George RR Martin on the temptation to change his plans for The Winds of Winter

Caption

In a new article, George R.R. Martin talks to Entertainment Weekly about the pressures of creating A Song of Ice and Fire with millions of fans obsessing over the series, and the hotly debated Game of Thrones finale hanging over his head.

The authors owns up to feeling tempted to change his plans based on fans making correct predictions, especially now that we’re pooling our thoughts in the age of the internet, but he’s staying the course. He tells EW:

“…there is a temptation to then change it [in the upcoming books] — ‘Oh my god, it’s screwed up, I have to come up with something different.’ But that’s wrong. Because you’ve been planning for a certain ending and if you suddenly change direction just because somebody figured it out, or because they don’t like it, then it screws up the whole structure. So no, I don’t read the fan sites. I want to write the book I’ve always intended to write all along. And when it comes out they can like it or they can not like it.”

And will the conclusion match the show’s? Eh…maybe? “Yes, I told [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] a number of things years ago. And some of them they did do. But at the same time, it’s different. I have very fixed ideas in my head as I’m writing The Winds of Winter and beyond that in terms of where things are going. It’s like two alternate realities existing side by side. I have to double down and do my version of it which is what I’ve been doing.”

The author discusses his plans for The Winds of Winter and dedication to completing the book, despite the enormous pressure and missed deadlines. But as always, he’s vague on the delivery. He says, “I don’t only want to finish it, I want to make it as good as I possibly can. […] The show is over. I’m writing the book. It will be done when it’s done.”

So it sounds like GRRM will keep on truckin’, but he’s teasing the idea that Benioff and Weiss didn’t use everything he gave them since they only did “some of them.” Intriguing, yes?

87 responses

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    1. These same sentiments he expressed in an interview years ago, so there is little new here. Two months after the season 8 finale I’ve not encountered one person who is not embittered by the lousy story told in that season.

      George is the last hope that the bitter, dreary, bleak, pointless, gloomy and depressing ending the show gave us is nothing more than a incompetent and clumsy perversion of his original intentions.

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    2. Jack Hamm:
      These same sentiments he expressed in an interview years ago, so there is little new here.Two months after the season 8 finale I’ve not encountered one person who is not embittered by the lousy story told in that season.

      George is the last hope that the bitter, dreary, bleak, pointless, gloomy and depressing ending the show gave us is nothing more than a incompetent and clumsy perversion of his original intentions.

      Allow me to introduce myself. I am happy to be the only fan you have met who enjoyed the 8th season.

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    3. Jack Hamm:
      JSchmeh,

      A fan?Is that so?Scusatemi, I’d assumed all of the posts here to be merely the efforts of bots.

      I thought Season 8 was epic television and I was moved by every second of it. David and Dan outdid themselves.

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    4. Jack Hamm:
      Two months after the season 8 finale I’ve not encountered one person who is not embittered by the lousy story told in that season.

      I loved S8 and am not remotely embittered. OTOH, we have never encountered each other, so…..

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    5. Jack Hamm:
      These same sentiments he expressed in an interview years ago, so there is little new here.Two months after the season 8 finale I’ve not encountered one person who is not embittered by the lousy story told in that season.

      George is the last hope that the bitter, dreary, bleak, pointless, gloomy and depressing ending the show gave us is nothing more than a incompetent and clumsy perversion of his original intentions.

      I just had the pleasure of a few summer days in a location I had not visited before. I made some new friends there – we bonded over drinks and our dismay with Season 8. I do not know if “bitterness” is the word – everyone found it either ridiculous or pathetic. Besides that, we were as happy as clams!

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    6. Jack Hamm:
      These same sentiments he expressed in an interview years ago, so there is little new here.Two months after the season 8 finale I’ve not encountered one person who is not embittered by the lousy story told in that season.

      George is the last hope that the bitter, dreary, bleak, pointless, gloomy and depressing ending the show gave us is nothing more than a incompetent and clumsy perversion of his original intentions.

      Another fan who loved Season 8 here. Yay for poking holes in lazy generalizations.

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    7. Jack Hamm,

      And yes, in two months, I have not met a single person that likes the ending. Not everyone is bitter. Some are. Generally, I would say the majority are regretful that the excellent potential was not realized.

      (And no, reading a person’s posts on a website does not really meet my standard for “meeting” or even “encountering” someone. I enjoy it only as reading a comment from a fellow poster. )

      Yes, GOT will win many awards. However, it is a “critical” failure and well as an audience failure. In my reading, I think almost every newspaper/magazine discussion of the Emmy nominations observed that GOT8 was underwhelming. There is limited competition this year on the awards circuit, so it will do well. Plus GOT still does really excel in acting, costumes, music etc. T

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    8. Mango: I just had the pleasure of a few summer days in a location I had not visited before. I made some new friends there – we bonded over drinks and our dismay with Season 8. I do not know if “bitterness” is the word – everyone found it either ridiculous or pathetic. Besides that, we were as happy as clams!

      Your summer days sound lovely and inviting!

      Ice Hunter: I loved S8 and am not remotely embittered.OTOH, we have never encountered each other, so…..

      I’m sure it would be a pleasure to meet you.

      Sunfyre: Another fan who loved Season 8 here.

      Yeah, pat yourself on the back, “but they don’t really be the same offline.”

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    9. George is doing his duty. He’s telling us that Winds of Winter is not ready and the ending is kind of the same as in the show. I like the view “It’s like two alternate realities existing side by side.” That’s exactly what I expect. It’s very much in the POV spit of George.
      Oh, and George, Winds of Winter is ready; and based on how you talk about the ending, A dream of Spring is also ready (or at least very close to being done).

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    10. In a way I wish George wouldn’t give interviews like this because he’s already stated the ending will be the same more or less and I fear he’s only feeding the trolls by having to repeat himself. We all know the broadbeats will be the same as the show and by answering these questions about people not liking the ending it only adds fuel to the fire that the ending was bad – which from my perception is not how the majority feel.

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    11. Jack Hamm:
      These same sentiments he expressed in an interview years ago, so there is little new here.Two months after the season 8 finale I’ve not encountered one person who is not embittered by the lousy story told in that season.

