Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

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thacon
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Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by thacon » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:19 am

I just finished book five. Anyone else read the series and want to discuss?
I enjoyed books 1-3 immensely, but 4 and 5 seemed like a chore. I think my biggest issue was that Martin spent the first couple of books firmly establishing the Stark family as the main characters, but then spent thousands of pages setting up, developing, and then killing other characters without going back to the Starks. It definitely reads like he didn't have a long term plan when he first started writing the books.

I also have no idea where he's going to go with book 6. Pretty much everyone I care about is dead or abandoned at this point and I think he wasted the character of Rob Stark. There was a lot of potential to set up rival kingdoms in the north and south, but instead you didn't hear anything about Rob for an entire book and then he got murdered.

Catelyn is still out there, but I'm not even sure what she is at this point.

Ricken is alive, but I haven't heard from him in 2500 pages and he has had zero character development.

Bran is alive, but I'm not sure how his story line fits back into the story. I'm thinking Martin doesn't know either, which is why Bran seems to drop out.

Sansa is alive, but her character has always been pretty shallow and I don't know what role she has left to play.

Arya was my favorite character pretty much start to finish. I would read an Arya spin off novel.

I spent the first 3.5 books complaining that Daenerys was too angsty and devoid of content, then enjoyed her plot line for all too brief of a period before she seemed to stall out again. Having her march on Westeros with her dragons would have been far more interesting than having her sit in Mereen for an entire book essentially twiddling her thumbs.

So... those were all complaints, but I really did enjoy the books over all. I think he did a great job of establishing the world, but it just feels like so much wasted potential.

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Re: Game of Thrones

Post by lotsofphil » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:38 am

I finished it a few months ago so don't remember everything super freshly:
On Rob, pretty much the entire series has been killing people who you wouldn't normally expect to die.

On the rest of the Stark family, I agree with you. Sansa is a non-entity, as is Ricken (I thought it was Rickard?). Arya is cool. I liked Bran's story and have an idea of how he comes back in.

Daenerys chapters have been my least favorite throughout the series. I'll be reading, engrossed, wanting to read "just one more" chapter. Then it says "Daenerys" for the title. Bed time.

Something that strikes me as odd/unexplained/?? is the role of magic in the books. At the start it is essentially nonexistent. Then things start to happen like shapeshifting, the pyromancers being better at making their fire-oil stuff, the dragons coming back, Bran becoming whatever he's becoming, the assassins cult/death cult stuff, the prologue of book 5 (4?) in the Maester's city, the Others, the knight and the Stark mom being resurrected, etc. So lots of independent events which should be very intriguing. Unless I misunderstood the state of things at the start, any one of these events should be like "whoah, wtf is happening? that kind of magic doesn't really exist here/hasn't existed in ages." But that's never the reaction. There's never any reaction. Maybe some of that is that the author is sparse with that kind of writing. I have to think that it (the reintroduction of magic into the realm) will be fleshed out at some point/become more central to some plot lines. The fact that it hasn't been bothers me.
Maybe just edit the thread title so we don't need spoiler tags any more?

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by thacon » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:04 pm

That's a good point about the magic. All the characters seem to know the history of their world and the role of dragons, giants, wights, etc., but believe them to be things not seen for thousands of years. Even if they're not "whoah, wtf is happening?" you'd think they'd still have strong reactions. Jon doesn't seem at all surprised by Melisandre's ability to make Manse appear as rattleshirt, for example.

I think a pretty decent indicator of where the series began going downhill is when Martin switched the chapter naming convention. It seemed like chapters title Bran, Catelyn, etc. were better than The Turncloak, The King's Prize, etc.

Rickon is Ned's son. Ned is Rickard's son. Not to be confused with Rickard Karstark, who was beheaded by Rob.

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by Eevilcat » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:16 pm

I'm currently a couple of hundred pages into Book 5, part 1 so will most likely join the discussion a bit later. I'm pretty good at spoilering myself though by looking at the updated court/house appendices in later books ahead of reading an earlier book. :lol:

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by Ceirdwyn » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:44 pm

I finished a few months ago but what was a lasting impression is that I think that Martin has no idea what story he is telling exactly.

