Tower of the Hand

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Will Winter come at last in 2020? When it airs a new episode this Sunday, The Simpsons will have the honor of broadcasting an original episode in five different decades: the 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s, the 2010s, and soon the 2020s. Who knows? Maybe A Song of Ice and Fire will share a similar distinction. Assuming The Winds of Winter is published at some point during the roaring 2020s, George R. R. Martin will have delivered at least one novel to tortured fans every decade since the 1990s, with at least one more to come in the series. Could 2020 finally be the year for The Winds of Winter? Surely it will be this decade, right? Have you given up on guessing altogether and/or would rather be pleasantly surprised by the sudden coming of Winter?

Read the source material before, after, or never? It's been a dilemma ever since movie producers realized they didn't always have to come up with their own ideas. Millions of books already exist, plenty with great characters and stories just waiting to be translated into a more visual medium. Filmmakers have to be clever, though, in condensing a heavy tome into a two-hour flick for a broader audience while still following their own creative instincts, all on a budget. The end result often upsets the core fans who most wanted to see their page-turners on screen in the first place. Certainly this is one thing that A Song of Ice and Fire readers have had to grapple with as HBO's Game of Thrones deviates farther and farther away from the books. But we are not the first to face this. I can only imagine the outcry from fans of those early adaptations: "Dorothy's slippers are what color?"

Generally speaking, when there's a new adaptation that catches your eye, do you prefer to 1) read the source material before watching the adaptation, 2) read it after watching it, or 3) never read it at all? Have there been exceptions to this rule? Did you read ASOIAF before or after watching Game of Thrones, and has that influenced how you treat adaptations now?

Who wrote the letter?

Warning! This post may discuss events from beyond your current scope. If you're fully caught up, you can remove this spoiler warning from all similar blog entries, or view this post without bypassing the warnings of other entries.

A jaded view all over again. A day with a silly but harmless tradition has now become synonymous with a bizarre phenomenon: characters getting stuck in some kind of time loop. Don't get me wrong, I usually love this plot device. Groundhog Day is my favorite Bill Murray film, "Cause and Effect" my favorite Star Trek episode, and "Majora's Mask" my favorite Legend of Zelda game. More recently, we've seen it play out on Westworld and I'm looking forward to The Good Place's second season, to say the least.

But repetition can be tiresome, too, especially when an audience has been conditioned to expect the unexpected. There are only so many ways an author can make his story surprising before his readers wise up. If he's lucky, we'll call a repetitive storyline "thematic." More likely, we'll see the supposed twist as a variation on one of the author's favorite writing tricks. Generally speaking, what plot twist do you find to be the most tiresome? What type of twist happens in A Song of Ice and Fire a little too often?

Lords of the Seven Kingdoms, Protect Us from Them. Maegor the Cruel is considered by many to be the worst king of Westeros, but several candidates from Westeros' history could challenge him for that title: Baelor the Blessed, Aegon the Unworthy, Aerys the Mad King, to name just a few. Whether they were intentionally cruel or generally incompetent, the reigns of these bad kings proved to be detrimental to the well-being of the Seven Kingdoms and its citizens. What would you say is the worst personal attribute of a bad king? What makes the difference between a bad king and an awful one?

Will the Winds blow in our favor in 2017? Happy New Year! I for one am ready to put the last year behind me. One guaranteed way for 2017 to improve upon 2016 would be for a certain author to announce that a certain book is finally done. But will it happen this year? If not 2017, then when do you think we will see The Winds of Winter? Or do you now think George R. R. Martin would be better off waiting to release the final books of A Song of Ice and Fire until after Game of Thrones has completed its run in a couple of years?

You have the Wall. Me? Him? Warning! This post may discuss events from beyond your current scope. If you're fully caught up, you can remove this spoiler warning from all similar blog entries, or view this post without bypassing the warnings of other entries.

Is there still time for Winter in 2016? Will the next A Song of Ice and Fire novel be published this year? Normally we ask this question at the start of every year, but George R. R. Martin kicked off 2016 with his answer to it... sort of. GRRM stated definitively that The Winds of Winter would not be released before the next Game of Thrones season, and he said less definitively that he's "months away still." Some time has passed since that last update; in fact, we've just crossed into spring. Let's find out what everyone is thinking now, with nine months left to go in 2016. When will we see The Winds of Winter?


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Tower of the Hand is an unofficial companion to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and HBO's Game of Thrones, featuring chapter and episode guides, character profiles, family trees, and much more.

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