The Coconut God

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  1. @Tyrion1991 Sorry for the late response, I was quite busy in the last few days. If the Ghiscari weren't decadent, Dany would have never managed to trick the Astapori or take Meereen the way she did. The story is logically consistent in that regard. An enemy doesn't need to be militarily competent or "badass" to kill you, this isn't a game where upgraded units or higher level characters just smash through the other guys like paper. Gollum is a perfect example of a weak, slimy character who nevertheless feels like he could pose a very real threat to the protagonists. And the Ghiscari are not even that weak. You forget that they still outnumber Dany's forces, they control all the resources, and they have a lot of supporters inside the city. In fact, they are so deeply entrenched in Slaver's Bay that it's unlikely Dany will have anything more than a pyrrhic victory there. Personally, I find the situation in Meereen just as fascinating as King's Landing, and I'm happy the Ghiscari aren't a simplistic culture based around a special unit from Age of Empires II. I've seen other people accuse George of orientalism with regards to Slaver's Bay, but that's a very reductive interpretation. Ghiscari are a composite culture with foundations in the Ancient world as well as the Middle East, India and China. Rome was pretty much the only civilization with a culture of gladiator fights. Old, upper class women wearing veils as a status symbol (rather than the universal, religious use in the Muslim world) was a custom in Ancient Greece. Temple prostitution happened in Sumer, Corinth, the late Roman empire, as well as India. The Unsullied are inspired by Spartans. The brightly colored hairdos are reminiscent of Greek and Roman military crests. "Lockstep-legions" are also Roman, and the Harpy could be a parallel to the Roman Eagle. Slave soldiers, on the other hand, were most effectively used in the Middle East. Eating dog meat and insects comes from China and Southeast Asia. Pyramids used as palaces or temples rather than burial mounds are specific of Mesoamerica and Southeast Asia, etc. So, as you see, the sources of inspiration are quite diverse. The end result has its own identity without outright paralleling a real life culture (unless you as a reader choose to focus on a single element and ignore everything else). As for the Dothraki, you call them exaggeratedly masculine, but you ignore the Dothraki Dany interacts with are at the very top of the hierarchy, Drogo and his bloodriders, and even then we only see them posing and posturing, never engaged in a conflict with a powerful foe. Funnily enough, Drogo dies of infection, so you can say George only used that trope in order to subvert it. Dany's own Dothraki followers are nowhere near that over the top.
  2. @Tyrion1991 I think your own biases make you underestimate how weird reality can be. You think the Ghiscari are ridiculous? Did you hear about the rat temple of Karni Mata? About sadhus who paint themselves with human ashes? About the Chinese practice of foot binding? About the use of lip plates, that appeared independently on two separate continents? Or neck rings? Even some practices considered normal in the Western world, like circumcision and silicon implants would be considered disturbing if we weren't used with them. The Ghiscari nobility is powerful, entitled, decadent and complacent. Why is it so shocking that they developed a penchant for crazy hairstyles? Many real world cultures, ranging from Ancient Egypt to 17th-18th century Europe used elaborate wigs as a status symbol (if you don't want to read the whole article, at least check this beauty out). At least one of the "absurd" Yukish units was also inspired by a real unit from 18th century Prussia, King Frederick Wiliam I's Potsdam Giants. They weren't using stilts, but many of them were unfit for combat because they suffered from gigantism, and the King had them stretched on a rack in an attempt to make them even taller (and yes, there were attempts to breed them with tall women to produce more tall soldiers). Of course, in the books the weirdness is compounded by two factors: 1. All of the POVs are unfamiliar with Ghiscari culture, so they tend to emphasize all the differences and present them as strange while understanding little of how that society actually works. This isn't really bad writing though, as it is a realistic portrayal of cultural bias, and you can catch a glimpse of the Ghiscari perspective through their lines and gestures. You can argue George could have used a Ghiscari POV in a prologue or epilogue chapter, but I'm not sure it would have been worth replacing the existing one. Plus, a Ghiscari POV might have given too much away about who the Harpy is and who is and isn't loyal to Dany in Meereen. 