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Your Opinions 5: Is GRRM a "bad writer?"


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2 hours ago, James Arryn said:

Sorry, you are missing my point here. I’m not asking about whether it was wrong to kill Karstark, I’m asking why it was wrong for Karstark to kill captives, and why killing captives was such a blight on Robb’s honour. And obviously Robb offered those captives an opinion besides bending the knee, NW or death, right? 

1. It's entirely outside of Karstark's authority to execute the two hostages/captives, since it breaks down the chain of command. If you were, say, captain of an Imperial Star Destroyer or a First Order Resurgent class Star Destroyer (both classes have crews in the tens of thousands: 46,785 for the ISD and a whopping 82,000 for the standard Resurgent, but I've slightly digressed). Imagine if you had to fight a Rebel/Resistance fleet and your officers, pilots and crew essentially did whatever the hell they wanted to do, do you think you'd win against a fully composed, under control enemy? The TIE fighter pilots go off and do twirls and dogfight uncontrolled with the enemy starfighters, the gunners use asteroids for target practice before shooting at the enemy, the stormtroopers and maintenance people are partying in the barracks, and your bridge crew is having an orgy, how do you win when everyone does what they want to?

TL;DR for this one, since it's sort of a nerdy rant, but chain of command is very important for any government or army, wartime or not. It's not Karstark's place to make such a decision to execute hostages that could be traded for. Not Sansa, to be sure, but some lower level lord or knight. It says that the boss is in the driver's seat and that he's trying to get people back in the game to keep fighting. 

2. Why do you need to kill the two, when they're sleeping, in their birthday suits, kill/injure their guards (Your allies!) and give them more holes than the gods wanted them to have? Where's the gain? Everyone here knows that part of doing something is a risk vs reward situation. What'd the Stark faction gain by killing two unarmed squires? Sure, they probably weren't worth much in the grand scheme, but it's not like it would hurt to keep them around from a logical POV. 

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5 hours ago, Nevets said:

Brienne is only 8 out of 119 chapters.  They could have done the North pretty much as is, introducing FArya as someone who accompanied the Starks to KL.  Tyrion and Dany can be done with some modification, as can Cersei.  Arya and Sansa could be fleshed out.  Three seasons for Feast and Dance is doable.  Of course, they would have run out of material eventually in any event, just not so quickly.

I'm sorry but I must push back on this.

Three seasons for Feast and Dance is a bit much. A lot of the page content in Feast and Dance (especially in the Tyrion and Cersei chapters) are internal monologue. Two seasons (aka twenty episodes) is more than enough. If there's any runoff, then oh well, there's runoff. You can always expand on plotpoints that happened offscreen or what was briefly acknowledged to make sure everything progresses evenly (aka Loras Tyrell besieging Dragonstone, Hardhome, a more elaborate kingsmoot with more Greyjoy family drama, the logistical nightmare of Stannis' march to Winterfell, Arya's temporary state of blindness and homelessness, Bronn vs. the Stokeworths, more info about the inner workings of the Faith at the Quiet Isle, etc.)

13 hours ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Well, yes, for the most part. He thought for a long time that he would finish the books before the show caught up with him, and the fact that it did catch up is an "accident", of sorts. This is what he said on 60 minutes the day before season 8 premiered:

So the fates of the main characters will almost definitely be the same, based on his own words here.

I disagree.

GRRM is a writer, and an elderly one at that. All writers are wordsmiths and they all -- being wordsmiths -- choose their words carefully. The elderly also tend to choose their words carefully, partially due to age but mostly due to experience.

The key words are:

I don't 1) think Dan and Dave's ending is going to be 2) that different from my ending, because of the conversations we 3) had.

  1. GRRM doesn't know nor does he believe...he only doesn't think. In other words, because he is no longer involved with the he doesn't know what's going on nor does he have enough evidence or faith to develop a belief. It is merely a thought.
  2. That different. The qualifying word in that phrase being the word that. This is GRRM acknowledging the fact that there will be differences but he doesn't think (there it goes again) that it will be so wildly different as to make it a different story.
  3. Had. As in past tense. As in they no longer had been speaking up to that point. Come to find out that the conversations that he had referred to had happened back in 2013 and 2014. 5-6 years before season 8 debuted.

