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Traverys

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  1. Traverys

    Fantasy/sci-fi books with central love stories?

    I do apologize if anyone felt I ruined the book for them! However, the original post stated The Black Company was a fantasy romance novel... which is incontrovertibly a spoiler. There's only two female characters in the book that are consistently mentioned. So unless the main character is engaging in romance with a child... Deleted everything (instead of just The Black Company bullet) but the link to fantasy romance books... mostly because I don't care to participate in the thread anymore. @aceluby: You quoted exactly what you felt should be hidden as spoiler... so make sure you edit that out. Seems like an odd choice on your part...
  2. Traverys

    The Axe and the Throne (Spoilers)

    Yeah... That's actually a huge pet-peeve of mine too. It's one of the most heinous crimes humans can commit against one another... Take it seriously or leave it out. I don't recall any male rape victims in the story either? That one usually bothers me, simply because crimes against humanity like that are fairly equal opportunity for victims. In history around the world it's been a fairly common method of emasculating, humiliating, and breaking the spirit of your enemies, captives, or whoever you feel like doing that kind of thing to. And no one would see you as gay, because that label went to the person on the receiving end. Hell, that kind of thing still happens frequently in prison systems of both genders. I think it's specifically derivative of ASoIaF in a lot of ways... The Northmen are basically just Wildlings. He could have wove another culture into his world-building to differentiate them more. Asian honor codes, Native American totemism/animism... anything. But he either didn't or couldn't think outside of the box on that one... Hell, why did it even have to be snowy? It was vital to any other area of the plot. As mentioned, Cassen is a rip off of Varys. Stephon is a ripoff of Joffrey. Alther's demise was a ripoff of Eddard, as be becomes a victim of Stephon in a public spectacle. However, author didn't even think to set this execution in any place of legitimacy in the city like the Great Sept... Most of the swear words and vulgar slang are slight modifications of what GRRM uses. "Mountains mercy!" I could probably think of more given the time. Those are just the obvious ones to me. Something else bothersome is the lack of female characters with impact... It actually says a lot about some of the other things going with his writing... He didn't even try to rip some of the strong female leads from GRRM. I guess this should all be expected with how mainstream ASoIaF/GoT has become. I'm surprised we haven't seen more works that draw on GRRM's, tbh. Maybe there is. This is the only one I've come across.
  3. Just wondering if anyone else gave this novel a try? I thought it was particularly pertinent since, in my opinion, it's is (a little too) heavily influenced by A Song of Ice and Fire. Forewarning: I usually review books pretty critically... Character arcs, prose, pacing, structure, dialogue, literary elements and things like these are usually how I gauge the quality of the author and their work. The "Warning" For starters, the thing that really irked me the most was the "Warning" at the beginning of the book: "The Axe and the Throne is not intended for mass consumption. It is a challenging read, both in complexity and content." If I could use an emoji right now it'd be the "unamused face." I can see this kind of warning justified at the beginning of a Malazan novel, but it's still quite pretentious... The rest transitioned me from unamused emoji, to rolling eyes emoji: "Even self-proclaimed lovers of grimdark often find themselves offended when otherwise kind and intelligent characters choose to embrace barbarism and bigotry. Without the benefit of overt good and evil, witnessing protagonists fail to fulfill the roles of heroism dictated by modern culture can prove too much for some. Perhaps more offensive is the sheer number of perspectives. It is a limited audience that enjoys making sense of what others consider merely frustrating, but for nimble readers with a thirst for more than linear adventure, this may be what is sought." So... from his perspective he just said: My book can be too dark for grimdark lovers because (1) my characters can be mean and selfish, (2) my world has no good and evil, (3) my world has no real heroes, (4) my characters