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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Song of Ice and Fire question (Page 6)

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Author Topic: Song of Ice and Fire question
Stone_Wolf_
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I'm going the spoilers route too...what was the best website you found Belle?
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fugu13
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And I liked the book quite a bit. Of course, *my* favorite character (Jon & Dany are second and third, not sure what order) is still kicking ass and taking names. Go Tyrion!

[ July 15, 2011, 02:52 PM: Message edited by: fugu13 ]

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ambyr
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
SPOILERS
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I'm fairly certain that Jon is not dead (well, not out of the story. He may be "dead" in some sense, but I believe he will retain a narrative agency that is a continuation of his previous narrative agency).

Yeah, it's kind of an essential moment if he is the Prince That Was Promised--after all, the prophecy says he "shall be born again amidst smoke and salt." You don't get born again if you don't die first. (And in Jon's final paragraphs, well--"tears running down his cheeks . . . the wound was smoking.") Plus we've seen (over, and over, and over again) that Jon takes his vow to not let his watch end "until my death" very seriously, so if he's ever going to leave the Watch . . .

Mind, all of this only makes me think it was even more of a cheap-ass move to end the book right after his "death." It doesn't even work as a cliffhanger--we know he's not going to stay dead, whether because of warging, Melissandre, or some third means of life-after-death yet unrevealed--so what's the point?

[Caveat: I don't necessarily think Jon is the Prince That Was Promised--Martin's more than capable of doing fake-outs--but I certainly think his final scene was meant to lend strong support to that theory, and I would lay money on his death being reversed in some way.]

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Carrie
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Jon was pretty spectacular in the book, which was pleasantly surprising. Tyrion and Dany both got a bit boring - their chapters, for the first time ever, were less enjoyable for me to read than Bran's chapters. Reek was a compellingly painful storyline to read (and a bit gratifying at the end, even!).

But for me, the winner will always be Davos. There's just something about the one honest guy that appeals to me.


Spoilery PS

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No way is Jon dead. Between Mel, Ghost, and the "fade to black" instead of obvious corpsification, it's pretty much inconceivable that Jon passes permanently. And even if he does turn out to be dead, I'll applaud the narrative choice. Sometimes, good people get betrayed and die, and things go to hell. As long as it doesn't mean Sam comes back in a quivering rage, I'm okay with pretty much anything happening.

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Belle
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Stone Wolf - here is a chapter by chapter summary and at the end is a link to a comprehensive review.

http://pastebin.com/fP52vcZd

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Stone_Wolf_
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Thanks Belle! Will read at lunch.
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ambyr
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Good summary, though I strongly quibble with some of his interpretations (and one I think is flat out wrong).
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Frisco
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I really enjoyed the book.

At about page 600 I got really worried, because everything was going so well for everyone and I assumed the $!#& was about to hit the fan. But it didn't. There's so much hope for the "good guys" at the end of this book that wasn't there after ASoS or AFFC.

SPOILERS!
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I am a big Jon Snow fan, but I didn't even flinch when they killed Jon. I know he's not dead.

Bran and Arya are busy being awesome, Rickon is safe with Davos alive and on the hunt, Wyman Manderly is killing Freys, Cersei is getting owned, Tyrion is inching closer to riding a dragon, Brienne is alive, Jaime isn't tossing anyone from windows, the Lannisters and Tyrells are both as paranoid as Cersei...compared to the Red Wedding this is like picking peaches in Dorne.

Sure, there's chaos at the Wall, but that's something that's going to end real quick once the Others come knocking. The Boltons seem strong, but that letter reeks of desperation. Victarion and Euron will kill each other over Dany, and a level-headed Asha is alive to rule the Ironmen if need be.

Sure, George has time to toss some more $!#@ into the fan in the next 2000 pages, but I like that some order is being restored to Westeros. Or, rather, the disorder is becoming such that Dany and MaybeAegon only have to deal with Euron and some token resistance on their way to save the Wall from the Others. [Razz]

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Lyrhawn
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I'm not reading anything in this thread because I suspect spoilers abound...but I wanted people who were reading it before to know that I started posting in my Song of Ice and Fire blog again, since I started reading Dance yesterday.

