George R.R. Martin is back to work on “The Winds of Winter”

george rr martin photo

Earlier today, George R.R. Martin updated his Not A Blog to tell us that he has resumed his seat before his old-school word processor in his mysterious, isolated mountain cabin and is back in action, working away on The Winds of Winter.

To be clear, Martin doesn’t hint at how much progress he’s making, or if he’s reached any important milestones in his post, (he did that last month). Rather, he reflects on how his writing process has evolved over the years and how his life has changed in the decades since he began his career.

For one thing, he used to work at home. I know. Then at some point, home stopped providing him the solitude he needed to be productive so he purchased the house across the street and dubbed that his “writer’s retreat.”

“No longer would I write all day in my red flannel bathrobe; now I would have to dress and put on shoes and walk all the way across the street to write,” he says. “But that worked for a while.”

Martin’s responsibilities kept mounting until, in addition to his writing career, he had “a movie theatre, a bookstore, a charitable foundation, investments [and] a business manager” and five assistants (whom he calls minions) to help him deal with it all.

“Despite all the help, I was drowning till I found the mountain cabin,” he writes, then goes on to detail his daily routine in his fortress of solitude which he admits is “very boring … Truth be told, I hardly can be said to have a life.”

I’m not going to paraphrase or copy and paste the multiple paragraphs Martin spends describing his day-to-day life in the mountains but TLDR: the guy really is working hard. Sure, we’re all more than a little frustrated at how slow going The Winds of Winter‘s progress has been, but Martin is clearly giving it his all and it hasn’t been easy, especially since the pandemic began.

“Since [March], weeks and months go by when I never leave the cabin, or see another human being except whoever is on duty that week,” he writes. “I lose track of what day it is, what week it is, what month it is. The time seems to [be going] by very fast. It is now August, and I don’t know what happened to July. But it is good for the writing.”

Martin’s post grows even more contemplative as he considers that having a social life and getting writing done have always been mutually exclusive for him, that his first two years in New Mexico, 1979 to 1981, were both incredibly lonely and incredibly productive (he worked on Windhaven and Shadow Twin, wrote all of Fevre Dream and completed several short stories during that time.)

“I wonder if it is the same for other writers? Or is it just me?” he writes. “I wonder if I will ever figure out the secret of having a life and writing a book at the very same time. I certainly have not figured it out to date. For the nonce, it is what it is. My life is at home, on hold, and I am spending the days in Westeros with my pals Mel and Sam and Vic and Ty. And that girl with no name, over there in Braavos.”

86 responses

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    1. My life is at home, on hold, and I am spending the days in Westeros with my pals Mel and Sam and Vic and Ty. And that girl with no name, over there in Braavos.”

      Well then. If he’s really spending time with “that girl with no name, over there in Braavos,” I’ll cut him some slack.

      One caveat/question though: Based on the ending of the wonderful “Mercy” TWOW sample chapter he wrote quite some time ago, it appeared that the girl with no name aka Mercedane aka Arya was ready to say goodbye to Braavos….

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    2. Ten Bears: One caveat/question though: Based on the ending of the wonderful “Mercy” TWOW sample chapter he wrote quite some time ago, it appeared that the girl with no name aka Mercedane aka Arya was ready to say goodbye to Braavos….

      My own impression is that I think it’s more about Arya’s time as the Mercy persona and with the theatre troupe being over… but not necessarily her time in Braavos. Perhaps she’d be assigned a different face, persona, and a different life by the Faceless Men, still operating in Braavos but the Mercy character may be gone.

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    3. Adrianacandle,

      Ahh! Could be. I’ll have to re-read it again. I really enjoyed it, especially the way GRRM

      shifted the internal monologue and the voice of the character from the Mercy persona to Arya at the very end.

      Maybe, as in the show, Mercy’s going to have to deal with repercussions from the Faceless Men for an unsanctioned hit (i.e., book! Raff = show! Meryn F*cking Trant).

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    4. Ten Bears,

      I liked that too! 🙂

      Maybe, as in the show, Mercy’s going to have to deal with repercussions from the Faceless Men for an unsanctioned hit (i.e., book! Raff = show! Meryn F*cking Trant).

      Yeah, I think this is a good possibility!

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    5. Adrianacandle,

      I loved this last part of “Mercy,” when she lures that Raff guy back to her room. (I assume that book! Raff killed Lommy, like show! Polliver…) I highlighted the “shift in persona” in bold.

      Excerpted from “Mercy” TWOW sample chapter:

      “…But he let her pull him after her. Hand in hand, they went racing through the fog, over bridges and through alleys and up five flights of splintery wooden stairs. The guardsman was panting by the time they burst through the door of her little room. Mercy lit a tallow candle, then danced around at him, giggling. “Oh, now you’re all tired out. I forgot how old you were, m’lord. Do you want to take a little nap? Just lie down and close your eyes, and I’ll come back after the Imp’s done raping me.”

      “You’re not going anywhere.” He pulled her roughly to him. “Get those rags off, and I’ll show you how old I am, girl.”

      “Mercy,” she said. “My name is Mercy. Can you say it?”
      “Mercy,” he said. “My name is Raff.”
      “I know.” She slipped her hand between his legs, and felt how hard he was through the wool of his breeches.

      “The laces,” he urged her. “Be a sweet girl and undo them.” Instead she slid her finger down along the inside of his thigh. He gave a grunt. “Damn, be careful there, you — “

      Mercy gave a gasp and stepped away, her face confused and frightened. “You’re bleeding.”
      “Wha —” He looked down at himself. “Gods be good. What did you do to me, you little cunt?” The red stain spread across his thigh, soaking the heavy fabric.
      “Nothing,” Mercy squeaked. “I never… oh, oh, there’s so much blood. Stop it, stop it, you’re scaring me.”

      He shook his head, a dazed look on his face. When he pressed his hand to his thigh, blood squirted through his fingers. It was running down his leg, into his boot. He doesn’t look so comely now, she thought. He just looks white and frightened.

      “A towel,” the guardsman gasped. “Bring me a towel, a rag, press down on it. Gods. I feel dizzy.” His leg was drenched with blood from the thigh down. When he tried to put his weight on it, his knee buckled and he fell. “Help me,” he pleaded, as the crotch of his breeches reddened. “Mother have mercy, girl. A healer… run and find a healer, quick now.”

      “There’s one on the next canal, but he won’t come. You have to go to him. Can’t you walk?”
      “Walk?” His fingers were slick with blood. “Are you blind, girl? I’m bleeding like a stuck pig. I can’t walk on this.”
      “Well,” she said, “I don’t know how you’ll get there, then.”
      “You’ll need to carry me.”
      See? thought Mercy. You know your line, and so do I.
      “Think so?” asked Arya, sweetly.

      Raff the Sweetling looked up sharply as the long thin blade came sliding from her sleeve. She slipped it through his throat beneath the chin, twisted, and ripped it back out sideways with a single smooth slash. A fine red rain followed, and in his eyes the light went out.

      “Valar morghulis,” Arya whispered, but Raff was dead and did not hear. She sniffed. I should have helped him down the steps before I killed him. Now I’ll need to drag him all the way to the canal and roll him in. The eels would do the rest.

      “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” she sang sadly. A foolish, giddy girl she’d been, but good hearted. She would miss her, and she would miss Daena and the Snapper and the rest, even Izembaro and Bobono. This would make trouble for the Sealord and the envoy with the chicken on his chest, she did not doubt.
      She would think about that later, though. Just now, there was no time. I had best run. Mercy still had some lines to say, her first lines and her last, and Izembaro would have her pretty little empty head if she were late for her own rape.

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    6. Ten Bears:
      Adrianacandle,

      I loved this last part of “Mercy,” when she lures that Raff guy back to her room. (I assume that book! Raff killed Lommy, like show! Polliver…) I highlighted the “shift in persona” in bold.

      Excerpted from “Mercy” TWOW sample chapter:

      yes that was…

      very similar to the meryn trant incident but with Raff who killed Lommy
      I could see the Kindly man instituting punishment since she took a name on her own…
      Whatever GRRM has in mind, it sounds like she will be in Braavos for much of TWOW to me. It may still not give us a clue of what GRRM has in mind for her once she leaves Braavos. She continues her journey of self identity. Will she ever come to the realization that she is Arya Stark of Winterfell and She is going home like the show?
      As of now, she seems happy to shed her face skin and take on a new persona. She will miss the persona of Mercy, so she’s ready to take on another name soon.. Will she ever be comfortable as Arya Stark again?

