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Will ASOIAF be a cultural phenomenon 50 years in the future?


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10 hours ago, Nathan Stark said:

For example, claiming the series is too "realistic" and too much like the modern day, as @Aldarion has argued, is undermined by the huge fantastical elements of undead weights, Others, dragons, humans warging with animals, 700 foot high walls, bloodmagic, prophesies, Lovecraftian horror, children of the forest, giants, glass candles, undead Beric, undead Cat, undead Gregor, undead Jon (maybe).

That is just largely irrelevant dressing, and completely misses the point I was making.

What I was talking about is the fundamental message and/or nature of the work. Lord of the Rings for example is all about hope and faith, and is written in the vein of old mythology. In its nature, it is similar to Bible, Illiad, Odyssey and so on - a religious and mythological work, and is meant to inspire.

A Song of Ice and Fire has none of this. It is all about politics, humans being pieces of crap... there is little hope to be had, to the point that it could be argued extermination of everything alive in Westeros may not even be a bad thing. It is a fundamentally postmodernist work, technically extremely well written but with no soul to speak of.

That is the difference I was talking about.

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1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

What I was talking about is the fundamental message and/or nature of the work. Lord of the Rings for example is all about hope and faith, and is written in the vein of old mythology. In its nature, it is similar to Bible, Illiad, Odyssey and so on - a religious and mythological work, and is meant to inspire.

Meh. Religious texts just hammer in the fact that you get salvation in exchange for believing in something (in a million different ways to their credit). Inspiring? methinks not. More like tiring. Sure some need a crutch and I hold nothing against their Faith. Not the organized religion. It's like Disney, bad guys get asses whupped. Always. Utopian and idealistic are under understatements

1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

A Song of Ice and Fire has none of this. It is all about politics, humans being pieces of crap... there is little hope to be had, to the point that it could be argued extermination of everything alive in Westeros may not even be a bad thing. It is a fundamentally postmodernist work, technically extremely well written but with no soul to speak of.

That's why we love it, it isn't pretentious. Cynical or realistic, its epic af!

Edited by TheLastWolf
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18 minutes ago, TheLastWolf said:

Meh. Religious texts just hammer in the fact that you get salvation in exchange for believing in something (in a million different ways to their credit). Inspiring? methinks not. More like tiring. Sure some need a crutch and I hold nothing against their Faith. Not the organized religion. It's like Disney, bad guys get asses whupped. Always. Utopian and idealistic are under understatements

Hope and faith =/= religion. Religion is no different from any other political ideology. Faith, while definitely an element of religion, is something completely different.

20 minutes ago, TheLastWolf said:

That's why we love it, it isn't pretentious. Cynical or realistic, its epic af!

It is. Just in a different way.

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Obviously. It may not remain a cultural phenomenon for all those years but I can see a remake of the series in the next few decades, which would spark interest again. After all, Dune, the series from which Mr. Martin was isnpired quite a lot, had several remakes.

 

Houses of Westeros that have lasted for milennia and have family defining features(Starks have horseface, Lannisters curly blondes etc)? Greathouses of the landsraad which has lasted for several milennia and have some degree of family defining features.

Water Dancers of Braavos, a city of many islands? Sword Masters of Ginaz, a planet that is %90 water and the land part is archipelagos. 

Shade of the Evening? Sapho juice.

Maesters? A mix of Mentats and Sisters of the Bene Gesserit.

Arya? Alia of the Blade has some resemblance, even the name.

Prince that was promised? Kwisatz Haderach.

Plenty of more stuff like that that I can't recall right now.

Free folk? Fremen. 

 

Mentioning Ginaz Sword Masters, Syrio Forel may very well return. Since Duncan Idaho has. Who knows, perhaps we can see a Syrio Forel wight like a Duncan Idaho ghola.

 

 

Edited by Corvo the Crow
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On 9/17/2022 at 2:13 AM, Aldarion said:

That is just largely irrelevant dressing, and completely misses the point I was making.

