Cogman talks writing; Drogon’s all grown up; HBO holds fans to their word

Bryan CogmanPart of Game of Thrones since the beginning and a favorite of the fans, Bryan Cogman opens up about his writing process in a new interview with the New York Observer.

The interview is very in-depth about the writing (I recommend reading the entire piece) so here are some of the highlights-

On being a writer and a producer:

When we’re shooting, I’m in producer mode. We shoot two units simultaneously at all times so I generally cover the set David and Dan aren’t on, working with the directors, giving notes as needed, advising on anything story-related—basically making sure the story being told is the story we hammered out in the writers’ room. When we’re in post-production, I’m not really involved apart from giving my own notes on cuts of the episodes. By that time I’m focused on the writing of the next season.


On reaching the end of George RR Martin’s ASOIAF material:

Well, I think, in the first couple of years, it was really just about getting each season right and hoping people would watch. By the time we got to planning out and shooting Seasons 3 and 4, David and Dan started really thinking about the overall shape of the series, since we knew we were going to be able to see this thing through. In the end, the show has to go at its own pace and George has to write the books at his own pace. He and D&D are obviously in close communication the whole time about both. But the show is its own thing, as it has to be.

On going off-book:

Well, I think at this point, we do have great responsibility to the viewing audience, whether they’ve read the books or not, to try to produce 10 hours of outstanding television. All sorts of factors go into why a particular subplot, character, story beat, etc. might differ from the books. Again, it’s all tackled and debated on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, it always has to come down to what David and Dan feel is best for the show.

Check out the rest of the interview at the New York Observer!

 

Drogon

The New York Daily News unveiled this new look at Drogon in season 5 of Game of Thrones. Looks like Dany’s baby dragon really is all grown up! For a closer look at Drogon and the rest of the NY Daily News‘ GoT Advent Calendar, hop on over to their website for pics and interviews.

And in questionable marketing tactic news:

HBO is apparently holding people to their word. According to EW, the official HBO Twitter has begun tweeting at fans who said on Twitter a few years ago that they wanted a standalone HBOGo service. The fans started the hashtag “#takemymoneyHBO” and now that HBO Now is a thing, the network is chasing down those fans to see if they’re interested. That’s…one way to go about it, I suppose.

129 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Tbh Drogon doesn’t look that big in this picture. I can’t really tell the difference between his appearance last year and this year, but hopefully that’s not the case.

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    2. Drogon’s looking brilliant there.

      And count me as one of the apparent few not at all concerned about finishing the series on TV instead of in print. I’ll trust the writers and directors since they’ve done such a wonderful job so far. Sure, I would have preferred a few things done differently, but…who knows if what I envision could have worked anyway. Maybe they tried some things closer to how I would have liked, and the results weren’t as good as what they ultimately choose. That’s what I try to keep in mind.

      Considering they’re not slowing down to wait for Mr Martin, but keeping a tight pace through a couple of travelogue novels, I’ll have faith these guys will stay with the spirit of the text while keeping the TV-only crowd happy as well. It’s somewhat disappointing that we’ll apparently get much less IronIslands, but I’m guessing that’s been cut because they’ve been told it won’t matter to the endgame. I can lose filler, even fantastic pirate filler.

      Bryan, Dan, and David have earned my trust. Full speed ahead.

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    3. I wonder, of all those hashtagging people HBO chase down to see if they’re interested in using the service, how many will say “Well I can’t, because I don’t live in the United States. Thanks”.

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    4. Hah! Fully grown Drogon? No way. Balerion and Vhagar are scoffing loudly. They took shits that are larger than this youngster.

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    5. Huh, you guys like this dragon WAY more than I do. I mean – that looks like a humanoid poop monster had an ice crystal baby. I don’t see a trace of a “dragon”. Here’s hoping wings distract from that mug…

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    6. I’m liking Drogon’s look. Can’t wait to see him in action.

      I’ll be worried on season 6 or 7. Will the dragons croak? Hopefully not.

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    7. Hodor’s Bastard:
      Hah! Fully grown Drogon? No way. Balerion and Vhagar are scoffing loudly. They took shits that are larger than this youngster.

      What I would give just find out what color Vhagar is. Geez GRRM just let us know already :/

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    8. Is it me or does Drogon look off?

      Too humanish, maybe? That looks like a model from a low budget 80’s/90’s movie.

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    9. Ohh poor baby dragon looks like he was hurt. Are these bloody scratches at his – ahem – upper lip and chin? Look how small his head still is in comparison to Dany’s hand. <3

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    10. Turncloak,

      It’s funny that the wiki even notes that no one knows what color Vhagar’s flame was! I didn’t realize that there was a difference in a dragon’s flame color. Were some dragons hotter than others or had a different chemical composition to their flammable saliva? 🙂

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    11. Yung Wolf,

      The dragon doesent look bad of at all
      ( He looked much better in the trailers)

      but the photo that was taken looks like someone took a picture of a Drogon poster and then posted it online.

      Hopefully HBO releases an Official high quality image of the dragons

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    12. THIS LOOKS LIKE DRACO FROM DRAGONHEART … As for the size its sad I thought he would grow bigger this makes him the same size as the Hungarian horntail from Harry potter and the goblet of fire …

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    13. Sansa’s Knight,

      This is from episode 4, when Drogon will visit Dany at the top of the now Harpy-less pyramid, but will refuse her as his mother and fly away. He’ll probably grow bigger by his return at Daznak, which is in episode 9, just as he did between 4×01 and 4×06.

