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Should we view GRRM-written show material as canonical - for use in discussions in this forum section?


Sandy Clegg
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28 minutes ago, sifth said:

If we ever get the novel, think there will be bleed over from the show. For example we are getting a “hold the door” moment. 

There's still scope for GRRM to change his mind about anything and everything, which we know he is wont to do. There are some things I don't think he will change his mind over, but even where he's said that the idea for a particular plot point in the show came from him, I don't think we can take it for granted that it will still happen in the book. Might well be in some cases that he gave them the idea, saw it play out and went "actually, yeah, that didn't work as well as I thought it would" and comes up with something else.

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Tangential, and quite likely impossible even for George to answer with certainty, but book 1 at least seems to still be ~ heading us towards some of the conclusions from the original submitted draft, and I was wondering if we knew even roughly when the choices to deviate took hold. Like when exactly was Jon & Arya dropped? Was book 1/betrayal of Ned etc. still laying the tracks for Sansa to be the family villain, or had he already decided that she would be heading down a slightly different path? King Jaime? Etc. Again, I realize this is probably unknowable, unless it’s something categorical like ‘he’d scrapped all those ideas before page 1’ or similar. 

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3 hours ago, James Arryn said:

Tangential, and quite likely impossible even for George to answer with certainty, but book 1 at least seems to still be ~ heading us towards some of the conclusions from the original submitted draft, and I was wondering if we knew even roughly when the choices to deviate took hold. Like when exactly was Jon & Arya dropped? Was book 1/betrayal of Ned etc. still laying the tracks for Sansa to be the family villain, or had he already decided that she would be heading down a slightly different path? King Jaime? Etc. Again, I realize this is probably unknowable, unless it’s something categorical like ‘he’d scrapped all those ideas before page 1’ or similar. 

Are you talking about the outline or draft?

If the outline - he explained he wrote much of the outline because it was required to get a deal on a book series, and he basically wrote down a brainstorm and had no intention to ever keep to it, and hardly ever meant to write it that way anyhow. He responded very very annoyed when the leaked outline was brought up during a tea time conversaton, and he was quite categorical about the idea that Jon & Arya were meant to become an item (a naysayer). This all points to: it was dropped before he completed his first draft.

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7 hours ago, James Arryn said:

Tangential, and quite likely impossible even for George to answer with certainty, but book 1 at least seems to still be ~ heading us towards some of the conclusions from the original submitted draft, and I was wondering if we knew even roughly when the choices to deviate took hold. Like when exactly was Jon & Arya dropped? Was book 1/betrayal of Ned etc. still laying the tracks for Sansa to be the family villain, or had he already decided that she would be heading down a slightly different path? King Jaime? Etc. Again, I realize this is probably unknowable, unless it’s something categorical like ‘he’d scrapped all those ideas before page 1’ or similar. 

Sansa's going to Cersei appears to be something of a holdover from the betrayal idea.  Certainly, by the end of AGOT there is no chance Sansa will marry Joffrey willingly or have anything else to do with the Lannisters.  That becomes even more apparent during the course of ACOK.

The outline mentions 5 main characters.  I think this was actually the case in the beginning.  At some point, probably during ACOK, he added Sansa to that list, so we have 6 main characters now.  At this point, Sansa is pretty much equal in importance to her siblings, plus Tyrion and Daenerys, and definitely more important than Jaime, Cersei, or Theon.

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6 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

Are you talking about the outline or draft?

If the outline - he explained he wrote much of the outline because it was required to get a deal on a book series, and he basically wrote down a brainstorm and had no intention to ever keep to it, and hardly ever meant to write it that way anyhow. He responded very very annoyed when the leaked outline was brought up during a tea time conversaton, and he was quite categorical about the idea that Jon & Arya were meant to become an item (a naysayer). This all points to: it was dropped before he completed his first draft.

