“Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
may read strange matters. To beguile the time,
look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye,
your hand, your tongue. Look like th’ innocent flower,
but be the serpent under ’t. He that’s coming
must be provided for; and you shall put
this night’s great business into my dispatch,
which shall to all our nights and days to come
give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.”
Do you guys think, that maybe during the Elizabethan Age, there existed girls were freaking out and having a bunch of feels because of Shakespeares plays like fangirls today because of books and series? Like imagine a young lady in the 16th century in the global theatre crying: „NOT MY OTP! NOT MY BABIES! DAMN YOU WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE!“ while watching Romeo and Juliet die? Do you think things like that happened? Did people at that time ship people like we do today? Did they write fanfictions? Did they draw fanart about their OTP? We will never know…
« La vie n’est qu’une ombre qui passe, un pauvre acteur
Qui s’agite et parade une heure, sur la scène,
Puis on ne l’entend plus. C’est un récit
Plein de bruit, de fureur, qu’un idiot raconte
Et qui n’a pas de sens. »
William Shakespeare, Macbeth (Acte V, Scène 5) (The Tragedy of Macbeth)
i know people are saying the ending will be bittersweet and what that could mean, but I think it will end with jon, dany, and their heir ruling over a new form of the 7 kingdoms (breaking the wheel). As for the bitter part, I think perhaps all of the dragons die, but right at the end we see more eggs, signaling that they will live on in the future
I agree with most of this! I think that most of us in the fandom are programmed to expect the worst ever since book/season 3 because of the Red Wedding. That’s why there are so many doom and gloom theories about the ending.
That being said, I do understand why so many people readily assume Jon, Dany, or both will die. I don’t think both will, but I would not be a bit surprised if one of them does. But the more I think about it, the more I’m starting to think they might both make it out alive.
After reflecting more about LOTR (which GRRM frequently compares his work to) and GRRM’s assertion that he thinks readers will find his ending to be just as happy as it is bitter
“I’m not going to tell you how I’m going to end my book, but I suspect the overall flavor is going to be as much bittersweet as it is happy.”
I feel that we can reasonably expect Jon and Dany’s survival. I think that because if we connect it back to LOTR, the principle characters in that series do live, even if it’s not all happy. GRRM had this to say about it:
“It’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended ’Lord of the Rings.’ It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives. And the scouring of the Shire —brilliant piece of work, which I didn’t understand when I was 13 years old: ’Why is this here? The story’s over?’ But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve it or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge.”
And so even though the overall tone of GOT/ASOIAF has been a bit pessimistic, and even though the the book and the show (until season 6, anyway) have been basically a practice in overthrowing expected tropes and “happy endings” for character arcs, I think we can see all of that having been an exercise in preparing the characters for their final trials. And I think that in the end, they can overcome that and be allowed to live, even if not altogether “happily.”
After all, ASOIAF is his life’s work. Who wants to spend all of this time and energy writing a series that ends tragically, even after years of tragedy? What would be the point? The theme? The message? The takeaway? If all of our heroes die, what is the reader to take from ASOIAF?
Because if we look at other “everybody dies” narratives, there’s a clear reason why. Hamlet, for example, has a pretty unsatisfying ending in that all of its main characters die. Horribly. But we can trace the reason why for all of these characters. Hamlet himself suffered from indecision and inaction. Ophelia ignored her brother’s advice and got too swept up in romance with the unavailable Hamlet. Gertrude fell for her husband’s brother and murderer, betraying his memory. Laertes was a hypocrite–engaging in reportedly raucous and disreputable behavior in France yet trying to control his sister’s life and scold her for being potentially reckless by pursuing Hamlet.
So it was sad when all of these characters died but we could take lessons from how they acted.
Same with other Shakespearean tragedies. In Macbeth, the title character and Lady Macbeth die because of their “vaulting ambition” to overthrow the king, stepping out of the sacred social hierarchy and trying to seize rather than inherit royalty. And Macbeth himself also paid the price for trusting in the fickle nature of prophecy by misinterpreting the words of the Weird Sisters and believing that he would be safe from traitors.
Now let’s look at ASOIAF. Many of the characters who have died, died for arbitrary reasons. We can’t always easily trace a cause like we could with other tragedies. It’s easy to write Ned off as “too honorable” as I see many people do. But ultimately he was willing to sully his own honor in order to protect Sansa. He still died even when he sacrificed his ideals, abandoned the “right thing” of opposing Joffrey. There isn’t an easy solution to his death.
Margaery also did everything right. She was a master of manipulating the men around her to protect herself and her family, all the while elevating the Tyrell family name. But still she was murdered.
Deaths like Robb’s, Catelyn’s, and Oberyn’s can easily be traced to a character flaw. But that’s not the case for all of the big ASOIAF deaths. And it wouldn’t be the case if our remaining heroes were to die in the war.
