Anila's Reviews > A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
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EDIT: 14 Dec. 2012. I no longer get notifications for the comments. Feel free to duke it out with each other; just don't expect me to respond.

WARNING: If you enjoyed this book, even a little bit, you may not want to read this review. It will probably make you angry. Heaven knows that the book made me furious, and I intend to turn every bit of that wrath back on it.
Instead, I suggest you read karen's review, Brigid's review, Joyzi's review, or any other of the gushing four and five-star reviews here. If video reviews are more your style, I suggest Melina Pendulum's vlog about this book.
Realistically, I know a lot of you are not going to listen, which is why the edit is here. At least it will slow you down a little.



EDIT: adding one more thing because, despite the warning and the redirect links I kindly provided, I have indeed gotten the kind of sexist bullshit comments I anticipated. Before you launch into the usual defense, therefore, I give you this:

"Alternatively, some fans may find it tempting to argue “Well this media is a realistic portrayal of societies like X, Y, Z”. But when you say that sexism and racism and heterosexism and cissexism have to be in the narrative or the story won’t be realistic, what you are saying is that we humans literally cannot recognise ourselves without systemic prejudice, nor can we connect to characters who are not unrepentant bigots. Um, yikes. YIKES, you guys.
And even if you think that’s true (which scares the hell out of me), I don’t see you arguing for an accurate portrayal of everything in your fiction all the time. For example, most people seem fine without accurate portrayal of what personal hygiene was really like in 1300 CE in their medieval fantasy media. (Newsflash: realistically, Robb Stark and Jon Snow rarely bathed or brushed their teeth or hair). In real life, people have to go to the bathroom. In movies and books, they don’t show that very much, because it’s boring and gross. Well, guess what: bigotry is also boring and gross. But everyone is just dying to keep that in the script."

Source.

Here's the scoop on this review. For a book that I hate, I usually write a lot. After suffering for several hundred pages, I have pleeeenty of things to say. I've never hated a book that was quite as long as this one quite as much as I do, so I've had to alter my review so that I can say everything I want to without going over the character limit.
The first part is an unorganized rant. I marked pages with particularly annoying quotes on them; for these rants, I broke the book into segments of 100 pages and wrote up quotes and responses for each segment into separate blog posts. These are all linked below.
The second part will be a more organized rant masquerading as a review. MAKE NO MISTAKE: THIS IS A 'HATER' REVIEW. IF ANYTHING WAS GOING TO CAUSE ME TO SPONTANEOUSLY DEVELOP THE ABILITY TO BREATHE FIRE, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THIS BOOK.




Part 1:
Pages 1-100
Pages 101-200
Pages 201-300
Pages 301-400
Pages 401-500
Pages 501-600
Pages 601-700
Pages 701-807



Part 2:
There are books I don't like.
There are books I loathe.

And then...
there's this book, which did its level best to drive me to drinking.

and I don't even like alcohol.



I wanted to like this. I wanted it to be as excellent as so many people insist it is. There are some books that I went into expecting them to be horrible, but this isn't one of them. Oh, my hopes were high here - it was recommended by a plethora of great authors, including the guys of Writing Excuses, who I absolutely love. Reviewers who I greatly respect rated it four and five stars and wrote at length about how awesome it was. Other people praised the book as "the greatest achievement of the fantasy genre so far" and Martin as "the greatest fantasy writer of all time".

It's those last two that are most important, I think, because I love the fantasy genre - always have, and hopefully always will. Fantasy is what got me into reading (well, Harry Potter, specifically) and it's been one of my mainstays for as long as I can remember. I bought this book in large part because it was so often touted as, if not always the greatest achievement of the genre, one of the major works of fantasy published in our time. Having recently read several works by Brandon Sanderson, all of which were innovative, highly readable, and deeply philosophical, I was excited to see what Martin (by all reports an even better writer than Sanderson) could do. I expected my mind to be blown, repeatedly, and to be faced with the challenge of writing a review for a book so staggeringly brilliant that I could hardly think straight after finishing it.

That is far, far, far from what I got.

First of all, this book is definitely not what I think of when I hear the word 'fantasy'. It's certainly far from my definition of 'high fantasy'. Now, I realize that my definition of 'high fantasy', which includes pervasive magic, unusual creatures, and a setting that is vividly far from the real world, is not the definition you'll find if you look the term up online. I also don't care. Seeing as the critical definition appears to characterize high fantasy solely by the fact that it doesn't take place on our Earth, and as this definition is written as if high fantasy and sword-and-sorcery are mutually exclusive, I'm inclined to conclude that whoever wrote said definition is pretty damn stupid and carry on with my own outlines of what makes fantasy high, low, urban, epic, or any other subcategory or combination thereof.
That said - this book? High fantasy? Not as far as I'm concerned. It is, to say the least, distinctly lacking in the requisite elements of the fantastic.

