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thenedstark

Critics of ASOIAF

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There are critics of everything, to each his own I guess. I stay away from critiques, it's my opinion that matters and no one else's.

This, a thousand times.

So may I ask why you frequent this forum?

This forum is not solely for reviews, in fact it mostly is used to discuss theory, since most people here agree that ASOIAF is a good read.

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That review is not actually about ASOIAF.

It's actually about the reviewer's ego and expectations. The review is written because GoT and ASOIAF are currently very much in the zeitgeist, especially in fantasy, and the reviewer feels the need to weigh in, being an expert in fantasy.

You might notice how the reviewer basically dismisses several key things people like about the series like its gritty realism, as unremarkable because they've seen it elsewhere before. Joe Abercrombie for example, is given as an author who makes Martin's 'realism' seem less groundbreaking. And that all sounds fine, until you realise Abercrombie's series came almost a decade after AGoT, and Abercrombie himself called A Song of Ice and Fire;

Above all, the books were extremely unpredictable, especially in a genre where readers have come to expect the intensely predictable. Suddenly, from knowing what was going to happen from the first page and always being right, you found yourself with no idea who’d die next. Sudden main character deaths have become almost de rigeur in the genre since then, or at least in the grittier corners of it, but A Game of Thrones was profoundly shocking when I first read it, and fundamentally changed my notions about what could be done with epic fantasy.

It was also interesting from a technical standpoint – Martin uses the third person limited approach, as it’s called, with the events always narrated from “inside the head”, if you like, of one of the main characters. All the action is seen powerfully close up, coloured by the personality of the narrator. For me, fantasy went suddenly from being all about the huge, the spectacular, the sweeping wide shot (following on from Tolkein’s approach) to being about the experience of individuals. You feel the sweat, the pain, the fear, the blood, you understand the motivations. You see how no-one is a villain in their own mind, even if they are in everyone else’s. The great achievement of Martin’s books, for me, is that they cover vast, epic, immense events, but never lose that sense of tight involvement with the characters. It wasn’t a new approach in wider fiction – I guess Tolstoy was doing something similar in War and Peace – but it was the first time I’d seen it applied so rigorously and effectively in fantasy, and it seems now to have become pretty much the standard method of narration in the genre.

A similar comparison is made with Martin's propensity to kill characters and the film Serenity. But again, that film (besides being a sci-fi film) came almost a decade after AGoT, and five years before ASoS. It's not about whatever merit ASOIAF should have had when it was released, rather, it's about tearing it down because whilst it did them long before other things, for whatever reason the reviewer saw this chronologically later things first.

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So may I ask why you frequent this forum?

I think you misunderstood me, when I am looking at reading something new or watching something new I don't read critics reviews because critics are not me and I have yet to come across one who has my tastes. As for this forum that has absolutely nothing to do with critics, I come here because I like to share ideas with other people. I like posting my ideas and seeing how they stand up against people who remember more than I do, and I can use their input to refine a theory or forget it completely.

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OP-

Martin actually quoted or paraphrased a section of that I think. The bit about him having the one line about "meanwhile factions fight for power in Westeros" being turned into the whole story. its one of the topics on this forum.

I totally agree with what that reviewer says. The actual plot has been incredibly underdeveloped for the sake of soap opera politics which dominates the story whilst he drags his feet with Dany/Jon. Filler is the word of the day.

I would add however that the Game of Thrones in the South is beginning to become more about Dany. Three of the major players intend to marry Dany and see her on the throne with them in one capacity or another. The Dornish, Euron and Aegon. Aegons presence also brings the Targaryens and factions perceptions of them much more into focus than before. So its only really in the Vale that doesn't involve Dany. Whilst at the Riverlands and at Kings Landing that things have stagnated into irrelevance. However, this is too little, too late and the lack of Danys physical presence just makes this more filler until she actually arrives in the final book. However martin wants to focus on the two bit players and what they do beforehand so he wants to go indepth and drag that out.

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I like to come to own conclusions,Critiques in the end are just opinions and if they didn't like I could so why bother with Critics.

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I agree with some of the things he says, but he seems to be comparing the book he's reading with the book he would like to read. And he did come back for more with DwD didn't he?

Though I like the books a lot, I can't help but agree with a couple of things he says, especially when it comes to GRRM's writing skills and his pacing. Granted, this is a massive story and I don't think there is a much better way of dealing with it, but I do find it strange that every book so far (except GoT) starts really slow and almost dull, only to pick up speed near the end, finish on a cliffhanger that has you begging for more (battle at Blackwater in CoK, Red and Purple weddings in SoS, Cersei's arrest and Sam's arrival in Oldtown in FfC and all the chaos at the end of DwD) then the next book starts slow and dull again. Maybe there's no other way around it, but it does feel strange.

Also, the writing style is not as -to use some pretentious words critics love- crisp and concise and economical as other authors', even Tolkien appeared to have more restraint with his details. I like the details, but there are times when I feel I am reading too much of them.

But I think the plot is amazing, it is the political plot that makes this series different, more interesting, and the fact that the good characters don't necessarily make good rulers (Dany, Jon). And as to wether the political plot matters when the supernatural plots catches up with Westeros... how can the critic know when he doesn't know how the series ends?

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Because the Game of Thrones is simply revolutions of the same story as more actors enter the scene.

First we see Renly, Stannis and Robbs rise to power.

Then the ironborn rise to power.

Then the Lannisters rise to power.

Now we're seeing Aegons rise to power.

With all the other half dozen different houses fighting.

Is it really going to matter what colour of pins the Others knock over?

