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[ADWD SPOILERS] Why all the praise?


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But you have to take into context that George Martin took 11 years to give us this book.

I would argue that Robert Jordan achieved much more in writing Shadow Rising and Lord of Chaos in 2 to 2.5 years than George Martin did in taking over a decade to give us Dance.

The guy who gets 99% on his math test while taking 2 years to do it isn't better than the guy who got 84% on the same math test in 2 hours.

Just saying . . .

Oh . . . and George didn't get 99% on this book.

Works of literature are judged by how good they are, not how long it took. I'd much rather read the better book than the book that took shorter time to write.

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I am entitled to express my opinion particularly when said opinion was expressed using the verb "feel".

Fair enough. I disagreed with your assessment that all cliffhangers are "cheap" and would argue that so do most creators of TV shows, movies, and books, including GRRM himself.

So I guess we'll just agree to disagree.

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I agree with the creator of this thread. There is too much pointless talking here, descriptions, etc. Dany's chapters were a torture for me to read, 500 pages of reading how horny she is, wiping the bottoms of people that complained, spoiling the power she had by ignoring dragons and being helpless made me want to puke. If not for Barristan I would skip these chapters, seriously. Even Belwas was more interesting than her. Every non-Aria, Bran, Jon, Tyrion, Barristan, Davos, Mellisandre, Jaime chapter (and prologue and epilogue) was either bad or really bad. And by bad I mean boring, repetitive, annoying, etc. (not necessarily everything at once). Tyrion's chapters weren't that interesting either, although because he's a great character they were easier to swallow. Jon's chapter saved this book IMO and I disagree with banditry that it as dull or that Martin did not showing how others reacted to his decisions. It's been clearly stated they weren't content with it but seeing their exact thoughts would spoil the ending. In the end we knew what they thought and what Melissandre's prophecy meant (and many probably expected this to happen). To me his decisions were very calculated and reasonable and well thought out besides maybe his last. I'm saying maybe because Bolton has clearly threatened to attack the Wall to get to Jon so to not risk others lives he had to react. And he did all he could to not drag anyone else into this. The actions of his killers (or maybe they didn't kill him, Mellisandre can save him still probably) were idiotic. They didn't try to argue his decisions openly, when he read the letter, they didn't try to rationalize it, they didn't want to support him. THEY were the traitors, not Jon. Killing him was the stupidest thing they could have done, especially after they've agreed to bring Wildlings in. This is madness. Did they think that by this Wall would be better defended? Did they not think this may go into carnage? Martin made complete and utter fools out of them. Retards. Seriously, how did they expect to defend the Wall without using Jon's ideas?

Anyway, what really saved the book for me were Arya and Bran's chapters. Even though they've appeared only briefly it was theirs chapters that made me want to finish the book counting on seeing more of them (I intentionally didn't see how many chapters with them are in the Book).

And I agree that Aegon being alive wasn't the best move Martin could have done. It makes me think that other "Aegons" might appear (for example Lyana's kid, maybe even a girl assuming Jon isn't their kid). It seems to me he added this plot twist for the sake of having a plot twist. Alsi I was annoyed by Tyrion's, Theon's and Dany's plot armors (especially Dany's). Even when they're in hoplesss situations I know they will survive.


They all believe he's Aegon as well. Connington, Duck, Lemore, etc. Even Aegon believes it. That's the beauty of telling a buch of people that this random infant is Aegon, once they believe it, why would they question it? It's not like he can give himself away.

Aegon being a fake is a possibility but I wouldn't be so sure of that. Crushed face of the infant works both ways, no one could tell that it was Aegon that was crushed because it would be unrecognizable but on the other hand it could mean they were afraid someone might recognize the infant being fake so they did it. I don't see really much of the advantage by having a fake rule the kingdom. Once found out (for example by dragons or some other way) it could go nasty and since everyone believes he's real not fake it makes basically no difference.
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I wouldn't put it in a paradigm of liking/disliking cliffhangers, but in the paradigm of caring/not-caring about cliffhangers.

