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[Pre-ADwD Spoilers] Prologue - Spoilers for ADwD

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I thought the same in that last point, TFM. means that even warging to spy on the Others will carry the same perils as going 'in person', so to speak.

I did find it interesting that Haggen uses the specific phrase "all men must die", too. Ancient tie to the FM, or a common source for both beliefs? Or just coincidence? (Is there ever really coincidence in GRRM's writing?)

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I thought the same in that last point, TFM. means that even warging to spy on the Others will carry the same perils as going 'in person', so to speak.

I did find it interesting that Haggen uses the specific phrase "all men must die", too. Ancient tie to the FM, or a common source for both beliefs? Or just coincidence? (Is there ever really coincidence in GRRM's writing?)

Well, it's not necessarily a Faceless Man phrase originally, right? Oberyn (I think) refers to it as an old Valyrian saying.

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This is going to sound silly or insanely hopeful. Does this say he's getting close that he's willing to reveal the preview chapter? I don't recall him doing this before.

I'm still working my way through this to see if there is anything I can add so if someone has already answered I apologize, but...no. I really don't think so. He is so obviously frustrated with this chapter, I can't see him releasing anything unless he decides to get away from it to work on something else for awhile.

We did try to let him know what we felt worked, didn't work, and where we got lost because he did seem in some ways to really want a fresh perspective. I hope we were able to help him some. There are parts of it that were still a little disjointed, but it felt like he was so close to getting it he could almost touch it, if you know what I mean.

As we all agreed at the con, even a crap book from Martin is going to be better than the best of some other writers, but he's going to release nothing until he's happy with it. Bless him!

I wouldn't hold on for another preview just yet.

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I thought the same in that last point, TFM. means that even warging to spy on the Others will carry the same perils as going 'in person', so to speak.

I did find it interesting that Haggen uses the specific phrase "all men must die", too. Ancient tie to the FM, or a common source for both beliefs? Or just coincidence? (Is there ever really coincidence in GRRM's writing?)

I don't know about a coincidence here...his reading is almost hypnotic he really puts you in there. That was something I don't think any of us picked up over the weekend. If you keep in mind that when warging you are essentially taking over the intellect of an innocent being, warging into a person to avoid your own death you are essentially killing that other person. I think in this case it just means that you must accept your own death and not warg to live eternally, which he reinforces with the idea that dogs are the easiest because it is like a marriage between the two with both parties accepting the arrangement while the bear hated him and despised having him warg into her and would have killed him had she been given an opportunity. So....taking over another person would be a violent action, like the rape he was talking about, but it would go on the length of the life of that body.

That's really, really nasty when you think about it like that! **Shudders**

Maybe it is a harken back to past events that we don't know about, though. Maybe this had happened before with drastically bad results and so this lives on in legend. I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts on this. George did mention at one point that part of what he wanted to convey was the legends about skin-changing, there may be more to this than meets the eye initially. Wouldn't be the first time he'd done that to us!

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I'm still working my way through this to see if there is anything I can add so if someone has already answered I apologize, but...no. I really don't think so. He is so obviously frustrated with this chapter, I can't see him releasing anything unless he decides to get away from it to work on something else for awhile.
This might very well be the troublesome chapter he was talking about in his livejournal entry. A lot off people had been speculating that the chapter he'd just "finished" resolved the Davos question in FFC.

I'm not at all sure whether this is good news or bad. The fact that he's really glad he may have just finished the.. uhh.. prologue.. is sort of disheartening on its face, you know? At the same time, the prologue is disconnected from almost all the other plot threads in the book, so he may have gotten a lot done with the main narrative and gone back to finish up stuff that was bothering him. No real way to tell.

Thank you all for transcribing. That chapter sounds like its going to be a really interesting read.

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GRRM clearly considers the prologues extremely important. The AFfC prologue went through a lot of rewrites as well, as he tried using different POVs. I can certainly see this one being very important in his mind, because it seems aimed at setting the tone for a significant chunk of the book.

