Tag: George R.R. Martin

A Dance With Dragons

Dragons of the universe!

 

I didn’t expect that at the end of the available volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire I would feel like I had run headlong into a brick wall, but that is exactly what happened. I don’t want to sound overly dramatic here but, while A Dance With Dragons is more of a “complete” book than A Feast For Crows (in that it covers more characters), it’s less satisfactory. A Storm of Swords still stands as the single most delightful entry in this canon.

 

Enough quibbling, though: is A Dance With Dragons any good? Keeping in mind that I only had to wait one week for it rather than six years, I’m going to say that yes, it is. On reflection, its three main characters get three complete story arcs that naturally bleed into the next part of the story. It’s just that, given its eighteen different points of view, a lot of the work that Martin performs between these pages is simple shuffling of pawns across the board so that they may be in place for greater things. None of which happen here.

 

Contains spoilers for volumes 1-4, not for A Dance With Dragons itself!

Tales of Dunk and Egg: The Sworn Sword & The Mystery Knight

The second and third entries in the Tales of Dunk and Egg complement each other so well that it’s hard to imagine that they were published seven years apart. It wasn’t until I came to The Mystery Knight that I could appreciate The Sworn Sword for what it is. I realise that a large part of this is because of the significance of the characters at play: in The Mystery Knight Dunk and Egg participate in activities that have some bearing on the future of the realm, while in The Sworn Sword they’re performing pure acts of hedge knighthood.

 

The fault in my interpretation lies not in Martin but in myself; with a fuller understanding of the canon of these characters to date I came to enjoy myself much more than I had beforehand. That Martin’s work can grow in retrospect as well as in the telling is something that I can get behind.

Tales of Dunk and Egg: The Hedge Knight

Published between A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, The Hedge Knight is the first novella in the A Song of Ice and Fire canon, and the first of the Tales of Dunk and Egg. Set approximately 100 years before the events of A Game of Thrones (according to Wikipedia, 89 years exactly), we are presented with a world at relative peace, the Seven Kingdoms ruled by the Targaryens.

Spoilers of Ice and Fire, Part II

A Week of Ice and Fire, Bonus Round II!

In the second part of the two part “Spoilers of Ice and Fire” series, I look into some other characters. I have no idea how I’m doing for timing, but by the time this is published I firmly hope to be reading A Dance With Dragons.

 

Remember that if you don’t want to know what has happened in the books leading up to A Dance With Dragon, avoid reading this for your own sanity!

 

Spoiler city! So many spoilers for A Game of Thrones to A Feast For Crows you won’t know what to do with yourself!

Spoilers of Ice and Fire, Part I

A Week of Ice and Fire, Bonus Round I!

 

The rest of the Week of Ice and Fire has been dedicated to writing generally spoiler free impressions of A Song of Ice and Fire to date, carefully dancing around ruining anything for anyone. The final entries, however, are devoted to something else entirely: my thoughts on specific and sometimes horrific things that happened within the first four books.

 

If you don’t want to know stuff that happens in the books, you’ll want to avoid this. If you’re already familiar with the books, or you don’t care if you find out things ahead of time … step right in!

 

Spoiler city! So many spoilers for A Game of Thrones to A Feast For Crows you won’t know what to do with yourself!

 

A Feast For Crows

A Week of Ice and Fire, Day Four!

Ah, here is where it all ended six years ago. And this is only half the story – George R.R. Martin chose to split this book geographically, with only the southrons getting any attention in this volume. For news of those in the north and the east, we have to wait until A Dance With Dragons. This means two things: A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons are both sequels to A Storm of Swords, and we won’t get a follow up on the events of A Feast For Crows until The Winds of Winter is published … whenever that may be.

 

This isn’t all bad, because A Feast For Crows is a pretty dang good book. Yet, even more than A Feast For Crows, Martin has truly cultivated his taste for insane cliffhangers. I understand now why people have been so upset for the last six years (particularly as this volume has Martin “devoutly hoping” to release A Dance With Dragons within a year – signed June 2005), but … they’re not going to get any answers. Nothing but questions await us next week, but I don’t plan on devoting my life to cursing Martin’s name for taking his own sweet time.

 

Contains the risk of spoilers for the three books that came before it!

A Storm of Swords

A Week of Ice and Fire, Day Three!

 

I couldn’t find the laughably terrible cover that I have at home at a suitable resolution online, and the new “classy CG” covers are just awful so I’ve declined the opportunity to put them up. Just imagine a book with a really cool cover, because damn fantasy gets poorly treated in the cover stakes.

A Storm of Swords is the most exciting entry in A Song of Ice and Fire of the first three. It’s interesting to say this because it’s essentially an exercise in sadism for Martin from start to finish. Gelling in a way that A Clash of Kings never quite managed, the sheer dynamism on display makes for an incredibly entertaining book. Certainly, the entertainment value falls within the bounds of believability, but … truly, nothing is sacred to Martin, and that is amazing.

 

Contains spoilers for A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings

A Week of Ice and Fire, Day Two!

Of Kings!

 

A Clash of Kings is a good book, and, while it delivers on most of the promises of A Game of Thrones’ explosive ending, it makes a point of emphasising the fantasy roots of the series and is significantly less pleasant all around in its developments.

 

Contains spoilers for A Game of Thrones