2. George tends to exaggerate the visuals a little bit, a small concession realism makes to the epic. This happens in Westeros as much as in Essos even if you didn't notice it: heraldry is used every where (and a lot of people recognize it), suits of armor are frequently elaborate, even when we're talking about simple knights like Sandor Clegane, most of the castles are spectacular and placed in a unique location, there's a gigantic wall of ice across the realm... Even the wildlings leaders have some sort of epic armor, like the Lord of Bones or have a unique way of killing, special power or personal legend. People wearing their hair shaped like horns or lizards, or painted in garish colors, is simply consistent with the level of flair present everywhere else in the books. As for your examples, the Tolkien ones are extremely simplistic, to the point I can surmise you liked them because they were barely there. The Haradrim are people on elephants and that's it. The Easterlings I didn't even remember, that's how developed they were. I'm not familiar with your other examples, but I will assume they are a little better. From a quick glance over the wiki, the Seanchan and Aiel are simply closer to something a Westerner would be familiar with, i.e. Middle Eastern + Native American. One uses slaves to communicate between social castes and the other serves you for a year and a day if you touch them with your weapon, both of which are highly impractical and unrealistic customs, so I'm going to deduce that it is indeed familiarity you find appealing, and not the fact that they have a more realistically constructed culture.
  3. Victarion is going to steal a dragon, I'd say that's pretty important. Tyrion is going to enter Dany's service, so he will go wherever she sends him. Braavos is a pretty compelling end game destination for him, because Tysha is there (known to us as the Sailor's Wife), and Tysha is one of the people who influenced Tyrion's life the most, probably as much as Tywin. His daughter Lana (hint hint) is also there. And that's not all... The bolded part is your problem. Either stick to books you like, or learn to expand your tastes if you want to enjoy more than that. I personally didn't feel the people of Essos are in any way less human than those in Westeros. It's strange you mention the villagers from the Riverlands who came to petition Ned, because at that point we knew next o nothing about that area, they were just vaguely European peasants, nothing to truly relate to other than that. Are you sure it's not just you having a severe bias against Non-European people and cultures? And even so, Braavos is basically a mix of Venice, London and Amsterdam, and we've seen a lot of it already. If the endgame of the searies involved Braavos, you still wouldn't care? I'm happy I could bring something interesting to the table!
  4. Even though Dany is a Targaryen, there is nothing Westerosi about her. She was raised in Braavos and became empowered by embracing Dothraki culture. She is very much an Essosi cosmopolite. And let us not forget that Targaryens were Valyrians. The first Valyrian empire was on Essos. On the second page of this thread, I brought up a summary of an early 2003 reading of the chapter in question. Dany never flew on Drogon in that chapter. It had Drogon descending at the opening of the pit to eat Barsena, but in the original version this was merely a stand-in or precursor to the Hazzea moment. Everything else in that chapter is set up for a Meereen vs Yunkai conflict, almost identical to the setup in ADwD (dragons were free, all the players got introduced, etc., check the link). I'm sorry, but the story in Slaver's Bay was always going play out like this, even when it started after the gap. If you put too many characters in the same place, none of them will get an interesting story. If Dany, Euron and the Martells were involved in the War of the Five Kings, they would have either picked sides or they would have stomped on other characters' stories. And it is entirely realistic that some parties come late to the conflict, or start something only after the main combatants are spent. That happens all the time in history. What journey, though? Seeing Tywin taken by surprise by dragons? Yeah, that would have been priceless. Seeing Stannis grind his teeth asking himself if maybe this Targaryen heir with dragons has a better claim than him? Also really cool. But you can't have Tywin vs Dany without ruining the amazing sendoff he got. He had to feel totally safe and in control when he got killed by his own son on the shitter. And Tyrion had to do it for his own reasons. Having Dany and her dragons in the equation would have totally ruined it. And you think Walder Frey would have cared about red weddings if he had dragons flying around the Twins? Same with Stannis, having him die pointlessly to the Others because of his rigid sense of duty and his conviction that he has to play Azor Ahai will be much more satisfying and relevant to his arc than a shallow interaction with Dany. The beauty of it though is that you can imagine these interactions quite easily, especially as a first time reader, because the text invites you do think about them and suggests what they would be like with clever parallels and allusions. And since it does that, it doesn't need to make them canon. He wouldn't