George R.R. Martin tackles differences to his books in Game of Thrones ending

George R. R. Martin at the 2015 Emmy Awards

George R. R. Martin at the 2015 Emmy Awards

Both author George R.R. Martin and showrunners Benioff and Weiss have largely avoided discussing the differences between the show’s ending and what we may eventually find in his books, and we’ll probably not get a detailed answer until The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring are released, if they ever are. In the meantime, any news on the subject feels like a precious gem of information. That is the case with a new interview with Martin, who largely avoids giving us specifics… but also gives us a lot to talk about, especially regarding the ending of Daenerys Targaryen!

The ASOIAF subreddit picked up on Welt‘s German language interview, and user Whitebread100 provided a translation, which we’re thankful for. First, Welt asks Martin about his wide-ranging workload, beyond the writing of his final A Song of Ice and Fire novels:

“I’m currently developing the prequel series for HBO. I also have another deal with the station: I’m supposed to produce more series for them, those that don’t originate in the universe of my own stories,” Martin explains. “I’m working with writer Nnedi Okorafar on a film adaptation of her science fiction novel Who Fears Death. And I own a small art house cinema in Santa Fe, where I live. It all takes up a lot of time. But I like it.”

Now, as for the final season and how it relates to the two remaining books he’s writing, Martin is quick to point out, as he has before in other words, that “people know an end – not the end.” He elaborates: “The makers of the TV series overtook me, which I didn’t expect. Nevertheless I continue what I’ve been doing for years: I still try to finish first the next book Winds Of Winter and then the follow-up novel A Dream Of Spring. These are the things I concentrate on. After that we will see.”

Daenerys Targaryen King's Landing Season 8 806 The Bells

When pressed further about how he’ll tackle readers knowing the broad strokes of the ending, and Dany’s fate in particular, Martin resorts to his favorite answer:

“Counter question: How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? In Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind she had three children. But in the cinema version of the novel she had only one child. Which version is the only valid one – the one with one child or the one with three?” Martin asks. “The answer is: neither of the two. Because Scarlett O’Hara never existed, she is a fictional character, not a real person who would have had real children. Or take The Little Mermaid. We know her from the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen and from the Disney film. Which one is the real mermaid? Well, mermaids don’t exist. You can choose the version you like best. That goes for any story adapted for cinema or television. In this process, change is inevitable. Even if the adaptation is as faithful to the literary original as it was in Game of Thrones.”

As usual, and very much like showrunners Benioff and Weiss, Martin is evasive about which aspects of the final season were based on the outline he delivered the showrunners years ago. What that means is open to interpretation, of course. Personally, what I take from Martin avoiding to answer the Daenerys question directly is that, whatever differences there may end up being in the road to her fall from grace (however many children Scarlett O’Hara has), her story will still inevitably end in that fall. Then again, I’m no mind reader. What do you think his evasiness means?

163 responses

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    1. Tron79,

      ”I’m currently developing the prequel series for HBO. I also have another deal with the station: I’m supposed to produce more series for them, those that don’t originate in the universe of my own stories,” Martin explains. “I’m working with writer Nnedi Okorafar on a film adaptation of her science fiction novel Who Fears Death. And I own a small art house cinema in Santa Fe, where I live. It all takes up a lot of time. But I like it.”

      auf Wiedersehen, TWOW.

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    2. We have in mind that main goal of these statements is to keep interest in the books.

      But he did call Game of Thrones a faithful adaptation, even in this interview. And he said that his ending won’t be that different from the show’s in 60 minutes interview.

      Benioff and Weiss are Hollywood writes. They would never on their own kill their most popular character to put Bran on the throne. No way in hell. That’s not how Hollywood works.

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    3. Also I’m sure GRRM at the moment of meeting with D&D had no idea how white walkers will be defeated in the books.

      That’s why D&D made The Night King in S4, which was the first season they wrote after big meeting with GRRM.

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    4. Just a small correction, Deepl is not a User on afoiaf or Reddit rather it is an online translation service that produces way better results than google translate. At least between English and German.

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    5. Ten Bears:
      Tron79,

      He doesn’t seem…very focused, does he? …

      “Never hold.”

      Just figured I would quote an Arya scene cuz his lack of focusing and excitement for his other projects made me a bit depressed.
      Thinking of the Arya scene made me feel a little better.
      Arya was focusing on the target so it reminded me.

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    6. GRRM should take some advice from Mr. Benioff and Mr. Weiss how to write a good story and of course an end. He is overstrianed while Mr. Benioff and Mr. Weiss have done their job with brilliance. I know, the end is Georgs end but they wrote it beautifully and I am still amazed. I mean King Bran the Broken is just amazing but I am still grateful to GRRM 😱😄

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    7. I definitely think it will end the same. I’ve been rereading since the show ended and all the signs are there. I love his analogies.

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    8. I actually liked the ending itself, what I didn’t like was the journey to get there.

      Although I’ll have to re-read Bran’s chapters because I dismissed his chapters because I thought he wouldn’t that much of an impact in the story. WELL I WAS REALLY WRONG LOL 😂

      Anyway, I hope he is able to find time to finish the saga, if he doesn’t… well… I guess I’ll be disappointed but it’s his choice and we have to respect it.

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    9. The LightKing,

      I don’t know how many times I pointed out all the nitpicking of an episode like Blackwater. How did nobody see Tywins army. How did Stannis get his boats through the harbor that was literally on fire. How did Davos survive an explosion two feet in front of his face. I love the episode but it can be picked apart like other battles. Instead most people say it’s not the same because George wrote it.

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    10. I actually liked the ending itself, what I didn’t like was the journey to get there.

      Although I’ll have to re-read Bran’s chapters because I dismissed his chapters because I thought he wouldn’t that much of an impact in the story. WELL I WAS REALLY WRONG LOL 😂

      Anyway, I hope he

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    11. Martin is a gentleman.
      I’ve said it before. Winds of Winter is finished. A dream of spring is finished as well or close to be finished. One must really think about this subject to understand why.
      One more thing: if anyone thinks Daenerys will become “the biggest threat to the people” also in the books, please allow me to call them Idiots.

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    12. “He elaborates: “The makers of the TV series overtook me, which I didn’t expect. “… Dude you had what almost a decade? And you didn’t expect that…sigh…

      Tell that to JK Rowling for example…but anywho, I sincerely hope that he manages to finish ASOIF…I hope I’m still interested enough to read. There are soo many other good books outhere… it would be almost a chore to return to ASOIF at this point.

      And the ending to the HBO series might have been “an ending”..but for me and I suspect others for example, this is the ending now. The question Martin has to ask himself is, if anybody will still care about his ending as the years pass by.

      It will soon be nine years since “A Dance Of Dragons” was released…in 2011…nine freaking years…

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    13. The LightKing:
      MaxHightower,

      Of course you liked it. It’s from GRRM.

      I mean, and again, there are things I adore from the books and things that I don’t like (the lengthy detailed description of Arianne’s large brown nipples comes to mind lol)

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    14. Iul,

      Sorry but I think Danys ending was great and I’m not an idiot. You really think George has both books done. That makes no sense if they were finished he would have them published.

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    15. Iul,

      These D&D/GRRM articles always turn into a D&D vs. GRRM comments section where it’s always one side vs. the other. I don’t get it.

      Can’t we discuss this without the name calling?

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    16. loco73,

      I’m patiently waiting for Mr Martin to get fan backlash he deserves.

      People complain about writing speed, but I feel since 2015, when D&D cut so many things from last two books, there is no real debate about quality of his writing.

      I mean 8 chapters for Brienne? Wtf??

      Or people just kinda forgot last book since it was published during Obama’s first term.

      Or maybe majority of people left book fandom and only the most devoted following is left and they have to worship GRRMy all day and night.

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    17. mau:
      loco73,

      I’m patiently waiting for Mr Martin to get fan backlash he deserves.

      People complain about writing speed, but I feel since 2015, when D&D cut so many things from last two books, there is no real debate about quality of his writing.

      I mean 8 chapters for Brienne?Wtf??

      Or people just kinda forgot last book since it was published during Obama’s first term.

      Or maybe majority of people left book fandom and only the most devoted following is left and they have to worship GRRMy all day and night.

      I mean this with no disrespect to Martin. I met the man…a decade ago when he released “A Dance Of Dragons” and he and his wife Paris were super nice to all fans, taking pictures and graciously answering questions.

      I do not question his creative process or writing style, and yes people do operate at different speeds…but maaaan when your speed is that of a turtle, even the most patient fans get antsy…to say the least.

      It is said good things should not be rushed… but if those good things never come…how long until they expire and no one ends up giving a shit when they do finally appear. Especially in the ADD riddled world we live in these days.

      I’ll tell you straight out, we are talking about the novels only now, as a fan I’m on my way out for good…

      PS Just as I am with Patrick Rothfuss and “The Kingkiller Chronicle”…

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    18. Mr Derp,

      Unfortunately almost everywhere I go it always turns into George is amazing and D&D are hacks. George gives an interview and everyone is sympathetic. D&D give an interview and their words get twisted and people call them names.

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    19. will it end the same for Dany in the books?
      yes, it will. where else can her story go tbh. it has always screamed of tragedy. the question is, will he do a better job bringing the reader on the journey with her.

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    20. Fireandblood87,

      I never saw this horrible fandom say – I feel bad for D&D and position they are in. Loosing the books to adapt. Never.

      It’s always feeling bad for poor GRRM. Why should people feel bad for him?

      It’s always – I can only imagine how GRRM feels. Why don’t you imagine how D&D feel?

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    21. mau,

      I don’t feel bad for any of them. They all have an awful sh*t load of money and they all disrespected their fans. If they have all that money they should be in a position to take all that fan criticism gallantly.

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    22. “What do you think his evasiness means?”

      Luka you shouldn’t ask such questions, lol!
      The discussion in this page is bound to flare up.
      Martin never really answered anything that has to do with the books. When the show ended and there were all these reactions he posted that famous “yes and no and yes and no and yes” reply and brought as example Jeyne Poole and Pod (I think?). No offence, but who gives a damn about Jeyne Poole and all the non-PoV characters? No one. We’ll never get a real answer from Martin before his books are out (if ever).

      If there’s anything that comes out of this interview it’s that his priority now is to finish the book; I suppose this has happened because of the backlash -it would be terrible if he let the fans down so much and left them with such bitterness. He still supports D&D though by saying that “change is inevitable” in adaptations and he also confirms that this is not the ending of his book -“it’s an end”.

      Apart from specific differences, D&D are of course justified for making this story their own and turning it into a Daenerys story since they had their own fans to think about. GoT was a huge success in spite of all the problems and criticism it received.

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    23. Efi: If there’s anything that comes out of this interview it’s that his priority now is to finish the book; I suppose this has happened because of the backlash -it would be terrible if he let the fans down so much and left them with such bitterness. He still supports D&D though by saying that “change is inevitable” in adaptations and he also confirms that this is not the ending of his book -“it’s an end”.

      While I think it’s true we won’t ever know what the differences will be until (if) the books ever come out, I don’t know if this confirms his ending will be completely different (as he’s made a very similar statement before in April 2019) or that D&D went and made the story entirely their own, especially based on his Gone With the Wind example (Scarlett’s three children in the book vs her one child in the movie), an example GRRM has used to explain the differences between the TV series and books before. I think he means that there will be two different versions of the same basic ending.

      There are always adaptational changes between adaptations and their sources (the most faithful adaptation I can think of is the 1985 Anne of Green Gables movie and even then, there were some differences). It doesn’t mean everything is totally different, they can follow the same basic narrative, but there are some adaptational differences in the details filling this out.

      GRRM has talked about some of that, especially in regard to secondary characters:

      (April 2019, 60 Minutes)

      I don’t think Dan and Dave’s ending is gonna be that different from my ending because of the conversations we did have, but they may be on certain secondary characters, there may be big differences. And, yeah, some of the people will have that. There will be a debate, I’m sure. I think a lot of people, who– say, “Oh, Dan and Dave’s ending is better than the one George gave us. It’s a good thing they changed it.” And there will be a lot of people who say, “No. Dan and Dave got it wrong. George’s ending is better.” And they will all fight on the internet. And there will be debate. And– that’s fine. I mean, it– you know, the worst thing for any work of art, be it a movie or a book is to be ignored.

      (April 2011, TVSquad via WayBackMachine)

      My books have an unusual structure in that there are many minor characters that appear, and it looks as though, “OK, we can cut this character. This is a nothing character, this is a minor thing.”

      But then in Book 3, that character has a huge role to play, and if you remove that character in Book 1, then by the time you get to Book 3, or season 3, you’re going to have to vamp some, or deal with it somehow. Whenever David and Dan have made a decision where I think the butterfly effect may kick in, I try to tell them about it. Sometimes they address it, sometimes not, in which case, two seasons from now, if we’re still on the air, we’ll see how they deal with that.

      GRRM has also addressed that he’s given D&D the broad strokes of what he plans to write but the details aren’t there yet:

      (March 2014, Vanity Fair)

      I can give them the broad strokes of what I intend to write, but the details aren’t there yet,” he tells Vanity Fair. “I’m hopeful that I cannot let them catch up with me.

      D&D talk about setting up the ending based on GRRM’s plans:

      “Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be,” Benioff says in the April issue of Vanity Fair. “If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.”

      GRRM has also given this very same Scarlett O’Hara answer before when asked to comment on the differences between his books and the adaptation 😉

      (May 2015, Not A Blog)

      How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? Three, in the novel. One, in the movie. None, in real life: she was a fictional character, she never existed. The show is the show, the books are the books; two different tellings of the same story.

      There have been differences between the novels and the television show since the first episode of season one. And for just as long, I have been talking about the butterfly effect. Small changes lead to larger changes lead to huge changes. HBO is more than forty hours into the impossible and demanding task of adapting my lengthy (extremely) and complex (exceedingly) novels, with their layers of plots and subplots, their twists and contradictions and unreliable narrators, viewpoint shifts and ambiguities, and a cast of characters in the hundreds.

      There has seldom been any TV series as faithful to its source material, by and large (if you doubt that, talk to the Harry Dresden fans, or readers of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, or the fans of the original WALKING DEAD comic books)… but the longer the show goes on, the bigger the butterflies become. And now we have reached the point where the beat of butterfly wings is stirring up storms, like the one presently engulfing my email.

      Prose and television have different strengths, different weaknesses, different requirements.

      As for making the books his priority, GRRM has been singing the same tune for eons. He did the same thing he’s doing now with AFFC and ADWD (saying these were his priority) and he’s been saying this about TWOW since ADWD was released. It’s been eight and a half years since ADWD was published. I don’t think it’s anything to do with the backlash.

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    24. mau: They would never on their own kill their most popular character to put Bran on the throne. No way in hell. That’s not how Hollywood works.

      Yeah… While I’d love to have a different ending, I don’t think these plot points come from D&D. For me, they do have a GRRM feeling about them. I’ve said before that I think D&D were in a difficult position of trying to connect GRRM’s dots without having the final installments of the book series.

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    25. Adrianacandle,

      ”There are always adaptational changes between adaptations and their sources (the most faithful adaptation I can think of is the 1985 Anne of Green Gables movie and even then, there were some differences)…”

      ——————

      I haven’t seen Ann of Green Gables or read the book.
      The most faithful adaptations I can think of are:

      – “The Silence of the Lambs” movie adapted from the book of the same name by Thomas Harris. (Little tweaks in the movie include

      the final scene of Lecter’s phone call to Clarice, ending with him telling her he wished he could chat longer but “I’m having an old friend for dinner.” 🙂)

      – “The Outlaw Josey Wales” adapted from Forrest Carter’s book “Gone to Texas.” The only noteworthy departure from book to film was the addition of the character “Fletcher” in the movie, played by John Vernon (more recognizable as Dean Wormer in “Animal House”).
      Fortunately, the movie script retained the best dialogue from the book virtually verbatim, including

      Josey Wales’s “Words of life, words of death” speech

      . Unlike the ASOIAF “Broken Man” speech that was replaced by a less-compelling version by Brother Ray in the GoT episode of the same name (S6e7).

