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Lady Barbrey

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  1. Yes, it suggests a geothermal explosion underground to me, mostly because something appears to be still burning half a year later if ashes are still falling. But in a book that includes dragons, we'd be remiss not to suspect they incited the first explosion. My favorite is that a clutch of Valyrian dragon riders seeking the elusive Braavosi slaves in that vicinity happened upon a group of Others in Westeros and obliterated them. I also like the idea that proto-Valyrians came from Westeros originally, were responsible for defeating the Others during the Long Night, and even after moving their population to Essos where they became the Valyrians, they remained true to their pact and their enemy, and have always patrolled the westerosi northeastern coast on the lookout for Other activity. Just a couple of fun theories. But I don't think dragon fire alone could have made it rain ash for six months.
  2. Is Empire of Grass worth reading? I was not keen on Witchwood - would much prefer not to have seen my kitchen boy grown up, weary and bickering with Miri no matter how realistic that might be. The two young ones had potential. But when I put Witchwood down I was not sure I would pick the sequel up, and I was a huge fan of the original series. But I just never know with Williams. My favorite book of his has the unlikely name of War of the Flowers and I almost put it down during the first third. I wasn't keen on the characters in Otherland at first either, but came to see the series as a work of genius. And Dragonbone Chair has stayed in my top ten through forty years of SFF reading. That said I disliked the brother-sister fantasy one, and the angel one. So Tad is a bit hit or miss for me. Does Simon play a big role in Empire of Grass? Did anyone else dislike his reintroduction but he's growing on you? I just don't know if I want to cringe my way through another book with my formerly beloved character!
  3. Okay, so I get the show 's ending was a huge letdown for many people (not me because I had absolutely no expectations for it after season 5) but is that a reason to throw cold water on the prequels? Also, thanks for "explaining" the obvious - I was intrigued by his personal story not some blanket First Man thing. Re the budget: I would try to find it but since I'm finding you confrontational, or maybe so pissed off about the show you can't help spreading the joy, go look it up yourself. I've only read a few articles so a Google should get results.
  4. There might not be dragons but that doesn't mean we don't get a lead in to how Dragon bonding was created. The budget is supposed to be a lot more per episode than GOT so I'm hoping we'll get more special effects for wargs and direwolves, shapechanging and animals (would love to see Mormonts and bears, for example) and other myth and supernatural features. Also, I was intrigued by the fact the human was so obviously unwilling to be changed into an Other. What was his story? Tons of interesting things they can do. The one thing I really hope they keep is the families. The Starks, the Lannisters, Arryns, Greyjoys, Mormonts, Fishers, etc. I also subscribe to the theory that Valyrians (before they were named Valyrians), originated as dragon-bonding people in Westeros that moved east, so even though no Targs would appear their proto-ancestors might. I am very certain we'd see Hightowers and Daynes. They can do almost anything, really, but I very much hope they hinge the story on the families already created and the lore from WoIaF and the books.
  5. Such exciting news as this is the period that most interests me, mainly as a result of your and Linda's WoIaF as well as Old Nan's Tales. I read somewhere Ran that Jane took two sentences from WoIaF as her 'in' to the prequel. If you know what they are, no need to divulge, but if you don't I'd love to hear your best guess! The title Bloodmoon is pretty evocative. Reminds me of LmL's posts as well as the second moon full of dragons that shattered myth.
  6. Things might have been delayed but I think there would still have been a North and South divide and war. Regardless of Ned being Hand or not, Robert still planned to marry Joff to Sansa, and it would only be a matter of time before Joff showed his true psychopathic colours. Ned, Catelyn, Robb, Bran, Arya, Jon - can you imagine them sitting still while one of their own pack was being abused? And in the meantime Varys is manipulating the timing for a rebellion/war. So I think the war wouldn't have happened so soon but not long after, within a few years.
  7. While I'm not sure she did the abducting, I keep thinking she had some role in it. I don't even like Lyanna much. That scene where Bran sees her fighting with Benjen, he thinks it's Arya, but then seems to recognize it's not because she is just thrashing the smaller boy. That can be interpreted however one wants but I know when I first read it, I thought he realized it wasn't Arya because Arya wouldn't go that far in thrashing Bran. Then she pours wine over Benjen's head at Harrenhal, maybe funny if it was 10 year old Arya and 8 year old Bran, but she's at least 14 and Benjen about 12, this isn't the barracks, it's a gathering of the highest and most glittering nobles and knights in their known world. Benjen would have been humiliated, and Lyanna could have been rightfully described as an immature bad-mannered brat. Then we've got the Howland episode where she thrashed the squares, not because it's 3 against 1 and he's smaller and weaker, but from pride because he's a Stark bannerman. Would she have intervened if he hadn't been? Doubtful. Moreover, three older bigger teenagers could likely have taken her except she's announced she's a Stark, she has a weapon, and she's a girl - odds on they didn't even try to defend themselves. I'm sure she was heaven-sent from Howland's perspective, and good for her, but I question both her motive and method. Robert was in love with her, but how well did he know her? She was a good rider, shrewd enough to question whether she should get married to a player, and wept at a sad song, as many of us do. I think many of us like her because she's a Stark, not a pushover, have romanticized visions of her great love story, and reminds us of Arya. But I think she was more naturally vicious than Arya, who at least has been through major trauma to explain her current actions, and might go to greater lengths to get what she wanted. Abducted Rhaegar? No. But played some role rather than helpless damsel? I totally buy it.
