they are not there for the lannisters

Amazon.com: Do you have a favorite character?

Martin: I’ve got to admit I kind of like Tyrion Lannister. He’s the villain of course, but hey, there’s nothing like a good villain.

Amazon interview with George R.R. Martin, 1999

This is interesting, an interview with GRRM done after the release of ACOK, while he was writing ASOS. It’s not in SSM except as a link, so it’s new to me. The interview doesn’t have much out of the ordinary information-wise, it’s all mostly stuff we already knew and/or that GRRM has said elsewhere… except for this one quote.

Usually GRRM just says things like Tyrion is “the grayest of the gray”, never outright calling him a villain. So I wonder if he was saying this like the way he talked about it here, where it’s the Starks that see Tyrion as a villain? Or since he was writing ASOS at the time, if it was a reference to how by the end of that book, all of Westeros sees Tyrion as a monster, a kingslayer and kinslayer?

Or maybe GRRM meant it to be something more, perhaps a reference to how the Tyrion-pastiche in The Bloody Hand echoes Shakespeare’s Richard III, deliberately choosing the path of villainy?

But remember, GRRM also says he prefers grey characters, and often talks about how he never wants to write “pure evil” villains, so even if he did mean Tyrion was the villain, I don’t think it necessarily means Tyrion will become that much darker than the grey that he already is. And certainly old interviews could have ideas that have changed in the 15 years since GRRM spoke them. Still, we’ll just have to see.

In an interesting post on r/asoiaf, feldman10 looks at GRRM’s original outline for ASOIAF, and notes how some of the early chapters of A Game of Thrones contain passages that may have been intended to be foreshadowing, but that were abandoned when GRRM’s plans changed:

There are many passages in ASOIAF that deliberately foreshadow future events in the series. There are also many that don’t. GRRM has said that he’s a gardener, not an architect, and that he discovers much of the plot as he writes the chapters.

Yet there’s a tendency among some fans to overread some lines and scenes as deliberate, planned-out foreshadowing. For instance, there’s a throwaway line early in AGOT that Catelyn felt like “her heart had turned to stone,” which is commonly viewed as deliberate, long-planned setup for Lady Stoneheart.

The emergence of GRRM’s 1993 letter laying out his then-plans for the series should cast some doubt on arguments like this. When GRRM had written the letter, he had already written 13 chapters of AGOT. And there are several passages in these early chapters that appear to me to be written as very specific and deliberate foreshadowing for what GRRM then intended to happen to some characters, according to the letter — plans he later abandoned.

Yet when GRRM changed his plans for the characters, the passages remained. They just lost their specific foreshadowing punch, and became instead vaguer foreshadowing, ordinary passages, or red herrings. Here are some that took on new meaning to me after reading that old letter.

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