you that this makes them human and lessens the plot armor, I think the author put them out of the running to make a larger point about history. 

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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20 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, that would be very odd considering we are likely going to get such a plague months before Dany shows. Connington might have started to infect people at Griffin's Roost and might continue to do so at Storm's End and KL.

He soaks his fingers in wine and all, and one assumes some poor servants are going to clean up after him and wash the dishes, etc.

There is of course also the possibility that Connington is going to also infect crucial people - Aegon, Arianne, Haldon, Varys, Illyrio, etc. - but I don't think that's all that likely since Connington could be build up as this loose cannon kind of guy.

Well, I think the time between Winds and Dream is perfect for a plague. Connington only just got to Westeros and most of his activity thus far has been centered in the Stormlands. And he's likely to be in the Stormlands for a while.

I don't imagine there being a massive outbreak until Connington gets to King's Landing (likely to occur in the last stretch of Winds) and starts interacting with the people of the realm on a macro level. Even so, it's going to start spreading throughout the Stormlands first and we all know that the border between the Stormlands, the Crownlands and the Reach is not very well defined.

All you need to make this plague story work is to have a massive outbreak in the Crownlands, the heart of the Seven Kingdoms and home of its largest, most well-connected city. From there, it easily spread into the Riverlands, the Reach and the Stormlands. 

Remember how Ebola was something that popped up in Brazil or something? Us Americans were far, far away from the epicenter but we still freaked out about it.

Greyscale is different because it turns its victims into monsters before they die. And it takes time for the disease to progress.

I can definitely see Connington infecting Aegon. Arianne not so much because Connington strikes me as somewhat racist towards Dornish people and a bit misogynist. Like his feelings of jealousy and envy in regards to Elia are quite telling...especially since they are so deep-seated and intense after all these years.

Connington will want to keep Arianne at a distance anyway. Speaking of which, I can see Connington not wanting Arianne in the picture at all.

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4 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

I guess my point was that they were never going to rule because they weren't written to be the history buffs like Bran, Sam, and Tyrion are. GRRM said that if Dany knew her own history in Essos, things would have gone differently. He appears to believe that if a person knows their history they will make better and smarter decisions. Even if they do have good intentions, it won't solve their own historical blind spots that cause them to be unsuitable to rule because they're just repeating their predecessor's mistakes. This appears to be true for Jon who doesn't learn from Robb or Ned, nor does he learn from wiser people who warned him about Targaryens. Jon put himself in that pickle in the end where he ends up committing war crimes and has to decide between Dany or his family. Dany makes similar mistakes by not really understanding the limitations of hard power, and why Targaryens never really got ahead because of their reliance on itDany and Jon are just blundering their way through, blind. And while I agree with you that this makes them human and lessens the plot armor, I think the author put them out of the running to make a larger point about history

Interesting. You opened my eyes with this post...especially the bold part.

Jon and Dany are really, at the end of the day, just blundering and blustering their way through. In fact, almost every single one of the characters are doing that in some way. Tyrion is one of the exceptions. Bran is also one of the exceptions but Bran is special because:

  • Bran gets a lot of help
  • Bran is a very good listener
  • Bran is cautious by nature
  • we barely see Bran...GRRM keeps Bran out-of-sight a lot

But even Tyrion is going down the path of his father and will likely turn out worse than his father.

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13 hours ago, Darryk said:

We should've known they'd muck everything up back in season 2 when they completely bungled Cat's motivations for freeing Jaimie.

It's a wonder that they could have messed that up.

It's just so simple.

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14 hours ago, Darryk said:

We should've known they'd muck everything up back in season 2 when they completely bungled Cat's motivations for freeing Jaimie.

They did? Don't remind me, I've completely forgotten everything about that ;-).

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

I don't imagine there being a massive outbreak until Connington gets to King's Landing (likely to occur in the last stretch of Winds) and starts interacting with the people of the realm on a macro level. Even so, it's going to start spreading throughout the Stormlands first and we all know that the border between the Stormlands, the Crownlands and the Reach is not very well defined.

