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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Discussing Published Hooks & Books » Waiting for it: HBO's Game of Throne's "The Red Wedding"

   
Author Topic: Waiting for it: HBO's Game of Throne's "The Red Wedding"
History
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a.k.a "The Rains of Castamere"

The latter, as told last week by the distrustful queen-mother Circe Lannister to queen-to-be Margaery Tyrell recalls in horrid detail the awful strategems and brutal vengeance of her father Tywin Lannister over the rebellious house Reyne. Circe asks young Margaery if she knows what happened to House Reyne. The educated young queen-to-be replies that they are no more; they were exterminated by House Lannister. And the queen smugly leaves her with that thought.

And last night on HBO, unexpected despite being forewarned, came the long-anticipated and long-dreaded (by those who have read the books) and shockingly traumatizing (to those who have not) red rain that ends the justice-seeking northern rebellion by House Stark: with the betrayals and murders of, yet again, noble and good Stark characters and their servants whom George R.R. Martin's readers and now his televison audience have come to love.

As I believe I wrote on this Forum two years ago when I read all five puplished volumes to date of GRRM's magnus opus, when I got to the Red Wedding of book 3, I threw the book (despite it being a 1st edition) across the room in anger and frustration at the great miscarriage of justice--not only that which occurred in the story, but also that purveyed by the author!

I, and many others, read epic fantasy to escape from such cruelties that are too readily present in "the real world", both in the present day and in history. If the unjust beheading of Ned Stark, ruler of Winterfell, in book 1 was a distasteful appetizer of such cruel "realistic" fantasy, the Red Wedding of book 3 is a gluttonous feast!

And, in subsequent reflection: genius (if not original).*

Today, the television fans of HBO's Game of Thrones are rioting, writing nastygrams to the network in their anger and threatening not to watch another episode (sounds familiar, no?)...and yet, I predict, most will. They cannot, will not, believe the evil Lannisters will triumph unscathed and that all that is good and noble in Westeros is dead. I suspect there will be some measure, albeit comparatively small, "just deserts" that will follow the gory feast at the Red Wedding in next week's season finale; and this will be enough for the show's viewers to draw them back to watch Season 4, particularly as they inescapably recall the shock of these events throughout the coming year.

I'm holding off on watching last night's episode until next week in order that I may see the last two episodes of Season 3 back-to-back--my hope being that this will somewhat ameliorate the emotional trauma I know last night's vividly depicted show will again call forth from my memories of reading the scene in the book.

I meet my brother for dinner tomorrow evening. He is a fan of the television show but has never read the books. Is it sadism that I actually look forward to hearing (and seeing) his reaction? Or, hopefully, do I merely look forward to having someone to commiserate with?

As a would-be writer, I do not think I have the fortitude, professional detachment, nor mastership of the writing craft (or it is merely my inherent inescapable, often irrational and unexplainable, Jewish optimism) to ever write such a scene and ignobably and violently end the lives of characters I make (and love as) symbolic of good and justice as GRRM has done. What does it take for an author to do so?

And yet, it is such "real world" drama that has made his A Game of Thrones ("Songs of Ice and Fire") memorable and create its broad appeal far beyond the fantasy audience.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

* The first fantasy book I read that infuriated me by ending with the murder of the protagonist and having evil triumph--(at least until the final book in the trilogy)--was Katherine Kurtz' King Javan's Year (1992) published a full four years before GRRM did similarly within A Game of Thrones(1996). But GRRM then upped the ante many notches with the Red Wedding in A Storm of Swords (2000).

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babygears81
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Have you read his short story Meathouse Man? It's one of my favorite short stories, but man, is it bleak. He's not a rainbows and sunshine guy, thats for sure.

I've watched the series, but haven't read past the first book. I've been debating on whether I should read them or not, and after last night's episode, I'm glad I didn't. I could not emotionally invest in a series that is so emotionally unrewarding. But, as you say, it was so unexpected, that there was a greatness to it.

I don't mind watching stuff like that on t.v., because watching a show isn't as much an investment of time and energy. Reading is a labor of love. I don't always need a happy ending, but I do want to go to sleep thinking life is worth living because the good will someday triumph. This was asking a lot from his readers, I think. But again, how could you stop here?

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I stopped with the first book, and from what I've heard, I'm very glad I did.

There are enough other stories (and even other books--nonfiction from which I can learn, for example) that I don't need to let someone torture me with such stuff.