  8. Septon Meribald and Dog might be a nod to Alfred (appearance is very similar to the Septon's Plus He's bald!) and Dog from the Death Gate Cycle. Brienne's journey through the Riverlands is very like an allegorical journey to or through Hell/Hades; who better to accompany her to Death's Gate than Alfred, Dog, (and through Dog, Haplo)? This is pretty tenuous as I just thought of it and haven't read the Death Gate Cycle for 30 years, or Feast for a few years for that matter. But I will tag @sweetsunray because of the hell connection, and @Curled Finger because s/he was interested in Septon Meribald! Since I'm talking about the Death Gate Cycle, I'd like to recommend it for reading to fantasy lovers. It's largely overlooked nowadays, possibly because Weiss and Hickman have a bit of a rep as hacks re Dragonlance, but I think this series should be a classic, one of the most inventive things I've read in fantasy. It would surprise me not at all if GRRM was paying homage to bald Alfred and Dog via Meribald and Dog.
  9. I liked The Fisherman too but the pace is very, very slow. He's a great wordsmith so makes up for the pace, but not quite, I thought. I'd give this one a five star if it had been edited down; as is, likely 3 1/2.
  10. Hex has a fantastic premise but for my money didn't pay off in the last half. I won't recommend it. I am just about to read Last Days and Seed so will let you know if I read them first.
  11. I do see Heart of Darkness as an inspiration. I was also reminded of Herman Melville's The Confidance Man, a steamboat journey on the Mississippi wherein all the passengers are wearing masks. I read it too long ago to make any certain comparisons, but the fact that no one on Martin's boat is who they say they are provides a rather striking comparison. Martin's own novel, Fevre Dreams, is another river journey part Stoker, part Twain.
  12. Sometimes the similarities to Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn are so close I feel a bit uncomfortable.  They go beyond plunging into common source material.  George really does owe so much of the fantasy elements in ASOIAF  to Williams.  I know he has said so himself, but I do think if I were Williams I'd have raised more than one eyebrow. The Land of Osten Ard is a place where a mysterious magical winter reigns for three years and threatens to reign forever, an icy prince of faery sends false prophecies to steer the protagonists to their doom, and allow an icy people to return from the dead, a surplus of hidden swords and identities, a secret prince, a people almost identical to the crannogmen, dwarves, direwolves and dragons, northmen and norns, a castle housekeeper called Rachel the Dragon, mother of dragons - I read the books at least 25 years ago but when reading ASOIAF I felt like Memory Thorn was shouting at me from its pages.   If Simon at the end had not allowed love to rule his choice instead of righteous anger and justice, the land of Osten Ard would have been doomed.  So it occurred to me to wonder what if Simon had not made the decision at the end that he did.  What would have been the result?   The result would have been the Long Night, a winter and darkness meant to last forever, geograpical catastrophes centered around Asua, or the Hayholt, and invasion by the the exiled deadened terrible fay and their ice cold norn cousins. I thought about this for a bit.  I had wondered why Moat Cailin was named as it was - Moat "girl".  I thought about Asua and its Green Angel Tower, and what might be left of it after Ineluki returned, and why not a fallen angel statue with its wings clipped that looked to those who knew no better like a girl. Swamped lands all around it, never recovered from the Long Night.     Who was this Last Hero, I wondered?  Because this implied that there had been other heroes before him trying to end the Long Night.  Could the First Hero have been Simon Snowlock-who failed?   Perhaps my imagination has run away with me but what an homage this would be to Mr Williams if George really did springboard from Memory Sorrow with a "what if?".  Although there are a few similarities, the present day politics of Westeros and Essos owe very little to Memory, Sorrow, Thorn.  Song firmly rejects the Christian-like ending of Memory Sorrow and presents a bleaker world picture with very very little love and honour to go around.  The tone is completely dissimilar.  But I think the foundations of its fantastical and mythical history are firmly rooted in Williams' trilogy and not just because of shared source material.
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