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TWOW in 2021 seems ever more likely

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1 hour ago, The Map Guy said:

If something bad ever happens to GRRM, I will publish all my notes. I have so many post-its I had to file the notes into an Excel sheet.

What notes are these? A collection of theories? fan-fictions ? I'd be really curious to know about them!

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On 8/21/2020 at 10:20 PM, The Winged Griffin said:

But the Others aren't exactly meant to be the climax of the books, they're not the "final threat" to Westeros that the characters are supposed to defeat.

My impression is that the Others are a threat that makes any rivalry between human dynasts pall into insignificance by comparison. 

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On 8/19/2020 at 11:07 PM, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

When does GRRM have to finish the book for it to be released around Christmas? September-October?

The latest publishers will put out a major release is early to mid November (they avoid December because of the Christmas rush for novelty books and trashy celeb biographies), and it's a three-month turnaround at maximum, so late July through early August is the latest hand-in date, and that's pushing it.

Irrelevant at the moment though, because GRRM ruled out a 2020 publication for TWoW some considerable time ago. Possibly useful for next year though.

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I don’t remember if Martin said this on his NaB or an interview or somewhere else, but after Dance he said he wouldn’t be giving progress updates anymore. Iirc, the reason he gave was that people got too excited over minor updates and also that he was often wrong in his estimates. Or something along those lines. 

Yup. When he gives an update he gets as much, if not considerably more, opprobrium and flaming than if he goes very long periods without updating at all.

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He said that he won't let anyone else finish the series. My question is whether the material he has already written will be released in some form should the worst happen.

This is not entirely accurate. He has said that he doesn't want unauthorised people writing fanfiction without any pre-existing material (citing what happened to the Dune series) and he has said that he doesn't have any detailed outlines or notes, so people would be "shit out of luck" even if they wanted to write a conclusion.

This was before the TV show and before Daniel Abraham started work on the comic book version (and he notes he has gotten GRRM to spill the beans on some things in the endgame so he knows better what material to include or cut), so there is more material available now than there was then.

At the 2013 WorldCon GRRM also said to a group of fans that if he was in the same boat as Pratchett or Jordan - given a fatal diagnosis but with months or years of warning - he would ensure some kind of ending was provided to fans. I get the impression from additional comments made since then that this would be more the Tolkien model - the release of extant and finished material and maybe the publication of some kind of detailed story outline - rather than the Jordan/Sanderson model (letting someone else finish the series based on his notes; if he was somehow to change his mind on this, I think the only writer in contention would be Abraham, but for now this is not GRRM's preferred solution). 

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TWOW was eagerly awaited around 2015/2016 or 2019 before the abomination of season 8, if GRRM have published the nook at that time it would have the potential to be a massive, ridiculously insane level seller, the right time to make money is when people are hungry for it and that opportunity is gone. And with the disappointing ending of the abomination... that changed signigicantly on hooking new readers who want know more of the story, and that goes for old show watchers and readers too. I'd say every year after TWOW fails to be released it will have fewer people wanting to read. 

The publishers lose money and the only way to get it back is combination HBO new show's marketing with TWOW.

This is what's known in the business as incorrect. If anything, looking at Reddit, Goodreads and other non-specialised forums, interest in the books has actually increased since the TV show ended. People who were vehemently show-only watchers and said they didn't want to read the books at all were so disappointed in the TV show ending that they started reading the books to get "a proper ending" (and yes, other fans expressed scepticism towards that) or, in extreme cases, preferring imagining an ending to the books that might never come rather than the ending to the show they got.

I think it's correct to say that The Winds of Winter might not sell as many copies if it comes out in 2022 as opposed to 2015, but that's going to be a very relative thing: TWoW will still likely be the biggest-selling fantasy novel of the year and probably one of the biggest-selling novels of the year in any case, even if the popularity of the series drops back entirely to pre-TV levels (as ADWD was the biggest-selling fantasy novel of 2011 and one of the biggest-selling novels of the year full stop).

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Of late I´m often reminded of Robert Jordans Wheel of Time. Another author who "slightly" underestimated the scope of his project. It was planned as a trilogy and evolved into a 14 book monster. The last 2 or 3 were written by a befriended author after Jordan passed away.