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History
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Ah, but Kathleen, his characters are so well done, so real, so intriguing, and their personal stories and challenges so captivating, and the dramatic irony of knowing that all their "games" for power are so petty when "Winter is coming!" and a deadly near unkillable foe forgotten in the mists of time is coming for them all...well, as much as I got angry with the author, the story is too complex and addicting to stop reading it.

And, of course, there are the lessons to be learned from his success.

Respectfully,
Dr.Bob

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Robert Nowall
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I heard---well, I don't want to put up a bunch of spoilers that I've heard elsewhere. I see George Railroad Martin as a practitioner in the category of commercial fantasy writing, rather than what Tolkien created in The Lord of the Rings.

As I've said before, I've got a policy (these days) of not starting to read single books in endless series, and I won't read Game of Thrones until it's complete---which, frankly, doesn't look like it will ever happen. It's too bad, 'cause I enjoyed a lot of Martin's earlier mostly-SF work, though his cynicism and rotten-to-the-core characters tend to shine through after a point.

The aforementioned "Meathouse Man" is a major influence on my work to this day---my current thing takes the basic idea through long and formless changes and situations while I press on and see if a story emerges along the way---though I'm having a blast writing it out. (I suppress things I've written that seem too much like plagiarism---this looks like a good candidate for that file.)

Here's a link to something discussing Martin as the American Tolkien, though I honestly don't think so:

http://spectator.org/blog/2013/05/31/is-george-rr-martin-the-americ

****

By the way, I saw in the bookstore the other day that a lot of Martin's earlier work has been reissued in editions uniform to the current Game of Thrones format. Check some of them out, too.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Oh, I agree that Martin can write compelling characters, but when the only good guy does something stupid enough to get himself killed in the first book, and there is political intrigue piled upon political intrigue besides, I just couldn't take it.

I loved the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST television show he helped produce, and I've read and enjoyed many of his other works.

But I could see the torture coming, and I decided it just wasn't worth it. <shrug> I'm not masochistic enough, I guess.

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MartinV
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You are not going to like this.

In my opinion, people today are way too soft and gentle. It seems modern stories are created for adult children because even children are not as squeamish as that. Come to think of it, children are not squeamish at all; they routinely brutalize one another, take dishonorable revenge on a daily basis, right before going for some ice-cream with mommy and daddy. That's why people are so rattled when a realistic story comes along.

Game of Thrones is not a fairytale; you should have understood that from the moment Ned Stark chops the head off that poor Night's Watch guy who survived against all odds and ran to warn people down south. His reward: "Die, traitor!" Why didn't anyone condemn Ned Stark for killing a noble character like that?

If you're too soft for real-life possibilities, go watch Twilight. There's a fairytale where 'good' wins just because it should.

My apologies for being honest.

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Robert Nowall
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I don't know about "soft and gentle," but the notion of setting up a bunch of characters for the purpose of killing them all off doesn't seem interesting to me either as a reader or a writer.

Tolkien may have been softhearted about his "good guy" characters (only one major and a few couple-of-sceners die), while being well aware of what happened in the world (there's his famous statement that, at the end of World War I, all but one of his closest friends were dead.) But "death" is also "losing it all," and when you've come to care about characters, do you want to see them do both?

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MartinV
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In Game of Thrones, every character dies for a very good reason. He doesn't kill them off because he's bored but because their death means something. These characters tend to die the same way they lived, so their death is a continuation of their life. It's a natural thing to do when someone's interests come in conflict with someone else's.
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KellyTharp
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I find killing off most of ones characters getting trite and overused. JK Rawling became boring to read as with each new book I wondered who's she's killing off this time. Same with the Game of T. Having read sci fi since the 50's I have seen it go from giving readers good charaters that we like to root for, and, God forbid, happy endings, or at least positive ones, to "we have to be real" and no character has any redeeming qualities what-so-ever. I give you the remake of Battlestar Galactica, Star Gate Universe, and most video games. Why then do Star Wars and Star Trek hold such powerful sway with the public as they are pretty cheesy in their plots of hope for the future --- and our protagonists? I believe that many kids need, and want, some escape into "happy endings". That said, an author can kill off a character(s) if it advances the story, but if he/she is just killing off everyone to-be-real or shock-and-awe, then it gets trite. Okay, getting off soap box now. KT
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Meredith
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Well, it all essentially boils down to a matter of taste. GRRM is not my taste. I quit the first book when he crippled the little kid. That was a bridge too far for me.

