*knocks wood* *crosses fingers*
― ☂ (max), Monday, 27 June 2011 06:15 (2 years ago) Permalink
mordy somewhat otm, i dunno. it may help you to learn that in the original plan for the series (when it was a 2,400 page fuckin' trilogy) the first novel covered all of book one and half of book two, which goes a long way towards explaining why the plotting and pacing starts to go increasingly awry -- i feel like a lot of all the other books has the terrible feeling of "i have major unresolved structural issues preventing me from getting to the next bullet point, but i guess i can spin out another 200 pages on the mud vikings or the spainishmen or whatever"
i feel like everything we 'learn' about how the 'world' of westeros 'works' is fairly arbitrary -- it's my contention that he decided his medieval england analogue was actually the size of south america somewhere between books one and two --
martin is certainly not a historian or political science guy but he has, broadly, a good sense of politics "works" in a world like westeros. (this is open to debate, obviously, but let's just say this is true relative to tolkien.) the war of the 5 kings is interesting not because the 5 kings themselves have boss powers or interesting backstories but because it feels kind of... "real." messy and political and cruel and sad
see this is kind of a weird thing because tolkien is so emphatically not concerned with how politics works? i don't know. but there is basically a sign posted outside lotr saying THIS WAY FAIRYLAND, SUSPEND DISBELIEF ABOUT LOGISTICS PLEASE; a lot of fantasy fiction works this way; & yeah to anyone who says tolkien is bad because the politics don't work i reserve the right to go "YOU'RE JUST READING THEM WRONG" myself, not that i even like tolkien
anyway i think the reason it all feels totally arbitrary to me is that the war-of-the-roses stuff feels messy and real &c. until i stop and think about how this is meant to be an entire continent it's happening on -- like, you can't just scale up and expect it to work! medieval england was already nowhere near as monocultural as martin makes westeros. this is why i'm harping on the food thing upthread -- like he's just slapped on a 'spanish' texture pack.
also just .. the war of the roses is the least interesting period of history anywhere in the world ever
― thomp, Monday, 27 June 2011 10:23 (2 years ago) Permalink
im not saying tolkein is bad because of politics!!
― ☂ (max), Monday, 27 June 2011 11:30 (2 years ago) Permalink
im anticipating criticisms (like yours) that grrm doesnt _actually_ get politics (which i think is true) by saying that were talking in a relative way here
― ☂ (max), Monday, 27 June 2011 11:31 (2 years ago) Permalink
and anyway youre obviously right martin isnt nearly the historian/sociologist/political scientist he or his most fervent fans would like him to be. i tend to be a little more annoyed at his insistence that history is shaped by the decisive actions of a handful of nobles and that dynasties are won and lost in a single instant than by his cruddy geo-cultural sense
― ☂ (max), Monday, 27 June 2011 11:40 (2 years ago) Permalink
yeah i think that would probably annoy me more too, except i have an incredibly pedantic mindset
― thomp, Monday, 27 June 2011 12:09 (2 years ago) Permalink
i might stop complaining about the olives and start complaining about the ravens instead
― thomp, Monday, 27 June 2011 12:11 (2 years ago) Permalink
i've read about 3.75 books and it is pretty clear to me that GRRM is not my kind of nerd? in that what gets GRRM off is court intrigue and genealogy and the word "ser" (see it's not england it has an E) whereas i am more of a grain prices guy. that aside though he writes good !!!!! moments (book 3 has The Big One) and if his characters aren't "complex" in the shakespearian sense they do refuse to be placed firmly in a column. or at least they die unexpectedly. and in a few cases (most of them girls, actually -- dany, sansa -- but also samwell and maybe littlefinger) i really dig the arcs, partly because of how slow and painful they are, and how many times they refuse to satisfy traditional fantasy-epic expectations; i love for example how samwell goes on a big globetrotting adventure without actually Finding His Courage.
the prose is bad but it's pulp fantasy. much worse exists. for what it's worth mordy i do remember 2 being the boring one.
― my Sonicare toothbrush (difficult listening hour), Monday, 27 June 2011 17:54 (2 years ago) Permalink
i guess what i mean re: "refuse to satisfy" is that all the characters start as cliches (weary noble warrior! restless tomboy! bratty minor princess! fat coward! bitch!) but the books make a point of frustrating their ideas of themselves.
― my Sonicare toothbrush (difficult listening hour), Monday, 27 June 2011 18:00 (2 years ago) Permalink
yeah, i think that's probably the series biggest strength. Obviously grrm hasn't performed a full "deconstruction" of the genre (whatever that would entail) but he subverts it in ways that make the series 1m times more enjoyable.
― ☂ (max), Monday, 27 June 2011 18:03 (2 years ago) Permalink
so i'm enjoying the third book much more than the second. no complaints really about any of the major arcs/storylines except -- holy shit the Arya stuff is boring. i never thought her plot would become my least favorite but it definitely drags the most (well, Bran too). i don't know why there's all this focus on the super boring tedious Stark kids (Robb is okay, and Jon, and Sansa is a cipher but in interesting locations/interacting with interesting characters but the little ones...)
― Mordy, Friday, 8 July 2011 06:17 (2 years ago) Permalink
arya rules fuiud.
― one dis leads to another (ian), Friday, 8 July 2011 21:10 (2 years ago) Permalink
who are you
― ((( (Lamp), Friday, 8 July 2011 21:14 (2 years ago) Permalink
yeah arya chapters in that book best stuff among all four. the names list, etc
― abcfsk, Friday, 8 July 2011 21:18 (2 years ago) Permalink
I'm just boggling that someone could be more interested in Sansa than either Arya or Bran
― DJP, Friday, 8 July 2011 21:19 (2 years ago) Permalink
Bran is the most boring throughout, let's be fair. Nothing happens to him except for his emoing.
