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direwolf_of_white_fangs

George R R Martin writing style

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I have never read a book in this format before, but I think it is not new. GRRM himself said it came from the Wild Cards anthology (to which he contributed).

As for the italics, it is very handy, but I'd like more if he used the italics only for thoughts. He also uses italics to highlight some words in ordinary speech or narration, and there are some passages where it is confusing.

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1) Don't you love the way George organized the chapters based on character names , I wonder if this is new?

You will see in AFfC those characters that haven't appeared before don't have their chapters named after their actual names. GRRM uses some kind of pseudonyms for them. This allows the question why he would be doing that? Maybe he was bored of using the plain names? Or are these the names the characters would rather give themselves?

I know you can't know that while you're still reading ASoS but I think it is somewhat relevant to the topic you're discussing.

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You will see in AFfC those characters that haven't appeared before don't have their chapters named after their actual names. GRRM uses some kind of pseudonyms for them. This allows the question why he would be doing that? Maybe he was bored of using the plain names? Or are these the names the characters would rather give themselves?

I know you can't know that while you're still reading ASoS but I think it is somewhat relevant to the topic you're discussing.

I think it adds more to the story when GRRM uses the titles for characters. It's kind of like the difference between using a Chapter Title in a novel or just using "Chapter 1". Either way serves just fine, but with the Chapter Titles, you get a little be more out of it (if used correctly), and it can, in some ways (and if used correctly) add that little extra to the story.

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You will see in AFfC those characters that haven't appeared before don't have their chapters named after their actual names. GRRM uses some kind of pseudonyms for them. This allows the question why he would be doing that? Maybe he was bored of using the plain names? Or are these the names the characters would rather give themselves?

I know you can't know that while you're still reading ASoS but I think it is somewhat relevant to the topic you're discussing.

I`ve always just assumed it was a narrative device to show these characters going through changes and questioning their very selves. I think the name reflects who they feel they are at that moment.

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I`ve always just assumed it was a narrative device to show these characters going through changes and questioning their very selves. I think the name reflects who they feel they are at that moment.

Agreed. Good example is Sansa stark that becomes Alayne on aFfC reflecting the " evolution" of the character sansa to an almost an entirely new one.

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The only thing I don't like about this narrative Point of View style is that all of the characters (all of them, every single one) seem to each have the exact same fascination with observing, down to the smallest detail, the garb of characters they interact with. Especially well dressed characters. To me that damages suspension of disbelief, but doesn't really hurt the quality of the overall story.

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I actually like the way he writes and no doubt it influences me. I think it's interesting the way he divides chapters into the names of the characters, which gives us a great point of view of each character, with it's own guilt, innocence and etc. Something you could know from a character, you won't know in the next's, even though they were in the same place at the same time.

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I'm thoroughly enjoying GRRM's writing style! I haven't read any of the other series of books aforementioned! It's a refreshing change, especially in contrast to the plots and twists in the storylines!

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Hey all,

I've read a lot of fantasy over the years, and there are many peculiarities to each author. For instance another writer whose books I love likes to start each chapter by one very short sentence, which sets the setting for that chapter. But that's another story

To answer the questions posed here: it is not a new approach to change points of view in a book depending on the chapter. One of the oldest books I know, The Woman in White, is written from three points of view as well, depending on who is telling the story. Another author whose style I like, Orhan Pamuk, wrote a book which in English has been translated to My name is Red, in which the first sentence of the chapter is: I am _____ , and here follows the name of the narrator of that chapter (actually one of the first chapters, if not the first, starts with I am a corpse -- very nice!). Moreover, Pamuk makes it so that each chapter in his book has a different narrator (the book is nowhere near as long as A Song of Ice and Fire). As for italics for thoughts, this is actually more or less a classical approach that many authors have taken -- it's an easy way of making the distinction between speaking, narration, and thinking without actually adding words.

What I really like about Martin's style is his power to set the scene. Some of the chapters sometimes have turns which are not quite believable in some sense, but one tends to forget about it when the scene is properly set. Part of the power of his narration comes from the level of detail put into it, from the words of each house to the coats of arms, pantheons, and background. One needs a good amount of years to come up with this much detail, before one even starts writing. Actually one thing that's really interesting is that G.R.R. reads a LOT of books while he writes. I think this also influences his style just in the right way, and I think he assimilates some of the good features of style of other writers. Actually, I am determined to read some of the books he's recommended on his web page. They seems interesting. Note how he goes not so much for fantasy, but for historical fiction, which suits his books a lot more.

Cheers to all,

Thyrza

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He does have a tendency to be a bit morbid, even when he's describing mundane things.

"A hundred trees poked up... their limbs clutching for the sky like the arms of drowning men." (Arya's second chapter in the second half of ASOS)

Otherwise, his prose is effective and concise, and that's pretty rare in fantasy, particularly in such long books.

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The very first book I red in this style was Wilkie Collins "The Moonstone", a very early british detective story of the 1860ies.

There the story is told by different characters according to who witnessed the actual scenes. It is very cunningly written, we are told of an old spinster with her religious tracts, next the reader is being handed over to her to learn how one has to give religious tracts to others and how that irreligious guy telling the first part of the story should not be believed by the reader.

With ASOIAF, however, it seems to me both ingenious and not so clever.

Ingenious, because it is next to impossible to stop reading when the next chapter starts ("I want to know about that character") and not so clever, because to me it is always hard to get caught into the next chapter. Sometimes it does not start where the character' s last one ended, but a little later. There is a gap and that makes it hard to understand what is going on.

I also think he does not really give character to the pov-characters, not as much as Collins, anyway. He uses this means in order to tell the story only in part, so we come to think Bran has been murdered, while in truth he wasn ยด t.

The story telling is still very neutral. We see the story as seen by Tyrion, but we do not see Tyrion ' s thoughts directly, although with a certain pov in AFFC it becomes more that way...

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I think he mentioned somewhere that he got the italics for thought technique from Stephen King, or at least mentioned the King was the first person he'd seen use it so effectively.

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It's mildly interesting to not name the chapters. The more interesting part of that is the shifting POV's, which are written in third person besides. The italicized thoughts are a good way to put a bit of first person in. I'm used to strict first person or omniscient third person, perhaps switching between different first person POV's.

The semi-archaic word choices are a great way to add to the medieval feeling without being distracting.

He has a great way of putting in some comic relief amongst all the dark stuff happening.

The pages need to fly by when there are so many of them.

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