Other shows might be more critically acclaimed; other shows might be more watched. But “Game Of Thrones” is where those two metrics meet, creating, perhaps unexpectedly, an era-defining show.
I’ve been fascinated by the notion that a rape scene should be (or could be) necessary. “Episode six ending was brutal – but was it necessary?” is a common way of framing it; Vanity Fair declared that “Game of Thrones Absolutely Did Not Need to Go There with Sansa Stark,” while over at Slate, the argument is made that “this particular scene was necessary,” given the grim bargain Sansa Stark had struck.
There is a larger question being subsumed here. Is violence “necessary”? Was it necessary to kill Ned Stark, Catelyn Stark, Rob Stark, and Talisa Stark and her plus one? Was Joffrey’s killing of Ros necessary? Did they have to kill off Lady, the wolf? The list goes on and on. At a certain point, we are really asking whether Game of Thrones is necessary. And the answer, quite obviously, is that it is not. It is a television show. It is many things, both good, bad, and in-between. But it is not “necessary.”
The Red Wedding should have been the end of the show, I think; it’s the cathartic end-point, and the culmination of the Stark tragedy.
But what happens to this story once the Starks are all dead or scattered? Why does the story go on?
Ideed, so many of the good guys are dead that the show has no choice but to make bad guys into protagonists (how have Jaime and Cercei Lanister become protagonists, again?)
the White Walkers bring the winter with them, or something?
Do Walkers even like the heat?
So many questions.
Ruling is hard. This was maybe my answer to Tolkien, whom, as much as I admire him, I do quibble with. Lord of the Rings had a very medieval philosophy: that if the king was a good man, the land would prosper. We look at real history and it’s not that simple. Tolkien can say that Aragorn became king and reigned for a hundred years, and he was wise and good. But Tolkien doesn’t ask the question: What was Aragorn’s tax policy? Did he maintain a standing army? What did he do in times of flood and famine? And what about all these orcs? By the end of the war, Sauron is gone but all of the orcs aren’t gone – they’re in the mountains. Did Aragorn pursue a policy of systematic genocide and kill them? Even the little baby orcs, in their little orc cradles?
The war that Tolkien wrote about was a war for the fate of civilization and the future of humanity, and that’s become the template. I’m not sure that it’s a good template, though. The Tolkien model led generations of fantasy writers to produce these endless series of dark lords and their evil minions who are all very ugly and wear black clothes. But the vast majority of wars throughout history are not like that.
a lot happened in Season 5, but when you look at the overall framework, nearly all the characters are where they were when the season began. The usurping Boltons are still in Winterfell; Sansa is still on the run; Arya is still hiding in Braavos; the dragon queen Daenerys Targaryen and the sly dwarf, Tyrion, are still marooned in Essos; the Lannisters still occupy the castle in King’s Landing. This can be blamed on the show’s semidependent relationship with Mr. Martin’s novels,
but viewers (like me) who haven’t read the books don’t care about that. The question is how much longer we’ll care at all.
Turning back to prose, however... it has always been my intent to write a whole series of novellas about Dunk and Egg, chronicling their entire lives. At various times in various interviews I may have mentioned seven novellas, or ten, or twelve, but none of that is set in stone. There will be as many novellas as it takes to tell their tale, start to finish. But only the three mentioned have been published to date. I did originally plan on including a fourth in DANGEROUS WOMEN, the crossgenre anthology Gardner and I put out last year, but the book was past due and the story was not finished, so I substituted an abridged version of "The Princess and the Queen" instead.
The unfinished novella was indeed set in Winterfell, and involved a group of formidable Stark wives, widows, mothers, and grandmothers that I dubbed 'the She-Wolves,' but "The She-Wolves of Winterfell" was never meant to be more than a working title. The final title, when I finish the story, will be something different. There's also another Dunk & Egg novella that I've got roughed out in my head, with the working title "The Village Hero." That one takes place in the Riverlands. There's no telling when I will have time to finish either of these, or which one I will write first. I don't expect I will know more until I've delivered THE WINDS OF WINTER.
My original intent was to publish all the Dunk & Egg stories in a series of anthologies, and then collect them all together in one big book. But by the time of "The Mystery Knight," it became plain that the stories were just too long, and there were going to be too many of them. So instead of one big book, the plan now is for a series of Dunk & Egg collections, each comprised of three novellas. The first one to consist of the three published stories, "The Hedge Knight," "The Sworn Sword," and "The Mystery Knight." The obvious title would have been THE HEDGE KNIGHT, but there is already a certain amount of confusion between "The Hedge Knight" the novella and THE HEDGE KNIGHT the graphic novel, and we did not want to compound the difficulty, so the first Dunk & Egg collection was titled A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS instead.
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