Lyrhawn's Song of Ice and Fire read-along blog.

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0Megabyte
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Lyr. You may not see this. But YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!~
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Dogbreath
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Well, I finally finished it, took my Kindle with me to the field.

*Some Spoilers*
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First things first, having just read the 3rd Dunk and Egg story, I'm almost positive the 3 eyed crow is, in fact, Lord Brynden Rivers. (aka Bloodraven) One of the Children of the Forest says he has "A thousand eyes and one", that's too much of a giveaway for it not to be him. Which leaves me to wonder, when does Bloodraven take the black? Does Aegon V exile him, or his father? Or do his greendreams lead him north of his own accord? Plus, the entire book, with the Golden Company, Aegon, etc, was about Aegon IV's bastards and the fallout of the Dance of Dragons and War of the Ninepenny Kings, and the noble families exiled because of it. Bloodraven fits perfectly.

I was very pleasantly surprised by how relatively "upbeat" (and boy, is that a relative term) Dance was compared to the past 2 books. It was slow and meandering, just like Feast, but where Feast spent hundreds of pages describing a war ravaged continent with pools choked with corpses and so forth, and was barely readable for me, Dance is like fine wine, to be sipped slowly and enjoyed.

I loved the insane amount of detail Martin puts into describing the various characters journeys on the eastern continent, each ruin they pass by or free city they visit, all seem steeped in a deep and ancient history, and it's so effortlessly filled out I half believe Martin has written in his head books worth of stories behind each of these ancient peoples and gods and institutions. He's the only author other than Tolkien I've seen to put put so much effort into creating an immersive and detailed milieu. Not even Rothfuss, for all his talent, can come close to rivaling the sheer size and believability of his world.

I'm glad to finally see it in places where it's not all bloody and burnt and corpsified.

Speaking of which, I spent the entire book half holding my breath, waiting for the shoe to drop. "Tyrion's having too much fun with his companions, surely pirates will come and rape and murder everyone!", things like that, I was sure at any point something horrible would happen and kill off a good dozen of our favorite characters. I could scarce believe it when it never happened. Reek's chapters are the closest this book comes to even touching the sadism and despair of the ones before it, and even those end on a happy note.

Don't really think Jon's dead for long, his death didn't even phase me. Don't think Stannis is defeated either, though it wouldn't bother me either way - I never cared much for him.

I'll miss Kevan, he was one of the few good guys in a city full of liars and murderers. It doesn't seem like good men survive in King's Landing for very long.

edit: Looked it up, apparently Bloodraven *was* in fact exiled by Aegon V and rose to be Lord Commander. So that clinches it. It's interesting all the thousands of little details you forget - I didn't even realize Martin had told his story in ASoIaF yet.

[ July 24, 2011, 09:47 AM: Message edited by: Dogbreath ]

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Rakeesh
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The funny thing about Kevan is that while he would've practiced effective governance and diplomacy (like his bro), I would say he's a far cry from being a good man-also like his bro. Less ruthlessly awful than his bro, but so often party to things...but perhaps on his own he would've been good.
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Dogbreath
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I can't off the top of my head think of anything he's done bad on his own. He's followed his brother loyally, and didn't do much to stop the creation of Ser Robert Strong (*shudder*) but even then I can't think of any massacres - the worst he's taken part in is brutal battles. He loves his wife and children dearly, grieves his murdered son bitterly, and wants nothing more than peace. His first step after taking over for Cersei is to get rid of all the cruel, evil men she's surrounded herself with and restore decency and honor to the throne.

Of course, he's also a brilliant and ruthless general, but so was Robb Stark, for example. (whose men were guilty of a lot of the same crimes the Lannister men committed... though not with Robb's explicit approval)

Kevan sort of reminds me of Eddard, with Tywin as his Robert.

