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thenedstark

Critics of ASOIAF

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I've not read a lot of the works he references so I can't really make a comment since he places great weight on those comparisons.

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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.

It's his tale, not yours. He writes it in a way that I (and presumably most posters here) enjoy. That's not to say that the series is without flaws, although, what I might consider to be a flaw might well be consdiered as a particularly good part of the series by another reader.

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What do you guys think of Keely's review?

http://www.goodreads...ew/show/1459299

Pretty terrible.

"In similar gesture, Martin rejects the moralistic romance of the genre, tearing the guts out of epic fantasy: the fantastical, the romantic ideals, the heroism, and with them, the moral purpose. Fine, so he took out the rollicking fun and the social message;" - this is total nonsense. All of this is very much present in ASOIF and integral to it.

Jon Snow an "antihero"? Jon Snow an example of "Draco in Leather Pants"? LOL.

"Like many authors who try to develop realism, Martin forgets that 'Truth is stranger than Fiction'. The real world is full of strangeness: unbelievable events, coincidences, and odd characters. When authors remove these elements in an attempt to make their world seem realistic, they end up with a fiction duller than reality" - again, none of this is true about ASOIF at all.

The whole piece reads as if written by someone who's only aware of the reputation of the series without having read it.

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I think I get both sides to the story. The Game of Thrones is why we love the series, since most of the book has been spent on it, but the initial premise presented to us was ASOIAF.

Since its likely that either Bran, Dany or Jon (or a combination) will be the 'heroes' that fight off the Others, I think it is fair to say that the game of thrones is irrelevant since the characters with power to win ASOIAF have little to nothing to do with GOT. So all the time we spent on GOT was realistic, fun and entertaining but technically it is a waste of time since it would be irrelevant to the final act.

Now I wouldn't have preferred GOT to be cut out, but you could argue that Martin could've written two separate trilogies.. one which was GOT and another which was ASOIAF. The outcome of GOT seeems like it would make a marginal difference to ASOIAF since Dany/Jon seem like the power players.

Ofc this is all speculation and so I can be proved wrong, but from the way the series has been setup, I do see where some people are coming from.

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Apparently, his idea of 'grim realism' is similar to 'Draco in Leather Pants'. This causes a central conflict in the story's tone, rather like putting the cast of a soap opera into an existentialist German film.

...

If an author writing some sex and lets the pen get away from him, his own lack of fulfillment starts leaking into the scene. It's not about the characters anymore, now it's just the author cybering with me about his favorite fetish. I don't want to buy a book just to get lost in someone's squicky fetish. If I cyber with a fat, bearded stranger, I expect to be paid for it.

...

I can imagine the process, as Martin sits, hands hovering over the keyboard, trying to get inside his character's head:

"Okay, I'm a woman. How do I see and feel the world differently? My cultural role is defined by childbirth. In the process of marriage, I can be bought and sold by my own--Oh, hey! Look at that, I've got tits! Man, look at those things go. *whooshing mammary sound effects* Okay, time to write."

...

http://www.goodreads...ew/show/1459299

"

What do you guys think of Keely's review?

"

I liked it, especially those passages above. While it isn't popular on this forum to acknowledge that GRRM's 'gardening' writing technique leaves much to be desired, it's hard to ignore when you get down to the details of his results. He has enormous strengths as a writer, but he also has notable weaknesses, the most glaring being that he doesn't like writing endings, and because he also doesn't like forcing himself to do anything he doesn't like he goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid any narrative closure.

As Keely says, he finds it easier to kill a character off than to finish his story arc. What the heck, he's really good at creating new characters and arcs, so he just does that instead. The result is a pinball trajectory of interwoven plot lines that inevitably come entangled. It's quite probable that the Mereenese knot was only the first of many Gordian knots that will stand in the way of a resolution.

The result is a 'trilogy' that is now at least! seven very large novels long (GRRM's most recent interview strongly hints that he doesn't feel he'll be able to finish the story with two more books.) It is a tale that grew in the telling, to the point where there is a very real concern among readers that it has already overwhelmed the teller.

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"

What do you guys think of Keely's review?