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    26. Adrianacandle,

      I listened to commentary of The Iron Throne by Emilia, Dan and Dave and Benioff said he would never watch last episodes in the large group of people. lol

      The context was that they aren’t crowd pleasing. And even Cogman said that he doesn’t know how he feels about events in the last season, and he was part of writing team.

      So I think they knew the ending is mostly depressing and there is no sense of catharsis. But in my opinion no other ending would feel right for the story, especially not Targaryen restoration.

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    27. Ten Bears,

      Oh yes, Silence of the Lambs is a good one!

      I haven’t seen The Outlaw Josey Wales or read the book to that either but I think I should add it to my list (btw, I did enjoy that Star Trek Next Generation clip you linked me to. Despite my mental block to watching the series — since Dad would make us watch Star Trek on most family “movie” nights, picnics, at the cabin, etc. — that clip, as well as the great things said about Next Generation, has been compelling me to give it a try.)

      On the subject of Anne of Green Gables, while the 1985 movie was 99% faithful to the source material, the 2017 TV adaptation of the same books (‘Anne With An E’/’Anne’) shares very little in common with its source material and starts carving out its own storylines from the outset. It adapts one or two incidents from the books but the majority of storylines Anne and co. experience in the TV series are foreign to the books.

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    28. mau:
      Adrianacandle,

      I listened to commentary of The Iron Throne by Emilia, Dan and Dave and Benioff said he would never watch last episodes in the large group of people.lol

      The context was that they aren’t crowd pleasing. And even Cogman said that he doesn’t know how he feels about events in the last season, and he was part of writing team.

      So I think they knew the ending is mostly depressing and there is no sense of catharsis.But in my opinion no other ending would feel right for the story, especially not Targaryen restoration.

      Right and I agree. I’d prefer another ending because I do want to be pleased and have that catharsis — but I think the basic ideas of the ending that happened in the show feel true to the themes of ASOIAF and feel more GRRM than Hollywood because they aren’t crowd-pleasing. I didn’t want any of that to happen! But I can make my peace with it.

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    29. Can “butterfly effect” as two words together be added to the list of words one doesn’t want to hear (I don’t anyway). Mind you I used “bittersweet” recently and I think that’s on the naughty list for words. I’m also tired of “Dumb and Dumber” – there are ways of expressing disappointment or disenchantment or even red hot ire with the show/show runners without using a cheap jibe that has been used at least 999 times before.

      Fire&Blood, I think one has to accept various people have different opinions about the ending of GoT. One thing about being in the same age group as GRRM means that I don’t mind having an unpopular opinion and for me the show ending wasn’t as displeasing as for some other fans (sorry if I sound like a broken record). Dragon Demands’s YouTube channel is very negative and he seems to want one of the two Ds never to work again – doesn’t matter if the bloke has to earn a crust. Still I can avoid the Dragon Demands YouTube channel and I really don’t want to give him views.

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    30. Dany’s story will still end the same way with her burning King’s Landing before being killed by Jon Snow. The difference will be that her story will interact more with fAegon rather than the Lannisters. fAegon is the one that’s going to restore the Targaryen name and the people of Westeros will view Dany as an evil ursurper with Dothraki, dragons, etc. The people of Westeros will reject her even after she helps defeat the Others and the people around her will reject or isolate from her. This resentment and alienation will eventually give in to Dany’s violent side(which has always been there) and she’ll explode and burn them all.

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    31. Fireandblood87:
      Mr Derp,

      Unfortunately almost everywhere I go it always turns into George is amazing and D&D are hacks. George gives an interview and everyone is sympathetic. D&D give an interview and their words get twisted and people call them names.

      I suppose it depends on one’s personal experiences. I think they both get heavily criticized for different reasons. It just depends on what you decide to focus on. I actually think this website in particular is kinder to D&D than GRRM, but that’s just my opinion. It depends on who’s commenting.

      I’ve seen a number of threads on this specific website that give updates on GRRM’s progress or whatever and the comments are filled with criticism of GRRM. There are quite a few in this comment section alone.

      I’ve also seen threads on this website about D&D which are also filled with criticism.

      Whether it’s an article about GRRM or D&D, it doesn’t really matter. These articles always seem to serve as a lightning rod for the same people to come out and give the same criticisms and defenses, whether it’s for GRRM or D&D.

      The patterns aren’t hard to pick up on. When you see certain poster’s names you KNOW what they are going to say before you even read the comment. I mean, I’ve seen people say that D&D are their sun and stars, lol. I’ve also seen the repeated D&D are geniuses statements in every thread here from Jack, Light King, Young Dragon, etc…. Can’t say I’ve seen anyone say that for GRRM here.

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    32. Mr Derp,

      This site is an exception. Everywhere else D&D are reincarnation of Stalin and Hitler.

      So your “enlightened centrism” position doesn’t make much sense.

      PS and imagine taking post about sun and stars seriously

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    33. mau,

      You just agreed with me in your first sentence and then proceeded to say I am not making much sense in your second sentence. Someone is definitely not making sense here.

      mau: PS and imagine taking post about sun and stars seriously

      Well, I answered that with a joke of my own, so I didn’t take that comment quite as seriously as you seem to think. However, you go out of your way to fawn over D&D in every article, so if you were joking, then you probably should’ve made that clearer. It just came off as another one of your obsessive D&D comments.

      And thanks for proving my point about this site being pro D&D. I didn’t even say anything bad about them and you’re on the attack again, going on about the overexaggerated D&D sob stories, per usual. As soon as I saw the name “mau” I knew what was coming. They do get undue hate, no question, but acting like they are being compared to Hitler and Stalin is a bit much.

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    34. Johnny Tsunami,

      At least we’ll be in her head, which is one of the great advantages of POV writing vs sitting on the dragon for 5 seconds with no intro into what’s really coming, bells ringing for the city’s surrender as was agreed by all, and here she is making sort of a flip the coin moment for burning the whole of King’s Landing. Because: why not.

      I’m ok with that.

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    35. loco73,

      Ah, I see the “will anybody care” has popped up. Let me put your question at rest. I will. I’m looking forward to the ending of Martin’s books to find out more about what Arya’s role will really be in the revenge against the Freys (assuming she took over Stoneheart which is set to revenge her former self), or if there really is nothing beyond death as Jon declares, or if Tyrion ever gets over Tysha, if Penny gets to Westeros safe, if Dany ever figures out what going East to go West means, if Barry truly dies in Essos, if the the greyscale is important at all and why Val is scared of Shireen’s, what is the glass candle and who will really revenge Oberyn, will Myrcella come to terms with who is really her father, will there be a second Dance of the Dragons and who will Dorne really support in this etc. There’s no end to the amount of questions I have that I hope I find answers to in his books.

      You probably didn’t mean “anybody”. More like “large masses of people that will make Winds or Spring a success in sales or financially” but I get it, that doesn’t sound quite so dramatic 😛

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    36. Mr Derp,

      Calling them Mr Benioff and Mr Weiss is obviously joke and I’m just making fun of the way Jack talks about them. So whenever I say Mr Benioff and Mr Weiss I’m clearly just taking the piss.

      And this site is pro-D&D mostly, that’s true. Because some place in the fandom has to be. Maybe you read only things on this site, but trust me, Benioff and Weiss are treated as reincarnation of evil on a lot of places. I mean you had the whole hate campaign against them based on tweets that were either fake or taken out of context.

      This site was always “safe space” for fans of the show and showrunners, even in the days when westeros.org was what free folk is now.

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    37. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. But I think he needs to give up on the ending of these books. Everyone knows what happens. He might be able to add more to flesh it out, but it’s still the same unsatisfactory ending. He needs to concentrate on the new series to be released in two years. Don’t let someone else write that – write it himself. Even if it is just a script.

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    38. Ten Bears,

      To your examples, I would add The Shawshank Redemption. The only notable change was that in the novella Red really was Irish (or Irish-American); in the movie the original “because I’m Irish” was changed to (wink, wink) “maybe it’s because I’m Irish.” But the essence of the character is the same.

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    39. anon,

      Ehhhhh, speak for yourself. Like many others, I’m looking forward to the book version. (Maybe he’ll pull a Copernicus and release it on his deathbed, lol.) Also like many others, I’m perfectly satisfied with the ending itself, but not the “journey” of the last two seasons; after the incredible high of The Winds of Winter, most of the writing that followed was terribly disappointing not only to me (a book reader), but also to Saner Half (who hasn’t read a work of fiction since, oh, 1977?).

      In a nutshell… I feel as though I’d been on a foot-and-bicycle trip across Asia and Europe for six leisurely years, then wound up in Greenland after being drugged and stuffed into the hold of a smugglers’ vessel (with no memory of the boat ride over), then got kidnapped by aliens and dropped into Area 51 right about the time Will Smith shows up to save Earth. It was all very entertaining and ended well, but I’m still recovering from the whiplash and gaping holes in my memory.

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    40. The Winds of Winder and BOTB werent written better than The Iron Throne and The Bells. They just gave people what they wanted.

      Bran Stark’s election makes more sense than Jon Snow’s.

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    41. At this point, it doesn’t matter if the series of books is ever finished or not.

      ASOIAF is the rough draft and GOT is the finished product.

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    42. The LightKing,

      I wouldn’t say that. Robb was Lord of Winterfell and Ned’s son and he won some battles at that point.

      Jon Snow on the other hand was a bastard, he left the NW and he basically lost a battle and he was elected before Sansa Stark.

      Bran was chosen by friends and family when no one else wanted a title. He was the least offensive choice there.

      But Jon Snow was at peak of his popularity in S6 and fans didn’t really care because they got what they wanted.

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    43. mau,

      Are you responding to my comment? Because if so, you missed my point.

      I don’t object to Bran’s elevation to the… throne? As I wrote, “I’m perfectly satisfied with the ending itself.”

      I’m not going to rehash all of the reasons I was dissatisfied with much of the writing in S7 and S8, since I’ve done that numerous times on numerous posts. We can agree to disagree.

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    44. Wolfish,

      I’m just saying that it makes no sense to praise writing of S6 and then act like S7 and S8 are in any way different.

      They have the same strength and weakness.

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    45. mau,

      Also fans would’t care if Jaime just killed Cersei in The Bells out of nowhere, because that was the ending they want and they don’t care for the rest.

      There are many examples of people reacting completely differently to the same writing style.

      Arya killing the Night King vs Arya killing Walder Frey
      Bran becoming king vs Jon becoming king
      Battle tactics in The Long Night vs BOTB
      Jaime leaving Brienne vs Jaime leaving Cersei

      And so on.

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    46. Efi,

      Please they have never once disrespected fans. You don’t like the show fine but they have never once said anything disrespectful. This is exactly what I’m talking about when people speak about D&D. They wrote a TV show you didn’t like so you say they disrespected you.

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    47. Fireandblood87,

      That’s your opinion obviously. I could recite the reasons why it was disrespect on the part of D&D, but we’ve been all over that many a time already, so it’s a stale discussion.
      But let me say this because I don’t remember if I ever said it.

      Martin letting down his fans for a decade is disrespect. Believing that the show would make up for the missing book is naivete on his part and an insult to the intelligence of his readers. He gave them the story as it was and parted, and that’s fine, but he pretends that they didn’t “make the story their own”, as they said they did themselves. He’s now with his back against the wall because of the backlash the ending of GoT received and he knows, just like many in here, that this ending will be the last flavor of ASoIaF unless he finishes the damn book.
      It’s not about Dany or Jon or anybody else (such readings are really shallow), it’s about the absense of hope and the dismal feeling with which GoT ended. This dispair that’s surrounding the characters and the messages that are weaved into their ending in GoT is worse than their individual endings, apart from Bran’s ending, but I’ll remind you that the crimes against Bran and the Starks were never addressed in the show and that’s a huge gap (well, unless we take “the best story” as indicator that they actually were addressed, which I don’t, but never mind).
      If the ending is the same (it is not imo, but let’s say I believe that) what Mr. Martin is telling us is that the circumstances of your birth doom you forever (Jon) if you’ve been sexualized, exploited, bullied and abused you might be rewarded with a position of power and end up alone (Sansa), if you lost your father, mother, brother at a tender age and you turned out to become a drifter you never have a chance to find roots and family again (Arya) if you’re the abuser, murderer, traitor to your own country you get rewarded (Tyrion) if you’re a killer with no moral compass you also thrive (Bronn), if you missed your classes and quit midsemester you get the position many work their entire lives for but never get (Sam). I could go on and on.
      So for the book readers who have invested an awful lot of time reading it, it is disrespect to leave it at that. And Martin did that for years and years and after the show ended he posted that “yes and no” reply to point out that Jeyne’s ending will be different!
      Do you know what this reminds me of? Adults when they hurt a child and see it crying then turn to it and say something condescending of the type “oh, don’t cry, you’re so beautiful, why do you cry? let me buy you ice cream” (so that the child gets over the fact that I’ve hurt you). We all do that.
      It’s disrespectful and condescending to do that, even to a child. Martin is doing it to his readers. And his standard reply about Scarlet’s children is a nonsensical one, because there is an original story out there and this story is Gone with the Winds the book and not the film. Try to take what he says and apply it to other classics. What would be the impact if Romeo and Juliet never died, or if one of them died on screen?
      The “Hunchback” of Disney is addressed to children and the ending of Notre Dame de Paris was brutally changed, so now there are two stories out there. When I try to explain that “you know, Esmeralda and Cuasimodo both die in the end” people don’t even believe me (because they never bothered to read the book). I wonder what Victor Hugo’s reaction would be if he saw Disney’s adaptation to his story.
      You can keep the screen version if you like; literature and filming are different mediums after all, they have different targets and different audiences. But I know that Notre Dame de Paris is one of the best romantic novels ever written and I believe that ASoIaF is on its way to become equal in significance, literary impact, writing style and methodology to Tolkien’s LotR. If Martin doesn’t finish the book it’ll just be another Hunchback.

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    48. mau:
      The Winds of Winder and BOTB werent written better than The Iron Throne and The Bells. They just gave people what they wanted.

      Bran Stark’s election makes more sense than Jon Snow’s.

      Your comment about Bran’s election making more sense than Jon’s brought up many new thoughts for me all of the sudden. It made me think that Jon should have “killed the boy” in himself and embraced his Targaryen lineage for the sake of the realm. He was always thinking of what was best for the realm in his struggle to convince everyone that the real threat was coming from beyond the wall. He needed to suck it up after killing Dany and claim his throne. Yes, he was a broken man and it broke his heart, but for the good of the realm he should have realized that he was the king that was promised. He had the better claim, and if he was strong with his claim with the North behind him, he wouldn’t have been put in prison at all. He had the claim. With a little bit of planning, the Northern army could have protected Jon. The problem is Jon wasn’t a planner. Just think of the possibilities if he would have worked with Varys after all for the good of the realm. He does have the loyal naive Stark blood in him that shot down Varys’ idea immediately because it was treason. But he ended up killing Dany anyway and left the realm under the rule of a bizarre small council and a king who lives in a dreamworld. As Sam said, Jon was the King of the whole frickn 7 kingdoms. Sansa may have been happy to stay part of the 7 kingdoms as well with Jon in charge. Jon basically felt sorry for himself for what he had to do and couldn’t break out of his funk. If he killed the boy and took charge, Bran could have had his own forest to play in with an orchard of weirwood trees and Jon would have taken his rightful place on the throne. He just needed a couple strong advisors to show him the way that he needed to put down his claim. Can anyone say Tyrion and Varys. What a different ending that would have been. Perhaps total fan fiction, but I like it.

