A Dance with Dragons has released
By Winter Is Coming on in Books.

A Dance with DragonsAfter 2,075 days of waiting (longer if you live in the UK), we finally have a new A Song of Ice and Fire book to read. A Dance with Dragons has officially released in stores across the globe today.

In Europe, book stores have been selling Dance for a few hours, while on the East Coast the first wave of book store openings will be happening any minute now. For those who ordered online it is a waiting game, listening for that doorbell to ring signalling a package has arrived. And, of course, those with eReaders had everyone beat; they were able to download their copy late last night.

Use this thread to discuss your thoughts and reaction to the book. Tell us which of your crazy theories proved true and what new crazy theories you have developed based on the events of Dance. We won’t be requiring spoiler tags in the comments, so only venture into the comments if you have read the entire book!


761 Comments

  1. Rachel Smoot
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    According to my Kindle, I’m 14% the way through, and I literally cannot put it down. What’s even better is that GRRM has completely pissed me off yet, but actually had me doing a bit of a dance earlier.

  2. Rachel Smoot
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    And yes, I realize I haven’t finished yet, but this book is just too awesome to stay quiet about.

  3. Winter Is Coming
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    So it looks like I won’t be getting the book until Friday. So this is the last time I will be commenting in this thread until next week.

    But I just wanted to say that I have seen the dedication page and, yes, saw that myself and FaB were listed. A very cool gesture by George and I’m appreciative he thought to include us in his dedications. I’ve never had a book dedicated to me before!

    Although I am sad that he left out Hear Me Roar. I don’t fault George, it seems he only listed fans he has met in person. And he hasn’t had a chance to meet HmR yet, while FaB and I were lucky enough to have breakfast with him. But Marko has done a lot of great work here as well and should be commended. Hopefully HmR gets to meet George soon and maybe we can get him added to the dedication page for the paperback printing. :)

  4. Aerion
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I ordered it online the first day it was made avaiable from my country’s largest online shop, they they still hasn’t sent it cause appearanly it’s sold out -.- When Wise Man’s Fear was released earlier this year I tried the physical shops instead, when I got there it wasn’t in yet, when I returned 90 minutes later it was sold out. God I hate bookstores.

  5. Markus Finster
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I’m about 70 pages away from finishing it and I gotta say: It was well worth the wait.

  6. Harry
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Picked it up before work this morning, there was a good 10-15 people doing exactly the same too.

    Just back from spending my lunch sitting in the park reading the prologue/first chapter and so far its definitively not disappointing! I just wish I had had the time to re-read Feast before its release, struggling to remember where everything finished off when my last read through was over two years ago!

  7. Anvil
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Feels like the other half of AFFC. A lot of travelling, a couple of dragging parts (Daenerys, Tyrion) and some magic moments. Quite good, but no 2nd ASOS or even AGOT. But then again, I haven’t finished the book and maybe the last third will grant this clusterf%$/ of situation a small amount of actual forward momentum in the overall plot and a few game changers or revelations here and there.

  8. nap-Desaix
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    i was one of the few lucky ones that ordered the book on amzon.de and got it 2 weeks early;
    the book is fantastic, but i can’t believe it’s now waiting again;
    everyone get your own copy!! you`ll regret nothing more than to miss out on this story!!

  9. Xom
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I am one of the lucky few to have benefited by Amazon.de’s screw-up and received the book 2 weeks in advance.

    My verdict: Traditional slow build-up with quite some revelations and game changers in the last quarter. But still felt too much like AFFC to me, as if GRRM got lost in the world he created, never wanting to let go of it and subsequently introducing many new venues, characters (whom we haven’t gotten affectionate with) and subplots this late in the series.

    I devoured the book, wanting to know what happened next, so I assume I missed quite a bit of the nuance/prose that GRRM is known for. I saw a review saying you should enjoy the book like good wine, but you will end up devouring it as cheap beer. That is true, I guess, and I hope a second reading will make me fully enjoy this book. For now, I rank it slightly above AFFC, but below the other three books of the series.

    Now I just need to find a good page where all prophecies introduced in the four other parts are summarized. Guess that’d help appreciate more of the book…

  10. Adam Wing
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Damn right it is! My plans today: Wake up. Walk dog. Pick up my pre-bought copy. Read. Go to bed. (Step five will be optional.)

  11. Mouk
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Just want to say that I already bought it here in Barcelona, but as I’m a slow reader when it comes to books in english and I only had 20 mins in the train to read (didn’t even finish the prologue), I won’t read any of your comments for fear of spoilers!

  12. Tar Kidho
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Have fun to all those reading the Dance, and be sure to remain seated while reading at all times, ’cause you know how George loves to knock you off your feet! :-)

    (I’ll not read Dance for quite some time, so I am praying that all spoilers will be restricted here, and those spilling over to other threads will be appropriately tagged…)

  13. Rinoa De la Pica
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    Congrats, Wic. I’ve just read the dedication page and I felt so happy and proud for you and Fabio as if was a dedication for myself. Well, almost hehe.

    Anyway, cheers, HmR, we all love ya!!

  14. Alexander Dubrovsky
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    The book has magically appeared on my Kindle today at about 10:30 AM. local time. Too bad I have a ton of exams to grade before I can start reading it seriously (i.e. devoting all my waking time to reading the book).

  15. Shock Me
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    The pre-ordered copy from iBooks was on my iPad when I woke up very early this morning (i.e., shortly after everyone else heard last call). Very happy so far catching up with our favorite dwarf‘s adventures. Love Bran and Jon getting their warg on…

    Can we put Joff’s head on a stake and slap it some more mommy?

  16. purplejilly
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Tar Kidho: (I’ll not read Dance for quite some time, so I am praying that all spoilers will be restricted here, and those spilling over to other threads will be appropriately tagged…)

    I think WiC said that we CAN post spoilers here, because otherwise the thread would be an entire jumble of blacked out posts.

    I read the first four chapters last night, and want to gossip about a few things but I am waiting to make sure WiC says it is okay… s’okay to discuss what’s happening in the book, WiC?

  17. Ralph
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    “Use this thread to discuss your thoughts and reaction to the book. Tell us which of your crazy theories proved true and what new crazy theories you have developed based on the events of Dance. We won’t be requiring spoiler tags in the comments, so only venture into the comments if you have read the entire book!”
    I think that´s a clear enough information and warning. Those who venture beyond that without having read it all are only to blame themselves.

  18. d. edd
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Went to the store today to get my copy but couldnt because it was completely sold out. Sad but happy the book is doing well.

  19. Sekhmet
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Yeah, mine seems to be coming from Amazon on Saturday WIC (who won’t read this, but everyone has been very polite so far), so I may avoid here as well. Considering I pre-ordered it yesterday, and got free shipping, that’s not too shabby. I can wait.

    It’ll be a real treat for our resort trip to the hot springs next weekend!

  20. Tar Kidho
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    purplejilly: I think WiC said that we CAN post spoilers here, because otherwise the thread would be an entire jumble of blacked out posts.

    Yes, I know, that’s what I meant. And I did not read anything here – also not the second part of your post :)

  21. Shock Me
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    My only comment so far is that I’m happy a certain person is now receiving the tender hospitality of the Dreadfort .

  22. dizzy_34
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    That’s awesome! Congrats to you all (and take a bow too Hear Me Roar)!
    Like a lot of people I was spoiled on the end of this MF’er but still can’t wait to read how it comes about. Trip to Barnes and Noble over lunch for me and then I’m staying away from this topic for a while.

  23. Katie
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I have 32 chapters left of AFfC and it is KILLING ME. The book is just there, on my Kindle, waiting for me to finish. To everyone who is diving into the book now, have fun!

    *Edit: CONGRATS to WiC for the dedication. That’s quite an honor. :)

  24. purplejilly
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Ralph,

    Thanks Ralph!!
    Well, that being said..
    In Tyrion’s first chapter there was this one part that just hit me like a karate punch in the chest.. The way he goes around, so plaintively, asking everyone “Where do whores go?”
    It reminded me of after 9/11, I had a friend who died in the Pentagon, and her 4 yr old daughter would keep asking me “Where do Angels go?” because her Dad kept telling her that her Mommy was with the Angels now, and her daughter was determined to find these Angels, so she could find her Mom. *sob*

    And I tell you, it may seem a little silly when you read it, but Tyrion going around, like a child, asking everyone “Where do whores go?” almost made me cry. I do believe he is somewhat in shock about killing his Father, and is in shock about the truth regarding Tysha. And his wandering around with this child-like question is quite interesting.
    I wanted him to get back together with Sansa before, but now I want him to find Tysha again. Of course he never will. *sob*

    And Dany’s misbehaving dragon.. oohh, that was chilling!!

  25. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    I’ve had the book since Saturday (couldn’t tell anyone) and I’m 300 + pages in.

    I saw the dedication, and to tell the truth, I was dying to tell you, but I held my tongue so you could see it on your own.

    Congratulations!

    I’ve been thanked on many music albums before, so it must feel the same way, and it’s a pretty cool feeling!

  26. John W
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Happy GRRM Day everyone!

  27. clemintine
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Not going to peek at the other comments yet, since I’m still savoring Dance slowly. I’m about 1/2 way through and a slow reader. I was one of the lucky ones who got the book two weeks ago from amazon.de and I’m still not finished the wrist-snapping monster :p I waited 6 years for this, and it’s a blast so far!

    I was concerned it would come out over-edited, and that GRRM would worry at his prose to bits over the years. But it reads fresh and clean and awsome like it just fell out of his brain perfectly the first time. I can’t praise it more highly.

    First impression: wow, it’s finally a fantasy novel and you can’t forget it in this one. There is magic freaking everywhere now, it’s increasing exponentially, way more than in Feast. I can’t wait for even more mysteries to unfold. Will Bran and Melisandre have a mage showdown, old gods vs. her god? Will Dany be able to control her dragons? Is Drogon going to fly off to Aegon? I also wonder if Bran’s abilities to see the past will unveil the secret of Jon’s parentage to us, and if the tv series gets this far, will it open up the possibility for Sean Bean and others long departed to make cameos. Was the girl he saw beating a boy with a stick Lyanna?

    Who else thinks Mormont’s crow might be a warg?

    I have often puzzled over the symbolism of Lady’s death. Does it mean Sansa is doomed to die too? Now I think it means she is a Tully through and through, and not a Stark, and of all the Stark children she’s not a warg. Her fate is different than theirs. Fingers crossed.

    Though there is one thing I want to bring up, and I wonder if anyone else noticed it. (I’ll check back on this thread when I’m done reading). I just finished the (3rd?) Bran chapter, the one where he’s learning to be a green seer. For those of you who have read Robin Hobb’s Soldier Son trilogy, did anyone notice the striking similarity? Her series had dark with white dapples (she uses the exact same wording, dapples) on their skin indigenous people invaded by white people, who store their knowledge in trees. GRRM and Robin Hobb are fans of one another’s work (I don’t know if they’ve met in person or not). I wonder if GRRM kindof ripped her off, even unconsciously, in this regard. Or is he paying tribute to her the way her paid tribute to Robert Jordan in Feast. Thoughts?

    Also: Aegon alive? Woah! Did not see that one coming. Part of me cringed. GRRM, doing a missing heir? Blah I say, this is not supposed to be that kind of fantasy. But I’m not finished the book yet and know he’ll give the missing heir plotline a twist no other fantasy author has done because it’s GRRM.

  28. Nick Larter
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Picked mine up from the bookshop this morning – nice to see they prettified the maps – my AFFC had pretty crappy computer drawn maps in it! Read the prologue during lunch break

  29. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I am 300+ pages in.

    Ok, so WIC said no spoilers tags were required, so here goes: (read at your own risk, but I will be vague)

    Seems we have met the third head of the dragon. But I can’t tell yet whether it’s true, or if it’s an imposter. Anyone have any thoughts on this yet? I guess it could be a ruse, I don’t trust George yet.

    I don’t think I want someone who is farther along to actually tell me the answer just yet, just hoping to discuss this with anybody who is about the same place as me.
    Of course I can’t control what people post, haha.

  30. purplejilly
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    clemintine: I have often puzzled over the symbolism of Lady’s death. Does it mean Sansa is doomed to die too? Now I think it means she is a Tully through and through, and not a Stark, and of all the Stark children she’s not a warg. Her fate is different than theirs. Fingers crossed.

    I think you are right on that. I think Lady has died because Sansa does not really need her. It seems pretty clear that you are either born a warg or are not – there is no “learning the ways of the Warg”, like it’s the Force or something.
    Looks like Robert Baratheon was right again. “Get her a dog. She’ll be happier for it.” lol..

  31. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    purplejilly: I think you are right on that.I thinkLady has died because Sansa does not really need her.It seems pretty clear that you are either born a warg or are not – there is no “learning the ways of the Warg”, like it’s the Force or something.
    Looks like Robert Baratheon was right again. “Get her a dog.She’ll be happier for it.” lol..

    I think she didn’t get a chance to find out if she is a warg like her siblings. I do think Lady’s death meant she was doomed though.

  32. purplejilly
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    And can I just say I would love to have dinner at Illyrio Mopatis’ house! The food, the wine! GRRM knows how to make a reader hungry!!

    That food blog, the Inn at the Crossroads, is going to go to town with this book! I’m already planning to get mushrooms for dinner tonight, to drown in garlic and butter. I’m happy that he is describing lots of things that can be already vegetarian/vegan, or easily converted, too.

  33. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    clemintine,

    Yes, about the magic, I was thinking the same thing. I kind of knew this would be the book where the magic would really come to the fore.

    and yes about Mormont’s crow.

  34. purplejilly
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    metalgoddessamb: I think she didn’t get a chance to find out if she is a warg like her siblings. I do think Lady’s death meant she was doomed though.

    Well, that’s a thought, too. But I think from the prologue I get the sense that if you are a warg, you don’t necessarily need a special animal, you can warg into any animal hanging around, and as the advanced wargs show, you can warg into LOTS of different animals.. And it seems like it’s a talent that gets stronger as you get older. So if Sansa was a warg, wouldn’t she’d be experiencing it with other animals?

  35. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    One thing I have been telling people who I suggest to read the books is for them to pay attention to the little stuff, the “underlying” story, not to gloss over the small stuff for the larger, more obvious story. Example: I have been telling people to pay attention any time anyone mentions The Children Of The Forest. I had a feeling they’d become important.

    and now well…here they are!

  36. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    she hasn’t really been around any animals though has she? and having her wolf taken away so quickly like it was, she didn’t get to experience those …awakenings, stirrings, the initial contact- I don’t know what to call it -that her siblings have had with their wolves.

    think about it-she has been a prisoner for all of this story now. Her siblings whose wolves are alive…at least they are free.

  37. Shock Me
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    The bird is definitely way more suspicious this time around. Hope he is a good guy. My current crazy theory, as I’m am only part way through the book, is that Coldhands is Benjen and he warged into the raven and then back into is own wighted body.

  38. Josh Parker
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Grrr…all of you who don’t work today, or were able to get their copies before work…I’m fucking jealous! I’ll be picking up my copy at lunch.

  39. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Anyone going to any of the book signings? I’m going to the NYC one this Thursday.

  40. purplejilly
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    metalgoddessamb,

    That’s very true. Who knows if her inward focus and fears are inhibiting her, as well? Book Sansa is so fearful and very quiet most of the time.. So I am not sure what to think now : )

  41. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    yeah, I always just got the feeling that because her wolf was killed, was the reason she couldn’t be free.

  42. danceofruin
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Being one of the ‘lucky 180′ that received their books a while in advance, I finished the book some time ago. My impression is: this book is only mediocre when read on its own (meaning: without having re-read the prequels first). Too many disjointed stories, too much filler, too many details I wasn’t able to appreciate (now who is THAT guy again?). I suspect ADWD will benefit greatly from reading it immediately after AFFC.

    One gripe that I think is legitimate: I miss the early books’ large-scale battles :-(. George does a great job of setting up the characters/’playing pieces’ for further development, though.

    Also, even if there were some surprising deaths in the book, I guarantee you that one of them is fake. Everyone who has read the book will know what I’m talking about. :-)

  43. Art Dude
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Challenging myself to wait until my local library has it. Maybe when I’m an old man, my great grand kids can buy me the box set of the whole series.

  44. Lex
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    It’s FINALLY HERE!!!

    I’m heading to the bookstore right now, to pick up my reserved copy.

    I read slowly, so it will be probably be a few weeks before I’m discussing my thoughts on the book.

  45. Dummy Head
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Melisandre: You know nothing, Jon Snow.
    Me: No no no no no no no nononononononononono.

  46. Lex
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Holy crap! A shout-out to WIC and Fabio in the dedication page!

  47. purplejilly
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Lex: Holy crap! A shout-out to WIC and Fabio in the dedication page!

    When I opened my book yesterday, that was the coolest part of the whole thing! Shows that all our nitpicking and gating here has done SOMETHING! Ya know? despite people who want to complain we complain too much, if we hadn’t, I don’t know if WiC and FaB would be in the dedication!

  48. Mike Chair
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    TIME:

    George R.R. Martin’s Dance with Dragons: A Masterpiece Worthy of Tolkien

    You know everything, Lev Grossman.

  49. Mike Chair
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    EW:

    Hibberd: So with the next book, have you now gotten to the point where you no longer need to have the characters in separate books?

    GRRM: That is certainly my hope, yes. Three years from now when I’m sitting on 1,800 pages of manuscript with no end in sight, who the hell knows.

    Three years?! :-()

    Enjoy this one, people. I’m taking my time and savoring every syllable.

  50. Yjama
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Why?! *goes into a corner to cry after having finished the book*
    Damn you, GRRM! Why must you kill them all?!

    I can’t believe he killed Jon Snow!

  51. AJwins
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Yjama,

    I don’t think it will stick.

  52. Lisa
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Yjama,

    I don’t think he will stay dead (or even die at all). :)

  53. Fabian Schneider
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Damn it, I knew I shouldn’t read through this thread.

  54. Zima
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    well this was one spoiler I could have lived without.
    I always have to look, don’t I?
    nevermind, that won’t undermine my enjoyment…

  55. Shock Me
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Zima: well this was one spoiler I could have lived without.I always have to look, don’t I?nevermind, that won’t undermine my enjoyment…

    Something about it being blacked out almost forces me to look. But yeah, didn’t need to read that one.

  56. dizzy_34
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    (This is THE spoiler that’s be out there a while) Yeah, I’m going with a monty python “not dead yet” on ol’ Jon Snow. If not, us on Team Others are going to have a field day in Winds of Winter!

  57. Brian Baldinger
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Congrats on the dedication, Winter!!!!

  58. Jack
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m one of the lucky ones that have an e reader, so I could download it immediately, with no need to wait. I’m Italian, but I live in China. Here is 3.42 am and still I can’t stop reading… Just fantastic… I hope this book could last 6 years (until we’ll see the next one), but I fear it won’t last more than other 6 hours!!!!!!
    I started read the novels in Italian and then turned up to English with AFFC… I waited 6years (like the most of you) and I have no doubt: it was worth it! (but, George, please, try to finish the next one in a shorter time…..)

  59. Sabine Schröder
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I was also one of those who got the book 2 weeks early and I’m already through.

    Even though my immediate thought at the end of that Jon chapter was of Melisandre it was still quite a shock. Quent I saw coming on the other hand. And the epilogue… just great. :)

    I would have loved to read more Bran chapters, though. The revelation about the Three Eyed Crow…. I loved it.

  60. Adam Whitehead
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I think we can agree that Wyman Manderly now needs to be in the show? Played by Brian Blessed?

    I’ll spoilerise this as I know people who’ve read the book who’ve totally missed this part:

    The 2 Freys who disappeared ended up in Manderly’s pie, which he served to the other Freys and guests at Winterfell. And then he ate a chunk of it himself with gusto.

    Sick, but also badass.