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    14. minty:
      Ohh poor baby dragon looks like he was hurt. Are these bloody scratches at his – ahem – upper lip and chin? Look how small his head still is in comparison to Dany’s hand. <3

      Maybe someone he ate disagreed with him.

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    15. You guys should see the photo from another perspective.
      What if his face was a bit further from her hand? As you can see he’s sitting on top of the pyramid .

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    16. Waxfoot:
      I can’t believe they recast Drogon! This is the final straw D&D!

      Word on the street is that the previous Drogon decided he wanted to direct (that’s not original BTW – 20 years or so ago at the time of the original Jurassic Park a UK newspaper had a cartoon of a couple of dinosaurs chatting and one (in his word bubble) “I enjoyed making Jurassic Park but next time I’d like to direct”.

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    17. GRRM determined to finish Winds by the end of the year! From the EW (a Hibberd article):

      http://www.ew.com/article/2015/04/03/george-rr-martin-winds-date

      This particular passage caught my eye:

      In one intriguing new wrinkle, Martin says he just came up with a big, revealing twist on a long-time character that he never previously considered. “This is going to drive your readers crazy,” he teases, “but I love it. I’m still weighing whether to go that direction or not. It’s a great twist. It’s easy to do things that are shocking or unexpected, but they have to grow out of characters. They have to grow out of situations. Otherwise, it’s just being shocking for being shocking. But this is something that seems very organic and natural, and I could see how it would happen. And with the various three, four characters involved… it all makes sense. But it’s nothing I’ve ever thought of before. And it’s nothing they can do in the show, because the show has already—on this particular character—made a couple decisions that will preclude it, where in my case I have not made those decisions.”

      Hmm… I wonder who is that “long-time character”?

      Also, this:

      Looking back, Martin says his one regret is not plowing ahead into Winds after finishing 2011’s A Dance with Dragons. “I was red hot on the book and I put it aside for six months” he says. “I was so into it.[…]”

      Yeah right, “six months”… more like “3 years”… FINISH THE BOOK George!

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    18. I just re-read the article and I am getting angry.

      “But with the upcoming fifth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones expected to catch up to many of the storylines in his A Song of Ice and Fire saga, the author has started telling himself: You know what? It’s really time to finish that book…

      What, only now has the sense of urgency been awaken in Martin? Only now he “really” tries to finish the book? What about all these past years?

      And the “new twist”, on a second thought, it seems a like low blow towards the show to prove his point about the “butterfly effect”. Not long ago Martin declared that all the plots details for Winds were already set in his mind, he just needs to put them on paper…Was that a lie? Don’t change things now George, just finish the books already. You owe it to you fans…And stop getting involved in other projects, Captain Cosmos!

      I need to chill…

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    19. Patchface,

      Yes, chill. It’s hard, we’re all there. But – random stranger to you that wrote some books does not OWE you stuff. Most of the money I gave GRRM for writing was 10 years ago. So… I think he spent it a while ago, and I didn’t Kickstarter him or anything for the next one.

      Go read some Naomi Novik or sumthin for bit?

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    20. Lady Wolfsbane,

      If George didn’t want people asking for the next book he shouldn’t have made the books a series. It is completely reasonable to expect someone to finish a book in 5 years.

      I can’t help but notice that you don’t get this entitlement accusation shit as much with any other author. Is it because everyone is on Neil Gaiman’s dick?

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    21. Lady Wolfsbane,

      I am chilling, but he does OWE a great deal to fans… it’s not about money, it’s a moral responsibility… Just like George has the moral right to be acknowledged as the author of the books even after copyright will expire, fans have the moral right to know how this story ends… It’s not everything about money, sometimes it is just about what is right thing to do…and the right thing to do is for him to finish the books…

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    22. Patchface,

      Long time character is most likely Jaime. He fits the requirements
      1) Interacts with several other characters storyline

      (Brienne, Stoneheart, Sansa)

      2) The show has taken decisions that make them using this twist impossible

      (No Stoneheart, Jaime is in Dorne, No Riverlands arc for Jaime)

      3) Long time character from the beginning

      (Jaime was in AGOT)

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    23. Patchface,
      Yivo,

      Moral responsibility, entitlement, expectation and rights. K… never mind then, good luck with that – I’m sure that will play to an author’s sympathies. It’s a niche book of fiction last time I checked…

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    24. Here’s an interview with the VFX guys about Drogon this year, it’s from the latest TV Guide magazine, I haven’t read all the GoT stuff in it yet, if I find anything else worth posting I will: http://i.imgur.com/IVH2003.png

      It looks like Drogon is 20% bigger than his brothers, I was expecting more, also:

      In Season 5, we’ll see more of Drogon’s emotional range. “Drogon gets to perform more this year than ever and have more complex interactions with Dany,” Bauer says. As long as she doesn’t stand too close

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    25. “Game of Thrones reportedly cost at least $8 million per episode this season—money well spent, according to Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president of programming. “The needs of the storytelling drive the budget,” he says. “This show opened my eyes to what quality TV needs to look like. I’m not a genre or sci-fi geek, but I’m a geek for great writing.”

      Makes me wonder how much did the last 3 episodes cost!

      Hopefully HBO gave D&D enough movie to make out of Daznak’s one of the most spectacular sequence in television history.