Even Jon, who is constantly at the heart of the love vs duty conflict, should at this point be allowed to survive the series. He chose duty over love, chose the Watch over Ygritte. He was loyal to his men and his responsibility even when they weren’t loyal to him. He still died.
So if characters like Jon or Dany, who have made mistakes in their arcs already and already paid the price were to die in the end, what is the point? What is Martin really trying to say about the human experience or human nature or war?
I think the characters need to live, even if things go wrong, that way at least there has been a point to all the suffering. This is especially true when we look at LOTR as a comparison piece.
Sam’s famous speech comes to mind:
“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”
The same has got to be true in Planetos. I have to believe that. And I think Martin does, too. So that his story can show that even in the worst of times–like the times our world is facing now, for example–humanity can find it in themselves to persevere. Martin even said recently that the White Walkers are like a metaphor for climate change. This makes sense considering the wonky seasons in Planetos. So if that’s true, then we know that modern, topical issues and themes are part of this story. And what would be the point of suggesting that humanity will succumb and fail at combating climate change? Why suggest that we would fail at or die in the process of overthrowing despotic rulers? Why write a story that doesn’t teach or encourage its readers?
Even with the negative tone throughout, I don’t believe GOT or ASOIAF are nihilistic. I think we can expect a more positive ending. This quote says it better than I could:
“Needless to say, it doesn’t really make much sense with what we’ve seen so far that the ending of A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones would echo Lord of the Rings’ relatively happy conclusion. Though it could be the case that Martin has been saving up years and years of pain and misery for a grand turnaround that does indeed lead to a somewhat uplifting ending.
All the years of pain and suffering may indeed be building to some enormous payoff. Jon Snow will likely survive his own death and live to become Azor Ahai reborn, as the prophecy foretells. Dany will find her dragon-riding support staff. Arya will become the most badass assassin in the realm. Even if (when) more beloved characters die, at least a few should survive until the end (smart money says Tyrion will go the distance), and perhaps the realm won’t be completely frozen and shattered when the last page of the series is turned.”
So, yeah–I think we’ll have plenty of sweet to combat what was already a very bitter story so far. However, I don’t think we will see more dragon eggs.
Magic going out of the world was a theme in LOTR and I think it’s a theme in ASOIAF too. The Children of the Forest have now died out. Until recently, everyone in the realm believed that the White Walkers/Others were already gone. They believed dragons were gone. And the supposed abilities of people like Melisandre and Thoros are met with suspicion and skepticism/doubt.
So I think that magic has only really returned as a way to balance the fight and help humanity face the Long Night. That’s the only reason why. And once they’ve had the Battle for the Dawn, the dragons will likely be the price paid for peace.
A heaving shuddering sigh escaped Jeremiah. He was bent over his desk at eleven in the morning after having spent the whole night working on suits and ties for his clients. Apparently there was a wedding coming up and someone, he didn’t know who, recommended Jeremiah for the groom and his entourage. And it’s not to say that he’s complaining about the recommendation, he’s always happy for the business, but not a week before the damn wedding. Idiots.
He rubbed a hand over his bleary eyes and yawned before standing up and stretching his arms over his head. Jeremiah felt his joints move stiffly after being hunched over the sewing machine for so long but he ignored it and shook away the pins and needles forming in his leaden feet. Slowly and almost clumsily he clambered downstairs and to the pot of coffee that was waiting for him. A shudder went through him when he realized that it would probably be cold and as much as he needed the caffeine, he needed it hot more.
After pouring out the pot, then refilling it and getting it ready, Jeremiah slumped on the counter and contemplated existence as he was wont to do when he was sleep deprived. Which was often. Then his thoughts turned to that mystery customer. Well Jeremiah couldn’t call him a mystery customer anymore. Not really. He knew his name was Dark and he wasn’t nearly as demonic as he seemed and he really loved suits and he was extremely handsome and he might be crazy. Jeremiah or Dark might be crazy. Or both. Still, there was so much he didn’t know but Jeremiah wasn’t a nosy person. It’s why in the last three weeks he hadn’t called the man once. He snorted at the thought. As if he had any right to. He gave Dark his number simply so the man wouldn’t barge into his shop uninvited without call or appointment.
Jeremiah’s introspection was cut short by the low beeps of his coffee followed by the loud melody of his phone ringing. A mini deliberation overtook Jeremiah. Caffeine or phone? He chose coffee, quickly shutting off the machine and pouring the lifeblood into a red Christmassy mug before grabbing his still singing phone and answering without checking caller ID. “Hello?” Jeremiah asked, his voice extremely hoarse and scratchy. He would probably cringe at himself if he wasn’t so damn tired.