all have individualistic perspectives, (5) my characters will frustrate most people, and (6) my novel can only be appreciated by "nimble readers." Wait... isn't 1-5 just reiterating some of the fundamental elements of basic grimdark (while #6 is just you tooting your own horn)? Yes, I realize I'm coming down pretty hard on a debuting author... POVs The reason I bought this novel was because it utilized POV chapters (like ASoIaF), which is a perspective I really like in fiction and one I like to use myself. The tricky part is in the actual selection of which POVs to include: who has the most interesting perspective in each scene you create? Ireman falls so flat in this regard... The biggest critique I have is that he usually keeps pairs of characters together and uses both of them as POV characters. The usual dynamic is that one of the pair plans to betray the other... Titan VS Keethro, Titon (Jr.) VS Decker, Ethel VS Annora, and Cassen VS Everyone else. The Wildling Northmen (raiders that live in snowy terrain) POVs are easily the most troublesome for me. Titon (senior) and his "friend" Keethro traveling south is not particularly engrossing to begin with... Keethro is biding his time, waiting for the perfect opportunity to betray and kill his companion. Titon... well really don't add any new perspective that would justify needing to see anything from his perspective. We get little snippets here and there about his thoughts regarding his sons, but his sons are well aware of what he thinks of them (as we learn in their chapters). Picking one perspective would have been much more sophisticated and would allow for great tension to be built... If Ireman had chose Keethro, we would be wondering if Titon is beginning suspicious of his plans. If he chose to only use Titon's POV, then we would wonder if what Keethro says or does is somehow foreshadowing a betrayal or something along those lines. Instead... we know exactly what both characters think and so there is no tension. When you pair up POVs like that, there has to be something about that dynamic that adds to the plot, if not the tension. There was a novel I read based in the Mage: The Ascension (tabletop game) world: The Road to Hell. One half of the narrative included the POVs of two accomplished scientists put in charge of teams from different "conventions" (fields) of science and given orders to collaborate on a top secret project. Unfortunately, their fields were philosophically opposed to one another -- one convention preferred keeping the body and life organic (albeit genetically engineered to perfection) while the other focused on augmenting the body with mechanical implants and prostheses. From their first chapters, it was clear they both planned to betray and kill the other and their respective teams once the project was complete. It created a thrilling dynamic: Who was going to come out on top? Who deserves to win more --or-- which would be the lesser of two evils? You don't get anything like this from Keethro and Titon, or any of the other paired POVs mentioned above. The way they are utilized eliminates one of the major advantages of 3rd person limited: unreliable narrators and imperfect information. Cassen... Oh Cassen... He's probably the most interesting POV character in the book, but also the most directly borrowed from ASoIaF. He's a eunuch "dutchess" [sic] that simpers and giggles, and is a secretly plotting against everyone. I guess Ireman thought the big reveal that Cressen was just pretending to be a eunuch constituted a major plot twist... There's nothing wrong with having similar characters, but Cassen is just too much of a Varys clone. You can look at the characters of Theon Greyjoy/Reek (AsoIaF) and Glotka (First Law Trilogy) as an example of how to make characters with similar backstories different. Both were handsome, noble lordlings with a bright future until they were tortured and mutilated into disfigured horrors. While Reek becomes docile and subservient (and a little insane), Glotka instead becomes a torturer himself. The nature of their torture was of course different, but that was an author choice and they followed through with it to logical conclusions. Cassen seems to want to put himself on the throne (hence the importance of his genitals still being intact?) whereas Varys seems to want to put someone of his liking on the throne... it's really not much of a different in my mind. I'll get around to posting more on this book. Post is long already. I'm curious if anyone else has actually read it or if I was the only sucker out there!
  4. Traverys