    I’m also very happy with Barristan’s story. It’s a clear mirror of Eddard’s to me, but when he got to the ‘Renly moment’ when he was offered swords and help in taking down Hizdahr, he made the right choice and said, “Sure,” and came out on top.

  61. Dunkeltroll
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Congrats from me too, regarding the dedication!

    That was of course the ‘non story-related spoiler’ I couldn’t hold back from posting about when I received one of the early books: “Some of us may have reason to be a little prouder than the rest. And they deserve it. Cheers, fellows!”

    And I still didn’t read past this page, since of now I’m only at page 110 of aSoS and taking my sweet time. But it’s good to have DANCE waiting for me instead of the other way around… ;-)

  62. Strong Belwas
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just started reading, so I skipped through all the comments so far (AVOIDING SPOILERS!!!!), but just wanted to log in quick to say congrats to Winter and FaB on the dedication. You guys rule.

  63. Blicko
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Due to the ineptness of Wal-Mart, I actually was able to pick up my copy last week (they mistakenly put them out a week early) and tore through it in a couple of days. Crazy stuff happens in this one! And cliffhangers… yikes!

  64. McFox
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    First time poster, long time lurker, but I just had to get everybody’s opinion on the potential BOMB dropped by Barristan when telling Dany the episode about her father at Tywin Lannister’s wedding. If the king did go overboard before the bedding, could this mean that Jamie and Cersie are actually half Targaryan = have blood of the dragon = potentially steal/ride one of Dany’s 3 when she eventually gets over to Westeros? Not to mention, this would vindicate Tyrion in a way because it would mean he is the only ‘pure’ Lannister in his line, J&C being ‘bastards,’ in a sense. Or…am I just crazy?

  65. OldGran
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I walked in to our local bookstore (Hastings) and lo and behold it was there! They are notoriously slow about getting new books here on the edge of civilization so I was surprised, happily so. Even better it was only $18.99 in hard cover. All of the ASoI&F paperbacks were on sale for $5.00 each as well. I have just started it so I’m only in Pentos with Tyrion.
    Happy reading all.

  66. HerOine Addict
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    About to start it…. With a bottle of vino… Toes curlIng!

  67. loco73
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Well I’m happy that the book is out and greatful that George RR Martin’s work is being appreciated. I still have to read the first four books, so I am not going crazy or anything, besides I don’t buy hardcover books, so I won’t be getting this one until it comes out in the mass paperback edition, besides I’m in the middle of reading “Winter’s Heart” from the “Wheel Of Time” saga. Once I’m done with that I will try to get to ASOIF. But congrats to all the people who had the patience to wait and are now enjoying the fruits of George’s great labour!

  68. sid
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    The gold glitter on the cover is a bit unfortunate. It gets EVERYWHERE, on my hands, on my lap, on my pillow.

  69. garik16
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    SPOILERS Remember people, this is the thread for those who have read the entire book. I’ll spoil it all anyhow.

    Odd feelings at the end. The book was far more explosive in the beginning/middle than AFFC for sure (Aegon’s revelation left me speechless).

    On the other hand, the ending left somethings to be desired.
    Daeny/Meereen: Uhhhh what? Perhaps this was expectations being wrong, but well…it just seems like this was hanging in a poor way, (as in this is the wrong cliffhanger). The Meereen situation, except for Quentyn, is completely unresolved.
    Jaime: Uhhhh, huh? Well that’s an odd and silly cliffhanger. Weak too….felt entirely like GRRM had a point in mind for Jaime to start TWoW, but couldn’t get him there satisfactorily. A stupid tease.
    Jon: I dislike Jon’s turning his back on his oath here. It’s totally weak and untrue to character. If he’s not dead, I’ll be disappointed.
    Stannis and Crew: Clearly Stannis is still alive and Ramsay lied. Its just too obvious here.


    Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book. But the endings were its weakest part. Felt not like I wanted 200 more pages to read, but that the book had actually been cut 200 pages too short. Mind you, some character endings worked:
    Aegon/Epilogue, Arya, Davos, and my favorite: The PRINCE OF DORNE.

  70. Anvil
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Adam Whitehead:
    I think we can agree that Wyman Manderly now needs to be in the show? Played by Brian Blessed?

    Or Ian McNeice.

  71. DavosFTW!
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Forget everything you thought you knew. We’re off the map now, here be dragons!

  72. sndwurks
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    All I can say is that I picked my copy up at the B&N down in Burlington where GRRM was doing the signing today, and to everyone who was waiting in line in the New England July? You people are troopers, and are bloody fans whom I respect.

    As for spoilery discussion, I’m still only about a third of the way through, but I have to be wondering about the reappearance of the masked prophecy woman and the “mummer’s dragon”. Also, the suggestion that Jon Snow’s mother was a fisher’s daughter from the Three Sisters was interesting.

  73. danceofruin
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    garik16,

    I completely agree with your assessment. Regarding Jaime, I felt that this was more or less a bone George wanted to throw the fans in order to resolve the situation around Brienne’s ‘last’ word. Dany is more or less going in circles because she could not bring herself to take drastic measures – but I believe that this was the purpose of her part in this book, to show that now she has changed and hardened yet again. Jon’s arc made for a very nice read, but the ending was weird (and come one, who believes that it will end like that?).

    But enough with the criticism. Arya’s story was excellent; I absolutely loved the part where she recognized the Kindly Man. Ser Barristan’s introspections stood out as interesting, too.

  74. mr.hardy
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    LOL!He did it again he kill another Stark,Jon ….I thing he should change the name of series from ” A Song of Ice and Fire” to the “Misfortune of House of Stark”.

  75. Blackfish Blues
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    I’m doing something terrible to this poor book. First I dissected an e-copy, now I’ve started reading from the end, checking all cliffhangers. Then I’ll start again from the beginning. I know, it’s awful, but it’s the same I did with the other books, since everybody already knew what happened.

    I want to enjoy it without anxiety about what happens; I remember that all the cliffhangers in AFFC annoyed me and distracted me from the reading. This book seems more balanced. No comments yet; but at least on a couple of my doubts, my faith in GRRM is vaguely restored. He didn’t pull a JK Rowling – yet.

    I had actually guessed one detail that turns up in ADWD. I should dig up the thread on Westeros.org, but I remember I had thrown out the idea and it had been shot down. Instead I was right. Now if wonder: IF the Blackfish is in the TV series, will they have to change his name to avoid confusion? (frankly, I’d do the opposite, but what do I know)

  76. TheImp'sNose
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    GRRM is merciless about killing off characters, ’tis true. But my own feeling is that he will use the fact that his loyal readers know this to play with us a bit here and there. Like a bloody grand piano, in fact.

  77. Bolton's Bastard
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Finished ADWD this morning…sigh…..time to be patient again….whats another 5-6 years after reading ASOFAI for 15

  78. Arya's Cat
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Theon’s chapters were surprisingly sad, considering how much I wanted him dead the last time we saw him.

    Since I’m seeing people using spoiler bars….

    Adam Whitehead: The 2 Freys who disappeared ended up in Manderly’s pie, which he served to the other Freys and guests at Winterfell. And then he ate a chunk of it himself with gusto.

    I saw Manderly mention the song about the Rat Cook and wondered this myself.

    garik16: Jon: I dislike Jon’s turning his back on his oath here. It’s totally weak and untrue to character. If he’s not dead, I’ll be disappointed.

    Disagree on this one. Everybody has a breaking point, and Jon’s was the thought of his beloved little sister being married to that sadistic flaying freak, Ramsey. If I were in his shoes, I’d have done the same, and to hell with my oath. I also hope he’s dead, just not permanently dead. The oath is for life — dying gets you out of it, and there’s no clause that includes your life after resurrection.

    Have to say, if Jon and Arya aren’t happily reunited at some point, I will be seriously tempted to give away my books when all is said and done.

    And this is one of the few times I’ve really enjoyed having insomnia. I swallowed the book whole! Now I’ll have to reread more slowly to make sure I got everything. I’m sure I missed quite a bit in the Dany chapters. My apologies to Dany fans, but she tends to make my eyes glaze over for some reason.

  79. Arya's Cat
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I must’ve missed something. Do comments await moderation now? I posted — or tried to — but it’s not showing up. Testing. One, two….

  80. Arya's Cat
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Okey- dokey. Trying this again. Apologies if this ends up being a double post.

    I found Theon’s chapters to be surprisingly sad, considering how much I wanted him dead the last book we saw him in.

    Adam Whitehead: The 2 Freys who disappeared ended up in Manderly’s pie, which he served to the other Freys and guests at Winterfell. And then he ate a chunk of it himself with gusto.

    I wondered if this was the case, myself, when Manderly requested the song about the Rat Cook. Certainly the fact that it was pork pie he served made it suspicious. But he might have been just thinking of the Freys? Dunno.

    I’m not sure why we’re using spoilers here, but I’ll go along, just in case.

    garik16: Jon: I dislike Jon’s turning his back on his oath here. It’s totally weak and untrue to character. If he’s not dead, I’ll be disappointed.

    Disagree on this one. Everybody has a breaking point, and Jon’s was the thought of his beloved little sister being married to that the sadistic flaying freak, Ramsey. I would’ve done the same in his shoes, and to hell with the oath.

    One of the few times I am grateful for insomnia. Swallowed the book whole. Must reread, though, to make sure I got everything.

  81. Arya's Cat
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Okay. Tried again, it didn’t post. Tried yet again, and the site says “duplicate comment detected.” What is going on?

  82. Emclass
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I pre-ordered my book a month ago, and have been impatiently waiting ever since. Obviously I was expecting to receive it yesterday, but USPS has decided to hold onto my book at the post office 8 blocks from my home, and not deliver it to me. It’s been sitting there since 4 am yesterday! The wait is agonizing.

  83. Sherry
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I am so looking forward to reading this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  84. Little Wing
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Still not out in my country. I just hope they won’t split it in two like they did the last time>:(

  85. daveb
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Apologies if anybody’s posted this before (I’m not reading the comments here, still in the thick of DwD), but the Appendix has a fairly big spoiler (the identity of the 3-eyed crow). It’s something that’s been hinted at and speculated, and it comes up fairly early in the book, but I scrolled through the appendix a bit too early (as a refresher) and it was spoiled a bit.

    Probably the wrong place to write this, as this thread is going to be chock full of spoilers. But thought i’d throw it out there.

  86. John Whelan
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Thank god I only started reading the books in May if i had to wait 6 years I would of went mad. I finished AFFC yesterday and picked up ADWD this morning can’t wait.
    Please GRRM don’t make us wait years for TWOW.

  87. purplejilly
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Blackfish Blues: I had actually guessed one detail that turns up in ADWD. I should dig up the thread on Westeros.org, but I remember I had thrown out the idea and it had been shot down. Instead I was right.

    That’s always a great feeling, when that happens. Congrats on your correct guess!!! I’m not at that part yet, but I will ask you about it when it gets closer.

  88. HandmaidenofDany
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    My book is at the post office since early yesterday. I’m at work, but told the hubby to email me as soon as it arrives (it better get here today)!

    I flew through this thread without reading any spoilers, except to hear that someone did a little dance of their own about one of the characters…I’m hoping it’s good news about Brienne and Pod. *fingers crossed*

  89. Markus Finster
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Shock Me,

    Man, what happens to Theon is beyond gruesome. He is a vile character, but I wouldn’t wish Ramsay Bolton on anyone. Well, maybe on Ramsay Bolton himself…

  90. Markus Finster
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    danceofruin,

    Hmmm… how to not spoil this…
    Do you mean the one that kinda goes down like Julius Caesar’s assassination?

  91. Markus Finster
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Adam Whitehead,

    Really? You think?! Noooo…. can’t be.

    One other thing: When Bran goes into the tree, he sees the past and says something.
    Ned seems to have heard something, then looks around.
    We later have the same sort of thing happening to Theon.
    But, I don’t quite remember, I have to re-read: Wasn’t that in the first book? Ned’s near the Weirwood and thinks he hears something?

  92. Arya's Cat
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Trying this without multiple quotes, since the short ones got through….

    Markus Finster,

    I think it’s drunk Manderly asking for the song about the Rat Cook after serving pork pies that makes it… suspicious.

  93. Assunta
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Don’t dare read anything above, but have to say:

    Skipping out of bookstore. Tra la la. Happy dance. Passed unknown but obviously intelligent and discriminating person in parking lot on their way in:
    INTELLIGENT AND DISCRIMINATING PERSON – pointing at book clutched in my feverish hands “Winter is coming!”
    HAPPY ME – “It is known!”
    BOTH – big cheesy grins

    (Sorry, but you are the only people who would appreciate the moment and I had to share).

  94. daveb
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Assunta,

    Yesterday was such a happy day. Even though I wanted the book badly, when I ordered on Amazon, I went the free-shipping route. Delivery estimated on Thursday. I was fairly crushed, and cursed myself for being a bit spend-thrifty.

    However, I was out to lunch with some co-workers, when I got a text. I had signed up for text alerts to track the package, and it was on the truck for delivery! The US Postal Service came through! I mentioned it to my co-worker, who loved the show and is currently on CwK. The bartender (we were sitting at the bar) cocks her head, and says “You guys talking Game of Thrones?”

  95. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT!

    NO NO NO NO NO

  96. dizzy_34
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    metalgoddessamb,

    How long till someone snaps at one of these signing he’s going to? We all know he’ll be asked the question.

  97. purplejilly
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    dizzy_34: metalgoddessamb, How long till someone snaps at one of these signing he’s going to? We all know he’ll be asked the question.

    It can’t be true, it just can’t be. He’s messing with us in the worst possible way. He’s like one of those evil, manipulative ex’s we’ve all had (lol). He’s messing with us, and we will take it, and he knows we will take it, and he will tell us that’s what we really want, to be surprised, to not have the story go in the regular way where Harry always defeats Voldemort at the end. If we want happy endings he’ll tell us to go to JKR or (worse) Stephenie Meyer!

    I think it can’t really be true, and there are many ways he could come back, and none of them are pleasant, but this is the ride we signed up for! Arghh!!

  98. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    dizzy_34:
    metalgoddessamb,

    How long till someone snaps at one of these signing he’s going to? We all know he’ll be asked the question.

    Well, I’m going tomorrow so I’ll let you know. I’m not going to say a word to him, I’m sure there will be no time anyway, but I’ll be the one scowling at him as he signs my books, haha.

  99. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    I know, I’ve been thinking the same thing. As I’ve been reading, My mantra has been “he’s fucking with us, he’s fucking with us.” I’ve said it about as many times as Tyrion has asked “where do whores go?”

  100. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    If this is supposed to be the thread for people who have already read the book, in order to discuss what actually happened in the book, why are all the mentions of things that actually happened in the book BLACKED OUT?

  101. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Is there a way to unblackout the blacked-out sections? I’d love to read the comments from fellow readers.

  102. Kevin Kenney
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    highlight with your cursor

  103. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Tried that – nothing.

  104. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Never mind – now it works. Thanks!

  105. Bathrobe
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    So first I wanted to drop a ton of spoilers, but….meh
    I’ll try to be subtle about it.
    The red woman is humanized and made much more sympathetic, which also downgrades her power. At the same time, shes pulled magic easily on par with fixing lady stoneheart–I sayJon is fine (or will be, like Dread Pirate Robinson in Princess Bride–only mostly…), and maybe the red prince reborn (bonus points–look at the sigil of the guy Wun Wun smears on the wall, and reread some of the prophecies).
    Are the Red God’s followers working to the same ends, and are they at odds with each other? I have to wonder about Moqorro, since he as well as Yollo and Penny and that other potentially not failed crown gambit were all on the boat–which translates roughly to the perfumed senechal. Is that warning referring to the boat, the people on it, or the actual guy in Meereen? Or Varys?
    Victarion is awesome, and makes the Ironborn on a whole a much more appealing people–mostly by their reaction to slavery and conquest. He’s shown to be more and more competent and more and more as a hard but honorable counterpart to Dany. Hard to guess how she’ll react to the human sacrifice, but you have to admit, the Ironborn treat captives better than almost anyone else.
    Great when Yollo notices how the slaves in the east live pretty much the same lives as servants in the west.
    Reek-incredible, especially since his suffering makes you want it to be a whole redemption arc. He seems to be made of stronger stuff than anyone realized. Maybe he is a bit of a wolf after all, eh?

    Lord Manderly is not only Titus Andronicus, but you root for him the whole time. Damn. Baron Harkonenn but on the right team.

    The less Stark time and the more common Northerner we see, the more badass they get. All the petty lords keep showing their secret support to the Starks–they’re mostly diehard loyalists who are super pragmatic. Even more easy to see why they loved Ned so much, and makes it even more tragic how inept he was.

    Holy shit, arc words and imagery. ‘Words are wind’ pops up at least once per chapter (on both continents, no less), and the ‘pale horse’ gets pretty annoying. There are a lot more, but those were hit home with a freaking hammer. Apt, though, considering how many sellsword companies there are, and how they treat most contracts.

  106. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    McFox,

    This would definitely fit with another clue from AFFC – remember Jaime’s aunt telling him that she told Tywin that Tyrion was his real son? Oh, if only Tywin had had to face that fact publicly before he died!

  107. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Adam Whitehead,

    LOL! I did NOT catch that about the Freys in the pie, but I read it at the speed of light. Have to go back and read the whole thing again. Slowly. Carefully. With the four previous books at hand for reference.

  108. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Shock Me,

    I guessed Coldhands was Benjen back when he first appeared in book 2, but that was probably wishful thinking. :-)

    I’ll have to read that section over again, but I did not get that Coldhands/Benjen was a warg who shifted into the raven and then into three-eyes.

    Coldhands is dead – I don’t think wargs can shift after they are dead, but what do I know?

  109. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Bathrobe,

    Victarion is a weakling and a moron, and thus the perfect mate for boring, silly Dany.

    Theon has not even remotely suffered enough. Asha’s the only ironborn worth a damn.

  110. David The Grey
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I had to skip down to the bottom so I could post without reading too many of the comments. I am still about 50% of the way through AFFC. All of my copies are mass paperbacks, so I am going to try and wait it out to get ADWD in mass paperback format. Hopefully that won’t take too long. I hope I don’t cave, because if I buy ADWD in hardback format, the completist in me will have to go back and buy the first 4 in hardback too! Hope you all are enjoying, I’m jealous but in a happy way.

  111. Blackfish Blues
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Forgot to say: WiC & FaB, GRRM totally supports your bottom! :D

    Having just watched “Harry Potter & DH 2″, I wanted to clarify my earlier comment. I like what JKR did with Harry in the books. I saw it as a classic “hero’s journey” and of course at the end the hero would win, but she managed to make it interesting, in my opinion.

    What I didn’t like was her creating a whole fantastic world filled with a billion awesome characters and then make it pop like a balloon and end up with the usual dozen people, especially after condemning to a behind-the-scenes life some of the most interesting characters. My faves even died behind the scenes.

    So I was worried GRRM would do the same to a whole bunch of people he just could not keep track of anymore, especially Davos & Brienne. It appears I was wrong, and for this I’m grateful. Now I can start worrying again for a whole bunch of other people.

  112. Ginny
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog:
    Bathrobe,

    …boring, silly Dany.

    Theon has not even remotely suffered enough…

    Are you me? :)

  113. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Ginny,

    Apparently! Good to know I’m not alone ….

  114. Flouride
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I refuse to believe that Jon is dead for good.
    Lord Manderly is just too awesome and loved the epilogue.

  115. Ginny
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog:
    Ginny,

    Apparently!Good to know I’m not alone ….

    I hate Theon more than any other character. There’s something much worse about someone who is a vile betrayer who chose the dark side than someone who’s just straight-up crazy evil.

    And personally I hate Dany’s entitlement issues.

  116. Cyryl
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    MAJOR SPOILERS. Just sayin’. Freys in the PIE?! I totally missed that! Har!

