Why Game of Thrones passing the books could be a bad thing (A Rebuttal)

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This is a rebuttal to a recent opinion piece, Why Game of Thrones passing the books shouldn’t be a bad thing. As with all our opinion pieces, the following views express do not necessarily reflect those of WatchersontheWall or its staff. NOTE: the following alludes to material from the fourth and fifth books in ASOIAF, as well as events in season 5.

By Phyllis Ashley

Before you all throw me under the Book Purist bus, allow me to offer a perspective from a Sullied who otherwise considers herself a reasonable person with an open mind.

While most days I have to invest an exorbitant amount of energy into pacifying the Book Purist/Nerd Rage Hulkess version of myself, I have to budge ever so slightly to the fact that Game of Thrones will never be what A Song of Ice and Fire is, be it breadth or comprehensiveness, or a thorough compilation of character development/events, nor will it fulfill the grand imagery my mind created while immersing myself in the textual world GRRM has created.

Relatedly, it is difficult for me to come to terms with less-than-perfect interpretations of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. I am in the sciences, and God help me if I ever watch a sci-fi movie that tries to justify its plot with a scientific explanation that makes no sense in the real world. I have to make concessions for my pre-conceived expectations if I want to actually enjoy anything, especially book-to-film adaptations.

Regardless of my intent to make peace with these adaptations, there are still things that gripe me (and other Sullied) about the rumored plot changes for GoT season 5, which includes the fact the show is surpassing the existing published book material. While addressing a few arguments that Morgoth made in the article “Why Game of Thrones passing the books shouldn’t be a bad thing,” I will highlight a point or two that may have not been considered by Unsullied who imagine book-readers are an insane group of unrelenting, fanatic purists unwilling to accommodate for the real-world challenges of creating the television show (which is only mostly true). Please consider that even if you disagree with our incessant rants, we have just as much a right to be frustrated as you do your disposition to not give a loaded crap.

THE READER’S JOURNEY AND CHOICE

I am not one of the many Sullied who have been patiently following ASoIaF for nearly two decades. I started reading the novels shortly after season 1 ended.  There are readers who started the books long before the show was conceived in the minds of David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and baptized by the hallowed GRRM Himself, and bless those fans for holding out as long as they have. I feel tortured waiting for TWoW, and I’ve only been waiting about a year since I finished ADWD. You Unsullied only have to wait a measly nine months between seasons, you lucky ducks!

From the start of season 1, the adaptation from book to screen was nearly scene for scene save for the omission of a few flashbacks and dream sequences. Moving forward a couple seasons, some minor changes were made and characters were dissolved and mushed together in order to simplify the cast size and storyline, which was fine (e.g. Gendry fulfilling the role of Edric Storm, a bastard of King Robert Baratheon, at Dragonstone). Yet suddenly, in comes a phenomenon so far unobserved in any other fandom (as far as I’m aware). After the fourth episode of season 4 aired, Twitter exploded, Facebook memes were birthed, and lamenting cries from the Sullied rang: “WE HAVE BEEN SPOILED!”

jotunheimI say “spoiled” because the introduction of the “Night’s King” character at the end of the episode, and the assumption that the Great Others were turning Craster’s incestuous spawn into more just like them, have never been confirmed in book canon. In effect, the show confirmed who our Big Bad probably is. Similarly, when Olenna “Queen of Thorns” Tyrell admits to her granddaughter Margaery that she is responsible for King Joffrey’s untimely death, this confirmed a theory that book readers had been thinking for years. Admittedly, this is not a disaster. It does ruin the mystery a bit, and sometimes I find it insulting that the show has to spoon-feed some viewers who cannot read the context clues. But this does have ramifications for the future story of Game of Thrones and whether or not Sullied are privy to what is coming next, especially if we move outside the bubble of confirming well-evidenced book theories.

Based on my patrolling of comment feeds and forum threads, there seems to be a misunderstanding among some Unsullied (and Sullied, too) why this is going to be a problem. Some have argued that because it appears the writers are taking the show in a different direction than the books, any events moving forward should not ostensibly spoil book-readers. Herein lies what worries me the most:

yara-greyjoy-1024Without explicitly stating so, by omitting characters or whole plot lines, it is very possible this will inadvertently spoil who and what is unimportant to the end-game of the series, i.e. which existing plots in ASoIaF don’t matter much. A long-rumored and recently (yet unofficially) confirmed erasure of two characters called Griff and Young Griff in season 5 has caused a rift in the Sullied community. These characters, who become quite important in the ASoIaF universe, may be rendered or interpreted as unimportant if their absence from the show does not hinder the end-game. Does this mean that they are no longer relevant, and that in the books their ultimate participation in the events to come will be for naught? Another alarming change is the removal of a couple of Martells, and who knows what’s going to happen with the Greyjoy plot?

GRRM presumably has a role for each of his pawns to play. Or does he…? By removing some of them from GoT, does this mean that their actions and plot lines in ASOIAF are ultimately not consequential? The same thing can be said for keeping certain elements of the book, including the upcoming first-ever GoT flashback scene. Book readers are aware that there are other past histories that can be explored easily enough, and arguably ones that are more important, yet they have not been included in past seasons. So why put so much emphasis on this flashback, instead of others? Does this indicate its relative importance, and can this be interpreted as spoiler material? This is probably more of a stretch, but certainly not an unwarranted concern.

If these changes are not spoiler-laden, then that means GoT is turning into a beast all its own. Which would be fine, I guess, and evidence suggests this is probably true. Some people may not have a problem with this, but I happen to subscribe to the team that wants to know the source material as it was intended to be told before delving into an adaptation of it. It seems topsy-turvy to do it the other way ‘round. Bafflingly, there is no way to confirm or deny whether the upcoming events in season 5 will involuntarily spoil events to come in ASoIaF until the show ends and all books have been released. This is a vast mystery to contend with considering how long it will take for both show and books to find their endings.

THE FEASIBILITY OF AVOIDING SPOILERS AND FANDOM PURGATORY

“Stop watching the show,” you say? Well, okay. I can do that. You might even argue that avoiding spoilers in the Age of Technology and social media is feasible (something I do not agree with). But is this fair? By choosing to watch the show and not read the books, Unsullied are still guaranteed one source of material to placate their craving for the world GRRM created. If book readers elect to stop watching the TV show, then we are essentially doomed to Fandom Hell. We will have to exile ourselves from a fandom without an end-date in sight. With the introduction of season 1, anyone who read the books recognizes the 1:1 adaptation from book-to-screen. How were they supposed to know so early on that they were trapping themselves, and that such a decision — to cease participating in a fandom they love so deeply — would even be an option or required?

Certainly, there is no reason why you have to agree with me. But for many book readers the show surpassing the books will be disastrous to our reading experience and the terms in which we want to participate in the fandom. Here we are presented with limited options:

  1. Stop watching the show, thereby not participating in a fandom we love, which is cruel to suggest (y’all are meanies).
  2. Continue to watch the show, not knowing for an unknown length of time whether or not the next three seasons of GoT will unintentionally spoil the source material, or whether we are safe to watch because the show is transforming into a new story anyway.

sansa 37Despite all the negativity I had to offer here, there is a level of acceptance I must come to terms with. It’s a sure thing that GoT is about to overtake the timeline of ASoIaF whether the Sullied are ready to take that ride or not. I don’t know that I have the self-control to avoid the fandom altogether until the books are complete, and so the only alternative for me is one that will probably negatively affect my personal reading experience and my journey through the source material as it was meant to be told by GRRM.

Perhaps I should just suck it up and stop complaining, as I’m going to watch the damn show anyway. But I think this is a very unique predicament for such a fandom (one that is becoming more and more mainstream every season), that those who are dedicated and love the source material must make a confounding choice. Sullied must either wander into the Dothraki sea, vision encumbered by ghost grass, hiding among the reeds to fend off vicious slaughter by dragon fire, social media memes, and spoilers as sharp as arakhs; or dive head first into the politics and rumor of King’s Landing, not sure with whom to ally oneself, be it GRRM or D&D (or play the game both sides?), as well as discern which of the many whispers among fandom forums, speculative articles, and casting hints will enlighten to us whether it’s safe to drink up, or if we are doomed to poison our own wine.

Guest contributor Phyllis Ashley can be found here on her Twitter account.

405 responses

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    1. Hodor 3.14

      For Hodor so loved the world that he gave his only bastard son,
      that whoever believes in his word shall not starve but have eternal pizza.

      Books before film! Grrrrr! ………………..(please?)

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    2. A long-rumored and recently (yet unofficially) confirmed erasure of two characters called Griff and Young Griff in season 5 has caused a rift in the Sullied community.

      It shouldn’t. In Dragons, they are only foils for

      developing Tyrion’s character dynamically; this marks the point where Tyrion hits his nadir and starts to rebound from Broken Tyrion back to Mover and Shaker Tyrion.

      . They serve no other purpose for the story being told in Dragons beyond that. Chekhov’s Dictum applies to story as well as plot: prominent guns hung early in a season have to have a story bullet by the end of the season; if they are not going to have one until next season, then hang the gun then.

      (We have ample precedence for this sort of thing with the Harry Potter series. Rowling frequently introduced characters important to Book X in Book X-1. The movies omitted those, and fans always howled: “now the Muggles won’t know who Cedric Diggory/Bellatrix Lestrange/Third Goblin on the Left is in the next movie!” And yet, audiences had no problems following along when they were introduced. (In fact, what caused audiences to stumble was when the movies didn’t re-introduce things properly!)

      Now, it might be that they will be important story elements in Winds of Winter. (I’m betting on it.) However, if that is the case, then introduce them in Season 6. In terms of the over-arching plot, it will pretty much be the same. Moreover, the early indications are that it will introduce some important story-elements, and not just plot-for-the-sake-of-plot elements. Audiences had no problem understanding Oberyn’s contribution to the story this year, despite his being introduced this year: and they need not have any problem understanding Season 6 characters’ contributions if they are introduced that year.

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    3. As a huge fan of both, I will be happy whichever I see/read first.

      Well… OK, considering the material in question, maybe “happy” isn’t the right word. 😛

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    4. It is a predicament. The ‘just don’t watch it then’ argument isn’t realistic as you say. So I have to accept that the show will ‘spoil’ the books. And it will spoil them.

      The books are richer and ultimately more satisfying (for me) than the show. I don’t think they are the best written books in the world but they are a LOT of fun. And a HUGE chunk of that fun is basically finding out what happens – take this away and yes you still have an enjoyable book, but not a kind of book that stops you sleeping after reading it (e.g. Red Wedding).

      On the other hand, while the show passing the books will be detrimental to the impact of the books, it will have the opposite impact on the show. The show will become MORE enjoyable and impactful now it becomes the medium responsible for showing us the story unfold.

      If I could choose, I’d find out the story through the books for sure. But that choice is now out of our hands. It must be a unique situation in that regard.

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    5. I would say the books are far too vague for no reason. Who killed Joffery is a perfect example of this. We have so many point of view characters that there is just no reason for all of these loose ends to have half answers.

      I know this is how GRRM likes to write, but you just can’t go that in a TV show.

      And good luck trying to avoid spoilers. Even checking out completely non GoT related websites I have seen some spoilerish headlines that I wish I didn’t see for Season 5. The internet is dark and full of spoiler terror.

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    6. Actually I thought the books made it quite clear that Ol enna killed Joffrey by having Little finger explain it all to Sansa.

      Still even if you think its a shame to have the show spoil the books its all Martin’s fault and increasingly I’m of the opinion it might be the only closure anyone gets for the series.

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    7. I’m mostly upset about the exclusion/changes made to the storyline in the North because it almost guarantees that

      Robb’s will won’t make any big difference, the North won’t rise again for the Starks with Rickon being brought back to Winterfell due to the schemes of the Manderlys and our favorite Onion Knight. Also the exclusion of Lady Mormont/Dacey Mormont threatens to exclude the rest of the Mormont clans and Lady Mormont’s return with Robb’s will. Also, there have been no hints what-so-ever about Jon being Lynanna’s sons so it seems unlikely that he is. Unless they use some major push with Melisandre seeing his past and Bran seeing it in future seasons, its unlikely that they would spring it on show watchers suddenly.

      I’m not sure I care about the Greyjoys but I did like Asha’s part of future plotlines. Plus its sad that Edmure, the Greatjon, et al seem to have been forgotten and will languish in the Frey’s prison forever… And poor Blackfish. Still peeing on a tree I guess…

      My hopes and dreams of the Freys and Boltons dying bloody deaths at the hands of Stark loyalists is slipping away….

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    8. HBO = sticking to the schedule,
      GRRM = not.

      Ergo: if (and when) the show passes the books, the problem does not lie with the show.

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    9. I do not understand this constant need for dividing the fandom in two groups. Some people read the books, some people don’t. And that’s ok. It seems like people formed House Sullied and House Unsullied and more and more they’re starting to look like House Blackwood and House Bracken. It’s crazy how they’re at constant war in some parts of the internet. Even though they belong to one fandom.

      But I’m glad these opinion pieces are at least decent, and don’t resort to name-calling, so kudos!

      I’m not all that worried about the show passing the books. I know it won’t diminish my enjoyment of the books. I’m currently on my first reread and I’m kinda enjoying them even more this time, even though I know what happens.

      I don’t know why you think that you’ll have to quit the fandom if you quit the show. Does that mean that people who don’t read books are avoiding fandom-y things because of the fear of spoilers? They don’t! They just know which sites and threads to visit and which to avoid.

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    10. winnie:
      Actually I thought the books made it quite clear that Ol enna killed Joffrey by having Little finger explain it all to Sansa.

      Yeah, that’s reasonably clear in the books. There’s plenty of independent pieces of evidence for it. But you’d be astonished at some of the byzantine and ridiculously convoluted theories that some fans had developed (my favourite is that Sansa did it and then forgot about it because she has a split personality).

      In general I agree that it’s a bad thing that the show is passing the books, but ultimately that’s GRRM’s fault, not the show’s.

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    11. Nice piece! Avoiding spoilers will be pretty much inevitable, yeah. Like I mentioned in my piece, you’d need to go live in a cave with no internet in order to avoid the memes, youtube videos and comments in social media. And even if you escape from the internet there’s always the risk of getting spoiled by a family member, a coworker, a friend, etc…
      It’s a sucky situation, but there isn’t much that can be done about it.
      I’m one of those who think the cut characters will be ultimately irrelevant in the books, though. See Strong Belwas or Coldhands. While these characters have their fans (and I personally would have liked to see CH in the show), their removal didn’t affect the plot one bit. So much for the so-called Butterfly Effect.
      Again, that’s too bad for fans who wanted to see those characters (I mean it without sarcasm), but it’s something inevitable in every adaptation. My dad is still disappointed we didn’t get to see Tom Bombadil in Lord of the Rings, and that even Radagast made it to The Hobbit, but alas, no Tom.
      I don’t mean to say “shut up and stop complaining”, but the way I see it, it’d be better for book fans or “purists” to be prepared for big changes, big spoilers and cut characters and to try to moderate their expectations.

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    12. The series begin development in 2007. It will end in 2017.

      GRRM published A Feast for Crows in 2005, which means he probably finished it slightly sooner. This gave GRRM 12 years to write 3 books before the show was over. We are now 9 years in, and he has finished only 1 book and isn’t even that close to finishing the second one.

      Why anybody would be frustrated with D&D in this situation is beyond me. At least they are dedicated to finishing the series.

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    13. Well, I’m one of those people who think knowing how the story goes, doesn’t ruin the experience, and I will read the books once they’re done, and enjoy just as much.

      The way I see it, the phobia of being spoiled it’s doing more damage than the possible spoiler itself for some people XD

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    14. Al Swearengen,

      And Arya/Tywin, Brienne vs. Hound, Robert and Cersei’s discussion from S1, Bronn’s expanded role, Margaery’s increased importance and more interesting characterization, among others have all been bad?

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    15. Phyllis,

      There is a strong reason for why the show overtaking the books does NOT matter very much, and that reason is embedded in your article. The uncertainty, and the mystery, remains. We simply do not know if D&D’s choices reflect GRRM’s endgame, or if D&D are making choices for reasons consistent with the beast they’ve created (for example, we may be getting the Maggy the Frog flashback and not others, not because it’s necessarily more important for the endgame, but because it helps build Cersei’s characterization).

      But the point is, we simply don’t know what the show’s direction means for the books. The show may be spoiling us, or it may not be. The show’s omission of Griff, and possible omission of the Greyjoy uncles, may reflect their importance in the book world, or they may not. Victarion may still have a massive role to play in the books,

      even though he has likely been replaced by Daario and the Meerenese Navy

      . D&D may have decided to axe entire characters and plotlines that DO have an important role in the books, but do not have an important role in the show. After all, Jaime goes to Dorne in season 5 (something that does not happen at all in the books). In this context, who’s to say that other future plot-lines that go beyond the timeline of the published books, will actually be plot-lines from the forthcoming books? They could be entirely invented.

      Because of this uncertainty, you simply do not know if you’re being spoiled or not. And isn’t that uncertainty very much the same as the show not existing at all? When the final two books come out, you will simply have no idea if they will reflect choices made in the show. GRRM could go in a completely different direction.

      That uncertainty – that mystery – should make you enjoy the last two books as if the show didn’t even exist, even if the books up consistent with the show’s direction. We’ll still be just as much in the dark when cracking open the first pages of TWOW, even if we’ve already seen seasons 5 and 6.

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    16. Troy:
      Al Swearengen,

      And Arya/Tywin, Brienne vs. Hound, Robert and Cersei’s discussion from S1, Bronn’s expanded role, Margaery’s increased importance and more interesting characterization, among others have all been bad?

      I agree – some changes have been fantastic. Robb having more screen time was great too. I love Pedro’s version of Oberyn who I really didn’t care either way about him in the books. I even liked the changes they made to Shae except the trial scene where she turned on Sansa (I knew she’d turn on Tyrion but thought this version of Shae would NEVER turn on Sansa)

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    17. winnie:
      Still even if you think its a shame to have the show spoil the books its all Martin’s fault and increasingly I’m of the opinion it might be the only closure anyone gets for the series.

      So much this. I love GRRM. I love ASOIAF. I love GOT. But the central complaint of this post should be laid squarely at GRRM’s doorstep. He simply shouldn’t have sold the rights. Blaming D&D for striving to give us the best possible television show is missing the target entirely. I sympathize with sullied book-purist angst. I just wish they would occasionally acknowledge the cause of their frustration… And it ain’t D&D.

      What do you do when the tracks run out and the freight train derails? Do you blame the runaway train or the man who started the engine and then stopped laying track two-thirds of the way through?

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    18. Another thing I think will influence the show is fan’s reactions to certain characters. The majority of the show fandom LOVE Dany and don’t care/hate Stannis. Of course Dany gets more screen time. Gendry, The Hound, Pod, Hot Pie, etc have gotten more screen time because of the fans responding so favorable to them. D&D might decide to make major changes to the endgame based on that. They changed LOTR/The Hobbit to include Arwen/Aragorn’s romance at the expense of Glorfindel’s scenes and added a female elf heroine in The Hobbit who is in a possible romance with a Dwarf. I don’t think it ruined the movies at all but for people who don’t want to/won’t read the books, it filled the modern day need for a romance and a female lead for the men to fall all over. And granted it was necessary to increase Arwen’s screen time for the full impact of her sacrifice to make sense without the appendix in the book.

      I think we just have to look at it as two different beasts – book is one and show is another.

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    19. I am going to try and remain active and provide responses, thanks all of you so far for your great thoughts!

      Wimsey,

      Now, it might be that they will be important story elements in Winds of Winter. (I’m betting on it.) However, if that is the case, then introduce them in Season 6. In terms of the over-arching plot, it will pretty much be the same.

      You made some good points. You state, though, that G and YG will probably be important starting in TWoW, and I guess there is where my concerns are placed: they are not necessarily vital for ADwD material, I agree. But, moving forward their excision could indicate their unimportance; and I would be eager to see if the writers include them starting in season 6. Your point about Oberyn’s introduction and importance being solidified within a single season is spot-on, so if they can pull that off again, great.

      Also the difference between your Harry Potter example and this situation is that the HP books had already been released; it’s not as if not introducing Bellatrix in earlier films led book-readers to think that maybe Bell was unimportant ultimately, which is the threat I summarized above.

      The Bastard,

      And good luck trying to avoid spoilers…

      That’s my point. I don’t think anyone will be able to. And to that point…

      Pep,

      I don’t know why you think that you’ll have to quit the fandom if you quit the show. Does that mean that people who don’t read books are avoiding fandom-y things because of the fear of spoilers? They don’t! They just know which sites and threads to visit and which to avoid.

      The novels are less mainstream and the details associated with the book events are very easy to avoid. As you say, they know what sites and threads to visit and avoid; however, with the show being as popular as it is in pop culture, it’s getting harder and harder to avoid things, i.e. Unsullied friends of mine who were working on Sunday nights were spoiled for Joffrey’s death the Monday morning after season 4 episode 2 aired because a HUGE SCREENSHOT of his gnarly purpley death-face was all over Facebook. This is not a cleverly-hidden review article on the episode, it was just blatantly THERE. I do not foresee book events being spread in an equitable way.

      Although, I had one Unsullied friend spoiled for something book-related via Facebook, BUT BUT I still don’t think it’s as prevalent or ubiquitous.

      ~ PA

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    20. Knowing that a character is not important to the end game does not necessarily kill my interest in their book storyline.

      For example, I have no doubt that

      Dany will defeat fAegon in her Dance of Dragons against him. This might be skipped on the show since fAegon might not be long for this world. However, I am still foaming at the mouth to see this play out in the books

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    21. Turncloak,

      Knowing that a character is not important to the end game does not necessarily kill my interest in their book storyline.

      See, it comes to a matter of preference at the end of my argument. Maybe you don’t care; and that’s totally OK if it works for you. But, some people like myself do care, and I thought it was worth my time to represent those like myself who are either very, very worried, or otherwise horrified by things to come concerning interpretive material. Our concerns are just as valid as is your opinion that knowing the end-game won’t hurt your personal reading experience. It will mine.

      ~ PA

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    22. I love how you preface by saying you aren’t a purist and then explain that you are a purist 🙂

      Anyway, I think the show overtaking the books finally presents the opportunity to enjoy the show for what it is rather than nag at the adaption. Does that take away from the future books? Yes, but that’s going to be in at least a decade, if at all.

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    23. jentario,

      I love how you preface by saying you aren’t a purist and then explain that you are a purist 🙂

      Haha, did I say I wasn’t a book-purist? I like to think of myself as a book-purist who is at least willing to concede a little bit of my own rage and be realistic/reasonable when possible. When possible… but GOOOOSH it’s so difficult sometimes.

      ~ PA

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    24. alikat,

      Your quote: “My hopes and dreams of the Freys and Boltons dying bloody deaths at the hands of Stark loyalists is slipping away…”.

      Never! The battle for Winterfell will end from within….an internal uprising from Stark loyalists. All the Northern Lords are engaged in a mummery of sorts. The cracks are already starting to appear.

      Theon is key…and maybe Mance the infiltrator….(and hopefully Manderly!). Theon/Reek may do more damage to the Bolton cause than was depicted in the books…just because show!Theon is an intriguingly sympathetic character most are rooting for.

      Morgoth,

      I also wished to have seen CH. Not only was he a Bran/BR/CotF mystery, he also provided the curious paradox that the undead in the north need not be evil. He was almost a R’hllor red priest creation…causing many of us to wonder just what Beric and LS really are (and maybe another soon)…are they a product of their resurrector?

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    25. I think I might be concerned about book spoilers to an extent if Feast and Dance were as good as the first three books. I liked large parts of both books, but they were definitely inferior and stripped away some of the “holiness” of the series IMO. I’ll read the book(s) eventually, assuming it’s an option, but at this point in time I’m more excited about future seasons of the show. That the show will come out in regular, timely installments is hard to beat as well.

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    26. I was hoping we would get something like this after Morgorth’s oiece the other week. Personally, I don’t see it as particularly bad that it will overtake the books at all. There will be enough differences that yiu will be able to have surprises in the books too, and there will obviously be more depth and intricacies which obviously would not be abke to fit in the show. In a way, there isn’t much point debatung about it anymore, because ut is going to happen. Even a couple of years ago people were still adamant that George woud get the books out in time, and the show would last 9 or 10 seasons.

      The problem with haviung an increased number of seasons is that D&D would nnot be able to last that long, and wiuld have to be replaced, undoubtedly leading to a drop in quality. I think people underestimate how much work D&D put into the show, and fail to realise how much efort goes into it. Hell, George said it took him a month to write a script. If D&D took that time (you can probably say less, because there are tow of them, but not half) bearing in my mind they rewrite the other writers scripts and plan the overall season there simply wouldn’t be a show.

      As others have said, the only reason we are going to overtake the books is because of George. It is his fault. I dread to think how long it will be before he finishes (especially if it takes eight books, which is long-rumoured). He is an old man, and you can’t expect him to write as fast nowadays, and even though it’s harsh to mention it, his health is more likely to decline than when he was younger. He willl be in his mid-to-late seventies when he finishes the books, so I don’t begrudge him the opportunity to enjoy some of his success whilst he is still young, but it has to affect his writing speed,

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    27. Phyllis Ashley,

      Hmm, misunderstood your first paragraph…

      Sucks to be you :/ (on this topic, that is)

      There is no way you can avoid spoilers for the books, so the best thing to do is watch and at least enjoy the show (which will now be much easier, I guess). You all need to come to terms with it as soon as possible to be able to make the most out of the show while it’s still here.

      And I bet watching season 1 didn’t ruin AGOT for you, did it? This time it will be much more different. Things like

      the Griffs will have a huge impact in the books (even though they’re doomed to fail)

      and won’t even exist in the show. There’ll be a lot of surprises there, even if the end is similar.

      Point is, the show won’t ruin the books- but now the books won’t ruin the show either. No more adaption gripes from us Sullied. Not until TWOW comes out, at least!

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    28. I love the show, n will keep enjoying watching it.

      I’ve also loved the books for more then a decade, so when the show moves ahead of them, I will be spoiled, and that will lessen my reading experience. Finding out what happens next is a big lure of them, indeed. GRRM delights in red herrings n making people think – atleast I could avoid checking out the westeros.org forums n such until I’d reread n formed my own theories. Discussing those theories has been an awful lot of fun, over the years. No such thing will happen for the TWOW, though. All will be explained, undeniable image by undeniable image.

      So that’s how it’s a bad thing, for me personally, and for many a reader more. It’s a bit of a luxury problem, but I’m still glad to see it addressed here.