It's also important to acknowledge that GRRM said this before season 8 had aired. GRRM was no longer involved or privy to the show and its behind-the-scenes inner workings at that point; he hadn't been in years.

Given his veiled comments about how Avengers: Endgame succeeded where Game of Thrones failed, his body language post-season 8 and what his friends have said, it is not unreasonable that many of the show's endings were something of an unpleasant surprise for GRRM.

7 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Further proof that Bran isn’t going to be an evil god-king: he’s Summer.

?

11 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

The internet was full with it when it originally leaked and after the ending of S8 as well.

Leak? What leak?

The only one I know about is the leak that was absolutely true.

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9 hours ago, James Arryn said:

1) Everyone makes their moral decisions, but deciding that every human connected to slavery deserves a horrible death is, I think, one of those quandaries George wants us to explore. Do the children also pay that price? If not, what age is the cut off? What of the children of slave owners who only ever knew of one kind of society? Etc. 
 

2) He is the only one we hear of by name, but then he is the only one whose son Dany discusses it with. But okay, if Hizzie, heh, is telling the truth, did he deserve what Dany did? I think one of the things GRRM is trying to show us is that sophomoric black and white answers to questions like this just lead to more situations where questions like this arise. Suppose Hizdahr instead killed Dany to avenge his father…would he be in the right? Herotodus…

3) Well, nothing is black and white, again, but military courts would historically disagree with you here. Who gives what orders where and when matters. Or, if not, again we’re back to those black and whites…do all Westerlanders now deserve death? 
 

4) Exactly. Do you still think that George is telling us conquering or Conquering is a good thing? Or is he telling us that great conquerors are, by definition, great murderers? And to split hairs, you are forgetting anger. Dany was angry when she killed the Tarlys, and no one mentioned taking the black as an option. Robert was angry whenever the Targaryens were mentioned and no option but death was ever offered to them. Aegon was angry when he had entire Dornish towns burned to the ground because of the decisions of their leaders. Do you think George offers those scenarios as suggestions, or warnings? 
 

And…Robb/Karstark?

Not all conflicts are shades of grey, either in fiction or in real life.

The War of the Five Kings is shades of grey, indicated by Dany’s vision of the rat like men in the House of the Undying.

But in the fight between the Living and the Dead, or Jon/Stannis v the Boltons, or Dany/freedmen v the Slavers, it’s pretty plain which side is in the right.

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On 6/26/2022 at 3:31 AM, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

I mean, George did say that his ending won't be that much different from the show's ending. 

Not exactly. He said "yes and no, yes and no" so there will be changes.

Also knowing how he had way different plans for the story at first (one a trilogy and the other a five year skip), who knows what GRRM might change this time around?

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Any chance they’ll release the script for the Harrenhal stage play in book form? It’s going to be so lame if it comes out before TWOW, but I’m willing to bet it will. That’ll certainly affect George’s reputation as a writer.

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2 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Any chance they’ll release the script for the Harrenhal stage play in book form?

I think it's fairly standard practice these days to release books containing the book (the script) and lyrics (the songs) of successful shows. So... maybe?

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18 hours ago, SeanF said:

 

The War of the Five Kings is shades of grey, indicated by Dany’s vision of the rat like men in the House of the Undying.

 

I don't think an author telling us one thing and showing us another equates to an indication of anything, more so it is inconsistency from the author. Robb is depicted as a moral leader fighting a war against injustice. The books aren't focused on the peasant perspective, and the Starks were betrayed and subsequently subjugated. 

Tywin is described as sending bandits to pillage towns and slaughter innocents while Robb leads his rag tag groups of rebels. The one offensive battle that takes place ends with him marrying into a sworn family of the Lannisters out of a sense of honor. 

The 'wolves' scene was show only. Martin wanted to show a pointless political battle, but his favoritism and tragedy porn got in the way. 