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    26. Lady Wolfsbane:
      Patchface,
      Yivo,

      Moral responsibility, entitlement, expectation and rights. K… never mind then, good luck with that – I’m sure that will play to an author’s sympathies. It’s a niche book of fiction last time I checked…

      Again, you misunderstood… I was not appealing or looking for George’s sympathy… As a fan, I just feel betrayed by George’s lack of urgency all these years. It’s one thing to be a slow writer, and an entirely different thing to not care enough to devote significant time to writing the books. By his statements, only now he is “really” focused to finish the book (just winds, not the entire series, mind you). It seems he just does not care…or he has more important things to do…which makes me sad and a bit bellicose…

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    27. Lady Wolfsbane,

      If George was writing for his own pleasure and not treating his work as commerce, then there would be no obligation on his part to anyone but himself.

      But seeing as he is putting his work out to the public for purchase and making money off the endeavour, the readers are consumers and customers. And customers do have some form of rights and expectations.

      If you are an author who writes books that have a self-contained story, then your customers tend to be willing to wait until you are ready to produce a new story. However, when you have a serialized story that you are releasing in periodic volumes, then there is an implied contract with your customers that they will continue to purchase the individual volumes under the assumption that there will be an ending provided to them in a reasonable amount of time. “Reasonable” can be a tricky term but a 7 volume series being released within a 25 year period seems like more than enough leeway to provide the author.

      If Martin had come out and announced that he was planning on ending ADwD the exact same way but he wouldn’t be writing any more volumes after that, how many people do you think would have purchased the book, knowing that the overall story would simply stop in its tracks and never be picked up again?

      No, the purchase of all of these volumes and the money Martin has made from them as a result is because of the implied contract that he’s going to finish the story he started in a reasonable time frame.

      Should people be badgering the man every moment of his life to finish the books? Of course not. But expecting him to finish the story he started is definitely reasonable and fair.

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    28. Luka Nieto,

      Yup, he looks sexy as hell. This angle works better, hehe.

      I like that they feel confident enough to have an extra scene with Drogon mid-season, makes me think they have enough money to really do justice to Daznkak’s. The season hasn’t even started and I already can’t wait for episode 9

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    29. King Tommen:
      Lady Wolfsbane,

      Should people be badgering the man every moment of his life to finish the books? Of course not. But expecting him to finish the story he started is definitely reasonable and fair.

      Couldn’t not agree more! I was actually even less demanding than you… I was merely expecting him to keep his own word and devote most of the time writing the books rather being involved in all sort of side projects. From all his statements, George seems to have three different gears:
      1. “Now I’m focused on finishing the books” (meaning, I’ll get there when I feel like),
      2. “It is important to me to finish the book soon” (meaning, I’ll move some things in my schedule)
      3. “Now I’m determined to really finish the books” (meaning, I’ll get to work)

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    30. Patchface:

      What, only now has the sense of urgency been awaken in Martin? Only now he “really” tries to finish the book? What about all these past years?

      I applaud GRRM for rethinking things. It tells us that he isn’t entirely satisfied with the current storyline, which may indicate a rationale for his lackluster energy toward completing it. Maybe the tale has grown stale in his head over the years and he needs to make it fresh again with another “Baelor” or RW…forcing himself to redirect paths taken to the endgame. Perhaps he is soul-searching and adjusting the 3rd Act while he can…something that has taken years to formulate within him and, unfortunately, in the public eye. Or maybe he is vainly attempting to make adjustments per current outside influences (the show, fan theories, etc….ugh).

      In any case, I hope it screws with whatever outline he has discussed with HBO/D&D and allows him to tell the tale that he wants to tell, legal ramifications or not.

      Or maybe he is losing his mind and full of self-doubt, possibly in denial of the coming apocalypse and desperately needing therapy.

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    31. I know I’m off-topic but am I the only one worries about the fact we still didn’t get the characters posters for season 5 ?
      I’m also concerned about the lack of any new promotional content, nothing really since the second trailer.
      Last year season 4 did get 4 trailers and 2 teasers if I remember correctly

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    32. Drogon still doesn’t look that big to me. I expected him to be larger. Maybe it is just the angle, but Rhaegal looked bigger in the trailers. Has anyone considered that

      Dany may not ride him this year?

      I’m probably crazy, but the thought has crossed my mind.

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    33. Long time character is definitely SANSA. She fits the requirements More than anyone else.

      1) Interacts with several other characters storyline
      (Mya stone, Myranda, Brienne, Stoneheart, LF, Jaime , Sandor – Tourney of Vale
      OR Dany &Tyrion, – They land at the Vale
      OR Cersei, Margery – She returns to KL Via Shadrich – war of 3 queens
      OR Aegon, Varys – mad mouse kidnap. Sansa & Aegon = R+L]

      2) The show has taken decisions that make them using this twist impossible
      (No Stoneheart, No Harry, No Mya, No Myranda, No Mad mouse,
      Sansa is in WINTERFELL, No Vale arc for Sansa)

      3) Long time character from the beginning.
      (SANSA was in AGOT AS A POV CHARACTER)

      4.GRRM Said it as soon as he published a Sansa chapter.

      5.Elio says it is most likely to be Sansa.

      6.Sansas storyline is wide open in books. In the show she heads to WF.

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    34. Beronn Stark,

      Nothing to worry, though it does suck that we didn’t get any character posters this year, I loved those. The show got to that point where it doesn’t need as much promotion as before, word of mouth is enough (+maybe some tv spots this coming week).
      I’m kinda glad now that we’re only ~1 week away from the premiere that we only got 2 trailers, makes the season more enjoyable.

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    35. Hodor’s Bastard: In any case, I hope it screws with whatever outline he has discussed with HBO/D&D and allows him to tell the tale that he wants to tell, legal ramifications or not.

      And I hope they sue his ass if he does that. He’s the one fucking HBO over by not writing the books, not the other way round.

