George R.R. Martin Releases a New Chapter of The Winds of Winter

Arianne

Spoilers Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Winds of Winter

All along the south coast of Cape Wrath rose crumbling stone watchtowers, raised in ancient days to give warning of Dornish raiders stealing in across the sea…

With that, George R.R. Martin ominously opens his latest Winds of Winter sample chapter from the perspective of Arianne Martell. Who’s Arianne? Why, she’s Princess-Not-Appearing-In-Game-of-Thrones. In all seriousness, she’s the daughter of Doran Martell and heir to Sunspear (in A Song of Ice and Fire), and she’s in the Stormlands. Why is she in the Stormlands and not Dorne? She’s there to evaluate Jon Connington and Aegon to determine whether they’re authentic and whether Dorne should throw its meagre lot in with these outnumbered invaders. Arianne has specific instructions to send ravens back to her father Doran to tell him of all she knows.

The stakes couldn’t be higher.

Summary

We open with Arianne Martell arriving at the Weeping Town on the south coast of the Stormlands. Upon arriving, she sends her party off to various inns to gather news of what’s happening in the Stormlands. The information that comes back to Arianne is confusing: men and boys are rushing north, Aegon and Jon Connington are marching on Storm’s End and committing atrocities and everywhere the talk is of war and rumors of war.

Arianne sends a raven.

The party departs the Weeping Town and strikes north for Griffin’s Roost. As they enter the rainwood, Arianne takes special note of all the vegetation that she sees, and… it’s really good writing:

Dusk found them on the fringes of the rainwood, a wet green world where brooks and rivers ran through dark forests and the ground was made of mud and rotting leaves. Huge willows grew along the watercourses, larger than any that Arianne had ever seen, their great trunks as gnarled and twisted as an old man’s face and festooned with beards of silvery moss. Trees pressed close on every side, shutting out the sun; hemlock and red cedars, white oaks, soldier pines that stood as tall and straight as towers, colossal sentinels, big-leaf maples, redwoods, wormtrees, even here and there a wild weirwood. Underneath their tangled branches ferns and flowers grew in profusion; sword ferns, lady ferns, bellflowers and piper’s lace, evening stars and poison kisses, liverwort, lungwort, hornwort. Mushrooms sprouted down amongst the tree roots, and from their trunks as well, pale spotted hands that caught the rain. Other trees were furred with moss, green or grey or red-tailed, and once a vivid purple. Lichens covered every rock and stone. Toadstools festered besides rotting logs. The very air seemed green.

That night, rains fall and the party beats a hasty retreat to a cave. There, two of Arianne’s party (Feathers and Elia Sand) go off to explore the cave. When they don’t return promptly, Arianne and the rest of the party set off looking for them. Arianne and Ser Daemon Sand set off down one passage and see the faces that the Children of the Forest carved into the rock. (Hello Bran and the Three Eyed Crow potentially being able to see them!) When they finally find Elia and Feathers, Arianne chastises her in some potential foreshadowing for Arianne:

You could have died,” said Arianne again. Her words echoed off the cavern walls. “…died… died … died…”

Arianne reminds Elia that she swore an oath on her father’s, Oberyn, bones, and Elia unhappily says she will obey Arianne from here on out. (She won’t).

The next morning, the party arrives at Mistwood: a castle recently taken by the Golden Company. There, they encounter Chain and John Mudd: two sellsword serjeants who reveal that Jon Connington and Aegon are marching from Storm’s End, but where are they marching? Mudd tells Chain to keep his trap shut, but Chain retorts that Arianne is Dorne, and that she’s there to join with Aegon. Arianne is a bit more reluctant to think that way.

That evening, the Dornish and the Golden Company share a dinner, and Arianne meets up with Olenna Tyrell… err… wait… no, not her… I mean, Lady Mertyns (But seriously, she’s basically Lady Olenna, and she’s feisty: h/t PoorQuentyn for this point). Cheerfully, Lady Mertyns tells Arianne:

“My sons and grandsons went off when Lord Renly called his banners,” she told the princess and her party. “I have not seen them since, though from time to time they send a raven. One of my grandsons took a wound at the Blackwater, but he’s since recovered. I expect they will return here soon enough to hang this lot of thieves.”

After some ‘playful’ banter on whether the Golden Company are a lot of thieves and rapists or not, Arianne dispatches a second raven back to her father from the castle’s rookery.

Arianne returns to her chambers and discovers Feathers and Elia Sand fooling around in the room next to hers. She again chastises Elia Sand for being an idiot and for getting handsy with a serving man. Again, Arianne reminds Elia of her vows on her father’s bones and again the girl unhappily acknowledges her vows.

The next day, the party sets off for Griffin’s Roost. Along the way, Chain lets slip that Jon Connington and Aegon are moving on Storm’s End. Arianne wonders whether Connington is brave or foolish.

Arianne sends a raven.

As the party approaches Griffin’s Roost, they’re met by the Golden Company’s spymaster: Lysono Maar. Lysono’s appearance startles Arianne, and she finds him unnerving to look upon with his earrings and painted fingernails. She wonders if this is what Viserys Targaryen looked like.

The party continues towards Griffin’s Roost, and Arianne tries to manipulate Lysono into telling her more information. Lysono mostly hedges and manipulates Arianne right back into allying Dorne with the Golden Company’s dragon. When Arianne asks where Daenerys Targaryen is and how she has actual dragons. Lysono gives her this response:

“Half a world away on Slaver’s Bay,” said Lysono Maar. “As for these purported dragons, I have not seen them. In cyvasse, it is true, the dragon is mightier than the elephant. On the battlefield, give me elephants I can see and touch and send against my foes, not dragons made of words and wishes.”

Arianne sends a raven.

Finally, the party arrives at Griffin’s Roost and greeted by House Connington and Golden Company banners atop the battlements. After being introduced to a few sellswords, Haldon Halfmaester (a companion of Jon Connington’s and Tyrion’s from A Dance with Dragons) approaches Arianne and reports some shocking news:

“Has no one told you?”   Halden Halfmaester favored her with a smile thin and hard as a dagger cut. “Storm’s End is ours. The Hand awaits you there.”

Arianne is told that a ship awaits to take her up to Storm’s End. She decides to think on it. Haldon tells her that Aegon and Connington are marching out to meet the Tyrells in battle, and Arianne wonders if she’ll actually be safe at Storm’s End.

That night, Ser Daemon Sand approaches her and requests to go up to Storm’s End in her place, but she declines. Arianne is Dorne, and she has her orders:

“My father entrusted this task to me, not you. Come the morrow, I sail to beard the dragon in its den.”

Analysis

This is no simple travelogue chapter. Instead, GRRM has opted to explore the fate of Dorne through an introspective POV character who doesn’t know what to do. That motif is evident throughout Arianne’s various observations of what she sees. She’s there to evaluate what Doran Martell should do, but she’s slowly moving towards action.

The question is whether the direction she’s moving in is what Doran Martell actually wants. There’s nothing if not a sense that Arianne is moving Dorne to side with Aegon in this chapter. Will Dorne survive the war to come? Is Aegon worth siding with? The answers elude Arianne, but her literal movement to Aegon is likely a broad metaphor for how Arianne will move Dorne closer to war and to Aegon.

One question that I’ve seen come up is why did Doran Martell send Elia Sand, Daemon Sand and a party of unknowns along with Arianne? The answer is probably fairly simple. If you’ve read A Feast for Crows, you’ll know that Arianne nearly destroyed years of Doran Martell’s planning by crowning Myrcella Baratheon with her friends. Daemon Sand was once Arianne’s lover, and his presence is intended to prevent Arianne from seducing her way into Aegon’s favor. Meanwhile, Elia Sand is meant to serve as a stand-in for Arianne herself, so that she’s reminded of her own foolishness. In fact, Daemon Sand says as much to her in the cave:

“Why would my father inflict her on me?”

“Vengeance?” the knight suggested, with a smile.

Meanwhile, the party of unknowns is intended to prevent Arianne from doing something foolish, like… take ship for Storm’s End.

And that’s the rub: Doran Martell has invested Arianne with a select party of compatriots, but they are powerless to stop Arianne from doing what she wants. That will have consequences later on in The Winds of Winter.

Interesting Tidbits

This chapter has a fairly interesting publication history. It was originally intended to be in The Winds of Winter, but GRRM decided to move up the chronology of an event in A Dance with Dragons, so he ended up writing this chapter and the preceding Arianne chapter for A Dance with Dragons in early 2010.

Later, he ended up reshuffling the order and placing the two Arianne chapters into The Winds of Winter:

What’s happened is, I’ve decided to move two completed chapters, from Arianne’s POV, out of the present volume and into THE WINDS OF WINTER. This is something I’ve gone back and forth on. Arianne wasn’t originally supposed to have any viewpoint chapters in DANCE at all, but there’s this… hmmm, how vague do I want be? VERY vague, I think… there’s this event that would of necessity provoke a Dornish reaction. The event was originally going to occur near the end of the book, but in one of my forty-seven restructures I moved it to the late middle instead. And the timeline then required that the Dornish reaction happen in this book and not the next one, so I wrote the two Arianne chapters and was going to write a third… and a chapter from another POV that would be a necessary complement to them, and…

But no, I’ve restructured again, and put the original precipitating event back close to the end of the book. Which means the Arianne chapters can be returned to WINDS, where I had ’em originally. – GRRM, notablog, Dancing in Circles?, 7/27/2010

Also of interest, Ser Addam Whitehead makes his grand appearance as a knight leading men and boys north to join with Connington. Who is Addam Whitehead? Why no other than Adam “Werthead” Whitehead of Wertzone and Westeros.org fame!

What’s Next for Arianne?

We know that GRRM originally intended to write a third Arianne chapter. We can surmise that Arianne will meet Aegon in this chapter. I wonder… will she fall for him? It seems likely given her perspective:

Pretty boys had ever been her weakness, particularly the ones who were dark and dangerous as well. (TWOW, Arianne I)

It seems more likely given Tyrion’s observation of Aegon’s appearance:

This beardless boy could have any maiden in the Seven Kingdoms, blue hair or no. Those eyes of his would melt them. (ADWD, Tyrion IV)

With Aegon at her side, Arianne will look to King’s Landing and perhaps her own place as Queen of Westeros. But Daenerys and her dragons are coming, and with their coming, Arianne will be in significant danger. Will the dragon queen accept Arianne or will she die… die… die… 

BryndenBFish is the creator of the Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire Blog a blog and podcast dedicated to political and military analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire. He can be found at twitter as @BryndenBFish. Additionally for those interested, he’s mid-process through an analysis of Aegon, Jon Connington and Arianne Martell’s storyline on his blog. Check out his “Blood of the Conqueror” tag on WordPress for more!

178 responses

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    1. Martin really lost control over the narrative..

      And to think how much I loved the first 3 books.. A sad day for me.

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    2. Mihnea,

      Yeah, everyone knows this. But he didn’t actually post it online until now and technically no one should have been able to read it until now, and lots of people haven’t read it until now. So let’s just skip rehashing that whole thing.

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    3. Sue the Fury,

      Agreed. Just wanted to point that he wrote this years ago.

      Don’t worry. I’m not going to post much in this thread. Book talk really doesn’t interest me anymore.

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    4. So… Another old chapter written years ago shows up. Not new at all.

      TWOW progress report: Not much progress to report.

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    5. Mihnea:
      Martin really lost control over the narrative..

      And to think how much I loved the first 3 books.. A sad day for me.

      zzzzzZZZZZzzzzz

      Why do you like this book series again? Geez.

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    6. Lars,

      The major problem is the pacing. At this pace Martin will need 2 more books after WOW to finish the story.

      The narrative is simply out of control.

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    7. Ugh, not only is this old, it’s about the Martell’s. They’re my least favorite part of the books, if I’m being honest

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    8. Ser Roger Sterling,

      I loved the first 3 books. LOVED them. I consider them to be masterpieces of fantasy writing.

      The last 2 ruined the books for. They simply aren’t the books I felt in love with. The characters as well aren’t the ones I felt in love with and the writing has changed drasticaly.

