The Legacy of Robb Stark.

For viewers, it has been over three years since the Red Wedding episode, “The Rains of Castamere” of Game of Thrones aired on HBO. For readers, it was the year 2000 when A Storm of Swords first came out. For me, it was 2012 that I first read the third book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. While many have poured over every page dissecting every word for theories on where the series will go my To-Be-Read pile has only gotten bigger keeping me away from rereading the series until recently.

Robb Stark, the eldest son of Eddard Stark, has been ever present in my mind as I reread the series. Mostly, in relation to what has happened to the North after book three / season three and what has happened to Jon Snow in season six. Spoilers ahead.

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One Word After Another: Wonder Woman, Fantasy, D&D, Game of Thrones S6.

My draft section on this blog has become mighty daunting. The problem isn’t that I don’t have anything to say, but it never felt like enough to fill how long I expect a post to be. So I decided to title this amalgamation of posts into posts called “One Word After Another” named after this Neil Gaiman quote:

“The process of writing can be magical. There are times when you step out of a upper floor window and you just walk across thin air and it’s absolute nutter happiness. Mostly it’s a process of putting one word after another. The process of writing can be magical. There are times when you step out of a upper floor window and you just walk across thin air and it’s absolute nutter happiness. Mostly it’s a process of putting one word after another.” – Neil Gaiman, Nerdist Podcast.

I believe in my archives I titled posts of random links the same, but this is not the same.

Since my last post, Wonder Woman has premiered in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman Rebirth began with Greg Rucka back on writing duties, the trailer for Wonder Woman’s solo movie came out, a trailer of Justice League Action premiered at San Diego Comic-Con, and I read The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore.

I believe, thanks to my love of fantasy and my continuing adventuring playing and DMing Dungeons and Dragons, Wonder Woman has risen to #1 status as my favorite member of DC Comics’ Trinity. Don’t get me wrong, Green Lanter and the Flash can always count on me to have their back, and have no love loss for Bats and Supey but the ways of Wonder Woman have  swayed me. A complex female character taking on Greek gods and monsters balanced by her stranger in a strange land story is very appealing to me. In my head, she balances a lot of the qualities that I’ve always loved about Superman and Batman while also bringing new ideas to the table. Ideas of that delve into whether can be both the peacemaker and the warrior.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman‘s title, by Jill Lepore, should come with a caveat or written beneath in small letters it could say “‘s Creator,” since this book is barely about Wonder Woman but mostly about William Moulton Marston.  The question one is left after reading this book is what to think of her creator. Is he a con artist, by manipulating his students , his mistress, and his colleagues to boost his respect / standing in the academic community? I mean, at one point there is no denying he is a fraud with what he tries to pull with Gillette Razors and his Lie Detector test. Is he a feminist, an advocate for the women’s movement or is he a hypocrite for his lifestyle of a patriarchal figure to two women fathering children with both Olivia Byrne and Zadie Holloway plus a third woman involved.

The author does an excellent job balancing Marston’s good traits with his bad subjectively, not by offering her own opinion on the creator of Wonder Woman. At some points, Marston sounds like a strong advocate for women’s rights, and at others, he sounds like he’d prefer a harem of women if he were allowed. Question: How many women must there be to be considered a harem? Is three enough? In general, it isn’t a good sign when Joye Hummel is introduced as his co-writer for Diana and I wondered whether she was going to be Marston’s next mistress. However, the author made me admire Marston’s strong will to defend Wonder Woman’s agency, the agency of women in general, and the kink community that in his day-and-age was seen as a perversion. That be said, when I really thought about W.H. Marston I believe if I knew the man in real life his arrogance mixed with denial would make me want to punch him in the face.

Dungeons & Dragons have made me appreciate writers with a deadline and improvisers. Every week I’m left trying to write what’ll happen next in the campaign on a framework of a story that does not have enough time for a second draft. There are no second drafts of a campaign when you write while you’re playing each week nor if you did would it necessarily work. A common saying I hear from Dungeon Masters is “any preparation you make is destroyed upon contact with players.” It would be so easy for me to railroad my player characters but I want them to choose and sometimes that leads me down a road of making it up on the spot. Sometimes adding information to the canon of my world that I’m furiously writing down less I forget. It’s not easy, and I learned from reading The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney that this disconnect I feel between my thoughts and the words I speak versus the words I write is normal but sometimes it gets in the way when I am telling my story.