“Is this Jeremiah? I hope I didn’t call at a bad time,” came the voice, slightly overlapping and yet still put together, a stark contrast to Jeremiah’s hoarse sleep deprived state. Jeremiah fumbled for the name and when it came it struck him dumb. Who else would know to call his personal phone and have a voice like moonlight?
He pulled the phone away from his face before clearing his throat. When he spoke again, it sounded a bit more smooth. “It is. If you’re calling to tell me you’re coming in for an appointment, I’m afraid I can’t Dark. The shop’s closed today.”
A short moment of silence before Dark chuckled over the line, the edges of it sounding almost like static. “That’s fine, it’s not why I called. I was wondering if you’d join me this afternoon for a play and maybe a coffee?”
“Uh sure. Time?” Jeremiah grabbed a pen and wrote down the time and place and smiled into the phone even if Dark couldn’t see. “I’ll see you then.”
“I look forward to it. See you then Jeremiah,” he said before hanging up and leaving Jeremiah alone and realizing what the fuck just happened.
“Holy shit. Did he just ask me out?” he asked to his coffee. His coffee didn’t deign to respond.
Jeremiah walked across the plaza and puffed warm air into his free hand, the other one holding a simple black box. The cold nipped at every bit of exposed skin and the grey sky looked like it would snow soon. Man he couldn’t wait for that coffee. Warm warm coffee. Jeremiah scanned the crowd for an odd man out but couldn’t find him.
Suddenly he felt a hand on his back and a slight ringing in his ears. Jeremiah jumped at the touch, turning to see Dark next to him. He hadn’t even heard him walk up.
“Hello Jeremiah. Let’s go into the lobby for the play, get our seats. You look cold,” he said with a half smile. Jeremiah smiled back and nodded, noticing that his—could he call him his date?—that Dark was wearing Jeremiah’s suit, the one with the swirls. Today it was red, changing from dark maroon to pinks to scarlet with a black undershirt. Jeremiah felt a kind of pride in seeing Dark wearing the suit, but it reminded him that he needed to make more. He couldn’t wear just two suits.
Dark and Jeremiah worked their way through the crowd which was easy as they practically parted for Dark, be it for his dark monochromatic shadows, his blue lights and red glowing suit, his constant ringing, or his grey otherworldly skin. Dark’s hand never left Jeremiah’s back and Jeremiah didn’t do anything to shake it off.
Soon they found themselves in the lobby and the people bustled about. Yet again people parted around them like the Red Sea but neither of them minded. With a jolt Jeremiah remembered why he had the box in his hands and held it out to Dark. The other man just raised an eyebrow and took the box. “A gift already? I feel pampered.”
“Shush just open it,” Jeremiah said, tucking his hands into his pockets.
Dark did, carefully opening the box to reveal three white ties, the same material as his suit. “You said you would make them, didn’t you,” he chuckled, dragging a finger down one of the ties.
“And when I say I’m going to do something, I usually do it. This tie or this tie—” Jeremiah tapped the tie on the left and the middle one. “—will go best with the suit you’re wearing now.”
Dark handed the box to Jeremiah and took both ties from it, sending a spread of red light over them. One had swirls similar to his suit and the other was more plain, going from a gradient dark maroon to a light pink. Dark smiled and chose the one in his left hand, the gradient, putting the other back in the black box Jeremiah held. “Thank you Jeremiah.”
“Of course,” Jeremiah said with a smile. Then in a jolt of odd courage, Jeremiah took the tie from Dark, gave the box back to him, and said, “Here let me help you with that.” He carefully slipped the tie around Dark’s neck and knotted it, painfully aware of how close they were and almost regretted his decision if not that Dark hadn’t objected. But when Jeremiah was done, the other man stepped back and swallowed, his hand coming up to rub the back of his neck.
Before Jeremiah could ask what was wrong, Dark cut him off. “Let’s go to our seats. The show will be starting soon.” Without waiting for Jeremiah to respond the other man turned walked away and Jeremiah was left wondering what the hell happened.
He couldn’t wait for long though and had to quickly work his way through the crowd to find Dark.
When he did, Dark was waiting for him at the entrance to the seating. Whatever had happened seemed to have been erased from Dark and he smiled smoothly at Jeremiah. Dark inclined his head to the stage and seating, walking slower this time through the doors.
“What show are we watching?” Jeremiah asked as they meandered down the aisle. Dark smiled and stopped, allowing Jeremiah to slide into his seat before he took the one next to his.
“Oh a classic of Shakespeare’s plays. About a mad king who was told his fate too soon, and killed to achieve it.”
Jeremiah smiled and sunk into the chair, a soft smile on his face. “Ah the cursed Scottish play. Macbeth.”
“That’s the one. I picked well then?”
Jeremiah looked over at that, the way Dark asked almost insecure. He placed a hand on the grey man’s arm. “Yes you did. I’m always a fan of Shakespeare.” Dark seemed to visibly relax at that, his blue light softening around him and the ringing lowered to a milder tone. Jeremiah had completely forgotten about the ringing until it had changed pitch.
