Ken-ichi's Reviews > A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
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Dec 11, 11

bookshelves: fantasy, escape
Read from November 25 to December 11, 2011

Ok, so I'm 3 books into this series. 2972 pages. Let's take stock of the Starks:
(view spoiler)

Anyway, these are all comments on the series. This particular book was no better or worse than the previous ones, which is another way of saying it still kept me up reading until 2am most nights. I wish Martin would work in a few more comic relief characters like Dolorous Ed, though. Jaime and Brienne were good for a few laughs. More of that, please.

I'm finding one of the most amusing parts of this series to be moments when I have to stop and wonder whether or not a sentence implies a fatality. Like, "..and then a boulder fell on him." Did he say how big the boulder was? Where, exactly did it hit him, and who, exactly, is "him" referring to? Fun times. Also, am I the only one who looks ahead at chapter titles to see if a character really died? I know, cheating.
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Reading Progress

11/26/2011 page 97
9.0% "More Arya, please."
11/27/2011 page 272
24.0% "There is way too much signing in this book. Singing is the death of fantasy." 3 comments
11/28/2011 page 418
37.0% ""thapphireth!". Probably the second funniest moment in the series, after some convo about eating babies that I failed to note. Glad rr found some wit."
11/30/2011 page 495
44.0% ""rape their windows". Thank you, anonymous editor."
12/04/2011 page 705
63.0% "DAMN IT, GEORGE!!!" 2 comments
12/07/2011 page 936
83.0% "This scene with petyr is a bit scooby doo, but I appreciate the sweeping review. Didn't know I could rhyme, did you? Though meter eludes me, boohoo." 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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Otis Chandler Hilarious review! The poor Starks...


message 2: by Radu (new)

Radu I sometimes did skip ahead to chapters with the same character, but not to see if they died, just because I really wanted to know what happened next. :)

By the way I read these books a second time and reading by characters instead of the normal order is pretty cool.


message 3: by MAP (new) - rated it 4 stars

MAP I completely 100% look up the future chapters to see if a character died. As soon as that axe took a swing at Jaime, I was flipping ahead madly.


Mandy I totally do that!


Deborah Biancotti Great review! Pretty much summed up how I felt about this one, though I liked it a star more. ;)


Michael McEvoy Yep definitely do that too!


message 7: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I had that exact question after the axe hit Arya. I absolutely REFUSED to believe she was dead!


Ken-ichi Spoiler tags for the uninitiated, please!


Hermione I do those both too!! :) least other people take a sneek peek too heheh


Angie I am completely guilty of this as well. Especially when Arya was hit by the ax. :)


Kelli I wiki the future books to see if the POV characters make an appearance for the rest of the series! Cheating x5


Jorge I stopped reading your review at "male chauvinism". Seriously?


Ken-ichi Seriously! Women are routinely objectified in this series, much more than men, both by the culture depicted an by the author himself (repeated and pointless nipple tweaking seems the most egregious example), so I think it's worth asking whether women are marginalized in favor of men in these books. If you had continued reading, you would have found that despite the objectification I don't think women are marginalized, and that Martin's female characters are at least as interesting and as fully rendered as the male ones.


Jorge Ken-ichi wrote: "Seriously! Women are routinely objectified in this series, much more than men, both by the culture depicted an by the author himself (repeated and pointless nipple tweaking seems the most egregious..."

I feel you aren't getting the setting at all. It's based on England in the Middle Ages. Objectification of women and sexism were culturally acceptable then, it was the norm.


Ken-ichi I totally hear you on that, and I'm not trying to say people shouldn't even write about worlds / places / times where mores clash with our own. Women play second fiddle in Westeros, and Martin criticisizes this explicitly (sometimes too explicitly) repeatedly, e.g. through Cersei's frustrations in her attempts to gain more power, and Arya's bridling under her culture's gender expectations. What bothers me is the single-minded attention Martin devotes to the bodies of women that he does not devote to the men, details that have no bearing on the culture he's depicting. What are we to make of passages like the following, taken from the first book, Game of Thrones:
Her vest had begun to smolder, so Dany shrugged it off and let it fall to the ground. The painted leather burst into sudden flame as she skipped closer to the fire, her breasts bare to the blaze, streams of milk flowing from her red and swollen nipples.

I think anyone who's read the books would agree this is not exceptional. It was like the 5th time he'd mentioned Dany's breasts in this scene. This isn't an example of Dany's world objectifying her (does Westerosi culture require that lovely ladies skip naked onto funeral pyres? If so, does it say anything about their breasts?), but of Martin objectifying her. What, exactly, is a very detailed knowledge of Dany's breasts contributing to the reader's experience of this scene, one that is fraught with emotion and crucial to the plot of the entire series? Imagine if the TV show had shot Dany's approach to the fire as one slow zoom in on her chest. It would have been seriously premature shark jumpage on an epic scale.

I'm not trying to say Martin hates women (I think he likes them a lot), and I'm not trying to say this objectification kills the novels (it is one of many, many potential book closers). What I am saying is that it's there, and that in my opinion it's a problem and worth questioning.


message 16: by Beth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth Love the breakdown of the Stark family. :D


message 17: by June (new) - rated it 5 stars

June When he said an ax hit her in the back of the head, I assumed she was dead. So vague, perhaps on purpose.


Kenny Ludlow I definitely looked ahead for Arya's death. The blow to the head with the axe should have meant death but you just never know with Martin.


Katherine I totally did that. I totally look foreward for characters names. I did it with Bran in the book where he died. And I wailed "Nooo" when Ayra was hit with the axe. And then read the sentence five times to make sure.
Yes, it's cheating, but with George, it is necessary.


message 20: by Erikda (new)

Erikda Ken-ichi wrote: "I totally hear you on that, and I'm not trying to say people shouldn't even write about worlds / places / times where mores clash with our own. Women play second fiddle in Westeros, and Martin crit..."

George describes lots of male genitals, in male chapters. Have you even tried finding some?


message 21: by MAP (new) - rated it 4 stars

MAP Ahhhhhhh falling into the age old trap used by male readers. This is the same argument used by men when they say that because Superman's chest is featured as often as Wonder Woman's, it's just as "objectifying", which is 100% bullshit -- big strong manly chests are a male power fantasy, women's chests are a male sex fantasy.

When Martin describes male genitalia, it's not in a way that makes women go "oh yeah, break me off a piece of that," (see his description of Tyrion's erect penis, for example. It's basically described as the most horrifying thing ever for Sansa. It's certainly not described in a way to sexually objectify Tyrion.) like it is when women's body parts are described. Martin, to his credit, falls into this trope WAY less than many other writers, especially fantasy, sci-fi, and comic book writers (and artists,) but he still does it.

Google "Hawkeye Initiative" for more elucidation on portrayal of "strong men" vs. "strong women" in the media.


Ken-ichi Right there with you, MAP. Also a fan of the slightly more absurdist Strong Female Characters by Kate Beaton, Carly Mondardo, and Meredith Gran: http://harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=311


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