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Old July 14 2013, 03:05 PM   #1786
Brendan Moody
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Here, for the curious, is the interview with Martin's editor, Anne Groell, in which she discusses cutting off the endings:
SS: One last question. I understand that George wrote more material than could physically fit in A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Some of it will likely make its way to the next novel, THE WINDS OF WINTER. As his editor, how much say did you have in what stayed and what had to be pushed into the next book?
AG: Well… Probably more say that he would have liked…though many of the choices were his as well. Finishing this book where he absolutely wanted to end it would have taken probably another year and more pages than could be realistically bound between two covers. And so much great stuff had happened already that no one, I felt, could be unsatisfied by the developments. So he voluntarily pulled one big sequence out of the book. I lobbied for another…and it came out, too. People may hold me to blame for this, but I still think it was the right choice. The book is so big and complex and rich and wonderful that adding these two sequences would not have made it any better than it already its.
Based on what he had already written, the two big sequences are almost certainly the battles at Meereen and Winterfell. No book is so "big and complex and rich and wonderful" that you can lop off the ending and expect it to work. And, even without some (justified) cutting, there are ways around page count limits, if you value quality above maximum profit.

Actually, there's only one book with two audio versions, A Feast for Crows, and both readers are British: John Lee and Roy Dotrice. Dotrice did books 1-3 and 5, but was unavailable when Feast was recorded, so Lee was brought in. Fans generally seem to have preferred Dotrice (who was also on Martin's TV series Beauty and the Beast, and played Hallyne in season two of Game of Thrones after illness prevented him from playing Pycelle), and eventually Feast was rerecorded with him. Personally, I wasn't wild about either of them, but preferred Lee. Dotrice is more of a performer, doing voices and animated line readings, but he's not always a clear and polished reader, which Lee definitely was.
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Old July 14 2013, 03:25 PM   #1787
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Brendan Moody wrote: View Post
Actually, there's only one book with two audio versions, A Feast for Crows, and both readers are British: John Lee and Roy Dotrice. Dotrice did books 1-3 and 5, but was unavailable when Feast was recorded, so Lee was brought in. Fans generally seem to have preferred Dotrice (who was also on Martin's TV series Beauty and the Beast, and played Hallyne in season two of Game of Thrones after illness prevented him from playing Pycelle), and eventually Feast was rerecorded with him. Personally, I wasn't wild about either of them, but preferred Lee. Dotrice is more of a performer, doing voices and animated line readings, but he's not always a clear and polished reader, which Lee definitely was.
Um, the first three books also have audiobooks read by an American named Roy Avers in addition to Roy Dotrice.
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Old July 14 2013, 03:29 PM   #1788
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Dotrice is the fan favourite it seems, but I also have access to a recording by an American called Roy Avers. Here he is doing A Storm of Swords.

I actually prefer Avers as he seems less detached and more involved, even if it is kinda goofy at times. I'm not big on Dotrice's voice, which seems to be a major fan blasphemy.

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Old July 14 2013, 03:29 PM   #1789
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Huh...never knew that anyone other than Dotrice did these.

I got all of his readings of all the books and went through them last year on audio CD. In retrospect, I wish I had got them in Audible format, as every single disc had problems reading the final outer tracks. They started skipping and being generally unusable. I tried them on multiple players and multiple computers and every disc of all 5 books had problems. Don't know if anyone else had this problem, but it was definitely an expensive mistake for me to have made. I'll probably go back and get the Audible versions so I can hear what I missed the first time around.
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Old July 14 2013, 03:33 PM   #1790
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Ah. The Avers versions (which don't seem to have many fans either) are library-produced talking books for the visually impaired rather than traditional retail audiobooks, which is why I hadn't heard of them. As such, they don't seem to be legally available to general readers, though I see they've shown up on torrent sites.

I don't mind Dotrice's voice when he's doing male characters close to his own age, but his attempts to do, say, Daenerys... oh my. I don't enjoy that style of audiobook at the best of times, and Dotrice is not the best at that.
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Old July 14 2013, 03:44 PM   #1791
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Usually not an audiobook man myself as I'm always flicking back through pages when it comes to epic fantasy, but I plan on doing a fair bit of running and long walks this summer now the weather has picked up. I can't think of a better companion than ASOIAF.
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Old July 14 2013, 05:15 PM   #1792
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Theon's story. Up there with the best of GRRM's writing.
Agreed. My favorite part of ADWD.
Bran's chapters, I just wish we'd gotten a greater amount. More happened in his 3 chapters than in all 10 of Dany's or 12 of Tyrion's.
I'm not a big fan of this particular story line, but at least Bran got to wherever he was going and stuff happened in his chapters.
- More Melisandre than before. I heart that red bitch so damn much, was great to get a POV.

