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The Winds of Winter: The Latest Info (updated 10 July 2022)


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Winds will be curious, as it will start with what should be the climax of the former book.

Does the timeline work, if Dany returns with thousands of Dothraki, during the battle for Meereen?

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

Winds will be curious, as it will start with what should be the climax of the former book.

Does the timeline work, if Dany returns with thousands of Dothraki, during the battle for Meereen?

It only works if Dany does not go to Vaes Dothrak, convinces that one khalasar to support her almost immediately (at dragonpoint) and if the battle for Meereen continues for several weeks. Otherwise, no, there's not enough time unless GRRM switches to GoT levels of teleporting around the place.

The alternative is that the battle that is underway at the end of ADWD ends in defeat or a draw and the defenders return to withstand siege for a few months. Dany then has enough time to go to Vaes Dothrak and back to Meereen again.

Edited by Werthead
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On 7/11/2022 at 9:35 PM, Corvinus85 said:

Holy shit, has it been that long? :laugh:

We're a few days short of the 11th anniversary of ADWD, which is saying something. However, I don't feel that this statement truly captures how long it has been, so I like to put it in a different way:

The halfway point between the release of ADWD and the present day is around January 2017. 

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6 hours ago, SeanF said:

Does the timeline work, if Dany returns with thousands of Dothraki, during the battle for Meereen?

No chance for that. And I don't think it is the intention. Daenerys chooses between watering her garden of peace (or what she thought was peace - she was mistaken about that) and her destiny. And she chooses the latter. She doesn't go to the Dothraki to have an army to defeat enemies at Meereen she doesn't know even exist ... she does it because she has given up on her dream to settle down there.

She will be in no hurry to return to Meereen at all. She should not cut her mental ties with the folks there ... but she also kind of plans to go to Westeros since AGoT and nothing came of that, either, so she is not going to feel much pressure there.

And since the show most likely didn't come up with her Vaes Dothrak plot (which is foreshadowed in one of the visions in the House of the Undying) we will have to see that play out. If she wins the allegiance of them all she will be effectively the Kwisatz Haderach of the Dothraki ... and Paul Atreides also didn't go visit Shaddam IV on Kaitain or Salusa Secundus, right? He made the Emperor come to him.

People will search out Daenerys at Vaes Dothrak, not the other way around. She might take Drogon to a flight to Meereen once she knows about the situation there ... but she will not learn about that quickly. I think we can expect Tyrion or whoever else ends up claiming one of the dragons in Meereen will eventually take that dragon out to the Dothraki Sea to look for Daenerys ... possibly only when news about her being at Vaes Dothrak have reached them.

I think it is pretty clearly set up that the Dothraki are not needed to resolve the situation at Meereen. That's what we have the Volantene tiger soldiers for ... who will rebel against their masters when Moqorro gives the sign. That's why he is here, basically (in addition to mess with Euron's plans for Dany).

And then we will have another big narrative thread about who is going to control the dragon queen's movement/men in absence of Daenerys. What will the new dragonriders do? What about the different interests of the various freed slaves, the Ironborn, the reformed Ghiscari, etc.?

6 hours ago, Werthead said:

It only works if Dany does not go to Vaes Dothrak, convinces that one khalasar to support her almost immediately (at dragonpoint) and if the battle for Meereen continues for several weeks. Otherwise, no, there's not enough time unless GRRM switches to GoT levels of teleporting around the place.

That is pretty much impossible plot-wise, I think, since Khal Jhaqo of all people is no fan of Dany's ... nor she a fan of him. She wants to see him dead. Even if she controlled Drogon completely at this point - which she doesn't - chances are almost zero that it could make sense that a Dothraki khalasar would just follow her because she burned their khal.

But as I wrote above already - Daenerys has decided not to return to Meereen now. If she controlled the khalasar she would still allow them to take her to Vaes Dothrak. Because that's where she wants to go now. In fact, I think we are going to learn that Jhaqo is there on behalf of the dosh khaleen to fetch Dany back. Not because he answers the call of the Great Masters of Meereen (although their plea for help may have informed the dosh khaleen about Dany's whereabouts).