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Dogbreath
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One thing I find rather jarring about A Song of Ice and Fire: for how incredibly lush and intricately detailed the world is, GRRM doesn't seem to give a crap about time. There's no calendar, and time seems to flow differently in different places. For example:

Dany is stated to be 13 at the beginning of A Game of Thrones, and at the end of a Storm of Swords is 16 years old. With the rather lengthy time span of A Dance with Dragons (lots of people traveling across continents, and one group partially circumnavigating the globe, along with frequent "a month later" or "they marched for 40 days going on"), I estimate by the end of Dance, between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 years have passed since the beginning of GoT. This is evidenced by the fact the **SPOILERS** dragons are now large enough to ride **SPOILERS** as well as a lot of characters being 3 or 4 years older than the beginning.

But then, at the very end of Dance, we go back to King's Landing, and Tommen is still 8 years old! And still acting like a little boy and playing with kittens and so forth. He should be 11 or 12 by now.

There are a lot of little things like this, they don't really ruin anything, they just make what was otherwise a totally believable realm a little less real. I wish GRRM would have just made up a calendar at the beginning and plotted the events of the series along it, to keep things straightened out.

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ambyr
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Someone has put together a reasonably coherent attempt at a timeline, though it doesn't yet incorporate ADwD. (Good news for the spoiler-phobic, I guess.) There are indeed some, err, problems, including wildly varying travel times and a five month long pregnancy. But many things are resolvable, including the characters' ages. Chapters from different characters' perspectives don't necessarily fall in strict chronological order.

Arya being, as of AFfC, almost a full year ahead of events in Westeros (and even further ahead as of ADwD) seems like it's eventually going to be a problem, though.

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Geraine
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SPOILERS!


I also do not think Jon is dead. I think GRRM made it very obvious when Jon turned his head just in time to make the knife only graze his neck. Not only that, but we have seen that the red priests have the power to return people to life, as we saw with Caetlyn.

I'll bet Jon will die, Mellisandre will bring him back to life, and that Jon will say "Well, I died, so my watch is done. Since you all don't want me here I'm gonna go ahead and leave now. Choose a new Lord Commander for all I care. Good luck with the Others, @$$holes!"

Dany's storyline was kind of "meh." I felt like she was maturing well in the first three books, and in ADWD I felt like she reverted back to the immature girl she was when she first married Drogo. Her last chapter was interesting though. Part of me hopes she unites all of the Dothraki tribes and brings them to Westeros.

I actually wanted more than one Jaime chapter, but I can see why GRRM only did one. It created a cliffhanger for Jaime we didn't have before. Will Brienne betray him? Wait another 6 years to find out!

I loved the Bran storyline but I wish we would have gotten more chapters.

Davos is awesome. He is like a pirate version of Ned.

And Reek. I saw it coming but didn't know how good it would be! I loved the way GRRM had Reek steadily regaining his confidence and courage, as well as feeling remorse for betraying the Starks.

Overall I liked the book a lot. I don't understand why Amazon has so many negative reviews for the book. I thought it was a whole lot better than Feast for Crows. I can't wait for the next one.

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ambyr
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Davos is awesome. He is like a pirate version of Ned.

On this, I think everyone I've seen posting on all the various places I read agrees--there is nothing that is not awesome about his ADwD chapters. Except maybe that there aren't more of them.

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Dogbreath
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Another thing I remember is GRRM explicitly saying that the Winds of Winter is set 5 years in to the story, and he was just going to go straight from aSoS to WoW (called Dance back then), but he realized he'd have to use too many flashbacks to cover what had happened, so he wrote AFfC and ADwD to over the intervening years. So my guess of 4 1/2 years is probably pretty close. He'll probably finish up the end of the 4th year in the beginning of Winds to bring it up to his 5 year mark.
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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
Another thing I remember is GRRM explicitly saying that the Winds of Winter is set 5 years in to the story, and he was just going to go straight from aSoS to WoW (called Dance back then), but he realized he'd have to use too many flashbacks to cover what had happened, so he wrote AFfC and ADwD to over the intervening years. So my guess of 4 1/2 years is probably pretty close. He'll probably finish up the end of the 4th year in the beginning of Winds to bring it up to his 5 year mark.

