Martha's Reviews > A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
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Jun 05, 11

bookshelves: read-as-much-as-i-plan-to, reviewed
Recommended to Martha by: a stupid internet search I shouldn't have trusted
Recommended for: no one
Read from April 15 to May 05, 2011 — I own a copy

I am on page 470, and although it pains me to put a book down unfinished, it is simply time to for me quit.

A Song of Ice and Fire is the Grey's Anatomy of fantasy. It isn't perfect in the beginning (it's pretty flawed, actually), but you think "That's okay, the premise is good! It will improve!" And then before you know it, everyone is having everyone else's baby and murdering their mother (who is also their sister, and a schizophrenic) and traveling around on horseback setting things on fire for no apparent reason.

The characterization is painfully, painfully flat. I'm tempted to go through the text and count the number of times Jon Snow is referred to as a bastard. I get it! His mother is not his father's wife! He is a bastard! Please, god, can we move on now? No, we can't move on; here on page 470, AGAIN, Jon points out in dialogue that he is a bastard. (Cue self-inflicted eye-stabbing.) The kicker: Jon Snow is probably the deepest character in the book.

And exactly like Grey's Anatomy, there comes a moment (often when a character married to two people at once and pregnant with some other dude's baby decides to throw herself off a bridge, and then survives, but is left in a coma that can only be cured by the medicine her dead best friend left in her nightstand) when you just can't take one more bit of drama just for the sake of it. (Plus, I totally cheated and looked up what happens in the sequels, and the plot only gets more convoluted and depressing.)

So yeah, thanks so much to all you guys who rated this FIVE STARS. I would like to know what you've been smoking, because it apparently gives you the power to turn crap into gold.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 59) (59 new)


Julia i'm currently reading it and it's really dragging along. it's... i... so many names! so many things where i think "no1currs" <.< but i'm trying to power trough it because i have this policy: read the book before you watch the movie/show. and i really want to watch the show because of very superficial reasons: "khal drogo" and "jon snow" are so prettyyy!


message 2: by Wyndslash (new)

Wyndslash oh, so it reads like one of those overly long soap operas on TV? D;


message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris I was thinking of giving this book a try but was so afraid that it was being over-hyped and then I found your review. Thank you so much! After reading this, I know this is not for me.


message 4: by Todd (new) - rated it 1 star

Todd Agree 100% with your review. Wish I would've never bought it.


message 5: by Sheri (new)

Sheri I almost bought this book lat night. Now after reading all these reviews I think I may not even want to read it!


marie YES, what Martha said! Wish I had seen your review before I wasted my time and money.


Kris Page 470 & you stopped? It was just heating up.


message 8: by Ryan (new)

Ryan @ Thomas: I'd agree, this was amusing to read. @ Sheri: if you bought it read it. Taste in literature is subjective. You may love it while others don't. I've found that I've come to fall in love with certain books even after reading negative reviews.


Chad Cottle Wow, Martha. Your assessment of A Game of Thrones is so painfully *wrong* it hurts. If you'd read just a bit more carefully, you might have been amply rewarded. Who are Jon Snow's parents, really? How could you have possibly missed the very deep nature of the character Tyrion Lannister? How about the honorable Ned Stark, who is unique among characters? The scene when a wolf saves the life of Catlyn Stark? Her hatred of the wolves changes in that moment. What about Micah and the hound? The mountain, Sansa and Arya? The meek Danaerys's beautiful transformation?

Too much fantasy is full of black and white characters. Game of Thrones is full of refreshingly gray characters.

It's sad that so many readers simply miss Martin's subtle brilliance. I still can't fathom why.


Martha Chad wrote: "Wow, Martha. Your assessment of A Game of Thrones is so painfully *wrong* it hurts. If you'd read just a bit more carefully, you might have been amply rewarded. Who are Jon Snow's parents, really? ..."