Its really dysfunctional when you have characters say "Do you really think it matters who sits the iron Throne when winter comes" (Jeor) and yet the author dedicates the entirety of his series to the game of thrones whilst he under-develops the Others and slows other plots down to a crawl. His pacing is appalling and he writes as though the series is about the Game of Thrones when we're repeatedly told it doesn't matter.

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Is it really going to matter what set of pins the Others knock over?

Hold on, why are we assuming the Others are going to be knocking over pins?

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Hold on, why are we assuming the Others are going to be knocked over?

The Others are the ones knocking the pins over. The pins being whichever house in Westeros is in power. It really doesn't matter who has the poisoned chalice of holding the realm during the apocalypse.

It might be that Martin intends this as a pun but its a poor joke that takes 20+ years to make.

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It doesn't matter who has the poisoned chalice of holding the realm during the apocalypse.

How do we know this?

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There is going to be another Long Night and the Others are going to sweep south. Many characters like Aemon and the Reeds have said this. they have been commiting genocide on the wildlings as attested by every wildling character encountered.

Again, its a poor joke that take 20 years to tell if shock, the Others aren't going to invade.

I fail to see how it matters which set of fools is in charge come winter or if the realm is divided into different colours. Invading during the War of Five Kings would be much the same as an invasion now. BAD. Hence, a poinsoned chalice.

The Others are an invincible force. Limitless numbers, soldiers immune to basic weaponry, the huge advantage of winter, no logistical problems as dead don't need to eat, weapons that can cut through armor like paper. It does not matter whether Tywin Lannister is in charge of a united realm or if Tommen holds a disunited realm. Everyone is DEAD regardless. A single ruler wouldn't even be able to use armies or coordinate resistance anyway. Even at full strength, the Others would have cut through the Westerosi armies like paper. It doesn't matter that the war has them even weaker. Thats assuming they could even be mustered due to Winter. It doesn't matter who holds the poisoned chalice since the threat doesn't require the realm to be weakened at all for the Others to win easily. They could have invaded with Rhaegar as King during a golden age and still had the same impact; especially due to Winter.

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They GOT does matter though, otherwise why would GRRM write 5 books about it?

I am sure he knows best where he is going with all of this.

And if instead of having ACOK, we just had “And the rulers of Westeros were at each other’s throats”.... Well.... That sounds a bit shit.

No RW? No PW? No WO5K? Blackwater?

These are the best bits in the series... And people seem to want GRRM to stop writing about it and write how the evil monsters came and killed everyone, but don’t worry, TPTWP will come along and save everyone. LOTR has already been written, Martin quite rightly is not attempting to rewrite it.

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I fail to see how it matters which set of fools is in charge come winter or if the realm is divided into different colours.

Why not? By all accounts, the Last Long Night has stopped by the actions of a heroic individual and his friends being in the right place, at the right time with the right opportunity. Or maybe not. Maybe it was an army of a King or General who achieved success not through luck and heroism, but level headed planning and diligence, and over the ages that morphed into the legend of the Last Hero. We're not sure. Just like in Westeros' past, we aren't sure of it's future.

So there's a very specific mistake you're displaying here, in that you've written off a significant portion of the narrative (if not the majority) as being irrelevant to the "actual plot", when we truly have no idea whether that's the case or not. We only have vague supposition. It might always have been too late to stop the Others. It might still not be too late to stop the Others. Whoever wins the game of thrones, or whether the game of thrones continues, may be crucial to the resolution of the Others' threat.

We honestly have no idea how the pieces fit yet, because we're not at the end.

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Why not? By all accounts, the Last Long Night has stopped by the actions of a heroic individual and his friends being in the right place, at the right time with the right opportunity. Or maybe not. Maybe it was an army of a King or General who achieved success not through luck and heroism, but level headed planning and diligence, and over the ages that morphed into the legend of the Last Hero. We're not sure. Just like in Westeros' past, we aren't sure of it's future.

So there's a very specific mistake you're displaying here, in that you've written off a significant portion of the narrative (if not the majority) as being irrelevant to the "actual plot", when we truly have no idea whether that's the case or not. We only have vague supposition. It might always have been too late to stop the Others. It might still not be too late to stop the Others. Whoever wins the game of thrones, or whether the game of thrones continues, may be crucial to the resolution of the Others' threat.

We honestly have no idea how the pieces fit yet, because we're not at the end.

We aren't even sure why they won the first time,The others retreated so something probably changed drastically in terms of their overall campaign so I don't think it was just one guy with a Shiny Sword.

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They GOT does matter though, otherwise why would GRRM write 5 books about it?

I am sure he knows best where he is going with all of this.

And if instead of having ACOK, we just had "And the rulers of Westeros were at each other's throats".... Well.... That sounds a bit shit.

No RW? No PW? No WO5K? Blackwater?

These are the best bits in the series... And people seem to want GRRM to stop writing about it and write how the evil monsters came and killed everyone, but don't worry, TPTWP will come along and save everyone. LOTR has already been written, Martin quite rightly is not attempting to rewrite it.

Because he could have just written a piece of fiction about the Game of Thrones and removed all the magical stuff if that was his intention.

@Dam99

Read above. The Others are invincible and they have the advantage of Winter. This is an absolute advantage since no army could be mustered or fed and would have no communication. It alone cripples their opponents ability to fight and direct any defence. They would have cut through a united properous realm under one King jsut as easily as any other. They do not need to sow discord or disunity as so many other big threats have needed to. They easily have the power to win. Winter is too much of a total advantage.

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