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What do you think caused Martin to loose his grip on the material?

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I think you guys are having problems understanding some of GRRM's decisions because you are missing the forest for the trees analyzing the Jon and Dany arcs when they are not the main focus of the Feast/Dance narrative. Tyrion and Cersei are. It's a matter of structure.

While there are laden and longer (albeit important) looks into certain other POVs during the narrative they, and the other chapters, are still just two sets of train cars being pulled by the locomotives that are Tyrion and Cersei. This is why they command the chapter rotations (at least until the merge point). I think that nobody really notices it much because no one likes Cersei and no one likes where Tyrion is right now.

Nevertheless, the thread that binds the books together is the symbiotic relationship between Cersei and Tyrion as they grow farther apart in geographical distance, but closer together spiritually and emotionally throughout the narrative (consequentially as Cersei and Jamie grow farther apart in the same ways). They both have the same number of chapters and the beats and lines of their narratives are a polar opposite mirror image of each other. They are repeatedly reminded of each other and the effect Tyrion's murder of Tywin has had on them and others throughout (Penny's brother and Tyrion's feelings of responsibility for her, tarred dwarf heads and Cersei musing that she didn't realize there were so many dwarves in the world, bounty hunters lurking around every bend, etc).

Both have the same, but opposite, narrative beats after they branch off; Cersei is a beehive of activity cleaning up the mess and getting the realm back on its feet. She conducts the investigation, plans and executes an unexpected state funeral and makes arrangements to marry Tommen off to secure his crown. On the contrary, Tyrion is wallowing in a trough of self loathing and inaction, a drunk nothing looking for where whores go.

Both storylines smooth out a bit and our protagonists start to feel a little more comfortable in their new lives. Tyrion is on the river and things seem like he has a good handle on them again and Cersei is feeling confident that her machinations will bear fruit. There are a few bumps and pitfalls along the way, but they are overcome.

Then, at nearly the same time, the rug is pulled out from under them by religious zealots/fanatics. Cersei by the Faith Militant and Tyrion by the high priest and singular member of the Cult of the Adoration of the Daenerys, Jorah Mormont. They both lose their freedom and identity for a time and suffer privation, then they both find a light at the end of the tunnel and a path to return them to where they want to be; Cersei into power and Tyrion in control of his own destiny once again.

And.... that's the problem. The main drivers of our tale come to a most unsatisfying dénouement. It's not a cliffhanger, it's not a resolution, it's just... there. There are other issues too. If you'll notice, all of the POVs that really could have moved the major arc(s) along either were written as tons of filler to pass time or were truncated to stop the reveal of important information too soon in the narrative.

Bran, Davos, Aeron, Sansa and Samwell all stopped mid-tale (looking at it all as one long book) and every one of their POVs have come to the "use it or lose it" point, so no help there for a satisfying ending. Jamie and Brienne also have a symbiotic narrative, but I have to read them again to see if the narrative beats line up as well as Cersie and Tyrion do. And I have a tinfoil hat theory that I call The Lost Dornish Plot that involves four chapters each for Arianne, Quentyn and Arys Oakheart and axes (pun intended) Areo Hotah from the narrative. In any case, none of them come to a satisfying end either. Arya? No. Victarion? No. Asha? No. Theon? Surprisingly no, even though he got left swaying in the breeze after getting more done narratively than anyone in both books combined.

That leaves us with our golden children, Jon and Dany. Now why, you may ask, did Jon and Dany get a total of twenty three chapters that don't amount to a hill of beans narratively except for the very endings? Endings that, along with the epilogue, give us our cliffhanger dénouements, coincidentally. Well, that's the clincher right there. They needed to get that much screen time to make their poor attempts at ruling apparent and believable after the loss of the five year gap that was going to do it for them, and luckily for our intrepid author, waste a bunch of pages in the process to mask the fact that the five storylines that were able, weren't going to move things along. So all that cramming was an editorial decision to make sure this part of the narrative had a definite ending point from which to jump off and start TWoW. The only thing that I would have done different if it was me editing ADwD would have been to lose the prologue and condense and combine two of the Jon chapters in order to put Theon I from TWoW in there.

