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Thread: A Song of Ice and Fire

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    A Song of Ice and Fire (SPOILERS)

    Before I begin, I should point out that my intention in this thread is to discuss the entire series so far, the characters, the plot, the twists etc., so there will be SPOILERS. I figured that the Game of Thrones thread in Le Cinema is a more suitable place to discuss the story as it unfolds, and here we can discuss the books and story as a whole. So, from this point onward, spoilers abound!

    I admit I had never heard of this series until the HBO show came out. Although I generally like fantasy stories, I don't actively seek them out, it's more like I stumble onto them. Such was the case here as well, and I'm really glad it happened. I bought the entire series as soon as I could after I finished watching Game of Thrones and finished reading it a couple of weeks ago.

    First, some general impressions: This is clearly a very character-driven story. Out of all fantasy/historical fiction I've read, I don't think I've ever come across one that revels so much in such a close study of character and thought process. G.R.R. Martin handles it very well most of the time and it's been a pleasure getting to know everyone and seeing them evolve even to the point it changes how I feel about them. I like how the story expands and incorporates an ever increasing assortment of characters and places. It can become a bit confusing at times, what with everything one has to remember about anything, but again, most of the time Martin does a good job of holding it together. I also feel the decision to keep the fantasy elements at bay so far is contributing to the appeal of the story, because whenever those elements do show up, they are more potent. Now, about that "most of the time" I keep mentioning. The first three books move along relatively quickly and smoothly. There is quite a lot of action, there are big changes going on and everything is relatively fresh to the reader anyway, so it's no mystery that these are the books that are most highly rated among fans. And then we come to A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. Personally, I enjoyed both of these books, maybe not as much as the ones before them, but not much less either. I enjoy the plot, I like Martin's approach and I still want to see how it will all develop. However, I think that the drop in quality is evident, especially in Dance. Altough as I mentioned, I don't really mind as much as some of the fans (countless scathing reviews can be found), I think an important reason for that is that I read it all in one go. I'm not sure I would have been as positive if I had waited 6 years or so for the new installment. Martin's character development has stalled considerably, indeed in some cases (Daenerys) it even goes backwards. Characters repeat the same thoughts (a natural thing in real life, but not good book material) and even phrases (God, Tyrion, shut the hell up about whores and where they go!) over and over again . Some of his linguistic "mannerisms" become increasingly repetitive, as do his descriptions (really, I don't think after 5 books we still need to have feasts described to us in every detail, nor exactly how each and every person is dressed and/or armored). And finally, the "death twists": This is the most crucial point. I am worried that Martin is becoming trapped in his own gimmick. What started as an exciting element of A Song of Ice and Fire, that nobody is safe, is becoming more like...well...a gimmick. A means to provide cliffhangers and cheap thrills. Catelyn was savagely murdered, but hey, she's back! Brienne's death was dangled before us only to be (apparently) retracted. Jon Snow appears to have been killed...but will he remain dead? If he does, fine. If he "lives on" as part of Ghost, that's also fine I guess. But if he turns out to have simply been injured, or if he is resurrected by Melissandre, it will not do. I hated that Jon (appears to have) died, I really liked him and his plans, but now that he did, he needs to stay dead (well, partially at least, i.e. Ghost).

    Ok I need to stop myself now, that's enough for a first post. There are many things I'd like to discuss but I'll wait and see if this thread picks up.

    EDIT: In case some people jump ahead of the first post, maybe a moderator could add the word SPOILERS in the thread title? I tried editing it but the change does not register in the Literature sub-forum. I would hate to ruin it for someone.
    Last edited by Alexandros; 02-24-2012 at 09:59 AM.

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    I hadn't heard of this series before the TV show either. I started reading it not too long after the first season ended and I just finished book 5 last night and god damn do I wish the last 2 books were out already. It really is a fantastic series, no character is ever safe from death, some deaths that happened at the end of book 5 really surprised me. Definitely Jon's death, didn't see that coming at all, but I'll bet he'll at least live on as part of Ghost. It seems like Martin is heading towards the direwolfs being a much bigger part of the story but he hasn't gotten there yet. He keeps hinting that Nimeria is the head of the huge pack in the riverlands, or at least that's what I think he's doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kdrcraig View Post
    He keeps hinting that Nimeria is the head of the huge pack in the riverlands, or at least that's what I think he's doing.
    Yes he does, although I'm pretty sure he has gone beyond simply hinting, at one point (maybe more than one) he has Arya "dreaming" of being the head of a great man-eating pack.

    Since you are fresh from the books, how do you compare the installments?