Chad, from your comments, I can only assume that you have not yet read a good book. As much as I love fantasy, my suggestion is to take a break from the genre for a bit and try something like Lolita, that actually has complex characters, and then get back to me on how deep you find "honorable Ned Stark." (Seriously, you cited Ned Stark as an example of a fully-fleshed out character? It doesn't get much flatter than Ned Stark.) Still, despite Martin's desperately one-note characters, he does get points for generating the most unnecessarily convoluted plotline I've ever read.

Also, Martin's writing is so clumsy and beat-you-over-the-head -- the main reason I put the book down -- that I had to laugh at your describing it as "subtle."

I personally find it sad that so many readers are infatuated with a waste of paper like A GAME OF THRONES, when there are thousands of good books out there. *That's* what I can't fathom!


Martha Although I have to admit that the actors in the HBO show are very enjoyable to look at... :-p


Laura Wise Reading reviews like this, which call the book bad based on its length (admittedly, this isn't a read you finish in a hurry -- I took a summer to read it at a leisurely pace and enjoyed it much more than I would have otherwise) and its lack of typical fantasy action annoy me. The story isn't really *about* that. It's based on history and most of the story is character-based and convoluted and depressing and soap-opera-like because, ya know, that's what a lot of history is. Jon Snow being a bastard wouldn't be a huge deal today, but in that time period it really was (especially since his father is so supposedly honorable). As for the "flat" characters, I could possibly see that in the beginning -- but many of them only start out that way and then grow. I get where this wouldn't be your cup of tea...but it's not a terrible book, as you say so vehemently.


Brianne Sorry but if you're not even going to finish the book, you have no right to review it. Like someone else said, it was just starting to heat up when you stopped.

And as for the whole 'bastard' thing... That was a big deal back then but it wasn't a 'big deal' to use the word 'bastard'. It was used the same way 'son' or 'daughter' would be, thus the 'over-usage' as you call it.

I would suggest finishing the book BEFORE you review it! Otherwise you will have a review based around fallacies, like this one.


Martha Hi Laura. Thanks for commenting -- I agree with you on many things (history is pretty soap-opera-ish, and it's entirely possible that the characters magically--don't mind the pun--gain depth as the series progresses). I'd just like to point out that I did not call the book bad based on its length. I've read lots of long books that I really enjoyed. I called the book bad for nearly every other reason--terrible writing, unnecessarily convoluted plot, flat characterization, tacky descriptions, nothing but shock value, etc, etc. I think those are all valid ways to evaluate a book's quality.

And thanks for your comments, Brianne. I see your point about not reviewing a book one hasn't finished. However, I think it's just as fair to say "this was so absolutely terrible I could not bring myself to keep reading." And it's not like I didn't make it through a decent portion of the book. After nearly five hundred pages, the writing still sucked, and I think it's reasonable to assume the next hundred pages would be no better. And to tell others that fact.

Finally, both of you seem to believe I have some problem with the word "bastard." In fact, I have a problem with any character description that is used every other page for 500 pages. I'd hate the term "blue-eyed" if every time a main character were referenced, his eye color were ALWAYS pointed out. On top of which, aside from assuming his readers are too stupid to grasp that Jon Snow is a bastard by page seven, it seems like Martin only points out Jon's status so many times in order to set up some kind of HUGE *gasp* reveal later that he is not a bastard at all. I bet you it's some cheap, overblown attempt at a plot twist. Just wait.


Laura Wise Martha wrote: "Hi Laura. Thanks for commenting -- I agree with you on many things (history is pretty soap-opera-ish, and it's entirely possible that the characters magically--don't mind the pun--gain depth as the..."

;) Nah, he's a bastard...but whose bastard is a point in contention.

I kind of agree about the "let's have everyone tease Jon for being a bastard" thing. It's a big deal for Jon because he's a lord's bastard, so he's highborn but kind of not. I'm re-reading the first book now, and man, does he read like a whiny brat when he's drunk and sorry for himself at the feast...But as he grows up he gets so much better! Argh! I guess you're not obligated to like a book, but when you say "I guess it's entirely possible that the characters magically--no pun intended--gain depth as the series progresses," then it sounds like you don't believe in characters' ability to change.