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    7. Ten Bears: I loved this last part of “Mercy,” when she lures that Raff guy back to her room. (I assume that book! Raff killed Lommy, like show! Polliver…) I highlighted the “shift in persona” in bold.

      Excerpted from “Mercy” TWOW sample chapter:

      Yeah! It’s kind of like a veil drops and she’s suddenly Arya again 🙂

      Tron79,

      Will she ever be comfortable as Arya Stark again?

      I think that’s a good question. And I think she will go home… but maybe not quite as the same Arya as before. It reminds me of that saying: you can’t really go home again.

      (Like yes, while you can physically go home again, you’re not the same and it’s not the same after so much has happened. The connection may be different).

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    8. Adrianacandle: Yeah! It’s kind of like a veil drops and she’s suddenly Arya again 🙂

      Tron79,

      I think you’re right. I have to think GRRM has something big in mind for her to use her FM skills to help the Starks. I don’t think she will take out the Frey’s like the show. That’s probably more of Lady Stoneheart’s role in the books I would think. I could see her helping Sansa and/or Jon. I see her as not making her self known and blending into the surroundings. Arya may blend in as someone at Castle black perhaps and rescue Jon so he’s not murdered again. I don’t know, but it has to be something stealthy…quiet as a shadow… I could see her being the Stark protector in the shadows, and perhaps one day she can let herself be known. I’m bewildered by her Braavos journey. I don’t think the book “Jaqen, Kindly Man” is as vindictive as the show. I don’t see the Waif coming after her in the same way as the show. It’s just a different tone in the books. I’m not sure who else may make their way to Braavos for Arya to run into. As of now the Starks are…

      Sansa is in the Vale, and Jon is still dead…
      Bran is in a tree cave I think… Both mom and dad are dead, but perhaps she will meetup with mom’s lady stoneheart character….. I could see Arya saving Jon from Danny. I could see her saving Sansa from something. Arya’s skill is blending in by becoming part of the community, so she may be hanging out in one of the castles for awhile before she saves someone. She could definitely take a major character off the board with her skills, and she does have her list…. but it would be more compelling to me if her FM skills were used to save her sister or Jon…

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    9. Tron79,

      While I feel Arya will come back, I’m getting the feeling that it’ll still be a while yet.

      I feel her Faceless Men part of the story was more about Arya’s identity, her struggles with identity, trying to figure out who she is, who she wants to be and working with that vs who others want her to be (her mother’s expectations, her septa’s, Westerosi social gender roles, the Faceless men, the various people she’s encountered) rather than it being another magical tool to help the Starks.

      She may use it to save somebody, which would be a kind of cool twist given what changing faces is meant to do (assassination), but I lean more towards it being a non-Stark character (like maybe the books will have a Lady Crane counterpart?) Even with the Starks and Jon, when they come together again, I don’t think it’s really going to be the same between them either since so much has changed.

      I think the significance of her Faceless Men arc and skill is already happening because it’s forcing Arya to grapple with identity and what she wants vs. what others want her to be… particularly since this skill can allow her to be anyone she wants to be, look any way she wants, have somebody else’s life entirely. I guess the “bigness” and compelling part to me is what Arya chooses to do with that more than it being a magical aid or tool.

      I do have the feeling (which could be wrong) that she’ll meet up with Lady Stonheart though.

      Oh! And Rickon is also still around! He’s in Skaagos.

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    10. Adrianacandle:
      Tron79,

      Wow. How could I have forgotten about Rickon?? I guess his straight line run in the show is all I was seeing.

      I like your interpretation. I never thought of it that way. I was just thinking that if GRRM is giving her these skills he must be planning on using them down the road in a major way. But you could be right. She can literally be anyone now and in the end who will she choose? Perhaps that is her ultimate journey. And I have to say I just got a huge connection flash with HDM. Perhaps Arya’s daemon will settle at some point. Right now as she is still no one her daemon can change as she likes. At some point as she reaches the end of her discovery journey and reaches maturity her face will settle just like Lyra’s daemon. Hummm.
      GRRMs definitely still thinking of her as no one according to his quotes so it could be a long while before her daemon settles.

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    11. Tron79,

      Wow. How could I have forgotten about Rickon?? I guess his straight line run in the show is all I was seeing.

      Everybody forgets about Rickon XD When I was reading your post, something was nagging at me that I was forgetting somebody, that there was another still alive… and it was only when the edit window was about to close that I remembered, “Oh! Rickon!”

      Ooooh, nice comparison between an unsettled daemon who can change shape at will and “No One” (Arya can be anyone as long as she’s No One)! And a daemon would definitely serve Arya well. I think she’s probably the character who’d most fit HDM and would probably benefit from it. I sort of felt Pan kept Lyra grounded through all her trials — but then again, Pan is the manifestation of Lyra’s soul. But I really like the dialogues between Pan and Lyra.

      To me, it does feel like — much like Lyra — Arya in a state of transition and I don’t think that’s nearly so over yet.

      At some point as she reaches the end of her discovery journey and reaches maturity her face will settle just like Lyra’s daemon. Hummm.
      GRRMs definitely still thinking of her as no one according to his quotes so it could be a long while before her daemon settles.

      Maybe! Or maybe she starts to figure out what she wants at the end. I think she’ll be “No One” for a while longer and for me, I think her Faceless Men arc (and skills) will boil down to choice: what Arya chooses to do with these skills, how much longer she’ll continue being No One, how she’ll become Arya again, what that will look like, and who this Arya will be. Maybe she can go home but, after everything, maybe she can’t stay home.

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    12. Martin is “back” at writing “The Winds of Winter?! WTF has he been doing up to now? Wasn’t he blabbering recently in one of his Not A Blog postings, that he was “making good progress”, but could never recapture the days past when he was at his most productive? Because you know…stuff…

      “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” — Stephen King

      “In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”–Stephen King

      Maybe someone should either paper those two quotes all over Martin’s cabin, or better tattoo them on his forehead so that when he looks in the mirror, he can see them on a continuous and permanent basis. There are plenty of people in this world barely etching a living, existing mostly near an abyss of despair and hopelessness with no brighter future in sight. No matter how burdened and pressured Martin is, he is still in a better position than most other people.

      PS Someone should do the same to Patrick Rothfuss…

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    13. Adrianacandle:
      Tron79,

      I do have the feeling (which could be wrong) that she’ll meet up with Lady Stonheart though.

      I suspect that you’re right, and I believe that it might be this that starts (or confirms) her “Arya”ness again.

      In my mind, Arya is the one who initiated the generation of LS. As Nymeria, she dragged Cat from the river, to be found by Thoros and reanimated through Beric. (bleh) Once she sees the shell that LS is, I wonder if that will be the turning point for Arya, being witness to the emptiness and decay of hate. I think she’ll be the one to dispatch LS back to the grave where she belongs – as an act of actual mercy, not just the name. 😉

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    14. loco73:
      Martin is “back” at writing “The Winds of Winter?! WTF has he been doing up to now? Wasn’t he blabbering recently in one of his Not A Blog postings,that he was “making good progress”, but could never recapture the days past when he was at his most productive? Because you know…stuff…

      “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” — Stephen King

      “In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”–Stephen King

      Maybe someone should either paper those two quotes all over Martin’s cabin, or better tattoo them on his forehead so that when he looks in the mirror, he can see them on a continuous and permanent basis.There are plenty of people in this world barely etching a living, existing mostly near an abyss of despair and hopelessness with no brighter future in sight. No matter how burdened and pressured Martin is, he is still in a better position than most other people.

      PS Someone should do the same to Patrick Rothfuss…

      Stephen King just seems so much more disciplined with always writing at least 4 pages a day…. Reading your post, I suddenly had a flash vision of GRRM in his cabin morphing into Jack Nicholson at his typewriter writing reams and reams of “All Work and No Play Makes George a Dull Boy”

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    15. Pigeon: I suspect that you’re right, and I believe that it might be this that starts (or confirms) her “Arya”ness again.

      I agree that…

      arya and mom stoneheart could meet again. I’m thinking Arya may be happy to see her mom no matter what zombie state she may be in. We don’t get to choose our family! It may just add to her trauma with coming to the realization that she has a vindictive zombie mother. She may decide to help her mom. Or perhaps Lady Stoneheart will help Arya keep her humanity somehow. Arya is on the road to become a cold hearted killer who travels the countryside checking off names from her list. Perhaps in one last act of motherhood, LS helps Arya from becoming a coldhearted killer like herself.