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    36. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      I’ve had this strange feeling that they would skip Dany riding Drogon too. I know that I’ll watch episode 9 expecting Dany to not ride Drogon, this way if it happens I’ll be really happy and if it doesn’t, well I’ll be sad but not as sad/angry as most people will be.

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    37. Yivo,

      All this talk of lawsuits. So many lawyers here. You really care about that? Imo, a significant difference would only emphasize that well-overstated phrase “the books are the books and the show is the show..” Even Cogman stated it above.

      Plus, I bet he will make more money with worldwide TWoW sales than he has with HBO. If he offers an alternative that makes sense on the page, it’s a win-win situation for both he and HBO.

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    38. JON SNOW,

      I don’t think so. Sansa was always planned to be a twist character, and any new twists would not really surprise books readers at this point. Me thinks is someone else. I thought Selmy was a good candidate, but others have suggested Jojen or Jaime.

      It could be that George read that fan theory about Tyrion’s parentage and chose to incorporate it.

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    39. Yivo,

      I’m taking GRRM’s word for it that this was a new development for him. We already know that both the endgames of the show and books will be the same but these little detours are changes that are expected to be different.

      Remember, the show already chose not to include one of GRRMs crazy twist

      LS

      .

      The show keeps the spirit of the books but it is not forced to adapt every single one of GRRMs plotlines

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    40. Balerion The Cat: It looks like Drogon is 20% bigger than his brothers, I was expecting more, also:

      In Season 5, we’ll see more of Drogon’s emotional range. “Drogon gets to perform more this year than ever and have more complex interactions with Dany,” Bauer says. As long as she doesn’t stand too close

      THANK YOU! Drogon is my most favorite character, and I am so, so happy about the upcoming emotional range. I loved his “acting” after he and his siblings had roasted Pyat Pree. “Did we do good, Mommy”? So cute and innocent, a few seasons ago.

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    41. Hey guys, about yesterday’s spoilers, I know they’ve been taken down but did either of you managed to saved them somewhere?

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    42. Yivo,

      Yivo: And I hope they sue his ass if he does that. He’s the one fucking HBO over by not writing the books, not the other way round.

      At night I dream of HBO suing GURM, GURM suing HBO, and GURM’s publisher suing everybody under the sun. Sadly, I don’t see it happening. Even if someone was in breach of contract in this mess, everybody’s still making bank. No one wants to fuck with that by getting lawyers involved. That would be insane.

      And so much fun I can’t stand it.

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    43. What if Brienne runs into a certain mysterious character in the woods this season….. 🙂

      as in

      HOWLAND REED

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    44. Hodor’s Bastard: In any case, I hope it screws with whatever outline he has discussed with HBO/D&D and allows him to tell the tale that he wants to tell, legal ramifications or not.

      It is too late for GRRM to do that. An important concept from developmental biology comes to mind here: canalization.

      At this point, GRRM has 1+ books to write with an over-arching story and plot that he has had in mind for 20 years. He had much, much more flexibility at the outset than he does now. We saw that with his initial plot outline: GRRM changed a lot of stuff in that between when he presented that outline, and when he settled on the outline for the first three books. The story didn’t change (although he obviously refined it, dividing a more general story into three more specific ones for Thrones, Swords and Kings): but he modified a lot of details.

      However, those changes drastically reduced how much he could change things in the subsequent two parts and still get to the same general end. Chekhov’s Dictum becomes very pertinent here in a way that Chekhov didn’t intend (people didn’t do series then): 1) GRRM has hung a bunch of guns on the wall that need to be fired; and, 2) the guns that need to be fired should be up on the wall by now.

      At this point, GRRM has some major guns on the wall that need to be fired. For the main characters, these include:
      1) Jon’s mother
      2) Daeny’s return
      3) Arya’s training and wolves
      4) Tyrion’s familial revenge
      etc.
      For general plot, they include:
      1) The “why” of the Others
      2) The “why” of R’hllor
      3) YG’s return
      4) Resolution of the War of X Kings
      5) Restoring Starks to Winterfell.

      We know GRRM’s theory of storytelling: internal conflict where characters languish between alternative imperfect choices. This means that he’s set it up so that the lower list is leading to this sort of thing in the upper list.

      And what that means is that all GRRM can really do at this late point (probably over 5.5/7ths of the way through the narrative, probably over 6.5/7ths of the overarching plot[s], and almost certainly 100% done with the overarching story) is present different details than HBO can. It’s too late to alter the overarching story without ruining it, and it’s too late to change the overarching plot without ruining that, too. And, in a lot of ways, it’s been too late since 2000.

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    45. Turncloak: Remember, the show already chose not to include one of GRRMs crazy twist

      Well, keep in mind that if the show is going to do this, then it wouldn’t be until next year, anyway: after all, Winter will be the first story in which that twist might be pertinent!

      (I do not mean to sound like one of the “denialists,” but this is a sword that cuts both ways: GRRM screwed up by introducing this twist way too early [it should have been in the book before the twist was relevant, which means that it should have been in the closing chapters of Dragons, not Swords], and the earliest that the show could have introduced the twist is the tail end of this year: or more probably Season 6. Personally, I am in the school anticipating that the Twist is never going to amount to anything, anyway, and should be cut for that reason.)

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    46. King Bronn:
      Drogon’s looking brilliant there.

      And count me as one of the apparent few not at all concerned about finishing the series on TV instead of in print. I’ll trust the writers and directors since they’ve done such a wonderful job so far. Sure, I would have preferred a few things done differently, but…who knows if what I envision could have worked anyway. Maybe they tried some things closer to how I would have liked, and the results weren’t as good as what they ultimately choose. That’s what I try to keep in mind.