Is it possible that Martin is going for a 'the magic comes back' subplot over the course of the series? Definitely. Do I give two shits about the rest of the series? NOPE.
This book comes off as a pathetic attempt at fantasy by someone who doesn't really care about the genre, or doesn't know much about it. It mostly struck me more as an alternate universe War of the Roses fanfiction, with some hints of magic thrown in in a halfassed attempt to give it a place on the genre fiction shelves of bookstores. You can explain to me over and over how Martin intended to make his world 'gritty' and 'realistic' and I will tell you over and over that that shouldn't matter: that it is possible to have a fantasy which is gritty, realistic, and also utterly fantastical. It's even possible to do it without losing the particular areas where Martin seemed to be trying for gritty realism: since he chose to make all of his characters of the nobility anyhow, he wouldn't have had to worry about overglorifying the lives of the peasantry, as one might with a more economically diverse cast.
Now, I'm willing to give Martin the benefit of the doubt a little bit on the possibility of the 'magic comes back' thing, because there did seem to be elements here that could become fantastical if fully explained later. The problem, of course, is that they're tossed out without background, let alone proper explanation, and so feel jarring and out of place - not a coherent part of the world, but bits tossed in to be linked together later. Right now... all they managed to do was trip me up, throw me ass-over-teakettle out of the story, and leave me blinking at the page in confusion and not a little bit of frustration.
(And yeah, maybe part of why I'm so sore about this is that, like I said, I started this book not long after reading some Sanderson, and Sanderson is basically the king of seamless, fantastical, elegant worldbuilding, so pretty much anyone looks bad in comparison, but still.)
If I had to assign this book to a genre, I'd call it 'low fantasy', because as far as I'm concerned it was running too low on the qualities that make fantasy what it is. It's about as much fantasy as fanfiction that translates characters to the modern day is - namely, basically mundane with a miniscule twist.

The characters of this book also stand out... and not in a good way.

There are a lot of them - eight POVs and plenty more on the side - and not a single one of them is likeable. They all had the potential to be, which makes it worse. Bran, the Stark boy who learns too much and is crippled as a result, could have an interesting arc if it weren't so slow and drawn-out. The hints of genuine pathos-inducing story are definitely there. They're also present in the chapters focused on Catelyn, who is the closest Martin gets to a truly nuanced character. Ned Stark, Catelyn's husband, is supposed to be the noble one - too bad his 'nobility' comes off as stupidity instead. Jon Snow, Ned's bastard child, is a truly stereotypical fantasy character: the super special 'outcast' who is nonetheless generally loved except by those the narration makes a point to show as bigoted and cruel, who never really has to work either for physical skills or personal growth, and who gets gifted by the narrative with an absurd number of SUPER UNIQUE TRAPPINGS, including an albino wolf (really, Martin, REALLY? Are you secretly a fourteen year-old girl writing horrendous anime fanfic or something? Answer: no, and the comparison is insulting to fourteen year-old girls.) and a bastard sword that was a family heirloom of a noble house not his own. Arya is by far the most entertaining of the Starks, but only because she fulfills all sorts of rebellious-noble-girl-learns-to-fight tropes that I'm quite fond of. Sansa's chapters made me set the book down for days on end; she is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most insipid, annoying, airheaded character I have ever read and she has not a single whisper of a redeeming quality. Tyrion Lannister is what Jon Snow could have become without the heapings of Gary Stu in his youth: a bitter middle-aged man with father issues who turns to sex and crudity as his only defense; somewhat akin to Catelyn, he had the potential to be interesting and nuanced if his behavior hadn't been played dead straight.