Whew! I think I need a drink!

 

Edited by Trefayne
more errata

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12 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

I think a valid criticism would be that George could have easily extended the overall timeline by 50-100% without losing momentum or the sense of realism. Increasing travel and down times here and there would have allowed him to squeeze in a year or two to add to the children's ages. But then again he was banking on the gap and probably didn't want to overdo-it. I would favor an official retcon that increases the length of the Wot5K by a year (changing the Purple Wedding from the 300th year of Aegon's Conquest to 301 turn of the century) and the events of Feast/Dance by at least 6 months.

Obviously the Battle of Ice would play out first, but it is feasible to have the invasion soon after. The way I imagine it is something like this:

1. Battle at the Frozen Lakes happens, Stannis's forces win. This happens prior to Jon's last ADwD chapter, but they are presented out of order for dramatic tension.

2. Stannis's forces feign defeat as a ruse to get inside Winterfell. The Boltons are presented with Lightbringer and heads and Stannis's men enter the castle dressed as Freys. The battle begins just as Ramsay finishes writing the pink letter and he orders it sent before going to see what's going on, hence the wax smudge and lack of seal.

3. Pink letter arrives at Castle Black, Jon is assassinated. Jon's final chapter in ADwD. Note that by this time Tycho, Justin Massey and fArya, who were sent away sometime before the battle, are at Eastwatch or close enough, and will be heading for Braavos.

4. Castle Black is a tinderbox after Jon falls and everything immediately goes to shit. Wildlings and loyal Night's Watchmen butcher Bowen Marsh and his assassins, some watchmen and queen's men desert, others try to take Selise someplace safe. It turns out Jon is on the verge of death, but still hangs on by a thread, which is why he is carried away by a group of loyalists. The PoV here (likely Mel) may or may not follow him to wherever he is taken (likely Karhold, due to the Alys being set up, but he will eventually end up at White Harbor).

5. The Wall is breached immediately after. Maybe same chapter, maybe the one after. No better time than that moment of utter chaos and betrayals, really.

6. First chapter with Stannis at Winterfell. By the end of it, we find out that the Bridge of Skulls was breached by the the army of wights that used to be the Weeper's wildlings, and they spilled into the mountains south of the Wall.

7. Two or three overall chapters focused on Stannis as he stoically prepares to face the Others. We see refugees arrive from the mountain clans, Bear Island and Deepwood Motte, and/or we get ravens from places we know are doomed. Stannis stoically prepares to face the Others. Manderly and other northern lords abandon him and decide to take their people and retreat to White Harbor, hoping the wights might not get that far. Stannis goes to battle anyway and is defeated, getting even more people killed in the process.

8. Jon, who had been in a coma at White Harbor, finally succumbs to his wounds. It is revealed that the northern lords knew about Robb's will and were hoping to make Jon their king, but now there is no more hope left (even if he lives and they have him, Rickon is too young and feral to lead them against such darkness - "a child lord is the bane of any house"). There was a begrudging peace between the northerners and the wildlings out of loyalty to Jon, but everyone knows it may not last. This is the North's darkest hour. A pyre is built for Jon and he is burned on it to prevent him from turning into a wight. As the fire dies out, Jon emerges from the ashes, alive, mirroring the birth of the dragons at the end of the first volume.

9. Jon is named King of the North and the wildlings, but he realizes too few men are left now to fight the Others. He decides the best course of action is to fill the Manderly Fleet with women, children and whoever else might fit and take them to safety.

10. The Others swarm White Harbor and we get an epic battle as Jon's men try to hold them back long enough for the ships to be filled and sail out into the bay.

That would be nice, but that would require Martin to pace his story to a speed similar to ASoS, which he's not done for two books now.

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19 minutes ago, sifth said:

That would be nice, but that would require Martin to pace his story to a speed similar to ASoS, which he's not done for two books now.

He hasn't done it because those books are set up. Sometimes you need the silence to make the music great. Without it, it's just endless noise... Well, at least I hope that is the case, guess we'll see when TWoW comes out.