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    /caps foreshadowing/

    ​WHERE DO WHORES GO?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandros View Post
    Since you are fresh from the books, how do you compare the installments?
    They're all fantastic, I'd say my least favorite was A Storm of Swords, I didn't really dig the shift in perspective to other characters, pretty sure it was in that book. Still a good book but I missed hearing from my favorite characters for a whole book. I have trouble remembering what happened in which book, so much goes on and most of the books are so long that it gets tough to keep everything straight. Especially the stuff that happens in Marreen I had a lot of trouble remembering who all the names of the characters were. There are so many and the names are so out there that I had trouble tying the names to the characters.

    Sometimes I feel like he drags things out longer than he needs to, some of the battles and things you can see coming he takes forever to get around to. But I have to hand it to him for creating such a huge world with an incredible history and an insane amount of characters and keeping all that shit straight, it baffles me how detailed most of the shit in this series is.

    Also, Tyrion is by far my favorite character. Jamie really becomes a lot less of a shithead as the books progress as well, I found myself rooting for him in the past couple books.
    Last edited by kdrcraig; 03-27-2012 at 09:47 AM.

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    Asha Greyjoy for Queen of Westeros, please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slave2thewage
    /caps foreshadowing/

    ​WHERE DO WHORES GO?
    Hahaha, exactly!

    Quote Originally Posted by kdrcraig
    Also, Tyrion is by far my favorite character. Jamie really becomes a lot less of a shithead as the books progress as well, I found myself rooting for him in the past couple books.
    Jamie is I think the best "transformation" in the book. He goes from being a sort of immature playboy to a pretty focused and respectable character. I too grew to like him.

    The shift in perspective you mention first happens in A Feast for Crows. Storm of Swords is where all hell breaks loose (Red Wedding, attack on the Wall, Daenerys kicker of ass and sacker of cities) and probably the favourite book of most fans (mine as well I think).
    Last edited by Alexandros; 03-27-2012 at 03:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandros View Post
    The shift in perspective you mention first happens in A Feast for Crows. Storm of Swords is where all hell breaks loose (Red Wedding, attack on the Wall, Daenerys kicker of ass and sacker of cities) and probably the favourite book of most fans (mine as well I think).
    Ah I thought I might've had that wrong, see what I mean about me having trouble keeping everything straight. Doesn't seem like the Red Wedding was that many books ago. That was a supremely bad ass book, probably my favorite too and that makes A Feast for Crows my least favorite. I did really like A Dance With Dragons as well. I know I'll end up reading these all again so stuff will start to sink in more and more, just like with The Lord of the Rings. I read that series every couple of years and I like this series enough that I can see myself doing that with this as well.

    Wikipedia says there's two more books in the series. Do you know if that's accurate or not? Seems like two more books will get the job done but Wikipedia isn't always the most trustworthy source of info.

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    ^GRRM has stated he's planned for two more books in the series, but it may be expanded to three more.

    If you haven't already seen them, there are Theon and Arianne sample chapters from the next book floating around online.
    Last edited by slave2thewage; 03-27-2012 at 10:19 AM. Reason: Clarifying a point

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    Quote Originally Posted by slave2thewage View Post
    ^GRRM has stated he's planned for two more books in the series, but it may be expanded to three more.

    If you haven't already seen them, there are Theon and Arianne sample chapters from the next book floating around online.
    Nice. I'll have to look into those sample chapters.

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    My bad, Arianne's chapter was read at a convention by George but not released. Summary: http://itsinthetrees.tumblr.com/post...ne-ii-synopsis

    The Theon chapter was released as a Christmas gift to the fans.

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    Apparently George read a sample from a Victarion POV chapter from The Winds of Winter at a convention recently. Most of the summaries I've found are pretty vague though.

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    Nearing the end of A Clash of Kings and really enjoying the series. Just one question: was Tywin Lannister (the father) aware of the incest between Jaime and Cersei? If so, does that mean the whole thing was a conspiracy between the Lannisters so that one of their own would become king after Robert died?

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    I'm starting A Storm of Swords right now so I'll be avoiding this thread for the time being but, I'm glad it's here!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trains View Post
    Nearing the end of A Clash of Kings and really enjoying the series. Just one question: was Tywin Lannister (the father) aware of the incest between Jaime and Cersei? If so, does that mean the whole thing was a conspiracy between the Lannisters so that one of their own would become king after Robert died?
    You'll find out soon enough

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    A comment on the TV show, as I don't want to tiptoe on the spoiler line in the other thread. I was expecting Bolton to be more creepy. In the books a lot of weight is given to describing his voice, which is almost soothing and barely audible by those around him. I guess that would not make good TV. Oh well, there is plenty of chance for Bolton to demonstrate his creepiness in the future to be sure.

    Also, not really fond of the scene with Joffrey torturing the whores. They keep piling stuff on Joffrey to make him look even more despicable, but there is enough of that in the book without adding more. I mean, the scene just dragged on for too long. It would have been much better if they had given more time to the scene of Sansa's beating and humiliation, but they decided to cut that short for some reason. Not enough nudity and sex there for HBO, is that it? They're starting to overdo it with their emphasis on whores and such, I was hoping it would slowly subside now that the show has a solid audience base.