What I was talking about is the fundamental message and/or nature of the work. Lord of the Rings for example is all about hope and faith, and is written in the vein of old mythology. In its nature, it is similar to Bible, Illiad, Odyssey and so on - a religious and mythological work, and is meant to inspire.

A Song of Ice and Fire has none of this. It is all about politics, humans being pieces of crap... there is little hope to be had, to the point that it could be argued extermination of everything alive in Westeros may not even be a bad thing. It is a fundamentally postmodernist work, technically extremely well written but with no soul to speak of.

That is the difference I was talking about.

I fundamentally disagree. Not about The Lord of the Rings, which is exactly as you describe, but about the fundamental message of A Song of Ice and Fire. The thematic throughline of ASOIAF is about power: who has it, who wants to have it, who does not have or is denied it, what one would do with it if they had it. The message carried through with this series is basically Michelle Obama's argument that power doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are. So far, we've mostly seen how badly things can go wrong when people with power abuse it, like Tywin, or Cersei, or Tyrion. However, when we have characters like Jon Snow, Sansa, Davos, Brienne and Sam, people who are still basically decent human beings in spite of everything they have gone through, it's hard to argue that there is little hope, or that everything in Westeros deserves to be wiped out. I think these characters disprove the argument you are making. Though sense we haven't got an ending yet, this is still up for debate. 

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1 hour ago, Nathan Stark said:

However, when we have characters like Jon Snow, Sansa, Davos, Brienne and Sam, people who are still basically decent human beings in spite of everything they have gone through, it's hard to argue that there is little hope, or that everything in Westeros deserves to be wiped out.

Yes. But a few people of good will are not sufficient. If 90% of the population is craving for power, too selfish to understand and have empathy. Take Aerys II. Never this man, once insane, should have ruled. If not for all those toadies who were using him for their own advancement.

The world is doomed if they do not realize that.

That. And free will. The fact than men should make their choice, and be responsible, rather than being commanded, by a lord or king, they didn't choose, in thing they disapprove. Like soldiers obeying criminal orders.

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2 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

Yes. But a few people of good will are not sufficient. If 90% of the population is craving for power, too selfish to understand and have empathy. Take Aerys II. Never this man, once insane, should have ruled. If not for all those toadies who were using him for their own advancement.

The world is doomed if they do not realize that.

That. And free will. The fact than men should make their choice, and be responsible, rather than being commanded, by a lord or king, they didn't choose, in thing they disapprove. Like soldiers obeying criminal orders.

90% of the population are smallfolk who do not care who sits the Iron Throne or calls themselves Lords. They just want to be left alone and kept safe. None of them are angling for political power. It's only a tiny minority of the population causing chaos in search of power. The characters I mentioned earlier are some examples I came up with off the top of my headb there are many different people who could have positive contributions to the story in future. Ned Dayne, perhaps. Or Arriane. I suspect Willas Tyrell will be a person of good will. And then there is also a second category of people doing good things simply because it is expedient to do good things. Whatever works. It'll take more than just inspiration and hope to defeat the Others and bring justice and stability to Westeros.

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14 hours ago, Nathan Stark said:

but about the fundamental message of A Song of Ice and Fire. The thematic throughline of ASOIAF is about power: who has it, who wants to have it, who does not have or is denied it, what one would do with it if they had it.

As I said: politics. Politics are all about power.

14 hours ago, Nathan Stark said:

The message carried through with this series is basically Michelle Obama's argument that power doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are. So far, we've mostly seen how badly things can go wrong when people with power abuse it, like Tywin, or Cersei, or Tyrion. However, when we have characters like Jon Snow, Sansa, Davos, Brienne and Sam, people who are still basically decent human beings in spite of everything they have gone through, it's hard to argue that there is little hope, or that everything in Westeros deserves to be wiped out. I think these characters disprove the argument you are making.

