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Quaithe from Asshai

Do we think George passed 1500 manuscript pages?

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Since it has been more than 8 eight years since ADWD was published and most of the sample chapters were written to be in ADWD, do we think George passed 1500 manuscript pages (MP)?

Sansa, Arya, Aeron, and Arianne (both chapters) were moved out of ADWD to TWOW as per not a blog. Also George started writing TWOW in 2012, and Theon was released in 2011, so I am assuming Theon was written to be in ADWD. We also know that George wanted to end ADWD with the two big battles, so I am assuming he would have written Victarion, both Barristan, and both Tyrion chapters before 2012 (Also, he mentioned in 2011 that Baristan I will be in the paperback of ADWD). 

Let's assume all of the previous chapters are 200 MP (please correct my estimate), and now it's been eight years since George started writing TWOW (January 2012 - December 2019), do we believe George have written 1,300 MP over this period?

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We can be reasonably sure that if there were about 1,500 manuscript pages finished - i.e. in a state George and the publishers would consider good enough to be published - that the book would be published. If George went beyond that scope then certain chapters would be moved into ADoS like they previously were moved into TWoW.

Thus he either does not yet have that page count or if he does the chapters he has written are not yet fit for publication.

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27 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

We can be reasonably sure that if there were about 1,500 manuscript pages finished - i.e. in a state George and the publishers would consider good enough to be published - that the book would be published. If George went beyond that scope then certain chapters would be moved into ADoS like they previously were moved into TWoW.

Thus he either does not yet have that page count or if he does the chapters he has written are not yet fit for publication.

But George was not happy that ADWD didn't end with the battles. So, the notion of publishing once he hit 1500 seems unlikely if he doesn't reach the ending he planned for. Publishers should not have any sway if he have enough to publish a book. In fact in 2018, George mentioned that his publishers wanted to publish what he have written of TWOW (we don't know how many pages, but enough pages to fill a book), but he turned them down.

 

My question do we think George passed 1500 MP without ending the book, or is he still shy of 1500 (really slow)?

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17 minutes ago, Quaithe from Asshai said:

But George was not happy that ADWD didn't end with the battles. So, the notion of publishing once he hit 1500 seems unlikely if he doesn't reach the ending he planned for. Publishers should not have any sway if he have enough to publish a book. In fact in 2018, George mentioned that his publishers wanted to publish what he have written of TWOW (we don't know how many pages, but enough pages to fill a book), but he turned them down.

But they do. Unless they really changed the publication criteria there is no way TWoW will contain more manuscript pages than the magical 1,500.

Depending on how much George has written already I'd say it might be a mistake to not have published some sort of shorter book serving as sequel to ADwD, wrapping up the crucial plotlines there (the two battles, Aegon's campaign in the Stormlands, the situation at the Wall) without getting too far in winter territory. Considering the breadth of the story 1,500 manuscript pages might indeed not be enough to reach another major climax involving many plotlines and characters (assuming such a major climax is going to be the planned finale of TWoW).

TWoW is going to be a very weird and unbalanced book considering we will get major action scenes on a number of fronts early on after which the story should slow down again for a considerable number of POVs.

17 minutes ago, Quaithe from Asshai said:

My question do we think George passed 1500 MP without ending the book, or is he still shy of 1500 (really slow)?

I'd assume the latter. If he had reached that threshold the book would be finished and we would have a publication date. If there was a finale he could not fit in then they are not going to give him another couple of hundred manuscrupt pages to wrap those up. Unless, of course, things changed drastically and George demanded a really massive book and 2,000 manuscript pages because he really wants to get to a certain point in this book and refuses to finish it before he gets there. But I really don't believe that. He never did that before.

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38 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

But they do. Unless they really changed the publication criteria there is no way TWoW will contain more manuscript pages than the magical 1,500.

Depending on how much George has written already I'd say it might be a mistake to not have published some sort of shorter book serving as sequel to ADwD, wrapping up the crucial plotlines there (the two battles, Aegon's campaign in the Stormlands, the situation at the Wall) without getting too far in winter territory. Considering the breadth of the story 1,500 manuscript pages might indeed not be enough to reach another major climax involving many plotlines and characters (assuming such a major climax is going to be the planned finale of TWoW).

TWoW is going to be a very weird and unbalanced book considering we will get major action scenes on a number of fronts early on after which the story should slow down again for a considerable number of POVs.

I'd assume the latter. If he had reached that threshold the book would be finished and we would have a publication date. If there was a finale he could not fit in then they are not going to give him another couple of hundred manuscrupt pages to wrap those up. Unless, of course, things changed drastically and George demanded a really massive book and 2,000 manuscript pages because he really wants to get to a certain point in this book and refuses to finish it before he gets there. But I really don't believe that. He never did that before.

If I recall correctly, George had over 2,000 manuscript pages of AFFC. He ended up doing the bad spilt of the books. I really hope this is the case, but with him having some clout to postpone the book till the complete story is done.

I really don't want to believe that George haven't written 1500 MP over the past 8 years. But it is highly likely he didn't.

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13 minutes ago, Quaithe from Asshai said:

If I recall correctly, George had over 2,000 manuscript pages of AFFC. He ended up doing the bad spilt of the books. I really hope this is the case, but with him having some clout to postpone the book till the complete story is done.