Rereading A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin I am blown away by this book even more than I was the first time. It has been since 2012 since I read it, before season 2 of the show ever came out, and boy, it makes the show look bad in comparison. It isn’t the show’s fault, though, I have come to realize again, but the fault of the basic principals and foundation of creating a television show. There is all these little details missing from the show that makes it seem like the Sparknotes version of the books but that is because there are very real limitations. The show can only be so long, they can only spend so much money, they can only include so many characters, they can only hire so many actors, they only have so much time to fill it. The other problem is, the little changes in the show that seem idiotic, is due to this prevailing nature in films and television that pisses me off to no end. This idea that television and movie audiences are stupid, every little thing has to be explained (especially when it comes to magic), and nothing can be confusing for any single member of the audience in order to read a wider audience. That’s why Tyrion’s wife was cut from the show, it’s why Hodor’s real name isn’t Walder but Willis, and why Asha is now Yara because that’s too close to Osha. There is subtly to the books the show lacks, and it loses some of its sparkles because of that. After watching season six of the show I am even more excited to get my hands on The Winds of Winter because they built a pyre around subtly and burned it to the ground. All this being said, what kind of idiot reads A Dance with Dragons and goes “Hey, you know what part would be really cool to add to our show? The horrific rape scene! *Writer’s room cheering:* YEAH!” Real bad, fellas.

In two weeks time, I’ll be done proofreading my novel, having finished editing the story back in April. So far, the beta readers I’ve sent it out to have sent some very kind things. I’ll have to remember them when the rejection letter begins coming in when I send it out to literary agents.

You Should Read: A Crown of Cold Silver by Alex Marshall, Blood Song by Anthony Ryan, The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore.

You Should Listen To: The British History Podcast, The Adventure Zone, Drunks and Dragons Podcast, My Brother, My Brother, & Me Podcast.

 

 

Appreciating A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Most people, when talking about the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, rank A Feast for Crows as the least interesting followed by A Dance with Dragons.

The first time through though. the second book in the series, A Clash of Kings, bored me in every chapter that wasn’t a Tyrion or Davos chapter. It’s not the book’s fault but a fault of my own.

You see, I have this problem when it comes to reading. Every time I try to read a series in succession I grow bored, no, restless during the second book. It becomes hard for me to concentrate and I always end up putting the book down, especially since I’ve figured out this flaw, and picking up a different one. I think it might stem from my A.D.D. (which I was diagnosed for, not just the many people claiming to have it) but I can’t be sure.

Besides A Clash of Kings other victims of this dilemma include the second Mistborn book, The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and even The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s just when Sam and Frodo are climbing down the elven rope that I put it down though unlike the others listed I picked it back up shortly after. Spoilers ahead. 

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The Problem with Tyrion and Tysha and probably Moon Boy for all I know. (Book 3, Season 4 spoilers)

I’ve written extensively about the adaptations of books into television and films defending change in adaptations, analyzing the process of adapting, and trying to shy people away from the purists idea of adaptations.

This doesn’t mean that all changes made in adaptations should just be accepted. Take the season four finale of Game of Thrones. In one episode they have a change that is both welcome and one that leaves me scratching my head.

Last chance before spoilers.

Last chance before spoilers.

In the episode Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne come across Arya and Gregor “The Hound” Clegane. Words are exchange, misunderstandings are bound and soon swords are unsheathed in what starts out as a straightforward sword fight but soon turns into an out and out brawl. Did this happen in the book? No. Does it matter? Not really, because this is still television and people do expect a bit of action once and a while. Besides that, it is a welcome change to The Hound’s end that quite frankly underwhelming in the book. The only thing that leaves me curious is where Brienne’s journey takes her now that she has found and lost Arya Stark especially with a certain character not being introduced in the finale.

Honestly, as the show get closer and closer to overtaking the books all fans of the book should be prepared for the story to diverge strongly. I, for one, am quite interested as then I get surprises I didn’t expect as a book reader.