Martin said Ned/Robb were the traditional heroes and he wanted to subvert tropes by having them both killed. They are not rats. Tywin, Tyrion, etc. are all described as villains by Martin. 

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2 hours ago, butterweedstrover said:

I don't think an author telling us one thing and showing us another equates to an indication of anything, more so it is inconsistency from the author. Robb is depicted as a moral leader fighting a war against injustice. The books aren't focused on the peasant perspective, and the Starks were betrayed and subsequently subjugated. 

Tywin is described as sending bandits to pillage towns and slaughter innocents while Robb leads his rag tag groups of rebels. The one offensive battle that takes place ends with him marrying into a sworn family of the Lannisters out of a sense of honor. 

The 'wolves' scene was show only. Martin wanted to show a pointless political battle, but his favoritism and tragedy porn got in the way. 

Martin said Ned/Robb were the traditional heroes and he wanted to subvert tropes by having them both killed. They are not rats. Tywin, Tyrion, etc. are all described as villains by Martin. 

Didn't I say Martin wanted to subvert expectations?

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6 hours ago, butterweedstrover said:

I don't think an author telling us one thing and showing us another equates to an indication of anything, more so it is inconsistency from the author. Robb is depicted as a moral leader fighting a war against injustice. The books aren't focused on the peasant perspective, and the Starks were betrayed and subsequently subjugated. 

Tywin is described as sending bandits to pillage towns and slaughter innocents while Robb leads his rag tag groups of rebels. The one offensive battle that takes place ends with him marrying into a sworn family of the Lannisters out of a sense of honor. 

The 'wolves' scene was show only. Martin wanted to show a pointless political battle, but his favoritism and tragedy porn got in the way. 

Martin said Ned/Robb were the traditional heroes and he wanted to subvert tropes by having them both killed. They are not rats. Tywin, Tyrion, etc. are all described as villains by Martin. 

Neither is a rat.  Both were very good lords *to their own people*.

i don’t know about Ned, but Robb was ruthless towards the enemy, including enemy smallfolk,  certainly in the  books.  Not as brutal as the Lannisters but still pretty brutal.  Dangling young women from trees, paying the West back in kind, turning Harrenhall into a rape camp were all done by top commanders, not the small fry.  The BWB ended up loathing Northern soldiers, as much as they did the Lannisters.

You’re right, though, that the peasants don’t count, in the eyes of most POV characters.  They exist to serve them in war, provide rents and taxes, and to service them sexually.  You can be praised as the most chivalrous knight in the world, while hanging young women from trees.  Most of the chivalry of Westeros are distinguished from Khal Drogo’s riders only by possession of a coat of arms.

But, I think the author is making a point, there.

Edited by SeanF
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49 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Neither is a rat.  Both were very good lords *to their own people*.

i don’t know about Ned, but Robb was ruthless towards the enemy, including enemy smallfolk,  certainly in the  books.  Not as brutal as the Lannisters but still pretty brutal.  Dangling young women from trees, paying the West back in kind, turning Harrenhall into a rape camp were all done by top commanders, not the small fry.  The BWB ended up loathing Northern soldiers, as much as they did the Lannisters.

You’re right, though, that the peasants don’t count.  You can be praised as the most chivalrous knight in the world, while hanging young women from trees.  But, I think the author is making a point, there.

Most of atrocities mentioned in books that were done by northmen were either commanded or allowed by Roose B and we know how loyal he was to Robb. In fact it is possible that Roose wanted minimize possible support of Riverlanders to Robb just to make his possible rebellion against Starks easier. So those atrocities might have been part of Roose plans to raise himself as new ruler of the North.

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23 minutes ago, Loose Bolt said:

Most of atrocities mentioned in books that were done by northmen were either commanded or allowed by Roose B and we know how loyal he was to Robb. In fact it is possible that Roose wanted minimize possible support of Riverlanders to Robb just to make his possible rebellion against Starks easier. So those atrocities might have been part of Roose plans to raise himself as new ruler of the North.

