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A Song of Ice & Fire

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message 1: by Tyler (new)

Tyler | 21 comments Mod
A Game of Thrones

I just started reading A Game of Thrones. For me, it started strong and is slowing down a bit. Besides the cryptic "Others" and Direwolves, there hasn't been much of anything too mythical or magical yet; I'm getting through a lot of the background material on who-is-who an why this king is her and that king is gone, etc.

I really like Jon Snow and Eddard Stark. I need a fight scene or someone to cast a spell soon though or I'm going to get bored.

message 2: by Tyler (last edited Jan 10, 2009 01:29AM) (new)

Tyler | 21 comments Mod
Additional comment: I want Jaime Lannister to die. I'm getting further into the book and things are starting to pick up.

message 3: by Irie (new)

Irie (irie_k) | 8 comments Has Dany's story picked up yet?

message 4: by Katyana (new)

Katyana | 6 comments Oooh oooh oooh, hurrah! I love when friends read this book! Post comments as ... things ... happen. !!

message 5: by Tyler (new)

Tyler | 21 comments Mod
Dany's story has picked up a little. She just married Khal Drogo. Bran just woke up from his coma. Honestly I'm kind of depressed and all the awful things that are happening to these kids.

message 6: by Irie (new)

Irie (irie_k) | 8 comments Heh. Hold onto yer horses, you've still got a good bit to get through. /wicked grin.

message 7: by Tyler (new)

Tyler | 21 comments Mod
I have a three hour plane ride tomorrow, so I'll probably bust out another 100 pages or so. I'll be anxious to share what I think at that point.

message 8: by Max (new)

Max | 2 comments Hey I like Jamie!! well sort of... Either way great series

message 9: by Askavi (last edited Jan 19, 2009 07:50AM) (new)

Askavi (courtney47) | 21 comments Re-posted from the forums:

The GRRM books (Song of Ice and Fire) are well written, no question, but I found them to be very tedious and depressing. I had to be in a certain mood to read them, and it took me a lot longer to finish them than I thought it would. I didn't really care that much about the characters except one (Danny), and she's not in the story nearly enough to make me excited for the next book. Oh and there isn't much magic in them. Not much magic, and a lot of gratuitous violence.

P.S. I did warm up to Jamie a bit by the end of the 4th book. His weird freaky bitchy sister needs to die a thousand deaths tho.

message 10: by Max (new)

Max | 2 comments Yes Jamie's psycho sister does need to die a lot. But then again a lot of people need to die imo but I won't say who so I don't spoil anything.

message 11: by Tyler (new)

Tyler | 21 comments Mod
How is it that you guys start to like Jaime Lannister? He frikkin' threw an innocent seven year old OFF A BUILDING!

message 12: by Katyana (new)

Katyana | 6 comments Have you read all of them that are out so far? I certainly hated him early on, but by the most recent books...

message 13: by Tyler (new)

Tyler | 21 comments Mod
No, I'm still on Book one. Hopefully I can get through it at the Mistborn book of the month before February . . . maybe I should play less WoW!

message 14: by Irie (new)

Irie (irie_k) | 8 comments SSShhhh...let the folks who are on book one make up their own minds. I'm just curious as to how they react to the events as they unfold. =))

message 15: by Foomy (new)

Foomy | 6 comments I'll just say that when he started adding POV chapters of some people, I thought he made a terrible decision, but later completely changed my mind. Some of the characters you thought you'd never want to read about in detail are fascinating.

message 16: by Cormack (new)

Cormack A hundred pages in or so on this and so far I'm not entranced. I do like the fact that it's a dangerous medieval world where people actually, you know, die. I'm just hoping the parts that remind me of old European History courses don't form the dominant "action" of the book.

message 17: by Tyler (new)

Tyler | 21 comments Mod
Cormack wrote: "A hundred pages in or so on this and so far I'm not entranced. I do like the fact that it's a dangerous medieval world where people actually, you know, die. I'm just hoping the parts that remind ..."

Hmm. You've basically summarized the book right there, imo.

message 18: by Askavi (new)

Askavi (courtney47) | 21 comments ^ This.