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    9. Luka Nieto,

      All joking aside, I actually found the reading interesting enough. I liked the Alayne chapter too, even though many don’t. It’s interesting reading, in that it’s written interestingly… but no interesting stuff actually happens. Nothing happens, in fact. As someone pointed out, in the first book Catelyn could leave Winterfell in one chapter and arrive in King’s Landing in the next, and that’s an approach I very much miss from George. Tell us all of this in narration when Arianne actually arrives to her destination! Does the book REALLY need two whole chapters, perhaps three, of Arianne traveling from Dorne to Storm’s End, which isn’t even that far? Each book has somewhere between 40 and 70 chapters or so, right? Why are so many of them wasted on stuff like this?

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    10. Does the release of this chapter mean anything for the upcoming events on the show this year?

      It’s possible that

      Ellaria and the Sand Snakes will attempt or even succeed at taking Storm’s End this season. I don’t think it’s been mentioned on the show since Renly was killed.

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    11. I haven’t read this chapter yet and I’m not going to read it now. I gobbled up all the previous sample chapters during the waiting but now that the show has caught up I don’t want to take myself out of show mentality in the middle of the season and get into book mentality just to read one chapter. I’ll wait until I have the book in my hands. Or it’s been 3 months (days?) since the season has been over and I’m desperate.

      I’m just surprised that if he was going to drop a chapter on us right now that it wasn’t to get to reveal some info before the show does it, like he did with the Arya chapter before.

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    12. I read this chapter for the first time today and it was good. Nothing great but interesting to me as a stand alone chapter. I have no idea what GRRM changed from the previous version but even Blind Beth could see Martin is dragging this shit out if he plans to finish with 7 or 8 books. The show is wrapping up loose threads and plot lines at a break neck pace so far in season 6 of GoT. It is because they have an end game and they mean to get there. And they will…on time. And fans will enjoy the ride

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    13. Sword of the Morning,

      They’ll skip the Stormlands, surely, won’t they? However, in TWOW, after Storm’s End, the Griffs and the Golden Company will likely march to the capital, probably with Arianne and Dornish men. I expect it to happen in the show too, except instead of a doomed fake dragon with mercenaries and a princess with a Dornish army it will just be… a Dornish army. They’ll cut to the chase. Which is why they cut the Griffs and Arianne in the first place.

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    14. Lars:
      So… Another old chapter written years ago shows up. Not new at all.

      TWOW progress report: Not much progress to report.

      I’m fearing that the Show Ending is going to wind up being the only ending we get. Now I’m really hoping for more Dunk & Egg – there was tighter writing there anyway.

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    15. Why not release a chapter he’s never read/presented before? Is he ever going to release this book?

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    16. I don’t understand how he is planing to finish this story with this pacing?!

      In Arriane’s first chapter she should have met Jon C. Everything that had happened in her 2 chapters could have been summarized in 2 pages.

      GRRM still has great ideas, and last two books are good, when you read outline only, but he doesn’t have that great execution any more.

      I really wish he started this story 20 years earlier.

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    17. Jack Bauer 24:
      People are saying that George released this to take a shot and Beinoff and Weiss show Dorne.

      I don’t think he’s that sour. It may be a way for him to show the contrast. As in “The books are still worth reading! This storyline doesn’t even exist in the show!”. Which I believe is actually a great strategy, whatever I think of the endless travelogues. You may not like Dorne in the books, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who, even if they like Dorne on the show, would say the subplot is as developed as it is on the books.

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    18. *Sees that George R.R. Martin has posted a new sample chapter from The Winds of Winter*

      “Great! I look forward to reading it.”

      *Hears anecdotal evidence that the chapter is an old one that was removed from A Dance With Dragons, and which Martin has previously read at several conventions*

      “Oh. Still, it should be cool. Just so long as it’s not …”

      *Sees that the chapter is an Arianne Martell POV, and a travelogue (and yes, it is a travelogue) setting up her impending meeting with fAegon*

      “Actually … I think I’m good. Hard pass on that.”

      *Bites tongue, reads the chapter anyway in the interest of fairness*

      That was … not promising. And my expectations were low.

      *Goes to GRRM’s Not A Blog, sees that Martin is claiming that the Sand Snakes, Doran, Hotah, Ellaria, and fucking Darkstar will be up to ‘Quite a lot’ in The Winds of Winter*

      Screams silently into the void.

      Look, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. I’m happy for everyone who enjoyed this chapter and for the update on GRRM’s progress. But I can’t share in that excitement. Not for Arianne. Not for fAegon. And not for this chapter.

      I’ve expressed my distaste for the Dornish storyline in the novels many times before, and this chapter confirms that it’s steering in exactly the direction that I feared it would. By that I mean Doran and his brood are heading right into the fAegon abyss, which is a kind way of saying they’re heading nowhere. So the Dornish master plan is shooting par for the course, at least.

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    19. If GRRM’s editor is worth her Dornish salt, she will be able to convince Martin to condense Arianne’s travelogue to just one or two chapters

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    20. Luka Nieto,

      I hope that Dorne will wait for Dany. I don’t think that the audience will be invested in their war with the Lannisters. And I don’t think there is time for that in the show. They won’t appear in E4 as well.

      So only 6 episodes left and there are many things happening in KL without their war with Dorne.

      Yes, I think they will wait for Dany.

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    21. I’m disheartened that I care so little. Maybe I read Dance too long ago, or just don’t care about Dorne, but I feel ‘meh’. 🙁

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    22. Mihnea
      Martin really lost control over the narrative..

      And to think how much I loved the first 3 books.. A sad day for me.:

      I completely disagree!
      It’s an excellent revenge tale.

      “GRRM has opted to explore the fate of Dorne through an introspective POV character who doesn’t know what to do.”
      That exactly mirrors the fate of her brother Quentin, and I guess she will find also a tragic end.

      The Dorne arc is actually Doran’s arc – Doran the oh so careful planer (who bashed Tyrell as reckless for sending his son Villas in a josting although he wasn’t ready for it, which made Villas a cripple) sends his own children to their deaths, because they are not ready for their tasks.

      Doran is so carefully planing his revenge – but in the end he will lose everything:
      first his children, then his other relatives, the watergardens and the children there (a symbol of innocence), and in the end Dorne will burn in dragon fire – and he alone will survive to see this.
      (This is actually one reason why I’m so pissed off about what the show did to the Dorne arc.)

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    23. mau:
      Luka Nieto,

      I hope that Dorne will wait for Dany. I don’t think that the audience will be invested in their war with the Lannisters. And I don’t think there is time for that in the show. They won’t appear in E4 as well.

      So only 6 episodes left and there are many things happening in KL without their war with Dorne.

      Yes, I think they will wait for Dany.

      I think the next we’ll see of Ellaria in Dorne will be gathering an army to march to the capital. In that much we agree, don’t we? In my original predictions I agreed with you afterwards too: I believed they would wait for Dany in the Eastern shore of Dorne, but now I believe that marching directly to the capital is also a possibility. Perhaps a stronger possibility, as Aegon and Arianne will surely fail, won’t they? Even if they take King’s Landing, they are doomed soon after. So Ellaria’s Dornish should be similarly doomed in the show.

      It’s not like the show needs many scenes for this. I don’t think we’ll actually see a battle or anything; just Cersei reciving news from Qyburn’s little birds (or the small council receiving news) that Dorne is marching to war. Then cut to: Ellaria calling the banners and a CGI army marching out of Dorne. Then at the end of the season, we see the same army arriving and knocking at the gates of King’s Landing and perhaps even the Red Keep. And then Cersei fucks shit up.

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    24. Luka Nieto:
      Luka Nieto,

      All joking aside, I actually found the reading interesting enough. I liked the Alayne chapter too, even though many don’t. It’s interesting reading, in that it’s written interestingly… but no interesting stuff actually happens. Nothing happens, in fact. As someone pointed out, in the first book Catelyn could leave Winterfell in one chapter and arrive in King’s Landing in the next, and that’s an approach I very much miss from George. Tell us all of this in narration when Arianne actually arrives to her destination! Does the book REALLY need two whole chapters, perhaps three, of Arianne traveling from Dorne to Storm’s End, which isn’t even that far? Each book has somewhere between 40 and 70 chapters or so, right? Why are so many of them wasted on stuff like this?

      I agree with this %100 and would like to ask your permission to use this as a formal petition and I volunteer to collect signatures along with this then post it to GRRM’s front door with a dagger and a flaming turd

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    25. Prediction: The final shot of the show will be Varys and Illyrio fist bumping, and then jumping in the air, arms raised in victory, while shouting “Yes!!” Freeze frame and roll credits (over which Littlefinger can be heard chuckling).

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    26. The sad – but yet deeply fascinating – thing here for me is that no matter how we consider it, the show has spoiled the books on that regard…

      We can theorize all we want and the way there will probably be twisted and still interesting to read, but there’s no way Arianne, Aegon and JonCon are long term characters. They’re just here to give momentum to other storylines (most notably, King’s Landing, Oldtown and Daenerys I’d say) to propel them in the required position for the story to enter its final act.

      Still, it’s gonna be interesting to read it, having quite a precise idea on the outcome of that particular story will not totally spoil the fun of the reading…
      But then I understand D&D’s choice. From one perspective, all this storylines definitly sounds like a useless “penultimate” red-herring before the final act, so in the end, I’m not even that sad the show has spoiled it and decided to move at a faster pace.

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    27. Analysis

      This is no simple travelogue chapter. Instead, GRRM has opted to explore the fate of Dorne through an introspective POV character who doesn’t know what to do.

      It`s no simple travelogue chapter but a travelogue chapter nontheless. The chapter only gets intresting at the end you could cut out the first 80% of it (cave exploring, discussing weather, state of the roads, shape of trees … usual GRRM filler) and it would work just fine

      We know that her first chapter is the travelogue and by the way the second travel chapter ends the third will also be a travelogue on a ship heading to Storms End.

      Sometimes i have trouble beliving this is the same man who wrote the first three books.

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    28. Luka Nieto: I think the next we’ll see of Ellaria in Dorne will be gathering an army to march to the capital. In that much we agree, don’t we? In my original predictions I agreed with you afterwards too: I believed they would wait for Dany in the Eastern shore of Dorne, but now I believe that marching directly to the capital is also a possibility. Perhaps a stronger possibility, as Aegon and Arianne will surely fail, won’t they? Even if they take King’s Landing, they are doomed soon after. So Ellaria’s Dornish should be similarly doomed in the show.

      It’s not like the show needs many scenes for this. I don’t think we’ll actually see a battle or anything; just Ellaria calling the banners, a CGI army marching out of Dorne, and the same army arriving and knocking at the gates of King’s Landing and perhaps even the Red Keep. And then Cersei fucks shit up.

      No. I disagree. I don’t think they will march on KL and there is absolutely no suggestion for that from the information we have about this season.

      I don’t see why would they waste their time with Ellaria if she is going to fail. There are so many things that are going to happen at the end of the season. Pointless attack from Dorne won’t, I’m sure of it.

      Just like Sansa won’t send Brienne to bring Jaime. 😉

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    29. mau: I don’t think they will march on KL and there is absolutely no suggestion for that from the information we have about this season.

      Aside from the likelihood of the book-to-show simplified adaptation (from Aegon and the Golden Company and Dorne marching to the capital in TWOW to Dorne marching to the capital in season six), there’s the fact that Cersei and Jaime are still bringing up Dorne, and not just in the context of Myrcella’s murder. Dorne is brought up as a serious political problem:

      The same women who murdered Myrcella have overthrown House Martell and taken control of Dorne. We’ve got a lot to discuss.

      mau: I don’t see why would they waste their time with Ellaria if she is going to fail.

      The same could be said of Stannis, yet his most important season was the one in which he failed. Anyway, I don’t think they’ll spend much time in Dorne at all. Just a single scene, actually. This story isn’t even about Ellaria or Dorne; it’s about Cersei and King’s Landing. It just involves Ellaria and Dorne.

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    30. What is the color of Arianne’s nipples? Will they be tweaked?