6 hours ago, Werthead said:

The alternative is that the battle that is underway at the end of ADWD ends in defeat or a draw and the defenders return to withstand siege for a few months. Dany then has enough time to go to Vaes Dothrak and back to Meereen again.

I don't think we should imagine that Dany's forces all take ship to Westeros from Meereen. The people in Slaver's Bay certainly might use Victarion's fleet and other ships there ... but Dany's Dothraki are more likely to move overland to Volantis or Pentos to take ship for Westeros there.

Once it is clear that they are going. Which may be Dany's finale in TWoW should Marwyn finally get to her. At this point, though, Westeros is still the least of her priorities. And that's not going to change just like that.

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7 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Which may be Dany's finale in TWoW should Marwyn finally get to her.

Given that we haven't seen Marwyn since 2005, it would be quite something.

But again, I'm a bit concerned about the pacing of Winds. In his recent blog post, GRRM said that the chapters that were released online are a big portion of the book, but the plot is still not moving along. Granted, many of those chapters were written before Dance was released and a lot of things can change, but still.

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19 hours ago, Werthead said:

Nope, he's said many times before that he'll fervently try to keep it below 7, but if the story needs more, it will need more.

It is the first time that he's said what I personally thought he should have said years ago: that he'll write "two more books" and if each of those books is too massive to be published in one volume so we end up with three or four, so be it.

Potentially. He was partially or maybe even mostly done with a story provisionally called The She-Wolves, but seems to have concluded that he needed to write and publish another story first to fit the chronology. He came up with a title for that, The Village Hero, but to my knowledge has not started writing it yet.

If he can bash out The Village Hero quickly (say in a few weeks), then it might mean we'd also get The She-Wolves relatively quickly afterwards. It depends on the situation. I know he feels he let Winds "go cold" after finishing Dance, so he may prefer to just blast into Dream at full steam.

I got the impression that GRRM finds  DnE pretty easy to write, so I’m curious why he didn’t publish more when he was working on the other supplementary work. Does the next novella contain information that would spoil something in TWOW?

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1 minute ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Given that we haven't seen Marwyn since 2005, it would be quite something.

But again, I'm a bit concerned about the pacing of Winds. In his recent blog post, GRRM said that the chapters that were released online are a big portion of the book, but the plot is still not moving along. Granted, many of those chapters were written before Dance was released and a lot of things can change, but still.

Together we might already have about 200-300 published pages of TWoW. I think we do have more sample chapters than we had for ADwD ... and there I had to read until page 200 or so to get something completely new.

The book should have a very unusual pacing, dealing with big battles in the first quarter/half (depending how fast Aegon's campaign proceeds) ... and then we just have no idea what happens.

No idea what's going to happen in the North once the Winterfell situation is resolved, no idea what happens elsewhere, either.

I cannot really see what the bigger climax at the end of TWoW could be. Certainly not the fall of the Wall. Most definitely not Daenerys' arrival in Westeros (not that this would even be 'climax', just a scene where people get ashore).

We could get lots of action in the Aegon and Cersei plotlines, the grey plague plotline could start if George goes there - I think the covid pandemic made it even more likely that he will make sickness an even bigger thing -, we could also get the Shireen sacrifice and Stannis' death, crucial revelations about the Others and the promised prince prophecy and Jon's true parentage (at least for the readership and Bran, not necessarily Jon himself or the Westerosi public). I also imagine (or hope, at least) we will see more of the Others in TWoW. Like, in them making a move, in there being some kind of attack or battle, in folks looking for and perhaps finding the Horn of Joramun (which seems to be the tool which is going to bring down the Wall). The book could see Aegon seize the Iron Throne and marrying Arianne ... meaning it could also include their internal or informal decision that they don't wait for/need Daenerys, providing the build-up for an eventual conflict between these two. I also think we will see Euron on the rise and hooking up with Cersei ... but no idea how far that plot can go in the book.