kill everybody, and the survivors would still be key to the story. Why is the continent so important? Plus you act like the entirety of Essos isn't part of Humanity as well. Why do the wildlings matter? Jon is basically the only POV who interacts with them. You keep saying that in some form or another in every paragraph. I hope you don't think repetition counts as a good argument. All you're doing is reinforcing your highly rigid personal preference. I will also repeat my question from my previous post: Why should Dany as a character not conquer the Free Cities? She has the Dothraki, they're in her way, she would free some slaves, she would earn prestige and loot. Come on, win me over. Why not? You're kind of countering your own point here. Same old idea, the story is only bad if Dany is supposed to get to Westeros, but you have no way of telling if that is actually the case so your argument spins in circles. It's almost like George is playing with our expectation and trying to see how far he can string us along to believe the impossible. Every time it feels like she's actually going to go, George is like "Lol, nope!". Maybe that's the entire point, don't you think? But neither of them has to be filler, it's a sad way to read the story if you think that. There are two main arcs in the story, Ice and Fire, with all the smaller threads that weave around them, and at some point they will meet and fuse into the conclusion of the series. The War of the Five Kings is essential because it's going to leave Westeros vulnerable to the invasion of the Others. Their folly will make the Westerosi lose their homeland and poetically travel back the way the Andals and the First Men came. And Dany's plot in Essos is essential too, because without her actions all these refugees would have ended up as slaves. How will these Westerosi exiles fuse with the bloodied and revolutionized nations in Essos? That's the end of the story... setting up this future of a mixed humanity is the "dream of spring". You are projecting your own expectations on the text. None of Dany's prophecies places her in Westeros or mentions Westeros. She sees things that happened or are going to happen in Westeros while she isn't there, such as the Red Wedding and Mad King Aerys during the sack of King's Landing. That's it. As for Quaithe, she does indeed say "To reach the west, you must go east", but how do you know she didn't mean the western part of Essos? Again, you are projecting your desires on the character. Or at the very least you are interpreting the text in a very specific and limited way. In storytelling there is a concept called "Want vs Need". A character starts the story by Wanting something that either they can't achieve or isn't exactly as they expect. This Want is usually associated with a form of Fulfillment or Growth, i.e. the character believes she will feel Fulfilled when she gets what she Wants. So the character sets on a Journey to get what she Wants, but along the way will be confronted by what she really Needs. Recognizing the Need and putting it ahead of the Want is how the character experiences Growth, and eventual Fulfillment through the Need rather than the Want. In Dany's case, she Wants to get to Westeros in order to Fulfill her destiny of becoming Queen. But throughout her arc, she realizes that in order to become Queen she Needs people who would follow her, and/or she Needs to protect her people. Her expressed desire to go to Westeros is only there to show us her character growth, basically (and it doubles up as a trap for the reader's expectations). I would be very surprised if Dany, after coming so close to realizing her Need, will just abandon it and sail away to pursue her Want. She would regress as a character, since putting the Want ahead of the Need is usually either tragic or infantile (see Robb and Joffrey respectively).
  5. The Iron Fleet left from the Stepstones, not Volantis (here's a good map for reference), and only some of the ships sunk on the way. Most of them simply failed to arrive at the meeting point in time. Like others have said, they traveled in autumn when storms are stronger than usual. Large fleets are more exposed during storms, because there is a risk of ships crashing against each other on the waves. Most likely they had to spread out to avoid this, so many ships got separated from their squadrons. The Ironborn are good sailor, but they don't know the Summer Sea. Most captains wouldn't know where the dangers are or how to get to the Isle of Cedars on their own if they got lost (not fast enough, anyway). The same chapter tells us that Victarion managed to capture nine merchant ships and slavers, so we know there is a fair amount of marine traffic in the area. The Qartheen fleet also got there without issues. Slave traders can also travel across Slaver's Bay to Tolos and Mantarys and then continue by land, avoiding most of the Demon Road. Mantarys would have been a threat to Dany and her freedmen, but it has a good relationship with the Ghiscari cities, so there's no reason why slavers wouldn't be able to get supplies there.