That final scene though, with Tyrion, Jaime, Shae and Tywin is some serious changes that honestly leave Tyrion’s motivations not making any sense to me. If you’re only a show watcher then it makes sense, good for you. To those who read A Storm of Swords the change they make with the end of Tyrion’s arc in this season seems out of the blue. It is one thing to change a plot point. It is another to use a plot point straight out of the book but take away a character’s motivation. It is poor writing on the showrunner’s part.

What’s the big deal? show-watchers ask. Let me break down for you. Don’t read this next sentence if you ever plan on reading the books.

In the show, Jaime frees Tyrion because they’re brothers and Jaime doesn’t want his brother to die. Jaime tells Tyrion there is a galley waiting for him thanks to Varys and they hug out, say goodbyes and Jaime leaves. Tyrion then, instead of going to the galley makes his way to the Tower of the Hand where he finds Shae in Tywin’s bed, calling for “her lion” and saying Tywin’s name. Tyrion murders her then grabs a crossbow and bolt on his way to find his father. When he finds him on the privy he confronts his father about why he sentenced his own son to death even though he knows Tyrion didn’t do it. Tywin of course lies and says he wasn’t going to let it happen, says they’ll talk it out back in his chambers. Tyrion doesn’t want to go there. He confesses he killed Shae, who Tywin calls a whore one too many times, tell Tyrion he is no son of his, and then saying whore one more dies at Tyrion’s hands.

Just a couple question about that. Why didn’t Tyrion go to the galley? Why is he asking Tywin questions he already knew the answer to? Did he blow up in that trial giving his grandiose speech after Shae’s betrayal only to forget all about what they’ve done to him? Did he forget that Tywin wanted to take him out to the water and let him drown? That he would never be granted Casterly Rock? Just all of that, poof, out of his mind as he confronts Tywin.

In the book, Jaime holds Varys by swordpoint making him free Tyrion, granted Varys probably didn’t much motivation to do this as he has his own agenda. When Tyrion asks why, Jaime tells Tyrion he owes Tyrion one because, as he reveals, that first wife that was a whore Jaime hired for Tyrion to lose his virginity to. The one that Tywin forced him to watch his guards rape her and giving her silver for and Tyrion last for him to give gold to because he’s a Lannister. The one that Tyrion tells the story to Shae and Bronn to in season one. Yeah, all of that was a lie Tywin made up because he didn’t want Tyrion married to a lowborn woman. Here is where Tyrion reveals Cersei’s infidelity, saying “She’s been fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon Boy for all I know” then lies about killing Jaime’s son, Joffrey. Any good ties between Jaime and Tyrion die here and when Varys slyly reveals a passage to the Tower of the Hand in a Oh no, please don’t go there, snicker snicker fashion Tyrion begins his ascent. He finds Shae and kills her, just like in the show but now his motivation for confronting Tywin makes sense. Tyrion wants to know what happened to Tysha, where did she go, not Shae. When he asks Tywin he simply respond Where whores go… before getting a bolt right in the privates.

By changing this in the show, Jaime and Tyrion are still buddy buddy so what is Tyrion’s motivation going forward? What is he going to do? Jaime and Cersei are still on good terms so where their arcs go is going to seem really weak. She’s crazy with grief for Tywin? She hated him in the finale for trying to get her to marry Loras Tyrell. Is Jaime still going to leave to take back the Riverlands even though his lover is struggling in King’s Landing?

So many great lines from the book, throw away for much weaker dialogue. No mention of Tywin Lannister shitting gold, only for his body to stink of shit thanks to Tyrion’s crossbow bolt. That irony, gone, for what? Where whores go won’t linger in Tyrion’s mind as he hopes to find where his former wife was.

I’m sorry, I really do love this show. I don’t mind changes they’ve made except for this one because before it’s always been changes for cutting for time, eliminating characters they couldn’t afford to keep and what becomes essential for adaptations. From my perception, this seems like the showrunners believing they could do the scene better and in my opinion not only did they utterly fail but screwed up the story for future episodes. I’m still going to watch and I’m sure they’ll make it make sense but this has been the largest disappointment in the show I have had since the cutting of Rhaegar from season two.