      Considering they’re not slowing down to wait for Mr Martin, but keeping a tight pace through a couple of travelogue novels, I’ll have faith these guys will stay with the spirit of the text while keeping the TV-only crowd happy as well. It’s somewhat disappointing that we’ll apparently get much less IronIslands, but I’m guessing that’s been cut because they’ve been told it won’t matter to the endgame. I can lose filler, even fantastic pirate filler.

      Bryan, Dan, and David have earned my trust. Full speed ahead.

      I agree with you, my liege.

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    47. Wimsey,

      Sure, and I concur with all those details that we’ve been patiently waiting to digest. But I’m not speculating here about GRRM changing the endgame entirely. GRRM has expressed his doubts about certain pathways to the Act III endgame and I am simply cheering him on. Given his public announcement about it (and, yes, it was around April 1st), I assume he is internally debating a few aspects of his initial undocumented “outline” with D&D, for better or worse.

      ——

      The Sansa speculation is interesting but it seems too obvious, given the timing. It does seem that he has found inspiration (which was the heart of my original comment) and I hope he gets to ride this wave to gravytown.

      Personally, I think the change is regarding Jaime or Sam, since their future is the least predictable at this point….but could have tremendous ramifications.

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    48. Mr Fixit:
      Wimsey,

      You haven’t heard of the phantasmagorically batshit crazy theory that High Sparrow is actually Howland Reed?

      You are mistaken. The High Sparrow is Daario Naharis. Howland Reed is Euron. And Ashara Dayne is Melisandre.

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    49. Mr Fixit: You haven’t heard of the phantasmagorically batshit crazy theory that High Sparrow is actually Howland Reed?

      If I had, then I deleted it from my memory. Which I am doing… again.

      (Seriously, this is about as Procrustean as you get!)

      Hodor’s Bastard: GRRM has expressed his doubts about certain pathways to the Act III endgame and I am simply cheering him on.

      At this point, it has to be akin to deciding exactly which exit he wants to use to get off the highway to reach his destination. Or look at it a different way: he has a fairly specific ideas in his head, and now he is puzzling out the best way to adapt the ideas to the page. Indeed, it is quite possible that his interactions with B&W have let him see the more exact route.

      So, instead of duping them with a false trail, it’s possible (and I would say probable given my experience on what collaboration does) that the discussion has shown GRRM a possible better path. Indeed, at this point, it is more probable that B&W would see the most direct route to the end goal: GRRM would be to constrained by his original ideas! (This is a very common outcome from collaboration.)

      At any rate, I suspect any differences will be trivial “book vs. screen” level differences at this point. It will be the same story(ies) and it will fit the same plot synopsis. The “big choices” that Daeny, Jon, etc., make for the final resolutions will be the same and have the same (either specific or general) impetuses in both book and TV show.

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    50. Patchface,

      Pfft, everyone knows Septa Lemore is Ashara Dayne, Melisandre is the daughter of Bloodraven and Shiera, while Daario is Benjen. Euron, naturally, is Wyman Manderly. That’s why so many of Victarion’s ships go missing on the way east: Euron stole and parked them in White Harbor.

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    51. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Do you know, it occurs to me, a big issue is: what will the final two stories (or final story in two parts) be? B&W know, as does GRRM. We don’t, but we can guess. That’s critical because the plots will be setting up the character development to tell that story: and that limits the plots and development considerably at this point.

      My thought is that the final story is going to be a two parter: and it’s going to be about choosing between two sides when you do not wholly like or wholly dislike either side. Part 1 will regard the Iron Throne and other “earthly” concerns; Part 2 will regard Others, R’hllor, etc.

      Do you think that this will be the final story, or do you think that GRRM (and B&W) will telling a different story?

        Quote  Reply

    52. Mr Fixit: Pfft, everyone knows Septa Lemore is Ashara Dayne,

      I’m confused: then who was impersonating Dumbledore when Snape appeared to kill him?!?!?

      Oh, wait, I’m confusing things again, aren’t I….

        Quote  Reply

    53. Mr Fixit,

      *drops jaw* That explains so much! Just reversing the polarity of the neutron flow would counteract the Avada Kedavra, I’m sure.

      Hey, Maise Williams is going to be on Doctor Who this year.

        Quote  Reply

    54. Hodor’s Bastard:
      Mr Fixit,

      And no one knows what became of the delectable Ms. Seastar…

      With that over-the-top name of hers, I can imagine two possible career paths for lovely Shiera: she either ended up in Eternia as He-Man’s sister or she’s a hitherto unknown Princess of Amber, lost in the shadows between the Pattern and the Logrus. Take your pick.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Mr Fixit,

      I’m sticking with my even more batshit crazy theory the High Sparrow is really

      a Reyne who survived.

      I have no real evidence for that other than, well, I like the idea. Sure, he is an age where it would be plausible, and if there’s anyone who would want to destroy the Lannisters more than anyone else in Westeros, it would be a

      Reyne,

      but that’s hardly what I’d consider real evidence.

        Quote  Reply

    56. Wimsey,

      Oh, that’s the juicy stuff, W! I am rather fond of your thoughts regarding the “two summits” (Dany/Aegon/Lannister/Stark jamboree followed by Westeros progressives/survivors vs anti-Westeros ultra-conservatives) but will it be so logically ordered? Could it be reversed?