 

Cheers. I was thinking outline, not sure how I typed draft. I’m doing my first re-read in a long time and I have to say Sansa’s treatment stands out so much. Just at the Hand’s Tourney chair and…it’s hard to understand GRRM’s specific choices with her if he wasn’t at least still pondering her outcomes…Hugh of the Vale is killed right in front of her and she wonders why she didn’t feel anything. Septa M takes an upset Jayne away and Sansa is when she comes back GRRM specifically has Sansa think to herself that she’d forgotten about Jeyne. That choice is imo weird. That’s not something an author would normally have a young person think about their best friend if they wanted us to sympathize. At least it doesn’t read that way to me.
 

It also got me noticing that each of the other POV Stark kids has specific close bonds with at least one other member of the family, but with Sansa…who is she close to? If it’s not Jeyne…and this reading is also reminding me how quickly Jeyne’s fate completely escapes her attention later on when things go pear shaped…who is it? Why did he choose to give every othe Stark POV a connection and skip that with her? The outline imo explains it more than anything I can come up with.  I’m totally open to other ideas here, and also aware that it’s possible I’m letting knowledge of the outline affect what I’m seeing. But as I’m reading it’s his choices with her that are jumping out the most. Well, I think that the Lannister siblings ride the ironic ‘sweet sister/brother’ thing to death pretty quickly, I really wish they’d stop. 
 

Now I’ve always thought that Sansa was kind of screwed over by more or less being a fairly ordinary teen reacting in fairly understandable ways in crisis who happens to be in a family of remarkably precocious children who do extraordinarily things in crisis, but this is my first reading since finding out about the outline and imo it’s showing more than I expected. I just don’t see any other point of having her forget about her screaming best friend or being annoyed that her friend was bothered by watching violent death…I don’t see an author’s intention in including stuff like that if it’s not to distance her from the readers somewhat too. 
 

The Jon/Arya ship, eh, I generally stay away from shipping, partly because for me platonic love gets a raw deal in fiction generally, and the need to have any 2 characters who bond become romantic is imo lazy, boring and unrealistic. I cherish the examples that don’t go there and that’s imo pretty much where shipping always goes, to fill what they see as a lack/void/something that needs explaining to not happen, so I am not surprised to miss any foundations for Jon + sibling. 
 

King Jamie is still possible as of this point in the reading except for the fact that it seems to me Jaime gets to see a lot of kinging up close and does not seem to think it would be anything but an annoying/boring chore. Kinda like Robert, though I think Jaime…well, most characters really…has a lot more going on upstairs than Bobby B ever did. At this point to credibly slide Jaime into the ‘kill everyone for the power’ mode he or someone he cares about would have to be directly threatened by his not taking control, or I suppose he could go on a revenge/Robb style campaign to right wrongs done to his people, but just to be king? Hard to say here, and harder to remove what I know of him from later seeing inside his head. So, dunno, call that one undecided. 
 
In general the outline sounded batshit and unappealing, but I think a bullet point version of the story we do get (or most fantasy novels for that matter) would probably sound ridiculous; Martin’s writing is what makes it come to life and be credible. So I don’t assume there’s anything in the outline he couldn’t make at least kinda work. And therefore I don’t think any of the ideas are illegitimate or somehow detract from the characters we do get. And if Sansa were to have been written as a villain, that would not mean Martin would write her as flat and without redeeming qualities; Tyrion is after all possibly his most beloved character, and he’s a villain. Sansa never really grabbed me…she’s getting more interesting recently imo by ~ burying her own personality under what LF seems to want…but a lot of posters whose opinion I respect love her, so it’s probably something I’m missing. 

2 hours ago, Nevets said:

Sansa's going to Cersei appears to be something of a holdover from the betrayal idea.  Certainly, by the end of AGOT there is no chance Sansa will marry Joffrey willingly or have anything else to do with the Lannisters.  That becomes even more apparent during the course of ACOK.

The outline mentions 5 main characters.  I think this was actually the case in the beginning.  At some point, probably during ACOK, he added Sansa to that list, so we have 6 main characters now.  At this point, Sansa is pretty much equal in importance to her siblings, plus Tyrion and Daenerys, and definitely more important than Jaime, Cersei, or Theon.

 

Sorry, above was partially meant in response to yours. Sansa specific, your guesstimation lines up with what I’m reading as above, and your point about the number of main characters is a great one, not sure I knew that before, thanks a lot. 