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    49. Tron79: Your comment about Bran’s election making more sense than Jon’s brought up many new thoughts for me all of the sudden. It made me think that Jon should have “killed the boy” in himself and embraced his Targaryen lineage for the sake of the realm. He was always thinking of what was best for the realm in his struggle to convince everyone that the real threat was coming from beyond the wall. He needed to suck it up after killing Dany and claim his throne. Yes, he was a broken man and it broke his heart, but for the good of the realm he should have realized that he was the king that was promised. He had the better claim, and if he was strong with his claim with the North behind him, he wouldn’t have been put in prison at all. He had the claim. With a little bit of planning, the Northern army could have protected Jon. The problem is Jon wasn’t a planner. Just think of the possibilities if he would have worked with Varys after all for the good of the realm. He does have the loyal naive Stark blood in him that shot down Varys’ idea immediately because it was treason. But he ended up killing Dany anyway and left the realm under the rule of a bizarre small council and a king who lives in a dreamworld. As Sam said, Jon was the King of the whole frickn 7 kingdoms. Sansa may have been happy to stay part of the 7 kingdoms as well with Jon in charge. Jon basically felt sorry for himself for what he had to do and couldn’t break out of his funk. If he killed the boy and took charge, Bran could have had his own forest to play in with an orchard of weirwood trees and Jon would have taken his rightful place on the throne. He just needed a couple strong advisors to show him the way that he needed to put down his claim. Can anyone say Tyrion and Varys. What a different ending that would have been. Perhaps total fan fiction, but I like it.

      I would have liked the ‘Return of the King’ scenario but I don’t think it could have worked with how season 8 wound up going:

      The North’s forces are pretty depleted. And I don’t know if they’d support a Targaryen (and now, especially so, after what Dany did). They might be wary of Jon because of this, feeling he lied to them and maybe knew all along (I wondered how the North would have reacted). Whatever stigma Dany experienced for her Targaryen genes may be placed on Jon too, viewing Jon as a ticking time-bomb. If they have people readily believe Jon was a Targaryen (which is what happened in the show with Varys and Tyrion. Varys didn’t seem to think this was an issue either when writing his scrolls), Jon’s Targaryen heritage may be a mark against him — especially after Dany torched King’s Landing and Jon committed kinslaying and oathbreaking afterward. Yes, it broke Jon — and I wonder, after this and everything, would a broken king who hated his position and is forced to participate in the games of the realm that had brought him so much pain, would this king be best for the realm?

      When Jaime killed the Mad King, who nobody liked and everybody knew was insane and dangerous, Jaime was still scorned forever as an oathbreaker. Then again, nobody (except Brienne) knew the real reason why Jaime killed the Mad King but the taboos against oathbreaking and kinslaying are really strong, the worst crimes you can commit in Westeros. I think Ned may have viewed Jaime differently but I don’t know about the rest of Westeros.

      If the North does support Jon, it’d start another war between the North and Dany’s supporters (Unsullied, Dothraki, Iron Islands under Yara, Dorne under the new prince). A war the North would probably lose. I don’t know if Jon would be okay with that for a throne he doesn’t want. I’m one of those who felt it was odd Greyworm didn’t kill Jon on the spot.

      With Sansa, she wasn’t willing to be a part of the 7K for Bran so I don’t know if she would be for Jon either. I think that’s one of the reasons why Sansa told Jon’s secret because with Jon as king, he’d be far more likely to grant Sansa’s request for independence, a request Dany refused.

      If it was before Dany burned down King’s Landing, I don’t know about that either. It’d be starting up another war between a depleted North and Dany’s supporters and I don’t think Jon would be okay with this at this point either (or any point). Jon still had some faith in Dany, he wasn’t even wanting to kill her after she torched a city, believing Dany could be persuaded toward a better path so I can’t see him willing to betray her beforehand. If Dany died before 8×06 in something like a battle or illness, maybe — if it weren’t starting up another war between Dany’s supporters and the North. But even then…

      I think the idea of electing Bran is so that they can slowly move toward an elected system and away from the old inherited system. With Bran having the powers of the Three-Eyed Raven, he’s a neutral party who can’t be manipulated, lied to, cajoled, he’s not subject to emotion, conflicts of the heart, and can (in theory) make those unbiased, educated rulings when he knows what situation to review. You made a good point about having strong advisors and they might be helping Bran. I don’t think he’s doing the day-to-day ruling, I think his council is doing that.

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    50. think he can just about stop his gone with the wind analogy. Everyone gets that you can’t get everything covered an adaptation; different media and all that.. What they expect is that you finish the damn story. If he had actually finished his books, if the show’s ending made sense there would not be the problem.

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    51. Efi,

      The “Hunchback” of Disney is addressed to children and the ending of Notre Dame de Paris was brutally changed, so now there are two stories out there. When I try to explain that “you know, Esmeralda and Cuasimodo both die in the end” people don’t even believe me (because they never bothered to read the book). I wonder what Victor Hugo’s reaction would be if he saw Disney’s adaptation to his story.
      You can keep the screen version if you like; literature and filming are different mediums after all, they have different targets and different audiences. But I know that Notre Dame de Paris is one of the best romantic novels ever written and I believe that ASoIaF is on its way to become equal in significance, literary impact, writing style and methodology to Tolkien’s LotR. If Martin doesn’t finish the book it’ll just be another Hunchback.

      Well I wouldn’t put most of Disneys adaptations in the same class as other films that actually attempted to stay true to the story. I agree with you on this one as well as Anastasia; made me sick to my stomach how they tried to make that story into a romance (sorta what they did to the book Wicked in the broadway show. Talk about a disney ending)

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    52. Adrianacandle:
      Adrianacandle,

      *Amendment to my above post, it’s not oathbreaking and kinslaying for Jaime, just oathbreaking.

      Yeah, there is that problem with kinslaying, and some say kinslaying is worse then kingslaying.

      So, you made me think of one other ending. Can you imagine if everything lined up for Jon to be king and he sentenced Dany to death for her war crimes against the people of KL, and as Ned said, “The one who passes the sentence should swing the sword”, and in the closing shot of the final episode, Dany is on the chopping block with Jon swinging the sword. The would have brought the show full circle to the opening episode of the night’s watch person on the chopping block. It would have been such a tragic end, but it would have been a new beginning for the realm. Just imagine Jon’s emotions, but he would have done it for the good for the realm. He could have never done it with Ygritte but I think he could have done it with Dany. His connection was never as strong as Ygritte. But yes, there is that kinslaying problem. But what a shocking ending that would have been! I wonder what the reaction would have been from fans on that one! I apologize for being in a bit of a dream state this morning though if this sounds too bizarre. I will admit it’s a bit nuts, but that would have been the ultimate drama to end the series with Jon passing the sentence and swinging the sword…

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    53. Tron79,

      The problem with sentencing Dany is that Dany would need to be made to go to trial — and Dany thought she was doing good so I don’t think she’d want to… Dany had the most martial power so she had the means to enforce her will. Because Dany was queen at the time she burned King’s Landing, it technically wasn’t illegal. It was morally atrocious– but she couldn’t be held to any higher law as there’s no international war council like what we have. Whoever wanted to sentence her would have to wage war to get her to comply and overthrow her. Otherwise, I think it’s (legally) treason. And I think that’d do a number on Jon too, having to go through this again but worse.

      As for Ygritte, Jon was willing to kill Ygritte during the Battle for the Wall in the books. He desperately didn’t want to and was internally urging Ygritte to leave because all she’d find there is death but he was resigned to the possibility. When Jon did find Ygritte dying, he feared it was his arrow in her chest and felt it was his arrow ever after. But if Ygritte was threatening to burn the world and couldn’t be talked down… I think Jon would make the same choice as he did with Dany.

      I think that particular concept explored with Ygritte is continued with Dany. Where Jon feared that it was his arrow that killed Ygritte and even after he knew it wasn’t, he still felt like it arrow (and in his dreams, it was his arrow) — this time, he did actually kill Dany. It’s like his nightmare come to life in that way, I think. A sort of full-circle concept.

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    54. Tron79: I apologize for being in a bit of a dream state this morning though if this sounds too bizarre. I will admit it’s a bit nuts, but that would have been the ultimate drama to end the series with Jon passing the sentence and swinging the sword…

      I apologize for being a wet blanket!

      As I told mau above, I’d prefer another ending because I do want to be pleased and have that catharsis! I wasn’t so happy with this ending, I just felt… sad (but great music!! I found comfort in the music!). I liked your other idea too at having Arya be the one to kill Dany to spare Jon that task but on that note, I’d prefer Dany not democide King’s Landing in the first place so 😉

      But I’m trying to be at peace with this ending as much as I can because I think it’s going to happen in GRRM’s books too. It feels like GRRM — not individually happy or uplifting endings for the characters (they’re pretty depressing for me) but they might indicate the first start of change for the realm while Jon, Dany, these major players were agents for that change. Jon’s the shield for the realm who is forced to choose, Dany’s the threat she never viewed herself as or thought she’d become (but she ends up doing what her father wanted to do, despite never wanting to be her father), etc. I think (and saying this without the final two books having come out yet) this is where GRRM may ultimately be going.

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    55. “…and he sentenced Dany to death for her war crimes…”

      Uh, that’s pretty much what happened, only Jon’s larger motivation was to keep Dany from killing Sansa (and a whole lot of other people, too). Jon’s tyrannicide of Dany combines Jaime’s tyrannicide of her father — in the same Keep, no less! — with dullard Ned’s near-disastrous killing of Wil, the NW deserter (an act which delayed humanity’s response to the return of the WW). In each case, the man who passed the sentence also performed the execution.

      “…think he can just about stop his gone with the wind analogy.”

      I think it’s very apt. No matter how many children Scarlett O’Hara did or did not have, at the end of the story, an unstoppable military force burns a city to the ground. 🙂

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    56. Well personally I think there will be major difference, and that’s how I interpreted GRRM statement. Dany will die in the end and Kings Landing is burned by her dragons. But the way the journey goes there is much different in book and show. But I already made clear how I think it will go in the books.

      As for how much I care if the books are the same as the show? Not really, I rather want them to be done so that I can read them, and no matter how much it’s the same/different than the show I really don’t care about.

      Mr Derp,

      I don’t get it either Mr Derp, why not both? And it’s strange that some when D&D are stated not to be perfect writers they tend to become a Templar knight and defend D&D almost to means end but when GRRM is concerned the most vile statements are ok. And don’t forget the passive aggressive statements that are being posted.

      mau,

      when D&D is concerned with critism: How dare you to attack D&D personally. They are brilliant etc etc etc.
      When GRRM is concerned: “I’m patiently waiting for Mr Martin to get fan backlash he deserves.”

      And then you tell others they don’t treat D&D the same as GRRM when you already tell GRRM deserve backlash for a book that isn’t even out yet.

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    57. mau,

      That’s why many people here state that GRRM should have finish the books first for D&D to use? Many here states that GRRM is also to blame for the criticism of the latest seasons. Stop making things up.

      Mr Derp,

      True, as much as I love the books and show and let’s go with the books now, I still think that GRRM is taking too much time with it. I was stating to my partner this week: Its almost 10 years since the last book. I can cope with it by just moving to other shows/books/games etc, but in the end it just feels annoying, another month goes by without any news about the books. I rather want to hear: sorry guys I’m only a quarter done (which I still expect to be more 80%) than hearing nothing.

      Mr Derp,

      Insensions, the sequel to inception. Everything make sense, and than it doesn’t.

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    58. mau: Bran Stark’s election makes more sense than Jon Snow’s.

      Agree, choosing a king because you want to follow him into a rebellion that gives you freedom is making more sense than choosing a king for a whole country that nobody knows except Sansa who is there for her freedom of the north, Tyrion who is in chains and Samwell who just was laughed at by the other lords. And don’t forget the brother of the one that is being imprisoned for killing the rightful queen. If this would have made sense, the whole Stark family would either be absent at the meeting of the new King (for obvious reasons that they are there for freeing Jon the Queenslayer) or the Starks should have publicly state that they bond with Jon is gone instead of defending him. This is something that never would have happen in real life. But in History we have many occasions where somebody like Robb was crowned King for a rebellion and revenge for somebody who just was killed.

      Edit: Robb was refence to LightKing statement about Robb.
      About Jon himself: It makes less sense than Robb but more sense than Bran, at least the people choosing him to be King had just fought with him and almost died, and Jon was the leader of the army.

      When making sense: Robb makes the most sense, than Jon, and least Bran.

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    59. Wolfish:
      Ten Bears,

      To your examples, I would add The Shawshank Redemption. The only notable change was that in the novella Red really was Irish (or Irish-American); in the movie the original “because I’m Irish” was changed to (wink, wink) “maybe it’s because I’m Irish.” But the essence of the character is the same.

      Good one!
      I’m thinking “The Green Mile” might be another example, though it’s been a while since I read the book/novella.

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    60. mau,

      This about Robb, and about Jon. Well season 7 showed the lord that though they had made a mistake by choosing Jon and should have chosen Sansa. The North is also more about loyalty to their own, they didn’t care that Jon was a bastard I think. But you’re right.

      But it’s strange you keep making these arguments. You are defending D&D for their writing, but at the end of the day you have criticize D&D more than the haters of season 8. It seems you think D&D were sloppy with writing since season 1.

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    61. Efi,

      True. It’s ok for one character to be doomed but 90% Especially dark shows should have an uplifting ending. Look at the Leftovers. Pretty Dark and heavy the whole season, but every season ends with a big hope moment. And that’s what that show makes so great. Even when you’re been through hell, in the end the light will be shown again.

      And I wonder how GRRM is making his journey and endings (yes we know the endpoints but that’s not what I mean with this). He is anti-war, anti-horrible things if you want to generalize it. Yes he wants to put a mirror on the viewers face, this is life. But in the end he also states that his characters will go to hell before it gets better. So it will go better in the end?

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    62. Efi,

      I have wanted GRRM to finish the books as much as anybody but I’m not very much younger than him and I’ve slowed down the last few years – it may be because of the ageing process but three and a bit years ago I found out I had caeliac (British English spelling) disease which can’t be cured but it can be managed. I’m not too bad as long as I keep off food containing gluten but I’ve definitely not had the spring in my step the same way as before I developed the gluten intolerance. Not everybody wants to emblazon everything wrong with them to the world. Of course, GRRM may be as fit as a fiddle but from my own experience (though I’m not trying to finish an epic fantasy series of novels) I realise that it can take longer to do some tasks in later life than when one was in one’s 20s or even one’s 40s or 50s.

      I hope I haven’t come across as “passive aggressive” when I’ve said I’m less judgemental of Messrs B&W than some other members of the fandom. I haven’t agreed with every adaptation choice they’ve made (I’d have liked Mya, Robert’s bastard daughter from the Vale to have been cast but the show runners galloped through the Vale plot (even though I didn’t like the book Vale plot all that much)). It must have been an uphill struggle completing the story without any book text for the very end (says she like a broken record, sorry). I hadn’t actually seen the Dany the destroyer development coming though I had seen it suggested. I knew she could be dangerous but had hoped she would heed good counsellors. Where Tyrion allegedly gave less than sound advice to Dany in the last couple of seasons I suppose that could be down to the Griffs being cut from the show version of the story (though I didn’t like the Griffs).

      I respect your opinions even if we don’t always agree because you give reasons for why you think as you do. It’s the folk who imply that anyone who sees anything worthwhile in how the show ends are woefully deficient in grey matter that get on my nerves. Now I’m going to give another difference of opinion between thee and me – I think ASOIAF is a VERY GOOD story but I don’t think it’s a GREAT story. I’ll give GRRM credit for a fertile imagination though (and his creation of Danerys who to me is neither wholly good nor wholly bad but had wanted to do good but ended up doing the opposite) and I’ll credit the show runners with executing a dramatisation which made me want to read/listen to the source material. With Dany’s death I had the feeling I’ve had at the end of some of Shakespeare’s tragedies* – thinking of the pity of it all.