Also, if the spoilers about HotD having 'a private Targaryen prophecy relating to the threat of the Others being passed down from king to heir' is something that goes back to George ... then I think Bloodraven and Bran could reveal that to the readership, finally giving us the deeper magical layer that links Targaryens and prophecy and dragons to the Others.

I mean, we do assume that it will be part of Bran's story to figure out who the savior is and help him or her or them to do what they must.

But any big story beats? I don't think they can be rushed. Not when the story is so big.

Even if the book is 300 manuscript pages bigger than ADwD ... that's not much material. And we have to consider the number of POVs and the plots George does have to continue, finally - especially Sansa's and Samwell's plot - there isn't really that much space for big plot points.

Especially not in the Dany department. It would be the worst writing ever if she just magically took over the Dothraki - a people whose customs she defied and to whom she does not actually belong. There has to be a carefully construct narrative there - trials and tribulations and a proper setup about how and why Daenerys could become the leader of the Dothraki. I mean, even Westeros doesn't like female monarchs ... but Dothraki more or less treat their women as their chattel. This whole thing cannot just happen. There is some groundwork for it with the dosh khaleen and all but it won't be easy.

And once it has happened - George has to play out what that means. What do the Dothraki want their god-empress to do? What does she want to do with all that power? Still sit on a shitty throne in a faraway land she never saw and that treated her father and family like shit? Or build her own empire in the east?

The latter would be the much easier and more rational choice - and it is there were Tyrion, Moqorro, Quaithe, and especially Marwyn should come in to point her in the right direction. But for that, they have to reach her first. And that will take time.

I think we'll be well past page 500 before anybody in Meereen is going to really consider looking for Daenerys.

Marwyn and Quaithe could use her more quickly - the latter could even await her in Vaes Dothrak since we don't know where she is now. They do have glass candles so they might be able to pinpoint her location and destination much better than the other characters. And thinking about it - Moqorro's visions might be the crucial element convincing the Meereen gang that Dany is still alive and that she is at Vaes Dothrak. But Tyrion or whoever else will ride a dragon has first to claim one of them ... and resolve the current crisis in Slaver's Bay - before they could consider leaving on dragonback to look for her (once there are dragonriders their presence should be crucial in restoring and keeping the peace).

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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

I got the impression that GRRM finds  DnE pretty easy to write, so I’m curious why he didn’t publish more when he was working on the other supplementary work. Does the next novella contain information that would spoil something in TWOW?

Possibly but probably not.

I think GRRM does have confidence he can bash out DnE novellas relatively quickly, but they still take weeks (or up to a couple of months) each, which he is uncomfortable taking off from the novel in progress.

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12 minutes ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

About that, do you think Stannis will perish in the book like he did on the show?

Nah, not a chance.

We'll have a completely different scenario. Stannis and/or his cause might be broken like they were in the show by the Shireen sacrifice - he might lose all hope, realize that he did the wrong thing, after all, that he wasn't the prophesied savior, etc. - but I don't think he will lose a battle (especially not against Ramsay) nor is Brienne going to show up to kill him.

Stannis would only consider to sacrifice Shireen in a direct battle/conflict with the Others ... when mankind itself is at stake. So this plot will either be connected to a Stannis-led offensive against the Others (which might go terribly wrong) or perhaps part of an attack of the Others against the Wall.

If the latter was the case it might only happen in ADoS, though, since it is not that unlikely that Stannis will lead the defense of the Wall until it falls. In fact, it might be that Stannis will be indirectly responsible for the fall of the Wall by making a crucial mistake.

In fact, I think the Jon savior thing will only properly develop after Stannis is gone ... and as a kind of late(r) addition after hope is lost, all seemed to be lost ... until they realize Jon might be the guy.

If Jon came to the fore as a potential savior while Stannis is still around things should go bett(er) than they will. This could also mean that Jon will remain dead/in Ghost/incapacitated/barely human for quite some time while Stannis has to be the only leader.

There is a narrative reason why George killed Jon Snow. That's not something he did lightly, nor is it something that will have no consequences to the plot.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Together we might already have about 200-300 published pages of TWoW. I think we do have more sample chapters than we had for ADwD ... and there I had to read until page 200 or so to get something completely new.