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    16. Adrianacandle: p

      I suppose she could talk to needle even though needle wouldn’t talk back!
      Arya must have some sort of PTSD after witnessing so much horror. All kids go through a time where they have to figure out their identity, but Arya may be using all of her alter egos as a shield to help her hide from all of the trauma she has experienced. And now, she has become a skilled assassin and doesn’t seem to have much of a moral compass left. I think this is because of all of the trauma she has experienced. She needs a way to fight back to get back control of her life. She does not want to play the helpless victim. Show Arya wouldn’t kill indiscriminately. Show Arya wouldn’t just take a name given to her and carry out her mission unless the person deserved it in her eyes. Do you feel that book Arya has the same moral compass?

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    17. Tron79: Stephen King just seems so much more disciplined with always writing at least 4 pages a day…. Reading your post, I suddenly had a flash vision of GRRM in his cabin morphing into Jack Nicholson at his typewriter writing reams and reams of “All Work and No Play Makes George a Dull Boy”

      LOL…don’t give him any !!!!!

      As for King, I was never a huge fan. I read his books intermittently at best. It’s been hit and miss over the years for me with his books. For example, I found “The Outsider” quite a gripping read and definitely enjoyed the HBO miniseries. “The Dead Zone” remains probably my favourite. I read “The Stand” and it was ehhhhh…I started “The Dark Tower” series several times but never got past the third or fourth novel. As for “It” it’s one of those books I’ve wanted to read but never started. So on, so forth…

      King’s output is voluminous when compared to Martin. Now, I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing. Clearly quantity doesn’t make up for quality. But I think that King has enough really good novels amongst the pile he’s put out over his career, to take care of the quality part as well.

      Simply put, what I like about King is that he finishes stuff…LOL…I know that is simplistic and perhaps not fair to compare with Martin’s situation. But think they are both pretty much the same age. Now take a look at how many books King wrote just in the years since Martin of published “The Dance Of Dragons” (I’m aware that isn’t Marin’s only completed work during that period)… just saying…

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    18. Tron79,

      Arya must have some sort of PTSD after witnessing so much horror. All kids go through a time where they have to figure out their identity, but Arya may be using all of her alter egos as a shield to help her hide from all of the trauma she has experienced. And now, she has become a skilled assassin and doesn’t seem to have much of a moral compass left. I think this is because of all of the trauma she has experienced. She needs a way to fight back to get back control of her life. She does not want to play the helpless victim. Show Arya wouldn’t kill indiscriminately. Show Arya wouldn’t just take a name given to her and carry out her mission unless the person deserved it in her eyes. Do you feel that book Arya has the same moral compass?

      With PTSD, I think talvikorppi worded it nicely here:

      Arya isn’t some super ninja princess. She’s a heartbreaking little girl, tomboyish, pampered, a high-born little girl who suddenly has to learn otherwise. Her descent into a killer isn’t glorified by GRRM, it’s tragic.
      I really like Arya, but it really irks me when fans adulate her “badassery”. It’s meant to be tragic. A BAD thing.
      Don’t get me wrong. I really, really like the character Arya. Going from adorable tomboy to ever darker, eventual killer, that you wonder if you can continue you like.
      However, whatever, we have to wait for GRRM’s books to know what happens with Arya. I’m not expecting it to be unadularated ASNWPess.

      I think Arya uses killing, revenge, and her list as a coping strategy to deal with what’s happened to her and what has happened to her very suddenly: torn away from her family, her father executed, Arya herself becoming hunted while she’s forced to live on the run in war-torn Westeros under various assumed identities to hide her true one, going from a highborn, sheltered existence to living off of whatever bare minimum she is given/can find, and then she’s later brought into an assassin’s guild, taught how she can literally change her face and assume another’s life, become No One, told she must discard whatever identity she did have, and killing becomes a way her life, her job.

      I think the question of “moral compass” is tricky considering what has driven Arya’s kills (revenge). I’d say she kills to cope and perhaps to give herself a sense of control, control that has been taken away from her the instant she was plummeted into the situation she found herself in when her father was taken prisoner and she became hunted. Even if she held back when feeling that person doesn’t deserve it (ie. if there’s a Lady Crane counterpart in the books), Arya’s kills have been driven by hate, retaliation, and to fulfill a desire in herself…

      However, that’s not to say Arya doesn’t have lines in the sand or has lost her humanity. I do think Arya would certainly struggle if she were told to kill somebody she feels doesn’t deserve it. I don’t think she could carry out a mission like this without blinking. Perhaps there will be a Lady Crane counterpart in the books.

      I like Pigeon’s suggestion but I also don’t think GRRM is going to let Arya entirely off the hook either, especially given his theme about actions and consequences.

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    19. Pigeon,

      In my mind, Arya is the one who initiated the generation of LS. As Nymeria, she dragged Cat from the river, to be found by Thoros and reanimated through Beric. (bleh) Once she sees the shell that LS is, I wonder if that will be the turning point for Arya, being witness to the emptiness and decay of hate. I think she’ll be the one to dispatch LS back to the grave where she belongs – as an act of actual mercy, not just the name. 😉

      Ooooh, I like this idea!

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    20. Tron79,

      loco73,

      Not related to GRRM but on the topic of Stephen King, you may find the following podcast from the show ‘We Regret to Inform You: The Rejection Podcast’ really interesting (it goes over how the successes we know now have overcome struggle after struggle before finally making it):

      https://apostrophepodcasts.ca/rejecting-stephen-king/

      The summary for this podcast:

      Stephen King is the king of horror. But in 1973, he was a high school English teacher living in a double-wide trailer, writing stories at lunch and fielding rejection letter after rejection letter from publishers.

      Welcome to the premiere episode of We Regret To Inform You: The Rejection Podcast. This week, we break down King’s inspiring story and connect the fascinating dots between his crippling rejection and unparalleled success.

      The major source for this episode is Stephen King’s wonderful must-read memoir, On Writing.

      This is one of my favourite podcasts! 🙂 Really really great stories with each one!

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    21. Adrianacandle,

      So I actually agree with the tragic nature. Your post made me think about what it says about our culture that we enjoy seeing a skillful killer. I recently watched “The Equalizer” with Denzel Washington. Actually i decided to watch this movie because Chloe Grace Moritz was in it and I like her work over the years. Well Denzel May be the best killer on earth. He even timed himself on his watch to see how fast he can kill. But for some reason I loved his character. He had some sort of moral code buried in there. And there was some reason I was cheering as he artfully murderEd the “bad guys”. We do we react this way? Or why do I react this way? (Maybe you don’t). If I was in college I think this could be the premise of a major thesis. There are movies where the violence is too much for me but there are some characters who I cheer because of their skill and because they are saving one of my favorite actresses like Chloe. I cheered Chloe and laughed out loud as she killed at least 10 people as Hit Girl. I love the movie Kick Ass. Why do I love that movie with all that killing? That’s a real question. It’s similar with Arya for me. What does this say about our culture? But I have to say I wouldn’t watch if it’s just watching some nameless person kill skillfully. I have to care about the characters. There is something about how the characters are written that hits a nerve that makes me cheer or laugh at what they are doing.

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    22. Tron79,

      So I actually agree with the tragic nature. Your post made me think about what it says about our culture that we enjoy seeing a skillful killer. I recently watched “The Equalizer” with Denzel Washington. Actually i decided to watch this movie because Chloe Grace Moritz was in it and I like her work over the years. Well Denzel May be the best killer on earth. He even timed himself on his watch to see how fast he can kill. But for some reason I loved his character. He had some sort of moral code buried in there. And there was some reason I was cheering as he artfully murderEd the “bad guys”. We do we react this way? Or why do I react this way? (Maybe you don’t). If I was in college I think this could be the premise of a major thesis. There are movies where the violence is too much for me but there are some characters who I cheer because of their skill and because they are saving one of my favorite actresses like Chloe. I cheered Chloe and laughed out loud as she killed at least 10 people as Hit Girl. I love the movie Kick Ass. Why do I love that movie with all that killing? That’s a real question. It’s similar with Arya for me. What does this say about our culture? But I have to say I wouldn’t watch if it’s just watching some nameless person kill skillfully. I have to care about the characters. There is something about how the characters are written that hits a nerve that makes me cheer or laugh at what they are doing.

      I think you’ve described it well here — in that a viewer/reader has developed a personal connection/interest in a character, they’re not a “stranger” but somebody a viewer/reader has connected with in some way — that character has managed to strike whatever right cord with a viewer/reader. So I wonder if it’s a feeling of vindication or catharsis on that character’s behalf? Feeling satisfied on behalf of a character we’re invested (and I think this can vary based on viewer/reader in regard to what character as well as the qualities found admirable in a character. With Outlander, I remember getting into an argument over the subject of revenge. My friend felt it was justified in this one instance while I didn’t agree, considering the cost in this specific case. She didn’t have much care or regard for the character who’d suffer as a sort of “bystander” in this act of revenge while I did).

