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GRRM's Pattern (HUGE spoilers through book5)

Discussion in 'George R R Martin' started by The Imp, Sep 14, 2011.

    The Imp

    The Imp Active Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    I've been thinking about the whole Jon thing, while at the same time talking to people who are not yet done with the five books about the series. The thought occurred to me like a bolt from the blue that there is an almost perfect pattern in the way that GRRM kills charcters, that being, as far as i can remember, no one has ever died in a cliffhanger. Deaths also USUALLY occur when the person about to die SEEMS to be safe. Examples of both, cliffhangers in bold

    Bran pushed from the window after appearing to be safe in Jaime's arms/grasp. Cliffhanger. We find he's alive.

    Lady killed on the spot by Ned.

    Ned being killed by order of Joffrey when we were told he was to be safe.

    Viserys killed in Vaes Dothrak after we were told no blood could be spilled there. Seemingly safe.

    Davos "drowning"

    Khal Drogo is sort of an exception to this rule. he was slashed by a "sheep man" and was said to be an invincable warrior, brought back to life to Mirri Maz Duur

    Robert, mortally wounded on a seemingly safe boar hunt. Thanks Lancel.

    Renly safe in his tent, the battle not even started yet.

    Arya struck by the side of an axe by the Hound. Wakes up alive

    Oberyn, having his way with a poisoned and seemingly beaten Gregor, dead

    Tyrion, possibly dead on the Blackwater.

    Tywin, killed on his own privvy, in his own tower

    Balon Greyjoy, killed in his stronghold

    Robb, Cat, everyone else, seemingly safe under the law of guest rights.

    Kevan Lannister, safe in his won tower. That's one unlucky place to be.

    Brienne turning up after being on the hangman's noose

    Quentyn Martell roasted, although we all knew that was a terrible idea.

    Jon Snow, whom we know has been and is in grave danger, seemingly dead

    There may be other examples, and more excpetions, but I see this as a pretty good pattern. If you're seemingly dead in a cliffhanger you're going to live. Everyone else is in peril :D

    viZion Arrogant Bastard

    Nov 9, 2007
    I think there are plenty more Tyrion examples, too. It seemed like every chapter of his in ADWD ended with him in some life-threatening situation. Good observations.
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    It isn't really an exception (so your theory seems** to be working): Drogo's actual death was the result of Dany suffocating him with a cushion. Okay, he was in pretty bad shape, but he was alive, seemed likely to remain so for a while, and being tended by someone who loved him.

    This seems to fit your definition:

    ** - Does this mean that someone is about to come along and kill it? (Or will we have to wait until the next book?)

    krishla New Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    I'm not sure I 100% agree with you on the "seems to be safe" part but I'm with you on the cliffhangers. But then again, in most stories, characters don't end up dying after the cliffhanger.

    Boaz Thaphireth!

    Jul 14, 2005
    Warning... Spoiler Alert for all five books!

    Imp, I agree that you've identified a technique that GRRM likes to use. He's surprised me on more than one occasion. He's injected a dose of lethal reality that most of the fantasy genre lacks.

    To add to your list...

    Jon Arryn, the powerful elder statesman and Hand of the King, was poisoned in his own rooms by his wife and squire.

    The first High Septon was torn to shreds by his own parishoners.

    The miller's wife and sons were killed by Theon, her occasional lover.

    Courtney Penrose was assassinated in an impregnable castle.

    Craster was slain in his own house by his dinner guests.

    Jeor was murdered by his own men.

    Oznak zo Pahl was defeated in front of his own city by a former slave.

    Dontos was murdered by Middlefinger while working for Middlefinger.

    Shae was murdered in the Tower of the Hand by the Hand's son, her former lover.

    The second High Septon was murdered in his bed by one of the Queen's knights.

    And cliffhanger non-deaths...

    Sandor was left for dead by Arya... oops.

    Aegon was not murdered by Gregor... or so it seems.

    Daenerys was neither killed by a fall nor eaten by Drogon.

    I'd like to add to your observations. It's probably been stated elsewhere, but ALL POV characters in prologues and epilogues die. Will in AGOT, Cressen in ACOK, Chett and Merrett in ASOS, Pate in AFFC, and Varamyr and Kevan in ADWD all died or were quickly expiring at the end of their POVs. I was in anguish as soon as I realized that Kevan was the POV in the ADWD epilogue. I prayed while reading that he'd be the one to break the curse.... alas.

    Now what about some others...

    Did Vardis Egen seem safe surrounded by the strength and power of the Arryns?

    Did Arys Oakheart seem safe having won the love of Arianne and successfully made it to their transport on the Greenblood?
    The Imp

    The Imp Active Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    Boaz!!! So good to see you back. I'd insert an emoticon but I know you hate them.

    Thanks for adding to the lists, and yes, being a prologue or epilogue character does seem to be the kiss of death, and Kevan kept the string going, I thought that Egan was doomed as soon as we saw Cat's first doubts about him- old, slow, Bronn being younger and quicker (she had seen him fight before). Egan should have been safe in his armor, but we knew that he wasn't. As for oakheart, he never SEEMED entirely safe the entire time he was in Dorne, so that might be an exception.

    TPA New Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    I think this could be an incomplete premise...dying when you seem safe.

    Plenty of people lived while in a safe place, even when danger was all around.
    The queen in Maegors holdfast, during the battle is a single example to make the point.
    It seems when a character feels safe could go either way.
    C Of K

    C Of K Sunset colored eyes

    Jul 10, 2007
    That's a good point. Not sure that instance with the Queen is the best example, tho. I don't think anyone ever seems safe while battle rages outside their walls. She was in Meagor's holdfast because she was cornered there, and only a victory could save her.

    Past examples would attest to that much. Elia was in much the same position 15 or so years before.

    Just imagine what Stannis would have done with that woman had he won.
    The Imp

    The Imp Active Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    The key part of the premise was no one dies after a cliffhanger. The safe/unsafe thin is also interesting, and i think it would lean toward safe if we discussed them all, but the one that was interesting was the pattermn of no one dying coming out of a cliffhanger
    The Imp

    The Imp Active Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    I just need to add to what I said last night.

    Of course not everyone who is seemingly safe or actually safe dies. Therw wouldn't be a series if they did. My original point was that the people who do die have almost always seemed to be safe or out of danger, and that no one has ever turned up dead after a cliffhanger. If this pattern holds true Jon is not dead.

    But we knew that anyway

    3EyedCrowsEye New Member

    Sep 9, 2011
    There was that mini cliffhager death I believe, with Myrcella Barathnnister when Darkstar almost got her
    The Imp

    The Imp Active Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    Almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. Myrcella lost an ear but still lives. The pattern holds true.

    juleska The North remembers

    Jul 9, 2011
    I would argue that I never once thought Myrcella was "safe" during that episode. I haven't thought she was safe since she went to Dorne.

    Needle Arya's Whisper

    Apr 4, 2011
    Actually I have to disagree, I felt Marcella was quite safe right up until she went off with Arienna. The Prince would never have allowed her to be harmed (he almost succeeded) I felt she was much safer there than in KL.

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