"

I liked it, especially those passages above. While it isn't popular on this forum to acknowledge that GRRM's 'gardening' writing technique leaves much to be desired, it's hard to ignore when you get down to the details of his results. He has enormous strengths as a writer, but he also has notable weaknesses, the most glaring being that he doesn't like writing endings, and because he also doesn't like forcing himself to do anything he doesn't like he goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid any narrative closure.

As Keely says, he finds it easier to kill a character off than to finish his story arc. What the heck, he's really good at creating new characters and arcs, so he just does that instead. The result is a pinball trajectory of interwoven plot lines that inevitably come entangled. It's quite probable that the Mereenese knot was only the first of many Gordian knots that will stand in the way of a resolution.

The result is a 'trilogy' that is now at least! seven very large novels long (GRRM's most recent interview strongly hints that he doesn't feel he'll be able to finish the story with two more books.) It is a tale that grew in the telling, to the point where there is a very real concern among readers that it has already overwhelmed the teller.

:agree:

I think "The Winds of Winter" will be the great cornerstone here - it will be the ultimate closure trial for GRRM.

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Most of the sidetrack narratives could be labelled as "filler", however I do think that the narrative has great literary quality, connects well with the whole and has it's function and purpose. Except for Quentin Martell's arc, that is... I'm still trying to find it's narrative purpose. :-/

The Quentyn arc is really a 'tell' in ADwD that there is far too little editing going on, and a complete lack of artistic discipline on GRRM's part, IMnsHO.

First of all, on my first read through ADwD I was a bit confused between the Quentyn story and the story of Young Griff (f?)Aegon, because they were so similar. "Young man with aspirations to woo Dany is on a seemingly interminable quest just to actually reach her." Meh. Did GRRM not get any feedback at all from the fan community during the 5 long years that he was writing ADwD that they didn't particularly care for 'travelogues' (I'm looking at you Brienne) that reached no conclusion and failed to advance the plot? And I'm saying this as someone who liked most of the Brienne chapters as far as that went. There's some interesting character development and reveal, and an epic battle when she faces Pyg, Shagwell and Timeon. I don't believe many people anticipate that Brienne will end up being a key player by the final novel though.

If I could just have five brief words with GRRM, those words would be, "Tell the damned story, already!"

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I think I get both sides to the story. The Game of Thrones is why we love the series, since most of the book has been spent on it, but the initial premise presented to us was ASOIAF.

Since its likely that either Bran, Dany or Jon (or a combination) will be the 'heroes' that fight off the Others, I think it is fair to say that the game of thrones is irrelevant since the characters with power to win ASOIAF have little to nothing to do with GOT. So all the time we spent on GOT was realistic, fun and entertaining but technically it is a waste of time since it would be irrelevant to the final act.

Now I wouldn't have preferred GOT to be cut out, but you could argue that Martin could've written two separate trilogies.. one which was GOT and another which was ASOIAF. The outcome of GOT seeems like it would make a marginal difference to ASOIAF since Dany/Jon seem like the power players.

Ofc this is all speculation and so I can be proved wrong, but from the way the series has been setup, I do see where some people are coming from.

I don't agree with this. I know that it's called "a song of ice and fire," but I think it's a shame that some people seem to think that there's the real story (the others, the dragons and the long winter) and the sideplots (the game of thrones).

I think the game of thrones and all the politics are equally as important as the song of ice and fire, and I doubt that GRRM will give us a winter that makes everything else that's happened completely irrelevant.

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But we are told this is the case.

Jeor Mormont says that it doesn't matter who sits on the Iron Throne come the war for the dawn and if a story having the apocalypse happen is the main end game then putting that off so you can talk about the musical chairs before this happens is pretty off.

I just don't see how it matters which factions are in power.

Tywin Lannister learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve..

Robb Stark learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve.

Renly Baratheon learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve.

Aegon learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve.

Dany learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve. A few dragons slightly offset this.

The Game of Thrones has to have some relevance or impact on the end game when the Others invade. To me, it doesn't matter. The Others will roll over whoever is in power until an (as yet unrevealed) dues ex machina turns up to solve things. The GoT is largely an irrelevant subplot considering this is about the end of the world.

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But we are told this is the case.

Jeor Mormont says that it doesn't matter who sits on the Iron Throne come the war for the dawn and if a story having the apocalypse happen is the main end game then putting that off so you can talk about the musical chairs before this happens is pretty off.

I just don't see how it matters which factions are in power.