I agree in part about the writing...there are "meh" moments. But I also think it improves after the first book.


Emily haha great review! completely agree with the Jon snow thing. i was throwing up in my mouth.


Cherish Thong I guess you love Twilight series then. Just saying.


Keith Johnson I got about 100 more pages in and had to put it down. like you, i rarely stop reading mid-book, but this one was soooo dull. 8I was reading it and thinking to myself, "Why am I reading this?" Someone who commented on your review wrote "Who are Jon's real parents?" My answer would be, who cares!?!?


message 19: by Martha (last edited Feb 16, 2012 04:54PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Martha Cherish wrote: "I guess you love Twilight series then. Just saying."

...Do you mean me?


@Keith LOL, ditto.


German You are not for fantasy my dear let your imagination fly


message 21: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell Karin wrote: "Great review. For a moment there, I thought you were comparing "A Game of Thrones" to Grey's Anatomy the medical textbook"

Ha, I thought that as well! since I've never seen the show.


message 22: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell Brianne wrote: "Sorry but if you're not even going to finish the book, you have no right to review it."

Oh you have got to be kidding me. She read ALMOST FIVE HUNDRED PAGES of it, that's surely enough to form an opinion. And "you have no right" -- nice draconian language, there.


message 23: by Kristian (new)

Kristian It's pretty funny the way you go on your tirade against the book, while you still haven't understood or solved a single one of the mystery's presented to you at this point.
The plot is not ridiculously convoluted. You are presumably not paying enough attention.
The characters in a Game of Thrones are most definitely as dynamic and interesting as in Lolita, which I find a laughable example, to tell you the truth.

You're on page 400. That's nothing. There are 5 books in the series so far. The first book does have a massive amount of introductions, yes. But, you have to remember that you're reading a series, not a stand alone novel. The fact is that you're not far away from where stuff really kicks off.


Roanax Tarshil "I would like to know what you've been smoking", well the answer to that is subjectivity. From looking at your other reviews and star ratings, it is very clear that fantasy is not your strong suit and so this book may have been a mistake for you from the very start. For those interested in fantasy, A Game of Thrones is the perfect introduction to a rich tapestry of wonders, and it is a real shame that you can't see it as such.

Your descriptions of the book and of the supposed "flat characterisation" suggests to me that this was more of a skimmed reading, that your reviewing skills are severely lacking, and that I can take nothing constructive away from this. Ned Stark is a fairly complicated and deep character, if only you could pay attention to the musing that he does in his own chapters. I urge people who are interested in fantasy (or good writing in general) to ignore this review and give the A Song of Ice and Fire series a try.


Leeland Roanax wrote: ""I would like to know what you've been smoking", well the answer to that is subjectivity. From looking at your other reviews and star ratings, it is very clear that fantasy is not your strong suit ..."

Roanax, thank you so much for your review of her review. I really hope that people who read Martha's review will read your comment as well, because Martha's comment was not quite fair to the series, and it's obvious that she doesn't enjoy epic fantasy as a genre.


message 26: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike I read the entirety of Martha's review and can say without reservation that utilizing pop culture in order to explain away half-assed attempts at reviewing a best selling title (and rightfully so for the addition of *ANY* character depth-- and there is quite a bit if you bother to read further-- in a genre that is more about world building than the characters themselves) is unbecoming of any self-respecting reviewer. Martha is like the Family Guy of book reviewing. Oh, the irony...


message 27: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike I read the entirety of Martha's review and can say without reservation that utilizing pop culture in order to explain away half-assed attempts at reviewing a best selling title (and rightfully so for the addition of *ANY* character depth-- and there is quite a bit if you bother to read further-- in a genre that is more about world building than the characters themselves) is unbecoming of any self-respecting reviewer. Martha is like the Family Guy of book reviewing. Oh, the irony...


message 28: by Mark (new)

Mark Townsend Moira wrote: "Brianne wrote: "Sorry but if you're not even going to finish the book, you have no right to review it."

