Wednesday, August 02, 2017

How Long Has This Been Going On?

The A.V. Club review of the latest Game Of Thrones episode asks a question:

For all of its mysteries and prophecies and fan-theory-inspiring teases, my central question for the show is less "who is the Prince Who Was Promised" and more "how are the events being depicted mapped onto linear time?"

This is a question many fans are asking.  Too bad it's a stupid question.

Years ago I was in a bookstore (remember those?) and looked at one of the books in the series.  The first (actually only) thing I read was a note from George R. R. Martin admitting that the timelines of various chapters can't be expected to match up, so don't worry about it.

So there it is.  Even in the books it's admitted that some things happen quickly while others take months or years.  So stop worrying--it's how the story works.  What matters are characters, their motivations and a clear plotline.

GOT isn't the only program with this problem.  Any show with numerous characters spread out over a large area (Lost comes to mind) will have timeline problems if you look too closely.

But even accepting this, some people are too picky.  They'll ask where's Arya while all this is happening?  How do armies march hither and yon while Samwell Tarly cures one guy?  How did Euron get a thousand ships?

Well, it's not that hard to explain.  Arya has magical powers, but not of locomotion.  It took her months, presumably, to get to the Frey's.  She was there for a while--though perhaps not that long.  Then she took to the road.  She was traveling in one direction but then changed her mind.  Now we don't know where she is, but she could be spending months and months on these travels, even assuming she's not having any adventures along the way. (Same with the lengthy travels of Jon Snow and Davos, by the way--while they were going over land then taking a glorified rowboat to Dragonstone, the Unsullied were sailing around the continent.)

As for Sam, we don't know how long he spent at the Citadel cleaning bedpans before he met Jorah.  It could have been months and months. (I'm going to keep using that phrase.) And then the cure didn't happen immediately. Cutting off the greyscale might have taken up on painful night, but that could have been followed by months and months of applying unguents until there was a complete cure.

Euron's acquisition of a huge fleet is the trickiest to explain, perhaps, but not impossible.  The main Iron Island fleet was stolen, but did Yara take everything?  These are a seafaring people, so I can imagine there were still a hundred or so merchant or martial ships still around which Euron commandeered. And then, specializing in shipbuilding, they could have built hundreds more (they had little else to do) over a period of time--maybe months and months, maybe a couple years (the time it took for Yara to sail to Slavers Bay, get in good with Dany, and sail back to Westeros).

Also, once he has a few hundred ships, Euron and his men, already well-trained on the seas, could sail around and take hundreds of other ships in raids.  So what's the big deal?

As they sing in the MST3K theme song:

If you're wondering how he eats and breathes
And other science facts,
Just repeat to yourself "It's just a show,
I should really just relax."*

*I can relax about plot timelines, but not about lyrics.  Too many uses of "just."


Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Wait until those people get hold of Harry Potter.

4:18 AM, August 03, 2017  
Blogger New England Guy said...

The timeline in Othello actually makes no sense either. The key is that it can't be something you notice too obviously while in the midst of the story.

4:19 AM, August 05, 2017  

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