      Also, that we typically can’t (or won’t) kill or enact gross, bloody, awesome revenge against people who have severely wronged us. In our lives, we have to suck it up, take it, and move on… but characters in movies, media, and film can enact gross, bloody, awesome revenge… and it can become even more satisfying when the object of their revenge shares qualities with those who have also wronged us 🙂 And I think this can be taken to another level when a viewer/reader makes a character their sort of “avatar” in the story.

      In art school, I remember this topic being raised and I imagine it’s raised a lot in psychology and psychiatry so there is probably a good wealth of info out there!

        Quote  Reply

    23. Adrianacandle:
      Tron79,

      I think you’ve described it well here — in that a viewer/reader has developed a personal connection/interest in a character, they’re not a “stranger” but somebody a viewer/reader has connected with in some way — that character has managed to strike whatever right cord with a viewer/reader. So I wonder if it’s a feeling of vindication or catharsis on that character’s behalf? Feeling satisfied on behalf of a character we’re invested (and I think this can vary based on viewer/reader in regard to what character as well as the qualities found admirable in a character. With Outlander, I remember getting into an argument over the subject of revenge. My friend felt it was justified in this one instance while I didn’t agree, considering the cost in this specific case. She didn’t have much care or regard for the character who’d suffer as a sort of “bystander” in this act of revenge while I did).

      Also, that we typically can’t (or won’t) kill or enact gross, bloody, awesome revenge against people who have severely wronged us. In our lives, we have to suck it up, take it, and move on… but characters in movies, media, and film can enact gross, bloody, awesome revenge… and it can become even more satisfying when the object of their revenge shares qualities with those who have also wronged us 🙂 And I think this can be taken to another level when a viewer/reader makes a character their sort of “avatar” in the story.

      In art school, I remember this topic being raised and I imagine it’s raised a lot in psychology and psychiatry so there is probably a good wealth of info out there!

      I was a psychology major in college many eons ago so this kind of stuff fascinates me. I’ll write more back later. I’m supposed to be paying attention to a teacher training and I’m posting here instead.

        Quote  Reply

    24. Adrianacandle,

      Thank you. Will do.

      I also found this lengthy article about how JK Rowling made it and started her “Harry Potter” novels. Her story may be well known, but I always enjoy revising the “how” she got to where she is:

      “On a delayed train from Manchester to London’s King’s Cross station, Rowling came up with the idea for “Harry Potter.” Over the next five years, she outlined the plots for seven books in the series, writing in longhand and amassing scraps of notes written on different papers.”

      Love that quote. I think, will all due respect, Rowling could teach Martin a thing or two, or who knows maybe help him…LOL…I know , you’d think that with all the wisdom of Martin’s years…what gives? But you never know. Inspiration/help can come from the most unlikely sources. Now if only fans could push the curmudgeon that is Martin to reach out…

      https://www.insider.com/jk-rowling-harry-potter-author-biography-2017-7

        Quote  Reply

    25. Tron79:
      Adrianacandle,

      So I actually agree with the tragic nature. Your post made me think about what it says about our culture that we enjoy seeing a skillful killer. I recently watched “The Equalizer” with Denzel Washington.Actually i decided to watch this movie because Chloe Grace Moritz was in it and I like her work over the years.Well Denzel May be the best killer on earth. He even timed himself on his watch to see how fast he can kill.But for some reason I loved his character.He had some sort of moral code buried in there. And there was some reason I was cheering as he artfully murderEd the “bad guys”. We do we react this way? Or why do I react this way? (Maybe you don’t). If I was in college I think this could be the premise of a major thesis.There are movies where the violence is too much for me but there are some characters who I cheer because of their skill and because they are saving one of my favorite actresses like Chloe.I cheered Chloe and laughed out loud as she killed at least 10 people as Hit Girl. I love the movie Kick Ass. Why do I love that movie with all that killing? That’s a real question. It’s similar with Arya for me.What does this say about our culture?But I have to say I wouldn’t watch if it’s just watching some nameless person kill skillfully. I have to care about the characters. There is something about how the characters are written that hits a nerve that makes me cheer or laugh at what they are doing.

      Speaking about tragic characters and skillful killers, maybe you guys might enjoy this movie. Oldie but goodie.

      https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0062229/

        Quote  Reply

    26. Tron79: I was a psychology major in college many eons ago so this kind of stuff fascinates me. I’ll write more back later. I’m supposed to be paying attention to a teacher training and I’m posting here instead.

      I’m supposed to be working myself! XD So I should also probably get on task… but you’re right! It is fascinating! I didn’t major in psychology and have zero qualifications so I can only ponder… x_x

        Quote  Reply

    27. loco73,

      Thanks for these links (to JKR’s story and to the movie link!)

      If you enjoy this kind of stuff, you may also enjoy other episodes of this podcast! They cover the stories of the Duffer Brothers (Stranger Things), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe, Friends), Pretty Woman, JAY-Z, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, RuPaul, Sara Blakely (Spanx), and Dirty Dancing so far! 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    28. Tron79,

      ”….. I could see Arya saving….saving Sansa from something….but it would be more compelling to me if her FM skills were used to save her sister or Jon…”

      About Arya helping, instead of squabbling with, Sansa:

      That would be way more fulfilling than the silly sister vs. sister LF-WF “plot” in S7.

      I had thumb-typed out a long-winded, bloviating commentary about the paucity of alliances among women compared to the many bromances among men on the show. I almost sensed that, with few exceptions, mean girls-type sniping was the default setting for virtually all interactions between women. (Compare, for example, S7 GullibleSansa vs. PsychoArya, S8 Sansa “Stinkeye” Stark vs. Dany, out-of-character Arya “She’s Not One of Us” Stark vs. Dany on one hand; with Missandei + Dany on the other hand.)

      I can’t even begin to list all of the guy + guy adversary-turned-ally, mentor & acolyte, buddy comedy road trip, odd couple pairings, and other bromance storylines to which significant screen time and dialogue were (satisfyingly) devoted. These relationships were, for me, highlights of the show. [To name a few, off the top of my head: Tormund & Jon; Tyrion & Bronn; Jon & Sam; Maester Aemon & Jon; Jaime & Tyrion; Jaime & Bronn (sort of*); Tyrion & Varys*; Jorah & Tyrion; Jon & Pip and Grenn; Jeor & Jon; Sandor & Beric* and Sandor & Thoros*; 3ER & Bran; Davos & Tyrion*; Sam & Ebrose; Edd & Jon; Jon & Mance; Davos & Stannis; Thoros & Beric; Jorah & Daario; Sam & Bran; Benjen & Jon; Tyrion & Jon.
      . *As I understand it, some of these were show-only creations.]

      Notwithstanding the show’s presentation of “strong” female characters, I cannot think of many comparable collaborative pairings of women: Maybe Margaery & Sansa (briefly); Catelyn & Talisa (briefly); Sand Snakes (sort of?); Melisandre & Arya (very briefly in S8e3); Arya & Brienne (briefly in S7e4); S6 Sansa & Brienne (though it soured in S7); Olenna & Margaery; Septa Unella & Cersei (just kidding 🙃); Arya & Lady Crane; Dany & Yara (very briefly); and of course Missandei & Dany. Most show! interrelationships between women were of the “sniping” or mutual loathing variety.

      Part of my critique may be rooted in my appreciation for the (all-too-brief) Sansa & Arya S7e7 reconciliation scene – which I really liked, contrasted with the contrived, drawn-out sibling rivalry “drama” that made both characters look like idiots; combined with what would have been my (admittedly personal) preference for a S7 plot line that showed the sisters collaborating to take down FecalFlinger instead of keeping that offscreen in order to set up one fist-pump moment (”How do you answer these charges…Lord Baelish?”).

      [In my view, spending so much screen time on the nonsensical sister vs. sister spitefest was also (1) a missed opportunity to take advantage of the actresses’ real-life friendship, and their natural playfulness, goofiness and chemistry; and (2) a missed opportunity to show us, and not just tell us, how Sansa became “the smartest person I’ve ever met.”]

      I’m meandering…

      I was going to post my observations/commentary under the recent Missandei article if I could condense it down to something coherent. Maybe I’ll try to do that here…

      Incidentally, there was one snippet of dialogue in a scene in S3 between Anguy and Arya that (unintentionally?) revealed this “default setting” among the writers. Lemme look for it…

        Quote  Reply

    29. Ten Bears,

      I agree with some of your comments but I do think Sansa and Arya will have to work out some stuff between them but maybe not in the S7 way:

      From snippets GRRM provided at the Kepler’s and Cody’s Signings in November 2000:

      (3) Arya was one of the first characters created. Sansa came about as a total opposite b/c too many of the Stark family members were getting along and familes aren’t like that. Thus, Sansa was created; he ended by saying they have deep issues to work out.