      George is the last hope that the bitter, dreary, bleak, pointless, gloomy and depressing ending the show gave us is nothing more than a incompetent and clumsy perversion of his original intentions.

      From my experience the majority liked the finale season but I recognise some didn’t of those I’ve engaged with it’s probably 70% enjoyed it and 30% didn’t. Although that’s a small sample of about twenty people.

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    12. I too am a fan of Season 8. I feel like I was actually more critical of S7 than the last season. Of course I felt there were a few writing/story blunders, but overall, I enjoyed the season and the finale. I do like how GRRM does explain that there are hints to Jon’s parentage in the books but I felt that similarly there were hints to his ending which I think will be the same. Different roads, same castle. After I read ASOIAF my own theory was that the Great Council would be enacted to elect the next monarch and that the Iron Throne would be destroyed. I look forward to reading GRRM’s version of getting to that plot point.

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    13. EVEN IF he ever finishes the books, and EVEN IF the ending is elaborated upon and makes sense coming from him, I’m having a tough time imagining being happy and satisfied by it. Maybe. Maybe it’ll never happen. Maybe I’ll continue to think of “The Long Night” as the series finale (while mentally expanding on it and filling in a conclusion.)
      I did just buy the Oathbreaker board game, but should’ve looked at the number of players, because I could have four tops (and it calls for five to eight.) The two people with whom I watched and obsessed over the show (the ones who got me into it around S3) were also disappointed in S8, one more so than the other, but I figured they’d still be willing to play the game…and for my birthday in a few days I can force people to do whatever I want anyway, muaha…but darnit. Perhaps we can make it kinda work with four. <:3

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    14. There are people in this fandom who are still denial that R+L=J is book plot point. They think evil hacks Dumb and Dumber used that theory for the show because they lack nuance.

      So the best thing for GRRM is to ignore this fandom and do what he wants to do.

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    15. Season 8 was not good (it was lazy and rushed) and I don’t think he will finish ASOIAF. We will get TWOW but not ADOS. Plus, he gives that “I won’t change anything” interview every year but the story will be different one way or another because there is much more going on in the books (more storylines, characters,…) than in the show.

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    16. The last season was so weak and what really annoys me is The Others/NK storyline. The writers shouldn’t have put that much emphasis on it just to kill the long night and the NK in such a short time. There should have been a fight with Jon at least.

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    17. Jack Hamm,

      Count me as another who loved the final season and the finale. Season 8 was my third favorite season.

      If you think that the author who ended his last book with Jon Snow being stabbed to death by his sworn brothers is going to end up giving you a Disney ending, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

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    18. Jack Hamm,

      The ending will be the same. That “bleak” ending you are talking about which I didn’t saw on screen, I saw a very positive ending, which was more positive then the rest of the show where we see people getting killed at weddings etc.

      What the difference may be is I think more down the line of the structure towards that end. And of course characters like Stannis, Euron etc have a very different story in the books.
      And I still think Cersei won’t outlive book 6 and another character that is omitted will be in the books till the last one.

      But I think and I think that we can expect that, Dany will go dark, she needs to be killed. Jon will end up in the north. Bran will be king. Sansa queen. Arya sailing west. Tyrion hand of the king. Jaime and Cersei both dead.

      What may differ is characters like Brienne, Bronn, Pod, etc

      Also a big difference maybe Margaery.

      Also I think Dany will go directly north towards the WW treat once she arrives in Westeros. And I think the wall will be down before she arrives in Westeros.

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    19. Jon Snowed,

      For me it was a bit like: 10% hated the season (would rate it a rating lower then 5). 30% loved it (rating of 9 to 10). and the other 60% found it good, but not as good as they expected it (rating of 6/7 or 8). And I think that’s what’s going on. Fans were already spoiled with the perfect season 4, and everything lower then what season 4 brought after that is bad. Because it’s lower then what came before. And people expected season 8 to be that great as season 4.
      But if I compare season 2 or 3 with season 8, I personally like season 8 better. Only season 1 and 4 in the first 4 seasons I think were much better then season 8.

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    20. he’s teasing the idea that Benioff and Weiss didn’t use everything he gave them since they only did “some of them.” Intriguing, yes?

      This was obvious. There was no way they were ever going to use everything he gave them.

      The two versions of the story were already far too different by Season 5.

      GRRM’s ending certainly includes subplots and characters that were cut from the TV show, as well as events that just wouldn’t make sense for the show, would be impossible to depict, or simply weren’t part of D&D’s vision for their own story.

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    21. mau: There are people in this fandom who are still denial that R+L=J is book plot point.

      Those people baffle me. If there was one thing that was absolutely guaranteed to be the same, it was Jon’s parentage.

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    22. I dont understand why the same commenters feel the need to repeat every time they comment how everyone hated season 8 and they have not met ONE person that said they liked it. Like why do you feel the need to constantly repeat this over and over again, when you and I both know that the bitter fans you refer to probably represent a quarter of GOT fandom.

      Like seriously you guys need to stop that. its getting boring. You hate it so much but you still come back here and retype the same comment. I dont get it?

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    23. I was waiting for this interview. He’s in the wildly unique position of trying out his finale on tv, it bombs miserably, and he’s not going to change it? I highly doubt that. If he doesn’t send a message that his books will be different, nobody is going to buy them.

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    24. Joey,

      It doesn’t matter if he changes it or keeps it the same. The story is too big and the readers/viewers all want different things. There’s no way Martin could come up with an ending that will please everyone.

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    25. mau:
      Mango,

      If this is what failure looks like, I also hope to fail one day like Benioff and Weiss did when they created GoT.

      I wish you success in life. And I mean that!

      I think Benioff & Weiss did a good job as adapters. They were lucky to have GRRM involved in the early stages as well.

      Season 8 is “hotly debated” as the writer (Sue!) of the article asserted. The very existence of a “hot debate” reflects that season is in dispute and was not a “widely acclaimed success”. You tend to get hot debates when many, many people are very, very unhappy.

      In this hot debate, many persons including good media critics and varied attentive fans have provided useful input. Many of these fans have supported D&D and GOT over years. Fans have complained more and more about the later seasons but nothing matches the S8 debate. (With the critics, for me, I have read the work of many of these critics on many other products over many years. I have seen their work outside of GOT. They are not pointing out the GOT narrative failures just to be petty. They do the same with other TV products as well)

      It may take a long time if any consensus is arrived at on why, what, how things went awry. Just a few weeks ago, I heard a great discussion of “Ishtar”. Ishtar was 1987!