  6. Why exactly is it unlikely? I assume you mean that from a storytelling point of view, because it is important for the structural integrity of the series for the stories to connect... But if Jon and Sansa (and even Aegon) are pushed across the Narrow Sea because of the Others, it is no longer mandatory for Dany to reach Westeros in order to link the plot lines. From a character perspective, there is absolutely no need for Dany to rush to Westeros, even if she does want to get there eventually. She is what, 16? 17? Her whole life ahead of her. She has the Dothrakiand her dragon, so she can easily take a few years to conquer Essos and crack on slavery before sailing west. Why wouldn't she do that? Most of the Free Cities are on her way west anyway, and it would be a huge political boost for her. Such a feat would both embolden the Dothraki to follow her across the poison water and gain her support in Westeros, where she would be seen as a true Targaryen and Aegon the Conqueror reborn, instead of an unknown quantity with virtually no supporters. It's not like she knows that the Others are coming and the series is supposed to end. It's also kind of funny you think Georged wrote all those Quentin, Victarion and Tyrion chapters with the sole purpose of taking Dany to Westeros, but he couldn't make the Demon Road passable for her with a single line. Did you stop to think that maybe he knows what he's doing and your interpretation is wrong? What would be achieved by having Dany on the Iron Throne? She has no rapport with any of the Westerosi characters. The people who dethroned her father and killed her brother are dead. The interesting opponents are dead or likely to be dead before she gets there (I'm 99% sure Stannis will die when the Others breach the Wall, 1% sure he'll be killed by the Boltons). We know Cersei and Aegon aren't going to win. Nothig is at stake here. So the whole arc would be basically ticking off the Chosen One taking the Throne at the End of the Story. On Essos, on the other hand, the juicy stakes are with Braavos, which does not deserved to be conquered, but is there on the continent, so Dany might want to do so anyway. And Braavos is going to be financing the Westerosi refugees via Jon, Braavos is where Tyrion may find Tysha, his greatest love and his greatest crime (literally his Frodo-esque bittersweet ending), Braavos has the Faceless Men who may send Arya to kill Dany, Braavos might offer support to Aegon if Stannis bites the dust... The stakes are also in the Conquest itself, since if the theme we saw in Slaver's Bay continues, Dany is going to kill more people than she saves, and the whole thing is not going to be "worth it" unless there is enough stability in the end for the positive changes to benefit future generations... So here are your stakes. Essos was criticized for the same reason you are criticizing it, because people were so convinced Dany has to go to Westeros that they classified it as filler by default. There's a catch 22 here... If George makes Essos and other plot points started in Feast & Dance actually matter for the endgame of the series, then readers will be forced to admit they were never filler to begin with, but then again there is a real risk that they will be obstinate and refuse to admit the quality of the story because it defied their expectations (which would be ironic, considering defying expectations is what initially earned it praise). I suspect George is afraid of such an unjustified negative reaction, and this is why he's taking so long trying to make sure he gets everything right.