      Which (in my experience with three sisters) I think is pretty realistic, for these two characters with quite a few problems between them to still have those issues upon reuniting but perhaps addressing them can happen differently than it did in season 7.

        Quote  Reply

    30. Ten Bears,

      (cont. from 11:28 am)

      I wrote:

      ”Incidentally, there was one snippet of dialogue in a scene in S3 between Anguy and Arya that (unintentionally?) revealed this “default setting” among the writers. Lemme look for it…”

      Here’s the snippet in the scene I was referring to:

      S3e6: Arya and Brotherhood Without Banners meet Melisandre (8:25 long)
      at 6:11 – 6:22

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEj1aN_Rmj0

      Arya and Anguy, about Melisandre:

      Arya: “I don’t like that woman.”
      Anguy: “That’s because you’re a girl.”
      Arya: “What does that have to do with anything?

      Arya’s preternatural moral compass (correctly) sensed that Melisandre was not to be trusted. It had nothing to do with her sex.
      Likewise, later on, when Melisandre was getting ready to cart away Gendry, Arya (correctly) surmised: “You’re going to hurt him.” Again, that had nothing to do with Arya being a girl or Mel being a woman.

      What does that have to do with anything?”
      A: Nothing.

        Quote  Reply

    31. loco73,

      – Hey, thanks for those Stephen King quotes! I’ve got a non-fiction book of his called “On Writing.” I ought to skim through it. I’m sure there are other practical bits of wisdom that would apply to GRRM.

      – While I am not sure Stephen King touches on this, my (admittedly unqualified) belief is that Big G is stressing out too much about perfection, i.e., living up to the standards he set for himself with the first three books. He may well have taken to heart some of the criticisms of the last two books.
      (Now, I have not read any of them; I’m just going on what book readers here have opined, e.g., that the latter two books were stuffed with filler and unnecessary “world-building,” and introduced new characters and new side stories at the expense of the storylines of the existing characters.)

      – At this juncture, I’d venture to suggest that fans would be okay with reading whatever GRRM has written even if he has not necessarily been firing on all cylinders. Curiosity about the characters and their stories – built up over nine years – surely outweighs the desire that GRRM produce a masterpiece of fiction.

      – For me, if he can come close to duplicating the craftsmanship of his “Mercy” TWOW sample chapter, that would suffice; it would be enough for me to start reading the books. 🤓 That is the only full ASOIAF chapter I have read. I thought that by itself, it was a great piece of writing –

      capped off with a gripping climax that also made me want to know what happens next.

      On the other hand, I’m reluctant to read the existing books and get left with cliffhangers like the millions of book readers out there who’ve been waiting close to a decade.

        Quote  Reply

    32. H.Stark:
      Winds in Autumn 2021?

      Re-upping my prior prediction: If GRRM does not release TWOW by kickoff of the first NFL football game this upcoming season, it will never be released.*

      * I did not factor in the possibility that the NFL season might be canceled due to the raging Orange Plague pandemic in the US. If it is postponed, I guess GRRM will get a reprieve of a year or two. Besides, without the distraction of following his beloved NY Jets and NY Giants 🏈,perhaps he can better concentrate on writing the books.

        Quote  Reply

    33. Tron79: Stephen King just seems so much more disciplined with always writing at least 4 pages a day…. Reading your post, I suddenly had a flash vision of GRRM in his cabin morphing into Jack Nicholson at his typewriter writing reams and reams of “All Work and No Play Makes George a Dull Boy”

      Reading what you wrote, I flashed on Bart Simpson writing that over and over again on a blackboard.

        Quote  Reply

    34. Tron79,

      ”And now, she has become a skilled assassin and

      doesn’t seem to have much of a moral compass left

      .”

      On the show at least, it became clear that Arya

      did not lose that moral compass – or had regained it.

      I wonder if that was inconsistent with what GRRM has in mind?

        Quote  Reply

    35. loco73,

      Right! Despite or because of Stephen King’s prolific output, his books are often hit or miss. I liked “It” and “The Stand,” but I too could not get through the “Dark Tower” series.

      The question for ASOIAF book readers would be whether they’d prefer a mediocre book now vs. the mere possibility of an excellent book sometime in the indefinite future. Despite his literary prowess, I sense that many book readers would be content with just knowing what GRRM wants to do with his characters and their storylines.

      (*Voice of Sandor Clegane: ”If he’s so all-powerful, why doesn’t he just tell you what the f*ck he wants?”*)

        Quote  Reply

    36. Ten Bears:
      loco73,

      The question for ASOIAF book readers would bewhether they’d prefer a mediocre book now vs. the mere possibility of an excellent book sometime in the indefinite future. Despite his literary prowess, I sense that many book readers would be content with just knowing what GRRM wants to do with his characters and their storylines.

      The tricky question: would you prefer a completed story with an underwhelming ending or a story with excellent chapters but it never gets completed.

      (I’m personally for the former…always)

        Quote  Reply

    37. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: The tricky question: would you prefer a completed story with an underwhelming ending or a story with excellent chapters but it never gets completed.

      (I’m personally for the former…always)

      Although personally, I’m already underwhelmed at this point by ASOIAF last two books. So I’m not sure how actively I look forward to TWOW… judging by GRRM’s statements, I’m afraid it will be another ADWD-like stuff with countless stories in all corners.

        Quote  Reply

    38. Adrianacandle,

      As you quoted talvikorppi:

      Arya isn’t some super ninja princess. She’s a heartbreaking little girl, tomboyish, pampered, a high-born little girl who suddenly has to learn otherwise. Her descent into a killer isn’t glorified by GRRM, it’s tragic.
      I really like Arya, but it really irks me when fans adulate her “badassery”. It’s meant to be tragic. A BAD thing.
      Don’t get me wrong. I really, really like the character Arya. Going from adorable tomboy to ever darker, eventual killer, that you wonder if you can continue you like.
      However, whatever, we have to wait for GRRM’s books to know what happens with Arya. I’m not expecting it to be unadulterated ASNWPess.”

      1. I never got the sense Arya was “pampered.”
      2. Call me shallow. I did not mind the portrayal of Arya as “badass” Super Ninja Assassin Warrior Princess. 🦸🏻‍♀️ I rather enjoyed it.
      3. If the conclusion of

      “Mercy” was supposed to make me feel Arya’s “descent into killer isn’t glorified by GRRM, it’s tragic,”

      I missed the boat.

      #ASNAWP 🩸💉🗡👸🏻
      #ASNAWPTWP 🏰 👸🏻🔪💀🧟🧟‍♂️

      ASNAWP™️ talvikorppi (2018)

        Quote  Reply

    39. Ten Bears: 1. I never got the sense Arya was “pampered.”

      I think this is more in the sense that Arya was raised in a highborn, sheltered environment with all of her needs met as a noble-born child. Before having to go on the run, Arya never wanted for anything, had quality garments, food, education, regular washing, a noble name, was well cared for, etc. and in this way, lived a comparative life of luxury to most in Westeros (those lower than the noble class).

      Not in the cucumbers-on-eyes, fed-grapes-one-by-one, clap-for-a-butler type way.

        Quote  Reply

    40. Adrianacandle,

      To add, maybe “pampered” is the wrong word per the dictionary’s definition. Perhaps privileged is more appropriate? Or another word?

      Ten Bears,

      If the conclusion of “Mercy” was supposed to make me feel Arya’s “descent into killer isn’t glorified by GRRM, it’s tragic,” I missed the boat.

      I think this is more meant to apply to Arya’s book arc from the end of book 1 overall rather than a specific chapter — but maybe talvikorppi will be by this thread and if so, perhaps can clarify? 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    41. Adrianacandle,

      About Pigeon’s comment that

      ”Arya is the one who initiated the generation of LS. As Nymeria, she dragged Cat from the river, to be found by Thoros and reanimated through Beric…”

      :

      I thought that maybe this was a “bookend” or counterpart to the scene (on the show only? or in the books too?) when Arya asks Beric and Thoros if it was possible to bring back a man without a head – just once (ie her father), and they told her [something like] it doesn’t work that way.

      Perhaps I’m mixing and matching the show and the books (again). I’d have to watch the scene again, and compare it to its book! counterpart, if any.