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    26. Joey,

      I personally can’t wait for TWoW. Even if the ending is the same, which D&D confirmed in one of the S8 featurettes that GRRM’s plan is for Bran to be King. Even whilst trippin’ on weirwood paste, Bran’s personality remains intact, unlike his show counterpart. I am excited to see his 3eR persona, how Dany travels to, and handles being in, Westeros, how the Battle against the “Great Other” and white walkers will go down. There’s still so much to flesh out and other characters to follow who have already been killed off in GoT. I can’t wait to read it even if the broader “brushstokes” of the end are the same.

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    27. Young Dragon:
      Joey,

      It doesn’t matter if he changes it or keeps it the same. The story is too big and the readers/viewers all want different things. There’s no way Martin could come up with an ending that will please everyone.

      Tolkien provided a story that was narratively elegant and emotionally satisfying. There are many other big sweeping stories that achieve the same.

      Not everyone loved Tolkien’s ending or the story – but it worked on several levels. The Peter Jackson adaptation did not generate as many passionate debates as GOT.

      I have seen at least one analysis that the problems with GOT are within GRRM ‘s story itself. This argument is that the underlying story does not provide enough elements for emotional satisfaction. Another points out the characters on-screen became different from the characters in the book and hence the loss of the ability of the TV story to really work. Just ideas – views differ. Who knows, maybe GRRM will provide a great ending that does not cause hot debates.

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    28. I liked (but didn’t love) S8. I think it just wasn’t up to the standard of many other seasons. I still rate it higher than S5 and S7.

      And as to book difference, two words – Young Griff

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    29. Good on him for not reading fan sites. I hope he does the same for social media because a ton of it is extremely toxic and has ruined many people because of that. I loved how the series ended and look forward to seeing how he’ll write it. I’m probably in the small minority when I say this…but I’m hoping he releases more Dunk & Egg novels someday.

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    30. mau:
      Mango,

      I don’t see why any consensus is even necessary. GoT never had claer narrative, there were many ideas about what the point of the story is and people fall in love with their own fan theories.

      But at the end of the day if the story wants to say that humanity is so corrupt that even ice demons can’t bring them together and that only emotionless Google Chrome can rule that’s GRRM and D&D’s right.

      And maybe you shouldn’t celebrate person who falls in love with her own rapist as saviour and feminist icon. But I guess actors were hot so it didn’t matter.

      Lots to agree with here!

      My comment would be that storytellers have responsibilities to their audience. Some call it “narrative trust” and others call it “truth to the audience”. After 4 years old, you cannot just tell anything that pops into your mind. A credible narrative path has to be laid or you get a “hot debate”.

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    31. Mango,

      But you can’t avoid hot debate about the story like GoT. There was no option for the ending that wouldn’t be controversial.

      Ofc those people are now silent because they got what they wanted, but if you think there wouldn’t be any controversy of Night King was the last enemy for example you didn’t pay attention.

      I can imagine reviews – story about human drama ends with battle to save the world from ice demons, nuanced story about grey morality culminates in black and white final battle, GoT turns into another LOTR rip off and so on.

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    32. Targ restoration would also be controversial. Arya killing Cersei would have been controversial. Especially if she did it with Jaime’s face. Jon vs Night King would also be criticized because its most overused fantasy trope. Jon or Dany explicitly being The Chosen One(s) would also be controversial. WW killing everyone. Sansa on the Throne in the South. Jaime killing Cersei would be criticized for its predictability. And so on.

      There is not a single ending that wouldn’t be controversial, but this ending that we got perfectly fits with themes of the show and the books and I think there was no better option.

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    33. Season 8 was an emotional rollercoaster… Episodes 2 and 4 were perfection. Episode 5 was utterly heartbreaking (AS A DANY AND A JAIME FAN ARGHH, WHYYY). These episodes felt like I was reading GRRM – not what I wanted or what I expected Red Wedding anyone? The building dread… the destruction of all my hopes and dreams…

      Episode 6 was fine – by then we knew Dany was completely doomed so by then whatever on Jon killing her. Got my Brienne/White Book and Tyrion ruling ending I expected. I even enjoyed the Episode 3 Arya twist.

      All that to say, if GRRM never finishes the books, I believe I have felt the things he would have wanted me to feel reading them. Which is the important thing, IMO. Hats off to GRRM for creating this epic story.

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    34. QueenofThrones,

      I agree that The Bells felt like ASOIAF more than anything in the last 3 seasons.

      All themes and ideas, everything GRRM wanted to say about war, about family, about charismatic tyrants,… all of that was there.

      Human heart in conflict with itself.

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    35. mau,

      For me the bells was also one of the most emotional episodes of the series. But I can see why people felt (and they are half true) that the story needed more episodes. I think it felt like every episode just needed 10/20 minutes extra and it would have been ok for those fans.

      I don’t have a problem with stories skipping certain scenes, I just fill them in for myself. Like for instance the 2 weeks that were missing between episode 4 and 5. I think we all can fill in what have happened with Dany there. Most people already have lost people in their lives. But I can see why people rather wanted to see that, and I agree with them on that point, seeing that conflict with the heart I would have wanted to see.

      But still for me season 8 was better then season 2 (which had the fastest pacing of all the seasons), season 5 and season 3 and 7. But that’s just me.

      I personally have no problem with people disliking the last season. Not everyone can like the same things and the same endings. I like red wine and if somebody doesn’t I don’t have a problem with that. But what I have a problem with if somebody will tell that red wine is bad no matter what, and try to make it sound that only their taste is the right one. Just like with season 8. I don’t care if somebody like it or don’t but stating opinions as facts is something I can’t stand. (I know both haters and lovers of the season does that)

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    36. OMG. So many Emmy noms for GoT! Excited for all the actors that were nominated including Alfie and Gwen!

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    37. mau:
      QueenofThrones,

      I agree that The Bells felt like ASOIAF more than anything in the last 3 seasons.

      All themes and ideas, everything GRRM wanted to sayabout war, about family, about charismatic tyrants,… all of that was there.