      * I know Shakespeare isn’t for everybody but I mostly like his work (I’ll give “Titus Andronicus” which I think he wrote with others a miss).

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    63. kevin1989:
      True. It’s ok for one character to be doomed but 90% Especially dark shows should have an uplifting ending. Look at the Leftovers. Pretty Dark and heavy the whole season, but every season ends with a big hope moment. And that’s what that show makes so great. Even when you’re been through hell, in the end the light will be shown again.

      And I wonder how GRRM is making his journey and endings (yes we know the endpoints but that’s not what I mean with this). He is anti-war, anti-horrible things if you want to generalize it. Yes he wants to put a mirror on the viewers face, this is life. But in the end he also states that his characters will go to hell before it gets better. So it will go better in the end?

      I think that’s what happened even with the show’s ending, we got that ray of hope with spring coming (the blade of grass in the snow of the thawing lands beyond the Wall) and maybe a better world. I think that was the intention anyway. But I think, for some of us, the resolutions to these characters’ arcs weren’t very fulfilling and they didn’t feel so great. I feel sad when I think of it.

      But then again, what a happy ending is for one viewer isn’t such a happy ending for another.

      As for your second paragraph, maybe GRRM meant things for this fictional world would get better, but maybe not necessarily for each individual character?

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    64. I see that “Notre Dame de Paris” was mentioned upthread. Decades ago the BBC did an adaptation which was faithful to Hugo’s novel – no happy ending for Esmerelda. Leaving aside the Disney version , I’ve seen the old Hollywood adaptation (on TV) with Maureen O’Hara as Esmerelda and that also was different to the novel. I quite liked the film (I hadn’t read the book then) but the film makers had combined the characters of the pallid poet who wants to help Esmerelda but ultimately is ineffective and the rich man who just toys with Esmerelda’s affections and turned him into a hero (so GoT wasn’t the first adaptation to combine characters). I may have mentioned this before but around Xmas and New Year in the UK it’s quite common for theatres to put on pantomimes (which have changed quite a bit from the original “pantomimes”). They are versions of stories like Mother Goose, Dick Whittington and Aladdin (I can’t name them all) but the leading “man” if often female and there is often a male in drag playing a pantomime dame. “Widow Twankie” who is the panto version of Aladdin’s mother is usually played by a man (I think the tradition of the pantomime dame dates from the time when young actresses didn’t want to play the older women’s parts) and she has an assistant called Wishy-Washy. I remember years ago trying to explain the differences between Aladdin the pantomime story and Aladdin the story from the 1001 Nights to someone from the middle east – that person was extremely bemused! I think the tradition of the “principal boy” being played by a young female dates from the time when ladies wore long skirts and having a principal boy in tights provided an opportunity for a lady to show her shapely legs. Having said that in the pantomime at the little theatre in my hometown Peter Pan is being played by a male this year. Hope I haven’t gone on too much about pantomimes – I was giving an example of how stories sometimes develop and change really.

      I know I have sometimes given GRRM a BIT of negative criticism (I haven’t continually bashed him and I thank him for creating the story of ASOIAF) but I think he does demonstrate how the poor folk suffer in war. We did get that in the last couple of episodes of season 8 GoT (and had seen it earlier on Arya’s and the Hound’s journey in season 4).

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    65. Efi,

      It’s not an opinion they have never once done anything s
      Disrespectful if they did I would be the first to say so. Writing a TV show you don’t like isn’t disrespectful.

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    66. Dame of Mercia,

      That sounds very difficult, if you need to watch everything you eat, there is no medication like with lactose intolerance that you still can eat it?

      And true, I’m 30 and if I compare it to 10 years ago, I slowed down a lot (also because of reasons but that’s not the point, everyone has it I think).

      And I don’t think you ever come over as passive aggressive, you always are too the point and respectful to everyone’s opinion. (I think you meant with that my statement about some are passive aggressive, but that was not to you of course, but there are many passive aggressive statements lately, sometimes I enjoy them in some degree and sometimes I don’t and I’m more, oh not again. I think you know what I mean I think, of course both sides do this)

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    67. Adrianacandle,

      That’s also what he could mean, the world is at least better off. But I think that GRRM means his characters at least how he talked about winds that there the characters will have it worse before getting something better after that. And I think why people tend to think the ending is bleak is not perse that it’s bleak but more how it’s bleak. For instance Arya:
      As stated above, she goes west because after all she went through she is still sort of broken and is escaping/fleeing. She wants to move as far away from Westeros as possible, it’s something that’s in her. Even when such a voyage is something new and daring and exicited, the reason why is very bleak if you look at the character itself.
      But my theory for the books is still that bleakness but different. I think in the books she will find some sort of peace in herself, but the reason for her moving to west of westeros has more to do with an external force, the Faceless Man, I expect her breaking with them will happen when she is already fully in the FLM and her going against the orders of the many faced god won’t be appreciated by the FLM. Her going west is a escape from them. The ending the same, she needs to go. But the reason is different, still bleak but less bleak when it comes to the character.

      But still who knows what’s will happen, maybe they all lived in the eye of a giant named Macumber. (Old Nan)

      The LightKing,

      We’re you reacting to the north saying they made a mistake of naming Jon King or the second part? I think the second part but I could be mistaken. I was just pointing out that Mau is defending the show by stating mistakes that is happening since the first season. It’s strange when calling a show the best show of all time (or one of the best), and summing up many and many mistakes.

      Same thing is what you did, you named many mistakes you see in earlier episodes of earlier season, with the means to show how brilliant season 8 was, and how brilliant the show was. Those things speak against each other. One moment you state how brilliant all 8 seasons are, and the next you state all the mistakes from season 1 till 6, which many didn’t care we only saw problems with season 7 and 8, but somehow the ones defending the show seem to see more mistakes.

      See the irony in that?

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    68. kevin1989: As stated above, she goes west because after all she went through she is still sort of broken and is escaping/fleeing. She wants to move as far away from Westeros as possible, it’s something that’s in her. Even when such a voyage is something new and daring and exicited, the reason why is very bleak if you look at the character itself.
      But my theory for the books is still that bleakness but different. I think in the books she will find some sort of peace in herself, but the reason for her moving to west of westeros has more to do with an external force, the Faceless Man, I expect her breaking with them will happen when she is already fully in the FLM and her going against the orders of the many faced god won’t be appreciated by the FLM. Her going west is a escape from them. The ending the same, she needs to go. But the reason is different, still bleak but less bleak when it comes to the character.

      Maybe but there’s also that Arya wants to seek what’s west of Westeros. In the books, what’s already happened to Arya has been pretty bad (maybe worse than in the show) and as in life, that comes with some emotional ramifications. She’s been forced down a pretty awful path. Her getting away from those places may also bring her peace, as well as adventure. I think, in the books, those parts of Arya are already broken so it makes sense to me if she doesn’t want to stay in Westeros but wants to break from her past and explore new places.

      I think I have more trouble with the concept of Arya never coming back or if she never sees Jon again. And it depends on how Arya comes to feel about Winterfell and Westeros in the books. I don’t think it’s necessarily better if she’s being chased down and that’s why she must leave Westeros — then it makes it less of Arya’s own choice and danger is still following her.

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    69. kevin1989: But still who knows what’s will happen, maybe they all lived in the eye of a giant named Macumber. (Old Nan)

      And it was all just a dream this giant had of sentient bacteria living in his eye 🙂

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    70. Martin has claimed in the past he doesn’t like deadlines, and yet, by signing away the rights to his books that led to the television series, he gave himself the most crucial deadline of all, a deadline any writer worth their salt would have kept. But he failed. I wish he would stop making excuses and stop attempting to mitigate the situation. The situation is beyond mitigation. Sure, I will still read the books when they come out, but I won’t enjoy them nearly as much as if I didn’t know what was coming, even if the road getting there is different. The situation disappoints me, and I loved the final season. I can only imagine how those who were let in the final season feel about the situation.

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    71. kevin1989,

      ” …And true, I’m 30 and if I compare it to 10 years ago, I slowed down a lot (also because of reasons but that’s not the point, everyone has it I think)….”

      But we’re relying on you to finish the story!

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    72. From the article: “I still try to finish first the next book Winds Of Winter and then the follow-up novel A Dream Of Spring.” Bolding mine. Try. GRRM says he’s trying. But he seems awfully busy with lots of other projects. As is his right. Good on him.

      But it still annoys me that he seems so unfocussed and going after all kinds of exciting side projects and ASOIAF is left pending… Sure, the books on Westeros/world and Targaryen history are interesting as world-building, but they lack the immediacy and force of the ASOIAF books with their POV structure.

      Why is GRRM so evasive about the ending of ASOIAF (as compared to the ending of GoT)? Firstly, I don’t think he wants to spoil his books. Secondly, he might not know his ending except in the broadest of strokes. Jaime and Cersei dying together. Dany becoming a dangerous tyrant. The “prince that was promised”, the “true king” Jon Snow exiled to the Wall or beyond (subverting that fantasy trope). King Bran – the whole of ASOIAF began with GRRM having this idea about a young boy, Bran, witnessing an execution and finding direwolf pups. It all started with Bran, it should all end with Bran.

      I have no idea how GRRM intends to get there – he might not either – and I’m sure it’ll be different than the show (for one thing, the books have more storylines, characters and plots going on), but the broad strokes will be pretty much the same.

      I found the show’s ending quite cathartic, quite fitting, even hopeful. I enjoyed it. However, I didn’t like the way we got there. The last two seasons were moving at such breakneck speed that I was often left feeling, “Wait. What?” and to fill in too many gaps by myself.

      The show I’d fallen in love with for its rich texture became much quicker-paced and focussed on spectacle. Oh, I enjoyed it. But I could’ve enjoyed it even more if a bit more time had been taken to actually show some of the stuff behind character motivations. I have no beef with them being slightly different from the books – and we don’t have the books – but the show could’ve been better if it was a bit richer, fuller, more textured.

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    73. talvikorppi,

      …The show I’d fallen in love with for its rich texture became much quicker-paced and focussed on spectacle. Oh, I enjoyed it. But I could’ve enjoyed it even more if a bit more time had been taken to actually show some of the stuff behind character motivations. I have no beef with them being slightly different from the books – and we don’t have the books – but the show could’ve been better if it was a bit richer, fuller, more textured.”

      Me too. I enjoyed the show because of its “high thread count,” textured moments. (I would have welcomed a five- to seven- minute scene of Bran telling his story to Tyrion, like Jaime, Bronn, and Oberyn did with Tyrion in S4e7.)

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    74. TormundsWoman:
      loco73,

      Ah, I see the “will anybody care” has popped up. Let me put your question at rest. I will. I’m looking forward to the ending of Martin’s books to find out more about what Arya’s role will really be in the revenge against the Freys (assuming she took over Stoneheart which is set to revenge her former self), or if there really is nothing beyond death as Jon declares, or if Tyrion ever gets over Tysha, if Penny gets to Westeros safe, if Dany ever figures out what going East to go West means, if Barry truly dies in Essos, if the the greyscale is important at all and why Val is scared of Shireen’s, what is the glass candle and who will really revenge Oberyn, will Myrcella come to terms with who is really her father, will there be a second Dance of the Dragons and who will Dorne really support in this etc. There’s no end to the amount of questions I have that I hope I find answers to in his books.

      You probably didn’t mean “anybody”. More like “large masses of people that will make Winds or Spring a success in sales or financially” but I get it, that doesn’t sound quite so dramatic 😛

      As I’ve said, I hope Martin finishes the books. I really do. And I hope they are every bit as successful as the previous entries in ASOIF. I also hope he manages to answer the questions you still have and perhaps deliver an ending to this saga that is more satisfactory or fulfilling for you personally than the one the show delivered.

      Speaking for myself only, the series is pretty much it for me. In terms of the storyline and ending and how the characters are left off. But this is only my opinion (or preference) and since opinions are like assholes and we all have one, my asshole, errr… I mean opinion is not above anyone else’s, but I think others are left in the same boat in terms of the series and the novels . As the years have passed my interest in the books has decreased. To be honest I don’t think I would even want to re-read them at this point. Thus I’m starting not to really care if or when “The Winds of Winter” and ” A Dream Of Spring” come out…

      Martin himself told fans to read other books and do something else besides waiting for him to finish ASOIF. So I did…move on. I suspect many other fans have also. And now I’m just not sure that I am interested enough or even really care that much at this point, in returning to the fold. If you still do, good on you!

      What I will most certainly do, is take my complete blu-ray GOT set, fire up the player and do a complete re-watch of one of my favourite series ever, season one to eight. And if Martin wants to take another decade to finish his novels or cryogenically freeze himself for a millennia and then complete ASOIF, then good for him…and you I guess…

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    75. kevin1989,

      First let me say that I missed you in these discussions. These days I am swamped myself and I don’t have time for following them, or posting, but admittedly it’s a pause from work.
      I think it’s already very dark in the end of ADWD but it’s perhaps even darker in the released chapters of WoW. I don’t think that the rest of it (any of it) will be much better, but perhaps the promise is that the Starks’ enemies will all have been defeated by the end of the book. I think that we’ll hate Jon, and perhaps hate most of the characters with only a very few exceptions (perhaps Brienne and Davos). I don’t think that any of the Lannisters will survive, and while I thought that Tyrion might have a chance, I’ve picked up some things in my re-read that are, uh… spoilers

      I think he’ll have a rivalry with Jon and that Jon will behead him; I think his head will be put on a spike just like Ned’s was. Him being condemned to the Wall is far too obvious because it’s discussed since the first book. If this happens, then it seems that M. will have followed his initial plan of the book, in which Bran ends up king. Also, it’s astounding that Daenerys saves Tyrion’s life in ADWD. She saves him, unknowingly, from those who want to present her with his corpse so that they rise in her estimate, but she and Tyrion outsmart them all. So he’ll get along fine with Daenerys, but this incident also foreshadows that they’ll have common enemies –Jon and the Starks perhaps? I’m really curious to see how it will play out in the books because there’s no foreshadow, it’s carefully hidden, even though I have a few ideas, apart from the hints the show gave us (and failed to follow through)

      If you think about it, it makes sense. This whole thing started with Ned being too honorable to claim the throne for himself. It’s a bitter lesson to have to leave all morals behind for securing one’s safety. He was too honarable and his entire family was annihilated, broken apart, butchered by the Lannisters. The book anyway begins with the rivalry between Starks and Lannisters, and it has to end with this. The Starks will come out on top because that’s the only way for them to guarantee any kind of safety for themselves and for others in the realm. I don’t know where the others will be, but the Starks ending up as rulers of Westeros is the ray of hope.

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    76. Efi,
      CC: kevin1989,

      This sounds a little bleaker to me than the show ending (which, to be fair, you did warn about 😉 ). I know the story is out of my control but I’m hoping we don’t hate Jon and that his core characterization doesn’t do a 180. I think Adam Feldman is right on the conflicts Jon will be faced (between his own moral instincts and Ghost-esque wolfish instincts) but I don’t think that really means a character 180 (or, at least, I hope to god it doesn’t. It feels like dark for the sake of dark or characters becoming their worst versions. We’ve already got that happening to Dany, I hope it doesn’t happen to Jon and others too, especially mid-story).