He doesn't work in linear fashion, in any case, so his completing the prologue doesn't mean much of anything regarding the state of the rest of the novel. I suspect the main reason he read it was to see how an audience responded to it, and if it needed any more tweaking (IIRC, on one occasion while reading a Cersei chapter pre-AFfC publication, he stopped for a moment and made some marks with a pencil before continuing on -- revising as he read, as it were)

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That's awesome info. Thanks for taking copious notes guys. I have to say I just skimmed through the actual prologue description since I dont quite want to ruin the reading of the actual book, but it does look quite comprehensive.

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There was a real good discussion during the Q & A about his writing style. He described his writing as mosaic, the same way as the Wildcard novels are with the different authors and characters. It's complicated to include the other POV characters stories entwined with one particular story. He described while writing ASoS that he realized he had started a whole bunch of chapters with ravens arriving and had to go back and rewrite all of them.

Also, his MO is to end with an "act break" sort of a dramatic ending to the chapter. He talked of having real difficulty finding the right one with the prologue.

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- It seems to me that Stannis' intervention at the Wall is ultimately going to hurt the cause of the Night's Watch. Nobody was thinking in these terms, but it seems like really, the imperative for both sides is to make sure that the wildlings get south of the Wall. Instead, Stannis' victory left a hundred wildling bands, and as one after another is taken piecemeal by the Others the wight army grows to gigantic proportions. If there's a Great Other, he now has tens of thousands of new servants, which clearly nobody wants. In hindsight, Stannis should have made a serious effort to deal with the wildlings before he attacked, even if he lost the element of surprise.

First of all, thanks to all who posted synopses. You are feeding my ASOIAF jones.

I must disagree with TFM here. There really was no dealing with Mance Rayder; he was too arrogant and Stannis would have asked too much (i.e. submission to Baratheon rule). I suspect that if Stannis had merely reinforced the Wall and made it impossible for the wildlings to take it, Mance would either have gone with his boat idea or simply blown the Horn of Joramun (for whatever that's worth). Instead, Stannis used the element of surprise while he had it and achieved a solid victory that put him in a much better position to deal. The wildlings are scattered and demoralized, and in my view far more willing to come to terms than they were when the King Beyond the Wall led them.

As to the increased numbers of wights...well, that's a problem, isn't it? However, I'd rather fight mindless zombies than human beings who can think and plan, particularly when I'm fighting from a near-impenetrable wall more than seven hundred feet high. The wildlings could use tricks and try alternate solutions, whereas the wights will merely hurl themselves heedlessly against the defenses of the Night's Watch. (The Others are a different matter entirely, but there seem to be far fewer of them, and they'd be a problem in any case.) Personally, I like my enemies stupid, and that's what the wights are.

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GRRM clearly considers the prologues extremely important. The AFfC prologue went through a lot of rewrites as well, as he tried using different POVs. I can certainly see this one being very important in his mind, because it seems aimed at setting the tone for a significant chunk of the book.

He doesn't work in linear fashion, in any case, so his completing the prologue doesn't mean much of anything regarding the state of the rest of the novel. I suspect the main reason he read it was to see how an audience responded to it, and if it needed any more tweaking (IIRC, on one occasion while reading a Cersei chapter pre-AFfC publication, he stopped for a moment and made some marks with a pencil before continuing on -- revising as he read, as it were)

Yes, this is exactly true. He even mentioned that he was partly choosing to read this chapter because he wanted to read it outlioud again and get a reaction. He did stop and make notes and whatnot. Not significant lapses, but there was definitely scribbling going on. You could tell easily what he liked and what he didn't, sometimes he'd even make pained faces. We tried to offer as much feedback as we could because the poor thing is obviously tortured about this chapter right now.

And yes, just to reiterate, he doesn't work linearly, but tends to get on a particular POV tangent. I think there is a significantly larger part of the book done that this suggests.

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As to the increased numbers of wights...well, that's a problem, isn't it? However, I'd rather fight mindless zombies than human beings who can think and plan, particularly when I'm fighting from a near-impenetrable wall more than seven hundred feet high. The wildlings could use tricks and try alternate solutions, whereas the wights will merely hurl themselves heedlessly against the defenses of the Night's Watch. (The Others are a different matter entirely, but there seem to be far fewer of them, and they'd be a problem in any case.) Personally, I like my enemies stupid, and that's what the wights are.