Not really. All we have seen in ASoIaF so far is that evil people cause evil things to happen because they use power for evil, while good people cause evil things to happen because they have no clue what they are doing. Tywin is evil, but has actually been an effective administrator. Yet his will to dominate everyone still caused evil to happen. Cersei is both evil and has no clue what she is doing. And good people (Ned Stark, Jon Snow) drop like flies while achieving nothing, or else play supporting roles of limited importance (Davos, Sansa, Brienne).

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1 hour ago, Aldarion said:

As I said: politics. Politics are all about power.

Not really. All we have seen in ASoIaF so far is that evil people cause evil things to happen because they use power for evil, while good people cause evil things to happen because they have no clue what they are doing. Tywin is evil, but has actually been an effective administrator. Yet his will to dominate everyone still caused evil to happen. Cersei is both evil and has no clue what she is doing. And good people (Ned Stark, Jon Snow) drop like flies while achieving nothing, or else play supporting roles of limited importance (Davos, Sansa, Brienne).

I don’t know if that’s the endgame, but I’d agree, so far, the series has been bleak and nihilistic.  Evil people trip themselves up, sooner or later, but more decent people still fail.  Ned and Jon get killed, Dany’s policy of conciliation towards the slavers blows up in her face.

If the show’s ending were to reflect the books’ endgame, then I think this series would be far too bleak and grimdark to last long in the popular imagination.

Tolkien’s universe is actually pretty grim, even if he does not dwell on cruelty, but it does contain hope.  The ASOIAF universe has none, it seems.

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

Tolkien’s universe is actually pretty grim, even if he does not dwell on cruelty, but it does contain hope.  The ASOIAF universe has none, it seems.

Agreed. In Tolkien's work, there is far more hope, which automatically makes it more appealing. But it also differs in how things are portrayed. Tolkien's works are actually full of horror (especially of the fridge variety), but he tends to show only things that are necessary for the story, and as a result, most of it is implied rather than outright stated. Martin by comparison seems to go more for shock value and what Tolkien would likely consider unnecessary detail.

To me, Tolkien's approach is actually far more fun, because there is more to think about and analyze - it sucks the reader into the story, whereas with Martin, I always felt kind of detached when reading it. Thank God he's so good at writing characters, otherwise I would not have been able to actually become invested into the story. Basically, for Martin, world is a background stage for his characters to act and develop in; for Tolkien, world itself is a character.

1 hour ago, SeanF said:

If the show’s ending were to reflect the books’ endgame, then I think this series would be far too bleak and grimdark to last long in the popular imagination.

 

Agreed. Fantasy is about escapism, but Martin's work is simply too grim, cynical and similar to real life to offer any real value for that purpose. It reads like a history novel more than like fantasy - I honestly found more escape reading John Haldon than I did George Martin.

Edited by Aldarion
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ASOIAF will continue to have its appeal due to the timeless plot about the weakness of the human heart and how it leads to disaster.  The Targaryens, Daenerys, Drogon, and the Starks, are now cultural icons.  Dragons have always fascinated and captured the imaginations.  I believe that fascination will continue for a long time.  We will continue to hear the Targaryen name for many, many years.  

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I do have a few conditions for it not lasting beyond a decade or two. 

1. If GRRM does not finish the series

2. If GRRM does not appoint someone else to finish the story

3. If GRRM dies (Hopefully it'll be in a few decades, so he can keep chugging along)

If that all happens, then the fervor from HOTD and other material will eventually fade into a part of fantasy framework. Good to read, but not fulfilling in the end. 

5 hours ago, SeanF said:

Tolkien’s universe is actually pretty grim, even if he does not dwell on cruelty, but it does contain hope.  The ASOIAF universe has none, it seems.

Agreed. Tolkien had a bad situation (in story) with Sauron and armies of orcs and trolls and such, but still the heroes managed to prevail and there was hope with Aragorn and such that they would be able to rebuild the damage and rule wisely. With GRRM's world (and this is not intended as serious, dealbreaker criticism), there will most likely be a speck of hope, but that hope will come after a continent has been ripped to shreds by ice demons and human douches. 