  7. Don't worry, you didn't spoil me, I was just trying to warn others and make sure the discussion won't reveal too much, since this area is supposed to be free from show information (I feel tempted to bring some comparisons up all too often myself). You keep saying that like you know better than the author. Just because that's what you would like to see doesn't mean it's the only direction the story can take (or the best one). In her epilogue chapter, Dany is in a very desperate situation and has some visions of doubt. Viserys blames her for "betraying" him and getting him killed, Jorah blames her for not going to Westeros. Both voices are projections of those characters' desires the way Dany understood them, they're not necessarily what she thinks she should have done. She never thinks of Westeros on her own, it's always in Jorah's voice. What she does come to realize is that Meereen is not her home, she can never be the Harpy, and she should embrace her family's words. But that can apply to her anti-slavery arc just as well. As queen of Meereem, she compromised a lot for very little. She accepted that Yunkai and the other cities would continue to sell slaves, she tried to embrace Ghiscari traditions, took a Ghiscari husband, reopened the fighting pits, allowed freedmen to sell themselves back into servitude, chained her dragons... all this for her "children" and peace, but war, slavery and horror still came to her doorsteps. Now she's going to stop compromising and give her enemies a choice between her way and "fire and blood"... and she won't be satisfied with Meereen anymore, she will go for the whole continent, like her ancestor would have. Also, about the interview @The Fattest Leech linked...
  8. There should probably be some fair warning that this is a link to show spoilers. In any case, the event in question should happen fairly early on in winds, and I doubt it will play out the same. More likely the "fire for death" will be Norvos. That city is in the middle of a pine forest and has a lot of wooden structures, and is also very likely to oppose Dany because Mellario Martell will blame her for Quentin's death.
  9. There are a few things to be said here. First of all, if Dany deals with Volantis, Pentos and L, M & T (Lemontea? Can we just call them that?), that's most of the Essosi conquest already. Why leave loose ends? Qohor may not have been a big part of ASoIaF so far, but it was the siege of Qohor that broke the first united khalasar and popularized Unsullied infantry. It would be poetic if she takes it (although if it does happen it will probably be off-page). Qohor is also called the City of Sorcerers, so we could learn something about blood magic there as an added bonus. With Qarth she has a history that continued in Dance, so a resolution would be welcome, even if it's no more than submission via emissary. I also believe Norvos will be important, because Mellario Martell is there, and we don't know exactly what kind of influence her family has in the city. It has been hinted in Areo's chapters that Norvos is a slaver city, and we were told that Mellario used to be deeply protective of her children, one of which was roasted by Dany's dragons. There is potential for conflict there. Mellario could become an important character in Winds/Dream, just like Stannis became important after barely being mentioned in AGoT. And, of course, there is Braavos, which raises probably the most interesting ethical, political and emotional questions. Say Dany does conquer the rest of Essos. Would she allow Braavos to remain independent because it's not a slaver city? Or because it's one of the few places in the world she associates with safety and happiness? And even if she wants to, will she have enough control over the Dothraki to do it? If they agree to give up raiding and pillaging and unite under her it's probably not going to be because she opens their eyes to the evils of slavery, but because she will promise them conquests beyond their boldest dreams, with a dragon by her side to back that up. I can see her convincing them not to rape or enslave anyone because if she is the "Stallion who mounts the world" then technically everyone in the world is equally her subject, but telling them to leave a kingdom that refuses to pledge allegiance alone sounds contradictory to that image... so there is a possibility that she wouldn't be able to stop the momentum of the horde without undermining her leadership. And what about the Braavosi themselves? Would they trust Dany, or would they consider her a dragon riding tyrant and a threat regardless of her attitude towards them? Especially if she conquers Pentos, which, regardless of what we readers know about Illyrio and possibly other magisters, is considered a city where slavery is forbidden. There is room for so much political drama here, especially if you throw Jon in the mix with a budding kingdom of Westerosi refugees that is financially dependent of Braavos but wants Dany to use her dragons to clear away the Others back home.
