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(Newsweek)   Nerds, start your boners: Game of Thrones season 3 is even better than the first two seasons   (thedailybeast.com) divider line 216
    More: Spiffy, Game of Thrones, HBO, D.B. Weiss, David Benioff, collective consciousness, Jon Snow, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke  
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7579 clicks; posted to Geek » on 25 Mar 2013 at 9:40 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-26 06:17:36 PM

Girion47: Zoophagous: Book spoiler-ish....
The fact that he's around Melisandre will really help that happen.  Plus his questionable lineage makes it likely that he is a Targaryen.   I'm guessing he's the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar.  That's why Ned took him in and sullied his honor, to protect the life of his nephew.


Lyanna and Aerys. Rhaegar had teh gay.
 
2013-03-26 06:30:01 PM

maelstrom0370: So, for everyone who *has* read the books, are they worth it?
Love medieval fantasy for the most part. Never got into Wheel of Time, made it about 3 or 4 books into Sword of Truth, loved Raymond Feist up to a point. When he killed everyone off and asked us to follow their children/grandchildren, I gave up. That and the never ending "This War" or "That War" and the next enemy always being the WORST! THING! EVAR!! got tiring. Really liked all of David Gemmell's stuff, though that's a l


if you say you like fantasy, you must read them and have an opinion about them because they are important in the genre.

beyond that, it's all a matter of taste, really. I think the books are overrated, and HBO has done a fine job (with GRRM) in editing down the better parts of the series. others prefer the books.

everyone doesn't have to like everything, however.

/I wonder if Dany knows where whores go. perhaps to hang out with Xaro Xhoan Daxos!
 
2013-03-26 06:35:55 PM

Nick Spiceyweiner: Except that he already knows how it is going to end, and has already told the writers for the show in case he dies or something. Damn, do you even read anything about the show you seem to complain so much about?


Funny. I remember he mentioned something about letting them know how he wanted the story to end. He also started writing a book series -- not a TV series. He also intended to have books published faster than every 6 years...

having a half assed idea about how you want to end a story is called "coming up with a story". The ending is the biggest, hardest part of the story. Its what makes the whole thing sink or swim.  That he only has a rough idea is not something you want to hear as his investor half way through the project. He is trying to build a house from the roof down. The ending of a story is like the foundation of a house. Everything rests on it and is built upon it. If you want to change it you have to tear down walls and change the building itself. To set the walls and roof first is just painting yourself into a corner.

He beats around the bush and any progress in his story seems to be undone in the next few chapters. His characters take a long time to get to places they dont really do much at...

Ok -- does anyone remember the bits about oldtown? And the fancy candle and the guy who steals faces? Remember piggy and how he got sent down there? Remember how there are two chapters across two books that reference some school of maesters? Remember? Do you remember how nothing in his thousands upon thousands of pages relates or goes back to that setting or those characters?

I was so pissed when i read those chapters. They were like big cliff hangers for characters you had never met before and would never meet again. You got the feeling that those chapters were supposed to start tying threads back together but they havent been touched.

Bah -- Grrm is the next Terry Goodkind. The books start off good but by the end you realize the author has just been whacking off.
 
2013-03-26 07:01:27 PM

Egoy3k: Why is a story that you can predict and characters that you completely understand desirable in a story? Why is a large cast of characters with conflicting goals, abilities and influences undesirable? I'm not goign to argu that A Song of Ice and Fire is the best series ever or anything, it has serious issues, but all the criticisms against it seem to assume freely that the books would be better if they followed some unwritten rulebook that woulds make the story unremarkable from any other fantasy series.

Characters can change, protagonists can come and go. The situation in Westeros is complete chaos and fortunes change from day to day. That's the nature of the books and to take that way would change the whole story. It seems that people are just upset because they need to choose how they feel about the characters and not be handed a clear protagonist to root for and a clear evil for the protagonist to vanquish.

Like I said the series isn't the best but it's rare when a book makes me feel guilty for liking a character like I did after we got to see more of Jamie Lannister. I'll keep reading.


I totally agree. I still feel guilty for liking Jamie so much, given what he did to a helpless little boy. The fact that GRRM could make me do that, as a writer, is just amazing.

As for Arya, she is going to be a kick-ass, face-changing assassin, I am quite sure. I don't see how anyone can say her story isn't going anywhere. I mean, practically from the beginning, she's been practicing with weapons, getting her conscience stripped away from her, having her nose rubbed in the droppings of evil, losing people she loves, making lists of people to kill, getting in with the people who will help her kill them, getting some of them killed, killing people herself, and now she's in face-changer school. How anyone could read that and *not* know what she's going to be is astonishing.

I think some folks are conditioned to books/shows where Point A leads to Point C directly through Point B, but others of us enjoy the hell out of Point B1, B3, B7 and Point B79a-12.
 
2013-03-26 07:22:28 PM

Clash City Farker: Girion47: Zoophagous: Book spoiler-ish....
The fact that he's around Melisandre will really help that happen.  Plus his questionable lineage makes it likely that he is a Targaryen.   I'm guessing he's the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar.  That's why Ned took him in and sullied his honor, to protect the life of his nephew.

Lyanna and Aerys. Rhaegar had teh gay.


Where the hell was it mentioned that Rhaegar was gay?
 
2013-03-26 07:25:04 PM

silvervial: I think some folks are conditioned to books/shows where Point A leads to Point C directly through Point B, but others of us enjoy the hell out of Point B1, B3, B7 and Point B79a-12.


The probem isn't B1, B3, B7 and B79a-12 -- the problem is those points seem plodding and the constant one step forward one step back makes them seem like filler after awhile. I like taking my time with the little things, but i don't like to waste my time with little things.
 
2013-03-26 07:29:40 PM
I like books with complex plots. that assumes the existence of a plotline/series of plotlines.