I really don't want to believe that George haven't written 1500 MP over the past 8 years. But it is highly likely he didn't.

We know he made some progress, but we have basically no idea how far he got or how satisfied he is with the material he has written. He always writes stuff, but he was pretty frank once about how much material for AFfC/ADwD he discarded - not just the chapters he wrote for the abandoned gap but others as well (the most prominent is the Shrouded Lord plot).

Considering that the Meereenses Knot sounds like some minor issue with hindsight - just an issue about who should arrive first - one can guess in how much trouble is going to get when he ponders who should do what first or who should hook up with whom first once the story finally moves more towards Westeros (not that this is going to happen sooon - Dany is not very likely to start her journey west in TWoW, even if she were to decide in the end that she wants to go there now).

But there are similar issues with the KL situation - who should be where when Aegon takes/attacks the city, to what degree are the various plot lines in Westeros affecting each other, how quickly is the Riverlands crew (Jaime, Brienne, the Brotherhood) going to involve themselves in affairs elsewhere - assuming they will), etc.

Not to mention the decision what to do with the gang in the North after the battle.

In fact, the weirdo thing about TWoW will be the post-battles section of the book when the survivors will have to decide what to do now - and how to try to do what they do.

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17 hours ago, Quaithe from Asshai said:

Since it has been more than 8 eight years since ADWD was published and most of the sample chapters were written to be in ADWD, do we think George passed 1500 manuscript pages (MP)?

Sansa, Arya, Aeron, and Arianne (both chapters) were moved out of ADWD to TWOW as per not a blog. Also George started writing TWOW in 2012, and Theon was released in 2011, so I am assuming Theon was written to be in ADWD. We also know that George wanted to end ADWD with the two big battles, so I am assuming he would have written Victarion, both Barristan, and both Tyrion chapters before 2012 (Also, he mentioned in 2011 that Baristan I will be in the paperback of ADWD). 

Let's assume all of the previous chapters are 200 MP (please correct my estimate), and now it's been eight years since George started writing TWOW (January 2012 - December 2019), do we believe George have written 1,300 MP over this period?

I have no idea how manuscript pages translates into book pages. The manuscript version of my thesis was about 800 pages long with 1.5 line spacing, ample margins and paragraph breaks, oversized figures and a bigger font. The more attractive final copy was only ~250 pages.

What I'm certain is if GRRM is sticking to two more books (he has repeatedly and recently confirmed this) , TWOW must be freaking long. We have discussed here before. If TWOW is ADWD-ish long, you can fit around four chapters per PoV, and there are many PoVs with lots of thing to do. In particular Dany. So, I'm guessing a two volume book.

But I fully agree with @Lord Varys above. It is not the number of pages that is holding him, it is the adequate resolution of narrative problems that arise from this complex story. The battles are (relatively) easy. The post battle conflict is not. There are time line issues, particularly coordination between the Essos and Westeros plots. There are characters that should be more difficult to write, Bran post-enlightenment, post-resurrection Jon, Dany post-ascension, etc.

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15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But they do. Unless they really changed the publication criteria there is no way TWoW will contain more manuscript pages than the magical 1,500.

Ok. So 1500 pages == 1 book? More or less?

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Depending on how much George has written already I'd say it might be a mistake to not have published some sort of shorter book serving as sequel to ADwD, wrapping up the crucial plotlines there (the two battles, Aegon's campaign in the Stormlands, the situation at the Wall) without getting too far in winter territory. Considering the breadth of the story 1,500 manuscript pages might indeed not be enough to reach another major climax involving many plotlines and characters (assuming such a major climax is going to be the planned finale of TWoW).

I think it could have been a possibility unless he is still undecided about some aspects of the battles, that butterfly in later developments. For example, how long after the battle Barristan survives? Llong enough for Tyrion to reach him? If not, how do make Barristan tell us what he knows about R+L and other mysteries? Etc.

 

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

TWoW is going to be a very weird and unbalanced book considering we will get major action scenes on a number of fronts early on after which the story should slow down again for a considerable number of POVs. 

Yeah, this is truly a problem, trying to not break the rhythm won't be easy. I wonder if this can smoothed over by switching to other conflicts, for example, after the battles you should have Aegon conquering KL, Dany rolling over Essos, Euron doing his thing. But anyway, you would need to come back to places where "boring" politicking is the main aspect of the plot, like Vale, the North, Meeren, etc.

 

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I'd assume the latter. If he had reached that threshold the book would be finished and we would have a publication date. If there was a finale he could not fit in then they are not going to give him another couple of hundred manuscrupt pages to wrap those up. Unless, of course, things changed drastically and George demanded a really massive book and 2,000 manuscript pages because he really wants to get to a certain point in this book and refuses to finish it before he gets there. But I really don't believe that. He never did that before.

I'm actually inclined by this. He has repeatedly said there are two more books left. To do that, TWOW must be massive, a two volume book. Thematically, it fits with the book ending with the fall of the Wall but to achieve this, the book must be monstrous long as Dany needs to get to Westeros before and she is still a long way off.