And there's one more: Daenerys Targaryen. Oh, Dany, Dany, Dany. I could write a dissertation on Dany and everything that went wrong with her story - but I don't have that kind of time.
For those of you not familiar with this most epic of George R.R. Martin's characterization and plot failures, here is a summary:
(oh and spoilers, but I honestly can't be bothered to tag it.)
When we first meet her, Dany is thirteen years ond and about to be sold (effectively) into marriage with Khal Drogo, a warlord of the Dothraki people, by her abusive and not-a-little-bit-crazy brother, Viserys. Viserys has convinced himself that Drogo will help him take back 'his' kingdom - this being the Seven Kingdoms where the rest of the book takes place - hence the whole 'selling his sister to be raped by married to someone he obviously sees as a barbarian' thing. The marriage occurs, and then the wedding night in truly squicky half-detail. There then follows a long journey across the plains to a Dothraki city, during which Dany is raped (and no, I will not call it anything else) by Drogo. By her fourteenth birthday she is pregnant. When they arrive in the Dothraki city, Viserys makes such an ass of himself that Drogo kills him by pouring molten gold over his head in the middle of a feasting hall. Robert, the current king of the Seven Kingdoms who the Targaryens see as a usurper, sends assassins to kill Dany - naturally, they fail - and Drogo gets so angry at this that he decides to commit all his people to attacking the Seven Kingdoms in retribution. They leave the Dothraki city (at this point Dany is heavily pregnant) and go out to wreak havoc across the countryside on their way to conquest. In one such battle Drogo is wounded; because he refuses to care for the wound properly, it gets infected. When it is clear that he is going to die, Dany appeals to an old woman to perform forbidden magic to save him; the rest of Drogo's people do not approve and try to cast Dany out. End result: Dany loses her child to create a Drogo-zombie, which she then smothers. When his body is placed on the traditional pyre, she adds in three supposedly dead dragon eggs (given to her as wedding gifts and which any fool could see hundreds of pages off were bound to hatch) and, surprise surprise, they hatch.

To which my primary objections are:
1. The blinding obviousness of the ending
2. The fact that this single plotline - this single POV among eight - is so far distant from and so barely related to the others
3. The fact that Dany being raped is never treated as what it is, and that the relationship between her and Drogo is portrayed as love.


The first two are self-explanatory; the third, of course, is the big thorny problem. Now, I can sort of understand the perspective which argues that Dany is taking control of her sexuality - she comes to enjoy sex and even to initiate and control it at times. However, SHE IS AT NO POINT OLDER THAN FOURTEEN. There's a reason that such a concept as an 'age of consent' exists - there is an age at which teenagers are genuinely immature and probably shouldn't be making life-changing decisions like, say, things that could get them pregnant. Now, I understand that in the medieval times like those that this book is based on, girls were getting married and having children a lot earlier, and that people in general were more mature at an early age. However, Dany shows none of that maturity until after she's been with Drogo for weeks - if not months. When she's married to him, she is if anything unusually innocent for her age. It's a little hard for me to accept the idea that she's taking control of her sexuality when she's so young and clueless that her first sexual experience is a choice only inasmuch as she chooses not to fight back. Not fighting back, by the way, doesn't mean it's not rape, particularly in the situation that Dany is in (vastly younger than Drogo, vastly weaker, browbeaten by her abusive brother and told over and over that her obligation is to do whatever her husband wants). Nor are her later sexual experiences ones of choice; in fact, it is explicitly stated that even when she had horrible saddle sores and could barely walk, she was expected to be available for sex and treated as such. If anything, her eventual enjoyment of it seems more like a psychological block put up as a survival tactic than genuine pleasure in the act or love for Drogo.
Yet, despite the fact that this situation is obviously, beyond a shadow of a doubt, rape, it's never addressed in-text. If anything, it's portrayed as a positive experience for Dany, one that makes her stronger and enables her to stand up for herself.

Stupid me; I thought that the cancerous expansion of rape-as-love was limited to abusive jackass love interests in YA paranormal romances; clearly, I was wrong. It's everywhere, people. We are all completely fucking doomed.

Which brings me to one of the other major frustrations I had with this book: the sex.
Ummm... what to say? I thought reading some of the V'lane bits of Darkfever while sitting next to my mother on the plane was uncomfortable; to my utter shock, that was nothing compared to reading the sex scenes of this book alone. No worry about someone looking over my shoulder and reading about MacKayla Lane getting hot and bothered - and yet even more awkward. Why? Well, as one reviewer put it (and I wish I could remember who to give them credit), they're written kind of as if they're these tremendous mythic events. I cringe at the very thought of quoting them, but to give you a little idea of what they're like... (worst romance sex scenes you've ever read) - (bizarre flowerly euphemisms) + (gratuitous use of the word 'manhood')*(general strange reverence for penises above and beyond the norm) + (incidences of incest) = Game of Thrones sex scene.
In general: AWKWARD.

(Just to be sure you feel my pain.)


This book felt male-oriented in a way that is so painfully forced that it made me distinctly uncomfortable. I don't mean that women can't enjoy it - obviously, as all the reviews I linked back at the top demonstrate, they can and they do. I mean that the book itself felt as if it were written for the most stereotypical male audience imaginable. As Tatiana described it, it reads like a soap opera for men. Because MEN want lots of violence, sex, swearing by female genitalia, and paper-thin motivations, right? Which is exactly what Martin dishes up.

and so is the book he's produced.