Yes, it happens in real life. That, and a lot of other things I read about in the news. I don't want to read about it for relaxation.

Now, on the other hand, I happen to be re-reading Lois McMaster Bujold's THE CURSE OF CHALION right now. Talk about torturing a character! At the very beginning, you know Caz has once been much more than he is now and that he is profoundly broken by whatever has happened to him. During the first part of the book she gives you little peeks into what happened to make him the way he is now, while at the same time he's gradually mending. Just as soon as she heals him, however, she breaks him again--worse this time. The only way to break the curse is for Caz to die three times. But it's never bloody just to be bloody. And I love this book.

Like I said, it's all a matter of taste. I'll take LMB over GRRM every time.

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MartinV
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I like what George is doing and I'm actively trying to create stories in the same way. That does not mean copying, of course.
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IRWhite
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I'm not a fan of large epic series, so I only got exposed to GRRM after a friend (and my alpha reader) gave me the books as a Christmas gift after she read one of my stories and said it reminded her of the Song of Fire and Ice books.

I did. GRRM turned out to be mostly up my alley. He's also a great storyteller, plus, taking in the first four books at once (not having to wait years in-between) probably helped me not hate even #4 (#5 was … eh). He has his faults as an author, and I DO think he gets bored with characters, sometimes gives them stupid or hollow motivations/deaths, etc. On the other hand, his style, his flirting with dark realism, some of his characters -- they resonated with me, grabbed me, and took me on a pretty damn good ride.

But to MartinV's point a few posts back: the "stress" level of the series is probably higher than what many, if not the majority, of people in modern western societies are used to. A while back, I read some research that for a story to resonate with a reader, the magnitude of both positive and negative experiences through the story should match pretty closely what the reader generally deals with in real life.

So, the average person who grew up in the U.S. in the 90 vs., let's say, in Eastern Europe in the 90's, will have a completely different "tolerance" both for positive and negative experience in any given theme in books/movies/etc.. "Just right" positive for one can be too much for the other, and vice versa. Theme interest level would vary too. Morality is relative. Self-actualization, retribution, etc. take on different meanings. Of course, people can like books for different reasons, and there are plenty of people who grew up in the U.S. in the 90's that have experienced a TON more stress in any given facet of life than some who've grown up in Eastern Europe in the 90's… Hence, GRRM's audience is diverse, and probably won't universally agree why the books are good (or bad).

(side note to Martin: growing up in a less stressed society isn't a bad thing, is it? Even if the mainstream / popular literature isn't as appealing to some of us, and sometimes we may feel like a beatle in an anthill =)

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MartinV
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It's funny how I'm perceived as the irrational one just because my opinion differs from the opinion of the majority. But I refuse to conform to the majority because it's not in my nature. I have an opinion and unless I get a reasonable argument against it, I will keep it. So far, you're not blowing my skirt up.

Most of us read (and write) adventure books and we all know you can't have adventure without at least some kind of suspense. But suspense means putting someone into possible danger or discomfort. After all, how else could make your reader care for any character?

I've read stories people on this forum have written and most of them include some sort of danger, sequences of violence and even killing of those imaginary people. Which is why I find it so strange that those same people would rather avoid getting to know well-formed characters for the threat of seeing those characters ending up getting killed.

Why I like Game of Thrones is because the danger is authentic. Other stories try to convince the reader that the characters are in danger when in fact they are really not. Most modern fantasy includes battle sequences but I wouldn't dare call them battles. Battles are (and in fact were) gambling moves of immense risk, looking to gain something by risking one's life in the process. Call it greed, call it stupidity. I call it human nature.

Modern fantasy has devaluated threat and risk for the price of comfort and possible eye-candy. The shining example of this are the battles in the Narnia stories: children charging onto the battlefield against various monsters, naturally ending up unscathed. This is not putting your characters in danger. This is not even showing your characters have courage.

Same stupidity comes from fantasy armour, worn into battle by female characters. That's not armour, it's a metal bikini. Do these female characters even know they are going into a battle? Then why are they dressed up for a beach party?

Why put a character in a risky situation if there's never any risk? Why put a sword into someone's hand if you shy away from what the sword was forged for? Why put armour on someone if that armour doesn't perform the primary function of armour? Some people would call this the modern trend. I call it a lie.