Oh you have got to be kidding me. She read ALMOST FIVE HUNDRED PAGES of it, that's surely en..."


you say that like 500 pages is a lot...


message 29: by Doug (new) - rated it 5 stars

Doug This is actually hilarious.
I'm on my third read-through of A Game of Thrones and I'm loving it just as much as I did the first two times.
To those of you who have not read this book, but were planning to - don't let this ridiculous, closed-minded review deter you. George R.R. Martin's writing is incredibly intelligent and brilliantly thought out. I urge you to have a little more faith and trust in those of us who rightly loved the book, and then allow yourself to develop your own opinion. Read it. It's well worth it.


message 30: by Josh (new)

Josh It's a shame the character and plot development weren't as condensed as your attention span.

I did enjoy your 4 star review Eat, Pray, Love. It really provided a clear perspective as to your caliber as a critic.


Martha Wow, what happened in the last half day, everyone? I appreciate your comments -- I was wondering where all the people who loved this book were hiding, because clearly there are a ton of them. I stand by every word in my review. This is one of the worst books I've had the displeasure of (partially) reading.


message 32: by Starked (new)

Starked Martha wrote: "Wow, what happened in the last half day, everyone? I appreciate your comments -- I was wondering where all the people who loved this book were hiding, because clearly there are a ton of them. I sta..."

Really Martha? The book is over 900 pages. You got half way through, decided you hated it, and wrote a scathing review. You would've saved yourself time had you just read the back cover and posted the same review. In this particular case, your opinion on the book is worthless. I won't even bring up your review history because taste in literature is subjective.

Maybe something like Divergence or 50 Shades of Grey is more your cup of tea?


Aleksandra Wow. For someone who complains the series is too dramatic, that's pretty dramatic review.

I won't deny that GRRM's style gets repetitive, or question your taste. GRRM is slow to develop characters, and does a lot of world building, which is rather essential for high fantasy novel, but less common outside of it. And some people may prefer simple plots, or more action-packed stories. It's really not my business what you like or rate low, anyway. However, it's hard not to wonder why you felt the need to write something so far from the book's actual content. I gather that it made for a rather scathing review, but it's hardly fair to people who'll be misled by it. That is what I imagine provoked so much reaction.

I don't think it's a coincidence you failed to offer an example of a character's arc that comes anywhere near the drama level you describe. I'll happily apologize for the suggestion if you're able to produce one. It's just that the five books I've read so far are nothing like a soap opera you suggest. Had I read a review like yours about something I haven't read, it would have probably discouraged me, and it's probably putting other people who'd have enjoyed it off this series right now.

As for characterization, it's an opinion rather than fact. But I dare you to read Reek's chapters from book 5 and keep saying he's flat or exactly as you thought him back in book 1. It's far from the only example. Even Ned Stark, mentioned by others, who has admittedly had less development than most, is not so flat once you realize the honorable lies he tells. Comparing the first half of the first book to novels with as few characters as Lolita, even if they're great, is simply unfair seeing how multifaceted the story GRRM tells is and how many of them are introduced and developed simultaneously.


Martha Oh... dear.

"In this particular case, your opinion on the book is worthless. I won't even bring up your review history because taste in literature is subjective."

I have to disagree on your first point. I read 470 pages of a very long, very tedious book. I read enough to evaluate the level of tediousness. I read enough to evaluate the complete lack of style or care at the sentence, paragraph, and chapter level. I read more than enough of this book to evaluate whether or not it was well written. It was unquestionably not. If all you care about is a plot-driven, soap-opera-style, repetitive book with a touch of fantasy (and more than a touch of incest!) in it, then A Game of Thrones is for you.