      Another one of those luxury problems, not addressed in the opening article:
      I’ll always keep wondering, too, how the books would’ve turned out if the show had never aired. Or just a wee few years later. GRRM keeps denying the show has influenced his writing…but he has seen the actors, seen the seasons, written screenplays for them…and Feast/Dance was a plot mess he needed years to get out of, making me think not much of Winds had been written when the series started. So influencing, there must have been.

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    29. I very much look forward to the book and show dynamic being flipped as far as which one will be endlessly compared to the other.

      The show will become 10x more enjoyable once it surpasses the books.

      And for those who bemoan the fact that future books will not be enjoyable because elements will be spoiled, trust me that I’ve read enough book adaptations of movies and shows to know that they have always been extremely enjoyable because they provide so much more background and understanding of character motivations. It’s not the end of the world.

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    30. jentario:
      Phyllis Ashley,

      No more adaption gripes from us Sullied. Not until TWOW comes out, at least!

      The adaptation gripes will be there, just different – they’ll be laced with book critique.

      Should be fun, going back n calling out everyone that claimed to recognize DnDs ‘bad fanfiction’.

      But yeah. Gripes will stay.

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    31. I’m seeing comments that the author of this piece is blaming D&D for this predicament, and/or GRRM for not writing faster, but upon re-reading the submission I guess I’m not seeing that. One reason why I liked what Phyllis wrote and published it is that she doesn’t fall back on the greatest hits of the ubiquitous fandom blame game that I think everyone is a little weary of.

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    32. Phyllis Ashley: Also the difference between your Harry Potter example and this situation is that the HP books had already been released; it’s not as if not introducing Bellatrix in earlier films led book-readers to think that maybe Bell was unimportant ultimately, which is the threat I summarized above.

      Ah, true! However, there were quite a few cases of this in HP, as four of the seven films came out before the last book, and we knew a lot about what was in and what was cut in the 5th film before the last book (which was released one earlier). There were a lot of fan ideas emphasizing cut characters (Ludo Bagman comes to mind) or cut back-story (the origins of the Marauder’s Map and Neville’s parents both come to mind).

      One big difference, however, is that HP fans convinced themselves that Kloves and Heymen probably were not even on speaking terms with Rowling, and thus that the omission of these things from the films only demonstrated that the filmmakers (unlike the True Fans) completely misunderstood everything that Rowling wrote! Thus, Bagman’s absence from Goblet did not mean that he was not going to be a crucially important Death Eater in Deathly Hallows; the absence of Neville’s history did not mean that Neville, not Harry, was not actually the “Chosen One.” Etc., etc.

      SoI&F fans seem to understand that Martin and B&W are largely on the same figurative pages. The issue is, of course, that B&W have now nearly caught up to GRRM on the literal pages! I look at it like this: I was a big SoI&F fan back in the late 1990’s and early aughts; I lost interest in it due to the huge time it took for Crows to come out, and my huge disappointment in Crows. Martin really should have finished this series several years ago; at this point, I just want to see the final stories and resolution of the last few mysteries. I mean, I “knew” who Jon’s mother was in 1997: I should have had the satisfaction of verification a long time ago, and I’ll happily take it on TV in 2017 if it’s not in WoW in 2015 (or 16 or 17). I mean, it shouldn’t take longer to get to the end of a mystery than it takes to be able to buy alcoholic beverages!

      alikat:

      Robb’s will won’t make any big difference

      Although fans have made a big deal of that, this was just a picture on a wall: the pistols being hung were the issue of Jon’s parentage, and (possibly) the issue of other legitimized bastards. This always was a case of some fans missing the forest for the trees. (By the same token, many of the same fans:

      made mountains out of Jaime Lannister considering Jeyne Westerling’s hips narrow; instead of realizing that this was GRRM telling us that Jaime’s model of feminine beauty is a bit curvier in his advancing age (and at the same time as telling us that Cersei is blaming her laundress for her gowns “shrinking), it was evidence that he really saw Jeyne’s sister, and that the pregnant Jeyne was off gestating the new King in the North!

      .)

      But, remember, it was GRRM himself who scripted the episode where this would have been introduced!

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    33. Pep,

      I agree with your point about it being unfortunate when some folk split the fandom into two groups. I’ve seen some people who call folk who like the show “show apologists”, though admittedly not on this site, which I thought was rather rude.

      I only finished the final book ASOIAF book earlier this year. I think it is healthy that this site has the two features, one by Morgoth and one by Phyllis as long as the various posters (including myself) remember our manners – it doesn’t cost anything to be polite and one can disagree with a person without name-calling. I will be very pleased if “The Winds of Winter” is published before Season 6 of the show. I saw a Flicks and the City video with Roy Dotrice, oh it must be nearly a year ago now, where he said one of the books was nearly finished, but that could have been the recent non-fiction book about the “history” of the ASOIAF universe I guess. I’m not that much younger than GRRM and though I’m not overweight and have reasonable health for my age I don’t know if I’m going to be around in another ten or twenty years or however long it takes him to finish the series, so I will be pleased for some form of closure, especially with GRRM’s editor having mentioned that the book series might now be eight books long……

      Edit: For the avoidance of doubt, Pep, I am not accusing you of name-calling by the way. My first paragraph related to the point you made and my second paragraph was me waxing lyrical.

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    34. Well, as most Fantasy fans would gladly buy DVDs with Director’s Cut and unused material extras, one can honestly derive: It’s not important, whether you are experiencing spoliers or not. There is no big clue after reading the Silmarillion or watching the extended LOTR-DVDs, like: “Ouuh! THAAT’S the way, they really wanted it to happen… Now I have a totally different perspective!”

      Fortunately, for show watchers and book re-readers, this will be the case! Of course, the majority will watch the show, being unable to fight its curiosity. We all should be happy, that afterwards we will get the conclusions for every side-arc, for every major arc, that becomes obsolete… And then we all will gladly experience, how it all intentionaly leads to the end-game. NO restrictions, NO actor contracts, NO network regulations, just GRRM words.

      Well, at least, that is my understanding of being a book purist and a show faniac.

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    35. The great thinkg about the books is that you don’t know who is important and who isn’t. By omitting certain characters from the show then it is naturally going to spoil a lot of them…unless they change the story dramatically from GRRMs intended books which then presents a new problem as personally I think when shows deviate from the source too much they become shite. So yeah, devil and the deep blue sea.
      For every sensible change there have been some howlers too so I’d say it’s fairly balanced in that sense…although I think the changes have been getting less successful as the seasons have progressed. Not into awful territory but enough for myself and others to be worried for the coming season.

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    36. King Tommen:
      And for those who bemoan the fact that future books will not be enjoyable because elements will be spoiled, trust me that I’ve read enough book adaptations of movies and shows to know that they have always been extremely enjoyable because they provide so much more background and understanding of character motivations. It’s not the end of the world.

      I find it is better to read the book after watching the show or movie. When I read the book first, it typically ruins the TV/Movie for me. When I watch first, the book is still fun to read. Of course there are exceptions to the rule. I read Fight Club after seeing the movie and it just felt like a screen play. It didn’t add much to the movie.

      On the other hand, GoT is probably the only TV/Movie I have read first and still enjoyed the show more.

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    37. You understand that book 1 was written in such a manner that it lends itself to a 1:1 adaptation, whereas books 2 through 5 increasingly do not, right? GRRM was, after all, writing for television when he wrote book 1. I struggled to get through book 4 at all, and the “Mereneese knot” of book 5 would never, ever produce a successful narrative for television. I’m 100% sullied, but omitting Martells is just fine with me. You can’t introduce a dozen Martells and expect to service them all, service existing characters, the established plot, and move the story forward in 10 hours of television. Like Gendry and Edric were combined to streamline the narrative, so are the Martells. It’s fine. Let it go.

      GRRM has said that any “show spoilers” can be categorized in one of three ways: 1) something that happened “off page” in the book, 2) something created new by the writers of the show, or 3) an actual spoiler to a future book. Until all ASOIAF books are published, you won’t know whether or not the Night King (assuming that’s who he is) “spoiler” belongs in category 1, 2, or 3.

      It cracks me up that people criticize Dan and Dave. They are the writers GRRM chose to adapt the books. He didn’t have to option the books at all. He chose them, he chose to share unpublished “book spoilers” with them, and he’s laughing all the way to the bank. No judgment here, I would likely do the same. But book purists are projecting their frustration on D&D when, in fact, the person they are really angry with is GRRM himself.

      Personally, I’m grateful the show exists at all, especially on HBO. How delightful to see this world brought to life. Book, show, I’ll take what I can get. They are both incomparably satisfying.

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    38. Wimsey,

      Well GRRM confirmed that there will be a

      2nd Dance of Dragons so yes Young Griff is important to the plot as he will be the Aegon II to Dany’s Rhaenyra.

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    39. I re-watched a random episode (S2E7) and noticed a very neat bit of (potential) foreshadowing…

      Jaime escaped and was recaptured and the Karstarks want to kill him. Catelyn and Brienne stand watching the fighting men demanding his head after Catelyn herself demanded that his life be spared, Brienne says ‘Who wants to die defending a Lannister’.

      If that ain’t some perfect foreshadowing, then I don’t know what is… Oh, and if the show reaches that part before the books, that’s on you George! D&D have been doing great work, overall.

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    40. Female book purists who can hold their own while debating/discussing the extreme sexual tension between Mel and Jon, the beauty & the beast connection between SanSan, the sadness behind the Tower of Joy, the kick-ass legend of the knight of the Laughing Tree, Ashara Dayne’s supposed suicide, and Val’s general dominant demeanor/Thenn bravado are the sexiest people in this community. 🙂

      Fuck show Ros and Talisa. Show Mel comes close, but book Mel, book Val, and book Septa Lemore are in our heads!

      Turncloak,

      There must be another Dance!

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    41. Hodorkovski:
      HBO = sticking to the schedule,
      GRRM = not.

      Ergo: if (and when) the show passes the books, the problem does not lie with the show.

      HBO = Has a schedule
      GRRM = Doesn’t

      Ergo: if (and when) the show passes the books, the problem lies with the show for making a schedule that depends on someone who doesn’t have one.

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    42. The Awful Awful Knight: HBO = Has a schedule
      GRRM = Doesn’t

      Ergo: if (and when) the show passes the books, the problem lies with the show for making a schedule that depends on someone who doesn’t have one.

      By authorizing the TV series, GRRM made the show’s schedule his schedule, if he didn’t want the show to spoil the books’ ending.

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    43. Al Swearengen,

      It is known! Al’s a book fan through and though. Which really means absolutely zilch, nada, niente, zero, rien etc to any of the fleabottom gals or guys. We miss you just the way you are, you hairy Scot (unless you waxed!)

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    44. The Awful Awful Knight,

      Uhm… It actually isn’t 🙂
      The show will continue to be successful and get good ratings after it overtakes the books. This is entirely GRRM’s problem. He will reap what he’s been sowing for the last few lazy years (when he essentially made ASOIAF a side project), and by consequence his faithful fans will also get the shaft

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    45. Sean C.,

      Exactly. He should have taken things seriously after the show was picked up. Though I guess it’s possible that he really doesn’t care that the show will overtake him.

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    46. Turncloak: Well GRRM confirmed that there will be a

      2nd Dance of Dragons so yes Young Griff is important to the plot as he will be the Aegon II to Dany’s Rhaenyra.

      The latter does not follow from the former. In particular, the two women involved are of very different temperament and personality. In one case, she believes that she deserves the throne simply because she is the eldest child; in the other case, she thinks that she has a duty to rule and rule well, not simply because of birth, but because she appreciates what it is like to be misruled. Now, we do not know much about either of the “he’s” involved, but it looks like there is a similar distinction. In one case, he believes that he deserves the throne because he is the eldest son; the latter has been taught that the throne is a duty.

      Now, in a broad sense, there is a parallel: in both cases, both contestants come at this from similar justifications. However, the justifications in the first case (I was born to it!) are very different from the justifications in the second case (it is my duty to do it!). The Dance will be very different this time, and they might not have anything more in common with each other than a waltz has with The Hustle.

      Perhaps the bigger question is, how will (the “modern”) he affect the story? He is not going to be a protagonist; instead, he’s going to be a huge foil for the #1 protagonist of the entire story. In some fashion, Good Dragon A will whisper “Do X not Y” in her left ear and Good Dragon B wll whisper “Do Y not X” in the right ear: the story will emerge from how she chooses or compromises between the two.

      (I’m impressed with myself: I had no need for spoiler tags!)

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    47. They are diverging from the source more and more and it will be almost impossible to know if you are spoiled or not. Aragonath of Braavos says it rather well upthread.

      IIRC Martin says that both mediums (books and show) will get to the same ending though they might get there differently. It makes sense in that context that Arienne for example might be the equivalent of what the show!Sandsnakes/ show!Tristaine will be. Vic’s whole arc of getting a fleet to Dany was supplanted with Daario capturing it for her. Different ways to get to the same result. Just because show Daario gets that fleet doesn’t mean Vic’s role is useless in the books.

      ;Hodor’s Bastard,

      I stand with you on the sassy-saucy-mystery book gals you mentioned. Sometimes, the endgame can suck it!!! Hack away if you’d like adaptation, but I still have them right here! (you obviously cannot see, it but I’m pointing at my head)

      I’m in need of some cookies myself after reading the article.

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    48. I think that the argument I’ve read a few times now, that not knowing whether something is a spoiler or a variation will just be a different way of having mystery regarding the books’ endgame, is a good way of looking at things. However this only works as far as TWOW/ season 6, maybe slighly further into season 7. I love it when the books and the show take different roads to the same destination, but my concern is when that destination is reached. The day that season 7 episode 10 airs (still a few years away at least). That’s when the show will undeniably and irrefutably spoil the books. I strongly believe that the show will closely resemble the book at the end. Sure the fates of secondary characters will vary, but to completely change that would be a case of D&D actually writing fan fiction not an adaptation and I have more faith in them than that. For now we still have diverging paths to the same destination and will do for a couple years to come (I’m still hoping for a TWOW release before season 6 though, but I’ll deal if it doesn’t). The problem for me will come in the final season with book seven still way off in the distance. Will I keep watching and enjoying the show? Absolutely (there’s no hope of avoiding spoilers). Will I still enjoy the books when they come out eventually? Probably. But I won’t enjoy it as much anymore and that makes me sad.

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    49. LJA,

      It cracks me up that people criticize Dan and Dave.

      People seriously can’t criticize D&D? Why? Cause GRRM allowed them to use his creation? They are the creators of the show… we should be mad at GRRM for what D&D do on screen?

      book purists are projecting their frustration on D&D when, in fact, the person they are really angry with is GRRM himself.

      Yeah, you totally nailed it, now give me some of what you’re smoking

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    50. Sean C.,

      Yes. I suspect that he doesn’t care that the show will overtake the books. I don’t understand how this story “got away” from him to this extent.

      This was great post, Phyllis – thanks! It is generating lots of worthy discussion.

      My concern is that we may never get the final book(s). That would mean not ever knowing what becomes of fAegon, Arianne, Euron, Manderly, etc. Sure, we can take educated guesses. And yes, these characters may not have a major impact on the end game. While I can accept the logical reasons for eliminating from the show, it doesn’t lessen my desire to know what happened. And my fear is that we may never find out.

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    51. This is a problem of Martin’s own making. If he wanted to get the books done before the show overtook him, he had ample opportunity to do so. He didn’t. And that’s his right…if he never wants to write again, he doesn’t have to. But I don’t see how anyone could complain about the show doing what the show was always going to do. The problem is that Martin didn’t do what he said he was going to do, and that’s how this situation was created.

      Personally, I don’t care which comes out first. I will enjoy both for what they are.

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    52. I enjoy both the books and the show (although I’d have to put a big asterisk next to that statement for books 4&5 and for certain adaptation choices e.g. the treatment of sexual violence in the series), but I think they are very different beasts, and not just because of the demands of adaptation to a visual medium.

      The clue is in the respective titles: D&D are writing Game of Thrones, a story with its focus on political machinations to take and hold the throne of the Seven Kingdoms; GRRM is writing A Song Of Ice And Fire, a story with its focus (as far as I can make out) on one or more existential threats to Westeros, and how – if at all – these are resolved.

      I’m much more interested in the existential threat than the political machinations. So I would rather the series spent less time in King’s Landing and on plotlines related to it, and more time in the North. Having said that, D&D appear to be much more comfortable with the political material than the fantasy/worldbuilding material, so maybe they are doing the right thing by playing to their strengths.

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    53. mariamb:
      Yes. I suspect that he doesn’t care that the show will overtake the books. I don’t understand how this story “got away” from him to this extent.

      No, GRRM definitely cares — hence the period of him throwing out numerous suggestions for how the show could run 8-10 seasons and/or do movies, etc., to give him space to finish. Caring, however, did not enable him to actually take the measures necessary to keep the schedule he needed to keep, partly because until earlier this year he appears to have been operating on a series of wildly overoptimistic assumptions about how long the show would run (AFFC/ADWD taking 2-3 seasons, etc.).

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    54. Good to see you’re still fighting the good fight Al.

      Nice article. Though I disagree with the central argument. Largely because I don’t think there’s a chance in hell of the books will be finished in any case. Though it doesn’t matter to me even if GRRM does manage to finish, I’ve found the show better in many respects anyway, and fully expect TWOW to be an under cooked mess. I’ve been waiting for D&D to take a sledgehammer to Feast and Dance since I read em. Looking forward to what they make of the rubble. I can’t help but laugh with every spoiler the show delivers, and I’m eagerly awaiting the ruination of GRRM’s name and legacy.

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    55. Why is that when D&D find a different path with the same end goal it is fan fiction? But when GRRM does it, it is somehow okay? Based on the amount of time it took GRRM to write the last 2 books, it is obvious that even he wasn’t sure how to connect the dots properly.

      The story of ASOIAF was supposed to be a trilogy. Then at one point it was 2 trilogies with a 5 year gap in between. Then he removed the 5 year gap. Now there are rumored of 8 books total. Book 4 had a lot of filler. Filler is filler and I don’t care how it gets manipulated. As long as it is interesting and the main events of the series stay the same (ie, battles, wedding, and so forth). I want the plot to progress, and GRRM has barely moved the plot forward over the last 10 years with the books. The show can save us from this.

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    56. Of the Night: Sure the fates of secondary characters will vary, but to completely change that would be a case of D&D actually writing fan fiction not an adaptation and I have more faith in them than that.

      No, it still would be adaptation. Secondary characters serve one purpose: getting the protagonists to make statements/decisions/choices/etc. that in turn become the story. Sometimes, secondary characters that are useful for propelling one protagonist in the books become useful for propelling a different protagonist on screen (TV or movie). This is comparable to, say, the fact that we mammals use a set of bones for our ears that reptiles and birds (as well as pre-mamammals) used as hinges on jaws: or that we jawed vertebrates are now using bones for our jaws that ancient fishes used as gill arches! It is much easier to modify something that is already in the vicinity and already performing similar functions than it is to completely invent something: and that is the difference between adaptation and fan-fiction, too.

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    57. I don’t know if the show passing the books is necessarily a “good thing”, but all the alternatives (except for books coming out sooner rather than later) would be bad things IMO:
      – 3 seasons of Feast/Dance
      – Long production break(s)
      – take story in completely different direction

      Any of those would be worse scenarios than the show simply doing its thing and passing the books

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    58. jjp,

      The other alternative is no TV show and then we would have to wait until around 2022 get a conclusion. And if he decided to add an 8th book like is rumored, we are looking at 2027 at the earliest.

      Does anybody want to wait another 8 to 13 years for the conclusion of this story? To put that in perspective, both the new Star Wars Trilogy and The Avengers Saga 3 (Part 1 & 2) will be completed for a few years by then….

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    59. cosca: I’m eagerly awaiting the ruination of GRRM’s name and legacy.

      It’s the level of vitriol towards GRRM from some that I can’t understand. I don’t think it’s jealousy-driven so it can only be childish temper tantrums that HE HASN’T GIVEN ME MY BOOKS YET, WAAAHHHH. It’s really pathetic.

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    60. I read the books following season 2, and digested them all in a few weeks. Since then, I’ve gone back twice through the whole series and re-read various chapters along the way. So, seasons 3 and 4 were ones where I had the books to skew my perception of the show.

      Season 3 is my favorite. Even though it stomped on a couple of my favorite moments with silly TV sensibilities that I felt were unnecessary. Still, it worked for me on such a powerful emotional level that I didn’t judge it too harshly. Season 4, however, is a mixed bag for me, and I do think the books influenced that a lot. Where my unsullied friends love season 4 the most, I am both in love with it and feel a level of disappointment in it that pushes it down the line of favorite seasons (currently my list of favorites goes 3, 1, 4, and 2, though season 2 is great… they all are).

      But I don’t think the books can ever be ruined for me by the show in the same way, because knowing what is coming isn’t the biggest thing for me. HOW George constructs the story is my favorite part of reading the books. Sure, the surprises are often more powerful than anything else I’ve ever read, especially since GRRM is an expert at hinting at but not giving it away that he’s about to do something spectacularly horribly.

      Reading book 1 after seeing the show didn’t make Ned’s death any less powerful. And the same goes for Robb’s death in season 3. I knew it was coming. It still messed me up for days.

      Now, book readers who want to avoid spoilers could decide to not watch the show, but there is NO WAY they will be able to avoid being spoiled by show viewers at some point. The books were read by a few million people over many years. The show will be watched by more than 20 million around the world in one day. You’d have to go live in a cabin in the woods for five years to avoid spoilers.

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    61. The Bastard:
      The other alternative is no TV show and then we would have to wait until around 2022 get a conclusion.And if he decided to add an 8th book like is rumored, we are looking at 2027 at the earliest.

      Not that I think the TV show is a bad thing, but if you want to get into counterfactuals, if there was no show at all the books might theoretically be coming out sooner, since the fame GRRM gained from the show’s success also gave him innumerable additional opportunities to waste time that he hadn’t had before (as well as, of course, the time he just spent working on the show; his four scripts would equal fourth months’ work).

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    62. I would stop watching if the next book is coming 2 or 3 or even 5 or 7 months after the season (I mean s06 and TWOW) but we dont know that yet George might yet surprise us and release it quicker than we thought ,, but when it comes to ADOS and the final season hell no I am not gonna LIVE for 4 or 3 years without watching the final season of game of thrones and knowing what happened, I can’t wait all this years for george to finish ):

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    63. Must say this about the book fandom; I think on the whole they have been very good about not giving spoilers out. Obviously there’s some nobbys out there who have but I think, compared to people who’ve watched shows/films before others, they’ve generally been angelic!

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    64. Holy shit some people here…

      Hodorkovski:
      HBO = sticking to the schedule,
      GRRM = not.

      HBO = The coolest characters being cut, their screentime being replaced with boring fanfic, entire storylines being cut and replaced with pointless boobs and nudity = shit
      GRRM = The true story. True, there’s some boring stuff in there too. Problem is, instead of removing the bad stuff and replacing it, the showrunners are doing it with the good stuff. It’s really simple. You don’t need to think much further really. D&D failed at replacing the bad stuff with good stuff. They did the opposite (since early to mid s4). Want an exemple ? We lost CH we gained the Crasters stuff. Hurray. Good choice there.

      nuff said

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    65. TheTouchOfFrost,

      You can’t enter a GOT comment section without being spoiled. How is that good? I heard about the RW from three different places before reading the books and have seen a lot of spoilers since. GOT is probably the worst show in terms of spoilers (even the media lets itself talk about a variety of spoilery things without much warning).

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    66. Wimsey,

      I just wanted to say that I really like reading your posts 🙂

      For some reason I also happen to agree on pretty much everything you have said here in past three months 😀

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    67. Wimsey,

      I think I phrased that sentence poorly. I didn’t mean that changing fates of secondary characters would make it fan fiction. I meant that a totally and completely different ending would be. Also that I thought a total change would be unlikely, with the first better option being more likely, therefore the major elements of the conclusion would be spoilt.

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    68. I always enjoy reading different perspectives, especially when they’re well-written. Thank you for this piece.

      While I would much rather have the opportunity to read how this tale ends before I see it, as I am one who vastly prefers reading over watching television, I suppose I have accepted that isn’t a real possibility. Given that, I look forward to seeing how different the paths are to the end, once we have a basis for comparison, and know I will still enjoy the books…whenever it is we finally get them.

      OT – Over in the forums, someone, a composer, posted their orchestral version of the Rains of Castamere. I quite enjoyed it, and thought I’d let people know it is over there, in case they haven’t seen it, yet.

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    69. Bex:
      Mine is the Furry,

      Not the place for reminders of Tybee or objectifying the author. I’m fairly sure she didn’t spend all that effort writing this essay with the hope that someone in the comments section would talk about her breasts.

      True, but it was a nod to old controversy and tounge-in-chee, considering it caused my temp ban over there. If you offered a PM service I would have been more discreet. And it is a hot pic. And I am ruled by a penis.

      However, why was my comment about the good or bad of it deleted when I made an insightful analogy?

        Quote  Reply

    70. jentario,

      All my friends who watch the show haven’t had anything spoiled for them. I guess if you venture further into the fandom then the danger increases. If people were that bothered about spoilers then they’d remove the risk entirely and not go into forums.

        Quote  Reply

    71. TheTouchOfFrost,

      You don’t need to go into forums for spoilers.

      Lena Heady doing the nude walk for example

      . All you had to do a short while back was google Game of Thrones and it appeared blatantly in multiple news articles, in the actual headlines. Social media is shocking for spoilers too. Joffrey’s face was everywhere seconds after he died on screen. You cannot avoid the risk entirely simply by avoiding forums.

        Quote  Reply

    72. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Not just forums, it’s all over social media where you least expect it. And the fact that you have to avoid GOT comments entirely in order to avoid spoilers is proof enough this fandom isn’t exactly perfect in that regard.

      In terms of MY friends, I can say none of them are half as hardcore as me but they still managed to get some spoilers (like Oberyn’s death).

        Quote  Reply

    73. Bex:
      Mine is the Furry,

      Sorry, wasn’t very insightful and I’m sure you know that. Please keep it respectful and not gross.

      You’re the boss, sis.

      I correlated the subjectivity of whether passing the books is considered good or bad to a barbiturate enema. That’s pretty damn insightful.

        Quote  Reply

    74. Re: the griffs

      as i see it, various and tyrian are getting up at illyrio’s, continuing on their journey, tyrian being intercepted, varys is like ?, tyrian travels to dany with norah, various returns to pentos, and the season ends with varys and illyrio giving the spoiler of the griffs to viewers!

      what do you guys think?