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3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

He hasn't done it because those books are set up. Sometimes you need the silence to make the music great. Without it, it's just endless noise... Well, at least I hope that is the case, guess we'll see when TWoW comes out.

I am sorry, but if we look at the sample chapters we can see that the affc/adwd style has come to stay.

we have about 11 chapters or so and very little has happend (I am pointing specially at arianne's travel logs cof cof I mean chapters)

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12 minutes ago, divica said:

I am sorry, but if we look at the sample chapters we can see that the affc/adwd style has come to stay.

we have about 11 chapters or so and very little has happend (I am pointing specially at arianne's travel logs cof cof I mean chapters)

Mercy, Alayne and the Forsaken were fascinating and the battle chapters were tense, if not as revealing as we would have liked. If you go back to ASoS, you'll find plenty of travelogues there as well, including at least two chapters featuring gloomy people heading to a wedding through the rain. You don't imagine George would have offered up any crucial chapters, do you?

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36 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

Mercy, Alayne and the Forsaken were fascinating and the battle chapters were tense, if not as revealing as we would have liked. If you go back to ASoS, you'll find plenty of travelogues there as well, including at least two chapters featuring gloomy people heading to a wedding through the rain. You don't imagine George would have offered up any crucial chapters, do you?

No, but the sample chapters are still long and meandering and in need of a tighter edit, which very strongly suggests that the bloat extreme level of detail that we saw in the last two books is the 'new normal'.

 

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54 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

Mercy, Alayne and the Forsaken were fascinating and the battle chapters were tense, if not as revealing as we would have liked. If you go back to ASoS, you'll find plenty of travelogues there as well, including at least two chapters featuring gloomy people heading to a wedding through the rain. You don't imagine George would have offered up any crucial chapters, do you?

alayne has 2 chapters right?

They were interesting? tell me 3 things about alayne chapters that you still remember.

And while the forsaken and the battle chapters were really good we had 5 chapters about a battle and we might be halfway through it. Even in dance we some really interesting chapters. I don t think that is the problem. The problem is the amount of detail and woorld building that end up making the story move at a much slower pace compared to the earlier books.

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2 hours ago, divica said:

alayne has 2 chapters right?

They were interesting? tell me 3 things about alayne chapters that you still remember.

And while the forsaken and the battle chapters were really good we had 5 chapters about a battle and we might be halfway through it. Even in dance we some really interesting chapters. I don t think that is the problem. The problem is the amount of detail and woorld building that end up making the story move at a much slower pace compared to the earlier books.

Alayne only has one chapter and it's not so great, aside from being able to see Littlefinger again, for the first time in over a decade, lol

 

The Arya, Theon and the Forsaken chapters are the ones I like the most. The Dorne stuff is just more pointless details for the sake of more pointless details. A tighter narrative would just have Arriana show up at Griffin's Roost at the start of the chapter. You can have her talk about how she received the bird from the Golden Company week's ago and made a long journey and so on, in the chapter; there's no need to actually show it to us unless something important happens, which we all know nothing does.

The Victarion chapter is pretty bad as well, since it's just him getting read for the battle. We already know he's going to arrive, we already know he's going to blow the dam horn. There's no reason to show us getting each piece of his armor on or the manner in which he's going to blow the dam horn. This can all be detailed to us after the fact.

The Tyrion character is pretty fun but it loses points for having Penny in it. That character makes every chapter worse. The Ser Barristan one is just, Ser Barristan getting ready for the battle, it's pretty much a clone of the Victarion chapter, just with different characters and no magic horn.

Think that covers all of them.

Edited by sifth

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4 hours ago, sifth said:

Alayne only has one chapter and it's not so great, aside from being able to see Littlefinger again, for the first time in over a decade, lol

The Arya, Theon and the Forsaken chapters are the ones I like the most. The Dorne stuff is just more pointless details for the sake of more pointless details. A tighter narrative would just have Arriana show up at Griffin's Roost at the start of the chapter. You can have her talk about how she received the bird from the Golden Company week's ago and made a long journey and so on, in the chapter; there's no need to actually show it to us unless something important happens, which we all know nothing does.