      For the first summit you speak of, a Targ seems destined to rule again (at least temporarily)…one of three…but what damage will the next dance do? Can they find common ground before they self-destruct? Who are the true Targ allies/enemies? (It doesn’t bode well for the severely-misunderstood kingslayer, does it?!) For me, Jon has the best “genes” for the job, but I doubt he will want it (or even be aware of it directly). Jon may actually figure more prominently in the second summit than the first. He is bound to get a great understanding of dire “Winter is Coming” possibilities in TWoW and I believe he will already be battling for the second summit by mid-TWoW., which may have ramifications in Oldtown as well. (Hopefully the maesters have indeed learned/preserved something and Bran/BR care enough!!)

      But south of the neck is a conundrum. If Jon and the North become stable sooner than later, then ADoS will be about ending the massive civil war rather than the WW invasion, with the remaining Starks painfully re-emerging as contenders. Is the Stark tale in ASoI&F to regain WF or does GRRM have loftier visions for them? In the end (as in the beginning), it is a Stark story, isn’t it?

      Could all of Westeros be at war when/if the WWs breach the wall? Will enemies stand together to fight the undead? Will greyscale have an unforeseen effect in the battle? Will each kingdom bring a special factor to the battle that enables the ultimate victory? Will dragons be used to actively fight the WW invasion (will GRRM go the intense supernatural route)? Or will dragons simply be used as deterrents and enforce the peace between kingdoms after the WW ordeal goes down? Or will it become like the Walking Dead with the Westerosi needing to live on the edge with the undead always lurking nearby, seeking babies?

      In any case, per your query, the “summit” order could be switched in book and show, or merged/overlapped, to great effect for both mediums….do you really adhere to a scenario where one must follow the “other(s)”? 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    57. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Wow, I hadn’t thought of reversing it: that is very clever. I suppose I was thinking

      “earthly” followed by the “heavenly”

      : but it certainly would be a fascinating flip-flop. The trick would be making it so that it didn’t seem anti-climactic. That would be tough to pull off: but if GRRM did, then it would be flat-out amazing. (JMS did something like that in Babylon 5: but

      it was because minions of one of the “god powers” were running Earth after the R’hllor vs. Others (Vorlons vs. Shadows) analog was done: and it does not seem that we have agents of the Others or R’hllor running anything near and dear to the lead characters of Thrones. (This is assuming that the old idea that Littlefinger is an agent for the Others is wrong, of course!)

      (That is in spoilers not for stuff done 20 years ago on B5, but because of the analogs on SoI&F.)

      Rowling noted at one point that her fans were asking the wrong questions. She then said that we should be asking: why didn’t Voldemort die at Godric’s Hallow? Why was Voldemort intent on killing Harry? Who was Harry’s Date for the next Yule Ball going to be? (Oh, wait, that wasn’t one of them.) We need to think along these lines: first one, then the other? The other and then the one? Both simultaneously? One partially, then the other, then conclusion of the first?

      And what are Jon, Daeny, etc., going to juggle? How much is it going to hurt them to make the final choices?

        Quote  Reply

    58. Wimsey,

      Ah, B5…what a ride! I think I yearn for a “false summits” approach even more now. In B5, the 4th season saw the end of what most thought was the climactic battle of the series but in truth it was a false summit that gave way to another S4 false summit, which then gave way to S5’s awesome “Movements of Fire and Shadow”, where there is a huge reveal regarding the real purpose of the Centauri attacks. Minds were blown with each crest point and it paved the way for the final summit. Maybe GRRM is adapting accordingly…?

      There was a time in my past when I thought JMS was the genius screenwriter and comic author (FF, DS, AS, Thor, etc). Those were the days of great buddies, good reads, internet booms and too much beer.

        Quote  Reply

    59. Hodor’s Bastard,

      I’m going to have to disagree about that. Movements of Fire and Shadow and The Fall of Centauri Prime were good, but the rest of Season 5 still very much felt like a denouement. The final summit was a pale shadow (heh) of past glories. And the less said about Byron’s arc the better.

      For better or worse the real summit really was the war that ended in S04E06, and most of what came afterwards was the aftermath and picking up the pieces.

        Quote  Reply

    60. Yivo,

      Yeah…I once got a black eye in a drunken frenzy defending B5 S5…. 😉 From what we know, JMS crammed a lot into S4 thinking the show would be cancelled. Perhaps I was simply too thankful that the show got a break, so I escalated the highlights of S5 accordingly. 🙂 Hopefully, GoT won’t have a “denouement” season.

        Quote  Reply

    61. Wimsey: Well, keep in mind that if the show is going to do this, then it wouldn’t be until next year, anyway: after all, Winter will be the first story in which that twist might be pertinent!

      (I do not mean to sound like one of the “denialists,” but this is a sword that cuts both ways: GRRM screwed up by introducing this twist way too early [it should have been in the book before the twist was relevant, which means that it should have been in the closing chapters of Dragons, not Swords], and the earliest that the show could have introduced the twist is the tail end of this year: or more probably Season 6.Personally, I am in the school anticipating that the Twist is never going to amount to anything, anyway, and should be cut for that reason.)

      I disagree,

      I think the twist was introduced at the right time in the books. It was a great book end to a storm of swords, if it was introduced in a later book it would have felt out of place. After 10 years and 2 books Cat Stark comes back? It would have been a huge jump the shark moment.

      I very much doubt that the show is doing it. Not because it’s not going to amount to anything, but because it doesn’t fit in their version of the adaptation. Which is perfectly fine.