I thought at around the halfway point that I'd finish the book and be able to watch the HBO show to get the rest of the series without suffering through more awkwardly described sex scenes (not to mention the rest of it). By the time I finished, though, I had developed such a virulent hatred for this book, its author, and everything related to either of the above that I start grinding my teeth just reading praise for it. Watching the show would be vastly to my detriment - mostly because neither my hand nor my bank account would do well after I put my fist through the screen of my laptop.

In conclusion/summary:






Oh, and to the diehard defenders of this series, like those who were plaguing Keely's review, who like to tell people who disagree with them that GRRM is the greatest writer of ALL TIME and that the female characters presented herein are feminist (or, to use an exact quote, that "GRRM has written some of the most independent, self-reliant heroines ever to grace the fantasy genre. It's more than half the reason he's so beloved. His female characters disdain male attention, are always smarter, faster, deadlier, and braver than any of their male counterparts. Kinda like feminists with swords" which is complete and utter bullshit), I have only one thing to say:




THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT.
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Quotes Anila Liked

George R.R. Martin
“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones


Reading Progress

09/21/2011 page 1
0.0% "I am not sure if I want this to suck or to rule. What I don't want is something mediocre, especially since it's going to be such a long haul." 16 comments
09/22/2011 page 2
0.0% "...so it's page two and I'm already thinking 'oh just drop your pants and get it over with' at these characters. LESS POSTURING MORE STORY." 4 comments
09/22/2011 page 13
2.0% "Creepy..."
09/23/2011 page 15
2.0% ""Jon was slender where Robb was muscular, dark where Robb was fair, graceful and quick where his half brother was strong and fast." 1. I smell author's darling. 2. Someone please explain the difference between 'quick' and 'fast' because I think they're synonyms and Martin clearly doesn't agree." 6 comments
09/23/2011 page 28
3.0% "Okay, I think there needs to be a rule. Authors are only allowed to refer to women's breasts as 'tits' or 'teats' a certain number of times in a given book. Say... two. Which means Martin has used his up." 36 comments
09/23/2011 page 29
3.0% "squick squick squick brother twisting nipple of thirteen year-old = BIG NO."
09/23/2011 page 48
6.0% "Spoil for me: does Dany's brother die? If so, how soon? If not, WHY THE FUCK NOT?" 6 comments
09/24/2011 page 50
6.0% ""She was a wisp of a girl, not quite eight, her hair a cascade of golden hairs under a jeweled net. Jon noticed the shy looks she gave Robb as they passed between the tables and the timid way she smiled at him. He decided she was insipid." And I'm supposed to like Jon for what reason, exactly?" 23 comments
09/24/2011 page 76
9.0% "So some of these scenes remind me of things I wrote in bad Amelia Atwater-Rhodes fanfic when I was fourteen." 2 comments
09/25/2011 page 108
13.0% "Dear Mr. Martin: Please learn how to end a chapter. Sincerely, a reader used to much more skilled authors than you."
09/25/2011 page 118
14.0% "This is going to take too long. I can only stand it for about 20 pages a night."
09/26/2011 page 136
16.0% "1. I don't trust Greyjoy, and I wouldn't be surprised if he causes Ned's death. 2. Dany's dragon eggs are going to hatch at some point in the series, aren't they?" 4 comments
09/26/2011 page 156
19.0% "Okay, Lord Renly has potential. Anyone on Arya's side in this has potential."
09/26/2011 page 160
19.0% "Lord Renly, Eddard Stark, Arya, and maaaaybe Dany if we ever get back to her: these are the characters that are not on my shit list. Actually, Eddard is borderline, because he's letting Robert stomp all over their friendship and still giving too much. Idiot." 6 comments
09/26/2011 page 162
19.0% "I do believe I'm reading a recap episode. *eyeroll* It's not even necessary. Memo to Martin: Anime can get away with spending time like this because it usually waits until it has a lot of things to recap before trying. Also, some things just work better in a visual medium."
09/26/2011 page 165
20.0% "Dream sequences were cool the first four or five time. At this point, they're waaaay over played. Original? This book? LOL people are so funny." 15 comments
09/26/2011 page 185
22.0% "The northern king's last name is Rayder. OF FUCKING COURSE. That's not really obvious or anything."
09/26/2011 page 190
23.0% "1. Crows and ravens do not make human-like noises. You're confusing them with parrots. 2. And of course the Magical Good News of Magicalness is going to cure Jon of being an ass and let him make FWENDS. Because we couldn't have him actually working through his issues the slow way, now could we?" 55 comments
09/30/2011 page 236
28.0% "I was actually liking this, until Dany's fourteenth birthday included her initiating sex with her much, much, much older husband. SHE'S FOURTEEN. This is just - I can't - I remember who I was at age fourteen and I would never have trusted myself with something that... important."