I would even accept a Song of Lamprey Pies as a character thing, along the lines of Emostar Crylactica. the issue is that there is no real story there. it is just the meandering of a bunch of degenerates, and not a story about anything in particular, so why talk about plot when there is none?

the best thing about the HBO series (aside from tatas) is the fact that it has to be edited down.
 
2013-03-26 08:35:31 PM

legion_of_doo: the best thing about the HBO series (aside from tatas) is the fact that it has to be edited down.


This is why I'm optimistic about the respective adaptations of FFC and DWD. I think they might make much better television viewing than they did reading.
 
2013-03-26 08:46:49 PM

silvervial: I think some folks are conditioned to books/shows where Point A leads to Point C directly through Point B, but others of us enjoy the hell out of Point B1, B3, B7 and Point B79a-12.


mikefinch: The probem isn't B1, B3, B7 and B79a-12 -- the problem is those points seem plodding and the constant one step forward one step back makes them seem like filler after awhile. I like taking my time with the little things, but i don't like to waste my time with little things.


This, but I'm not focusing on Arya to point out weaknesses in the story anyway.  (I know bhcompy said it, but he can speak for himself.)  She's one of the few characters that have had any sort of true arc (as opposed to just sequentially sympathetic perspectives).  It's more like, well, OK, she may be important soon, and she's cool.  But damn if she didn't get a late start, and second, whether or not her particular arc is meaningful (read: not yet) doesn't really justify how hopelessly the story is weighed down by other chapters.  If you actually enjoyed all that Reek nonsense in DwD that's your perogative, but this isn't an Edgar Allen Poe story.  An insane viewpoint in a fantasy epic is as justified as a bonus stage in an horror-themed FPS video game -- it may be fun, but at best it adds nothing to the work's legacy and at worst it can seriously disrupt the tone.  That's just one example, but there are two explanations and neither of them are flattering:  Either GRRM's throwing shiat at the wall to appeal to various tastes for maximum popularity, or he really can't stop himself from dicking around.  Mereen is morphing from what obviously should've just been a de facto training ground for Dany to mature into a leader into a quagmire she can't dislodge herself from.  And if she really needs Tyrion to yank her ass out of there, then she's not ready for prime time.  Not in the meatgrinder that is Westeros, if she can't even navigate a straightforward insurrection.  Wait, she's not ready??  Girl, this is after over four thousand pages, yo.  At what point are we allowed to say this isn't merely an issue of short attention span?  It's not like Dany's been given less time to grow than a YouTube cat video.

It's one thing to see Rocky Balboa train for a fight with a cliche montage.  But you know what?  Describing every drop of sweat on every rep on every workout doesn't make for a good story, either.  It's just padding.
 
2013-03-26 08:54:39 PM

Girion47: Clash City Farker: Girion47: Zoophagous: Book spoiler-ish....
The fact that he's around Melisandre will really help that happen.  Plus his questionable lineage makes it likely that he is a Targaryen.   I'm guessing he's the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar.  That's why Ned took him in and sullied his honor, to protect the life of his nephew.

Lyanna and Aerys. Rhaegar had teh gay.

Where the hell was it mentioned that Rhaegar was gay?


He was quite gay. He and jon Connington (confirmed gay) were best buddies.
 
2013-03-26 09:16:56 PM

Clash City Farker: Girion47: Clash City Farker: Girion47: Zoophagous: Book spoiler-ish....
The fact that he's around Melisandre will really help that happen.  Plus his questionable lineage makes it likely that he is a Targaryen.   I'm guessing he's the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar.  That's why Ned took him in and sullied his honor, to protect the life of his nephew.

Lyanna and Aerys. Rhaegar had teh gay.

Where the hell was it mentioned that Rhaegar was gay?

He was quite gay. He and jon Connington (confirmed gay) were best buddies.


I've got a good number of gay friends, they aren't ram-rodding me up the ass.
 
2013-03-26 10:49:46 PM

Supes: legion_of_doo: the best thing about the HBO series (aside from tatas) is the fact that it has to be edited down.

This is why I'm optimistic about the respective adaptations of FFC and DWD. I think they might make much better television viewing than they did reading.


I think so too.  This is one of those cases where the Cliff's Notes version would be way better executed than the text.

The writers/GRRM, of course, had to mention the lamprey pie in the HBO (I had a great laugh at that), but it's not endless eating contests on the screen.  And I don't care how the food represents the "story" because there's nothing going on!

So I'm optimistic that Tyrion isn't going to be wondering where whores go for an entire friggin season, and Dany's magical Mary Sue quest to liberate whatever can be boiled down to one single group of retards... and on and on, and so on and so forth.
 
2013-03-26 11:58:45 PM

fozziewazzi: Hickory-smoked: I'm really not fond of replacing Robb's relationship with Jayne Westerling with "Talisa Maegyr."

That being said, Oona Chaplin is really hot.

The book doesn't goes into how Robb and Jeyne met, except in recollection.  He just suddenly shows up with her like she was war booty or something.  I think the writers made a call that this made Robb look impulsive, selfish and unsympathetic, which is what they don't want given what happens to him shortly afterwards.


The book states that Robb lost his shiat when hearing that Bran and Rickon were murdered, and Jeyne comforted him. He then stays with Jeyne out of love and honor. This seems way, way less selfish and impulsive than "I don't want to marry the Frey girl."
 
2013-03-27 12:09:01 AM

mikefinch: Bah -- Grrm is the next Terry Goodkind.


So you think A Song of Ice and Fire is going to turn into a Randian wank fest with "SOCIALISM BAAAAD" being the message of every other page?
 
2013-03-27 12:51:26 AM

Harbinger of the Doomed Rat: So you think A Song of Ice and Fire is going to turn into a Randian wank fest with "SOCIALISM BAAAAD" being the message of every other page?


No -- that was just terrible i have to agree -- but i thought another problem with the Sword of Truth series was (in my eyes) a weird sexual outlet for the author. Food is Grrms socialism while the sex written into the story leads me to belive both authors write with a hand in their pants...