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18 hours ago, Quaithe from Asshai said:

Since it has been more than 8 eight years since ADWD was published and most of the sample chapters were written to be in ADWD, do we think George passed 1500 manuscript pages (MP)?

The issue here is: what do you mean by 'passed 1500 manuscript pages'?

Has he written that number of words? Almost certainly, probably a whole lot more. But does he have 1500 MS pages in final, publishable form? Almost certainly not, because as others have said, if he did, the book would likely be announced already. 

None of us can say for sure but my guess is that GRRM is still struggling with getting the book to work - probably, ironically, with trying to keep it down to a manageable length to meet his aims of making the book a complete arc and finishing in two books. IOW, it's likely a problem of rewriting, rather than writing. 

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4 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

I have no idea how manuscript pages translates into book pages. The manuscript version of my thesis was about 800 pages long with 1.5 line spacing, ample margins and paragraph breaks, oversized figures and a bigger font. The more attractive final copy was only ~250 pages.

George's manuscript pages - which seem to be the standard for the publishers he is writing about and possibly also the standard in the business in the US - mean 1,500 pages more or less translate into 1,000 book pages and that is apparently the magical barrier where publishers do not want a larger book if it can helped. Of course, it wouldn't be that problematic to publish a book with 1,3000 or even 1,500 pages if you really wanted to, not to mention one can use a smaller font, thinner pages and the like - but that is apparently all stuff publishers do not like to do.

4 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

What I'm certain is if GRRM is sticking to two more books (he has repeatedly and recently confirmed this) , TWOW must be freaking long. We have discussed here before. If TWOW is ADWD-ish long, you can fit around four chapters per PoV, and there are many PoVs with lots of thing to do. In particular Dany. So, I'm guessing a two volume book.

That I don't see for a moment. If they have enough material for a full 1,000 pages book they will publish that. In fact, they would even publish a 800-900 pages book if that book had some sort of ending and was polished enough.

The idea that George is going to get around the 'I only want to write two more books' by writing two books and calling them 'The Winds of Winter Vol. 1 & 2' isn't particularly likely. In fact, if that turns out to be the case then we will likely get a AFfC/ADwD scenario and one of the books will be TWoW while the other one will get a different title.

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Ok. So 1500 pages == 1 book? More or less?

See above.

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

I think it could have been a possibility unless he is still undecided about some aspects of the battles, that butterfly in later developments. For example, how long after the battle Barristan survives? Llong enough for Tyrion to reach him? If not, how do make Barristan tell us what he knows about R+L and other mysteries? Etc.

I don't think such relatively minor aspects like Barristan should pose that much of a problem - although that might have been a problem, too (one that hopefully has been resolved by now). I'm pretty sure George has no clue how exactly this huge cast of characters is going to fit best together when characters and plots are finally going to converge again. Which sequence of events is going to provide the best buildup and setup for the coming Dance of the Dragons and which road he should not take to write himself into a corner or even a dead end he has to then stick with it if this setup is actually published.

I also don't think that George has a very good or complete picture of what happens along the way. That's not how he writes. He is surprised by his own story to no small degree - and he wants to be surprised.

We all make pretty interesting for potential overall conflict in TWoW - but thinking about that is completely different from going with one version, writing it and making it best possible version. Even more so with the restrictions of the limited POV system. KL is going to be very dull in the foreseeable future with Cersei as only POV there who is no longer a part of the circle of people who make political decisions. If Aeron dies/escapes from Euron we won't have a character telling his story.

But I'm pretty sure George definitely had no complete picture of what exactly TWoW would contain when he finished ADwD. He has plans for the ending and for many big conflict he has set up since the very beginning, but he doesn't necessarily how he can get there nor whether the breadth the story has reached now will allow him to realize this plot the way he intended, say, 20 years ago or so. The Red Wedding still killed Robb and Catelyn but not exactly the way he originally imagined this - before he had invented the Freys and Boltons.

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Yeah, this is truly a problem, trying to not break the rhythm won't be easy. I wonder if this can smoothed over by switching to other conflicts, for example, after the battles you should have Aegon conquering KL, Dany rolling over Essos, Euron doing his thing. But anyway, you would need to come back to places where "boring" politicking is the main aspect of the plot, like Vale, the North, Meeren, etc.

To make it any way feel 'a complete book' doing justice to all the characters we do need to get a decent picture at all the POV characters, especially those we saw the last time in 2005 (Samwell & Sansa).

One can imagine there being continuous war and conflict in Slaver's Bay since the Volantenes are also coming and the victors might then decide to destroy Yunkai and New Ghis and the other cities in the vicinity which allied with the Yunkai'i. That certainly could keep that plot going.

But I've literally no idea how tension could be kept up in the North whether the political situation is resolved there (i.e. one faction has destroyed the other). There is Hardhome and the Weeper to be dealt with - and I think the latter will destroy the Shadow Tower and lead thousands of wildings into the North to raid and plunder - but both Bran's and Jon's personal stories are very likely to slow down and not increase the speed in which the plot continues.

How exactly certain crucial characters and plots reenter the main story (i.e. Sansa/the Vale, Rickon/Skagos, Arya/Braavos, Samwell/Oldtown, Jaime/Brienne, etc.) is, at this point, completely unclear.

