HULK VS. THE “GIRLS” CRITICISM

HULK WROTE AN EMERGENCY COLUMN THIS WEEK ON THE UNCALLED FOR VITRIOL LOBBED UPON THE FIRST EPISODE OF HBO’S GIRLS (WHICH PRETTY GREAT).

http://badassdigest.com/2012/04/18/film-crit-hulk-smash-hulk-vs.-the-girls-criticism/

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HULK READ ANOTHER BOOK! WHY A DANCE WITH DRAGONS BOTH A VAST IMPROVEMENT AND YET UTTER PROOF THE BOOKS WILL NEVER BE GOOD AGAIN

THE OLD ADAGE ABOUT IRISH PLAYS IS THAT THEY COULD END AT ANY POINT IN THE STORY AND IT WOULDN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

WE OFFICIALLY HAVE THE IRISH PLAYS OF FANTASY LITERATURE.

FIRST OFF, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, THE FIFTH BOOK IN GEORGE R.R. MARTIN’S SONG OF ICE AND FIRE SERIES, IS MUCH, MUCH BETTER THAN ITS PREDECESSOR A FEAST FOR CROWS. BUT IN THE INTEREST OF BEING A COMPLETE DICK, SO ARE MOST THINGS.(1) BUT THAT OKAY. HULK WILL TAKE A MARKED IMPROVEMENT OVER REGRESSION ANY DAY OF WEEK.

PERHAPS THE SINGULAR REASON THE NEW BOOK SO MUCH BETTER THAT WE NOW BACK WITH ALL THE GOOD CHARACTERS: DAENERYS, TYRION, JON SNOW, THAT OTHER GUY(2), AND HEY THEON’S BACK! YOU REMEMBER ALL THOSE CHARACTERS, RIGHT? THE ONES WITH PERSONALITY AND RANGE OF EMOTION AND THE STUFF THAT MAKES US WANT READ THINGS. FUCK, EVEN BRAN HAS SOME NICE PARTS IN THIS ONE.

BUT MR. MARTIN GOES ONE BETTER THAN MERELY BRINGING THEM BACK AND ACTUALLY GIVES THEM STUFF TO DO! HE EVEN HAS THE GALL TO MAKE CHAPTERS HAVE RELATIVE POINTS, FURTHER DEVELOP HIS CHARACTERS, AND ADVANCE THE PLOT. SERIOUSLY! HULK KNOW! AFTER THE CROWS DISASTER HE ALMOST MAKES THE CONCEPT OF NARRATIVE FEEL REVOLUTIONARY.

FOR INSTANCE, THE BEST PART OF DRAGONS THAT TYRION’S JOURNEY = AN ACTUAL JOURNEY. EACH ONE OF HIS CHAPTERS FOCUS ON NEW PART OF HIS TRAVELS, OFTEN WITH NEW, INTERESTING CHARACTERS BEING INVOLVED. THERE CONSTANT THREATS TO HIS PERSON YET EACH CHAPTER  FEEL UNIQUE IN WAY THAT MAKE THE WHOLE THING WORK. AND THE INCLUSION OF PENNY EVEN SEEMS TO ORGANICALLY CHANGE HIS CHARACTER’S STUBBORN AND SELF-CENTERED VIEWPOINT… A BIT. (3) BEST YET, EACH ONE OF HIS CHAPTERS IMBUED WITH REAL NARRATIVE DIRECTION. IT BY FAR THE BEST PART OF THE BOOK.

THEN THERE DAENERYS(4) WHO AT THE END OF A STORM OF SWORDS STAYED TO RULE MEREEN AND NOW WE GET TO SEE WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED WITH ALL THAT. HULK WAS HONESTLY EXCITED ABOUT PROSPECT. DANY’S TRANSITION FROM HER MEEK START IN A GAME OF THRONES THROUGH HER RISE TO GLORY AT THE END OF SWORDS BY FAR THE BEST THING ABOUT THE BOOKS. HER CHARACTER HAVE THE BEST ARC OUT OF ANYONE AND IT SUPER-DUPER COMPELLING.(5)

BUT REALLY WHAT WONDERFUL HOW MUCH DANY’S CHAPTERS SET HER APART FROM WHAT MARTIN DID WITH CERSEI’S RULE IN CROWS. DANY’S RULE LITTERED WITH INTRIGUE, THREATS, DEATH, AFFAIRS, BABY-EATING AND OTHER INTERESTING STUFF. PLUS, IT A SURPRISINGLY NICE TAKE ON THE COMPLEXITY OF RULING POLITICS. MEANWHILE, CERSEI’S RULE PRETTY MUCH JUST COMPRISED HER SAYING BITCHY THINGS IN HER MIND AND NOT REALLY DOING MUCH OF ANYTHING. THEN WE JUST WATCH THAT IDIOT TUMBLE IN SLOW MOTION AFTER A SERIES OF BORING, REALLY STUPID HIRES/MOVES. HULK COULD BUY ALL THIS AS WAY OF SHOWING HOW DANY COMPETENT AND CERSEI NOT, BUT THAT A BIT OF A STRETCH (THERE’S NO JUXTAPOSITION AND NO ECONOMY). AND BEST OF ALL, WHEN DANY’S RULE STARTS TO BLOW UP IN ALL SORTS OF DRAGON-Y GOODNESS, SER BARRISTAN WHIPS OUT HIS HUGE GONADS AND STARTS TAKING CARE OF SHIT. IT GREAT.

JON SNOW HAS SOME NICE POLITICKING AT THE WALL TOO. HULK ACTUALLY HUGE FAN OF HIS MOVES ON THE WALL, UNDERSTANDING THAT THE WILDLINGS HAVE TO COME OVER BECAUSE EVERY LIVING BODY ON THAT SIDE OF THE WALL JUST A WIGHT/ENEMY WAITING TO HAPPEN. SO HULK LIKED IT ALL HONESTLY. THE GIANTS. THE WILDINGS. THE BANK GUY. HIS PLAN WITH MANCE. THE RESENTING MEMBERS OF THE NIGHTS WATCH. AND THEN… WELL… WE’LL GET TO HIS ENDING LATER.

