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A Song of Ice & Fire Discussion


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#1 of 40 OFFLINE   James_Kiang

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Posted June 19 2003 - 04:49 AM

Quick preface - this will be an open discussion of the series. Use of spoiler tags will not be required. For those of you who have not read this series yet, I sincerely urge you to leave the thread and get those books! Posted Image

#2 of 40 OFFLINE   James_Kiang

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Posted June 19 2003 - 04:52 AM

So, as I mentioned in the Reading Frenzy thread, I have just finished the series. It looks like I did guess correctly about Lysa's involvement in the death of Jon Arryn. It'll be interesting to see where things go from here.

Julie - Where did you get that spoiler about A Feast for Crows? I do need to check out that discussion board now that I won't regret it.

Also, what was the translation of valar morghalis? I know it was mentioned once in the second book and at least once in the third, but it's slipping my mind right now.

#3 of 40 OFFLINE   Julie K

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Posted June 19 2003 - 05:16 AM

That spoiler for AFfC came from a short novella published in Dragon Magazine. It will be in the book and it deals with the Iron Islands. There are other spoilers there based on chapter readings by Martin. I've read them since I'm sure AFfC will be big and full of other wonderful and surprising things.

Valar morghulis - Dany and a couple of other characters mention that it's Old Valyrian for "All men must die." A pretty good motto for a group of assassins.
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#4 of 40 OFFLINE   James_Kiang

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Posted June 19 2003 - 05:41 AM

Cool, thanks. I'm looking at that message board now, currently going through the collected responses by Martin. I'll have to get to the regular message board soon Posted Image.

#5 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted June 19 2003 - 04:03 PM

This is, in my opinion, the best modern fantasy, being written or already completed.

It's in a league of it's own, literally astounding. an incredible amazing series. But it's hard to praise even specifics in the novels that make them so great. It's the atmosphere, the sense of a functioning world Martin perfectly captures. There's a dark side to it, it's gritty and daring, but there is also the sense of hope although it is slight. The villians are so well drawn with completely reasoned motivations (none of this bwahaha nonsense) that you practically care for them almost as much as the heroes. This is going to make the last few books difficult because as all these opposing perspectives come together readers are going to have to take sides over whether they will join one perspective or the other over who is the hero and who is the villian. Certainly the heroes of the series are clearly drawn, but they often act very unheroic. Ned Stark, the noble man of the 'good' family--the patriarch--was a leading rebel against a 300 year established government, he has a bastard son, and isolates his 'kingdom' and family from the rest of the world. They believe in all the embarrassing ancient customs, and scrupulously follow a system of honor and honesty. Yet the first book ends with this patriarch--hero--compromising his values. Something 'true' heroes never do in normal fantasy.

That's just one example of what it is that makes these books so astounding. Their ambiguity, the sense of off-balance that things may not work out for the best, and that every event is opent to negotiation by the author.

Great stuff, and R+L=J

There's really no discussion going on now, so I just jotted that pseudo review/impression of the series down.

While not quite on the same caliber (just a notch below it, IMO) there are a few other modern fantasists whose series are compelling and enjoyable (downright great in many cases) that do wonderful and unique things with the genre, using it's possibilities instead of just imitating what Tolkien and Tolkien imitators have done.

Memory Sorrow and Thorn - Tad Williams.
Excellent series, but it has the amazing ability of being able to put down the book at any time, pick it up months later and not have missed anything by leaving the series' world (I did this with green angel tower). That's not an insult but a compliment, the characters and events stayed with me, and I eventually finished the book out of curiousity as to how things worked out (very different than my expectations!) I'm also doing this right now with Williams science fantasy series Otherland, which seems to have a running theme about the nature of why we tell stories, but unfortunately some evil person is holding the last two books well past their due date at the library and I've not finished the series I began back in December, leaving off after finishing the third part of the third book. I do recommend shopping online for a used hardcover of To Green Angel Tower, as despite it's immense size it was very nice to have the entire book in one volume.

The Farseer Series, THe Liveship Traders series, The Tawny Man series by Robin Hobb.