        Quote  Reply

    75. jentario,

      I have a friend who’s never watched a single episode and has no interest at all but still knows that “Sean Bean dies yet again” and that there is a “wedding where all the good guys get killed off”.

        Quote  Reply

    76. Mine is the Furry,

      I wouldn’t kick Tybee out of bed for eating Jojen paste but book readers are hotter.

      —–

      Great article, PA. Keep it front and center. This is a unique and troubling issue. The ASoI&F tale deserves to have one’s open imagination visualize the robust content first, then see a specific adaptation/visualization second. Damn GRRM. Nothing will stop me from watching and anticipating but one always hopes the world is sane and logical. (much laughter)

      I still believe that GRRM gave D&D a false made-for-TV summit with many overlapping paths (end of TWoW/early ADoS) but he is saving the final ascent and immersion of all possible paths to the ultimate peak for himself.

        Quote  Reply

    77. We all know House Ray was founded on gambling problems.

      I would like to wager – Season 6 airs in entirety before TWOW is released to the public. Scary, isn’t it?

        Quote  Reply

    78. The beginning of this article perfectly sums up why the show is spoiling the books; by omitting characters, and even entire plots and events, the show is telling us which are relevant, and which are not.

      No Lady Stoneheart pretty much guarantees that she has zero part to play in the end game of the story, which takes all the OMPH out of her reveal and subsequent appearances. Same with Arianne being completely omitted, and the Greyjoys.

      Basically, the show is telling us, through D&D who have this info from GRRM himself what is important and what isnt, that these seemingly important characters who we have dedicate time to, are worthless. We have basically wasted our time.

      That’s what I take from it. And it sucks.

      That being said, how fucking awesome what that Night’s King scene? Holy shit I was freaking out! I hope we get a ton more like it in S5!

        Quote  Reply

    79. House Ray,

      I’m really hoping we get a Christmas 2015 release. That way there is a chance to read and dicuss it during the off-season before watching it 3 or 4 months later. However, that is looking pretty unlikely. By this time next year we wil already have quite a lot of spoilery information from filming (such as if character x meets character y) if the book isn’t released in Summer 2015 (which isn’t going to happen).

        Quote  Reply

    80. House Ray,

      As a fatally-flawed optimist, I will accept your wager. I have one condition though. The wager must partially involve beer, preferably Take the Black Stout by Ommegang. I’ll even up the risk on my part for TWoW to be published BEFORE S6ep1 airs (April 2016).

        Quote  Reply

    81. I think the exclusion of the

      Griffs on the show confirm that Aegon is a Blackfyre. The show has never made a single mention of the history of House Blackfyre, and the books make a big deal of it through out the entire series.. I had already believed this theory after my first read of ASOIAF but the re-read nailed it. Mainly because I took the advice of a friend and not only decided to read the Dunk and Egg books during my re-read, I read them in the order in which they were published. Bloodraven and the Blackfyres are very prominent in the Mystery Knight and it’s no coincidence that that book was released before ADWD (in which Bloodraven and House Blackfyre are major parts) . You obviously don’t need to read the Dunk and Egg books to understand the main story but I feel like it helps a lot. So if this theory is true,what does that mean for Varys and Illyrio on the show? I mean we saw them plotting together in season 1 so what does that mean for the show if the Griffs are cut?

        Quote  Reply

    82. Of the Night,

      jentario,

      Original comment wasn’t about the fandom, it was about book readers who I think on the whole ( espeially on this site) are pretty careful with their spoilers.
      I do think that up until now spoilers have been avoidable ( just read the books!) but next season onwards I’ll just have to be more careful which means I won’t be coming on any GoT related fan sites until I’m up to date with episodes. Social media isn’t much of a big deal for me as I live in the UK and we normally get it a day or so later than the US so if you acquire it via the dark arts before it airs then you’re laughing. If that’s not doable I just avoid social media for a day or two. There’s ways to manage it, folks just need to disconnect from spending as much time on the internet.

        Quote  Reply

    83. Hodor’s Bastard:
      I still believe that GRRM gave D&D a false made-for-TV summit with many overlapping paths (end of TWoW/early ADoS) but he is saving the final ascent and immersion of all possible paths to the ultimate peak for himself.

      Then GRRM can look forward to being sued.

        Quote  Reply

    84. Ser Matt the Sullen:
      No Lady Stoneheart pretty much guarantees that she has zero part to play in the end game of the story, which takes all the OMPH out of her reveal and subsequent appearances. Same with Arianne being completely omitted, and the Greyjoys.

      With all due respect, that’s a bit reactive. Just because D&D have chosen to not present a certain storyline from the books does not mean they are spoiling the outcome. They are pruning for logistical and economic reasons, not for spoilery reasons. There are many paths to the endgame, they have chosen a few from many…and even with the few they have selected, they are carving new pathways for show-only purposes.

      I refuse to believe there is gross spoilage happening here. I believe they are “trying” to be respectful of the author’s work and plan for completion. The Bran no-S5 announcement, as awkward as it is for continuity, was the showrunner’s respectful warning shot to GRRM that they will give him “one more season” to move the tale forward with TWoW. while they splice and dice AFfC/ADwD for S5.

      All the characters you mention will matter, just not for the show, given the info released and leaked.

      The WW baby recruiter scene from “Oathkeeper” (S4ep4) was fun and insightful but it didn’t spoil much. The Olenna reveal wasn’t really a spoiler either. Maybe GRRM will release a sample Sansa chapter before S5, which could contain real nuggets of info….like Mercy did for S4 and will do for S5.

      ASoI&F is too large to pin down to a few selected character threads.

        Quote  Reply

    85. Sean C.,

      You and others have mentioned that before. GRRM’s contract is probably more flexible than we think….especially given that they have taken such adaptation liberties already. Given that GoT has already made HBO/Time Warner billions of bucks, and will continue to do so, I don’t think an ending difference would matter much. Let’s get real here. It is simply a matter of money and the bottom line for HBO/Time Warner.

        Quote  Reply

    86. Hodor’s Bastard:
      You and others have mentioned that before. GRRM’s contract is probably more flexible than we think….especially given that they have taken such adaptation liberties already. Given that GoT has already made HBO/Time Warner billions of bucks I don’t think an ending difference would matter much. Let’s get real here. It is simply a matter of money to HBO/Time Warner.

      There’s no way GRRM’s contract is “flexible” in that it allows him to withhold parts of the story as he sees fit. He would have absolutely no leverage to negotiate such a deal, and no production company would sign it (as well, GRRM clearly never anticipated the series passing him, so I doubt he would have made such a demand). What HBO chooses to do with the information once he turns it over to them has no connection (beyond which, anything he withheld about the end would concern the resolutions for the main characters, not side characters that got cut)

      Yes, it is a “matter of money”. Namely, HBO/Time Warner paid him for the filming rights to “A Song of Ice and Fire”. The whole thing. If they found out that he had defrauded them of part of what they paid for, he would absolutely be sued into oblivion, to put the fear of God into other writers who make deals with HBO/Time Warner.

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    87. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Apologies, so it was. I thought I was reading the old idea of just don’t watch or visit forums if you want to avoid books spoilers. Which is not at all what you were saying, so nevermind. I just can’t read. I agree that most of the sullied have been decent about it. The unsullied a vastly more numerous and several will be tempted to take revenge on those few jerk sullied when the opportunity arises so we’re probably screwed by association if any of us try to avoid it.

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    88. Rafael: I just wanted to say that I really like reading your posts

      My blushes! :blush:

      Mine is the Furry: Checkov

      heheh, that’s a good one: and also one of the few phonetic spellings of the name that I haven’t seen! (Cyrillic -> Roman is not always consistent.)

      Hodor’s Bastard: With all due respect, that’s a bit reactive. Just because D&D have chosen to not present a certain storyline from the books does not mean they are spoiling the outcome.

      Also, it only means that the character in question isn’t very important before Season 6. But, then: the Sullied (who were the only ones expecting her) already knew that. One other thing that people have to consider is that this will be something similar to what was done on Doctor Who this season: prolonged teasing over Season 6 followed by an unveiling. The performer in question need not be involved prior to that.

      And, this could be stood on it’s head: the appearance of said character would be confirmation that the character will become important in Martin’s future books. We simply don’t know that this will be the case. (I am almost inclined to doubt it at this point.)

      Hodor’s Bastard: Maybe GRRM will release a sample Sansa chapter before S5, which could contain real nuggets of info

      .
      In a way, this has already happen: one of the “trivial details that only fans would notice” editors has revealed that

      the early chapters will upset and offend some fans. Given that plus Maleficent Stark, this would be consistent with the idea that Sansa has learned that Cersei was right about what kinds of weapons she possesses.

        Quote  Reply

    89. Jeb,

      I’m hoping for a March 2016 release of TWOW. That way we can a double serving of ASOIAF and Game of Thrones deliciousness. Worst case scenario is probably a late 2017 release date. That would mean the GOT writers missed out on the full book 6 manuscript by the time they begin filming season 6 during the summer of 2015.

        Quote  Reply

    90. Of the Night,

      May be me being paranoid but I do get a sneaking sense of satisfaction from some Unsullied (who may have been hurt by spoilers in the past) that people who have read the book could now get something spoiled. An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind…and all that.

        Quote  Reply

    91. Sean C.,

      So HBO effectively shut down GRRM’s creative juices in 2007 after they paid for the “outline”? That’s BS. As several others have pointed out, they contracted to produce A Game of Thrones, not A Song of Ice & Fire. Certainly, they are allowing GRRM’s creative juices to continue flowing.

      With all the billions to be made from AGoT, no one is suing anyone regarding this topic.

      OR…if you are correct…perhaps that is the real reason why GRRM has been so alarmingly aloof about completing TWoW when so much is on the line. Money has spoken and it isn’t his baby anymore. He is free to be a lazy, rich fucker while others complete his life’s work.

      No. That is just a God-awful thought.

        Quote  Reply

    92. Ah Sweet Summer Children –

      As a very long time book reader, I figure the show going ahead of the books will be just like the experience folks had with watching S1 (or S2 & 3) and then reading the books. I will just read the books later. Don’t really see the diff.

        Quote  Reply

    93. Hey, all!

      I have been at work most of the afternoon and will be late into the evening, so my apologies for not being present to further this discussion with some of you. It is refreshing to see that there are others out there who share my opinion on the matter; and further, I really appreciate the kind words! I’m glad that some of you enjoyed the article.

      If I can, I will pop in later tonight and acknowledge a few comments.

      Just to sum up, I think it’s really great that those of us within this crazy fandom can come together from a shared love of this story no matter our “faction” without letting it disintegrate into name-calling, rows, or other tasteless exclamations. I’m just sorry I was so busy today that I couldn’t keep it going!

      I don’t know about some of you, but my twitter account link was not working. You can find me @totiphyll.

      Thanks, folks,

      ~ PA

        Quote  Reply

    94. I actually doubt the original contract even specified what he has to tell them, as they were probably expecting to be able to just read the books by then. They bought the rights to adapt his written works, not access his thoughts. Back in 2007 nobody had a concept of the Meereenese knot. It was still soon after book 4 and sure there had been a delay there but that was because he had to start over because of the whole time jump failure. That would have been seen as a shame but a one time problem. They had no idea that delayed publications would become the norm. They were wrong of course, but they couldn’t have been expected to know that then.

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    95. Seriously I think some book readers are either mentally retarded or on the crack. It is the showrunners fault that the books are being outpaced by the show. To phrase book purists who always attack people for criticizing GRRM’s work ethic, “HBO IS NOT YOUR BITCH”. Its funny that book readers are complaining about fan fiction when there was a whole published fan fiction material called the world of ice and fire.

        Quote  Reply

    96. Patchy Face:
      Ah Sweet Summer Children –

      As a very long time book reader, I figure the show going ahead of the books will be just like the experience folks had with watching S1 (or S2 & 3) and then reading the books. I will just read the books later. Don’t really see the diff.

      Well, quite.
      And I can’t really see the point of this article, because there is strictly nothing anyone can do about the situation here described. Lighten up, maybe?

        Quote  Reply

    97. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Well… GRRM didn’t write “The World of Ice and Fire.”

      Elio & Linda did, and said they invented a whole lot of stuff, which GRRM did review and okayed or vetoed when necessary, and also provided plenty of text to fill out some of the gaps, true enough; but the other gaps were filled with what amounts to Elio & Linda’s fan fiction. I’m pretty sure when GRRM gets around to writing his own “Silmarillion” (“Fire and Ice”), a lot of the stuff in Elio & Linda’s book will be outright contradicted. There’s a good excuse, of course. Their book is not written as an objective History, but as the subjective account of two maesters who even contradict each other some times.

      Linda’s head in particular would explode of anger after reading the following, but the truth is that some of what’s in there is certainly closer to fan fiction than most of the invented stuff in Game of Thrones. Adaptations can be loose and that doesn’t make them fan fiction. It’s always a kind of parallel universe, both by necessity of working on a different medium and by the fact (which purists don’t want to hear about) that producing a carbon copy of the source material would be boring and creatively unsatisfying for the writers.

      Meanwhile, Elio & Linda were working on the original source material, with no pretense of adaptation. You may call it licensed fan fiction, but it will probably end up like the Star Wars Expanded Universe —it will be canon until it’s superseded by actual new official material, in ASOIAF’s case written by GRRM himself.

        Quote  Reply

    98. Of the Night: Back in 2007 nobody had a concept of the Meereenese knot.

      Actually, the issue of the Meereenese Knot came up before then: GRRM had let people know that the sequel to a Storm of Swords was delayed because of this general plotting problem. Part of the reason why Crows came out when it did was that this stuff was largely written, and he was able to partition the different story lines by geography and more specific story.

      At that time, we were promised Dragons within a year or so. So, by 2007, it already was a year late: and Martin had to know that he was still a ways away.

        Quote  Reply

    99. Luka Nieto,

      ???

      Come on, man. Give us long-term fans some credit. Everything GRRM has written in the past few years has been from a maester’s perspective. He enjoys this 3rd-party historian perspective because he is a self-proclaimed historian and the remote, and somewhat opinionated at times. voice does allow him to change his mind if he ever wants to tell the tale from an active PoV. The well-documented process of finding holes in the ASoI&F tales and subsequent extrapolation and integration is fascinating and a lot of fucking work over 8 years. TWoI&F is well done and shouldn’t be passive-aggressively criticized because it is linked to two fans who are better connected than we are, regardless of our distaste for their personalities. I would trade positions with E&L in a heartbeat if that was my career choice.

      …and the artwork is awesome….but GRRM didn’t do that…oh well.

        Quote  Reply

    100. Luka Nieto,

      If GRRM has collabarated with them then I think it’s quite childish/almost bitter to call it fan fiction in a derogatory sense which the original poster (I forgot who already) did. Not sure why there’s such hatred for Mr Martin at the moment. The guy has written a great series of books and is taking time out to do what he wants with his life (he isn’t getting any younger ya know). I understand people want the final couple of books ( I do too) but the man isn’t a slave to fan’s wants. He’s written a number of other books if people want something to read in the meantime ( I thought Fevre Dream was particularly good) and there’s a whole ton of great fantasy series out there. Patience is a virtue.

        Quote  Reply

    101. Hodor’s Bastard,

      I barely know Elio & Linda and any antagonism I might harbor doesn’t stem from jealousy but from my lack of patience for fanatical literalism, be it literary, religious, or political —though the literary purists are the most childish; it’s just a fucking book. Also, there is Linda’s own troubled history of… well, see for yourself.

      I also don’t see where you’re going there. Yes, I agree TWoI&F was quite an impressive achievement. I’m just addressing, specifically and explicitly, the “whole lot of stuff” they invented, which GRRM okayed but I’m sure he will have no trouble to contradict if he believes doing so is necessary for a definitive History of the world of ASOIAF or another story within the world. I don’t see how that’s a controversial or provocative statement. I’m certainly not criticizing GRRM or the fandom. I’m must saying, when some of that information get superseded, it will be considered apocryphal… or licensed fan fiction, similarly to what just happened to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which was canon until the new episodes were announced, which would not, of course, follow any of the EU canon. Now, this is different. GRRM has had plenty of input and Elio & Linda have just filled in some gaps… but, as I said a couple of times already, it’s those gaps I’m addressing, not the whole product.

      Your comment might be more appropriately addressed to Lord Elmo Tully, who does seem to believe the whole book is fan fiction.

        Quote  Reply

    102. Hodor’s Bastard,

      It’s very hard to tell what Elio and Linda wrote and what GRRM wrote himself. TWOIAF has an excellent first half with the history of each Targaryen King combined with the excellent piece on Princess Nymeria and the Rhyone. The only part of the first half that I felt was plodding along was the Regency Period. The 2nd half is not as good as the first half maybe because we don’t see the internal politics of the Targaryen reign. Also, it can be due to personal preference. The Riverlands and Reach chapters were a snooze-fest for me but I loved The Westerlands and The North. Also, how did the Iron Islands get the most combined pages o_O ?

        Quote  Reply

    103. Wimsey,

      oh, was it? I just heard about it late then. They might not have realised how late it would be though. At any rate the adaptation overtaking the source material isn’t exactly a common problem so my theory is still at least plausible (though less likely if they already knew about the knot).

        Quote  Reply

    104. TheTouchOfFrost,

      I have no trouble with Martin, I promise. I like the guy, and I find the incessant calls for him to finish the books a bit disgusting, especially when they come accompanied by insults or threats. As far as I am concerned, it’s his work and he doesn’t owe us shit (he owes the publishers, but that’s none of our business.) Some people feel too entitled about this and other fictional universes. I’m not saying it doesn’t make sense: we get attached to these stories and worlds, so when we feel the author is fucking it up we feel betrayed. I do to, with other things, but it’s certainly never a healthy attitude.

      Personally, I don’t get angry at Martin mostly because… honestly, I’m a show watcher first. I don’t have strong feelings about these delays. I truly don’t care and I’ll happily experience the end of ASOIAF for the first time in the show, albeit in a condensed form.

      Wimsey,
      Of the Night,

      Until a year ago or so, Martin seemed to be in denial about the reality of the show over-taking the books in pretty much every interview in which the topic was touched upon, so he certainly wouldn’t have been close to contemplating the possibility back in 2007, even though he was in the middle of the infamous knot.

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    105. Luka Nieto,

      Consider my response to you a form of respect. 🙂

      I’m going to repeat myself from a few threads ago. This whole tale began with a gross misperception and subsequent unjust killing by the main protagonist. The whole PoV presentation of ASoI&F is an intentional indirection of the truth. That is the beauty of ASoI&F, wouldn’t you say? The tales live amid the rumors, the lies, the mummeries, the dangerous liaisons, the fallacies and goofy prophecies. Exact or not, TWoI&F is a legitimate extension of this blurry world that we love to speculate about.

      Linda is a joke but I do enjoy what E&L’s website has done for the fandom.

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    106. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Oh, yeah. People quibble about the details of adaptation, but for me the big thing that was lost in translation is the subjective and contradictory accounts that we often get in the books. I’m aware that when you have ten hours you cannot afford to have a ton of differing accounts of crucial events, because it would get confusing (for everyone) and it just wouldn’t be good storytelling. Knowing that, I still miss that element from the books in GoT.

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    107. Ive notice that I have liked every season less and my non-reader friends like every season more. While I appreciate the aesthetics of the show and realize why it is considered a great television series, I can realistically see myself despising it in all aspects after season 5.

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    108. Greg,

      I’ve thought about this, actually. After two years of stretching story lines (the ASOS split affected certain characters negatively), we get back to having a whole lot of actual story contained in ten episodes. More than ever, in fact; two books, though with a lot of cuts.

      So, the Unsullied could very well love Season 5, as it promises to have satisfying, plot-thick and twist-filled story arcs for most characters we know and love, while certain book readers will feel for the first time the omissions are unforgivable, especially the cut new characters. Myself, I’ll enjoy it as an Unsullied, though I’m not.

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    109. TheTouchOfFrost,

      It’s fanfiction in that a fan wrote it and created it from scratch. GRRM’s edits won’t change that. Canon or no, some ASOIAF nerd wrote a bunch of ideas he had about the series and made a book about it. It’s pretty lame, IMO.

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    110. Hodor’s Bastard:
      So HBO effectively shut down GRRM’s creative juices in 2007 after they paid for the “outline”? That’s BS. As several others have pointed out, they contracted to produce A Game of Thrones, not A Song of Ice & Fire. Certainly, they are allowing GRRM’s creative juices to continue flowing.

      They didn’t “shut down” his creative juices. They bought the rights to his unpublished work. And he’s very clear that he has a plan for how the series is to end, which he isn’t derogating from.

      Now, if he actually changed his mind on things after the series ended (and ADOS will certainly come out after the series is over), that’s not the same thing. You’re talking about the active withholding of information, and he’s not allowed to do that.

      With all the billions to be made from AGoT, no one is suing anyone regarding this topic.

      As I said, they absolutely will sue him if he is found to be acting in bad faith, to send a message to other writers.

      Of the Night:
      I actually doubt the original contract even specified what he has to tell them, as they were probably expecting to be able to just read the books by then. They bought the rights to adapt his written works, not access his thoughts. Back in 2007 nobody had a concept of the Meereenese knot. It was still soon after book 4 and sure there had been a delay there but that was because he had to start over because of the whole time jump failure. That would have been seen as a shame but a one time problem. They had no idea that delayed publications would become the norm. They were wrong of course, but they couldn’t have been expected to know that then.

      The “Meereenese Knot” was already a thing in 2007. Moreover, we know that GRRM told them how the show ended when it began (though not the greater details they got from him last year); giving them information was always part of the arrangement. No semi-competent lawyer would draft a contract for an unfinished book series without a contingency for what would happen if the books weren’t done by the time the series needed the material, and with a project that involves hundreds of millions of dollars, you’d better believe that they’ve got a team of lawyers who rate much better than semi-competent.

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    111. This is becoming a pretty big article. Almost 160 comments. I mean, it’s no 700 comments like last week, but that’s difficult to surpass.

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    112. Turncloak,

      Can you imagine that the Targ stuff in TWoI&F is only a touch of what GRRM has in store for “Fire and Blood”? He really digs those Targs and Blackfyres. It seems like he is saving all the devilish Targ details until after he gives us the second Dance in TWoW/ADoS, whenever that may be.

      (There is a big fucking reason why GRRM is keeping Bloodraven around)

      I agree that the first half is better. The Free Cities stuff and other Essos stuff might have been E&L-conceived from holes in ADwD but the Valyria and Nymeria content is gold. The Sword of the Morning page made my day. The illustration of Ser Duncan the Tall (Dunk the Lunk!) facing off with L Baratheon is a priceless piece. They don’t tell much about the duel and calamity (other than Dunk survived) because I’m sure it is being saved for a D&E novella.

      Even though they tried to organize it by area/house/chrono, I actually like how TWoI&F wanders around, giving us a glimpse of how everyone/things interacted with each other, no matter where or when they were.

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    113. Mine is the Furry,

      To be honest, I’ve watched a whole bunch of plainly bad and mediocre shows as well. But, yeah, Deadwood was amazing. Now I hesitate to mention other shows I love, lest you hate, say, Breaking Bad and I quit being on your nice list so soon after entering it.

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    114. It’s a unique and frustrating situation to be in, I can’t deny that. If I had the choice of what to go through first, I’d rather read the book first before seeing it play out on the show. But that’s not going to happen, and as someone who got into the books because of the show, it has never been an option to hold off from watching the show.

      Thank you for what I would say was a reasonable and mature take on thing. Far too often I see people on your side argue for them delaying the show, blaming HBO or D&D or taking a stance of anything other than focusing on GRRM as most responsible for this predicament. You also have been realistic about just how difficult it is to avoid watching the show and waiting for the books.

      When it comes to things being left out on the show and that spoiling things for book readers, while I think we can say that if something or someone is left out they are almost certainly not a huge driver of the climax of the story, that doesn’t mean that said thing or person is completely irrelevant in the books. The volume of material in the last 2 books exploded to such a level that there was no logical way they could ever fit in everything without killing the show. Just because someone like Arianne or a storyline like the Iron Island may be cut or greatly diminished in the show does not mean that it won’t provide some enjoyment in future books.

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    115. Sean C.,

      Hah…I got you to bend a bit. I still disagree though. I bet his contract has more incentives in it than restrictions. Like the software world in which I work, unfinished pieces have a lot more inherent flexibility (maturing customer desirements) than completed packaged products that are for sale in bulk.

      Show me da money!

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    116. alikat:
      Another thing I think will influence the show is fan’s reactions to certain characters. The majority of the show fandom LOVE Dany and don’t care/hate Stannis. Of course Dany gets more screen time. Gendry, The Hound, Pod, Hot Pie, etc have gotten more screen time because of the fans responding so favorable to them. D&D might decide to make major changes to the endgame based on that. They changed LOTR/The Hobbit to include Arwen/Aragorn’s romance at the expense of Glorfindel’s scenes and added a female elf heroine in The Hobbit who is in a possible romance with a Dwarf. I don’t think it ruined the movies at all but for people who don’t want to/won’t read the books, it filled the modern day need for a romance and a female lead for the men to fall all over. And granted it was necessary to increase Arwen’s screen time for the full impact of her sacrifice to make sense without the appendix in the book.

      I think we just have to look at it as two different beasts – book is one and show is another.

      Personally, I just haven’t seen D&D changing a plotline and increasing the amount of a character’s appearances or role because of fan reaction. Referencing Dany vs. Stannis doesn’t support your argument, as Dany is one of the most significant characters in the book, and surely a lot moreso than Stannis. Of course she is going to be more prevalent in the show. And I would argue that the reaction towards Dany over the last year+ has been pretty negative, starting from the reaction to the final scene of season 3 and going throughout season 4. I’ve seen rankings of GOT characters where she has placed dead last. Of the other characters you list, only the Hound has had a really significant increase in screentime, which I felt was totally warranted so as to keep Arya’s storyline on pace with the other storylines in season 4. The show didn’t have the luxury of having only 2 or 3 post Red Wedding appearances for the characters like the books were able to do.

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    117. But for many book readers the show surpassing the books will be disastrous to our reading experience and the terms in which we want to participate in the fandom.