      Martin “releasing” this “new” chapter is just him trying to differentiate the books from the show. Also, I find it curious that so many readers are fans of Arianne. How someone can get invested in a nominal character parachuted in halfway through the series is beyond me.

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    31. I think he released that to remind us that his Dorne storyline is dramatically different from the farce that we’ve seen from D & D on GoT. He did this last year, too, remember, gave us a Sansa chapter that didn’t have her married to Ramsay and raped and tortured?

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    32. TWO Arianne chapters, all travelogue, and she still hasn’t gotten to fAegon! Didn’t this book need to start closing threads not prolonging them? Why waste so much space on description of differences between Dorne and Stormlands, we know that 7 kingdoms are different – North is cold and South is hot, no need to spend so much time on this and its pretty boring with zero action for a doomed character

      There should have been just 2 chapters – the leave-taking and arrival. There was no need to waste space to show (though beautiful writing) all those useless characters she meets and talks with just to find out she needs to travel for at least 1 more chapter.

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    33. mau:

      I really wish he started this story 20 years earlier.

      No, that’s far too optimistic, more like 25-30 years

      Jack Bauer 24,

      He can only release so much, because he won’t want to spoil anything major. I have no problem with this at all. He doesn’t have to release anything.

      I’m also worried that he is even thinking about putting a different sample chapter up online. If he was close to finishing surely he wouldn’t see much point. You can’t even say that this chapter will encourage people to buy TWOW who wouldn’t have otherwise. Dorne in the show is shit, Dorne in the books is shit. The difference is that the show version is much, much, much shorter, and cuts out the endless boring travelogues. It’s funny that the same people who were saying that Dorne in the books was average before the show version aired are now proclaiming it as a work of art. I just hope the quality of TWOW overall is closer to the quality of the Mercy sample chapter rather than this one (and many of the other sample chapters). I can’t say I’m optimistic.

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    34. Danyara:
      I think he released that to remind us that his Dorne storyline is dramatically different from the farce that we’ve seen from D & D on GoT.He did this last year, too, remember, gave us a Sansa chapter that didn’t have her married to Ramsay and raped and tortured?

      He could have released something NEW. We already knew the two Dorne plots were different.

        Quote  Reply

    35. Luka Nieto,

      But that is your mistake. I’m generally like your prediction, but where we disagree, and where you are often wrong, is when you try to force the book plot to the show plot.

      Sansa won’t take the LSH’s role.Ellaria won’t take YG’s role.
      They are just cut.

      And you can’t compare Stannis and Ellaria. Stannis was the main character since S2, His war with the Boltons was the main story in the North in S5/book 5.

      And his defeat was very important for Sansa, Melisandre, Davos, Ramsay, Roose,..
      Ellaria is there to be Dany’s supporter and that’s it.

      But we can wait and see what will happen.

        Quote  Reply

    36. Luka Nieto: I don’t think he’s that sour. It may be a way for him to show the contrast. As in “The books are still worth reading! This storyline doesn’t even exist in the show!”. Which I believe is actually a great strategy, whatever I think of the endless travelogues. You may not like Dorne in the books, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who, even if they like Dorne on the show, would say the subplot is as developed as it is on the books.

      Good points. I like Arianne and Dorne in the books – much more than say all the nuncles floating around out there. I am still excited to read the book(s) when and if they come out. The fact that some of the storylines are seemingly nullified by the show doesn’t diminish my enthusiasm at all.

        Quote  Reply

    37. Sword of the Morning:
      Does the release of this chapter mean anything for the upcoming events on the show this year?

      It’s possible that

      Naah, that’s too complicated for what D&D perceive to be the audience’s intelligence. The purpose of Dorne is to attack King’s Landing and kill Tommen (Cersei flees). Anything is more than the show will give them.

        Quote  Reply

    38. It’s interesting (more disheartening) that the vast majority of us have a negative opinion of this chapter and real misgivings about the future of the books. These chapters are a real let down for most of us and are just the same unnecessary worldbuilding that took up 85% of AFFC/ADWD.

      I said in the other thread- it’s not just GRRMs fault… His editors need a huge kick in the ass over this- it’s gone on for way too long now it’s just ridiculous.

      Say what you will about D&D, they know how to truncate a story- and they do a damn good job at it.

        Quote  Reply

    39. mau: Sansa won’t take the LSH’s role.Ellaria won’t take YG’s role.
      They are just cut.

      Dorne will sack KL in TV at the end of the season and kill Tommen. Dorne/YG will do the same in the books. So yes, Ellaria is taking YG’s role.

      You are right, though, that Sansa will not be taking LSH’s role. She has no business in the Riverlands this season. She is in the north.

        Quote  Reply

    40. Chad Brick,

      Many people are trying to figure out the purpose of Dorne in the books too. Sometimes when a series gets more and more complicated due to the authors’ desire to “flesh” out the world, it becomes overly convoluted and impossible to resolve. Fortunately, GRRM writes at a brisk pace, and hasn’t shown any signs at all that he is struggling to bring plot elements together and actually finish the story. Oh wait…

        Quote  Reply

    41. Apollo:
      It’s interesting (more disheartening) that the vast majority of us have a negative opinion of this chapter and real misgivings about the future of the books. These chapters are a real let down for most of us and are just the same unnecessary worldbuilding that took up 85% of AFFC/ADWD.

      I said in the other thread- it’s not just GRRMs fault… His editors need a huge kick in the ass over this- it’s gone on for way too long now it’s just ridiculous.

      Say what you will about D&D, they know how to truncate a story- and they do a damn good job at it.

      This website is book-hate central and always has been. I completely expected a certain group of people to instantly hate the chapter, just as I completely expected them to be unable to articulate why beyond words like “world-building” and “travelogue”.

      If one major plot point per ~15 minute chapter is not enough for you, you are expecting too much. And you are misremembering the first three books if you think they came faster back then.

        Quote  Reply

    42. Chad Brick: Dorne will sack KL in TV at the end of the season and kill Tommen. Dorne/YG will do the same in the books. So yes, Ellaria is taking YG’s role.

      No. I don’t think so. I think she will have a scene with Varys at the end of the season, because that actor was spotted on Dornish set.

        Quote  Reply

    43. Knight of the Walkers: No, that’s far too optimistic, more like 25-30 years

      Jack Bauer 24,
      It’s funny that the same people who were saying that Dorne in the books was average before the show version aired are now proclaiming it as a work of art. I just hope the quality of TWOW overall is closer to the quality of the Mercy sample chapter rather than this one (and many of the other sample chapters). I can’t say I’m optimistic.

      I honestly didn’t even know people disliked Arianne or Dorne until I came here.

      The message board I used to talk ASOIAF with – those people were always always ragging on the Brienne chapters in the books and saying they were so slow and meandering. I love her and her chapters. I don’t mind the worldbuilding so much. For me, it was the introduction of a whole host of new people in AFFC and ADWD and the focus being taken off of the main characters that we care about in a way that wasn’t exciting or interesting. But, out of all the new people, I definitely liked Arianne the most. Stab me in the face if I have to read another Victarion chapter.

        Quote  Reply

    44. Chad Brick: This website is book-hate central and always has been. I completely expected a certain group of people to instantly hate the chapter, just as I completely expected them to be unable to articulate why beyond words like “world-building” and “travelogue”.

      If one major plot point per ~15 minute chapter is not enough for you, you are expecting too much. And you are misremembering the first three books if you think they came faster back then.

      Sorry, Shakespeare.. But the last two books are nowhere near the same standard of the first three. It’s as if they’ve been written by a different person. Maybe that’s because of the timeframe in which they’ve been written, but thems the breaks.

      And incidentally… “book-haters” is an equally over used term. Westeros.org perchance? Boom.

        Quote  Reply

    45. Knight of the Walkers:
      Chad Brick,

      Many people are trying to figure out the purpose of Dorne in the books too. Sometimes when a series gets more and more complicated due to the authors’ desire to “flesh” out the world, it becomes overly convoluted and impossible to resolve. Fortunately, GRRM writes at a brisk pace, and hasn’t shown any signs at all that he is struggling to bring plot elements together and actually finish the story. Oh wait…

      I disagree. The pulling together of threads began in the second half of ADWD, with convergence of Asha/Theon and Jaime/Brienne. It is clear that TWOW will have more, with four POV’s leading towards Meereen (Dany, Selmy, Tyrion, Vic) and the eventual convergence of Arienne and JonCon/YG.

      The books expanded during the middle section, but it is clear that we are heading back towards a more funneled section as the story winds down.

        Quote  Reply

    46. Apollo:
      Say what you will about D&D, they know how to truncate a story- and they do a damn good job at it.

      Hear, hear. I am forever grateful to them for excising Tyrion’s excellent adventures through the waterways of Essos and she who shall not be named.

        Quote  Reply

    47. I think it’s interesting that we have two groups of people: those who want everything in a hurry and big payoffs NOW and those who like reading meandering stories that take a very long time to pay off at the end.

      It’s like the TV show vs the books. Since I separated them completely in my mind and view them as two different stories, I can appreciate both things. As long as I don’t die before George finishes the series, I can wait as long as it takes for him to complete it.

      He mentioned he did 47 restructures? I can see how this is taking such a long time for him to write. I think that JRR Tolkien also completely rewrote Lord of the Rings many times over. Perfectionism has its problems for sure.

      If I had adapted the books for the TV series I would have done things differently, by placing less emphasis on the Lannisters (epsecially Cersei and not turn her into a more 3-dimensional character because why?) but would have included more of Dorne, including Quentyn going to Meereen, Arianne as Doran’s willful daughter going to the stormlands, and the two Griffs. This to bolster Dany’s story because in my view she is the main female character of the series (along with Jon) but the TV show has not been too clear in demonstrating this.

      However, I am sure that every avid show viewer has their own ideas on how they would have adapted such a huge book series differently.

        Quote  Reply

    48. mau: No. I don’t think so. I think she will have a scene with Varys at the end of the season, because that actor was spotted on Dornish set.

      You think the Dorne plot is going to end the season with a chit-chat? You make me glad that D&D are at the helm.

        Quote  Reply

    49. Chad Brick:
      If one major plot point per ~15 minute chapter is not enough for you, you are expecting too much. And you are misremembering the first three books if you think they came faster back then.

      GRRM released 10 chapters, not just one. Arya’s chapter is fine, and Theon’s is good as always. Everything else is just a set-up. And he has 2 set-up chapters of Arriane. For now.

      He will need a set-up chapter for Cersei, from someone at the Wall, from Dany, from Davos, from Brienne/Jaime,…

      He will have 15-20 chapters of just set-ups. And book will have 70-80 chapters. I really can’t see how he thinks to move the plot.

      Stannis is still alive. Myrcella is still alive. Selmy is still alive. And many other characters.

      Every satisfying storyline had something between 6 to 10 chapters in the past.

      He can’t give 6-10 chapters to Cersei, Jaime, Bran, Sansa, Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Arya, Theon,.. because there is just not enough space.

      I’m really interested to read TWOW. It will show how much control of his story GRRM has. If TWOW is another slow paced book, then he is truly lost.

        Quote  Reply

    50. Chad Brick: This website is book-hate central and always has been. I completely expected a certain group of people to instantly hate the chapter, just as I completely expected them to be unable to articulate why beyond words like “world-building” and “travelogue”.

      In the first few books, Martin was able to transport characters like Catelyn and Theon vast distances without stopping to smell the zorses. When Martin did spend pages on travel, such as Ned’s trip down the King’s Road with Robert or Catelyn’s journey to the Eyrie with Tyrion, significant events happened. One of the things that amazes me about early ASOIAF is that although the books were huge, they moved quickly. They were (for the most part) tightly written and well-paced. This is in stark contrast to the last two books where world-building occurs just for the sake of world-building.

      It’s bloat. Plain and simple.