    Fantasy/sci-fi books with central love stories?

    http://bestfantasybooks.com/best-romantic-fantasy-books.html
  5. Traverys

    Oathbringer: Stormlight Archives 3 (Spoilers)

    I look up to him a bit as well tbh, especially his work ethic and his connection to his fanbase. I mean, he seriously must never procrastinate or get any severe writer's block. He can churn books out like mad. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I listen to a podcast he's on (Writing Excuses) and he's got a lot of wisdom to offer aspiring writers. I don't think he's arrogant, but perhaps a little confident in his execution? Like you suggest, he has all the right elements for amazing stories but then he includes things like Shadesmar or refuses to leave dead characters dead. He's still young in my eyes (I'm younger, but I don't think 40s is old) so perhaps he may continue to mature... I think the right editor would be game-changing for him. I'm not sure if I've ever picked up on if he's a plotter/outliner or a pantser (like GRRM is). I'd suspect he's an outliner... He has a tendency to ruin his pacing with things (again, Shadesmar) that aren't really necessary to the plot... I agree that if he trimmed up his novels he'd be a big step closer to being a force to be reckoned with as far as writing ability goes.
  6. Traverys

    Is Tyrion Lannisters crime to much?

    I like to think GRRM will strike a balance between poetic deaths and disappointing survivals. For example, Cersei clearly inherited some traits from Margaret of Anjour, a major player in the War of the Roses. Joffrey is clearly based on her son as well. Though their personalities align more than their histories, Margaret was very unpopular at the end, and could have easily been put to death for her "crimes." She defied gender constraints and dominated her husband (and took over for him while he was catatonic), and is generally held responsible for the executions of some important figures (the Duke of York, his son Edmund, and Richard Neville). a few important figures that were her opponents. Instead of being executed upon her capture and the death of her only son, she was ransomed to France where she died a poor relation of the king. Just food for thought. People who deserve to die (at least relative to the executions of other people for far lesser "crimes") don't always get the justice one may think they deserve. What this means for Tyrion? There may be hope for him yet. We see Jaime on an arc of redemption that may very well end with his death. One could argue that Jaime's crimes are greater than Tyrions, but while Tyrion has mixed feelings (at best) Jaime is fairly resolved to regret and (try to) atone for his past actions. After I was a little horrified by how much I wanted Joffrey to die... and then GRRM punished me for that by making his death pitiable, I think back to the Gandalf quote: Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.
  7. I always cringe a little at this deduction, because girls... I mean women can have irregular periods, especially in the earlier years when her reproductive systems is kicking into gear. There's also a variety of reasons why a woman would miss a period or two, two of the popular ones being stress and diet. Does GRRM know the ins and outs of menstrual cycles? No, most likely not. He doesn't even know the basic developmental milestones of children, which applies to both sexes. He probably also doesn't know that a woman's uterus can line and shed said lining monthly even if an ovum (egg) is not being released by whichever ovary is releasing that month (they alternate). (My parents made me read a very detailed book about "the changing body" at like 12 or 13 and I retained all the information from both sexes. I feel like it was well-written considering I remember it all! ) She has visions of Jorah who reminds he what she is rather than who she is trying to be in Meereen. "Dragons don't plant trees." I think these details can also be used to suggest a symbolic rebirth of Daenerys; her natural cycle was disrupted as she worked to end slavery and bring peace to Slaver's Bay and, specifically, Meereen. Dragons don't plant trees, they burn. The methods she used is contrary to her nature as a "dragon" of House Targaryen, especially when she compromises her terms, ideas, and beliefs in order to bring about the objectives she strives for. Compromising does not sit well with Daenerys. She sees how her compromises ultimately failed when she is attacked at the very fighting pits that she had preferred to keep closed forever. But.. again, GRRM probably doesn't know any of this about women's parts. So perhaps he did mean for this to indicate fertility, even if its operating on misinformation. You'd think his wife would point these kinds of things out to him!
  8. Traverys

    Why is Jon so Attractive...

    I think other people touched on this, but the idea of attractiveness varies over time. Even from 1920's to the current decade in America, the "sex symbol" male has gone through very noticeable shifts. In medieval times, as evidence by writings about Henry VIII, muscular calves were seen as a highly attractive and virile feature for men to have. Foreign dignitaries visiting his court would spend a paragraph or more writing home about the king's marvelous calves. I'm not saying this is what Westerosi women find attractive in men, but I am saying it's always subjective. Note that Jon finds himself very attracted to Ygritte (deep feelings are implied), yet also acknowledges she's really not all that pretty. Also, the Free Folk are bound to evaluate a man's attractiveness on different things than a Westerosi lady or smallfolk woman. Especially considering Wildling women aren't compelled to submit to a man if she doesn't want to. Stannis' reputation is known throughout the kingdom, depicting him as a rigid, callous, humorless man that chops the fingers off his trusted advisor even after Davos saves his life. We as the readers understand Stannis' devotion to justice (all crimes are punished, all goods rewarded; they do not cancel each other out), but everyone else just hears the stories. A woman who's heard of Stannis would be extremely wary of even looking at Stannis, much less trying to slip into his bed.
  9. Traverys

    Rhaenyra: Traitor or legitimate heir?

