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Old December 18th, 2016, 9:12 pm
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Sereena  Female.gif Sereena is offline
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Join Date: 20th February 2012
Age: 34
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Re: A Game of Thrones

Originally Posted by Wimsey View Post
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.
I think we're using different definitions of canon. By "canon" I simply mean the work itself, the novel or TV show or whatever it might be (the religious definition is just one of the definitions of this concept). The canon as a concept helps to separate the story from other material which is not a part of the work. For example, Jane Austen's letters about her characters are not generally considered part of her body of work. Canon can also to refer to collected works by an author, such as the Shakesperean canon, for example. Or canon can refer to a collection of stories. For example, CC is (arguably) part of the HP canon. JKR's other works such as Casual Vacancy are not. Or we can talk about the "Western literary canon" in which several major works are included. And so on. The concept of canon is useful when engaging in literary analysis. In other words, canon is to a literary theorist what lab samples are to a biologist.

Furthermore, I'm not saying Jon Snow or Frodo actually exist. That would be crazy. However, while they do not exist as people, they do exist as characters. As such there are things about them which are true/accurate and things which aren't. Anything else would be absurd. It's accurate to say Jon Snow is a member of the Night's Watch, it's not accurate to say he's a member of the Order of the Phoenix. Authors decide the "facts" about their characters (substitute "gods" for "authors" in the paragraph you wrote above and you'll see what I mean). Otherwise it would be an "everything goes" sort of situation.

Sure I could have: GRRM (or B&W) could have provided this in some other way.
But it would still be a "work" of GRRM even if he painted it or wrote it or filmed it or whatever. It would still be a creation of his, because the "people" concerned do not exist.

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."
But the thing is, just because GRRM keeps his story consistent doesn't mean another author would too. Maybe another author would have changed more than just a detail and the scene would not have made the same point about Davos. For example, in the case of HP the movies changed the point of many scenes and in some cases even the personalities of characters. When those situations arise, it's natural that fans would want the book version to trump the movies if they think the movies missed the point of the story/character arcs.
With Cursed Child, there is the same issue. Some readers think the authors distorted the characters and also missed the point of several important themes in the books (such as, death is irreversible, Voldemort doesn't understand human relationships, our choices define us, etc). So that's why they would rather not acknowledge CC as part of the HP canon.

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."
No of course not. It's all about how people argue for their opinion and support it using the text. Obviously if someone writes that GoT is about growing your own cucumbers then that's wrong or a bad analysis simply because there's no way to support it with the text.

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.
I would say ambiguous meanings rather than unclear. Think about Shakespeare's plays. They were written about 400 years ago and to this day people are still writing their PhD theses on them and finding new meanings or intepretations of them. Same with James Joyce, Virgina Woolf, the Brontes, etc. The fascination for their works would have never lasted if there could only be one right answer or one type of analysis possible to conduct on them. Literature is not math, after all. (Which doesn't mean that a good work of literature will lend itself to wildly different meanings, just that it will have enough complexity for more than just one theme).

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.
I think you're giving people too much credit. If you told most of them that GoT has Faulkneresque themes, the reaction you would probably get would be "huh?". I think it's as MrSleepyHead said: people watch it for the fights, the dragons, the intrigues and the ... well... nudity. The fact that other HBO shows also incorporate these elements is probably why people watch those shows as well. I'm not saying no one watches GoT for its themes, but I don't think those people are in a majority. It's like you said yourself, if people were watching it for the themes, then why would they pester Martin about changes from books to TV show? Surely they would realize nothing major changed.

And there's also the matter of what keeps people "hooked" on a certain series. I doubt that HP still has this many fans because of how well it executed the theme of choices, or love, or tolerance. People are asking Rowling for details on the characters, or their background stories, or their love lives. I haven't seen anyone pestering her to write more on choices, for example.

GoT is still unfolding but the fans who will stay fans even ten years from now and still want to discuss it, would they still be fans because of the themes? My guess is that if GoT will still be popular even after it reaches its conclusion then it would probably be because of the characters or the world GRRM created.

Last edited by Sereena; December 19th, 2016 at 4:10 pm.
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