    Jon is definitely NOT dead. Something or other is going to happen. I don’t care about Aegon or STUPID Dany, or Stannis – the reason when Mel asks to see her lord in the flames and sees Jon is because he is toootally the prince that was promised. That’s just my belief. She sees things for sure, and always sees Jon. Even Alys, who came to see just him. There’s got to be a reason. And it’s obvious she was once a slave. And maybe real name Melony.

    Dany is stupid, stupid, STUPID (as the old Arya would say. Or young Lyanna, apparently). Listening to her whine is so incredibly boring. That guy offered her ships. Quent offered her Dorne. Dorne for Christ’s sake! Let’s face it, she’s never going to claim Westeros. Even if she manages to get over there with the remains of her army, Aegon will have already put a good stamp on the land by then. And who the fuck knows about Stannis. Moreover, if Jon lives and sees Jeyne isn’t Arya, what then?

    Littlefinger has always known what’s going on, but he talked about three Queens (three right?). Okay Cercei is definitely one, then maybe Marge, but then who? Danny? Myrcella (all of Cercei’s children are to be crowned)? Does he mean to crown Sansa? Methinks he’s in for a surprise…which is good for the little bastard. For all LF lovers, sorry, but he started the whole war and IT’S ON.

    And then WHERE THE FUCK IS RICKON?!?!?! Davos didn’t even wanna go there (where ever he is), where men eat human flesh… how in the hell did Osha get him to a place like that? And I was hoping that Bran would get his legs back, but this is NO fairytale, I should know this by now. Called the Children of the Forest thing. And Coldhands did die, right? I think I missed that but someone said it…

    And yet again, har! Oh Tyrion. He’s found another dwarf to keep him some company. Considering the infected corpses being thrown into Meereen, I’m not sure if he succeeded into turning the Second Sons loyalty. Awesome Arya chapters! Sad to see her stray from herself even further, but she can’t stay that way forever. One day she has to return. All hail UnGregor! Cercei will live for sure. At least she got to feel some shame. ATONE BITCH!

    Am I the only one that feels bad for Theon? He admitted his guilt, he should’ve stayed with Robb and he never really killed the Stark kids… Maybe he deserved all that was given to him, but I think he’s learned his lesson, and will hopefully not be a douche this time around. Love Asha. Thought Victorian and Selmy’s chapters were a little dull for my taste.

    Jaime’s cliffhanger has left me in turmoil. My one question is: how? Brienne rode boldly, told her lie well, but before that she had been broken, sickly, and begging for Jaime’s sake. How has her mind changed this abruptly? I don’t see him dying like this, but he and Brienne have been missing for awhile… I don’t see her going so bodly without some sort of plan. She wants to save Podrick AND Jaime, unless UnCat turned her against him. And as much as I liked Kevan, Varys is the freaking MAN. Does this mean he’s Team Aegon, NOT Danny?

    That’s enough ranting for now. I just wanted to touch upon some things people hadn’t. I’m raving mad to talk about all this issues! Har! (My new favourite word)

  117. Chris
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Anyone notice how much the world ‘leal’ showed up in the book… It’s odd it’s a word I swear I didn’t ever read, or if I did ot was extremely rare, in the first 4 and it’s all over this one… Just a,using, George must have recently developed a small fetish for it or something

  118. Cyryl
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Chris,

    Yes, I did notice that. And also the phrase “words are wind.” And a lot of “ebon”. George is fond of ebony..?

  119. Taryn
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Chris,

    He also has developed a fetish for the phrase “much and more.”

  120. Talon Lannister
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I pre-ordered the book, but since I am currently deployed overseas, I also sprung for the e-book version. Tore through it as fast as I could, fortunately that e-reader fits nicely in a flight suit leg pocket. Who needs sleep? Now I think I’ll go back and savor it…
    Cyryl, I had a lot of the same thoughts, glad that folks are finally getting into the meat of their reactions and the point of this thread.
    Frey-pie: Figured it out pretty early, and it made reading those Winterfell scenes just delicious. :) Glad that “Reek” wasn’t able to partake, though, his journey towards redemption has been a most enjoyable read, i.e I want to keep hating him, but I find myself rooting for him, regardless.
    Dany – totally frustrated with. Get on with it, girl. How many opportunities is GRRM going to let her throw away? Dorne was yours, and instead you let poor Quent get fried. Doran is not going to be happy. USE THE DAMN DRAGONS!
    Barristan the Bold ROCKS.
    The throw-in POVs, Jamie and in particular, seemed forced and included to try and keep people happy. And we still don’t know what “the word” was, or Pod’s fate (crossing my fingers for the kid). No Sansa? Minimal Varys (but what a scene!)Hardly enough Bran? No Rickon? No Brienne? Littlefinger? Blackfish? AAAGHH.
    Jon will live, but I also don’t like some of the options (re-animated like Stoneheart or Dondarrion? Ick!)
    GRRM, the prose was, as always, magnificent. The re-read, at a slower pace, will be thoroughly enjoyable. But it’s going to be a long and anxious wait. Day one, and counting…

  121. Cindy Lou
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t even realize about the Frey Pie. AWESOME.

    I never thought I’d feel bad for Theon.

  122. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Ginny,

    Dead on, on both Dany and Theon.

  123. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Cyryl,

    Am I the only one that feels bad for Theon?

    Yes.

  124. Cyryl
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    XD I mean, they had him flayed, gelded, had limbs removed… they drove him mad, starved him… He looks like an old man, I mean really. I know he was an asshole, but enough is enough. I’m not one to feel pity, but I think I always pitied him in a way.

    I’m always compassionate for villains. -__-”

  125. garik16
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    daveb,

    In all honesty, it’s basically a tiny spoiler at best. Really it’s a fun bit for people to know (I didn’t catch it first time around), but the three eyed crow’s identity is essentially irrelevant. Doesn’t spoil anything.

    And of course, if coldhands was BenJen, we still don’t know.

  126. Remy
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    If anyone thinks Jon is really dead reread Melisandre, I knew he was going to get offed when she all she saw was Jon Then the one part that made me really jump out of my seat was Wex showing Davos where Osha and Rickon are Manderly fucking rocks. Dany had way too much people and shit in her chapters. If I was the editor, I would made him cut them down. It was so confusing. Also a lot of people need to die. I loved Arya’s chapters. The epilogue was awesome Varys and his little birds

  127. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Cyryl,

    All true. But I don’t have your compassion. He is responsible for the destruction of Winterfell, not to mention the effect the false news of Bran and Rickon’s deaths had on Robb – probably leading eventually to the Red Wedding.

    No, no sympathy for Theon. My hope is that he reveals his fundamental cravenness and treason (leading the ironmen at Mote Cailin to their deaths by flaying) to Asha, who then kills him in disgust.

    There – a quick death. What more could you ask?

  128. Ginny
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog:
    Cyryl,

    All true.But I don’t have your compassion. He is responsible for the destruction of Winterfell, not to mention the effect the false news of Bran and Rickon’s deaths had on Robb – probably leading eventually to the Red Wedding.

    No, no sympathy for Theon. My hope is that he reveals his fundamental cravenness and treason (leading the ironmen at Mote Cailin to their deaths by flaying) to Asha, who then kills him in disgust.

    There – a quick death. What more could you ask?

    To be fair, Cat, Ned, Sansa, Joff, etc., are probably even more responsible for a lot of the war. Further back? Lyanna. Further back? The Targaryens. Everyone does stupid shit.

    Cat was a bad mother and very stupid. Ned had the sense the seven gave a rock. But Theon was purposely a dickhole. He has always been a dickhole. He is a craven dickhole. And I just realized that calling someone a dickhole is very amusing.

    In conclusion, Theon is getting his just deserts.

  129. Tom Morris
    Posted July 13, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Loved the book, though I would rate it 4th best overall in the series. Annoyed that he kept adding new characters to the mix. Reminded me a bit of Robert Jordans WHEEL OF TIME series. Some great stuff here. Just a LOT of crap to wade thru as well. And the cliffhanger with Jon, WTF? Loved Tyrion and Arya and Bran though. Felt like most of their stuff moved the characters forward. Dany just spun her wheels for chapter after chapter. And don’t even get me started about Reek/Theon….

  130. Petyr
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    So am I crazy is Theon a eunuch? Sucks to be him.

  131. MCA
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    I’m not reading any comments here (yet).

    I’m 305 pages through with the book and THOROUGHLY sick of Dany. Which, I didn’t see coming at all: I’ve always strongly liked her character ( top-10 character, at least). She whines more than Sansa/Samwell/ Brienne combined in this book, however. I assume this dumb drama will work itself out in the end, knowing George. It is the Meereeneese Knot, after all. It could take some time.

    Most of the other stuff is great, the feel of the novel flows overall, so far. Except…

    Tyrion’s plot seems rushed and slightly boring (the same old travel down a river (awkward plot lines fulfilling an entire sub-continent’s mythos through rushed asides, history lessons/Cyvasse games)).

    I thought the Prince-That-Was-Promised stuff was out of nowhere, even though I picked up on the purple eye-color part early on and knew it was coming. I also figured “Griff” probably meant something to do with Griffins, though I’ll admit I didn’t figure out it was Jon Connington. I think the culmination of the several-book-long PTWP thread of *The Story* could have been better served than as the illumination of an under-developed character on a random boat on a random river.

    Many of the characters I’ve been waiting to read about seem to have rushed plot lines, though I’m happy with Jon’s so far.

    I’ve loved the Bran chapters. Maybe it’s because I’m a high-fantasy fan, but getting to see the Children, in a fantastical underground world, was very gratifying to me. Plus, we get to learn slightly more about Coldhands — even though it was learning he wasn’t who some of us thought he might be.

    What George has always done well, he continues to kick ass at. I’m obviously still reading; I’m a huge fan.

    I’m (not glancing ahead) hoping we get some Arya chapters. Since both Tyrion and Dany have disappointed me, her plot line is something I’d like to see done well. My favorite characters are, in order, Jon, Tyrion, Arya.

    Love the book so far, 4/5 stars on a pretty tough gradation. I’m interested to see how I feel by the end.

  132. MCA
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    Petyr,

    Yeah, didn’t see that one coming.

  133. Markus Finster
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    Cyryl,

    I’m not sure Theon has been gelded. There are quite some passages hinting at that, but isn’t there one where Ramsay says something about “taking his cock”?

    To the Dany haters: Dance with Dragons is all about her uncertainty. Deep down, she just wants to be happy. She truly is a little girl. DWD is about her journey to accept her destiny, not follow it because everybody tells her to.
    My bet is she’ll give Mereen to one of her trusted advisors to rule in her stead while she moves on to Westeros in Winds of Winter.

    Man, when is Winds coming out? :-)

  134. Kelly Bray
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    Jon can’t really be dead! We need Kit’s hair to last for the entire show!

    Also, has anyone else noticed how preoccupied GRRM was with shit in this book?

  135. Ginny
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    Markus Finster:

    To the Dany haters: Dance with Dragons is all about her uncertainty.

    I don’t hate Dany, but I have found her very annoying since ACOK.

    Kelly Bray:

    Also, has anyone else noticed how preoccupied GRRM was with shit in this book?

    I have no idea what that means.

  136. Strong Belwas
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    I thought the book was really good. Not up to ASOS-level, but I agree with Hibberd over at Entertainment Weekly: 3>1>5>2>4.

    I guess the really big cliff-hanger-y question is “Is Jon dead?” And I’m inclined to say… maybe? I can really see it going either way. There’s a lot of stuff to suggest that Jon is the Prince that was Promised, but there’s also some stuff to suggest that AEGON is the Prince that was Promised (Houses of the Dying), and some stuff to suggest that Dany is the Prince(ss) that was Promised (Melissandre’s prophecy). So Jon dying wouldn’t mean that prophecies can go unfulfilled. Melissandre WARNED Jon to keep Ghost with him, and then he didn’t, and that never goes well (See: Red Wedding). And it’s also been a while since GRRM killed off any major characters; Quentyn sure doesn’t count. And it just wouldn’t be ASOIAF without a high body count. Oh yeah, and one more thing… HE WAS STABBED AT LEAST FOUR TIMES, and no one on the wall really likes him to save him.

    Although if he’s dead, then who’s our POV character on the wall from here on out? Melissandre? That would be interesting…

    Although here’s something I’ve been wondering. For all the hullabaloo that’s been made about The Others coming… how are they going to get past the wall at all? The Wall stretches from coast to coast, “the Wall protects itself,” and the Wall is warded with spells to prevent The Others from crossing it – and from the testimony of Coldhands, we know that those spells are at least effective against the wights. How could the White Walkers be a threat at all? Maybe the Horn of Joramun will come back into play at some point? Tormunn has given us reason to believe that it’s still out there, although who knows at this point?

    One way I could see all this going is that the entire situation on the Wall could go to shit. Jon really is dead, and with his death, the Watch and the wildlings will be at each other’s throats. The wildlings outnumber the watch now, so they’ll win that fight. Afterwards, they’ll scatter, heading south. And when the Others arrive, they’ll find the wall undefended, giving them every opportunity to get around it, in some way.

    Really, I’m just guessing here. I think it’s 50-50 whether Lord Snow is dead… NO IDEA which way the Wall plot is going from here.

    On a different front, I see a lot of people are kind of upset with the Dany story, but I thought it was BRILLIANT. I loved the basic problem, which I did not see coming at all, but which, in retrospect, seems obvious. ALL OF ESSOS depends on the slave trade. By freeing the slaves, she wasn’t just engaging in a progressive social revolution and kicking the crap out of some absurd Ghiscari, which is how things looked in Book 3. She was upsetting the entire economic and political system of Essos. Ending slavery seems so OBVIOUS to all of us, with out modern sensibilities. And to Dany, too. But that decision set the entire world against her, and as strong as Dany is, she’s not strong enough to take on the whole world by herself.

    I also thought the handling of the dragons was fascinating. This is just something we’ve taken for granted until now. She’s got dragons. Of course she’s going to ride them when they grow up enough to be ridden, and then retake Westeros, and kill the Others. It’s just a matter of finding the other two heads. And Dany seemed to take that for granted too. But she (and we) overlooked the fact that these dragons truly are MONSTERS (another oft-repeated word throughout the book). They’re incredibly dangerous, nearly impossible to kill, nearly impossible to control, and they eat children for snacks. At the end of Book 4, we learned that the maesters killed off the dragons. By the end of Book 5, we learned that this wasn’t really a bad idea. Victarion’s horn is starting to look less like a threat to Dany and more like her salvation. And what wisdom does Quaithe have to impart? I’m REALLY interested in seeing where all this goes.

    I have a million other thoughts, but I have to get to sleep. So I’ll leave you with this one: D&D must not be getting any sleep after having read this book. Half the shit in aDwD will be impossible to film. Godspeed, sers, and here’s to hoping the show makes it this far.

  137. Kana
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    At the end of Book 4, we learned that the maesters killed off the dragons. By the end of Book 5, we learned that this wasn’t really a bad idea

    This is a good point. It really never quite made sense before, and the whole maester plot was always described by fans as a rather villainous endeavor. Now they’re looking really pretty reasonable. Should be interesting to find some things out with Sam in Oldtown (does he ever get to oldtown? I forget…)

    Whatever the ending of SoIaF, it’s looking less and less likely to be the generically heroic ending duo of Jon and Dany that I think we were all expecting. So I really can’t complain that it didn’t move things along far enough, because I don’t really believe this story’s going where I thought it was anymore.

    Jon’s definitely still alive. Pretty much the entire prologue was repeating over and over ‘wargs go into their animal when they die’. Also remember Mel’s one chapter, where she sees Jon first as a man, then as a wolf, then as a man again. She doesn’t interpret that chronologically, but I think that’s the true intention. You could also interpret the ‘he didn’t feel the 4th stab’ or whatever the line was as basically saying ‘he didn’t feel the 4th stab because he was now SOMEWHERE ELSE’

    And yeah, god help the producers when it comes time to filming this book. Granted a lot of the stuff with the free sword companies can be simplified and stuff like that, but there’s still not just a lot of material, but a lot of material which would be really compelling on film.

    There’s also such a sense of a continuing theme between the various chapters in this book, much more so than in book 4. The two books very much have a distinct character to the other, I can definitely understand now why GRRM split them this way, it would never have read as well if it had been split chronologically.

  138. SugarVampire
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    Jon Snow is not dead. He is Azor Ahai reborn as shown in Melissandre’s vision.

    After rereading the last part of the last Jon chapter of ADwD, here is what I found:
    a. Jon is among NWs and wildling when he was stabbed. So he is not alone with his foes. b. Jon avoided the throat slit, took the stab in the belly and one more between the shoulder blades. He didn’t get or feel the fourth one, only the cold. Ghost is coming for him since he whispered its name.
    I don’t think Jon Snow is dead, otherwise he would be stabbed in the heart all alone with his ally slaughtered.

    As for the rest of ADwD, just finished reading it 5 hours ago. Here’s some of my thoughts:

    1. Too many cliffhangers. Too many unresolved plots, unlike ACoK and ASoS.
    2. The Meereen situation is still not resolved :-( GRRM will have to go to an Eighth book to finish these series. (It will take at least 1/3 or 1/2 of a book to resolve Victarion, Tyrion, Sir Jorah, Barriston Selmy and Dany around Meereen + another 1/3 or 1/2 of a book to go through Asshai before arriving at Westeros.)
    3. Though I love reading each indidual chapter, GRRM spent too many time in detailing all perils Victarion, Quentin Martell and Tyrion endured in reaching Meereen. Compared that to those in ACoK and ASoS, it is simply unsustainable.
    4. At times GRRM feels like Dany in ADwD: wanted to give every character their due complexity, but don’t have the ruthlessness to trim that off for the better of the series.
    5. The emphasis of conflict between slave holding and liberation in Essos muddles the theme of life and death in Westeros (imho, too ambitious to tackle satisfactory in light of all the complexities in ASoIaF.)
    6. By skipping the anticipated showdown battle between Stannis and Bolton, I am afraid that GRRM is influenced by the budgetary concern of GoT.

  139. SugarVampire
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Strong Belwas,

    Dragons, no doubt, are dangerous. But if GRRM spent all the time in detailing every single difficulty Dany, Tyrion and Victarion in taming and training the dragons, this series will never end. (Dragon horn, saddle, Asshai, etc)

    More than ever, I am worry that GRRM is going to avoid big battles and eventually the dragons for the sake of GoT adaption. (He didn’t want the dragons initially) I hope I am dead wrong in this regard.

  140. Shock Me
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    GRRM you evil bastard.

  141. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Speaking of the epilogue:

    WHO IS ROBERT STRONG? Kevan guessed, which makes me think it’s someone we’ve already seen.

  142. Fazil
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    SugarVampire:

    Jon Snow is not dead.He is Azor Ahai reborn as shown in Melissandre’s vision.

    Stannis was also AA reborn as shown in Melisandre’s vision. So Jon is probably just another tool of R’hllor like him. Especially considering his probable “woken by kiss of fire” upcoming status. We know who is the real AA, a certain scion of a certain fire-loving family who is dying from the shits momentarily.

    Yellow Dog:
    Speaking of the epilogue:

    WHO IS ROBERT STRONG? Kevan guessed, which makes me think it’s someone we’ve already seen.

    Mountain, minus the head.

  143. oracle86
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Yellow Dog:
      

    The Mountain That Rides.

  144. oracle86
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Fazil: Stannis was also AA reborn as shown in Melisandre’s vision. So Jon is probably just another tool of R’hllor like him. Especially considering his probable “woken by kiss of fire” upcoming status. We know who is the real AA, a certain scion of a certain fire-loving family who is dying from the shits momentarily.

    No, it is specifically mentioned in Melisandre’s POV that she keeps looking for AA but doesn’t see Stannis. Instead, she sees Jon. Ergo, AA = Jon.