      That’s the issue in a nutshell, isn’t it? We bought into the ASOIAF experience thinking that we knew how it would unfold: that it would begin and end with the books, and, more to the point, that we would be able to follow the story as GRRM himself intended it to flow. Before, the “real, genuine” story would be at the forefront of our minds, would be our faithful, grounding companion. Our impressions of the characters would formed based on the primary source, not the secondary, where there are and may still be tangible differences in characterisation. The adaption was free to unfold, but we had the security of knowing that we had “canon” as a reference point, especially if we didn’t understand or agree with something.

      But now?

      I doubt that anyone would disagree that first impressions are powerful things. If and when we see a scene for the first time, it might be in pixels instead of words. There may be a sense of wrongness about it, a falseness, illegitimacy, deceit. “This isn’t how it’s supposed to be,” we may tell ourselves, “this” being our experience of ASOIAF. When we then read the words, we’ll already have an image in our heads, one that may be contradicted by the book, the “real” story–thus, although we’ll “know” how the story goes, we’ll not know how it goes. Not only would it deprive “canon” of its surprise and perhaps fun, but GRRM’s own words would be sources of confusion and frustration. We know how the story goes. We’ve already seen it. We’ve processed it, formed an opinion of the people and plot, shared it, dissected it, debated it, become emotionally involved in it. We’ve lived it. And we’ll have to repeat all of that because we were deprived of the “real” story? It’s maddening to envision, and I can easily see how the entire thing is the source of such disquiet.

      BUT.

      On a basic level, there’s still lots of fun and surprise to be had with watching the TV show, not only in the humour from the book but in D&D’s more charming additions. The TV show also offers the joys and wonders and richness of visual media, and who’s to say that the differences between the show and “real” story will be of such significance that readers will even give pause for a moment? More importantly, as I commented in response to Morgoth’s article, I’ve been invested in the ASOIAF world for so long, I’m desperate to find out what happens to each character, and the idea of having to wait for an indefinite amount of time for a resolution is starting to distract from my experience of the books themselves. Having an endpoint in sight would be a relief and I’m confident I can keep the two worlds separate. If they converge in some muddled fashion in my head, it hurts no one.

      The book is the book and the show is the show. At some points, their paths will diverge and at some points, they’ll realign. It just so happens that one will play out before the other, and it’s not the one we expected or intended. We’ll just have to work a little harder to keep the two separate. The TV show will outpace the books and I’ve made my peace with it. I’m fully confident we each have the capacity to enjoy both immensely.

      Thank you for the article, PA! Clearly, lots and lots and lots of food for thought! Now I just need to catch up on the rest of this thread 🙂

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    118. Sunfyre:
      But the central complaint of this post should be laid squarely at GRRM’s doorstep. He simply shouldn’t have sold the rights. Blaming D&D for striving to give us the best possible television show is missing the target entirely. I sympathize with sullied book-purist angst. I just wish they would occasionally acknowledge the cause of their frustration… And it ain’t D&D.

      LJA:
      It cracks me up that people criticize Dan and Dave. They are the writers GRRM chose to adapt the books. He didn’t have to option the books at all…But book purists are projecting their frustration on D&D when, in fact, the person they are really angry with is GRRM himself.

      I don’t necessarily think it’s useful to apportion blame, but I must agree with the spirit of your comments. However we’d like to point the finger at D&D for all the world’s ills (and I’ll never understand this inclination–they gave us GOT and have devoted 10 years of their life to it!!), the buck for this dilemma stops with one man.

      I do find it a wee bit saddening as I think GRRM is the first person who wants these books out and ahead of the show. He cares deeply for his fans and for the integrity of his vision. The reality is simply that as soon as he signed over the rights, he accepted the consequences of doing so, one of which was the possibility that the story may not unfold publicly in the manner he’d intended it to. Based on his subsequent comments–the expectation of years of adaptable subject matter from AFFC, the possibility of a feature film, etc–he either had wildly different ideas of the production’s pace/trajectory than the showrunners/HBO, he was misinformed, or his expectations were unrealistic, of the show and/or of himself.

      The situation is very frustrating. But we’ll have an end to it, one way or another, and hopefully everyone can make peace with it.

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    119. Luka Nieto: People quibble about the details of adaptation, but for me the thing that was lost in translation the most is the subjective and often contradictory accounts that we get in the books.

      Two things spring to mind here. First, Martin really does not do that. There are authors that do. For example, Jennifer Fallon often writes multi protagonist stories in which the end of Protagonist A’s narrative will be repeated at the onset of Protagonist B’s narrative, but “from across the room” as it were. Martin doesn’t do this: he’ll do things such as having Protagonist A “passes the baton” in the narration to Protagonist B (e.g., the Purple wedding, where Tyrion is the POV during the wedding, and Sansa the POV in the aftermath), but Protagonist B will (at best) remember the prior events: we do not get (say) the Purple Wedding from Tyrion’s and Sansa’s POV. Thus, the subjective contradictions we get usually are from Person A saying X Not Y and Person B saying Y Not X: and often neither of them are the POV character!

      The second thing is that much subjectivity cannot be done cinematically. If Catelyn Stark and Jaime Lannister look at the same woman and one says: “she has fine child-bearing hips” and the other says “she’s a thin-hipped girl,” then we get the distinction just like any other third party would: but it does have to be spoken aloud, just as Martin has to have non-POV characters voice dissenting views/opinions.

      This is a two-edged sword, by the way: much confusion among fans has arisen because they treat subjective assessments as facts, and thus come up with ideas to explain different reactions that treat both reactions as somehow “true.”

      sh*tmouth: I think the exclusion of the SPOILERS, SWEETY

      Let’s say that there are 4 hypotheses to the identity of SPOILERS SWEETY. All four hypotheses make the same prediction about Season 5: that these charactes would be cut. This is because the criterion for whether they would be included has nothing to do with whether Hypothesis A, B, C or D is correct. Instead, it had to do with whether they were necessary for Protagonist T’s contribution to the story. They are not: in fact, it really would not work on screen because although it was effective in the book, it also required too much actual time to develop.

      Moreover, the “lack of mention” that you cite for a particular family as additional evidence that this family would be excluded from the TV series suffers a similar problem. That family gets all of 4 mentions in A Storm of Swords. (I love iBooks, btw.) The vast majority of readers will completely miss something that poorly sampled. (I do still suspect that

      Robb’s Will was a hanging of the Blackfyre gun: but I think that this has to do with Varys’ origins, not Aegon’s; I am one of the people who was arguing that Aegon was still alive back in 1999, after all.

      ) The same family gets mentioned exactly 11 times in Dance with Dragons. Now, there is a better chance that readers caught this: several of them are in one chapter. Still, it is not as if Martin himself has made a big deal of them. (I’m not sure if they are a gun on the wall, or just some wainscotting to make the wall look like a wall.)

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    120. Hodor’s Bastard:
      Now everything is italicized. I think someone mistakenly deleted an HTML angle bracket….

      Luka Nieto:
      Yeah, everything’s been suddenly italicized. I thought it was just me!

      Definitely not just you.

      Sue the Fury, if and when this bug is fixed, is there any possibility that the original coding of our posts will remain in place? Italics are the most useful things for placing emphasis on something without being an eyesore. I hate to use the bold button unless I’m quoting or addressing someone!

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    121. Hodor’s Bastard:
      Hah…I got you to bend a bit.I still disagree though. I bet his contract has more incentives in it than restrictions. Like the software world in which I work, unfinished pieces have a lot more inherent flexibility (maturing customer desirements) than completed packaged products that are for sale in bulk.

      Show me da money!

      Requiring him to give them the details on the unpublished material is not a ‘restriction’. It’s what they’re paying him for.

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    122. The Bastard,

      No I agree with that poster. Some of what Benioff and Weiss have done is indeed fan fiction and some of it good. Some of it not. People are allowed different opinions than you, and it doesn’t automatically make them David and Dan bashers or show bashers or book purists either. You think the show in your own words is “fantastic”. That’s your opinion. It’s not a fact. There is a difference.

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    123. Quiddity,

      Thank you for what I would say was a reasonable and mature take on thing. Far too often I see people on your side argue for them delaying the show, blaming HBO or D&D or taking a stance of anything other than focusing on GRRM as most responsible for this predicament. You also have been realistic about just how difficult it is to avoid watching the show and waiting for the books.

      Thank YOU for the kind words. That was my intent, to try to be reasonable despite my obvious book-bias. Certainly I am guilty of nerd raging at things (if you were to find my tweets from the date episode 4 of season 4 premiered with our introduction to the Night’s King, you’d see an example), but considering the unique predicament that has emerged here, I’m forced to accept what’s coming with my head held high and fully prepared for some angry evenings next Season.

      Isabelle,

      On a basic level, there’s still lots of fun and surprise to be had with watching the TV show, not only in the humour from the book but in D&D’s more charming additions.

      In my original submission to the website, I included a section on show changes or additions I really enjoyed. Bex did a phenomenal job with editing it by the way, poor thing had to go through 4 and a half pages (single spaced) of my ranting. She still managed to preserve my overall message, so thanks again for that, Bex!!!

      Anyway, back to the point: I quite enjoy some of the added scenes. For example, in season 1 we see Cersei and King Robert speaking in private, and wow. What a beautifully painful scene. I thought this was a great example for how added material can be used while maintaining fidelity to the source material.

      So, moving forward, I will try to keep a positive attitude about things. I’m just excited for the show to start again!

      Concerning who’s “at fault” for this predicament…

      I just want to say that 1) I do not blame GRRM for the duration between book releases, or for this show-surpassing-the-books problem. GRRM created this monster of a series, so I’ll let the man write and do his and hope to Goodness we get the next book sooner than later; and 2) I also do not blame D&D, who regardless of my complaints have created one of my favorite TV shows EVAR. In fact, without the show, who knows how long it would take me to find these books? So I have them to thank for that.

      Without laying blame on one person or the other… we have to face the realities of what is happening, whether we like it or not, and despite the problems I laid out in my opinion article. I don’t know for sure that starting out anyone could have understood the future of the show as we have come to understand it now, and to point fingers is not helpful. It is what it is now.

      AHHH! I am so excited that this article was so well received (even if you disagree with me). I hope this helped bridge the gap between Unsullied and Sullied on either side of the issue, and I look forward to talking with you all on future posts and within this nifty little community niche WotW created here. 🙂

      ~ PA

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    124. I cannot wait to read/see what happens next so I don’t care. I love both the books and show so it’s no big deal for me.

      Only downside is hearing the whiners and that lame Linda for the coming years but hey… Winter Is Coming.

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    125. TheTouchOfFrost,

      GRRM approved fan fiction in his actual world. The tv show can do whatever they want because it is almost an alternate universe and thats fine with me. When it comes to the books it should only be GRRM who is allowed to write material. NO ONE should be allowed to touch the books or put their ideas in them especially the numero uno fans.

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    126. I find it strange people start bringing up fault & blame when the original post did not do so. Phyllis can have her experience of reading impacted regardless of who is responsible.

      Wimsey, I haven’t read the books, but I was thinking that if/when I got around to doing so I would read A Ball of Beasts rather than Feast and then Dance. And my understanding is that in Ball there are two chapters merged from different characters perspectives which contain some of the same events.

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    127. Man we really need a teaser and more official news coming, because we’ve started to canibalize ourselves in this interminable circle jerk we’ve embarked on. For me the issue is simple. I love the books and the show, and I am aware that one is not like the other. On the rest, I don’t give a shit..

      In better news it appears that “True Detective” Season 2 filming is underway in and around LA and other parts of California. Taylor Kitsh, Vince Vaughn (barf, cough, barh) and Collin Farell are all where they are suppossed to be. Rachel McAdams has not yet been officially confirmed as part of the cast.

      In even better news, it appears that HBO in collaboration with Jonathan Nolan (yes he of the Christopher Nolan bloodline) will adapt Isaac Asimov’s classic “Foundation” novels for television. I am not sure if only the first three novels in the original trilogy or the entire series. Also not sure if this will be a miniseries or a full fledged multi-season tv series. This would be the second collaboration between HBO and Jonathan Nolan, the first being the upcoming “WestWorld”.

      Here is a link with more information:

      http://www.slashfilm.com/foundation-tv-series/

      PS If this goes ahead, do you guys think that this could possibly be the eventual replacement HBO is looking for once GoT is done?! The Foundation novels are massive in their scope and breadth…

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    128. The book is always better than the show/movie. Period.

      That doesn’t mean that an adaptation can’t have its merits (GoT certainly has). And admittedly, reading the books before the adaptation (be it all the seasons or just the latter ones, as in my case) can skew your judgement unfairly.

      BTW, i’m not in your shoes of course, but to those who are fed up with waiting for the book series to be finished, i take it that you couldn’t possibly be Liverpool FC fans (25 years and counting for a Premier League title) or Red Sox fans (went 86 years without a World Series). Staying on baseball, even the freaking NY Yankees had a dry spell of 18 years.

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    129. I am not one of the many Sullied who have been patiently following ASoIaF for nearly two decades. I started reading the novels shortly after season 1 ended.

      As am I….and seeing how close the adaptation was at that point, i can honestly say the show did not “spoil” or “ruin” the books for me. The books filled in more detail and depth into the world and story….but I was happy to read them after seeing them on the screen. The only thing I’m sad about is the limitations of 10 episodes per year and the 7 season plan. I’m sure we’re all love to see more but at the end of the day, I’m sure I’ll still enjoy the show til the end. Sullied or not!

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    130. Patchy Face,

      For the rest of November at least, I think. I remember someone on AFOIAF saying it went as late as December 15th but they didn’t have their source linked to my recollection.

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    131. loco73,

      Oh, now I’m excited! Just found out that “The Foundation” is Science Fiction (I think I knew somewhere deep in my head, but I forgot). HBO has never done Science Fiction before, so that could be interesting indeed.

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    132. I assume the showrunners will keep the intended ending intact, at least in broad strokes, which means every book character/story line they cut from the show is probably not important for the endgame. Which means they are a waste of time and space.

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    133. Much like the Kubler-Ross model for grief i think this is how many sullied react to any given episode,

      Denial-Of the loss of a favourite character or storyline.

      Anger-Realizing the anger is useless said character or storyline are gone.

      Bargaining-Often with ones self that the character or storyline could be put in at another time.

      Depression-when you realize your bargaining has failed

      Acceptance- Coming to your own conclusion that everything is going to be ok in the end.

      🙂 🙂 🙂

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    134. Greenjones,

      I really hope this is one of the Northern lords and Lady Dustin. That’d be amazing. Also the only plotline they’d really be casting for at this late stage would be the remainder of the Northern ones for the Irish filming

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    135. jaimereborn,

      Considering these actors are nobodies (and I’m not talking about celebrity, but acting experience), don’t expect them to be any more than featured extras, with a line or two if they are lucky. If what you wish is for the Northern Lords to be prominently featured, you best hope these people are not them.

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    136. Patchy Face:
      Greenjones,

      Yeah –12/15 is sticking in my mind too so it must have been documented somewhere.Long schedule this year.

      Took me a while to work out what you were talking about here until I remembered that US date formats are all weird (I thought you were talking fractions for some reason and kept trying to work out why you would just say 4/5 instead of 12/15). Seriously I don’t get a system that puts the small unit of measure in the middle and the medium unit of measure on the outside. Day Month Year makes logical sense, building up from small to medium to large. I suppose Year Month Day would too going the other way (does anyone do it that way). But I cannot understand this whole wacky American Month Day Year thing. There’s no pattern to it. Sorry probably not the place for this rant but it’s bugged me in the past and I just don’t get it.

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    137. Alex Greyjoy:
      I assume the showrunners will keep the intended ending intact, at least in broad strokes, which means every book character/story line they cut from the show is probably not important for the endgame. Which means they are a waste of time and space.

      Nope, this is worldbuilding my dear…

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    138. Once, unsullied people went to youtube to view videos about GOT. (Where the contents of the video was only referring to material from the tv show)
      And they had some annoying book readers (or wiki readers) spoil the shit out of the series. (I understand those people are only the minority of the book readers) When confronted, they just said “stop reading the comments section, then!” The unsullied are watching a video about the tv show for goodness sakes (if it was a video about r + l = j, then its understood that you’re on spoiler territory, in which case its your fault if you get spoiled). Because of this, show-only people have to give up on discussions about the show. My point is, its time things changed. Now sullied will know how it feels to be told “don’t watch the show, then!”

      Im a book reader btw. And the show’s awesome as heck IMO.

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    139. Lord Elmo Tully: The tv show can do whatever they want because it is almost an alternate universe and thats fine with me.

      It is possible that they cannot do just that, for a variety of reasons. One, Martin might have gotten it in writing that they follow his basic tales, much the way that Rowling did. That is sort of a “reverse plagiarism” clause: the final product has to be something that would be considered plagiarism if B&W just made it up and called it their own. Despite claims of “fan fiction,” this show wouldn’t last 5 seconds in a plagiarism case: the stories and general plots are obviously taken from Martin’s works. (Much of what fans call “invented,” lawyers would call “modified”: and judges and/or jurors following judges’ instructions would agree.)

      Two, there are cases where you get the rights to one subset of work but not another. The show has the rights to Song of Ice and Fire. That no doubt is explicitly defined as the books that Martin produces in this series. They might not have the rights to, say, Dunk & Egg stories. This might seem irrelevant, but it came up in the Lord of the Rings series: Jackson et al. filled in some blanks in ways that contradicted Tolkien’s writings elsewhere. However, had they used what Tolkien presented in the Silmarillion or Unfinished Tales, then (and this is true irony!) they could have been sued for plagiarizing Tolkien while legally adapting Tolkien.

      As for the “fan fiction,” there really isn’t any. What they do have are some “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” situations where they take secondary characters and set up scenes around them of a sort that would have taken place “between the chapters” in the books. (This is a limitation imposed by the narrative style that Martin chose.) There are adaptations, where they transplant deeds from one character (e.g., Cold Hands) to another (e.g., Jon & the Watch).

      However, these are things that happen all the time to original scripts, too. Producers and directors will modify scenes, add scenes, etc., to make a TV show or movie work. Indeed, that is part of their job, and one that is particularly important when adapting across mediums: novels are awful scripts, after all, and the initial scripts produced from novels often still read too much like novels and too little like scripts.

      Fjordgazer: The book is always better than the show/movie. Period.

      This is a fundamentally meaningless statement. A book is never better or worse than a TV show or movie. Books can be compared only to other books; ditto that for TV shows and movies: in fact, it’s perilous to contrast TV shows and movies. The worst shark is a better fish than any tyrannosaurid was, and the worst tyrannosaurid was a better terrestrial vertebrate than the best shark could ever be. Without heavy adaptation, a tyrannosaurid is going to drown, and the shark is going to suffocate. This analogy pretty much holds for the written enacted media, too.

      The issue is, is Thrones better than other books? Is it better than other TV series? It is, after all, one of the most highly acclaimed TV shows out there. It is highly acclaimed as a Fantasy novel: but it is not highly acclaimed as a novel.

      Ultimately, the real answer to the question of whether the show getting ahead of the books is a good/bad thing lies in a different question: will it affect the high ratings and critical acclaim that the show is getting? I see no reason a priori why that should be.

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    140. You know how I stayed spoiler free for 2 seasons of GAME OF THRONES?

      I DIDN’T READ FORUMS! I didn’t do Google searches for the show. I didn’t even know the books were called “A Song of Ice and Fire” until summer of 2012.

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    141. GeekFurious,

      Problem is Unsullied don’t get a crash course. It takes one look to get spoiled to shit, and you really can’t blame them for wanting to discuss the show on YouTube as they should be able to. The situation as is really sucks for them- they’re deprived of the option to be in the GOT community if they really want to avoid spoilers.

      Season 6 and 7 will give them the chance to talk freely, and then the Sullied will be on the run. I’m guessing show fans who got spoiled will create accounts in Wersteros.org just to spoil book readers.

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    142. jentario,

      Hadn’t thought of that. That’s genius. We know the old woman will be with Brienne for a couple episodes, so it could certainly work. Geez, now I’ll be disappointed if she doesn’t deliver the speech. Then again, I’ll be happy no matter who does it. It’d be a shame to lose it. However, let’s remember that it is certainly a very thematically relevant speech for the whole story, but it doesn’t depend that much on context (although with the recent apparent death of the Hound, it’s the most appropriate time, plot-wise), so it could appear whenever. It could’ve been delivered back in Season 1, it can be done in Season 7.

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    143. jentario: I’m hoping that the old woman helping Brienne will say the speech. It really is the best monologue in the series (and one of the few bright spots in AFFC).

      The speech is waaaay too long to have enacted! However, it is possible that an abbreviated version would work in some capacity. Personally, I think that it would work best at the end of an episode prior to some large battle (or more than one battle) as a voice-over showing a bunch of (largely) scared boys preparing for the inevitable.

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    144. GeekFurious:
      You know how I stayed spoiler free for 2 seasons of GAME OF THRONES?

      I DIDN’T READ FORUMS! I didn’t do Google searches for the show. I didn’t even know the books were called “A Song of Ice and Fire” until summer of 2012.

      Dude I did the same thing. The same thing. However, simply the avoidance of GoT related websites is NOT the only solution. I was spoiled with R+L =J on a gay porn site. Granted they were amateurs.

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    145. Of the Night,

      In the U.S we’d say today’s date as “October 11th, 2014” so we abbreviate month/day/year. We also don’t get down with the metric system as much as we should. We’re just a bunch of nutty Yanks here!

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    146. Of the Night: But I cannot understand this whole wacky American Month Day Year thing. There’s no pattern to it. Sorry probably not the place for this rant but it’s bugged me in the past and I just don’t get it.

      I’m not a historian on the matter, but I think the Month Day Year pattern derives from almanac’s published before the time we had daily weather forecasts. The year was the least important factor since you would have the current year’s almanac on your desk. Month would get you quickly to the timeline you needed and day would tell you where you were on the timeline. While it would make logical sense to start with the year to direct you to the proper book, in practicality, year wasn’t that important since you purchased a new one for the next year. So 1941 March 19th became March 19th, 1941 because 1941 was insignificant. March 19th was significantly different as opposed to July 19th in what clothes one should wear depending on your region.

      Looking at the full convention before the time of the weather channel, the order Tuesday, November 11th, 2014, is in order of importance for a person’s day. Tuesday dictates whether you are going to work or church today. November tells you to prepare for cold weather. Even if it feels warm outside in the morning, you better bring a coat in case a cold front moves in. The day of 11th simply tells you what you might be doing today, if you need to plant or harvest, or have a shipment arriving at the factory, etc.

      Anyway, that’s how I see the reasoning behind using Month/Day/Year. Now it is simply a pattern we are used to using and are slow to change to a more practical convention. Just as we don’t use Celsius or the Metric system.

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    147. Anyone who thought that Olenna poisoning Joffrey was just a ‘theory’ in the books and thought it may get revealed false at some point, has really been overthinking things. Not every info is supposed to be unreliable unless every single person confirms it in their POVs or by talking to the POV characters (as if that could ever happen with Olenna, since we have no Tyrell POVs and no Littlefinger POV). I thought it was always obvious that Olenna did poison Joffrey and that we weren’t supposed to question Littlefinger in that particular instance where it was clearly GRRM’s info dump, and it fit with everything else.

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    148. Mine is the Furry: Dude I did the same thing.The same thing. However, simply the avoidance of GoT related websites is NOT the only solution.I was spoiled with R+L =J on a gay porn site.Granted they were amateurs.

      True. I don’t know about gay porn sites, but – since I read the books before I saw the show, but I started reading them after seasons 1 and 2 had aired, though I did not watch the show – I got spoiled on Ned’s death before I even started reading or watching, by general online community – I don’t even remember where, only that people on various forums and LJ talked about Sean Bean dying in various things, including GoT.

      A little later I got spoiled on Renly’s death before reading book 2, by listening to a film podcast that doesn’t even normally address TV shows or books, by a guy who was reporting from a comic con and went on about what a great cosplay someone did of Renly complete with the shadow killing him.

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    149. GeekFurious,

      Yes, but the show is much larger now, and makes the popular press. Hell, even The Guardian in the Uk published an article after Joffrey’s death in episode 2 with the title along the lines of “Joffrey is Dead; what now?” Unfortunately this was published after the US airing, and over 15 hours before the UK airing. Needless to say, people were spoiled.

      Also, without trying to sound condescending, but you strike me as someone who will be deliberately very carefl over what you view. A lot of Unsullied are not so savvy, and get spoilt. Of course, even if they are careful, instances like I described above can happen,

      One fantastic thing about the show overtaking the books is you won’t have self-righteous pricks claiming their superiority, because they have developed the intellect required to read, which no Unsullied has (having said that, I think a lot of deliberate spoilers come from people who have merely read wikis).

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    150. Annara Snow: Anyone who thought that Olenna poisoning Joffrey was just a ‘theory’ in the books and thought it may get revealed false at some point, has really been overthinking things.

      It often is less “over-thinking” and more “desperately reaching.” After all, you can do one of two things when the facts contradict something you want to be true: concede that the thing is not true, or deny the facts. Humans excel at the latter: and fantasy fandom is no exception. We saw the same thing with Harry Potter: when an idea got falsified by a book, desperate fans would insist that until Rowling “verified” the fact, we should assume it to be false!

      One does wonder, however, if Tyrion

      actually starts to subconsciously believe that he killed Joffery; after all, he does start to proclaim himself Kingslayer as well as Kinslayer!

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    151. Annara Snow,

      Wow. We agree. *hugs* I knew you’d come around sooner or later. 🙂

      What really chaps my ass is that I started the series in 2000. I didn’t find out about R+L = J until the show started. Not only that, but I had no clue who LS was until recently. That’s what I get for reading these books heavily under the influence of one substance or another. I should really try reading them sober but I’m horrified at the thought.

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    152. This sounds like you’re passive aggressively mad at GRRM for not writing faster but want to channel that through a subtle condemnation of the show for changing what you love about the book. Really, I just think you’re mad.

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    153. Wimsey,

      Obviously, the speech would have to be condensed, as many others have. Even short sentences have been simplified in the past, sometimes to greater effect: “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone”; or “There is a beast in every man and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand”. Both of them are shorter and more to the point than the original quote, and in my opinion all the better for it.

      Anyway. It can be done:

      The singers love to sing of good men forced to go outside the law to fight some wicked lord, but most outlaws are more like this ravening Hound. Broken men are more deserving of our pity, though they may be just as dangerous. Almost all are simple folk who had never been more than a mile from the house where they were born until the day some lord came round to take them off to war. They’ve heard the songs and stories, so they go off with eager hearts, dreaming of the wealth and glory they will win.

