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George RR Martin's Greatest Strengths

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Well I finished my reread of ASOIAF, which means I'll probably be disappearing from here soon. I wanted to like have a farewell topic for now. I was trying to think what I wanted to say the most after finishing the books and I decided it was just...to praise the books. After all, I love these books. So, in my opinion : 

1. GRRM is a spectacular author at writing internal conflict as we all know. But...it's what drives my love for these books. What is that quote he loves? Found it, this one by William Faulkner : "The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself."  I love this quote as it so perfectly sums up how he writes but also why I love his writing. So much of what makes the books compelling and interesting is this. To be more specific though : 

2. I love how GRRM has characters repeat shit over and over again. It's how real humans are. I have a great variety of friends, and being that I'm getting on in age...they repeat the same stories over and over. They say the same phrases and repeat the same ideas. It is just how we are. We find somethings to say or ...something that haunts us, and we just repeat it. Daenerys's obsession with waking the dragon, Tyrion wondering where whores go, or Jon Snow thinking about the snow in Robb's hair.... I love it. I think it's a beautiful and loving example of how humans actually think. 

3. GRRM's layers of political drama is always enthralling. Each time I reread these books, I realize something I didn't realize before, notice another detail that reveals something I didn't think of before. There are so many layers and so many plots, and he somehow makes them all make sense for the most part without drifting into weird plot holes. 

4. GRRM writes characters from different backgrounds...who all act like real humans. People can love Stannis. People can love Tyrion. People can love Catelyn. And they can all hate another one of these characters with passion. I thnk this is a sign of spectacular writing. He made characters so distinct, yet so realistic, that people with opposite opinions can relate to one character and hate another. I was reading Wheel of Time before this current reread, and I found Robert Jordan's....characters all end up kind of being the same person. He especially struggles with female characters, who I feel like all act more like men's sexist ideas of women rather than actual women. But also non-white/city folks will be weird xenophobic/racist stereotypes rather than feel like real people that make sense. Not that GRRM is completely free of this...but certainly more than a lot of other authors. 

5. GRRM is surprisingly good at writing characters who face certain prejudices (Tyrion's dealing with how people treat dwarfism, Jon Snow and bastardy, even Catelyn/Brienne dealing with gendered expectations). I guess it is surprising because in other ways he can reveal his inner prejudices (such as how the Dothraki are characterized). It's a weird combination. I've even seen people in this forum asking if bastardy had a real effect...because his in world prejudice is so realistic, that people start to develope bastardphobia in the forum, lol. 

6. If I had to place what made me always come back to these books the most though...it's simple. I love the characters. Perhaps GRRM himself loves the characters, and that's why. All I know is I come back again and again, and just fall in love again with these characters. When Jon Snow again decides to help out Samwell Tarly, I cry every time as I believe he is doing the right thing so strongly. When Daenerys emerges from the fire, I feel her strength as she finally can take her life into her own hands instead of being forced around by others. When Eddard confronts Cersei and writes his own death warrant, I feel the pain of loving who Eddard is...while simultaneously wishing he would make a different decision this tiem. When Catelyn releases Jaime Lannister, I feel her desperation to save her children, and just want to take her hand (like Brienne thought about doing) and offer her comfort. And even Tyrion,....when Tywin tells him he will never have Casterly Rock, I feel the blow like its my own father's rejection when I was young and I wish Tyrion just hadn't asked the question even though I knew he had to. 

Anyways, thank you all for the experience this time around. I truly enjoyed it more than ever before, and I know I can be emotional and dramatic. Sorry if I ever tangled with you too harshly, and again, thanks everyone. 

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The main reason I like the series is your third point regarding re-reads and the details you realise each time. I am up to AFFC in my second read through. A lot of it went over my head in my first read in favour of the overarching plotlines for the main characters. All the Kingsguard and most players during Joffrey's reign were just names for me. Reading it the second time was much more exciting knowing what Mandon Moore would do later and following the rise and fall of Janos Slynt.

Actually, this goes for almost every side character that is mentioned more than once. I was definitely very unobservant in some instances - it took my second read to link together all the POVs to understand what happened to Masha Heddle. There is still so much to learn and so many characters I still haven't quite figured out - so absolutely agree with your third point.

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