The book should have a very unusual pacing, dealing with big battles in the first quarter/half (depending how fast Aegon's campaign proceeds) ... and then we just have no idea what happens.

No idea what's going to happen in the North once the Winterfell situation is resolved, no idea what happens elsewhere, either.

I cannot really see what the bigger climax at the end of TWoW could be. Certainly not the fall of the Wall. Most definitely not Daenerys' arrival in Westeros (not that this would even be 'climax', just a scene where people get ashore).

We could get lots of action in the Aegon and Cersei plotlines, the grey plague plotline could start if George goes there - I think the covid pandemic made it even more likely that he will make sickness an even bigger thing -, we could also get the Shireen sacrifice and Stannis' death, crucial revelations about the Others and the promised prince prophecy and Jon's true parentage (at least for the readership and Bran, not necessarily Jon himself or the Westerosi public). I also imagine (or hope, at least) we will see more of the Others in TWoW. Like, in them making a move, in there being some kind of attack or battle, in folks looking for and perhaps finding the Horn of Joramun (which seems to be the tool which is going to bring down the Wall). The book could see Aegon seize the Iron Throne and marrying Arianne ... meaning it could also include their internal or informal decision that they don't wait for/need Daenerys, providing the build-up for an eventual conflict between these two. I also think we will see Euron on the rise and hooking up with Cersei ... but no idea how far that plot can go in the book.

Also, if the spoilers about HotD having 'a private Targaryen prophecy relating to the threat of the Others being passed down from king to heir' is something that goes back to George ... then I think Bloodraven and Bran could reveal that to the readership, finally giving us the deeper magical layer that links Targaryens and prophecy and dragons to the Others.

I mean, we do assume that it will be part of Bran's story to figure out who the savior is and help him or her or them to do what they must.

But any big story beats? I don't think they can be rushed. Not when the story is so big.

Even if the book is 300 manuscript pages bigger than ADwD ... that's not much material. And we have to consider the number of POVs and the plots George does have to continue, finally - especially Sansa's and Samwell's plot - there isn't really that much space for big plot points.

Especially not in the Dany department. It would be the worst writing ever if she just magically took over the Dothraki - a people whose customs she defied and to whom she does not actually belong. There has to be a carefully construct narrative there - trials and tribulations and a proper setup about how and why Daenerys could become the leader of the Dothraki. I mean, even Westeros doesn't like female monarchs ... but Dothraki more or less treat their women as their chattel. This whole thing cannot just happen. There is some groundwork for it with the dosh khaleen and all but it won't be easy.

And once it has happened - George has to play out what that means. What do the Dothraki want their god-empress to do? What does she want to do with all that power? Still sit on a shitty throne in a faraway land she never saw and that treated her father and family like shit? Or build her own empire in the east?

The latter would be the much easier and more rational choice - and it is there were Tyrion, Moqorro, Quaithe, and especially Marwyn should come in to point her in the right direction. But for that, they have to reach her first. And that will take time.

I think we'll be well past page 500 before anybody in Meereen is going to really consider looking for Daenerys.

Marwyn and Quaithe could use her more quickly - the latter could even await her in Vaes Dothrak since we don't know where she is now. They do have glass candles so they might be able to pinpoint her location and destination much better than the other characters. And thinking about it - Moqorro's visions might be the crucial element convincing the Meereen gang that Dany is still alive and that she is at Vaes Dothrak. But Tyrion or whoever else will ride a dragon has first to claim one of them ... and resolve the current crisis in Slaver's Bay - before they could consider leaving on dragonback to look for her (once there are dragonriders their presence should be crucial in restoring and keeping the peace).

I think Dany would have to undergo some form of trial by ordeal, before the Dosh Khaleen.  And, she’d still have to bargain with the khals and kos.  What can she offer them to make them end slaving?

The obvious answer, to me, is the lands and treasure of the elites of the Free Cities.

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Old ideas prove unworkable...

Aside from wondering what those ideas are, I wonder when GRRM realized that they were unworkable. It might be that some storylines that were intended to go in a certain direction for years, will end up very different because he changed his mind recently. And there may be a lot of foreshadowing that doesn't pan out.