      Then they get a taste of battle. Brothers watch their brothers die, fathers lose their sons, friends see their friends trying to hold their entrails in. They take a wound, and when that’s still half-healed they take another. There is never enough to eat, their shoes fall to pieces and their clothes are torn and rotting.

      If they want new boots or a warmer cloak, they need to take them from a corpse, and before long they are stealing from the living too, from the smallfolk whose lands they’re fighting in, men very like the men they used to be. And one day they look around and realize all their friends and kin are gone, that they are fighting beside strangers beneath a banner that they hardly recognize. They don’t know where they are or how to get back home and the lord they’re fighting for does not know their names, yet here he comes, shouting for them to form up, to make a line with their spears, to stand their ground. And the knights come down on them, faceless men clad all in steel, and the iron thunder of their charge seems to fill the world…

      And the man breaks. He turns and runs, or crawls off afterward over the corpses of the slain, and he finds someplace to hide. All thought of home is gone by then, and kings and lords and gods mean less to him than a haunch of spoiled meat that will let him live another day, or a skin of bad wine that might drown his fear for a few hours. The broken man lives from day to day, from meal to meal, more beast than man. Lady Brienne is not wrong. In times like these, the traveler must beware of broken men, and fear them… but he should pity them as well.

      Now, that’s still way too long. But that’s why D&D and Bryan Cogman are adapting the books and not me. Hope we get at least part of this speech somehow.

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    154. The point is moot, as GRRM will never finish ASoIaF. Ironically, in no small part due to the popularity of the show, and the impact on his schedule.

      The show will really be the definitive conclusion to the series, as the novels with have to be finished by an outsider anyways.

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    155. Oh, for those who thought the incoming videogame would include Stannis and Deepwood Mote, pointing to it being in the show, that’s not the case:

      “The game takes place during The War of the Five Kings […] begins around the end of season three of the HBO show and ends just before season five.”

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    156. Fancy word for a sellsword: Ironically, in no small part due to the popularity of the show, and the impact on his schedule.

      The show provides no excuse for Martin taking so long between Swords and Crows, and little excuse for him taking so long between Crows and Dragons. It’s entirely possible that the break between Dragons and Winter will be less than either gap, despite the show.

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    157. Lord Elmo Tully,

      Not sure why your opinion on that matter is more important than the guy who created it but sure; whatever you think. Seems a bit hypocritical that you’re happy for the show to tinker with the story but not people who have worked closely with the creator.

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    158. Fjordgazer:
      The book is always better than the show/movie. Period.

      I call BS on that. Counting only those instances where I have both read the book and watched the movie, I can name:

      – The Silence of the Lambs
      – Jurassic Park
      – To Kill A Mockingbird
      – The Godfather
      – Donnie Brasco
      – Blade Runner
      – Misery
      – 2001
      – No Country for Old Men
      – pretty much the entire James Bond series

      I’ll also go ahead and say that Game of Thrones is better than the 4th and 5th volumes of it’s source material.

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    159. TheTouchOfFrost: Not sure why your opinion on that matter is more important than the guy who created it but sure; whatever you think. Seems a bit hypocritical that you’re happy for the show to tinker with the story but not people who have worked closely with the creator.

      None of them are tinkering with the story. The WoI&F book had no bearing on any story as it is completely devoid of any story: it basically is a faux history written at a level that you’d write for 10 year olds. At best, it provides the skeletons for plots: but most of the time, it’s just backdrop details, none of which can contribute to or detract from the stories of the SoI&F series .

      The TV show is (so far) telling the same stories as have the corresponding books. Yes, narrative and plot details have been altered: but you can change plots and narrative details a ton without altering the story. (Conversely, you can tell a very different story using essentially the same plot pretty easily.) Again, it’s the Great White Shark and T. rex analog: same stories, different mediums. This is an important thing that people have to remember: you can, for example, communicate Jaime Lannister’s contribution to the Crows/Dragon story with him in Dorne just as well as you can in Riverrun: in this sort of story, what counts is the “why” much more than the “what” and infinitely more than the “where.”

      The Family Name: I call BS on that. Counting only those instances where I have both read the book and watched the movie, I can name:

      Well, again, you cannot argue this way either! What we often get are good movies or TV series from bad books and bad movies from good books. The Lord of the Rings is considered to be a bad boo by anyone who knows much about literature. The Lord of the Rings is considered to be a good movie by anyone who knows much about movies. Similarly, the Godfather is considered to be a pretty terrible book by many while being considered to be a great movie by many. Very few of the adaptations of War and Peace (great book) are considered to be very good.

      Of course, you get things like Atonement or Life of Pi, which both won the Booker and got Oscar nominations! Of course, both required aggressive adaptation from novel to movie to

      SoI&F is not great literature, although it’s also far from bad literature. (Martin is much better at character development than are most fantasy authors; however, he does tend to get bogged down in plot details.) Game of Thrones is great TV. Now, maybe you prefer books to TV or TV to books, but neither is inherently “better” than the other anymore than terrestrial or marine lifestyles are inherently better than the other.

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    160. The Family Name,

      A bold statement you make, since books 4 & 5 have not been adapted yet but in snippets. *Facepalm*.

      Wimsey: I appreciate all the time and characters you take to answer, but you’re still stating your own, very personal opinion, and really, i’m not so sure everything can be explained through an evolutionary biology comparative.

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    161. Wimsey,

      Different mediums need different assessment. That goes without saying. Yet again, i say book>movie because of the experience and the world immersion, the details, the depth of characters etc. (I’m not even that avid a reader yet i’m arguing this FFS!). Frankly, the majority of people tend to agree with this broad statement. And those who don’t, tend to do exactly what you’re arguing against: comparing different mediums with same parameters! Also, i’m willing to bet they watched first and then read. The order, which shouldn’t really matters, does because, well, human mind!.

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    162. The Family Name,

      I agree with the book is better than the film/TV show from my experience except for the Stephen King anomaly where all the film adaptions of his books are better. May just be because I don’t like his writing style ( overdescriptive to say the least!).

      Wimsey,

      You can tell that to Elmo then as he originally called it “fan fiction”. Although surely, the history of a fictional world is part of it’s story? Also, you sound incredibly pretentious with the “10 year old” comment. Have you even read it or are just writing it off because you don’t like the idea/fact it’s written by people who began as fans of the series?
      It’s all about the execution. So you’re saying that if Dany’s dragons just flew down out of nowhere into her posssession instead of the way it happened in the books you’d be ok with that? Perhaps Instead of a riverboat journey Tyrion just steps through a magic portal to get to Mereen? I’m exagerrating to make a point obviously but for me and many others the journey is just as important as the destination. If you’re adapting work then don’t stray too far from the source material. If you want to tell a story in a different way ( there are only seven basic plots according to popular opinion anyway) then do you own thing instead of drastically altering one that already exists.

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    163. Wimsey: The Lord of the Rings is considered to be a bad boo by anyone who knows much about literature.

      My goodness. Anyone? Hear that, you dummies, if you think LOTR is a good book you don’t know anything about LITERATURE for it is a bad boo.

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    164. Fjordgazer,

      I think that while we’ll lose some (even a lot) of beloved elements from books 4 & 5, we’ll also get a much better paced and more cohesive storyline. Most of the info we heard of so far hints at well adapted storylines (from Tyrion to Arya to Cersei) with the only one that might start off the quirky side being Dorne (and even that is still tbd). I think that, in its own right, regardless of the massive cuts, season 5 should easily surpass the quality of AFFC/ADWD because it will:

      1. Offer a satisfying conclusion to most or all of the arcs unlike AFFC and ADWD
      2. Have a really good pacing, compared to the books’ atrocious pacing (and it really is badly paced- even someone who loves those books has to admit that)
      3. Give us all the characters and storylines simultaneously rather than GRRM’s silly geographical split. No favorites will be held off (aside from fucking Bran, apparently!)
      4. It will still deliver all the big moments from the books involving the existing cast (and there are some really great moments)
      5. It will lack GRRM’s obnoxious AFFC/ADWD circle jerking of the likes of “where do whores go?” and Penny (though I kind of like her, she’s really annoying) and oh how beautifully sexy is Daario and have you seem a maid of four and ten and even Moon Boy for all I know that made these two books a nose dive into characters’ frankly boring/repetitive states of mind.

      The show has a chance to fix pretty much all of AFFC and ADWD’s glaring issues, and I’m sure that’s exactly what it’ll do (even if it means we lose a lot of the good stuff). As book readers, it’ll probably be harder to accept that season 5 will be better than the books (again, not as an adaption but as a story), but I think it will be.

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    165. Cumsprite: My goodness. Anyone? Hear that, you dummies, if you think LOTR is a good book you don’t know anything about LITERATURE

      A lot of us can enjoy something while recognizing that it’s not very “good.” LotR has no character development, very arbitrary plot resolutions, violates Chekhov’s dictum in both directions pretty flagrantly and suffers heavily from lack of thorough editing by a third party. Some of the themes (monarchy uber alles!) are a bit dodgey at best.

      And yet it is still a lot of fun!

      (I enjoy the original Sherlock Holmes series, and I’d say the exact same thing about it: an enjoyable book need not be a good one; a world without guilty pleasures would be a sadder world by far!)

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    166. This and the opposing view point were both very interesting reads…Very much enjoyed reading both. I guess I come at it from a different view point, I’m what I like to call a “Sullied, Unsullied”.. haha. I have not read the books yet, but read all the spoilers, articles i can get my hands on (I know, I know, blasphemy!! 😉 I have all the books, just haven’t read them yet, plan on reading them all once they are all out. I will admit to starting to read the first chapter to AGOT, I don’t think my watching first will take away from me enjoying the books, it may even help me… Kinda like the LOTR books, attempted to read them… couldn’t even get half way through, getting all the names of people/places confused, much easier to tell them apart seeing the on screen (To me, anyways, I know, don’t throw tomatoes, lol). Conversely, I read the harry potter books first, (The first 4 that were out at the time i discovered them) Then watched the first movie, etc… I will say reading the last few books helped me understand the movies better.. So I think this post was my long winded way of saying I can understand it from both sides, since i have done both 🙂 Either way, will continue to enjoy Game of Thrones however I can get my hands on it.

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    167. Dragons125: couldn’t even get half way through, getting all the names of people/places confused, much easier to tell them apart seeing the on screen (To me, anyways, I know, don’t throw tomatoes, lol)

      Well, Tolkien made it tougher by giving everyone 5 names, too! Seriously, you are hardly alone: the total lack of character development (Tolkien hated the very concept!) makes it very difficult for many readers to put a name to any sort of person, which in turn makes it tough for them to really get into the story.

      However, Martin is much (well, infinitely!) better at developing characters than is (was) Tolkien. Of course, Martin’s story-telling also is completely different: his stories is character-driven whereas Tolkien’s stories are completely plot-driven. (Tolkien explains in some detail in his letters why he eschewed protagonists in favor of plot-driven stories, even though such stories already were archaic by the time he started publishing.) As such, it is much more important to understand the character when reading Martin’s stories than it is when reading Tolkien’s.

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    168. alikat,

      I think the show has hinted at R+L=J by including the scene with Robert and Ned talking about Jon’s mother in season 1. Makes sense to me.

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    169. TheTouchOfFrost: Although surely, the history of a fictional world is part of it’s story?

      As fictional worlds don’t have stories, this question isn’t really answerable. Individuals create the stories, not worlds.

      TheTouchOfFrostAlso, you sound incredibly pretentious with the “10 year old” comment. Have you even read it or are just writing it off because you don’t like the idea/fact it’s written by people who began as fans of the series?

      I’ve read it. It basically reads like a history book for advanced elementary school students (i.e., 10 year olds: and I agree that I should have phrased it differently, but “elementary school” is a very US phrase, so I didn’t want to use that): very general details with only the most general of alternative ideas considered. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: after all, books like that got me hooked on history as a kid, too! However, history books written for adults are much narrower in their scope and much more detailed: they frequently are trying to advance specific hypotheses about the “why” of important historical personalities. In a very real way, history books represent the opposite of modern literature: instead of developing a character or set of characters in such a way that a story emerges as an abstraction, history attempts to explicitly advance theses while reconstructing characters (and their evolution) from their words, deeds, etc. in the contexts of the world around them.

      (WoI&F actually emphasizes this: the stories that the singers adapt from history often take great liberties with the facts that greatly irk the historians!)

      Obviously, to provide a reasonably succinct summary of the world, the kids’ history (and geography) book style was necessary. The fanboy in me enjoyed it well enough. However, that does not make it at all important for the SoI&F stories.

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    170. Wimsey,

      I see what you are saying. Still, for me, a good book is a good book regardless of any literary metrics it might have missed. James Joyce’s [i]Ulysses[/i] is considered masterful work even though it flew in the face of many literary conventions.

      I think it sucked balls.

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    171. Cumsprite:
      Wimsey,

      I see what you are saying. Still, for me, a good book is a good book regardless of any literary metrics it might have missed. James Joyce’s [i]Ulysses[/i] is considered masterful work even though it flew in the face of many literary conventions.

      I think it sucked balls.

      Even worse, it sucked Sean Penn’s balls.

      Apologize in advance for sexism.

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    172. Perhaps Instead of a riverboat journey Tyrion just steps through a magic portal to get to Mereen?

      Honestly, that probably would’ve been an improvement.

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    173. Cumsprite,

      I very much separate “good” from “enjoyable.” For example, one of the best movies I’ve ever seen is “A Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” The emotional intensity and dynamics among the characters is staggering. However, you couldn’t pay me enough to watch it again. (That is, of course, hyperbole: bidding starts at $100.) My feelings and thoughts about Ulysses are not too dissimilar. (Again, bidding starts at $100 to get me to read it again.)

      And there are a lot of films and books that I really enjoy that I know are pure drivel. That’s why we have the phrase “guilty pleasure!” Many, many years ago, Ebert & Siskel had a special episode on their guilty pleasures: really bad movies that they nevertheless enjoyed. They explained why the rated the movie as poor, and then why they had fun watching it.

      Literature is (and has been for the better part of 2 centuries) evaluated primarily by how well authors develop characters, the moral/ethical juxtapositions in which authors place those characters, and how the characters evolve in response to that. As Tolkien didn’t even attempt to do any of that, he basically sent a football team to a cricket match.

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    174. fuelpagan,

      Thankyou for your insightful answer. For the first time I can see that there is a degree of logic to it. Still outdated sure, like not going metric, but at least not totally insane.

      Martin,

      Wow, even your months are off. Here it’s already the 12th of November. You nutty yanks.

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    175. Quick dictionary definition of a story;

      Story = an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.

      So history (real or fictional) presented as entertainment is still a story would you not agree?

      Just be careful as a few comments on here are making you come off as literary snob which I’m sure you’re not.

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    176. Wimsey,

      I gather that you’ve written critical pieces elsewhere, perhaps professionally. In light of this, do you realize that there was an avant-garde movement in Spanish literature in the early XX century, who sought to break all the molds imposed by literature snobs (i.e. folks like you, no offense intended)? This, like all arts, is ever-changing. Those avant-garde writers, today, are not considered hacks, as they would’ve been at other points in history. Yet people are free to like their work, as much as to dislike it.

      Guilty pleasures are not always regarding objectively bad entertainment. And what is objectively bad, anyway? In music, i can think of reggaeton (if you don’t know what that is, you’re lucky) or some repetitive pop and hip-hop trash. But in other forms of entertainment/art, i’d have to think harder not to judge by my own subjectivity.

      EDIT: TheTouchOfFrost: your disclaimer doesn’t change the fact that you called him a literature snob first 😉

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    177. TheTouchOfFrost: Story = an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.

      That is a colloquial definition, which really should reserved for “tale.” The definition of story that typically is used by students of literature, film, etc., (as well as most authors when they discuss the subject) is the abstraction that emerges from a narrative. (Indeed, they would really take issue with the “told for entertainment” part: stories are told to communicate ideas.) For example, J.R.R. Tolkien said that Lord of the Rings was a story about Death and Immortality. Those never are in the narrative, but it is something that emerges from the combination of plots in the tale. (Others have said that he really wrote a story about Preserving and Restoring Natural Order.)

      Martin has said that he views stories as being about internal conflicts. The SoI&F stories are very much like that: those are like having the protagonists wander around with two angels on their shoulder, one saying “Thou shalt do X not Y” and the other saying “Thou shalt do Y not X.” This fits in with a general theory of literature that’s been around for a while: stories about the human condition in which we view people as eternally searching for themselves and always trying to define and diagnose themselves.

      Fjordgazer:
      I gather that you’ve written critical pieces elsewhere, perhaps professionally.

      Nope! I am a scientist. However, I’ve had a couple of close associates who were students of literature, including an ex-girlfriend from long, long ago when I was in grad school. She studied something about how feminist themes waned and waxed in Eastern European literature in response to how the Marxist governments waffled on the issues. (For pleasure, she read absolutely tawdry erotica that made me blush: but given the intensity of the stuff she read for research, I guess “light” was important!)

      And, yes, there have been several movements over the years that have attempted to “redefine” literary criticism, etc. However, it’s basically analogous to arguing about shades of blue so similar that Crayola crayons would lump them into the same color! Usually, the shifts have much more to do with theme than they have to do with the actual structure of story-telling.

      Of course, as a scientist, my views had always been that literature hardly qualified as scholarship. I very much changed my mind: what they do is just as scholarly as what I do, replete with hypothesis testing and logical formalisms.

      Fjordgazer:
      Guilty pleasures are not always regarding objectively bad entertainment. And what is objectively bad, anyway?

      I’ve never heard anybody use the phrase “guilty pleasure” without implying that they knew something was of poor quality. As for what objectively bad is, well, it would be those things that fail to meet the general objectives of the exercise. The objective of modern story telling (by most theory) is to explore the human condition, and experiment with how people define and diagnose themselves: what they consider “right” and “wrong” across a wide spectrum of issues. “Good” literature, film, music, etc.., should hook many people by stimulating them and pushing them. In other words, it should stimulate interest rather than enjoyment.

      Now, you can try to do what J.R.R. Tolkien did and reject the generally accepted criteria. (He hated character-driven literature, as he found it horribly depressing: being a Tory’s Tory, he thought that people should just accept the role into which they were born, and that peasants trying to be lords, women trying to be men, etc., was the source of misery: and that, of course, flew in the face of literature for the prior 100 years!) However, what he and the Inklings were attempting was far, far more radical (in a reactionary way) than what this Spanish school attempted to do. 60 years later, and the “fantasy” genre he helped inspire has converged strongly upon the literary traditions he rejected.

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    178. Let’s get back on track. Never mind who is a literary snob (though Wimsey certainly is one). Kisses.

      Good book/I didn’t like it: Ulysses, Joyce
      Good book/I liked it: My Antonia, Cather
      Bad book/I liked it: World War Z, Brooks
      Bad book/I didn’t like it: A Dance with Dragons, GM

      Just wanted to take the opportunity to say ADWD was a crappy book again.

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    179. Phyllis Ashley:
      In my original submission to the website, I included a section on show changes or additions I really enjoyed. Bex did a phenomenal job with editing it by the way, poor thing had to go through 4 and a half pages (single spaced) of my ranting. She still managed to preserve my overall message, so thanks again for that, Bex!!!

      Anyway, back to the point: I quite enjoy some of the added scenes. For example, in season 1 we see Cersei and King Robert speaking in private, and wow. What a beautifully painful scene. I thought this was a great example for how added material can be used while maintaining fidelity to the source material.

      So, moving forward, I will try to keep a positive attitude about things. I’m just excited for the show to start again!

      They’ve certainly had their moments of glory! I loved the scene between Robert and Cersei, too. Also up there, off the top of my head: Olenna vs Tywin, Tywin + Arya, and Jon meeting Stannis and Davos.

      (And I admit I threw a little shade back there–“D&D’s more charming additions”…as opposed to those additions that were less than charming 😉 )

      And my dear lady–nearly 5 pages single-spaced? I tip my hat! Thanks for putting this together. I may not agree with you, but you certainly got me thinking. Really, my comments were less direct responses and more streams of thought, jumbled pretentious metaphors and all. I think that’s where a lot of the comments on blame and D&D are coming from–less about you burning them in your article and more about the issues and questions you raised for each of us.

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    180. alikat:
      I’m mostly upset about the exclusion/changes made to the storyline in the North because it almost guarantees that

      Robb’s will won’t make any big difference
      I actually took their omission as a sign that it would make a very big difference indeed. Blatantly using screen time to address the will would make it too obvious that a) something bad was going to happen to Robb (he even has a baby on the way–why all the fuss about another heir?), and b) get a crown ready, Jon’s meant to be a king.

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    181. jentario,

      Well, let’s agree to disagree. Some of your reasons are the opposite of my view and totally subjective (I enjoyed the repetition of “Lancel, Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon Boy”, and if we go by the WotW Poll down here, most people did), and others fall into the criticism Wimsey makes about judging books and show by the same parameters, but in your case playing to the audiovisual medium’s advantage (e.g. pace).

      Not to mention that at some point you wrote this:

      “3. Give us all the characters and storylines simultaneously rather than GRRM’s silly geographical split. No favorites will be held off (aside from fucking Bran, apparently!)

      I can see that leaving Bran out will be a minor annoyance to your enjoyment of S05. What if they had decided to cut yet another one of your favorites? I’m sure your (predicted) enjoyment would suffer another blow. That’s what all Greyjoy fans are feeling right now. It’s all subjective.

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    182. Asha Karina: Nope, this is worldbuilding my dear…

      No, it is not, it’s a lack of proper editing. Worldbuilding should not be present in the 4th or 5th book of the seven book series. We all already know the world, we don’t need entirely new plot lines that lead nowhere just to describe what Iron Islands look like or how do Essosi turtles look like.

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    183. Alex Greyjoy,

      Why not? Is that a rule?

      So, if Davos takes Rickon from Skagos, we should not be treated to a brief description of the legendary island and its people, because it’s not until the 6th book that we get a POV character there?

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    184. Fjordgazer,

      Well, I wouldn’t mind if they decide to cut Dorne from the story (for instance) if it made sense for them. I think Bran’s exclusion is entirely different in that he was there and carried a main storyline since the beginning. But I’d rather we don’t get stuck in that subject again.

      And on the Osmund thing, I think what people miss is that final, vile interaction between the Lannisters and the bad breakup, not that line in particular. But maybe I’m wrong. In any case, I wouldn’t mind having one or two of these types of GRRMy things in the books- problem is AFFC and ADWD are filled to burst with them.

      I think a lot of storylines will benefit from an outside-POV that doesn’t frequently delve into their depressed thoughts (Tyrion comes to mind especially, I think his storyline will be much better in the show).

      Some of that is subjective, yes, but I think that purely from a structural standpoint Season 5 will be at least 10 times better than the last two books. And I think structure and pacing are one of the key things to get right in a good story. For instance, I think a season covering AFFC would have been terrible.

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    185. For instance, I think a season covering AFFC would have been terrible.

      Not even the most purist of book purists would’ve called that an option.

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    186. jentario:

      Well, I wouldn’t mind if they decide to cut Dorne from the story

      I said, cut or delay one of your favorites. Not whichever new character from the last 2 books.

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    187. Fjordgazer,

      You are kidding, right? When he was still in denial about the show cathing up with the books, GRRM argued that AFFC and ADWD could be adapted into three season, which is madness. Yes, AFFC is shorter, but 3 seasons for both books still means a little bit more than a season for AFFC, or just a season if we are being very charitable. And I’m sure plenty other people thought as he did. So yes, plenty of purists would want that. And it would be terrible.

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    188. Alex Greyjoy,

      Aren’t we supposed to be the same person?

      Anyhow, I don’t think world building and new plotlines later in the story are necessarily a bad thing. But I DO think that pointless or convoluted plotlines like…

      Quentyn traveling half a world only to become dragon chow, Victarion traveling half a world to deliver Dany ships (and probably end up like Quentyn) and adding a bunch of pointless POVs that could’ve been introduced later if they’re actually mildly important or not at all (Aeron, Areo, Arys and the rather unnecessary Jon Connington, Victarion, Quentyn POVs whose storylines could have been told off screen)

      … and a lot of running in circles type of “filler” (every Brienne chapter except the last two, a lot of Dany/Jon/Tyrion chapters, the whole pointless Sansa AFFC arc…) are a clear cut example of bad storytelling.

      Which is a shame because, otherwise, GRRM does a really good job. He’s great with characters, and writes a lot of amazing moments. Especially in ADWD.

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    189. Isabelle,

      I think that we will find that the document in question is not an important plot element itself. Instead, it was a backdrop to remind the audience of the biggest outstanding question in the series (Jon’s parentage), and possibly the first “hanging” of a “gun” that might be important in upcoming volumes:

      The Blackfyre Targaryens, who also were bastards legitimized by a King.

      .

      Alex Greyjoy: No, it is not, it’s a lack of proper editing. Worldbuilding should not be present in the 4th or 5th book of the seven book series.

      I agree that they are not necessary. However, what is necessary is some backdrop for the main protagonists. The “it does not really matter where it is” cuts both ways: it could be somewhere old or somewhere new. (Giant turtles are kind of cool.) Tyrion is one of the main protagonists in the series (I’d rank him #3, behind only Dany and Jon Snow), he has a particular contribution to the story, and it has to be set somewhere. “Different” is not necessary (I agree that it’s not about “world building”) but it can alleviate monotony. Moreover, it gave Martin a chance to introduce things that will later be important: to an extent, it was a literary trailer for Book 6.

      Where I (suspect that I) would definitely agree with you, however, is that Martin should not have been introducing new protagonists in the 4th and 5th books. Elevating Cersei to a protagonist was fine: she had been around forever. The other new or newly-elevated protagonists created problems: Martin really should have worked to move existing protagonists into those story lines. Part of the negative reaction by fans to Crows all of those years ago was that, by the 4th book, a lot of people wanted to see where the established protagonists were headed. I think that the fact that this story really relied on dynamic development of characters compounded the problem: it was easy to see Jaime or Arya or Cersei or Sansa evolving (or failing to do so); it was not so easy with Arianne, Asha or Victarion.

      jentario: Well, I wouldn’t mind if they decide to cut Dorne from the story (for instance) if it made sense for them.

      In a sense, they really have cut the Dorne story. Obviously, (part of) the story in the book (

      Arianne trying and failing miserably to play Queenmaker

      ) is gone; instead, Jaime is there, and he’ll probably be doing what he does in the book (

      trying and failing miserably to be Tywin II

      ). It’s more of a mix-and-match to preserve some plot elements that will re-occur in Season 6 while keeping the most important story elements.