    I really enjoyed that thread... I have a long, long response I was making to a lot of posts that I never finished. It was fantastic to hear all the varying opinions and new perspectives. But I agree, I really enjoy the Kraken's Daughter as a character. While I don't think women need to aspire to traditionally "masculine" traits in order to be an exemplary ruler, I think a ruler of any gender in Westeros needs a developed competence in warfare. Diplomacy only seems likely to take place when there is no perceived weakness militarily. Asha seems to be the true answer to this conundrum as far as female characters are concerned. I was really impressed by Asha's presentation in the Kingsmoot... but I'll concede that if I was a man raised in Ironborn culture (and wasn't Lord Harlaw) I probably wouldn't understand the vision of the future she had for her people... But still, it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth as a reader. I love a character that is essentially an empowered woman, I hope (I know, I know... GRRM has basically told us to abandon hope) that her arc eventually extends and evolves into the way it could (and probably should) have back at the Kingsmoot. She'd be the real "strong, female ruler" we've been searching for in these novels, even if she's only the ruler of the Iron Islands. As much as I want to like Arianne, she also suffers from the Daenerys voyeuristic narration regarding her body. I mean, we all know about her magic nipples. While there seems to a be a certain degree of newly developed maturity in her TWoW chapters, to me, it would seem like a huge leap for her to suddenly become politically savvy enough to be successful in the current political environment. Val would make such a good POV perspective, actually. It doesn't hurt she has a fairly large fanbase. Wildling women in general could make for interesting POVs... It's my worst fear that we'll never really get to know Margaery Tyrell... She comes across to me as one of the savviest courtier players in the series. The complete opposite of early Sansa! Though, to be fair, Margaery had the proper training while Sansa was tossed in blind. I do enjoy Sansa chapters, and also agree that it would be a bit cruel for her to end up on the throne she has so desperately tried to escape. I was a whimsical child once upon a time, and that kind of thinking collapsed around me at a very young age when real life situations collapsed it. I'll always have a special place in my heart and mind for early (and, of course, later) Sansa because of that.
  10. Traverys

    Fate and Predestination

    Right, I agree. I don't mean to bring offense, but I am aware of culture, the Dothraki, and their worldview. To me it just seems there must be some significance of the male, silver-haired Dothraki (commonly assumed to be a depiction of Rhaego). To decide that some people are more prophetic than others also enters into traps that people risk when they don't consider all House of the Undying visions equally. I understand your case that Daenerys is really the "stallion (mare?) the mounts the world" that they predicted. I don't doubt that she could fit this role. But one must also make a connection between our initial interpretation of this prophecy (her unborn son) and the vision she sees in the House of the Undying. There's nothing about Daenerys that is masculine in the traditional sense, so I would find it hard to believe that it was a vision she had of herself. The vision was intended to cause people to make the connection between the prophecy and the vision of Rhaego in the House of the Undying. What else are we to make of a male, silver-haired dothraki? Going back to her son's death: magic interfered... and magical people often have a knack for prophecy. So is it unreasonable to consider (yes, only a consideration) that prophecy/fate/destiny is part of the universal magic that we witness throughout the series? I honestly don't have a strong opinion, but I'm not convinced that Rhaego was never a possible future. If we say that this particular vision was insignificant, then (as you and I both said), we have to start doubting the significance of all visions provided in that chapter. All of this, again, is just to point out a unique exception to the predeterminism that otherwise seems to be implied through various prophecies and predictions. I'm not comfortable saying that the Dosh Khaleen were inaccurate (surely horselord seers would know the difference between a mare and a stallion?) and that they were not predicting a future where Rhaego could have existed.
  11. We see this most evidently when a butcher usurps the council of three Daenerys left to rule (claiming they were going to re-enslave everyone) and then rounds up all the highborn boys to make new unsullied... she broke the rule of the Masters over slaves, but slavery is all their culture knows so it just comes back with different people on top. It's a fundamental misinterpretation of human nature and the influence of culture, and I don't necessarily think she learned from that lesson as she repeats it again and again. In Meereen she's successful in ending slavery there because she sticks around and uses her dragons and army as a stick to shake at those that oppose her... but it clearly was much more difficult of a transition than she bargained for. People often say that this is just Daenerys learning to rule in Slaver's Bay, but I think that's an optimistic interpretation. If I put myself in her shoes I would interpret it as Daenerys learning to be a tad more like Tywin: there can be no half measures. In the future, if she doesn't want to struggle to enforce her rule, laws, and beliefs like she had to in Meereen, she will need to wipe out those that would oppose her. Not just a few of them. Not saying I agree with her methods and brand of "justice," but 163 Masters was not enough if she wants to assert herself quickly. It's Machiavellian, obviously. The slaves are the working class, the slave owners are the class that maintained the cultural status quo (i.e., slaves). Want to get rid of the cultural status quo? "Kill the masters." Is this in tune with her characterization? That's obviously up for each person to decide. I would say yes. She often steels herself to be a "dragon," and she can see firsthand how merciless dragons can be to those they don't see as friends. She has quite a temper when opposed or defied, though she's not the only one in Planetos with this trait. I think the fundamental error she'll make in Westeros is that she will treat Westerosi highborn like they were Essosi slavers. She's not looking to make as dramatic of a change that she did in Slaver's Bay, but the lessons she's learned there will likely have her choose to do things that are fairly common and normal in Essos, but barbaric and horrifying in Westeros.
  12. Traverys