Ser Marq Piper was conducting the hangings, and Roose had nothing to do with the Western chevauchee.  If Catelyn and Brienne know what's occurring, so will Robb.  In pre-modern times, commanders constantly wrote to each other, and sent letters by despatch riders, so while there won't be orders along the lines of "rape Pretty Pia and the other women", there will be orders along the lines of "pillage that district and burn what you can't carry off" or "punish collaborators."

 

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I will say that Roose Bolton's efforts around Harrenhal were probably not something Robb had a good eye on... but certainly the pillaging and looting and deaths of defenseless smallfolk at the hands of the riverlords and northmen in the westerlands? He knew. It's the price of war.

Robb also gaslights Edmure unfairly in ASoS, quite blatantly. I don't think George's depiction of him is that of some pure moral figure. He's a king who makes the choices kings make.

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20 minutes ago, Ran said:

I will say that Roose Bolton's efforts around Harrenhal were probably not something Robb had a good eye on... but certainly the pillaging and looting and deaths of defenseless smallfolk at the hands of the riverlords and northmen in the westerlands? He knew. It's the price of war.

Robb also gaslights Edmure unfairly in ASoS, quite blatantly. I don't think George's depiction of him is that of some pure moral figure. He's a king who makes the choices kings make.

I agree.  Robb is not a monster, but a military commander in a medieval world.  As we discussed on the other thread, the Black Prince would be a good comparison.

Tywin explicitly orders murder and rape as terror tactics, and I could never envisage Robb doing so (for that matter, I could not envisage Jaime giving such orders, whereas Tyrion would do).  But pillage and arson will kill a lot of people through starvation, and resistance from the smallfolk to having their possessions seized will result in their murder.

Edited by SeanF
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And, comparing the treatment of the Westerosi smallfolk in war to the crucifixion of the 163 Great Masters, and the killing of the Good Masters of Astapor, I think the salient point is this:

Daenerys' victims were noble and gently-born, mostly.  The nobility of Westeros count slavery a sin, but they intermarry with their Essossi counterparts, and serve in their wars.  The idea that a member of their own class would hold other members of their own class accountable for crimes against the smallfolk would be horrifying to a great many of them, although lex talionis is the norm, in general.  You can punish nobles for crimes committed against other nobles, and you can kill other nobles in war or for reasons of realpolitik, but you can't punish them for mistreating the smallfolk, unless those smallfolk are sworn to you, in which case you must avenge wrongs done to your own people (eg the Frey Pies).

That would be like Communism.  Many of them viewed Aegon V as a tyrant, because of his concern for the smallfolk.

Edited by SeanF
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4 hours ago, Ran said:

I will say that Roose Bolton's efforts around Harrenhal were probably not something Robb had a good eye on... but certainly the pillaging and looting and deaths of defenseless smallfolk at the hands of the riverlords and northmen in the westerlands? He knew. It's the price of war.

Robb also gaslights Edmure unfairly in ASoS, quite blatantly. I don't think George's depiction of him is that of some pure moral figure. He's a king who makes the choices kings make.

And in at least one case quite stupid.

Though in the Jeyne Westerling case, say if Robb got her pregnant and left her without marrying her, would it be portrayed as the morally correct thing to do? He'd be just as bad as John Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility.

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3 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

And in at least one case quite stupid.

Though in the Jeyne Westerling case, say if Robb got her pregnant and left her without marrying her, would it be portrayed as the morally correct thing to do? He'd be just as bad as John Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility.

It's not great, but it's the sort of thing a king can get away with.

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3 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

And in at least one case quite stupid.

Though in the Jeyne Westerling case, say if Robb got her pregnant and left her without marrying her, would it be portrayed as the morally correct thing to do? He'd be just as bad as John Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility.

Willoughby's choice was selfish and wrong, but the fate of a realm and the safety of his followers did not hang on it. As @SeanF says, it's the sort of thing a king can get away with because there's a lot more at stake in their marital choices than just their personal happiness.

Edited by Ran
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