Tywin Lannister learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve..

Robb Stark learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve.

Renly Baratheon learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve.

Aegon learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve.

Dany learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve. A few dragons slightly offset this.

The Game of Thrones has to have some relevance or impact on the end game when the Others invade. To me, it doesn't matter. The Others will roll over whoever is in power until an (as yet unrevealed) dues ex machina turns up to solve things. The GoT is largely an irrelevant subplot considering this is about the end of the world.

But we don't know what will happen during the long winter. Neither does Jeor Mormont. Do you really think that the other's are simply going to destroy civilization whatever happens? That seems a bit depressing (and not that creative).

We don't know what's going to happen during winter. And the GOT potentially will be relevant to the outcome. Put it this way - would you rather have Stannis or Tommen as king when winter comes?

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But we don't know what will happen during the long winter. Neither does Jeor Mormont. Do you really think that the other's are simply going to destroy civilization whatever happens? That seems a bit depressing (and not that creative).

We don't know what's going to happen during winter. And the GOT potentially will be relevant to the outcome. Put it this way - would you rather have Stannis or Tommen as king when winter comes?

Doesn't matter who is King if the troops are starving and freezing to death. If knights have their armor cut through like paper, if your enemies numbers swell all the time with the dead if you have no weapons that are easy to use or obtain. Theres only so much any leader could do or any force can achieve under such circumstances.

Describing the circumstances of the others invasion shouldn't be the subject of six books; especially since its not even them doing anything to make things worse (unlike Wheel of Time). Its just that things are going on before this event happens that stacks the deck even more in the favor of the already OP faction.

@northernmonkey

Martin has not shown or hinted that the Others would play the political game with the humans. He has not shown them trying to subvert or gain influence with human houses or sowing discontent. It would not be without precendent. Its exactly what happens in Wheel of Time where they manipulate the Seanchan and have darkfriends to do the DO will. It is not what Martin intends. they have came across as a force of nature and magic rather than just another faction.

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But we are told this is the case.

Jeor Mormont says that it doesn't matter who sits on the Iron Throne come the war for the dawn and if a story having the apocalypse happen is the main end game then putting that off so you can talk about the musical chairs before this happens is pretty off.

I just don't see how it matters which factions are in power.

Tywin Lannister learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve..

Robb Stark learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve.

Renly Baratheon learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve.

Aegon learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve.

Dany learns the Others are invading. Panic, desperation and futile effort as armies freeze to death n starve. A few dragons slightly offset this.

The Game of Thrones has to have some relevance or impact on the end game when the Others invade. To me, it doesn't matter. The Others will roll over whoever is in power until an (as yet unrevealed) dues ex machina turns up to solve things. The GoT is largely an irrelevant subplot considering this is about the end of the world

How do you know what Martin has in mind? Has he confided in you?

The gist of your criticisms is that you wish Martin had told a different story, which is fine as far as it goes, but cuts no ice with those of us who enjoy the story that he is telling.

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We'll see. I just fail to see how any of this game of thrones stuff is relevant to the end game and the ice apocalypse.

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Most of the sidetrack narratives could be labelled as "filler", however I do think that the narrative has great literary quality, connects well with the whole and has it's function and purpose. Except for Quentin Martell's arc, that is... I'm still trying to find it's narrative purpose. :-/

It has a purpose on its own, that is to show the fall of a character who overreaches himself. Ice and Fire is as much a story about power struggle as is an allegory of the human tragedy, the way I see it, and Quentyn's arc quite reflects that of Dany herself in this last book. Plot-wise, it served as a way to free the remaining dragons and get Barristan to side with the Windblowns.

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Here are my 2 cents:

From reading these and other reviews, I gather that the main problem of the series is its lack of closure and stagnant pacing.

The 1st 3 books deal with the Game of Thrones, while setting up the next conflicts (the Others and Dany), and they are structured well:

aGoT: Introduces the world and the characters and sets up the Wot5K

aCoK: The Wot5K is in full swing, with all its claimants introduced

aSoS: The Wot5K ends

Thus, the first trilogy ends and ends well. Here is when Dany must enter the stage, followed by the Others, right? Well, it doesn't happen and the series suffers from it.