  145. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    oracle86,

    Are you claiming Gregor Clegane is alive? Who cured his lethal poisoning? Whose monstrous skull went to Dorne?

  146. Fazil
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    oracle86: No,it is specifically mentioned in Melisandre’s POV that she keeps looking for AA but doesn’t see Stannis. Instead, she sees Jon. Ergo, AA = Jon.

    But in the past she obviously saw Stannis, and in the future her god may be merciful enough to show her true AA. Or he will continue to troll her by showing her Dolorous Edd or something. And Jon doesn’t fit the requirements, nor will he have an opportunity to sacrifice someone dear to him in the foreseeable future (and he wouldn’t do it anyway). And words of the wise – dragons are the proof.

  147. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Strong Belwas,

    Wow. Well done, ser.

    Superb point about Dany’s freeing the slaves threatening to crash the entire Eastern economy. But it’s not the plot surrounding Dany to which I object, but the character’s extreme lack of character. Either she’s a powerful Dragon, in which case her dithering and bad decisions are inexcusable, or she’s just a dumb 15-year-old, in which case she’s not fit to rule. She can’t be both.

    Good question about the Others. However, if the Wall alone were sufficient defense against Others, why would it need to be manned at all, much less with so many castles and ten thousand knights (back in the day)?

    I think there is a way for the Others to get past an undefended Wall, but it’s been forgotten over the millennia as the Watch began to see the wildlings, rather than the Others, as the enemy.

    All of these questions will be answered by Sam at the Citadel.

  148. Fazil
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Yellow Dog:

    Are you claiming Gregor Clegane is alive? Who cured his lethal poisoning? Whose monstrous skull went to Dorne?

    Nobody, he’s just one of the many undead trudging around.

  149. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    SugarVampire,

    Re: GRRM writing to suit HBO: My fear, also. I think the Blackfish is the first casualty of this. First the rumor that HBO was going to cut him out of the show, then Book 5 shows up without him.

  150. purplejilly
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Fazil: Or he will continue to troll her by showing her Dolorous Edd or something.

    OMG that would be too perfect!!

  151. purplejilly
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I’m only a few chapters in and I am already tired of the words valonquar, palanquin, Hairy Ibbeneese and Black Summer Islanders. And ‘words are wind’. Suddenly that’s everyone’s catch phrase, when I never heard anyone say it before. And does it really man that? Are words wind? That doesn’t seem to fit, somehow. And Tyrion with his 64K question of Where do Whores Go. It seems GRRM’s brain was stuttering for a while.. lol..

  152. purplejilly
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Blackfish Blues: My faves even died behind the scenes

    You know, I felt like all those behind the scenes deaths at the end were very cheap, and wrong. Such interesting, amazing characters, and we don’t even get a death scene for them? It felt like she decided X, Y and Z will die in this big battle, and then never wrote any further than that.

  153. Markus Finster
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    Either she’s a powerful Dragon, in which case her dithering and bad decisions are inexcusable, or she’s just a dumb 15-year-old, in which case she’s not fit to rule. She can’t be both.

    Well, she’s is 15. I have no problem with her being a conflicted teenager, destined for greatness, but still unsure about herself. That she actually hesitates, contemplates, delays and remains trapped in indecision makes her much more human and real than if she were just plowing on to Westeros.

  154. Fire And Blood
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Hokay. 2 days worth of reading done. Where do I start?

    SPOILERS BELOW. AS IF US BOLDING IT IN THE POST WASN’T ENOUGH.

    Jon Snow can’t be dead. I say “can’t” with a grain of salt, knowing how much GRRM just loves pulling the rugs out from under us. What a great moment though. I screamed, “Et tu Brutus!”

    (I know Othell Yarwick is somehow involved. My hate for him grows…)

    I liked that, for a short time at least, Jon had a giant. That was kind of cool. Of course he then did basically nothing the rest of the book up until the very end, so I was getting pretty damned bored of “Jon the Gate Guard.”

    Manderly’s “Freylicious Pie” I didn’t actually realize until halfway through the next chapter, and I was like “Waaaait a minute….”

    Jaime and Cersei might be half-Targs? Isn’t everybody?

    Glad Quentyn died the way he did. If he had been able to control a dragon I’d have rolled my eyes. Violently even. But DAMN, that dragon pit scene was awesome. A top 5 ADWD chapter in my view (Asha chapters were pretty high up there too, and Bran’s first—where Martin clearly hearkens back to his days telling horror.)

    (And why not? Tis what the little lord wants to hear!)

    If I have complaints, it’s the lack of an editor. Or at least someone telling George, “Remember back when you used to be able to move forward and plop us into the middle of a scene without all the talking that had led up to it? And maybe just referencing what was discussed rather than giving us every word?”

    A little long-winded, this.

    Loved Cersei’s forced march through the streets.

    Love Varys even more. Never saw his little birds so… feral before. And did everyone completely hear Conleth Hill’s voice with every soft word spoken there at the end?

    (Same with Ian McElhenney as Ser Barristan. Saw him the entire time. Every word Selmy spoke was McElhenney.)

    I actually like Victarion.

    Still a big Theon fan. Even more now. But damn, his sister is hot.

    Did not like Dany’s regression. Sure, a continued string of constant victories like she had in ASoS would have been Mary Sue-ish, but I didn’t think “To go forward you must go back” meant completely forgetting who the hell you are. Yes, I know, she is but a young girl and not wise to the ways of war… I just didn’t like the fact that she was so frozen with indecision. At first I just thought maybe she needed to get laid again, but after Daario did his thing it seemed to get even worse.

    (Though I expected the betrayal to come from him, honestly.)

    Flinging bloody flux victims over the Meerenese walls is kind of cool. How many else thought Barriston the Bold would die in this book? I was sure of it. And now he’s the Hand of… something.

    Meereen … Astapor … Yunkai … they need to get dragon-nuked.

    More thoughts as they come.

    Oh, and yes I agree Brienne’s speech to Jaime seemed completely off. Like it wasn’t Brienne at all. Does anyone else think it could be an imposter, or just … weird writing?

  155. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Fire And Blood,

    Yeah, Brienne did seem off – possibly even zombie off – though her showing up out of nowhere just then was really off. I saw it more as Jaime grabbing any excuse to avoid Cersei. :-)

  156. dizzy_34
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Funny kind of off topic story for you all. So I’m reading ADWD last night (Jon chapter), wife looks over the shoulder and says “Oooo, Jon Snow, he’s the cute one on the show. What’s happening to him?”
    “you don’t want to know…”
    Wife – “Well I hope we get some more good looking guys on the show, Jon Snow’s story was just so sad that he can’t have a girlfriend. And his story about the whore…” Me ” humf…(leave me alone I’m reading)”
    Wife – “You said humf, He does get a girlfriend!?”
    Me “You really want to know?”
    At this point she’s jumping up in down in anticipation. I capitulate, “Yes he does”
    “Yes, yes, yes! He leaves the wall? Wait don’t tell me…” as she’s jumping around the living room.
    I thought I’d never see this day in my life that my wife was ecstatic over A Song of Ice and Fire.

  157. Kimsie
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    @Markus,
    quite possible to geld someone without taking the cock.

    I have always loathed Dany, from beginning to end. After a little introspection, it’s because she doesn’t have any foils — no one to really play off of. People move AROUND her, instead of interacting with her. Which is fine, for a tyrant — and mostly plausible when she’s around Drogo. But it don’t make it fun, nor interesting.

  158. Kimsie
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The North begins to resemble the Scotch-Irish (borderlanders, in their original guise). Won’t be led by someone who isn’t Theirs. Wonder how much Webb Martin reads? [my thoughts on the Borderlanders are a LOT more dark than their portrayal here.] It also lends credence to the “why isn’t anyone after the North?” — too much of a bother, and for what?

  159. Fazil
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Fire And Blood:

    Glad Quentyn died the way he did. If he had been able to control a dragon I’d have rolled my eyes. Violently even.

    Well, seemed to me he managed to control one dragon, then the other one fried him. Which opens up rider seat to any lameass secret Targ character with a pinch of dragon blood.

  160. Talon Lannister
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Strong Belwas,

    Completely agree about D&D, there’s going to be a huge budget for digital effects: dragons, giants, mammoths, Children, siege machines, fleets… Not to mention the number of locations. Characters who go entire books with little mention, then come back strong can’t be easy contracts to write with actors. I predict that the seasons may not end up following the books after ASOS, instead going for chronology.

    I hope the Blackfish isn’t gone, either from the series or the books, I am glad to see that I am not the only one who would mourn.

    Day two and counting…

  161. Connie
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi there! New person, brought over thanks to GRRM’s comments about WiC on his blog. LOVE your site.

    Finished Dance last night.

    Dany – I had hoped Dany’s chapters would end after the pit with her victorious ‘F you guys, I have a dragon’ departure. The whole ‘I’m talking to the grass’ thing seemed off to me unless it’s a way to show her rebirth as someone who’ll get the job done instead of daydreaming about some purple-bearded rogue. Seriously. At least I’m not the only person who wants to smack some sense into her.

    Jon – WTF!? Saw it coming though; he’s made a lot of enemies although I doubt he’s dead-dead. I like Wun Wun too; sounded like he would be an interesting plot point and sure nuff, looks like he is.

    Yay Secret Agent Mance! I hope he got out.

    Jamie – Yeah, Brienne seemed a bit ‘SURPRISE’ to me. Felt wrong. If this was a larp game I’d say it was a trap where you get the PC from the earlier game to play an NPC impersonating their PC. Ahem…

    Reek – I hated him in the last few books but grew to sympathize with him as we learned of all the horrible things he’s been through. As he became more and more regretful of his actions and regained his ‘name’, I started liking him again. His transformation was lovely and I hope the young man on HBO can pull it off.

    Frog – Eh. I started to like him but we never got to know him well enough. He got ONE out of TWO. Not bad.

    Cersei – Damn. This chapter throws out my ‘She’s pregnant’ theory from the last book. :( But glad to see her back in action before she’s broken.

    ALL HAIL THE SPIDER! Of course, Ser Kevan didn’t deserve it, being the only really likeable Lannister left in King’s Landing, but it’s for the good of the realm.

    Griff & Griff- Aaaw, cute hidden prince. Good luck sweetling. And not Ralf.

    YAY ARYA! Sooo happy to read more of her training in the house of Black and White. Good times.

  162. Connie
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Talon Lannister
    I predict that the seasons may not end up following the books after ASOS, instead going for chronology.

    They’ve already done this at least once, putting the ‘War for Cersei’s #&^@’ conversation in where it belongs, as opposed to a Jaime flashback. This would be easiest for a non-book-reading tv viewing audience.

  163. Saithkar
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Too soon to really talk about this book, must digest it further first so just a few thoughts.

    I know this theory has been kicking around before but I believe it’s Daenerys who is the Prince(ss) who was Promised, she was born amost salt and smoke on Dragonstone, wheras Jon, Stannis and any of the other candidates were not. Melisandre has read things incorrectly in her fires, it’s not inconceivable that she misread the prince’s gender, and the Dragonstone connection would make it understandble she could mistake Stannis for this figure. Also all that stuff about lightbringer requiring blood sacrifices fits Daenerys’ arc better as to all our great disappointment the bearderd lady Selyse yet lives.

    What happened to Bran, he disappeared after the first few hundred pages and is that the end of his story, turning into a tree? Somewhat unsatisfying even if it did confirm the continuing existence of the Children of the Forest.

    I can see why GRRM struggled with the Mereenese knot, but they’re such a werisome lot I ended up looking forward to the big battle where most of them could snuff it, but we didn’t even get that.

    Was hit for six by the Aegon revelation, but when you think about it there were repeated references to the little Prince’s smashed in skull and the bodies wrapped in Lannister crimson, interesting question then is who else knew?

    Likewise while it was great to have Tyrion back he seemed to go on several unrelated adventures on his way towards an uncertain goal, similar to Brienne’s wanderings in AFFC. Last we heard he was ratting through some rusty armour, hardly a fitting climax for everyone’s favourite character, in previous books GRRM gave each character a full story arc in each book, here he just seemed to stop as if he’d decided the book was long enough and all the other Tyrion chapters that I don’t doubt exist have been moved to TWoW.

    Speaking of Brienne, I see that she somehow gave Lady Stoneheart the slip and it would have been nice to have found out how and what happened with Stoneheart but I guess that’s something else for TWoW. The single Jaime chapter also left me hungry for more.

    Speaking of people we are supposed to think dead, Jon Snow, eh? The rule with ASoIaF is that unless you see someone killed for sure then they’re not dead – rumours of the demise of many a character have been greatly exagerated. That being said I don’t really buy the surface explanation. Jon turned down Stannis’ generous offer to go to Winterfell and be Lord Stark repeatedly, yet we have to believe that a few rude words from a fellow bastard would have him foreswear his honour? After his fit of pique in AGoT Jon has been Eddard-stubbon when it comes to his loyalty to the Night’s Watch, even while he was pretending to be a turncloak. No, I think it would take more than a discourteous message to have Lord Commander Snow abandon his post, turn his back on his honour and forfeit his life as a deserter. That and the Hardhome business seemed quite fishy and there’s more going on there than we yet know. It would be madness to send rangers and/or wildlings further North than the Fist of First Men with Winter upon them just for a few refugees. Methinks we haven’t seen the last of Jon yet.

    Finally, Khalasaar vs dragon? Bring it on.

  164. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Saithkar,

    Jon Snow playing a deep game? Hmm. I like it. Especially if it fools Melly into doing something stupid. Like falling off the Wall and dying.

    I interpreted his abandoning his vow to go haring off after an obviously false message from Ramsay as proof that Jon is as suicidally naive as his father. Would love to see him judo all his enemies in one fell swoop of deception.

  165. Sygerrik of Skagos
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Um, it should be fairly obvious that Jon is not dead. In fact, this book answers a lot of questions. All along we’ve been wondering who the Prince Who Who Promised is– we should have been paying more attention to the other prophecies. The dragon has three heads, remember? There are three Princes who were Promised. Three people fit the prophecy of “born amidst salt and smoke, under a bleeding star,” and all three are Targaryens (at least in part).
    1) Daenerys is one, born amidst the salt of her tears and the smoke of Drogo’s pyre, under the comet
    2) Aegon is the second. We don’t know the circumstances of his birth, but in Dany’s vision in the House of the Undying she saw Rhaegar claiming that Aegon was the PwwP, and Rhaegar presumably knew enough of the prophecy to make a judgment call there.
    3) Jon is the third. Reread his “death scene;” his wounds smoke, and Bowen Marsh is crying tears of salt. And Patrek of King’s Mountain, the knight of the blue star, is bleeding as Wun Wun tears him to pieces overhead. Jon is being reborn amidst salt and smoke under a bleeding star.

    There are three dragons. There are three Princes who were Promised, all part of one prophecy. Three people fit, and all three are Targaryens (well, assuming R+L=J is true, which I believe is so). I’m not super sure on Aegon since we’ve had hints that he’s not who he thinks he is (mummer’s dragon). Both of the other two were not literally “born” in the circumstances described by the prophecy but rather reborn after suffering a terrible blow, so we’ll see.

  166. purplejilly
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Sygerrik of Skagos,
    I like this interpretation. Very clever.
    Also on Jon Snow not being dead, something just sprang into my head that GRRM just said in an interview, that he has the tool of an ‘unreliable narrator’ to use at time to help him, that tool being the narrator not being truthful with what he is relating, or not telling everything he knows to the reader.

    So maybe Jon Snow is faking his own death, and not letting us, the reader know.
    Wouldn’t be the first time GRRM pulls a fast one on us!

  167. Arya's Cat
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Sygerrik of Skagos,

    Agree on the three heads of the dragon = three “princes,” Jon and Dany included. Not yet sure about Aegon, though. And I would much rather Jon NOT be a secret Targ. Maybe a secret Dayne (as in Ser Arthur Dayne). I believe GRRM said they don’t all have to be Targs.

  168. Mike
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    A lot of folks are referring to off-screen deaths of characters. I’m assuming they’re mostly referring to the letter that Ramsay wrote to Jon at the end. Read it again:

    Something obviously went down, but not necessarily what Ramsay is saying happened.

    1) If Stannis is dead, where is his flayed skin? Ramsay loves sending skin with his messages to emphasize his cruelty and position of power.

    2) Ramsay doesn’t have Theon or “Arya”. If the battle looked lost, Stannis isn’t the type of man to waste men saving a traitor such as Theon. Theon also doesn’t have the energy left to make such an escape himself(though he has proven considerably lucky/resilient in such situations in the past).

    3) He knows Mance is alive, so some massive events definitely happened.

    4) Ramsay was allowed to send this message. It is not a letter that his father would have allowed him to write, especially considering his recent talk about Ramsay not being enough in control of himself. This indicates to me that whatever went down…Roose either didn’t survive, was incapacitated somehow, or was captured by Stannis.

    Don’t be sad that major characters have died offscreen. This is vintage misdirection by Martin. That’s going to be the main question for me until the next book comes out: how much of Ramsay’s letter is true? (atm my guess is that he has Mance, Stannis escaped, and Roose has been taken out of the equation either temporarily or permanently). Well, that and what exactly is going to happen with Jon. :(

  169. daveb
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    garik16,

    It’s more of a spoiler in terms of fan speculation. There’s been a lot of speculation going on, for years, about Bloodraven being the 3-eyed crow. Personally, I thought the theory was shoddy at best :) His identity is pretty irrelevant to the story as a whole, but as a “fan easter-egg” type thing, it’s pretty cool. And if I were one of the BR=iiiC people, and that moment got spoiled for me, I’d be miffed.

  170. Strong Belwas
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Sygerrik of Skagos,

    Hm. Interesting theory regarding Jon and “Salt and smoke under a bleeding star.” I like it, although that’s not to say I buy it 100%.

    I’ve been digesting some more, and I have a new set of thoughts:

    I am DEEPLY concerned for some of our major characters.
    Arya – She’s doing the whole Faceless Man thing, but she’s CHEATING, and that might well come back to bite her. The whole point of the blindness exercise was to get her to use her other senses as well as her sight, and she was improving at that, but then she never really got there – she tapped into her warg powers to get herself to the next level. Also, she’s making no effort to actually become “no one,” which is essential to who the Faceless Men are. She’s still got Needle, and she still says her death prayer, even though the Faceless Men do not condone personal killings. I’d love to see her get all this bad-ass assassin training and still hold on to her individuality and start down a trail of bloody vengeance. But if the Faceless Men find out that that’s her plan, they won’t be happy. And they’re REALLY GOOD at detecting when people lie… That being said, her progression as an assassin (her first kill! her first face change!) is awesome.
    Bran – Power corrupts. He’s mind-controlling Hodor, and doing so often enough that Hodor has just come to accept it. One of the big takeaways from the prologue is that what Bran is doing is just plain EVIL. What will the children do when they find out? What will Meera and Jojen do? And they will find out eventually – all it takes is for Bran to say one word that isn’t “Hodor.” This is another case of shit just WAITING to hit the fan.

    Another thought on Jon: In the first book, Aemon says that his oaths were tested three times, and each time it was just as hard as the last. Remembering this made Jon’s actions in his last chapter more understandable. Because last time his oaths were tested, he FAILED, and it took his friends to bring him back. This time, his oaths were tested again, and he failed again, and without his friends to talk sense into him again, he fucked up big. And really, it was his last mistake that was the big one. Jon could have kept everyone in line if he’d just stayed the course. All of his decisions were unorthodox, but principled, and probably beneficial in the long run. But then, when he decided to go rescue Arya (Jayne…), he lost all the credibility that he’d worked so hard for, and desperately needed.

    STILL digesting. More thoughts to come as I have them.

