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Tyrion1991

I hate the Starks, should I keep reading?

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Posted (edited)

So I didn’t come into the series because of these characters. I came in because of Daenerys and the Game of Thrones plot line; which only very partially involves the Starks. 

I honestly only really liked early Sansa (I think it’s increasingly obvious the character is heading down a grim dark path) and the rest were either boring like Arya/Bran or actively offended me like Jon. 

Should I keep reading? 

I know that the final book was meant to be called a Time for Wolves and the theory that Jon might be Rhaegars son. These things suggest that the series is built upon Stark fan service which would involve pushing aside other characters which I am more invested in.

For example, I actually don’t like the King in the North and Northern Independence thing. It feels forced, rammed down my throat and nationalism is kind of evil. The expectation that I should be rooting for this is disconcerting. Why are they more important than peasants in the Westerlands? Why is their society and culture set on a pedestal? I am not impressed.

So far I can keep reading because there’s enough characters, plot lines and all the Starks are weak with no real power. I am essentially ignoring their existence. Once that changes though and they all become major players I think it will be very difficult for me to carry on with the series. Frankly I skipped most of Jon, Arya and Brans chapters, skim reading them at best. I truly don’t care about them at all. In the case of Jon, even the authors best efforts to paint him in a positive light only increase my disdain and contempt for him.

 

Edited by Tyrion1991

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Of the eight original POVs, six are Stark-related characters (Ned, Cat, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran), so it would be pretty absurd for someone that doesn't like Starks to continue reading past AGOT. 

 

Because of the plot involving the intrigue at Kings Landing, the war, Tyrion and Daenerys story. Basically those two carry the series. Plus, we have a very strong supporting cast in Theon, the Lannister’s and the Baratheons. When you don’t have that (Jon and Bran) the story does suffer. That subsequently gets expanded upon with more POV and I can ignore Bran/Arya storyline until something relevant happens.

But it’s not carried by the Starks in of themselves or because GRRM sells the Northern Cause. The plot takes precedence over the characters with regard to the Starks. 

I don’t like them because I feel like Iam being told to like them. Which doesn’t feel earned. Especially with Jon. I am not impressed by a brooding young man with a chip on his shoulder. There’s also this surreal quality to all the Starks. They feel like they’ve been dropped from a Disney movie into this grimdark world rather than part of it. Which I find jarring and it breaks my immersion. Plus I don’t like how George sets the Northern cause on a pedestal.

Edited by Tyrion1991

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It's a sport.   Lots of fans are sitting in the Targ cheering section with you.   Those of us on the Stark side of the stadium aren't feeling all that good about our chances either.  That's how it is for everyone.  It's a nailbiter.   But since you asked, my advice is don't bother waiting for the books.

 

2 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

Northern Independence thing feels forced, rammed down my throat and nationalism is kind of evil.

Well, as always it pains me to be the bearer of bad news, and please don't go into shock or anything, but you're.....you're probably in a nation right now.

Have you noticed it's always the north and the west in fantasy genre?   Very rarely the east will be the good place to be, but usually not.  And never do you hear a character speak longingly for the south.  "If only i could go South, where everything is ideal."   It's as if authors know that there are limits, and even fantasy readers won't buy in to some things.   Do Southern readers get miffed by this?   Or are they the audience most ardently reading about all these blessed realms in the West?   

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1 hour ago, Tyrion1991 said:

I don’t like them because I feel like Iam being told to like them. Which doesn’t feel earned. Especially with Jon. I am not impressed by a brooding young man with a chip on his shoulder. There’s also this surreal quality to all the Starks. They feel like they’ve been dropped from a Disney movie into this grimdark world rather than part of it. Which I find jarring and it breaks my immersion. Plus I don’t like how George sets the Northern cause on a pedestal.

Lol. The Jon in the book isn't really like the one in the show. Pretty much all the characters have fundamental differences between the show and book versions. The Starks are a big part but they certainly aren't everything, so you can keep on reading. Also, Arya and Bran chapters are really fun and also dark and the story for them is not exactly as in the show. 

GRRM is not pushing a Northexit cause here, really.

Spoiler

It was mainly a show thing with little sense behind it. 

I'd say keep reading even if you hate the Starks. The Essos storyline in the books is quite expansive compared to the show. Unlikable characters isn't really not the issue with the books. Dance with Dragons, the fifth book, ends in a cliifhanger with no release date for the TWoW. So if you are okay with waiting forever for the story to end, then keep on reading. Otherwise, be warned. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, The Hoare said:

Do whatever you like. I dislike anything Targ-related(especially the dragons), but I kept reading because the story was nice.

That's pretty much me. Hint, it's in the name. Though I still enjoyed most Targ related chapters.

Edited by The Anti-Targ

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Imagine writing multiple paragraphs on how you don’t like the Starks :lol:. The last book was called A Time for a Wolves for a reason, if you don’t like the Starks, which you can make the argument are the central House and characters with how many of them there are and POV chapters, you probably shouldn’t have read past the first book. If you’re hoping for a Targaryen restoration or a Lannister takeover you’re going to be disappointed.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

Why is their society and culture set on a pedestal? I am not impressed.

Because they are poor but trying to survive. The Starks are a microcosm of that struggle. Did you also hate on the Joad family in Grapes of Wrath?

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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29 minutes ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Because they are poor but trying to survive. The Starks are a microcosm of that struggle. Did you also hate on the Joad family in Grapes of Wrath?

 

Never read it.

Nobles in Tsarist Russia were poor compared to their Western European counterparts. They still treated their serfs worse than animals and lived off their labour. How are the Starks different?