      I remember perceiving that show! scene as Beric and Thoros trying to console Arya and at the same time trying to impress upon her that she should accept her father’s death and let him rest in peace: the opposite of book!Arya/Nymeria dragging Catelyn’s nearly-beheaded, rotting corpse from the river to be reanimated by Beric.

        Quote  Reply

    42. Ten Bears,

      I thought that maybe this was a “bookend” or counterpart to the scene (on the show only? or in the books too?) when Arya asks Beric and Thoros if it was possible to bring back a man without a head – just once (ie her father), and they told her [something like] it doesn’t work that way.

      Perhaps I’m mixing and matching the show and the books (again). I’d have to watch the scene again, and compare it to its book! counterpart, if any.

      Here’s the book scene! 🙂

      Arya, ASOS VII:

      Arya stared at the Myrish priest, all shaggy hair and pink rags and bits of old armor. Grey stubble covered his cheeks and the sagging skin beneath his chin. He did not look much like the wizards in Old Nan’s stories, but even so…

      “Could you bring back a man without a head?” Arya asked. “Just the once, not six times. Could you?”

      “I have no magic, child. Only prayers. That first time, his lordship had a hole right through him and blood in his mouth, I knew there was no hope. So when his poor torn chest stopped moving, I gave him the good god’s own kiss to send him on his way. I filled my mouth with fire and breathed the flames inside him, down his throat to lungs and heart and soul. The last kiss it is called, and many a time I saw the old priests bestow it on the Lord’s servants as they died. I had given it a time or two myself, as all priests must. But never before had I felt a dead man shudder as the fire filled him, nor seen his eyes come open. It was not me who raised him, my lady. It was the Lord. R’hllor is not done with him yet. Life is warmth, and warmth is fire, and fire is God’s and God’s alone.”

      Arya felt tears well in her eyes. Thoros used a lot of words, but all they meant was no, that much she understood.

      “Your father was a good man,” Lord Beric said. “Harwin has told me much of him. For his sake, I would gladly forgo your ransom, but we need the gold too desperately.”

      ____

      I remember perceiving that show! scene as Beric and Thoros trying to console Arya and at the same time trying to impress upon her that she should accept her father’s death and let him rest in peace: the opposite of book!Arya/Nymeria dragging Catelyn’s nearly-beheaded, rotting corpse from the river to be reanimated by Beric.

      I’d argue that Beric didn’t really bring back Catelyn but a husk of Catelyn — the worst parts of her: all of Catelyn’s hate and desire for revenge but without any of Catelyn’s goodness, warmth, or humanity. LSH is like a shell… but I guess the main difference is she still had some of her head attached, unlike Ned…

        Quote  Reply

    43. Tron79,

      ”… I love the movie Kick Ass. Why do I love that movie with all that killing? That’s a real question. It’s similar with Arya for me. What does this say about our culture? But I have to say I wouldn’t watch if it’s just watching some nameless person kill skillfully. I have to care about the characters. There is something about how the characters are written that hits a nerve that makes me cheer or laugh at what they are doing.”

      —-
      What does it say about our culture?
      I’m reminded of this scene from “Boston Legal” (clip below), and its followup (transcript of dialogue only; I could not find a video of it):

      • From “Boston Legal” Season 1, Episode 10
      Alan Shore threatened by gunman. Denny Crane intervenes.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKoZVyb9BDE

      • Concluding scene: Denny and Alan drinking Scotch and smoking cigars

      Alan Shore: “This afternoon, did you consider that you might hit me?”
      Denny Crane: “I did. It’s a good feeling, you know, to shoot a bad guy.”
      Alan Shore: “Really?”
      Denny Crane: “….Americans—we’re homesteaders. We want a safe home, keep the money we make, and shoot bad guys. And save the life of someone you love. Wow! Big day. Even for Denny Crane.”
      Alan Shore: “I consider myself many things, Denny, but being loved has never been one of them…”

        Quote  Reply

    44. Adrianacandle,

      Another factor in the fictional world of GoT/ASOIAF is that – in the words of LF and Sansa:

      “There is no justice in this world unless we make it.”

      Traitors, sc*mbags, and cowards get away with torturing and killing innocent people, and nobody does anything about it. Evildoers are more often rewarded with lands and titles rather than face punishment.

      All too often we saw innocents being tormented, tortured, mutilated and killed — only no one intervened. [Pun intended.]

      It’s cathartic when someone like Arya doesn’t just conveniently forget about atrocities committed against her friends and family: she does something about it.

      From the very first time we saw her, when Joffrey was torturing Mycah, Sansa only seemed to care that her date was being spoiled. Even Ned acceded to the death of Lady and Mycah without too much pushback.

      Only Arya reacted to the injustice, tried to do something to stop it, and wasn’t content with the perpetrator(s) getting away with it. Same thing with the murder of defenseless Lommy, and the killing of heroic Syrio; not to mention the slaughter of her family at the Red Wedding. It seemed as if most people kind of shrugged it off, or felt powerless to do anything about it.

      (I had thought LF telling Sansa “avenge them” at the beginning of S5 meant that Sansa would infiltrate WF for some assassination-style payback against Roose Bolton and his clan, but that never happened…)

      Anyway, Arya is really the only character who has an innate sense of justice and acts upon it; and while punishing the guilty, she spares and protects the innocent – even at peril to herself (e.g., aborting the Lady Crane hit; protecting Gendry from Gold Cloaks posse; defending Mycah; declining to wipe out Ed Sheeran’s Lannister squad; saving Jaqen from burning wagon; etc.)

      What’s not to like?

        Quote  Reply

    45. Ten Bears: What’s not to like?

      I’m glad you like it and I agree with the good Arya has done. I also think there’s an ambiguity and complexity to revenge as motivation when it has been motivation, which might be more apparent in the books and I largely agree with talvikorppi’s assessment — but you don’t have to agree. In the message above, I was only pondering my own reasons in response to Tron’s questions, that’s all. I’m no psychologist, no psychiatrist, I have no expertise, and views on this topic may differ from person to person. I’m not the standard and you certainly don’t have to agree with them 🙂 For instance, my friend and I never met eye to eye on the Outlander issue.

        Quote  Reply

    46. Adrianacandle: I’m supposed to be working myself! XD So I should also probably get on task… but you’re right! It is fascinating! I didn’t major in psychology and have zero qualifications so I can only ponder… x_x

      F*ck. I’m supposed to be working too. 🤷🏻‍♂️

        Quote  Reply

    47. Ten Bears: F*ck. I’m supposed to be working too. 🤷🏻‍♂️

      I’m drawing up plans for some furniture design and construction and I’ve put in all of one dimension in the past hour! X_X

        Quote  Reply

    48. Adrianacandle,

      Oh, don’t get me wrong. I was not challenging anything about the ambiguity and complexity of revenge (or its pernicious effects).

      Even in the limited screen time in S8, the show did not overlook the “revenge is toxic” theme. I assume that was the intended lesson of Sandor & Arya’s final scene. (“Look at me…You don’t want to be like me.”)

      It’ll be interesting whether and how GRRM will divert Arya off the vengeance trail…

        Quote  Reply

    49. Musical Interlude
      Dedicated to GRRM
      and Long-Suffering Book Readers

      🎶”We can never know about the days to come
      But we think about them anyway
      And I wonder if I’m really with you now
      Or just chasing after some finer day.

      Anticipation, anticipation,
      Is making me late
      It’s keeping me waiting.”
      🎶

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVQuHF7lQBI

      “Anticipation” (1971) – Carly Simon

      …………..

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NwP3wes4M8

      “Anticipation” – Carly Simon, Live: July, 1987

      ⏳🕰📆🗓

        Quote  Reply

    50. Ten Bears:
      Musical Interlude
      Dedicated to GRRM
      and Long-Suffering Book Readers

      🎶”We can never know about the days to come
      But we think about them anyway
      And I wonder if I’m really with you now
      Or just chasing after some finer day.


      Anticipation, anticipation,
      Is making me late
      It’s keeping me waiting.”
      🎶

      [link]

      “Anticipation” (1971) – Carly Simon

      …………..

      [link]

      “Anticipation” – Carly Simon, Live: July, 1987

      ⏳🕰📆🗓

      VERY on point!

        Quote  Reply

    51. Tron79,

      Maybe it’s because I was out until 3AM this morning and my brain is slightly scrambled, but I just got a “Shaun of the Dead” style montage going through my head. 😆

        Quote  Reply

    52. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: The tricky question: would you prefer a completed story with an underwhelming ending or a story with excellent chapters but it never gets completed.