AND THEON! THEON’S BACK EVERYONE! REMEMBER THEON! THAT IMPORTANT CHARACTER WHO ALL BUT FUCKING DISAPPEARED FOR SOME REASON HULK CAN NO EVEN REMEMBER? WELL, HE BACK! AND HE NUTS. NOT LIKE NUTS = AWESOME, BUT LIKE NUTS = CRAZY PERSON. TURNS OUT HE BEEN LEFT IN DOWN RAMSEY BOLTON’S DUNGEON TO STARVE AND BE FLAYED AND ALL SORTS OF OTHER HORROR. HE MISSING FINGERS AND TEETH AND THINGS. ANYCRAP, HE NOW RETURNED TO BE AN INTEGRAL PART OF ALMOST EVERY SINGLE THING GOING ON THIS BOOK… IT SORT OF WEIRD.

OH, AND THEON ALSO GETS TO HAVE THE OBLIGATORY STUPID, REPETITIVE GEORGE R.R. MARTIN-ISM THIS GO-ROUND WITH HIS WHOLE “REEK, REEK, IT RHYMES WITH ____” THING … IT ANNOYING BUT AT LEAST IT NOT ABOUT NIPPLES.

EVEN BRAN DOING STUFF! THERE ACTUALLY A PRETTY GNARLY WIGHT ATTACK AND THEN HE GET TO DO SOME PRETTY COOL THINGS IN A CAVE WHERE HE SEE THE WORLD NOW THROUGH A BIG TREE… HULK SERIOUS. HE HOOKIN UP WITH THE CHILDREN OF THE FOREST AND IT ALL TIGHT + ECONOMICAL + MYTHOLOGY-INVOLVED. PLUS HE GETS MOMENT THAT REMINDS HULK OF THE BEST ONION BY-LINE EVER WRITTEN.

AND DAMMIT IF THE RE-INTRODUCTION OF VARYS ISN’T THE BOOK’S SAVING THROW.

PLUS THERE A BUNCH OF OTHER PEOPLE! LIKE THE TOAD-LIKE MARTELL PRINCE WHO SORTA DUMB AND SWEET, BUT HAS ONE REALLY, REALLY, REALLY BAD IDEA. THEN ANOTHER TARGARYEN HEIR SHOWS UP. AND HE WITH SOME COOL, OLD GUY CALLED THE GRIFFIN. PLUS THERE BUNCH OF OF PEOPLE FROM LAST BOOK WHO SHOW UP:  STANNIS HAS REALLY NEAT IDEA TO ROUND UP THE HIGHLAND CLANS FOR HIS WAR, BUT THEN THINKS HE CAN MARCH THROUGH A BLIZZARD. ARYA GOES THROUGH THIS BLINDNESS TEST, STARTS TO GET HER WARG ON, GETS EMBRACED BY HER FACE-CHANGING CULT, AND THEN KILLS A DUDE. AND JEYNE POOL GETS A REALLY, REALLY, REALLY AWFUL COMEUPPANCE FOR PRETENDING TO BE  ARYA. PLUS SOME OTHER STUFF!

AND THAT WHY HULK REALLY FELT THIS ONE AN IMPROVEMENT OVER LAST ONE. STUFF HAPPENS! IT A LOT OF IT = SIGNIFICANT, IMPORTANT, INTERESTING, AND GOOD.

GEORGE R.R. HAPPY!

BUT…

THERE STILL THE BIG PROBLEMS…THE KIND OF PROBLEMS THAT ENSURE THAT A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE WILL ULTIMATELY JUST END UP A ZERO SUM GAME.

LET’S FACE IT FOLKS. THERE NEVER GOING TO BE A COHESIVE NARRATIVE TO THIS FUCKER. MARTIN KEEPS ARRANGING ELEMENTS WHERE WE GO “COOL! NOW THIS SET UP NARRATIVE TO ALL CLASH TOGETHER AND CREATE INTERESTING CONFLICTS.” BUT NO. THAT NOT HAPPEN. THINGS NEVER LINE UP. OUR CHARACTERS NEVER GET TO FACE THE CONFLICTS THEY SEEK. THINGS FIZZLE OUT. SOMETHING COMPLETELY RANDOM COMES IN THE WAY. AND AS RESULT ALL DRAMATIC TENSION RELEASED.

THEY STORIES SOMEHOW MANAGE TO BE COMPLETELY MYOPIC (HE SO FOCUSED ON DIVING INTO THE SCENE AT HAND THAT HE LOSE TRACK OF THE NARRATIVE STEAM HAPPENING ELSEWHERE IN THE STORY) AND YET HE ALSO AIM FOR SOME REALLY STRANGE LONG-FORM REVEALS. HULK GUESS HE JUST TRYING TO RAM HOME THE LENNON-ESQUE BELIEVE THAT “LIFE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE MAKING OTHER PLANS.” OR WAIT, WAIT. HULK GOT ANOTHER ONE THAT BETTER: “IF YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH, TELL HIM YOUR PLANS.” …OR SOMETHING… BASICALLY IF YOU EVER MAKE ANY SORT OF PLAN FOR LIFE IN THIS THINGS YOU’RE FUCKED.(6)