Sanderson never met or knew Jordan. He was picked by his wife to finish the series after she read some of his books. Jordan was also relatively young when he passed away (at just 58). Even if he'd taken as long as Sanderson did to pass it, or even if he'd taken ten years longer, it'd still be done by now (Jordan was born just a few weeks after GRRM).

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But the Others aren't exactly meant to be the climax of the books, they're not the "final threat" to Westeros that the characters are supposed to defeat. But back to TWOW...

We know from the original outline and some of George's comments over the years that Daenerys's invasion of Westeros (however it ends) precedes the war against the Others. It was apparently flipped on the TV show. The current theory for the books is that the two events may be conflated (since there is no longer sufficient time for them to happen separately) but there is no evidence at the moment that GRRM has decided to flip them as the show did.

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GRRM is writing less and less blog posts on NotaBlog. It feels as though he's losing contact with his fandom. Reading the 2009-2011 posts felt like he thought himself as a grandfather speaking to his grandkids(at least in my opinion) and pleasing them with treats etc... But now, I feel he's shy when talking to his fandom, perhaps because of some fear of reprisals or nasty questions about TWOW. Perhaps that's also something that may have slowed the writing pace. He doesn't feel like pleasing his fans anymore. Maybe that's also another reason why he hasn't added another sample chapter in almost five years, besides the fact that there's already a decent chunk of the book out there.

I think it's the much more simple fact that he (or his assistants) have to deal with a ton of vitriolic abuse every time he posts anything at all about anything on social media, whether it's about TWoW or not, so he doesn't do as much as he used to.

Edited by Werthead

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On 8/22/2020 at 9:54 AM, The Winged Griffin said:

What notes are these? A collection of theories? fan-fictions ? I'd be really curious to know about them!

A collection of random notes I have taken for theories I already published, and for other theories I haven't published yet. I am 50% into ASOIAF in my current re-read and I take notes & highlight things that may mean something in the future.

My note-taking is sloppy though.

One example in my Excel sheet says:
Tyrion and Nicholas Cage ... but I kinda forgot what that meant.

Another Excel example is:
"Deepwood Motte, House Glover" = Jaime killing Bloodraven

This complicated one I automatically understand ... but for you guys, I will have to explain.
Motte = Tobho Mott ~ Tribecca Soho Mott Street ~ Street of Steel
"Deepwood Steel of Jaime" = Jaime slashing at Bloodraventree, ruining his sword, and is in need of a new sword after. Jaime accidentally avenges his ancestor by killing Bloodraven.

Here is the HBO TV-only scene Easter Egg parallelism for this:

Map Theory: What kind of sword does Jaime acquire later? Well if you look at a map, Bear Island is not too far from Deepwood Motte.

This a not classified theory since I already published this. There are changes to the original theory that I should have made: Jojen was already eaten, Hodor at the Nightfort, Bran is held hostage at Winterfell instead of Bloodraven's cave, Jaime is the one to kill Bloodraventree, not Brienne. I also wanted to add Theon Greyjoy to the Jaime/Brienne's rescue attempt of Bran after watching HBO GoT Season 8.

At thing point in ADOS, I believe there is a hopeless apocalypse. Jaime/Brienne/Theon have nothing left besides restoring their honor in what seems to be dangerous and pointless rescue of Catelyn's child. For honor and the conflict of heart, they do it anyway. These are their redemption arcs. Theon will die trying to save Bran, but Jaime/Brienne successfully escape with him. It will feel like a minor victory saving Bran, since they realized the apocalypse is still happening and cities/towns are being destroyed. The emotions are still gloomy here.

But then something cools happen.

Anyways the most important notes right now are ones GRRM gave to D&D. They are canon, but I believe they were cryptic. D&D failed to interpret them. I believe I can interpret them better, since I published my theory before Season 8 came out ... and I believe I got a lot of things right. I had a female Stark ending the Long Night halfway into the final book/TV-season, I had female Targaryen destroying King's Landing in the end, I had the three-eyed crow wanting the Iron Throne, I had Daenerys dying at the Iron Throne ... and plenty of other things.

A lot of things didn't make sense in D&D's fan-fic, but it made sense in mine ... as my theory accounts for logic, magic that follows rules, organic story-telling, tying loose ends and redemption arcs. And also ... epic awesomeness.