10/01/2011 page 298
36.0% "Let me first say that I am underage and rule-abiding, that I generally dislike the taste of alcohol, and that the idea of being drunk repulses me. Now, given all that, the following remains true: reading Sansa's chapters makes me want to get well and truly sloshed." 3 comments
10/03/2011 page 310
37.0% ""Jon despaired of me often enough, yet I grew into a good king." NO YOU DIDN'T. YOU GREW INTO AN IRRESPONSIBLE HORNY GLUTTON WITH NO SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY." 8 comments
10/03/2011 page 324
39.0% "So Varys was waiting to talk to Ned until he knew that Ned was loyal to the Crown... and then is still not willing to really give him information. Cory, I fear your quest to learn the motivations of these characters is doomed: they have none except plot convenience." 3 comments
10/04/2011 page 355
43.0% "Dear book: please decide either to be good or to be a piece of shit. All this flip-flopping is driving me crazy. You would never win an election with this strategy." 9 comments
10/04/2011 page 410
49.0% "Dany is having intermittent Breaking Dawn-era Bella Swan moments. IT IS CREEPING ME OUT. Also, can we please deal with the fact that this is a rape baby, not a child she chose to have of her own will? Or are we just going to kick that under the bed with the rest of the things excused by 'realism'?"
10/08/2011 page 444
53.0% "Robert. You. Are. A. Pathetic. Wimp. Does he die in the later books?" 2 comments
10/19/2011 page 474
57.0% "If you hadn't already guessed, I've set this one aside for the time being. However, I have to add this: http://mintchocolatecandle.tumblr.com... because it is funny."
11/05/2011 page 489
59.0% "Wow, um... make Cersei more two-dimensional, why don't you? If that's even possible. By which I mean that it is not."
11/05/2011 page 501
60.0% "GOD FUCKING DAMMIT. Mr. Martin, when I have HATED a character as much as I hated Viserys, I should enjoy his death. Instead, it makes me distinctly uncomfortable - not because you did something good, in making him three-dimensional and thus someone whose death I would regret, but because you wrote it so FUCKING BADLY. ALSO CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW SICK THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DANY AND DROGO IS? I LOATHE THIS BOOK."
11/05/2011 page 514
62.0% "Call 911; George R. R. Martin is axe-murdering the fantasy genre!" 2 comments
11/06/2011 page 517
62.0% "We get it, seriously: the blood of the First Men flows in the veins of the Starks. WE GOT IT THE FIRST SIX TIMES YOU SAID IT. WITH THAT EXACT PHRASING."
11/06/2011 page 594
71.0% "Dear Mr. Martin: we get it. Men have penises. Now, would you please stop talking about 'manhoods'? First of all, it's a stupid euphemism; second, it has no place in the context of your story whatsoever." 4 comments
11/06/2011 page 618
74.0% "Well, the good news is that this book got me through my homework for Monday pretty well. I'm going to reward myself by reading something good during the week. Something like, oh, Red Glove." 2 comments
11/08/2011 page 618
74.0% "Just realized that reading praise for this book makes me actively angry. Dayum. This review is going to be a doozy. I almost want to finish the book sooner so I can vent my rage."
11/09/2011 page 667
80.0% "It's like an accident on the highway - I don't want to slow down and stare, but I do. How does this book stay so consistently terrible?" 5 comments
11/10/2011 page 702
84.0% "BTW, the most common cause for dwarfism is a dominant allele. Sooooo in all likelihood, Tyrion is not his father's son."
11/10/2011 page 763
91.0% "finishing this POS this weekend. Writing up all my quote-rants will take a while after that, and the actual review will come after all those... it's going to be a while. but at least I'll be done soon."
11/10/2011 page 783
94.0% "Even Jon, author's darling extraordinaire, has zero agency. He's just pushed around by secondary (two-dimensional) characters for plot purposes."

Comments (showing 1-50 of 533) (533 new)


message 1: by Zarakoda (last edited Feb 05, 2009 06:32PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Zarakoda Haha, I haven't even made comment about whether I like the book or not (well, at least not TOO much comment)! There you go marking a book again that I'm on - is it because you're jealous I'm reading something that you have not? ;)

Reading's going slow for me, unfortunately - result of lots of busyness (don't even get me started, ug!!!) - but to let you know, I am finding it fun so far, if not so great a fantasy book as some of the others I've read.


Anila Oooh I cannot believe you said that. No I am not jealous. I've read plenty you haven't.
(*ignoring the fact that she's responding to this comment over a year late*)
I marked this because your 'Man' keeps reading and re-reading the series, and because it's supposed to be wicked awesome. I don't recall, but it may have come to my attention because you were reading it- but that's not reason enough for it to be a 'to-read'.