To be honest, if there are not going to many more books and there is time to pass then this entire plot - just like the winter plot - won't work. But I guess we are going to get a slow development there, with Connington leaving infected people in his wake, so that it is in the end impossible to pin it directly on him.

1 hour ago, BlackLightning said:

Greyscale is different because it turns its victims into monsters before they die. And it takes time for the disease to progress.

Greyscale as such would be irrelevant. That takes years and years to kill. To have an effect it must be the highly infectious grey plague variation and the idea there is that Connington is the carrier who dies of slow greyscale but actually spreads the grey plague variety. That would kill in a matter of days.

But is also possible that George brings back the Shivers and the Winter Fever in winter.

 

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1 minute ago, Lord Varys said:

They did? Don't remind me, I've completely forgotten everything about that ;-).

To be honest, if there are not going to many more books and there is time to pass then this entire plot - just like the winter plot - won't work. But I guess we are going to get a slow development there, with Connington leaving infected people in his wake, so that it is in the end impossible to pin it directly on him.

Greyscale as such would be irrelevant. That takes years and years to kill. To have an effect it must be the highly infectious grey plague variation and the idea there is that Connington is the carrier who dies of slow greyscale but actually spreads the grey plague variety. That would kill in a matter of days.

But is also possible that George brings back the Shivers and the Winter Fever in winter.

 

It's also good to remember Shireen and Val's warning. Greyscale only sleeps and before long, it will awaken again.

For all we know, greyscale might not become a problem until AFTER the Others are dealt with. The last quarter of A Dream of Spring could depict the (short, ill-fated) reign of Jon and Daenerys, the possible deterioration of their relationship and Bran's rise to preeminence against the backdrop of the greyscale epidemic.

And to be honest, I don't think there is any indication that winter will end with the Others' defeat. Actually, I expect that the coming Long Night will be the last Long Night but that they will have to endure an millennial ice age.

In other words, these next two books will have be huge. Especially A Dream of Spring which I suspect will be structured like A Storm of Swords. The true climax of A Storm of Swords occurs after the Red Wedding beginning with the Purple Wedding and ending with Lysa's death.

I suspect the true climax of A Dream of Spring will also occur after the Others are defeated/routed/depowered. That said, the Others will likely make it to the Trident (or rather, Harrenhal) before they are put down.

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1 minute ago, BlackLightning said:

It's also good to remember Shireen and Val's warning. Greyscale only sleeps and before long, it will awaken again.

Sure, there might also be a pandemic up at the Wall/in the North. And it might be the Others who unleash the plague/awaken it in Shireen. Perhaps Patches is going to do that somehow if he has been touched by evil forces.

1 minute ago, BlackLightning said:

For all we know, greyscale might not become a problem until AFTER the Others are dealt with. The last quarter of A Dream of Spring could depict the (short, ill-fated) reign of Jon and Daenerys, the possible deterioration of their relationship and Bran's rise to preeminence against the backdrop of the greyscale epidemic.

That sounds like show-based fan fiction. I don't buy for a moment that the Others are not the final climax of the book series. It is A Song of Ice and Fire not Game of Thrones. The ultimate theme is not mundane politics - it was in the show but it won't be in the books. In fact, GoT was conceived as a show adapting ASoIaF with downplaying/ignoring most magical/fantasy elements.

I mean, just think how little the story moved in ADwD or ASoS. There is no chance at all that the Others are going to be defeated in passing in the middle of a book and we then get some other political plot line. There might be some sort of wrapping up after that, some sort of last betrayal, some sort of backstabbing, some sort of surprising vengeance, etc. but no new conflict.

1 minute ago, BlackLightning said:

And to be honest, I don't think there is any indication that winter will end with the Others' defeat. Actually, I expect that the coming Long Night will be the last Long Night but that they will have to endure an millennial ice age.

For that I see no indication. In fact, I think we'll get an explanation for the freak seasons and if they have anything to do with the Others they will revert back to normal, i.e. to how they are in our world.

1 minute ago, BlackLightning said:

I suspect the true climax of A Dream of Spring will also occur after the Others are defeated/routed/depowered. That said, the Others will likely make it to the Trident (or rather, Harrenhal) before they are put down.