  10. I disagree with you here, and I also think you missed my point... To you, good worldbuilding means imaginative diversity. Tolkien has a bunch of culturally different races, Erikson has... a ton of stuff, Mieville has a visually rich and innovative world as well... But all of this is static. They don't automatically translate to good interactions and dynamics. There's no juicy history in LotR, there's only mythology (you have the "way back then" and the "right now", as opposed to Martin, where the events of Robert's Rebellion are deeply connected to the current story, both causally and dramatically). There's no political complexity to situations that by all accounts should be political (such as Aragorn returning to the throne of Gondor, and even the decision to send Frodo to Mordor with the Ring). I get it that Keely likes his fantasy that way (and perhaps you do as well). but such a story has very little value for a modern, politically literate reader. The morals don't apply to real world situation and the plot is transparently unrealistic. I can appreciate the concept behind highly imaginative and rich worlds like Erikson and Mieville created, but when these worlds are ultimately filled with inconsistencies, contradictions and weak characters, the good concept isn't going to save them in my eyes. The Malazan series has so many larger than life threats and characters, so many things that can destroy towns and armies (and maybe more) that you start asking yourself "Why are there any towns and conventional armies in this world?". There are so many random people that turn into gods and goddesses, so many eldritch powers that fizzle out without achieving anything, so many characters that die and are resurrected and die again (don't ask me for examples because it's all a blur to me) that you can't take anything seriously. It's like a soap opera or long-running anime series with high magic - all flare and dazzle but no depth. Overall, this mishmash undermines the bits and pieces that are actually cool (such as Coltaine's March). Similarly, Mieville starts Perdido Street Station with the premise of an oppressive, 1984-esque Government that has spies everywhere and holds the town in an iron grip, but later introduces so many things that are outside this government's knowledge, or beyond its control, that the entire premise becomes pointless... and indeed it doesn't serve any thematic purpose, it is merely one of a series of concepts the author rolls in and out of the story to showcase his imagination. But in the end each of these concepts is weakened by how poorly it connects with the rest. As for your complaint about ASoIaF... Again, it boils down to geography and language nitpicks. And really, the geography is fine, they all have grains, mines, soldiers and everything else, it's just that kingdoms are known for what they are best at, the same way you identified France with wines, Germany with warriors and beer, Italy with art and religion, Great Britain with bad weather and colonialism, breadbasket countries (Ukraine, Romania, etc) with fertile lands and peasants, etc. As for the language, everyone in Westeros is descended from Andals and First Men, and these two came from the same region of Essos, so it's realistic that they would have similar languages that blended into one (and in Dorne, where there was a later Rhoynish influence, there are different titles, such as Prince and Seneschal). If this is indeed happening, it is much more likely due to market saturation. There's already such a thing as a Top 51 Best Fantasy Series (!!!), which means if you read an average of one series a year, you're already set for most of your adult life. Unless a drastic jump in quality happens in fantasy writing (particularly the quality expected by readers in order to keep buying), or fantasy based on different cultures and time periods than medieval Eurasia become more mainstream, there's little need to invest in new series. As a new reader, you can pick one of these and you don't need to wait, and as a publisher you can just keep reprinting them. If anything, Martin could open the way for a wave of more complex, less pulpy fantasy, but first he needs to prove that such an approach can have a satisfying ending.
  11. Politics and geopolitics do not resume themselves to the map on the front page and cultural templates. It's more about the interactions and dynamics that exist within the governing structures of the kingdoms as well as between the kingdoms themselves as political entities. These interactions and dynamics are very interesting compared to fantasy in general. And the HBO series became popular on the back of George's writing. Of course the series was more popular (and subsequently led to an increase of book sales), TV is easier to market and is consumed quicker and easier, so people are less likely to be held back by the required time investment. The point the reviewer is making is ridiculous, long gaps between books are not a "risk" for the publisher. The publisher has ways to compensate for that if the series is popular and still make money (did you not notice the release of TWoIaF, the Dunk&Egg collected illustrated short stories, the illustrated anniversary edition of AGoT, that little book with Tyrion quotes, etc.?). The risk is only from readers, since readers dictate what will and won't be in demand, and readers are just as likely to abandon the fantasy epic because of disappointing endings to popular series (which is already a bit of a trend) as they are to do it because ASoIaF is taking a long time to write. It is an extremely hypocritical argument with no correct answer except the highly unrealistic "write fast and really well". I read 9/10 of Erikson's initial series, didn't bother with Esslemont, nor will I. Erikson is a very interesting case, and I find it ironic that you would recommend him in the context of this discussion, because he is a perfect example of the disadvantages of rushing your books. When he's good, Erikson is excellent, and I remember some very memorable scenes from that series. The problem is, he rarely keeps it up. He's writing books like a Bangladeshi textile worker, in a mad dash to complete 1.000 pages a year, so he doesn't have time to smooth his work, and you can literally feel his bad days in the text. You also can't possibly like the Malazan series and at the same time agree with Keely's review. You know all the stuff he said about chaining false endings, about killing characters and burying their plot arcs with them? About adding more characters that spiral out of control? Yeah, that's the definition of Malazan, minus the extreme care Martin has for continuity and interconnected plot lines. It even introduces an entire new continent midway through the series, come on! At least judge everything by the same standards... Martin can only be accused that he introduced the Martell and Greyjoy characters later in the series, but The Martells and The Greyjoys, Dorne and The Iron Island, as geopolitical actors were introduced from the start in highly memorable ways since Book One (via the Greyjoy Rebellion and the deaths of Elia Martell and her children). The irony is expanding these nations and giving them a major role in the story was always a requirement if the series was going to be any good.