\ is sword of truth a randian soapbox? OR is it a weird compilation of the authors BDSM fantasies?
\\ I bet Grrms favorite writing-bate lube is the juice that comes out when you open a can of mechanically separated chicken meat.
 
2013-03-27 02:54:35 AM

Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: I still think they could have written it better. Robb married Jeyne to protect her honor, something in line with his character. The change in the tv series makes it seem like he was just some young horny kid who let his dick do all the talking.


Oh, don't kid yourself. He was definitely a young horny kid who let his dick do all the talking. Things like honor were the excuse to cover up his major fark-up.

Just look at Ned Stark, same dumbass pattern.
 
2013-03-27 02:56:55 AM

LectertheChef: I don't know, Sansa's a bit too submissive.


That's because Sansa is another one of the dumbass "HONOR ABOVE ALL ELSE" Starks. She does the feminine version of Ned Stark refusing to watch out for his own demise, which is to totally go along with the princess + white knight prince stereotype.
 
2013-03-27 03:42:34 AM

torusXL: Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadu: I still think they could have written it better. Robb married Jeyne to protect her honor, something in line with his character. The change in the tv series makes it seem like he was just some young horny kid who let his dick do all the talking.

Oh, don't kid yourself. He was definitely a young horny kid who let his dick do all the talking. Things like honor were the excuse to cover up his major fark-up.

Just look at Ned Stark, same dumbass pattern.


LOL.

google R+L=J

Man a lot of you guys have no clue what youre talking about. Checkout /r/asoiaf and beware of spoilers.

Don't shiat on the books if you haven't even grasped the subtleties yet. The series is good but the books are still twice as good.
 
2013-03-27 08:18:33 AM

redmond24: Don't shiat on the books if you haven't even grasped the subtleties yet.


It's not that we don't grasp them.  It's that we don't care.

GRRM's writing has its enjoyable qualities, but at best it deserves two-and-a-half stars.  Really, it's not like this guy is a John Steinbeck, Emily Dickinson, George Orwell, Vladimir Nabokov, Ernest Hemingway or Henry Thoreau.  He's admittedly talented enough to deserve being held to some semblance of literary standard, but don't reach.  Try to make him out to some master of language and hoo boy you'd better prepare yourself to get thoroughly bloodied.  He's a pop culture author shamelessly appealing to very banal guilty pleasures.  There's nothing wrong with that, mind you -- as long as we're honest about what it is.  It's telling how so many people were shocked by Ned's death; GRRM foreshadowed it early in the first book in a way that was screamingly obvious to anyone who's read literature.
 
2013-03-27 08:26:49 AM
What actually happened during Robert's Rebellion/War of the Usurper is one of the great mysteries of the series. GRR has not come out and openly said what happened, he only puts in a few facts mixed in with various POV from people that lived it. These are just characters in the stories, they do not necessarily have the right answers. You combine that with what GRRM is trying to do, be a modern Tolkien, and you can start to realise that what we think is going on may not be what is really happening or what really happened RE: R+L=J.

/and by modern Tolkien, I mean he is retelling stories that have already been told.
 
2013-03-27 08:55:36 AM

dragonchild: redmond24: Don't shiat on the books if you haven't even grasped the subtleties yet.

It's not that we don't grasp them.  It's that we don't care.

GRRM's writing has its enjoyable qualities, but at best it deserves two-and-a-half stars.  Really, it's not like this guy is a John Steinbeck, Emily Dickinson, George Orwell, Vladimir Nabokov, Ernest Hemingway or Henry Thoreau.  He's admittedly talented enough to deserve being held to some semblance of literary standard, but don't reach.  Try to make him out to some master of language and hoo boy you'd better prepare yourself to get thoroughly bloodied.  He's a pop culture author shamelessly appealing to very banal guilty pleasures.  There's nothing wrong with that, mind you -- as long as we're honest about what it is.  It's telling how so many people were shocked by Ned's death; GRRM foreshadowed it early in the first book in a way that was screamingly obvious to anyone who's read literature.


...I care
 
2013-03-27 09:55:54 AM
 
2013-03-27 10:19:57 AM
I like Terry Goodkind and the Sword of Truth series.

I like Terry Goodkind and the Sword of Truth series.
 
2013-03-27 10:31:57 AM

dragonchild: redmond24: Don't shiat on the books if you haven't even grasped the subtleties yet.

It's not that we don't grasp them.  It's that we don't care.

GRRM's writing has its enjoyable qualities, but at best it deserves two-and-a-half stars.  Really, it's not like this guy is a John Steinbeck, Emily Dickinson, George Orwell, Vladimir Nabokov, Ernest Hemingway or Henry Thoreau.  He's admittedly talented enough to deserve being held to some semblance of literary standard, but don't reach.  Try to make him out to some master of language and hoo boy you'd better prepare yourself to get thoroughly bloodied.  He's a pop culture author shamelessly appealing to very banal guilty pleasures.  There's nothing wrong with that, mind you -- as long as we're honest about what it is.  It's telling how so many people were shocked by Ned's death; GRRM foreshadowed it early in the first book in a way that was screamingly obvious to anyone who's read literature.


Shakespeare was thought of the same way!

Really, though, GRRM's contribution isn't his literary mastery, it's his participation in the revival of hard adult fantasy.  Fantasy was suffering very hard under the stewardship of Feist, Goodkind, Jordan, etc.  Very juvenile, lacking subtlety and nuance, basically something for a middle schooler to read.  While there were other authors writing a more adult style of fantasy(Kay, for instance), GRRM helped bring it to the forefront because his books sold well.  And, now, we're in a fantasy renaissance.
 
2013-03-27 10:52:42 AM

bhcompy: Really, though, GRRM's contribution isn't his literary mastery, it's his participation in the revival of hard adult fantasy.