SO MAYBE MARTIN JUST TRYING TO PROVE THAT LIFE COMPRISED OF NOTHING BUT RANDOM, NON-STOP HORRIBLE-NESS… FINE. BUT THE WAY THESE ACCIDENTS STRUCTURED REMOVE ALL SENSE OF WEIGHT FROM THE NARRATIVE. WHICH MEAN IT NOT THAT LIFE HAS NO TRUE PURPOSE, BUT THAT THE ARC HAS NO TRUE PURPOSE. EACH EVENT IN THE STORY ULTIMATELY JUST MEANS THE SAME THING AS ANY OTHER DULL EVENT.  IT JUST LIKE THE IRISH PLAYS. BAD THINGS KEEP HAPPENING AND THEY GO ON AND ON AND ON AND THE “ENDING” SEEMS JUST AS RANDOM. KNOW WHY EVERYONE LIKE DANY SO MUCH? BECAUSE SHE A CHARACTER WITH A JOURNEY AND ARC. THAT PRETTY MUCH IT. ALMOST EVERY OTHER CHARACTER BASICALLY BEEN SLOGGING THROUGH NONSENSE FROM THE START OF THE SECOND BOOK, WITH NO REAL SENSE OF ENDING AND BEGINNING, NO PUNCTUATION MARKS… IT THE IRISH PLAYS OF FANTASY.

PICTURED: THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN... LIKE ONE PERSON WILL GET THIS REFERENCE

HERE’S WHY THAT SUCH A BIG PROBLEM: IF THIS THE GOAL OF THE BOOKS TO PROVE THAT LIFE IS A RANDOM, NON-STOP HORROR, THEN IT STILL FAILING AT EXHIBITING THAT. WHY? BECAUSE THERE STILL A WAY TO SHOW THAT NEGATIVE WORLD VIEW IN A DRAMATIC WAY. FOR EXAMPLE, THERE’S THE WIRE. WHILE THAT SHOW FAR MORE CONCERNED WITH THE CAUSE/EFFECT OF PERSONAL CHOICES AND THEIR EFFECT ON OTHERS (THESE BOOKS SEEM TO SAY IT MUCH MORE RANDOM) THE SHOW STILL EXPOSED A WORLD OF CYCLICAL INSTITUTIONAL HORRIBLE-NESS. LIKE MARTIN’S BOOKS, THERE WERE THOSE WHO WERE WELL-MEANING AND THOSE WHO WERE DESTRUCTIVE, BUT BECAUSE THE SHOW INTRINSICALLY UNDERSTOOD THE PRINCIPALS OF DRAMA, THEY MADE THE THEMES + STORY FUCKING ENTHRALLING.

NEED PROOF THESE BOOKS NO UNDERSTAND DRAMA? LET’S GET SPECIFIC. DANCE WITH DRAGONS CONFIRMS ALL THE BIG PROBLEMS IN SERIES MAY NOW JUST PLAGUE THEM FOREVER. FOR EXAMPLE… ACTUALLY… YOU KNOW WHAT?

THERE MAY BE BETTER WAY TO APPROACH THIS…

IT SEEMS LIKE A GOOD TIME FOR AN  INTERVENTION WITH GEORGE .R.R. MARTIN. WHAT YOU SAY? WE ALL CARE ABOUT HIM, RIGHT? THERE ENOUGH GOOD STUFF IN THIS SERIES THAT IT WORTH SAVING. HECK, WE ALL FEEL LIKE FRIENDS AND FAMILY HERE, HAVING GOTTEN A GOOD LOOK INTO MARTIN’S MESSED-UP PSYCHE. AND HULK THINK MR. MARTIN REDEEMABLE FOR SURE. ALL PEOPLE ARE. SO HERE GOES…

HEY GEORGE! HULK KNOW YOU STILL MAD AT HULK ABOUT THAT LAST ARTICLE. HULK SORRY. BUT HULK REALLY PROUD THAT YOU START TO TURN THINGS AROUND WITH THIS BOOK. THE PROBLEM THAT HULK  STILL WORRIED ABOUT YOU AND THE DIRECTION OF THE SERIES. SO TO ADDRESS THIS, HERE ARE SEVEN PIECES OF ADVICE:

1) STOP RESOLVING NARRATIVES SO LATE THAT NO ONE GIVES A FUCK.

WHO COULD FORGET THAT NEAR-ABSURD MOMENT IN SWORDS WHERE SUDDENLY WE TREATED TO THE REVEAL OF WHO GAVE THE DAGGER THAT WAS USED TO TRY AND KILL BRAN? IT WAS SUCH AN AMAZING “HULK COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT THAT” MOMENT, SOON FOLLOWED BY ANOTHER REVEAL OF WHO KILLED JON ARRYN. TWO MYSTERIES FROM THE FIRST BOOK, FINALLY DEALT WITH IN THE THIRD, AND DONE SO IN THE MOST UNDRAMATIC WAY POSSIBLE.  SADLY, THIS KIND OF REVEAL HAS BECOME COMPLETELY PAR FOR THIS SERIES.

FOR INSTANCE, IN THE LAST HALF OF DRAGONS, MARTIN SUDDENLY START OFFERING UP ALL THE PSEUDO-CONCLUSIONS TO THE STORIES LAID OUT IN CROWS. WHICH, YOU KNOW, COMPLETELY ROBS THEM OF ANY NARRATIVE WEIGHT SINCE THEY ARRIVE AFTER THE SENSE OF TENSION BEEN LIFTED OUT OF THEIR STORIES. REMEMBER HOW THAT BOOK CAME OUT FIVE FUCKING YEARS AGO? YEAH. CERSEI’S WALK OF SHAME WOULDA BEEN MUCH MORE RESONANT/CATHARTIC/HARROWING AFTER SUFFERING THROUGH ALL THE CRAP DECISIONS IN HER RULE. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE CLIMACTIC POINT TO A STORY THAT TOOK HUNDREDS OF PAGES TO TELL. AND THEN THERE THE MATTER THAT MOST PEOPLE FORGOT ARYA WOKE UP BLIND AT THE END OF LAST BOOK, SO IT DIDN’T MATTER HAVING IT FINALLY BE ADDRESSED. AND POOR BRIENNE, WHOSE STORY STILL UNRESOLVED AFTER THIS NEW BOOK AND WHO APPARENTLY  DOING ALL SORTS OF INTERESTED THINGS ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE NARRATIVE. UGH. AND SAMWELL? HE NOT EVEN MENTIONED. THAT OTHER GUY, DAVOS? HE GET INVOLVED IN SOME KIND OF COOL PLAN WITH MANDERLY AT WHITE HARBOR THEN PROMPTLY DISAPPEARS FROM THE BOOK. SANSA? IN CROWS WE LEFT WITH A COOL PLAN AND THE INCLINATION FOR A GRAND REVEAL, BUT IT STILL NOT EVEN CLOSE TO HAPPENING. AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CROW’S EYE? HE GOT PRETTY BAD ASS INTRO IN LAST BOOK AND HE NOT IN THIS AT ALL. THESE DECISIONS ALL DEEPLY PROBLEMATIC FOR THE DRAMA OF THE STORY.

