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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The cynic's summary

A review of A Dance with Dragons posted on Amazon:
Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister sat at the head of the council table in places of high honor. They had been sorely missed in the previous volume and were expected to do great things now that they had returned. Other major characters took up the rest of the seats on either side of them, while hundreds upon hundreds of side characters filled their own tables that crammed the great hall like fruits in a barrel. A cacophony of sounds and colors filled the room, so much that they could not tell one man from another. All the finery of Westeros and the lands beyond were present with all their sigils and banners and native tongues as they awaited the attack of the Others outside their walls. Winter was coming too, though reports differed on exactly when.

Daenerys stood up, her tokar billowing down like a sea of pearls on soft eastern fabric. "Lords, ladies, random no-name filler characters who I would soon forget in a minute or so, you know why we are all gathered here!"

They all answered in unison. "THE OTHERS! DRAGONS! WINTER! POLITICS! ENTERTAINMENT! WHOOP WHOOP!"

"Yes, that is indeed what you came here for," she giggled, as if it were a secret jest. "The Others are outside our door, winter is coming," she winked at Jon. "I have three dragons, and soon I will retake my father's throne! But before we get to all that riveting stuff, and since words are wind and hardly filling, we feast!"

Thousands of confused whispers greeted her announcement, as if they could not imagine feasting at a time like this. There's never a bad time to feast! she thought.

Tyrion quipped next to her, "I would sooner have a whore feast on my-"

Servants brought it in the dishes then: bowls of venison swimming in butter and garlic, suckling pigs with apples in their mouths roasted to a light brown crisp, crunchy capons flavored with garlic and cloves stuffed with bits of bacon and vegetables, neeps fresh from the soil dabbed with butter and sweet and sour sauce, cakes and pies and pastries of chocolate and vanilla and fruit with icing molded to various different shapes that pleased the eyes as well as the tongue. They tucked into them, crumbs and sauces coating their beards and doublets. Even the ladies could not seem to get food stains off their dresses.

A serving man brought her barley stew with chopped carrots and greens on a loaf of hollowed flat bread. He was a short man with even shorter hair, parted in the middle with wisps of grey among the black. He had small, close-set eyes and a wide, flat nose that made him resemble the suckling pig on the table. His doublet was brown roughspun slashed with vair and velvet and bore the sigil of the house he served: a fierce gray troll on a field of green. The man was born Braavosi, but his mother took him and fled to Westeros when his father died from the pox, taking a job as a washerwoman for some minor lord. He did not like spicy foods, his favorite color was yellow, and he liked to walk along the shoreline as the sun descended into the sea.

They ate like this for hours, lustily and with abandon, while the Others banged outside. How rude! Perhaps they're hungry, Dany thought.

When they were done Dany wiped the grease from her chin and addressed the table. "That was an incredible feast. Let's have one again in a couple of pages. Jaime, what is our situation?"

"The Others have us surrounded, your grace," he reached for a goblet, which tipped over and spilled when he used his golden hand.

"I see. Ser Barristan, what do you suggest we do?" She turned to the knight.

"If I would be so bold your grace, I would suggest you take your dragons to battle. The Others are cold, fell creatures, and fear dragon fire."

"That sounds like a splendid idea, Ser Barristan! But I seem to have misplaced my dragons."

The old knight looked confused. "You...what?"

"Yes, I don't really know where they are," she shrugged. "No matter, I'll ride my boyfriend to battle. He's so handsome, with his forked beard and blue hair....on second thought, I think I'll ride him to bed. I'll leave the Others and retaking my father's throne to the rest of you." She hiked up her skirts and ran up the stairs to her bedchambers, singing DAARIO, OH DAARIO in a high pitched, Disney Channel voice.

The table was silent and befuddled when Ser Barristan cleared his throat uneasily. "I...suppose my queen and her dragons will not be joining us. Forgive her...she's still young...Lord Snow," he turned to Jon for rescue. "Will the Night's Watch avail us? Battling the Others is your province."

Jon looked up solemnly from his food, flexing his sword hand. "Wildlings."

"Excuse me?"

"Wildlings. I must deal with the wildlings."