Here's the thing: aFfC and aDwD have no discernible structure, no building towards anything solid. Maybe GRRM has the goal in mind, but he's done a poor job conveying it in the books. I have no idea where the story is going from a structural point of view, it's just messy, everyone is isolated in their own storylines, there's no cohesion, no unifying theme like the Wot5K. There's hints of a second Dance of the Dragons, but it's setting up has been way too clumsy, mainly because Dany is still too far away from the action and no one cares about Aegon, therefore the stakes are not exactly high.

People complain about lots of plots and povs, but that's not a problem if a writer knows how to tie them up. The first 3 books have lots of storylines and plots, but they're all related and connected to the unifying plot of the Wot5K (even Dany and the Night's Watch storylines are tenously connected to the main story). In Feast and Dance, there's no unifying theme, so we only see isolated cameos with no discernible connection in most cases.

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It has a purpose on its own, that is to show the fall of a character who overreaches himself. Ice and Fire is as much a story about power struggle as is an allegory of the human tragedy, the way I see it, and Quentyn's arc quite reflects that of Dany herself in this last book. Plot-wise, it served as a way to free the remaining dragons and get Barristan to side with the Windblowns.

We don't need to develop another sellsword company.

Plot wise theres no reason Q can't have just turned up and we never saw his POV. Then Barristan learns what happened and why the Prince did it from his followers. No need for him to be a POV character to be sympathetic. Many other characters aren't and become endearing,

@Jon of the Dead-

Martin wants the second Dance with Dragons to be a surprise. We are supposed to still assume that Aegon is on Danys side.

The overarching theme is that he is building towards Danys invasion. The first line in the prolgoue to AFFC is "Dragons" and talk of rumors of her. But, it is totally undermined by Danys immense distance from Westeros. This its hard to take this foreshadowing any more seriously than in the first 3 novels as this is something thats going to far into the future.

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We don't need to develop another sellsword company.

Plot wise theres no reason Q can't have just turned up and we never saw his POV. Then Barristan learns what happened and why the Prince did it from his followers. No need for him to be a POV character to be sympathetic. Many other characters aren't and become endearing,

@Jon of the Dead-

Martin wants the second Dance with Dragons to be a surprise. We are supposed to still assume that Aegon is on Danys side.

The overarching theme is that he is building towards Danys invasion. The first line in the prolgoue to ADWD is "Dragons" and talk of rumors of her. But, it is totally undermined by Danys immense distance from Westeros. This its hard to take this foreshadowing any more seriously than in the first 3 novels as this is something thats going to far into the future.

Yes, exactly. And if we add to this the fact that very few people actually root for or even care about Aegon, then so far this Dance of the Dragons is looking quite lackluster, in my opinion.

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I think what total1402 is getting at is that whether Robb/Stannis/Renly/Tywin/Cersei/Tyrells/Dany/Varys/LF won the GOT it would make a VERY marginal difference compared to the invasion of the others. I think its safe to assume that its not going to be 1 million human soldiers all equipped with obsidian daggers going up against the army of white walkers to and just barely win.

If that were the case then perhaps it would "matter" who actually wins GOT. But since its a lot more likely that an unknown factor, or some sort of magic, or dragons will be the "superweapon" to beat the big bad, the winner of GOT is irrelevant to how the essential main premise gets handled.

This has nothing to do with how much i like ASOIAF or GOT or which one is written better.. its just an observation that regardless of who wins GOT, that person will be in a position to do little when the others finally invade since the achilles heel for the Others will no doubt be something magical.

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I think what total1402 is getting at is that whether Robb/Stannis/Renly/Tywin/Cersei/Tyrells/Dany/Varys/LF won the GOT it would make a VERY marginal difference compared to the invasion of the others. I think its safe to assume that its not going to be 1 million human soldiers all equipped with obsidian daggers going up against the army of white walkers to and just barely win.

If that were the case then perhaps it would "matter" who actually wins GOT. But since its a lot more likely that an unknown factor, or some sort of magic, or dragons will be the "superweapon" to beat the big bad, the winner of GOT is irrelevant to how the essential main premise gets handled.

This has nothing to do with how much i like ASOIAF or GOT or which one is written better.. its just an observation that regardless of who wins GOT, that person will be in a position to do little when the others finally invade since the achilles heel for the Others will no doubt be something magical.

Yeah thats my thoughts as well.

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