      (I’m personally for the former…always)

      That’s a very good question. I prefer the former option too. Oddly, I think ASOIAF being still unfinished was one major contribution to Game of Thrones success as the decade went by. If Martin had ASOIAF completed before the ending of GoT, season 8 wouldn’t have the build-up and the countless theories around it. The expectations for a TV season had never been higher.

      Game of Thrones provided an ending to this fantasy saga, but there still are people who believes the “real ending” is the one written by Martin. Dozens of theories on ASOIAF remain alive and well. People still gather on Internet to debate them. This fantasy series was relatively well known before it was adapted to TV. GoT, however, made this story a global phenomenon. The lack of resolve or inspiration of Martin to finish his own story can be beneficial to him. If he finishes TWOW, I expect it to be the most sold ASOIAF book, by far.

      I think we’ve already discussed this matter in this site talking about Netflix “The last kingdom”. I’ve never seen it, but I know each season is released as a whole. As satisfying it can be for the viewer, it has a problem: there’s no room for a lasting discussion among the fans. Many people around the world talked about GoT events every monday, two months a year. Online communities like this one also contributed immensely for the phenomenon GoT was.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Ten Bears:
      loco73,

      – Hey, thanks for those Stephen King quotes! I’ve got a non-fiction book of his called “On Writing.” I ought to skim through it. I’m sure there are other practical bits of wisdom that would apply to GRRM.

      – While I am not sure Stephen King touches on this, my (admittedly unqualified) belief is that Big G is stressing out too much about perfection, i.e., living up to the standards he set for himself with the first three books. He may well have taken to heart some of the criticisms of the last two books.
      (Now, I have not read any of them; I’m just going on what book readers here have opined, e.g., that the latter two books were stuffed with filler and unnecessary “world-building,” and introduced new characters and new side stories at the expense of the storylines of the existing characters.)

      – At this juncture, I’d venture to suggest that fans would be okay with reading whatever GRRM has written even if he has not necessarily been firing on all cylinders. Curiosity about the characters and their stories – built up over nine years – surely outweighs the desire that GRRM produce a masterpiece of fiction.

      – For me, if he can come close to duplicating the craftsmanship of his “Mercy” TWOW sample chapter, that would suffice; it would be enough for me to start reading the books. 🤓 That is the only full ASOIAF chapter I have read. I thought that by itself, it was a great piece of writing –

      On the other hand, I’m reluctant to read the existing books and get left with cliffhangers like the millions of book readers out there who’ve been waiting close to a decade.

      You don’t have to thank me. Thank Google…it found those quotes I vaguely remembered and in the process made my fragile IQ look at bit more impressive (hint: it isn’t). And yes I think they are exactly from the book you mentioned, “On Writing”.

      As for the ASOIF series, I must confess that I’m a cheat. I came late in the game so to speak. I only bought the books around 2009-2010 as I remember, once I had heard that HBO was on its way to adapting the novels into a series. At that time I was a fan of almost all things HBO and was coming off of years of great stuff like “Six Feet Under”, “Deadwood”, “Carnivalé”, “The Wire”, “ROME”, “Oz”, “The Sopranos”, “Band Of Brothers” and “Generation Kill”. I was quite excited at what HBO could do with “Game Of Thrones” because during that time (2008-2010) I saw “John Adams” and “The Pacific” …the scale, quality and amazing production values of those miniseries really made me enthusiastic of what GOT could be. Of course I had no inkling or remote idea of what it would become. Then the writer’s strike happened and everything was delayed. So I put off reading the books.

      I got “A Dance Of Dragons” in 2011…saw the first season of GOT…then read the books over the next year or so. Being a late comer to “A Song Of Ice And Fire”, I have to say, I did not notice the aforementioned drop in quality in the latter two books. Perhaps because I was not subjected to the waiting his original fans were I blessedly didn’t think about it or noticed it. Either way it has been nearly a decade since I read the books. As the show was still unfolding, I never re-read them, nor have I read any of the auxiliary or companion materials. So it has been awhile since I actually read the novels besides that original, first time.

      In so far as Martin’s current writing, pace, procrastination, increasing time gaps between books…understand this, (this is also for the others here who were nice enough to reply to my brainfarts), he can do as he damn well pleases, regardless of what I, or anyone else for that matter, thinks or wants. This is his life’s work and it is within his purview to take a giant, steaming dump on ASOIF, then set it all on fire and be done with it that way. That is the reality of it. And begrudgingly I acknowledge that as a fact (gaaaaahhhhh 😫)…

      For my irrelevant part when it comes to Martin, as a fan, at this point, I regard this whole situation with a kind of bemused, bittersweet, disappointment. Which is meant to make me sound more sophisticated I guess…😏.

      It is kind of weird to say that, especially because I met Martin and his significant other, Paris, back in 2011 at a book signing, for a few, very confused and nervous minutes, where I kind of half-shook his hand and blurted out something idiotic like “Thank you for your work…” (huh little did I know at the time grrrrrrr😡🤓). The only good pictures with Martin came courtesy of Paris, mine for whatever reason where of the back of his head and a few of his visage, that made him look like a raccoon caught in the act of opening a garbage can.

      As far as I can remember, the only half-way decent thing I managed to do was, that while everyone was clutching their hardcover copy of “A Dance Of Dragons”, I handed him a copy of the “Songs Of The Dying Earth” Jack Vance tribute anthology, he had edited with his creative partner, the late Gardner Dozois (RIP) for the autograph. And that’s it.

      The only lasting thing I remember when meeting Martin was that he is very fluffy, like a giant teddy bear or a very buttery croissant…which makes me hungry…

      Ta….

        Quote  Reply

    54. loco73,

      ”I was quite excited at what HBO could do with “Game Of Thrones” because during that time (2008-2010) I saw “John Adams” and “The Pacific” …the scale, quality and amazing production values of those miniseries really made me enthusiastic of what GOT could be.”

      Ah! “John Adams.” Here’s one of my favorite scenes, featuring Stephen Dillane as Thomas Jefferson channeling King Stannis Baratheon:

      (Ben Franklin and John Adams reviewing and editing Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0_3KzuYuh0

      at 2:52, Stannis Baratheon – I mean Thomas Jefferson: “Every single word was precisely chosen.”

        Quote  Reply

    55. Adrianacandle:
      Tron79,

      I think you’ve described it well here — in that a viewer/reader has developed a personal connection/interest in a character, they’re not a “stranger” but somebody a viewer/reader has connected with in some way — that character has managed to strike whatever right cord with a viewer/reader. So I wonder if it’s a feeling of vindication or catharsis on that character’s behalf? Feeling satisfied on behalf of a character we’re invested (and I think this can vary based on viewer/reader in regard to what character as well as the qualities found admirable in a character. With Outlander, I remember getting into an argument over the subject of revenge. My friend felt it was justified in this one instance while I didn’t agree, considering the cost in this specific case. She didn’t have much care or regard for the character who’d suffer as a sort of “bystander” in this act of revenge while I did).

      Also, that we typically can’t (or won’t) kill or enact gross, bloody, awesome revenge against people who have severely wronged us. In our lives, we have to suck it up, take it, and move on… but characters in movies, media, and film can enact gross, bloody, awesome revenge… and it can become even more satisfying when the object of their revenge shares qualities with those who have also wronged us 🙂 And I think this can be taken to another level when a viewer/reader makes a character their sort of “avatar” in the story.

      In art school, I remember this topic being raised and I imagine it’s raised a lot in psychology and psychiatry so there is probably a good wealth of info out there!

      I watched Kick Ass again today and I didn’t remember that Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) has almost
      The same exact double spear weapon as Arya. Hit Girl uses the double spear when she makes her first appearance. It Even came apart and was quite lethal.

        Quote  Reply

    56. Tron79,

      ”Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) has almost
      The same exact double spear weapon as Arya…”

      Do I sense another Tron79 mashup video in the offing?

      🗡👸🏻🦸‍♀️⚔️

        Quote  Reply

    57. Tron79,

      According to NBC’s schedule, the lineup for The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon on Wed. 8/19/2020:

      “Wednesday, August 19: Guests include Tyler Perry, Maisie Williams and musical guest Trevor Daniel. Show 1310A.”

        Quote  Reply

    58. I do not want to be a prophet of doom or a scare monger but with the way COVID is spreading through the US and given GRRM would be at high risk of death if he catches the virus I really hope he’s managed to seclude himself away from everyone. Of course the added potential benefit of that is he finishes Winds and the book is finally published next year.

        Quote  Reply

    59. Ten Bears:
      Tron79,

      ”Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) has almost
      The same exact double spear weapon as Arya…”

      Do I sense another Tron79 mashup video in the offing?

      🗡👸🏻🦸‍♀️⚔️

      Omg. Maybe so.