Plus, fantasy and stories are escapism. We want to have some realism and logic, but we also want a story with heroes and villains and such. The heroes and villains can and should be grey, but the "protagonists" and land we're supposed to root for in ASOIAF seem so bad now, that it seems death would be a happy thing. 

TL;DR, for this section: The end of the story does require more hope that things will get better than before the conflicts started, or else it's just a grimdark, unhopeful story. 

 

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Second post (Sorry, mods, I didn't want the first one to be too long). 

The characters in this story mostly have the "good guys" failing and/or dying (Ned, Dany, Jon, etc), while the bad guys seem to cartoonish/incompetent (think First Order here) to truly pose a competent threat for the protagonists to face off against. Cersei's POVs might be the height of comedy, but that idiot is of not much threat to much in the larger scale. 

Or villains we've hardly seen or learned about, like the Others. 

Edited by Jaenara Belarys
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23 hours ago, Nathan Stark said:

It's only a tiny minority of the population causing chaos in search of power

I disagree that the problem is only with a few very bad people. And things would be fine without them. If not them, others no better suited will occupy the place. There are always would be conquerors, would be Tywin, Cersei. And Roose Boltons and Walder Freys to support them. And Gregor Clegans and Janos Slynts to do their dirty work. And Broons and Shadrichs to assist. And Vargo Hoat and his scumbags when it needs more.

The smallfolk can't choose or oppose a king. But their children become soldiers, journeyman, servants and councilors, septons. Or just produce the food everyone needs. At every level  people should care to bar the way to evil when they can. Everyone should be Watcher on the Wall. Not just the Black Brothers (who BTW, have lost their purpose).

3 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

the "protagonists" and land we're supposed to root for in ASOIAF seem so bad now, that it seems death would be a happy thing.

TL;DR, for this section: The end of the story does require more hope that things will get better than before the conflicts started, or else it's just a grimdark, unhopeful story. 

We don't know the ending intended by GRRM. But if it is as depressing and bleak as the show has been. With no solution to the problems and no hope that the situation will not deteriorate again in a few years. Then yes, there will be no reason to want to read and love this story.

This is why I want to see GRRM (or at this point someone else), finish this story with the perspective of a bright future.

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2 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

With no solution to the problems and no hope that the situation will not deteriorate again in a few years. Then yes, there will be no reason to want to read and love this story.

This is why I want to see GRRM (or at this point someone else), finish this story with the perspective of a bright future.

That's not how most epics end though. LOTR ends with magic and elves leaving the world to man, whom we know is weak. Like the shire turns into a sweat shop. The Iliad ends with a thriving culture wiped off the map, the Odyssey ends with the very gods and Olympus losing their power. 

 

Eta, upon reflection these are still kind of a bright future, except the Iliad, so that's probably what GRRM meant when he said bittersweet

Edited by Hugorfonics
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I dare say it already is, George R. R. Martin has a brilliant mind when it comes to world building and creating intriguing stories and characters.

In 50 years his works will be considered classics, just like The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit already are.

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16 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

I do have a few conditions for it not lasting beyond a decade or two. 

1. If GRRM does not finish the series

2. If GRRM does not appoint someone else to finish the story

3. If GRRM dies (Hopefully it'll be in a few decades, so he can keep chugging along)

If that all happens, then the fervor from HOTD and other material will eventually fade into a part of fantasy framework. Good to read, but not fulfilling in the end. 

Agreed. Tolkien had a bad situation (in story) with Sauron and armies of orcs and trolls and such, but still the heroes managed to prevail and there was hope with Aragorn and such that they would be able to rebuild the damage and rule wisely. With GRRM's world (and this is not intended as serious, dealbreaker criticism), there will most likely be a speck of hope, but that hope will come after a continent has been ripped to shreds by ice demons and human douches. 

Plus, fantasy and stories are escapism. We want to have some realism and logic, but we also want a story with heroes and villains and such. The heroes and villains can and should be grey, but the "protagonists" and land we're supposed to root for in ASOIAF seem so bad now, that it seems death would be a happy thing. 