Oh, I'm all down with that.  I'm livin' up the resurgence of fantasy in my generation, and while I dissed GRRM's prose as mediocre I'll freely admit most fantasy fiction available in my youth (outside Tolkein) was painfully bad.  By all means, let's give credit where it's due.  We have a fantasy series on HBO FFS!  I just had to rip into the "you just don't get the subtlety" comment because it's a pretty common insult of last resort when people who take his work seriously enough to critique it bash heads with fanbois who think GRRM is above all criticism.

GRRM is not subtle.  At best he's coy.  I did Google "R+L=J" and when I read it my only reaction was, "Oh, that."  Is Jon a Targaryen?  Well, we haven't seen his long-form birth certificate, but GRRM's introduced way too much circumstantial evidence for this revelation (if true) to have any shock value.
 
2013-03-27 12:00:45 PM
I think the HBO series is doing the books justice, and I enjoy watching it come to life on screen.   I do not think GRRM is the greatest author out there, but he did break an annoying paradigm that most epic series in fantasy cling to where the main group of characters are basically immortal.  It was quite a splash in the genre when Ned got shortened.

My fantasy series suggestions: if ended in X not complete:
Almost anything by Brandon Sanderson
Chronicles of Amber 1-10? Roger Zelazny
Codex Alera  1-6 by Jim Butcher
Jig the Goblin 1-3 by Jim C Hines - FUN
Sir Apropos of Nothing 1-3 by Peter David - FUN
Iron Druid 1- X by Kevin Hearne
Warded Man 1- X Peter V Brett
Light Bringer 1-X Brent Weeks
King Killer 1-X Patrick Rothfus (EXCELLENT)
Ravens Shadow 1-X (EXCELLENT)
Shadow Dance 1-3 by David Dalglish

Post Apocalyptic series:
Wool by Hugh Howey
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Remaining by DJ Molles

I'm sure I have many more to add, just what I could see on my Kindle at the moment.
 
2013-03-27 01:22:45 PM

dragonchild: redmond24: Don't shiat on the books if you haven't even grasped the subtleties yet.

It's not that we don't grasp them.  It's that we don't care.

GRRM's writing has its enjoyable qualities, but at best it deserves two-and-a-half stars.  Really, it's not like this guy is a John Steinbeck, Emily Dickinson, George Orwell, Vladimir Nabokov, Ernest Hemingway or Henry Thoreau.  He's admittedly talented enough to deserve being held to some semblance of literary standard, but don't reach.  Try to make him out to some master of language and hoo boy you'd better prepare yourself to get thoroughly bloodied.  He's a pop culture author shamelessly appealing to very banal guilty pleasures.  There's nothing wrong with that, mind you -- as long as we're honest about what it is.  It's telling how so many people were shocked by Ned's death; GRRM foreshadowed it early in the first book in a way that was screamingly obvious to anyone who's read literature.


Hemingway doesn't belong in the same class as those others.  Hemingway's writing was downright awful.  Sure, he's not as bad as Stephanie Meyer, but he is one of the most overrated authors in history.

/The Old Man and the Sea is a great way to judge someone's character.  If they like that book, or even worse love it, they're a bad person who probably likes to molest puppies.
 
2013-03-27 03:35:55 PM

Harbinger of the Doomed Rat: dragonchild: redmond24: Don't shiat on the books if you haven't even grasped the subtleties yet.

It's not that we don't grasp them.  It's that we don't care.

GRRM's writing has its enjoyable qualities, but at best it deserves two-and-a-half stars.  Really, it's not like this guy is a John Steinbeck, Emily Dickinson, George Orwell, Vladimir Nabokov, Ernest Hemingway or Henry Thoreau.  He's admittedly talented enough to deserve being held to some semblance of literary standard, but don't reach.  Try to make him out to some master of language and hoo boy you'd better prepare yourself to get thoroughly bloodied.  He's a pop culture author shamelessly appealing to very banal guilty pleasures.  There's nothing wrong with that, mind you -- as long as we're honest about what it is.  It's telling how so many people were shocked by Ned's death; GRRM foreshadowed it early in the first book in a way that was screamingly obvious to anyone who's read literature.

Hemingway doesn't belong in the same class as those others.  Hemingway's writing was downright awful.  Sure, he's not as bad as Stephanie Meyer, but he is one of the most overrated authors in history.

/The Old Man and the Sea is a great way to judge someone's character.  If they like that book, or even worse love it, they're a bad person who probably likes to molest puppies.


I gotta disagree, I liked Hemingway.  He had a definitive style, and painted clear pictures with a minimal amount of fluff.  I found The Sun Also Rises to be quite entertaining even in high school.

Faulkner on the other hand managed to write a book less entertaining than the paper I wipe my ass with.  As I Lay Dying is the single worst book...hell, worst collection of words, ever compiled in history.  Even worse than The Scarlet Letter.

/Only thing of GRRM I've read is Game of Thrones series.  I wouldn't call it great or thought-provoking literature but it has been a fun read to me, and I tend to want to know what is going to happen next, so the pages keep turning.  I also liked how it started out having just a *hint* of mysticism...I'm not really stoked that there are basically zombies running around now, but having some craziness north-of-the-wall was alright in that it explains the necessity of the wall in the first place, and it is a totally segregated part of the world.
//The HBO series is pretty cool too, and they cast it very well.
 
2013-03-28 11:02:25 AM

redmond24: google R+L=J


That theory is AWESOME! Especially considering Jon Snow's current state. He'll be leading an army from the North, that's for sure. A very scary type of army, if you get my drift.
 
2013-03-28 11:15:59 AM

dragonchild: bhcompy: Really, though, GRRM's contribution isn't his literary mastery, it's his participation in the revival of hard adult fantasy.