Ser Barristan spoke slowly. "That sounds most...valiant, but...don't you think the Others are more important? They're right outside our-"

"YOU KNOW NOTHING, SER BARRISTAN!" Jon stood up suddenly, his face fierce. "None of you do!" He faced each member of the table in turn. "All of you are so concerned with your game of thrones and your dragons and this one is backstabbing that one while marrying this one, none of you have any inkling what's really happening! There are...so...many...WILDLINGS! So many! I don't know what to do with them all! Wildlings in my room, wildlings in my privy, wildlings in my soup, wildlings, wildlings, WILDLINGS! You don't think I would rather vanquish Others and wights, but how can I when I have to wade through WILDLINGS?!" Tears ran down his bearded face. "But do you care?! NO! It's because I'm a BASTARD isn't it? WAAAAAHHHH!" He ran from the table, sobbing, his path impeded by a sea of wildlings.

"Why, isn't this a lively war council." The imp laughed.

Ser Barristan was at his wits end. Will no one do SOMETHING? "Lannister, while I am loathe to trust you, we could all use your cunning to navigate this impending battle."

Tyrion grinned, a terrifying sight without a nose. "I am flattered Ser Barristan, but I don't give a mummer's fart what happens to any of you. Maybe in the next book. But for now, all I want to do is to find where whores go. Podrick, fetch me my armor and steed!"

His squire came out of nowhere, pulling a pig on a leash. He donned Tyrion in mail made of cardboard painted with crude, peeling designs, and placed a jester's cap on his head. The character assassination was not complete until the imp hopped onto the sow in a graceful tumble that would not have shamed a mummer, and galloped away as fast as those piggy legs could take him out of the castle, and out of the story...while stopping every now and then to ask passersby "Where do whores go?".

Not for the first time Ser Barristan wondered how he had ended up here. Was he the only one who remembered what really mattered? Surely he wasn't that old. "So, what does that leave us?" he addressed the rather emptier table. "Our most major characters are off dallying about like headless chickens, doing things no one cares about, ignoring what made our series so riveting in the first place..." He stopped, there were people missing. "Where are Bran and Davos?"

Cersei answered him. "I see them at the edge of my vision sometimes. They come and go so quickly that if you blink too fast you'll miss them. Its quite unnatural. I'd rather they stayed dea-" She gasped when Davos appeared beside her, but was gone again just as quick.

Barristan placed his head in his hands, never feeling so old as he did now. "Will NO ONE do something about the Others? Or just something INTERESTING! ANYTHING that we can do so I won't go mad?"

"...Osmund Kettleblack and Moonboy for all I know...," Jaime murmured.

"...Ser Meryn, Ser Ilyn, Queen Cersei...", prattled Arya.

Stannis gritted his teeth.

Victarion did something crazy or whatever.

"Why am I even in these books?" Asha called out, but was ignored.

Bran popped out from under the table, "I'm almost a man grown!" and was gone again.

"Seven save us," Barristan groaned, as the Others broke down the doors and swarmed into the castle. Barristan faced the readers. "Please, return to us in The Winds of Winter, spring 2020, if you still care." The old knight plopped his head on the table and went into a much needed sleep...

The plot slept with him.
The sad thing is, that was actually more interesting and better-written than the 959-page slog of the book itself. Let's face it, in a more honest world, the book would have been entitled "A Literary Death March with The Very Occasional Dragon".

Labels:

48 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous May 01, 2012 7:07 AM  

I respect your blog a great deal.

But it never makes a writer look good when they tear down the work of another author (especially a very well established one.).

I am not saying you are wrong, just saying it is poor taste, and I think you can do better.

Anonymous VD May 01, 2012 7:16 AM  

I don't view Martin's work from the perspective of a writer, but rather as a fan of his earlier work. ADWD is, by any reasonable measure, dreadful and brutally long. The fact that it took six years to write only adds insult to the injury. I'm not tearing down Martin's work so much as sharing what is a very common opinion that he tore down his own hard-earned reputation with his more recent books.

Anonymous Rollory May 01, 2012 7:44 AM  

I didn't even buy it. #4 and the guy's inability to publish anything for, what, a decade? was enough to tell me he'd lost it. I've done some fiction writing myself (not published but the quality was enough to satisfy myself and a few other readers) and the number one requirement is just to actually write something whether you want to or not, and if it isn't exactly perfect, tough crap, come back and sort it out later once you have inspiration - or don't, and it probably will work anyway. Writing isn't magic, especially when insisting on getting it perfect produces something that manifestly is not perfect.