Zarakoda That is true. (Dude, you completely crack me up for randomly replying to this).
Meh, it's alright. I wouldn't say extraordinary, just a typical fantasy book. There are some interesting political moves, but that's it. Landscape and characters didn't intrigue me that much.


Anila And some say the same about Robert Jordan.


Zarakoda Fair enough. Though just to give a comparison I'd put it on my personal intrigue of about "Furies of Calderon."


Anila I see... and yet...


Zarakoda We all have our own perspectives. * shrug *


Anila Indeed. I, for instance, admire Jordan's willingness to undertake a massive story and yet regard with disdain his equal willingness to borrow shamelessly from various worldwide mythologies.


message 9: by Arya (new)

Arya It is sort of cool to see the different mythologies blended together and interesting tidbits from all of them suddenly "pop up" in the stories (sorry for once again butting into one of your conversations, y'all are just SOOOOO funny!)


Zarakoda You could argue Tolkien does it worse.


message 11: by Arya (new)

Arya Ooooh make an argument that Tolkien does worse - that would be SO FUN to read!! :D


message 12: by Zarakoda (last edited Oct 05, 2010 06:29PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Zarakoda I think stating the thought alone creates enough implications without me actually framing the words.


message 13: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila Arya- cool it might be, but when this is a fantasy world with NO relation to ours (Shannara could get away with it, but not Randland) and it's lacking in all subtlety it's no longer cool. The outright theivery of the story of King Arthur, for instance- or my particular least favorite, the use of different words for 'demon' or names of mythological races for tribes of Trollocs. (And oh, the word 'Trolloc' itself.) Examples: Ahf'frait (Arabic Ifrit, a type of djinni), Bhan'sheen (Celtic Banshee), Dhajin'nen (Djinni), Ghar'ghael (Gargoyles), Ghob'hlin (Goblin), Gho'hlem (Golem), Kho'bal (Kobold), and my personal two favorites, as if his readers wouldn't catch on to these right off the bat: Dha'vol and Dhai'mon.
Basically all he does is take the names, change the spellings mostly by adding lots of Hs, and stick an apostrophe in the middle. And it looks laaaaazy.


Zarakoda I've read all of T.H. White's rendition of the King Arthur legend, and I would say it bears little solid resemblance to this one at least (which is one of the Arthur classics). And the names, in my opinion, are rather interesting and creative rather than necessarily "lazy." It was "intentional." Whether or not you like it, it's a minor point in comparison to other thieveries that have been passed back and forth and back and forth and back and forth in fantasy novels. Even as for my own creative writing is concerned, there are characters named "unoriginally" after people I know. (Asila Morzhah, for one). Or the "iggies" and "hinchillas." How absolutely un-obvious is that?
Basically, though, WOT has what it takes to be an original story - interesting fantasy concepts (though fantasy as speakingly original is hard, but he does a great job in his portrayals like the Source), unique and lovable characters (so prototypes, but also others like Mat or Min whom you're like "cool"), creepy villains, some unpredictable plot twists, obscure prophecy, etc. Yeah, there are some elements lacking - languages, some specifics of culture, and the like - but it still takes the reader away into a fantasy world. Certainly that can be appreciated?


message 15: by Arya (new)

Arya Are either of you on a debate team? Just thought I'd ask . . .
Well I am sort of wierd because if I find a book I like I usually immediately want to read another book similar to that one. So plots that are similiar usually don't bother me as long as they are good too. I sort of enjoyed reading about Arther Hawkwing and his conquest of the known world! Plus he hated Aes Sedai so the "magical" element of the aurtherian legend (i.e., Merlin) is different. . . at least so far as I have read. I haven't quite finished the first book yet so I can't really argue for one side or the other. But so far as I am into the series I have thought it was enjoyable and at least passably original.
I really like Perrin! I think he is my favorite (so far) of the three boys. He is simply nice. Mat is going through a tough time right now and I am not sure how much I am liking him. The dagger is getting on my nerves. Plus Mr. Awesomeness himself (the Gleeman) is presumed dead, though I think he might make a triumphal comeback - I am HOPING!!
Anyway a quick update of where I am in the story . . .