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    190. Fjordgazer,

      Book Dorne was one of my favorites. Show Dorne is different enough that I feel like the only thing that’s the same is Doran. If they would have cut Dorne entirely, I would live with it (even if I’d be a little disappointed at first).

      And cutting a storyline from preexisting seasons is different as the show is already building up towards something, not just avoiding introducing a new storyline. Neglecting Bran (or, say, Arya- probably my favorite- hypothetically) is completely different from just not introducing the Iron Islands/Dorne/Griffs

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    191. Luka Nieto,

      When jenty says one season for AFFC, i take it as one season for that book’s content only (delaying Bran, Jon, Dany, Tyrion, etc. for another season). Did GRRM or anyone ever argued for this kind of adaption?

      Please, let’s learn to read what we’re writing.

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    192. Wimsey,

      Then again, people who complain about Arianne, Victarion or Asha evolving, in most cases don’t like the damn characters. It’s personal taste. If you like them, as some of us did (well, less in the case of Arianne), then you’re fine. Did everyone like Bran, the very first POV, from before AFFC? We’ve seen that’s not the case, but people who are lukewarm or annoyed by Bran are more willing to forgive him just because he’s there from the start, and people who feel the same way about the Greyjoys or the Martells cut them less slack. We can argue that is GRRM’s fault. But each individual’s response is purely subjective.

      If we push the envelope, we could say no Dragonstone character (Davos, Mel, Stannis) should be given such prominence, since we knew nothing of them in the fist book. Absurd, right? But it’s the same “logic”. Then again, it’s not logic, it’s subjectivity.

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    193. Fjordgazer: Then again, people who complain about Arianne, Victarion or Asha evolving, in most cases don’t like the damn characters. It’s personal taste.

      Well, that certainly doesn’t help if you don’t like them! And, you probably are correct: that was also an issue. However, I suspect that part of the reason why people didn’t like them was because they were thinking: “why aren’t I reading about Dany or Jon or Tyrion instead of some new person?”

      Fjordgazer: If we push the envelope, we could say no Dragonstone character (Davos, Mel, Stannis) should be given such prominence, since we knew nothing of them in the fist book.

      The original point that Alex Greyjoy was making is that the basic development of plots and characters should have happened in the first 2-3 books; it should have been done before Book 4. In particular, if a story is going to focus on people trying to be someone different than they were, the characters that already are well-developed from prior books wind up being much more interesting than the characters that are introduced there. It is (relatively) easy to see what Arya, Sansa, Jaime, Sam, etc., are doing differently than they were doing before because we had read all about what they were doing before and they were well-developed in our minds (assuming that we remembered the series in 2005). It was much more difficult to see what Arianne or Victarion were doing differently than they were doing before because we hadn’t read about them. Consciously or subconsciously, readers respond to that.

      More basically, however, I think that by Book 4 in a series, people wanted progress on the established protagonists. (Seriously, we should have known who Jon’s mother was by 2005….) Even if new protagonists do not hinder that progress, it’s always felt to be that way: and that in turn taints their feelings about the new characters. (It’s the same reflex as people feeling that if you deleted the “invented” scenes, then you would have had time for entire cut plot lines!)

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    194. jentario,

      Why is Vic pointless? If he’s not getting the 75 ships to Slaver’s Bay and book Daario is not capturing them, why would Weiss and Benioff have show Daario capture a fleet?! I’m still going on the assumption that it is a plot replacement (book fleet for show fleet) and that David and Dan are cutting everything that’s not important, according to them.

      To add the context for the end of ADwD: Volantis is supposedly attacking with their massive armada, Dany is nowhere to be seen and Meereen cannot control or direct the two dragons in the city towards the enemy. They probably need some ships of their own, no?

      Alex Greyjoy,

      I thought KC was sarcastic there, Alex (and probably agrees with you). But she’ll correct me if I’m wrong no doubt!

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    195. Time for a poll.

      Olivia Newton John as Sandy before or after the leather?

      I’m all for the leather. Call me sentimental. Even all these years later I’m still hopelessly devoted and my chills are multiplin’…

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    196. jentario,

      Was meant to be Wimsey but the reply tag thingy didn’t come up for some reason!

      Whilst I’ve got you though! Would you agree that on current evidence (without considering what or who may become relevant) that Dorne would have been very easy to cut out? From my persepctive and whether you enjoyed the Dorne stuff or not, I honestly can’t see anything happening there that really affected any other storylines/the overriding plot in a significant manner. It’s all pretty self-enclosed.

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    197. GRRM is fond of quipping “How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have?” in defense of the show’s changes.

      To which I reply, “was Scarlett O’Hara a Southern aristocrat or a Northern factory worker?”

      Makes a difference, no?

      Some of the changes are small in the grand scheme of things, but if the show deviates markedly from the book ending as GRRM has revealed it, then the show could ruin both.

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    198. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Six months ago, I would have said “Cut Dorne! Keep the Pirates!! Wait, better yet: cut both!!!” Basically, I see all of the Dorne stuff in Crows as being completely cutable (a word I promise to never use that word again!) for it’s own sake.

      However, then I realized just what a charismatic character Oberyn was, and how memorable and dramatic his death was. (I think that every straight woman over 35 melted for him, as did quite a few younger than 35 and/or generally disinterested in men!) Of course, having killed a Prince of some realm and having it done in such a way that audiences will not have forgotten it 10 months later, the producers needed to assume that the audience will wonder: how will Oberyn’s countrymen react? In particular, given all the build up about the fact that Cersei’s daughter is there (and that was heavily emphasized), what is next for her? So, I think that the TV audience will be expecting something there.

      (And, no, this is not comparable to people wondering about Riverrun after the RW: in that case, it looked like an entire army got destroyed and that there is nobody left to care; here, it’s just one highly memorable individual and an entire country that might want revenge; and, sorry, but Blackfish just wasn’t Oberyn!)

      There is also the very real possibility that Dorne will be very important in season 6

      when Aegon, Connington and the Gold Company return

      . If so, then Dorne becomes relevant 3 years running and is pretty much embedded in the audiences’ minds.

      The challenge for B&W was: how do you keep the plot-element while not complicating the story? It looks like they found a solution.

      SamJam199: AFFC was far worse,the only thing AFFC was good at is for toilet paper use of the chapters of Brienne and the Ironborn

      Even that isn’t true if you have the iBook version! (Actually, I did like the Arya and Sam chapters, and it was funny reading Cersei’s chapters, in that “pain is funny when it happens to other people” sort of way.)

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    199. Stannis the Mannis: GRRM is fond of quipping “How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have?” in defense of the show’s changes.

      To which I reply, “was Scarlett O’Hara a Southern aristocrat or a Northern factory worker?”

      Makes a difference, no?

      It would. However, the fact that GRRM is comparing the changes in the show to the changes in how many children or husbands Scarlett had is itself pretty telling. (And if GwtW had a fan base like SoI&F or HP or LotR does, then they’d be saying: “Oh, so the changes are huge and story-altering, then?” 🙂 )

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    200. Wimsey,

      1) The geographical split is indeed a problem. I, for one, won’t re-read AFFC/ADWD as they were published. Combined, they’re much better.

      2) As i read it, Alex Greyjoy‘s point was about world-building, not character development. If i didn’t read enough between the lines, sorry.

      3) As i’ve said, personal bias trumps everything. If you find a newly-introduced character interesting/appealing/relatable, you won’t care if his/her journey is long, short, hero-like, villain-like, descent into darkness, etc. That GRRM’s didn’t predict how significant the subset of the fandom who wouldn’t react too well about the AFFC/ADWD balance between new and old characters, is entirely on him. But it’s far from exact science.

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    201. Ideally, the place to introduce the Iron Islands POV’s was ASOS (the book is already pretty large as it is; i imagine people would’ve complained about that too). But why do people who defend the show argue about cuts/delays that “D&D introduce characters when they are needed”, yet are not willing to give GRRM the same leeway?

      Again, good old personal bias, be it towards the characters or towards the fat crocodile, fat bastard, jam-rag spunk bubble who has given us one miser split book in 15 years.

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    202. Fjordgazer,

      Stranded at the drive in. Branded a fool. What will they say Monday at school?

      Fjordgazer, can’t you see I’m in misery. We made a start, now we’re apart. There’s nothing left for me. Love has flown, all alone, I sit and wonder why oh why oh why you left me. Oh Fjordgazer.

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    203. Fjordgazer: 2) As i read it, Alex Greyjoy‘s point was about world-building, not character development. If i didn’t read enough between the lines, sorry.

      It wasn’t between the lines, but the adjacent topic. The more general issue is, when do you introduce important story and/or plot elements in a series? The whole theory behind a series of stories is still a bit vague: all of the classic “rules” for telling stories in novel form assumed stand-alone stories with neither a sequel coming up nor a prequel preceding it.

      The potentially interesting thing that authors can do with trilogies, quadrologies, etc., is communicate something across the stories. That is, a story and it’s sequel might tell more than either story does alone.

      Modern stories like the SoI&F stories are told through character development. Thus, any “gestalt” abstraction that is going to arise over a series of novels requires that development (and particularly dynamic development) be stretched over a series of novels. However, when you introduce protagonists de novo in the 4th and 5th books, you lose (or at least greatly reduce) the ability to do that. Moreover, let’s face it: it seems highly improbable that any of these “new” protagonists are going to be really important for the gestalt payoffs in the concluding stories.

      Fjordgazer3) As i’ve said, personal bias trumps everything. If you find a newly-introduced character interesting/appealing/relatable, you won’t care if his/her journey is long, short, hero-like, villain-like, descent into darkness, etc.

      We have a horse and cart disagreement here. My thesis is and remains that it would not have mattered how well developed the new protagonists were: people were not going to like them because they wanted to read about the existing protagonists. Regardless of their merits, people simply were not going to given them a chance. (I, myself, might be perfectly guilty of that: I don’t know if I would have found Victarion or [especially] Arianne interesting; all that I knew is that I wanted to be getting the story lines from established characters, not from new ones.)

      Fjordgazer:
      Ideally, the place to introduce the Iron Islands POV’s was ASOS (the book is already pretty large as it is; i imagine people would’ve complained about that too)

      The bigger problem would have been fitting it into the story. ASoS was a story about conflicted love/hate. Martin would have had to work in some sort of I love/hate this person or thing storyline with Asha/Yara. Otherwise, it just would have been plot-for-the-sake-of-plot (hello, Phantom Menace).

      Now, this wasn’t a problem in Crows: there, we get:

      Asha/Yara trying and failing to elevate herself to queenship, and Victarion trying and failing to elevate himself from a total tool.

      However, even there it was a little redundant: those two combined are essentially Cersei’s storyline!

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    204. Wimsey:
      I think that we will find that the document in question is not an important plot element itself. Instead, it was a backdrop to remind the audience of the biggest outstanding question in the series (Jon’s parentage), and possibly the first “hanging” of a “gun” that might be important in upcoming volumes:

      The Blackfyre Targaryens, who also were bastards legitimized by a King
      GRRM had multiple uses for that conversation, certainly. There was definitely an element of Blackfyre history in there, as well as a healthy dose of Catelyn-Jon angst. But the will itself was key and is, I’d argue, still very much in play. I think it’s safe to say that the question of northern succession will have massive implications for Westeros in the coming books, and the will encapsulates that. And like the mystery of Jon’s parentage, it requires resolution–some of the folks over in the Westeros forums actively refer to it as “Chekhov’s Will.”

      FWIW, I highly doubt that Jon’s a Blackfyre, if that’s what you’re suggesting. The presence of three Kingsguard at the Tower of Joy, one of whom was the by-the-books Lord Commander himself, suggests that Jon’s a trueborn Targaryen. If you’re simply saying that the Blackfyres are going to pop up again, I agree completely.

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    205. Cumsprite: My goodness. Anyone? Hear that, you dummies, if you think LOTR is a good book you don’t know anything about LITERATURE for it is a bad boo.

      I have to burn my shitty books library, i’m so ashamed…

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    206. Alex Greyjoy: No, it is not, it’s a lack of proper editing. Worldbuilding should not be present in the 4th or 5th book of the seven book series. We all already know the world, we don’t need entirely new plot lines that lead nowhere just to describe what Iron Islands look like or how do Essosi turtles look like.

      Alex, can you seriously belive it wasn’t irony (KC being my infamous nickname) ? No need to precise that i was totally with you on this one and that i don’t get the point of having long detailed stories about the drowned god and the freakin’ Greyjoy brothers if it doesn’t serve the plot. I should have been clearer telling that worlbuilding is the one of the worst excuse for filling ad nauseam.

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    207. Fjordgazer,

      I happen to have liked both the Iron Islands and Dornish plot. My major problem with AFFC was Brienne’s plodding and Cersei POV chapters. Cersei’s decisions seemed very dumb (probably because they were) and she was a very unlikeable.

      If AFFC and ADWD were one book than it would have been just as good as any other book in the series. The show seems to be going this route so I’m cautiously optimistic

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    208. Wimsey: The Lord of the Rings is considered to be a bad boo by anyone who knows much about literature

      Sorry, but that’s just flat out not true. From how and what you write my guess is you have a background in literature, which is why I’ll not even try and explain to you how strange and frankly out-dated the idea of an inherently “bad book” or “bad literature” is, I think you know that. But even if I would agree that inherently bad books exist, LotR is certainly a text that has gained recognition and positive critic in academic circles, be it just for the fact that it is widely considered the archetype of modern fantasy.

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    209. Abyss,

      Actually, it is true if you are one of those who hold certain literary movements and adherence to strictures of certain dramatic principles at heart as Wimsey seems to do. For him/her it would probably count as a bad book. Seven forbid Checkhov’s gun shouldn’t fire when the time is right, which is certainly a subjective matter especially in a vast world like ASoIaF where we don’t know exactly where act 3 is, just to give an example. I’m sure Balzac is rolling in his grave that for him a gun on the wall was sometimes just that: a gun on the wall (figuratively speaking!). And so does Tolkien.

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    210. TheTouchOfFrost,

      If I remember correctly, you objected to the Iron Islands plot being cut, right? Yet you would cut Dorne because it’s self-enclosed?

      Between A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, the Iron Islands story line is told in 8 chapters out of the 119 chapters that constitute these two novels. The whole first half deal with internal matters of succession from the points of view of Aeron, Victarion and Asha. While Euron’s plan is certainly looking outwardly, his intentions are not revealed until the halfway point of the whole Iron Islands story —that is, at the end of these four introductory chapters. The next two are indeed about finally coming into contact with the rest of the realm —Asha loses Deepwood Motte and Victarion takes the Shield Islands. Then, Asha splits from what could reasonably be called the Iron Islands plot, since her remaining two chapters are there so that we see what’s up with Stannis’s story line. The last two Iron Islands chapters are about teasing and setting up the relevance of their subplot for TWOW —Victarion sails towards Meereen.

      Half of this Greyjoy plot is about the kind of internal struggles you apparently think are a good enough reason to cut Dorne. The other half is equally divided between minor dramatic clashes (especially in the case of the Shield Islands, in which one of the sides is unknown to us) and a deliberately-paced tease of what’s to come.

      Dorne also has an introduction, a dramatic clash in the middle and a climactic tease, but it’s much lighter: it occupies 9 chapters if we include Quentyn, and only 5 chapters if we don’t —certainly, the show won’t. Out of the 5 chapters actually set in Dorne, the first two are internal matters, but they are looking outwardly from the very beginning, while the Iron Islands are all about internal matters until Euron reveals his plan. In these two supposedly “self-enclosed” chapters, we immediately discover the three eldest Sand Snakes want revenge for a character most readers and watchers loved, and each would seek it differently: Obara would go on an aggressive war; Nymeria would content herself with assassinating the four leading Lannisters; and Tyene would crown Myrcella not only as a power-play but as a trap, to wage a war on their own lands, by their own rules. Meanwhile, Arianne would crown Myrcella mostly because of her internal beef with her father (which is a pretty good reason to cut her: her motivations have to do with a personal history and characters we are not familiar with, while the rest of the Dornish characters are very much looking outwardly —they are also new characters, but their raison d’etre is all about characters we have known for years.) Now, in the middle chapter, Arianne tries and fails in her Queenmker plot. The last two chapters are a setup for what’s to come: Doran’s plans are revealed to Arianne and then the Sand Snakes, and he sends two of Oberyn’s bastard daughters along with Myrcella back to King’s Landing, both in positions of power and influence, quite similarly to how Victarion’s imminent arrival to Meereen was teased.

      GRRM has said we’ll see a lot of the Sand Snakes in TWOW, which should be no surprise, since they are positioned in what’s essentially the main setting of the story. The same goes for Victarion, but D&D have replaced him with a surviving Meereneese fleet, and they have done it without causing any damage of which we are aware to the structure of the story as it is being told.

      I’m not judging what should or shouldn’t be cut, but I doubt that the reason you wouldn’t care if Dorne was cut is as objective or reasonable as you imply it is, when the Greyjoys are in pretty much the same position. Yet, if I remember correctly, you don’t care for the D&D’s decision to cut them. If you like the Greyjoys better and would rather see Dorne cut than them, that’s a perfectly acceptable position to have, but please don’t imply Dorne is in any way less relevant to the main plot than the Iron Islands.

      If anything, Dorne is easier to adapt satisfactorily than the Iron Islands, not easier to cut. Both subplots had introductory chapters, but they were 4 for the Iron Islands and only 2 for Dorne, and the Dornish ones started looking out to the characters and the story we know from pretty much the first couple pages, while this did not happen for the Iron Islands until the very end of their fourth chapter, halfway through their AFFC/ADWD plot. Then both had a dramatic and actual clash in the middle, which is a single chapter for Dorne and two for the Iron Islands, and finally both have a couple chapters teasing what’s to come.

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    211. Strider,

      Something being subjectively or objectively (to the extend that that is possible) true are very different things. Wimsey can of curse be of the opinion that LotR is a bad book and I’m sure he/she has his/her reasons for it, but to claim that “The Lord of the Rings is considered to be a bad boo by anyone who knows much about literature” is just demonstrable false. – And Checkhov’s gun is nonsense imo, at least if you see every aspect of world building as the loaded gun. 😉

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    212. Turncloak,

      1 book instead of one, a good 100 pages trimming of Nimble Dick and descriptive text and at least one of the cliffhangers being resolved right there. That would’ve been ideal. Unless, of course, your personal taste doesn’t care much for the Dornish, the Ironborn or both, which IMHO is the rather subjective reason most people dislike AFFC to begin with; you’d be an exception.

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    213. Isabelle:

      I think that people are completely barking up a wrong tree with this. The item in question is NOT a Chekhovian Gun: those are things of prominence about which some deal is made. What Chekhov was saying is, don’t burden a narrative with unnecessary details: if you make a big deal of something, then make that something a big deal in the end.

      (The people at Westerosi who think this also seem to believe that a Chekhovian Gun is some small detail that becomes big, which would make Anton spin in his grave!)

      Moreover, and this is key: it’s both completley unnecessary and completely obviated at this point. What those people want to convince themselves of is that

      Jon will try to become the Lord of Winterfell.

      However, they have not been paying attention to the character development:

      Jon has already emphatically rejected it on the grounds that it belongs to Sansa, even if she is now a Lannister. Once Jon learns that she is not a Lannister, and once he learns that Rickon is still alive, then there will be absolutely nothing that will convince him to take it, even if Robb had willed it. Jon would know perfectly well that Robb assumed that Rickon and Arya were dead (and Brann, but he effectively is dead), and his honor demands that he stand aside for Rickon.

      At any rate, this is a great case of people missing the obvious solution staring themin the face. Yes, there is going to be a tussle over the succession of Winterfell. And, no, the non-Chekhovian item in quesiton will have nothing to do with it. Instead, we’ll get what the show has set up: Sansa vs. Arya vs. Rickon. Sansa thinks that the other two are dead, and we now have definite reason to think that she’s moving towards a more Cersei-like view of life. Arya thinks that Sansa is a puppet of the Lannisters, and one could easily see her taking a next step to rejecting sons-before-daughters. And Rickon is the Lost Prince. My predictions? (In spoilers, becaause two of my ideas stem from stuff in Dragons:

      Arya sides with Dany, Rickon becomes a tool for Stannis, and Sansa sides with Aegon.

      And it’s all sitting in front of us without any reference to something mentioned only once in one book long ago!

      At any rate, this should tell us a lot about how important Martin thinks it is: he wrote the episode where this gun should have been hung (if it was a gun), and he did not bother to do so.

      Abyss: But even if I would agree that inherently bad books exist, LotR is certainly a text that has gained recognition and positive critic in academic circles, be it just for the fact that it is widely considered the archetype of modern fantasy.

      Modern fantasy is held in about the same esteem as romance novels! Lord of the Rings might get blamed for modern fantasy (although it would have come about anyway), but that’s about it. Indeed, I suspect that part of the reason why fantasy gets so little attention is in part because of Lord of the Rings: people assume that fantasy works are not true novels, but instead escapist plot-driven stories revolving around simplistic concepts of right and wrong. In truth, most modern fantasy novels are like all other novels: basically stories of continuous existential crisis in which one or more protagonist goes through some series of events (although sometimes involving, say, dragons rather than, say, unpleasant relationships) in search of defining exactly who he/she is. That general category includes things like SoI&F, even if it’s antithetical to Rings.

      (And, no, students of literature do not pay Rings any mind, even if some of them like the book: such people never confuse “enjoyable” with “quality;” Much to-do was made of this 14 years ago when it was voted “Book of the Century” in a major popular poll and numerous “why popular ≠ good” essays were inspired.)

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    214. Wimsey,

      1) One guilty pleasure of mine is liking some of Darren Hayes/Savage Garden music. It’s guilty because it’s pop (but good pop, though i’m rather a rock guy) and because the singer is gay (and by extension his music “is”). No objective reason whatsoever. There you have a quick example.

      2) Euron is by no means a protagonist (rather an antagonist) but his projected importance in the story can’t be disregarded, most of the ardent Ironborn haters recognize that.

      3) Carts and wheels if you like, but my point remains. “”People won’t like it”. – Some of us did! If we get unnecessarily theoretical, i bet there’s a continuum between:

      a) people who liked half or less of the POV characters pre-AFFC but liked Greyjoys & Martells and Cersei’s prominence —> Loved AFFC

      b) people who liked most or all of the POV characters pre-AFFC but personally hated both the Greyjoys & Martells and Cersei’s prominence —-> Despised AFFC.

      THAT’S ALL THERE IS TO IT. Most of the reasons people list for the book sucking is about aggrandizing their own subjectivity as objectivity.

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    215. A counter-example which had a lot of success introducing a group of new characters late in its run is the Wire (which I thought of because it’s sixth on this list). But that’s considered to be the greatest show ever made; it could be hard for others to pull that off.

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    216. Asha Karina: Alex, can you seriously belive it wasn’t irony (KC being myinfamous nickname) ? No need to precise that i was totally with you on this one and that i don’t get the point of having long detailed stories about the drowned god and the freakin’ Greyjoy brothers if it doesn’t serve the plot. I should have been clearer telling that worlbuilding is the one of the worst excuse for filling ad nauseam.

      I should probably sleep more 🙂

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    217. Wimsey,

      I’m not a student of literature so story means what the laymans definition of story means to me. What is the difference between a report or opinion and a story in your definition then? Both are used for communicating ideas but a story is presented in a more entertaining style in order to communicate those ideas.

      Oberyn was an interesting character, the rest of Dorne doesn’t even come close. Arianne and Doran were the only two I could remember the names of after reading the books. I can see the show wanting to piggy back the Oberyn success but I honestly don’t think the average viewer really cares about how his countrymen react barring Sand Snake fan boys/girls ( Still don’t get it. They don’t do anything!).

      Luka Nieto,

      Didn’t say I would cut it ( I’d make an extra season and do everything properly if I had my way!) but I think it is the most easily cuttable.
      Getting a bit bored of repeating the same conversation but what the hey! My main beef is that the characters IMO in Dorne weren’t fleshed out like Victarion was or intriguing like Euron was. They were just there.
      Another problem was that the Iron Islands plot was introduced through Asha, a known and reasonably well-liked character. It made the story feel more natural and eased the reader into the plot. Dorne we got characters we know nothing about talking about characters we know nothing about. It’s not surprising why so many readers didn’t care. D&D realise this which is why they’re shipping Jaime and Bronn off down there.
      Working the Iron Islands in would have been much easier than Dorne as you have less characters to work in, Yara as a starting point as well as

      the death of Balon another known character

      and the story with them itself is much simpler and easier to work in. The massive charisma void in Dorne means that a lot of work has got to go into it to make it watchable. Introduce who everyone is, lay out the conflict down there, say why we should give a crap about the Queenmaker plot and then actually execute it all. You can’t deny that The Iron Islands plot would cause a lot less hassle in disrupting other storylines, the timeline in general and wouldn’t take as much screentime. By the end of the Dorne plot can you honestly say it has had a major effect on the overarching plot? Other than

      Doran sending Arianne to forge a link with Aegon (who it doesn’t even look like is going to be in it) and a few Sand Snakes skulking around KL and Oldtown

      what does Dorne really add to the major storylines? Whereas

      Vic and Euron both are significant threats to Dany and are influening other areas already

      Pretty sure Young Griff and Euron are going to play a much bigger role in the books going forward than one of the many non-descript Bland Snakes (huh huh!) yet they’re potentially not included. Pointing to one GRRM quote doesn’t make Sand Snakes uncuttable and it sure as hell doesn’t change the fact they are so far in the book irrelevant.
      Never gonna agree on this as we both have different opinions on why some things may or may not work. I just hope that the show makes Dorne more entertaining than the books as it seems to be taking up a fair bit of Season 5.
      The only thing in which I would agree that Dorne is worth doing and not cuttable is if

      Trystane turns out to be Aegon

      . This would be very slick streamlining and give more relevance to both storylines whilst not detracting from other stories/plots.

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    218. TheTouchOfFrost: What is the difference between a report or opinion and a story in your definition then?

      A story differs from those other things in the same way that all art forms differ from non-art analogs. Music differs from sounds because there is some abstraction that arises from how the sounds are assembled in music that do not exist otherwise. Paintings differ from pictures because of some abstraction that arises from how colors and images are combined that otherwise would not exist. Etc., etc. Abstraction is one of the principle things that separates art from non-art, after all: and what makes literature art is the abstraction called “story.” (Plots exist in the real world, themes exist in the real world, and narratives are used to describe all of them: but if these are necessary ingredients for a story, then they still are not sufficient ingredients.