  12. I wouldn't say that. Most of the good shows I know have 5 to 7 writers working on them, especially in the later seasons. Breaking Bad had 6 writers for the second half of season five, one for each episode. It had 7 for the previous ten. GoT is by no means a positive example. I think most people on this forum agree the writing has been pretty bad since at least season five. I won't get into specifics because show spoilers aren't allowed here, but there are a lot of poorly executed character arcs, confused plot lines, continuity errors, awkward thematic shifts, impossible travel times and other logistical errors. The fact that the two producers do 70% of the writing themselves (on a very tight schedule instead) of coordinating a larger team is probably the main reason we have these flaws.
  13. @falcotron With TV series it's easier to keep up the pace because they use a team of writers instead of a single author. If they work well together. This can be a huge advantage during the plotting stage, because they can encourage and stimulate each other, keep bad ideas in check and bring a more diverse array of ideas and perspectives to the table. And when it comes to the actual work, each of them will write 2 45 minutes episodes over a period of 4 or 5 months, which is not that much. We could eventually see a fantasy series written by a team of authors (it wouldn't be the first time in commercial literature), but it's probably a lot harder to write prose as a team than to write a script. I don't know how publishers think either, but expecting the next Harry Potter in any genre sounds like hoping for the Moon. Not even Harry Potter was expected to be the phenomenon it was, it's very unlikely that the next big thing will be recognized as such before it gets on the market. And in the mean time they have to publish something, or they'll go out of business. A publisher that specializes in fantasy has to keep delivering new material even if it's not bestselling or groundbreaking, otherwise he will lose brand recognition and the next Harry Potter may not even be brought to him, but to a smaller publisher like you suggested. Long-running fantasy series will die out only if people lose interest in reading them... which can happen if the already existing series oversaturate the market (i which case George can't be held personally accountable) or if ASoIaF (or any other series, really) will end up being so good that the rest of the market pales in comparison and readers lose interest in it (but that's not really a bad thing).