Edited by Takiedevushkikakzvezdy
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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:
9 hours ago, SeanF said:

Does the timeline work, if Dany returns with thousands of Dothraki, during the battle for Meereen?

No chance for that.

I agree. The only way this could (maybe, big maybe) work - or at least could work in the way that Dany would return only a short time after the battle - would be, if the timelines of the POVs had already diverged a very, very great deal in ADwD. Like, say, if Dany's POV in the Grass Sea would be just days, maximum two weeks after the events at the Pits, while the other POVs have moved two or more months at the same time.

But this would only "save" this specific scene, it would not make Dany go to Westeros any quicker, as everybody has already pointed out, and multiple times, and not only here, that she has to get the Dothraki to trust and follow her. I agree here with @SeanF that there must be a trial so the Dosh Khaleen will recognize her as their leader. Then they all have to reach Meereen, have to meet and talk to people, Marwyn (and maybe Quaithe - I like your idea, that she will be waiting for Dany, @Lord Varys, this would be a nice way to speed thing up, a tiny bit) has to convince Dany and everybody that Shit is hitting the fan in Westeros (maybe the Dosh Khaleen would even have seen something it that direction, too)... And than we have to talk about Volantis, because even if Dany doesn't move against Quarth, I think Volantis and Pentos will definitely fall to her.

So I think we will at best see her ships arrive in Westeros in the Epilogue of TWoW, while the Wall coming down (or being overrun) in TWoW is imho most likely the major event in the book, contrasted by the petty games about the "iron chair" in the south. I wouldn't be surprised if the Wall falls in the Epilogue of an already very bleak book (or two chapters before that and the Epilogue shows us people fleeing South), and we see Dany's armada in the Prologue of ADoS.

Edited by Morte
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We don't have as many sample chapters as we did for ADWD and definitely not as many as AFFC, where about 25% of the book was available before release (granted that AFFC was significantly shorter than either ADWD or TWoW).

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Nah, not a chance.

We'll have a completely different scenario. Stannis and/or his cause might be broken like they were in the show by the Shireen sacrifice - he might lose all hope, realize that he did the wrong thing, after all, that he wasn't the prophesied savior, etc. - but I don't think he will lose a battle (especially not against Ramsay) nor is Brienne going to show up to kill him.

Stannis would only consider to sacrifice Shireen in a direct battle/conflict with the Others ... when mankind itself is at stake. So this plot will either be connected to a Stannis-led offensive against the Others (which might go terribly wrong) or perhaps part of an attack of the Others against the Wall.

If the latter was the case it might only happen in ADoS, though, since it is not that unlikely that Stannis will lead the defense of the Wall until it falls. In fact, it might be that Stannis will be indirectly responsible for the fall of the Wall by making a crucial mistake.

In fact, I think the Jon savior thing will only properly develop after Stannis is gone ... and as a kind of late(r) addition after hope is lost, all seemed to be lost ... until they realize Jon might be the guy.

If Jon came to the fore as a potential savior while Stannis is still around things should go bett(er) than they will. This could also mean that Jon will remain dead/in Ghost/incapacitated/barely human for quite some time while Stannis has to be the only leader.

There is a narrative reason why George killed Jon Snow. That's not something he did lightly, nor is it something that will have no consequences to the plot.

Occasionally, I wonder if it will be Jon who sacrifices Shireen, completely single-minded in his determination to save the world from the Others.

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

I think Dany would have to undergo some form of trial by ordeal, before the Dosh Khaleen.  And, she’d still have to bargain with the khals and kos.  What can she offer them to make them end slaving?

The obvious answer, to me, is the lands and treasure of the elites of the Free Cities.

I think there must be more to it than a trial by ordeal. But it might be part of it all. I think something in the Dothraki prophecy must include dragons. This is subtle hinted at in TWoIaF with the whole talk about 'the Dragon in the North'.

There is a reason why Drogo wanted a Targaryen bride, a reason why Dany had to be presented to the dosh khaleen (it seems standard practice for a new khaleesi, but it might not be the case), and why Dany's child is supposed to be special.