What people seem to be saying in this thread is that they are afraid to get attached to characters because they are afraid some of them might die. First of all: they are characters, not living people. The whole idea of characters experiencing bad things is that so living people don't have to and yet we can still relive the experience. It's called fiction, remember? If writers and would-be writers do not have the ability to emotionally and rationally differ between real people and fictional characters, I'm not really sure you've chosen the right profession (or hobby).

Second, If you get attached to imaginary characters so much that you get emotional scars when they get killed, I'm surprised you allow yourself to get attached to any real person. You know, eventually we will all die. Why would you want to attach yourself to anyone if they'll end up dead anyway? This, in a nutshell, is the problem of modern society, incapable of deep emotional attachments to anyone for threat of losing those people. I've always wanted to be involved in an intense friendship or an intense romantic relationship and I keep noticing that today people are incapable of such intense bonds anymore.

I crave for authenticity, in fiction as well as in real life. Game of Thrones has given me that at least in fiction. Yes, I mourned those same characters as most people and even some of those the public ignored (Viserys, for one). But at least I got to meet them and live with them for a while.

It's called life, even if it was only a fictional one.

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Robert Nowall
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I remember a 1930s pulp SF story where (among other things) a character was developed and formed relationships with the other characters, and, about two thirds of the way in, somebody dropped him with a single shot, without a word said about him by any other character in the rest of the story.

My reaction was: this pisses me off. I don't see the need to build a character up, just to kill him off. We invest ourselves emotionally in characters when we read---if the writer has done his job right---and we are annoyed when the characters are killed off for what strikes us as no good reason---which means the writer isn't doing his job right.

As I said, I haven't read "Game of Thrones," but this sure doesn't inspire me to do so. Killing characters for the sake of killing them doesn't strike me as realistic, or authentic, or whatever. It strikes me as dishonest, actually.

(There's a parallel thread on one of the other fora, discussing the notion bringing characters back from the dead, of some relevance here...)

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MartinV
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I see people don't read my posts or if they do, they don't do it very thoroughly. Every time the discussion on this forum reach GoT, I say it over and over again and it still doesn't catch.

Robert, this time I will use your own words:
quote:
Killing characters for the sake of killing them doesn't strike me as realistic, or authentic, or whatever. It strikes me as dishonest, actually.
Exactly. I couldn't agree more, because George doesn't kill off characters for the sake of killing. It does it because it makes sense. It's never random. It's always completely personal.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by MartinV:
It's funny how I'm perceived as the irrational one just because my opinion differs from the opinion of the majority.

That may qualify as "real life" as well, MartinV--human nature and all that. But I don't think you are perceived that way here. You are allowed to express your opinion as well as your preferences, just as everyone else here is allowed to express them.

What is not allowed are personal attacks, and I don't see any here, thank you all very much.

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MartinV
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Don't worry, Kathleen, I'm not writing any of this in anger and I'm not offended or trying to offend anyone. I stopped worrying about being 'different' and 'strange' a long time ago.
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Robert Nowall
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Nothing irrational about it. You staked out a position and defended it ably.
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IRWhite
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quote:
Originally posted by MartinV:

Why put a character in a risky situation if there's never any risk? Why put a sword into someone's hand if you shy away from what the sword was forged for? Why put armour on someone if that armour doesn't perform the primary function of armour? Some people would call this the modern trend. I call it a lie.


And I call it a rollercoaster: all the twists and turns and ups and downs are there, usually completed with the corresponding frill, but if there was the slightest chance of not arriving at the finish exhilarated and unharmed, most people would never even consider getting on.

Many people like rollercoasters, and all that I was saying in my previous post was: that's alright by me, and I think I understand why a lot of the people around me do like them.

And, no, I personally don't like rollercoasters, not in life and not in fiction. And I understand the frustration of seeing "rollercoaster books" flood the market, in particular because they aren't written for people like me, and it sometimes feels like they smother the sort I do like (and the sort I hope to one day be able to write well). On the other hand, there ARE authors that are widely published who don't shield their characters, in whose books armor serves a function and characters get maimed and killed in battles, etc.. GRRM is generally one of these authors. And by the fact he's doing pretty damn well commercially, I have to assume there are a lot of people who appreciate his stories, for whatever reasons.

And I agree with Robert, nothing irrational about defending your position, even if it doesn't seem to be the predominant one on these forums.