        Quote  Reply

    51. jennyofoldstones:
      If I had adapted the books for the TV series I would have done things differently, by placing less emphasis on the Lannisters (epsecially Cersei and not turn her into a more 3-dimensional character because why?) but would have included more of Dorne, including Quentyn going to Meereen, Arianne as Doran’s willful daughter going to the stormlands, and the two Griffs.This to bolster Dany’s story because in my view she is the main female character of the series (along with Jon) but the TV show has not been too clear in demonstrating this.

      However, I am sure that every avid show viewer has their own ideas on how they would have adapted such a huge book series differently.

      I’m glad you weren’t the one doing the adapting. 😉 I kid, I kid.

      I would love to sit D&D down at the end of the series, or even now, and ask them “Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?” I think there would be quite a few things they would have changed/removed completely. All things considered, I do think they have done a phenomenal job with something once deemed unfilmable.

        Quote  Reply

    52. Making the 8,

      To be fair I feel like everyone commenting on this post needs to realise that GRRM is not their bitch, and it’s his story.
      Frankly anyone who can say they prefer the shows rushed storylines more compared to the da tail and depth in the books can’t truly be taken seriously.
      This story is about the story, not the end point for the plots.

        Quote  Reply

    53. I don’t find this “travelogue” boring or unnecessary at all. As a matter of fact, I think it’s great worldbuilding, which is something GRRM generally does very well. Bear in mind no chapter had ever dealt so much on the Stormlands until now. We get to see the fate of the lords who supported Stannis, the caves of the Children of the Forest, the engulfing nature of the Rainwood, the resting place of the Young Dragon and the horrors of the Golden Company.
      And really, how can anyone dislike a chapter with this quote
      “If you should see this Lord Connington, you tell him that I knew his mother, and she would be ashamed.”

        Quote  Reply

    54. Chad Brick,

      I don’t think Dorne has any plot this season. They just had one scene. They will maybe have 2 more and that’s it. Chit-chat ended Dorne’s storyline in the books.

      They will be part of Dany’s storyline and that last scene will be seen in that context, not as a separate storyline. Just like Yara’s scene in S3 was part of Theon’s storyline.

      I think so. But I could be wrong.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Chad Brick: You think the Dorne plot is going to end the season with a chit-chat? You make me glad that D&D are at the helm.

      I agree with Mau. The Dorne plot is going to end with a scheme/plot hatched at the behest of

      Olenna and Varys

      . Although we may see something with Nym and Obara in KL. If the two I mentioned in spoiler text are trying to get a woman on the throne (Dany – standing in for Myrcella) then it is possible that Nym and Obara will kill Tommen or otherwise eff shit up in KL but I am not sure of it.

        Quote  Reply

    56. LazyBlueperson:
      Making the 8,

      To be fair I feel like everyone commenting on this post needs to realise that GRRM is not their bitch, and it’s his story.
      Frankly anyone who can say they prefer the shows rushed storylines more compared to the da tail and depth in the books can’t truly be taken seriously.
      This story is about the story, not the end point for the plots.

      I like the books and the show – how should I be taken? 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    57. Laura,

      Everyone hates SS. I really don’t think that D&D will give them anything to do. They will be just a part of Dany’s army, and they will be killed in the battle sometimes in S7.

        Quote  Reply

    58. LazyBlueperson,

      I prefer the show because I like their pacing better, I don’t care for the worldbuilding if it doesn’t serve the plot, and I like more focused storylines. And I like to have an end.

      But I understand why some people like the books more.

        Quote  Reply

    59. LazyBlueperson:
      Making the 8,

      To be fair I feel like everyone commenting on this post needs to realise that GRRM is not their bitch, and it’s his story.
      Frankly anyone who can say they prefer the shows rushed storylines more compared to the da tail and depth in the books can’t truly be taken seriously.
      This story is about the story, not the end point for the plots.

      I think everyone here has a good understanding that GRRM is not their bitch because if he was, he would be turning out more than 287 pages a year. I enjoy his writing and will read WoW. Slow chapters and all. Characters I think are boring and serve no purpose too. Because the story as a whole is entertaining. I enjoyed this chapter with Arianne and I don’t really care about her character at all but I know it is a piece of the overall puzzle.

      My point is D n D don’t have 5-6 years in between making seasons to work with and it’s impossible to expect them to turn 1500 pages of manuscript into 10 hours worth of television. It’s just not realistic. Character omissions happen, plots get streamlined, and so on.

      The whole GRRM is not your bitch is kind of overused at this point. He can write SoIaF or Wildcards or Dunk and Egg or whatever. He can retire and do conventions. He can build a Westeros land theme park where he can sit high in a tower watching the people scurry below like little ants or he can tear tickets at the gate. He can do WHATEVER he wants. I get it.

      Casual fans like the meat of the story and not so much detail about different colors of moss on trees.

        Quote  Reply

    60. Apollo,

      Yeah, I mean I love ASoIaF, but the way some people fawn over it like it is one of the greatest pieces of fiction ever written do make me laugh. It is an enjoyable fantasy series, that has some (and I mean ~5-10%) fantastic literary sections, but Tolstoy it ain’t. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. These books are great to read, discuss, and analyse, but the idea that our descendants are going to be analysing them in their English Lit classes is frankly absurd. Both types of books are great (and I wouldn’t want just one or the other), but the way some people discuss ASoIaF really makes me wonder.

      Now, George should obviously write the series to the best of his abilities and the way he (and to a lesser extent his editor) wants, but the idea that a certain group of people are “book haters” because they dared to not like a travelogue chapter is both ridiculous and insulting. Moreover, it is even more ludicrous when you consider that GRRM himself is a strong proponent of free speech, and would accept any criticisms of the books without throwing insults like that. Everyone here has said that they love the series, but don’t like a certain element of this chapter (which also featured heavily in the previous 2 books). That is about as far from the definition of “book hater” that you can probably get!

        Quote  Reply

    61. Danyara,

      What’s with some of you projecting your hostilities toward D&D onto GRRM. Anyone who has read the books knows Dorne and Sansa’s story is different, GRRM doesn’t need to release some boring chapters to remind people that.

        Quote  Reply

    62. jennyofoldstones: If I had adapted the books for the TV series I would have done things differently, by placing less emphasis on the Lannisters (epsecially Cersei and not turn her into a more 3-dimensional character because why?) but would have included more of Dorne, including Quentyn going to Meereen, Arianne as Doran’s willful daughter going to the stormlands, and the two Griffs. This to bolster Dany’s story because in my view she is the main female character of the series (along with Jon) but the TV show has not been too clear in demonstrating this.

      I mean this as good-naturedly as possible and with all due respect… but holy cow would I hate your adaptation, lol.

      There are really only three Lannisters and I think two of them are probably important to the end of the story and likely survive (Tyrion and Jaime), and while Cersei certainly dies before the end, she must make it all the way to the last book, and to the last or second-to-last season. That’s the reason why they’ve placed so much emphasis on her and made her more rounded in my estimation – they knew she would be with us from the first episode to close to the end.

        Quote  Reply

    63. Dragonwolf:
      Mihnea
      Martin really lost control over the narrative..


      And to think how much I loved the first 3 books.. A sad day for me.:

      I completely disagree!
      It’s an excellent revenge tale.

      “GRRM has opted to explore the fate of Dorne through an introspective POV character who doesn’t know what to do.”
      That exactly mirrors the fate of her brother Quentin, and I guess she will find also a tragic end.

      The Dorne arc is actually Doran’s arc – Doran the oh so careful planer (who bashed Tyrell as reckless for sending his son Villas in a josting although he wasn’t ready for it, which made Villas a cripple) sends his own children to their deaths, because they are not ready for their tasks.

      Doran is so carefully planing his revenge – but in the end he will lose everything:
      first his children, then his other relatives, the watergardens and the children there (a symbol of innocence), and in the end Dorne will burn in dragon fire – and he alone will survive to see this.
      (This is actually one reason why I’m so pissed off about what the show did to the Dorne arc.)

      You’ve kind of made everyone else’s point here. It is an excellent revenge tale–that has no bearing on the original story! Look, I’m the first person to say that the exploration of Dorne as a section of Westeros made me happy; desert, tolerance, and most of all, Daynes. But to say that this “arc” is integral to the story and absolutely, positively should have been given lots of screen time in the show is ridiculous. I hate to sound like Wimsey, but it is tangential at best. GRRM should have released Dorne as a novella (“More from the world of Westeros!”) like Dunk and Egg. At least the II are connected to Theon, though I found their storyline as boring as all of you find Dorne.

        Quote  Reply

    64. The Winds of Winter is going to be dreadful, and this slice of pointless travelogue is a perfect illustration as to why. In the first three books, these two terrible chapters would have been an introductory paragraph.

      “No Simple Travelogue”

      I genuinely chuckled at this. That’s exactly what it is. The man couldn’t even resist describing the bloody trees in the area.

        Quote  Reply

    65. Dragonwolf,

      So Doran, and all the time spent on him, is merely there to fail completely and utterly just as everyone else from Dorne has? Why on earth was this necessary as a story arc at this point? We’re given no reason to invest in Doran beyond his revenge arc in the first place, and he immediately sabotages it with incompetence. How on earth is that supposed to be compelling.

        Quote  Reply

    66. So the Spanish guy leaking plot info could soon see his day in court. They just posted an article about it over at IGN

        Quote  Reply

    67. Chad Brick,

      Some people think the way to combat irrational show hatred is with irrational book hatred.

      GRRM is a once in a lifetime genius, and if some people think he should just write shitty sparknotes, then its their loss.

      I am the Storm,

      GOOD,
      He has no business leaking these plot details… Its an idiotic move.
      (And even fucking dumber to do it not anonymously)

        Quote  Reply

    68. Knight of the Walkers:
      Apollo,

      Moreover, it is even more ludicrous when you consider that GRRM himself is a strong proponent of free speech, and would accept any criticisms of the books without throwing insults like that.

      Except he kinda isn’t and he doesn’t. Martin’s stance on fanfiction alone puts him out of the running as a champion of free speech. I wouldn’t call his blog a bastion of free speech either.

      And Martin has not taken kindly to negative feedback about his work. Readers pointing out the fanfictional qualities of The World of Ice and Fire were called morons.

        Quote  Reply

    69. It’s better than Arianne I… its not great. I felt my mind wandering a couple of times. Seriously that giant paragraph ‘describing’ the rainwood was awful. Listing 10 different types of tree and then listing 10 different types of shrub isn’t a great way to describe a setting. I really tried to get images in my head but there were none. If he’s going to have a slow story, I’d rather it was a slow story that was beautifully written.

      Buuuuuut we got the sly little gems that Aegon has taken Storms End and King’s Landing have an army on the way and Aegon means to do Battle outside the walls. That’s good for the overall plot. But 80% of this could be taken out.

        Quote  Reply

    70. Wow, I’m reading a lot of ppl biting the hand that feeds them. If you truly love this series you’ll take the highs and the lows that come along with it. No different for the show either. Sure, would we like all the books to be on the same level as ASoS? Of course. But is that realistic, no. You have to have the lows in order to have the highs. I give GRRM nothing but praise and credit. Most of all I have faith in him. This isn’t the first book he wrote the guys been writing his whole life

        Quote  Reply

    71. I hadn’t heard this chapter being read by GRRM, and reading it was a breath of fresh air. My god, I miss these books. I’ve read them 3 times over, and each time they opened up a new dimension for me as a reader. To those who say Martin’s work will not be remembered in literature, you know nothing of the literary work of fantasy writers in the modern era; many of whom have been heavily influenced by Martin’s work the way the writers in the latter part of the 20th Century were influenced by Tolkien.

      If you believe above average writers like David & Dan, and I’m being kind calling them above average, are capable of coming up with anything half as good as ASOIAF, than you’re either deluded or a moron. So far they have shown very little in their ability to write dialogue and intriguing story-lines when they have gone off book (and don’t get me started on the unintentional (written) illogical decisions being made by some of the characters), this will only become more apparent as the seasons continue. They have created some fantastic action sequences, and “funny-little-moments”, but they have shown no ‘depth’ in their writing yet. I hope I am wrong for this season and future seasons, but I fear I am not from what I have seen thus far from seasons 4, 5, and 6 (with regards to off-book material). PS: I’m not saying it’s bad television, on the contrary, it’s still one of the best series in TV history, but it’s starting to lack ‘quality’ as the seasons go on and as there’s less GRRM material for them to feast on.

