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One of the many questions writers, particularly successful writers, are asked is “When do you find time to write?”

A seemingly reasonable question. We all have busy lives. If you’re not born an independently rich dilettante, you most likely have a #dayjob to pay the bills. It is exhausting to work all day and then come home and write all night. Or get up at dawn and write before going to work.

Yet, we all found the time to go see Infinity Wars, or binge watch eight seasons of Game of Thrones so we could then watch the infinitely disappointing eighth and final season. Or spend two hours a day playing candy crush on our phones. Or do what I did for a long time, play World of Warcraft or some other video game to the exclusion of everything else.

For me, my work schedule is just odd enough that it could provide both the free time to write or be enough of a hindrance to finding time. My office is 24/7 and I usually work a mid-shift, meaning I work at noonish until the early evening most days.

It would be easy for me to say “Ugh, there’s no time when I get home at 9pm or 930pm to start writing. I’m too tired!” And yeah, that’s pretty much true. But just look at all of that time in the morning!

I mean, even if I stay up until midnight, which mostly I do except on the nights when I stay up until 2am watching all three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale that just dropped last night, and I’m not saying that I did, even though I totally did…I’m just saying that…ooooh look a trailer! Shiny!

 

Wait…Where was I?

Oh yeah, even if I stay up late, I can still wake up at 8am or 9am, get 8 hours of sleep or so and still have 1-2 hours available to make coffee and write before I have to start getting ready for work.

And today as tired as I was, I did get up and work on my novel a bit despite staying up until 2am to watch all three episodes The Handmaid’s Tale. (Thankfully, they didn’t drop all episodes at once!)

Even after writing, I had time to play a Facebook game, Toon Blast on my phone, watch the news, and prepare lunch before I had to take a shower and go to work.

The one thing I’ve learned through this process is the time is there. You just have to be disciplined enough to keep yourself focused enough so you finish. Focus and discipline are not my greatest strengths. I admit that. And yet, I’ve completed my shitty first draft and am I deep into my very first novel re-write. It can be done, even by the most distractable person. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

I’ll let you know when I get there.

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Tonight is it. The last episode of Game of Thrones. It has been one heck of a wild ride. Eight seasons, 72 episodes and only the gods, both old gods and new, know how many hours.

All I have to say is that it has been a shame that GRRM didn’t finish the books in time for the two Ds to finish up the series. They are clearly just rushing to burn the whole thing down and finish up their work so they can move on to wreaking havoc in the Star Wars franchise.

I have no idea how they are going to wrap up what happened last week in one episode. Whether it is 60 minutes, 80 minutes, or 90 minutes, the task they have in front of them is immense. And from what I’ve seen this season, I’m not sure they are up to the task.

As a writer, I know how difficult it is to tie up loose threads and bring a story to a satisfying conclusion. I do. And I’ve not written anything as complicated or intense as GOT. This season was always going to be a daunting task, especially since the source material is incomplete. Even if GRRM shared his thoughts and plans for the books with them and they based their story on those notes, I don’t see how they can leave the audience with anything other than an unsatisfactory conclusion.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with Dany going all mad-queen and burning everything to the ground on us. I think given that she’s a Targaryen and has had a difficult rise to power, it is all too believable. My problem is that is not the ride we have been taken on for the seven previous seasons. For seven seasons, she has been:

Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lady of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, Lady of Dragonstone, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.

She freed the unsullied, freed the slaves in Mereen, broke their chains, and won their loyalty by standing up for the downtrodden, innocent, and powerless. That is an honorable and powerful list of accomplishments and titles.

And now she’s the Crazed Killer of the Innocents? Fire Queen of the Westeros, and Destroyer of King’s Landing?

I do not buy it.

Like I said, I could buy that she could snap and turn into the mad-queen. There were hints enough in the book that she could head in that direction. The problem I have is that the creators of the show did not do the deep-dive into her psyche to make it believable. She has stood as a paragon of leadership for seven seasons. And the rush to the mad-queen feels just that, rushed. Moping around Winterfell for two episodes because nobody loves her is just not enough.

The fans of the show, both the readers of the books and casual viewers, have lived through seven seasons of betrayal, death, war, rape, madness, and cruelty. The characters, both protagonists and antagonists, have been complex and layered. And the story has been compelling. Yes, it is a grim-dark tale that could go bad, absolutely. This has not been a hero’s tale of overcoming all odds to defeat evil. Evil has won at almost every turn.

Nonetheless, throughout the books, and the show, there was the promise of something better. The promise of Azor Ahai, the Lightbringer, who will arise to fight against the darkness.

“There will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him.”

So, I don’t think it unreasonable that fans of the show would hope for a hero’s ending.

They defeated the darkness of the frozen north with the help of Dany and her dragons. And Arya. Gods love Arya! The White Walkers are finally, and hopefully, forever defeated. Now all they needed to do was rally support to defeat evil in the hearts of men, (and women), to come together and truly unite the seven kingdoms.

And maybe that’s the problem. The evil in the hearts of men can never truly be defeated. It will always be there. I guess I had hoped that in the fantasy world at least, they could overcome it enough to keep it at bay, to push back the tides of fear, distrust, and hate.

It is clear that this is not a hero’s story. Possibly never was. At this point, to try to create a happy ending out of the ashes of King’s Landing will feel false, and to end with the Mad-Queen on the Iron Throne will not have been worth the investment of time the fans have sacrificed.

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