Zarakoda Nope. Never been on debate. XD
Yay Arya!
Oooh Perrin's pretty cool. A bit too virtuous for me in the end (makes him less of a three-dimensional character, not that I don't like virtue, to clarify). Heh... Mat goes through LOTS more, too! THOM THOM THOM! * laugh *
Yay, thanks for updates. :)
Oh Anila - I also want to interpolate - if you have anything against "non-original," please argue away Narnia.


message 17: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila Z- Narnia doesn't bug me because I'm not familliar with its basis. It may have something to do with the fact that I read it as a straight adventure story first before I even heard about the allusions; I'll admit that colors my impressions.
Yes, all fantasy is derivative, and all writing in general cannot avoid making references to our world that don't make sense. (Dr. Who's 'sentient plastic' alien, case in point, since plastic at least on this planet is a human-created material.) And yes, there are blatant thieveries about. So perhaps what frustrates me is that Jordan plays it DEAD STRAIGHT- like, 'for srius, guyz, this is all me!' and it's not. There's not even a hint of self-deprecation or mockery of the things he borrows, as there is in other novels (Pratchett) or that his purpose or focus is best served by using these references. It's not. They aren't sly inside jokes between writer and reader, or obscure Easter Egg references that you find with appreciation like treasure. They're cop-outs, foreign words inserted into Generic Fantasyland #49625, and they don't fit, and that will never stop annoying me- any more than it will stop me reading the series.
I do appreciate it. I simply think some aspects of it need to be pointed out. (And Dha'vol and Dhai'mon are reeeeeally annoying.)


Zarakoda Fair enough. However, to put it in perspective, Narnia is so blatantly more obvious beyond belief it's almost like a retelling rather than an original story. It's seriously taht "unoriginal."
The funny thing is, Lisa, the WOT world *IS* our world. That becomes slightly more obvious as you get to maybe book seven or eight or so. So the "foreign words inserted" actually aren't quite as foreign as you may think.
Hey, you can find them annoying. I'm just saying that if that's all your argument, lots of books have a lot worse.


message 19: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila WHAT.
DO YOU REALIZE
HOW MUCH
I HATE THAT?
DO YOU REALIZE HOW I WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER FORGIVE TERRY BROOKS FOR PULLING THAT SAME SHIT WITH SHANNARA?
IF IT HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH NUKES I SWEAR I WILL ABANDON THE SERIES WHOLESALE.
IT BETTER NOT HAVE HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH NUKES.


message 20: by Zarakoda (last edited Oct 06, 2010 08:40PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Zarakoda Anila, it's so vague it's hardly apocalypse or something like that. We have no clue if we're in an Age before or after WOT took place because WOT is about a freaking time WHEEL which means that there's a CYCLE and we could be ANYWHERE. He never specifically says "whooooa hey look at that!" but there are very small mentions (for example, legends that people used to know how to fly - aka airplanes). How does every book of his start again? By mentioning that even MYTH fades away again by the time the Age comes around again.


message 21: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila Khhhhhh.
Grrrrr.
Grrrrr.
Grrrrr.
Better than someone showing up with a freaking FLASHLIGHT, like Brooks did, and then trying to explain it as 'the magical creaturz came out of the woodworkz when the hoomanz blew theyselves oop.'
STILL.
Cheeeeeeeeap.


message 22: by Zarakoda (last edited Oct 06, 2010 09:10PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Zarakoda Anila, don't judge before you've read it. Just because you've had a bad first impression of such an occurence in fantasy does not mean all are akin to it. That would be like reading "Twilight" and declaring all vampire books "awful."


message 23: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila Kkkkkkhhhhhhh.
joo do not understaaaaand.
Is a matter of trust between author and reader.
Is like Claudia Gray not having her first-person narrator reveal her vampirism for 9 chapters.
Is cheap narrative device
and is bad lies. Not good lies like good story. Bad lies.
Is like, I read book, and then set it down for a while and go do something else- and while I do something else, book has crazy love affair with real world and I come back to find not book but book's lovechild with real world which looks very similar to book and I pick up and start reading and realize book has cheated on me and run away with something else and all is ruuuuiiiineeeeeeed.


message 24: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila (I am really incoherent tonight.)


message 25: by Arya (new)

Arya Hahaha, ya'll are SO FUNNY!! I love Narnia specifically because of all of the allusions and metaphors in it. It makes the world rich and inviting. Of course the fact that the Narnia books were the first "Fantasy(esque)" books I EVER read might play into the fact that I always think that everything else I read is stealing for Narnia, not the other way around.

Have either of you read Twilight?


message 26: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila Arya:...
...aboutfourtimesactually.
But not recently.
Why do you ask?


Zarakoda Anila, it's never some sudden "KABOOM" revelation. It just plays on the edge of things and I wouldn't have caught it without WOT fan commentary. Okay? It's that subtle. And, debatably, not quite true. You never really know. Hardly a "book affair." It's a vague allusion or fan assumption. And it also creates an interesting philosophical realm of alternate realities - what would happen if I did this, what would happen if I did that, aka the whole deal about Lew Therrin and the Dragon and so forth. How each are the Dragon but each are distinct and how each result in other things. Etc.