Even ideas what to do with Cersei after Aegon takes KL - I think she will run away to team up with Euron - which look pretty fast on paper could easily eat up all her POVs in the book. If she plans to return to Casterly Rock by ship in TWoW she might not even get there (after all, Sam barely made it to Oldtown in a single book)

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

I'm actually inclined by this. He has repeatedly said there are two more books left. To do that, TWOW must be massive, a two volume book. Thematically, it fits with the book ending with the fall of the Wall but to achieve this, the book must be monstrous long as Dany needs to get to Westeros before and she is still a long way off.

I doubt they would allow him to get away with this. It is nearly ten years now, and once they have enough chapters to fill a book they would and should publish them.

Thematically, ADwD also had literally nothing to do with a Dance of the Dragons (the weirdo nod of Quentyn dancing with them definitely was not what the book was originally supposed to be about) so chances are that the only winds of winter we are going to get in TWoW will be literal winter winds and the effects mundane (although the cruelest in living and dead memory) winter will have on the war-torn Seven Kingdoms and the lands beyond the Wall (the latter also plus ice zombies).

If the Wall were to fall at the end of TWoW we would likely get as botched an ending for ASoIaF as we got for GoT - because events would be massively out of synch and there would be no way to salvage the finale. Daenerys is not going to get to Westeros in just one book.

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

George's manuscript pages - which seem to be the standard for the publishers he is writing about and possibly also the standard in the business in the US - mean 1,500 pages more or less translate into 1,000 book pages and that is apparently the magical barrier where publishers do not want a larger book if it can helped. Of course, it wouldn't be that problematic to publish a book with 1,3000 or even 1,500 pages if you really wanted to, not to mention one can use a smaller font, thinner pages and the like - but that is apparently all stuff publishers do not like to do. 

Thanks for the explanation.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

That I don't see for a moment. If they have enough material for a full 1,000 pages book they will publish that. In fact, they would even publish a 800-900 pages book if that book had some sort of ending and was polished enough.

The idea that George is going to get around the 'I only want to write two more books' by writing two books and calling them 'The Winds of Winter Vol. 1 & 2' isn't particularly likely. In fact, if that turns out to be the case then we will likely get a AFfC/ADwD scenario and one of the books will be TWoW while the other one will get a different title.

Well, he has repeatedly stated that so. Two more books. TWOW and ADOS. Apparently the publisher wanted him to split TWOW into two books to have something in the meanwhile and he refused (for unknown reasons), meaning that there was already enough material. And you don't actually need some sort of ending in such a book, see AFFC.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I don't think such relatively minor aspects like Barristan should pose that much of a problem - although that might have been a problem, too (one that hopefully has been resolved by now). I'm pretty sure George has no clue how exactly this huge cast of characters is going to fit best together when characters and plots are finally going to converge again. Which sequence of events is going to provide the best buildup and setup for the coming Dance of the Dragons and which road he should not take to write himself into a corner or even a dead end he has to then stick with it if this setup is actually published.

This is what I actually mean. There might be a few versions of the story that needs to be rewritten if something doesn't fit well towards the end. Which is something that also argue for a longer book, where things are fixed once published.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I also don't think that George has a very good or complete picture of what happens along the way. That's not how he writes. He is surprised by his own story to no small degree - and he wants to be surprised.

sure, that what we like it too,

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

To make it any way feel 'a complete book' doing justice to all the characters we do need to get a decent picture at all the POV characters, especially those we saw the last time in 2005 (Samwell & Sansa).

One can imagine there being continuous war and conflict in Slaver's Bay since the Volantenes

I think the Volantenes are going to rebel once they reach Slaver's Bay, maybe at the sound of the horn?

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

are also coming and the victors might then decide to destroy Yunkai and New Ghis and the other cities in the vicinity which allied with the Yunkai'i. That certainly could keep that plot going.

Yes, that can help.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But I've literally no idea how tension could be kept up in the North whether the political situation is resolved there (i.e. one faction has destroyed the other).

My take on this is that Stannis would be forced to abandon Winterfell to take charge of the Wall once he learns about Jon's death and the collapse of the NW.  He may be able to deal with the Weeper.

Regarding Hardhome, one day I tend to think they are just going to die, the second that Davos will get somehow involved, the third that they are going to be captured by Lysene slavers and hook up with Dany much later and the fourth that Jon and Tormund will try to save them. Who knows really

 

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There is Hardhome and the Weeper to be dealt with - and I think the latter will destroy the Shadow Tower and lead thousands of wildings into the North to raid and plunder - but both Bran's and Jon's personal stories are very likely to slow down and not increase the speed in which the plot continues.

Yeah, I agree. Jon in particular will be more focused in himself and I tend to think he will chase the rumours about his parentage.

 

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

How exactly certain crucial characters and plots reenter the main story (i.e. Sansa/the Vale, Rickon/Skagos, Arya/Braavos, Samwell/Oldtown, Jaime/Brienne, etc.) is, at this point, completely unclear.

I agree, although each of them has a role to play in their respective stories and certainly it's easier to write them in isolation than trying to put them in relation to others where events have to be carefully coordinated.