By the way, Robert, I'm with Martin when it comes to the internal justification for the deaths of significant characters in the Song of Fire and Ice books. I do think that, externally, some of these deaths are indeed because GRRM sometimes writes himself into a corner, or occasionally gets bored with a character, but he mostly does his due diligence to make the death consistent and relevant to the story. And he is a really good storyteller, so I think most of the time it works very well, even if it can be too "stressful" for some readers. As for the ease with which he kills characters: I think the approach can be pretty much summed up with "unlikely lucky breaks are unlikely." I personally love this approach, since it puts me in "I need to find out what happens" mode, instead of "I wonder how the author's going to get the characters out of the mess this time" mode. Much more effective immersion for me. =)

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MartinV
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Hm, now I'm trying to think of which characters did he kill because he was bored. Are you talking about any major characters, IRWhite?
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IRWhite
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It's my personal opinion, of course, but I stand behind it: most of the Night's Watch characters (The Old Bear, Quorin, etc.). His resolution there felt like he already had a better idea what to do with the characters he'd keep alive, and just wanted to get it over with the rest. Also, the Red Viper, though I'm not sure whether that one wasn't avoiding writing himself into a corner, since he barely dealt with that character before getting him on the page and killing him. Maybe Renly (though I was bored with him myself, so I don't blame GRRM). Also, the shoulder pets ... er, I mean the wolves, though they probably aren't "characters" as such. I'm sure there're others. It's been a while since I read it.

So, no, not any major / POV characters, but significant ones... plus, one of the things that drew me to his writing is the fact non-major characters are themselves very well-written and can often turn the story around. (and, in the interest of full disclosure, most of my favorite characters are not the major ones -- and not necessarily people I'd want to meet in real life -- people like Bronn, Varys, Petyr... )

Hah ... actually, now that you've gotten me to think about it, I'd even say that while GRRM does mess up his major characters pretty badly, he does keep them going despite the odds more often than not, even if "broken." I mean, he's killed a couple of Starks and a long line of supporting characters, but the rest are still moving around and doing their thing.

[ June 09, 2013, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: IRWhite ]

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MartinV
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I respectfully disagree, IRWhite. Most of those characters were driven by very specific motives (Old Bear: old-fashioned chivalry, not useful for cutthroats he was commanding; Red Viper - blind revenge that made him arrogant; gave a good glimpse of the past) and they were too hard-headed to change until it was too late.

Their demise usually has interesting consequences (Old Bear's death creates chaos and creates terrific suspense for when the wildings attack the Wall; Red Viper's daughters go for revenge, Dorne is now tied firmly in the war, activity in Dorne leads back to Targaryens).

As for Qhorin, he showed Jon what it means to be a man of the Night's Watch - expendable. His sacrifice also gives Jon the chance to convince the wildings he wants to join them.

Renly's death defines Stannis' character. As the more popular of the two, Renly was obviously meant to be the usurper since book one. Stannis left King's Landing which enabled Renly to move in on the crown first. This creates the Baratheon vs Baratheon situation, showing why Robert held Ned so close - no Baratheon likes his brothers. By killing his own brother, we see Stannis as someone who is willing to do everything to get what he wants, he's eaten by guilt of it and is a good way to show the magic element.

If you want to talk about bored with his characters, go read book four and five. [Big Grin]

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IRWhite
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I'm not going to quote myself, but I did say that GRRM makes the deaths work. (and I never said they didn't have consequences)

To be completely honest, I would have been able to give a more detailed justification for my opinion 2-3 years ago, when the story was fresh on my mind. Now, I mostly remember that I was convinced that some of these characters were set up for something different than where they ended up (you know, the writer's dilemma of whether the doorman should be named or not, kinda like that). Don't take me wrong -- I think an author with less skill would've made a big huge mess of this story if they'd tried it, especially considering how massive it is, and how long it's taken to write.

Hah hah -- funny how different people interpret different moments in stories... If you ask me, what Quorin did was show Jon that he needed to be more than a man of the Night's Watch (the Night Watch acting as spies? They get executed as traitors if they leave their post to pee, don't they?).

By the way, all my observations are based on the books. I have not seen the HBO series, and don't plan on watching them.