Really. It's a terrible book. It's so bad that I feel compelled to respond to anyone who insists it's a wonderful example of the fantasy genre... Try Ursula le Guin, or Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, or the His Dark Materials trilogy. There are probably hundreds of better fantasy books out there.

"I did enjoy your 4 star review Eat, Pray, Love. It really provided a clear perspective as to your caliber as a critic."... I did not write a review of Eat, Pray, Love. If you can gather anything about my tastes from one 4-star rating with no commentary, that's quite impressive.

"...utilizing pop culture in order to explain away half-assed attempts at reviewing a best selling title... is unbecoming of any self-respecting reviewer." This is a bit confusing. I wasn't referring to pop culture (aka a hit TV drama) to somehow denigrate another part of pop culture (aka a bestseller and hit TV drama). I was comparing apples and more apples. Granny smiths and galas, let's say.


Martha Aleksandra wrote: "Wow. For someone who complains the series is too dramatic, that's pretty dramatic review.

I won't deny that GRRM's style gets repetitive, or question your taste. GRRM is slow to develop characters..."


Thank you for your comments. It's heartening to hear that later books help make the earlier chapters more tolerable. Frankly, I felt (and still feel) that the overwhelmingly positive reviews for this book are undeserved.

I ended up writing this "dramatic" review because I was extremely disappointed by all the hype. I felt quite let down. I did not want anyone else to be led blindly into reading this series--particularly because I do HATE to put a book down unfinished, but this was so, so bad, I just couldn't keep going. I was hoping to prevent others from having my bad experience. Plus, I was angry at having invested time and money into a FIVE STAR-rated --- I mean that rating is probably higher than the Bible's or, I don't know, The Secret or something that EVERYONE likes -- book that turned out to suck so terribly.

With that, I bid you all good night, and happy reading, with whatever's on your nightstand.


message 36: by Julia (new)

Julia Roberts I agree with Martha that I really really wished this book and the first literary adaptation of the hit (and hip) new series Game of Thrones on HBO had lived up to the same nuance and depth of character that I saw on my TV.

I really liked some of the hot guys in the show like when we got to see that one braided guys' butt. In the books all we got was an extra helping of the icky incest parts and namecalling! Totally gross.

I am gonna go re-read the opening paragraph of Lolita now. Sooooo romantic the deep feelings between that one guy and the twelve year old. A way better adaptation of a TV/Movie.


message 37: by Mike (new)

Mike I read this after watching the first season because I had to know how the story continued. I had a lot of the same problems that you did with the convoluted and repetitive character development and plot line. But I powered through it and it took me about 6 weeks to read all five available books. I just started re-reading and I am having the same problem getting through the beginning of the first book.
Look at it this way: you've read 470 pages of approximately 5000-6000 pages of the available story. That's less than 10%. That's like reading the first 10 pages of "The Old Man and the Sea" and saying it is garbage because the old man is a crappy fisherman.
My advice to you, if you care, is to watch the first season and get an idea of where the story is going. It made it easier for me to read the first book after knowing where it was going and with a basic idea of who the characters were. After that, I literally couldn't put them down. I hope you can give it another shot. It is one of the most immersive reading experiences I have ever had.
just my two cents.


message 38: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike "I wasn't referring to pop culture (aka a hit TV drama) to somehow denigrate another part of pop culture (aka a bestseller and hit TV drama). I was comparing apples and more apples. Granny smiths and galas, let's say."

Firstly, the book which you reviewed was published in August of 1996, some 15 years before you "reviewed" it. The adaptation to which you refer is a wholly different work. You cannot judge the book based upon the show, a tenant that applies to every filmic version of any written work. The book is not part of popular culture. The show is.

Secondly, the tone of your rather abbreviated "review" is such that one can ascertain your clear disdain for the television show Grey's Anatomy. Why such a parallel was drawn is completely beyond me for multiple reasons. TV is not the written word, so any comparison is totally void from the first. This is not an apple to apple comparison. That you should insinuate it as such is as misleading as your initial review.