AND GOOD GOD, THEON. THE REINTRODUCTION TO THEON ACTUALLY STARTLING AND RATHER WELL-DONE, BUT DUE TO THE LENGTH WHICH HE BEEN GONE IT END UP PUTTING READER IN REALLY WEIRD EMOTIONAL PLACE. THE SHIT WITH WINTERFELL FEEL LIKE HAPPENED SO LONG AGO THAT THERE NO LONGER ANY CONFLICTED RESENTMENT. YOU JUST BASICALLY FEEL AWFUL FOR HIM. HIS TURN-CLOAKING ON OUR BELOVED CHARACTERS HAPPENED SO LONG AGO THAT WHO GIVES  FUCK? AND LOOK, HULK TOTALLY UNDERSTAND THAT WE SUPPOSED TO FEEL AWFUL FOR HIM BECAUSE HE BEEN THROUGH HELL WITH RAMSEY, BUT DRAMATICALLY-SPEAKING WE SHOULD BE COMING AROUND ON HIM. INSTEAD, IT BEEN SO LONG THAT WE JUST INSTANTLY FEEL BAD FOR HIM RIGHT FROM THE START. IT COMPLETELY WRONG TONE. A TOTAL MISFIRE.

2) STOP TRYING TO DEFY EXPECTATIONS ALL THE TIME

AND HERE THE REAL RUB ABOUT #1, ALL THOSE NARRATIVES THAT YOU PUT ON THE BACK BURNER? MOST OF TIME THEY WILL NEVER GET ADDRESSED.

HULK GET WHY YOU TRYING TO DEFYING EXPECTATIONS ALL THE TIME. DOING SO GAVE YOU THE SIGNATURE MOMENT OF THE SERIES (NED’S MOMENT AT BAELOR), BUT YOUR INCESSANT NEED TO KEEP DOING IT WITH EVERYTHING SINGLE PLOT TOTALLY RUINING THE SERIES. KNOW WHAT MAKES DEFYING EXPECTATIONS SO GOOD? THAT IT UNEXPECTED. SO WHEN IT HAPPEN IN EVERY PLOT-LINE IT THEN BECOME, YOU KNOW, EXPECTED. WHICH BASICALLY MEAN YOU TAKE PROVERBIAL DUMP ON THE CONCEPT OF DRAMA BECAUSE WE ALREADY KNOW THINGS ARE LIKELY GOING TO GO TO SHIT AT ANY POSSIBLE SECOND. WE READ THE ENDLESS SLOG AND JUST SITTING THERE WAITING FOR THE OTHER SHOE TO DROP.

BUT INSTEAD OF WORRYING ABOUT HOW TO INJECT DRAMA, YOU WORRY ABOUT FINDING NEW WAYS TO DEFY-EXPECTATIONS WITH CHEAP MANEUVERS. LIKE IN THIS BOOK WE SUDDENLY INTRODUCED TO A NEW TARGARYEN OFFSPRING. HE DEALT WITH ECONOMICALLY AND HULK GUESS IN SOMEWHAT INTERESTING WAY TO BE INTRODUCED (SORT OF), BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN HE THE ONE WREAKING HAVOC IN WESTEROS WITH SOME OTHER GUY new CALLED THE GRIFFIN. EXPECTATION-DEFYING? SURE. BUT IT SO NEW AND NOT BUILT ON ANY SORT OF DRAMATIC FOUNDATION THAT IT HAVE NO REAL MEANING TO US… IT JUST SORT OF THIS THING THAT HAPPENING.

AND DON’T EVEN GET HULK STARTED ON FACT THAT ALL THE DRAMA HAPPEN OFF-PAGE. ROOSE BOLTON TAKES DOWN STANNIS’ HOST AND WE FIND OUT IN A LETTER (MAYBE, YET ANOTHER ONE OF THE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES OF FAKE OUTS, BUT LET US ASSUME IT TRUE). IT COMPLETE OVER-COMMITMENT TO CATCHING THE READER OFF GUARD INSTEAD OF MAKING THINGS DRAMATIC. WOULDN’T A SCENE OF BOLTON GETTING STANNIS BEEN WONDERFUL TO READ AFTER ALL THE BUILDUP? HULK FUCKING SURE OF IT. AND IT NOT LIKE MARTIN CAN’T WRITE THESE SEQUENCES (FOR A GUY WHO USES VERY LITTLE ACTION, HE ACTUALLY VERY, VERY GOOD AT WRITING ACTION). AND IT NOT EVEN NEED ACTION, JUST A TENSE MEETING.

IT THE CORE FUNDEMENTAL ASPECT OF DRAMA: SHOW DON’T FUCKING TELL. AND YET IN ORDER TO CONSTRUCT THESE LAME, BLUNT “SURPRISES” HE JUST TELLS THE MAJOR-MOMENTS OF THE STORY OFF-SCREEN AND AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. (6B) IMAGINE IF NED’S MOMENT WAS RELAYED IN A LETTER!