Oh, I'm all down with that.  I'm livin' up the resurgence of fantasy in my generation, and while I dissed GRRM's prose as mediocre I'll freely admit most fantasy fiction available in my youth (outside Tolkein) was painfully bad.  By all means, let's give credit where it's due.  We have a fantasy series on HBO FFS!  I just had to rip into the "you just don't get the subtlety" comment because it's a pretty common insult of last resort when people who take his work seriously enough to critique it bash heads with fanbois who think GRRM is above all criticism.

GRRM is not subtle.  At best he's coy.  I did Google "R+L=J" and when I read it my only reaction was, "Oh, that."  Is Jon a Targaryen?  Well, we haven't seen his long-form birth certificate, but GRRM's introduced way too much circumstantial evidence for this revelation (if true) to have any shock value.


I care as well.
And I agree that most fantasy fiction (with a few notable exceptions) is painfully bad. But I humbly suggest that GRRM's style is better than mediocre, and to compare him to hawthorne or hemmingway etc is pretty silly, but whatever. Of course he is not above criticism, but I also do not agree that he attempts to appeal to our base desires in a shameful and banal manner. I think he handles the sex, violence, etc quite realistically and masterfully, I do not think any of it is gratuitous. I find it a welcome, refreshing change of pace.
Not subtle? Just coy? Really? Again, disagree. Some things he handles with subtlety, others with deliberation, and sometimes he is coy about things. Your broad brush strokes of smug notwithstanding.
I suppose my biggest objection as far as people taking him to task is the idea that he owes his fans anything. That he isnt writing the books fast enough, that he includes too many details about 'things I dont care about', etc. I am also baffled about all the whining about the 5th book. I loved it. It contains my single favorite scene in the books so far.
I for one am farkin grateful that an author like he has produced a work like this. It has redeemed my faith in the possibility of fantasy fiction again. Because for the most part the rest of the genre still sucks.
 
2013-03-28 11:24:59 AM

Gandalf_is_dead: But I humbly suggest that GRRM's style is better than mediocre, and to compare him to hawthorne or hemmingway etc is pretty silly, but whatever.


I don't think he's a perfect author, but he does one small thing that ends up putting his books beyond most other fantasy for me. He makes each subplot be more or less equal length, and generally the subplots take equal numbers of turns.

THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER than most other epic series like Wheel of Time where it might be a whole goddamn book before you hear about your favorite character again. I quit that series because I died of boredom trying to slog through an eight-chapter subplot of my least favorite character followed by one chapter of my favorite. GoT has plenty of boring subplots, but it's far made up for by the fact that they are equal-ish length and recycle regularly.
 
2013-03-28 11:52:30 AM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Little Finger. The answer is always Little Finger. Who drives the plot? Who is the most important character? Who's the only character that is "winning"?



Little Finger and Varys are arguably the two most important characters in the story, if you're up to date on the books.
 
2013-03-28 01:26:53 PM

Gandalf_is_dead: I suppose my biggest objection as far as people taking him to task is the idea that he owes his fans anything.


This may surprise you, but I agree.  Nobody owes anyone anything.  If he's really sick of writing this series, he should be under no obligation (other than contractual if he's promised deliverables to his publisher or HBO) to write so much as a single page more.  I also haven't really commented on the detail, either.  Detail isn't something that is held to a quota, as long it's tastefully done.  Some of it can be a matter of preference, but fans of fantasy should always brace for more detail than other fiction because worldbuilding is such an essential part of the genre.  The food might be what you can make for yourself with Earth ingredients, but the reader can never assume that.  After that it's about where he wants to focus his detail, which I believe is damn near everything, but this was established from the get-go.

What I'm doing is challenging GRRM's fans to delve into both his flaws and his strengths.  No, really.  When I diss him, I'm wanting someone to prove me wrong in case I missed some sort of point, but throwing around adjectives like "masterful" or insults like "smug" don't cut it.  This is a bit of a confession, but what annoys me the most about GRRM isn't his writing or popularity, per se.  It's that his biggest fans are utterly incapable of adequately explaining why his writing is good, all while insisting it's high-brow intellectual material.  Well if his fans are that goddamn smart then let's hear some goddamn smart arguments already!  I love a good debate more than being right and a public forum of oh-so-smart GRRM fans would strike me as the ideal environment.  But a lot of it is just this:

Gandalf_is_dead: I am also baffled about all the whining about the 5th book. I loved it. It contains my single favorite scene in the books so far.


Sorry if that was cheap, but the problem I have with this comment isn't some Internet thing where I believe you exist to entertain me.  The reason why this rankles is that it provides absolutely no context whatsoever.  It could be said about ANY series that's 5+ books long.  Let's say, for example, there's a lurker in this thread who's curious about the fuss and looking for a case that SoIaF is quality reading.  This comment says nothing.  It's just fanboi enthusiasm.  It's on the level of something I'd expect from a Twilight fan FFS.  So I dig to try to find out exactly why some people luuurve the series so much (I think it's okay), but when I challenge them the examples are weak and the arguments are vague, and when that fails spectacularly they resort to insults.  While I could go on about GRRM's various flaws, what's disturbing is how is supposedly enlightened fans (who are such experts at writing) are so completely incapable expressing what they perceive to be GRRM's strengths into coherent thoughts.  I'll concede the series has plenty of complexity to it (actually that's not much of a concession at all) and is enjoyable in many ways, but if it's the greatest fantasy epic since LotR (and plenty of people insist it's better than LotR), GRRM's fans have a lot of explaining to do.

To be fair, I've actually read a fair bit of positive criticism in this thread and the last few comments (torusXL, bhcompy) were particularly enjoyable to read.  But generally this insight comes from those who are just as willing and able to delve into the flaws.  FWIW I could spend just as much time scrutinizing LotR's various flaws, but would it matter?  After a certain point, the more someone likes GRRM the greater the derp, but this is supposed to be a thinker's series.
 
2013-03-28 01:43:53 PM

thornhill: Techhell: Old Man Winter: exick: Book 3 is by far the most kickass of the series, so this shocks me not.

What he said.

