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Old December 18th, 2016, 4:51 pm
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Re: A Game of Thrones

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
So what if they were wrong? My point is that was the enjoyable part. You cannot have a community of people devoted to a book series or a show in which you cannot agree on which version of events you discuss or focus on. That was my point. It has nothing to do with how correct one's theories are.
But creating discussion of theories is not and never was a "point" of these books. Remember, this sort of "group think" did not come into being until <i>after</i> both Harry Potter or Song of Ice & Fire were started. Neither Rowling nor Martin nor any other author of extended series had it in mind that groups of people would do this when they embarked on these projects: they assumed that it would be individual readers working things out. And they would have done things differently if they had been doing this as TV or film (as both have admitted, and as many other book authors have noted over the years). That gets back to my main point: they are writing stories, not documentaries of alternative realities.

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
If that's your opinion, that's fine of course. But I'm afraid many people don't share it.
My point of view is falsified easily enough: introduce me to Frodo Baggins or Jon Snow or Harry Potter! Remember, the idea of "canon" comes from religion, where they argued about what stuff really came from the gods and what didn't. When people dismissed holy texts are "non-canon," they basically were saying that they were fictional works no different from Song of Ice & Fire or other stories. And that's Martin's point: there can be no "canon" when there is no reality.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
The position that canon doesn't exist makes literary analysis impossible. One has to determine what is or isn't part of the story in order to know what one analyzes. And the same applies to theories, since you brought them up. If there are no facts then how can there be theories? What are the theories based on?
Again, "fan theories" never was the point of these works. Yes, these authors (and others) have extended

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Without a canon or "facts" you would not be able to say this about Davos and conduct an analysis of his character and role in the story: "Indeed, one line from their interactions in particular is almost surely going to be important in the end. Stannis has no problem sacrificing one of Robert's *******s for the war-effort. [...] However, Davos' tells him that sometimes one ******* boy's life is that important.[...] "
Sure I could have: GRRM (or B&W) could have provided this in some other way. That's the difference between the "canon" and "story" crowd: the "canon" crowd thinks that it is important whether <I>this particular line</I> was in the books, whereas the story crowd is concerned only with whether something like this happens in both versions ofthe story. Again, it's gills vs. getting oxygen: for one group, it's "different" if it is lungs in one version and gills in another, and for the other group "oxygen gathering organ" is adequate.

EDIT: I forgot to point out, that this is a good example of how the same point is made fairly differently! In the books, it's not Gendry, but another of Robert's children who is marked for sacrifice. And Davos uses somewhat different language that is not as to-the-point. And, of course, there are "purists" who think that this is an important difference. Of course, it's not: Davos gets to the same general point, and the same general idea is put in our head about "sometimes, one boy >> one kingdom."


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Schrondinger's Scarlett, then? For people who are interested in her character, it will matter a great deal how many children she had, if any.
But that is GRRM's point: don't lose the forest for the trees by getting hung up on trivial details and missing the story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Okay. Point was, would you be ok with events being changed from book to book or chapter to chapter as long as the story is still about conflicted choices, then? Honest question.
Sure, so long as it is the same sort of conflicted choices in each story: 1) Morals/Honor for Thrones, 2) Loyalties for Kings; 3) Love/Hate for Swords, and 4) Who I was/Who I need to be for Crows/Dragons.


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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
If you ask five people what GoT is about (or HP for that matter), you'll probably get five different answers.
So, your literature prof should have just given everyone 100% for any answer on something like this? Not all opinions are equal: and many of them do no even qualify as "opinion."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
If a work of art is good, then it usually lends itself to different interpretations.
This is wildly wrong. If what a story is is not clear to most of the audience, then the author has failed miserably in what he/she was trying to do. It's no different from writing a song and having people hum wildly different things when you ask them to hum melody.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
It seems like you assume that because the message of the work is the most important thing to you that it should also be the most important thing for other readers/viewers. Am I understanding you correctly?
I noted what is important to the HBO viewers who have made this show such a huge hit. HBO's own numbers show that this audience overlaps hugely with other cable-TV series that focus heavily on Faulkneresque storytelling. The only other "high overlap" series that is remotely fantasy is Lost, and the only medieval/Renaissance setting series is The Tudors. Now, many of these shows had over-arching mysteries: but clues to a mystery are not world-building by any stretch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Whereas I'm trying to say that people are interested in a book or TV show for different reasons and therefore, depending on the reason, those people might find some changes to be jarring.
But the mistake that you are making is to assume that all categories are equally represented. As so often is the case, there are one or two general reasons that predominate, and lots of "small" reasons that represent small proportions each. (This inequality in distributions in just about everything from why people buy things to how many species are in environments to how much money people make has been recognized for over a century.) Are there fans of the show who are into the world-building and more concerned with the particulars than the generalities? Sure. But they obviously cannot be a huge proportion of the audience because they would not be watching the other shows that Thrones viewers watch if that was why they watched TV series.


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Last edited by Wimsey; December 20th, 2016 at 6:16 pm. Reason: Edric Storm!
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