AND JUST SO YOU KNOW GEORGE, HULK NOT EVEN TALKING ABOUT THE TIMES YOU TRY TO SHOCKING US (THAT A LATER POINT).

SOME MAY ARGUE HULK BEING PUNY-MINDED AND NOT SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE OF HOW INGENIOUS MARTIN IS AT TELLING HIS STORY. THAT HE PLAYING HULK PERFECTLY AND HULK TOO CAUGHT UP IN CONVENTIONAL DRAMA AESTHETICS. THAT MAYBE HULK CAN JUST NO TAKE IT WHEN AUTHOR “NO DO SOMETHING HULK NO LIKE.”

SERIOUSLY? THAT WHAT YOU THINK GOING ON HERE? BULLSHIT. THESE BOOKS CONSTRUCT THE DRAMA BEYOND POORLY. END OF STORY.

3) DON’T MAKE EVERY CHAPTER EXACTLY 18-20 PAGES

THERE THIS WEIRD THING YOU DO WHERE ALMOST EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER EXACTLY 18-20 PAGES IN EVERY SINGLE BOOK. IT PRETTY BIZARRE (NOTE: IN THE HARDBACK EDITIONS WITH BIGGER PAGES IT COME OUT TO 16 OR SO, WHICH 18-20 IN THE PAPERBACKS). IT NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF AN INHERENT PROBLEM AND IT KIND OF NICE GETTING TO KNOW THE CHARACTERS BY SPENDING SO MUCH TIME WITH THEM. BUT IT DEFINITELY LEADING TO MOST OF THE STORY BLOAT GOING ON HERE. MOST OF THE TIME IT JUST SEEM LIKE YOU FILLING IN GAPS BEFORE YOU GET TO THE POINT OF CHAPTERS. SOMETIMES IT WORK OUT WELL, LIKE WITH THE TYRION CHAPTERS WHERE A LOT HAVE TO HAPPEN IN ORDER TO GET FROM POINT A TO POINT  B. BUT MOST OF THE TIME IT JUST COMPLETELY ANNOYING. THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE CERSEI CHAPTERS CAN BE 8 PAGES AT MOST. AND BETTER YET, BREAKING UP THE CHAPTERS WOULD GIVE YOU BETTER OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY WITH FORM AND TIMING A BIT. A CHANCE TO LAYER THE NARRATIVE AND ACTION IN MORE CONSTRUCTIVE WAY. IT WOULD PROBABLY ALLOW YOU TO INCLUDE THE PARTS YOU WANT TO WRAP UP TOO. SO QUIT THE O.C.D. NONSENSE AND STOP MAKING EVERY CHAPTER 18-20 PAGES BECAUSE YOU’RE RUINING THE STORY.

4) STOP DOING CLIFFHANGERS

YOU WRITE 1000 PAGE BOOKS. NOT WEEKLY SERIALS. YOU UNDERSTAND THE BASIC DIFFERENCE RIGHT? AFTER A READER SLOG THROUGH 1000 PAGES OF HEDGE NIGHT NAMES AND IN-DEPTH NIPPLE DESCRIPTION THEY DON’T WANT INCONCLUSIVE WTF GARBAGE TO CAP THE STORY. THAT STUFF WORKS AT THE END OF TRUE BLOOD. IT NOT WORK AT THE END OF YOUR HALF-DECADE-LY MINI-OPUSES. AN 1000 PAGE BOOK THAT COMES OUT EVERY 6 YEARS SHOULD, BY  SHEER REQUIREMENT, BE REGARDED AS A SINGULAR AND SATIFYING EXPERIENCE ONTO ITSELF, EVEN IT IT PART OF A LARGER STORY. THERE JUST NO SENSE IN USING A CLIFFHANGER BECAUSE YOU LOSING THE ONLY THING THAT VALUE . HULK WILL COME BACK TO A SERIES 6 YEARS LATER BECAUSE IT GOOD, NOT BECAUSE HULK WANTED TO KNOW WHATEVER THE FUCK HAPPENED TO SO AND SO.

THINK ABOUT IT.  THE BEST TV SHOWS KNOW THAT CLIFFHANGERS WORK GREAT IN WEEK-TO-WEEK EPISODES BUT COME OFF ENRAGING IN SEASON FINALES.(7) THE BEST SEASON FINALES RESOLVE THE MAIN ISSUES AT PLAY AND YET LEAVE THE VIEWER WITH A TASTE OF THE PROBLEMS TO COME IN THE NEXT YEAR. WHICH, YOU KNOW, EXACTLY WHAT YOUR AWESOME FIRST BOOK DID (AND LO AND BEHOLD IT WORKED GREAT IN THE TV SERIES). THINK ABOUT IT: IF CLIFFHANGERS WORK REALLY POORLY IN SEASON FINALES, THEY WORK EVEN WORSE IN 1000 PAGE BOOKS THAT COME OUT EVERY 6 YEARS… SO STOP IT.

5) STOP DOING PROLOGUES THAT BRING UP NEW STORY ELEMENTS THAT ARE NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN.

REMEMBER THE PROLOGUES FROM THE FIRST FEW BOOKS? THE PROLOGUE IN THRONES FANTASTIC. IT INTRODUCE THE WIGHTS AND THEN LONE SURVIVOR IMMEDIATELY KILLED BY NED, WHICH INTEGRATES THE STORY IMMEDIATELY. BETTER YET, THE SURVIVOR’S WARNING NOT HEEDED.  SO WHEN JON SNOW WENT TO THE OH-SO-DANGEROUS WALL WHILE THE REST OF THE KINGDOM SQUABBLED, IT WORKED BEAUTIFULLY IN TERMS OF DRAMA. IN A CLASH OF KINGS, WE INTRODUCED HAUNTINGLY TO STANNIS AND MELISSANDRE (WHO CARES ABOUT THE SPELLING) AND THEIR CRAZY LORD OR LIGHT FANATICISM, ALL OF WHICH MAJOR PARTS OF THE STORY. IN SWORDS WE INTRODUCED TO SOME NIGHT’S WATCHMEN PLANNING TO DESERT AND KILL SOME MAIN CHARACTERS, A PLOT WHICH LATER COMES TO CLIMAX LATER IN THE BOOK.