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    Agreed on all points. I wasn't entirely sure that that was Bolton just because it didn't seem like the character from the book at all. Hopefully they do a better job with him once he's in it more. Joffrey is definitely enough of a shithead in the books without them adding bullshit about whores. So far the second season has still been awesome, but the things they are changing are really starting to bug me. Whores all the time, changing names that do not need to be changed, killing off one of Dany's bloodriders(I heard it was because of a scheduling conflict with the actor or something but whatever). I'm starting to wish I wouldn't have read the books before their respective season aired, it's making it a bit harder to fully enjoy the show like I did the first season.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandros View Post
    It would have been much better if they had given more time to the scene of Sansa's beating and humiliation, but they decided to cut that short for some reason. Not enough nudity and sex there for HBO, is that it? They're starting to overdo it with their emphasis on whores and such, I was hoping it would slowly subside now that the show has a solid audience base.
    That part really disappointed me, Sansa's humiliation at the hands of Joffrey was a huge part of the books, at least it was to me, they are showing it but I did not like the way they sped through it in the latest episode. I too was hoping the rampant nudity and all the focus on whores would subside a bit but I guess that's not going to happen. I mean they do talk about whores in the books a lot, but for the most part it's just talk. That whore that came from Winterfell is almost a damn main character in the show at this point.
    Last edited by kdrcraig; 04-24-2012 at 07:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kdrcraig View Post
    They're all fantastic, I'd say my least favorite was A Storm of Swords, I didn't really dig the shift in perspective to other characters, pretty sure it was in that book. Still a good book but I missed hearing from my favorite characters for a whole book. I have trouble remembering what happened in which book, so much goes on and most of the books are so long that it gets tough to keep everything straight.
    i'm in the same boat, my timeline for game of thrones is pretty much warped, i sort of mass digested all the books in one fell swoop, and am now in the holding pattern for something new. my sense of things - i remember the first book, then there is everything that comes after.

    i miss alot of what i really liked about the first book, where all of those characters interacted - the starks, the lannisters, the almost baratheons, littlefinger etc - all of them would mix and match as the story progressed, then with ned's death that is shattered, and puts everyone on separate paths - and these are all left to twist, but never really intertwine again. jon to the wall, arya on her own path, sansa isolated in king's landing, rob to the war etc.

    Sometimes I feel like he drags things out longer than he needs to, some of the battles and things you can see coming he takes forever to get around to. But I have to hand it to him for creating such a huge world with an incredible history and an insane amount of characters and keeping all that shit straight, it baffles me how detailed most of the shit in this series is.
    yes. martin really needs some kind of outside editor, or someone else who can provide focus, the books are amazingly detailed, but there are all over the place. So many different events and most of them seemingly completely unimportant. case in point kal drogo his story was interesting to a point and he certainly had potential to be a major player had he been the one to lead his horsemen over the sea into westeros, but nope surprise he's dead! oh look baby dragons, too bad they won't be big enough for another 5-6 books...

    Also, Tyrion is by far my favorite character. Jamie really becomes a lot less of a shithead as the books progress as well, I found myself rooting for him in the past couple books.
    tyrion was always a scene stealing bastard. he's my fave as well. the kingslayer has grown on me too, i'm sure some of that is all the other "good guys" are dropping like flies and he's the least of the worst left standing.

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    Again, putting this here because I don't really want to discuss book deviations in the Cinema thread.

    There is a very interesting theory going around that Dagmer Cleftjaw is actually Ramsay Bolton in disguise. This is reinforced by the fact that he has already taken some of Ramsay's trademark characteristics, like being manipulative and suggesting the most sinister actions to Theon (the execution of Rodrik, the murder of the orphans). His father could also be in on the ruse, so it would still make sense that Lord Bolton suggested to Robb that Ramsay can retake Winterfell for him. And in this way there would be a greater sense of betrayal, showing what a bastard Ramsay truly is (both literally and figuratively).

    The obvious flaw in this theory is how Ramsay could have taken the position of Theon's first mate without any of the other Ironborn becoming suspicious. He obviously can't be the actual Dagmer, unless Dagmer's character has been transferred to another person or removed altogether, which would also explain why Theon doesn't know him (book Theon remembers Dagmer from his childhood). Being accepted by the rest of the Ironborn is the most difficult part to explain, but if they really want to go that way I guess they could find a way to explain it. The fact that they retained Dagmer's name could be so that they surprise book readers as well.

    I admit it's pretty far fetched, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. It's a change that makes sense TV-wise, since they save time by not introducing yet another character, while at the same time establishing Dagmer as a faithful servant of Theon, thus setting him up perfectly without the audience suspecting anything.