If it was just the wights, there wouldn't be a problem. However, the Others appear to have complete control over them, and they appear to be smart enough to avoid throwing wights at an impenetrable target. After all, they haven't attacked the wall yet. Why would they start now, while it's still standing? From what we've seen, the Others use wights to eliminate living men who happen to be convenient targets, creating more wights. The only thing close to a siege we saw them mount was at the Fist of the First Men, and Mance said that the defenses that the NW had set up would have thwarted him for a while, but were useless against the dead. The Others are smart enough to pick their targets.

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Ah...a few more spoilerific tidbits.

At the Q & A, I had asked whether there has been any influence by the Seven on the POV characters similar as to the Old Gods on the Stark children; the direwolves, Arya's talk with Ned in Harrenhal's godswood. He asked me back, "well, what do you think?"

I said "yes." He said it was up to the reader to decide but reiterated that the gods would make no appearence.

All of ths came about from previous discussions on a theory (not mine) that the Seven have individual champions. Doing a re-read there have either been subtle hint or just coincidences in the writing to make you wonder. ;) Guesses:

The Mother: Dany

The Father: Davos

The Crone: Catelyn

The Maid: Brienne

The Warrior: Jaime

The Smith: Gendry, Tyrion?

The Stranger: Sandor

After the question, GRRM did talk a bit about religion in his world and the sometime drawbacks to it. He then quoted Tyrion who makes a jape somewhere along his journeys in ADwD about liking fat priests who lounge around, eat sweet meats and diddle little boys. It's the ones who actually BELIEVE in Gods that cause trouble! :lol:;)

ETA: typos and clarified a point.

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I don't want to read any spoilers pertaining to the chapter itself (so I haven't read about all of this thread)- but damn, thats a badass POV choice and I'm looking forward to this prologue quite a lot.

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I'd like to add my appreciation for all those reporting on the reading and news from ICJ. Nice work and thanks for making my day.

WOW! What an incredible choice of a prologue POV.

I thought things would be bad beyond the Wall in DwD, but the fact that we're seeing just how bad it really is from the very beginning is important. And things are going to get worse.

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I also wanted to thank those who took the time to post their notes about the Prologue.

Wow. I was hoping for a beyond-the-wall prologue, but that exceeds my expectations. Great information about skinchaners & warging - it sounds much more complex than I originally envisioned.

Things are really taking a turn for the worse north of the Wall. I don't know how far north the wildings were able to go after the battle (i.e., was this event within a couple days of the Stannis rout?) but it sounds like the better part of the area north of the wall is infested with wights and (presumably) Others. Maybe the possibility of some sort of unified stand against the Wall by the end of ADWD isn't unrealistic.

It sounds like Bran & Co. are wandering around in the midst of all this. I am curious to see just how they are able to avoid being seen or wight-ified.

This "second life" seems to reinforce the fact that what we saw with some of Orell's consciousness bleeding into his eagle upon his death was in fact the norm, and also makes me wonder again about Mormont's raven.

As far as spoiler chapters go, this was by far the best I've read (or, rather, read the synopisis of). After the AFFC wait I refused to get excited about another installment in this series until it's been announced as finished by the Man himself. But damned if this doesn't have me as giddy as a fanboy in anticipation.

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This "second life" seems to reinforce the fact that what we saw with some of Orell's consciousness bleeding into his eagle upon his death was in fact the norm, and also makes me wonder again about Mormont's raven.

We felt him out about this. We got no where.

In fact, he chuckled.

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If it was just the wights, there wouldn't be a problem. However, the Others appear to have complete control over them, and they appear to be smart enough to avoid throwing wights at an impenetrable target. After all, they haven't attacked the wall yet. Why would they start now, while it's still standing?

Well, that just reinforces my point. The wights (as you seem to assert) won't assault the Wall. The wildlings will. That to me makes the wildlings the more immediate threat, and the one Stannis seems to have dealt with, at least for now.

Obviously, even if the wildlings all agree to bend the knee that won't exactly usher in a northern age of security. They'll chafe under King Stannis' rule, cause problems, the northmen won't like it, etc., but sometimes you have to solve problems in pieces. Stannis has solved the piece called Mance Rayder, and now he'll work on solving the piece called Blue-eyed Demons from the Wintry North.

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