      At any rate, I write a lot of research papers. (My H is about to hit 30!) Not only do I not write stories, I would take it as an insult if you called them stories. Now, my papers have a logical structure akin to a plot describing the theory giving rise to the tested hypotheses, what the data should be like if different hypotheses are correct, and how the different tests recognize this. There is some theme to a collection of papers that I write (i.e., my general research programs.) And, of course, every paper is a narrative. However, it’s the opposite of abstraction: when I test a hypothesis, I plainly state what it is that I’m testing. (If I leave anything to abstraction, then reviewers and editors would hammer me, and the paper doesn’t get published until I make everything explicit.)

      (I have known people who write research papers about stories: they do not tell stories about stories, but instead discuss ideas about stories.)

      Ultimately, look at it this way. Tolkien wrote that the Lord of the Rings was a story about death and immortality. People who disagree with Tolkien’s assessment of his own story do not argue that Death and Immortality is not a possible description of a story: instead, they would argue that some other abstraction such as “Preserivng and Restoring Natural Order” is the story. If you recognize what about Lord of the Rings says “Death and Immortality” (or “Preserving and Restoring Natural Order”), then you are recognizing what about Lord of the Rings is “story” under the strict sense of the word: and the sense of the word that is relevant when people discuss literature, TVs, plays, movies, etc.

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    219. Fjordgazer: Most of the reasons people list for the book sucking is about aggrandizing their own subjectivity as objectivity.

      That simply is incorrect. The issue is, what were the big complaints about the book? As with everything, there were central tendencies. Go back to 2005. Yes, people voiced dozens of reasons why they didn’t like the Dorne and Iron Islands chapters. However, they voice even more criticisms of those chapters. How? There were people who both enjoyed what they read while at the same time thinking that Martin should not have included it. The most commonly voiced complaint over and over again was some variant of: why is Martin writing about this when he should be writing about Jon, Tyrion, Dany, etc.? It wasn’t just “I don’t like Arianne” (although there was some of that): there was a lot of “Arianne is potentially interesting, but couldn’t this stuff have been done differently? Aren’t there plenty of interesting characters already that could have served better?” (I enjoyed the Asha sections, as I find her mildly interesting; however, I also saw it as redundant with the rest of the tale, and I think that Martin would have been better off investing that writing time and page space in an established protagonist.)

      Of course, there is this huge caveat: what fans said on the Internet 9 years ago might not reflect what Jane and Joe Reader (who outnumber us 100:1 I bet!) thought at that time. And, of course, new fans and general readers who start Crows shortly after finishing Swords do NOT have the anger/disappointment of waiting 5 years and then not getting the protagonists in whom they were already interested.

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    220. The biggest issue I had with both the Dorne and Iron Islands plots in the books is not that they were introduced late (once the final books are out they’ll be established characters too), but that despite their limited chapters in total they were told from far too many points of view. George needed to centralise the storylines and flesh out better develop individuals not pay passing tribute to a bloated new cast. If the other characters in there have purpose late on then introduce them together but don’t give them the POV until necessary (eg Sam not getting a POV until he’s not in Jon’s presence and actually has his own story). For the record I’m a fan of both Dorne and Iron Islands plots but I still don’t understand why for example the four Kingsmoot chapters needed to be told from 3 separate points of view. Then if Victarion is actually necessary he should have been introduced sole through Ashas eyes and then later start his POV in another book. I feel people would have been more receptive to both storylines if there weren’t 15 new point of view characters in books 4&5 (including the prologue/epilogue ones because well they get about as much focus as several of the others anyway).

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    221. Mine is the Furry:
      Time for a poll.

      Olivia Newton John as Sandy before or after the leather?

      I’m all for the leather.Call me sentimental.Even all these years later I’m still hopelessly devoted and my chills are multiplin’…

      Tell me about it, stud.

        Quote  Reply

    222. Wimsey:

      Of course, there is this huge caveat: what fans said on the Internet 9 years ago might not reflect what Jane and Joe Reader (who outnumber us 100:1 I bet!) thought at that time.And, of course, new fans and general readers who start Crows shortly after finishing Swords do NOT have the anger/disappointment of waiting 5 years and then not getting the protagonists in whom they were already interested.

      Still bias. Not the kind i was talking about, but bias anyway. Of course the geographical split is an objective complaint: it’s a big enough issue because it alters how the story is told, causes an unwarranted amount of waiting time for the more important half of the story (ADWD), and it’s a milk-the-cash-cow move by the author. Remove the waiting time between books, and it’s less of an issue. Remove the geographical split by combining the tandem, and it’s even less (of course, this is a luxury that long-time readers didn’t have back then, so i understand their frustration).

      Most of what remains then, is subjective opinion. Sure, there’s a huge amount of travelogue and landscape painting, but readers who don’t like Arya that much (Gods forbid, but they exist!) had the same complaint about her chapters in ACOK and ASOS. So why do these people pretend it’s only an issue in the last couple of books? Personal bias is all over the place here.

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    223. Of the Night,

      I agree on the number of new POVs. Regarding the three Greyjoy POVs in Feast, it’s my understanding that Martin’s initial plan was for the book to begin with a big multi-point-of-view prologue centering on the Kingsmoot. Later on, Martin changed his mind and “dispersed” this material into separate chapters.

      The result (with both the Ironborn and the Dornish) is… let’s say unsatisfactory. I’d prefer a massive rewrite of both storylines. Pick a single protagonist in both of those regions (e.g. Asha and Arianne) and flesh them out in much greater detail. I’d also argue that, having lost prologue status, both storylines need a much stronger and more definitive culmination instead of amounting to little more than… well, prologue for Winds, I guess.

      Alas, no use crying over spilled milk.

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    224. Most of what remains then, is subjective opinion. Sure, there’s a huge amount of travelogue and landscape painting, but readers who don’t like Arya that much (Gods forbid, but they exist!) had the same complaint about her chapters in ACOK and ASOS. So why do these people pretend it’s only an issue in the last couple of books? Personal bias is all over the place here.

      Well, to be honest, many people noted that Martin’s infamous traveloguing was already present in Clash and Storm, although to a much lesser extent. There are certainly some chapters in those two books that could’ve been somewhat trimmed or even cut.

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    225. Of the Night,

      If there’s people complaining about finding Victarion and Aeron dull, by having less time and words to explore their minds and perspective, you can only expect this group to be bigger and harsher. There’s no way to satisfy everyone.

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    226. Mr Fixit: Well, to be honest, many people noted that Martin’s infamous traveloguing was already present in Clash and Storm, although to a much lesser extent.

      How lesser? Has someone ever measured it? Most likely, it’s your impression.

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    227. Mr Fixit: Well, to be honest, many people noted that Martin’s infamous traveloguing was already present in Clash and Storm, although to a much lesser extent. There are certainly some chapters in those two books that could’ve been somewhat trimmed or even cut.

      Absolutely. Parts of ASOS and ACOK did drag a bit, but that’s to be expected. Novels ebb and flow. The problem with AFFC was that it was mostly ebbinical (made it up myself!), though very well-written. The problem with ADWD was everything.

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    228. Fjordgazer: How lesser? Has someone ever measured it? Most likely, it’s your impression.

      Well, take Books 2 and 3, count “traveloguing” chapters and determine how much of those books they comprise. Do the same for Book 4. An utterly unscientific method, true, but somewhat indicative.

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    229. Fjordgazer,

      Yeah there probably will be more that feel they are boring, but also fewer that care, because they become characters in Asha’s story not the storytellers themselves. There are quite a few characters in the books that could be considered boring, but they don’t get the hate Aeron does because the people who find them boring don’t have to read their chapters.

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    230. Mr Fixit,

      Determining the density of travelogue per square inch of paper in each book, objectively separating overly descriptive text from “normal” text.

      Quite a project, heh?

      Of the Night,

      Why is the opinion of those who find them boring more important than ours? Is it because they beat us in numbers? If so, it’s an issue for the author only, but it’s far from being exact science. That’s the point i’ve been trying to make.

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    231. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Dorne would have been easy as fuck to cut out if they continue in the same trajectory as the TWOW chapters are teasing. They’re cutting the Griffs, so it would have been expected that Dorne gets the shaft with those two . Apparently not.

      Either Doran and the Sand Snakes become really important regardless of the Griff connection (which is possible), or D&D just like the characters and wanted to follow up on Oberyn.

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    232. Wimsey,

      Ok then, what is the purpose of art? Again for my untrained eye it is to either entertain or make people think (by communincating in an entertaining way). In fact, it may even be possible to argue thinking without a direct pragmatic purpose (thinking for the sake of thinking) is a way of amusing oneself anyway.
      If we try and pull this back to the original point. A World of Ice and Fire was released to entertain so I think the dictionary definition of story applies to it in this case as the history presented is a fleshing out of the main plot or story running through it’s universe. It’s certainly not factual as it’s a fictional world.

      jentario,

      I’d lean owards the latter (can’t see Doran playing much more of a role and show-wise the Bland Snakes don’t have a reason to position themselves if Doran hasn’t got a horse to back) but it seems quite a simplistic and rather shallow reason to plump for it. That’s why I still have a sneaky suspicion about Trystanes promotion to an important character

      in the absence of a certain hidden dragon . It would also finally give the SS a purpose. Unless it turns out they were backing Dany all along…which ,I must be honest, would completely sicken me as a plotline as much as if it turns out Varys was.

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    233. loco73,

      Thx for the info. We’ll see how this collaboration goes. I don’t know if J Nolan is a great screen writer or if C Nolan (his brother) is a brilliant director/adaptor of his work, since they seem to work together a lot. J Nolan’s Person of Interest pilot was cool but his best work is with his brother. Is C Nolan involved as well?

      The original Foundation trilogy is another one of those “difficult to adapt” works of science fiction. Previous adaptations of Asimov’s work haven’t gone so well, imho (I, Robot (Wtf? Still waiting for the Harlan Ellison screenplay to be filmed); Bicentennial Man, Nightfall) Perhaps the time is right for an Asimov revisit with the film technology in place these days. The PK Dick resurgence went fairly well but it also had its sour moments. Hopefully, we get a decent “psychohistory” courtesy of HBO. I wonder who will play Hari Seldon?

      I always wanted “Pebble in the Sky” to be adapted..maybe soon. I’ll be looking forward to this Nolan/HBO project. Such awesome stuff from my formative years being adapted for the screen. Cool.

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    234. TheTouchOfFrost: Ok then, what is the purpose of art? Again for my untrained eye it is to either entertain or make people think (by communincating in an entertaining way).

      It’s the latter, but I would phrase it differently. Artists want nothing more or less than to change the way people view the world. That is why artists have always been heavily involved in sociopolitical movements. That is also why social conservatives of every era have hated what authors do. The modern novel is no exception: character-driven stories about people suffering perpetual existential crises were decried as degenerate and immoral 150 years ago. After all, the gods chose people to be born to a certain class or sex: and that is where they all belonged. (It was basically the Tory vs. republican debate.) It wasn’t just literature: romantic music (a la Beethoven) was similarly decried as degenerate: (morally) “good” classical music was not so bombastic or helter-skelter. Of course, classical music was decried as immoral a generation or two earlier when Mozart et al. were inventing it!

      As for the entertainment part, well, artists obviously have a love-hate relationship with their work being entertainment. Artists are quick to condemn each other for “selling out” when someone’s work succeeds in entertaining the masses. However, all artists (whether they admit it or not) crave that success. On the other hand, nearly all successful artists lament the restrictions that this success provides: the fans want “more of the same,” be it songs like the first hit album, paintings like the first big paintings, or books like the first hit book.

      Whoops, I forgot to add this! OK, if you think that WoI&F is a story, then convince me. Lord of the Rings is a story about Death and Immortality. Game of Thrones was a story about Conflicted Moralities. WoI&F is a story about:_________. If it really is a story, then a short statement describes it: but I do not know what that statement would be.

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    235. TheTouchOfFrost,

      That’s because you hate Dany.

      Book Dorne actually supported her at first (and still is as far as we know, the Aegon thing is still just educated speculation). Queue Doran’s awesome speech.

      But I agree that Varys supporting Dany from the start plain and simple would be a bad decision. Not only would it go against his actions in season 1-4, but it would mean that Dany has yet another super awesome advisor and that conquering Westeros will be even easier for her. Also, it 100% changes Varys’ fate- who is doomed to fail in the books. I think there are ways to make it less straightforward and quite frankly boring than Varys being an all time Dany supporter (she gets Dorne, that’s enough!). I’m okay with him deciding she’s the best option post Tywin’s death, and then changing his mind or giving up after being separated from Tyrion.

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    236. jentario,

      i find it hard to comprehend the point of Quentyn’s character unless that leads to Dorne backing fAegon. Otherwise his character was utterly pointless. I don’t see the release of 2 dragons as way to justify a character traveling half around the world. Since the obvious choice for Dorne would be to ally with Dany, the purpose of Quentyn’s demise is to break this obvious and once very probable alliance. Also, TWOW sample chapter has Arianne already thinking of Dany as a monster. I’m confident that fAegon will win Dorne’s support right after Doran dies of grief upon hearing of his sons demise while a furious Arianne joins fAegon’s cause

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    237. Wimsey,

      Wouldn’t say all artists want to change the world, if so then 99.9% of them are in the wrong profession! I think each individuals motives varies but what they want to do is communicate ideas for whatever purpose and they choose a medium that makes that idea more palatable ( and in a lot of ways more entertaining)
      I’d say it was an extension of GoT’s story but hey a challange is a challenge. If I had to go for something then I’d say WoI&F is a story about legacy!

      jentario,

      I don’t hate her…just find her story increasingly dull. Shame as she had incredible potential but hasn’t shown a massive amount of character development since the first book/season.
      Just seems a bit daft that all these people supported her but no one lifted a finger to help! Just appears tacked on. Where as

      Aegon’s upbringing seems to have been delicately planned. I agree with most everything else you say. Danys march to the throne looks incredibly easy and predictable. Aegon was a nice complication and gave Varys much more depth. The master plotter turning out to be a chancer who switches alliegance at the drop of a hat ( not for courtly manouvering but with his grand plans) completely detroys his character and the feeling the viewer/ reader got of this masterplan coming to fruition. Personally I want more of a pay off than oh he supported Dany all along (in spite of the evidence suggesting otherwise as you’ve mentioned.

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    238. TheTouchOfFrost: Wouldn’t say all artists want to change the world, if so then 99.9% of them are in the wrong profession!

      I didn’t write that they wanted to change the world: I wrote that they wanted to change the way that people look at it. (That, of course, is a first step towards changing the world.) It could be for just as long as the audience is looking at the painting or listening to the symphony or reading the book, but even if it’s just for that long, then that is something.

      That written, it’s not a coincidence that artistic movements in literature, theater, music, etc., have been closely entangled in all the advances in basic human rights over the last couple of centuries: and why artists have been reviled as degenerates, heretics and reprobates by many over all of that time. Just look at SoI&F: a moral absolutist would find this pretty offensive! (Many Tolkien fans hate it because there is no clear delimitation of good and evil: the degeneracy!)

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    239. Wimsey,
      Again, I’d say each individual artists motivation varies.
      But is tha a case of life imitating art or art imitating art? I don’t think art itself is a driving force of social change just a way in which it can be expressed or communicated.
      I’ve not met anyone who likes Tolkien but dislikes Ice and Fire because of that! Think the vast majority of people enjoy different types of story whether there is clearly defined morality or not.

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    240. TheTouchOfFrost,
      jentario,

      I don’t see how Varys supporting Dany from the beginning would be an issue. Many people claim so, but it really isn’t.

      In fact, it is one of the two major arguments against the suggestion that D&D will probably cut Aegon Targaryen from Season 5 of Game of Thrones and beyond. The other is faithfulness to the book material or liking the characters involved, which is a good enough subjective reason, but telling a good story should be paramount. So, does the lack of Aegon completely mess up the character motivations of Varys, who already is a main character in the show people are invested in? In other words: how can the show square Varys supporting Daenerys with what we have seen so far?

      Let us start from the beginning: in the books, Varys and Illyrio’s original plan was thwarted; that is, presumably a double invasion with Viserys with a Dothraki horde on one side and Aegon with a sellsword company on the other, apparently with the intention to actually crown Aegon (I don’t know if we are supposed to know what they would have done with Viserys.) At any rate, things have changed: Viserys is dead; Littlefinger secretly sparked a civil war in the Seven Kingdoms; there is no Targaryen-led Dothraki horde coming to Westeros; and Daenerys, who had only been considered a pawn in their game, is now a Queen on her own right. Remember, that’s why Aegon’s mission at the beginning of A Dance with Dragons, until Tyrion convinces him otherwise, is to go to Meereen and marry Daenerys. So, even in the books, Illyrio and Varys do support Daenerys, in their own way.

      As for Varys going against his own plans, he has just been playing his part as a double agent: in order to ensure his position within the Small Council, he sometimes must harm his cause in small ways, such as providing them with information about Daenerys, especially on the show. However, that’s not what’s usually brought up —the attempted assassination of Dany is the problem for many. Now, would it harm his cause beyond repair? Not at all. Remember: back then, Daenerys was nothing more than a tool, and certainly not the Dothraki-leading Dragon that Varys and Illyrio hoped for —that was still Viserys.

      Furthermore, following Robert’s order to assassinate Daenerys might have been not just an acceptable sacrifice but an opportunity, exactly the kind of trigger Varys was looking for: as we saw under the Red Keep, he was urging Illyrio to accelerate the Dothraki invasion, so maybe he thought killing Daenerys would do just that… and wouldn’t you know it, that is exactly what happened! The mere threat to his wife’s life did convince Khal Drogo to invade Westeros.

      Even if that speculative machination does not turn out to be true, if it’s assuming way too much of Varys’s abilities to predict the behavior of others, it does not matter: Daenerys could only have become a true “Dragon” in the eyes of Varys and Illyrio once Viserys had died and she had proven herself in Slaver’s Bay. Varys trying to kill Dany perfectly fits with how they had been treating her until she became a Queen —as a tool. Therefore, Varys and Illyrio supporting Daenerys makes perfect sense in the show, as in fact it also does in the books, in which their current plans are for Aegon and Dany to marry. Tyrion might have mischievously convinced Aegon of the contrary, but they do need Dany and her dragons.

      If there was any inconsistency in the show with Varys supporting Daenerys, that inconsistency would partly exist in the books as well. Thankfully, there is no issue here: Aegon can be excised and it causes no incongruity for the character motivations of Varys. There may be a great argument out there for not cutting Aegon’s storyline, but this one is not it.

      As for it being a “predictable” revelation, I’ll only say that good storytelling is not constructed solely by twists. Yes, it’s predictable. In fact, if one is paying attention, they should know it since Season 1. How does that make it bad? Some people get too focused on twists and spoilers. If your enjoyment of a story or a character disappears when you learn some spoilers or you find there is a lack of twists and revelations, then it’s not such a well-written story or character. If shocks is all there is to them, it means there is no meat behind them.

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    241. Mine is the Furry:
      Time for a poll.

      Olivia Newton John as Sandy before or after the leather?

      I’m all for the leather.Call me sentimental.Even all these years later I’m still hopelessly devoted and my chills are multiplin’…

      Please no….she’s attractive, but her singing gets right on my tonsils.

        Quote  Reply

    242. Hate to say this, but the person most worthy of blame for this predicament is GRRM, for taking ions to write these last few books

      I know, I know…how dare I, according to people like ComicBookGirl19. How dare I suggest George should hurry up. That the books won’t be as good, if he’s not allowed to write them at the pace he wants. Well, sorry, but that’s just not true

      What’s universally recognized as being the least loved book in the series, so far? A Feast For Crows. How long did he take to write that? Six years

      What’s just about everyone’s FAVORITE book in the series? Hands down, A Storm Of Swords. How long did that one take? 21 months!!!

      Now, am I saying that should be the standard for all his books? No, that’s not fair. But how about three years? Is that so ridiculous? If he had done that with TWOW, guess what? You and I could be reading it right this minute. And by the time season 5 starts, we’d be well ahead of the show

      If he can write the best book he ever wrote in less than two years. And conversely, put out material not nearly as well received after six, should we REALLY be telling him to take his time?

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    243. Dame of Mercia: Please no….she’s attractive, but her singing gets right on my tonsils.

      Ssshhush. No speaking or singing. Just put on these leather pants and put out that ciggie.

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    244. TheTouchOfFrost:
      Wimsey,
      Again, I’d say each individual artists motivation varies.

      Even if this is true, then it is misleading. Again, it is about central tendencies: and the biographies, letters, interviews and recountings of artists over the centuries emphasize over and over again how artists are driven to envision/hear/consider something different. Paradoxically, they are a lot like we scientists are. (And probably as misunderstood, as so many people pretend that scientists are driven by other agendas.)

      TheTouchOfFrost:
      But is tha a case of life imitating art or art imitating art? I don’t think art itself is a driving force of social change just a way in which it can be expressed or communicated.

      If that were the case, then the social and political conservatives of every era would not work so hard to repress the messages in so many art forms. However, they have been denouncing the “cutting edge” of most art forms as degenerate for centuries now.

      At any rate, given that the artists have always been a generation or two ahead of everyone else, it’s life following (not imitatint) the artists.

      TheTouchOfFrost:
      I’ve not met anyone who likes Tolkien but dislikes Ice and Fire because of that! Think the vast majority of people enjoy different types of story whether there is clearly defined morality or not.

      You have not spent much time on Tolkien boards, then! Moreover, I was not talking about the vast majority of readers of anything: I was talking about the vocal minority called “fans.”

      Luka Nieto,
      I think that you need to think of Varys in a more complicated light still.

      He’s not a “double agent”: he’s playing sides A and B against each other while working for a third side that he wants to see allied with A rather than B in the end. The apparent contradictions stem from the fact that he needs to keep the Baratheons focused on the known Targaryens. That prevents them from every worrying about the rumors that another Targaryen still existing. His exact motives for doing this are not clear: he might have been more fully Rhaegar’s confidences than we knew, he might be a scion of the Blackfyres (the enemy of one dragon is the enemy of another dragon), he might be in love with Harry Potter’s mother… oh, wait. Anyways, you get the idea.

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    245. Hang on, when were Griff and “Young Griff” confirmed as cancelled, officially or otherwise? I’ve been expecting it, but hadn’t heard anything, even unofficially as we did about the Iron Islands. Is it just assumed since there’s been no casting news?
      In which case I suppose I can wave good-bye to seeing Manderly as well.

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    246. Abyss,

      There really is no basis for that conclusion. The cut characters in question are not necessary for Tyrion’s contribution to the Dragons/Crows story, and they do not contribute to anybody else’s story. However, they almost certainly will be important for Dany’s story (and possibly Jon’s story, and I can even envision Sansa’s story) in Winter and/or Spring.

      Chekhov’s rule applies here. If you are not going to fire a gun during a season, then don’t wave it in the audiences’ face that season. Wave it in their faces the season that it is going to be fired. The only possible exception is if you want to introduce it as a “cliffhanger” at the very end of the season. (This has all been discussed with regard to LSH, too: that gun wouldn’t have been fired this season as the earliest it might be fired is Winter; so, don’t wave it in the audiences’ collective face until that season or the concluding moments of the season before.)

      Again, look at the Harry Potter films. The fans howled every time some analog of these characters was cut in Film X and concluded that the character would not be in Film X+1. However, Cedric Diggory, Cho Chang, Bellatrix Lestrange, etc., all turned up in Film X+1 and the audiences had no problem figuring out who they were.

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    247. Wimsey,

      It was a guess, not a conclusion, meaning I don’t have much to support it other then that personal think they could be easily merged into existing characters (if we need them at all).
      And I don’t see how Chekhov’s rule applies here. The characters of

      Griff and Young Griff didn’t play any role in the show version as of yet, so how can they possibly be a loaded gun that needs to be fired?

      – Maybe I’m just not getting what your point is here, I’m a second language speaker/writer, so I guess that’s possible.

      Edit: Old comment didn’t show and I can’t repost it because of the filter options, let’s hope it works this time

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    248. Of the Night:
      Wimsey,
      Which one was Bellatrix Lestrange again?

      Um… crap! I forgot! If only she had had her cameo scene in Goblet of Fire, then I would remember her today!

      (Alternative: the hot one for those of us much too old to think of Emma Watson as anything other than a child.)

      Abyss: And I don’t see how Chekhov’s rule applies here.

      They are very much a big gun here: Martin really waved them in our faces in Dragons. However, he didn’t fire that gun in any way: and as such, the only justification for keeping them in Season 5 would have been if they were hurting for material: and that’s obviously not the case. However, Martin will almost certainly fire this gun in Winter and/or Spring. (Indeed, we know that they figure prominently in one of the early-release chapters of Winter!) To that end, they should be introduced in Season 6 or 7. These guys will be major foils for one or more protagonists, and how one particular protagonist deals with them will probably epitomize the penulimate or ultimate story. (And it would be tough to replace them:

      the conflict that Aegon will introduce for Daenyrs is that by one principle, primogeniture, Aegon does actually deserve the crown more than she does; by another principle, deed and conquest, he does not. Someone who is not a Targaryen won’t add anything to story and probably would detract from it.

      )

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    249. I can understand those who still have hopes of seeing

      the Griff’s

      in the show but you should try to look at things from the perspective of showrunners adapting a sprawling and unwieldy story. It is very likely they are cut, not out of any dislike for the characters, but simply because it is too late in the game to introduce such complications. Pure economy of characters and story.

      It’s been said repeatedly that this will be a seven season show. Introducing

      the Griff’s in season 6 would severely compress the amount of time devoted to the ultimate endgame. If Dany is going to defeat Aegon anyway then his storyline can simply be lifted out entirely… this also explains Arianne’s likely removal — her endgame is connected to Aegon. If he’s gone then so is she.

      Dany’s return to Westeros is the gun waiting to be fired since season 1. Season 6 will most likely see D&D moving the main characters into place for the final confrontations. There simply won’t be time for

      a second Dance of the Dragons in a seven season show. Yes, there may be another secret Targaryen yet to be revealed, but he isn’t some late arrival. He is one we’ve already come to know very well.