But I do want to thank D&D for making an emphasis on "The Bells", as I used it to upgrade my climatic line in my ASOIAF fan-fic:
Along with the music of the bells ringing for mankind's extinction, the three heads of the dragons sang & danced to the melodies & rhythms of the song of ice & fire ... but there must be one more ... and it is the song of ____________ as the beat. BOOM BOOM DOOM-DOOM!
Did anyone else read that line in Roy Dotrice voice?

 

Edited by The Map Guy
... apparently I am being censored again with my previous post. Cancel Culture strikes again. May be I should experiment with a different platform, like Reddit.

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4 minutes ago, The Map Guy said:

magic that follows rules

"The Horned Lord once said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt, there is no safe way to grasp it." - Dalla in Jon X, ASOS.

Clearly magic in Asoiaf doesn't seem to follow any rules (except maybe that "A great gift requires a great sacrifice"), and is unpredictable and dangerous. It's not like there was a Hogwarts-like school of magic or a college similar to the one in Skyrim. I've come to understand that apart from the fact that any magic requires some sort of sacrifice beforehand, there are no "rules" for magic users to stick to in ASOIAF.

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Just now, The Winged Griffin said:

"The Horned Lord once said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt, there is no safe way to grasp it." - Dalla in Jon X, ASOS.

Clearly magic in Asoiaf doesn't seem to follow any rules (except maybe that "A great gift requires a great sacrifice"), and is unpredictable and dangerous. It's not like there was a Hogwarts-like school of magic or a college similar to the one in Skyrim. I've come to understand that apart from the fact that any magic requires some sort of sacrifice beforehand, there are no "rules" for magic users to stick to in ASOIAF.

Most magic requires sacrifice, not all of them. But I believe with magic, there are rules. We just don't know them. And some times what we don't know ... is dangerous.

D&D doesn't listen to rules. Dragons can't fly over the Wall.

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

My impression is that the Others are a threat that makes any rivalry between human dynasts pall into insignificance by comparison. 

My problem with that is how often this plot line has been used in fantasy. It would be refreshing to see it the other way 'round. 

TV show spoilers, of the most major kind:

Spoiler

In a sense, that's what happened in the show. The Others White Walkers finally arrived in Westeros, a few dynasties banded together to stop them, and lo and behold, the White Walkers were stopped for good in the first real battle they saw south of the Wall. The rest of the world must have heard the news of the arrival of the White Walkers at the same time as they heard of their destruction. After hearing this gripping tale they went back to rivalry between dynasties, as the issue with the White Walkers had resolved itself before it became relevant. Sure, the act of resisting the White Walkers in itself shifted the balance a little for some players, but many others weren't affected by them in the slightest. Compared to the rivalry between human dynasties, the faraway threat of the Others paled into insignificance by comparison. After all, the lord in the next village harassing your smallfolk is an issue you need to deal with right now, while the Others are Somebody Else's Problem at the other side of the continent. And if those Somebody manage to solve the problem om their own, it's totally insignificant to yourself. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Kyll.Ing. said:

My problem with that is how often this plot line has been used in fantasy. It would be refreshing to see it the other way 'round. 

TV show spoilers, of the most major kind:

  Hide contents

In a sense, that's what happened in the show. The Others White Walkers finally arrived in Westeros, a few dynasties banded together to stop them, and lo and behold, the White Walkers were stopped for good in the first real battle they saw south of the Wall. The rest of the world must have heard the news of the arrival of the White Walkers at the same time as they heard of their destruction. After hearing this gripping tale they went back to rivalry between dynasties, as the issue with the White Walkers had resolved itself before it became relevant. Sure, the act of resisting the White Walkers in itself shifted the balance a little for some players, but many others weren't affected by them in the slightest. Compared to the rivalry between human dynasties, the faraway threat of the Others paled into insignificance by comparison. After all, the lord in the next village harassing your smallfolk is an issue you need to deal with right now, while the Others are Somebody Else's Problem at the other side of the continent. And if those Somebody manage to solve the problem om their own, it's totally insignificant to yourself. 

 

It would be quite bathetic, IMHO.  A tale in which the Others turned out not to be a big deal after all, and Lord A just went back to killing Lord B and his Smallfolk would just be boring and pointless.  A well-crafted tale, whose outcome can be guessed three quarters of the way through, is a better read than one where the author springs a surprise simply to "subvert expectations."

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2 hours ago, Kyll.Ing. said:

My problem with that is how often this plot line has been used in fantasy. It would be refreshing to see it the other way 'round. 