What I did was to pass the first 4 to my father - at his request, "what is this George Martin series everyone's talking about" with the warning that he wouldn't like it, and when he gave them back after a hundred pages or so with the agreement that he did indeed not like it, they got put in the "sell to a secondhand bookstore" pile.

In any series like this the author makes some implicit promises to the reader early on about what the series is going to be about and what story is going to be told. In large part for this case, none of those promises have been kept. I could write a more detailed essay on that but I'd need to reread the first one and I can't be bothered.

Anonymous Roundtine May 01, 2012 7:59 AM  

So I should just stop watching the TV show now, or hope for a reverse "Battleship" scenario......

Anonymous Papapete May 01, 2012 8:02 AM  

After being burned several times in the past, I've made the decision not to start a long book series until it's finished. Looking at the publishing history to GRRM's opus and his age, I'll be very surprised if he actually completes it.

Anonymous RedJack May 01, 2012 8:22 AM  

I have read the first two books, and might read the third. Won't go farther than that.

He lost interest in the storyline about the time everyone else got interested in it. Mr Martin has the right to stop the story, he is the author, but at least end it. This shambling wreck is like a zombie that only eats Twinkies. Undead and not even internally consistant.

Anonymous AmyJ May 01, 2012 8:31 AM  

You know it's gotten bad when the part that everyone was waiting for finally came (riding the dragons), you simply didn't care.

Blogger Nate May 01, 2012 8:34 AM  

I wonder... is this the first time we'll all sit around hoping that the HBO television version actually differs significantly from the books?

I mean lets face it.. Seinfeld pulled off a show about nothing for several years... but I suspect that only works with comedies.

Blogger Nate May 01, 2012 8:35 AM  

here's hoping for a 4 season run... that actually has a satisfying conclusion... even if Martin has nothing to do with it.

Anonymous dh May 01, 2012 8:40 AM  

VD-- maybe you can help us regular people understand why every author in the world seems intent on making everything a multi-part triliogy or worse? Is it just crass commercialization?

If it takes you six years and several false starts to develop the next phase of your story, it's either too complex or your bored. And if the author is bored, chances are we are as well.

Anonymous Megabozz May 01, 2012 8:47 AM  

I've been trying to slog through the last fifth of the first book for the last two weeks, but my motivation is flagging since I've already seen the first season of the HBO series.

Do you think that collaborating with another author to finish the last two books is an option?

Blogger Nate May 01, 2012 8:49 AM  

At this rate... pretty much the entire story has to be told in the last two books.

There is no way to salvage it now. No pay off is worth this long slog.

Anonymous Joe Authoer May 01, 2012 8:59 AM  

J. J. Abrams, creator of the TV show Lost, likes to talk about "mystery boxes" in writing...

http://www.ted.com/talks/j_j_abrams_mystery_box.html

Robert Jordan was another fan of "mystery boxes" ...and so, I suspect, is Martin.

The only problem is pretty soon you have mysteries piled on top of enigmas on top of riddles...and no way to solve or unravel them all.

Which means the ending will be crap.

Blogger Nate May 01, 2012 9:12 AM  

Exactly Joe.

The first episode of Lost I looked at my wife and said, "They have no idea what they are doing. They are just using random symbolism here and there to create questions in your head. They just want your imagination running wild. In the end... whatever they have for you... will be totally unsatisfying because of that."

She didn't listen. She watched every episode from every season...

Then in the end... just wanted to throw things.

Anonymous Anonymous May 01, 2012 9:15 AM  

I feel obligated to ride this series out, but I have yet to bother with the latest. Book four was pretty drab itself so I am having a hard time mustering the interest in ADWD.

Blogger Nate May 01, 2012 9:23 AM  

Martin should've taken a page from The Black Company series. Its ok if almost every book as its own Armageddon. Better than something HUGE should happen over and over again... than nothing happen at all.

Anonymous Anonymous May 01, 2012 9:24 AM  

That was pretty good - he should have added a bunch of the peasants that keep showing up to see the dragon queen.

HBO will cancel after next year, whose going to watch it then?

Anonymous Stilicho May 01, 2012 9:29 AM  

Martin needs an editor with the balls to stand up to him. There's still a good story in there. Somewhere...

Anonymous dh May 01, 2012 9:37 AM  

> Martin needs an editor with the balls to stand up to him. There's still a
> good story in there. Somewhere...

I think it's obvious that Martin's editor is either (a) currently mummified and stuffed into Martin's bottom dresser drawer or (b) Neal Stephenson.