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    250. Luka Nieto,

      For me the fact Varys is such a meticulous plotter means he wouldn’t leave so much of Dany’s fate up in the air. Viserys died a long time ago and Varys has had plenty of chances to help or at least protect Dany yet he did sod all. What was the point in all his manouevering if he was just leaving the main part of his plan to fend for herself? Would he gamble on a Dothraki Horde (who are reknowned for not crossing seas) coming to Westeros? When he heard about trouble in Slavers Bay he still did nothing. He even did nothing to protect her from an assassin he had personally dealt with! Too many inconsitentcies. It would be silly.
      Plus there’s also the fact that it’s not just obvious, it’s boring. The only real obstacle to Dany’s invasion of Westeros has been herself and her faffing about so far. Would be much better if she had a legit problem like a fellow dragon to weaken her support ( although apparently everyone supports her now!) I think GRRM realised

      that when Dany lands then there isn’t going to be any real resistence. The Lannisters are a spent force, the Boltons are busy in the north, The Freys are unreliable and have a big enough time dealing with the BwB and potentially the Vale and Riverlands. So she’s pretty much just got the Tyrells to deal with. Throw Aegon into the mix an you’ve got a much more interesting situation and she’ll have to work for it.

      Wimsey,

      Ok for an example, I am by no means an ‘artist’ but I paint models which I think we can agree is artistic to some degree. I rarely show anyone them and do it because I find it relaxing and the chance to create something. I have no desire to change the way anyone thinks. How do I fit into that theory? How are we defining ‘artist’ ? If it’s someone who engages in art then I disagree with you but if it’s someone who defines themself as an ‘artist’ then I’d lean more towards your way of thinking.
      I don’t think you need to be an artist to be ahead of your time. I just think a lot of artists are pretentious enough to believe that they have a greater scope of vision than the average person because they choose to communicate it in an obvious way.
      There’s a difference between being a fan and a zealot!

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    251. Wimsey,

      Martin might fire the gun, the show might not or do it in another way without them.

      Griff and Young Griff are very likely to be big guns in the books, I agree, but when it comes to the books, they are not even in it up to this point, hence Chekhov’s rule does not apply to the show as of yet in the context of these characters.

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    252. Wimsey,

      Just read your response to LotR (you should replay to post not just quote them, it is much more organized that way).

      Frankly I’m a bit shocked. I have problems with LotR myself when it comes to certain aspects of it, but you really seam to hate it.
      That all students of literature don’t pay LotR any mind is just not true, there is a whole field (or at least side field) of Tolkkin studie and LotR is maybe his most important work. But you don’t have to look into academia to find that the statement

      The Lord of the Rings is considered to be a bad boo by anyone who knows much about literature

      is false. Martin seams to like it and he certainly “knows much about literature”, as do many other authors of note. And yes popularity is not the same as quality, doesn’t mean that it is a condemnatory factor for the quality of a book. The Sorrows of Young Werther (Die Leiden des jungen Werthers) was very popular when it came out and it is considered a very good and important epistolary novel.

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    253. Wimsey: and we now have definite reason to think that she’s moving towards a more Cersei-like view of life.

      Really? Which reason is that? I don’t see anything that says Sansa is “moving towards a more Cersei-like view of life”. I must have missed the part where she started despising other women and wishing she were a man, decided that she wants power more than anything and that she must make people fear her rather than love her, started murdering children, concluded that having sex with men in order to make them kill people is the only way for her to do anything, or started hating her little brother.

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    254. Wimsey: My blushes!:blush:

      In a way, this has already happen: one of the “trivial details that only fans would notice” editors has revealed that

      Since Cersei’s own story shows that she’s completely wrong, that would go against the idea of Sansa becoming a “player”. Cersei is a very poor player (as Littlefinger himself correctly observed, and AFFC confirmed) and completely inept in PR; if Sansa were to lose her own personality, throw away her excellent observations from ACOK that Cersei was wrong and that making people love you is a much better way to rule (which the Tyrells have demonstrated very well) and her natural talents which include reading people, which she’s getting better in (it helps when you actually have empathy), being nice and courteous to people (which was always her strong side) and making people genuinely like her, in order to become a cheap Cersei knock-off, that would be the opposite of “empowerment” or “becoming a player”.

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    255. Annara Snow: Since Cersei’s own story shows that she’s completely wrong, that would go against the idea of Sansa becoming a “player”. Cersei is a very poor player (as Littlefinger himself correctly observed, and AFFC confirmed) and completely inept in PR; if Sansa were to lose her own personality, throw away her excellent observations from ACOK that Cersei was wrong and that making people love you is a much better way to rule (which the Tyrells have demonstrated very well) and her natural talents which include reading people, which she’s getting better in (it helps when you actually have empathy), being nice and courteous to people (which was always her strong side) and making people genuinely like her, in order to become a cheap Cersei knock-off, that would be the opposite of “empowerment” or “becoming a player”.

      While I agree with every point you make here about Sansa Vs Cersei, it seems a bit of an overreaction to Wimsey’s point which I think is a fair one and more like a bit of an attack on a man of straw.

      His point was that Sansa may “learn” from Cersei to use her sexuality to manipulate men. Wimsey never suggested that she would learn anything else from Cersei, like child murder, brother hatred or that she would lose her own personality.

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    256. Also, without trying to sound condescending, but you strike me as someone who will be deliberately very carefl over what you view. A lot of Unsullied are not so savvy, and get spoilt. Of course, even if they are careful, instances like I described above can happen,

      I understand that people are deeply ignorant about the universe in general, but it just seems pretty obvious that if you look up “Game of Thrones” and then look in the comments section, there is a HIGH PROBABILITY that someone is going to spoil something. So why take the chance?

      A good friend of mine had the R+L=J thing spoiled for them because he thought “A Song of Ice and Fire spoilers” meant they wouldn’t spoil the show (what?!), but I told him “no worries, it’s just a theory anyway.” Which is true. Even though we all think it is true.

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    257. ctid: While I agree with every point you make here about Sansa Vs Cersei, it seems a bit of an overreaction to Wimsey’s point which I think is a fair one and more like a bit of an attack on a man of straw.

      His point was that Sansa may “learn” from Cersei to use her sexuality to manipulate men. Wimsey never suggested that she would learn anything else from Cersei, like child murder, brother hatred or that she would lose her own personality.

      Because Cersei has shown that this is such a good idea? If she’s going to start emulating Cersei in terms of sexuality and using sex to manipulate men, she’s going to become the opposite of “player”, since Cersei is a huge example on what not to do if you want to have power and be a player, which her arc in AFFC showed very clearly. That would be a really odd regression on Sansa’s part and a waste of an interesting character, especially strange since Cersei’s fall from grace is happening in season 5.

      If Sansa is to use Cersei as an example on how to be a player, she should be using her as an example what not to do. “Look at what Cersei does. Then do the opposite.” Something Sansa was smart enough to recognize even back in ACOK when Cersei was trying to give her “lessons”.

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    258. TheTouchOfFrost: I paint models which I think we can agree is artistic to some degree. I rarely show anyone them and do it because I find it relaxing and the chance to create something. I have no desire to change the way anyone thinks. How do I fit into that theory?

      Simple: I do not agree with you that painting models qualifies as art! Art involves some abstraction: trying to recreate some object exactly and precisely is the opposite of that. Just because there is painting or drawing involved, it does not make something art: those are technical skill that can be used for art, but also for other things. In the sciences, painting and other illustrations frequently are used to graphically present data. We also use models: the classic case of this is museum displays. However, there is one key thing that we emphasize to people who do this: there is no room for artistic licence of any sort! If you are not trying to do something that wouldn’t have existed without your effort (and that Patton tank that we carefully assembled and painted existed without our Revell models!).

      Again, it is the same thing with writing: I’ve published 60+ papers in my career, and I’ve refuted or corroborated hundreds of hypotheses in those papers. I have published zero stories in my career, and it is improbable that I ever will. Writing is a necessary ingredient for literary art, but it’s insufficient. You need to do as someone like Martin has done and write things in such a way that some story transcending the sum of the narrative emerges.

      TheTouchOfFrost: I don’t think you need to be an artist to be ahead of your time.

      Nor do I! All pies are pastries, but not all pastries are pies. That is, you do need to try to be ahead of your time (or push your time forward) to be an artist. The same is true if you want to be a scientist. There probably are a few other venture like that, although they elude me at the moment. Indeed, the easiest way to identify the people who try to get ahead of their time is to look at people who try to cling to the past: and ask them who they hate! Artists and scientists are always at the top of the list, as well as the general reformers

      Abyss,
      The issue is whether they will be in Seasons 6 and/or 7. Martin set up a big gun in Book 5. However, he didn’t fire it in Book 5, so it really should not be included in Season 5. The gun should be hung in the same season as it gets its first firing.

      Annara Snow: Since Cersei’s own story shows that she’s completely wrong, that would go against the idea of Sansa becoming a “player”.

      I would think that Maleficent Stark descending the stairway should be strong proof that she is going to be one. Moreover, she very strongly hints that she had been listening to Cersei at the end of last season when she informs Littlefinger that she knows what he wants. ctid has the right of the point I was making. I would add two more things. First, Sansa has learned from Cersei not just that she can use sex to advance her agendas, but that women can have agendas. After all, Sansa was the one who believed completely in the “happily ever after” fairy tales. She’s had that delusion pretty thoroughly shattered. However, this also has left her at a huge disadvantage, and as she is (or has been up to this point) singularly incurious and unwilling/able to attempt to think “outside of boxes,” Sansa has never considered how women advance agendas. (As the Blackfish shows, Hoster Tully didn’t tolerate his family members having individual agendas, so Sansa would never have gleaned this from Catelyn; and as independent thinking is likely what got Lyanna in so much trouble, Ned didn’t either.)

      The second thing is, Sansa would not think that Cersei is wrong. What she sees is that Cersei won, and her family lost. Remember, insofar as Sansa knows, all of her family members are dead or lost: being “good” got them nowhere. Littlefinger might claim that Cersei is on the verge of losing it all: but that has to be almost inconceivable to Sansa. (Remember, she hasn’t read Crows!)

      Finally, I think that it is incorrect to state that Cersei is “completely wrong.” What Cersei is is:

      1) vastly less intelligent than she thinks; 2) devoid of any ability to consider what other people really think; and, 3) basically, just a bitch.

      Her comeuppance stems not from her strategy, but from her tactics.

      At any rate, we already know

      This is a spoiler for the Sullied, to by the way, so: [spoiler] at least one early Sansa chapters is going to offend and upset readers; now, this does not mean that we’ll see a sexualized Maleficent Stark bending Littlefinger and/or other men around her finger (or between her legs), that would be one of hte most obvious explanations

      ….. [/spoiler]: and it would also explain what we saw descend the stairs last spring.

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    259. Annara Snow: Because Cersei has shown that this is such a good idea? If she’s going to start emulating Cersei in terms of sexuality and using sex to manipulate men, she’s going to become the opposite of “player”, since Cersei is a huge example on what not to do if you want to have power and be a player, which her arc in AFFC showed very clearly. That would be a really odd regression on Sansa’s part and a waste of an interesting character, especially strange since Cersei’s fall from grace is happening in season 5.

      If Sansa is to use Cersei as an example on how to be a player, she should be using her as an example what not to do. “Look at what Cersei does. Then do the opposite.” Something Sansa was smart enough to recognize even back in ACOK when Cersei was trying to give her “lessons”.

      I think that’s a way too black and white way of looking at it.

      Using her sexuality and position to gain an advantage does not mean she’s turning into Cersei. To suggest that Sansa can’t learn from Cersei in any way just because Cersei has, hoisted by her own petard, seriously fucked up is not true. Sansa would have learned a lot from her and not all of it would be what not to do.

      And actually, I don’t think Sansa really saw Cersei use her sexuality any more than Marjory. But she would have seen how Cersei is able to manipulate men, and that doesn’t mean she’ll become Cersei if she realises that she can do the same.

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    260. ctid: I think that’s a way too black and white way of looking at it.

      Using her sexuality and position to gain an advantage does not mean she’s turning into Cersei.

      I think that this is dead-on. SoI&F is not some sort of trite morality play, where people who do “good” are rewarded and people who do “bad” are punished. It’s a novel: and what that means it that it is all about why, not what. It’s not even shades of gray: it’s coins that are “white” on one side and “black” on the other, but you get the whole coin, whichever you choose. Bad deeds go unpunished and good deeds go unrewarded: and one of the themes is that the morality often is arbitrary in the first place.

      The other key is, Cersei didn’t come undone because she used sex as a weapon. (!Naughty!) Cersei comes undone because of

      her ingrained conviction that she’s intellectually superior to all of the lesser her.

      . She screws up royally by:

      not being able to understand that there are genuinely religious people who do not accept that the gods apply different rules to Lords and Ladies: otherwise, they would not have made such individuals lords or ladies.

      As a result, Cersei’s attempt to

      frame Margaery is clumsy and undone because Cersei’s poorly contrived tale has some obvious plot holes that leads the Sparrows to ask the right questions in the end.

      In short, Cersei is convinced that she is Tywin II: and in the show, Tywin gives his opinion of that proposition!

      ctid: And actually, I don’t think Sansa really saw Cersei use her sexuality any more than Marjory.

      Sansa does not see Cersei doing anything (insofar as I remember), but Sansa is present (in both book and TV) when Cersei laments that Stannis is one of the few men that she cannot seduce. When Sansa is shocked by this, Cersei then informs her that she (Sansa) has a weapon between her legs. (This further shocks Sansa, but, then, what doesn’t?)

      But here is the other big problem with the assertion that Sansa would not decide that Cersei had the right general idea. Sansa has no clue that

      Cersei’s is going to be brought down.

      In the book, she has no idea that this stuff is happening, and merely Littlefinger’s prediction that Cersei’s lack of intelligence will be her undoing and that Cersei’s ability to manipulate men with her body will soon depart due to age. In the TV show, they’ve accelerated things: B&W skipped ahead to WoW for Sansa, and she’s gone Malificent before any of this is happening.

      And, whatever is happening to Cersei, she has fared far better than did Catelyn: and that would leave a very powerful impression on Sansa.

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    261. Wimsey: I think that this is dead-on.SoI&F is not some sort of trite morality play, where people who do “good” are rewarded and people who do “bad” are punished.It’s a novel: and what that means it that it is all about why, not what.It’s not even shades of gray: it’s coins that are “white” on one side and “black” on the other, but you get the whole coin, whichever you choose.Bad deeds go unpunished and good deeds go unrewarded: and one of the themes is that the morality often is arbitrary in the first place.

      The other key is, Cersei didn’t come undone because she used sex as a weapon.(!Naughty!)Cersei comes undone because of

      .She screws up royally by:

      As a result, Cersei’s attempt to

      In short, Cersei is convinced that she is Tywin II: and in the show, Tywin gives his opinion of that proposition!

      Sansa does not see Cersei doing anything (insofar as I remember), but Sansa is present (in both book and TV) when Cersei laments that Stannis is one of the few men that she cannot seduce.When Sansa is shocked by this, Cersei then informs her that she (Sansa) has a weapon between her legs.(This further shocks Sansa, but, then, what doesn’t?)

      But here is the other big problem with the assertion that Sansa would not decide that Cersei had the right general idea.Sansa has no clue that

      In the book, she has no idea that this stuff is happening, and merely Littlefinger’s prediction that Cersei’s lack of intelligence will be her undoing and that Cersei’s ability to manipulate men with her body will soon depart due to age.In the TV show, they’ve accelerated things: B&W skipped ahead to WoW for Sansa, and she’s gone Malificent before any of this is happening.

      And, whatever is happening to Cersei, she has fared far better than did Catelyn: and that would leave a very powerful impression on Sansa.

      Cersei has only fated better than Catelyn because of 1) Tyrion, 2) Tywin, 3) pure dumb luck. Otherwise, she would’ve been dead long time ago. She even wouldn’t have been able to outplay Ned Stark if Littlefinger hadn’t screwed him over.

      No, Sansa has nothing to learn from Cersei regarding inspiring loyalty in men; Cersei has almost no one loyal to her, especially not those she slept with, who have all turned against her. Let’s see Cersei’s accomplishments in sexual manipulation:

      – managed to manipulate her twin-brother/lover into entering the KG do he wouldn’t marry and would be with her. OK, good, but not a politically great move. Also, it must be easier to have sex with someone for manipulation when you also really like having sex with them anyway.

      – seduced her 16-year old cousin who was socially her inferior, naive and easy to scare or manipulate anyway and also under orders to do as she tells him, making him do things for her he would have probably done anyway because he is her naive 16-year old cousin under orders to do as she tells him.

      – failed to seduce Ned Stark

      – failed to seduce Oberyn Martell

      – seduced an upjumped, opportunistic, disloyal former sellsword, someone far below her in station that she normally could just order around,
      made him kill the High Septon, but then, by doing it and by making him a part of her illegal schemes, allowed him to have dirt on her and then start acting like he had power to demand sex from her, to the point where she felt coerced and sexually abused as in her marriage to king Robert. And then he also became instrument of her destruction.

      Yes, Cersei’s views on sex and power are one of her big problems. Her problem is that she thinks that the way to deal with people is either 1) violence and making people fear you, or 2) offer them sex. She despises most people too much to be able to be nice for any prolonged period, and she has no empathy so she can’t read people and understand what they are about. Instead, her default reaction is: “Kill! Threaten! Bully! Oh, I have to get them on my side? Are they male? Oh well then they will want to get in my pants!” She has no idea how to make people really like her. The Tyrells, on the other hand, know the importance of being popular and appearing nice and generous. Littlefinger in the books even points out to Sansa that Cersei is a poor player because her only weapons are her family name and her beauty.

      Sansa does not have to start using “the weapon between her legs” on every male in her vicinity she needs something from, because she has many other weapons on her disposal. Unlike Cersei, she is a nice and polite person, it comes easy to her; she knows a lot about Westerosis
      nobility; she also has empathy, which makes it easier to understand people, and she is actually very perceptive, which is becoming more obvious. Her beauty is also a great asset, but she really doesn’t have to try hard to capitalise on it – some flirting and pretending that this or that suitor has a chance would do wonders for someone in her social position. Sansa also understood long time ago that making people love you is a much better way to inspire loyalty than to fear you.

      Sure, she is going to be flirting and teasing Littlefinger to “sexually manipulate” him, but it’s not like she needs to adopt “Cersei’s view of the world” (which would also require her to try to sexually manipulate Yohn Royce or any other male who can be useful to her). Littlefinger has already been creeping on her, it’s not like she made him have a sexual fixation on her – she can’t exactly change that anyway. But that’s just who he is, and what he wants, among other things. It doesn’t mean that Sansa has no value except for what’s between her legs and no way to have any power except offering people sex.

      And Sansa was perfectly right to be disgusted with the idea that she should be having sex as a “weapon”. Why shouldn’t she? Because prostituting yourself is oh so empowering and feminist? Right. You know what is actually empowering? Having sex only because you DESIRE it, with who you desire and when you desire, for your own pleasure, and being able to refuse to have sex with someone you don’t want. Because, guess what? Women have sexual desires, too, and their private parts are not there just to bring sexual satisfaction to men and be a currency for the woman herself.

      And guess what? That very night of the Blackwater, when Cersei didn’t achieve anything except ruin the morale by pulling Joffrey from the front lines, abandon the women whose morale she was supposed to boost and left them to a headsman, and alienate Lancel (these days one of her accusers) by her awful behaviour to him – Sansa calmed the women down, got help for Lancel, and then calmed the drunken PTSD fury and inspired loyalty in Sandor Clegane, the kind he never had for Cersei or Joffrey, by singing a song about mercy and cupping his cheek (as she did long before when she comforted him over the story of his burns), without ever offering him what’s between her legs.

      If anything, Cersei should be learning from Sansa.

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    262. Annara Snow: sure, she is going to be flirting and teasing Littlefinger to “sexually manipulate” him, but it’s not like she needs to adopt “Cersei’s view of the world” (which would also require her to try to sexually manipulate Yohn Royce or any other male who can be useful to her)

      You are quite right! And I think that’s exactly what Wimsey is saying with the added caveat that she “learned” that from Cersei.

      The rest of what you said is attacking a strawman here it really is. I share your view, I really do.

      I really think you err in trying to find any point in what is being said that suggests anybody is putting a patriarchal spin on it from any personal view outside the books.

      My point, and I think Wimsey’s is that, as you say, Cersei’s only weapons are her beauty and her family name, Sansa has others but that doesn’t mean she can’t use her beauty and family name, as Cersei did and she doesn’t have to sleep with anybody to do that. This is not saying in any way that that is all a woman is good for, because it clearly is not.

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    263. Annara Snow,

      The #1 problem with your arguments is that they are predicated on Sansa knowing what we know or reaching conclusions that you have reached. She does not and she has not. Here is what Sansa knows:
      1. Catelyn behaved honorably;
      2. Catelyn behaved valiantly;
      3. Catelyn died.

      On the flip-side, here is what Sansa knows:
      1. Cersei behave dishonorably;
      2. Cersei behaved treacherously;
      3. Cersei won. (Sansa knows nothing of

      Cersei’s downfall: and by the time she does learn, Cersei probably is going to be back in charge, anyway.

      ).

      The conclusion for Sansa to draw with from this is pretty obvious! (And, yes, Sansa is the sort to make the mistake of assuming that if pies are pastries, then all pastries are like pies.)

      Moreover, this isn’t just “dumb luck.” Let’s take the single most obvious example: how Catelyn dealt with Lord Frey vs. how Cersei would have dealt with him. Catelyn Stark’s “honorable” behavior setup her son’s downfall. Indeed, in the books, it is even worse: her behavior sowed the seeds for her enemies to undermine her son. If Cersei Lannister had been trying to get through the Twins, she would have done something that Catelyn never considered: seduced Lord Frey, tantalyzed him with vague prospects of a marriage to a family member other than Joffery (and probably giving him one of the bug-crushers in the end), and basically getting something for next to nothing but unpleasant memories in the end. (Indeed, Catelyn is just relieved that she didn’t have to offer herself in marriage: she never considers that had she just offered herself, then she could have gotten what she needed!)

      Now, you ask, what about loyalty? What about love? Isn’t Cersei “losing” for not having those? The answer is: not insofar as anybody in the stories is concerned. The lesson for Sansa (and everyone else) is: those might be potential tools, but they are: 1) not always effective; and, 2) NOT the end goal in a game of thrones.

      In the end, you have to get back to brass tacks. SoI&F is a series of novels. All novels are, at heart, mysteries: a protagonist asking him/herself explicitly or tacitly “who am I?” We are reading/watching Sansa’s evolution as she sorts out who Sansa Stark really is. She has seen sound tactics based on “dishonorable” strategy (“respect = fear”) from the Lannisters. She has seen unsound tactics based on “honorable” strategy (“hearts and mind”) from the Starks. She lacks the intellectual capacity to imagine new strategies on her own, or to extract alternative strategies and tactics that underlay the fairy tales that she loved. Martin has said that:

      Sansa actually has been learning and that she will become a player in the Game of Thrones;

      . We also know that at least one of Sansa’s early WoW chapters

      is going to offend and upset some people, perhaps as you seem to be upset and offended by Maleficent Stark

      . Martin has hung particular dynamic character development guns on the wall of Sansa’s story: those will be the guns fired in the end. Sansa isn’t Arya: Sansa will choose from the tools put in front of her, not those of her own invention.

      ctid: This is not saying in any way that that is all a woman is good for, because it clearly is not.

      Not in reality. However, in the minds of most Westerosi men (just as in the minds of many men in our world), that is all that for which women are any good. Westeros is, for the most part, a society where “good” women are broodmares, nothing more and nothing less. That is an important consideration when reading the books: there are women who rebel against it (Dany, Arya, Brienne, Asha/Yara), women who accept it but chafe at it (Cersei), and women who just accept it unquestioningly (Catelyn and Sansa, at least initially). It is “bastards, dwarves and broken things”: and to this, you might as well add “women.” One commonality of the major protagonists in this series is that they fit one of these “inferior” categories. (Even Jaime and Davos are missing parts of their bodies!)

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    264. Please, everyone stop saying “Gun.” It’s making me uncomfortable – the gangs of crude literary critics roam the streets outside my house.
      Seriously, looking at every single element in a book only in terms of its potential plot pay-off really limits your reading.

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    265. House Ray,

      That article’s bullshit. It says that Siddig as Doran is unconfirmed (!?!?!?) when if they even bothered to go to the GoT youtube account they’d see a video where SIDDIG himself says who he’s playing. Whoever wrote that was lazy and unresourceful. If they didn’t even realize who the new actors were playing, when they also say so in the casting video from July, then I doubt they’d be able to fathom any “spoilers” regarding Myranda.

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    266. I really do NOT understand this argument taht you “cannot avoid the spoilers!”

      Think about any very popular show on TV that you do NOT watch and do NOT care about.

      Do you know what happened?

      That’s right. You don’t. You don’t know, because you didn’t click the links, you didn’t read the comments, etc.

      I still don’t know the ending to Dexter, because I stopped watching after S4. I even read a few articles about the show’s ending and I still don’t really know waht happens.

      Yeah there will be a few “SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE” idiots out there spoiling in unrelated content, but it will die down within a few months, and even that spoiler turned out to be not a big deal (since it was only half the story). So, even if you hear “JON IS ON THE IT” you don’t really know what that means… And since any ending will probably be one of the many existing theories out there, you won’t know whether that “spoiler” is true or just someone trolling.

      Another way to think about it. Think about the current Unsullied. These guys have managed to stay relatively spoiler-free despite the fact that there are thousands of idiots on the internet trying to spoil them. It’s not that hard. Just don’t click anything related to ASOIAF for awhile.

      Finally, like there is currently the unsullied only board, there will be book unsullied only places – westeros.org is one of them, like it or not. If you absolutely CANNOT move on with your life until the books are published, then go there. You are much more likely to get spoiled then if you just drop the fandom for awhile, though. Jump back in once you’ve read the last word and go crazy.

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    267. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Yes. It certainly wouldn’t work, unless D&D did some magic shit. And I’m pretty sure that article is just based on the return of Myranda, and the rest is just shameless guesswork.

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    268. TheTouchOfFrost: No. It wouldn’t unless they changed fArya’s role/ character drastically.

      I don’t see how it needs to be changed at all. Who

      not-Arya

      is truly truly is inconsequential, just as long as she: 1) incites Theon to

      kill Reek and become Theon

      and 2) is not a Stark! Given Ramsay’s established habits, it’s not too difficult to envision how any one could do #1. (Keep in mind also that

      Jeyne Poole would be completely unknown to the audience: I don’t remember if she had a small roll in Season 1 or not, but if she did, then it is long forgotten by everyone, and she has to be redone from scratch. As such, there is nothing to “change”: the show had in no way committed to doing anything like this! (The same was true of the books: Jeyne was only a weakly developed character in the first book, really serving only as a foil to develop Sansa’s snobbery and lack of empathy; the emotionally shattered young woman in Dance shared a body and history, but not much else.)

      )

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