        Quote  Reply

    72. Read it. More, please. GRRM is playing it so safe. A few CotF, Golden Company and Blackfyre nuggets…Yay. Arianne is walking into her (dire) destiny at Storms End. Love the titillating, soaking wet end of the chapter, wishing I was Daemon Sand.

        Quote  Reply

    73. HelloThere:
      GRRM is a once in a lifetime genius.

      Please tell me this is a joke. If not you are exactly the sort of person I was describing in an earlier comment. GRRM is not a genius, neither are D&D. They’re all highly talented individuals, but they are not even close to being geniuses. In order to be taken seriously it is best to avoid such descriptions.

        Quote  Reply

    74. Mustafa:
      If you believe above average writers like David & Dan, and I’m being kind calling them above average, are capable of coming up with anything half as good as ASOIAF, than you’re either deluded or a moron.

      I dunno, I’m pretty sure I wrote a list of plants and trees for one of my biology classes in school. Super poetic too, definitely GRRMesque.

        Quote  Reply

    75. I don’t think there’s “too much boring reading” here. Let the artist do as he likes.

      I loved the chapter and the kind of slow pace here and there gives contrast to the peaks.

      In my mind everyone who suggests Arianne should have met Aegon already, misses the thought that the open ending raises questions have they in truth conquered Storms End. But just my taste, there’s no right or wrong here.

        Quote  Reply

    76. Knight of the Walkers:
      Apollo,

      Yeah, I mean I love ASoIaF, but the way some people fawn over it like it is one of the greatest pieces of fiction ever written do make me laugh. It is an enjoyable fantasy series, that has some (and I mean ~5-10%) fantastic literary sections, but Tolstoy it ain’t. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. These books are great to read, discuss, and analyse, but the idea that our descendants are going to be analysing them in their English Lit classes is frankly absurd. Both types of books are great (and I wouldn’t want just one or the other), but the way some people discuss ASoIaF really makes me wonder.

      Now, George should obviously write the series to the best of his abilities and the way he (and to a lesser extent his editor) wants, but the idea that a certain group of people are “book haters” because they dared to not like a travelogue chapter is both ridiculous and insulting. Moreover, it is even more ludicrous when you consider that GRRM himself is a strong proponent of free speech, and would accept any criticisms of the books without throwing insults like that. Everyone here has said that they love the series, but don’t like a certain element of this chapter (which also featured heavily in the previous 2 books). That is about as far from the definition of “book hater” that you can probably get!

      I couldn’t agree more. When I see people talking about GRRM like he’s some kind of genius that’s going to be studied for hundreds of years, I can’t stop wondering wtf have they been reading.

        Quote  Reply

    77. Chad Brick,

      They came faster back then. In terms of publishing dates, they were faster: Game 1996, Clash 1999, Storm 2000. Then the delays began: Feast 2005, Dance 2011, with people waiting over a decade to find out what happened to Tyrion, Dany, Jon.

      Game, Clash, Storm had the war of the five kings as overall arc. Then the war ended, and everyone ended up everywhere, no connecting thread. Lots happens in Brienne’s Feast chapters. What would be lost if those chapters were pared down to Brienne asking about her lost sister only once, then getting kidnapped by LSH? Dany settles in Meereen, and we get a totally independent (and repetitious) story about her struggles. GRRM gets her out of that not because of character growth, not because of intricate plotting, but through dragon ex machina. Drogon could have appeared at the end of Dany’s first chapter in Meereen and whisked her off, and not much would have been lost. And I can, sadly, go on and on, for character after character. Quentyn??? Tyrion’s character development being limited to “I’m in despair! Oh, look at her boobs!!! Those nipples! Whoops, I’m in despair, again. Gosh, should I eat those mushrooms? Oh, tortoise! Boobs! Despair!”

      So the hope is GRRM flushes the fillers and picks up the pace in Winds. There is little evidence in the Arianne chapters that he has.

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    78. Cumsprite: You’re gonna burn in hell.

      See ya there, spritey!

      Al Swearengen:
      Laura,

      Such a person doesn’t exist. You’re clearly telling fibs ?

      I had a bookwanker moment in season 4. It was when we saw the Night’s King for the first time with Craster’s baby. I was lit up after that – what the hell is this? it’s not in the books – this sucks! And then I reminded myself that this is a fictional world and I am not Lindaaaaaa. I am pretty able to separate show from books now and enjoy them as separate entities. Hell, I have no choice. If I want to see this ride through to the end, I better be on board with the show.

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    79. Mihnea,

      I agree with your assessment of the first three books vs the last two. I was beyond excited to start AFFC, and while I liked it, it just wasnt the same and at the end i was feeling it drag. Same with ADWD- i was so pumped for some movement and to see dany/tyrion again, and while i enjoyed it i really just didnt find myself enthralled with it. I dont think the writing itself has changed, to me the story has just gotten out of control- too many new characters and derivative plot lines, and while the increase in POV characters is fun, the number of them is starting to feel like it’s hurting the pace. There is nothing wrong with having characters exist off page, or limiting them to one POV chapter just to help give them some depth. If i ever head of a strong belwas POV i might lose all faith, lol. I sometimes find it hard to believe the books will ever be finished- it’s clear that TWOW is still seeing the same problems as the previous two (see the year end post from GRRM, rewriting after 5 years- not good.) my biggest fear is actually that TWOW will be an even bigger mess…… What a dissappointment that would be after all this waiting.

      BUT- on the other hand, i have thoroughly enjoyed the chapters from TWOW- fingers crossed that it is everything we hope it will be!

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    80. Laura,

      Elio is a lucky man. I for one love Linda. She shoots straight from the hip and calls it how she sees it. Didn’t they together write A world of ice and fire? I totally get her perspective. I like the show as well. And I respect Linda

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    81. Chad Brick: I disagree. The pulling together of threads began in the second half of ADWD, with convergence of Asha/Theon and Jaime/Brienne. It is clear that TWOW will have more, with four POV’s leading towards Meereen (Dany, Selmy, Tyrion, Vic) and the eventual convergence of Arienne and JonCon/YG.

      The books expanded during the middle section, but it is clear that we are heading back towards a more funneled section as the story winds down.

      This chapter (along with several others) are proof that it’s still overly inflated with unnecessary (and irrelevant) detail that doesn’t contribute to the overall story. You’re contradicting your earlier comments.

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    82. Dragonwolf,

      – I agree with you very much. Dorne in the novels is a very complex, very real revenge-story. Doran is such a tragic character in that he plans this for so long and ends up being too courtious about it. People should stop acting be so harsh to this great legend of a writer. Martin is a great writer and he built several stories within a massive story and all those stories are deeply complex in their own right. They’re just so complex and thought through and detailed that, as a reader, you often get lost. I get annoyed with him sometimes too. But it doesnt mean that it is not very, very good litterature. At least, I personally think it is. I see A Feast for Crows as a brilliant, almost poetic, many-faceted story about the effects of war, but I fell asleep a hundred times the first time I read it. I hated briennes travelogue. Then I read only her chapters through once and realized how subtly deep they are. George is just not very good (anymore) at pleasing his audience. Personally I dont think that matters really. I dont care if it’s on the first or the second read, that I realize how awesome something is. With George, you always know it’s hidden in there somewhere. Again, that’s a testiment to how complex his novels are.
      – I disagree though, about show-Dorne. They could not have done it like the books. The Dorne story is made for the litterary medium, because of how complex it is. It would have seemed like a huge Red Herring in the show if, say, at the end of season five Doran revealed his big Dany-plan, then at the start of season 6 we’re introduced to Quentin who spends the whole season traveling there with five guys, finally reached Dany, gets rejected and then burned in a foolish atempt to gain a little self-respect. All the while Arrianne is travelling to The Stormlands to hook up with Faegon, who definately would not have worked in the show. They did show-Dorne their way. They had fun with it. I think it works. It’s the least subtle, least complex, worst written storyline of the whole show, but it’s not without a certain ironic edge. It’s a b-movie subplot shoehorned into a massive, dense and extremely popular fantasy saga. If people have a problem with that fact, I understand them completely. I just think it’s a nice breath of fresh air. You could say, that they should have left Dorne out of the show completely, since it could not be adapted the right way into the tv-series-ten-episode-medium, but again I must disagree for the reasons stated above. And also, since we couldn’t get book-Doran, I actually really like show-Doran. I’ve said it on here before, but he was the only one of the high lords who was willing to break the cycle of revenge and simply wanted peace for his people. I think Siddig did a great job with him and it was refreshing to meet someone, who did not want the war of the five kings. When Doran was thrown from his chair to die, crawling bloodied in his weakness, I saw that as quite a beautiful moment. Sad, tragic, but… yeah… beautiful. Symbolic.

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    83. I am the Storm:
      Laura,

      Elio is a lucky man. I for one love Linda. She shoots straight from the hip and calls it how she sees it. Didn’t they together write A world of ice and fire? I totally get her perspective. I like the show as well. And I respect Linda

      We are all unique and beautiful snowflakes 🙂

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    84. Laura,

      Cumsprite: You’re gonna burn in hell.

      See ya there, spritey!

      He’s kinda unpleasant today.

      Laura,

      what the hell is this? it’s not in the books – this sucks!

      As a book wanker I normally like the additions and scenes not explicitly depicted (Hardhome, Pyke Bridge, The Wight Girl from the Pilot/Prologue, Arya the cupbearer). What I usually struggle with is the combination of characters (Jeyne/Sansa, Jorah/Jon, Ellaria/Darkstar, Bronn/Illyn, Kindly man/jaquen, Tyrion/Barristan). In those cases I wish D&D changed it completely to avoid confusion ie (have Sansa be kidnapped by Ramsay, Tyrion and Jorah never see stone men and no one gets greyscale, Myrcella…well I can’t fix Dorne, Jaime doesn’t get his hand chopped or remove Bronn’s tongue haha jk, BARRISTAN NOT DYING).

      Is it Sunday yet? I am running out of things to complain about.

      But seriously, the passion for both mediums is a good thing as long as people don’t make personal attacks or take criticism of the show/books personally.

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    85. It’s important to remember when having conversations about this sort of thing to remember the Golden Rule: The books are the books, and the show is the show!

      I can genuinely say that I enjoyed reading this chapter, and I say that as a person who really could not care less about Arianne, the Dornish plotline, or where it ultimately ends up. George’s prose and world-building are excellent, as they always have been.

      But let’s face facts. This IS a travelogue. This IS a chapter that was written years ago. And this IS a chapter that follows up on and extends a previous travelogue chapter for the same character, and foreshadows a further travelogue chapter to follow. The prose and world-building can be a shining example of American and fantasy literature, but there needs to be some substance at some point, or it’s all masturbation.

      I think any fair assessment of the Song of Ice and Fire, as a whole, would conclude that the first three volumes are noticeably superior to the following two. I enjoyed large parts of A Dance With Dragons, but parts of it also got my blood boiling (looking at you, Quentyn) for how much of my time they wasted. Blame it on the dreaded Five-Year-Gap that had to be filled, the Meereenese Knot, what have you. The narrative that was so strong and compelling in the first act became notably more diluted in the second. Many readers, though not all of course, found this to be frustrating, compounded by the fact that it took nearly half again as long for the last two books to be released as the first three.

      The bottom line is this. George is a great writer, I think, who has created probably the most entertaining fictional story I’ve encountered in my 34 years of living. I am dreadfully worried that this 67 year old man who is not in the best of shape will not finish this excellent story that he has begun, in large part because of chapters like this one. Chapters full of vivid prose, interesting details, and absolutely no plot development. If sacrificing chapters like this one is the way George becomes able to deliver us the ending to his story, I say give me the knife and show me where to cut.

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    86. I am the Storm,

      Doubt it. He posted a video yesterday saying that YouTube gave him back all his videos and deemed that there was no copyright infringement. It took them only a couple days to do so, so they don’t see it as a big deal.