I expect them to get this far, too, but if they do they cannot advance this far just in two books (or rather: 1-1 1/2 books). At this point they haven't yet made an attempt on the Wall, and it is not very likely that they will just breach the Wall with no buildup - we do have the entire Stannis-Shireen plot, the Hardhome plot, the Nightfort plot, the Horn of Winter plot. All those have to play out at the Wall before the Others can make their final move. And they have no need to rush things. They will take their time.

And once they have crossed the Wall they will also not just race down south for no reason. They are quite methodically and they are in no rush. They would spread out and first take over the entire North before they push through the Neck which is likely going to be major line of defense for the living after the Wall has fallen.

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16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Sure, there might also be a pandemic up at the Wall/in the North. And it might be the Others who unleash the plague/awaken it in Shireen. Perhaps Patches is going to do that somehow if he has been touched by evil forces.

That sounds like show-based fan fiction. I don't buy for a moment that the Others are not the final climax of the book series. It is A Song of Ice and Fire not Game of Thrones. The ultimate theme is not mundane politics - it was in the show but it won't be in the books. In fact, GoT was conceived as a show adapting ASoIaF with downplaying/ignoring most magical/fantasy elements.

I mean, just think how little the story moved in ADwD or ASoS. There is no chance at all that the Others are going to be defeated in passing in the middle of a book and we then get some other political plot line. There might be some sort of wrapping up after that, some sort of last betrayal, some sort of backstabbing, some sort of surprising vengeance, etc. but no new conflict.

For that I see no indication. In fact, I think we'll get an explanation for the freak seasons and if they have anything to do with the Others they will revert back to normal, i.e. to how they are in our world.

I expect them to get this far, too, but if they do they cannot advance this far just in two books (or rather: 1-1 1/2 books). At this point they haven't yet made an attempt on the Wall, and it is not very likely that they will just breach the Wall with no buildup - we do have the entire Stannis-Shireen plot, the Hardhome plot, the Nightfort plot, the Horn of Winter plot. All those have to play out at the Wall before the Others can make their final move. And they have no need to rush things. They will take their time.

And once they have crossed the Wall they will also not just race down south for no reason. They are quite methodically and they are in no rush. They would spread out and first take over the entire North before they push through the Neck which is likely going to be major line of defense for the living after the Wall has fallen.

Dany's dream at Astapor suggests that the final defeat of the Others will be on the Trident.

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

Dany's dream at Astapor suggests that the final defeat of the Others will be on the Trident.

That's the only sort of hint we have at this point. Although we have to admit it is sort of vague due to the Rhaegar context of the vision - it might be the location is the Trident because that's where Rhaegar fought his battle.

But since we do know that the Green Men will eventually play a role and chances are pretty high that they are not going to show up in the next chapter but rather only in the grand finale of the series (or rather: make whatever substatial contribution they have to offer to the plot only then) it is pretty reasonable to assume a significant battle against the Others will be fought in the Harrenhal/Gods Eye region.

Although I'm actually inclined to believe that the real victory over the Others can't be won in a battle. I think somebody has to go to the Heart of Winter and destroy it - or reason with whoever/whatever is controlling things there. I mean, in the end nobody will be able to rule out that all the Others have been destroyed just because they lost a last battle. I don't see George ending the story with the mere assumption/claim that evil has been defeated. He'll give us some sort of real closure on that subject, I'd think, at least if he wants to have the series a proper and not some kind of opening end which implies the Others come back next winter or next century or so.

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GRRM talked about the butterfly effect of deviating from the source material. I think it should be clear how even smallest changes necessitate even larger changes to keep the whole thing afloat. For example, the moment D&D dropped the valonqar part of Maggy’s prophecy (probably because they did not want this “ugly end” for their favorite actors), a lot of things automatically change. The act of burning King’s Landing is given to Dany to show her dark turn. They would not have needed to do this if they incuded Dany’s civil war with fAegon or her bloody campaign in Essos while coming to Westeros. And so on.