Yes, Alayne is Sansa. You were thinking of Arianne, @divica.

And yes, her chapters were not very revealing, but that doesn't mean they will be unnecessary. First of all, just to get this out of the way, Arianne I has a lot of sequences that serve as sort of a "previously on" for the Dornish and Aegon plot lines, just to remind readers where the story is at. You can argue such a chapter is not the best choice for a preview, but if you go back to ACoK and ASoS you will notice George has always done that in the first chapters of certain characters. If it feels like the chapter spends time on stuff you already know, that's totally intended.

The second thing is, I keep coming back to your lack of appreciation for build up chapters. It's not that George's writing is always perfect, you are entitled not to like the overly descriptive stuff. But I get the feeling that you are underestimating the need to accumulate some information, get to understand a character's thought process and get into the particular mood of that character in the slower build up chapters in order to truly appreciate the pay offs. You seem to believe the pay off/big moment can stand on its own the story should jump straight to it.

The next big moment in Arienne's story is supposed to be her meeting with Jon Con and/or Aegon and making a momentous decision in the name of Dorne. You want her to get on with it because you feel that you already know what that decision will be - and your guess may even be right. But the reality of the character is that joining Aegon would not be an easy decision at all. Joining him would be risky both in terms of his current chances to dethrone Tommen, and his potential conflict of interests with Dany and more importantly Quentin.

The character doesn't know what the reader knows: that Quentin is dead so there's no point in worrying about him, and that allying with Aegon makes the most narrative sense for the story because it creates conflict, which would be more exciting for us (not for Dorne). If she made her decision based on what the author and the reader wanted, without creating the illusion that the character has her own internal logic and motivations, then it would be a shit story that a 4th grader could write. It would play on the rule @Cas Stark sarcastically uses as a signature, "Creatively it made sense to us, because we wanted it to happen". You can't really skip the character's mental process going from "Holy shit, my dad had this plan all along for my brother to bring a chick with dragons here to get revenge for us!" to "I'm gonna join this random dude now who might be a fake pretender, even though he may totally screw over my dad's plan with the dragon chick".

And that brings us to the extra two chapters. If you were to plop Arienne in front of Aegon in her very first chapter, you would then need to explain all her rather complex thought processes as they are having their conversation, which would clog the dialogue worse than Casterly Rock's sewers before Tyrion took over. These chapters allow you to familiarize yourself with what Arianne is thinking beforehand, so hopefully when they actually meet the scene will be able to breathe, and you will understand where Arianne is coming from with what she says and what she will ultimately decide.

Aside from that, since he has to write the chapters anyway, George probably placed some bits of auxiliary information in them as well, which will be necessary for this plot line or a different one that is harder to anticipate. For example, Elia Sand was probably put there for a reason. Arianne makes a quick note of Tyene and Lady Nym's progress as well, so we can somewhat follow them in the timeline and connect the dots when they arrive at King's Landing. You learn that Storm's End has fallen there, so that revelation doesn't have to be crammed in your one chapter as well. Stuff like that. Naturally, it remains to be seen how well everything will tie together in Winds.

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3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Yes, Alayne is Sansa. You were thinking of Arianne, @divica.

And yes, her chapters were not very revealing, but that doesn't mean they will be unnecessary. First of all, just to get this out of the way, Arianne I has a lot of sequences that serve as sort of a "previously on" for the Dornish and Aegon plot lines, just to remind readers where the story is at. You can argue such a chapter is not the best choice for a preview, but if you go back to ACoK and ASoS you will notice George has always done that in the first chapters of certain characters. If it feels like the chapter spends time on stuff you already know, that's totally intended.

The second thing is, I keep coming back to your lack of appreciation for build up chapters. It's not that George's writing is always perfect, you are entitled not to like the overly descriptive stuff. But I get the feeling that you are underestimating the need to accumulate some information, get to understand a character's thought process and get into the particular mood of that character in the slower build up chapters in order to truly appreciate the pay offs. You seem to believe the pay off/big moment can stand on its own the story should jump straight to it.