I'd like also to know what happens with Theon and Asha after the Battle of Ice. At some point they must leave Stannis story to play their role as Euron's foes.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

I doubt they would allow him to get away with this. It is nearly ten years now, and once they have enough chapters to fill a book they would and should publish them.

See above. GRRM himself reported that the publishers wanted a book and he refused to publish it in part.  They cannot force him on that.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

If the Wall were to fall at the end of TWoW we would likely get as botched an ending for ASoIaF as we got for GoT - because events would be massively out of synch and there would be no way to salvage the finale. Daenerys is not going to get to Westeros in just one book.

Again, I'm making all these suppositions on the basis that it's a two volume book (two books if you like it), not that the Wall will fall regardless of what happens elsewhere. Dany needs to be in Westeros before the fall of the Wall, but this cannot happen until the Essosi plot is resolved satisfactorily , something that will need a lot of pages.

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On 12/1/2019 at 12:27 PM, Quaithe from Asshai said:

Since it has been more than 8 eight years since ADWD was published and most of the sample chapters were written to be in ADWD, do we think George passed 1500 manuscript pages (MP)?

Not I.  If he had 1500 manuscript pages, we would be seeing a lot more happy noises by now.  And don't tell me he's got a new policy.  He would be unable to stop himself.

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11 hours ago, mormont said:

The issue here is: what do you mean by 'passed 1500 manuscript pages'?

Has he written that number of words? Almost certainly, probably a whole lot more. But does he have 1500 MS pages in final, publishable form? Almost certainly not, because as others have said, if he did, the book would likely be announced already. 

None of us can say for sure but my guess is that GRRM is still struggling with getting the book to work - probably, ironically, with trying to keep it down to a manageable length to meet his aims of making the book a complete arc and finishing in two books. IOW, it's likely a problem of rewriting, rather than writing. 

This is my suspicion as well.  That he has, say, 90 - 100 chapters of material, but only 75-85 chapters of space available.  So he has to wrestle with getting the book down to a manageable size by either trimming a lot of story lines, or simply jettisoning some, or bite the bullet and publish it as 2 volumes (which, given the Feast/Dance debacle, would probably have to be TWOW, Vol 1 & 2), which he is obviously very reluctant to do.

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3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Well, he has repeatedly stated that so. Two more books. TWOW and ADOS. Apparently the publisher wanted him to split TWOW into two books to have something in the meanwhile and he refused (for unknown reasons), meaning that there was already enough material. And you don't actually need some sort of ending in such a book, see AFFC.

I can only speculate but I guess George wasn't exactly happy with the AFfC mess. That book lacked the other half and it lacked a proper ending (Cersei/Jaime/Brienne work much better with the ADwD chapters attached to the story).

But I must admit I don't know why not half or so of TWoW could be published, especially those chapters dealing with the aftermath of the fighting. I guess there is no small chance that certain crucial far-reaching plot lines really take up steam in TWoW.

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

I think the Volantenes are going to rebel once they reach Slaver's Bay, maybe at the sound of the horn?

At this point they are not yet there. And what they will do/how they will get along with the others after they have arrived is also a pretty complex question.

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

My take on this is that Stannis would be forced to abandon Winterfell to take charge of the Wall once he learns about Jon's death and the collapse of the NW.  He may be able to deal with the Weeper.

One certainly expects him to return, but I don't think Winterfell will be abandoned. He will leave a garrison and start proper repairs and preparation for habitation in winter.

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Regarding Hardhome, one day I tend to think they are just going to die, the second that Davos will get somehow involved, the third that they are going to be captured by Lysene slavers and hook up with Dany much later and the fourth that Jon and Tormund will try to save them. Who knows really

Sure, but there is a chance that this plot is also exposition for something Others related, something that is important aside from the fact that people die there. There is the weird story of the destruction of Hardhome. Could the people trigger something like that again, taking a huge part of the wight army out while also killing themselves?

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Yeah, I agree. Jon in particular will be more focused in himself and I tend to think he will chase the rumours about his parentage.

That I cannot see right now. It would cause him to leave the Wall and that's the last thing I expect him to do right now. Also it would be very weird if he learned the truth about his parents before he learns about Robb's will and that could then technically also create tension between him and Stannis.

And for the Shireen plot and Stannis' eventually demise to play out Jon is likely going to be out of the picture in some fashion for a longer period of time. If he regains his senses and is a workable human being I think the chance is much higher that he leaves the Wall and goes into the lands beyond - to visit Bran or the Land of Always Winter. If he were imbued with fire he could withstand the cold in a Melisandre-like fashion.

I think Jon's parentage is actually a plot for the very last portion of the story .

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

I agree, although each of them has a role to play in their respective stories and certainly it's easier to write them in isolation than trying to put them in relation to others where events have to be carefully coordinated.

The really interesting thing there are the Riverlands. Those hints about that Jeyne Westerling appearance in the Prologue certainly indicate we might get a lot of action there - action that could draw other people (Aegon, Areo's gang - if they were to go to Starfall and Edric had returned).

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

I'd like also to know what happens with Theon and Asha after the Battle of Ice. At some point they must leave Stannis story to play their role as Euron's foes.

You think so? I think those fantasies of Asha's are just that - fantasies. If Theon lives and rules the Iron Islands one day (or she herself does) then only after everything is over. Right now nobody should return to the islands because literally nobody is there anymore and Euron is definitely not going to be stopped by his nephew and niece.

