Day 124. 150 pages, 69,622 words.
As I was saying yesterday, the old Usenet group on Martin’s writing and specifically A Song of Ice and Fire has come back to life recently. A single dedicated poster, moving away from one or another of the web forums (because it turns out the web forum is basically what we’ve known it was, for a solid fifteen years now, moderation and deletion does not work), came back to Usenet and started some threads, which has been great.
One of them, particularly interesting because it deals with plot points apparently completely cut from the TV series and therefore likely to be the salvation of the books (which otherwise risk becoming screenplays with added food descriptions), is about Quentyn Martell.
You may or may not remember Quentyn and his gang. They comprised a couple of hundred pages of hilarious side-plot revolving around a new contender turning up, making a play for Daenery’s dragons, and then getting roasted alive and dying in agony three days later.
Mrs. Hatboy and I were apparently two of the few people who were delighted with that whole thread and thought it was just the right level of long build-up and brutal pay-off. It seems a lot of other readers, who were already malcontent, were just angry about the whole thing. Oh well. It seems as though there was a third camp. The camp that suggests that the person who actually died there was not Quentyn.
Basically, the thaery (this is what we call them) is founded on … well, all the other times in the series Martin has apparently burned a character and then had them be a fake-out switcheroo. Bran and Rickon being the famous ones. Keeping in mind that Martin is a soap writer, and that while A Song of Ice and Fire is a dramatic trope-buster by his normal standards it still very much falls victim to some pretty corny tropes … I was actually convinced of this thaery.
The following YouTube video is done by Preston Jacobs and covers much of the same ground as my new associate Platypus from the alt.fan.grrm group, although there are several points of distinction. But worth a watch.
Or a listen.
I was resistant to the idea at first, as apparently the forum folks were, because I liked the thread and its ending as it stood. It was funny.
But this actually makes a lot more sense, and what I lose in the satisfying end of a pointless character, I guess I gain back in the character maybe not being so pointless after all.
Then there’s a Q&A video dealing with some of the main comments from the first video.
Another good listen.
This, on the subject of Quentyn being not such a waste of bookspace, leads us nicely into the wider world of the Dornish master-plan but I won’t bother going into that too much. Platypus also has some nice thaeries about “Quentyn” actually being Baby Aegon, not actually smashed against a wall by the Mountain as a toddler. And “Griff”, the second Varys-plot backup Targaryen, actually being Quentyn. It’s a Doran Martell switcheroo – remember, in the books so far, he’s not a complete waste of space just waiting to get murdered by the Sand Snakes and their mum. He’s got a larger plan.
Yeah, it all gets pretty involved. Which is why I think the books still have the potential to escape the quicksand of the television series, with its dull Tyrion, Jon, Daenerys “three heads of the dragon” fan fulfilment, and go on being relevant and exciting to those of us who, you know, read.
Oh, and check out the Esquire story – Jacobs encourages us, in his video, to link to the story somehow, so I feel obligated after his excellent work to do just that. So here I am, doing it.