The next big moment in Arienne's story is supposed to be her meeting with Jon Con and/or Aegon and making a momentous decision in the name of Dorne. You want her to get on with it because you feel that you already know what that decision will be - and your guess may even be right. But the reality of the character is that joining Aegon would not be an easy decision at all. Joining him would be risky both in terms of his current chances to dethrone Tommen, and his potential conflict of interests with Dany and more importantly Quentin.

The character doesn't know what the reader knows: that Quentin is dead so there's no point in worrying about him, and that allying with Aegon makes the most narrative sense for the story because it creates conflict, which would be more exciting for us (not for Dorne). If she made her decision based on what the author and the reader wanted, without creating the illusion that the character has her own internal logic and motivations, then it would be a shit story that a 4th grader could write. It would play on the rule @Cas Stark sarcastically uses as a signature, "Creatively it made sense to us, because we wanted it to happen". You can't really skip the character's mental process going from "Holy shit, my dad had this plan all along for my brother to bring a chick with dragons here to get revenge for us!" to "I'm gonna join this random dude now who might be a fake pretender, even though he may totally screw over my dad's plan with the dragon chick".

And that brings us to the extra two chapters. If you were to plop Arienne in front of Aegon in her very first chapter, you would then need to explain all her rather complex thought processes as they are having their conversation, which would clog the dialogue worse than Casterly Rock's sewers before Tyrion took over. These chapters allow you to familiarize yourself with what Arianne is thinking beforehand, so hopefully when they actually meet the scene will be able to breathe, and you will understand where Arianne is coming from with what she says and what she will ultimately decide.

Aside from that, since he has to write the chapters anyway, George probably placed some bits of auxiliary information in them as well, which will be necessary for this plot line or a different one that is harder to anticipate. For example, Elia Sand was probably put there for a reason. Arianne makes a quick note of Tyene and Lady Nym's progress as well, so we can somewhat follow them in the timeline and connect the dots when they arrive at King's Landing. You learn that Storm's End has fallen there, so that revelation doesn't have to be crammed in your one chapter as well. Stuff like that. Naturally, it remains to be seen how well everything will tie together in Winds.

It's not much that I hate the over descriptive chapters, but it's more a case of a feeling I have that we should be past this sort of stuff by now, unless it's 100% necessary to the plot. We just have too many POV characters and stories going on now, for us to spend an entire chapter of a character doing little else, but traveling, thinking and not even reaching their destination. This might have been stuff George could get away with earlier on, but we're nearing the end game after all, lol

For example look at Cat's visit to meet Renly in the second book. There was no need for George to waste his readers time on ever step of Cat getting from point A to B, she just showed up to meet Renly and I'm sure there were some insanely important things going on in her mind during that journey. The same could be said with her trip back to Riverrun. She didn't spend two or three chapters on the road, she was just back again. I honestly have a hard time seeing any diffrence between Cat's quest to make an alliance with Renly compare to Arriana and Faegon, only this time we need a travelogue, because why not.

 

Also there's a huge difference between George being over descriptive of an important location like Kings Land, Winterfell, The Wall and so on and not for the random castles Arriana is visiting, which we will probably never see again. Ironically though, that's not even the real kicker with those Arriana chapters, because once she finally reaches Griffin's Roost, Faegon and Jon Con aren't even there. So an important meeting of characters is even further delayed and odds are we'll be treated to even more traveling in her next chapter.

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16 minutes ago, sifth said:

It's not much that I hate the over descriptive chapters, but it's more a case of a feeling I have that we should be past this sort of stuff by now, unless it's 100% necessary to the plot. We just have too many POV characters and stories going on now, for us to spend an entire chapter of a character doing little else, but traveling, thinking and not even reaching their destination. This might have been stuff George could get away with earlier on, but we're nearing the end game after all, lol

For example look at Cat's visit to meet Renly in the second book. There was no need for George to waste his readers time on ever step of Cat getting from point A to B, she just showed up to meet Renly and I'm sure there were some insanely important things going on in her mind during that journey. The same could be said with her trip back to Riverrun. She didn't spend two or three chapters on the road, she was just back again. I honestly have a hard time seeing any diffrence between Cat's quest to make an alliance with Renly compare to Arriana and Faegon, only this time we need a travelogue, because why not.