I guess they could play a crucial role in wrapping up the dangling Dagmer/Torrhen's Square plot and perhaps eventually help the Manderlys with their fleet (whatever they want to do do with that one) but overall I think they should remain where they are assuming they both survive the fighting.

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

See above. GRRM himself reported that the publishers wanted a book and he refused to publish it in part.  They cannot force him on that.

This would then indicate, in my opinion, that the book was, at that point, nowhere near about 1,500 manuscript pages in finished form. If they were, they would publish them, just as they published ADwD. Instead that likely means they only had, perhaps, 500-700 or so manuscript pages in finished form, making this not a proper volume of the series. And possibly a book that would lack certain POVs or be hugely unbalanced in this regard (sort of like ADwD is).

The idea George insists or forces himself to write to certain crucial plot points doesn't really fit with any of the other novels. Aside from ASoS no book has any kind of preliminary ending for some of the characters, and that was only done because he wanted to make the gap.

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Again, I'm making all these suppositions on the basis that it's a two volume book (two books if you like it), not that the Wall will fall regardless of what happens elsewhere. Dany needs to be in Westeros before the fall of the Wall, but this cannot happen until the Essosi plot is resolved satisfactorily , something that will need a lot of pages.

Well, if they had enough for a 1,500 manuscript pages TWoW Vol. 1 then we would have a publication date. They would never ever sit on all those pages of finished chapters waiting for George to write/finish the second volume. That would be utter madness.

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12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I can only speculate but I guess George wasn't exactly happy with the AFfC mess. That book lacked the other half and it lacked a proper ending (Cersei/Jaime/Brienne work much better with the ADwD chapters attached to the story).

Indeed, and if he feels that way re AFFC, he might want to avoid the same issue with TWOW, preferring to tell the complete story than publish a somewhat discordant one

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But I must admit I don't know why not half or so of TWoW could be published, especially those chapters dealing with the aftermath of the fighting. I guess there is no small chance that certain crucial far-reaching plot lines really take up steam in TWoW.

Probably.

It is also his style to go back and forth and change small details.

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

At this point they are not yet there. And what they will do/how they will get along with the others after they have arrived is also a pretty complex question.

They are not "far behind", but anyway Meeren post-battle will be a mess.

 

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

That I cannot see right now. It would cause him to leave the Wall and that's the last thing I expect him to do right now.

This I disagree. I think that Jon needs to leave the Wall and the North to grow up as character and face his identity. At some point he will return of course.

Also, when he comes back, he will learn that "Arya" was at the Wall and might try to chase her. He may learn some rumors (fisheman's daughter anyone?) and try to chase them too. At some point, he may reach Starfall. I tend to think Jon will travel a lot in TWOW, both across the lands and across himself, mirroring Tyrion ADWD and Dany TWOW.

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also it would be very weird if he learned the truth about his parents before he learns about Robb's will and that could then technically also create tension between him and Stannis.

I wonder about it too. I don't think he learns about the parentage before ADOS.

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

I think Jon's parentage is actually a plot for the very last portion of the story .

I agree with this.

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

You think so? I think those fantasies of Asha's are just that - fantasies. If Theon lives and rules the Iron Islands one day (or she herself does) then only after everything is over. Right now nobody should return to the islands because literally nobody is there anymore and Euron is definitely not going to be stopped by his nephew and niece.

Well, nobody said that Theon/Asha are going to rule the Iron Islands but you don't get the Badbrother story for nothing. But at some point, Asha and Theon need to leave Stannis grip, when or how, it's unclear to me, but the elements are there.

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I guess they could play a crucial role in wrapping up the dangling Dagmer/Torrhen's Square plot and perhaps eventually help the Manderlys with their fleet (whatever they want to do do with that one) but overall I think they should remain where they are assuming they both survive the fighting.

Dagmer is still there to help to resolve Asha/Theon story, not the other way around.

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

This would then indicate, in my opinion, that the book was, at that point, nowhere near about 1,500 manuscript pages in finished form. If they were, they would publish them, just as they published ADwD. Instead that likely means they only had, perhaps, 500-700 or so manuscript pages in finished form, making this not a proper volume of the series. And possibly a book that would lack certain POVs or be hugely unbalanced in this regard (sort of like ADwD is).

See above.

And if they have 500-700 pages it means that there is little more than the battles and the solving of the Feast&Dance cliffhangers, which should take around 30 chapters or one third a ADWD-sized book. And that by being somewhat minimalistic.

The problem is as above, if you have 1200-2000 pages, where to cut the book to make it self-consistent and not leave a feeling that is something unfinished.  Do you cut it when Aegon takes KL and Dany is aclaimed at Vaes Dothrak [1]? Both are going to happen relatively soon after the battles.  Or do you cut it amid a Dany-led Dothraki campaign [2]?  Or when she sails to Westeros [3]? Or after she defeats Aegon [4]?

These are crucial events around one of the protagonists. What about the others? Where are Tyrion, Sansa, Arya, Jon, Stannis, Euron, Sam, etc and what are doing at points 1, 2, 3 and 4. Does it feel consistent?