      Human heart in conflict with itself.

      I absolutely agree with that.
      I’m another fan who loved season 8 (yeah, another one here!), and I truly believe each season 8 episode was better than the previous one. Episode 1 was good but predictable, episode 2 was emotional and warm but again, nothing unexpected happened. Episode 3 was certainly epic, and containted two huge twists, but as mau says, it was a battle of good vs. evil (in other words, exactly what GoT was NOT about).
      Episode 4 was, for me, a welcome return to a character drama. And episode 5 was… incredible. The best episode GoT had ever delivered so far: human drama, a perfect final twist (which was set up from the very beginning of the series, but cleverly hidden in plain view, as all good twists are), and morally challenging.
      And episode 6 was just… perfect for me.

      Anyway, I’m really hoping (although not really expecting) that George will give us his ending and I hope he sticks to his plans.

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    38. For the record, I enjoyed Season 8 though felt its quality fell short of the GoT standards because it was so bloody rushed! D&D and GRRM chose two very different roads to the same castle. D&D arrived but took shortcuts (many necessitated by budget and the limitations and requirements of television). George’s road is long, winding, and full of detours, but very very scenic. Some nights you must spend in less that savoury accommodations, but you get to meet many fascinating locals who are bypassed by the faster route. There are aspects of that castle I don’t like, but for the most part it is impressive, comfortable, and worth the effort to get there.

      Notice that here, despite having opinions varying from tragically bad to okay to “loved it”, we explain it calmly and clearly…and with respect and perhaps a tad of teasing, All over the Internet, ‘fans’ spew hate, virulence, name-calling, threats to D&D, and THAT is what has gone viral. In many cases the virulence is their unwitting response to not getting what they wanted for favourite characters, or not seeing scenes from the books or great illustrations. YouTubers, 12 year olds, and wannabe writers offer up examples of how to do Season 8 better. Or so they think, especially considering the budget that their improvements would necessitate. On another GoT site someone recently posted a long list of items to ask D&D at SDCC this week. IMO, perhaps 2/3 were inane, expensive, and’ kinda forgot’ that the show did realise what they asked for, but in another way. My compliments to you all for how you’re handling these discussions so well. And gratitude to Sue and staff for WotW, which we’ve enjoyed for many years. but giving us a safe place to discuss this story like adults.

      PS Just took a look at Emmy nods. The show did well. Almost all the submitted GoT actors made it, including longish shots like Alfie (hurrah!) and Carice. And Gwendoline. That means that probably no GoTers will win due to split votes, but they’ll have a damned good Emmy party! Cheers!

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    39. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      Stark Raven’ Rad:
      For the record, I enjoyed Season 8 though felt its quality fell short of the GoT standards because it was so bloody rushed!

      Well, to be honest, the first two episodes of the season where anything BUT rushed! Two full hours of characters preparing for the big battle, in a single location, with the exception of a 10 minute break!

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    40. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      You sum it up well. I thoroughly enjoyed every episode of S8 and was completely happy with the ending.

      I will only say that while I understand that everyone worked flat out to complete the story, and that there was literally no time to spare, I would happily have traded some of the spectacle for a few more “room scenes”.
      I don’t need extended battle scenes, and it just felt that there were a few loose ends, or things that didn’t quite hang together. A few more scenes would perhaps have made it flow in a more satisfying way, and those scenes should not have been of the difficult or expensive kind. I suspect there may have been some practical issues that we can only guess at.

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    41. Jack Bauer 24: I thought Season 8 was epic television and I was moved by every second of it. David and Dan outdid themselves.

      I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed this hard.

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    42. I wrote a book in 35 days,,, Sadly, I cannot say I am at Martin’s level though. Hope he gets it done. Use ghost writers otherwise! Readers deserve it. Imagine the next book, it will take 10 years at least, or be split in two….

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    43. Jack Hamm:
      These same sentiments he expressed in an interview years ago, so there is little new here.Two months after the season 8 finale I’ve not encountered one person who is not embittered by the lousy story told in that season.

      George is the last hope that the bitter, dreary, bleak, pointless, gloomy and depressing ending the show gave us is nothing more than a incompetent and clumsy perversion of his original intentions.

      Let this be your first then, as I loved the season even with its flaws, not because I’m a “fanboy” but because it had me all over the place emotionally, and because it done what George has not, it gave me an end to the story. And I find it odd that you have not encountered anyone wh o is not “embittered” I’ve emcountered quite a few just on this site alone.

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    44. Martin doesn’t want to change “The Winds Of Winter”…how about finishing it first and foremost?!

      “It will be done when it’s done.”, and when will that be, before or after we colonize Mars?!

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    45. *sees “Winds of Winter” and “teptation to change”*

      oh-no.jpg

      Also, weighing in on the discussion on the ending: Personally, the majority of my problems with it arose from it’s execution rather than it’s actual contents, Sam Tarly’s hamfisted book series reference and unironic advocacy for immediate democracy aside.

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    46. The ending of S8 is not bad. It is quite…logical actually. The problem is the narrative that drives the story towards conclusion with subtleness of a NY taxi driver in rush our. No offence to all those wonderful taxi drivers I had the pleasure to meet and talk to.