Seriously? Huh. Book 3 is where I stopped reading the series since it started to pull a Wheel of Time. "We've had two books to create a large group of primary characters, but for this book we're going to focus on this whole other group of secondary characters! Woohoo!" Sure, it was well written and had some great scenes, but I dropped the WoT for the same reason - book after book where new character after new character is introduced while old characters and main characters were pushed aside. Also didn't help that there was a what, 5 year lag between books 3 and 4? Has book 5 come out yet? *does a quick Wiki search, finds that yes indeed book 5 came out... 6 years after book 4.*

/Once the series is done, I'll pick it up again and read it start to finish.

I think you're confusing Book 4 with Book 3. There are only two new POV characters in Book 3, Jamie and Sam, both of whom were established in Book 1.

I would agree that the problem with Book 4 -- which lead to it being split into two books -- was the unnecessary inclusions of characters from Dorne and the Iron Islands, as well as Brienne's rather uninteresting POV chapters taking up about 17% of the book. All of this could have happened of screen.


IMHO, I think 4 and 5 could have been one book IF he took out Quentyn's storyline and roughly cut everyone's POV chapters in half.

He really did not know what to do with Danny's story at this point, because there was supposed to be a 5 year jump between. I hope he gets over this hump and Dany's story goes back to being good.
 
2013-03-28 02:09:40 PM

dragonchild: DerAppie: Challenge: pick the 8 most important people in the book and try to explain what they are doing and why they are doing it.

FTFY.  You don't even need to go that far.

SoIaF's most distinctive characteristic is its own undoing; it suffers from waaaaay too much parity (or more accurately, inaction).  It's not the number of characters that cripple it so much as lack of a single meaningful one.  Who's the most important character?  Is it Tyrion?  His "victory" is mostly treading water in a cesspool without drowning or getting overwhelmed by the stench.  Slapping the King may have been emotionally satisfying but it doesn't bring Westeros so much as an inch closer to political stability.  Is it Dany?  She's not even in Westeros.  Is it Jon Snow?  He finally started getting desperate in DoD but he was summarily given GRRM's ol' "this is what happens to sympathetic characters if they get proactive" treatment.  Is it the Stark children?  They've been so excruciatingly passive that even by the end of the fifth book I'd argue the late Ned is still more relevant than all of them combined.  Anyone else?  The reward for playing is getting killed off if you upset GRRM's carefully cultivated balance of power.  After four thousand pages, there's yet to be any sort of victory by anyone that can't be completely undone a couple hundred pages later (the most plausible explanation for why Dany is still alive is her utter irrelevance to Westeros).  Any crypto-bastard that bites it just gets replaced by another crypto-bastard.  Some real-life badass like the aforementioned Vlad, or Hannibal or Subutai, would have a goddamn meteorite snuff him out in a smoking crater of deus ex machina if GRRM couldn't find some other way of killing off the nuisance.  It's like GRRM is severely allergic to closure or something.

It seems inevitable that any doorstop fantasy will be compared to the ultimate predecessor, but while LotR was very much a team effort it had a clear-cut protagonist.  The ...


Jesus god... TYRION IS FRODO!
 
2013-03-28 02:18:42 PM

hegna: Little Finger and Varys are arguably the two most important characters in the story, if you're up to date on the books.


I always assumed they were polar opposites - Little Finger, supporting a peaceful yet illegal king for a self-serving purpose to make more money, Varys supporting a peaceful yet illegal king for a group-serving purpose of less fighting. Now that I've read the R+L=J theory, and seeing who Varys has been working with combined with Little Finger's position by book 5, I think they are both working together.

Or perhaps working together so that they can backstab each other at the very end to try and have it all. Nonetheless, working together for now.
 
2013-03-28 02:27:40 PM

dragonchild: Gandalf_is_dead: I suppose my biggest objection as far as people taking him to task is the idea that he owes his fans anything.

This may surprise you, but I agree.  Nobody owes anyone anything.  If he's really sick of writing this series, he should be under no obligation (other than contractual if he's promised deliverables to his publisher or HBO) to write so much as a single page more.


He has an obligation of sorts.  One to himself as a writer.  It's to keep the quality around the same the whole way through.  He should not write a word more if it means that it will bring the work down, and, in a way, that means he owes it to the reader as well because we fund his writing.  Coleridge knew this.  Martin is no Coleridge, but he's attempting an epic and the general consencus is that he started fantastically, and with that comes greater responsibility.
 
2013-03-28 02:39:30 PM

torusXL: hegna: Little Finger and Varys are arguably the two most important characters in the story, if you're up to date on the books.

I always assumed they were polar opposites - Little Finger, supporting a peaceful yet illegal king for a self-serving purpose to make more money, Varys supporting a peaceful yet illegal king for a group-serving purpose of less fighting. Now that I've read the R+L=J theory, and seeing who Varys has been working with combined with Little Finger's position by book 5, I think they are both working together.

Or perhaps working together so that they can backstab each other at the very end to try and have it all. Nonetheless, working together for now.


Well, it's been a while, but Varys seems to be particularly dedicated to ensuring the realm doesn't fall apart(and he's the only one with this mindset) and Little Finger has the brains and... property... to do the same, even though he is much less altruistic.  The only way Varys would backstab Little Finger would be if it meant what's best for the realm, I would say.
 
2013-03-28 02:46:09 PM

shortymac: Jesus god... TYRION IS FRODO!


Can you imagine the Lord of the Rings books if Frodo was a sarcastic, cynical, bastard?


torusXL: hegna: Little Finger and Varys are arguably the two most important characters in the story, if you're up to date on the books.

I always assumed they were polar opposites - Little Finger, supporting a peaceful yet illegal king for a self-serving purpose to make more money, Varys supporting a peaceful yet illegal king for a group-serving purpose of less fighting. Now that I've read the R+L=J theory, and seeing who Varys has been working with combined with Little Finger's position by book 5, I think they are both working together.