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22 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

being annoyed that her friend was bothered by watching violent death…

I didn't get the impression that she was annoyed Jeyne was bothered, more that she let it show she was bothered, and didn't maintain composure like a 'proper lady'. As for not feeling anything, that may be because she was a bit shocked.

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16 hours ago, James Arryn said:

Tangential, and quite likely impossible even for George to answer with certainty, but book 1 at least seems to still be ~ heading us towards some of the conclusions from the original submitted draft, and I was wondering if we knew even roughly when the choices to deviate took hold. Like when exactly was Jon & Arya dropped? Was book 1/betrayal of Ned etc. still laying the tracks for Sansa to be the family villain, or had he already decided that she would be heading down a slightly different path? King Jaime? Etc. Again, I realize this is probably unknowable, unless it’s something categorical like ‘he’d scrapped all those ideas before page 1’ or similar. 

By the time of that 1993 November outline, GRRM had written at least 13 chapters, which were attached to the outline and sent along with it (as it says in the outline).

Those 13 chapters are the first 13 chapters in the published book and they are pretty much the same, except minor differences.

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GRRM said the show and books have separate canons. He emphasized the point with the question about the number of children Scarlett O'Hara had. The answer is different, depending on whether you're reading the novel or watching the movie, but both answers are right because the novel and the movie have separate canons. In my opinion we should not treat anything from the show canon as book canon, regardless of who wrote it. Of course there are some similarities as the show is based on the books, but even in instances where the show and books absolutely agree, they remain scenes and chapters of stories with separate canons.

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11 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

I didn't get the impression that she was annoyed Jeyne was bothered, more that she let it show she was bothered, and didn't maintain composure like a 'proper lady'. As for not feeling anything, that may be because she was a bit shocked.

Oh, I think it’s all understandable in isolation and understandable full stop if not for the author hammering the same point differently…he starts Sansa off in this chapter whispering ‘it’s even better than the songs’ which, like the ‘sweet sister/brother’ Lannister is something the character references waaay too much and has to uphold some point beyond mentioning the first half dozen or so times to give us the impression she’s ~ a romantic.

Then he ends the long description of Hugh’s gory death*, her long internal discussion about not feeling anything except a strange fascination with the sight, mentions Jeyne being taken off because she’s made of weaker stuff, then a long and detailed description of several other dashing knights and the Cleganes, et al (I don’t actually give this too much weight as she’s also there to be our eyes) and wishing the Antifa guy would…I kid, I kid, even a completely villainous Sansa would still be much more admirable than that asshat…and then ends a para with this:

“By then Septa Mordane had returned, alone. Jeyne had been feeling ill, she explained; she had helped her back to the castle. Sansa had almost forgotten about Jeyne.”

If that’s all just about her being shocked, he’s overkilling it in the extreme, and again I think he can choose ways to show that that don’t make Sansa appear so egocentric and possible early hints of the kind of sociopathy his villains seem to often have. Not saying this alone shows that…again I think her reactions in isolation make sense and take away the author’s motivation it makes sense altogether for a, what, 12 year old girl? And if only her siblings, even the younger ones, didn’t show more maturity/less egocentricity (Rickon aside on the last, but he’s 4?) it would not jump out as much. This is imo actually less about Sansa than about George, who repeatedly shows his worse characters having the same kind of detachment about people and events around them as as early sign of where they’re headed. Anyways, tangent, but yeah i think George is wise enough to know how repeatedly hitting us with the same point, in pretty quick succession, will affect many readers and would have conveyed shock with a much more benign/less unsympathetic illustration. And again, the way Septa Morgane had to inform her about where she had been why is also a hint of either self-absorption or…detachment? I’m ending every other paragraph with a fucking question?
 

@Mithras has pointed out that he had already submitted 13 chapters with the outline that went in ~ unchanged, so assuming that’s accurate it’s imo at least possible if not probable that he was at least still open to that path when writing another dozen chapters later…though admittedly with George time:chapters is a relationship we none of us fully comprehend, so…?
 