So, here is how I see the story ends in broad strokes:

fAegon: He conquers major parts of Stormlands, Dorne and the Reach throughout TWoW. By the end of TWoW, he grows strong enough to threaten the Casterly Rock and the King’s Landing. However, this is also when Dany finally arrives. Their bloody civil war war continues for the best part of ADoS. Many cities and towns are sacked. Thousands are slain. Wherever the dragons dance, people die. Neither side attempts to take King’s Landing from Cersei while the Dance is still going on. Eventually, fAegon dies and Dany wins.

Jaime/Cersei: The victorious Dany descends on King’s Landing to overthrow Cersei and complete her conquest of Westeros. Cersei believes that Dany is the Younger and More Beautiful Queen and Tyrion beside her is the valonqar. Cersei chooses to decide the manner of her own death as defiance of Maggy’s Prophecy. She prepares the wildfire plot to deny Dany of her prize and Tyrion of the joy of strangling her. She might even think of taking them down with her. However, Jaime interferes because he is the real valonqar. They kill each other and die together as heavily foreshadowed. As they die, Cersei’s wildfire destroys King’s Landing.

Dany: Dany does not have any part in the destruction of King’s Landing other than marching towards the capitol. But by that time, Dany will have burned several other major cities during the course of the Dance. Her stains from the Dance (and her trail of destruction in Essos) are more than enough to show that she has become a tyrant, not a savior. After seeing the destruction of King’s Landing just when she was about to take it, Dany turns her eyes towards the North and confronts Jon. She dies in childbirth instead of getting murdered by Jon.

Tyrion: There is no way he survives the series. His dark turn will only get worse. The best case scenario is that he dies in a similar manner to Daemon Targaryen, i.e. half suicide, half heroic sacrifice while taking down worse villain than him.

Sansa: No Queen in the North or Lady of Winterfell. She will make a Lannister marriage and be the Lady of the Rock.

Jon/Arya: Jon gathers the remnants of Dany’s armies after her death and leads the living in the Battle for the Dawn. After the victory, the Great Council at Harrenhal elects him as the king. Otherwise, GRRM will have a hard time justifying the amount of effort and emphasis he is putting into RLJ. That being said, the war will not be over yet. There is still “something” to be done at the Heart of Winter in order to restore balance to the seasons and prevent Others from ever coming again. Jon designates “someone” as his heir and leaves for the Heart of Winter. After sometime, Arya leaves too and starts following Jon’s tracks to find out what happened to him. After all, “the lone wolf dies but he pack survives” and “different roads sometimes lead to the same castle” and “When the spring thaw comes, they will find your body with a needle still locked tight between your frozen fingers”. Also there is the following arrangement from AGoT:

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A Game of Thrones - Tyrion III

My uncle is out there,” Jon Snow said softly, leaning on his spear as he stared off into the darkness. “The first night they sent me up here, I thought, Uncle Benjen will ride back tonight, and I’ll see him first and blow the horn. He never came, though. Not that night and not any night.”

Give him time,” Tyrion said.

Far off to the north, a wolf began to howl. Another voice picked up the call, then another. Ghost cocked his head and listened. “If he doesn’t come back,” Jon Snow promised, “Ghost and I will go find him.” He put his hand on the direwolf’s head.

I believe you,” Tyrion said, but what he thought was, And who will go find you? He shivered.

A Game of Thrones - Arya II

Her father had been fighting with the council again. Arya could see it on his face when he came to table, late again, as he had been so often.

 

It is as if GRRM’s answer to who will go find Jon is Arya. The story does not have further Arya and Jon chapters. One day, the surviving characters in the south can tell from the sudden coming of the spring that the mission must have been successful. They start waiting for the “Return of the King”. But neither Jon nor Arya return within the pages left. Their fates remain uncertain.

Bran: One might suggest that the “someone” Jon designates as his heir before leaving for the Heart of Winter is Bran. This might even be GRRM’s original plan. But I am convinced that GRRM will change that when he comes to that point and send Bran to the Isle of Faces, away from human contact ever again. That is the most proper way to end Bran’s arc and GRRM should eventually see it. For me, the most reasonable heir Jon would choose is Rickon. If not, there will be babies (such as the one Dany dies giving birth to or even the future baby of Sansa from her Lannister husband or another one). A council of regents will rule until this heir comes to age.

