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lAPPYc

I wish that Martin had kept the five year gap and instead made novellasof that time like Dunk and Egg

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So, the five year gap that was supposed to come after ASoS. It would have been great because it would have given some of the characters time to grow and learn. Characters like Sansa and Jon and Bran and Rickon. But also characters like Dany and Myrcella (why would Cersei let Myrcella be crowned after Tommen dies? Maggy's prophecies are obviously coming true, so she'll do everything she can to keep Myrcella from being crowned, I think. So how does Myrcella get crowned? She crowns herself! Thinking that she can save the realm or something, maybe with Aegon's help. But for this, she'll need some agency of her own, and I think that would have come if she had had time to grow up). I think a lot of the problems Martin is having in finishing TWoW are coming from his characters being too young to do things he thought they would do in the plot.

Now, Martin scraped the gap because he found himself writing too many flashbacks. Stories at the Vale, Braavos, KL, Slaver's Bay, Dorne and the Wall work well with the five year gap, but Brienne, some of Tyrion's stories and maybe some of the Cersei's stories with how the High Sparrow comes to power don't work well with the five year gap. But I think these stories could have become novellas like the Dunk and Egg books. Fitting, given Brienne might be related to Dunk. I think scrapping the five year gap was a hUGE mistake, and that novellas would have worked very well.

Anyone wants to start a petition for Martin to renounce AFfC and ADwD and start afresh with the novellas and the five year gap in place? :cool4::cool4::cool4:

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2 hours ago, lAPPYc said:

So, the five year gap that was supposed to come after ASoS. It would have been great because it would have given some of the characters time to grow and learn. Characters like Sansa and Jon and Bran and Rickon. But also characters like Dany and Myrcella (why would Cersei let Myrcella be crowned after Tommen dies? Maggy's prophecies are obviously coming true, so she'll do everything she can to keep Myrcella from being crowned, I think. So how does Myrcella get crowned? She crowns herself! Thinking that she can save the realm or something, maybe with Aegon's help. But for this, she'll need some agency of her own, and I think that would have come if she had had time to grow up). I think a lot of the problems Martin is having in finishing TWoW are coming from his characters being too young to do things he thought they would do in the plot.

Now, Martin scraped the gap because he found himself writing too many flashbacks. Stories at the Vale, Braavos, KL, Slaver's Bay, Dorne and the Wall work well with the five year gap, but Brienne, some of Tyrion's stories and maybe some of the Cersei's stories with how the High Sparrow comes to power don't work well with the five year gap. But I think these stories could have become novellas like the Dunk and Egg books. Fitting, given Brienne might be related to Dunk. I think scrapping the five year gap was a hUGE mistake, and that novellas would have worked very well.

Anyone wants to start a petition for Martin to renounce AFfC and ADwD and start afresh with the novellas and the five year gap in place? :cool4::cool4::cool4:

A five year gap doesn't work as easily as you seem to think. The Brienne storyline, the Stannis storyline, the Littlefinger storyline, the Euron and Victarion storylines, none of them can afford a five year gap where everyone just sits still and does little to nothing until the plot allows them to act again. 

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I agree the story likely would've been better with the five year gap. It'd create certain problems in some places, but resolve a lot more. Letting Sansa, Arya, Dany, Sweetrobin, Tommen, Bran, Rickon, (f)Aegon all grow up some would create so much more opportunities. To say nothing of the dragons. 

Sure there would be a lot of flashbacks and describing the past. But so what? The first novel had a lot of that. Brienne's arc would be mostly fruitless and maybe after years of searching for Sansa she returned home, vowing one day to find Sansa though. Littlefinger slowly consolidating power over the Vale and Riverlands while teaching Sansa the game would make sense. He was always patient. Stannis could winter at Castle Black and decide to march south during a false spring equivalent only to get sucked back into winter mid march. Euron could bide his time until he's ready, keeping Victarion in line. It's not impossible that a realm ravaged by the War of the Five Kings and limping along after that wouldn't be eager to build up a huge army and fleet to take back a bunch of worthless islands if they're not an immediate threat. Cersei's sparrow plot could just as easily pick up during the beginning of 5 year novel.