*during which, I just noticed for the first time as well as I can remember, there’s this bit about a ‘a bright streak of fire ran down his outstretched arm, as the steel caught the light. Then the sun went behind a cloud, and it was gone.’ I always must have assumed that was just dramatic writing, but now knowing George’s known (or at least projected) rep for those kinds of images being very symbolic or evidence of intrigue or magic or w/e, wondered if anyone has ever done anything on this one. Not me, my best guess is the banal obvious.

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2 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

Oh, I think it’s all understandable in isolation and understandable full stop if not for the author hammering the same point differently…he starts Sansa off in this chapter whispering ‘it’s even better than the songs’ which, like the ‘sweet sister/brother’ Lannister is something the character references waaay too much and has to uphold some point beyond mentioning the first half dozen or so times to give us the impression she’s ~ a romantic.

Then he ends the long description of Hugh’s gory death, her long internal discussion about not feeling anything except a strange fascination with the sight, mentions Jeyne being taken off because she’s made of weaker stuff, then a long and detailed description of several other dashing knights and the Cleganes, et al (I don’t actually give this too much weight as she’s also there to be our eyes) and wishing the Antifa guy would…I kid, I kid, even a completely villainous Sansa would still be much more admirable than that asshat…and then ends a para with this:

“By then Septa Mordane had returned, alone. Jeyne had been feeling ill, she explained; she had helped her back to the castle. Sansa had almost forgotten about Jeyne.”

If that’s all just about her being shocked, he’s overkilling it in the extreme, and again I think he can choose ways to show that that don’t make Sansa appear so egocentric and possible early hints of the kind of sociopathy his villains seem to often have. Not saying this alone shows that…again I think her reactions in isolation make sense and take away the author’s motivation it makes sense altogether for a, what, 12 year old girl? And if only her siblings, even the younger ones, didn’t show more maturity/less egocentricity (Rickon aside on the last, but he’s 4?) it would not jump out as much. This is imo actually less about Sansa than about George, who repeatedly shows his worse characters having the same kind of detachment about people and events around them as as early sign of where they’re headed. Anyways, tangent, but yeah i think George is wise enough to know how repeatedly hitting us with the same point, in pretty quick succession, will affect many readers and would have conveyed shock with a much more benign/less unsympathetic illustration. And again, the way Septa Morgane had to inform her about where she had been why is also a hint of either self-absorption or…detachment? I’m ending every other paragraph with a fucking question?
 

@Mithras has pointed out that he had already submitted 13 chapters with the outline that went in ~ unchanged, so assuming that’s accurate it’s imo at least possible if not probable that he was at least still open to that path when writing another dozen chapters later…though admittedly with George time:chapters is a relationship we none of us fully comprehend, so…?
 

 

I mean when you put it in context like that then it makes sense, but that bit never stuck out when I was reading it as being an indication of the abandoned villain path for Sansa. What I got the sense of when reading the first book was the abandoned more villainous role for Jaime, and the whole warden of the West/East thing which was never important again.

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20 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

I mean when you put it in context like that then it makes sense, but that bit never stuck out when I was reading it as being an indication of the abandoned villain path for Sansa. What I got the sense of when reading the first book was the abandoned more villainous role for Jaime, and the whole warden of the West/East thing which was never important again.

Yeah, the Warden thing, great point, I keep forgetting its potential significance because the idea sounded pretty devoid of reasoning even for Robert. 
 

As for the Sansa bit, though it probably helped cool me on her, I too never saw it as indicating villainy, more just selfish pettiness and, you know, teen stuff. This is my first read since that outline was published and I was not consciously looking for any indications, and the ~ offness of Sansa’s chapters was hitting me for a while before I even remembered the outline and realized I had no idea when that stuff was scrapped, so starting paying closer attention and it kept jumping out. Doesn’t mean I’m right, doesn’t even mean THAT much even if I am, in that he’s clearly not writing that storyline anymore. It’s just kind of interesting forensically, in terms of what he was thinking at different stages and how he bridged the gaps.