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    87. Enjoyed the chapter. Would like the entire book. They did spell Nym wrong opening that 12th paragraph.

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    88. I am the Storm,

      Linda is a lunatic. She compared people who write ASOIAF fanfiction to pedophiles molesting children. She’s been personally abusive to much of the fandom, and regularly personally insults the cast and crew of the series. And she went around claiming to be an expert despite not having read half of Storm of Swords until very recently.

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    89. Another shit Dorne chapter, why am I not surprised? All I remember from Dorne was poor mans Dayne Knight almost killing Myrcella and Hotah killing a Kingsguard. What a shit show Dorne is in the books and people are praising that nonsense LOL. My favorite part was that frog prince Martell wasting god knows how many Chapters to get rejected by Dany for being a nerd and gets barbecued for trying to kidnap Dragons (darwin award winner).

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    90. Stargaryen: I couldn’t agree more. When I see people talking about GRRM like he’s some kind of genius that’s going to be studied for hundreds of years, I can’t stop wondering wtf have they been reading.

      Well, there actually are courses (and many do do focus on the books). Like these, along with others, including one at Oxford:
      9 Colleges With Actual ‘Game Of Thrones’ Courses

      I have never commented here before, but this was interesting to think about, being a prof who uses Philip K. Dick, Ursula Le Guin, etc. and graphic novels in teaching along with “normal” texts. So, I looked around a found a bunch of classes based on both the series and the books.

      BTW, I like both the show and the books, and am frustrated by them too – in different ways, of course. But love the books more.

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    91. Only here to say, my dream casting of Arianne is Priyanka Chopra, and that I wish we could’ve seen that Arys Oakhart/Arianne love scene ??? #shameless

      Also, thanks to The BFish for breaking down that chapter. First time I read it the last time it was online, I kinda missed a lot of what pointed out.

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    92. I love the smell of hyperbole in the morning.

      Yeah, technically it isn’t morning here, but it is somewhere.

      Laura,

      I enjoy both, as well. There are some parts of the show I like better than the books, and there are some parts of the books I like better than the show…and those who enjoy both are not nearly as rare as some seem to think.

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    93. I wonder if Beyonce approved her face being used in the illustration above?

      Pop stars are litigious about image usurpation.

      More importantly…NEW CHAPTER OF WoW RELEASED?!

      Yeeeeehaaaaw!!!

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    94. Ashara D: I’m the first person to say that the exploration of Dorne as a section of Westeros made me happy; desert, tolerance, and most of all, Daynes. But to say that this “arc” is integral to the story and absolutely, positively should have been given lots of screen time in the show is ridiculous. I hate to sound like Wimsey

      Then don’t repeat Wimsey’s core mistake of defining the “story” as “only things that happen to an artificial list of a few characters I have deemed worthy”, and you’ll be fine. Just because Dorne’s characters joined a third of the way through the books does not mean they are not part of the “story”, whatever that is.

      Even if this is Arienne’s second-to-last chapter, she’s basically the protoganist of a novella’s worth of writing. To pretend that isn’t enough to matter is outright silly.

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    95. Cumsprite: In the first few books, Martin was able to transport characters like Catelyn and Theon vast distances without stopping to smell the zorses. When Martin did spend pages on travel, such as Ned’s trip down the King’s Road with Robert or Catelyn’s journey to the Eyrie with Tyrion, significant events happened. One of the things that amazes me about early ASOIAF is that although the books were huge, they moved quickly. They were (for the most part) tightly written and well-paced. This is in stark contrast to the last two books where world-building occurs just for the sake of world-building.

      It’s bloat. Plain and simple.

      And the same still holds. Travelogue chapters all have important information revealed or events occuring, including this one. I doubt there is any correlation between how far a POV moved in a chapter and the importance of what occured.

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    96. Laura: I honestly didn’t even know people disliked Arianne or Dorne until I came here.

      The message board I used to talk ASOIAF with – those people were always always ragging on the Brienne chapters in the books and saying they were so slow and meandering. I love her and her chapters. I don’t mind the worldbuilding so much. For me, it was the introduction of a whole host of new people in AFFC and ADWD and the focus being taken off of the main characters that we care about in a way that wasn’t exciting or interesting. But, out of all the new people, I definitely liked Arianne the most. Stab me in the face if I have to read another Victarion chapter.

      This, for me is the biggest problem with the books now. I love and enjoy both the books and the show. But the biggest reason why I love them are the original characters, namely the Starks and the Lannisters. The more I see these sample chapters, the less interested I get in the next book. My favorite character, Jon, is most likely going to spend a majority of the next book, being dead. The other people I would love to read about – Arya, Sansa, Jaime, Bran, they are just not getting sufficient chapters. Other than the Alayne and Mercy chapters, all the other released ones relate to either Meereen (Barristan and Tyrion) or are Arrianne chapters. I just cannot bring myself to care about these plots, Meereen, fAegon etc. If GRRM really wishes to end this saga in 2 books, he needs to start bringing characters closer, resolving plots, rather than expanding them more. While these 2 Arianne chapters might be interesting read, they are still travelogues with no significant plot development in them. What I want to see is GRRM return to the core characters, and not spend half the book on the Martells and the Greyjoys.
      Having said that, I still do look forward to the release of WOW.

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    97. I like the books and the show and normally I find this site very polite and not too biased. Unfortunately the only exception seems to be the topic of GRRM, repeatedly. If you hear Mau in particular but also a few others, one could get the impression that this great author is not able to write a single interesting sentence. If that were true why are we talking about the worlds most successful show based on the work of that supposedly crappy writer (who also was already hugely successful before the show)??? As a few others have pointed out the show pacing and the book pacing necessarily need to be different and maybe it is the bias of people liking the show to also expect a faster pacing for the books. But isn’t that exactly the advantage of books, that you do not get from A to B in the most direct way but learn a lot of things along the way. Some of these things are world-building and travelogue but I would argue they are also important. The most striking example is the depiction of the riverlands where one learns that while the noble houses play their games of thrones the normal people suffer. A lot.
      So, yes you have all right to criticize GRRM, but please be so kind to differentiate a little. Just like his characters there is no Black and White for books and show but many nuances in between no matter what Mau and Linda (at the two extremes) think.

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    98. Chad Brick: And the same still holds. Travelogue chapters all have important information revealed or events occuring, including this one. I doubt there is any correlation between how far a POV moved in a chapter and the importance of what occured.

      So you pretty much confirm that pointless bloat is important.
      Thankee, Chad.

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    99. HousePotterz,

      A well written and balanced opinion. I may have disliked ADWD more then you did, but appreciate the tone and poilliteness of your post.

      And I appreciate how you don’t insult those who didn’t like the last 2 books, as others have done.

      I myself loved the first 3, something witch many people seem to ignore when they reply to me, but the last 2 felt like they were written by a different author. I’m not saying it was bad writing but there it was simply missing everything I loved in the first 3 books.
      I felt dread and sadness instead of joy and wonder when I started a new chapter. Characters I loved no longer interesed me, they felt like entirely different people. The story simply no longer interesed me. I simply have no interest in characters introduced in book 4/5 of the series.

      And the paced has changed dramatically, in the first book Martin would have needed 1 chapter to get Arianne to Aegon.
      And travelogues where interesting and if it didn’t progress the story it would advance the characters development, like Jaime’s in ASOS.

      I do not say this is bad writing, it is simply not the kind of writing I like. Martin can write the story however he likes, it’s his right, he is the author but so do I as a reader can simply stop reading, because I simply don’t find any joy in it anymore.

      He could’ve written the first 3 books just like he did AFFC, I have no problem with that, because I wouldn’t have even started reading the series in the first place then.
      My main source of sadness and disapointment comes from the fact of how much I loved the first 3 books .

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    100. I have no issues with the quality of writing in this chapter and found it fairly enjoyable – but I really do have to question whether at this point in the saga, we really have to continue with being led by characters we have little to care about through every insignificant arse-end of Westeros to learn about its caves, weather and trees? And yet more new minor character introductions of the Shitmouth / Gatehouse Ami variety just because GRRM clearly finds it a bit fun to do so.

      What is contained here that could not have been compressed to read Arianne arrived and X and was told Y – and seen two chapters combined into one with (we hope) the actual meat of the matter that should be expected in the next Arianne / JC chapter (hopefully just one and not both)? I just really wish we would get more focus on moving the story towards critical mass with the characters we have known since the start and the too numerous strands of stories knitting together.

      I can see “A Dream of Spring” being a two volume affair at this point. There just seems to be an increasing amount of work that could have been turned into a volume of short stories as background reading AFTER ASOIAF is complete.

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    101. Laura,

      I think this will really be an interesting question to ask when and if Martin finishes the books. Adapting something that isn’t finished is sort of unprecedented, and it’s virtually impossible to know if you’re making the right adaptation choices.

      My gut tells me that the show and the books would be more different in adaptation, not less.

      For example, I consistently wonder if D&D would have chosen to hold on to Tywin longer because his death effectively unmoored the show and left it without a central antagonist/instigator (which the show has tried to fill with varying success with characters like Ramsay and the High Sparrow). Tywin’s death is very satisfying in the moment but is less so in the long run. Could it not be more gratifying in the long run if Tyrion simply escaped Kings Landing and then returned with Dany and the Dragons to not only challenge for the Iron Throne but also to confront his father?

      I don’t know. Think about this a lot because it’s such an unusual thing that’s happening. I guess I just assume there would not only be more characters cut but perhaps entire houses/storylines. In any event, I am pretty impressed generally with how D&D are able to keep it all together and move it dramatically knowing only in the barest of terms where it’s supposed to be going.

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    102. Danyara:
      I think he released that to remind us that his Dorne storyline is dramatically different from the farce that we’ve seen from D & D on GoT.He did this last year, too, remember, gave us a Sansa chapter that didn’t have her married to Ramsay and raped and tortured?

      Again, I will probably sound a bit rude but this is a statement book purist use to justify their prediction that GRRM hates the TV show (which was proven false last year at the Emmys). I’m sorry if I offended you in any way.

      BTW: I’ve never seen Sansa being tortured in TV series.

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    103. Lord Parramandas,

      Harry will rape her to in the books. This is the only thing I have some interest in, I want to see the crazy part of the fandom react to that.

      They will probaly praise it as some masterpiece of writing.

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    104. ADWD was a pile of steaming shit rolling down a hill, a BIG pile of steaming shit, GRRM didn’t learn anything from the reader’s reactions (yes, he’s not our bitch, but, dude, get your head out of your ass already) and is doing the same to Winds… filler, bloat, filler, pointless tree descriptions and characters (almost) no one cares about polishing their nails.

      ADWD is the last A Song of Ice and Fire book i’ve bought, and seeing how this is going, I’ll pass on buying WoW and anything else.

      Fuck Dorne in the show, fuck Dorne in the books, fuck the king, GIMME ALL THE CHICKEN!

      The only one who could make this mess of books thinner and still pretty would be Sir Jonathan Ive XD

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    105. LazyBlueperson:
      Making the 8,

      To be fair I feel like everyone commenting on this post needs to realise that GRRM is not their bitch, and it’s his story.
      Frankly anyone who can say they prefer the shows rushed storylines more compared to the da tail and depth in the books can’t truly be taken seriously.
      This story is about the story, not the end point for the plots.

      This statement is what usually defines a book purist. It really reminds me of Jon Con’s Redbeard from westeros.org. “The last two books were masterpieces and anyone who doesn’t realize that is an idiot”.

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    106. Lord Parramandas,

      Really? What a psycho! I enjoyed ADWD but for Heaven´s sake,I have NO idea how I got through AFFC 🙁 I have NEVER been that bored with a book,and I´ve read my cuota of bricks…To this day,I have no recollection of it was that I read

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    107. At this point I just want GRRM to die already so someone else can actually finish the fucking books.

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    108. jennyofoldstones:
      I think it’s interesting that we have two groups of people: those who want everything in a hurry and big payoffs NOW and those who like reading meandering stories that take a very long time to pay off at the end.