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    47. Martin confirmed that the ending of the book is not the same as the show’s. It’s a rather big revelation.
      Because, let’s face it, no one really cares about the ending of Jane Poole, or Ser Barristan or whoever. He wouldn’t come out and say that “some things they kept, some they didn’t” and refer to his beloved side-characters who have a meaning and a role in ASOIAF’s universe, but haven’t appeared at all, or very little, in GOT. E.g. Jane Poole is a stand-in for Sansa and the “girl in grey” (that the show portrayed so well btw in 6.4), and Ser Barristan may well remember again Ashara’s purple eyes when he sees the young Griff. Of course readers care about Jane, and Ser Barristan, but they’re not protagonists of the story and only the latter is a POV.
      So D&D kept some, and forsook some of the main ending. In my opinion the bit of the ending that was completely undeserving and unfounded is Bran as king. Because if they knew after season 4, as has been claimed (by the fans) but not confirmed, they’d have prepared Bran better even without the book (they wouldn’t dehumanize him like that). Apparently they chose this closure mostly for “political” reasons, I don’t know how else to describe it.
      Season 8 was fairly good, in the sense that it was very well done. The script is wanting. The story is full of plotholes and at some points makes no sense. But admittedly it was spectacular TV. I won’t see it again because I can’t stand the ending, but the actors on screen and all the people that worked behind the cameras to set it up really deserve the best.
      In my opinion ASOIAF was a political story springled with some magic. I started watching because of its medieval setting (we don’t get many of those). GOT seasons 7 and 8 had very little political plot, and that was disappointing and made the ending seem very hollow to me. Also, season 8 was imbalanced concerning characters. It was the Dany show and then the Tyrion show, while the story was about the Starks.
      Well, at least in the books we’ll get enough Starks, because all of them are POVs.
      I do agree with someone in the comments above that Martin is probably well into the last book. Not because of what Martin said, but because this story is so big and complicated that it’s not possible to write ADOS separately. So many little details that need attention by the author, so much subtle and delicate foreshadow, so many story threads that need to have an ending, if you write it separately, you’ve lost it. So if WoW is almost done, it’s very probable that ADoS will follow shortly after it appears.
      Let’s hope for the best.

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    48. The ending was bittersweet, heavy on the bitter…in a very very bitter way. ._. I expected S8 to be the greatest of all, and by the end of the third episode, I knew it would turn out to be the only one I’d rate lower than a 7 or 8/10. That was a humongous blow after my sky-high hype. Really, the first six seasons had been like, 9s or 10s. S7, maybe an 8 or 9. But 8…oh brother, if I try to reiterate even the main issues once more I just might go nuts, but I mean…it felt like a crime. Sure, for a lesser show it could’ve been mostly extraordinary, but for GoT left much to be desired and often felt unlike itself. First episode was fine, nice setup. Second was beautiful, a total return to form. But from there? Oh, it’s so depressing to read back over my reactions! The insane amount of joyous, anticipatory excitement I felt going into the third episode…and then, losing it all afterward because three more episodes with the threat from season-1-episode-1-scene-1 already extinguished was such a deflating proposition. The final three episodes are my bottom three for the series. Never saw this coming; expectations subverted. Sigh.

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    49. Efi:
      Martin confirmed that the ending of the book is not the same as the show’s. It’s a rather big revelation.
      Because, let’s face it, no one really cares about the ending of Jane Poole, or Ser Barristan or whoever. He wouldn’t come out and say that “some things they kept, some they didn’t” and refer to his beloved side-characters who have a meaning and a role in ASOIAF’s universe, but haven’t appeared at all, or very little, in GOT. E.g. Jane Poole is a stand-in for Sansa and the “girl in grey” (that the show portrayed so well btw in 6.4), and Ser Barristan may well remember again Ashara’s purple eyes when he sees the young Griff. Of course readers care about Jane, and Ser Barristan, but they’re not protagonists of the story and only the latter is a POV.
      So D&D kept some, and forsook some of the main ending. In my opinion the bit of the ending that was completely undeserving and unfounded is Bran as king. Because if they knew after season 4, as has been claimed (by the fans) but not confirmed, they’d have prepared Bran better even without the book (they wouldn’t dehumanize him like that). Apparently they chose this closure mostly for “political” reasons, I don’t know how else to describe it.
      Season 8 was fairly good, in the sense that it was very well done. The script is wanting. The story is full of plotholes and at some points makes no sense. But admittedly it was spectacular TV. I won’t see it again because I can’t stand the ending, but the actors on screen and all the people that worked behind the cameras to set it up really deserve the best.
      In my opinion ASOIAF was a political story springled with some magic. I started watching because of its medieval setting (we don’t get many of those). GOT seasons 7 and 8 had very little political plot, and that was disappointing and made the ending seem very hollow to me. Also, season 8 was imbalanced concerning characters. It was the Dany show and then the Tyrion show, while the story was about the Starks.
      Well, at least in the books we’ll get enough Starks, because all of them are POVs.
      I do agree with someone in the comments above that Martin is probably well into the last book. Not because of what Martin said, but because this story is so big and complicated that it’s not possible to write ADOS separately. So many little details that need attention by the author, so much subtle and delicate foreshadow, so many story threads that need to have an ending, if you write it separately, you’ve lost it. So if WoW is almost done, it’s very probable that ADoS will follow shortly after it appears.
      Let’s hope for the best.

      Er…HBO confirmed officially that Bran as King came from George…Keep up.

      And George has said publicly again and again that he hasn’t written a word of Dream of Spring…

      Boy, some people are living in their own fantasy world…lol

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    50. George,
      Efi,

      Here is the link to his blog post entitled (ironically), “Idiocy on the Internet”:

      http://georgerrmartin.com/notablog/2019/05/13/idiocy-on-the-internet/

      “I will, however, say for the record — no, THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING are not finished. DREAM is not even begun; I am not going to start writing volume seven until I finish volume six.

      It seems absurd to me that I need to state this. The world is round, the Earth revolves around the sun, water is wet… do I need to say that too? It boggles me that anyone would believe this story, even for an instant. It makes not a whit of sense. Why would I sit for years on completed novels? …. ” He goes on for a few more paragraphs 😂😂

      (And p.s. I personally love Barristan in the books and can’t wait to read more of his plot. Loved TWoW sample from his POV).

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    51. George,

      I live in my fantasy world if I want to, just to escape from this reality, of which you and others in here are typical representatives.
      What do you do? Stalk people on the internet just to throw your bad irony and spite?
      Oh, I know, GRRM has made you his personal assistant and you know exactly where his work stands, don’t you?
      Get a life.

      PS. HBO has confirmed this is Martin’s ending. This could relate to a number of things, of which I think the most relevant is the destruction of KL and Daenerys’s slide to the dark side.

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    52. Dark Sister,

      Yes, thank you, I have seen Martin’s post and I’ve read it more than once. It doesn’t really say anything, or it does (for me), that he thinks that I’m an idiot.
      There’s more than one reasons to believe that he’s not telling the truth (to put it mildly). Why would he? Why would he tell the truth about it on the internet?
      But it’s his book. He can do whatever he wants with it.
      As I said, I think the last interview confirmed that there are things in the ending of GOT that are not the same with the ending of ASOIAF.
      I loved Arianne.

