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RedDragon

Subverting expectations

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Browsing theories and predictions I’ve seen a bunch of people make use of “defying expectations” as part of their arguments either for or against something and I don’t really think it’s the nuclear option that people think it is, an argument to pull out of your pocket to prove to the opposition that you’re correct cause George is the guy who wants to shake up those fantasy troupes. 

 

Which is true mind you but it doesn’t really mean what you think or want it to. 

 

Not because of what it means but because it means so much. 

 

It doesn’t always have to mean doing the opposite of what you expected, it can mean you get to the same destination but the getting theres is twisted and warped. The devils in the details.

 

Take for instance the jon and dany pairing. They’re both the “heroes” or as close to it as westeros can get but their coupling is incest. The troupe may be well known but playing with a troupe can be just as good as not fallowing it. 

 

Look at brans involvement with the three eyed crow yes bloodraven is the three eyed crow, the journey is meant to invoke the hero off fo find his Gandalf but instead of a Gandalf all proud, wise, and an  angel we find a corpse hooked up to a tree with worms in his eyes. 

 

This isn’t an rlj post so I’ll do my best not to get too much into it but it’s in the similar camp of the lost prince troupe or the hidden royalty. Assuming it is true of course we haven’t really seen how it would be that different to its contemporaries in text as of now imo. We haven’t seen anyone react to it the show doesn’t count so there’s nothing really to compare it to. We might be able to infer that jon wouldn’t think to highly of his actual father and might prefer eddard. He might not even tell anyone if he was the only one to know which would be a twist so to speak. 

( I lied please stop bringing up Martins wife commenting that rlj doesn’t sound like something George would do. I haven’t ever seen the source and a side comment made at a cocktail party does not equal dnd being asked who jons parents are for them to make the show) 

 

Sorry couldn’t help myself. 

 

Anyways the point I’m trying to get across is that a theory defying expectations in a lot of senses is  a matter of perspective and how familiar you are with the troupes. I didn’t go too much into it but I’m assuming we’re talking about good subversion of expectations which still requires work(even plot twists) and tons of setup. Which at the heart of it is about leading your audience one way only to reveal it was a different answer all along that seems to fit only after it’s been revealed. 

 

Like telling us that jons mother could most defiantly probably be ashara dayne  and ned but it turns out to be lyanna and rheagar ;)

 

If the the rlj talk made you too upset just tell me what your favorite example of Martin subverting expectations is. 
 

mine is that a good person doesn’t automatically mean a good king. Like Baelor the blessed(sorry about the targ name) is well loved but imo was a pretty bad king and more well read people in universe seem to agree 

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Subverting expectations is just a fancy way to describe that often used tool in mystery fiction.  Surprise.  What good is a story if everybody already knew the ending?  That is the general feeling when people take the time to purchase and read novels.  They keep the pages turning to find out what happens.  George Martin wants to surprise his readers.  He will have a lot of surprises up his sleeves as he tries to avoid following the patterns of a lot of other fiction.  He will take his story to directions which his readers do not expect.  At least he will try to.  How he will do that is the art. 

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Well all too often "subverting expectations" is a fancy name for some of the tin foil we get around here. Because Martin's done it in the past, anything can go no matter how strange.

Martin for better or worse is still bound by a narrative that has(or hopefully will) to make sense. 

I suppose the example of Martin doing something shocking that hooked me was in the first novel. Killing who I considered the primary protagonist was a surprise to put it mildly. The first time I read it I was thinking he'd get out of it, until he didn't.

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15 hours ago, RedDragon said:

It doesn’t always have to mean doing the opposite of what you expected, it can mean you get to the same destination but the getting theres is twisted and warped. The devils in the details.

Jon becoming Lord Commander is a good example of this.

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Theon's myriad transmogrifications in AGOT back to Winterfell.  Stannis willing to go along with Shadow Babies.  Jamie liking Brienne for any reason.  The whole Tower of Joy non information.  There are many many examples of both large and small "tweaks" to tropes and our expectations in Martin's writing.  I believe I enjoy and root for Jamie Lannister far more than I ever did or expected to for Ned Stark.   That's clearly what the author intended.   

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On 9/5/2020 at 2:58 AM, RedDragon said:

Browsing theories and predictions I’ve seen a bunch of people make use of “defying expectations” as part of their arguments either for or against something and I don’t really think it’s the nuclear option that people think it is, an argument to pull out of your pocket to prove to the opposition that you’re correct cause George is the guy who wants to shake up those fantasy troupes. 

 

Which is true mind you but it doesn’t really mean what you think or want it to. 

 

Not because of what it means but because it means so much. 

 

It doesn’t always have to mean doing the opposite of what you expected, it can mean you get to the same destination but the getting theres is twisted and warped. The devils in the details.

 

Take for instance the jon and dany pairing. They’re both the “heroes” or as close to it as westeros can get but their coupling is incest. The troupe may be well known but playing with a troupe can be just as good as not fallowing it. 

 

Look at brans involvement with the three eyed crow yes bloodraven is the three eyed crow, the journey is meant to invoke the hero off fo find his Gandalf but instead of a Gandalf all proud, wise, and an  angel we find a corpse hooked up to a tree with worms in his eyes. 