Or perhaps working together so that they can backstab each other at the very end to try and have it all. Nonetheless, working together for now.


My take on Varys is that he seems to be the only one who is genuinely putting the good of the kingdom above all else.  Everyone else is seeking personal power, more power for the people, vengeance, etc without putting much, if any, thought into what kind of kingdom they'll be left with when the smoke settles.  Varys seems to actually be concerned with making sure that the kingdom survives and even prospers, regardless of whose butt is warming the Iron Throne.  Sure, it's still ultimately self-serving since his station in life depends on a functional kingdom, but of all the major players, his machinations seem to be the best bet for avoiding total disaster.
 
2013-03-28 02:52:25 PM

auralpleasure: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Little Finger. The answer is always Little Finger. Who drives the plot? Who is the most important character? Who's the only character that is "winning"?

This doesn't bode well for who?

I would include Varys along with littlefinger. they both have far more going on than meets the eye and are sneaky enough to manipulate the events without anyone even knowing that they're the ones pulling the strings.

I'm not sure if littlefinger survives the story but i have a pretty good feeling that Varys will be hanging around when everything shakes out.


Varys' story got much more interesting in book 5, but the question still remains (being vague for those who have yet to read the books):

WHY DOES VARYS AND HIS PENTOS BUDDY CARE ABOUT WESTEROS?!?!?!?

I like to believe it has something to do with the PTWP prophecy.
 
2013-03-28 02:52:38 PM
Here's some more food for thought:

Jaqen H'ghar is the Many-Faced God (his avatar or physical incarnation or what have you).
 
2013-03-28 02:53:10 PM
dragonchild: stuff

Yeah for the most part I agree with a lot of what you are saying, and I really do not consider myself a 'fanboi' in that I think GRRM can do no wrong, is above criticism, etc. I just disagree with some of your assertions, comparisons, and your adjectives:p
I admit I genuinely enjoy GRRM's style and I do not spend much time trying to figure out why. But if I had to pick something to complain about I suppose it would be that his story often wanders about in directions I find myself following, at least initially, with reluctance. Mainly because I want to get on with a prior story thread that is as yet unresolved. But I am not yet convinced that's a weakness on the part of the author. The reader though...
I think you read a bit too much into my sentence about book 5. It was not intended as an unassailable proclamation, opening me up to comparisons to twilight fanboi fawning, just what it says and nothing more really. Fanboi enthusiasm? Okay, if you say so, I loved the book, I do not get why others find it boring or whatnot, I have to wonder what it was they were expecting. That is all.
I also cringe at requests for explanations of why someone likes a thing. Why do you like this music over that? Why mustangs over camaros? Why redheads over blondes? Or to paraphrase a comment in a music thread from a while ago - how come whenever I ask someone what it is they like about Tool's music, they cannot explain it to me? Erm, okayyyy. Then Tool's music must suck....
I suppose I COULD write a ten thousand word essay on why I like his work, and yes I am 'utterly capable' but I do not feel the burden is upon me to actually do so.
I fail to see what further explanation would be sufficient to make someone of differing opinion suddenly say, 'oh right okay well i hadnt considered that I reverse my position!'.
I did not mean for my smug comment to be insulting per se, but you have to admit, you do present your input here with a pejorative slant - GRRM aint all that, anyone who thinks otherwise - prove your point or perish in the fires of my burning intellect! <= meant as humor to make a point.
Regardless, I do get your point about fanboi blinders and I agree that a good debate about GRRM would be interesting and even possibly fun, but I also think it would quickly become tedious, annoying and ultimately pointless (for the reasons stated above).
I do have to ask though, if GoT is just 'okay', what fantasy series would you recommend I take a look at? As stated above, I am looking for more good fantasy. Sincere request:)
 
2013-03-28 02:53:55 PM

shortymac: I like to believe it has something to do with the PTWP prophecy.


Yeah, but didn't Varys do a pretty thorough job stuffing everything into Stannis's face?
 
2013-03-28 03:07:38 PM

torusXL: Here's some more food for thought:

Jaqen H'ghar is the Many-Faced God (his avatar or physical incarnation or what have you).


Except that book 5 establishes that all of the Faceless Men have the ability to change their appearance.  There's really nothing to suggest that Jaqen was anything other than a Faceless Man.
 
2013-03-28 03:54:31 PM

Girion47: Clash City Farker: Girion47: Zoophagous: Book spoiler-ish....
The fact that he's around Melisandre will really help that happen.  Plus his questionable lineage makes it likely that he is a Targaryen.   I'm guessing he's the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar.  That's why Ned took him in and sullied his honor, to protect the life of his nephew.

Lyanna and Aerys. Rhaegar had teh gay.

Where the hell was it mentioned that Rhaegar was gay?


He's confused, his friend Jon C had the gay for him, or possibly just a really intense bro-mance.
 
2013-03-28 04:22:43 PM

I created this alt just for this thread: Except that book 5 establishes that all of the Faceless Men have the ability to change their appearance.  There's really nothing to suggest that Jaqen was anything other than a Faceless Man.


I know that, which is why I said it was food for thought.

It's more of a hunch I have based on the various story arcs and the interactions between Arya and Jaqen rather than any specific details of Jaqen himself. I mean, in any case he's a Faceless Man so it wouldn't make sense if GRRM described anything substantial about Jaqen.

Here goes nothing:
Via the Many-Faced God, Jaqen seems to represent concepts about losing a fear of death to overcome the endless struggles of life. Tyrion represents the narrator who observes the endless struggle, and Jaqen represents an idea about how to find a way out.

Jaqen brings out Arya's natural courage and she starts to overcome bigger obstacles than any 10 year old child normally could. Also, when Jaqen offers to kill 3 targets of her choosing, Arya chooses Jaqen. He flinches slightly which for him means he was extremely surprised. To summarize my hunch, a world where free will exists is a world where even the inhabitants could choose to destroy the very thing that made them able to exist in that world, or on the other hand, this creator/god entity must avoid incarnating in that world at all to avoid such a possible fate. To have the otherwise invincible seeming Jaqen flinch at a 10 year old's idea speaks to his realization of that.