TV show spoilers, of the most major kind:

  Hide contents

In a sense, that's what happened in the show. The Others White Walkers finally arrived in Westeros, a few dynasties banded together to stop them, and lo and behold, the White Walkers were stopped for good in the first real battle they saw south of the Wall. The rest of the world must have heard the news of the arrival of the White Walkers at the same time as they heard of their destruction. After hearing this gripping tale they went back to rivalry between dynasties, as the issue with the White Walkers had resolved itself before it became relevant. Sure, the act of resisting the White Walkers in itself shifted the balance a little for some players, but many others weren't affected by them in the slightest. Compared to the rivalry between human dynasties, the faraway threat of the Others paled into insignificance by comparison. After all, the lord in the next village harassing your smallfolk is an issue you need to deal with right now, while the Others are Somebody Else's Problem at the other side of the continent. And if those Somebody manage to solve the problem om their own, it's totally insignificant to yourself. 

 

Yeah, it can´t happen anything like in the show. The vast majority of the 7 kingdoms never saw a glimpse of the others and aren´t likely to believe the stories.

Plus it would be quite anticlimatic to vanish the big threat and then go on and get rid of Cersei. Good writers don´t do that. :D

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11 minutes ago, PrettyLittlePsycho said:

Plus it would be quite anticlimatic to vanish the big threat and then go on and get rid of Cersei. Good writers don´t do that.

Over the years, I've read too many Cassandra parallels to count, and they are for the most part too cookie-cutter for my liking. Why must the people nobody believe always be right about the unknown danger? It could simply be that Jon and the Night's Watch place way too much importance on what the Others are up to and what they will do next, jumping to conclusions that since they've attacked Wildlings, they'll go for the Wall next and then swarm over Westeros in a quest to kill absolutely everyone, shroud the land in darkness, and make a permanent end to summers. Just because the Others are perceived as "the big threat" doesn't necessarily have to mean they are the big threat. Didn't Martin once say that the only stories worth writing are those that describe the struggle of humanity against itself? Making the Others default to the tired old trope of the Evil Horde Of Evil Evils Out To Do Evil Stuff goes against the entire spirit of the series so far. He masterfully describes the power struggle between different people from different backgrounds with different motivations, yet the climax of the series is supposed to be an "all of humanity vs. them" zombie apocalypse? It's a little awkward to say the least. Maybe there's good material to be gained in how the various lords react to the threat of the Others, and how it impacts their in-fighting, but the in-fighting has been the entire point of the series so far and arguably its strongest suit. We're here to read about the people who play the Game of Thrones, not how the alliance of heroes banish the hordes of evil. That whole "united we fight and vanquish a common enemy" plot has been done to death and feels too straightforward given the intricacy of plots the series has shown so far. Give me instead a good, old misunderstanding of motives clouded by stories warped to the unrecognizable over millennia and a total lack of communication between the parties.

But hey, I'm also the guy in favour of offing Cersei by means of a random stumble down a staircase after a night of heavy drinking (Just because she has figured out a prophecy and saved herself from scheming younger queens and little brothers, shouldn't mean she's impervious to everything else. The thing about prophecies is that you never know where you've got them, and by placing a disproportionate focus on avoiding the fate that was prophecized, she makes herself vulnerable to death by completely unrelated means, an implication that's rarely given attention in this type of plots). My preferences on how the story could explore alternative outcomes of the classic plot lines it has set up may not be entirely realistic.

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49 minutes ago, Kyll.Ing. said:

Over the years, I've read too many Cassandra parallels to count, and they are for the most part too cookie-cutter for my liking. Why must the people nobody believe always be right about the unknown danger? It could simply be that Jon and the Night's Watch place way too much importance on what the Others are up to and what they will do next, jumping to conclusions that since they've attacked Wildlings, they'll go for the Wall next and then swarm over Westeros in a quest to kill absolutely everyone, shroud the land in darkness, and make a permanent end to summers. Just because the Others are perceived as "the big threat" doesn't necessarily have to mean they are the big threat. Didn't Martin once say that the only stories worth writing are those that describe the struggle of humanity against itself? Making the Others default to the tired old trope of the Evil Horde Of Evil Evils Out To Do Evil Stuff goes against the entire spirit of the series so far. He masterfully describes the power struggle between different people from different backgrounds with different motivations, yet the climax of the series is supposed to be an "all of humanity vs. them" zombie apocalypse? It's a little awkward to say the least. Maybe there's good material to be gained in how the various lords react to the threat of the Others, and how it impacts their in-fighting, but the in-fighting has been the entire point of the series so far and arguably its strongest suit. We're here to read about the people who play the Game of Thrones, not how the alliance of heroes banish the hordes of evil. That whole "united we fight and vanquish a common enemy" plot has been done to death and feels too straightforward given the intricacy of plots the series has shown so far. Give me instead a good, old misunderstanding of motives clouded by stories warped to the unrecognizable over millennia and a total lack of communication between the parties.