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    I could get behind that theory, I'm slowly getting myself in the mindset of not expecting the show to follow the book really closely anymore. It seems like that is the route they are taking, which is fine, it's just bugging me. Also I read the books so fast that I'm not even sure I remember all the shit that happens in exactly the right way anyway.

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    I'll buy into that... So long as the concept of reek isn't done away with.

    Because really, who isn't creepishly anticipating Theons transformation to Reek?

    Reek reek, it rhymes with freak(ishly good television satisfaction!!)

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    I'm definitely looking forward to Reek, they cast Theon perfectly in the show, such a douche.

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    In response to Alexandros' first post (re: older fans disappointment with Dance) I started reading the series just before storm of swords was released, and have had to suffer through some long waits, but wasn't disappointed with Dance at all. Think the reek chapters were a huge contributor to that. Loved that the north that was so bound up with the Eddard image, turned to the dark side of Boltons.

    Here I was thinking the Ironborn were hard, and suddenly the Boltons come out to flay

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    Ahh...so 10 months of waiting again. Oh well. Time for nitpicking!

    1) Did anyone else think that Daenerys saying "Dracarys" as an attack command now will take something away from the Unsullied scene? If I recall correctly, that was the first time she used that command in the books, at least in that sort of context. And it was probably one of the most badass scenes ever! Now it won't have the same impact.

    2) Disappointed that the Winterfell bit has been left hanging in uncertainty. I guess the logic is that non-readers should scratch their heads a bit before finding out what happened next season (assuming of course they haven't changed it). On the whole, I loved how they handled Theon in Winterfell, but not how they ended it. It wasn't nearly as dramatic. Book Iron Islanders were all ready and willing to die and Theon was the one trying to get away from it all, only to be betrayed by Reek-Ramsay. I strongly believe the inclusion of Reek would have made a better story, but I guess they thought there wasn't enough time to build him up this season.

    3) Jon and Qhorin...very rushed. Again I believe they replaced a very cool storyline (Jon, Qhorin and the others in their band being hunted by Wildlings and realising they can't escape) with a less thrilling one. I mean, it's not a matter of being negative to changes, I just think it would have been better TV as well.

    But I mention these just for the sake of discussion, I'm not actually bothered. This show is amazing.

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    I feel bad for the TV writers when they get to the point of trying to make Meereen entertaining.

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    I'm just wondering how this is going to work.

    I mean, it took Martin 4 years to finish A Feast for Crows, and then 5 years to bring out the next book.
    At his current rate, the TV show is going to catch up with him by the time he finishes book 6... then what? There's no way HBO is going to wait for him to conclude the series.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandros View Post
    Ahh...so 10 months of waiting again. Oh well. Time for nitpicking!

    1) Did anyone else think that Daenerys saying "Dracarys" as an attack command now will take something away from the Unsullied scene? If I recall correctly, that was the first time she used that command in the books, at least in that sort of context. And it was probably one of the most badass scenes ever! Now it won't have the same impact.
    maybe they'll come up with something different? They changed things quite a bit this season, and I'm glad they did. It was fun. I am also looking forward to how they'll do this scene without leaning on a similar trick.
    Last edited by Jinsai; 06-05-2012 at 11:00 PM. Reason: oops, double post, meant to edit that in.

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    Martin's apparently aiming for 2013/2014 for the next book. Seasons 3&4 will be ASoS, and since they've said that the next two books would be mashed together, they could get a few seasons out of that.

    Failing that, I'm just going to imagine my own ending where Cersei throws young children from the back of a dragon onto the smallfolk and Sansa opens a lemon cakes bakery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slave2thewage View Post
    I feel bad for the TV writers when they get to the point of trying to make Meereen entertaining.
    I've been thinking the same thing. So much shit goes on in Meereen but it won't exactly make good television. I have confidence that they'll find a way to do it well, I disliked the things they changed in this season at first but ended up really digging the changes and thought it worked really well for the show.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slave2thewage View Post
    I feel bad for the TV writers when they get to the point of trying to make Meereen entertaining.
    Quote Originally Posted by kdrcraig View Post
    I've been thinking the same thing. So much shit goes on in Meereen but it won't exactly make good television. I have confidence that they'll find a way to do it well, I disliked the things they changed in this season at first but ended up really digging the changes and thought it worked really well for the show.
    I think I disagree. They have plenty of stuff to show in Meereen that are only mentioned as second-hand stories in the book. All this stuff about the Sons of the Harpy for example, we never actually see them in action. They could easily make this an action-packed plot. And there are plenty of King's Landing-esque power plays to be explored. Finally, compared to the time spent with Daenerys doing pretty much nothing but sitting, sulking, flirting etc. in the book, we will probably have like, two full episodes' worth of time of her at the most in the show. There isn't enough time for the story to draw out to boring proportions.

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