Sounds good to me. Sadly it will probably take him 4-5 years to write the next book. I read he already has about 6 chapters done though. I REALLY hope HBO has made a deal with him to have the sixth book done by the time they get to the sixth season.

Which brings up an interesting question. HBO will most likely combine the 4th and 5th books for the TV show and split it up into 2 seasons. If I go through and re-read all of the books I'll probably read two chapters in AFFC and then one in ADWD, then once I get to where ADWD catches up I'll just finish it off. I figure it would make it a whole lot more enjoyable.

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Wingracer
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Finally finished it, been pretty busy unfortunately.
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I think there is something fishy going on with Jon's death (though I agree, he will be back). First Wick, after being disarmed by Jon, threw his arms up "as if to say, it was not me." Then Marsh had tears in his eyes as he stabbed him. I wonder if the skinchanger had got inside their heads to make them kill him. Why else spend so much time talking and worrying about him?

I loved the Bran chapters, can't wait to see where that leads.

While I love Tyrion, his chapters bored me. At least he is still alive for future chapters.

I agree that Davos is cool, but he still hasn't done anything really interesting. Hopefully that will change.

I don't think Bolton defeated Stannis. His letter to Jon demanded the return of Reek and Jeyne/Sansa, but those two had just shown up at Stannis' camp. If Bolton had defeated them, he should have them unless they somehow slipped away with Asha and the banker. It reeks (no pun intended) of either desperation or a trap.

I can't wait to see what Robert Strong does.

I was cheering when Dany rode Drogon. [Big Grin]

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
Sounds good to me. Sadly it will probably take him 4-5 years to write the next book. I read he already has about 6 chapters done though. I REALLY hope HBO has made a deal with him to have the sixth book done by the time they get to the sixth season.

I don't know... I think a lot of the extended amount of time it took GRRM to write Dance was he spent years writing and rewriting, plus created an insanely detailed continent, and introduced a huge new group of characters. But even with that, once he actually set down and started writing Dance as we have it now, it took him about 2 years.

On the other hand, the longest book in the series, Storm of Swords, was written in less than 2 years. I feel now that "the board has been set", i.e, all the characters are now introduced and in place, everything is set up for the end, that the next 2 books should pretty much write themselves.

Which means it'll probably take him 10 years. Damn.

quote:
Which brings up an interesting question. HBO will most likely combine the 4th and 5th books for the TV show and split it up into 2 seasons. If I go through and re-read all of the books I'll probably read two chapters in AFFC and then one in ADWD, then once I get to where ADWD catches up I'll just finish it off. I figure it would make it a whole lot more enjoyable.
They could probably cram both Dance and Feast into a single 20 episode season - I guess we'll have to wait and see if they'll increase the number of episodes as the show goes on.
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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by Wingracer:
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I don't think Bolton defeated Stannis. His letter to Jon demanded the return of Reek and Jeyne/Sansa, but those two had just shown up at Stannis' camp. If Bolton had defeated them, he should have them unless they somehow slipped away with Asha and the banker. It reeks (no pun intended) of either desperation or a trap.

I don't know. Stannis had his army a short ride away from Winterfell. I don't really see what a bluff accomplishes here, since he'd have to deal with Stannis somehow regardless.

I wonder if this is setting up Melisandre to be a major pov character in the next book. With Stannis defeated, she'll basically be up north in hostile territory with no support except perhaps a handful of Stannis's men that got left behind.

Now that Jon's continued presence at the wall is questionable, we're short on viewpoints into what's happening at the wall. She seems in an excellent place to be that viewpoint.

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Lyrhawn
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Okay, I just finished the book a couple hours ago. I've been reading it slower than I normally would over the course of the last month, and damn, even when the things I totally expected ended up happening, I still couldn't quite shrug them off immediately.

SPOILERS, obviously, but then what isn't in this thread?