Building up characters just to kill them before they have done anything relevant to the story. Sending other characters first here then there without apparent reason, starting interesting plots just to drop them. A couple of times I was very short of flinging the book into a corner out of frustration and leaving it lie there, especially after killing Rob in that somehow offhand matter.

As for the books themselves I agree with thacon that 1-3 read pretty well. Four was flat out boring - it felt like he took the most uninteresting characters, put all the unnecessary side-plots into one book and force the reader through it before coming back to the interesting ones (Danaerys, Tyrion) in the fifth book, but running out of fuel halfway through again. All very fustration and confusing from a storytelling perspective - but also utterly unpredictable which makes it interesting reading again.

While we are at it: who joins the theory that Jon Snow is actually Lyanna Starks son? (I wonder if will it ever matter/be revealed in future books)

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by top1214 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:57 pm

I started the series soon after A Feast for Crows hit paperback, and before the HBO series.

Somewhere in the 6 year gap (which he said would be a one year gap at the end of Feast for Crows), I forgot to much. I almost refuse to get back into it.

But damn if the first three weren't fabulous.

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by thacon » Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:06 pm

Ceirdwyn wrote:While we are at it: who joins the theory that Jon Snow is actually Lyanna Starks son? (I wonder if will it ever matter/be revealed in future books)
I kept waiting for a reveal on that plot point, but in the end I guess it didn't matter. (Unless Jon really isn't dead, or comes back a la Catelyn or Benjen (is Benjen blackhands?))

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by Ceirdwyn » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:17 am

thacon wrote:I kept waiting for a reveal on that plot point, but in the end I guess it didn't matter. (Unless Jon really isn't dead, or comes back a la Catelyn or Benjen (is Benjen blackhands?))
I am pretty sure that Benjen is Blackhands. I am wondering the same about Jon - it would be pointless to just plain out kill him but Martin has done that before.

On the other hand there is Melisandre near so a way to "save" him would be there...

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by Raccoon » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:24 pm

Ceirdwyn wrote:I am pretty sure that Benjen is Blackhands. I am wondering the same about Jon - it would be pointless to just plain out kill him but Martin has done that before.

On the other hand there is Melisandre near so a way to "save" him would be there...
I don't believe that a viewpoint narrator character has ever died in his or her own chapter, with the exception of Catelyn, but then, she's not really dead. That one dumb prince (Quentyn?) who tried to free Dany's dragons did get toasted in his own chapter, but his death is reported in the following chapter. Given that, and the fairly strong implication of his true lineage, I'd be stunned if Jon Snow really is dead.

For what it's worth, I found #4 to be far preferable to #5, but then that's because I can't stand the Dany storyline. It seems like she's supposed to be some kind of eye candy for the reader, but (1) we can't see what she looks like; and (2) she's just a teenager, which makes the idea of ogling her pretty creepy.
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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by Ceirdwyn » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:52 am

Raccoon wrote:For what it's worth, I found #4 to be far preferable to #5, but then that's because I can't stand the Dany storyline. It seems like she's supposed to be some kind of eye candy for the reader, but (1) we can't see what she looks like; and (2) she's just a teenager, which makes the idea of ogling her pretty creepy.
Hehe - I guess I got influenced by having seen season 1 of the series before reading the books and the actor of Dany in the series is damn good looking ;)

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by Suendenbock » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:24 pm

I love the series. It is awesome. I think I pretty much read all five books in the span of a month or so. Then I started watching the TV series. And now I have to wait until March for the Tv series and hope that the next book will come out in the next five years? .....sighhhh.

On all the comments concerning book four and five, I simply think the world he started to construct is becoming to big. I have noticed the same thing with other fantasy authors they start small and the series is great and the bigger it gets the "worse" it gets as well. That is just my own opinion feel free to disagree,

I was left unimpressed by last two books, but devoured them nonetheless. I have also had similar feelings to others in this thread, Dany's chapters are lame and there is a lot of dead space in both books. Towards the end I also started to hate reading the Cersei chapter's. And what's up with a Targaryen prince showing up that has NEVER EVER been mentioned before hand!