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    53. George,

      You’re also not remembering well. It wasn’t HBO (the channel wouldn’t answer anybody’s doubts on particular productions). It was D&D talking to IHR. And the discussion wasn’t about Martin’s ending, that was the media’s take on what Isaac said.
      The discussion was about Bran as king. Isaac thought they were joking. And they said, no, Bran is king, that’s the ending.
      Obviously they were talking about the show’s ending, not Martin’s books.
      (On what authority would they discuss Martin’s ending with Isaac?)

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    54. Efi,

      He is a bit harsh with his words, but I’m choosing to believe him. However, I do think that there will be less of a publishing gap between TWoW and ADoS …. once we eventually get to that point. I’m choosing to remain optimistic. And I think the endings will generally match: different roads, same castle. He also already confirmed “a twist” with a book character that has been killed off in the show, and I do hope he kills off Bronn. The ONE thing I truly hated about the finale is that Bronn lived and sits on the Small Council. Uggghhhh, just no. But the major plots I think will remain the same – mostly enacting the Great Council to elect the next monarch as it’s foreshadowed in ASOIAF across its volumes in different POVs.

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    55. I wonder if GRRM is contractually bound by HBO to this particular ending. If not, it may make better business for his book publisher if he used a different ending. It would be better for sales, wouldn’t it? And publicity around it would be great.

      I can only wonder where he will get the focus/energy to finish these stories.

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    56. Mango:
      I wonder if GRRM is contractually bound by HBO to this particular ending.If not, it may make better business for his book publisher if he used a different ending. It would be better for sales, wouldn’t it? And publicity around it would be great.

      I can only wonder where he will get the focus/energy to finish these stories.

      It may not that he’s contractually bound to this ending by hbo, it may be that this is his ending, and he’s unwlling to change his artwork for anyone because well, it’s his baby, and he is not changing it for anyone, and the people can either like it or hate it.

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    57. Mango,

      I didn’t want to say this because it’s not my business and I don’t know things well, so it might seem very presumptuous of me, but Martin’s name appears in the titles among the producers. Of course there’s a contract with HBO. We have no idea what that is, but it is a good reason to suspect that anything is going on. And if you remember when this whole thing started, it was one of the actors (playing Barristan, I think?) who said that Martin had a deal with HBO (I’ve seen the video). It wasn’t a rumor on the internet that started it.
      I do think it’s totally his own right and its perfectly legit if something like that is true. ASOIAF is Martin’s baby, and GOT is also his baby. So, why not?
      (I suspected it first when it was known last November that Martin was back in his hermitage writing WoW –and to think that I don’t like conspiracy theories, lol. But why the sudden rush? He’s already delayed several years, so why rush now?)

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    58. Dark Sister,

      Yes, I believe him too, only he’s not really saying anything and he does have the tendency to be kind of arrogant and even insulting, but I understand it’s directed mostly to the most extreme fans, those who take their own anticipation and love for GOT as entitlement to his work. He still could make this a bit clearer in his own posts. I don’t think that people who read are like that. The most extreme fans are those who prefer TV instead of a good book. Book readers know that when a book is tranfered to the screen, chances are that it’ll be ruined.
      As for the ending, there are many things I am not sure about if show and books match. Bronn was pure fanservice, as was in my opinion Tyrion especially show-wise, because it’s proven that he’s an idiot and he’s partly responsible for the destruction of KL.
      So the show ended in a nihilistic place where none of the established relationships ever mattered (someone pointed this out and I absolutely agree). Jon/Dany, Jon/all the Starks, Sansa/Arya, Jamie/Brienne, Arya/Gentry, all ruined in the end, some are dead, others are alone. The only relationship that mattered was Jamie/Cersei, and that was an incestuous one, illegitimate and kind of sick and abusive with all the manipulation going on. That’s what they gave us.
      So what is the moral take from the show? “You’re better alone, crown on your head or not”? “Die with your abuser”? Oh, I forgot, Sansa is stronger because of her abuse, right? That’s the take. Women should be abused to become as strong as Sansa, Cersei and Dany. Bronn and Tyrion are typical abusers (to be fair, Tyrion much more in the books), is there any reason for them not to run the six kingdoms? Forgive my snark.
      Is this Martin’s ending? I doubt it. I think he’ll do better.
      What we watched in the show was D&D, not Martin. They probably kept KL’s destruction, Dany dying by Jon’s hand, Jamie and Cersei dying together, and that’s it. The rest is fanservice (Bronn, Tyrion).
      Bran as king, Sansa queen in the North, Jon at the Wall, Arya away, don’t really make sense -in my opinion not even show-wise, much less book-wise.
      There’s a number of reasons as to why they chose this ending, but I won’t get into this subject, others in this site have explained it much better than I ever could.

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    59. Dark Sister,

      Sorry, I forgot the council. The great council is Rhaegar’s legacy. Jamie knew that he wanted to make a great council after the war with the North. So if someone’s going to enact it, it would be Jon. Jamie’s arc in the books is bound to Jon, just like Brienne’s is bound to Sansa. However, Jamie and Jon are full parallels in the books. This is why I always expected that it’s fully symmetrical for Jon to kill Daenerys, to become a queenslayer just like Jamie’s a kingslayer. This is one of the reasons I don’t really believe that Jamie will kill Cersei, but he might as well die with her as it happened in the show, if he dies at all.
      In this context I can see Jon as king of the seven kingdoms and Bran as lord/king in the North. Bran is bound to the magical qualities and lore of the North, he’d be rather a “king of winter”, I don’t see how he could end up South. Plus, he’s outrageously young in the books. (and in a similar fashion Sansa is bound to the South, spring and blossoming and regeneration, so it’s off that she’s North in the show)
      But as I said, it’s Martin’s, and if anyhting is true, it’s that Martin can bind it all together and bring it where he wants very skillfully.

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    60. Dane: It may not that he’s contractually bound to this ending by hbo, it may be that this is his ending, and he’s unwlling to change his artwork for anyone because well, it’s his baby, and he is not changing it for anyone, and the people can either like it or hate it.

      If it is solely his “baby” he can change it when or if he wants. It does not have to be a result of others’ reactions – he can change it because as he writes he sees alternatives that work better. Lots of writers work like that. He may have an end in mind for years and then it evolves as GRRM evolves as a person and an artist. He is a living being.