12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The idea George insists or forces himself to write to certain crucial plot points doesn't really fit with any of the other novels. Aside from ASoS no book has any kind of preliminary ending for some of the characters, and that was only done because he wanted to make the gap.

Well, if they had enough for a 1,500 manuscript pages TWoW Vol. 1 then we would have a publication date. They would never ever sit on all those pages of finished chapters waiting for George to write/finish the second volume. That would be utter madness.

The problem is that I don't think that whatever the number of pages, GRRM feels they are finished. You would also like to go back and forth and change things until you are satisfied and at the same time you want to give a sense of completeness and self-consistency. So, even if you are satisfied with the 1500 pages, do they really end where they should. What about if these 1500 pages means that the book ends amid Dany's campaign? Would you like that?

Remember you cannot go very far with a ADWD-sized book given the sheer number of PoV involved, which means we get in average, four chapters per PoV.  So, if you want to avoid an AFFC-like situation, you need to write a longer book.

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2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Indeed, and if he feels that way re AFFC, he might want to avoid the same issue with TWOW, preferring to tell the complete story than publish a somewhat discordant one

Which, if true, would mean that the TWoW his publishers wanted to publish wouldn't have been 'a small complete book' continuing all/most of the plots but rather as disjointed a book as AFfC with, perhaps, even lacking the internal coherence that one had.

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

They are not "far behind", but anyway Meeren post-battle will be a mess.

The impression I get is that everybody starts the battle when they do to decide it one way or another so the Volantenes cannot later claim they decided the battle. The Yunkai'i want to be able to say we didn't need your help, Vic wants to get to Dany before they do, and the gang in Meereen wants to crush the Yunkish before they can team up with the Volantenes.

They would have been very fast and arrive sooner than everybody thought if they ended up joining in the coming battle. Not impossible but nothing I expect on the information we have.

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

This I disagree. I think that Jon needs to leave the Wall and the North to grow up as character and face his identity. At some point he will return of course.

I don't think his identity is particularly important for his character. If he plays a or even the crucial role in the fight against the Others he is where he is supposed to fulfill whatever prophecy there is - assuming the prophecy even cares about what he is supposed to do (which we don't know at this point). There is no indication that the promised prince or any of the dragon heads, etc. need to know who they are in terms of ancestry and parentage to do what they are destined to do. In fact, such an assumption would beat the very concept of prophecy as foretelling what will happen.

If Jon were drawn in to mundane and petty politics it would only distract him from the issue at hand.

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Also, when he comes back, he will learn that "Arya" was at the Wall and might try to chase her. He may learn some rumors (fisheman's daughter anyone?) and try to chase them too. At some point, he may reach Starfall. I tend to think Jon will travel a lot in TWOW, both across the lands and across himself, mirroring Tyrion ADWD and Dany TWOW.

I don't expect anything of that sort. If Starfall and Daynes show up they will be in Riverlands POVs or in Areo's story.

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

I wonder about it too. I don't think he learns about the parentage before ADOS.

I guess the reader will get effective confirmation of Jon's parentage in the next book, possibly via Bran's chapters or a throwaway line by some Dayne that can only be interpreted in such a way by the informed reader, but it should have no consequence whatsoever in that book.

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Well, nobody said that Theon/Asha are going to rule the Iron Islands but you don't get the Badbrother story for nothing. But at some point, Asha and Theon need to leave Stannis grip, when or how, it's unclear to me, but the elements are there.

I honestly think this is going to be dead end - the hope to use this thing was what triggered Asha to look of Theon again so they can eventually overthrow Euron, but nobody is going to a elect broken eunuch king, so if something grows out of that I can only see that after Euron's death at the very end of the series. If Theon survives the story he could then be the Tyland Lannister of the Iron Islands or something like that.

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

And if they have 500-700 pages it means that there is little more than the battles and the solving of the Feast&Dance cliffhangers, which should take around 30 chapters or one third a ADWD-sized book. And that by being somewhat minimalistic.

The problem is as above, if you have 1200-2000 pages, where to cut the book to make it self-consistent and not leave a feeling that is something unfinished.  Do you cut it when Aegon takes KL and Dany is aclaimed at Vaes Dothrak [1]? Both are going to happen relatively soon after the battles.  Or do you cut it amid a Dany-led Dothraki campaign [2]?  Or when she sails to Westeros [3]? Or after she defeats Aegon [4]?

These are crucial events around one of the protagonists. What about the others? Where are Tyrion, Sansa, Arya, Jon, Stannis, Euron, Sam, etc and what are doing at points 1, 2, 3 and 4. Does it feel consistent?

Honestly, I expect them simply publish everything they have when the book reaches about 1,500 pages with perhaps pushing some chapters into the next books for thematic reasons (keeping Sansa's chapter out of ADwD wasn't that bad of an idea, but I think cutting the Arianne chapters and, especially Aeron's, was a mistake.

Unless George insanely wrote, say, a 1,000 pages only about the Essosi characters while leaving Westeros to itself he would have about 1,500 pages covering all characters and plots to some degree - once they are all finished, that is. The idea he would get to 1,500 pages only to still have to write another 500-1,000 pages or more to get a coherent story to publish doesn't really convince me.