      I’m very much in the school of Radio Westeros’s theory that Lady Stoneheart and the Brotherhood without banners are going to start a Red Wedding #2 for the Freys. And Jeyne Westerling will be one of the casualties. Either accidental or LSH partially blames her for Robbs death. Stoneheart will deliver in the books but it was smart leaving her out of the show.

      Here’s the link to theory. I don’t agree with the GNC part of it but the theory on what’s going to happen in the Riverlands is extremely solid.

      https://ladygwynhyfvar.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/gnc/

        Quote  Reply

    62. Hodor’s Bastard,

      JMS is a talent, to be certain: and possibly a genius one at that. What I liked about what he tried to do with B5 is make it so that the “gods” differed in philosophy rather than “good” or “evil”: the Vorlons had a point, and the Shadows had a point. JMS also likes the “angel on one shoulder, angel on the other shoulder” story type (I might have first read the term from him!).

      This might have me barking up the wrong tree completely, but my thought for a long while has been that GRRM is doing something akin to this: it won’t be about choosing between “right” and “wrong” but between complex option A and complex option B, both of which have pluses and minuses, or different types of minuses, or something along these lines. (I hope that it is better executed that B5 was: that was a case of a great story hindered by less than stellar delivery at the end, or so I felt.)

        Quote  Reply

    63. Wimsey,

      My main problem was that the Vorlon and the Shadows seemed far too childlike in the end. I understand why it was done, it just seemed like too much.

        Quote  Reply

    64. Turncloak,

      Holy crap, that was a good read. Bookmarked! Thx. There are so many reasons why the Riverlands matter! The TWoW prologue is looking more and more intriguing!

      I always wondered that if BF could get out of Riverrun so easily, then others could get in with equal ease. Go Tom o’ Sevens!

        Quote  Reply

    65. Hodor’s Bastard,

      It’s an excellent read is it not :]. I first heard about it on their podcast and since then Radio Westeros is one of my top favorite ASOIAF podcast. I very much recommend subscribing to the them as they typical have grade A analysis and grade A predictions like these.

      The Lem Lemoncloak= Richard Lonmouth

      is another outstanding theory.

        Quote  Reply

    66. Turncloak: I disagree,

      How would it be a “jump the shark” moment? It hadn’t been done before in the series, after all. Moreover, doing the Twist a full year or more before it becomes relevant is a very different sort of bad TV: instead of boring the audience with repetition (= shark jumping), it is putting a major gun on the wall and then no firing it promptly.

      (As for the books, forget the years involved: GRRM probably intended it to be relevant in the next book and in the next 2-3 years. As it stands, the repeat introduction in Crows is what he should have done: indeed, that could have left us guessing as to who the Twist was!)

      That makes the essay very moot. The earliest time that this stuff could happen is Winter and thus Season 6. As you cannot introduce a Twist and then do nothing with it for a full season, that means that it is still too early to do the Twist.

      As for the essay, the biggest problem I have with this is (!again!) story. What Martinesque (or Faulkneresque) story would this feed? As the essay notes, there are no protagonists in the area: and the essay completely fails to ponder what dilemmas it might present any of the lead characters. (The essays proposed PoV character does not help there: it would just narrate plot for the sake of plot, and GRRM has not yet done that; his non-protagonist PoV’s outside of introductions serve to develop one of the main characters from another perspective.)

      Ultimately, even if this stuff is correct (and this looks like a classic fan Mount Molehill to me!), then it’s an ant colony war that has a big elephant (and then dragon) stampede descending on it soon….

        Quote  Reply

    67. Yivo,

      It was not as well executed as it could have been. However, in a way, it was not so much “childish” as “Baby Boomerish”: the answer lay in rejecting established authority and establishing your own authority.

      SoI&F will have a very different type of resolution. After all, the stories might be similar: but there are distinct differences, too. Most of JMS’ stories stem from people realizing that they are tools; most of GRRM’s stories stem from people wanting/needing mutually exclusive things.

        Quote  Reply

    68. Wimsey,

      Ah, yes, The heart in conflict with itself. An old, dear chestnut. Much better than a holstered Chekov’s gun. I know all too well. I was there. But, I’ve said too much already.

      Also, I might be drunk.

        Quote  Reply

    69. Wimsey,

      I think we are talking about two different things.

      LS works in the books.

      And the essay that I posted is specifically related to the books. Again the books have the luxury of having an infinite budget and 1500 manuscript pages of material as opposed to 150 script pages and less than infinite budget for a television show.

      Also GRRM has recently commented on a major “twist” that a long time character that will intersect with several other characters. However, it will only happen in the book as decisions taken in the show make it impossible for that medium. This sounds like Jaime to me who intersects with (Brienne, LS, Sansa).

      I’m very excited for the Riverlands plot in TWOW. We already know that the prologue will be Jeyne Westerling so it’s not like GRRM is abandoning the storyline. Also remember his comment about the wolves in the Riverlands “You dont hang that gun and not use it”.

        Quote  Reply

    70. Wimsey,

      By the way Wimsey now that we know that a certain 2 characters are definitely getting married in season 5, what are your thoughts on that?

      I believe you were opposed to the idea at first. Have you had a change of heart after reading the motivation behind it?

        Quote  Reply

    71. Luka Nieto,
      That should be cool. She seems like a very capable young actress: I am curious to see what they have her doing.

      Turncloak: LS works in the books.

      Not so far she has not. And she would have been far more effective if the unveiling had been at the end of Dragons: we could have been kept guessing as to who she was.

      Turncloak: By the way Wimsey now that we know that a certain 2 characters are definitely getting married in season 5, what are your thoughts on that?