Arya, so very true about the "steal from this or that" based on what we're read first and/or love.

Me, haven't read Twilight. Plan to in order to make fun of it. If I can get through it.


message 28: by Arya (new)

Arya Oh I was just wondering because ya'll were talking about it making you hate all vampire books. The farther I get from my actual reading of Twilight the more readily I can admit that it wasn't that great. . . but it was the first vampire book I read and I really loved it when first I read it. It has an addictive quality. The writing is horrendous and the plot is not all that original, but something about it draws you in. I hated the last book . . . but the other three I loved. Anyway. . . it is sort of embarrassing that I liked them because they are so horribly written (terrible errors that should have gotten changed before publication) but I did like them.

You should read it Zarakoda - I am sure you would have a hilarious review!!


Zarakoda Hey, Arya, you're not the only one who's been through all that. I know MANY people who were drawn in the same way.

Don't worry, I'll get to it soon - what with classes, I don't have much time for fiction reading anyhow, so I'll need something simplistic - and "Twilight" makes a good candidate.


message 30: by Arya (new)

Arya Great!!


Zarakoda Haha, I'll keep you updated.


message 32: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila Arya- Yeah, I'm with you there. Objectively it's a waste of paper... but while you're reading it it's written quicksand.
For me, it was the book that convinced me that not all vampire books were bad- I had recently read Dracula and while it was a good novel was not inclined to read more about that kind of creepy bloodsucker. Now, having encountered old-world creepy Stokerpires and sparkling vegetarian Meyerpires I'm willing to try anything in between, so I suppose Twilight gets credit for that.


Zarakoda Interesting.


message 34: by Arya (new)

Arya Yay!! Have you read Companions of the Night? It is definitely "inbetween" as are all of the Nightworld books by L. J. Smith!!


message 35: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila I've heard a lot about Smith but never read anything by her; I'll look out for them in future, though!


message 36: by Arya (new)

Arya Yes - she is GREAT!!


Zarakoda Hmmmm... me mights need read too.


message 38: by Arya (new)

Arya Yep, you definitely should!


message 39: by Aerin (new)

Aerin Good luck! I started it a few days ago, expecting the worst, and have been pleasantly surprised so far.


Zarakoda Been a while since I've read it... tell me what you think.


message 41: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila Aerin: Thank you! You usually have really good taste in books, so if you like it I probably will too.

Z: I will indeed. And I thought you gave it five stars?


Zarakoda No, I haven't changed the rating ever.


message 43: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila Huh. Clearly I am just confused.


Zarakoda Could be thinking of someone else who rated it with 5, or one of the many other books I've done. Narf. Anyway.


message 45: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila Anyway indeed.


message 46: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Just read your comments on pages 1-100. Too funny. I really enjoyed the first season of the television show but I haven't read the book. I agree that Danny's brother is gross and purely evil. There was no other side shown to him, at least in the show. There was no way of redeeming of him after how her treated his sister in the beginning anyway. If I end up liking the book I think it will be in spite of its flaws, not because they don't exist.


message 47: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila I think, Lisa, that if you like the TV show you should probably stick with that. I'm actually considering watching it after I finish the book, because there are so many lovely concepts that would play well in a visual medium and don't on the page. Almost everyone I've talked to says the TV show is much better than the book, too.

As far as I've gotten, Dany's brother continues to be an unmitigated asshole. And I asked for spoilers, so I know he dies... though not soon enough. Either way, Martin is just setting him up for a fall.


message 48: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Anila wrote: "I think, Lisa, that if you like the TV show you should probably stick with that. I'm actually considering watching it after I finish the book, because there are so many lovely concepts that would ..."

Maybe I will stick to the TV show after seeing your comments among others on the book. I think part of the reason the TV show works is the actors. The casting is amazing. Sean Bean is great as Eddard Stark.

Also, based on the comments here, Jon Snow seems to clearly be Martin's Gary Stu in the books, which I don't think is quite as evident in the TV show. Danny, though, is clearly a Mary Sue and I'm convinced Martin is in love with her the way Stephenie Meyer is in love with Edward.


message 49: by Anila (new) - rated it 1 star

Anila Lisa wrote: "Danny, though, is clearly a Mary Sue and I'm convinced Martin is in love with her the way Stephenie Meyer is in love with Edward."

Ogh...
I'm not saying you don't maybe have a point, but it is one that I would like to quietly put out of my mind, seeing as Dany is the one getting repeatedly raped by an older man and ergo there are unfortunate implications.


message 50: by John (new) - added it

John Egbert Loving the book so far, Anila?

TROLLOLOLOLOL.


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