Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Out Of My Vulcan Mind, Apr 21, 2011.
All we really see of him at Tourneys is him losing and joking about it.
No one ever said he was the best. Everyone has their off days.
So, I finished A Dance With Dragons.
- Theon's story. Up there with the best of GRRM's writing.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tormund's constant knob jokes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Moqorro was a great addition.
- King's Landing stuff was all excellent.
- Dany's final 2 chapters were far superior to her earlier ones and genuinely gripping.
- Barristan Selmy was a great POV.
- 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.
- 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.
- Too many fake deaths, to the point it became repetitive. Though the real death of Kevan was surprisingly powerful and classic GRRM melancholia.
- Daario, go suck a dick.
It was a well-written book for the most part, but the pacing makes it underwhelming compared to the more consistent first 4 books. With the Essos chapters condensed to a more sane length, I'd rank it as about equal to A Feast For Crows maybe but the sometimes excruciating tedium of Meereen means this ranks as the weakest ASOIAF has to offer. Though as this is probably my favourite series of books I've read, that isn't saying much. Still better than 90% of the stuff out there. Just hope GRRM's editor makes a better stand next time.
Seriously. It's easily the biggest structural flaw in the series to date. That Martin had to skip around the battle at Winterfell to get to the end of Jon's story really underlines what a mess the book is.
That would be the opposite of what you should want. Martin wanted to spend more time polishing the book and include both big battles, but was convinced by his editor to stop writing and publish the book as it was. The cynic in me says she cared more about riding the wave of initial TV show publicity (mission accomplished there) than about releasing a coherent novel. And that's not going to change with subsequent books.
Yeah. It's not exactly a fake death, but the one that sticks out to me is Strong Belwas surviving the poison. I mean, why? This is starting to undermine the series' reputation for boldness, especially since Jon is obviously not going to die either.
I wasn't aware of this. Explains why the book feels so ridiculously unfinished and rough compared to the others. In that case I hope he gets another editor .
I skipped A Game of Thrones on this re-read marathon because I'd lent it to a friend years ago and not got it back. I've just now had it returned to me, but I'm tempted to go for the audio book instead. Though I'm unsure which version would be the best, as there's one with an American guy and one with a British guy. Both have their supporters and detractors.
Here, for the curious, is the interview with Martin's editor, Anne Groell, in which she discusses cutting off the endings:
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.
Um, the first three books also have audiobooks read by an American named Roy Avers in addition to Roy Dotrice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Agreed. My favorite part of ADWD.
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.
Agreed. More chapters of Stannis' people would be great.
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.
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.
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.
So you had more or less the same problem I had with this book.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well, when you put it like this ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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