Day 123. 145 pages, 67,192 words.
Despite the blog title, I’d prefer to discuss A Song of Ice and Fire rather than Game of Thrones. But the new season of the TV show has started, and we’ve had a chance to check out the first two episodes with the BRKNs.
I greatly enjoyed the episodes so far. Arya’s thread has been amazing, although predictably enough her Faceless status has become an as-plot-demands superpower. Maybe the return of winter, dragons and magic explains that. Her thread was great, anyway.
Sam’s thread was fine too, although interesting because the Archmaester’s philosophy about everything turning out alright, so put your head down and study very, very slowly … well, is he right? Sam’s definitely not going to do that shit, because we haven’t got time to watch him become a master in real time, but how is it going to go? Expulsion now he’s done his thing? Guess we’ll see. But I had no problem with its speed. One thing the thread is definitely showing us is the danger of entrenched we-know-this “science”, as an impediment to experimentation and creative thought. Sam is going to pull down some academic barriers, for sure. Probably literally, in the case of those barred library cage-doors.
The Hound, Cersei, the Dornish, and other threads are all a bit meh. I suppose it’s nice that Daenerys has made it to Westeros. Bring it on.
As dreameling had pointed out to me already, the latest season comes across as way more of A Song of Ice and Fire fan fiction. Which really only makes sense, because Martin has more or less been left behind aside from a bit of consultation and executive credit, so what we have here is a ‘based-on’ story written by others in service of TV ratings for a show in its seventh season.
Maybe I was so convinced of that, it changed the way I looked at the show. But I doubt it. It just makes sense, and explains a few things about the script and plot.
We saw several examples of characters saying things that sounded not like things that characters would say, but like things readers (and, I suppose, viewers) would say about those characters and their situations. There was a self-awareness and cynicism that the characters have lacked up until now. Not that the characters have lacked cynicism, but … this is a very specific kind of cynicism.
I was also struck by the way some characters were brought together, like Euron’s dramatic encounter with the Sand Snakes. Okay, for a start he seemed to take a lot of hits and I’m pretty sure a bunch of poison went into him, so maybe he has some sort of zombie thing going on himself. He’s always been a strange one – what’s he been up to, all those years of his exile?
But mostly I was struck by the way those encounters, and the plot as a whole, read like Brandon Sanderson.
I mean, not specifically his writing, but his finishing off another author’s epic.
When Robert Jordan died, and Brandon Sanderson took up the quill, the series was done in three books. He did well, and I’m sure he followed Jordan’s instructions, but that’s not the point. He also provided swift and often brutal closure on a lot of waffly side-threads that were really going nowhere, and he very considerately settled a lot of “who would win?” debates in the course of his fight scenes. One by one, each different magic-user and warrior faced off in heats, the victor going on to fight others, until we got a pretty good idea of who the most powerful characters were.
I got a strong feeling of this from the Greyjoy fight, and I suspect we’re going to get a bunch more of these sorts of encounters – both on the battlefield and off – as the season progresses.
Anyway, the main thing I wanted to talk about was the book series, since the alt.fan.grrm newsgroup has woken back up a bit … but I guess I’ll leave that until tomorrow. I’m lazy and I have other work to do.