      The elephant in the room here is that if the meandering continues it seems quite probable that the books won’t get their conclusion. I have no problem with waiting but I would prefer to get the books at some point.

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    109. Mustafa:
      If you believe above average writers like David & Dan, and I’m being kind calling them above average, are capable of coming up with anything half as good as ASOIAF, than you’re either deluded or a moron. So far they have shown very little in their ability to write dialogue and intriguing story-lines when they have gone off book (and don’t get me started on the unintentional (written) illogical decisions being made by some of the characters), this will only become more apparent as the seasons continue. They have created some fantastic action sequences, and “funny-little-moments”, but they have shown no ‘depth’ in their writing yet. I hope I am wrong for this season and future seasons, but I fear I am not from what I have seen thus far from seasons 4, 5, and 6 (with regards to off-book material). PS: I’m not saying it’s bad television, on the contrary, it’s still one of the best series in TV history, but it’s starting to lack ‘quality’ as the seasons go on and as there’s less GRRM material for them to feast on.

      It’s also probably much harder to write top quality material if you have 3 months to write the season instead of 5+ years to write a book.
      What one considers good is purely subjective. Name calling people who have different tastes don’t change that.

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    110. I think it’s hilarious that we got an elephant named “Little Pussy” mentioned in a Dornish POV.

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    111. Al Swearengen:
      Laura,

      Such a person doesn’t exist. You’re clearly telling fibs

      Laura: I like the books and the show – how should I be taken?

      I love TV show and the first three books. I also think the last two books were solid ones but definitely not in the same league as the first three. Maybe if at least one of the battles happened at the end of ADWD, I would have liked it more. Oh, and Penny’s character should have been cut as well.

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    112. Regardless of arianne, conington and aegon’s absence from GoT. This chapter is absolutely gripping.

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    113. Oskaras Spalvys,

      To the runners of this site. You should really ban the guy who wrote this. Wheather it’s a sort of black humor or not (which it didnt read like at all), saying that you wish GRRM to die should be enough to be banned for life, I think

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    114. Maester Murks,

      Could it be a reference to Little Pussy Malanga? Game of Thrones WAS pitched as The Sopranos in the middle ages. Sopranos is my personal second favourite show of all time, GOT of course being THE favourite.

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    115. Obviously, this chapter was not a waste. Did we need Elia Sand to go wondering off in the cave just to get a little info on her character? No, we didnt need it. Still, Arianne is clearly becoming a major pov in Winds. It seems pretty obvious to me, what Elia Sands role is in Ariannes story. In Fest Arianne was all about trying to be like Oberyn and that part of the family, while now she’s acting more like her father now, getting used to ruling and throwing away her youthfull spite and recklessness. Elia Sand, on the contrary, is very much a sandsnake plus she’s much closer to Aegons age. So you see, building up a bit of conflict between the two IS actually important, because when they get to Storms End, Aegon (who is also reckless) will look at the much older courtious and responsible dornish princess and he will look at the younger spirited, wild Elia Sand, and there will be some kind of romantic conflict there. To me, it’s clear that is why Elia is included, and it should be interesting. Arianne will have to dig out some Oberyn type charm to gain his attention. The Martell brothers are all over dorne-story; courtious calculating Doran and wild, reckless Oberyn.

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    116. I for one thoroughly enjoyed that. Makes me realise how much I miss having an ASOIAF book to read.

      Loving the Magali Villeneuve artwork of Arianne, too. Such a great ASOIAF artist, loads of her great work used in A Game OF Thrones: The Card Game.

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    117. HelloThere:

      GRRM is a once in a lifetime genius, and if some people think he should just write shitty sparknotes, then its their loss.

      When given rein to spew out a bajillion pages, anyone is bound to come with some good stuff. Genius? No.

      Monkeys and typewriters, man. Monkeys and typewriters.

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    118. In a better world he would have completed the story before selling the tv rights.

      In an ideal world he would have completed the story before publishing.

      Greed is eternal.

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    119. It certainly seems that GRRM has lost control of the plot, if that’s what he has to offer to us as a “sample chapter.”

      For the record, I’m no “book hater.” Although I didn’t read the books until after I watched S1-S4, I thought the first three books were fantastic, and there are good elements in the last two books. If I were to compare them, I’d say that aGoT > Season 1, aCoK > Season 2, aSoS = Seasons 3-4, and aFfC/aDwD < Season 5. There are certain elements that I felt the books did better than the show (mostly because the show had to truncate certain aspects of the story out of adaptation necessities), such as Tyrion's manipulations in King's Landing and Sansa being more proactive in attempting to escape her captivity.

      However, once GRRM decided to ditch the "5 years gap," he completely lost control of his story. I don't know why he suddenly decided to add a whole bunch of additional POVs that we had never met before. It's one thing to add a new POV that has a connection to characters we already knew (Theon, Sam, Jaime, Cersei, Brienne) to expand on the story. It's another thing entirely to add random new POVs that we've never met or seen before (Arianne, Quentyn, Vicatron). The only time that a completely new POV added was successful was Davos, and that's because he was added in relatively early on, and we had already learned about Stannis in the first book and it made sense to add a POV there since Stannis was thrusted into the War of Five Kings that was central to the second book.

      In any case, it looks like tWoW is going to be more of the same completely pointless meandering and world-building that AFFC/ADWD was. I just don't see how GRRM can possibly rein the plot back into control to move it towards the end-game.

      Mind you, it's not completely impossible. Robert Jordan had reached a similar "meandering plot" dilemma by Books 8-10 of the Wheel of Time, and he managed to move things back on track towards an end-game in Book 11. Of course, "Book 12" was supposed to be the final book, but the story was so out of control that when Jordan died, and Brandon Sanderson stepped in to finish Wheel of Time, it took him THREE books to wrap up everything. We're probably heading down the same path with aSoIaF, with a new author having to step in after the original author dies and requiring way more pages than expected to wrap up everything.

      But at least we have this show to give us an ending!

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    120. Oskaras Spalvys:
      At this point I just want GRRM to die already so someone else can actually finish the fucking books.

      And we all want you to go away if you’re going to wish for the author’s death. For anyone’s death, really.

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    121. I like the chapter. Learning about the Stormlands, a region we haven’t seen much of in the books, was interesting. It’s valid to query the pace of the story, though we won’t fully know how that works out until the book actually appears (whenever that is).

      At this point I think we’ve read (or gotten synopses from convention readings of) all of the ADWD leftovers other than the Aeron chapter.

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    122. Josh L.,

      Very well said.

      Sadly it does look like it’s more AFFC/ADWD…. He just lost control of the narrative entirely. There is no way he’ll finish this in 2 books.

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    123. Also. Martin really needs an editor who tells him how things are.
      You could have easly cut 50-70% of the chapter and nothing would have been lost.

      Hell, if he was the writer he used to be, he would have got Arianne to Storm’s End in 1 chapter (or there would be no Arianne at all).. But alas, it isn’t so..

      More then anger and dislike I’m just sad, sad to see a series I absolutly loved turn into this..

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    124. Lord Parramandas:
      Chad Brick,

      (Desperately trying to ignore a book purist)

      Where? Can you point me to one that isn’t named “Linda”?

      Or how about this simple challenge: List one sci-fi / fantasy book published in 2005 that was better than AFFC. Note that I have read most of that years Hugo and Nebula nominees, so you’d best aim elsewhere. Accelerando was a very distant second-best, in my opinion.

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    125. Mihnea: Also. Martin really needs an editor who tells him how things are.
      You could have easly cut 50-70% of the chapter and nothing would have been lost.

      Unquestionably. The story in AFFC / ADWD could’ve easily been condensed into a solid novel had most of the extraneous characters (Arianne, Vicatron, Quentyn, Young/Old Griffin, etc.) been removed, the focus on the plots of our main POVs been tightened, and the proper climaxes (namely the Battle of Ice and the Battle of Fire) been done.

      I mean, if GRRM was able to fit all of the stuff he did in ASOS (Red Wedding! Purple Wedding! Tyrion’s Trial! Dany liberating Slaver’s Bay! The Battle(s) at Castle Black!), he could’ve easily fit the entirety of AFFC / ADWD (plus whatever had to be moved to TWOW) into one novel.

      Imagine A Song of Ice and Fire Book 4: A Dance with Dragons with this content:

      The Rise and Fall of Jon Snow (ending with his Caesar moment)
      Cersei’s Slow Descent into Madness
      The Slaver’s Bay Uprising (with the Battle of Fire climax)
      Stannis’ Failed North Mission (with the Battle of Ice climax)
      Arya’s Braavos Training
      Sansa: Becoming Elizabeth I
      Bran: To Tree or Not to Tree?
      Jaime: Tywin II?
      Tyrion: Where Do Whores Go? The Quest to Find Redemption
      Reek: The ReTheon-ing
      Sam: Becoming a Maester
      Brienne: To Honor Vows or Not to Honor Vows

      I might be missing a character here or there … But we’d have about 12 POVs, most of the pointless fluff could’ve easily been relegated to the background, and the stories could start working towards bringing us to Act III and the end game, as well as start being consolidated. And if the pace was as brisk as it was in ASOS, I believe ADWD would’ve been extremely well-received (especially with its dual climaxes).

      And then we’d have Book 5: TWOW without any need to wrap up Iron Islands, Dorne, Young/Fake Griffin, Sansa’s Babysitting Adventures, Stannis’s Winter March, the Meereenese Knot, Arya’s Faceless Men Training, or Brienne’s Endless Wanderings. All of those would be gone / already wrapped up. We could finally get started on finishing up Dany’s prophecies, the North could start being Reunited, Bran could start seeing key moments in history (R + L = J confirmed a long time ago!), and Brienne & Sansa would actually have purposes! We could use Theon to start the look into the Iron Islands, and wait until Book 6 and Dany’s invasion of Westeros to start the expansion into Dorne. (Dorne would remain mostly in the background in Books 4 & 5, with various rumblings of insurrections and riots — and possibly the Queenmaker plot — leaking into King’s Landing via Small Council meetings.) The climax of Book 5 could be the same as whatever this season’s climax will be (Bastard Bowl, Danys Leaving Essos, The Fall of the Wall, The Burning of King’s Landing, Red Wedding 2.0, etc.)

      And because there would be less plot threads to take care of, and less meandering to do, it’s likely those books would probably be published by now, as well as Book 6, and we’d be waiting on the final book any day now.

      And if GRRM really wanted to do all of those world-building and pointless side characters, that’s what novellas are for. (Note that Brandon Sanderson is basically doing that with his Stormlight Archives … there’s a ton of world-building that he wants to do, but he realizes what the main story is, so he decided to pull out a side story with a minor side character that’s going to become important later (basically his equivalent of the Sand Snakes) and publish that character’s story as its own stand-alone novella. That’s how you do it.)

        Quote  Reply

    126. Chad Brick: Where? Can you point me to one that isn’t named “Linda”?

      Or how about this simple challenge: List one sci-fi / fantasy book published in 2005 that was better than AFFC. Note that I have read most of that years Hugo and Nebula nominees, so you’d best aim elsewhere. Accelerando was a very distant second-best, in my opinion.

      Borodin, Jon Con’s Redbeard, Marsyao, Toth, Protar, Annara Snow, Pyat Daenerys… basically most of the regular users on westeros.org. And those who run “The Cultural Vacuum”.

      And I never said AFFC is bad, but in my opinion, it is nowhere close to the first three books and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

        Quote  Reply

    127. Chad Brick,

      Well AFFC certainly didn’t win either the Hugo or Nebula that year, so I guess you can start with the winners.

      One can only look at his reaction to Rowling beating him to the Hugo in 2001 (which to be fair he should gave won) to see how highly he thinks of himself. It is fine for other people to say you should have won, but to basically do it yourself is pretty narcissistic.

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    128. Raoul_Duke:
      If you hear Mau in particular but also a few others, one could get the impression that this great author is not able to write a single interesting sentence

      I don’t know where you get that impression and why you think that i am not kind. I said that I think that GRRM still has great ideas, but he doesn’t have that great execution any more.