AND THEN FOR SOME REASON, THE PROLOGUE FOR CROWS HAVE THIS WEIRD THING ABOUT OLDTOWN AND THE MAESTERS AND A KID WHO DIES FOR SOME STRANGE REASON. THEN THE BOOK ENDS JUST BY REINTRODUCING THIS KID WHO WE GUESS ABOUT TO DIE OR BE IMPORTANT OR SOMETHING, BUT THAT LITERALLY ALL THAT HAPPEN. WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANT. AND THE THE NEXT 1000 + PAGE BOOK FOLLOWS AND IT STILL NOT ADDRESSED WHATSOEVER. AT THIS POINT HULK COULD HONESTLY CARE LESS ABOUT WHAT IT MEANT. AND LASTLY, THERE THE PROLOGUE IN DRAGONS WHERE WE INTRODUCED TO A WILDLING WE BARELY/DON’T REMEMBER, VARAMYR SIXSKINS, AND HE DIE AND GO INTO SOME WOLF BUT THIS NOT REALLY RELEVANT TO ANYTHING IN ANY WAY. AT LEAST THAT WE KNOW OF SO FAR. ONE FRIEND TRIED TELL HULK THAT IT SETTING UP WHAT HAPPENING WITH BRAN, BUT ALL THE WAYS WARGS WORK ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED. THERE NO NEW INFORMATION. SO UNLESS THE WOLVES PLOT BECAME PART OF THIS BOOK IT JUST NOT RELEVANT. MAYBE IT WILL COME BACK NEXT BOOK BUT GUESS WHAT? HULK NOT REALLY CARE BECAUSE WE LIKE 9 YEARS AWAY FROM NEXT BOOK.

SO HOW ABOUT A PROLOGUE BEING BROUGHT BACK INTO THE SAME BOOK IN AN INTEGRAL WAY?

6) STOP WITH THE OBLIGATORY SHOCK VALUE

THIS, PERHAPS, THE BIGGEST ONE. HULK KNOW THIS ISSUE TIE INTO THE DEFYING EXPECTATIONS AND CLIFFHANGER PIECES OF ADVICE, BUT THIS COMMENT VERY SPECIFIC TO YOUR COMMITMENT SHOCK. AND YES, HULK MOST DEFINITELY TALKING ABOUT THE STABBING OF JON SNOW. ON ONE HAND, YOU COULD SUPPOSE THERE SOMETHING OF MERIT TO THE ACTION. HE HAD MADE SERIES OF ONGOING UNPOPULAR DECISIONS. HE HAD INSULATED HIMSELF AND SENT HIS BEST FRIENDS AWAY. HE HAD INVITED GIANTS INTO CAMP. AND HE ALWAYS EXPLAINED HIS REASONS FOR DOING SO VERY WELL INSIDE HIS HEAD, BUT NEVER THAT WELL TO HIS MEN (YOU KNOW, THE ONES HE HAD TO CONVINCE). SO YES, THESE ARE ALL THESE CONCEPTUAL REASONS THAT YOU COULD SUPPOSE A MUTINY WOULD MAKE SENSE.

BUT IT FELT LIKE YOU ONLY WROTE THE STABBING BECAUSE A) YOU WANTED TO SHOCK US OR B) YOU’RE SO IN ON “SHOCKING US” AT THIS POINT THAT YOU FELT LIKE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO… BOTH OPTIONS HERE SUCK.

HULK MEAN, YOU COMPLETELY DESIGNED TO COME OUT OF NOWHERE, TO REPLICATED HOW IT FELT FOR JON HULK GUESS? UGH. THERE A CRUCIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A READER BEING UNAWARE AND A CHARACTER BEING UNAWARE AND HOW THOSE ARE UTILIZED MATTER EXCEPTIONALLY. AND WORSE, HULK WENT OVER HOW IT WRITTEN, LIKE, FOUR TIMES AND IT ALL VERY VAGUE.  YOU NOT EXACTLY SURE WHO DOING IT AND WHY. IT LIKE THE WHOLE THING DESIGNED TO MAKE US GO “OH NO! NOT JON!” AND NOTHING MORE. AND THIS OBVIOUSLY NOT THE FIRST SHOCK OFFENSE IN THE SERIES. THERE THE RED WEDDING (WHOSE AFTERMATH HANDLED PRETTY NICELY, BUT WHOSE BUILD-UP NON-EXISTENT). AND THEN THE DUMB FAKE-OUT KILLINGS OF ARYA, BRIENNE, ETC. LIKE THE DEFYING EXPECTATIONS, YOU SO CAUGHT UP IN TRYING TO SURPRISE THE READER COMPLETELY INSTEAD OF DRAMATIZING IT AND THEN SURPRISING US WITH A TURN.

SEE WHAT MADE THE NED STARK MOMENT SO GREAT THAT IT NOT RANDOM IN THE SLIGHTEST. THE WHOLE SCENE PLAYS OUT BEFORE US. WE HANG WITH THE MOMENTS OF TENSION. WE WONDER WILL IT/WON’T IT HAPPEN. BUT WE HAVE FAITH THAT IT WON’T, NOT BECAUSE IT NOT IMPOSSIBLE, NOT BECAUSE YOU’VE MISLED US, BUT BECAUSE WE WANT IT TO WORK OUT FOR NED. AND OUR WANTS ALWAYS WORK IN COORDINATION WITH THE ESCALATION OF CONFLICT. AND IN THE SCENARIO OF ACTUAL DRAMA THE BAD THINGS  HAPPENING BECOME A TURN, SOMETHING WE EMOTIONAL AND SAD ABOUT, BUT STILL FEELS EARNED AND RESONANT. WHAT IT NOT IS A  COMPLETE FUCKING SURPRISE.