All that said, and as better as I think it would've been. The ship has sailed. No petitions are going to change that. Besides, do you really want Martin to start over and be waiting another 10 years?

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3 hours ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

A five year gap doesn't work as easily as you seem to think. The Brienne storyline, the Stannis storyline, the Littlefinger storyline, the Euron and Victarion storylines, none of them can afford a five year gap where everyone just sits still and does little to nothing until the plot allows them to act again. 

Another potential problem for that 5yg would be that Winter should had come and bc armies and raiders had burned or looted most farms, fields and granaries there should be massive famines and many people should be either sick or dead. Besides people who had run away from their farms just to keep themselves and their families alive do not produce any new food either but they would had to eat something.

So survivors should have massive problems just to feed themselves. Or Westeros and any local lordlings should be too weak to fight against any invaders. That all means those invaders should be able to gain easy victories and so I assume that might be one reason why 5 year gap does not work. Naturally assuming that mr Martin did not wanted to write a story in which Others and dragons just roll over any locals without having any kind of problems.

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Posted (edited)

There are ways to fudge the 5 year gap and put the adult characters in stasis while the children train and grow up. For example you could have:

- Stannis stuck in Bravos as 'guest' of the Sealord (his story begins when the Sealord dies and the new one agrees to help him) 

- Jaime stuck in the Riverlands spending years sieging Riverrun and other rebel houses

- Brienne kept as a prisoner by some minor lord after she came to the defence of some smallfolk being abused

- Cersei stuck as Queen Mother while Kevan Lannister and Mace Tyrell run things. After 5 years of this she snaps in spectacular fashion. 

Yes its a bit contrived, but personally I'd prefer it to the Mercy chapter. 

Edited by Lady_Qohor

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17 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

Another potential problem for that 5yg would be that Winter should had come and bc armies and raiders had burned or looted most farms, fields and granaries there should be massive famines and many people should be either sick or dead. Besides people who had run away from their farms just to keep themselves and their families alive do not produce any new food either but they would had to eat something.

So survivors should have massive problems just to feed themselves. Or Westeros and any local lordlings should be too weak to fight against any invaders. That all means those invaders should be able to gain easy victories and so I assume that might be one reason why 5 year gap does not work. Naturally assuming that mr Martin did not wanted to write a story in which Others and dragons just roll over any locals without having any kind of problems.

I think Martin was originally going to have 5 years of Autumn. So you could still have both the five year gap and the story resuming at the start of winter. 

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On 6/20/2021 at 10:08 PM, lAPPYc said:

Now, Martin scraped the gap because he found himself writing too many flashbacks. Stories at the Vale, Braavos, KL, Slaver's Bay, Dorne and the Wall work well with the five year gap, but Brienne, some of Tyrion's stories and maybe some of the Cersei's stories with how the High Sparrow comes to power don't work well with the five year gap.

This is what GRRM said about it...

Quote

But what I soon discovered — and I struggled with this for a year — [the gap] worked well with some characters like Arya — who at end the of Storm of Swords has taken off for Braavos. You can come back five years later, and she has had five years of training and all that. Or Bran, who was taken in by the Children of the Forest and the green ceremony, [so you could] come back to him five years later. That’s good. Works for him.

Other characters, it didn’t work at all. I'm writing the Cersei chapters in King's Landing, and saying, "Well yeah, in five years, six different guys have served as Hand and there was this conspiracy four years ago, and this thing happened three years ago." And I'm presenting all of this in flashbacks, and that wasn't working. The other alternative was [that] nothing happened in those five years, which seemed anticlimactic.

The Jon Snow stuff was even worse, because at the end of Storm he gets elected Lord Commander. I'm picking up there, and writing "Well five years ago, I was elected Lord Commander. Nothing much has happened since then, but now things are starting to happen again." I finally, after a year, said "I can't make this work."

I really like the direction the story has taken so I agree with his eventual decision, Dance was my favorite and although I didn't like Feast at first I do think that was more down to the character split in those two stories. He really tired to go with his original idea but it just didn't work.  

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It really doesn't make sense to me. GRRM uses flashbacks all the time in his books. We know so much about Roberts Rebellion and the Greyjoy Rebellion all from characters talking about the past. The same could easily be done had the gap happened. GRRM talks about not much happening in those 5 years, but if we're being honest, not a whole lot happened after Robert became king; sure Balon rebelled, but that's pretty much the only major event.