But hey, I'm also the guy in favour of offing Cersei by means of a random stumble down a staircase after a night of heavy drinking (Just because she has figured out a prophecy and saved herself from scheming younger queens and little brothers, shouldn't mean she's impervious to everything else. The thing about prophecies is that you never know where you've got them, and by placing a disproportionate focus on avoiding the fate that was prophecized, she makes herself vulnerable to death by completely unrelated means, an implication that's rarely given attention in this type of plots). My preferences on how the story could explore alternative outcomes of the classic plot lines it has set up may not be entirely realistic.

You can find about 100,000 fantasy novels online.  Every variation of every trope has been done to death.

If the Others were irrelevant to the story, they would have been omitted, and all the supernatural elements to the story would have been omitted. It would be simply Les Rois Maudits in a fantasy version of medieval Europe.

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1 hour ago, Kyll.Ing. said:

Over the years, I've read too many Cassandra parallels to count, and they are for the most part too cookie-cutter for my liking. Why must the people nobody believe always be right about the unknown danger? It could simply be that Jon and the Night's Watch place way too much importance on what the Others are up to and what they will do next, jumping to conclusions that since they've attacked Wildlings, they'll go for the Wall next and then swarm over Westeros in a quest to kill absolutely everyone, shroud the land in darkness, and make a permanent end to summers. Just because the Others are perceived as "the big threat" doesn't necessarily have to mean they are the big threat. Didn't Martin once say that the only stories worth writing are those that describe the struggle of humanity against itself? Making the Others default to the tired old trope of the Evil Horde Of Evil Evils Out To Do Evil Stuff goes against the entire spirit of the series so far. He masterfully describes the power struggle between different people from different backgrounds with different motivations, yet the climax of the series is supposed to be an "all of humanity vs. them" zombie apocalypse? It's a little awkward to say the least. Maybe there's good material to be gained in how the various lords react to the threat of the Others, and how it impacts their in-fighting, but the in-fighting has been the entire point of the series so far and arguably its strongest suit. We're here to read about the people who play the Game of Thrones, not how the alliance of heroes banish the hordes of evil. That whole "united we fight and vanquish a common enemy" plot has been done to death and feels too straightforward given the intricacy of plots the series has shown so far. Give me instead a good, old misunderstanding of motives clouded by stories warped to the unrecognizable over millennia and a total lack of communication between the parties.

But hey, I'm also the guy in favour of offing Cersei by means of a random stumble down a staircase after a night of heavy drinking (Just because she has figured out a prophecy and saved herself from scheming younger queens and little brothers, shouldn't mean she's impervious to everything else. The thing about prophecies is that you never know where you've got them, and by placing a disproportionate focus on avoiding the fate that was prophecized, she makes herself vulnerable to death by completely unrelated means, an implication that's rarely given attention in this type of plots). My preferences on how the story could explore alternative outcomes of the classic plot lines it has set up may not be entirely realistic.

I've always believed that the purpose of the Others was to draw a parallel with our reality . We all face global warming,no matter where and who we are, and it is an existential threat to humanity itself. Only by banding together and "fighting the enemy" can we defeat it. AGOT came out in 1996, when it was still massively ignored, but now, in 2020, it's become more relevant than ever, and GRRM is still building up the threat posed by the Others. I've always felt that he created the Others to make us reflect on global warming.