Now for a little bit of theory crafting, I think Jon Snow is going to be saved by Meliandre. Rickon is taken out of the story so he can come back and do something cool later on. I can see Bran having some sort of larger influence through his magic.

One character I hated and have come to like it is Jaime and Tyrion, and Sansa might just be the most badass in the whole storyline!

That is all for now. I am sure there is more when I think of it later.

Ps. FUCKING Brienne chapters are soooo boring!

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by thacon » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:21 pm

Suendenbock wrote:and Sansa might just be the most badass in the whole storyline!
Typo?

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by Raccoon » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:57 pm

thacon wrote:
Suendenbock wrote:and Sansa might just be the most badass in the whole storyline!
Typo?
Must be Arya.

Is it just me, or is there something vaguely misogynistic about Martin's story? Consider that most of the male characters are fairly well-developed, and even if flawed, have their virtues. It's pretty neat how Jamie Lannister is so awful at first and once he gets his hand chopped off, becomes likeable. Tyrion inspires pity and admiration about his clever wit (and is an interesting narrator to boot). Littlefinger, Bannister, et al. -- all interesting even as minor characters.

Now look at the female characters. Dany -- blah. Cersei -- totally annoying, not even interesting like Jamie. Sansa -- lame lame lame. Lisa Arryn -- freaky, and not interesting. Catelyn -- somewhat interesting, but in some ways, her impulsiveness in capturing Tyrion is what sets everything disastrous in motion.

The best female characters in my view are Arya and Brienne, but both of them are consciously anti-feminine.
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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by Suendenbock » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:04 am

WHupps yes Arya.... I hate Sansa =P

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by Ceirdwyn » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:27 am

Raccoon wrote:The best female characters in my view are Arya and Brienne, but both of them are consciously anti-feminine.
Brienne? Really?

I found her one of the most boring characters in the story - single-minded and in a way very very naive.

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by thacon » Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:16 am

Raccoon wrote:Is it just me, or is there something vaguely misogynistic about Martin's story?

It was less vague under the original title. A Game of Rape: A Song of Rape and Rape.

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by lotsofphil » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:51 am

It's world/setting is misogynistic. And that is reflected in the characters. Cersei's constant lament is that she wasn't born a man. I guess that is anti-women, but it is also true. She can't be a badass (or is severely limited) because she's female.

Maybe I am being too easy on the author, but it seems more consistent than malicious/stereotypical.

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by Ceirdwyn » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:52 pm

Raccoon wrote:Now look at the female characters. Dany -- blah. Cersei -- totally annoying, not even interesting like Jamie. Sansa -- lame lame lame. Lisa Arryn -- freaky, and not interesting. Catelyn -- somewhat interesting, but in some ways, her impulsiveness in capturing Tyrion is what sets everything disastrous in motion.
What about Melisandre? Ygritte? Olenna (the scheming Tyrell grandma)?

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by Eigenbasis » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:40 am

I don't understand the Sansa hate. Sure she was spoiled and bitchy at first, but once she got out of King's landing her storyline has been one of the best. I'm really hoping that she starts to engineer a coup in the Veil.
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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by arkohn » Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:28 pm

I'm also gonna advocate for Sansa. Her adventure isn't action-oriented, but it's still incredibly difficult, and her entire stay at King's Landing I think shows how she's just as strong as Arya. Her weapons are her courtesies and words though. The show Sansa is less interesting because you can't get inside her head, but in the books she frequently contemplates suicide (which I related to, maybe why I liked her more than most people), and I think it was just generally very interesting to see how she copes with relentless psychological trauma.

But yeah, obviously Arya is the coolest Stark and the best character in the entire fucking series.

EDIT: Also, if you're into fan theories like the Lyanna Stark = Jon's mom thing, the asoiaf subreddit has some incredible discussion about ridiculous theories, and sometimes they get hilarious (the time someone proposed a theory for Dragonglass being made of dragon feces).

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Re: Game of Thrones [contains spoilers]

Post by LeafyGreens » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:27 am

There's also the wonderful theory that Varys is a merman

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