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16 hours ago, Makk said:

Other characters, it didn’t work at all. I'm writing the Cersei chapters in King's Landing, and saying, "Well yeah, in five years, six different guys have served as Hand and there was this conspiracy four years ago, and this thing happened three years ago." And I'm presenting all of this in flashbacks, and that wasn't working. The other alternative was [that] nothing happened in those five years, which seemed anticlimactic.

But this is what I'm saying, this could have easily done in some novellas. I just think that scraping the five year gap has made things impossible for GRRM. He's said, "so if a twelve year old has to conquer the world, so be it". But saying "so be it" and putting it on paper as believable plot are very different things. I feel that that's the reason why we're not seeing TWoW yet. It's not just the Meerenese knot

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21 minutes ago, lAPPYc said:

But this is what I'm saying, this could have easily done in some novellas. I just think that scraping the five year gap has made things impossible for GRRM. He's said, "so if a twelve year old has to conquer the world, so be it". But saying "so be it" and putting it on paper as believable plot are very different things. I feel that that's the reason why we're not seeing TWoW yet. It's not just the Meerenese knot

Even the Meerensee knot would have been easier with the time skip. A lot of these characters who left to meet Dany, could have done so during the time skip and there would be fewer if any travel chapters.

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@sifth No I disagree. Five years is too much. Particularly for the story at the Wall with Jon Snow and Stannis.

You think Roose Bolton or Cersei Lannister (or hell even Mace Tyrell) is going to let Stannis sit at the Wall undisturbed? It is not at all within Stannis' character to be moping around Castle Black or the Nightfort not doing much of anything? The Others had not only been on the move for a while but they are getting more and more aggressive and active....why are they just now stopping? How did that happen?

The five year gap only works if the North is the battleground of a three-way war between Stannis, Balon and the Iron Throne with the Night's Watch being unenviably cauht in the middle. Or better yet, a five-way war with the pro-Stark Northern rebels/conspirators as the fourth belligerent and Lord Commander Jon Snow as the fifth.

Even so, you run into big problems south of the Neck. Almost all of the King's Landing segment of the story is going to have be a flashback. As we learned from all of the American unrest in 2020, all the unrest in Dorne is not going to be put on pause for nothing...least of all for five years? Are you going to tell the Dornish story in flashback? You might be able to get away with time-jumping half a decade for the Jaime Lannister story...but then you miss out on all the character development that is crucial. The reason why so many people love Jaime is because of his story in A Feast for Crows. And five year jumping with Brienne is feasible but there are so many moving parts connected to Brienne's story that it just can't work. Like for example: Lady Stoneheart? Eventually, it's going to get out that Lady Stoneheart is Catelyn Stark reborn as a monster. Someone at some point is going to see her and be able to connect the dots.

That said, I think a time jump is necessary for the younger characters. And the writing of a novella is not a bad idea.

Like (and this is absolutely crucial) turn the five year gap into a one year gap. Two year gap max.

From there, you should turn A Feast for Crows into a book that solely focuses on the adult characters and what they do over the course of the course of 1-2 years. A Feast for Crows must cover:

  • the King's Landing story up to the Walk of Shame
  • the Dornish story up to the Watcher chapter
  • the Riverlands story up to Jaime leaving with Brienne
  • the Ironborn story up to the Forsaken chapter
  • the Northern story up to Davos' last chapter and Theon's sample chapter from Winds ("the tree! the tree!")
  • the fAegon story up to Jon Connington's return to Griffin's Roost and Tyrion being kidnapped by Jorah and meeting the Widow
  • the Wall story up to Stannis' departure
  • and the Samwell's journey from Castle Black to Oldtown must be told as well.

But it all takes place over the course of a year. Two years max.

We don't see Sansa, Arya or Bran at all until after the time skip. Jon and Dany appear here and there in the POV chapters of the adults (Davos, Tyrion, Melisandre, Quentyn, etc.) but they don't get their own POV chapters until after the time skip. I would have turn A Dance with Dragons into a book that tells the time jump stories of Dany, Jon, Bran, Arya and Sansa. Tyrion's story picks up where it left off with. And maybe I'll throw in some chapters of Sam tip-toeing around the Citadel and of Arianne's journey to visit Aegon. The epilogue with Kevan Lannister (what with him being slaughtered by children) however remains the same.