 

This isn’t an rlj post so I’ll do my best not to get too much into it but it’s in the similar camp of the lost prince troupe or the hidden royalty. Assuming it is true of course we haven’t really seen how it would be that different to its contemporaries in text as of now imo. We haven’t seen anyone react to it the show doesn’t count so there’s nothing really to compare it to. We might be able to infer that jon wouldn’t think to highly of his actual father and might prefer eddard. He might not even tell anyone if he was the only one to know which would be a twist so to speak. 

( I lied please stop bringing up Martins wife commenting that rlj doesn’t sound like something George would do. I haven’t ever seen the source and a side comment made at a cocktail party does not equal dnd being asked who jons parents are for them to make the show) 

 

Sorry couldn’t help myself. 

 

Anyways the point I’m trying to get across is that a theory defying expectations in a lot of senses is  a matter of perspective and how familiar you are with the troupes. I didn’t go too much into it but I’m assuming we’re talking about good subversion of expectations which still requires work(even plot twists) and tons of setup. Which at the heart of it is about leading your audience one way only to reveal it was a different answer all along that seems to fit only after it’s been revealed. 

 

Like telling us that jons mother could most defiantly probably be ashara dayne  and ned but it turns out to be lyanna and rheagar ;)

 

If the the rlj talk made you too upset just tell me what your favorite example of Martin subverting expectations is. 
 

mine is that a good person doesn’t automatically mean a good king. Like Baelor the blessed(sorry about the targ name) is well loved but imo was a pretty bad king and more well read people in universe seem to agree 

But you have to admit, though, every book so far has ended in a radically different place than what readers expected at the beginning:

Game: Ned Stark rides to the rescue in King's Landing, solves the murder, exposes the evil queen and her psycho brother, saves King Robert and the realm.

Clash: Robb Stark avenges his father, deposes psycho boy king and his evil mother, then ultimately links up with his half-brother and the dragon queen to destroy the evil menace in the north

Storm: Evil Jaime will continue to be evil, not a thoughtful, contemplative, even honorable man; Arya will make it back to her family; Robb will prevail and become king of Westeros, and still team up with Jon to defeat Others

Feast: Brienne will find and rescue Sansa, bringing Littlefinger down; Lady Stoneheart will lead a righteous cause to avenge her son

Dance: That there will be actual dragons dancing in this one, not just two disconnected roastings at the very end; Tyrion will get to some point in his meandering arc; same goes for Victarion, and Bran 

And throughout all of this: Dany will make it back to Westeros with her dragons so she can have some impact on everything else that's going on in the story.

So to assume that there won't be any more plot twists and that reader's expectations will not be subverted going forward is actually the least likely prediction. It's just hard to see exactly how the plot will be twisted so the the story winds up in a different place at the end of both Winds and Dream than where it appeared to be headed at the beginning.

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Yeah I read a really bad fanfic about how Dany suddenly goes mad and destroys King's Landing from hearing some Bells, and Arya pulling a teleports behind you nothing personal kid that completely destroys the Others. And the dumb authors claimed it was good because it was subverting expectations. What a bad fanfic.

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On 9/6/2020 at 12:15 PM, John Suburbs said:

But you have to admit, though, every book so far has ended in a radically different place than what readers expected at the beginning:

Game: Ned Stark rides to the rescue in King's Landing, solves the murder, exposes the evil queen and her psycho brother, saves King Robert and the realm.

Clash: Robb Stark avenges his father, deposes psycho boy king and his evil mother, then ultimately links up with his half-brother and the dragon queen to destroy the evil menace in the north

Storm: Evil Jaime will continue to be evil, not a thoughtful, contemplative, even honorable man; Arya will make it back to her family; Robb will prevail and become king of Westeros, and still team up with Jon to defeat Others

Feast: Brienne will find and rescue Sansa, bringing Littlefinger down; Lady Stoneheart will lead a righteous cause to avenge her son

Dance: That there will be actual dragons dancing in this one, not just two disconnected roastings at the very end; Tyrion will get to some point in his meandering arc; same goes for Victarion, and Bran 

And throughout all of this: Dany will make it back to Westeros with her dragons so she can have some impact on everything else that's going on in the story.

So to assume that there won't be any more plot twists and that reader's expectations will not be subverted going forward is actually the least likely prediction. It's just hard to see exactly how the plot will be twisted so the the story winds up in a different place at the end of both Winds and Dream than where it appeared to be headed at the beginning.

I never didn’t admit that the point that I spent the most time on was that using it as an argument for Theory isn’t as good of an argument that people think it is.

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There seems to be some misinformation here. What GRRM does is not subverting expectations, he is subverting tropes - a big difference.

Edited by Elegant Woes

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I will give you one example.  Families being heterogeneous in character, personality, temperament, morals, looks, etc.  House Targaryen is very diverse in personality, character, morals.  Daenerys is a pleasant surprise after we learned of Aerys, Rhaegar, and Viserys.  Only in looks are they almost carbon copies of one another.  The Starks are also quite diverse.  Jon and Arya are brutal and savage.  Robb and Bran are not so much.  Bran seems a sweet kid who actually thinks about his actions.  We also have Domeric being different from Roose and Ramsay.  Walder, Lothar, and BW are very shrewd and cold people.  Fat Walda and Hosteen do not seem to be.  It defied expectations because we believe traits are shared by every member of a family.

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