Also, there is a difference between having characters die in a story as part of the plot, and what happens in these books. Usually the characters' deaths are pretty pointless, and seem to only be added for shock value. If it IS some intricate plot plan, it hasn't been revealed in the first 4 (extremely thick) books, which would be a poor way to go about a story this long and involved IMO.

message 19: by Foomy (new)

Foomy | 6 comments I can't off the top of my head think of a single major death that seemed to be included only for shock value. Sure, some of them were utterly horrifying at the time, but they severely affect the surviving characters and their actions/motivations in the future. I won't go into any more detail this thread since it seems to be of the spoiler-free variety but I can do private messages if anyone is interested.

Cormack, it took me more than a hundred pages to really become enamored with the books. There is really a lot of setup going on in the first half of book one, but once the political players are established and you get to know the more interesting characters (like, not so much Catelyn, for instance..), it becomes more interesting to follow. That's how it happened for me anyway.

message 20: by Askavi (last edited Mar 12, 2009 09:12AM) (new)

Askavi (courtney47) | 21 comments Two examples jump immediately to my mind. But I won't spoil anything! And it's not just the deaths that are pointless, I think a lot of the other violence in the books is unnecessary also. These stories are kind of like Wicked was to me... the author tries to be profound or something, but all he ends up doing is writing a depressing book.

GRRM is obviously a technically gifted author - he pretty fully develops his characters (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL of them), the world is interesting and beautifully described (including a rich history) - it's just the story is lacking IMO. I don't find political maneuvering as the majority of the action to be that engaging in a story of this magnitude, especially when nothing made me go 'HOLY SHIT!!!111 I DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING!'. I don't mean to stay that I anticipated the whole story, but I was so disinterested while reading that when something mildly exciting DID finally happen, it didn't really even matter. I was like "Oh, that's different', and moved on. Or, 'Oh, another character died, ho hum'. There's so many gristly scenes of violence and depression that after about the first half of the first book, it doesn't register. The only thing that kept me reading through the other books (other than the fact that I got them as a present so I didn't have to buy them), was reading Danny's story, which probably only has about 150-200 pages total throughout the first 3 books. (She doesn't even appear in the 4th book.) Now THAT is the truly depressing thing about these novels!

Obviously the books have a huge fan base, and I'm not saying it's undeserved. For me, however, they just weren't anything near what I expected from all the hype, and I was very disappointed. I'm really hoping the 5th book (whenever that eventually shows up) picks up the pace quadruple time, and 3/4 of it is about Danny. Oh, another good thing about these books - it won't matter that there's such long time periods in between books, because you will easily be able to remember what has happened. It's kinda like a soap opera!

message 21: by Katyana (new)

Katyana | 6 comments Huh. Well, we clearly just have wildly different taste. Pretty much everything you just said, Askavi, I violently disagree with. But would take all that criticism and apply it pretty much word for word to the Mistborne series that most of y'all seemed to like so much.

So, yeah. Different taste, I guess.

message 22: by Askavi (last edited Mar 12, 2009 11:47PM) (new)

Askavi (courtney47) | 21 comments Wow, that's really surprising to me, Kat. I think the Song books are on a completely different level than Mistborn, not the least reason being that one of them is an epic spanning God-knows-how-many books, and the other is a trilogy. I would imagine the way one goes about writing in those two categories is pretty different, so I don't think a lot of my criticisms of the GRRM books be as much of a concern with a trilogy, certainly not a well-written one. For example, political maneuvering as the main focus of the story, backed up by a spattering of action, I think can be done well in a trilogy (the Kushiel's Legacy trilogy being a great example). For an epic like the Song books, it's just too thin to stand up to 5+ books worth of material without some explanation and large sequences of serious action (which I feel is lacking, obviously you don't so it is probably just a personal taste thing like you said).

That's one of the things I thought Sanderson did excellently with Mistborn, and GRRM could have benefited from, was each book had it's own conclusion. Some of the big questions of the book were answered, but new ones were added to the readers' questions about the overarching storyline so as to keep them interested and eagerly awaiting the next books. With the GRRM books, it just feels like I have a mountain of questions accumulated over 4 books, with very little answers, or even clues, about the MAIN storyline (basically, what danger is this world facing?). After 4 books, I feel like it shouldn't still be as nebulous as it is at the end of A Feast for Crows.