        Quote  Reply

    60. Thinking about Arya’s frame of mind with regard to revenge, I remember reading some time ago that GRRM had likened Arya’s state at the end of the extant books as being akin to that of a child soldier. Book Arya did muse to herself at one time that she wished she could just go back to being a little girl. I’m sorry I can’t quote chapter and verse or remember the source for GRRM’s likening of Arya to a child soldier. I imagine book Arya (being hopeful that the books will appear) will regain her humanity somehow though her journey may differ from show Arya’s.

        Quote  Reply

    61. It is “A Dance With Dragons”, I know, I know, geeeesh…since I managed to call that book in my previous comments by anything but it’s proper title…😔

        Quote  Reply

    62. Ten Bears,

      Thanks for this video!

      Tron79: I watched Kick Ass again today and I didn’t remember that Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) has almost
      The same exact double spear weapon as Arya. Hit Girl uses the double spear when she makes her first appearance. It Even came apart and was quite lethal.

      Thanks for pointing this out! I don’t think I would have noticed either! 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    63. loco73: It is “A Dance With Dragons”, I know, I know, geeeesh…since I managed to call that book in my previous comments by anything but it’s proper title…😔

      I’ve made that same error over and over and over! There have been so many times I’ve called it ‘A Dance of Dragons’ that this is part of the reason I use the abbreviation (ADWD) instead XD;; Also, in a recent post, I kept saying ‘rations’ instead of ‘ratios’ 😳😳😳That’s the “autocorrect” built into my fingers kicking in…

      Thanks for the story of you meeting GRRM! That was great to read (and I loved your description of him)!

        Quote  Reply

    64. Ten Bears,

      The first singer was kicked out because the rest of the members thought she was more concerned with commercial business interests rather than the band.

      I’m less sure about the second singer, but I think she just grew apart from the rest of the band over time.

      Either way, I’m glad that Floor Jansen is the lead vocalist. She’s a Goddess. Most people who hear her sing for the first time tend to experience what’s referred to as a Floor-gasm.

        Quote  Reply

    65. Musical Interlude
      Dedicated to Ygritte
      👩🏻‍🦰

      (from S2e7, Ygritte & Jon)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n7H_-oARQY

      at 2:52

      👩🏻‍🦰Ygritte: “They’re not your lands! We’ve been here the whole time. You lot just came along and put up a big wall and said it was yours.

      🧔🏻Jon: “My father was Ned Stark. I have the blood of the First Men. My ancestors lived here, same as yours.

      👩🏻‍🦰Ygritte: “So why are you fighting us?

      ……….

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN1yqwU5lvc

      🎶“We can be together
      Oh, you and me
      We should be together
      .”

      ***🎸🥁***
      [Grace Slick, at 3:28, and 5:18]:
      🎶“Tear down the Wall!
      Tear down the Wall!”
      🎵

      “We Can Be Together” (1969)
      – Jefferson Airplane

        Quote  Reply

    66. Not musical and not related to GRRM’s writer’s block (or not). I came across a long video (so people may not want to watch it all). It’s British and features a presenter/reporter who is quite well known in the UK from more than a year before she interviewed someone who doesn’t sweat allegedly. The presentation is about speeches and the panel includes a speechwriter for Tony Blair, one for ex-President Obama, Jeremy Irons, Carey Mulligan, Simon Russell Beale (who I am kind of coming around to forgiving for ‘Penny Dreadful’ but not quite) though I must confess I wasn’t sure if the young actress was Jada Newka or Jay Danuka. https://youtu.be/xegAFhfIbHU

        Quote  Reply

    67. Part 2 of 2
      Musical Interlude
      Dedicated to Ser Jorah Mormont
      🐻

      🎶”Don’t you know
      I’m still standing
      better than I ever did,
      Looking like a true survivor,
      feeling like a little kid
      I’m still standing after all this time…
      … I’m still standing, yeah, yeah, yeah.”
      🎵

      “I’m Still Standing” (1983)
      Elton John (3:03 long; audio)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9sGKO2iapY

      ——
      “I’m Still Standing” –
      Elton John, with Eric Clapton and Phil Collins
      Live June 20, 1986 (3:53 long)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHMoeH2xtxI

      🐻

        Quote  Reply

    68. Ten Bears:
      Tron79,

      Then again, maybe a mashup of Arya Stark and Vanessa Lutz (Reese Witherspoon)?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6538xS8WLA

      ____

      Well…not sure if that really fits as well… I do like Reese Witherspoon.. I watched the clip and it’s been awhile since I’ve seen that movie! Hit Girl in Kick Ass is Arya going all ASNAWP all the time… Arya holds back some…. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time at the moment to do a mash up… Hopefully my schedule will clear up at some point soon…. I like the Alice mash up more because it’s a common journey, but it would be fun to mash up Hit Girl and Arya scenes… Hit Girl has some crazy music too that would be interesting to see with Arya…

        Quote  Reply

    69. Tron79,

      I wasn’t suggesting you could perform your video mashup wizardry overnight. I’m sure it’s a time-consuming task.

      Anyway, for those who haven’t seen both of them, here are clips of Mindy (Hit-Girl) and Arya (ASNAWP) using their respective double-tipped spears. (I only wish Arya’s scene was brighter and longer…And that Jon got to witness her in action.)

      • Hit-Girl (Mindy) first fight scene, with double-tipped spear:

      (from 1:24 to 3:20)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUdx2siotUo

      —-
      • S8e3 Arya fights wights
      (53 seconds long)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKSPffOFBX0

      ⚔️👸🏻🦸‍♀️⚔️

        Quote  Reply

    70. Nice to know GRRM is working on TWOW.

      He gives a glimpse into his creative process – and yes, it’s a bit priviledged, what with all the “minions” and several locations – but the creative struggle is all too real.

      Creative people come in all shapes and forms. Sometimes there’s a burst of creativity, a few years, followed by a struggle, then hopeully another burst of creativity.

      Some creatives can work 9 to 5, five days a week, and that’s it. Some get totally immersed, 80 or 100 hours a week for a while, then a quieter time. For months, perhaps. Then a burst, and another quiet time.

      Creativity doesn’t work 9 to 5, 5 days a week, like an office worker. Your mind might still be working on your stuff even when you take the weekend off. Write it down on Monday when you get back to work.

      There are so many ways to be creative, to create something new. It’s a fallacy of neo-liberal, rampant capitalist mindset that art and creativity can be forced into a timeframe, that any creative must constantly produce x numbre of pages/minutes of music/whatever to be considered “productive”, a worthy member of society.

      That said, I am in a growing band of GRRM’s book fans growing ever more frustrated with his glacial speed of writing. I know creativity cannot be rushed, but must he write all these side stories? Or be involved in all kinds of side projects?

      Sure, he’s not my bitch. He’ll do whatever he does in his own good time, as is his right. My impatience doesn’t come into it.

      I look at the five books we’ve got so far. The first three (AGOT, ACOK, ASOS) were published in fairly quick succession, and moved the story along at a clip of pace. The next two, AFFC and ADWD, slowed the pace right down, publication schedule-wise and in-story progress alike. Not helped by the decision to split what was essentially one book into two by PoV, so confusing all the readers about the timeline. I think that was a bad decision.

      AFFC and ADWD have a different feel than the first three books. They’re slower-paced, partly more contemplative.

      Unlike many, I really like the Brienne chapters. Many consider them “boring” but I love the eerie trip to Crackclaw Point with Nimble Dick and what Brienne learns along the way. Similarly, her chapters with Septon Meribald and Elder Brother at the Quiet Isle are seminal. And then her run-in with the BWB and Lady Stoneheart.

      AFFC gave us Cersei POV chapters. Highly entertaining, and showing us just how far she was from reality, or, indeed, Jaime, whose POV chapters give a different perspective of some of the same events. Cersei, and Tyrion to some extent, still think Jaime is a bit stupid, acts before he thinks. We readers know Jaime is beginning to think before he acts after he lost his sword hand, his identity.

      We’re presented with his whole Riverlands arc, which is all about reassessment, trying to be honourable, uphold his vows, yet help his family; trying to reconcile everything, reconcile the knightly vows with reality. Helped by his remembrance of Brienne’s dogged, stubborn adherence to her vows. Now come up her conflicting vows. I think, in the books, Brienne will be put through the wringer and made question the worth of vows, conflicting vows, neatly aligning her with Jaime.

      Whenever GRRM finishes, publishes TWOW, I’m most looking forward to the Jaime (and Brienne) chapters. Other fans will look to other POV chapters. We’ll all be soooo hyped up!

        Quote  Reply

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