― abcfsk, Friday, 8 July 2011 21:23 (2 years ago) Permalink
that's not really true...?
― DJP, Friday, 8 July 2011 21:24 (2 years ago) Permalink
The Bran parts of book II are esp. great. Admit that his parts in the book III are not my favorites however.
― Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Friday, 8 July 2011 21:25 (2 years ago) Permalink
HEY I GOT ALL MY BOOKS BACK, PREPARING FOR MASSIVE RE-READ OF 3/4!
― manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Friday, 8 July 2011 21:26 (2 years ago) Permalink
i think grrm's biggest f-u moment is the bran/jon passing each other in the north bit
― remy bean, Friday, 8 July 2011 21:26 (2 years ago) Permalink
i just finished rereading 3 today, and i'm gonna try to read 4 by tuesday
― remy bean, Friday, 8 July 2011 21:27 (2 years ago) Permalink
― Number None, Friday, 8 July 2011 21:27 (2 years ago) Permalink
Arya is probably my favorite character in the whole series.
― Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Friday, 8 July 2011 21:28 (2 years ago) Permalink
HODOR is mine
― remy bean, Friday, 8 July 2011 21:29 (2 years ago) Permalink
― ☂ (max), Friday, 8 July 2011 21:30 (2 years ago) Permalink
Tyrion 4 Life
― Number None, Friday, 8 July 2011 21:31 (2 years ago) Permalink
Started a thread for the new book: Anticipating GRRM's A Dance With Dragons
― schwantz, Friday, 8 July 2011 21:43 (2 years ago) Permalink
maybe Arya gets better but so far it's just been "arya trying to escape / arya gets captured" beat played over and over again.
― Mordy, Saturday, 9 July 2011 04:05 (2 years ago) Permalink
have you been keeping a "wench" tally
― my Sonicare toothbrush (difficult listening hour), Saturday, 9 July 2011 05:35 (2 years ago) Permalink
Finished Feast of Crows!
Really came to hate the Cersei chapters, partly for GRRM's less than sterling prose, partly for how thinly he fleshes out her character. Agree w/ Princess TamTam (Dornish?) upthread about her deal being paranoia instead of outright stupidity, but the way that he writes marked direct speech (i.e. what I allude to here) gets incredibly tiresome in Cersei's chapters -- mostly because GRRM seems more invested in having us look down on her all inna "lol @ her smug butt" way rather than focus on giving her more dimensionality (she's been WAY more interesting in the tv show). That said, very very happy where she ends up in the book, so clearly GRRM is doing something right.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARYA~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ;_; I am so ready to have her become a blind assassin though, which I no doubt will be able to read about in 2017.
I have to say some of the TWISTS, even in book 3, are telegraphed, even the Red Wedding, which for narrative-structural reasons (the way the chapters were set up) and plot reasons (why would Frey marry off what's her name to you know who especially when HE'S in a better bargaining position?) I saw coming. But then heheh I was all o_OO_o in the epilogue.
Also, a minor I've been wondering about the second book: why do Tyrion's mountain men hang with him in such an obedient way? These guys were on the verge of chopping off his manhood and feeding it to the goats in book 1, then in book 2 they're his unquestioning bodyguards. Were the splendors of King's Landing so, uh, splendid that they awed them into submission?
Finally: 3 > 1 > 2 > 4.
― Leee, Lord of Wtfomgham (Leee), Sunday, 2 October 2011 00:20 (2 years ago) Permalink
PS I figured that by the time I was going to finish book 4 that book 5 would be out in paperback, but clearly I'm going to have to splurge on the hardcover now.
― Leee, Lord of Wtfomgham (Leee), Sunday, 2 October 2011 00:22 (2 years ago) Permalink
yeah the way that for a few hundred pages people are going "hey remember the LAWS of HOSPITALITY which are REAL IMPORTANT which no one EVER EVER breaks" is kind of ..... nnnghh
like i'm not sure if this is inept foreshadowing or even more inept dramatic irony
oh well, see you on the book five thread
― thomp, Sunday, 2 October 2011 12:16 (2 years ago) Permalink
Yes, it's slogging. About 60% of the way through now, and so much Ironmen padding grrr. Though people who've read everything out assure me that by the time the 6th book comes out he'll have set everything up for something huge. Anyway, LOLed heartily at Lancel's description of treason. Liking Cersei & the Dornish settings a lot.
I'm glad to see the storyline with the sparrows because it hopefully means there's going to be something big with the faith militant/the red woman's religion and it's not just a buildup to nothing.
Now to read the comments upthread...
― gyac, Friday, 6 April 2012 19:32 (1 year ago) Permalink
You'll appreciate aFfC more in retrospect.
― tales from endoscopic oceans (Jon Lewis), Friday, 6 April 2012 19:38 (1 year ago) Permalink
I finished this! Saggy midsection but flew through it in the last third of the book. Could have lived without description of Sam's "fat pink mast".
I understand why people moaned about it as it can be quite slow going and at times you wonder why the fuck there's so much Iron Islands stuff, for example, but looking back at it all, you can see things shifting into place.
Starting ADWD now. I really hope he can deliver on this big climax.
― gyac, Wednesday, 18 April 2012 22:38 (1 year ago) Permalink
the iron islands stuff were the only parts of affc i really hated.
― these pretzels are makeing me horney (Hungry4Ass), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 22:39 (1 year ago) Permalink