That way The Winds of Winter can start off with everyone on the same page. The kids have done a lot of growing up and we get to see how and why without sacrificing the stories and developments of the adults. The Battles of Ice and Fire can continue as is.

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@BlackLightning Ohh there are ways to keep Stannis alive. Just have the winter storm be particularly horrible, maybe have Mel send Stannis to Asshai on a quest. It’s not like in the story we got Cercie and the Lannisters have made any great effort to kill Stannis at the Wall. They’re just hoping the Boltons or The Ironborn will kill him for them.

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On 6/22/2021 at 7:14 AM, lAPPYc said:

But this is what I'm saying, this could have easily done in some novellas. I just think that scraping the five year gap has made things impossible for GRRM. He's said, "so if a twelve year old has to conquer the world, so be it". But saying "so be it" and putting it on paper as believable plot are very different things. I feel that that's the reason why we're not seeing TWoW yet. It's not just the Meerenese knot

Those novellas wouldn't be side stories or interesting tales of minor characters, they would be integral to the story in the main novels which would not be acceptable. ASOIAF would be incomplete without this material thus it belongs in the main novels. 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/24/2021 at 2:52 PM, sifth said:

@BlackLightning Ohh there are ways to keep Stannis alive. Just have the winter storm be particularly horrible, maybe have Mel send Stannis to Asshai on a quest. It’s not like in the story we got Cercie and the Lannisters have made any great effort to kill Stannis at the Wall. They’re just hoping the Boltons or The Ironborn will kill him for them.

Even so, you need to spend a large part of Stannis' and Jon's story explaining the how, why, when and what happened of Stannis' trip to Asshai. Not only that, you have to explain why Stannis - who is low on coin and men - would leave the Wall for a journey on the high seas to some far-flung near-mythical city. He needs the stability the Wall offers....why would he trade that in? You have to do a lot of explaining why someone as single-minded as him would do something like that.

A trip to Braavos is a different thing entirely than a trip to Meereen or Asshai or even the Iron Islands.

Winter storm be particularly horrible? I guess you can make this work but it's still technically autumn. Save the big guns for real wintertime. And that would only work if winter started sometime during the five year gap which is...questionable writing.

 

Edited by BlackLightning

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16 hours ago, BlackLightning said:

Even so, you need to spend a large part of Stannis' and Jon's story explaining the how, why, when and what happened of Stannis' trip to Asshai. Not only that, you have to explain why Stannis - who is low on coin and men - would leave the Wall for a journey on the high seas to some far-flung near-mythical city. He needs the stability the Wall offers? You have to do a lot of explaining why someone as single-minded as him would do something like that.

Winter storm be particularly horrible? I guess you can make this work but it's still technically autumn. Save the big guns for real wintertime. And that would only work if winter started sometime during the five year gap which is...questionable writing.

 

You could have Stannis spending the five year gap fighting a not very interesting war against Tormund and the remaining wildlings (Jon's attempts at peace having failed). 

It would keep Stannis and Jon busy at the Wall. It would also explain why the Boltons and Lannisters leave Stannis alone for five years as they hoped the wildlings would finish him off for them. 

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This would have been utterly unheard of in terms of modern novels to embark upon. It would likely upset the publishers and their marketing.

HOWEVER 

With GoT having become a worldwide phenom, sure he could have broken new ground. I still don't see a five year gap being as effective due to other circumstances; we are likely seeing a huge amount of time occur regardless throughout Dance and Feast, just not close to five years. There are some other ways to pad things out as well to bring it closer to two years. We'll see.

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I tend to think GRRM should have retained the 5 year gap and just ignored most of what happened in that time.  The stuff that worked could have been released as novellas as the OP suggests (maybe a full book for Arya in Bravos :)) the rest could have been left as a mystery for fans to argue about.   Trying to record every detail, either via flashback in the first attempt or writing it all the way he ended up doing was the real mistake.

 

It's too late to turn back now though.