Obviously, Jon will be back. The thing about it is, I think Martin wrote that expecting most readers to assume he'd be back, so it wasn't a bait and switch. It didn't come out of left field. Melisandre warned him for pages and pages that knives were all around him. And how many conversations did he have with Marsh and others where they left pissed off? And Mormont was only killed a book ago. This was to be expected, nothing to be shocked by. If he actually died, I'd be blown away. But Martin spent way too much time foreshadowing the half dozen different ways in which he could survive. He'll either be in Ghost, or he'll be resurrected in some form or another. There are simply too many outs. Some interesting points regarding Wick and Marsh. I had assumed that Marsh's reaction was because he killed Jon, but on some level he felt really bad about it, yet felt it was best for the Watch. The idea that he could have been possessed by the skinchanger is an interesting, and not impossible one. We haven't seen a lot of human possession, except for Bran with Hodor, but, I think we were supposed to believe that was an exception because Hodor is so simple minded. Marsh and the others I think had a right to want him dead. Bringing the wildings in was one thing, putting a company of Watchmen under the command of Tormund while personally leading a wilding horde in a fight against one of the lords of the north just broke way too damned many rules all at once. He was walking on the edge of a knife, and it stabbed him to death.

It's not that upsetting because frankly we've heard way too many awesome plans set up, like when Robb went to invade the north, that were totally turned aside. I'm past disappointment. Besides, I too think that Ramsay is full of it. I think the idea that this is the game changer that gets Jon away from the Wall is a really interesting one. On the other hand, we can't abandon the Wall. Too much storytelling has been involved with pumping up the Horn of Joramun and the war with the Others to have Jon leave now, or to have our POV with it cut off. Frankly, I'd love to see Melisandre become a POV character in Winds, her one chapter was pretty cool.

I believe that Ramsay captured Mance, and after a bit of flaying and torture, Mance coughed up some of the details, then told him Theon took Sansa north. I can't imagine Roose sallied against Stannis, and I can't imagine Stannis stormed the walls. I also can't imagine that Wyman and the Freys took Stannis by themselves. And besides, why wouldn't Roose have sent the letter? I think it's a ploy.

I think Martin did a really interesting job of leaving almost EVERY character on some sort of cliffhanger.

And I also tend to agree with whoever said the next book won't take as long. After writing Dance, I'm sure he'll want to take a bit of a break, but, the first three were written pretty damned quickly. The second two took so long because they were unplanned, and because they were so unbelievably complicated. He's worked out the complications, he's brought a lot of the storylines together, or at least, he's smoothed a lot of them out to make them a lot more manageable.

By the way, how interesting would it be if Arya was sent to apprentice with Varys? Highly unlikely, but it's be ridiculously fun. They have to get her back in the game somehow, she can't wander in the wilderness forever.

I also never considered the idea that Jon would be the Prince that was Promised. I guess it can't be Rhaegar, who would have been the most obvious choice, since he's dead. That leaves Aegon, or, if the Lyanna/Rhaegar parentage theory works, Jon as the prince. So either Jon is reborn in fire (I'd forgotten that piece of the prophecy), or it's Aegon.

I'll be covering the end of the book, with a recap of the cliffhangers and some hopeful predictions for the next novel in my Westeros Files blog either tonight or tomorrow.

ETA: You know, I can see what Barristan Selmy hasn't been a POV character to this point. Really, it's for the same reason that Varys and Littlefinger aren't allowed to be: They know where the bodies are buried! As it happens, I thought his chapters were some of the best in the book, and I hope he returns. But as far as dropping some knowledge goes, did everyone notice the bits about Ashara Dayne, Ned, and a miscarriage? From what he hinted at, Ashara and Ned did have an affair, and a baby was conceived, but was stillborn, and that's why she killed herself. That would explain why Ned was genuinely sorry for what he did, but still leaves Jon's parentage open. I can't believe that Ned had more than one affair, if even the one, which really adds more fuel to the Lyanna/Rhaegar theory. And add that to what Bran saw.

[ August 12, 2011, 03:41 AM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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Lyrhawn
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Also an interesting note. At WorldCon in six days, Martin will be reading an excerpt from Winds of Winter. Won't that be interesting?
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ambyr
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
But as far as dropping some knowledge goes, did everyone notice the bits about Ashara Dayne, Ned, and a miscarriage? From what he hinted at, Ashara and Ned did have an affair, and a baby was conceived, but was stillborn, and that's why she killed herself. That would explain why Ned was genuinely sorry for what he did, but still leaves Jon's parentage open. I can't believe that Ned had more than one affair, if even the one, which really adds more fuel to the Lyanna/Rhaegar theory. And add that to what Bran saw.