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1 hour ago, Kyll.Ing. said:

But hey, I'm also the guy in favour of offing Cersei by means of a random stumble down a staircase after a night of heavy drinking

:thumbsup: That would be a way better ending than, say... beeing killed by a falling rock. :P

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14 hours ago, Kyll.Ing. said:

Over the years, I've read too many Cassandra parallels to count, and they are for the most part too cookie-cutter for my liking. Why must the people nobody believe always be right about the unknown danger? It could simply be that Jon and the Night's Watch place way too much importance on what the Others are up to and what they will do next, jumping to conclusions that since they've attacked Wildlings, they'll go for the Wall next and then swarm over Westeros in a quest to kill absolutely everyone, shroud the land in darkness, and make a permanent end to summers. Just because the Others are perceived as "the big threat" doesn't necessarily have to mean they are the big threat. Didn't Martin once say that the only stories worth writing are those that describe the struggle of humanity against itself? Making the Others default to the tired old trope of the Evil Horde Of Evil Evils Out To Do Evil Stuff goes against the entire spirit of the series so far. He masterfully describes the power struggle between different people from different backgrounds with different motivations, yet the climax of the series is supposed to be an "all of humanity vs. them" zombie apocalypse? It's a little awkward to say the least. Maybe there's good material to be gained in how the various lords react to the threat of the Others, and how it impacts their in-fighting, but the in-fighting has been the entire point of the series so far and arguably its strongest suit. We're here to read about the people who play the Game of Thrones, not how the alliance of heroes banish the hordes of evil. That whole "united we fight and vanquish a common enemy" plot has been done to death and feels too straightforward given the intricacy of plots the series has shown so far. Give me instead a good, old misunderstanding of motives clouded by stories warped to the unrecognizable over millennia and a total lack of communication between the parties.

But hey, I'm also the guy in favour of offing Cersei by means of a random stumble down a staircase after a night of heavy drinking (Just because she has figured out a prophecy and saved herself from scheming younger queens and little brothers, shouldn't mean she's impervious to everything else. The thing about prophecies is that you never know where you've got them, and by placing a disproportionate focus on avoiding the fate that was prophecized, she makes herself vulnerable to death by completely unrelated means, an implication that's rarely given attention in this type of plots). My preferences on how the story could explore alternative outcomes of the classic plot lines it has set up may not be entirely realistic.

Great post, and it reminded me of a theory I read once a couple years ago and was blown away by - if you want, I can probably find it.  

Basically IIRC the theory was that when the human army amassed at Winterfell to battle the Others, they bypassed it and went straight for KL.   Dany flies to KL on Drogon and Bran sees that KL will easily fall, so he wargs Drogon and burns it all down, killing all 500,000 citizens before they're added to the undead army making it unbeatable.   Bran remembers what Ned told him in the very first chapter - that if you're the one swinging the sword, you look the person in the eye and hear their final words.  So he wargs all the people of KL and watches as he kills them, which affects him significantly and makes him forever stoic/distant/etc because he basically becomes a god.

Everyone sees Dany on Drogon's back as Bran wargs and nukes KL, so it's assumed that she went Mad Queen and massacred KL.  

The Others basically are the catalyst for all this to happen...and I think it's sort of brilliant.  Slightly more interesting than the way the show did things. 

In case you want to read it:

https://weirwoodleviathan.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/bran-them-all-the-fate-of-kings-landing/

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23 hours ago, Kyll.Ing. said:

Over the years, I've read too many Cassandra parallels to count, and they are for the most part too cookie-cutter for my liking. Why must the people nobody believe always be right about the unknown danger? It could simply be that Jon and the Night's Watch place way too much importance on what the Others are up to and what they will do next, jumping to conclusions that since they've attacked Wildlings, they'll go for the Wall next and then swarm over Westeros in a quest to kill absolutely everyone, shroud the land in darkness, and make a permanent end to summers. Just because the Others are perceived as "the big threat" doesn't necessarily have to mean they are the big threat. Didn't Martin once say that the only stories worth writing are those that describe the struggle of humanity against itself? Making the Others default to the tired old trope of the Evil Horde Of Evil Evils Out To Do Evil Stuff goes against the entire spirit of the series so far. He masterfully describes the power struggle between different people from different backgrounds with different motivations, yet the climax of the series is supposed to be an "all of humanity vs. them" zombie apocalypse? It's a little awkward to say the least. Maybe there's good material to be gained in how the various lords react to the threat of the Others, and how it impacts their in-fighting, but the in-fighting has been the entire point of the series so far and arguably its strongest suit. We're here to read about the people who play the Game of Thrones, not how the alliance of heroes banish the hordes of evil. That whole "united we fight and vanquish a common enemy" plot has been done to death and feels too straightforward given the intricacy of plots the series has shown so far.