Dark opened his mouth to say something but closed it as the lights dimmed and a hush fell among the audience. As the three witches that would be the makers and destroyers of Macbeth came on-stage, Dark’s hand found Jeremiah’s on his armrest and loosely held it, rubbing circles on the back of it with his thumb. Jeremiah didn’t really pay attention to much of the play afterwards.
After the tragedy was over and Macbeth dead, Scotland freed, Jeremiah blinked against the lights. Dark’s hand hadn’t left his during the entire performance and as they walked out of the theater and into the cold, it still didn’t. Jeremiah bundled up against the wind, wrapping his coat and scarf tighter around him. Dark pulled him into a small café across the plaza from the theater.
Immediately Jeremiah was enveloped in the bursting warmth of the coffee shop, sprinkled with patrons, soft jazz, and the dark smell of fresh coffee. He loved it.
The two walked up to the speckled counter and ordered drinks, “to go” Dark stated. Jeremiah got straight black and Dark got cream and sugar added. Jeremiah made a note of it. Their hands still hadn’t let go and Jeremiah wasn’t in any rush to do so.
While they waited, Dark pulled Jeremiah off to the side and asked, “So how’d you enjoy the play?”
Of course, Jeremiah blanked. Not much attention had been spent at the play. But he was a surprisingly good bullshitter. “Uh it was good. I really liked the actress who played Lady Macbeth, she really pulled off the insanity at the end.”
Dark nodded and a smile ghosted over his lips. When their coffees were done, they both grabbed them and headed out into the chill again, warmer now that they had mini furnaces in their free hands. The sun was setting over the plaza, sending the dismal sky into reds and purple hues.
“So where are we going now?” Jeremiah asked, taking a sip of his coffee.
Dark shrugged and pointed to the nearby park. “Want to walk around for a little bit?” Jeremiah smiled and nodded, tightening his grip on Dark’s hand.
Slowly they made their way into the park, almost empty. Dark’s blue light grew brighter without the presence of others and his red suit crackled as the light spread farther. They strolled under barren trees and a darkening sky, not speaking, just enjoying the other’s company. Eventually small fluffy snowflakes began to fall as the sun finally set, and Jeremiah might have wanted to head inside and call it a night if not for the man next to him and the coffee in his hand and the way Dark smiled and stared at him out of the corner of his eye.
The pair made their down winding paths as the snow sprinkled onto their eyelashes and hair. Dark stopped in front of a lake, frost creeping across the water and tree branches.
After a few more moments of companionable silence, Jeremiah turned slightly to Dark and said, “Thank you. Today was nice.”
“Just nice? I had hoped to do more,” Dark teased, taking a sip of his coffee. He turned to Jeremiah a little as well.
Jeremiah laughed and his breath fogged in the chill night air. “There’s always next time.”
Dark inched closer and his fogged breath mingled with Jeremiah’s, the red and blue lights playing off of his blond hair. “So you want there to be a next time?”
“Mm maybe. All depends on whether you continue to get me coffee.”
Jeremiah became increasingly aware of the shortening distance between them, and then suddenly Dark’s hand wasn’t in his anymore it was on his cheek and Dark whispered, “I’ll be sure to keep that in mind,” and then his mouth was barely grazing his softly, a question. Jeremiah answered by leaning fully into the kiss, curling his now free hand into the hair at the nape of Dark’s neck.
It was gentle and soft and warm and ended all too quickly, foreheads resting on each other and their noses brushing. “If you keep doing that, it’s a good incentive to keep me around too.”
Dark laughed and kissed him again, Jeremiah closing his eyes into the kiss and the ringing became a bit louder but not unbearable. “I had a nice day with you as well Jeremiah,” Dark said when they broke apart, stepping back slightly.
With a start, Jeremiah realized they were no longer in the park, they were at the parking lot in front of his car. “I won’t even ask how that happened,” Jeremiah said with a chuckle. “Good night.”
“Good night. I’ll call you later, to repay you for these ties.”
The tailor got into his car and shook his head. “That is unnecessary. Blackmail. Slander. But I’ll take coffee and kisses as a suitable payment any day.”
“Of course. Have a safe drive home,” Dark said with a smile before he walked off, his shadows and blue and red lights disappearing with him. It was noticeably quieter without the constant ringing of Dark’s aura but Jeremiah wasn’t sure if he liked it.
After starting up the car so he didn’t freeze to death, Jeremiah sat there for a few moments to take in the day he’d had. Then he turned to his coffee and said, “Holy shit. He did ask me out on a date.”
Once again his coffee didn’t deign to respond. Jeremiah figured that was more than okay.
The highly anticipated part two is finally here!!! Idk why but I had a major writing block with this. I’m happy with how it turned out though.