The abolishment of slavery might cost Daenerys something ... but I don't think that will be the biggest issue. Does Dothraki culture look more east or more west? We don't know so far but while some of the Free Cities might interest the Dothraki as prizes I imagine the majority of them would expect the Stallion to lead them across the Bones to crush the Fortress Cities and plunder the riches of Yi Ti. That is where the glory lies, not in the distant west.

I think the dosh khaleen must also have some inclination about Dany's special destiny regarding the Others, etc. ... or else the Dothraki as a whole would simply not permit or support the ridiculous Westerosi campaign in winter. They might be willing to help her get her birthright back but they would insist that it is done when the chances to make use of their cavalry are best ... and that's not in winter.

1 hour ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Aside from wondering what those ideas are, I wonder when GRRM realized that they were unworkable. It might be that some storylines that were intended to go in a certain direction for years, will end up very different because he changed his mind recently. And there may be a lot of foreshadowing that doesn't pan out.

I don't think the foreshadowing will be that much of an issue. It will be more like that a certain road to get from point A to point B won't work, so you take another road and then you realize that this way works even better changing the destination.

 

1 hour ago, Morte said:

I agree. The only way this could (maybe, big maybe) work - or at least could work in the way that Dany would return only a short time after the battle - would be, if the timelines of the POVs had already diverged a very, very great deal in ADwD. Like, say, if Dany's POV in the Grass Sea would be just days, maximum two weeks after the events at the Pits, while the other POVs have moved two or more months at the same time.

I think ADwD already but that to rest, no? Dany spend weeks at her Dragonstone, no? Not just a couple of days. In Meereen only a very short time passes between Daznak's Pit and the escalation of hostilities.

1 hour ago, Morte said:

Then they all have to reach Meereen, have to meet and talk to people, Marwyn (and maybe Quaithe - I like your idea, that she will be waiting for Dany, @Lord Varys, this would be a nice way to speed thing up, a tiny bit) has to convince Dany and everybody that Shit is hitting the fan in Westeros (maybe the Dosh Khaleen would even have seen something it that direction, too)... And than we have to talk about Volantis, because even if Dany doesn't move against Quarth, I think Volantis and Pentos will definitely fall to her.

I don't think Daenerys will return to Meereen quickly after she takes over the Dothraki at Vaes Dothrak. It feels just wrong. It could endanger her position with the people there and when she left Meereen things were pretty fine there. She had made peace with Yunkai, no? She has no idea about the Volantene armada nor how things escalated after her disappearance. The idea that she would feel the need to go to Meereen with an army of Dothraki who ... would do what there, exactly? Brutalize the people there?

If one of the dragonriders searches her out at Vaes Dothrak she might return to Meereen on dragonback. And if necessary she might also send a khalasar or two (although I don't think that will be necessary thanks to the Volantene slave soldier rebellion). And while the ships there might be enough to take some Dothraki west it makes much more sense that only Dany's Slaver's Bay people take ship at Meereen while the Dothraki join them only at Volantis or in the Narrow Sea.

The shorter a time the Dothraki and their horses have to spend on ships, the better.

Volantis might be an issue that's resolved in Dany's name, not necessarily by her. Once the tiger soldiers rebel and the Slaver's Bey situation is resolved they are likely going to want to go to Volantis to abolish slavery there, too. In the wake of the defeat of the Yunkish allies we are likely also going to see the destruction of Yunkai and, perhaps, also New Ghis and the other cities.

The dragons and Victarion's fleet should allow them to accomplish both pretty quickly.

Qarth, on the other hand, is something personal with Daenerys. Xaro messed with her, personally, just as the other Qartheen did who sent him as envoy to Meereen. Her new agenda involves to go forward by going backwards which means Qarth would be on that list. Then also Pentos, of course, and eventually Dragonstone and the Westeros.

I'm sure she will send a khalasar against the city, overseeing its destruction personally on dragonback.

We also should consider Marwyn's suspicions that 'the grey sheep' will send an assassin to Daenerys. That could also complicate things depending the guy ever reaches her.