Furthermore, you mention works such as the His Dark Materials trilogy for examples of what Mr. Martin should strive to present to his audience. While I've read and enjoyed the HDM trilogy it was much more of a genre crossing affair than A Song of Ice and Fire. There were heavy elements of sci-fi readily apparent in it. If that's what you enjoy then fine. But to insinuate all fantasy should share these elements would be to discount a whole group of avid readers.

A good rule of thumb when reviewing works of art (yes, books are art, too-- even if you don't like them) is to not use other works of art to define it, particularly when it's a different form of art. Grey's Anatomy is many different things to different people, and while I also feel it is a throw away product it has nothing to do with this book. This book is an attempt to bring an historical accounting of medieval life to a fictitious realm that is not unlike our own. The series is riddled with allegory, and has characters with surprising dimension considering the sheer amount of them. Also, bringing the fickleness of living in such a time into the fray has caused for many more deaths than I've ever seen of major players in any story. That is rewarding in and of itself for the reader as they invariably will grow attached to certain characters, even the morally questionable characters.

You seem to have some sort of obsession with the incest in the series. Anything we should know? Seriously, though, this was a commonplace occurrence in the time frame upon which this series is based. To ignore this would not be accurate. To deny the societal views in such a realm on social standing, such as bastardy, where such things were of the utmost importance, would be a fallacy.

Finally, we all need to realize that this is solely your opinion, of which you are entitled to. However, do not spout off on tangents and pretend it has any actual bearing on the work that you did not even bother to finish.

P.S. This thread is getting renewed attention because you were linked to on the Game of Thrones sub-Reddit. I don't think you have a lot of supporters there...

P.P.S. I hope you bother to actually read entire novels in the future.


Patrik Martha wrote: "Chad wrote: "Wow, Martha. Your assessment of A Game of Thrones is so painfully *wrong* it hurts. If you'd read just a bit more carefully, you might have been amply rewarded. Who are Jon Snow's pare..."

Bravo, Martha, you managed to get me angry. The thing that upsets me the most isn't the critisism of the characters, it's the assumptions you make up about everything, e.g. "often when a character married to two people at once and pregnant with some other dude's baby decides to throw herself off a bridge, and then survives, but is left in a coma that can only be cured by the medicine her dead best friend left in her nightstand" i know that you were exaggerating, but that is just too much.

Also, at one point you poited out that the book mentions that Jon Snow is a bastard several times. You have to understand, the book isn't trying to tell you facts all the time, it's trying to tell the story of a person. This person is a bastard in a society were bastards are looked upon as a big disgrace, and where honor is really important. In this society, bastard is also an insult. As well as that, this particular bastard is very concerned about his honor, and sees it as a big stain on his honor, therefore he may think about it sometimes, he is not likely to forget.

About the characters, they do develop a lot, at least in my opinion, but wether you think they are complex or not is up me to decide. That aside, it seems as though you have not grasped the complexity of the characters at all. That may be because you have not truely reflected on the story, which may or may not be because of your reflection level and inteligence, and may or may not be because of the time you invested into reading it. Also, you say you've just read 470 pages. Considering the amounts of POVs and the lenght of the whole series, you have to understand that the author needs to lay a foundation for the characters before he starts to flesh them out, and the author couldn't do that in 470 pages.

To sum it up, I really want you to try to read the book again, and invest more time in it. You can't rush through it, and you need to read more than 470 pages before you judge it.


Patrik Moira wrote: "Brianne wrote: "Sorry but if you're not even going to finish the book, you have no right to review it."

Oh you have got to be kidding me. She read ALMOST FIVE HUNDRED PAGES of it, that's surely en..."


No


Caroline Chris wrote: "I was thinking of giving this book a try but was so afraid that it was being over-hyped and then I found your review. Thank you so much! After reading this, I know this is not for me."

I'm so glad that one negative review swayed you from reading a book that has otherwise great reviews.