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On 6/26/2021 at 1:16 AM, Lady_Qohor said:

You could have Stannis spending the five year gap fighting a not very interesting war against Tormund and the remaining wildlings (Jon's attempts at peace having failed). 

It would keep Stannis and Jon busy at the Wall. It would also explain why the Boltons and Lannisters leave Stannis alone for five years as they hoped the wildlings would finish him off for them. 

That's quite the longshot. I suppose that could work.

Even if the five year war with the wildlings wasn't exciting, stuff still happened that not only needs to be addressed but that serves as an inciting incident for the current stories. Plus, how can the Baratheons and the Night's Watch be fighting a five-year-war against the wildlings without any appearance or interference from the Others? Especially since the Others were -- being extremely active in A Storm of Swords -- right on the heels of the wildlings and the Night's Watch both.

On 6/26/2021 at 5:18 AM, Leonardo said:

This would have been utterly unheard of in terms of modern novels to embark upon. It would likely upset the publishers and their marketing.

It would've done more than upset publishers and marketers. It would've upset audiences and critics more than they were when Feast and Dance came out.

Honestly, time skips like this work better on television or in movies. So it is both unsurprising and natural for GRRM to take a crack at it: a bulk of his writing background revolves around television.

On 6/26/2021 at 5:18 AM, Leonardo said:

we are likely seeing a huge amount of time occur regardless throughout Dance and Feast, just not close to five years. There are some other ways to pad things out as well to bring it closer to two years. We'll see.

That's what I'm saying.

If you want to do a time skip, one or two years is the most you can get away with.

On 6/26/2021 at 11:56 PM, lomiller said:

I tend to think GRRM should have retained the 5 year gap and just ignored most of what happened in that time.  The stuff that worked could have been released as novellas as the OP suggests (maybe a full book for Arya in Bravos :)) the rest could have been left as a mystery for fans to argue about.   Trying to record every detail, either via flashback in the first attempt or writing it all the way he ended up doing was the real mistake.

 

It's too late to turn back now though.

Ignore?! Most of what happened?!

That's a textbook definition of being a bad writer.

If you release a full book for Arya (or Bran or Jon or Dany or whoever) that takes place during the five year gap, then that runs contrary to your stance of ignoring everything that happened in between. Moreover, the only natural response when these novellas that take place during the time gap is "Why wasn't this released instead? Why even bother with the five year gap in the first place?" And then cue the accusations that GRRM is not about artistic integrity but about the dollars and cents....which will end up tarnishing his rep as a writer.

I don't think his decision to try to tell the story of what would've happened in the five year gap in real time was a mistake.

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On 6/20/2021 at 2:51 PM, Floki of the Ironborn said:

A five year gap doesn't work as easily as you seem to think. The Brienne storyline, the Stannis storyline, the Littlefinger storyline, the Euron and Victarion storylines, none of them can afford a five year gap where everyone just sits still and does little to nothing until the plot allows them to act again. 

It does work quite well if Autumn storms are fierce enough that they make sailing very dangerous. Much as I like Brienne and the look at the immediate aftermath of war that she provided, it wasn't really necessary. She could have been criss-crossing Westeros for those 5 years and re-appeared as a world-weary adventurer, still looking. Not sure what there is to pick up with LF, just don't have such fierce opposition to him so early on, it could have grown gradually and come to the boil after 5 years.

As to Stannis, he would have been sandwiched between the wildlings to the north and Bolton to the south and could have been bogged down fighting both, as well as stockpiling resources. In fact, a lot of what happened with him in ADwD didn't make all that much sense to me - leaving the Wall while the Others were still so demonstrably active, for instance. It would have been much more feasible if they had gone quiet for a few years after their attempt to drive the wildlings into breaking through the Wall for them failed, which would have lulled Stannis and Jon into complacency and led to them leaving on a military campaign down south.