BUT NO. INSTEAD YOU THINK THAT BECAUSE WE LOVED THE AUDACITY OF THAT NED STARK MOMENT THAT WE JUST SEEKING THE SAME HIGH. SO THE ONLY WAY TO RECAPTURE THE INTENSITY TO MAKE THE CRAZY MOMENTS OF KILLING OFF BELOVED CHARACTERS EVEN MORE EXTREME. THEY OCCUR AS COMPLETE F-ING NONSENSICAL SURPRISES AND THEN YOU JUST EXPLAIN THE HOWS LATER. IT ABSURD.

THINK ABOUT IT: WHAT IF YOU HAD THE MEN CORNER JON? IF YOU HAD THEM BUILD UP THE TENSION BEFORE THE STABBING HAPPEN? YES IT MIGHT BE LESS SURPRISING, BUT IT WILL BE DRAMATIC AND RESONANT. IT WOULD FEEL LIKE A CLIMAX OF A DRAMA YOU BUILT UP AND NOT A CHEAP SHOT.

AND REMEMBER THAT EVEN IF YOU DO IT WELL THERE STILL ONE INESCAPABLE FACT:  IF THE HORRIBLE, RANDOM THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN LIFE MAKE US NOT CARE ABOUT OUR OWN LIVES, THEN THE HORRIBLE, RANDOM THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN YOUR BOOKS ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE US CARE ABOUT YOUR BOOKS.(7B)

LASTLY, 7) OWN YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES

GEORGE R.R. MARTIN, YOU ARE THE FOLLOWING: A PLEASANT, AUDACIOUS, BEARDED FAT GUY WHO LIKES MASTERBATING TO YOUR OWN WRITING. AND THAT OKAY!. REALLY. HULK THINK EVERYONE ACCEPTED WHO YOU ARE. THEY ALSO ACCEPT THAT YOU MIGHT BE A CRUEL AND VINDICTIVE BASTARD WHO LIKE ROBBING YOUR READER OF ANY HAPPINESS. AND THAT OKAY TOO! WE CAN CHALK THIS UP TO A WORLD-VIEW IF WE HAVE TO AND DEAL WITH IT.

BUT WE WILL NOT ACCEPT YOU DEFLATING THE OVERALL STORY INTO LUKEWARM, INEFFECTUAL GARBAGE.

HULK WILL PERSONALLY NOT ACCEPT THIS.

WHY? BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE YOU ARE MR. MARTIN? A GOOD (ENOUGH) WRITER. YOU SHOWED HULK WITH DRAGONS THAT YOU DIDN’T FORGET THE CONCEPT OF NARRATIVE STEAM AND HAVING POINTS TO CHAPTERS. WE EVEN KNOW THAT YOU CAN WRITE OUTSIDE OF THE WEIRD MYOPIC-FOCUS YOU’VE HAD GOING ON THESE LAST TWO BOOKS. WE KNOW THAT BECAUSE WE REMEMBER THE FIRST BOOK IN THIS SERIES. WE REMEMBER HOW THRONES HAD A TIGHTLY WRITTEN PLOT AND STORY ECONOMY. WE REMEMBER HOW YOU DIDN’T GET BOGGED DOWN IN DIVERSIONS. WE REMEMBER HOW IT PRETTY FRIGGEN GREAT.

BUT HULK NOT SURE YOU REMEMBER. INSTEAD OF ADHERING TO THOSE INITIAL PRE-FAME PRESSURES TO DELIVER A TIGHT STORY, YOU TOOK THE EXACT WRONG LESSON FROM THE BOOK’S SUCCESS AND GOT HUNG UP ON THE TANGIBLE DETAILS THAT BECAME THE BOOK’S TALKING POINTS: THE SHOCKING PEOPLE. THE SEX.(8) THE CRUELTY. THE UNSEEN DANGERS. AGAIN, HULK KNOW THESE ELEMENTS PART OF YOUR NATRUAL INCLINATION, BUT YOU SHOWED SUCH UNDERSTANDING OF DRAMA IN THAT FIRST BOOK. YOU CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD HOW TO MAKE HULK CARE IN THE FIRST PLACE AND NOT WITH MAKING THINGS SHINY OR HAPPY, BUT WITH WRITING A GOOD STORY. AND THAT THE WRITER’S RESPONSIBILITY.

SO IT TIME TO CARE ABOUT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. HULK WILL ACCEPT THESE TWO BOOK FOR ONE UNEVEN FAILED EXPERIMENT, BUT IT TIME TO FOCUS DOWN THE STRECTH. THE CONSECRATION OF THE OVERALL NARRATIVE COMES FIRST. THE SHOCK AND INCLINATIONS MUST COME SECOND.

AND LOOK, HULK LIKE THAT YOU TAKE YOUR TIME AND NO RUSH. RUSH JOBS ARE EVIDENT AND HORRIBLE TO READ. BUT YOU TOOK SIX YEARS TO WRITE THIS BOOK AND IT STILL LITTERED WITH KIND OF STORY CONSTRUCTION PROBLEMS YOU FIND IN RUSH JOBS. SO LET’S FACE IT. THESE BOOKS ARE NOT, NOR WILL EVER BE MASTERPIECES THAT TRANSCEND THE FANTASY GENRE. NOR SHOULD THEY STRIVE TO BE, BECAUSE THEIR CORE-IDENTITY = LONG-WINDED, MASTURBATORY FANTASY BOOKS WITH SOME GOOD CHARACTERS, A NICE SENSE OF POLITICAL INTRIGUE, AND THE WILLINGNESS TO GO DARKER THAN A LOT OF COMPARATIVE FANTASY. IT GREAT THAT YOU TRIED ADD THAT REALISTIC ELEMENT, REALLY, BUT YOU NOT TRYING TO DOCUMENT THE REALITIES OF MEDIEVAL LIFE.  YOU TRYING TO WRITE EFFECTIVE FANTASY BOOKS.