TL;DR, for this section: The end of the story does require more hope that things will get better than before the conflicts started, or else it's just a grimdark, unhopeful story. 

 

Well, Dune wasn't finished by Frank Herbert and 40 years after it's first movie(which was 20 years after the first book was published btw), it got a remake, a very bad one I must add, but a remake nonetheless. There were also two(or more maybe?) tv series that date to 2000 something.

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4 hours ago, Larys Strong said:

I dare say it already is, George R. R. Martin has a brilliant mind when it comes to world building

Yeah... no! Many of the world building elements are taken directly out of Frank Herbert's Dune. Most of these were done so blatantly all they got was a name change.

 

4 hours ago, Larys Strong said:

and creating intriguing stories and characters.

But this part is very true. Even after the huge disappointment I got over this obvious non-originality of the world building and over a decade long wait, I'm still waiting for the next book because I want to learn the fates of the characters and how some events will unfold. I'm no longer interested in seeing how the story will end, especially after how the show ruined a lot for me but as I said, I'm interested in seeing the outcome of some storylines(cliffhangers, mostly) and fate of some characters, namely Jon&Val and wildlings and Watch story line, Stannis and his battle over the ice, Sansa(but don't care much about the vale plotline)Tyrion&Jorah(but don't care much about the battle of the sand cliffhanger nor the eastern plotline), Young Ned&The Hound&Edmure&Blackfish(but don't care much about the plotlines in RL nor do I care much about Jaime or Brienne at this point but loved reading them up to their current point) many characters I like or at least care enough to want to know the fate of 

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I was 12-13 when I read The Three Musketeers. I enjoyed it a lot, but I definitely wasn't prepared for the darker part ofthe story at that age. Rereading it at 16-17 was worth all the time spent, and I don't imagine I could've enjoyed the sequels of the story at that age.  ASOIAF is something I wouldn't recommend to my 16 yo child or family member of any sort. The whole new level of brutality and lack of morality is what keeps you interested, accompanied by the concept of incest, violent mental disorders, supremacism, global catastrophy, never-ending cultural differences and rivalries rooting in the financial world.
 

ASOIAF has many many great characters, but Jon and Daenerys, the heroes of the story will never stop to be a breath of fresh air to me. Something less nuanced for the younger, like Tolkien, or C. S. Lewis, when it comes to fantasy.

I guess ASOIAF can become a cultural relic, if it is finished (properly), but it was never meant to be a story for everyone, including adult people.

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21 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

I do have a few conditions for it not lasting beyond a decade or two. 

1. If GRRM does not finish the series

2. If GRRM does not appoint someone else to finish the story

3. If GRRM dies (Hopefully it'll be in a few decades, so he can keep chugging along)

If that all happens, then the fervor from HOTD and other material will eventually fade into a part of fantasy framework. Good to read, but not fulfilling in the end. 

Agreed. Tolkien had a bad situation (in story) with Sauron and armies of orcs and trolls and such, but still the heroes managed to prevail and there was hope with Aragorn and such that they would be able to rebuild the damage and rule wisely. With GRRM's world (and this is not intended as serious, dealbreaker criticism), there will most likely be a speck of hope, but that hope will come after a continent has been ripped to shreds by ice demons and human douches. 

Plus, fantasy and stories are escapism. We want to have some realism and logic, but we also want a story with heroes and villains and such. The heroes and villains can and should be grey, but the "protagonists" and land we're supposed to root for in ASOIAF seem so bad now, that it seems death would be a happy thing. 

TL;DR, for this section: The end of the story does require more hope that things will get better than before the conflicts started, or else it's just a grimdark, unhopeful story. 

 

A tale in which Jon kills Daenerys, and gets cast into the wilderness, so that the Seven Kingdoms get to be ruled by a creepy king who wargs peoples' minds and consumes human flesh, and a Hand and sellsword whose priorities are new brothels, would make me conclude that the author had been trolling us. 

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