      So if we’re to hate most of the characters, including the Starks, and it’s them vs. everyone, it doesn’t really follow for me that they’ll be the ray of hope for Westeros (and that sounds like a throw back to the old system… Westeros being returned to the same system under questionable rulers). It sounds like they’ll do some pretty nasty things to ensure their own safety and take the throne — but they’ll promise to be better in order to rule Westeros? Which indicates an End Justifies the Mean approach (or even Utopia Justifies the Means, vis a vis Dany’s justifications to Jon in 8×06). I think that’s something GRRM is criticizing.

      Ned’s goodness and morality is why (since he passed these values to his children and Jon), he offered that ray of light for the future through them, even after his death. But with the current Starks leaving all that behind, it feels like they become like everyone else fighting for the throne. The Starks can be a bit more pragmatic and smarter but it doesn’t mean they have to drop their morality or conquer Westeros, defeating all those oppose them. What if their opposition wants to do good too?

      I think Bran ends up on the throne but I think it makes sense, per the show, that Bran is chosen by the other lords of Westeros (but not for having the best story, but for having the unique qualities of what being the Three-Eyed Raven affords him). Maybe Sansa does end up on the Northern throne but I think something needs to be different about these dynasties and how they go about it to offer that hope. The journey is important as well because it’s a big part in proving somebody’s character.

      This feels like the Starks do become the new Lannisters and they seem to be doing what Dany is criticized for wanting (defeating all her enemies and conquering the continent to create their idea of a better world). Yet this time, they’re rewarded for it… And I don’t know what themes this explores in ASOIAF.

      There’s also that I’m not sure if Jon will be totally part of the Stark grouping. To Feldman again, he asks a good question of who Jon’s pack is now and it might not be the Starks. At the moment, it kind of sort of almost looks to be the wildlings. But I’m hoping for more a mish mash of people, people Jon has bonded with regardless of blood and status, which is a great aspect of Jon’s story: he is able to connect in significant ways with a variety of people from disparate backgrounds, not only his family.

      Like with Theon, Jon never was truly one of them in the first place, this is mentioned a few times in the text. For my part, I think Jon will always love them but I think that divide will remain and I know I’ve said this adnauseam before, I think Jon’s purpose is bigger than his family getting top spot (as that’d make Jon like 90% of the existing characters). Jon’s deal has always been unity, not separatism or having his family conquer the continent and when he’s picked family over duty (marching on Ramsay vs the Watch’s neutrality), it’s led to catastrophe (Jon’s death, the breaking of the peace at the Wall, the defense against the undead at risk, etc.)

      Working to fight only to get his family on the thrones feels like more of the same… And Jon’s story has been much about carving out his own path and his own identity, realizing the true threat to the realm is bigger than the human wars south of the Wall and the bloody merrry-go-round of the Iron Throne. Not that Jon won’t get sidetracked or face some not-so-nice things but I don’t think his ultimate purpose is to serve the Starks.

      I don’t know about an enmity between Tyrion/Dany and the Starks. Why would Jon and Tyrion have a rivalry? Over what? Tyrion’s not really one of the Lannisters either — in the books, Tyrion fights for Tyrion, not really in the interest of anyone else, and I think Tyrion will be fanning the flames between Aegon and Dany, trying to ensure a more certain outcome of a ruler he can back. Aegon may be more malleable, Tyrion may lend his support to Aegon for this reason.

      As for Jon, he’s never pushed for the separatism of the North. He’s fine with a non-Stark (like Stannis) ruling the North. Alan Taylor’s comments sharing what GRRM told him indicate a genuine union between Jon and Dany rather than them just being another pair of enemies (doesn’t mean it won’t end horribly or tragically though). I know I’ve said this over and over too but having Jon and Dany, especially with the years of parallels between them, be just another pair of enemies is repeating much of what’s already been done in the story, it doesn’t feel weighty enough. Starks against the world, Starks defeating their enemies to conquer Westeros in order to ensure their own safety, Jon fighting to put his family on top, Starks vs. Dany, Starks vs. Tyrion, Starks vs. Lannisters doesn’t really feel that different from what came before in the denouement of the series. And I’m struggling to connect it with some of the themes of ASOIF.

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    77. loco73,

      I understood that you’re one of the people who “moved on”. I was just pointing out that there are others who do care. It was because you asked!

      I do think there may be a misconception about “moving on and reading other books”. I personally have always read other books, and others Asoiaf book readers that I know now have done that too. It was never an excluding factor as in I cannot or will not read other books until he gets me the one I want. That’s simply ridiculous to me and frankly I never understood that comment from him or anyone else. Coming back to this saga is natural since it’s still open, but I cannot remember a single year in memory where my books read number has been lower than 30 per year, and that’s happened only lately since I got older and my vision has suddenly decided to turned to crap. And most of them are not fantasy either. I’m passionate about other books too, except they do not have a “fandom” per se.

      I’d be curious to know how many of the ASoIaF readers on this site literally have only read these books since he wrote them? is there really that many that got truly stuck? Would they never consider other books because of this specific series?

      Anyway, I’m just rambling on because there’s little to read about Asoiaf and cannot move on :p

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    78. Well, to paraphrase Nathanial Hawthorne (who ought to know!) there’s nothing as dull as a twice-told tale. So we can understand why GRRM would rather do just about anything else than slog through a story when the ending is already known. Why bother struggling to land the leviathan that is ASOIAF when you can write juicy adventure/soap opera tales about an entire extended family of overprivileged, silver-haired snots who run — or rather, fly — amok with their dragons? (By the end of that series’ run, Dany’s immolation of King’s Landing may well look like a minor misdemeanor.)

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    79. loco73,

      I can totally understand the sentiment of “moving on” to other things. In a way, I’ve also moved on, I’m not as active on GoT/ASOIAF sites than I used to be. There are so many other things, books, films etc. in life.

      However, when (if) TWOW gets published, I’m sure I’ll first gobble it in a day or three, just to see what happens, then reread more slowly with thought and then spend a looong time analysing it, and the previous books in the light of new info in TWOW. Also online with the fan community. It’s a hobby, no weirder than many other hobbies people have. I understand it isn’t for everyone, fair enough.

      Some people read a book once and are happy and move on. I do that with a lot of books (and TV shows), but there are some books (and even TV shows) that I return to, sometimes several times. Sometimes it’s just “comfort reading”, rereading something because it’s familiar and unchallenging, I just want to relax.

      Sometimes rereading a book, you notice things you never did on the first (or second, or third etc.) read, maybe because you yourself have changed in the intervening time, so you read a book with new eyes.

      For instance, when I was younger, I loved reading Agatha Christie’s detective stories (preferrably in English, not my native tongue) but nowadays the casual classism and racism and xenophobia and antisemitism render them almost unreadable to me. However, I’m still grateful to Agatha Christie for teaching me a lot about English culture – some of it still relevant today. And of course English language and vocabulary – I used words my English teachers in school didn’t know 😀

      Sometimes rereading is a revelation. You notice things that you didn’t pick up the first time around. Hints and forshadowing. GRRM’s ASOIAF falls into this category. The books can be read straight through as a great fantasy adventure story but a reread brings out more layers and nuances – and you see the blatant forshadowing for the Red Wedding, for instance. So, to my mind, it’s worth a reread. It’s not about the WHAT but the WHY. (I think the show floundered a bit on that in the last two seasons.)

      GRRM doesn’t write high literary fiction, he writes popular fiction and does it well. He writes about exiting, intriguing things, often stopping short to leave fans guessing and speculating. But if fans read carefully, his text is peppered with forshadowing and all kinds of allusions.

      A lot of people pan AFFC’s eight Brienne chapters as booooring, but I really like them. They flesh out Brienne as a character, not just the “wench” seen through Jaime’s eyes and POV. And they’re so atmospheric, all the descriptions of the surroundings, the nature. The pinewoods, the tidal flats. And Nible Dick! Spare a thought for Nimble Dick! Just a fairly good ordinary guy, and Brienne recognises this in the end, with regret. It’s all about her trust issues.

      Brienne’s chapters also give us: a first-hand account of Randyl Tarly and the kind of man he is; the celebrated “Broken men speech” by Septon Meribald; lots of information and hints about what’s going on in the Riverlands; first proper encounter with Lady Stoneheart and the Brotherhood without Banners and what they’ve become.

      So, really boring chapters. 😉

      That said, I do think GRRM is meandering a bit too much. As a writer, he says he’s a gardener, not an architect. So he plants seeds and sees how they grow and go. And grow, and go… So… there’s no focus. Except, hopefully, the ultimate end point. With maybe no clear idea as to how to get there. D&D had to work from bullet points instead of full books to land the show. I think they did a fairly good job. Could’ve been better if things weren’t so rushed.

      As to A Dream of Spring , the mythical concluding book of the series… I’m not very hopeful. Say, TWOW comes out next year, 2021. Then give it 10 years to get ADOS, so it’s 2031. But can GRRM conclude his sprawling story in just two books? It seems to me more like three or four books’ worth of material to go through and tie up all the storylines he’s started. Will he *live* long enough to do it? I hope he does but I’m not really holding my breath.

      I first saw season 3 of the show, then sought out the books and binge-read the five. It was somewhere through book 3 that it clicked: Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. What I was reading in the moment was nothing related to that. But subtle forshadowing from book 1 and book 2 had apparently implanted in my brain, worked their way from the subconscious to the conscious. I sought an online community to impart this surprising “wisdom”, and promptly found out I wasn’t alone, he he. 😀

      But at least I came up with RLJ on my own, not from online stuff. The way GRRM intended.

      Sorry for long post but I’m just so passionate about books and reading (and ASOIAF and GoT).

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    80. Adrianacandle,

      Eh, Adriana, I don’t know. I don’t think in this respect that it will be too different from the show. Perhaps the Starks will only be found in the right place at the right time, just like it happened with Bran in the show (even though he probably saw it, but no one bothered to tell us, lol). But I never said they’ll fight each other, I think it will be more of a conspiracy. The North is anyway on its way to become fully independent and this have its significance for the final “game” whatever that is.

      There is a big difference with the Lannisters and the rest, though. The Starks were a quiet family minding their own business when all this started. In this they were far too innocent. They didn’t display any intention to gain more power or stretch their legs outside the covers in any way. They believed in honor and goodness in the world.

      The Lannisters, on the other hand, always knew who they were, what they wanted and set out to get it. Tywin wanted to take revenge on Aerys (because he denied Cersei’s hand for Rhaegar and because he enlisted Jamie in the kings guard), and his children are all aware of their crimes and are all complicit. Jamie-Cercei for the incest and deceiving Robert (and an entire realm) and for attempted murder against Bran, and Tyrion because he knew and covered it all up (including the second attempt against Bran).
      The Lannisters were always in for the power, and Tyrion is no exception, since that’s what he wants, power and recognition, first as hand, then as master of coin (alright, not so much), then as aspiring protector of the North via his marriage with Sansa. The murders he committed are the culmination of his rage for the obstacles that he had to face and for the scorn he had to suffer from his own family, but all these things are not connected to each other, and they’re all his: he is power-hungry; he is scornful; and at the same time he craves for love and recognition and none of this washes his crimes away. Even in-universe Tyrion is recognized as being more like Tywin than Jamie or Cersei. Tyrion lacks self-critique (think of Jon for example, he’s full of it) and therefore everything he’s done is justified in his mind. Already in ADWD he’s in his third murder and I think he’s only just begun; I also think that when the new book comes out we’ll also learn more about everything, because so far he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong.
      Jon and Dany are seemingly parallels. In reality (imo always) they’re foils; they have differences that run very deep in their characters as M. has sketched them. Dany accepted her first marriage to gain power, she hatched her dragons, and she became queen. She acquired too much power too easily. Jon had to rise through the ranks, live with his enemy and understand his enemy. He learned to follow first, in Mormont’s words. He’s had to learn to negotiate his way through the difficulties he’s faced; and he grew up as a bastard, while Dany grew up knowing she was a princess. Jon knew he couldn’t ever have much, being a bastard, but Dany claims everything because she is a princess and believes she’s the heir to the IT.

      The Lannisters and Dany, and also Stannis, they want power because they believe they’re entitled to it one way or another. The Starks don’t. So far they don’t have any plans to conquer (they couldn’t; the North is not strong by itself and I believe they’re sick of the South too), and I don’t know if they’ll ever develop such plans. But we we do know that they’ll rule everything, and that, imo, won’t happen because they’ll be the good guys in this. It doesn’t mean they’ll be the ultimate bad guys either, meaning, like the Lannisters. The Lannisters played very dirty and no one’s a match to them.
      I think the Starks will just… win. But I don’t think that any of them will be a better person in the sense that they’ll be free of shadows and sins and duplicity. But this does not say anything about the way they’ll rule, and is no indicator that they’ll apply their enemies’ methods in ruling. For one, they’ll probably have the well-being of the people in mind, which is a novelty by itself, meaning, they won’t be there for the power, but because they won’t shun responsibility. They’ll play for staying safe and this will bring them on top.

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    81. Adrianacandle,

      “This sounds a little bleaker to me than the show ending (which, to be fair, you did warn about 😉 ).”

      I’m a sucker for grey characters, to be honest. I’m a historian and my favorite periods are those of decay. Why? Because everything changes then, and there’s a lot of possibilities and nothing is static. My favorite book is Crime and Punishment. That says it all. There’s no greyer character than Raskolnikoff.

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    82. Efi,

      There is a big difference with the Lannisters and the rest, though. The Starks were a quiet family minding their own business when all this started. In this they were far too innocent. They didn’t display any intention to gain more power or stretch their legs outside the covers in any way. They believed in honor and goodness in the world.

      I agree that the Starks started off that way but that doesn’t justify or make the Starks different if they resort to ugly means to gain power so they can secure safety for their family and their family’s interests. That’s basically how every other family in Westeros operates, it’s more of the same. It becomes an us vs. them. The Lannisters too wanted security for their family via power and they view their situation as us vs. them (their enemies). They also want revenge on their enemies. How would the Starks be different enough from this to represent hope for Westeros once they resort to their enemies’ means, if they abandon their morality to take the throne?

      But I don’t think that any of them will be a better person in the sense that they’ll be free of shadows and sins and duplicity. But this does not say anything about the way they’ll rule, and is no indicator that they’ll apply their enemies’ methods in ruling. For one, they’ll probably have the well-being of the people in mind, which is a novelty by itself, meaning, they won’t be there for the power, but because they won’t shun responsibility. They’ll play for staying safe and this will bring them on top.

      Yet, if they use their enemy’s methods and justifications for seizing power and are willing to abandon their morality to secure power in order to keep their family safe, it is an indicator of their ruling style. And if they’re taking the throne to secure power to keep their family safe, then they are kind of there for the power they think that can protect them — not the people.

      What happens when the realm’s interests conflict with their family’s?

      If they want to be safe, why not keep to the North and be part of a system that starts a more fair way of governing in which the interests of all regions have a voice and a choice, an equal place at the table with a leader they’ve all agreed on? Why does Westeros have to be under Stark power? (I think Three-Eyed Raven Bran is a bit different because he’s not really Bran Stark anymore. He’s got no familial allegiances.)

      Otherwise, in your scenario, it makes their morality weather-dependent. When times are easy, they’ll think of others. But when it’s their lives that are on the line, they come first. Morality when it’s easy, morality when there’s no risk. It’s not really morality.

      It reminds me of what Alt Shift X once said about Jon Snow and why doing the right thing when it’s hard, when it comes with personal sacrifice, has weight:

      […] Jon’s response is, “I will be troubled and keep my vows,” which really just like sums Jon up as a character. Like, Jon doesn’t find it easy to do the right thing, he is deeply troubled, he hurts, and he suffers, and he makes mistakes, and sometimes, he breaks his vows but ultimately, he stays true to his goals of doing the right thing, and trying to protect people, and trying to uphold the values of the Night’s Watch in the way that his father — well, his Uncle Ned Stark — taught him to behave. And that is what makes him heroic in the same way that we can only be brave when we’re afraid, we can only be honorable when we’re troubled, it’s only meaningful that we do the right thing, it’s only heroic when we find it hard to be heroic and there were better, more tempting options. It’s no sacrifice unless you’re losing something and that in fiction, and truth perhaps, is heroism.