1 hour ago, Morte said:

So I think we will at best see her ships arrive in Westeros in the Epilogue of TWoW, while the Wall coming down (or being overrun) in TWoW is imho most likely the major event in the book, contrasted by the petty games about the "iron chair" in the south. I wouldn't be surprised if the Wall falls in the Epilogue of an already very bleak book (or two chapters before that and the Epilogue shows us people fleeing South), and we see Dany's armada in the Prologue of ADoS.

That is all very optimistic considering the size of the story.

I think the fall of the Wall cannot be some kind of surprise. So far the Others did nothing to indicate they even want to overrun the Wall. This kind of danger has to be build up. TWoW should do this ... but I'm not sure it can reach the climax.

It would be a very bad twist if somebody just jumped out of some hedge with the Horn of Joramun, cried 'Surprise!' and blew it.

So far TWoW both has to deal with the Hardhome and the Weeper situation. Once Hardhome is taken care of, the Others might finally move down south to the Wall, but not before.

1 hour ago, SeanF said:

Occasionally, I wonder if it will be Jon who sacrifices Shireen, completely single-minded in his determination to save the world from the Others.

Don't think so. Nothing set this up, and Stannis is the guy who nearly wanted to sacrifice Edric. It will come up with him again, and he will do it. But the stakes must be very high then. Not 'I have to change the weather', nor 'I have to defeat this or that mortal enemy'. It must be about the Others, must be 'to save the world'.

After all - killing your only child and heir is effectively the last thing a king would consider in this world. It means self-destruction and the end of the dynasty.

And both Stannis and Mel would turn to Gerrick and his daughters first, followed by Jon, Rickon (if available), fake Arya, Axell, even Selyse ... before they would actually want to sacrifice Stannis' only child.

George certainly could turn it into a caricature like they did in the show ... deciding Stannis does it on a whim. But I don't think he will.

If they somehow got their hands on dragon eggs (think of those allegedly hidden in the crypts of Winterfell) this could also trigger such a sacrifice.

Jon would have to sacrifice somebody who is important to him. Daenerys sacrificed Drogo (and in a sense also Viserys and Rhaego) so for Jon it would have to Arya or any of his other 'siblings', an (unborn) child, or a lover. Think of Euron setting up his big spell by sacrificing a brother, a lover, and an unborn child of his.

Shireen is an innocent child, but she is nothing to Jon but everything to Stannis.

And thinking about this - I really want to know what Patchface is about. That hint in ADwD - Mel being kind of afraid of him - was very ominous.

I'm sure there is another Hodor-like surprise there, one that has been set up from the start and might be a quite unexpected twist.

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9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 I don't think the foreshadowing will be that much of an issue. It will be more like that a certain road to get from point A to point B won't work, so you take another road and then you realize that this way works even better changing the destination.

This has happened before, though. In AGoT, there is foreshadowing of Jaime becoming king and Robb maiming Joffrey in battle, both of which were originally supposed to happen. I'm sure there are other examples that people have missed.

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13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I think the fall of the Wall cannot be some kind of surprise.

Maybe the Wall will fall while Jon is dead, as a direct consequence of his assasination. I just came up with that, and I'm not even a fan of the idea, but tell me there'll be a better time for the Wall to fall. 

Maybe Jon and the Wall are magically connected, and the death of Jon will bring the slow (and magical) crumble of the Wall.

Now that would be real pressure. A gate you're unable to close, not knowing when someone passes, but know someone bad really wants to the whole time. It would give time to people as well, as I assume, the Others wouldn't think of the Wall magically crumbling just like that, and would hence not be ready and need time to 'assemble'.

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You're all grossly overestimating the amount of time left in Essos. The arc is done, she was tired and wanted to rest and plant some trees and watch them grow, but she's learnt now that's not who she is, she can't wear the floppy ears, the dragon does not plant trees, it's fire and blood all the way. Her players and forces are all assembling themselves in Meereen without her having to be there, all that's left to do is gather up the Dothraki and pick off the city states on the way West. 

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