There are some cliffhangers I care about, that leave me in suspense, but since ADWD there are also some that leave me lukewarm. There is no suspense when I don't care about which way a "cliffhanger" is going to swing.

The one that bugged me the most was Jon. I found myself saying, "Are you fucking serious?" :)

I mean, you know GRRM is not going to kill him (well, I'm almost 99% that's the case) so, yeah, in that instance it feels over done. Especially if WoW takes more than 4 years to come out.

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Another lurker giving his thoughts.

This book fell well short of expectations. A Game of Thrones is my favorite book (not the series, just the book) because it is written so realistically with great characters with vibrant personalities whose actions made sense within the context of those personalities. Eddard dies because of his honor, Robert dies not caring about governing but hunting for a boar, Sansa lies for Joffery because she is a naive little girl, etc. The characters are real, with real strengths and flaws. Almost all the major players/characters are introduced in the beginning, what with the feast at Winterfell for Robert and then on the way to King's Landing. We got to see all the characters together, so even when they diverge we are bound to their stories by where they came from, by common ground. Enough major events happen to keep us hooked: Bran being thrown by Jamie, Catelyn capturing Tyrion at swordpoint, Eddard being attacked by Jamie, etc. I could go on and on.

All the stories were tied together by a common purpose: Westeros. Eddard and the other POV's were about Lannisters trying to control the realm, John Snow's was about defending the realm from the Others, and Daenerys was about regaining the realm. Everything is about the realm. The realm is the most important thing that ties everything together. We care about the realm.

A Game of Thrones was tightly written. I do not consider a fantasy book, but a book on political intrigue with a gorgeous backstory (Robert's rebellion) in a fantasy setting. There wasn't overt use of magical powers or mystical creatures. Everything was written in a plausible, easy-to-relate to way in the context of political intrigue that could have happened in medieval Europe. The Others and the Dragons and the witchcraft of the woman who killed Dany's child Rhaego were done tastefully. The overall story and plot and characters carried the book, not the fantasy/magical parts of it. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't dislike fantasy obviously, but everything has changed with Dance.

With the way the series has progressed, the fantasy is used way too much. There are so many things to keep track of, so many powers and magical artifacts. The Horn of Winter, Euron’s Dragon Hellhorn, the Greenseers, the Weirwoods, Warging, Green Dreams, Dragonglass killing the Others, weird wizards in Qarth and the Undying, Lightbringer and AA, burning and seeing things in the fire from R’Hollar, etc. This is all well and fine, but it completely changes the rules. Basically in Game of Thrones, we are limited to what men can accomplish. Those were the rules of the game of thrones. Now, all those rules are thrown out of whack because we have all these new mechanics. A lot of these things have just been mentioned, not necessarily used, but I feel they take away from the character interaction aspects of the story in Game of Thrones. It would have been better to keep the series somewhat within the normal limits of what medieval men could do but then add a bit of fantasy to lean on. The only thing that should have been a trump card the whole time (due to Targaryen precedent) is the dragons, and they haven’t even been used yet.

The veering towards more overt fantasy and getting away from the core political intrigue might just be my personal dislike, which is fine. What is not fine, however, and something that many people have already brought up, is the entire lack of coherent plot. I mentioned before that A Game of Thrones was all about the realm. It gave us a single cohesive thing that we care about. Everything flowed and made sense and came back to this central aspect. There was a sequence of events that we clearly saw. For example, Catelyn goes down to King’s Landing because she gets the dagger. Littlefinger convinces her it was Tyrion’s. Catelyn captures Tyrion. In return, Jamie attacks and wounds Eddard. This is shone through several different character’s POV’s and flows. Obviously this is one story arc, but so much happens. In Dance, we have the Meereenese story arc. Nothing flows at all. The characters involved are Connington and co, Tyrion, Dany, Barristan, and Quentyn. Connington and co just separate, abandoning Meereen completely. Tyrion goes on his massive adventure of ultimately doing nothing and making it to Meereen as a dwarf entertainer jousting slave who never even meets Dany. I realize he picks up Jorah Mormont and gains perspective from Penny, but seriously this should not take this long. Does Penny actually serve a purpose? Quentyn goes on his own journey, reaches Meereen, and essentially does completely nothing. There is no interesting dialogue between him and Dany or anyone else really, and the only thing he does is free the two dragons. Dany’s POV’s are basically her being too nice/naïve/little lustful girl and failing as a ruler. All of them. I felt they were extremely repetitive and worse, destroyed the “great characters with vibrant personalities whose actions made sense within the context of those personalities” aspect of the series. How does she turn into a complete wise-beyond-her-years badass with the strength to lead a broken khalasar who frees Unsullied to a super lustful teenage girl? I don’t buy the regression. You can say she’s just a girl, she’s Sansa with dragons, but that’s not true. She was so much stronger and decisive and commanding and she suddenly self-implodes while not moving the plot along whatsoever? Come on.