      ____

      Tyrion is no exception, since that’s what he wants, power and recognition, first as hand, then as master of coin (alright, not so much), then as aspiring protector of the North via his marriage with Sansa.

      Tyrion didn’t aspire to marry Sansa or have anything to do with the North. Tyrion was forced into that too.

      I don’t disagree with your general assessment of Tyrion and how he ends up by ADWD. Tyrion is in it for Tyrion — but not in it for his family. He’s a lone agent by now. He wants revenge on his family. So I’m not sure what Jon’s quarrel with Tyrion would be?

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    83. Efi,

      Jon and Dany are seemingly parallels. In reality (imo always) they’re foils; they have differences that run very deep in their characters as M. has sketched them. Dany accepted her first marriage to gain power, she hatched her dragons, and she became queen. She acquired too much power too easily. Jon had to rise through the ranks, live with his enemy and understand his enemy. He learned to follow first, in Mormont’s words. He’s had to learn to negotiate his way through the difficulties he’s faced; and he grew up as a bastard, while Dany grew up knowing she was a princess. Jon knew he couldn’t ever have much, being a bastard, but Dany claims everything because she is a princess and believes she’s the heir to the IT.

      Well… Dany didn’t accept a marriage to Khal Drogo. She was sold to Khal Drogo against her will by her brother so he could gain power. She had no choice in that. She objected.

      I think there quite a few parallels with Dany and Jon. She didn’t exactly come by things terribly easy all the time.

      Dany grew up in exile, on the run from assassins, stigmatized for her Targaryen blood and because of who her father was. She is written off by society. Jon was stigmatized for his bastardry, his unknown mother, and is likewise written off by society. Dany was born with a name but no home. Jon was born without a name but had a family. Dany, too, started with nothing, she as a pawn, she was used by her brother for power, and had to rise to power on her own — not via her name but via her own efforts. Dany had to work to win the Dothraki’s loyalty, she’s suffered and been exposed to the Red Waste. Nothing has been handed to her on a silver platter either. Even with the dragons, she lost her husband and son and risked her own life to hatch them. Dany hasn’t been living in the lap of luxury, she’s suffered too. And she and Jon face very similar challenges as they slowly rise to power throughout the first five books, on about the same timeline, but they do make different choices.

      Jon is a negotiator. Dany is a conquerer. But they both still have people following them based on their merit, not on their name. They also both want to protect those they view as helpless and bring about a better world. But how they wish to do that, they have different ideas. But they both have strong ideas and a desire to right the wrongs of this world. In book 5, Dany compromised too much and Jon, not enough.

      Dany wants to help the oppressed — she knows what it’s like to be oppressed. Jon has sympathy and appreciation for the wildlings, who Jon recognizes are people regardless of where they were born. As somebody who has been stigmatized against himself, Jon also appreciates a merit-based leadership system. Both Dany and Jon have walked a mile in these people’s shoes, both know how these people have suffered. Neither really fits into the place they are.

      For their differences, and there ARE striking differences (I’ve written about those!) but there are strong similarities too — both make different choices to meet their ideals, some of which they share, like a desire for a better world and to urge to right the injustices of the world.

      The Lannisters and Dany, and also Stannis, they want power because they believe they’re entitled to it one way or another. The Starks don’t. So far they don’t have any plans to conquer (they couldn’t; the North is not strong by itself and I believe they’re sick of the South too), and I don’t know if they’ll ever develop such plans.

      I don’t mind the idea of the Starks winning — but I think, if it’s to mean a change for the better, they need to prove they’re better and not resort to crappy means to serve their own interests. It doesn’t mean they have to be perfect, no character is, they don’t have to be 100% pure, they don’t need to be naive and trusting, they can be smart! But they don’t need to use, deceive, and manipulate people before even giving them a chance either or be so dark that the audience hates them. Otherwise, I think that’s just… bitter… and not an indicator of a better change for Westeros.

      And if the Starks are seeking the thrones in Westeros to take power to secure their own family’s safety, that’s kind of an entitlement — they feel entitled to that safety via the power of the throne. The Lannisters want to secure their hold on Westeros — in part to ensure security for their family and their descents. Dany thinks that she can make the world a better place and wants to restore her family’s legacy and believes she’ll finally be home once she takes the throne. Stannis believes it’s his duty. They all have different motives but they all still want the throne for their own reasons.

      Nobody needs the throne. If somebody wants the throne for any reason, it’s a desire, not a necessity. If safety and family are paramount on the Starks’ minds, they can escape Westeros and find a quiet place to live. They don’t need to be rulers.

      But we do know that they’ll rule everything, and that, imo, won’t happen because they’ll be the good guys in this. It doesn’t mean they’ll be the ultimate bad guys either, meaning, like the Lannisters. The Lannisters played very dirty and no one’s a match to them.

      Then I wonder how they the ray of hope for Westeros because it kind of sounds like they are using dirty enough means vis a vis the Lannisters if they’re abandoning their morality and the audience may hate them. It just doesn’t sound like they’re much different from any other scheming family who wants the power of the throne to protect them and ensure the health of their legacy.

      This is something I feel GRRM is criticizing. He calls the wars among kingdoms in the realm and over the throne “petty”, especially in regard to Others (but nobody’s paying attention to the Others because everyone’s squabbling over power for one reason or another). And if the story goes this way, it seems like the Starks are taking part in those petty squabbles for their own interests. I like the Starks a lot but I wonder why do the Starks deserve that safety more than any other family in this series?

      In the show, Sansa Stark rules the North, which is fair — the Nothern lords chose her. But with Bran — he’s not on the throne because he’s a Stark or because he wants the throne to protect his family. Bran is not really Bran Stark anymore, he’s the Three-Eyed Raven with an almost inhuman — but impartial — view now. His council may very well do the day to day ruling. That and Bran was chosen by a collection of Westerosi lords rather than inheritance or right-of-conquest. In this way, other regions are represented if Bran is their choice (never mind my own personal reservations with that scene, I understand the general intent).

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    84. Efi,

      Thank you, I was a bit busy lately and the free time I was busy playing a game (witchers series I finish all 3 games in 2 months). Now that they are done I once again wanted to be back here. I love these discussions and the people here (even the ones that I can be harsh with my wordings against them, I like everyone here and I missed everyone).

      True I think the end of winds things are going to look better. I think beginning of dreams is the Dance of Dragon version 2 which I expect will be different than we expect now after Dance of dragons. After that the war against the death will come into play (with the tax-policy at the same time).
      I also expect that the whole White Walker storyline will come into play much different in the books than the show. The show has the White Walkers. The books has the White Walkers, Krakens and other creatures that seem to be all connected somehow to the great Other. Which I think will be in the book the ultimate entity that needs to be defeated (defeated not killed I expect it will be more like, it will be contained for 8000 years so the wall needs to stay and history repeats itself). And I still believe the great Other is some huge Weirwood tree (If you look at the word Weirwood it seems it’s something scary, Weir comes from Wer/were. Some change it to Were-wood. And look at horror/fantasy stories. Werewolf and other creatures entities that are not to be trusted start with were-). Also look at how people talk about the Weirwood trees, everyone tells that they are not in the south, and somehow every single character has seen a weirwood tree, but somehow they state they aren’t south of the wall.
      I think the CotF and WW and other creatures are in fact the soldiers of the Great Other.

      I think how George ends the big supernatural enemy in a way that is maybe not that satisfying for a tv show (but for a book very satisfying). What if the books end with Azor Ahai Reborn (which I suspect will be Jon) sticking lightbringer in a big weirwood tree, I mean that’s pretty lame I think for a tv-show but for a book it’s pretty exciting.

      I think Jaime will survive, but Cersei will be death (or at least defeated in KL, maybe she will flee to Casterly Rock and Jaime and Cersei will die together there at the end), but I expect Jaime to survive and fighting the WW. I even suspect he will take the black (he will be the POV at the wall while Jon is “dead”.

      I also wonder what you state about the ending of Dance. But I wonder how Dany will trust Tyrion, she is warned by Quaithe. Maybe she will distrust Quaithe and doing exactly the opposite of what Quaithe tells her to do.

      Agree about that the story needs to end with the Starks defeating their enemy and coming up on top. But is that really the Lannisters? I mean looking back at book 1 it’s really Littlefinger who set in motion the rivalry between them, and the question is why? It makes sense that the Starks will overcome that (no matter what that is). Or do we even look further back to the reign of the Targaryens (the ones that took the freedom of the Northerners).

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    85. Efi: “This sounds a little bleaker to me than the show ending (which, to be fair, you did warn about 😉 ).”

      I’m a sucker for grey characters, to be honest. I’m a historian and my favorite periods are those of decay. Why? Because everything changes then, and there’s a lot of possibilities and nothing is static. My favorite book is Crime and Punishment. That says it all. There’s no greyer character than Raskolnikoff.

      I think my issue is that there needs to be something different, something to root for with the Starks if they’re supposed to represent the better world and better rulers, something that makes them different from all the other families in Westeros who are already looking out for their family as #1 above everyone else — or the logic falls apart for me. To borrow from a statement I saw on westeros.org objecting to a Dark!Jon, “I need a lighthouse in this sea of sh!t!” and that’s how I feel. There’s grey… but I don’t think this is grey. I think these are characters becoming the worst versions of themselves and I don’t think it’s for a justifiable reason, especially if they abandon their morality for power and it’s to ensure the safety of their own.

      If we have two Starks ending up in power by the end of ADOS, I think the story needs to show why they are the better change for Westeros and I don’t think that’s possible if they abandon their morality to get those thrones.

      Up thread, you said:

      If the ending is the same (it is not imo, but let’s say I believe that) what Mr. Martin is telling us is that the circumstances of your birth doom you forever (Jon) if you’ve been sexualized, exploited, bullied and abused you might be rewarded with a position of power and end up alone (Sansa), if you lost your father, mother, brother at a tender age and you turned out to become a drifter you never have a chance to find roots and family again (Arya) if you’re the abuser, murderer, traitor to your own country you get rewarded (Tyrion) if you’re a killer with no moral compass you also thrive (Bronn), if you missed your classes and quit midsemester you get the position many work their entire lives for but never get (Sam). I could go on and on.

      I think it’s fair to feel this way — but people have used these same arguments for Dany that you have with Jon, Sansa, and Arya? If we have a bad upbringing and our father’s insane, are we doomed to become them? If we grow up abused and with damaging narratives of power, is there no way to overcome that? Are we determined by our blood or a coin flip? Are we doomed to give into our worst impulses?

      I guess what I’m trying to say too is that what’s a happy ending for one reader/viewer isn’t really a happy ending for another. What feels satisfactory to one reader/viewer feels like hell to another.

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    86. kevin1989,

      ”Thank you, I was a bit busy lately and the free time I was busy playing a game (witchers series I finish all 3 games in 2 months). Now that they are done I once again wanted to be back here….”

      Damn it, Kevin! Get back to work on Winds of Winter! We’re counting on you!

      (Just kidding 😉)

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    87. kevin1989: What if the books end with Azor Ahai Reborn (which I suspect will be Jon) sticking lightbringer in a big weirwood tree, I mean that’s pretty lame I think for a tv-show but for a book it’s pretty exciting.

      I don’t know if it works for the books either. Jon would have to feel pretty deeply about that tree XD;; Plus, would the tree die? The whole AA/NN thing has to do with stabbing the beloved in the heart and having their soul forge with the sword.

      And I think it needs to feel weighty for the reader too — Jon stabbing a tree is… Jon stabbing a tree.

      Or do we even look further back to the reign of the Targaryens (the ones that took the freedom of the Northerners).

      Well, the Targaryen reign hasn’t been a thing for 20 years. And the current living generation of Targaryens (Dany, Young Griff, Jon) aren’t responsible for the crimes against the Starks.

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    88. talvikorppi,

      Agree with this. That’s how I look at the books. But the thing is did he really garden that much? I mean Dorne, Iron Island and even Young Griff were planned since book 2. There’s forshadowing about all 3 stories. The mystery of the Greyjoy brothers was awakened in book 2, same with Dorne that we will go there with Myrcella, why else let her go there. And Young Griff in the House of the Undying. But I think the only gardening with that is that what he was meant to show us in 2 or 3 chapters became 10 chapters. But I still think those storylines were meant to be shown in a way or another (HotU chapter shows us that he planned many stories that he told in book 4 and 5). Same with Meereen, he had a plan with Meereen. Probably just a short plan of maybe 2 chapters which became 10+. But he still planned that trip/bulletpoint.

      As for AsoIaF not being high-literature. True, but I think that’s true for almost every story that involved fantasy/science fiction element. GRRM is most of the time compared to Tolkien, which I loved his books, but even I think that LotR is not high-literature.

      For me what I care about with stories is not perse if it’s great literature many times great literature is just very hard to get into. I want to read stories about characters I could care about, doesn’t matter if it’s just about the characters or if there is a mystery like with asoiaf to be solved. The later has my preference because I could crack my head with it. And what I like with aSoIaF that I personally liked more than other books that I read is that I can really “become” the character I read. When reading Bran I feel like a little child (for instance his first couple of chapters, I feel like when I was young), with Sansa I feel like a naive person who learns the game. With Arya I feel rebellious, with Theon I feel tortured and out of place, with Brienne I feel like I’m not appreciated with the talents I have and that I’m not worth-while etc. You really feel like the character you read.

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    89. kevin1989: What if the books end with Azor Ahai Reborn (which I suspect will be Jon) sticking lightbringer in a big weirwood tree, I mean that’s pretty lame I think for a tv-show but for a book it’s pretty exciting.

      Oh wait, do you mean Jon would stab a tree to end The Long Night and defeat the Others? That the Others have something to do with the Old Gods?

      I don’t know… Jon’s still stabbing a tree. I’m thinking of the illustrations:

      The End of the Long Night 305AC

      (Tree stab!)

      😉

      Maybe if there was lightning coming out of the tree and the leaves were on fire or something while the trunk was howling in agony as The Old Gods evict their former residence??

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    90. Ten Bears,

      And then the white walkers won the war, humanity has fallen. The purpose of the White Walkers seem to be done and the magic that keeps them alive seems to exists. What seems as a very bleak end for westeros really bloom into something amazing. Nature goes back to a extend that wasn’t seen for ages. Old trees are coming back, animals could finally live in peace without being in the crossfires of conflicts of men.

      Adrianacandle,

      Well I mean more Dany dies as Nissa Nissa to forge lightbringer. But Jon needs to stab the great other to destroy the supernatural treat.

      As for the Targaryens, but didn’t the problems start with the Targaryen burning the Starks? Personally I think in the end it’s more about defeating who are responsible for that. LF is responsible for the war against the Lannisters. Varys with the war against the Targaryens. I think there is a reason why both of them are in the bigger game of the story.

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    91. kevin1989,

      Sorry, I only realized what you meant after I posted and then posted a follow-up comment (just above yours, 6:22 pm). But I am starting to imagine Jon brooding on his inappropriate feelings for his tree 😉

      As for the Targaryens, but didn’t the problems start with the Targaryen burning the Starks? Personally I think in the end it’s more about defeating who are responsible for that. LF is responsible for the war against the Lannisters. Varys with the war against the Targaryens. I think there is a reason why both of them are in the bigger game of the story.

      Aerys was responsible for Rickard and Brandon’s deaths but he was killed and overthrown by Robert Baratheon while Rhaegar was defeated on the Trident (he’s responsible for starting that thing with Lyanna and Lyanna is too if, like in the show, she’s a willing participant) — Dany/Young Griff/Jon have nothing to do with that (Jon and Dany weren’t even born at the time) so they’re really not responsible and the responsible parties are all dead.