Theon: He will be the Lord of the Iron Islands and the new Tyland Lannister of the council of regents.

Davos/Sam: Members of the council of regents.

The Wall/Night’s Watch: Since the seasons will return to normal and the Others will be permanently defeated, there will be no need for a new Wall or a Night’s Watch to guard it. All the surviving brothers will be released from their vows.

The North: The North as we know it will be no more at the end of the story.

  1. SSM: The North is the place that suffers the consequences of winters most severely.

  2. Others: Unlike the show, they will have a huge impact in the books. The North will take the brunt of the icy apocalypse. Do we really expect the North to survive the story intact as if the Others were just a bad weather or as if the Long Night was just a single bad night?

  3. Jon vs. Mance: There is a poetic irony of Jon finding himself in the shoes of Mance as in seeing the futility of trying to hold their ground against the dead. At a certain point, Jon might be expected to give up trying to fight the dead off and decide to abandon their homelands. His so-called “Azor Ahai dream” from ADwD might be interpreted as such. While trying to hold the Wall, Jon realizes that he is the only person left defending the Wall. There is no point of trying to hold the Wall if it means the deaths of everyone including Jon's family and friends. It should not come to that. Jon might be Mance 2.0 by leading a mass evacuation of the survivors to southern kingdoms. The North is not a place, it’s a people”. Mance was considered as leading a massive wildling host in order to invade the Realm while in fact he was fleeing from the Others. Jon might be mistaken just the same, especially by Dany.

  4. Chekhov’s plagues: Grey plague or Shivers or Winter Fever or any other disease that might cause a huge depopulation in the North, making their war against the dead impossible.

  5. Fire & Blood: Massive lawlessness and starvation during bad winters. In one case, many Northmen sold themselves to slavery to buy food for their families throughout the winter. I guess the stakes should be higher in the upcoming Long Night.

  6. Fire & Blood: Cregan Stark brought a host of Northmen to the war, from which none of them expected to return. This is the Northern way and GRRM is constantly bringing it up. These people did not get the war and the death they volunteered for but they did not return to their homes either. Instead, they were married to the many widows of the Dance of Dragons in Riverlands. Because of thousands of marriages like these, Riverlands saw the revival of the faith of the Old Gods which the Northmen brought with them. This might be a hint that after their country is overrun by the Others, the surviving Northmen will settle in Riverlands as refugees and another merging of cultures will take place. Riverlands already took significant damage from the War of the 5 Kings. There will be even more decimation during the upcoming Dance of Dragons 2.0 and whatever damage the Others will cause. Therefore, Riverlands will be suitably depopulated for a possible merging with the surviving Northmen.

  7. New North and New Free Folk: After the Others are dealt with, the North will not be repopulated by the Northmen. There will be no such excessive population to fill such a vast country to begin with. There will be no returning to the pre-war state, at least for a long time. The North will mostly turn into a wilderness, much like the Lands Beyond the Wall (while there was a Wall). Surviving wildlings and clansmen and people out of the feudal system will live in the North as the new free folk. As Ygritte told Jon, the whole northern vs southron thing is a matter of perspective.

  8. TWOIAF: After a couple of centuries, a fool will write a history book arguing that the Others were just a tale fabricated as justification for the savage Northmen coming south and conquering war-torn countries. A fool like thisArchmaester Fomas's Lies of the Ancients—though little regarded these days for its erroneous claims regarding the founding of Valyria and certain lineal claims in the Reach and westerlands—does speculate that the Others of legend were nothing more than a tribe of the First Men, ancestors of the wildlings, that had established itself in the far north. Because of the Long Night, these early wildlings were then pressured to begin a wave of conquests to the south. That they became monstrous in the tales told thereafter, according to Fomas, reflects the desire of the Night's Watch and the Starks to give themselves a more heroic identity as saviors of mankind, and not merely the beneficiaries of a struggle over dominion.”

  9. Growth arc: That means no one will rule Winterfell in the end because Winterfell will be no more. Surviving Stark kids will have to found new homes for themselves. The home of their childhood will be just a memory. This is a bittersweet growth arc that fits ASOIAF.

 

 

Edited by Mithras

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