      And I can see why a publisher would be happy for new ending – just from a marketing point of view.

      HBO probably has his hands tied anyway. GRRM has made some mild comments about the impact of other parties on GOT and it being fanfiction. HBO paid millions and they surely are not leaving themselves at the whim of the writer.

      I speculate that he gave up quite a bit of creative control over the ending used in GOT. It would make sense for HBO to contract that especially as the books were not yet finished. And for all adaptations, I think there must be significant creative freedom written into the HBO contract (and for any studio) when the rights are bought.

      I think they must have contracted the right to write an ending under several circumstances. For example, if GRRM had died before providing one or if GRRM’s ending ideas are not deemed commercially viable etc., Just uninformed speculation by me – but like Jon, I know nothing.

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    61. Efi:
      George,

      You’re also not remembering well. It wasn’t HBO (the channel wouldn’t answer anybody’s doubts on particular productions). It was D&D talking to IHR. And the discussion wasn’t about Martin’s ending, that was the media’s take on what Isaac said.
      The discussion was about Bran as king. Isaac thought they were joking. And they said, no, Bran is king, that’s the ending.
      Obviously they were talking about the show’s ending, not Martin’s books.
      (On what authority would they discuss Martin’s ending with Isaac?)

      This is one of the interesting things.

      Why did they most “build up” Bran role in the series so his becoming king would make sense or seems to be a more natural evolution from the story.

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    62. Mango,

      Well, there’s only one logical answer to this question. Bran as king wasn’t part of the ending, at least not like that. He could have been king in the North, or lord of WF.
      They built up a king for seven seasons and then decided the last moment that someone else has a “better story”, and indeed one that wasn’t prepared to become king or hasn’t been involved in governing ever, apart from a couple of scenes back in season 1 and his contribution to LF’s trial in season 7. Bran is not Bran anymore, he’s not a person, he’s something else.
      That’s what they did. They did what they did with the building of the entire GOT. They knew Dany had the better story, made her a hero, and then scolded the audience via Tyrion’s idiotic and ooc speeches in season 8 for “not paying attention” and then, again via Tyrion, they reminded us that Bran “has the better story”. They “danied” us on the head, lol, only Bran’s “danying” is undeserving.
      This decision was certainly political. They calculated the fans’ preferences (Dany, Tyrion, Bran) at the expense of another fan favorite, Jon, and the outcry for making the murderer of a woman king, because “sexism”, in a show that was outrageously sexist from the very beginning. This is the channel and D&D’s decision.
      Of course they are addressing the TV audience, and particularly those that are not book readers (no offence meant here; I totally respect people who don’t like to read). Because the rest of us probably acknowledge by now that when the books shall be (hopefully) completed Daenerys is going down as the best female villain ever written in literature. Women can be villains, and when they are it’s totally legit to have the destiny of a villain. That’s not sexism; it can be a good narrative depending on the author and the build-up of the story.
      In this context they accomodated Sansa as queen in the North, stripping her of all the female delicacy that she has in the books, because in the modern world women with power are not allowed to have partners and families around them (which is not true, btw, it’s just a twisted misconception–almost each and every woman in a position of power is happily married, take Merkel or May), and sent Jon back at the Wall to the point where he started, as if he hasn’t progressed at all as a character, as if he’s punished for who he is, forever condemned to remain a bastard.
      That’s not the ending Martin is planning. Jon may or may not become king of the 7Ks, but before his ending his parentage will have brought everything upside down in Westeros. Otherwise why build it up like that? Why invent Quentyn and f!Aegon in ADWD just to hide the true heir a little more? The show told us that Jon ever existing didn’t matter. I don’t think that’s what Martin intends to tell us.
      In fact, in the show, Jon could well have been Ned’s bastard, nothing would have changed the narrative. In this context his returning to the Wall would have made sense, because bastards are considered treacherous to their own kind, blah, blah, blah, and Daenerys’ murder would have deserved the punishment framed in an in-universe moral even if questionable by modern standards frame.
      Anyway, personally I don’t have questions anymore. The show’s s8 narrative was a nice story awkwardly told. It wasn’t a brave story, the ending of ep6 was incompatible with the narrative, totally conventional in its supposed unpredictability, as if they chickened out the last moment and its incohesiveness is at the expense of the entire season 8 and frankly, all of GOT.
      They could have done better, even without changing the beats. It was unsatisfying and unfulfilling and left much of the audience with a bitter taste in the mouth. For many it felt like betrayal of their years long emotional investment. They could have told the same story better.
      Let’s see how they do in the Emmys. No doubt they’ll get loads of them, but I have reservations for the protagonists, the story doesn’t support them taking Emmys. Other stories this year are much, much better and complete and fulfilling. (I’d desperately like KH, LH, and AA taking the award home, but…)

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    63. Jack Hamm,

      My experience has been the reverse. Most of my real life and even my GoT Facebook/social media friends were at least *fine* with the ending, if not outright loved it. I enjoyed Season 8. It’s by no means perfect. I have my own personal criticisms of it. But it doesn’t deserve the hatred and vitriol it had from some fans.

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    64. Efi,

      Well, there’s only one logical answer to this question. Bran as king wasn’t part of the ending, at least not like that. He could have been king in the North, or lord of WF.

      I don’t know about that. King Bran is definitely a George R.R. Martin-eque ending. Bran’s story arc both in the books and in the show follows the traditional Joseph Campbell-esque, Hero of a Thousand faces journey most closely moreso than both Jon and Dany so Bran ending up as King in the end makes sense. How he ends up becoming king may be different in the books. If anything, Sansa being Queen of the North is the D&D decision because I heard that Sansa is David Benioff’s favorite character so making her an independent Queen of the North is kind of a compromise. In the books, I think she will end up being both the Warden of the North AND Lady of the Vale.

