Monthly Archives: April 2016

Is George R.R. Martin Rewriting The Winds of Winter?

HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Panel And Q&A - Comic-Con International 2014

By Jake Sweltz

Waiting for George R.R. Martin to finish writing The Winds of Winter has begun to feel a bit like waiting for Tiger Woods to return to pro golf dominance.  At first we assumed it was only a matter of time, but time has a way of eating away at inspiration.

Confession: I’ve never met GRRM IRL.  I’ve never even read any of his books.  But I have a depressing theory about why he’s taking so long with The Winds of Winter.

I’m worried that since everyone sniffed out the whole “R + L = J” thing*, Martin might have been tempted to change the direction of the narrative.  I’m worried that he’s decided to tamper with his vision in order to stay ahead of his fans.

*For the uninitiated, “R + L = J” is a widely accepted theory explaining and predicting a number of important plot points relating to A Song of Ice and Fire.

This might partly explain the long delay.  Maybe he scrapped certain portions of the story and started from scratch after realizing that hordes of voracious readers had not only solved the mystery of Jon’s parentage, but had actually projected his endgame for the entire series.

With its upcoming season, HBO’s Game of Thrones will finally eclipse A Song of Ice and Fire as the primary medium through which Martin’s story is unfolding.  That is remarkable.  Think about it: this is a saga that started in one century as a fringe-genre book series and will finish in another as a mega-popular television phenomenon.  As far as cultural events go, that’s total solar eclipse-level.  We’ve never seen anything like it.

Part of the show’s success has been its fans’ unwavering trust in the storytellers’ ability to tell the story.  I don’t want to see that beautifully constructed story mangled just because we kind-of-sort-of already figured it out.  As a writer, GRRM has always had an inclination toward devastating plot twists.  Compromising his original vision in the name of surprise would be the most tragic of all.

A Well Respected Man: How Randy Wittman Got Fired and Still Won

Wittman

By Jake Sweltz

Once upon a time, Randy Wittman was an NBA punchline.  A year and a half ago, before he unleashed Paul Pierce at power forward and won a playoff series, Wittman had come to symbolize Washington’s stubborn commitment to goodness over greatness.  Man, that backcourt is something special, but they need a real coach! 

Fast forward to April 14, 2016.  The Wizards finally announce they’ve dismissed head coach Randy Wittman.  The move was expected for weeks; Beal’s been hurt, the team has looked disinterested, and in any case, management wants to hire Scotty Brooks in a feeble attempt to lure KD to D.C.  Everyone agrees Wittman is basically a scape goat for a lost season rather than a mediocre coach who probably should have been canned two years earlier.  In the meantime, Randy racked up enough wins to become (statistically) one of the “most successful coaches in Wizards history.”

I’d say that’s a pretty favorable development for the Wittman narrative.  And he deserves it!  Sure, he was never going to be Phil Jackson, but he established a coherent (if somewhat conservative) culture and style of play in Wizard world.  As Wall developed and Beal struggled with injuries, Wittman dutifully steered the ship.  He whipped the team into good enough shape for the media to start complaining that he wasn’t “elite” enough to lead them in the playoffs, and pretty soon he was popping up on Vine (which, unless you’re Jay Wright, is never a good look for a basketball coach).

Beating Toronto last year helped a bit, but the rap on Wittman had always been that he was out of his depth.  That’s probably as true today as it ever was, but this listless Wizards season has shifted the blame for Washington’s dysfunction way beyond Wittman.

Go figure that after his worst season in three years, Randy’s rep might actually be in better shape than ever.