A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Spoiler-Filled Discussion

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Out Of My Vulcan Mind, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't mind if a character is nice or not, doesn't affect how fond I am of them at all. I love Ramsay, Joffrey and Roose despite them being monstrous human beings seemingly without empathy. The characters in Abrams' Star Trek are all heroes, yet I wish they'd all die in a horrific fire :lol:.

    I don't mind a character being "unlikeable" at all. Not sure when it became a problem really. Macbeth and Othello are hardly likeable in the traditional sense.

    Tyrion's ADWD chapters are weak because they're padded fat that dominates the book. Sometimes GRRM tunnels way too far in to a narrative dead-end. I love this series in large part because of the "filler" that isn't essential to the main plot, but I'd prefer more interesting filler. Tyrion's chapters weren't awful, they're well written enough. There's just too little story to justify that much time being devoted to a minor plotline.

    The first 3 books have such strong structural elements. The last 2 feel weirdly random in pacing and structure, which is in stark contrast to something like Lord of the Rings which I think is perfectly structured. People on Westeros always bring up the behind the scenes story of the Meereenese knot, or the abandoned 5 year gap but.. they're terrible non-excuses. Just because a book has to be the transition book doesn't mean it has to be padded out with lesser material. The middle part of a trilogy is frequently the most praised. The second act shouldn't be when the pacing dies.

    To use an example everybody knows, The Empire Strikes Back is the transition film with no real beginning or end. Yet, it doesn't just spend an hour meticulously showing Luke travel to Dagobah in order to fill runtime. The storytellers actually came up with interesting stuff to happen, despite the characters being put in place for the next movie.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
  2. Shakaar

    Shakaar Captain Captain

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    I don't know. I think ASOS is the best book so far, but I really don't get a lot of the criticism aimed at AFFC and ADWD. If there hadn't been such a real world gap in their releases I, like previous posters, don't think there would have been as much complaining. They ARE paced different, but that's not bad. They have different goals in mind. I think they are all about worldbuilding, especially ADWD. We see MUCH more of that area of the world than we ever have before and much of it needs setup. I for one found it fascinating.

    I also find it interesting when people complain about so much time being spent on "unimportant" or "minor" plotlines. We have not seen how this story ends. It hasn't been written yet. As such, we have NO idea whatsoever what may turn out to be important and what may not. I think such judgements have to wait until the saga is concluded. Hell, the whole concept of the ring seems kind of superfluous in The Hobbit, but we couldn't have The Lord of the Rings without it.

    And I REALLY don't get the criticism that "nothing happens" in AFFC. There's a lot of stuff going on there.
     
  3. Shurik

    Shurik Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    On my two re-reads of the first four books, AFFC was always much harder to read. I thought it was slow and kinda uneventful when I read the first time, but it only got worse on the re-reads. If I'll ever re-read this book again, I'll probably skip Brienne and Dorne chapters altogether. I fucking hate Dorne and every single useless character in this part of the story. Brienne's chapters show that war is hell, but we already know this from Arya's chapters in ACOK and ASOS. It's telling the same damn thing for the third time. We also know that Brienne's quest is entirely pointless because Sansa is in Eyrie, so all of her chapters exist to basically just make her suffer and get disfigured and executed (sort of) in the end. All we learn from her chapters is that Sandor is probably alive.

    I really liked ADWD chapters that were set in Westeros, except Dorne and Jon Conninghton. All the Essos chapters just kill whatever momentum the book develops. There's Quentyn, the single most pointless character in the books, even more than that idiot Kingsguard from AFFC. Aegon exists only because Martin has no idea how to bring Daenerys to Westeros, so Aegon does what Daenerys should've done a long time ago. I guess it's much easier to invent a new character (or "resurrect" in Aegon's and Connighton's case) than untie the Meereenese knot. And then there are Tyrion's chapters where he either admires the local flora and fauna or gets abused. And finally, Daenerys - 12 or so chapters of her being a stupid teen, destroying any development she had in previous books. Her last chapter is so disgusting I'd like to "unread" it, if it were possible.
     
  4. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You didn't even like the Doran twist at the end of AFFC?
     
  5. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's not that Martin can't figure out HOW to get Dany to Westeros, it's that (most likely) he realized that the dragons he gave her are too much of a game-breaker and would make it too easy to conquer Westeros with. He has to keep her away to keep the series from ending too fast.
     
  6. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    I don't mind AFFC but I do find large parts of it oddly forgettable, something I can't say about any of the other books. There are some fantastic parts of AFFC, the prologue, the Cersei chapters, and the Arya chapters immediately spring to mind. But the Dorne chapters and the Iron Isle chapters left me cold. I much more enjoyed the Victarion chapters in ADFD.
     
  7. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Double post. See below.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
  8. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    Another bloodbath that wipes out half the bloated cast would be very nice at this point.
     
  9. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Quentyn isn't pointless. We can debate whether he's worth four POV chapters, but his role in the narrative is vital in a couple different respects.

    Aegon has been foreshadowed since A Clash of Kings; he's not a last-minute invention or a response to the structural issues in books three, four, and five. Daenerys is taking forever to get to Westeros for the same reason it took Sansa forever to do anything but get abused and cry about it, or Arya forever to do anything but get abused and seethe over it: because the narrative bloat around other characters turned one book's worth of near-stasis into two or three.