Yeah I know, this probably reads far more into things than really exist in the books. But this is how I see it. Maybe it's crazy, but it makes for way more fun reading (considering the aforementioned boring parts).
 
2013-03-28 04:31:23 PM
Another aspect to my theory, if this helps get across what I mean:

The Faceless Men represent reincarnation because each face could be interpreted as a new life. By learning to accept new identities at will, you are letting go of grasping the ego because you are no longer clinging onto a specific identity. The philosophy of the Many-Faced God cult that Arya finds seems to be that a crucial part of letting go of ego is to lose the fear of death of self, but to also respect the consequences of wielding the power to give a person death. Not doing these two things leads to endless struggles - generations of families with endless feuds where even they don't remember the reasons behind the feud. Yet they continue it because they fear their own death and do not have issues with giving someone else death.

That's how the whole series appears to me, in a really general sense.
 
2013-03-28 05:59:43 PM

dragonchild: Gandalf_is_dead: I suppose my biggest objection as far as people taking him to task is the idea that he owes his fans anything.

This may surprise you, but I agree.  Nobody owes anyone anything.  If he's really sick of writing this series, he should be under no obligation (other than contractual if he's promised deliverables to his publisher or HBO) to write so much as a single page more.  I also haven't really commented on the detail, either.  Detail isn't something that is held to a quota, as long it's tastefully done.  Some of it can be a matter of preference, but fans of fantasy should always brace for more detail than other fiction because worldbuilding is such an essential part of the genre.  The food might be what you can make for yourself with Earth ingredients, but the reader can never assume that.  After that it's about where he wants to focus his detail, which I believe is damn near everything, but this was established from the get-go.

What I'm doing is challenging GRRM's fans to delve into both his flaws and his strengths.  No, really.  When I diss him, I'm wanting someone to prove me wrong in case I missed some sort of point, but throwing around adjectives like "masterful" or insults like "smug" don't cut it.  This is a bit of a confession, but what annoys me the most about GRRM isn't his writing or popularity, per se.  It's that his biggest fans are utterly incapable of adequately explaining why his writing is good, all while insisting it's high-brow intellectual material.  Well if his fans are that goddamn smart then let's hear some goddamn smart arguments already!  I love a good debate more than being right and a public forum of oh-so-smart GRRM fans would strike me as the ideal environment.  But a lot of it is just this:

Gandalf_is_dead: I am also baffled about all the whining about the 5th book. I loved it. It contains my single favorite scene in the books so far.

Sorry if that was cheap, but the problem I have with this comment isn't some Inter ...


I can give you my "why" I feel that GRRM's writing is superb.   And this held true for the first 3 books, I still need to read 4 and 5 a couple more times.

1-3 felt plotless.   GRRM made a bunch of realistic characters, gave them backstorys, ambitions, and quirks.   He then made a fantasy world pretty much devoid of magic and then placed these people in this world to see how they would act.

To increase tension he has slowly been increasing the level of magic that is present as well.   Ned's beheading was shocking to me when I first read it (around 2001) so much so, I quit reading the book for about a month out of disgust.   How could he kill off the protagonist like that?  Tolkien never did that, neither did Asimov, Anthony, Dick, Burroughs, Bradbury or anyone else I had read up to that point, it was absolutely shocking for me, and I didn't know where the series could go from there.  I didn't like Tyrion my first read through either, I had the preconceived notion that he was part of the bad guys and therefore should be disliked.

I guess the reason I like GRRM so much is that he made reading fantasy require critical thinking, it wasn't like a roller-coaster where you know the twists and turns ahead of time and that at the end, you'll get off at the station smiling, now it's like kayaking class 5 rapids that you haven't scouted.  People try to bash it for being edgy...well when he wrote it, noone was being edgy, they were being boring and predictable, in 1996, edgy was needed, just because it's been copied and done to death in modern media doesn't cheapen what GRRM did back then.  It's like complaining that Shakespeare makes obscure references in his plays, back then those made sense, and worked well, now?  not so much.

/saw GRRM speak while in college(release of AFFC), signed my book with "keep your sword sharp"
 
2013-03-28 06:02:13 PM

Girion47: I didn't like Tyrion my first read through either, I had the preconceived notion that he was part of the bad guys and therefore should be disliked.


I think that's the point.  He's pretty good at turning you on your head.  Except Cersei, every contemptible character that got their own POV became likable.  I actually feel bad for Jamie and I'm rooting for him with B.
 
2013-03-28 06:03:06 PM

Gandalf_is_dead: I suppose I COULD write a ten thousand word essay on why I like his work, and yes I am 'utterly capable' but I do not feel the burden is upon me to actually do so.


It's not on anyone in particular, and while I've been harsh you've remained civil, so there's that.  It's not like any particular fan has to explain why they like Tool or GRRM or whatever.  But "like" isn't the issue.  I like City Hunter but there's absolutely nothing brilliant about the show.  It's 20 minutes of hyperbolic dudebro and penis jokes.  It's trash and I love it.  ASoIaF, however, is being called great.  It's that particular claim I'm taking to task.
 

Gandalf_is_dead: I do have to ask though, if GoT is just 'okay', what fantasy series would you recommend I take a look at? As stated above, I am looking for more good fantasy. Sincere request:)


You know. . .


uh. . .

um. . .

Touche.  I'm still looking myself.  I mean, if we're talking great here.  Among my personal favorites I really liked The Bridge of Birds for its originality, but it's very much snack food.  I can't honestly call it "great".  There are a few promising works on my to-get-to list, but I can't comment on them before I've read them:
John Crowley's The Deep
Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners
Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light (more sci-fi tho)
 
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