In case you stumbled across this post by accident, I posted a review for this book earlier. You can find this here.
This post isn’t a review, it’s just a series of thoughts about the book. The previous post was spoiler-free. This is the one where I will throw spoilers around like mad. If you haven’t read the book yet, this is your final warning to get out.
You’re still here? Great!
First of all, I want to thank Joshua Ens for having sent me my the copies of A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons. I’ve enjoyed them tons, and you’re amazing for having sent them to me.
I’ve seen quite a lot of negative feedback floating around about this book, and I’m a little confused as to why. I’m guessing the long wait is a large part of it. It built a level of expectation that’s very hard to match in most cases. The extreme hype surrounding the series that got started with the help of the HBO TV series must have added to that as well. Looking back, the first book was a completely different experience than the later books. A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons especially.
With most of A Dance taking place outside of Westeros, that feeling of strangeness is even worse. Tokars? Cyvasse? Exceedingly weird and confusing names like Hizdahr. At a few points I lost track of who was who in Meereen. The fact that there were several Point of View characters present, and Martin still has love for the slightly confusing chapter headings, didn’t help.
I’m not a fan of the style of chapter headings Martin started with AFFC and has kept throughout ADWD. The increasing amount of PoV characters isn’t helping either. I’m assuming the idea is that the world has plunged into chaos, and this helps keep up that feeling of it, characters changing names and nicknames all the time, but personally I find it off-putting. Too much is happening at once for this to really work.
That being said, I still enjoyed Dany’s chapters in these books a lot more than I have enjoyed her chapters in previous entries in the series. Dany was fucking up. And her mistakes actually were recognized as such. Reading her chapters in A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, I often got annoyed with her. Everything was always working out for her perfectly. She was turning into a Mary Sue type character. No matter how stupid, short-sighted, or plain dumb her actions were, they’d always work out.
I still don’t really care much for her character though. I most likely never will. Still, I’m hoping that in the future she’ll be a bit less perfect than she has always been. It wouldn’t hurt.
I’m kind of pained with what happened to Tyrion Lannister in this one. His chapters felt unnecessary. Almost of a filler quality. He wasn’t going anywhere. Wasn’t adding anything. And really, to see a rich and interesting character reduced to something so useless after his escape from King’s Landing. That just hurt. I’d rather have him killed off than just be a cheap exposition tool of comedy in another book.
Reek, Reek, it rhymes with Sneak.
The Reek chapters were some of the most disgusting things I’ve read in a long time. I actually shivered reading certain parts. I wonder if Theon is ever going to be the somewhat likeable douche that he was, or if that part of his character is broken forever. He’s gotten interesting in a way, sure. And I do feel terribly bad for him at this point. I was really hoping that the Boltons were going to suffer for what they did. Not only to him, but to everyone. The history of Ramsay, and his hunting trips… I was really hoping Stannis was going to massacre everyone in Winterfell.
Then he didn’t. Fuck. And we didn’t just end up getting that bad news that chapter either. What happened after made me sit and stare at the page blankly.
Part of me hopes we’ll still see a Jon Snow chapter pop up in a later book. But I’m doubtful. Then again, I still believe in Syrio Forell.
I’m interested in all this supernatural stuff that has been going on in the book. Bran is essentially in contact with a god, and despite never being able to walk again, he is gaining a level of power that could be considered god-like in a way. I wonder what’s going to come out of all of this. Same with Melisandre. Her, a Point of View character out of nowhere. Not to mention that she’s apparently immortal and really doesn’t eat or sleep. She was an odd character before, but now I don’t know what to think.
Varys. Holy shit. Varys.
I knew he was up to something, and I knew he had his schemes. But he seems more dangerous than Littlefinger now. I somehow can’t trust someone who believes that what he does is “for the good of the realm”. It sounds more dangerous and delusional than the incredibly selfish plots that Littlefinger has set out. I’m really hoping that the two of them start working against each other’s plots at some point.
It would be incredibly exciting to see the two biggest master schemers of King’s Landing battling it out with each other.