Surely such poverty is a consequence of their negligent misrule and the consequence of a backwards society. If the North is poor then it’s the fault of those in charge.

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Ironically the original idea was to have told the story from the POV's introduced in Game. You do the math. 

Ultimately, it is just a couple of books left. No matter how hefty it is not that big investment of your time for you to have a referendum about it. 

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14 minutes ago, Tyrion1991 said:

Surely such poverty is a consequence of their negligent misrule and the consequence of a backwards society. If the North is poor then it’s the fault of those in charge.

They are similar to far-flung rural settlements that are neglected by a central government. They are resource poor and live in harsh climates. Dorne is their counterpart. They are also poor but hide it better. Dorne and the North also have some of the most proto-Enlightenment practices and values, so I wouldn't say they are "backwards."

14 minutes ago, Tyrion1991 said:

Nobles in Tsarist Russia were poor compared to their Western European counterparts. They still treated their serfs worse than animals and lived off their labour. How are the Starks different?

They respected the people and for the most part, were good stewards of the land for 8k years. Ned ate dinner with servants of his household. They are also the only region in the series thus far to elect their leader. They are the underdogs in the game. 

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10 hours ago, The Mother of The Others said:

Have you noticed it's always the north and the west in fantasy genre?   Very rarely the east will be the good place to be, but usually not.  And never do you hear a character speak longingly for the south.  "If only i could go South, where everything is ideal."   It's as if authors know that there are limits, and even fantasy readers won't buy in to some things.   Do Southern readers get miffed by this?   Or are they the audience most ardently reading about all these blessed realms in the West?   

This is a bit off topic, but have you seen this or the "Should we cheer for nationalism in fantasy/Sci fi" discussed a bit more anyway? 

 

On Topic:

I am rooting for Stannis and fAegon (hope I don't spoil that for you), and I know full well both won't live to the last pages (haha). I enjoy most of the story because there are so many small 3rd level characters, and unlike in the show where most of those never were introduced and in the end it were 15 people who did everything, I think in the books they will stay important. 

So maybe you should ask yourself if you can enjoy the starks a bit more if they interact with the baratheons, manderlys, arryns or daynes. That's how I get along the Sansa chapters :p

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Well if you've read everything up until now that has been released then I'd say finish it. 

Then again, when I started the books I had a similar problem- I did not like a single person, especially not the POVs. Ned and Catelyn seemed very self-absorbed, Sansa a stupid girl occupied with living some fantasy, Arya seemed boring and Jon constantly felt sorry for himself while the Targs just seemed completely crazy.

That's when I took a step back and wondered about the differences between GRRM's book and the books I used to read. It then came to me that George has a very different way of approaching issues and portraying his characters. The books I used to read usually had one perspective only with a maximum of 3 protagonists who were constantly present. They were always described in likable ways with just the right amount of traits that made them smart without being a genius, honorable but not stupid, innocent but not naive, etc.  I realized that I actually had the expectation to read about people that fit my idea of 'proper humans' and that George trampled that in the ground.

The characters, especially the Starks and Dany, are not disclosed to become immediate fan favs. They're products of the environment they're placed in, they can't reflect too well because 1. little people around them do it and 2. they're too young and 3. they lack experience. They're selfish, stupid and self-absorbed because that's what people, especially kids, would naturally be if placed in such world at such age. They're not meant to make me love them, they're meant to develop, become who they want to be and play their part in the big issues of Planetos.
Only when I let go of the idea that they must be likable to me is when I could really start to embrace the characters and plots surrounding them. 

So perhaps you can take that idea into consideration. I don't think that George particularly has in mind to write a 'the Starks are all the best and the North is what matters' -story. The characters each go through horrors, their home is destroyed, taken by various enemies and they can't do anything about it - all because Ned was 'oh so honorable'. It bit them in the arse. Another aspect I see is that there is a big cultural shift between the South and The North. The Northerners have their own mentality, religion, and priorities and they're tired of being controlled by a King that sits half the world away who doesn't share any of that. What I see is less nationalism than the desire to be free from Southern ambitions which they really don't want to take part in.

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It won't turn out as badly as that.  The Starks will most probably die and their spirits will live on in the direwolves.  I don't like the Starks and I have been reading for at least 12 years.  The greater story is mostly about the Targaryens and their time in Westeros.  I read because I want to know more about Daenerys, the Targaryens, the dragons, Valyria, and Old Ghis.  

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Posted (edited)

If you skippped some chapters, you can't even tell you read the books at all. 

Starks are one of the most important houses in Westeros, and not by some lame coincidence. They were important in history, and will probably be in the future. 

This generation of Starks is historically pivotal, because of their role in the events in next two books-Bran and Jon will certainly become more important for the threat from beyond the Wall, and I think Sansa will be more politically involved. I can't see where Arya is going, and we can claim with some certainty that Rickon is on Skagos.

No one can really persuade you to get to like them, or to counsel you to keep reading because they will be or will not be important in the future. Maybe you should do what you think is the best.

Judging by the end of the abomination we can't speak of-you probably will be disappointed at the end. Not because Martin will write it badly, I think he will write it really well, but most favorably for the house Stark. 

 

Edited by The Sunland Lord

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Its ok to not like some characters... I think Joffrey is a spoiled brat but I still enjoyed reading about his mean self.  Only you can decide if it is a waste of your time.  Your dislike of the Starks seems to be founded more in your feelings then any of their actions.  I would advise you to try and reread them more thoroughly...

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