That's just one example, but there are definitely others. Also I'm really surprised that you thought the violence/death/depression/whathaveyou in Mistborn was less acceptable than the GRRM books. Some of the things I read in those books actually made me stop reading them for a day or two (not because I was particularly upset at what happened, but just because I thought it was ridiculous and didn't care to read any more just then). Oh, and some scenes just made me squirm uncomfortably, which I don't really enjoy in either movies or books.

I'd be interested in what other people who've read some or all of these books have to say about this!

message 23: by Andrew (new)

Andrew | 2 comments I must say, Kat, that I'm also very surprised to hear that. I should start with a disclaimer, though: I haven't read this series, and I can only go by what people have said here.

Regarding Askavi's comments which you believe apply to the Mistborn books, I can understand some of them. For example, there were pretty heavy hints about nearly every surprise, so I can understand if nothing really shocked you. Also, there was a fair bit of political maneuvering, so I can understand if that's not really your thing.

But one that I can't understand at all is that of the level of violence, gruesomeness and depression. The Mistborn trilogy was all but devoid of these things in my eyes, with the most horrific thing being a small instant of torture and a brief period of hopelessness. There were relatively few deaths(Hell, even *Harry Potter* had more primary character deaths, no?), and the action seemed to me to be fairly consistent.

Long story short, imo, the Mistborn series had a good blend of political intrigue and action, and had violence/depression on nowhere near the scale of, say, the Sword of Truth series, which I'm told the GRRM books are much, much worse than.

message 24: by Katyana (new)

Katyana | 6 comments Hmm. Well, I feel uncomfortable getting too much into a detailed comparison, because it would be relatively bursting with spoilers from people who are still reading either of the series.

Obviously the 2 series have a ton of differences. But firstly, to address Andrew's "There were relatively few deaths" you could also validly say that there were relatively few characters in the Mistborn series, comparatively. So while there was a lesser body count, there were significantly fewer characters that I cared about. Suffice it to say, I found Mistborn to have equally heart-wrenching segments. I cried my eyes out with both series.

I also heavily disagree with Askavi's assessment on the plot of GRRM's series. Specifically, "With the GRRM books, it just feels like I have a mountain of questions accumulated over 4 books, with very little answers, or even clues, about the MAIN storyline" - maybe, because I liked it better than you, I read it more closely than you did. But I feel like I have a very solid idea of what is going on, and feel confident in my theories of how things will play out. That isn't to say that there won't be surprises, but the arc is solid, and the spine of the series is concrete. I know where its going, and I have a pretty good idea of where it will end up. I know a couple of the huge revelations that have been, imo, heavily alluded to and/or foreshadowed. I think that its a brilliantly complicated and intricate plot.

Which, again, is why I think its probably more a matter of personal taste.

message 25: by Knecht (new)

Knecht | 3 comments Just a quick point about ASoIF... I remember reading somewhere that Book 4 was actually supposed to contain the storylines from Book 4 as well as from (the unreleased) Book 5, since as GRRM was writing it, he realized that there was too much for a single book. Book 4 definitely was considerably more meandering and unresolved than the previous 3 books.

Also, it strikes me that the political intrigue in the books is much less about the cat-and-mouse, now-the-tables-have-turned! type intrigue, and much more about meticulously crafted revenge. Again, its been a while since I've read them, but almost every character in the book is either seeking revenge against some other person/force, or dying from somebody else's vengeance, basically resulting in epic, multilayered, Hatfield/McCoy-ish drama. The drive of the plot is, to me, watching each revenge dynamic being built up, collide with somebody else's schemes, and spawn newer dynamics in their dust in a tradgedic (in the King Lear-ean sense) kind of way.

message 26: by Cormack (new)

Cormack Hmm, so I got another 100 pages or so into Game of Thrones and it's picking up some. I think trying to keep up with all the various houses and intrigues was just too much, and plowing through and just paying attention to stuff that interests me is proving more fruitful.

message 27: by Foomy (new)

Foomy | 6 comments Cormack wrote: "Hmm, so I got another 100 pages or so into Game of Thrones and it's picking up some. I think trying to keep up with all the various houses and intrigues was just too much, and plowing through and ..."

For me it seemed that things moved much quicker after about half of the first book was done, even the political stuff. It takes a while to introduce so many players.

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