      Plus, after the deaths of Rickard and Brandon, Ned was able to build a nice quiet life for himself and his family — until Robert came to town and LF started f*cking with them all.

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    92. Adrianacandle,

      The thing is that all evil seem to be connected to weirwood trees somehow. We know the cotf has some connection with the weirwood trees. There seems to be many 3-Eyed ravens in the books (seen through the eyes of Hodor) that are connected to the trees. Some weirwood trees are said they just popped up out of nowhere in the south. Almost every POV has encountered a strange encounter with a weirwood tree, like getting visions (Jaime) but somehow never think about that strange event that happen to them (he never said anything about it in feast or dance which is strange when a tree gives you visions about death and despair etc.)

      And George RR martin is really into strange enemies in his stories where the weirwood trees seem to fit into. For instance sandkings where the enemies are some insects with telepathy abilities. Or other stories in his 1000 wolds.

      Or that story that was about a monkey that only the one that the monkey was attached to saw the monkey.

      But to put short: I have a bad feeling about the weirwood trees.

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    93. kevin1989,

      You’re right about strange encounters and getting an ominous feeling from the wierwood. But I wonder if it’s more strange than straight-up evil? There could be some evil and I think there’s definitely danger but I’m not sure about evil. Their magic also seems connected to Winterfell as well, whatever is happening to Bran, and the Old Gods have a deep hold with the wildlings and some Northern families as well, like the mountain clans.

      When Jon’s going to Mole’s Town to deliver food to the wildlings after Melisandre forces the wildlings to burn pieces of the weirwood, there’s this passage:

      Just north of Mole’s Town they came upon the third watcher, carved into the huge oak that marked the village perimeter, its deep eyes fixed upon the kingsroad. That is not a friendly face, Jon Snow reflected. The faces that the First Men and the children of the forest had carved into the weirwoods in eons past had stern or savage visages more oft than not, but the great oak looked especially angry, as if it were about to tear its roots from the earth and come roaring after them. Its wounds are as fresh as the wounds of the men who carved it. 

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    94. Adrianacandle,

      Never noticed that, and don’t forget the Black Gate.

      And I don’t think the weir-wood are perse evil. I think it just does what trees do, laying down roots.

      And I always like the whole “fighting nature” kind of plots. We already know from GRRM that the WW could be interpreted as “climate change” so it’s already connected to nature.

      But I think we will debate this for a long long time.

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    95. kevin1989: But I think we will debate this for a long long time.

      Forever 🙁 We’ll have lots of time to have our Theories & Bellinis talk ;;

      Yes, re: WW and climate change. I just watched a GRRM video today where he talked about that.

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    96. kevin1989,

      A thought just occurred to me rereading that passage above — the Old Gods seem kind of vengeful, the oak is angry and Jon observes its wounds. Is the anger about Melisandre forcing the wildlings to burn pieces of the weirwood, which is supposed to represent them giving up their faith in favour of R’hllor? Yet Jon himself notes the wildlings still have not:

      The drunkard was an ash tree, twisted sideways by centuries of wind. And now it had a face. A solemn mouth, a broken branch for a nose, two eyes carved deep into the trunk, gazing north up the kingsroad, toward the castle and the Wall.

      The wildlings brought their gods with them after all. Jon was not surprised. Men do not give up their gods so easily. The whole pageant that Lady Melisandre had orchestrated beyond the Wall suddenly seemed as empty as a mummer’s farce. “Looks a bit like you, Edd,” he said, trying to make light of it.

      “Aye, m’lord. I don’t have leaves growing out my nose, but elsewise… Lady Melisandre won’t be happy.”

      “She’s not like to see it. See that no one tells her.”

      Also, Edd <3 🙂

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    97. Efi,

      Typo!!

      *This is something I feel GRRM is criticizing. He calls the wars among kingdoms in the realm and over the throne “petty”, especially in *comparison to Others (but nobody’s paying attention to the Others because everyone’s squabbling over power for one reason or another).

      *Then I wonder how they *are the ray of hope for Westeros[…]

      Also, I’m sorry for three long messages, Efi 🙁 🙁 And thanks for sharing your view!

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    98. Winter Wind:
      At this point, it doesn’t matter if the series of books is ever finished or not.

      ASOIAF is the rough draft and GOT is the finished product.

      Well said. Pretty much encapsulates where I think a lot of fans are at this point, including myself.

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    99. Did you guys know George Martin recently said this?

      “David Benioff and D.B. Weiss actually wanted to end the saga after the seventh season with three big movies… The executives said, ‘We produce TV shows, we are not in the cinema business.'”

      Interesting….reminds me of episode 3 the Long night and how I was perched at the edge of my seat in anticipation when it started only to find myself standing right in front of the TV frustrated and eventually with a headache from all the squinting in trying to actually see something lol.

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    100. Adrianacandle,

      Yes, but I think Martin has also stated that he doesn’t like black and white characters. Even Bran will be grey, because he won’t be Bran anymore -even though I have to keep my reservations that he’ll be the emo big bro that we saw on screen. I also don’t think he’ll end up in the South because I can’t imagine the circumstances under which he’ll travel South to be there for any event; and I think that his story binds him to the North and the offenses perpetrated against the North and the Starks in particular. It starts with Bran and it will finish with Bran, I guess, and I think that the history of the North will have come a full circle. Bran the Builder built the Wall and WF because of the Wights, Bran the new Builder (not the Broken) will restore WF and the North (I’m not sure that the Wall will still be standing, but he’s the one who might restore that too if it needs to be restored).
      Imo putting Bran in the throne of the South recalls the ancient Greeks. When they screwed their characters so badly, they always needed a deus ex machina to fix the situation. Remember Medeia for example. It feels like cheeting.
      And why is it that Bran can do the day to day ruling, instead of, say, Jon or Sansa? It seems to me that especially the trivial things of daily governing anybody can do. It has to be higher and more noble than that, not just “I’ll search for him” [Drogon].
      Of course the show failed to deliver the elements of primal magic and the forces of nature that are interwoven in the Starks’ story, their connection to the weirwoods and their warging abilities.
      I think that there’s a theme running very deep in ASoIaF, and that’s the theme of justice. So far everybody in-universe have their own idea of it, what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s a crime, what’s not, which crime is “justified”, which is not. There is no uniform application of justice even if we try to justify what to us seems unfair and criminal for whatever reason. Along with the characters in-universe, readers tend to justify particular crimes, methods and vigilantism. (poor Tyrion, see how he suffers -yes, but Tywin wanted him dead, right?)
      Take Catelyn’s reaktion to the attempted murder against her son for example. She had false information from a man she trusted and arrested an innocent intending to confer justice herself. She should have gone to the king; of course she knew in advance that she’d find no justice by the king, so she took the matter into her own hands, and thus a war broke out, because the Lannisters felt offended. And of course the tendency is to justify her and make excuses for her. But what if she had gone to the king in an official hearing for example, and had shown him his own dagger in front of the entire court? What if there was an investigation? What if Robert was actually a king that could guarantee that justice would be given?
      You say that only Bran can fulfill that role in Westeros after the catastrophe. I only say that any of the Starks can, because no one knows justice better that those who have been wronged.
      With the Lannisters it’s not the same. It’s their pride that suffers the most and that is the reason why they did what they did; they don’t have real enemies. The Targaeyens were not the Lannisters’ enemies and Cersei’s hand being denied for Rhaegar was only a wound to Tywin’s pride, but for that he turned against his king and made sure that Rhaegar’s babies were squashed; and what they did against the Starks was done to cover their own crimes (incest, deceiving a king and an entire empire).
      While actual crimes were committed against the Starks (Bran’s flying off the tower, the attempted assassination, the hostage situation of the girls (Sansa), the execution of all the Northerners in KL, the Red Wedding), Tyrion walked free, Jamie walked free, and Cersei even got a chance to save her own life (stupid, stupid Ned).
      So I wouldn’t put the Lannisters at the same level as the Starks. The Starks are morally far superior, and what they’re about to do in WoW is just for surviving — which, how much can you blame them for? At the very least, they won’t throw any babies off any tower.

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    101. Efi,

      Yes, but I think Martin has also stated that he doesn’t like black and white characters. Even Bran will be grey, because he won’t be Bran anymore -even though I have to keep my reservations that he’ll be the emo big bro that we saw on screen.

      Sure, and that’s already happened — all of the characters have some pretty big flaws and make significant mistakes. No character is 100% perfect or pure, not even Sam. But it doesn’t mean they have to be the worst versions of themselves. Abandoning morality and hurting others to see their own safe and get vengeance feels more dark grey and I don’t think it’s a trait GRRM wants to reward, especially with Jon where unity and coming together in spite of differences and previous hurts is a huge aspect of his story.

      If the story would say the Starks need to rule Westeros because they are the best people for it and because they care for the interests of others then I think the story would need to reflect that — and I don’t think that can be done if they’re willing to abandon what qualities set them apart from others, like forsaking their values, to get into those positions for their own sakes. If it’s done this way, I feel it’d be hypocritical. Like they’re having their cake (abandoning morality for a throne to ensure their own safety) and eating it too (be the best hope for Westeros because of their morality).

      I also don’t think he’ll end up in the South because I can’t imagine the circumstances under which he’ll travel South to be there for any event; and I think that his story binds him to the North and the offenses perpetrated against the North and the Starks in particular.

      The thing is Bran as the “final king” is the only thing confirmed about GRRM’s ending, nothing else. And I’ll explain why GRRM may be going this route below (but I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself 🙁 ).

      It starts with Bran and it will finish with Bran, I guess, and I think that the history of the North will have come a full circle. Bran the Builder built the Wall and WF because of the Wights, Bran the new Builder (not the Broken) will restore WF and the North (I’m not sure that the Wall will still be standing, but he’s the one who might restore that too if it needs to be restored).

      That would be a cool idea and before season 8, I would have agreed this was a strong possibility. I do like this idea for Bran but I don’t think this is where the story is going, primarily based on D&D and IHW’s comments about Bran being king coming from GRRM (not just King in the North but the final king. Conceptually, I don’t think anything indicates the Northern throne is the final crown. I think it indicates the throne everybody has been fighting over for the past few decades and has been the source of conflict between the series’ main families, the conflict distracting them from what’s coming for them all).

      Imo putting Bran in the throne of the South recalls the ancient Greeks. When they screwed their characters so badly, they always needed a deus ex machina to fix the situation. Remember Medeia for example. It feels like cheeting.

      Well, it depends on how it’s done. How GRRM gets there. In the show, my first reaction was like WTF?!!?! Having the best story as a justification for electing a king is… so many words that aren’t flattering 😉

      But I think it can be executed well in concept. If other reasons are given and the journey to this point makes sense. So I’m trying to hold back as much judgement as I can on there — and as much hope. I don’t want to feel sad by the book ending either and I know I’m already going to because of the endings for the other characters, particularly (sigh) Dany.

      And why is it that Bran can do the day to day ruling, instead of, say, Jon or Sansa? It seems to me that especially the trivial things of daily governing anybody can do. It has to be higher and more noble than that, not just “I’ll search for him” [Drogon].

      I’m sorry, I meant Bran’s council — the council that he’s chosen and ideally, I think that would involve people from different regions so they can make sure their region has a voice at the table.

      I think what sets Bran apart from any other candidate is his being the Three-Eyed Raven and what that means. He’s not subject to emotion and inner conflict the same way others are, he can’t be manipulated, he can’t be lied to, he can’t be flattered, he can review situations and get the full picture once he’s been pointed in the right direction. Bran’s ability to be impartial is greater than any other character’s at this point and so perhaps he can act as an impartial judge and not give preference to any one region based on personal feeling or allegiance.

      But how do they choose the next ruler to be like this? Or is Bran immortal? Has an increased lifespan? Or does he mentor the next Three-Eyed Raven and they appear as an option for election?

      There’s still a lot that can go wrong with this but I think GRRM wants to start the move away from a system of blood succession.

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    102. Efi,

      You say that only Bran can fulfill that role in Westeros after the catastrophe. I only say that any of the Starks can, because no one knows justice better that those who have been wronged.

      None of the Starks have Bran’s impartiality or abilities. The Stark name in and of itself doesn’t grant them these abilities or traits and nearly every character in this series has been wronged and greatly so.

      I don’t think suffering injustice and being wronged makes them more deserving of leadership — or Dany would have a pretty strong case for that too. Nor do I think that it gives them a free pass to be jerks in order to secure power to ensure the safety of their own. Those are the justifications Dany stans provide to justify her actions. As I’ve argued this against them, I’ll argue the same thing against in this scenario with the Starks. Suffering, being wronged, and starting off as nice people doesn’t give anybody a free pass to be a jerk and harm others for the sake of their own self-interest, hurt, or need for vengeance. If the Starks are given free passes because of this and are then treated as morally superior, despite them abandoning their morality to survive and take the throne, it feels like a double standard.

      So I wouldn’t put the Lannisters at the same level as the Starks. The Starks are morally far superior, and what they’re about to do in WoW is just for surviving — which, how much can you blame them for? At the very least, they won’t throw any babies off any tower.

      I can blame the Starks if they hurt others in the name of taking the throne for their own self-interest, even if it’s for the survival of their own, no matter how nice and good they started out. That doesn’t cancel out crappy actions to seize power for their own interests. They don’t need a throne or vengeance to survive or ensure safety. There are other options.

      I just rewatched The 100 and this is a concept heavily explored — “I Did What I Had To Do To Survive” — and it’s used by both warring sides as justifications for hurting others so their people and families survive. As a result, neither side is humanity’s best hope and the war continues on and on.

      This line of justification isn’t morally superior, it’s pretty much status quo as far as noble families in Westeros go. If the Starks are going to be the best hope for Westeros, they need to be different and walk the talk of their morality, even in hard times. That’s when morality is the most important — when it’s tested, when it’s hard to do the right thing, when it requires personal sacrifice. It can’t be both — doing whatever they can to survive, including abandoning their own morality, while being viewed as the best for their realm because of their morality. Then their morality is weather-dependent. I’m not saying they can’t make mistakes or they have to be 100% pure, but harming and hurting others so they can survive is not morally superior.

      Being maybe comparatively better than the Lannisters isn’t much to go on either and if the Starks are abandoning their morals and ethics to survive and seize power for that purpose, I’m not sure where the line is for them. Everyone in this series wants to survive and thrive, many characters want vengeance on their enemies. Most families are comparatively better than the Lannisters — but that’s not saying much since most families are still willing to do anything to put their family’s interests first — before the realm’s. If the story wants the Starks to be the best hope for the future, the story needs to show why the Starks are different, especially in difficult times. Or they’re just like everyone else looking out for #1. It’s just the same old system with the same kind of rulers.

      They also don’t need any throne to be safe. Just as people have argued in the case of Dany, who have said she doesn’t need the throne to have a home or find security, neither do the Starks. In contrast, the throne is no safety net, it makes that family a target. The throne didn’t protect the Targaryens, it didn’t protect Robert Baratheon, it didn’t protect the Lannisters.

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    103. Adrianacandle,

      ”…Well, it depends on how it’s done. How GRRM gets there. In the show, my first reaction was like WTF?!!?! Having the best story as a justification for electing a king is… so many words that aren’t flattering 😉”

      ——-
      And Bran didn’t even have “the best story” out of the people seated on the Dragonpit dais.

      My “best story” nominees, in inverse order:
      #6 Gendry “The Jilted“ Baratheon
      #5 Birdbrain Bran nka 3ER-Tronic 2.0
      (batteries sold separately)
      #4 Robyn Arryn
      #3 Samwell Tarly, M.D.
      #2 Sansa Stark
      #1 Arya Stark, Savior of the World 👸🏻

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    104. Ten Bears: #1 Arya Stark, Savior of the World 👸🏻

      She does have souvenirs from her stories… 🙂

      I’d like to submit Davos too for consideration, he saw a man brought to life!