YOU NOT TRYING WRITE THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL.

SO THERE.

HULK KNOW YOU WILL PROBABLY NEVER TAKE THIS ADVICE AND FIX THESE ISSUES, BUT HULK JUST THOUGHT HULK WOULD OFFER. HULK NOT WRITING THIS STUFF NOT OUT OF HATE, OR SPITE, OR BECAUSE HULK THINK YOU OWE HULK ANYTHING. HULK FULLY REALIZE HULK COULD JUST STOP READING AND THE PROBLEMS GO AWAY FOR GOOD. HULK DOING THIS BECAUSE THERE REALLY A LOT TO LIKE UNDERNEATH THE BIG PROBLEMS. AND BECAUSE MOST OF ALL, HULK WANT SEE YOU PROVE HULK WRONG AND KNOCK THE ENDING OF THIS SERIES OUT OF THE FREAKIN’ PARK.

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS PROVED TO HULK THAT YOU NOT A TERRIBLE WRITER.

BUT YOU MAY HAVE PROVED THIS WILL BE A TERRIBLE SERIES OF BOOKS.

ENDNOTES

(1) HERE’S THE LIST OF THINGS BETTER THAN A FEAST FOR CROWS: HATE CRIMES.  YOUR HARD DRIVE CRASHING.  “MY MOTHER THE CAR.”  GOUT. GOING TO THE DENTIST. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU NEVER GO TO THE DENTIST. GETTING PUNCHED IN THE KIDNEY. OJ SIMPSON. YOUR LIFE BECOMING THE SUBJECT OF A DANNY BOYLE MOVIE. EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT LOTR BOOKS. PEANUT ALLERGIES. MTV REALITY SHOWS. SEEING YOUR PARENTS DO IT. DYSENTERY. TSUNAMIS. AND WHATEVER IS THE WESTEROS EQUIVALENT OF AIDS.

(2) THAT OTHER GUY ALWAYS = DAVOS. HOPEFULLY THEY GOT A GREAT “THAT GUY” TO PLAY HIM IN THE SHOW… WAIT… HULK GOING CHECK… HOLY SHIT! THEY DID! LIAM CUNNINGHAM! SWEET!

(3) IS IT HULK OR IS PENNY WRITTEN LIKE WHATEVER THE MINSTREL VERSION OF MIDGETS IS?

(4) CAN ANYONE ELSE NEVER SPELL HER FUCKING NAME RIGHT? THAT WHY HULK GO WITH DANY.

(5) HULK MADE WEIRD COMPARISON OF DANY ON TWITTER. ANYONE ELSE WATCH ON COMMUNITY? THE TRANSITION OF BRITTA PERRY FROM WHAT WE THOUGHT SHE GOING TO BE ON THAT SHOW INTO WHAT SHE TURNED OUT TO BE WAS ONE OF MOST GLORIOUS TV COMEDY TRANSITIONS EVER. AND IT VERY SIMILAR (IN TERMS OF OUR AUDIENCE EXPECTATION) TO WHAT HAPPENED WITH DANY… BUT REALLY THE COMPARISON KINDA STOP THERE… UM… THEY BOTH BLONDE?

(6) ALSO TRUSTING PEOPLE… TRUSTING PEOPLE APPARENTLY FOR SUCKERS.

(6B) “IT’S ALMOST LIKE (S)HE GETS OFF ON BEING WITHHOLDING.” REMIND YOU OF ANYTHING?

"NEVER DO THAT AGAIN."

(7) HULK UNDERSTAND THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDIUMS AND THAT TV CAN GET AWAY WITH THINGS DIFFERENTLY. THIS TRUE AND HULK AWARE.  STATEMENT STILL STANDS.

(7B) AND YES HULK KNOW JON SNOW COULD TOTALLY BE FINE. WHICH MAKES THIS EVEN MORE POINTLESS.

(8) HULK JUST REALIZED. FOR ALL THE SEXUAL RANGE OF CRAZINESS IN THESE BOOKS IT SEEM LIKE THEIR AN UNPROPORTIONAL LACK OF BLOWJOBS. ANYONE ELSE NOTICE THIS? JUST HULK? FINE. HULK’S THE WEIRDO. HULK JUST CURIOUS WHY THE GUY WHO FANTISIZES ABOUT EVERY CONCEIVABLE SEXUAL SCENARIO HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO FANTISIZING INTEREST IN GETTING A BLOWY. IT WEIRD DAMMIT. MOVING ON!

RANDOM ENDNOTE #1: HULK REALIZE HULK BEING ASSHOLE IN THIS ARTICLE. SOMETIMES HULK DOES THAT. IT OKAY. AS LONG AS YA’LL UNDERSTAND IT NOT THE DEFAULT SETTING.

RANDOM ENDNOTE #2: HULK THINK THE ONLY REASON HULK STILL READING THESE BOOKS IS BECAUSE HULK THINK THE TV SERIES = MUCH, MUCH BETTER AND JUST WANT HAVE SENSE OF HOW THEY ADAPTING IT. PLUS IT FUN TO ANTICIPATE HOW THE SERIES GOING PLAY OUT BEFORE THEIR EYES. THE TRUTH IS A LOT OF THESE NARRATIVE PROBLEMS CAN BE ADAPTED TO TV SO, SO, SO, SO MUCH BETTER. PARTICULARLY THE AFOREMENTIONED SEX ELEMENT…