Hobb is doing something marvelously distinct here. She's created a world, and tells different stories in it that take place in different times and different places but also will connect back to each other. Farseer is intimate and personal, the first novel has an incredible closing line. and the series ends on an amazing note.
Liveship Traders sprawls very different in style and tone from Farseer. It also features the best villian I've ever read, just edging out some of the possibilities from Martin's series. There are characters here that you will absolutely hate and want to skip over, but these characters develop, they change, they're dynamic. By the end of the series Malta had become a positively favorite character, and even her father garnered some sympathy.
Tawny Man (I've only read the first) is my favorite of any of her stuff so far, and for the life of me I can't remember why. I do remember there was one scene where I was just utterly floored, an incredible moment, and I can't remember what it was other than that I had an extremely strong reaction to it, I'll be rereading this and the second novel very soon.



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#6 of 40 OFFLINE   Tony_P

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Posted June 19 2003 - 04:07 PM

I absolutely love this series. I was getting rundown on "doorstop" epic fantasy (ie. WOT), but this series rekindled the love...

If you like political intrigue and authors who aren't afraid to
kill off their characters
, definitely give these books a read. Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
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#7 of 40 OFFLINE   Marshall Alsup

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Posted June 19 2003 - 05:06 PM

Quote:
Great stuff, and R+L=J


Oh yeah!! I think R+L=J*, but the question is.... Who knows about it?

The theory I subscribe to is that Howland Reed is the one who knows. He was with Ned when he found Lyanna(sp?). I think between that and the Bran storyline the Reeds are going to play a strong part in the rest of the series.

I'm also very interested to see where Tyrion (my favorite character) goes, and what happens to him. He's pretty screwed in Westeros.

I think Sansa is going to learn the Game of Thrones VERY WELL from Littlefinger. I'm glad she's with him!

I HOPE HOPE HOPE that the Hound (my second favorite character) is still alive. The hound is such a complicated awesome character. I want to see him join the Brothers Without Banners group. I think he'd fit in well there, although I'm not sure how Un-Catelyn will react to him.

More to come!!
-Marshall

* --
R+L=J is a theory that many people who have read the book series believe (I am among them). It states that Jon is in fact a Taryargan. This is because he is the offspring of Rhaegar and Lyanna. Her plea to Ned on her deathbed was "Promise me, Ned". Many think this was to take her son Jon and care for him. If Jon is a Targ, he could be one of the three proficied by Rhaegar to lead the Targs back to power. Many think the relationship between R+J was not rape as thought in the book, but in fact forbidden love, and Jon is the offspring of that. Note also that if Jon is Targ and Stark, that he is Ice and Fire.......

Well thats just...like...your opinion man

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#8 of 40 OFFLINE   Max Knight

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Posted June 20 2003 - 02:12 AM

I've hooked my whole family on this series, even though most of them don't like fantasy. It is amazin!

I agree on the R + L = J. I also thing that Howland Reed knows, especially given his tale of the tourney.

It's painful waiting for the next book! Does anyone know where I can read the story that was in the Dragon magazine? I didn't get a chance to track down a copy Posted Image
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#9 of 40 OFFLINE   James_Kiang

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Posted June 20 2003 - 04:46 AM

I'm going to have to re-read this series again soon Posted Image. I didn't even think of the R+L=J thing until I saw it mentioned here and on another website. Plus I'm sure there is a lot more foreshadowing and all that I can find.

One thing I came across on that other board was that Martin was toying with a 5 year gap between ASoS and AFfC. He did seem to be going back and forth on that idea though. Anyone have a better idea if there is going to be such a time difference? It was also mentioned that AFfC will start with a funeral. I'm thinking if he abandoned that 5 year idea, this would probably be Lysa's funeral.

#10 of 40 OFFLINE   Marshall Alsup

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Posted June 20 2003 - 04:54 AM

Quote:
Anyone have a better idea if there is going to be such a time difference


From what I understand, A Dance with Dragons was to be the next book, and it was going to take place 5 years from the end of ASoS. However, while writing it, Martin was using flashbacks a lot to mention things that happened during that period. He decided that it was getting too tedious and so he started work on A Feast for Crows, which will deal with those 5 years.

What I wonder is if thats the case, then perhpas the wait between AFfC and ADwD will not be so long since he's already written some of ADwD. Posted Image

Max, I've sent you a PM.