    I know most people love A Storm of Swords, but I think structurally speaking it's as flawed as the two later books, and is easily the worst in the series for coincidence and contrivance in service to the plot. A fast-paced ending doesn't make up for Arya and early Jaime chapters that are much worse than the Brienne stuff from Feast for telling us things we already know about the horrors of war, or Davos chapters that amount to him sitting in a cell and being told the plot. It's usually suggested that the problem with the series was Martin abandoning the five-year gap, but the bigger mistake was inventing it in the first place when he restructured the series while writing A Clash of Kings. If book three had ended where the first book in the original plan for a trilogy did, with the Red Wedding, it would have been easier to move some of the setup elements from Feast and Dance alongside the eventful stuff from the last three hundred pages of Storm; it's all basically simultaneous anyway. Storm wouldn't be as much a fan favorite in that case, but the series as a whole would probably be a lot less messy.
     
  10. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Since when has he ever said the Red Wedding was originally meant to be the climax of the first book? I started reading these books 12 years ago and I've never heard that. As I recall, the original plan for a trilogy would have had the events of books 2 and 3 as one book, and everything that followed as the last. While writing, book 2 got too big so he split it into ACoK and ASoS, which necessitated splitting the final book into 2 also, then while writing book 4(of 5 at the time) he dropped the gap and it became 7.
     
  11. Shurik

    Shurik Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As I see it, the entire point of all the Dornish chapter was this twist. It wasn't really necessary to arrive at this point through 3 POV characters and 10 or so chapters of nothing of consequence happening to characters we never knew and don't care about.

    Indeed.
     
  12. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd say it's the best paced of the series. Every POV character gets lots of interesting stuff.
     
  13. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    The point of the early Jaime chapters is not telling us about the horrors of war, it's the character development of Jaime. Brienne's AFFC stuff is a mix of that and Martin's view of war's aftermath.
    Aegon isn't a sudden invention. He's the "mummer's dragon" prophesied in A Clash of Kings when Dany visits the House of the Undying.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
  14. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed. I quite liked that addition. I just wish all the plots in ADWD were as interesting. Jon Connington and Aegon managed to sail across the narrow sea between a couple chapters. It took Victarion the whole book, and quite a few other characters seemed to spend most of their time on their way somewhere rather than actually doing much.
     
  15. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    The Ironborn are the major addition to the franchise that I think Martin overindulges in, but he seems to really like them, moreso than I do.

    Really, in terms of AFFC/ADWD, the POVs can be loosely divided into those characters whose stories really necessitated the scrapping of the five-year gap, and those characters whose stories would have accommodated it just fine.

    In the latter category would go Jon and Dany, especially, as well as arguably Cersei, and characters like Stannis who are not POVs but depicted in other POVs. Those characters are dealing with very immediate threats and/or engaged in active rule. Cersei is going nuts (or more nuts than she already was) and destroying the Lannister regime; Jon and Dany are trying their hand at real sustained leadership, which is harder than it looks (particularly in Dany's case, where her story shows how she was good at inspiring people and conquering, but had no idea how to deal with the aftermath).

    Then you have characters who could easily have skipped five years and updated us on what had happened to them in the intervening space. All of the Stark kids fall into this category, for instance, and so their chapter counts tend to be fairly low -- except Arya, and Martin has gone on record as saying he just really likes writing about Arya in Braavos. I'm not really sure that her greater chapter count tells us that much more than "Alayne" or Bran's 3/4, though. Tyrion also falls into that category -- his chapters are really the ones that could be most easily trimmed.

    Then I guess you have a third category, groups of POVs that serve to introduce new settings and characters. And earlier poster is correct that, strictly from a plot perspective, you didn't really need that many Dornish chapters; but the goal there was to introduce the Dornish setting and characters are really get a feel for them. Same with the Ironborn.
     
  16. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks I like the Beats and the Shouting Premium Member

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    I'm about halfway through A Feast for Crows and I'm really enjoying it. What I really like about it is, it's basically about the women of the story. How each is fighting for their place in the world.
     
  17. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Loving the A Feast or Crows praise in this thread as it gets shit on by pretty much everybody on forums I visit elsewhere. My favourites in the book are the Arya and Sansa chapters, with both suffering severe emotional traumas and identity crises.

    Better than reading Dany dick around in Meereen with a bunch of completely interchangeable characters that merge together in my mind.

    I just finished Melisandre's POV in ADWD, it's my favourite chapter so far along with Asha's and Reek's chapters. These have all been brilliant, and I'm even starting to enjoy Tyrion's. Meereen is just too much though. I described it as "Dune Messiah written by an amateur" when explaining it to a friend. I stand by that.

    Next chapter is a Reek, followed by a Bran. Fuck yeah!
     
  18. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    I prefer to call The Ironborn... The Flop Vikings.
     
  19. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I like the Ironborn. Asha, Victarion, Euron and Theon are all great characters.
     
  20. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    Theon and Asha are very strong characters (in Asha's case, her later chapters are more about POV into Stannis' camp). Victarion is amusingly meatheaded, but I think he was a bit overused.

    But then, one of the issues with a lot of the POVs in AFFC and especially in ADWD is that Martin needs to make each POV substantive enough to feel like a little story in its own right, despite that there's not necessarily a huge amount actually going on (the exception being Jaime's one chapter in ADWD, but that's essentially just a postscript to his much lengthier participation in AFFC). A lot of the travelogue stuff in some POVs (Sam, Davos, Tyrion) probably comes partly from that. Like, in Sam's POV, all he really does is go from the Wall to Oldtown. Theoretically that could just be 2-3 chapters, rather than 5.