  14. The reviewer mentioned doing a few edits in the comments, but goodreads doesn't explicitly state when the last edits were made. However, the book is still marked as abandoned as of 2016, and the text still implies that he stopped reading after 400 pages. There's also no review by Keely for ACoK, so he probably picked up the information from comments, interviews, and other reviews. To understand a little better where his criticism is coming for, here's a quote from his review of Perdido Street Station, where he opens up a bit more about his views on fantasy: George is pretty much anathema to the kind of fantasy he likes, so he feels the need knock him off his pedestal. Reminds me a little of the critic from Birdman - "I don't need to see your work, I'm going to destroy it anyway because I hate what you represent"... Which is absolutely fine, of course, as long as it doesn't pretend to be anything more than personal taste, but it must be taken with a grain of salt by others. In my opinion, the flaws he sees in the series are either minor issues or misguided interpretations. The "male gaze" is probably the most objective. I noticed it as well in a few instances, particularly on re-reads. But then again, it's not that pervasive and it is compensated by pretty complex and compelling female characters. I'm not a connoisseur of fantasy from the Italian Renaissance, but I doubt classic fairy tales challenged gender roles much, so I don't know how much not mentioning tits count for. And I wouldn't even say the example he used is particularly good. The quote is cut from a larger paragraph that read as follows: Sure, a prudish mind can say that mentioning the breasts and/or their size is gratuitous, but the scene isn't as sexual as the selective quoting would make you believe. Breasts moving freely beneath the vest is just part of her trying to look like a savage... But of course the reviewer didn't know that, because he didn't take the quote from the book, he took it from an article filled with general outrage and entitled 5 ways modern men are trained to hate women. His arguments that George's story isn't realistic are also rather weird. He complains that gritty and violent doesn't automatically equal realism, and that's true. but that's also not why ASoIaF is realistic. ASoIaF is realistic because actions and circumstances have believable consequences, because the world and the rules that define it are consistent and because all the events depicted hold up very well on re-reads. The twists surprise you the first time around, but once you go through the series again you can see the events that lead to them in the subtext. Even less popular plot lines, such as the Dornish Master Plan, are consistent with the overall events of the series. "New" villains such as Euron were set up as early as ACoK, etc. And on top of that there is the political (and geopolitical) dimension, which is not often seen in fantasy (at least not to my knowledge). Keely quotes George saying that he killed Ned and Robb because he wanted to subvert fantasy tropes and he concluded that he's wasting characters pointlessly for shock value, but he fails to realize that those deaths are the results highly believable circumstances and they both end very beautiful, thematically powerful tragic arcs. Quite the opposite of what the reviewer claims: ^Again, he draws that conclusion without reading the #^@$ing text... Sure, George wanted to kill Ned and Robb from the start, but that doesn't mean he didn't build a good story around it, like that hack Shakespeare did when he decided to write a love story and kill the main characters at the end. The criticism reads as if it was addressed to superficial fan interpretations of the series treated like they were actually true rather than the series itself. The last major point he makes (I'm not going to discuss the bit about originality because that doesn't really have much to do with quality) is that George manage do.... "kill the longrunning High Fantasy series". This is a sort of idea that no doubt emerged during the long wait for ADwD, after the unfairly but perhaps predictably poorly received AFFC. Does it hold any water now? Hell no! Even without TWoW, this series is an insane cash cow. I can't imagine publishers being afraid to take in fantasy series because of Martin. After all, standalone books are just as risky as the first book in a series (which doesn't need to be marketed as such, if there are concerns about it), but with the added bonus of more predictable sales for sequels. Even if ASoIaF is never finished, I don't think it will kill serialized fantasy (or, indeed, its own popularity)... Not more so than all the series out there that have rushed and disappointing endings. If you look at things from a consumer's perspective and make a comparison with TV series, unfinished shows (like Firefly, Twin Peaks, etc) tend to become cult classics, and there are many series with longer than usual waits between seasons that are highly acclaimed or beloved (Fargo, Rick and Morty). It's all the crap out there that declines in quality in later seasons because writing teams don't have the time to recharge their creative juices (Lost, Dexter... GoT, as it will sadly be the case) that undermine the concept of serialized TV. Why wouldn't it be the same for novels?
  15. @Dragonsbone That is a very popular negative review taken from AGoT's goodreads page. The guy who wrote it (all the way back in 2007) didn't even finish the first book, let alone the series, but he felt entitled to make all-knowing comments about George's style, plotting and ability to finish the series based on interviews and hearsay. I wouldn't take him seriously... Around the same time he was bashing AGoT he was giving high praise to the incredibly overrated and obnoxious piece of garbage that is Perdido Street Station, so he was clearly in a "style over substance", edgy kind of phase (I actually remembered him for his AGoT burn, so after I read Perdido and I was desperately looking for scathing reviews in an attempt to cleanse the taste of intellectual vomit from mind I checked goodreads and it really made me scratch my head that he hated Martin's book but liked that one). In any case, I highly doubt @Jedi Exile is J.G. Keely, so he should have at least credited the article.