Anonymous Daniel May 01, 2012 9:39 AM  

R.R.'s: The Phantom Sentence

And Amen to Nate on the Black Company. If you remember to blow up the Death Star in book one, you can make book two a cliffhanger (but it better have Han frozen in carbonite - not untied political loose ends), but then you better blow up the new, bigger Death Star in book three. If you want to make the series go longer, keep blowing stuff up in each book, because the cliffhanger book isn't going to work anymore.

That review was a hilarious treatment. I'd actually buy that book (as long as it wasn't 1000 pages.)

Anonymous Athor Pel May 01, 2012 9:50 AM  

I will finish the most recently published book today. I have to admit, I'm beginning to understand why the Others want to kill everybody on that bloody continent. I share some of their sentiment.

Spoilers follow.

The Arya chapters and the Tyrion Chapters had me flipping ahead and skipping the chapters in between. Watching murderous little Arya go about her business was entertaining as was reading what new insult Tyrion would utter next. Once Tyrion left King's Landing the chance of running into a main story spoiler greatly diminished and Arya's chapters had almost zero connection to the rest of the story once she left Sandor Clegane. Hooray for the novel within a novel.

I was never eager to read Jon Snow's chapters, can't put my finger on why exactly. I'm sure it had nothing to do with how dreary life at Castle Black was or how often the cold wind made people cold cold cold, or the weepy ice, tons and tons of weepy ice.

Daenerys basically abandoned her dragons. I have one question about that. Why? It didn't make sense to me from a character motivation point of view. Never mind the anti-fan service aspect of the dragons having little to do with her story in a tangible sense as anything other than a symbol of power. What a waste of story potential.

For example, she has three dragons. She needs two more riders. Why isn't she looking for likely candidates? A weapon is only useful if it can be wielded. No riders means no control. She needs those dragons burning her enemies not rotting in some dungeon or flying with no guidance whatsoever. It don't make no sense.

Thing is, there are so many exotic locations and groups that we only get short looks at, tantalizing glimpses of, interesting places and people that could fill whole books on their own but we don't get any of that, we only get the glimpses. It seems all wasted potential. What we get are masses of standard medieval lords scheming over every scrap of land and title. Why isn't Cercei dead already? I'm also praying that Roose and Ramsay Bolton get eaten by a giant spiders so I won't have to read about them anymore. Don't even get me started on the Ironborn.

Blogger The Aardvark May 01, 2012 10:31 AM  

The only thing missing from the feast was bubbly-pies.

Mmmmmmmmm...bubbly-pies.

WAIT...this isn't Pern!

Anonymous VD May 01, 2012 10:44 AM  

The first episode of Lost I looked at my wife and said, "They have no idea what they are doing.

I never watched it for just that very reason. When people told me about it, I realized it was just a kitchen sink mystery. The principle is sound, but it has to be used in small doses.

OpenID ZT May 01, 2012 10:50 AM  

I have enjoyed the HBO series and I pray they find a suitable ending to it even if Martin cannot. It is rare that Hollywood makes something better than the book... I just cannot think of anything at the moment.

Anonymous Daniel May 01, 2012 10:51 AM  

I'd be curious to see if Martin could save it all by finishing the series with "A Song of Ice and Fire: The Great Other Triumphant"

Anonymous Noah B. May 01, 2012 11:16 AM  

Though I've never published any fiction, it does seem that writing a good ending is much more difficult than developing an interesting and exciting introduction. After all, the number of distinctly different endings is very limited, and it seems to be a great challenge to present an ending so that it doesn't seem trite or unbearably painful for the reader.

Anonymous Shild May 01, 2012 11:32 AM  

I've only read the first two books. That's how long it took me to realize I like the HBO series better than the books.

The thing is that the shows have world building sets and costumes, music, and most importantly great performances by excellent actors. The books just have a sort of dreary nihilism. I mean what's the point of reading on if I know he's just going to kill off my favorite characters? But that's a minor problem. The big problem is the fact that "Winter's coming". This looming threat renders the entire main story with all its subplots petty and pointless.

Also, Arya pissed me off in ACoK. I like the character, which is why I was very annoyed that she was such an idiot. She had an unstoppable assassin in her debt for three lives, and it didn't even occur to her to name Joffrey, Cersei, Tywin, or Gregor Clegane? Even though she repeated their names every night in her revenge prayer? The war could have ended and some hated characters could have been removed right there, but GRRM decided to hit Arya with the idiot stick in service to the plot.