  171. Jacob De Zoet
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    It’s horrible.

    I won’t be buying The Winds of Winter. If it is actually published within the next 10 years. I don’t care anymore how the series ends. I can’t bear it anymore.

    I used to be a huge Martin fan, I absolutely adored the early books. But Feast and Dance have been just awful. 1700 completely unnecessary pages. It’s amazing that after five books, after FIVE THOUSAND PAGES, the resolution of the entire story is nowhere in sight. Most novelists manage to tell their stories in 300 pages. Tolkien told his vast fantasy story in 1000.

    Here we have 5000 pages, and Tyrion still hasn’t met Daenerys, she still hasn’t returned to Westeros, and there is no sign of the Others.

    In my opinion, if you are unable to tell your story in freaking five thousand pages, you are a failure as a writer. I am done with this series. It is the single most disappointing thing I have ever encountered in books, movies, etc. Not even Lost and BSG became this bad. Maybe Wheel of Time did, but I had never read it.

    Goodbye forever, George RR Martin. You should have made a sensible plan to properly organize and structure this story early on. 10 main characters would have been quite enough; 50 main and 300 secondary characters were not necessary. Unfortunately you never made any plan, you were more careless than a school kid, and as a result you have completely lost the plot. I won’t waste my time and money on your endless travelogues and food descriptions any more. For the sake of your remaining readers, I sincerely hope it takes you less than another 15 years and 5000 pages to finish your bloated, boring behemoth of a story. Think of the rainforests – all the paper used for all the pointless copies of Feast and Dance has surely destroyed at least one.

  172. andrea
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Fire And Blood: Jon Snow can’t be dead.

    What???
    Because I didn´t read ADWD yet I´m not even look at this thread but today by a horrible mistake, my eyes fell on this sentence of yours.

    Jon Snow WHAT?!!! (don´t tell, don´t tell)

    I need an emoticon pointing to the head with a HUGE gun. I mean, not only an emoticon… a real gun pointing to my actual (stupid) head.

    Not your fault of course. Not your fault. I know.
    But I must hate something… Amazon, I hate Amazon.

  173. Strong Belwas
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Jacob De Zoet,

    And I can’t believe you took this complaint to a weird environmentalist place. What’s more “green” then making books out of TREES? They aren’t clear-cutting rain forests to make paper. We have forests managed by the Department of the Interior that are grown specifically to be cut down later for paper and lumber. And while those forests are standing, they’re removing carbon from the atmosphere. I wouldn’t consider myself an environmentalist, but get your facts straight.

    …although yeah, I guess the story is starting to sprawl. It’s not nearly as bad as Wheel of Time, though.

  174. erik
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    It wasn’t John who died it was probably someone wearing Melisandre’s glamor. John Is probably just going undercover to reclaim the North from the Boltons.

  175. Shock Me
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Taryn: Jon

    Also the phrase Little and less

  176. SugarVampire
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Jacob De Zoet,

    I won’t go as far as you. Still, 18 hrs after I finished ADwD, my heart is filled with profound sadness and disappointment. Just like my new found disability, I have to face the fact that GRRM has lost control of the main plots and central theme of the series and is unable and unwilling to reign them in.

    Realistically, it will be at least 3 or 4 books more to put it to a decent end if current trend continues. That translates to 16 to 20 yrs from now!!! Time will pass by, passion will cool, a would be masterpiece will become just another one that were full of promises. No wonder he is trying to remind himself not to pull a Lost.

    By now the evidence is all here for one to see:

    1. GRRM meticulously wrote short series of POV chapters (Reek to Theon) that are by themselves beautifully woven together and revealed lots of depth in the complexity of his characters but took up too much space and retarded the advancement of the main plots.
    2. He has the ambition of becoming the next Tolkien and starts to write ASoIaF books as if they are his Silmarillion. (He will have POVs in every part of the known world inluding all nine Free cities, witnessed the detailed travel log of Tyrion down the Rhoyne. So far, only 3 cities has been detailed.) Unfortunately, because of that, no LotR has emerged.
    3. He created subplots just for the purpose of anti-tradtional fantasies without really advancing the main story (the Quentyn Martell Frog-Prince chapters). After so much time passed (15 years), it has become a cliche.
    4. He has lost confidence of his characters and stories, hence couldn’t end his book without using cheap cliffhangers. (Unlike the first 3 books, there is no halfway resolution for any major characters in book 4 and 5.) I thought he has learned his lessons in AFFC. Apparant 6 yrs later, he is at it again.
    5. He is still dealing with the Meereenese Knot he chosed to create even after 5+ yrs. With all those characters and plotlines, it will take at least another 20 to 30 POV chapters to resolve it. (The Meereenese Knot is created because GRRM wanted to use that device to show Dany’s fallabiliy, the naivete of simple libration, and the conflict in the Old world between freedom and slavery – witness the story arc of Jorah and Tyrion as slaves).

    The most disappointing part of the book for me is the off screen non-resolution of Stannis’ battle with Bolton. All those intrigues he created with the Northern men (North remembers, Davos’ search for Rickon, Theon’s renewed purpose, Iron Bank envoy’s warning about Karstark’s treachery) are wasted.

    All of us are forewarned when AFFC was published. I, unfortunately, like Jon Snow, chose to ignore the warning signs and foolishly continued to trust that the brilliance displayed in the first 3 books will somehow return even though time has passed by.

  177. andrea
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    erik:
    It wasn’t John who died it was probably someone wearing Melisandre’s glamor. John Is probably just going undercover to reclaim the North from the Boltons.

    ok. I believe you.

  178. Shock Me
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Jacob De Zoet,

    That was the reason I hated reading the Daeny chapters in the first 4 books. She never seems to get anywhere. In this book she actually stops altogether. Then she hopped the dragon and I was SO excited. Then it was like let’s wander around some more. Loved the dragon ride but the rest of the time I wanted to shake her.

    Was a bit bummed that the Frog got toasted. I mean why even waste my time with him after building up the plot with Doran having this long-term plan and you toast him?

    And now Bran is plugged into the Tree Singer’s global surveillance network and ravens used to be like voice mail. But now he has this awesome tool and can’t talk to any one.

    Then Brienne comes out of no where and then poof no Jaimie for the rest of the book?

    Loved Cersei’s walk of shame and Gregor-stein’s taking the white cloak as Robert Strong.

    Then Vary’s pops in to stir the pot when Kevan manages to start fixing things. We get Tyrion to Meereen finally and then poof Daeny’s literally flies the coop.

    GRRM is evil.

  179. Fire And Blood
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think there was a resolution to Roose vs. Stannis. I think the letter from Ramsay to Jon is filled with lies.

    I do think something went down at Winterfell, however. I just don’t think it involved Stannis.

  180. Pyrrhus
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    McFox – Tyrion, not the twins, is the Targ Lannister.

  181. Pyrrhus
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Fire And Blood,

    The curious thing to me are, 1) why is the letter from Ramsay Snow, and not Roose Bolton and 2) If he killed Stannis, then why doesn’t Ramsay know where Theon is?

  182. Fire And Blood
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    So how does this affect the show? I’ve been kicking that question around in my head for 24 hours. Season 1 was easy.

    Season 2, with 10 episodes, seems like more of a crunch… though both Jon and Dany don’t do much apart from travel until the very end.

    Season 3 (or as I like to call it The Most Violent Season of Television Ever), if they want to do A Storm of Swords in just one season, has to be longer than 10 episodes. Or they have to leave a lot out of their telling.

    But adapting AFfC and ADwD?

    Yikes.

    You can’t do AFfC one year and then ADwD the next. They need to be mixed. And let’s have a gander at the total sum of separate storylines:

    Jon at the Wall
    Arya in Braavos
    Bran north of the Wall
    Sam all over the world
    Dany in Meereen
    Tyrion all over Essos
    Brienne questing
    The Martels in Dorne
    Quentyn Martel in Essos
    Jaime all over the south
    Cersei’s problems in King’s Landing
    Theon with Ramsay
    Asha at Pyke and then in the north
    Sansa with Littlefinger at the Eyrie
    Victarion being Victarion

    And toward the end you add:

    Ser Barristan alone in Mereen
    Aegon and Jon Connington come out of the closet

    You can’t possibly have a single episode of the show that features even half of these storylines. It’s almost unfilmable.

    The screenwriter in me is trying to peck at this and unravel some of it. If D&D don’t kill off more than one or two storylines… even then. Well, good luck, boys.

  183. Mike
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Call me slow on the pickup….but were Abel and the girls in Winterfell, Mance and the Spearwives in disguise?

    I need to go reread this book already…

  184. Cyryl
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Pyrrhus,

    About the night Tywin and Joanna were married…

    “…your father [Aerys] drank too much wine at the feast and was heard to say that it was a great pity that the lord’s right to the first night had been abolished. A drunken jape, no more, but Tywin Lannister was not a man to forget such words or the… the liberties your father took during the bedding.” His face reddened. “I have said too much, Your Grace…”

    I highly doubt Joanna ever left Castery Rock, and Tywin wouldn’t let her go to KL to a king he knew wanted her. And why would the king be roaming around Casterly Rock? No, Aerys and Joanna were near to each other around the time of Tywin’s wedding and Ser Barristan says after an embarrassed pause that Aerys took “liberaties” during Tywin’s bedding. So methinks that if there are any Lannister Targs, it’s the twins. Unless they found themselves together a decade later… (raises one eyebrow)

    The irony is, Tyrion was denied being Tywin’s son since birth and Cercei says to Jaime when he proposes they wed “But we’re not Targaryens!” And Jaime’s aunt also says, “Tyrion is Tywin’s son, not you.”

    Seems like subtle hints to me. Tyrion would be the obvious choice… and GRRM never picks the obvious choice – the fantasy “dream come true” scenario.

  185. Cyryl
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Mike,

    I was slow on this too – I only realized after the bastard’s letter :P Yeah, they were.

  186. DragonStargazer
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    Am I the only one shocked about “Young Griff?” Perhaps you guys know this story too well, but after so much of “–his head was dashed against the wall” in the last few books, I really didn’t think he would jumpstart that plot out of the air like this.

    Theon: I never really cared too much for him, especially since he’s always been such a perv. But at the same time I did sympathize with his “caught in both worlds but accepted in neither” angle. In this book though, I really did feel sorry for him. I mean, he was tortured so badly he lost his own identity. He didn’t even want to be himself anymore. That is really sad. Oh, and I hate Ramsay Snow.

    Dany: I was so pissed at her when she rejected Quentyn Martell and married Hizdahr Zo Loraq What a squandered opportunity! And then to give in to Daario! What good came of that? Nothing. I almost got bored to death with some of the Meereenese court stuff. Seriously, I missed her bloodriders. I have always thought of Daenerys as one of my favorite characters, but she seemed so ineffectual in this book until of course she flew up on Drogon’s back. That is the most amazing part of her story, ever. Ser Barristan was by far the coolest part of her story. Loved his POV!

    Tyrion: Nice to see him meet Griff and the others… disappointed that he never really reaches Daenerys. I was so look forward to that, seeing him counsel her, plotting with her to retake the Iron Throne… I felt really bad after he got the grayscale and being sold into slavery. It is however, very ironic on Ser Jorah’s part. Loved seeing him in the story again; I knew he wouldn’t stray far from Dany.

    Jon Snow: He was such a revolutionary Lord Commander in this book. Some of the changes he decides to make are unbelievable. I think that he had to align himself with Stannis in order to gather more help against the Others, but I think he shouldn’t have made so many changes all at once, especially with letting the wildlings join the Night’s Watch. Also, hate the Stannis interactions, always with the “I helped you so give me all you have because it’s my right” is getting a bit old. Oh, loved the Melisandre chapter with her flames, by the way… nice to see into her head. I also feel really bad for his “ending” in this book, but I don’t think he is dead, but perhaps severely wounded.

    Bran: His chapters were the most surreal in the whole book for me. Did not expect them to actually get very far in that storyline, though I guess it is thanks to Coldhands. But to find out the Children of the Forest really exist! And the “three-eyed crow” or should I say, the greenseer! Best part of that was when Bran became a part of the weirwoods and saw his father in the past again…. so very cool… I would do that a lot if I had that power.

    Davos: I always liked his character and his dedication to stick to what he believes despite everyone telling him that he should be different. I was afraid for a moment they’d really kill him, but I didn’t think they really would. Glad I was right. Really enjoyed the description and looks of White Harbor… as wonderful as I imagined. Leaves off with a cliffhanger, of course, like always, but I expected that.

    Others/Miscellaneous: Loved seeing Roose Bolton actually talk about things more. To anyone really. Loved the scene in Dorne with Prince Doran, Arianne, and the Sand Snakes. I can’t wait to see what Nym and Tyene do in King’s Landing! Loved the epilogue of course, though, poor Ser Kevan. He didn’t deserve it like Tywin Lannister. Also, anyone notice the NEW theory about Jon Snow’s mother? How she supposedly saved Ned Stark? So excited for the next book!!! :D

  187. Fazil
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Let’s give into denial. Don’t worry, Jon is not dead, it’s just a flesh wound.

  188. Mike
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Fazil:
    Let’s give into denial. Don’t worry, Jon is not dead, it’s just a flesh wound.

    oh…he’s dead. I just doubt he’s going to stay that way for long and am not sure in which state of undeath he’ll return.

  189. Brett
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    I read it through, and I’m doing a re-read. MASSIVE SPOILERS.

    In case anyone didn’t notice it, the “Words are Wind” theme was very prominent. There is Tyrion’s comment about slaves, but the point is best illustrated by Quentyn Martell’s arc. He was sent to find and marry Daenerys with nothing more than a promise of Dornish spears and a letter, and it ultimately proved inadequate. He realized that it wasn’t enough, and thus tried to prove himself in an act that was incredibly heroic but ultimately a failure that cost his life.

    Theon: Theon was the most compelling character in the novel for me. His sequence of chapters are disturbing but well written, about a man so heavily brutalized by Ramsay Snow that even his true name is almost lost to him, but who manages to do something heroic in saving Jeyne from ending up the same as him.

    Theon is always a tricky character because he’s an unpleasant victim. He makes stupid mistakes and horribly bad decisions, but that doesn’t change the fact that something terrible has happened to him.

    By the way, he was castrated by Ramsay in addition to losing fingers and toes. His POV chapters never come right out and say it, but you can see it in certain remarks, and in his utter horror at being stripped naked.

    Cersei: The chapter where Cersei is forced to walk naked through King’s Landing was probably the best written chapter in the novel. Just like how you experience Catelyn’s creeping horror and fear in the Red Wedding chapter in A Storm of Swords, we get to experience Cersei’s deepening humiliation in the walk, right up to the point where she finally breaks. I found her deeply sympathetic in the book, even in spite of her stupid, vile acts in A Feast for Crows.

    I’m hoping that this makes her a better player in the Game of Thrones. There’s a parallel to how Jaime had his sword hand taken, and thus has to rely on his wits in the face of mockery and contempt. She has had her “Sharp Lesson”.

  190. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    DragonStargazer,

    I think Griff/Conington is the one with greyscale, not Tyrion. He got it pulling Tyrion from the river, and regretted it.

  191. Chris
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Fire And Blood,

    To answer that question, here’s a scenario I’ve been contemplating all along.
    Yes, the AFFC/ADWD conundrum really forces the point, but why wait till then?
    Granted, Season 1 was pretty much GOT, all GOT and nothing but GOT (well, with a little Jamie/Catelyn interaction snuck in from COK).
    But really, why must ANY of the future seasons have all of one book in them …or be limited to just the one book?
    The ultimate challenge we see is squeezing ASOS into just 10 episodes.
    Why not 20 episodes? …over two seasons!
    The story arcs stretch across books and, as the series finds its way and takes more liberties, it seems perfectly logical to mix and match and blend and stretch.
    This would also help address the concern everyone seems to have about the series catching up to the books before Martin finishes them.
    How’s this for a dream scenario: Martin wraps up the story in seven books but the seven books become TEN seasons of the TV show?!

  192. Saithkar
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Fire And Blood,

    I must respectfully disagree with this, I personally think that AFFC/ADWD will be far easier to adapt for TV than ASoS or even ACoK.

    So much of these 2 novels take place inside characters’ heads that their actual words and deeds take up compartively little time. Consider that most Jaime and Cersei chapters are them alone with their thoughts, they say and do little. Likewise most of the Ironborn, you could introduce the characters, then have the kingsmoot and then crack on with their adventures, Asha to the North, Victarion across the seas and so on. Then you have Brienne’s mighty quest, which doesn’t really go anywhere but ties up a lot of pages, ditto for Tyrion’s quest in ADWD, again you could compress the highlights and cut out a lot of the travelogue/scenery.

    If they want to cut some characters for time and money’s sake then there’s plenty of people at the wall, in Stannis’ army, in Dorne, in Mereen, on the Iron Islands and in Braavos that could vanish without affecting the main characters or the plot.

    The change over the last two books is that the intense politicking of the first three books has somewhat given way to more traditional fantasy elements such as quests and magic, and this stuff can be compressed far more easily (see most fantasy adaptations from Tolkien to Harry Potter) than the inter-house struggle that is the game of thrones that dominated the early books.

    Yes, there’s a lot of characters, but then even Game of Thrones really pushed the boat out as far as huge casts in a TV series went and few people seemed to struggle with that. George R R Martin’s genius is in creating memorable, individual characters, and this combined with excellent casting and performances fro the actors should ensure that the good ship GoT remains on course.

  193. Chris
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Fire And Blood,

    I think Brienne seemed “off” but there may be a good reason for that.
    I’ve seen a lot of speculation that maybe, at the last second, Brienne saved herself from hanging by agreeing to kill Jaime.
    …or perhaps lure him to face Lady Stoneheart’s justice.
    So off he goes to have another conversation with his old friend Catelyn.

  194. Brett
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Chris,

    I think Brienne seemed “off” but there may be a good reason for that.
    I’ve seen a lot of speculation that maybe, at the last second, Brienne saved herself from hanging by agreeing to kill Jaime.
    …or perhaps lure him to face Lady Stoneheart’s justice.

    That’s almost certainly what happened. If I remember A Feast for Crows right, Undead Catelyn gave her the choice between “the sword” (killing Jaime) or the noose. The single word that she shouted in her last Feast chapter was probably “Sword”.

    I think the reason she’s “off” is that Brienne is a bad liar. She’s not having an easy time lying to Jaime (and I suspect he’ll whittle the truth out of her before they meet Catelyn and her group).

  195. Jessica C.
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Mike:
    Call me slow on the pickup….but were Abel and the girls in Winterfell, Mance and the Spearwives in disguise?

    I need to go reread this book already…

    Yes, and I didn’t even figure it out until the Ramsay letter. I was like Mance got there already when did this happen? then I thought about those people helping Theon. And I had a moment of “wow.. I am slow” haha.

    I liked Dance but that’s because of everything that happened in the North. I honestly don’t care about Mereen, the Yunkai, Astapor etc… Those chapters I felt were the weakest. I was also disappointed in the way Quentyn was used and treated in this book. I’m expecting Victarion to be the one to take Daenerys and the Dothraki across the narrow sea. Seriously though they need to get all those characters off of Essos and back in Westeros.

    As for the North, everything was awesome and tied so well with the other Northern POV. And I would like to pause for a second to praise the awesomeness that is Wyman Manderly. His presence in the Davos and Theon chapters made both those POV that much more interesting. I also found it interesting how Melisandre looked at Bran and Bryden as a threat not an ally in her vision, that should be interesting come the later books.

    I do not believe Stannis is dead for a second. I also think Jon is, but temporarily, his death pretty much matches the Azor Ahai prophesy.

    So future requests: More Manderly, less Essos, and for the term “words are wind” to never be used again.