      The pacing of his last two books is terrible and I don’t think TWOW will be any better, judging by 10 chapters he realised.

      The problem with his writing is that he is clearly struggling to finish this story and he is struggling to resolve storylines. He just asks questions, but he is unable to resolve things.

      For example, I think that the Greyoy plot in the show will be better and I don’t expect them to do anything that different from GRRM. But they cut unnenecary things, put Theon there and have better pace.

      So they will do the same thing GRRM has done, but with better editing. There are many who hate that plot from the books. I don’t think that people hate what happened, but how it happened.

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    129. Mihnea:
      Ser Roger Sterling,

      I loved the first 3 books. LOVED them. I consider them to be masterpieces of fantasy writing.

      The last 2 ruined the books for. They simply aren’t the books I felt in love with. The characters as well aren’t the ones I felt in love with and the writing has changed drasticaly.

      I liked most of everything except for the last book. It just got too drawn out for me. I’m half way through it, but I’m not sure if I want to finish. I read the books after watching the show (everything made 100% more sense that way) and it was like receiving extra insight into each character’s mind. There were a few parts I skipped in the books, because I had already seen them in the show and the book version was a little dull.

      As for this chapter, it makes me wonder if Dany will take over Storm’s End in the next season after going through Dorne.

        Quote  Reply

    130. Lord Parramandas
      And I never said AFFC is bad, but in my opinion, it is nowhere close to the first three books and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

      It’s not bad but it is a slog, and simply not as enjoyable as the first three books IMO. There are some very interesting sections such as Arya’s very poignant reluctance to dsicard Needle, but spaced out between Brienne’s endless “I’m looking for a maid of three and ten” and other parts that interest me less such as Dorne and the Iron Islands.

      The merged reading order is more satisfying, which says something about the structure of the book series. But hey, it must always be the readers fault/idiocy if they don’t enjoy it 😉

        Quote  Reply

    131. Mustafa,

      If D&D had 6 years to write one season(and I’m not mentioning everything else they are doing as showrunners) I’m sure they could be better than GRRM, because they have passion and responsibility, something that GRRM doesn’t have.

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    132. Ser Not Appearing in this Series: It’s not bad but it is a slog, and simply not as enjoyable as the first three books IMO. There are some very interesting sections such as Arya’s very poignant reluctance to dsicard Needle, but spaced out between Brienne’s endless “I’m looking for a maid of three and ten” and other parts that interest me less such as Dorne and the Iron Islands.

      The merged reading order is more satisfying, which says something about the structure of the book series. But hey, it must always be the readers fault/idiocy if they don’t enjoy it

      I think I skimmed everything and just read Cersei’s stuff.

        Quote  Reply

    133. Chad Brick: Where? Can you point me to one that isn’t named “Linda”?

      Or how about this simple challenge: List one sci-fi / fantasy book published in 2005 that was better than AFFC. Note that I have read most of that years Hugo and Nebula nominees, so you’d best aim elsewhere. Accelerando was a very distant second-best, in my opinion.

      Why restrict it to sci-fi/fantasy? If it’s that good then it should stand against any genre.

      And, oh; perhaps it doesn’t meet your exacting categorisation but: -Kazuo Ishiguro’s – Never Let Me Go

        Quote  Reply

    134. Worldbuilding and travelogue, not so bad on its own, but multiply that by all the characters that are scattered and you get the feeling that this book is going nowhere.

      The last two books, edited into one, would have made a very good book(not great, as there are too many cliffhangers and it feels incomplete). How can his editor not realize this, when almost every fan is painfully aware of it, is anyone guess.

      He’s releasing that chapter now for the same reason he did it with Sansa’s last year, to make it clear that things are different in the books, following criticism of the show treatment of Sansa then and Dorne now. He doesn’t hate the show, that’s crazy, but he certainly needs to sell his own work.

        Quote  Reply

    135. Winter is delayed: The last two books, edited into one, would have made a very good book(not great, as there are too many cliffhangers and it feels incomplete). How can his editor not realize this, when almost every fan is painfully aware of it, is anyone guess.

      His editors realize it. They, however, are basically powerless when it comes to GRRM, who holds tremendous creative control over his stories.

      There’s that anecdote where the editor went through ADWD and sent back a suggestion that GRRM trimmed down the number of times that the phrase “Words are wind” was uttered in the book. GRRM flat out refused to do that, claiming that every single usage of that phrase was utterly critical to the story development.

      GRRM committed the worst faux pas in writing … he became married to his words. Combine that with the fact that due to the tremendous success of the first 3 books in aSoIaF, he was powerful and successful enough that he could refuse to be edited, and this resulted in the mess that is AFFC/ADWD (and apparently TWOW).

        Quote  Reply

    136. Josh L,

      Hell, Martin changed the way the characters TALKED for fuck’s sake. Anne Groell also tried to get him to remove the archaic language, but he overruled her saying he liked the flavoring it added.

      The American Tolkien my ass.

        Quote  Reply

    137. Ugh…I’m depressed now.

      Are we ever going to get this book? I remember the hype I had when I got a hold of AFFC and DwD…I feel none of that now.

      Watch the show, when that’s over maybe WoW and whatever the next book is will be out.

        Quote  Reply

    138. Josh L: His editors realize it.They, however, are basically powerless when it comes to GRRM, who holds tremendous creative control over his stories.

      There’s that anecdote where the editor went through ADWD and sent back a suggestion that GRRM trimmed down the number of times that the phrase “Words are wind” was uttered in the book.GRRM flat out refused to do that, claiming that every single usage of that phrase was utterly critical to the story development.

      GRRM committed the worst faux pas in writing … he became married to his words.Combine that with the fact that due to the tremendous success of the first 3 books in aSoIaF, he was powerful and successful enough that he could refuse to be edited, and this resulted in the mess that is AFFC/ADWD (and apparently TWOW).

      It´s not even an anecdote. You can find it in the edited first manuscript that GRRM donated to the University of Texas (or whatever it is called).

        Quote  Reply

    139. I hadn’t read this chapter yet, so I enjoyed reading about the Stormlands & the CotF pillars. But I assumed Arriane to reach JonCon by the end. I told my gf about it(show only), read it & immediately said ‘forget I said anything’… The irony of the last book’s title is becoming more obvious by the day(year) lol.

        Quote  Reply

    140. I only read the beginning of the article but I am afraid that there are some mistakes – for example Arianne learned that JonCo was marching AT Storm’s End, not away from it, and Elia went to explore the cave alone, not with Feathers. This is just a friendly saying, no shade or offense intended.

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    141. Mihnea:
      Also. Martin really needs an editor who tells him how things are.
      You could have easly cut 50-70% of the chapter and nothing would have been lost.

      Hell, if he was the writer he used to be, he would have got Arianne to Storm’s End in 1 chapter (or there would be no Arianne at all).. But alas, it isn’t so..

      More then anger and dislike I’m just sad, sad to see a series I absolutly loved turn into this..

      Peeking at the manuscript with his and his editor’s notes on them, she certainly tries to advise him, but he doesn’t listen at this stage.

      Cumsprite:
      Josh L,

      Hell, Martin changed the way the characters TALKED for fuck’s sake. Anne Groell also tried to get him to remove the archaic language, but he overruled her saying he liked the flavoring it added.

      The American Tolkien my ass.

      The characters suddenly throwing “nuncle” around in AFFC drove me mad. I’m sure by ADWD they all got over it.

      Theon’s arc in ADWD was probably the best thing from the last two books, the rest was a hodgepodge of good ideas executed in a lumbering, uncertain way, buoyed now and then by a few good speeches, lines, or incidents. I remember blazing through ASOS in a matter of days, AFFC took months… For all the book-fan gloating about Dorne in the show, I am very glad we weren’t subjected to the narrative roundabouts and plot limbo that is ASOIAF’s version. Snip snip.

        Quote  Reply

    142. Laura: I’m glad you weren’t the one doing the adapting. I kid, I kid.

      I would love to sit D&D down at the end of the series, or even now, and ask them “Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?” I think there would be quite a few things they would have changed/removed completely. All things considered, I do think they have done a phenomenal job with something once deemed unfilmable.

      They’ll keep that a secret and won’t ever say that, IO’m sure.

        Quote  Reply

    143. slimchicken: I think this will really be an interesting question to ask when and if Martin finishes the books. Adapting something that isn’t finished is sort of unprecedented, and it’s virtually impossible to know if you’re making the right adaptation choices.

      My gut tells me that the show and the books would be more different in adaptation, not less.

        Quote  Reply

    144. My computer is running slow and I couldn’t edit my post above. I didn’t just mean to quote Slimchicken and say nothing further but meant to address his/her point by saying the only occasion where an unfinished work was adapted that I can think of offhand is Mrs Gaskell’s “Wives and Daughters”. It’s a very different sort of book of course and the fact it was unfinished was caused by Mrs Gaskell’s untimely sudden death. Her editor knew how the book was intended to end and the reader is informed who the heroine was supposed to end up with. When the BBC adapted the novel in the late 1990s they wrote the last chapter or couple of chapters as it were only in a dramatic version.

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    145. HousePotterz,

      Blame it on the dreaded Five-Year-Gap that had to be filled

      And, to me, therein lies the issue. GWWM needed the characters to age. So they stay put and age. (And BTW the dragons need to age as well. Hard to invade with dragons the size of horses.)

      It’s easy to forget how young the lead characters all are (Still) in the books as we’ve been reading about them for 20 years and seeing aged versions of them on the show. (At least D&D cast young leads – on some shows the teenagers are played by actors in their late 20’s and 30’s – well I guess Marge is 34 so she falls into that category) So there is filler (worldbuilding) while they age.

        Quote  Reply

    146. I am the Storm:
      cosca,

      I highly doubt she just read ASoS. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong but that sounds ridiculous

      For a long time, there were big chunks of ASoS she refused to read, and, yes, it does sound ridiculous. What sounds even more ridiculous, at least to me, is the fact she justified it by saying, in essence, well, Elio told me what happened.

      Here is her justification in her very own words:

      “Because it isn’t possible, of course, to get all the details about what happens in the chapters that you did not read in any other way. Especially not when your partner knows the book better than anyone else.”

        Quote  Reply

    147. Modiglian:

      Fuck Dorne in the show, fuck Dorne in the books, fuck the king, GIMME ALL THE CHICKEN!

      Well said. I would like some fuckin chicken as well.

        Quote  Reply

    148. Mihnea:
      Lars,

      The major problem is the pacing. At this pace Martin will need 2 more books after WOW to finish the story.

      The narrative is simply out of control.

      Yeah for my part it’s hard to believe he can tie up the various plots, sub-plot and knots without it seeming rushed

      Plus he generally tends to spill over which is why we get after-chapters plus re-releases

      The good thing though is if he just naturally finishes it there will probably be 3 more books which we’ll all be happy with if the story flows naturally and his publisher etc

        Quote  Reply

    149. God that line about hoping dany treats quentyn better than she treated viserys…
      What’s worse is dany treated both better than Arianne..
      Arianne never cared or cares about viserys she just feel bitter she lost the chance of being queen

      I can’t wait to see how arianne fucks up YG and Joncon’s plans ..and end up dead halfway through the next book..

        Quote  Reply

    150. people hating on this will prob buy the book the second it comes out anyway

      id take this any day over bad poosy

        Quote  Reply

    151. So much content packed intuitive this chapter. You have red grass field references, golden company information, another acknowledgement that Lysenis look like Targaryens, subtle feelings of dread when Elia goes into the caverns, a clear addition to the multitude of Martin’s references that Westeros is undergoing a multimillennium interregnum (by the vastly improved technologies involved in building the cavern, unobtainable to modern Westerosi technologies), blind albino fish in a cavern (often a sign of radioactive waste poisoning), and many others. Awesome writing. You may just not realise it yet.

      Ironically, AFFC is my favourite book, but part of why is because of the effects its events caused which eventuated in ADWD. This reads so much like another chapter from AFFC, whilst also having a sense of the adventure of a Dunk and Egg novella.

        Quote  Reply

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