Anonymous Roundtine May 01, 2012 11:37 AM  

How hard is it really to do the ending? There's 3000 years of literature out there with plenty of ideas. Most stories these days are just derivative reactions to the endings they saw/read. Along the lines of the comment that the previous generation of communists read Marx, the current generation has only read criticisms or commentaries on Marx. Hollywood produces the intellectual equivalent of Twinkies these days, purely empty calories. Some of the writers get it, I know the guy writing Sons of Anarchy said that Hamlet was the template. That alone gives the show a head start on the rest of the crap out there.

Anonymous GHS May 01, 2012 11:59 AM  

What I see there I also see throughout just about every creative industry from videogames to books, or even Japanese anime.

There just seems to be a widespread inability to create anything but a beginning or a backstory these days. So many things spin their wheels for X pages or Y hours, then end in a to-be-continued with nothing resolved.

From MMOs to mangas, it's all about creating a universe with infinite backstory, infinite potential, a strong bang of a beginning - and no direction, aim or actual story to tell.

Then the authors start taking ever more years to complete the next chapter, and the chapter adds nothing but MORE questions, and then before you know it there's a reboot.
Let's retell the start; that part was interesting.

It seems more than crass commercialism; megalomania seems closer in some instances, an internal intellectual and emotive hollow fits others, and a sheer reluctance to say anything conclusive, maybe in fear of this incresingly PC world, clears up much of the rest.

I would also add an increased reliance on surprise twists, instead of proper building of suspense, and of backstory exposition in the place (or, worse, confused for) character development.

Still, there seems to be a parallel between people increasingly crafting worlds with plots but not stories, that go endlessly forwards but never have a point, and the abandoment of Christian (or at the very least religious) values, such as the idea that our universe is aimed at something greater than a dull daily grind.

An increasing inability to tell stories tells a story in itself.

Blogger Nate May 01, 2012 12:07 PM  

To some extent... one could visualize this as Game Theory applied to literature... or in the case of Lost... TV.

The mystery lets your imagination run wild... and it hides the fact that the author never actually had anything to say in the first place.

Note... one thing we never see in modern literature... true self sacrifice for others.

When was the last time the hero gave himself up for everyone and actually died in the end?

Soap came close... but he was more of a martyr.

Anonymous Papapete May 01, 2012 12:15 PM  

"The first episode of Lost I looked at my wife and said, "They have no idea what they are doing. They are just using random symbolism here and there to create questions in your head. They just want your imagination running wild. In the end... whatever they have for you... will be totally unsatisfying because of that."

That's what happened to the "Matrix" trilogy as well. Halfway through the second movie I realised that the Wachowskis were as lost as the audience.

Anonymous Shild May 01, 2012 12:29 PM  

When was the last time the hero gave himself up for everyone and actually died in the end?

1996: Independence Day

The stereotype stupid, drunk redneck sacrifices himself to bring down the alien ship and save the world.

Other than that, I got nothing.

Anonymous Matt May 01, 2012 12:38 PM  

Other than that, I got nothing.

Act of Valor, on a smaller scale.

Blogger Nate May 01, 2012 12:39 PM  

yeah... obviously Grand Torino... but that's not fantasy or sci fi.

Anonymous Joe Authoer May 01, 2012 1:33 PM  

The George Lucas technique...

Step 1: Set up a bunch of mysteries and plots

Step 2: Add another layer of mysteries, subplots and new characters

Step 3: Repeat Step 2 about 20 times

Step 4: Sit back, and accept all the accolades about your brilliant genius

Step 5: Try to retcon your spaghetti of a plot in a desperate bid to save your story (SEE: Star Wars, The Matrix Trilogy, Lost, Wheel of Time...)

Step 6: Realize your monstrosity of a story is collapsing, so back to Step 1 to fire-up the fan-boys

Anonymous AXCrom May 01, 2012 2:03 PM  

"That's what happened to the "Matrix" trilogy as well. Halfway through the second movie I realised that the Wachowskis were as lost as the audience."

I held out the hope that when Neo knocked out the Sentinel in the tunnel outside Zion it would be the reveal that he was still in the Matrix and that Zion was just another onion layer of control and that he was still hooked into the machines. Of course, the Wachowskis went another way.

