A Dance with Dragons
George R. R. Martin
If I’m going to be completely honest. I think by this time I’m little weary of George R. R. Martin. This is no fault of the author, nor of his work, but rather of my own nigh obsessive attempt to make it through my reread of all the earlier volumes ofwith no breaks in between. In truth, I was probably in desperate need of a palate cleanser, some literary sherbet if you will, before starting A Dance with Dragons. The sense of fan entitlement regarding Martin’s work is well document (even in song) and the long wait between A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons seemed to drudge up the worst aspects of fandom. In truth when judging reader reactions to A Dance with Dragons it is a little difficult to differentiate between legitimate criticism and misplaced belief that fans are entitled to the product of an author’s creativity.
Hit the jump for a meandering and slightly messy musing on Martin’s latest work.
A Feast for Crows
George R. R. Martin
When it was first released A Feast for Crows was the target of a lot of anger for fans longing to reader more about many of their favorite characters. Roughly 400 pages shorter than A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows was a disappointment to fans more what it did not include than on the actual merits of its content. While on my first read through I’m willing to admit that I was amongst the displeased masses on my second read through I’ve come to appreciate many, if not all, of the different characters whose perspectives Martin uses in A Feast for Crows. Continue reading “Review: A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin”→
Some people might tell you that A Clash of Kings broadened scope and fresh perspectives are what make it such an engrossing read. Some might say that Tyrion’s scheming is top notch, or the Hound really gets some fantastic character moments. But really the thing that makes A Clash of Kings worth reading is one man. Dolorous Edd Tollett.
Introduced on page 180 (of the ebook version) as follows:
Jon was paired with dour Eddison Tollett, a squire grey of hair and thin as a pike, whom the other brothers called Dolorous Edd. “Bad enough the dead come walking,” he said to Jon as they crossed the village, “now the Old Bear wants them talking as well? No good will come of that, I’ll warrant. And whose to say bones wouldn’t lie? Why should death make a man truthful, or even clever? The dead are likely dull fellows, full of tedious complaints—the ground’s too cold, my gravestone should be larger, why does he have more worms than I do…
That last bit is brilliant. But it only gets better. I chuckled at this line “All I smell is the shit of two hundred horses. And this stew. Which has a similar smell now that I come to sniff it.” Dolorous Edd has a pretty strong following on the internet, particularly as he is a character whose primary job is to complain with droll humor. I can’t say why in particular Dolorous Edd enchanted me as much as he did but I found myself looking forward Jon Snow’s chapters in A Clash of Kings more as a result. For such an event and plot driven novel that Martin has such command over the characterization of even the most minor players is impressive almost beyond belief.
I remember being mesmerized on my first read through of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. Newly returned to the fantasy genre and having subsided on diet of Robert Jordan, Raymond Feist, and a certain pony-tailed fellow who shall remain nameless for my first forays into fantasy as a teenager reading A Game of Thrones was like having a bucket of ice water thrown in your face. We throw around dark and gritty a lot these days and while that had been done before Martin there were few authors then and there are authors few now who do dark and gritty quite like Martin does. In truth there are few fates in the world that are worse than being a character in a George R. R. Martin novel.
A Game of Thrones is an extraordinarily difficult book to sum up. Even the official product description struggles to do a decent job; mostly failing.
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
Of course about 75% of that description bears little on the novel’s proceedings. It nails the fact the Starks are central to the story but it places far more emphasis the Wall and the events there than I ever would. I’m of the opinion that there is no succinct way to even begin to sum up this novel.