  196. Chris
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Jon dead?
    Undead?
    It is getting a little too easy but there are now several ways a dead Jon could come back, assuming he really was killed.
    The most obvious is… exactly the way Beric Dondarrion did. Wasn’t Thoros of Myr exactly the same kind of “red priest” as Melissandre? Lord Beric returned from numerous brutal deaths and was pretty much unchanged for the experience. Catelyn didn’t do so well but she’d gotten kind of rotten before R’hollor juiced her back up. Assuming Melissandre wants to revive Jon (and it seems she has ample reason to), and she gets the opportunity, Shazam! Jon comes back as a conflicted follower of both the old gods and now the Lord of Light.

  197. Jessica C.
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Chris:
    Shazam!Jon comes back as a conflicted follower of both the old gods and now the Lord of Light.

    Interesting take on it. Assuming that he does get revived I really hope that he still is Jon Snow on the inside. I would hate for him to have this 180 character change and be someone completely different from the character I have grown to love over these books.

  198. Oi!
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Hope that Jon is dead no more of these silly revivals grrm.

  199. HandmaidenofDany
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I just got my book and haven’t had a chance to read it, but I did glance through looking for a Brienne chapter or ANYTHING remotely pointing to whether she lived or died. Can someone who has read the whole book please tell me wether this is in ADWD? I don’t want to be spoiled on the answer, I just want to know if it’s addressed in the book. I absolutely love Brienne and am so worried for her after everything that happened to her in AFFC!

  200. Shock Me
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    HandmaidenofDany: I just got my book and haven’t had a chance to read it, but I did glance through looking for a Brienne chapter or ANYTHING remotely pointing to whether she lived or died. Can someone who has read the whole book please tell me wether this is in ADWD? I don’t want to be spoiled on the answer, I just want to know if it’s addressed in the book. I absolutely love Brienne and am so worried for her after everything that happened to her in AFFC!

    There is a very short sighting of Brienne in the single Jaimie POV but no Brienne POV. So she is alive in some form and convinces Jaimie to come with her to rescue one of the Stark girls.

  201. Shock Me
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Oi!: Hope that Jon is dead no more of these silly revivals grrm.

    We only know Jon is stabbed and loses consciousness. I vote for severely wounded as chaos ensues and drunken wildings run well….wild!

  202. Marilyn Bones
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    i got my book …. i got my book … I GOT MY BOOK!!!!!

  203. Whiskeyjack Hoya
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Jessica C.,

    I agree but I think Dany ends up going east to come to Westeros on the west coast – across the sunset sea with Victorian. Given the way Mereen ended up – I feel like it was a lot of words, a lot of action, but all pieces save Dany are in the same place.

  204. HandmaidenofDany
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Shock Me,

    Brienne and Jamie together again? Oh, you have made my day! Thank you!!!! :)

  205. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Marilyn Bones,

    This is going to reveal me as the Super Dork that I am, but may I just say that all this excitement over a non-movie, non-TV-show, non-video-game, non-electronic-anything, ancient, too-old-fashioned-for-words book puts a lump in my throat.

    READERS UNITE!

  206. obsidian
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    On first read , I’m with the “Glamour” gang. And considering the smoking wound , perhaps it’s even Melisandre herself under that glamour. ..O f course my opinion may alter after the second ( more leisurely) read..this is just off the top of my head.

    Saithkar,

    You make some excellent points.

  207. Fazil
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Wyman Manderly facts:

    Lord Manderly eats steak for every single meal. Most times he forgets to kill the Frey.
    Lord Manderly invented Kentucky Fried Chicken’s famous secret recipe, with eleven herbs and spices. But nobody ever mentions the twelfth ingredient: Frey.
    Lord Manderly is 1/8th Frey. This has nothing to do with ancestry, every 8th meal the man eats one of fucking Lord Walders brood.
    Lord Manderly is a vegetarian. Meaning, he does not eat Freys until first he puts them into vegetative state with his fists.
    Lord Manderly kills anyone that asks, “You want Freys with that?” because by now everyone should know that Wyman always wants Freys. With everything. Ever.
    Lord Manderly likes his ice like he likes his Freys: crushed.
    Lord Manderly once ate a whole cake before his friends could tell him there was a Frey stripper in it.
    Lord Manderly once ate a whole Fat Walda Frey to show a group of third graders how badass he is.
    Lord Manderly once bench pressed Westeros. He then found himself with an enormous appetite, so he decided to eat Fat Walda Frey. Alive.
    Lord Manderly once got into a fight with a Frey after the Frey stole his ice cream. Lord Manderly then grabbed the Frey, bit him in half and spat the Frey’s remains into a sleeping baby’s face.
    Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know when Lord Manderly is going to eat you.
    When Lord Manderly laughs too hard while drinking lemonade, he accidentally shits a lemonpie.
    Lord Manderly could eat all the Freys with one hand, while taking a piss with the other.

  208. Myles Ehrlich
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Kind of out of left field, but I don’t see Mance revealing himself to Ramsay Bolton, even if he was kidnapped. The only person who knows Mance is alive besides Jon is Melisandre. Could she be manipulating him into being AA reborn by forcing his brothers to revolt and kill him?

    I haven’t quite pieced it together yet, but I think Mance is key.

  209. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Fazil,

    ROTFLMFAO! Stop posting stuff like that during work hours! I’m going to get fired!

  210. Oi!
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Myles Ehrlich,

    Would he stayed in his Rattleshirt form if the red ruby would be taken away from him.

  211. Daniel
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Can’t believe I’m gonna have to wait 5-6 years to find out about Jon. That was the only real event (besides Theon + Stannis) that happened in the book. I wish George would just clarify it, rather than end it on a cliffhanger.

    Speaking of which, there are an awful amount of cliffhangers in this huh?

    Theon was great. Manderly is badass. Davos was interesting. Epilogue was exciting. Barristan’s chapters were only good cause it was Barristan, nothing happened in them. Quentyn was pointless. Cersei, Jaime and Arya chapters were too short. Dany and Tyrion went from being my favorite characters to ‘not-another D/T chapter!’ Tyrions adventures with Penny were really just ridiculous. Dany was frustrating and boring at the same time. Too much filler in their chapters (Tyrions were all just filler besides one part.)

    I realize I’m sounding like Dolorous Edd, but much of the book was a disappointment. Ah well, at least it was better than AFFC. However, if Martin wants HBO to split this book into two seasons… Don’t see that happening.

    Time for another long wait I guess, at least we have Game of Thrones to entertain us in the mean time though.

  212. stoastyd
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    True. As to those who think that Tyrion is a Targ I think you’re right and the greyscale is your clue.

    Dany said she never remembered getting sick not does she get burned, she is pure Targ. The only time Tyrion has had problems is after Blackwater when someone had basically cut off his face. He has been sitting in a camp full of sick people and has come out just fine. He got dunked in the water that gave Connington greyscale and as of this point has not shown any signs of being afflicted with it either. Too many coincidences of him avoiding a sickness or the like without that being the case.

    Jon isn’t going to be dead, severely injured definitely, but not dead. The last line of the chapter said “He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold…”. Have to think that before the job could be done there’s going to be wights and/or Others coming. They’ll stop mid stabbing, fire is around, kill some undead and by that point things will be under control. Jon won’t be going to Winterfell, but he’s not going to be a burned pile of bones either when TWoW starts.

    Dany is about to come back with a vengeance. She started to realize the assassination attempt, started to see what was up with her husband, and has started to realize how she’s been wrong this entire time. Don’t discount that conversation in the grass with the ghosts. Physically she’s weak right now, mentally and emotionally I think she’s about to become who she was meant to be. Khal Jhaqo will be dragon food and she’s going to gain a real khalasar to take back with her.

    Bran I can’t say will stay where he is. Something is going to take him from there, something he’ll see in the trees. The last we hear of him was him talking to Theon through the tree in Winterfell. Also, (and this is very far out there speculation) but how about him taking over one of the dragons with his wargy-ness? As it stands though I am losing faith in him having a point any further in this series and that worries me.

    Jaime was sorely missed. One chapter wasn’t enough, and at least one more to find out what Brienne meant by a daughter only being a day away would be nice.

    Someone else said that Cersei’s walk was the best chapter and I can’t disagree. Her walk just helped you witness her go from her proud vain self to this shamed, scared little thing. He tried to recreate the same thing with Dany’s walk but well it just didn’t pan out quite as well as he hoped I don’t think.

    Ser Gregor-stein (I’m stealing this from whoever originally posted it) was a surprise. I wonder if he ever really died, how he was brought back, and also who’s skull the Dornish have. Plenty of comment about how it was big enough to have been his. A giant’s perhaps?

    I hate the idea of it but with GRRM saying he wasn’t starting TWoW until next year I think we’ll not be finding out for sure until 2015 at the earliest. See you guys in 4+ yrs!

  213. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    stoastyd,

    Have to disagree with just one thing: Cersei is about as far from a “shamed, scared little thing” as you can get. She is faking. Faking. Faking. FAKING.

    Cersei’s an evil, manipulative c**t and that’s what evil, manipulative c**ts do: they fake being human. That’s what she’s done from the very beginning and that silly stroll through town doesn’t change that. The whole time she was sneering at the people she claims to rule and planning how to get back into power and punish them.

    That’s why I think Cersei’s behind Varys’ murder of Kevan (she certainly benefits the most in the short run.)

    No wonder Jaime would rather walk into a trap laid by Brienne Hole-in-Her-Face than get within 100 miles of Cersei.

  214. Myles Ehrlich
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Oi!:
    Myles Ehrlich,

    Would he stayed in his Rattleshirt form if the red ruby would be taken away from him.

    That’s true enough.. would Mance have let him know who he was though? Even with the flaying and all?

  215. stoastyd
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    Disagree with her being behind Kevan’s death. With Varys disappearing at the same time as Tyrion she got it into her head that he was part of the plan (as far as I remember, direct quotes from AFFC I don’t have). With how she has treated Joff’s death I don’t see her letting anyone she even suspects of it getting away from her. Varys is obviously working against the plans that she has so that’s another reason I don’t think she was involved.

    As to her being shamed I still think she was, up until she saw Ser Gregor-stein. At that point she went back at least internally. Externally you are very right, back to business as usual by looking repentant but I’m sure it will only last until her trial is over and then I’m pretty sure the Sept is going the way of the Tower of the Hand.

    This is Martin we’re talking about though so for all I know the prologue will have her being murdered.

  216. Carol Witt
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Brett: I think the reason she’s “off” is that Brienne is a bad liar. She’s not having an easy time lying to Jaime (and I suspect he’ll whittle the truth out of her before they meet Catelyn and her group).

    I wondered if she’s deliberately “off”: trying to warn Jaime without saying outright that it’s a trap, so that she doesn’t have to try to lie to Lady Stoneheart and the gang about what she told him when she returns.

  217. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    stoastyd,

    I think you’re right about Cersei’s revenge.

    But I also think the prophecy about her being killed by a younger brother means Jaime, not Tyrion.

  218. Marilyn Bones
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    to Yellow Dog

    Thanks for the shout out …. and I am a purest …. NO Kindle NO eReader none of it … I want a book, with pages and ink and with fresh off the presses smells … I want to go to a bookstore and get lost between its aisles!!! …. I’m at the first Tyrion chapter and I have alot of catching up to do if I want to add any comments here

  219. Phoenix_Torn
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Just Finished!

    GAHHHHHHHHHHH! This is going to be a long wait…

  220. clemintine
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    McFox: First time poster, long time lurker, but I just had to get everybody’s opinion on the potential BOMB dropped by Barristan when telling Dany the episode about her father at Tywin Lannister’s wedding. If the king did go overboard before the bedding, could this mean that Jamie and Cersie are actually half Targaryan = have blood of the dragon = potentially steal/ride one of Dany’s 3 when she eventually gets over to Westeros? Not to mention, this would vindicate Tyrion in a way because it would mean he is the only ‘pure’ Lannister in his line, J&C being ‘bastards,’ in a sense. Or…am I just crazy?

    I was thinking perhaps Aeys is Tyrion’s dad, not Cersei/Jamie (though that would proove to be sweetly ironic since Jamie is always going on about how incest was acceptable for Targs) and perhaps that is why Tywin never referred to Tyrion as his son and he knew that Aeys raped Joanna and fuels his hatred towards Tyrion. See below for more speculation.

    Jon is dead? Whaaaa!
    1) Jon is dead. The end. Tear.
    2) Jon comes back as Ghost. (heh, this actually fits given the wolf’s name, GRRM foreshadowing?) Mel warned him to keep Ghost near, but maybe not as a protector but as a vassel for his spirit.
    3) Jon comes back as a badass weight. Now this one I think holds interesting possibilities… It’s clear the Benjin is a wright, but he is still good and remembers himself. How this came about and why it hasn’t happened for the others remains unclear.
    4) Mel brings him back herself with her red priest magic.

    Concerning Aegon, I’m not so sure anymore that he’s the real deal. I’m sure that Jon Cunningham thinks he’s real. My suspicion: GRRM made sure to mention that pleasure slaves from Lys are pale-haired. So what I think Varys did (and he sees the realm united behind a Targ as being what’s best for it) is that maybe he had several babies with Targ features, gave them all good educations and then choose the most promising one to fill the shoes of “Aegon” and the boy believes that he was the secreted away Aegon. The only way we’ll find out is when he encounters one of Dany’s dragon.

    Selmy’s head: I liked being in there. I wanted more of it! He’s the secret spiller, the one who’s witnessed it all. I just wanted to curl up on a rug and hear him tell stories. I was on tenterhooks, but at least he’s not dead yet. I bet he has a few more revelations yet to come.

    But what was the freaking point of Meereen? GRRM works in mysterious ways. It did seem like a waste of time, but mayhaps not. We’ll see.

    What I wanted to see? Tyrion return to Westros astride a motherfucking dragon. Just like the Baratheons and the Martells, I figured there has to be at least one Targ in the Lannister family line somewhere. In GoT he is introduced as having dreams of dragons. My two picks for the other two heads of the dragon were Tyrion, and the curveball being Shireen (she was introduced as having dragon dreams too and we know for sure that one of her great^n grandmothers was a Targ.) Maybe it’ll be Aegon instead as the last head. I just want Tyrion to be one. Maybe that hint Barristen dropped, perhaps Tyrion’s more Targ than he knows.

    At the very least it looked like the book was leading up to the meeting of Tyrion and Dany, I was so pumped. And it didn’t happen :( I want my two favourites to team up.

    Arya, every bit awsome. Can’t wait to see her return to Westros.

    I wanted more Mel chapters! Why only one? She become more human, and I loved the details about the powders up her sleeves. I demand more Mel! And I was kindof hoping she and Jon would have hot sex.

    Though I wonder how much Sylesse knows about Stannis and Mel sleeping together? Does she even suspect? Would she be so fervant a worshipper if she found out? Or maybe she knows and purposefully ignores it.

    Boo. Davos isn’t dead. He continues to be boring, but Mandarly is fantastic. I do look forwards to seeing what Rickon and Osha were up to these past two books…

    Ramsay, I think he’s bluffing. Something happened and he’s not telling the whole truth. Unless GRRM thought to kill a heck of alot of a characters off screen just for the heck of it. I wouldn’t put it past him.

    So they also mentioned a new Southros. Does this mean that the world also has a Northros?

    loco73: I’m in the middle of reading “Winter’s Heart” from the “Wheel Of Time” saga.

    What are you doing? Abandon WoT immediately and get to Song of Ice and Fire now. Trust me.

    Markus Finster: Man, what happens to Theon is beyond gruesome. He is a vile character, but I wouldn’t wish Ramsay Bolton on anyone. Well, maybe on Ramsay Bolton himself…

    I can think of a few. Gergor, Biter, Joffrey… to name a few :p I can’t believe it, but I actually felt sorry for Theon. Didn’t see that one coming. Leave it up to GRRM to show that there are always *worse* villains out there. Theon couldn’t even be properly evil. Now I hope he finds redemption through Jeyne (and this show the perils of filming a book before the series is done–they cut her out, but she’s important to to the North in this book, how will they handle that if the seasons get that far?) Asha continues to be awsome. I hope she’s not dead.

    Taryn: He also has developed a fetish for the phrase “much and more.”

    Not to mention nipples on a breastplate, and suddenly they have named hours in Westros and Essos.

    Sygerrik of Skagos,

    You are now my favourite theorist. Everything works so perfectly, and you must have one hell of a memory to put those pieces together! Though I still want Tyrion to be third :) It certainly ties into the confusion of different red priests thinking different people are AA reborn.

    Dany’s “back to go forwards”. I think that’s about her returning to her roots at the head of a kahllisar. “Go east to go west/go the light by passing under the shadow” I think that means she’s going to go through Asshai (Under the Shadow) to return to Westros the opposite direction everyone has been telling her to go.(it must be a round world, right?) “To go north you must go south” She will land in southern Westros (Dorne) in order to read the North and bring fire and brimstone to the others.

  221. Strong Belwas
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Brienne seems “off” because she’s obviously conflicted. I think it’s certain what happened – the word she screamed was “sword,” thus effectively swearing to Stoneheart to hunt down Jaime with his own blade. Not sure what she’d do in that situation. Obviously, she went to get Jaime, but to what end? She might be going to kill him… she’s all about honor, and she never swore to NOT kill Jaime. She might kill him to fulfill her oath to Stoneheart, then resume the quest for Sansa. But then again, she has this connection with Jaime, so… we’ll see how that goes.

    I thought the Cersei chapter was great. I do think that she snapped, but not completely. She still lusts for power, she still can’t help but be suspicious and scheme-y, but her pride has been broken. She seems to honestly think (from her internal monologue) that she has an obligation to repent.

    Agreed: Tyrion has the Targaryen blood, if any of the Lannisters do. Remember, Tyrion’s hair is described as so blonde it’s white. And someone’s point about his seeming immunity to greyscale is also relevant – those are both Targaryen traits. In the long run, this makes him eligible to be a head of the dragon. He’s always dreamed of riding on a dragon…

    Anyone who says that the Quentyn chapters were pointless is insane. The scene in the dragonpit was OUTSTANDING. Totally worth the (relatively minimal) time investment in the character to get to that point.

  222. Fire And Blood
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    “Would you like Freys with that?” Heh.

  223. DragonStargazer
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    As far as Tyrion and grayscale goes, here is the quote from the book:
    page 276

    He was on the Shy Maid, Tyrion saw, under a scratchy blanket that smelled of vinegar. The Sorrows are behind us. It was just a dream I dreamed as I was drowning. “Why do I stink of vinegar?”
    “Lemore has been washing you with it. Some say it helps prevent the greyscale. I am inclined to to doubt that, but there was no harm in trying.”[...]

    page 277

    [...] Tyrion drove the dagger’s point into the ball of his thumb, watched the blood bead up, sucked it away. “How long must I continue to torture myself? When we will we be certain that I’m clean?”
    “Truly?” said the Halfmaester. “Never. You swallowed half the river. You may be going grey even now, turning to stone from the inside out, starting with your heart and lungs. If so, pricking your toes and bathing in vinegar will not save you. When you’re done, come have some broth.”

  224. Strong Belwas
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Fire And Blood,

    Thanks for counting those up, FaB. I knew it was a lot. Someone higher up said that there is a lot that can be condensed out of these chapters in aFFC and aDwD, and they’re right. But the point that FaB is making – and it’s a damn good one – isn’t so much about the amount of content, but the amount of storylines. If you get a total of three minutes worth of each character per episode, then you won’t have a compelling episode of TV on your hands. Not even close. It’s going to be scattered and boring.

    I think the approach that D&D will have to take is to choose maybe five characters to follow in each episode. Keep a narrow focus in each episode, but change up where that focus is from episode to episode. When they’ve neglected a major chunk of the plot for 2-3 episodes straight, bring that portion back in very strong when it re-emerges. Let yourself have cliffhangers, but always resolve the cliffhanger in the next episode. Note that they already did something like this in Season 1, with Jon Snow having been neglected for two episodes straight, and Dany missing out on an episode. This is going to be a lot harder strategy to follow when you’re dropping multiple plotlines for multiple episodes at a stretch. But so long as you can find thematic ties within episodes that will keep each episode self-contained and fast-paced, the audience will be entertained, and they’ll come back next week looking for more.