The problem is the events in this story arc don’t overlap. You could read one characters POV through and essentially just get their own story. Contrast that with my examples from A Game of Thrones, where each different character’s POV built upon each other and moved the story along. Overall, in Dance, there are many things that do not fit and do not tie together cohesively. You randomly get Jamie’s chapter with a Brienne cameo, which was awesome, but then nothing happens. You random get a chapter with Aero Hotah to see a glimpse of Doran Martell, which was again awesome, but then nothing happens. These are tremendously written chapters, but what is the point of having them here and then making no mention of them until the next book five years down the line? Arya’s chapters are the same thing. These chapters seem like cameos (and are some of my favorites) to let fans read about the characters without actually doing a single thing to progress the plot. There is so much happening everywhere and nothing is related. All of a sudden, I go read about Arya in Braavos to Quentyn on the way to Meereen to Jon on the wall to Jaime in the Riverlands. Nothing ties together or works together the way it did in Game of Thrones. Many characters have tremendously different goals then the realm, which is the thing that tied everything together in the first book. Now we have Dany sitting in Meereen for basically no discernible reason, and many readers have spoken out, “we don’t care about Essos.” You can’t start out a series with a focus on the throne in Westeros and then spend such significant time in Essos but accomplish absolutely nothing there.

I feel like the series has gotten far away from the tightly woven narrative structure that was so fascinating to read from so many different characters’ POV’s. Now, we have even more and different characters’ POV’s, but they each tell different stories that are not inter-woven and are unfocused. It makes it hard to get through when nothing relates to anything else.

The book’s saving grace is the Northern storyline told mainly through Davos and Theon, with a little bit of Jon. I am not surprised at all these are many people’s favorite chapters; it is because they follow the same formula as A Game of Thrones. Davos is “killed” by Manderly, but he is not and instead must go to Skagos. Huge awesome event that moves the plot. At the same time, we learn that Manderly is still very much committed to the Starks and hates the Freys and Boltons. This information is crucial to reading the later Theon chapters, since we now know exactly where Manderly’s loyalties lie. Likewise, Jon sends Mance to Winterfell, and we meet Abel and his spearwives. The banker from the Iron Bank helps Jon, and then is crucial to saving Asha’s men and bringing Theon and fake Arya to Stannis. One thing in one character’s POV comes up again in the others, giving the story arc continuity and logical flow. This does not happen in the other story arcs, which are essentially just filler. I was honestly bored reading some of it, and that is something I would never have expected in reading this series.

I will, of course, be buying and reading every book with just as much fervor as they come out. I hope, however, that the series goes back to the excellent narrative and pacing it began with in A Game of Thrones rather than the (admittedly still good) product we got in Dance.

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@405 Jon Connington's Return

That was not only the best "first post" I've read on any Board related to ASOIAF--it was also, many and more, the single best review I have read of AGot and ADwD. The first book, and the tv show, were tight. The POVs flowed, every chapter was cliffhanger, and you really cared (for Catelyn and Sansa as much as for Jon and Dany). In the sprawl, a lot has been lost. The acceleration of magic has been cheap, especially since the accelerators of magic, the dragons, have been reined in and the governor kept on them. Nice descriptions are nice, but plot and flow, the blend of action and wit, that's what drew us in. There's been a lot of Tyrion-esque (and what character is more GRRM-esque, or mirrors his own struggles, his Kong-like Warging)? Ser Martin, of House Island, sigil Kong.