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    65. Malcolm,

      Agreed. Thanks for the citation. I guess all Martin’s heros fall in this trope, Bran’s, Jon’s, Jamie’s, Sansa and Arya’s, Daenerys’, Tyrion’s. They need to learn and then apply their knowledge, experiencing a kind of death, literal or figurative.
      But there’s magic involved too. The story started with finding the pups and Bran’s fall. For it to make a full circle, Bran needs to be restored. How? Where? What does it mean? I have no idea. Bran has very little foreshadow in his chapters about being king, and that points to the North and the kings of Winter, while Jon is constantly called a king one way or the other. Bran and Jon are two of the most central characters anyway, but only Bran is outrageously young. As for Sansa, I see her queen anyway, North or South. She has lots of foreshadow as queen.
      But Martin likes to overturn his tropes and to subvert them, or obscure them for the readers. The most blatant example is Sansa’s suitors, I guess, where he plays with the tropes of Beauty and the Beast. Joffrey, Tyrion, Harry Hardyng, are all a type of “monster”, and she left/leaves them all. One could also fit Clegane and that Tyrell guy in this trope.
      Another example is the hidden heir trope. It’s Jon, of course, but there’s Daenerys and the Young Griff.
      And there’s also incest and pseudo-incest, another trope in Martin’s work.
      So it’s not that easy with Martin. Let’s wait and see what he does with all his characters.
      What doesn’t fit well for me either is the independent North and Bran as king in the South. Not only because of the political implications, but because of the magical context. Wouldn’t Bran need a heart tree nearby? There’s none in the South. If Bran’s “restoration” means the beginning of healing for Westeros, then how can the North be independent? I understand that after all the North needed its independence in the show, but in the book it doesn’t really make sense, unless all kingdoms enjoy some kind of autonomy. So why do that in the show? Would show Sansa not want to be subject to her brother? I only have one answer to this question. Sansa as queen is indeed Martin’s ending, and this they kept. Where? How? No idea other than what they gave us, which is not reliable because they really shuffled the cards.
      This is why Martin said that some they did, some they didn’t.

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    66. Efi,

      Wouldn’t Bran need a heart tree nearby? There’s none in the South.

      It was never really established in the show that Bran *needs* a heart tree nearby. He could easily ordered Maesters to figure out how to transplant some in the garden if he does need it.

      There ARE Weirwood trees in the South though. They’re located in the Isle of Faces in the middle of the God’s Eye lake near Harrenhal, which is why I heard a GoT YouTuber theorize that in the books, WHEN Bran is crowned King, he will rule NOT from Kings Landing/the Red Keep but from Harrenhal so he’ll be close to the Weirwoods.

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    67. Malcolm,

      It was established in the show, via the actual scenes but not via dialog. Bran was at the heart tree in ep 3 anyway, but I’m talking about all other scenes, eg his visions in season 6. Bran is connected to the old gods, hence the trees and the weirwood network.
      But anyway, the Godseye really works, and apparently it will be of some significance in the books. It’s at the center of Westeros, away from KL. The Trident is nearby and Daenerys has one of the most important (foreshadowing?) visions about the Trident.
      I don’t think I agree with Harrenhall though; it is negatively charged with the arrogance both of men and the Targaryens specifically. It doesn’t fit what Bran represents, which is force of nature and memory of men, growth and regeneration. Harrenhall is a foreshadow of KL itself, a representation of old Valyria in Westeros.
      I’ve seen some of the videos myself regarding Harrenhall. Most is by people who don’t really understand the symbolisms in everything and every little detail Martin has included in the books, but some of the commentary and speculation I’ve seen is actually very good regardless.
      All this is food for thought, and it’s good.

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    68. It looks like I’m late to the party, and as any pity party goes this looks as good as any. I too have my frustration at what I see as an anti climatic and confusing ending which actually could have been avoided with what I see as something called the missing scene, I call “Jon’s trial by combat”. It goes something like this, Greyworm never far from the queen or out of earshot hears the dragon roaring from the throne room. He opens the door looks in and sees Jon standing over the dead Queen with his sword through her chest and the dragon after examining the body go balistic and melt the iron throne. He watches as the dragon gathers Danny up and flies off with her. He leaves Jon standing unscathed. Greyworm gathers his closest guards and enter the room and surround Jon. He takes him down to the town square where he intends to execute him. Jon gives a small speech as to why he did what he did and asks for a trial by combat as he is not a run of the mill assassin. Greyworm gladly agrees and the two set up for a death match. The two fight ferociously as the unsullied guards gather around them. After several minutes of neither getting the upper hand Jon trips over an (unknown) object at which point Greyworm starts swinging wildly as he sees his advantage and beats Jon to the ground where it looks as though he is about ready to deliver a death stroke. He momentarily looks startled and grabs his neck at which point Jon rolls slightly out of the way as Greyworms weapon stabs into his left arm. Jon grabs his weapon an kicks Greyworm out of the way. Greyworm falls to the ground and Jon now holds the weapon to Greyworms throat. Greyworm asks him “are you going to kill me now”? Jon slightly lowers his weapon. He replies “not if I don’t have to”. He tells Greyworm that he and the other armies have to leave the city. Until such time they are not to harm any prisoners and will help clean up the dead. He is to gather all the lords of the land together in a council at which time they will decide his and Tyrions fate. Greyworm grudgingly agrees and Jon helps Greyworm to his feet. A guard comes up and offers both of them a cup of water and whispers to Jon “you did the right thing”. Greyworms cup of water contained the antidote to the fast acting paralyzing poison from the dart she used. She had intended it for Cersi, Then for Daenerys, and as she would probably not have gotten close enough to kill them personally, the blow dart used by the faceless men seemed like the most useful weapon. Now cut to the ending we were given and it almost makes sense. Sort of. Years later Daenerys who somehow was brought back to life gathers an army and comes back as the fire queen to take revenge on Jon and his family. This is just my version of the end so that it makes some sense to me. It wasn’t a bad end just an unfinished one.

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    69. I guess like many I was hoping for a little clarity from the SD comic con GoT panel. It was somewhat disappointing that not everyone showed up and left the actors to do their best at fielding questions they had as much knowledge about as Jon Snow. When the actor who played Greyworm was asked how come he didn’t kill Jon Snow, he should have said because it wasn’t in the script he was given. He did his best though. Whats done is done and as nothing is going to change, and this is all fiction anyway. That just means that our feelings about all this while seemingly real are just as fictional, which means we should just get over ourselves. Okay I’m done, so now on to the next big thing we can all love to hate, or whatever.

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