Martha "Also if you didn't like the book, maybe instead of writing a review on the few pages you did read maybe you should just leave it and not write a review."

I understand that you feel I did not read enough of the book to have an opinion, but this statement alone is a bit silly. The point of reviewing is to give an opinion, whether it's a positive or negative one.

"you decided you hate it and call Ned Stark a flat character even though he is extremely complex and has many issues that you seem to of missed entriely."

Really, having read the summaries of all the books currently published, and having read all the passages written in his voice that there are, I fail to see how Ned Stark is a complicated character. He's as flat as flat can be. Agree to profoundly disagree on that score.


message 43: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Clearly here we have a case of a denizen of NYC believing that their opinion is of the utmost since they live in the center of the world. Not every book is as pretentious as a Jeffrey Eugenides book (even if I did thoroughly enjoy The Virgin Suicides). This is a far different book than The Road or Lolita. Also, this book can be a great book at the very same time that The Road and Lolita are incredible books. It's not mutually exclusive. Not every book is structured like a traditional classic. Imagine if Humbert Humbert was killed in a car accident and there were dozens of other creepy old men in waiting. Would we assign main character status of old H if this was the case? Well, it just so happens that Mr. Martin has found a way to kill off his main characters whilst keeping main character status for them, if only for one book in the series. Five books in and Ned Stark is still talked about. But wait, you didn't even know *spoiler alert* that Ned Stark was killed because of the honor he held in such high regard. Went and got his head chopped off even though he forsook the truth to spout off a lie of a confession to save his two little girls. Seems a bit more one dimensional than you would care to assign him.

In all honesty, I feel that this whole review was just placed here to get a reaction from hardcore fans. You didn't even bother to read the 470 pages you claim to have. You just read some other reviews that were entirely too positive for you and you decided to shit on those people for being so in to something that you weren't. It's okay. You can go on shitting on something that someone (very many someones) likes. Doesn't stop us from liking it less. And it just makes you seem bitter. I mean, tell me which self-respecting non-troll would respond to comments left on a book review they put up a year ago on a throw-away book review site?


Martha "Clearly here we have a case of a denizen of NYC believing that their opinion is of the utmost since they live in the center of the world." An interesting assumption about my background which happens to be incorrect. (And since when is NYC the center of the world?)

"But wait, you didn't even know *spoiler alert* that Ned Stark was killed because of the honor he held in such high regard. Went and got his head chopped off even though he forsook the truth to spout off a lie of a confession to save his two little girls. Seems a bit more one dimensional than you would care to assign him." Actually, I did know that. There's such a thing as irony, and then there's such a thing as smack-you-over-the-side-of-the-head, I-saw-this-coming-200-pages-ago, dear-god-this-book-is-boring-and-predictable-and-hyper-dramatic shock value. Ned's death is necessary for the rest of the series to kick off... it's the catalyst to get people up and moving. (It could have been handled SO MUCH BETTER.) It's also necessary to show that no character is safe from Martin's twisted plotting. However, proving that no character is safe made me feel less invested in the books. Why would I want to get attached to any of these characters (a challenge in itself, since they are so poorly written), if any of them can just be beheaded at any point? It's a big soap opera--as I said in my initial review. There's no meat to it. GASP incest! GASP midget sex! GASP beheadings! GASP child injuries! GASP rape! It gets tiring.

"In all honesty, I feel that this whole review was just placed here to get a reaction from hardcore fans. You didn't even bother to read the 470 pages you claim to have." Nope. I really just hated the book so much that I had to write about it. That's all. You're welcome to go on loving the book, and I am surely going to go on hating it.