-Marshall
Well thats just...like...your opinion man

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#11 of 40 OFFLINE   James_Kiang

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Posted June 20 2003 - 06:06 AM

Marshall,
If you are PM'ing Max about what I think you are, feel free to PM me as well Posted Image.

One good thing about having just been introduced to the series is that I haven't been waiting over two years for the 4th book Posted Image. Of course, I am waiting, but maybe it will be just a matter of months...

OK, here's a specualtion question: Will the surviving Starks ever be reunited? If so, what will their reaction be to unCat?

#12 of 40 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted June 20 2003 - 06:58 AM

Someone once asked Martin when we'd meet Howland Reed, and I think he said then that it wouldn't be until the book after _A Dance with Dragons_, then the fifth book, _The Winds of Winter_ (so we probably won't meet him until book six now.

A Feast For Crows will have quite a long timeframe, I believe, there's supposedly a nearly 200 page prologue section that takes place in Dorne where no perspective characters are, and the rest of the book most of the characters will be on their own. There are two more new perspectives in the book, one of which will open the book ala Jaime in A Storm of Swords. The funeral it opens with is Tywins. There will only be a handful of Arya, Bran, and Dany chapters as they are 'in-training' and were the main reason for the five year gap in the first place. Remember that Dany is only about 16-17, Arya about 13 and Bran 11-12 as the book starts.


I used to think that the Starks would all come together for a giant powerful attack on the evil side. Now I"m inclined to believe that they'll never unite, to the point where I wouldn't be surprised if Arya is given Jon and or Dany as an assignment and is so warped that Jon has to kill her in the final book. Sansa will never be able to mend ways with Arya, and probably only an extremely uneasy truce with Jon. noone but Jon will ever know his true heritage, and noone will ever discover the truth behind Ned's 'confession' (although some will refuse to believe it happened). Jon will have to make a choice between his duties on the wall and joining forces with Dany, and probably will refuse to become the third head, royally screwing the prophecies up, whose likelyhood of coming out completely true I'm beginning to suspect, or at least in a dramatically different way than we expect. IMO Bran is the biggest wildcard of the entire series. He has the possibility of becoming something of a wizard, accessing the ancient magics awakened by the Dragons and Direwolves (the Dragons may have closed the book, making an unexpected reappearance, but the Direwolves opened it with just an unexpected reappearance after I believe an even longer absence). He'll undoubtably tie himself to Jon and will likely be the bridge between him and Sansa if Sansa ends up on or near the throne that will unite the north and the south against Dany and the Others. But my guess is that Bran will be like his father, he'll try to stay on the outside of all the games for the thrones and be the conscious that is reminding people of the need to fight the others and not each other. MOre of a herald of Doom than a powerful warrior. [/spoiler]

One thing I think is interesting is something a friend of mine mentioned in regards to the others. The others are very much like the mideval fear of elves, not the malicious little guys of mid/northern europe, but the inhuman demons the celts feared. This guy mentioned that the others could very well be an incarnation of the ancient elves, a series where elves are not the misunderstood, separate/aloof/majestic, or persecuted by humans elves that Tolkien redefined--but a genuine enemy bent on the destruction of humanity: Ice demons if you will, sorta like the bad guys in Memory Sorrow and Thorn.

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#13 of 40 OFFLINE   Michael Warner

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Posted June 20 2003 - 08:59 AM

This is indeed the finest fantasy series to come along in a very long time. I almost never re-read books as I'm always swamped with new titles but I've read this series twice and am about to start on my third go-around as I want to have the facts straight in my mind before Book 4 hits the shelves.
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#14 of 40 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted April 09 2007 - 02:35 AM

Rather than highjacking the book thread further, I thought I would ressurrect this one:

What do you guys think of A Feast for Crows?

No spoilers please. Having just finished A Storm of Swords, I am where you guys were 4 years ago when this thread was alive.

I ask because it seems to be a holdover volume for book 5. My understanding is that nothing much happens and half of our characters are MIA. Now I intend to read this eventually, I am just wondering if it wouldn't be better to wait for book 5 release (or at least a set date) before proceeding. Contrarly to 1 and 2, I am quite comfortable with how 3 ends. There is no closure of course, but there are no huge dangling questions or cliffhangers either like wondering what happens to Arya at the end of book 1, or whether Tyrion will live at the end of book 2. Some characters actually reach a somewhat comfortable destination for once (Jon, Deanerys, maybe Sansa), even if temporary.