 

Also there's a huge difference between George being over descriptive of an important location like Kings Land, Winterfell, The Wall and so on and not for the random castles Arriana is visiting, which we will probably never see again. Ironically though, that's not even the real kicker with those Arriana chapters, because once she finally reaches Griffin's Roost, Faegon and Jon Con aren't even there. So an important meeting of characters is even further delayed and odds are we'll be treated to even more traveling in her next chapter.

Cat didn't have that much to ponder on, though. She had a clear mission from Robb, and the twists and turns came from the dialogue and Renly's assassination. By the end of ADwD, the Martells don't know anything about Aegon. Arianne starts her journey in TWoW not knowing exactly what to expect and she gradually weighs every piece of information as it comes by. Spending two chapters to set her on this new journey and allow her to filter her thoughts is not unreasonable. I would say it's even necessary.

Think of Theon in ACoK. Of the 6 chapters he had, in the first 2, he is merely there to show us what Balon is doing, he's still kind of pulling for Robb but you don't get the feeling he can do anything, and in most of the third he's raiding an irrelevant location in the North, only to come up with the idea of taking Winterfell at the very end of it... so the ratio of build up chapters in new locations to heavy action that greatly impacts the plot is 50-50.

Besides, there is no urgency with Arianne's plot line anyway. Things need to accelerate in Essos and at the Wall, not in the South, where it's pretty clear that this fAegon + (?) Dorne vs Cersei + (?) Euron conflict will span entire book, so there is plenty of time to pace the set up. I highly doubt that either Dany or the Others can reach the South in Winds, so George must keep the people there busy with something.

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If Winds proceeds at the same glacial pace as The Dance of the Feasting Dragon Crows did, then it will be impossible to finish the series in a 7th book, which I believe is going to be the case, and I don't believe Martin will ever finish a 7th book, let alone an 8th book.  So, everyone should really be hoping that Winds isn't full of long, rambling chapters of people traveling and thinking and doing nothing. 

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3 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

If Winds proceeds at the same glacial pace as The Dance of the Feasting Dragon Crows did, then it will be impossible to finish the series in a 7th book, which I believe is going to be the case, and I don't believe Martin will ever finish a 7th book, let alone an 8th book.  So, everyone should really be hoping that Winds isn't full of long, rambling chapters of people traveling and thinking and doing nothing. 

 

Well, if he does we should get him back by starting a convention group called Where Do Bores Go?

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13 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

Cat didn't have that much to ponder on, though. She had a clear mission from Robb, and the twists and turns came from the dialogue and Renly's assassination. By the end of ADwD, the Martells don't know anything about Aegon. Arianne starts her journey in TWoW not knowing exactly what to expect and she gradually weighs every piece of information as it comes by. Spending two chapters to set her on this new journey and allow her to filter her thoughts is not unreasonable. I would say it's even necessary.

Think of Theon in ACoK. Of the 6 chapters he had, in the first 2, he is merely there to show us what Balon is doing, he's still kind of pulling for Robb but you don't get the feeling he can do anything, and in most of the third he's raiding an irrelevant location in the North, only to come up with the idea of taking Winterfell at the very end of it... so the ratio of build up chapters in new locations to heavy action that greatly impacts the plot is 50-50.

Besides, there is no urgency with Arianne's plot line anyway. Things need to accelerate in Essos and at the Wall, not in the South, where it's pretty clear that this fAegon + (?) Dorne vs Cersei + (?) Euron conflict will span entire book, so there is plenty of time to pace the set up. I highly doubt that either Dany or the Others can reach the South in Winds, so George must keep the people there busy with something.