Mmm. I am of the opinion that what he's actually hinting at is that Ashara and Brandon had an affair. He never uses a first name, just "Stark." In previous books, Barristan has insisted to Dany that Ned Stark is a man of honor; he clearly doesn't think sleeping with Ashara out of wedlock was an honorable act. And we know from Lady Dustin's story about sleeping with Brandon that Brandon was a bit of a rake in his youth, whereas we have nothing but third-hand rumors about Ned.
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Xavier
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Yeah, it seems to be the fan consensus that it was Brandon and not Ned. Makes me a bit sad for Ned though, since it seems clear that he had the hots for her.
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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
But Martin spent way too much time foreshadowing the half dozen different ways in which he could survive. He'll either be in Ghost, or he'll be resurrected in some form or another. There are simply too many outs.

I wonder what a skinchanger can do with a wight. The greenseers up north seem to be able to do something with them, though it isn't clear exactly what's going on.

If the watch is careless with Jon's body or if they get disrupted and lose it somehow, there's a chance it could get reanimated. If that happened, maybe Jon would still be able to interact with it somehow, even if he is "working out of" Ghost. It would be a good way for us to learn more about the Others and Wights and everything else north of the wall, although Brann can fill that role too.

Speaking of which, this could also be a way to get Brann and Jon reunited without reconnecting Brann with society quite yet.

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Rakeesh
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Am I mistaken, or is 'affair' not quite the right word? If memory serves, Ned wasn't actually engaged or married to Cat at the time, but I don't recall clearly at all.
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Lyrhawn
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The timeline is a little sketchy, but, Ned and Cat married quickly before Ned went south to rescue Lyanna and such, so, if Ned had the affair when he returned Dawn to Starfall, and hung around for 9 months to bring back the baby, then yeah, affair is the right word.

If it was earlier, like at Harrenhall, then not so much.

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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
The idea that he could have been possessed by the skinchanger is an interesting, and not impossible one. We haven't seen a lot of human possession, except for Bran with Hodor, but, I think we were supposed to believe that was an exception because Hodor is so simple minded.

Ah, you forgot the very first chapter.
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Noemon
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Hitler Learns the End of A Dance With Dragons

There are spoilers, of course. There's also some swearing.

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Lyrhawn
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I was watching a Google Author interview with Martin, and someone asked him about how he chooses POV characters. After answering, he commented about how he needs to start killing some of them off, because there are simply too many, and someone in the crowd pitifully whimpered "nooooo" to his great amusement. Personally, I don't see why he can't just actually close up some of the plot threads and leave the character alone. Not everyone has to die.

There's a fair bit of interesting stuff in it. He said writing the Red Wedding was the hardest thing he's ever had to write, and he skipped it, wrote the whole rest of the book, then came back to it. And Joffrey's Wedding was the most fun (relatively).

Noemon -

I saw your link and thought "Oooh, this will be good, even though I know what it is!" Though, aw, they could have done a better job with the subtitles.

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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
Hitler Learns the End of A Dance With Dragons

There are spoilers, of course. There's also some swearing.

That was good. One of the commentors made some good points:

"Plus with this assassination attempt, he is actually fufilling several parts of the azor ahoi prophecy he dies and is reborn under an bleeding star (one of the guys killed was wearing a star on his cloths) in smoke (the smoke from his wound) and salt (Bowen Marsh's tears). So don't give up hope,"

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Lyrhawn
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I think dany still has the stronger claim....but this does help with being the prince that was promised, assuming they are two people.

Lots of people are saying that Lightbringer is actually glamored by mellisandre, and she's just way off with stannis. I've always thought Dawn fit the description better.

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Stone_Wolf_
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http://www.bustedtees.com/savethedirewolves
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Lyrhawn
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The chapter that Martin read at WorldCon was an Arianne chapter.
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