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

The problem is that I don't think that whatever the number of pages, GRRM feels they are finished. You would also like to go back and forth and change things until you are satisfied and at the same time you want to give a sense of completeness and self-consistency. So, even if you are satisfied with the 1500 pages, do they really end where they should. What about if these 1500 pages means that the book ends amid Dany's campaign? Would you like that?

I didn't like the ending of any of those books because none - aside from ASoS has some feeling of preliminary closure. AGoT and ACoK and especially AFfC all have very ugly cliffhangers/no endings for any of the stories. And some stories that would have made pretty good (cliffhanger) endings or wrapups actually took place in the midst of ASoS. The Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding, the Battle of Castle Black would all have been good ways to end a book. Not to mention the ghastly cliffhanger of ASoS that started an entire plot you want to know more about then.

The current modus operandi always was to publish the book at a certain point when there were enough pages. As far as I recall ASoS came out as quickly as it did because George had already written material which was moved into the next book when they decided to publish ACoK - and when he wrote it there was no intention of that being in the next book (the same with ACoK).

2 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Remember you cannot go very far with a ADWD-sized book given the sheer number of PoV involved, which means we get in average, four chapters per PoV.  So, if you want to avoid an AFFC-like situation, you need to write a longer book.

I know, although certain plots will be able to be continue much more effectively since a considerable number of POVs are now together. If Asha/Theon remain with Stannis then eight Asha/Theon chapters can advance the story much differently than only four chapters with Stannis could. The same with Brienne/Jaime, the Meereen gang, and Connington/Arianne (or perhaps soon Jon/Melisandre - Aeron might also hook up with Sam if he survives the coming battle).

My guess is that TWoW will be published when it is big enough and the next book will then be a ADoS, not TWoW Vol. 2 - even if it effectively is. If ADoS is ever finished and published the next book will then get a new title and continue the story if it is ever written because there is no way the story is going to be finished by then.

I really don't understand how George can think he can finish this story in just two books. That makes no sense. The only explanation I have is that he really doesn't have a detailed plan in his head - else he would know the entire path and could also sort of guess how many pages and chapters it will take to get to the very ending. But that's clearly not the case.

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On 12/2/2019 at 5:54 AM, rotting sea cow said:

I have no idea how manuscript pages translates into book pages. The manuscript version of my thesis was about 800 pages long with 1.5 line spacing, ample margins and paragraph breaks, oversized figures and a bigger font. The more attractive final copy was only ~250 pages.

What I'm certain is if GRRM is sticking to two more books (he has repeatedly and recently confirmed this) , TWOW must be freaking long. We have discussed here before. If TWOW is ADWD-ish long, you can fit around four chapters per PoV, and there are many PoVs with lots of thing to do. In particular Dany. So, I'm guessing a two volume book.

But I fully agree with @Lord Varys above. It is not the number of pages that is holding him, it is the adequate resolution of narrative problems that arise from this complex story. The battles are (relatively) easy. The post battle conflict is not. There are time line issues, particularly coordination between the Essos and Westeros plots. There are characters that should be more difficult to write, Bran post-enlightenment, post-resurrection Jon, Dany post-ascension, etc.

I totally agree, WINDS has to be freaking long. But do we think, at this stage, George reached the "freaking long" 1500 MP?

 

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On 12/2/2019 at 7:26 AM, mormont said:

The issue here is: what do you mean by 'passed 1500 manuscript pages'?

Has he written that number of words? Almost certainly, probably a whole lot more. But does he have 1500 MS pages in final, publishable form? Almost certainly not, because as others have said, if he did, the book would likely be announced already. 

None of us can say for sure but my guess is that GRRM is still struggling with getting the book to work - probably, ironically, with trying to keep it down to a manageable length to meet his aims of making the book a complete arc and finishing in two books. IOW, it's likely a problem of rewriting, rather than writing. 

I mean done, ready, and polished. I disagree with the notion, that once GRRM reaches 1500 we'll get a book. In fact GRMM wrote a lot more in 2004/5 for the Big Feast, and after some convincing he published AFfC. Do we think such convincing will work now, absolutely not. George doesn't want another Feast/Dance situation, and neither does he want another ending like Dace with a lot of build up and no payoffs.

But here is the big question: did GRRM reach the 1500 stage? He keeps saying he is a slow writer. Is he that slow?

Edited by Quaithe from Asshai

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On 12/2/2019 at 6:42 PM, Platypus Rex said:

Not I.  If he had 1500 manuscript pages, we would be seeing a lot more happy noises by now.  And don't tell me he's got a new policy.  He would be unable to stop himself.

Why would he be happy if he reached 1500? I think he'd be happy if he's close to finishing the book. But finishing the book does not necessarily mean he just reached 1500.

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2 hours ago, Quaithe from Asshai said:

Why would he be happy if he reached 1500? I think he'd be happy if he's close to finishing the book. But finishing the book does not necessarily mean he just reached 1500.

With ADWD, he was making plentiful happy noises after reaching the 1000 page mark.  He ultimately reached 1700, before edits and cuts, after maybe another 2 years or so.

Maybe he'll play it more close to the vest this time.  But I still expect him to start making happy noises before he reaches 1500 pages.  And I never assumed that 1500 pages meant he was done.

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