Actually Theon is pretty much onboard the screw Robb train by the start of his second chapter. I'd also like to remind you that we didn't see Theon travel to the Iron Islands either, aside from the end of his boat ride. He literally meets his father and gets his fathers reply to Robb's truce in the same chapter. It's beautiful pacing. No need for a characters like Arianne, Tyrion or Brennie to have travel logs, that slow the plot down for no reason. Just characters showing up where they need to be.

So far the only travel log chapters that I don't hate are Arya's, but that's mostly because I love that character and she has possibly my favorite supporting cast in the second and third books.

I think you find Arianne more interesting than I do. This is a character who's only had two POV chapters up until this point in the story and herself has only been in four as a whole. One of those chapters is just her spending 85% of the chapter being depressed in a tower. If GRRM wants me to care about her, he's going to really have to up his game and the travel log is certainly not helping me with that. At the moment she is honestly just "random Dorne lady POV", to me. She might evolve into a character I give a dam about at some point, who actually stands out, but it's not happened yet.

 

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1 minute ago, sifth said:

Actually Theon is pretty much onboard the screw Robb train by the start of his second chapter. I'd also like to remind you that we didn't see Theon travel to the Iron Islands either, aside from the end of his boat ride. He literally meets his father and gets his fathers reply to Robb's truce in the same chapter. It's beautiful pacing. No need for a characters like Arianne, Tyrion or Brennie to have travel logs, that slow the plot down for no reason. Just characters showing up where they need to be.

Same as what I said about Cat. Theon starts on a mission and things only start changing after he meets with Balon. With Arianne the end goal is more of a mystery for her and she has to process the possibilities and weigh them against the Master Plan.

4 minutes ago, sifth said:

I think you find Arianne more interesting than I do. This is a character who's only had two POV chapters up until this point in the story and herself has only been in four as a whole. One of those chapters is just her spending 85% of the chapter being depressed in a tower. If GRRM wants me to care about her, he's going to really have to up his game and the travel log is certainly not helping me with that. At the moment she is honestly just "random Dorne lady POV", to me. She might evolve into a character I give a dam about at some point, who actually stands out, but it's not happened yet.

It's not that I find her particularly interesting, I guess it's the opposite of that, really. There are plenty of the original characters I never found all that interesting as individuals, for various reasons, but I still enjoyed the overall story and the way it was put together.

Catelyn is a great example. Her grief and inability to control the situations she was in made her chapters oppressive in ASoS. Especially since I, as a reader, knew her children weren't really dead. But that desperation, that sense of dread, those vain attempts to control Robb, ultimately make the Red Wedding that more effective. I also felt that the impact of Doran's Master Plan was increased by Arianne's naivete and shallowness in AFFC, so that worked for me.

I wonder if people truly dislike these characters, though, or if there's a new character bias in play. Sansa, Bran, Catelyn, even Dany, Jon and Arya, all have dragging chapters in the first three books. But then it's not a problem because they are protagonists. New arrivals are deemed unworthy, even though it's natural to bring some new characters in with a new arc.

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16 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

I wonder if people truly dislike these characters, though, or if there's a new character bias in play. Sansa, Bran, Catelyn, even Dany, Jon and Arya, all have dragging chapters in the first three books. But then it's not a problem because they are protagonists. New arrivals are deemed unworthy, even though it's natural to bring some new characters in with a new arc.

 

I place the blame solely on GRRM. He never should have told the fans about abandoning the five year gap. Now every time people read a POV that seems to go nowhere fast they can't help but have the metaphorical image in their head of dozens of lost characters wandering the desert in search of the mythical, lost five year gap and their salvation.

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5 minutes ago, Trefayne said:

I place the blame solely on GRRM. He never should have told the fans about abandoning the five year gap. Now every time people read a POV that seems to go nowhere fast they can't help but have the metaphorical image in their head of dozens of lost characters wandering the desert in search of the mythical, lost five year gap and their salvation.

I agree. I don't think anything was lost by removing the gap. George simply never had a very clear image of what he wanted to do between the Wot5K and the ending, and it took him a long time to figure that out. He tried to do it like that, and we have to believe him that this version is better.

