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My A Storm Of Swords review (spoilers)


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(Some general comments about the series were already covered in my "A Game Of Thrones" review)

This amazing series is getting even better, in large aprt because of the further development of already great characters.

The couple Jon chapters at the end of A Clash of Kings were a great segue into the new focus north of the wall at the start of this book.

I thought it was stupid to let Jaime go unofficially without a particular promise of getting Arya and Sansa back, but I admired Brienne for her skill during the escape. Jaime is not as witty as Tyrion, but I still liked his attitude and the grudging respect he developed for Brienne. Ahh, Brienne Not Wench of Tarth.

I felt Tyrion got screwed by his father, but also that he tried too hard to joke his way out of the situation.

I thought Olenna was brilliant - general realism, not just deconstructing Sansa's naievete, although she certainly did some of that too.

I had previously run across a spoiler that Robb married Jeyne Westerling. I had long since realized the profound stupidity of not marrying one of Frey's daughters like planned. I wondered what had gone on. I thought this might have ruined the reveal, which I found in Chapter 14/Catelyn 2. However, I liked the details. The 'you too' maneuvering was clever, but I didn't like the "two wrongs make a right" attitude at all. Catelyn's comments about the wolves were a brilliant way of getting across how bad of an idea it was, and she threw in an interesting bit about Frey politics. I wonder how much Edmure really screwed up, perhaps having bad luck or not really having enough information.

I heard Tyrion was to marry Sansa, but as with the Robb/Jeyne spoiler, I still liked hearing how it came about, and it highlights how Tyrion is one of the few Lannisters with any decency.

Wildling society does make a great contrast to the rest of Westeros. I was amused by Ygritte's multitasking in trying to bed Jon, but that also highlights how he's honorably holding to the Night's Watch act. The Jon/Ygritte chapter was amazing - not only the action (including thinking to go down on her), but also the way Jon reacted to it - slipping on the Night's Watch oath, and how he himself was the product of similar temptation. Also, while he told himself it was part of the act and eventually left her, I like it when fictional couples stop being in denial.

Stannis seems to have the Stark problem - doing wildly impractical things in the name of honor.

I did not expect Daenerys to go crazy on Astapor slavers, but that was great and fits her righteous fury.

I had a spoiler of the Red Wedding. Without that, I knew Lord Frey was annoyed, and I was put off by the repeated 'heh'-ing, but I didn't expect things to go that badly.

I didn't know whether the remnants of the Night's Watch could make a last stand against the wildlings, so I was pleasantly surprised to see them pull it off. It seems appropriate that Ygritte's last words were her "You know nothing, Jon Snow" catchphrase.

The wedding feast scene was absolutely hilarious, and it was so refreshing to hear a knight support Tyrion's defenses. Then Joffrey was murdered. Some guests essentially gave him a Heimlich maneuver and maesters did a forensic autopsy in cutting open his throat to confirm he hadn't choked - another great bit of GRRM translating modern concepts into the medieval setting. However, I had already figured out it was tears of Lys

The parts about Davos learning to read had been a nice slice of Westerosi life in general, but they were evidently also foreshadowing of Stannis' forces showing up to help fight wildlings. The last stands by remnants of the Watch gave Stannis time to show up, much like how Tyrion's King's Landing defenses had given Tywin time to show up against Stannis.

I thought Stannis' arrival at the Wall and the Lord Commander election was the ending, interesting enough in and of itself, but then GRRM returns to the Tyrion and Petyr-Arya subplots. I had already been sympathizing more with Jaime for various reasons even before he helps Tyrion out. I liked Littlefinger more after hearing his side, and since his speech explained so many things, it was a great way to end.

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