BTW, the detailed map of AFfC is MUCH missed in the earlier volumes, it should have been there as early as the second book. I would often go to the map and wish I could get a better sense of Arya's wandering for instance. But then again, we are no better off in that regard than her, which may be the point.

I've not actually started this one yet, just flipped thru the get a sense of the POV characters...

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H

#15 of 40 OFFLINE   Joe D

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Posted April 09 2007 - 03:55 AM

Actually, think of A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons to be one book. Both books contain only half of the characters, so they are both 1/2 part of the story.

I didn't like the book as much as the first 3, but that could be due to only get 1/2 of the picture, as well as myself forgetting what was going on so I couldn't remember who some of the characters were, etc. It has been a while since I read the first 3 books so I can't remember everything (or much at all other than the main points, I also have been reading other fantasy series so I'm kinda confused with plot points and characters because they are all mixed up in my brain now). Tyrion is my favorite character so he was missed.

I wouldn't say anything doesn't happen though, but you'll need to read to find out. The last 1/2 of the book is great, lots of activity happening.

I wish Martin would write more, if you read his blog it sounds like he is doing all these comic book appearances, working on his house, reading books and watching movies, and he is always complaining about himself not writing as much as he would like to. The series isn't going to write itself.

#16 of 40 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted April 23 2007 - 03:20 AM

I am in the middle of A feast for Crows. A definite and unfortunate drop in quality.

I am still reading because I am addicted to that universe, but the current story lines are far less compelling than everything before. It is as if there were a lull in the story. The Iron Island stuff is so boring I find myself resisting the temptation to skip those chapters. I would never of course, but I shouldn't be feeling this way.

The biggest problem is this set of new throw away characters about which I care very little. I understand that GRRM struggled to put the 4th book together, and ended up splitting it in two, this beeing the first half.

An even split would have been welcome, but when the vast majority of the characters which have our emotional investment just vanish (Arya! Jon! Dany! Bran! Tyrion!), we have a serious problem. At least we still have Jaime, Cercei and Brienne POV. But compare to the previous list and it's easy to see where the meat of the story resides.

Way too much time being spent on unknowns.

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H

#17 of 40 OFFLINE   Joe D

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Posted April 27 2007 - 05:26 AM

http://www.sffworld.com/forums/

This is a great Fantasy / SciFi book forum, Martin has his own section here.

Going back and reading all the info posted there makes me want to read this series again, but I've got others to read in the mean time.

I just wish Martin would write FASTER....

#18 of 40 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted April 27 2007 - 05:49 AM

Slowly going thru AFfC. The Jaime chapters are fun. The rest, meh... even Cersei's can get dissapointingly dull. Don't get me started on the one chapter wonders (The Soiled Knight, the Prophet.. pfah).

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H

#19 of 40 OFFLINE   Scott McGillivray

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Posted April 27 2007 - 05:23 PM

Huge fan of the series. Have re-read it many times and still discover new things or put plot pieces together that just never occurred to me before.

My one nagging question that I hope you guy can help me with is The Wall.

Now, that sucker is supposed to be 700 feet high. That is roughly the same as a 70 storey building. I simply cannot comprehend how, during the battle with the Wildlings, they were shooting arrows at the top of the wall. The fake guards that were getting peppered with arrows on the wall...I just dont get that. No bow could shoot an arrow that high. Heck, a standard gun would be tricky. Also, they were yelling at each other from top to the bottom of the wall. How? I live on only the 18th floor of my building and there is no way I could yell something to someone on the ground that they would make out.

So, have I misunderstood how The Wall is built or is there something else going on???
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#20 of 40 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted April 27 2007 - 05:35 PM

Posted Image

Though I am not done with A Feast for Crows, I have gone back and re-read a great many chapters of A Game of Thrones. It's difficult to articulate how much richer the experience is this time around. The meticulous planning... I do not doubt for a single second that GRRM knew how it all ended long before he wrote the first sentence.

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H





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