I wouldn't blame George for being open about the gap, though. People should just stop looking for easy answers they can use topretend they know better.

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12 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

I agree. I don't think anything was lost by removing the gap. George simply never had a very clear image of what he wanted to do between the Wot5K and the ending, and it took him a long time to figure that out. He tried to do it like that, and we have to believe him that this version is better.

I wouldn't blame George for being open about the gap, though. People should just stop looking for easy answers they can use topretend they know better.

Characters like sam, arya and bran need desperatly a time skip in order to train their new abilities/study books.

Even sansa would need more time to lose herself. 

Besides the north it is hard to say a story arc that improved without the arc

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54 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

Same as what I said about Cat. Theon starts on a mission and things only start changing after he meets with Balon. With Arianne the end goal is more of a mystery for her and she has to process the possibilities and weigh them against the Master Plan.

It's not that I find her particularly interesting, I guess it's the opposite of that, really. There are plenty of the original characters I never found all that interesting as individuals, for various reasons, but I still enjoyed the overall story and the way it was put together.

Catelyn is a great example. Her grief and inability to control the situations she was in made her chapters oppressive in ASoS. Especially since I, as a reader, knew her children weren't really dead. But that desperation, that sense of dread, those vain attempts to control Robb, ultimately make the Red Wedding that more effective. I also felt that the impact of Doran's Master Plan was increased by Arianne's naivete and shallowness in AFFC, so that worked for me.

I wonder if people truly dislike these characters, though, or if there's a new character bias in play. Sansa, Bran, Catelyn, even Dany, Jon and Arya, all have dragging chapters in the first three books. But then it's not a problem because they are protagonists. New arrivals are deemed unworthy, even though it's natural to bring some new characters in with a new arc.

It's both, for me, as an example, Euron is a poor character, a stock character who is so villainous, he seems to belong in another story.  I like Brienne, she's a wonderful character, but her 'story' in Feast was boring and pointless except for her last two chapters.  I love Arya and am never bored by her chapters, but I can recognize that we could have done with about half as many House of Black/White chapters and lost not much, same for Jon, he had no need of SO many, SO long chapters in Dance.  I dislike the Dorne storyline, was floored by the absence of a Doran master plan and from there on, lost all interest in Arianne and her tedious inner and outer lives.  Generally, the new characters are weaker than the originals and when combined with much filler and little action or development, it makes for a slog.

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12 minutes ago, divica said:

Characters like sam, arya and bran need desperatly a time skip in order to train their new abilities/study books.

Of those characters, only about Arya you can say that she legitimately needed training. Sam needs information, not a diploma, and Bran's abilities are magic, being a creepy psychic kid is actually a plus for him. And we don't know if and why Arya needs to become a skilled assassin. If that has to do with the endgame, as I suspect it might, spending Dance and Winds with the Faceless Men is still an acceptable length of time.

14 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

It's both, for me, as an example, Euron is a poor character, a stock character who is so villainous, he seems to belong in another story.  I like Brienne, she's a wonderful character, but her 'story' in Feast was boring and pointless except for her last two chapters.  I love Arya and am never bored by her chapters, but I can recognize that we could have done with about half as many House of Black/White chapters and lost not much, same for Jon, he had no need of SO many, SO long chapters in Dance.  I dislike the Dorne storyline, was floored by the absence of a Doran master plan and from there on, lost all interest in Arianne and her tedious inner and outer lives.  Generally, the new characters are weaker than the originals and when combined with much filler and little action or development, it makes for a slog.

I personally enjoy the puzzle more than the characters. I like to re-read and discover stuff and try to figure out what's next. Some characters are a little cheesy and some moments lean on the rule of cool, but George still go through great pains to make sure it makes sense in context, so I don't mind. I re-read Feast and Dance more times than the other three, and I enjoyed them a lot more precisely because everything is up in the air. As puzzles, they are exquisite, and I don't think I'll ever be able to say I dislike them, but I will be disappointed if George doesn't tie together the so-called "filler" threads.

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