- Davos's chapters. Wonderfully atmospheric, wish he hadn't vanished from the second half of the book like Bran did.
Agreed. More chapters of Stannis' people would be great.
Victarion Greyjoy is a slowly becoming a favourite POV of mine. Absolute psycho, in the most hilarious way. I hope he manages to bag himself a dragon and get his vengeance on Euron.
I love Ironborn. There should be more of them and I hope they'll be on the winning side in the end of the story.
Quentyn Martell. I found it tragically funny and nihilistic that I had to read a virginal loser travelling all that way, just to get horrifically killed.
I hated those chapters. Those were the chapters that should've been cut in order to put the battle of Winterfell or the batle of Mereen in ADWD, instead of pushing both to the next book.
Dany's final 2 chapters were far superior to her earlier ones and genuinely gripping.
You mean, including the one where Martin describes in great detail how she shits herself? I want to "unread" it, so that the images would disappear from my mind.
The pacing. A huge chunk of this book contains nothing of interest happening in Essos/Slaver's Bay, causing the storytelling momentum to completely die.

- Everybody in Slaver's Bay acts the same and has a similar name. It makes the chapters an incredibly trying read.
So you had more or less the same problem I had with this book.
George ran out of space for the two battles which the entire book had been leading up to because he gave us an insane amount of pointless chapters. It'd be like if in A Clash of Kings he had to cut the Battle of Blackwater because he'd given 10 POV chapters to Hot Pie. A ludicrous misjudgment of pacing and audience patience.
He should change the editor ASAP, but it will never happen. It was his most successful book to date and he will not change anything about the next one, whenever it comes. If anything, I expect things to get worse.
He should change the editor to someone who will not be afraid to tell him that several hundred pages of unreadable crap (like Essos/Slaver's Bay stuff in this book) is bad.
Too many fake deaths, to the point it became repetitive. Though the real death of Kevan was surprisingly powerful and classic GRRM melancholia.
Yeah, it's repetitive and predictable. Seriously, does anyone here believe that Jon Snow or Stannis are dead? Kevan's and Pycelle's deaths were great and I hope they don't get resurrected by some plot magic in the next book.
Daario, go suck a dick.
I would say he should die horribly and be never ever mentioned again. Fuck him, Essos, Slaver's Bay and all those Zzzaaaknizz-mo-Blablazznizzes.
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Old July 14 2013, 05:44 PM   #1793
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Shurik wrote: View Post
I'm not a big fan of this particular story line, but at least Bran got to wherever he was going and stuff happened in his chapters.
I always enjoy Bran's chapters because we explore the magical side of the series, and we get to experience what it's like to warg in to wolf. One of the most interesting POVs.

I hated those chapters. Those were the chapters that should've been cut in order to put the battle of Winterfell or the batle of Mereen in ADWD, instead of pushing both to the next book.
I think Quentyn might be an important reason the Dornish people turn on Dany and decide to join Aegon. Either way, I found his encounter with the dragons to be more interesting than anything Tyrion did throughout his twelve chapters. Even that time he watched some turtles.

You mean, including the one where Martin describes in great detail how she shits herself?
Yeah, I thought it was very well-written and had a point to it. Which a huge chunk of Dany's pre-Drogon's return chapters didn't have.

He should change the editor ASAP, but it will never happen. It was his most successful book to date and he will not change anything about the next one, whenever it comes. If anything, I expect things to get worse.
Weirdly, the majority of fans/readers agree ADWD had huge pacing problems... but none of the critics on release seemed to mention this. Instead, saying it was possibly GRRM's best novel to date. I think they were trying to make up for ignoring his works before the HBO show aired because there's no way ADWD is of ASoS quality. I'm convinced GRRM will have read those reviews and not take on board the criticism of fans, as their opinions are not paid for.

He should change the editor to someone who will not be afraid to tell him that several hundred pages of unreadable crap (like Essos/Slaver's Bay stuff in this book) is bad.
I don't think it was that bad an idea, there was just way too much of it. The overall Meereen plot is a good idea and I like all the plot developments. They just come ridiculously slowly and the majority of the time, nothing is happening. Things do pick up once Selmy takes centre stage though. He had some good sequences.

Yeah, it's repetitive and predictable. Seriously, does anyone here believe that Jon Snow or Stannis are dead?
ASOIAF has this weird reputation in the media for killing off fan-favourite characters, which is weird as that doesn't seem to have been the case at all from my point of view. Eddard is the only arguable fan favourite that has died. Robb was nobody's favourite as he was barely in it, a huge chunk of fans fucking hate Catelyn, and it's not like Tywin and Joffrey were fan favourites. Unless I'm forgetting somebody important, those are the only major deaths in the series? I doubt anybody shed tears for Pycelle.