      Or maybe Bran, knower of all stories, is the average of all stories…

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    105. ygritte,

      Did you guys know George Martin recently said this?

      “David Benioff and D.B. Weiss actually wanted to end the saga after the seventh season with three big movies… The executives said, ‘We produce TV shows, we are not in the cinema business.’”

      That is a misquote/mistranslation. Some of us remember George was pulling for that himself a few years ago. He said it wasn’t originally his idea, but he loved the thought of it. Reading between the lines of the interviews at the time I’d guess that it came up as a suggestion when he revealed the endgame to David and Dan at their big sit-down in 2013, and D&D knew their HBO budget at that time couldn’t do justice to a conclusion centered on an epic ice zombie/dragon battle (and the war leading up to that) and a King’s Landing holocaust – and they must have thought: how on earth can we do that? But, thankfully, the HBO execs stood by their viewers and everyone involved compromised. All things considered, I felt they all hit it out of the park.

      “Author George R. R. Martin told Welt (via iO9) that’s how he wanted the saga to end, but HBO rejected the idea about four years ago. At the time, Martin, Benioff, and Weiss were discussing the end of Thrones with HBO execs: “Those responsible said: ‘we produce TV series, we are not in the cinema business …”

      As per The Guardian in 2015:

      “But George RR Martin has repeatedly dropped hints that, although it wasn’t right to begin the saga’s screen life in cinemas, ending it that way is his preferred option.”

      Here’s GRRM extolling the idea on his own blog in 2015:

      It was a notion suggested to me, which I have enthusiastically endorsed… but since I was the first person to raise the possibility in public, somehow I am being seen as its father.

      Sure, I love the idea. Why not? What fantasist would not love the idea of going out with an epic hundred million feature film? And the recent success of the IMAX experience shows that the audience is there for such a movie. If we build it, they will come. But will we build it? I have no bloody idea.

      As we go forward, I expect I will have a voice in all these decisions. But mine will only be one voice among many, and there are all sorts of other factors that can come into play. I will say, I am incredibly fortunate in having partners like HBO, and David Benioff and Dan Weiss. Seven seasons, ten seasons, with or without one or two feature films… in the end, all that matters is that we tell a great story, with a great end.

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    106. Efi: Imo putting Bran in the throne of the South recalls the ancient Greeks. When they screwed their characters so badly, they always needed a deus ex machina to fix the situation. Remember Medeia for example. It feels like cheeting.

      Crap, I should have asked this before: what do you mean by cheating?

      Obviously, I am pretty set (and resigned to) Bran being on the Iron Throne by the end of this based on D&D and ISH’s statements but can you elaborate your thoughts here? 🙂

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    107. Efi,

      Same thing here I really believe that Bran is connected to the North, if he has the power that is needed to defeat (and contain??) the White Walkers. I think it’s logical that he should be close to the Wall. (There always need to be a Stark in Winterfell, I think that’s about the WW treat).
      About the Wall I believe that the wall is already crumbling. I think that the Dragonhorn is the same as the horn of Winter. I think there’s a reason why the blizzard is happening in the north. It all happened after the dragonhorn was used. I think that the snowstorm is in fact the wall itself (or better worded the wall is crumbling and the parts that already came loose from the wall becomes the snowstorm). And I think the moment that the dragonhorn is used to control a dragon (which I suspect will happen in the next book) the wall will be destroyed.
      About who will be just to rule, you named justice, I agree but I think one thing we forget that was already forshadowed in the House of the Undying: A King that was chosen by the people itself, who it seems was received as a Hero. What if the story ends with a King that is really chosen (Or in this case because democracy doesn’t exists, the people agree with the choice). Combine that with the Ashford theory and I think we know who is logical to be on the throne in the end.

      But about the Stark themselves, personally I have a feeling that in winds we will found out some truths about the Starks that will show the whole “The Starks are the saints” into perspectives. We already know they were into bloodmagic in the past (Bran III). We already known for the show that Ned wasn’t that honorable as we though he was, and I expect the books that we even see that to a fuller extend. The only thing that we can say is that Ned changed and tried to do better. And the thing is (I think the dishonorable thing that happened at the tower of Joy will also be in the books), he did that dishonorable thing after he judged Jaime for the dead of the Mad King, which I think Ned should have understand to a degree, and at least make sure the whole “Kingslayer” name didn’t become a word used by everyone, because that was not really honorable in my eyes. So what else has Martin in store for Ned in winds of winter. And is there a big chance that Ned or Brandon was the one that defiled (right word?) Ashara Dayne at the tourney of Harrenhal.

      The thing is we also read the POV into the POV of the Starks we love. Just like Tyrion, their actions are justified by the thoughts of the Starks/Tyrion. Like with Robb we saw Robb through the eyes of the Starks and we see a boy who is avenging his father and getting freedom for the North. We understand his actions and choose his side because we read the POV of the Starks. But what if we had read a POV of a character who was family of one of those 10.000 he send to his death in the first book against Tywin instead of the Starks. Or if the main POVs were a family that fought for the Lannisters but are in fact a pretty good family on the spectrum good/evil. And we see that those family suffered deaths of love-ones because Robb killed them in battle. We could have see Robb different because we would have read POV of people who have reason to hate Robb.

      And that’s something I also liked about asoiaf. Robb’s choice to rebel we understand because of the backstory. But looking at it from a broader perspective, how many innocent people suffered and got killed because of his choice to rebel instead of bend the knee. So how much is the revenge for Ned Stark and the suffering of the Starks really worth when comparing it to lives of the common folk?

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    108. kevin1989: And the thing is (I think the dishonorable thing that happened at the tower of Joy will also be in the books), he did that dishonorable thing after he judged Jaime for the dead of the Mad King, which I think Ned should have understand to a degree, and at least make sure the whole “Kingslayer” name didn’t become a word used by everyone, because that was not really honorable in my eyes.

      Ned truly didn’t know the story behind why Jaime killed the Mad King. Jaime, by his own admittance, told Brienne he didn’t tell anyone:

      From Jaime’s POV, after he tells Brienne everything:

      The wench looked ridiculous, clutching her towel to her meager teats with her thick white legs sticking out beneath. “Has my tale turned you speechless? Come, curse me or kiss me or call me a liar. Something.”

      “If this is true, how is it no one knows?”

      “The knights of the Kingsguard are sworn to keep the king’s secrets. Would you have me break my oath?” Jaime laughed. “Do you think the noble Lord of Winterfell wanted to hear my feeble explanations? Such an honorable man. He only had to look at me to judge me guilty.” Jaime lurched to his feet, the water running cold down his chest. “By what right does the wolf judge the lion? By what right?” A violent shiver took him, and he smashed his stump against the rim of the tub as he tried to climb out.

      Jaime V, ASOS

      From Ned’s POV:

      “I cannot answer for the gods, Your Grace … only for what I found when I rode into the throne room that day,” Ned said. “Aerys was dead on the floor, drowned in his own blood. His dragon skulls stared down from the walls. Lannister’s men were everywhere.”

      “Jaime wore the white cloak of the Kingsguard over his golden armor. I can see him still. Even his sword was gilded. He was seated on the Iron Throne, high above his knights, wearing a helm fashioned in the shape of a lion’s head. How he glittered!”

      “This is well known,” the king complained.

      “I was still mounted. I rode the length of the hall in silence, between the long rows of dragon skulls. It felt as though they were watching me, somehow. I stopped in front of the throne, looking up at him. His golden sword was across his legs, its edge red with a king’s blood. My men were filling the room behind me. Lannister’s men drew back. I never said a word. I looked at him seated there on the throne, and I waited. At last Jaime laughed and got up. He took off his helm, and he said to me, ‘Have no fear, Stark. I was only keeping it warm for our friend Robert. It’s not a very comfortable seat, I’m afraid.’”

      The king threw back his head and roared. His laughter startled a flight of crows from the tall brown grass. They took to the air in a wild beating of wings. “You think I should mistrust Lannister because he sat on my throne for a few moments?” He shook with laughter again. “Jaime was all of seventeen, Ned. Scarce more than a boy.”

      “Boy or man, he had no right to that throne.”

      Eddard II, AGOT

      Ned had returned to King’s Landing after it had been sacked by Lannister forces. Seeing a flippant Jaime on the throne, a member of the kingsguard with Aerys’s blood on his sword — it had looked like Jaime had committed kingslaying and broken his oath without any apparent urgent motive other than to depose of the king he was sworn to. We know it was urgent, we know why Jaime did it, but Jaime never told anyone else except for Brienne. He let Ned believe the worst of him.

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    109. Adrianacandle,

      True but I think Ned missed one life lesson, don’t judge something you don’t have a full picture off. Ned saw something and made up his own mind directly at that moment, he filled in the blanks in just a though. He never even considered another option himself what could have happened. And that’s something I learned, never judge something directly because most of the time you don’t know the truth.

      What if Ned had asked Jaime for an explanation and had heard Jaime out, I think Jaime would have told what really happened (the reason he didn’t tell Ned was because Ned judge him right there).

      I known for my own experience that too many times feuds could be avoided if people (that also mean that I was guilty of it myself) stop filling in the truth themselves.
      It reminds me of an episode of golden girls where sophia (the old one) had a feud with her sister for over 50 years because both filled in the truth themselves, and both filled it in wrong. Had they ask each other then about what they saw there wouldn’t have been a 50 year feud.

      Back to Ned, I really feel that Ned’s bad habbit is that he judge things too easily (and of course his naivety)

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    110. kevin1989: Back to Ned, I really feel that Ned’s bad habbit is that he judge things too easily (and of course his naivety)

      Actually, I agree with you there.

      But I think it was Jaime’s responsibility to clarify the truth to people because he’s the only one who had that information, he was the only witness to what Aerys wanted to do. He explained that he would never have told Ned Stark the truth, that Ned never would have believed him. Jaime judged Ned as much as Ned judged him here, they didn’t give the other a chance to overcome their preconceptions of the other person.

      When Ned walked in there, it looked bad — not only to him, but to everyone else, and Jaime gave every indication it was exactly what they thought. There was no indicator or evidence of what Aerys was planning to do, Jaime took care of the pyromancers. When Ned found Jaime sitting on a throne he had no right to, Jaime was smiling, laughing, joking, he seemed totally unbothered — but we know that’s absolutely not the truth. It haunts Jaime deeply and I think it’s what prompted Jaime’s corruption into a man who didn’t care about anyone except for his family, the scorn he endured after.

      It was a bad situation based on false information, unshared information, and immediate judgment (from both sides). And I really feel for Jaime there.

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    111. kevin1989,

      ….”It reminds me of an episode of golden girls where sophia (the old one) had a feud with her sister for over 50 years because both filled in the truth themselves, and both filled it in wrong. Had they ask each other then about what they saw there wouldn’t have been a 50 year feud.“

      ———-
      It reminds me of an episode of Game of Thrones where Sansa (the older one) had a feud with her sister for over three episodes because both filled in the truth themselves, and both filled it in wrong. Had they asked each other then about what they saw there wouldn’t have been a three episode feud.

      👸🏻 x 🦢

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    112. Adrianacandle,

      I agree there, it’s a shame that nobody was a shrink in Westeros. Would have solved a lot of problems I think.

      I found Jaime’s story pretty sad. He did something that haunts him, get judged for it, got tired of the judging and just embrace it, it’s easier to just become what they call you. That resulted in that Cersei got more influence on him and corrupted him even further. That resulted in him becoming a bad person. Now Brienne tries to get him back to his older self, but the damage is done.

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    113. kevin1989,

      ut looking at it from a broader perspective, how many innocent people suffered and got killed because of his choice to rebel instead of bend the knee. So how much is the revenge for Ned Stark and the suffering of the Starks really worth when comparing it to lives of the common folk?

      not to mention those who were killed during the red wedding because Robb decided to break his promise to Frey nd marry someone else. I don’t have a problem with his rebeling, and seeking reveng for his father. I do have a problem with him purposefully putting his men and family in harms way,

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    114. Adrianacandle,

      We know it was urgent, we know why Jaime did it, but Jaime never told anyone else except for Brienne. He let Ned believe the worst of him.

      This drove me crazy during the trial. It was the perfect time, while Briene was standing up to him, to let the truth be known. I do not get why she didn’t (yes in the book he is trying to be honorable but I think the gods would cut him a bit of slack in this instant)

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    115. kevin1989: I agree there, it’s a shame that nobody was a shrink in Westeros. Would have solved a lot of problems I think.

      I found Jaime’s story pretty sad. He did something that haunts him, get judged for it, got tired of the judging and just embrace it, it’s easier to just become what they call you. That resulted in that Cersei got more influence on him and corrupted him even further. That resulted in him becoming a bad person. Now Brienne tries to get him back to his older self, but the damage is done.

      Yup 🙁

      ash: This drove me crazy during the trial. It was the perfect time, while Briene was standing up to him, to let the truth be known. I do not get why she didn’t (yes in the book he is trying to be honorable but I think the gods would cut him a bit of slack in this instant)

      I wish the truth was known too 🙁 I expect Brienne didn’t reveal it because it was Jaime’s to reveal and Jaime was already there to bring it up if he felt compelled to. But perhaps she would have been pushed to reveal the truth if Jaime was sentenced to die?

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    116. Bet you in the past few years, he wrote 10 times as many words to say “Oh yeah I’m totally focusing on TWOW”, than the words he actually wrote in TWOW.

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    117. Again I knew this would be a popular article as soon as I saw the title however GRRM really doesn’t say anything new here. It’s clear all parties want to avoid confirming/denying anything as much as possible not to harm future book sales.

      Do I expect the ending to be the same, broadly yes, but some of the details will differ.

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    118. Sherlock:
      Ten Bears,

      I think we’ll still get Winds but I thought the same about ADOS :’(

      I too think we’ll probably get Winds in the next couple of years but I feel it’s very unlikely we’ll ever see the final book so the ending from GOT is what we get.

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    119. aiad:
      Bet you in the past few years, he wrote 10 times as many words to say “Oh yeah I’m totally focusing on TWOW”, than the words he actually wrote in TWOW.

      Bet you in the time it took you to type the 31 words in your comment on January 27, you wrote more words than he actually wrote in TWOW over the past few years. 🥶

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    120. Jon Snowed,

      I’m sticking by my totally unsupported prediction that if TWOW isn’t released before kickoff of the first game of the 2020 NFL season, it never will be.

      With kickoff of the first game tentatively set for September 10, 2020, that gives the Big Kahuna seven more months to crank out “The Winds of Winter,” his editor (if any) to clean up the manuscript, and his publisher to get it printed and into bookstores.

      Once football season starts, I expect that like all die hard fans, G’s attention to be focused almost exclusively on the (mis-)fortunes of the NY Giants and NY Jets.

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    121. I’m so eager to read the next book, but I’m also very nervous. I actually despised that ending; if Daenerys’ entire story was just to be a deus et machina for the Starks, to get their enemies out of the way for their emerging supremacy, I will be nauseated. She’s a much more intriguing and original character to me than most of the others (Dany, Arya, Jon, Brienne and Tyrion are my favorites in the books). A man killing a woman is such an old trope that it’s an old trope even in the story, with Azor Ahai and Nissa Nissa. She’s not perfect, but none of these characters is perfect. And the idea that if you have mental illness in your family it means you’re doomed is nihilistic. The show ended in a nihilistic manner and I hated it. Not just how they got there, which was rushed and sloppy, but the ending itself. I hope the books are better, as they have been. The show was brilliant in the first four seasons, still good in season five and six. Then…it wasn’t. So I’m simultaneously excited and scared.

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