Words: Took Too Long.

Tyrion at the Vale. Ser Martin's been jacking off in the turtle soup. A lot. For example: the Flaegon. That is so a false Aegon. So obviously so. If an Aegon like that were real, he'd head straight to the dragons, and ride one with his aunt. And if Dany cared for keeps about returning to Westeros, she would want another Targ dragon rider. Since the dragons were born (and the wolves were "born first" and inspired the whole tale) it's been most interesting when the Starks of the North have had to figure out their honor and their relation to the old gods in the weirwoods and their dire wolves (and Wargitude), whilst the Targaryen(s) of the South have had to figure out their lack of gods (other than themselves and their ancestors) and Dany's dragons and the destiny her teen dragons imply. But once you've birthed the dragons, it's a bit stingy and stringy not to bust them out. Especially when magic is busting out everywhere owing to them....

The HBO show is brilliant. AGoT is brilliant. And ultimately, I believe the entirety of ASOIAF as a finished work will turn out to be brilliant. But this is a lot of Smithying (one of the 7 Gods--note how all the other 6 play such major roles, Ned as Father or not such a good father, Cat as Mother with Dany, Arya and Jon as Warrior, Bran and Jon as Crones/Crows, Tyrion and Dany as Strangers, Sansa as Maiden). There has not been a lot of Smith in the books. Gendry. And the swords. But then, it's like Dorne. They are everywhere, but not in the center.

But then, the whole thing has become more of a Smithying exercise, and less of a Battle, less Wisdom, less Wit. Just a lot of construction. A ton of Whimsy. A lot of buildup, like fortifying King's landing, but not a lot of Bang.

And alas, the bangs that do report ring rather hollow. No one really buys Jon being dead (some do, but I pity you, if you think you've seen the last of Lord Snow--you haven't really read. It's a cliff-halfer (as in too clever by...). I'll still read, and think and write. But I think the series has gone (I hope not too precipitously) downhill since its inception. My sincere hope is that the tightening and the budgetary constraints of even a lush and lavish HBO show will improve the works. Plenty more room for the "sweat" as GRRM calls it, as they leap from page to screen. You know how dung expensive it is to shoot any scene with a horse in it? Plenty spendy.

So, I love AGoT and GoT the Show. I liked ok ACoK. Just oK, but I am hopeful that the Davids will make it rock (corn!) next spring. But GRRM is going to risk his own fear of pulling a Lost. He's got to know he's in danger, hence his New Yorker quotes...

He's already had his season 3 Hydra Island. He's veering dangerously close to a Season 6, Springtime in Hurleygatory. ADwD should have been tighter, more action-filled, more plot and narrative advancing. More "bring them together..." There's not much dancing together. Just shy teens, staring across the big dark gym, waiting for Stairway to Heaven.

Oy vey is Mereen. Anyway, Lord Jon Connington, thank you for Returning. Stick around. Love your work. Big, big fan. And shoot me your email (anyone can) so I can send you my 15-page treatise written before ADwD about Jon Snow, False Aegons (flaegons!) and the importance of baseborn vs. highborn in AGoT....

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How does she turn into a complete wise-beyond-her-years badass with the strength to lead a broken khalasar who frees Unsullied to a super lustful teenage girl? I don’t buy the regression.

The regression of Jon and Dany in ADWD constitutes one of the best examples of mischaracterization I can think of in recent memory. GRRM almost lost me.

My two sentence review of ADWD: "Words are wind. Do something."

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DwD was the last straw for me, I just wish I'd figured out this entire series is a waste of time years ago. :tantrum:

Appropriate commentary from someone who chose "Misanthrope" as a screen name. Haters gotta hate.

Sentiment like this reminds me how easily people let their expectations get out of hand.

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