I suppose at a push Oberyn could count, but I think he only became a beloved character to me a few pages before he died.
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Old July 14 2013, 06:09 PM   #1794
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Either way, I found his encounter with the dragons to be more interesting than anything Tyrion did throughout his twelve chapters. Even that time he watched some turtles.
Well, when you put it like this ...
I don't think it was that bad an idea, there was just way too much of it. The overall Meereen plot is a good idea and I like all the plot developments. They just come ridiculously slowly and the majority of the time, nothing is happening. Things do pick up once Selmy takes centre stage though. He had some good sequences.
It's an OK-ish idea - to show that she's after all a 16 y.o. teenager who doesn't know much about anything - with bad execution. Basically, she decides to play Civilization with real life city, without thinking about the consequences of her actions, and predictably fucks up epically in the process.
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Old July 14 2013, 06:20 PM   #1795
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

I like the Meereen plot because it reminds me a lot of my liberal friends' ideals. It's a typical white fantasy of somebody from a "more civilised" country going to intervene with a bunch of brown people's long established customs to make them more politically correct and supposedly lift them up.

Of course it's a terrible idea, as slavery was the one thing keeping Slaver's Bay together and stopping everybody from eating each other. She completely fucks up the established order to the point that the place is now much more of a mess than ever before. Dany is going to go to Westeros having experimented on brown people before she can "move up" to rule white people, where her consequences will actually count to her. She really is quite a nasty character, and I see her as more of a villain. I think she's in for a nasty shock when the people of Westeros see her as a horrifying terror threat and not their messiah.

Meereen was a great, hugely interesting idea.... botched by its execution. If it was cut down to 5 chapters that were spread out throughout the book, nobody would be complaining.
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Old July 15 2013, 01:13 AM   #1796
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

I really like the idea behind the Meereen chapters in Dance for the reasons DalekJim lays out-- they subvert the fantasy trope, make Daenerys a more credible and morally ambiguous character, and offer some striking real-world parallels. But the execution... I don't think it's a coincidence that Dany and Tyrion, whose paths are going to cross eventually, are the two whose stories have the worst pace across Feast and Dance. Meereen, unlike the Wall and King's Landing, doesn't have enough going on politically to justify a ten-chapter arc, especially since Martin refuses to show the Meereenese perspective directly. I like the last Dany chapter-- diarrhea aside, it's a psychological crux for the character, and one that underlines just how unclear her ultimate fate is. I think people expecting the old-dynasy-triumphs resolution from the fantasy cliche handbook are in for a surprise.

Several professional reviews did complain about the pace: The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Time (not Lev Grossman's review, which I'm sure was fawning, but James Poniewozik).

Robb is more popular than his page count (or complexity as a character) would suggest, but I don't think Martin's reputation is for killing off fan favorites so much as for killing off important characters, especially (nominal) heroes. And even that is in the context of epic fantasy, which is pretty bad about never killing anybody over multiple books of endless peril. He doesn't really kill off a lot of characters by general fiction standards.
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Old July 15 2013, 01:33 AM   #1797
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

It's a typical white fantasy of somebody from a "more civilised" country going to intervene with a bunch of brown people's long established customs to make them more politically correct and supposedly lift them up.
On one hand - it is a fantasy and trying to implement it ends in disaster in 99.9% of the cases. On the other hand - I kinda can understand her decision to free every slave she sees because she was sold to some barbarian horse lord for a promise of an army, so it's personal. But she has advisers who, AFAIR, told her to get the hell out of that area and head for Westeros, and she didn't want to listen to anyone. IMO, she's just one of the crazy Targaryens.
She really is quite a nasty character, and I see her as more of a villain. I think she's in for a nasty shock when the people of Westeros see her as a horrifying terror threat and not their messiah.
I don't think she will ever get to Westeros. I think she will remain in Essos and build her own version of Valyrian State or whatever it was called. There is nothing waiting for her in Westeros, especially after the Aegon's reveal.

I wonder how Martin sees her - as a fantasy princess, misguided teenager or kind of a villain? If it's the first - expect the series ending with her riding her dragons and defeating the Others, which is probably my least favorite possible outcome of the series. If it's the other possibilities - she will continue to suffer and bring chaos to the world, until she understands that she's wrong or someone kills her and we will continue to read another 20 chapters of her doing nothing.
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Old July 15 2013, 03:28 AM   #1798
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Shurik wrote: View Post
I don't think she will ever get to Westeros. I think she will remain in Essos and build her own version of Valyrian State or whatever it was called. There is nothing waiting for her in Westeros, especially after the Aegon's reveal.
Everything that's ever been said about the series indicates she will go to Westeros. Aegon is just one of the obstacles she'll face when she gets there.
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Old July 15 2013, 04:02 AM   #1799
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

She has dragons and Aegon (legitimate or not) does not. It is pretty easy to tell who the loyalists would be more likely to flock to.
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Old July 15 2013, 04:38 AM   #1800
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Re: A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

I wonder if the idea of Dany and her dragons [with Jon riding alongside, perhaps] vanquishing the White Walkers is just too obvious an ending, given GRRM's love for subverting tropes... but how else is it going to happen in-world? Unless Mel can turn Jon into the flaming messiah and have him do it alone?

I wonder how the fans would like it if the Walkers win and simply slaughter everyone, THE END.
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