  225. Strong Belwas
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    DragonStargazer,

    I don’t know what that proves, if anything. At this point, it’s pretty clear (to me) that Tyrion does not have greyscale. Connington already has two fingers grey at this point, and Tyrion doesn’t – he bleeds when he pricks himself. The Halfmaester might be right that he’s turning to stone from the inside, but that seems unlikely. I much prefer the theory that Tyrion is half-Targaryen, and this has rendered him immune to disease.

  226. Whiteotter
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    If Jon does die, and is brought back via the Westeros/Melly equivalent of CPR… does that mean his watch has ended and his oath has been fulfilled?

    Gods, I hope so. As much as I like the Night’s Watch, I’m ready for Jon’s story to go elsewhere, for him to get involved in the other threads of the story.

  227. Whiskeyjack Hoya
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Can someone confirm I read that last Dany chapter right – that she was knocked up with Daario’s get, but lost the baby after eating the bitter green berries she finds?

    I would have preferred the Dany chapters be cut in half – all told from a Selmy POV, except for the last Dany chapter.

    Honestly book just sort petered to a stop. Started so strong for the first 2/3rds.

  228. Phoenix_Torn
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    So Tyrion hasn’t figured it out yet, but…
    Who is Septa Lemore? Only guess I have is Ashara Dayne (since I’ve never been convinced she’s dead) Would make sense with the company she’s keeping. Baristan says “Long dark hair, and haunting purple eyes. Ashara’s Daughter had been stillborn Tyrion’s says Lemore has dark brown hair, stretch marks but never comments on her eyes.
    Since she was brought up a couple times in this one, it makes me wonder.

  229. Nico
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    I had an amazing time, but afterwards I feel like I have read one of the later Robert Jordan novels.

    It should be titled “The Hidden Chapters of A Feast For Crows”.

    While there are some amazing POV chapters, George has slowed to an absolute crawl in narrative and there are no major steps forward in the overall plot of ASOIAF.

    The book should have been released a year after AFFC, or in a perfect reality, AFFC would never have happened and we would have seen 2-3 linear books in that time period.

    Anyways I was sated for 2 days, and now am left disappointed for another 5 years.

    Two scenes were worth it though, both featuring dragons.

  230. ewan
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Just finished, and I have to say I’m torn. About half-way through, though, I was loving it a whole lot more than I did at the end. At half-way, the pace is good, characters are starting to cross each others path, and you think GRRM might be actually bringing this baby home. But then, suddenly, the pace slackens, new twists are thrown in from left-field and things you thought were coming to a head are left unsatisfyingly unresolved. Kind of like Selmy’s coup – all going swimmingly, but lacking the conviction to get the whole job done.

    Good stuff – I punched the air when Slynt was beheaded, Quentyn’s demise is laugh-out-loud funny, and I had to read the end of Jon’s last chapter about three times before it sunk in what happened (in a similar way to David Nicholls’ One Day – those who have read that know which bit I mean :) ). Loved the introduction of Penny (poor, poor Penny), and Tyrion was good, once all the self-pity of Pentos was out his system. Cersei’s walk was excellently written. Connington and the Golden Company are probably some of the best new characters GRRM’s introduced in the last couple of books.

    Downers – there was a real lack of foreshadowing on Jon’s which I found unsatisfying (I don’t count prophecies much), and felt the betrayal by the Watch seemed bizarrely out of kilter with the rest of their behaviour. You might disagree.

    Four-ish chapters of watching Victarion get from halfway to Meereen to 7/8ths of the way to Meereen…what?

    Meereen – what a stupid, ridiculous clusterfuck, that is actually getting worse, with the arrival of Victarion (and soon, Marwyn?). It’s so bad that GRRM seems to have basically hit the reset button on Dany’s story. (Arguably, he’s done the same with Jon). Now he’s got to get everyone else out of Meereen.

    Arya – while the chapters are well done, I just don’t get where her story is going.

    The epilogue – sorry, just don’t buy Varys suddenly tooling up and wasting Kevan and Pycelle himself.

    So all in all, I like it, but I feel that I’m only reading now to a) See something good happen to someone who deserves it, which’d be a change, b) See some baddies get some proper come-uppance (looking at you, Roose Bolton) and c) See how all these unsatisfying dangly bits get resolved. It’s certainly not really for enjoyment any more.

  231. Tim H
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to see one of those Hostess fruit pies adverts (the ones run in marvel and DC comics in the 1970′s) starring Wyman Manderly and his pals the Freys.

  232. Petyr
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    What do you guys think about Satin actually being the one stabbed, not Jon? And if not, what was the point of having Satin be the LC’s steward?

    My other theory is Jon is dead. He got Caeser’d and now Octavian (sam) and Mark Anthony (Tormund, maybe Leathers?) will run the Wall together. Then, Dany shows up at the wall with Victarion behind. He wants to get a dragon, so he gets Wun Wun to blow the horn for him (cause no man can blow it) but its actually that other horn and the Wall comes down. Everyone dies and book 7 is 1000 pages of snow blowing over graves.

  233. MUGger
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Just finished this morning — I feel like I just ate a whole bowl of honeyed spiced locusts (urp).

    I am not on the “Just Get it Over With” team. I want to bathe and wallow in this world as much as GRRM will let me. Mark my words — when this series concludes, whether 5, 10, or 15 years from now — you will all despair and whine for more Dunk & Egg stories, Robert’s Rebellion stories, etc. GRRM is a better writer than Robert Jordan, he is not bored with his characters, and has more pure motives (i.e., he is not milking it to extend it out intentionally). It is known.

    SPOILERS ABOUND BELOW WITHOUT TAGS – SKIP IF YOU ARE STILL READING

    Meanwhile, I am enjoying the journey and the fun of watching the various pieces of the puzzle click into place, and learning the fates of various characters. My tally goes as follows:

    Dead as Doornail, way past Stoneheart-like revival: Kevan; Pycelle; Quentyn; Little Walder; various other (digested) Freys; Rattleshirt; Ser Patrek of Kings Mountain; casts of thousands comprised of Meerenese, Astaporans, sellswords, and slaves/criminals/unfortunate captains given to the Drowned God and/or Rhyllor.

    Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated in Prior Books: Theon; Bran; Bloodraven; Jon Connington; Aeron Targaryen; Loras; Rickon; The Onion Knight; Brienne; Gregor; perhaps Ashara Dayne (I like the Lemore theory).

    Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated in This Book: Jon Snow (either comes back via a Melissandre kiss of fire or through warging); Mance Ryder; Stannis.

    Set Up in This Book to Kick Major Ass in Future Books: Arya (truly Faceless now — literally– best chapter in the book); Victorian; Cersei (more grudges & paranoia to nurse, enabled to take charge again by Varys); Dany; Bran; Tyrion; Barristan.

    Theories Confirmed (maybe)/Receiving New Life: A+J = T; that baby was not Aegon; Varys is still at Kings Landing; UnGregor lives and joins Kingsguard; Brandon Stark was a horndog; Ed Stark and Ashara Dayne bumped uglies (and produced a child).

    Possible New Directions: The Young Griff is a double switch — perhaps Ashara’s & Ned’s kid, set up by Varys to masquarade as Aegon (the Mummer’s Dragon); Jon Snow’s “death” enables him to leave the Wall and his vows behind (thus avoiding the coming holocaust there and to kick ass — maybe Ramsey’s — elsewhere); Bran will learn crucial information about the Others, and may side with them; Arya will be sent to kill a major character in Westeros; training dragons is nothing like the movie.

    Other Thoughts: There is a lot of resonance from Aemon’s advice to Jon to “kill the boy, become the man” in Dany’s story — while she played up the “I’m just a naive girl who knows nothing about [fill in the subject]” to other characters, there was also a lot of truth in that statement — her experiences, while protracted, were necessary to get her to where she was at the end of book, and needs to be as a dragon queen: ruthless and focused, without the “soft heart” leading her way into everything. I also found it interesting that she seemed to get the flux, then shook it off (and appeared to become fertile again).

  234. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    MUGger,

    Best summary yet. Don’t agree on quite EVERYthing, but you’ve nailed almost all of it.

  235. OhWhoCares
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Not reading anything in here because I’m not done yet but I just came across this and thought it was hilarious.. Wanted to share!

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v617/anuhealani/mean-grrm.gif

    I’m the fat girl crying on the steps lololol

  236. Bro
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Just got my book today! Couldn’t help but flick through (I know, my bad). Out of curiosity, does anyone know when the paperback version will come out? I always wonder why they never bring out both versions at the same time…

  237. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Bro,

    Money. If they brought out the paperback at the same time, no one would ever buy the hardcover. There are monster bestsellers that came out in hardcover years ago and still aren’t in paperback, because they keep selling in hardcover.

  238. Cyryl
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    Like The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Mad face). I had to buy it in hardcover and take it back!

  239. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Cyryl,

    As a former employee of an independent bookseller, I have to say I hope you screwed a chain store.

  240. Franny Bee
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog: stoastyd,

    Have to disagree with just one thing: Cersei is about as far from a “shamed, scared little thing” as you can get. She is faking. Faking. Faking. FAKING.

    Right you are. “Yes. Oh yes” says it all. (Well, that and her humor about ripping out the Septa’s tongue with hot pincers.) Cersei was down, but not OUT (not regretful or ‘changed’ or humbled, just momentarily humiliated). Which in fact, makes her bigger and meaner than ever before.

    NOW, she’s pissed off.

  241. Dreamlife
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m not reading the comments until I’ve finished the book because I hate spoilers. I just got the book on Thursday and so far I’ve read several Jon, Tyrion, Bran, and Dany chapters and just 1 Quentyn, Reek, and Davos chapter.

    First off, I got teary-eyed when I read the dedication page and saw this site mentioned with specific shout-outs to Winter and Fabio. It was also nice to see Elio and Linda from Westeros listed. That was really awesome, George!

    The characters I was most looking forward to returning to were Jon, Bran, & Arya. I would list Brienne, Sansa, and Sam, but I understand we don’t get POV chapters from them until the next book. I was really excited about the prologue, meeting Quentyn, and revisiting “Reek”.

    Initial reactions:

    The Jon chapters are mind-blowingly awesome. Jon has changed a lot, really grown quite stern, kind of like Mormont, but also a little like Ned and Stannis. I guess the war did that to him. Jon deciding to hang…then change his mind…then behead Janos Slynt—I said “holy shit” when that happened.

    Bran chapters are awesome and leave me wanting to skip ahead to the next Bran chapter. It’s great to learn more about Coldhands and to finally meet the Three-eyed Crow. Also, cool to see a child of the forest. I’m worried about Jojen not making it much longer, though, and also a little scared for Summer after that prologue chapter.

    Speaking of the prologue—this was the scariest one yet. I am still uncertain if Varamyr died and is trapped in the one-eyed wolf. Can he still change skins? I’m afraid he’s going to jump into Summer when the opportunity arises.

    Davos’ chapter was awesome. Some find him boring but I’ve always liked Davos. He’s one of the few “good” characters in the series. We got more confirmation that Jon’s mother was just a regular woman, not Lyanna, though I don’t know if the fisherman’s wife was Wylla or not.

    I had already read Reek’s chapter and I remember it sending chills up and down my spine. Scary stuff he’s gone through. After the 2nd read I feel a little bad for him until I remind myself what he did at Winterfell and then I don’t feel so sorry for him.

    I’ve been disappointed so far with the Tyrion, Quentyn, and Dany chapters. I had already read Dany’s first one and find the others a little boring, though the return of Qaithe and prophecies is always welcome. Who is the pale horse (a Dothraki khal?)? The dark flame (is this referring to the fiery heart of Stannis and Melisandre?)? Mummer’s dragon (no clue)? Tyrion’s first one I had already read and was kind of cool, but his travels have been boring so far considering how exciting the other chapters were. Duck and the other guy remind me of a Bronn, who I miss. I am looking forward to his eventual meeting with Dany. Quentyn is nothing like I expected. I’ve only read one of his, so there’s time for him to grow on me. He seems like a good guy, though, and I look forward to his meeting with Dany.

    Anyway, it’ll be fun to return to this post after I’ve finished the book and also to read everyone’s comments and reactions.

  242. Franny Bee
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    That was a very long book. Marathon read!

    Dany in Meereen made me start skimming. I used to like her. WHAT HAPPENED?! “I’m only a young girl” got really old, really fast.

    Jon was a revolutionary. That’s what they do to revolutionaries :S (Craving a Caesar salad suddenly…) Don’t think he’s gone, but is gonna be a ghost in Ghost.

    Aegon kinda came from nowhere and changed directions rather suddenly imho. Quentyn was futile, unsure what was added to the story through him. Same for Tyrion. Not a fan of him doing the dwarf joust. It’s just… piteous.

    Theon had it ALL coming. He’s slowly gaining his humanity again, and is going to be a total prick again, just you wait!

    Loved Janos Slynt. Screamed for joy. Ahh, payback you mofo!

    Cersei’s walk of shame was the best chappie. She is gonna KILL everyone now using her unGregor. And she and Jaime are (possible) Targs? Whoa. Thatsa spicy meatball!

    Ramsay Bolton gets decorating advice from Lord Voldemort it seems. Similar public relations strategy too.

    A LOT of magic in this book. Felt very fantasy to me. Anyone else kinda ‘glamoured out’?

    Mel is a lot more ‘smoke & mirrors’ than you’d think. Found that kinda vindicating.

    Jaime and Brienne was strange. She is taking him away for an honorable duel methinks.

    Epilogue was badass!

    Glad to have read it, just wish ADwD had more ‘arriving’ and less ‘getting there’! Felt like we circled Meereen for a long, loooong time.

  243. Ms. Stormborn
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Finished reading the entire book this morning and I have to say, there were some awesome chapters that made me want to skip ahead (Reek!) and some that were so tedious to read through. Except for the chapter when Drogon comes back and flies off with Dany and the last Dany chapter, I found all her other chapters to be cumbersome. Mayhaps it’s with all those names that sound laboriously similar and that the action didn’t take off until the dragon did.

    I hope Ramsay gets his due in the hands of a northern woman and I would love it to be the true Arya.

  244. Michelle
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    I just finished about an hour ago. Holy crap!

    Jon: I refuse to believe he’s dead. Or if he is dead, then he’s totally going to be reborn somehow. And we got yet another candidate for who his parents are. Sheesh. Just tell us, George!

    Theon: I actually felt bad for him. Theon’s done some horrible things, but no one deserves the Ramsey Bolton treatment. Except Walder Frey. ;) Or Ramsey himself. He’s even worse than Joffrey!

    Asha: Continues to be awesome. She’s my favorite Greyjoy.

    Victorion: One more person in/near Meereen. Ugh.

    Tyrion: Was I the only one who was kinda bored? All that traveling and peril and not only is he is alive, he hasn’t even met Dany yet? Ugh. He’s on the verge of becoming like Dany and Arya for me. And how does Tyrion keep running into all these people? Does he have Westeros castoffs radar or something?

    Dany: Speaking of Her Worship…UGH. I hated her before, but I really can’t stand her now. Do you want a little cheese with that whine? If she so much as looks at Jorah funny when he finds her, I will punch her in the face. Nice work, destabilizing an entire continent’s economy. And bringing MONSTERS back. Ugh. I really hope she dies before she can ruin Westeros as well.

    Quentyn/Dorne: I really liked Quentyn and sad when he got fried. Doran’s not going to be happy. Glad that the Sand Snakes are free though!

    Bran/Arya: Glad that Bran’s story finally seems to be going somewhere. But he and Arya are in the same boat. They are so far removed from the action that I care about, that I’m having trouble seeing where they fit in in the grand scheme.

    Griff/Young Griff: This was the OMFG moment for me. Baby Aegon is alive?! Or someone they’re passing off as Aegon. For now, I’m willing to believe he’s the genuine article. I like him, a hell of a lot more than I like Dany. Don’t marry her!

    Cersei: The High Septon is kidding himself if he thinks that walk cowed Cersei Lannister. With Kevan dead, and Gregor-stein as her champion, she’s going to back nastier and more paranoid than ever. And she’s going to be PISSED. I’m almost rooting for her brand of crazy. Almost.

    Jaime: Too. Effing. Short. Why do you do this too me, GRRM? Tell us Brienne’s fate, then saddle us with that cliffhanger? As far as anyone in King’s Landing knows, Jaime’s just…missing. They know he went with her, but we don’t know what happened after that. I think that if Jaime dies, we’ll see it. We’ll witness it from either his or Brienne’s POV. I really hope the Maid of Tarth as some sort of plan, because if Jaime dies because of Un-Cat’s stupid crazy undead vengeance kick, I am going to be super angry. At least let him die with a sword in his hand. Can I have that, George?

    Other thoughts: Stannis is alive, Ramsey’s an monster (but we knew that), Davos continues to rock, Rickon is still relevant, and Lord Manderly is my new favorite person. :D

  245. Talon Lannister
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    MUGger,

    IF Tyrion is a Targ, could he be the “mummer’s dragon”? He does arrive playing as a dwarf jouster… not sure on this theory, it’s going to be interesting to find out the truth. And I also am of the opinion that the whole fisherman’s daughter got knocked up by Ned Stark story that Davos is given at Sisterton is a classic GRRM red herring, trying to put doubt into the Jon is a Targ theory.

  246. Dupree'sDiamondBlues
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    That was a monster. Here’s what I think:
    1. Jon’s goose is cooked, unless of course R+L=J, and then he’s one head of three and the ice and fire angle makes sense
    2. Ramsay Bolton needs to die! If his letter was true, he’d have reek, so hopefully his host turned and devoured itself. That’s why he wants hostages….
    3. The Mereneese knot is pretty much resolved. A Mother to One is a Mother to All, and breaking a seige with 50k “screamers” who travel along the coast and meet a pirate with a horn that binds dragons allows everyone to cross the narrow sea without capitulation or being defeated.
    4. Frog’s death was good. That way the prince can raise Dorne himself, he is already in the south
    5. Halfman’s books and knowledge of dragons is gonna come in handy when the second son’s turn their cloaks…again…lol
    6. Jamie will get what he deserves from Stoneheart
    7. Arya ends up in King’s Landing to settle the Iron Bank’s debt. Her prayer, “Queen Cersi, Ser Franken-Gregor, Gregor’s Men, Ser Boros, Ser Meryn” are all there now. Watch and see….
    8. Bran serves the darkness now, or the enemy of Rhallor
    9. Mel is gonna abandon SB when she makes the “smoke and salt” connection. He’ll die screaming (if he’s not already dead…lol)
    10. And the spider spins the web, twitching all the flies this way and that. I hope we see a Varys POV
    11. I now am certain GRRM is a fellow “Deadhead.” ‘Darkstar’ put me on the trail, and his thanks to a friend that helped with the ‘darkness around “Terrapin Station”‘ in the acknowledgements confirmed it. Now if only “Dick Straw” was “Jack Straw”… Remember, “Weir Everywhere.” Still.

  247. Dupree'sDiamondBlues
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Addendum:
    Ayres+Johanna=Tyrion. That’s why Aryes made Jamie a Kingsguard to vouchsafe Tywin’s good behavior. It’s also why Tywin and Ayres quarreled, and T eventually sacked kings landing. It also explains why Tywin hates Tyrion. That would make Ageon the “mummer’s Dragon” and our intrepid Imp a dragon head… Just saying. Any thoughts?

  248. obsidian
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    Talon Lannister,

    I think Aegon could be The Mummer’s Dragon..because of Varys being raised by Mummers.