 

On 6/22/2021 at 3:14 PM, lAPPYc said:

But this is what I'm saying, this could have easily done in some novellas. I just think that scraping the five year gap has made things impossible for GRRM. He's said, "so if a twelve year old has to conquer the world, so be it". But saying "so be it" and putting it on paper as believable plot are very different things. I feel that that's the reason why we're not seeing TWoW yet. It's not just the Meerenese knot

 

Very much so, IMHO. All these young kids successfully  becoming movers and shakers in their own right goes against the very things that made ASoIaF so good and distinguished it from the run of the mill fantasy of the time. I.e. a certain amount of internal plausibility and consequence. But because Martin failed to properly advance the timeline during the books itself - which could have easily taken twice as much in-world time as they did with a little tweaking, as well as to fit in a 5-year gap, we get the worst of all worlds - the kids are absurdly young _and_ all of them will have to succeed "by the seat of their pants", since they had no chance to be trained/gain experience. IMHO GRRM really needs to rethink his plans for the young PoVs and keep them more as the windows on other characters/events rather than making them independent actors, as he originally planned. Oh, and he really needs to drop the "king Bran" idea, which makes no sense at this point, if it ever did.

This is a classical example of an author failing "to kill his darlings" IMHO - as in refusing to give up his early plans that no longer work.  A "gardener"-style writer in particular should be open to change later on.

Martin's TV-induced habit of ending every individual book with as much bang and cliffhangers as possible without thinking ahead doesn't help either. Like, the need for a gap should have been obvious to him writing ASoS and he could have forgone some of the things that in his opinion required immediate follow-ups. He also could have made use of mid-book time gaps like writers of historical novels do.

 

On 6/26/2021 at 8:16 AM, Lady_Qohor said:

You could have Stannis spending the five year gap fighting a not very interesting war against Tormund and the remaining wildlings (Jon's attempts at peace having failed). 

It would keep Stannis and Jon busy at the Wall. It would also explain why the Boltons and Lannisters leave Stannis alone for five years as they hoped the wildlings would finish him off for them. 

 

Absolutely. Not to mention that everybody would have scrambled for resources during the Autumn, preparing for a very long and hard Winter. Which could handily explain warfare dying down.

Historically, there frequently were periods of things simmering down for a few years during a prolongued conflict, even when it seemed unlikely that they would. General exhaustion, epidemics, weather, etc.  could have been used to  believably explain it.

Oh, and BTW, I don't see why Martin felt that Cersei's regency had to be so event-filled, rather than a steady decline that could have come to a cusp when story picked up after five years. In fact, if the show in any way reflects his intended ending and in aggregate with FaB et al. I now have serious reservations about his depictions of and take on women and women in power in particular.

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Posted (edited)

I think George was a bit unimagitive with the gap. The one big problem with it is the Nothern plotline so write a novella about it and then end it. If Stannis gets the North it's pretty easy to have a stalemate between north and south. Or have Melisandre's magic plus obsidian be enough to hold off the others for a bit and have Stannis spend five years brooding as King Beyond the Wall. Or have hom reatreat to Skagos and brood there, which also saves time as Rickon is ther. Open with Stannis on Skagos as the Northern conspiracy groes against the Boltons and brings him in. 

As for Kings Landing politics have Cersei pushed out of power by the Tyrells with Mace Tyrell as hand. Have a stable if somewhat ineffective Tyrell dominated court and open the book with Mace dying and Cersei re-asserting  control and free to unleash her insanity it also makes here hostility to the Tyrells more believable then the Maggie the Frog prophecy.

 

On 6/29/2021 at 6:53 PM, Maia said:

Absolutely. Not to mention that everybody would have scrambled for resources during the Autumn, preparing for a very long and hard Winter. Which could handily explain warfare dying down.

Historically, there frequently were periods of things simmering down for a few years during a prolongued conflict, even when it seemed unlikely that they would. General exhaustion, epidemics, weather, etc.  could have been used to  believably explain it.

Oh, and BTW, I don't see why Martin felt that Cersei's regency had to be so event-filled, rather than a steady decline that could have come to a cusp when story picked up after five years. In fact, if the show in any way reflects his intended ending and in aggregate with FaB et al. I now have serious reservations about his depictions of and take on women and women in power in particular.

 

And this is another completely different but equally plausible way to do it. It really seems George got way to wedded to specific ideas with some stories, and I wish he'd been a bit more creative in finding a solution.  The five year gap would have helped things so much. With it Alt Feast for Crows would be starting where Winds of Winter is now. Axing the five year gap seems to be the reason George has written himself into the corner he has. 

Edited by Darzin

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