Jaya's Reviews > A Dance with Dragons

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
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Apr 09, 12

Read in April, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Well, I love all of these including this one. We lose a star along the way for several reasons. Firstly, even though Ygritte is dead, I still have to listen to her interminable conversational party piece, ''You know nothing, Jon Snow''. This time playing through poor Jonny's thoughts. I wanted to bring her back to life so I could kill her again, and then do him after, so I wouldn't have to be so bloody irritated.
At another point, we were told that Asha was in Glover's bedchamber in Glover's holding so many times - something like five times in three pages - that I wanted to put the book down, and not bother finding out what happens if the author kept on insulting my ability to hold details. Where was the editor while this was going on???
We also had the awful ''...than me.'', and ''...and me'', instead of ''...than I'', and ''...and I''. I don't care so much for the sake of correctness, but it's very jarring because it's very noticeable and jerks you right up out of the story. Especially noticeable when it's supposedly educated persons that are speaking or thinking. Very annoying when you're totally engrossed in what's happening. I find that a lot of American authors do this... they really don't use standard English. Which is fine when trying to achieve a certain effect, but totally unecessary in most instances. Along with ''made up'' words and jargon like ''normalcy'' instead of ''normality''... blah. I'm glad Mr Martin isn't guilty of that last one.
We also had ''losing a quarrel'', (crossbow quarrel),when the obvious meaning was ''loosing a quarrel''. I very much hope that that was a proofing error. But no-one seems to be able to differentiate between ''lose'' and ''loose'' anymore! Caused by a pathetic reliance on spellcheck, perhaps?
What I love about these is that we are in a real world where crap things happen, and our heroes and damsels in distress get killed, or worse, even though it's completely unfair. Just like real life.
I've read reviews where people say that they thought there was lots of filler... I didn't feel that, and I'm a big-time filler hater. I think filller would have been ten pages each on everyone's assorted childhood etc etc. I just felt that it was a natural course of events... things slow down, they speed up, just like real events. This was a time where events were more drawn out, that's all. I like a story that moves along, but I don't need instant gratification... it's not a video game. I personally like a lot of detail in my reading, as long as it's not boring. I really didn't find any of this boring at all, I was never once tempted to skip any, except when Asha was in Glover's bedchamber about a zillion times in a few pages. Someone else said that this was a long book....when? It was fairly average length, I thought, and by no means long.
Lots of things happened, though there were few things that HAPPENED, as it were. The writing feels a lot more flowing than the previous books. They felt jerky to read, for me, as if they were short stories chopped up and interspersed... this one feels more woven, even though it still moves well. A lot of the book is concurrent with the happenings in the last book, and I think that I personally would have preferred to have both books in one volume... something nice and solid to get my teeth into. This one only took two days to read... and I still don't find this series as atmospheric as his sci-fi short stories.
I was so glad that Tyrion is still holding on by the skin of his teeth, and making it all up as he goes along. I love the character so much... he's the only one with two brain cells to rub together. He's the only character that I actually find likeable, although I have a fondness for Arya because she has a real person feel, for me. A lot of what she's done, I'd probably have done at that age. Sansa feels unreal to me, because I wasn't like that and never understood girls that were... it all seemed fake soppiness in real life, and it does in this character... ergo, she must be realistic. I did love poor old Sandor Clegane, with his (unrequited, or was it? Dumb ol' Sansa) love story, but he was killed off in the last one. I agree with some others about how people are coming back from the dead in diverse forms....yawn.
And we haven't heard more about the re-animated corpse of Catelyn Tully. I hated that woman.... stupid and petty doesn't even begin to cover it. I wouldn't spit on her if she was on fire, ( and I don't see Eddard Stark getting on with her in their marriage, that well either... but then again, he wasn't the brightest crayon in the box!).
All in all I enjoyed it, as usual, and really want to find out more about what happens with the Watch, now that poor old Snow is stuck inside a dire-wolf, or dead or whatever. When the only person with enough sense to recruit wildlings is gone, who mans the Wall? Or does Mel bring him back with the kiss of life, like Catelyn and the one that brought her back? So many dead people...so little time.
Bran's piece was interesting, as well... enjoyed that, rather.
Someone was griping about faux medieval and invented words being used... to answer... neeps and nuncle are still in use today as is the phrasing ''needs must'', which my family uses fairly frequently. E.g. ''Needs must wash the curtains'', or clip the hedge or what have you, as well as the plain old saying - ''Needs Must''. Our family also uses neeps for turnips, as does many another family. Perhaps some people are not aware that there are still groups of people in Britain whose dialect includes ''thee'', ''thy'' and a lot of other old English words. I will agree that the entire cast using ''words are wind'' was extremely annoying, as was everyone in the world singing ''the bear and the maiden fair'', in one of the other books.
Now waiting impatiently for the next one.
P.S. Having read a few more reviews on other sites, I'm confused. I don't understand why people seem to have this compelling need to have a character or characters to ''cheer on'', when they are reading fiction. The characters are who they are, good bad or indifferent, and I enjoy them all, and all their stories. I don't need to ''like'', or ''engage'' with them. It seems that some people don't even want to read about the ''bad'' people. How else to contrive a narrative? You need everyone, or else you are living in the Smurf village and it's all happy lala. I need a book to make me care about the story and events, otherwise I'm bored, no matter if I feel for the characters or not. The big picture needs to be interesting for me, ( this has politics, spies, the supernatural, dragons, murder for the sake of all the previous - and for it's own sake, personal conflicts affecting the wider world, as they do... what more could you ask for? ) Perhaps I'm strange, but it's the characters I don't like, that flesh things out. After all, the world is not full of good people that we like. I hate Catelyn Tully because she is petty and stupid. I could put up with her and enjoy it except that I really don't think that a man like Eddard Stark would have loved her the way he did. What upsets me is that it doesn't ring true, rather than the Character per se. I think that their marriage would have been a lot more fractured than it was. Fractured fairy tales, haha.

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