Anonymous Stephen J. May 01, 2012 2:22 PM  

I had the same thing to say about A DANCE WITH DRAGONS as I did about Patrick Rothfuss's THE WISE MAN'S FEAR: "I've never read a book in which so much happens and yet so little happens."

Anonymous raggededge May 01, 2012 3:47 PM  

Nate:here's hoping for a 4 season run... that actually has a satisfying conclusion... even if Martin has nothing to do with it.

Season 4 is all but guaranteed. The ratings have been very good and the DVD sales for season 1 off of the charts. So far, the TV adaptation has been very tight, I think they can pull of a satisfying conclusion. But, it will probably have to be season 5 to do it.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 01, 2012 5:51 PM  

Nate: When was the last time the hero gave himself up for everyone and actually died in the end?

Arnold Schwarzenegger, End of Days
Denzel Washington, Man on Fire
Will Smith, I Am Legend
Keanu Reeves, The Matrix Revolutions
Bruce Willis, Armageddon
Tommy Lee Jones, Space Cowboys

Anonymous Ceinwyn May 01, 2012 5:53 PM  

I think Athor Pel and Joe Athoer said everything I would've said...and that being said, I did finish all published GoT books hoping for that heroic moment from several characters.

Anonymous Allabaster May 01, 2012 7:02 PM  

"Soap came close... but he was more of a martyr."

Nate, you are the only man I have ever met who would include the plot of an FPS in a discussion on literature.

Bravo.

Speaking of which we need a MW3 session to be lined up if you can pull yourself away from your fish filled lake.

Anonymous FP May 01, 2012 8:36 PM  

"She didn't listen. She watched every episode from every season...

Then in the end... just wanted to throw things."

Definately not the first time I've heard that reaction. I used to get flack from some friends who would talk about the damn show every week. I think I watched maybe 20-30minutes of Lost in its first season and had little interest. Knowing that it was JJ Abrams, who ran Alias which went all over the place, it seemed obvious Lost would go the same route. Especially since he was starting to direct movies too.

Same thing happened with the new BSG series too.

Blogger Nate May 01, 2012 9:09 PM  

Arnold Schwarzenegger, End of Days
Denzel Washington, Man on Fire
Will Smith, I Am Legend
Keanu Reeves, The Matrix Revolutions
Bruce Willis, Armageddon
Tommy Lee Jones, Space Cowboys

I think the fact that these movies are all between 10 and 20 years old sort of demonstrates the point.

Anonymous Anonymous May 02, 2012 12:47 AM  

That was far better than the books, which are guilty pleasures at best.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 02, 2012 1:19 PM  

Nate: I think the fact that these movies are all between 10 and 20 years old sort of demonstrates the point.

I Am Legend: 2007 (five years old)
Man On Fire: 2004 (eight years old)
Matrix Revolutions: 2003 (nine years old)

Only half the original examples I provided are as old as you claim, but that's beside the point. The list I posted was just off the top of my head; you can find a far more comprehensive list at TV Tropes (Heroic Sacrifice)

For instance, a more recent example is Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy (2010), only two years old. (And I can't believe I forgot this one, too.)

Themes are cyclical. The "Heroic Sacrifice" thing was so overdone, it became clichéd (as also happened with the "soldier throwing himself on the grenade" trope becoming more prevalent after periods of conflict).

Fear not, it'll be back with a vengeance once people get tired of the current Vampire cycle. I imagine Marvel will also kill of one of the Avengers (probably Hawkeye) once that franchise starts becoming stale.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 02, 2012 1:22 PM  

That's "kill off one of the Avengers..."

Anonymous Anonymous May 02, 2012 4:06 PM  

I actually enjoyed GRRM's first book of this series. But when I read the next two I realised that he was just going.to focus on making really complicated yet derivative characters with no concession to where the plot was going. Each of the characters are defined enough to deserve their own story, but sadly, there is no real story. It's like he had a bunch of ideas for character development but no plot to put these characters in, so he just wrote each character in seemingly unrelated or redundant situations and then hoped no one would notice.

Anonymous Anonymous May 07, 2012 5:37 AM  

"VD-- maybe you can help us regular people understand why every author in the world seems intent on making everything a multi-part triliogy or worse? Is it just crass commercialization?

If it takes you six years and several false starts to develop the next phase of your story, it's either too complex or your bored. And if the author is bored, chances are we are as well."

A trilogy generally sells better than 3 stand alone novels. Its that simple.

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