Very well said. I've been thinking the same for a while now. GRRM repeatedly says in interviews that he's not interested in the army of Good vs. the army of Evil ("I think ultimately the battle between good and evil is weighed within the individual human heart and not necessarily between an army of people dressed in white and an army of people dressed in black") And yet, most of his readers, it seems, keep insisting that this is exactly what the the whole story is building towards. It's become pretty much canon among the fans that there will be an Ultimate Showdown between humans and the Others, despite everything GRRM says about how he finds those sorts of stories uninteresting. I don't get it...

 

22 hours ago, SeanF said:

If the Others were irrelevant to the story, they would have been omitted, and all the supernatural elements to the story would have been omitted. It would be simply Les Rois Maudits in a fantasy version of medieval Europe.

No one is saying they are irrelevant, just not relevant in the way we may think (certainly not in the way the characters think). Some kind of twist reveal concerning the Others is very likely coming. 

 

7 hours ago, dannyk65 said:

Give me instead a good, old misunderstanding of motives clouded by stories warped to the unrecognizable over millennia and a total lack of communication between the parties.

I mean, this is essentially the whole premise of GRRM's short story In The House of The Worm. A society of humans living on a planet with a dying sun, who have regressed to medieval level technology (and their real history has been lost and replaced by warped legends) believe themselves to be at war with a species called grouns. Only, it turns out in the end the two have no reason to fight each other, it's all a big tragic misunderstanding, and a third party was playing the two groups against each other for his own personal gains. 

Edited by Ser Lemon of House Gate

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ser Lemon of House Gate said:

Very well said. I've been thinking the same for a while now. GRRM repeatedly says in interviews that he's not interested in the army of Good vs. the army of Evil ("I think ultimately the battle between good and evil is weighed within the individual human heart and not necessarily between an army of people dressed in white and an army of people dressed in black") And yet, most of his readers, it seems, keep insisting that this is exactly what the the whole story is building towards. It's become pretty much canon among the fans that there will be an Ultimate Showdown between humans and the Others, despite everything GRRM says about how he finds those sorts of stories uninteresting. I don't get it...

 

No one is saying they are irrelevant, just not relevant in the way we may think (certainly not in the way the characters think). Some kind of twist reveal concerning the Others is very likely coming. 

 

I mean, this is essentially the whole premise of GRRM's short story In The House of The Worm. A society of humans living on a planet with a dying sun, who have regressed to medieval level technology (and their real history has been lost and replaced by warped legends) believe themselves to be at war with a species called grouns. Only, it turns out in the end the two have no reason to fight each, it's all a big tragic misunderstanding, and a third party was playing the two groups against each other for his own personal gains. 

The reason why most readers see the tale climaxing with the war for the dawn is because that is how the tale has been structured. And, both in the tale, and in comments that Martin has made himself, it seems clear that the struggle to sit the Iron Throne is of much less importance than the coming fight.  I don't think he'd be comparing the warring factions to the Greeks threatened by Macedon, or nations threatened by Nazism, or comparing the threat of the Others to climate change, if ultimately, it wasn't of eixtential importance.

That doesn't mean the Others don't have reasons for their actions - I'm sure they do, and they will be revealed.  The Others don't have to be evil to be a threat to humanity.  They could just be like one of Lovecraft's deities - with no particular malice towards humans, but simply needing to remove them.

Edited by SeanF

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4 hours ago, Ser Lemon of House Gate said:

I mean, this is essentially the whole premise of GRRM's short story In The House of The Worm. A society of humans living on a planet with a dying sun, who have regressed to medieval level technology (and their real history has been lost and replaced by warped legends) believe themselves to be at war with a species called grouns. Only, it turns out in the end the two have no reason to fight each, it's all a big tragic misunderstanding, and a third party was playing the two groups against each other for his own personal gains. 

Terry Pratchett also had something similar in Thud!, with the Battle of Koom Valley. The dwarfs kept insisting the dwarf king had been ambushed by trolls, while the trolls insisted the dwarfs had ambushed them, and over the millennia of resulting animosity nobody even remembered what had actually gone on in Koom Valley.

It could very well be that the Others think they are conducting a defensive operation, as the old stories of human hordes swarming north with fire in their hands turn out to be true as humans move north once again for the first time in eons. Mance Rayder had gathered a large host in the Frostfangs after all, and they went about opening graves in search of an artifact that could get them south of the Wall. From an Others perspective, this would clearly look like an amassed army looting and pillaging monuments in a DMZ. Almost an open declaration of war. No wonder they went out to attack them.