      Who do we know is getting married? I haven’t read about it or the motivations behind it.

        Quote  Reply

    72. Mr Fixit:
      Patchface,

      Pfft, everyone knows Septa Lemore is Ashara Dayne, Melisandre is the daughter of Bloodraven and Shiera, while Daario is Benjen. Euron, naturally, is Wyman Manderly. That’s why so many of Victarion’s ships go missing on the way east: Euron stole and parked them in White Harbor.

      I spilled my coffee reading this…still chuckling… though I really believe one of these theories has merit.

      I recently heard of another compelling theory: Benjen Stark being Rennifer Longwaters. I must say, I thought I heard them all and yet, this did manage to surprise me still. I just hope this is not one of the twists George was referring in the article. Who knows though?

        Quote  Reply

    73. Hodor’s Bastard:
      Yivo,

      Yeah…I once got a black eye in a drunken frenzy defending B5 S5…. From what we know, JMS crammed a lot into S4 thinking the show would be cancelled. Perhaps I was simply too thankful that the show got a break, so I escalated the highlights of S5 accordingly. Hopefully, GoT won’t have a “denouement” season.

      From what I gather, B5 was really hurt by the belief that the 4th season would be its last. Season 4 was crammed with stuff meant for S5 which shortchanged several of its narrative arcs, primarily the Shadow War and the Earth Civil War. Once the 5th season had been greenlighted despite all odds, it then necessitated the inclusion of much filler in S5. Very unfortunate.

        Quote  Reply

    74. Wimsey:
      Hodor’s Bastard,

      JMS is a talent, to be certain: and possibly a genius one at that.What I liked about what he tried to do with B5 is make it so that the “gods” differed in philosophy rather than “good” or “evil”: the Vorlons had a point, and the Shadows had a point.JMS also likes the “angel on one shoulder, angel on the other shoulder” story type (I might have first read the term from him!).

      This might have me barking up the wrong tree completely, but my thought for a long while has been that GRRM is doing something akin to this: it won’t be about choosing between “right” and “wrong” but between complex option A and complex option B, both of which have pluses and minuses, or different types of minuses, or something along these lines.(I hope that it is better executed that B5 was: that was a case of a great story hindered by less than stellar delivery at the end, or so I felt.)

      Yeah, it was refreshing to see JMS move away from the good-evil axis of D&D alignment which ipso facto makes one side right and the other wrong. Knowing that he’s a great fantasy nerd, I’d say he was inspired by Moorcock’s Elric universe where the primary conflict is between order and chaos. (Indeed, early D&D also had only law and chaos alignment axis; good-evil was added later.)

      While we’re talking about Elric, GoT sneaked in a fun little homage to Moorcock in 4×02, the Purple Wedding episode. In the scene where Joffrey receives his Valyrian sword birthday present, he asks the wedding guests to propose a name. Someone shouts Stormbringer, which is Elric’s legendary sword. To make things even better, another guest then shouts Terminus, referencing another famous fantasy blade, Severian’s sword Terminus Est from Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun.

        Quote  Reply

    75. Wimsey:

      Not so far she has not.And she would have been far more effective if the unveiling had been at the end of Dragons: we could have been kept guessing as to who she was.

      Who do we know is getting married?I haven’t read about it or the motivations behind it.

      Let’s agree to disagree on LSH. I think she works in the books with what little we’ve seen of her so far. Shes a minor character right now but I’m looking forward to here TWOW Riverlands arc.

      As for the marriage, I guess you missed out on the leaks that were discussed yesterday and the day before. We find out about the marriage in episode 3 so I guess I’ll wait to hear your opinion after you see the episode. I’m being purposely vague as Sue has told us we have to tread lightly on this topic due to the embargo.

        Quote  Reply

    76. Mr Fixit,

      I must admit that when I heard “Stormbringer!” during Joff’s “sword naming scene” in that episode, I thought D&D/GRRM were actually incorporating a clever mockery of “Lightbringer”, AA’s infamous sword that Stannis thinks he has….since Stannis is so well-appreciated in KL. 🙂 Never thought it was an intended homage to Moorcock’s sword of chaos, but it makes sense. Are those books worth a read? Got a recommendation?

        Quote  Reply

    77. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Elric has been staring at me from my bookshelf for years now; it is with great shame that I admit I still haven’t read him, though I am somewhat acquainted with Moorcock’s work. As for The Book of the New Sun, it’s been quite some time since I’ve read Wolfe, and my memory is far from perfect. I generally liked the book (though I did find it a bit hard to penetrate at times) as I am a sucker for good post-apocalyptic settings. This one is of the “Dying Earth” variety, a science fantasy set in the far future where the Earth is a ruined, bleak, transformed husk of what it once was.

      The novel, as does the whole subgenre, has a certain romanticism to it, a kind of reflection on what has been lost, the price of living in the here and now, and other such nice’n’cheery themes that Martin himself likes to explore. In fact, Martin’s first novel, Dying of the Light, is set on a dying world and was definitely influenced by guys such as Jack Vance, Clark Ashton Smith, and the like, though the “dying earths” actually trace their origins back to the romantic authors of the early 19th century.

      And since we’re on the topic of post-apocalypse, I do recommend Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz, set thousands of years in the future in three time periods, as the story follows monks that act as custodians of ancient long-lost knowledge. (Interesting trivia: the phenomenal Fallout games were partly inspired by it. Interesting trivia No.2 regarding Babylon 5: the last episode of the 4th season, The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, features a story that is, broadly speaking, and especially in one part of the episode, very similar to Miller’s novel.)

        Quote  Reply

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