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8 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

Yeah, the Warden thing, great point, I keep forgetting its potential significance because the idea sounded pretty devoid of reasoning even for Robert. 

I wonder what it was going to be used for. I think in the original plan Drogo didn't die quite so early, also Jaime was way more power hungry.

9 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

It’s just kind of interesting forensically, in terms of what he was thinking at different stages and how he bridged the gaps.

Yes.

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4 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

GRRM said the show and books have separate canons. He emphasized the point with the question about the number of children Scarlett O'Hara had. The answer is different, depending on whether you're reading the novel or watching the movie, but both answers are right because the novel and the movie have separate canons. In my opinion we should not treat anything from the show canon as book canon, regardless of who wrote it. Of course there are some similarities as the show is based on the books, but even in instances where the show and books absolutely agree, they remain scenes and chapters of stories with separate canons.

I think canon here refers to plot points right? I agree the two mediums diverge and are separate in this area. But plot is only a fraction of what a book is made of. I’m more interested in symbolism and language - things ‘outside’ the main plot. So I guess my question is still the same, but let’s narrow it down to ‘non-plot points’ so we avoid worrying about canon:-
 

“Should we view GRRM material as being equally worthy of analysis, regardless of what medium it falls under, when it comes to symbolism and language clues?”

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1 hour ago, Sandy Clegg said:

“Should we view GRRM material as being equally worthy of analysis, regardless of what medium it falls under, when it comes to symbolism and language clues?”

Depends on the medium.

Other books beside the main series, yes because they inhabit the same universe.

GRRM talking (or writhing) about the books, yes but with caution because he could change his mind on anything not on the pages of a book.

The shows, no as an adaptation they inhabit a separate universe, don't get me wrong they are part of the same multiverse and thus very similar, but ultimately to many other people besides GRRM get to tinker with the material and change and mold things to there ideas. As such even the language and symbolism is suspect because we can not be sure it came from George.

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On 5/4/2023 at 7:32 AM, sifth said:

If we ever get the novel, think there will be bleed over from the show. For example we are getting a “hold the door” moment. 

See, that bit of D&D commentary at the end of that episode should be treated here like a SSM. So, yes, we know that's the fate. But even SSMs and the like are not canonical until they are published in the books or the ancillary stories. (Even advance chapters are not canon since they haven't been published.)  So, we don't know which door or when. 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean
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50 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

See, that bit of D&D commentary at the end of that episode should be treated here like a SSM. So, yes, we know that's the fate. But even SSMs and the like are not canonical until they are published in the books or the ancillary stories. (Even advance chapters are not canon since they haven't been published.)  So, we don't know which door or when. 

Just saying treating the show as fan fiction is just silly. D&D worked with GRRM and he told them his story. 

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1 minute ago, sifth said:

Just saying treating the show as fan fiction is just silly. D&D worked with GRRM and he told them his story. 

Yes, Martin did tell them everything or close enough afaik. And then the showrunners went, 

“Nah, our genius ideas are so much better!”, and proceeded to chuck everything Martin gave them in a bin and set it on fire. :lol:

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1 hour ago, direpupy said:

many other people besides GRRM get to tinker with the material and change and mold things to there ideas. As such even the language and symbolism is suspect because we can not be sure it came from George.

I think in many ways this actually plays into George's hands, as he is able to have some plausible deniability, i.e. lay some groundwork or foreshadowing with some dialogue/symbolism, but the fact that we are unable to prove came from him means he kind of keeps us on our toes. I mean, it's not like he wants anything to be spoiled for future books, but I think he does like to gently steer us towards ways of interpreting the texts that might be useful.

He has to thread a line, and the muddy waters of authorship  - in terms of the show - do help him in that regard. I just feel like it's a topic that merits a lot more investigating.

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1 hour ago, Sandy Clegg said:

I just feel like it's a topic that merits a lot more investigating.

I personally don't, i mean no offence but i think its a waste of time. Anything that he put in the show will if important be in the books, and with the real involvement ending after season 4 the show does not really cover any of the books to come, certainly not in regard to any hidden messages from George since he was no longer writhing for the show when they got to that point.

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