"I mean, tell me which self-respecting non-troll would respond to comments left on a book review they put up a year ago on a throw-away book review site?" ... Me, I guess. I got like twelve emails in one day letting me know that people had responded to this old review... I guess I should have just taken the beating and moved on. Apologies.


message 45: by Martha (last edited Jun 19, 2012 07:42AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Martha Wow, I read this before the TV series was even released. [Edit: After a quick google, I see that this is not the case. But I did not watch the show. And I do not believe that Ned had died in the series by the time I forced myself to put the book down and stop driving myself insane.] It was pretty obvious that Ned Stark was about to die in some horrible fashion. He was entirely too "honorable" (and stupid) to make it out alive.

Again, that's my whole point. Martin jackhammers the same ideas into your skull over and over. Why does he do it? Clearly to set you up for some HUGE SHOCK!!!!! of a plot twist. It's like in those episodes of Law & Order when some ancillary character gets unnecessary screen time. Guess who's guilty in the end? The dude who was introduced for seemingly no reason early on. The structure and the harping on small ideas is what makes the whole plot so rote.


message 46: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Incorrect, Martha, for you are just trolling for diehard fans to bash your review so that you can stand blindly by your arguably feeble stance. I read this book back in 1996 when it came out (you know, your review was only 15 years late). I assure you, as a reader of well over 1000 books, that this ending was anything but predictable. Just because you had a built in knowledge of the series before reading, and quite obviously had already made your decision beforehand, does not make a piece of fiction predictable. When I read Moby Dick I already knew that Captain Ahab was swallowed up by his madness as much as by the White Whale. It didn't ruin the journey to get there. And while I was surely daunted by Herman Melville's dense work, I was open to actually experiencing this classic work using my own mind, free of the trappings of other opinions. Sure, I've read plenty of books that I've found boring, but still I read on, if only to give the author that spent so very, very much of their time to write it, a fair chance. Yes, this book is basically the build up to the rest of the series. If you didn't like going to see Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the theatres only to have to wait a year to see how the story progressed, then this book might not be for you. However, if you are patient you will be rewarded. Also, yes, the characters are not as layered as a book with characters you can count on one hand, but not because Mr. Martin wanted it that way. If he could sell books that were 3,000 pages long he would. Not many people would buy such a book, though, as the printing costs would drive the price through the roof. Regardless, if you feel that the small portion of this work is just a soap opera then you're just fooling yourself. The definition of a soap opera of is: "A soap opera, sometimes called "soap" for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming." The Song of Ice and Fire is not on the radio or on television (A Game of Thrones on HBO is not the same thing). It is not in serial format. It is not episodic. It is not ongoing. There are a finite amount of books in the series-- 5 so far, 8 in total (for the present). Your usage of the term is ill fitting. If you are referring to the fact that things happen solely for the shock value then I urge you to brush up on your medieval history. Far worse things happened then. Hell, far worse things happen now, yet are not set against a medieval background. However, I would not assign a soap opera-esque status to the past or the present. Things happen for a reason. If you don't care for what happens then just get out. Leave. Your opinion is lacking.


Martha "Just because you had a built in knowledge of the series before reading, and quite obviously had already made your decision beforehand, does not make a piece of fiction predictable."

Mike, you are quite simply wrong. The only thing I knew about this series before I picked up the book was that it was highly rated on goodreads, and was listed in various places as one of the best contemporary fantasy books out there. That's all I knew. That's why the bar was set so high. And that's why the fall was so hard.

"I assure you, as a reader of well over 1000 books, that this ending was anything but predictable"

The only thing I can say to this is, I managed to predict several seemingly major events early in the book. I got bored, and frustrated, and annoyed. And finally I quit reading, because the book sucked for 470 pages straight. The end.


message 48: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Fine. We get it. You hate it. Go on doing so. Your opinion will be lost among the deserved praise.


Carlos Great, thanks for stopping at page 470.
You do not deserve to read this book, it's clear from your "review" and comments that your mind cannot comprehend it.

This is not a review, this is a frustrated idiot ranting because she could not keep up with the complexity of a good series.


Adrianna I agree with you, I really didn't enjoy this book and will not read any of his other books. I love the fantasy genre and cannot stand this book.


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