All that being said, the threat of the Others could very well be an important plot element even if the Others themselves turn out not to be as bellicose and evil as assumed. Westeros will act upon their assumption of a threat, after all. You could still have lords putting aside their squabbles to fight common enemies, main characters desperately trying to rally support from armies who'd rather fight each other instead, smallfolk fleeing regions they fear to be doomed, Southern regions facing hordes of refugees and desperate pleas for help, and all the other aspects of war, even if the Others aren't coming for that. Think of it like the McCarthy-ism and "Red Scare" in the US, it definitely impacted the country even though there was no uprising of communist sympathizers in the end. We could even have Jon Snow - or whoever the heck that Legendary Hero is supposed to be - taking on the role of hero and riding out to face the Others, only to be met with a greeting of "Oh, so you're the negotiator, then? Nice to meet you, we have a breach of neutrality policy to discuss..." as he arrives before the undead horde.

In short, I think the Others cast as "a horde of evil monsters coming to kill us all" will be a little too black-and-white for the series, but the humans' perception of them as such could still have a major impact of the story.  It could even potentially escalate to major bloodshed before the misunderstanding is cleared up. But I don't think the conflict will be resolved by one side completely exterminating the other by putting every last creature in their ranks to the sword. The "kill 'em all!" approach to the conflict seems antithetical to the series until now, and far too simplistic as well. 

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48 minutes ago, Kyll.Ing. said:

It could very well be that the Others think they are conducting a defensive operation, as the old stories of human hordes swarming north with fire in their hands turn out to be true as humans move north once again for the first time in eons. Mance Rayder had gathered a large host in the Frostfangs after all, and they went about opening graves in search of an artifact that could get them south of the Wall. From an Others perspective, this would clearly look like an amassed army looting and pillaging monuments in a DMZ. Almost an open declaration of war. No wonder they went out to attack them.

And suddenly a couple of hundred Night's Watch men turn up and start fortifying and ancient First Men keep that has been abandoned for millennia (and also cut off their route to Craster). From an Other perspective that would look pretty aggressive too...

 

53 minutes ago, Kyll.Ing. said:

I think the Others cast as "a horde of evil monsters coming to kill us all" will be a little too black-and-white for the series, but the humans' perception of them as such could still have a major impact of the story.  It could even potentially escalate to major bloodshed before the misunderstanding is cleared up.

Right. The ultimate failure of mankind in this regard isn't necessarily in failing to recognize a threat, but in how we deal with it - the over-eagerness to "shoot first and ask questions later". Even though failing to unite against a common enemy is clearly a big theme in the story, don't get me wrong. 

The problem with the comparison to climate change, as I see it, is that climate change is (relatively speaking) well known and well researched, whereas in ASOIAF precious little is known about the Others, and no one really bothers with even trying to understand them (only how to fight them).

 

4 hours ago, SeanF said:

The reason why most readers see the tale climaxing with the war for the dawn is because that is how the tale has been structured.

But has it really though? Two encounters with POV characters in 5000+ pages, and pretty much nothing but a few myths and legends besides that. If it really is all about the Others and the war for the Dawn, then that seems to be pretty poor story structure from such an experienced and skilled author as GRRM.

In fact, I used to think exactly this - GRRM has lost control of his story, is getting distracted by all this other stuff and is now forced to stall the real plot of mankind vs Others. But since I started reading his earlier works I've come to believe that the whole point of the lack of information about the Others, even five books in, is to make us (and the characters) draw all the wrong conclusions in order to have a big twist reveal right at the end. Of the stories I've read so far (working my way through Dreamsongs as well as few others) every single one is structured as a mystery, with twist ending that forces you to go right back to the beginning and reread the story in light of the new information. So even if there is a war for the dawn in the last book, I'm guessing we will find out that it was fought for all the wrong reasons and could have been avoided.

 

Anyway, wrong thread for this discussion I suppose. What was the topic again? Winds of Winter in 2021? Yeah maybe. GRRM seems to be in a better mood about writing this story lately than he has been in a long time. Which is good, right? But about estimates on how far he has come or has left - from what I understand he could at any moment decide that he hates whatever he last wrote, rip it out and start over. Meaning, more time does not necessarily equal more progress. So who knows...

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