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MAP
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quote:
Second, If you get attached to imaginary characters so much that you get emotional scars when they get killed, I'm surprised you allow yourself to get attached to any real person. You know, eventually we will all die. Why would you want to attach yourself to anyone if they'll end up dead anyway? This, in a nutshell, is the problem of modern society, incapable of deep emotional attachments to anyone for threat of losing those people. I've always wanted to be involved in an intense friendship or an intense romantic relationship and I keep noticing that today people are incapable of such intense bonds anymore.
I'm not really sure anyone is emotionally scared from characters' deaths, but I do think a lot of readers (not all) like the safety net that some stories come with. You know the boy will get the girl and that the hero will save the day and that good will defeat evil. Sometimes people need that because the real world is so full of uncertainties. People in real life die all the time, randomly and for no reason at all. That is reality, and a lot of people read to escape that.

There is a little girl who lives down my street who has an agressive and rare form of cancer. She is in a fight for her life this summer that she very well might lose. I wish I could write her story for her. I wish I had the power and that safety net of fiction to know she will somehow survive, but all I can do is hope and pray that she will get through this. It is tragic and heartbreaking and real.

And a lot of times we just need stories that show us how we wish the real world was. Where everything makes sense and has a purpose, and where our heroes and heroines are wrapped up safely in bubblewrap.

Personally, I like both kinds of stories. Sometimes I need the hero saves the day story, where I know all the main characters will survive, but it is still fun watching them. But I have no problem with darker stories where good doesn't always win because those stories can be powerful too in showing us the darker truths of our world.

I haven't gotten very far in the Song of Fire and Ice, but I liked first one. Ned's death was shocking and frustrating at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the right ending for his story.

Different stories appeal to different people, and depending on where we are in our lives, we sometimes need certain types of stories.

Finally, I'm not sure why you think people are incapable of forming deep, emotional attatchments. Most people I know are very attached to their families. I know I am. I'd do anything for them. And yeah, my greatest fear is losing them, especially my children. It's been hard for me not to try to protect them from everything, to let go of that bike and watch them fall as they learn to ride it, to trust them to look both ways before they cross the street like I've taught them. But just like any fear, I can't let it control me and keep me from letting my kids grow up.

[ June 10, 2013, 11:55 PM: Message edited by: MAP ]

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Robert Nowall
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A footnote to all this...I once read somewhere that when Herman Melville was writing Moby-Dick, he created a character, but as time wore on, he found he had created this character and he had no idea what to do with him in the rest of the story. So he just whipped up a wave and washed him overboard.

I suppose George Railroad Martin had some plot reason for killing off so many characters...but I can't say that he didn't do it for this reason.

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IRWhite
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quote:
Originally posted by MAP:


Different stories appeal to different people, and depending on where we are in our lives, we sometimes need certain types of stories.


Pretty much: I agree. =)

...

And Robert: I think one of the reasons GRRM fans tend to go ballistic when they hear criticism of GRRM is because there are a lot of people making statements like your last, and some of these people haven't even read the books. I don't disagree with the overall statement (I also think that it's okay to like a book and still acknowledge there might be flaws with it, or that the author isn't a genius who planned it all since the very beginning, but that's just me). On the other hand, can you justify "Railroad" (which is, to the best of my interpretation, meant in a derogatory manner) with anything else but "even though I've never invested any time to actually read the books in question, this is what I gather from hearing what other people have said, and I suddenly have a strong enough opinion, to even include an insult when expressing this borrowed deduction (and, two R's, hah hah, get it?)"?

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babygears81
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I read the first book, and I think they make a strong case in this debate.

http://www.grantland.com/blog/hollywood-prospectus/post/_/id/79360/the-new-gods-vs-the-old-is-game-of-thrones-better-as-a-show-or-a-series-of-books

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Robert Nowall
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Back in the 1970s, when George R. R. Martin was a struggling SF writer, somebody referred to him as "George Railroad Martin" and it's stuck in my mind ever since. I suppose it's no more derogatory than referring to him as "GRRM," which seems a blatant imitation of those who refer to Tolkien as "JRRT."

I do not know how Martin himself feels about this. Certainly it's no more insulting than, say, sticking a plastic head-on-a-spike made to resemble the head of President George W. Bush in one episode of "Game of Thrones."

Naturally I am free to comment on anything I choose to. Along with my freely expressed opinion on the existence of interminable endless series that I do not chose to invest my limited and valuable time in, I have enough information to comment on a number of facets of the work in question that I am aware of.

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