    Rhaenyra: Traitor or legitimate heir?

    I believe The Princess and the Queen mentions somewhere that the sons of the men that swore to protect Rhaenyra's succession didn't feel they were compelled to keep their father's oaths. To me it was a fairly compelling argument, though not one I personally agree with. Viserys was in failing health, I suppose. I just see the coup as a fairly predictable outcome. If Otto wasn't his Hand perhaps a wise councilor would have advised Viserys I to have his daughter come and serve as regeant... but we know that was not part of Otto's ambitions.
  13. Traverys

    Rhaenyra: Traitor or legitimate heir?

    I'm with you on his representation of female rulers, and his "answer" (i.e., Daenerys) not really being a woman that stands out as exemplary. I believe he married Rhaenyra to Laenor to try and ease the tensions between the branches. Some would compliment the political move, but, as you pointed out, Laenor's sexuality definitely threw a wrench in that plan. He also cast huge doubts about the parentage of Rhaenyra's heirs. I'm sure more than a few people found the idea of potential bastards (born of cuckoldry, no less) leading them one day distasteful. On Rhaenyra's part, I think her moving to Dragonstone made sense on paper (the heir was always Prince of Dragonstone)... but the Queen wasn't secretive in her desire to see her son(s) sitting on the throne. Leaving King's Landing was a huge faux pas, in my opinion. I would argue that the outcome was fairly predictable. She could have at least moved back when her father was clearly in ill health towards the end of his life. Interesting. I actually ascribe to the idea the Hightowers are part of an anti-Targaryen/magic/dragon conspiracy. I just don't really know how all the puzzle pieces fit together in the case of the Dance of the Dragons. But perhaps the Queen was acting on more than just greed, but intentionally pitting the Targaryens against each other.
  14. Yeah for sure. He loved battle but that means, by extension, that he'd prefer more war and less peace. I see him as a very tragic character, and deeply, deeply unhappy despite him constantly surrounding himself with people who smile and laugh.
  15. Traverys

    Rhaenyra: Traitor or legitimate heir?

    I also usually place a lot of the blame on Viserys I. Maybe I need to review his rule again to get a better picture of his personality... One thing that should have disturbed him a little is that the Great Council (101 AC). Not only did they decide he was king, they did so based on the fact hat the male bloodline should take precedent over female (Rhaenys, the Queen Who Never Was), even if said female has closer blood proximity to the king. So the same council that made him king also set a strong precedent for primogeniture.
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