  249. Debbie Peterson
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    Cyryl: Littlefinger has always known what’s going on, but he talked about three Queens (three right?). Okay Cercei is definitely one, then maybe Marge, but then who? Danny? Myrcella (all of Cercei’s children are to be crowned)? Does he mean to crown Sansa? Methinks he’s in for a surprise…which is good for the little bastard. For all LF lovers, sorry, but he started the whole war and IT’S ON.

    Littlefinger is planning a good marriage for Sansa, and to announce once he has that support who she really is and make her Queen of the North. That plot line started in Feast.

    The whole Tyrion acting the joust with Penny before they were made slaves was just wrong. It goes against everything he has worked for his entire life! I could see it once he was a slave and it was a matter of survival, but on the ship!?!

    To me the only point of the Victorian story line is to get Dany the ships she needs. I was surprised that she made no progress with the dragons, I thought she would come to her senses and realize that keeping them captive was a mistake. I figured she would wise up at some point and start working to control them more.

    If the reason is that she can only control/ride one of the dragons, and Tyrion will have one, how will they control the other dragon to get to Westeros? If it were Aegon or Jon they would have to travel to the dragon.

  250. obsidian
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Dupree’sDiamondBlues,

    Oops ! didn’t notice your post above…yep , that makes sense to me.

  251. Debbie Peterson
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    Spiler alert

    I just re-read Jons last chapter, and it does not make sense. Why would he ride for Winterfell? Ramsey clearly does not have the “bride” anymore, so it would not be to save Arya. It can’t be because Ramsey threatened to tear out his heart.

    He told Mance he was on his own. If Stannis was defeated he would not avenge him. Why would Jon risk the Wall and the fragile relations between the wildlings and the nights watch? What is the real reason for the sudden need to go to Winterfell?

  252. obsidian
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    Debbie Peterson,

    I’m not sure that’s what LF has in store for Sansa. I know he told her that, but I’ve never thought it was safe to believe anything he says. Now in this book, we learn that he volunteered to marry Sansa himself to help the Lannisters clear the way for Margaery. (But Cersei considered him too low born ) Hmmm… When she left KL Sansa stowed her
    “magic ” hairnet in the pocket of her cloak. It might be a good thing if she still has it ..;)

  253. obsidian
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    Debbie Peterson,

    I’m still early in a re-read ( or re- drop in here and there) But I like the “Glamour ” theory so far..it’s at least a real possibility.. The one person who would be likely to rush off on a rescue mission might be Melisandre. She can’t understand why she can’t see Stannis in her fire..( and she hates it when Stannis leaves her behind ).

    Earlier, someone ( have to check back , sorry ) mentioned that the circumstances of the attack on “Jon” fulfill the description of the prophecy .His wounds smoke, Bowen Marsh’s tears ( salt ) , Ser Patrek of the star sigil is bleeding above him . I agree , but just as the Old Bear says ( when Jon first thinks of deserting ) that honour brought him back , though it wasn’t his honour..in a similar way, this could still mark Jon’s rebirth , even if it’s not his “death ” ..Really the end of the boy and the emergence of the man.

  254. Damryn of Dorne
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 2:25 am | Permalink

    Ok, done!

    Took my relative time, but it was worth it on a first read. Some things that stood out:

    1) Janos Slynts ignominious end.
    2) Bran’s journey’s destination and new ability.
    3) Aegon’s revival.
    4) The Manderly sub-plot (missed the pie reference myself)
    5) Wex’s reference to Osha/Rickon (Hardhome is a prime candidate as there were several references to cannibalism)
    6) The dragonsssssssssssssssssssssssssss! I for one like’d Dany’s conclusion… she went back to the Khalasars to go forward.
    7) Jon’s plotline with the Wildlings and his difficulties integrating them into the Gift/Abandoned Castles.
    8) Tyrions relationship with Penny.
    9) The weird partials… Jaime/Brienne
    10) Arya. I love Arya :)

  255. obsidian
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    Damryn of Dorne,

    I don’t think Osha would take Rickon north of the wall , but what about Skagos ? I think there’s also a reference to unsavoury practices there. Hmmmm..where else ?

  256. Critical Geek
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    Re: Mummer’s Dragon

    My big Theory…

    This has to be Young Griff. Young Griff’s whole life is one big Truman show, orchestrated by Varys and Illyrio to formulate a King who feels the need to earn his place rather than feel entitled to it. The whole reason Tyrion is sent with them is to have a Westerosi lord “win” secrets out of the halfmaester about young Griff, and provide further “evidence” to support the theory. Why does he get called the mummer’s dragon? Because Young Griff’s whole story and parentage is made up in its entirety.

  257. clemintine
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Debbie Peterson: The whole Tyrion acting the joust with Penny before they were made slaves was just wrong. It goes against everything he has worked for his entire life! I could see it once he was a slave and it was a matter of survival, but on the ship!?!

    I think it goes against everything *Tywin* has worked against for Tyrion’s entire life. Tyrion himself wanted to be a acrobat when he was young. Tywin squashed that and any reminder that dwarfs are circus acts from coming to CR. Tyrion is a natural performer though, in other ways, with his japes and wit to amuse himself and others. So going one step further to joust on a pig and save his own skin isn’t so out of character. And maybe to give Tywin the finger as he watches from his hell.

  258. Damryn of Dorne
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    obsidian,

    No, Skagos wouldnt cause Davos to balk. I got the distinct impression that Hardhome was the place he feared. Too bad we have to wait 6 years to find out :)

  259. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Dupree’sDiamondBlues,

    unless of course R+L=J

    That would explain something that’s been bothering me since AGOT: Ned remembering Larissa dying in pain with lots of blood. Rape is horrible, but rarely fatal, and didn’t someone recall that Rhaegor kidnapped Larissa for love? Ned kept it a secret, of course, because Robert would have killed the baby.

    GOT to re-read all the books s-l-o-w-l-y.

  260. Kathrina Martinsen
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Hmm… thinking that Jon maybe isn’t Jon? Haven’t been through all the comments, so my apologies if I repeat something that has already been voiced. Maybe Melisandre has cast another “glamor” over someone to make him look like Jon and get killed, while Jon can safely go south?

    Like others, I too would’ve liked to know Brienne’s one word. It did seem a little off to have her and Jaime just “accidentally on purpose” bump into each other in the middle of nowhere.

  261. clemintine
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    metalgoddessamb: I think she didn’t get a chance to find out if she is a warg like her siblings. I do think Lady’s death meant she was doomed though.

    Even though she never got to run through forests like Arya or Bran or Rickon (maybe we’ll find out by Winds if he’s a warg too, probably), Sansa still had plenty of contact with animals. There’s all the cats and rats in King’s Landing, birds around the cities and castles etc. She doesn’t need a special direwolf to find out if she’s a warg or not. I simply think she’s not, and the most Tully of all the Stark children. Robb is perhaps the second most “Tully” since it was always refereed to his hair was more like Catelyn’s, but we never got his POV so we don’t know if he had wolf dreams too and if he was as close to Greywind as the other Stark kids were with theirs.

  262. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    Lyanna. Not Larissa. Where’s the damn coffee?

  263. Judith
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Theory regarding Brienne’s appearance and actions:

    Brienne is biting the bullet about the moral complexities of honor. She does not want to kill Jaime– au contraire– but she’s sworn to find Sansa, and she can’t save Sansa if she’s hanging dead from a tree. Thus she has at least promised to bring him to Lady Stoneheart; if UnCatelyn is completely unwilling to accept any alternative, however, Brienne will have agreed to execute Jaime for her. She has probably promised to do it, with either explicit or hidden reservations, and she’s going to try to convince the ex-Brotherhood that Jaime isn’t guilty of the Red Wedding.

    I hated the transformation of the Brotherhood from justice to vengeance. How could they have gone from the group that released Sandor Clegane after his trial to a bunch willing to hang anybody they think smells like a lion? Didn’t these people unite behind Beric Dondarrion because he stood for a justice others denied? How can they no longer give a damn whether the people they kill actually committed any crimes? Sure, they know which Freys did what at the Red Wedding via Catelyn’s testimony… but hanging a kid for being the Imp’s squire, or stringing up a man for being “one of Tarly’s”? Monstrous moronic evil.

  264. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Maybe I’m the last to hear the Jon and Tyrion are Targs theory, but if it’s true, they and Dany have this in common: All three of their mothers died giving birth to them.

  265. Debbie Peterson
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    One issue with the Jon glamour theory is that the chapter is told from his POV. There were definately thoughts in there that someone else would not have had.

  266. Jessica C
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    obsidian:
    Damryn of Dorne,

    I don’t think Osha would take Rickon north of the wall , but what about Skagos ? I think there’s also a reference to unsavoury practices there. Hmmmm..where else ?

    Davos says right at the end of his last chapter “In the Den even prisoners ate porridge in the morning. But there were other places in this world where men were known to break their fast on human flesh

    According to the Wiki of Ice and Fire Skagos, ” In ancient times the Skagosi may have been cannibals. They raided the nearby isle Skane and killed its inhabitants. ”

    So I think you are correct and that it is Skagos. looking at the map of the land beyond the Wall Hardhome is north of Skagos. And if those reports about what is happening over there are true then Davo’s chapters are going to be some of the ones I look forward to the most in TWOW. I expect him to encounter some unnatural things in the Bay of Seals. :)

  267. obsidian
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Debbie Peterson,

    I have to go back and read Jon’s last chapter again , but just off the top of my head ( and thinking out loud) the POV doesn’t matter . When GRRM’s characters are playing a role , the POV is titled with the name of their adopted persona , E.G. Sansa /Alayne , Arya /Cat of the Canals , Theon/Reek…and so on.

    I’ll have to re-read ,paying attention to thoughts, but..

    What was Mel playing at with that business with Ghost ? Maybe to gain enough control to wrestle him through a door, if not gain complete control..and once we know she can cast a glamour , all things are possible. Devan loves her ,maybe even to the point of worship. He would fall into any plan she had, play any part she wanted .. lead , supporting , stage hand..whatever. She wouldn’t send him in place of Jon , but she would use him as an accomplice. ( Double for her ?)…And that last bit about ” he felt the cold “..Mel has never felt the cold , but John always has. She never agreed with Jon’s plan for a Hardhome rescue , but is always looking for aid for Stannis , and would definitely consider that rescue a better use of the wildlings .

    Off to re-read…

  268. Damryn of Dorne
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Jessica C: Davos says right at the end of his last chapter “In the Den even prisoners ate porridge in the morning. But there were other places in this world where men were known to break their fast on human flesh”According to the Wiki of Ice and Fire Skagos, ” In ancient times the Skagosi may have been cannibals. They raided the nearby isle Skane and killed its inhabitants. ”So I think you are correct and that it is Skagos. looking at the map of the land beyond the Wall Hardhome is north of Skagos. And if those reports about what is happening over there are true then Davo’s chapters are going to be some of the ones I look forward to the most in TWOW. I expect him to encounter some unnatural things in the Bay of Seals. :)

    Yes, maybe Skagos (changed my tune a bit). Regardless… they are up there somewhere lol.

  269. ewan
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    obsidian,

    I think with Ghost, Mel was just showing “because I can”, and proving she knows of Jon & Ghost’s link.

    On the matter of the POV, GRRM usually keeps the reference cryptic where he wants to mask the narrator for a bit, with Reek being the prime example. Having a Jon chapter that isn’t actually Jon cheats the rules GRRM has set in the books, and would upset me greatly – breaking “the fourth wall” to pull the wool over the reader’s eyes isn’t on. If it wasn’t actually Jon, that chapter would’ve been told from someone else’s POV.

  270. obsidian
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    ewan,

    Yes, Mel was showing Jon ” because I can ” and GRRM was showing us she could ..somehow..either for real or by some illusion.

    GRRM makes the rules..but he hasn’t laid them out for us anywhere , and he’s never yet hesitated to slip us the odd surprise. :)

    I don’t say it has to be one way or another ( especially since I haven’t had time to pour over it properly )..but ,as someone pointed out upthread ,”Jon’s” behaviour is so out of character for Jon , that there must be some explanation for it that is not immediately apparent.

  271. Gwalchmai
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I just finished and I am mostly disappointed in the book. While there were things I liked, I will mostly mention complaints and some random thoughts in this post. In general there was just too much fluff. You can sum up what happened to most of the characters in a sentence or two. Not much action or resolution.

    I was REALLY unhappy with Jon basically ignoring his vows and his evolution in general. It just didn’t seem like the same Jon from the last books (And I think his body is dead, but he will warg from the giant to Ghost to eventually Viserion, the white dragon, and become one of the three heads.

    Dany was boring except for she learns to ride.

    Quenton, what was the point? Why have a POV for him at all. Seems like GRRM changed his mind about where he was going with him.

    Tyrion was witty and fun as usual, but his journey’s were of little consequence. I don’t like Penny at all.

    It seems to me GRRM is concerned about future budgets and the ability to put his book on TV.

    I didn’t like the addition of more prophecies, while the older ones were not addressed at all. I know GRRM blasted JJ Abrams for too many loose ends in LOST, but I fear we could end up in a similar place.

    Didn’t like another rumor of Jon’s parentage.

    Cersei and Jaime possibly Targs, but Tyrion has dragon dreams? WTF?

    I think it was a ripoff to have Briene show up, but not explain how she got out of her situation.

    This was the worst book of the series but it wasn’t a complete failure despite all my gripes. After 5 years I think we deserved more. I think the story has gotten too big and out of control for GRRM, and I’m going to use my LOST reference again and mix it with a little bit of Robert Jordan. I hope GRRM takes some of his irons out of the fire and gets things under control. I doubt I’ll be interested anymore if I have to wait another 5 years to follow up this book.

  272. Lord of the Morning
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    A few things…

    I don’t believe that Jon is in fact dead. It just doesn’t fit.
    Manderly became one of my favourite characters in the series.
    I think Dany’s meandering story could have been curtailed a bit. It reminded me of the Wheel of Time series where Rand essentially does nothing to fight the Dark One for three books in the middle of the series.
    Tyrion’s storyline was very entertaining, though his cliffhanger was somewhat lack-lustre. I think some of the chapters moved to TWOW were his chapters.
    I’m pretty sure the previous posters are right and Rickon and Osha went to Skaggos.
    I hope Queen Selyse is the next one for the night fires. She is bloody annoying.
    Bran’s visions of the history of the Starks in Winterfell were really cool.
    Victarion is there solely to get that Horn to Dany.

  273. clemintine
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    If Jon wargs in Ghost on his deathbed, and then *also* turns out to be one of the heads of the dragon, you know what we’ll get. A direwolf dragon-rider! It can’t get more epic than that.

  274. Mirax
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Phoenix_Torn,

    I REALLY like your Lemore theory! I honestly hadn’t thought about who she is, but it would make complete sense that she might become a septa, seeing as how she wasn’t married and would be seen as “soiled.”

    My predictions and thoughts:

    Ser Barristan – He will make war on the Yunkai’i while waiting for Dany’s return, in the meantime, Daario and Rhakaro are killed. Also, was it he the father of Ashara Dayne’s stillborn baby? He feels a lot of guilt over not telling her he loved her, and her death. He thinks of her “turning to Stark” as if she turned away from him. Thoughts?

    Dany – Will hopefully return to Meerene, khalasar in tow, with Barristan ready to hand it over. At that point, she will renounce her rule over the city and head for Asshai. She is convinced that Jorah was one of the betrayals, but I’ve never been convinced of that. MMD was for blood. Possibly Brown Benn Plumm for gold. That would make Jorah the betrayer for love. You could argue that it was love of his land, but in saving her life and giving her good counsel, I just don’t think he fits the role. Will Daario betray her down the road? Will it be someone she loves that betrays her or someone that betrays her because of something they love?

    Aegon AKA Young Griff – I was surprised the switched before death baby Aegon theory was proved true, but I find myself liking it. I would like to see Tyrion’s strategy for Aegon work out, and that with Quentyn dead, Aegon will gather up Dorne (possibly marrying Arianne?) and then Dany will align with him when she heads to Westeros. I have to agree with others who have said that the “mummer’s dragon” refers to the fact that his life up to this point was a mummer’s tale. It was all fake, so as to fool his enemies until he came of age.

    Quentyn – I do find it a bit odd that he was killed off so quickly, but I did like the manner of his death. He feels a bit pointless, unless Doran ends up hating Dany now, too. Otherwise, with him dead, we ended up right where we began when it comes to Dorne. They had a marriage pact, it fell through, so they have to come up with some other way to support Dany. I don’t mislike the character, I enjoyed his chapters, I’m just not sure what their function was.

    AryaJaimeCersie
    I’m happy we got to see a little bit of them in this book. I find it interesting that Arya has managed to warg a different animal, but Jon hasn’t. Up this her chapters, I would have said he was the stronger warg of the two. I think Arya will eventually make it back to Westeros, but not sure how or why. I think Brienne will let Jaime kill her. She will fight him, but she will lose. He will end up returning to King’s Landing and killing Cersie after some crazy plot of hers ends up with Tommen and Myrcella dead. I don’t think she is as broken as Kevan thought, but she wasn’t behind his death.

    Theon – He did horrible things, but I do pity the man he became. It was good to see him realize his errors and start to redeem himself through saving Jeyne. I think Stannis will behead him for the things he did at Winterfell, or leave him at the Wall when he goes back.

    Tyrion – I have no idea. His first few chapters were interesting, but pretty much everything after Jorah kidnapped him seemed very slow-moving with little to no actual progress. He is now with the Second Sons, trying to win them back to Dany’s side, but so what? If someone else has some theories on this one, I’d love to hear them. :)

    Jon – He could be dead, but I doubt it. There were men around him that were loyal to him. I think they will kill the betrayers and Mel will either heal him or revive him a la Thoros and Lord Beric. If he dies, the Others will end up breaking past the Wall and getting into Westeros proper. If he is revived, they will use his death as a pretext to kick him out without beheading him as a deserter because he came of his own free will, not due to any crime. He will then unite the North (I wish) until Rickon shows up (not bloody likely, either).

    Ramsay’s Letter – I think this letter is full of lies. I don’t think Stannis is dead or, as others have stated, he would have found his wife and his Reek.
    I think when Theon ran away with Jeyne, Ramsay’s men captured the spearwives and Mance and so assumed that Theon was running to the Wall, where Mance came from. He felt safe lying to Jon about Stannis knowing that they are snowed in and not likely to have any birds to send.

  275. Rhymes With Bleak
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    THANK YOU, I could not for the life of me figure out how to un-black the spoilers! The introduction to this thread clearly states that spoilers do NOT need to be hidden … nice of everyone to keep trying to do that but it does make it harder to read them.

    Kevin Kenney,

  276. Doug
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t got it yet, probably won’t for a long while. It took what, 10 years for this one to come out? I think I’ve got plenty of time before the next one comes out to read it.

  277. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Mirax,

    Re Tyrion, I’m coming around to the theory that Tyrion is Aerys’ son and thus the second head of the dragon. I think he’s going to co-opt the Second Sons just as he co-opted the hill tribes.

    I think Tyrion will be the one who persuades the doubters (Dany, Berristan) that Mereen is done for and should be abandoned to whomever cares to claim its rotted carcass.

    Tyrion will also fool Victarian into transporting Dany and Friends Plus Dragons without Dany marrying him first. Maybe point out that everyone who dares to love or marry her dies really ugly, painful deaths (including Quentyn and assuming Number Two’s days are numbered.)

  278. Mirax
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I just thought of something that I don’t think anyone else has mentioned yet. I think the two corpses that Jon put in the ice cells haven’t turned yet because they’ve been sealed under the Wall. I get the feeling that they’ve just opened the cell doors and checked on them, but I doubt they’ve actually taken them out of the cells to see if they would rise.

  279. Mirax
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    I had been assuming that Dany would make that realization now that she’s been out of the city, but I could see Tyrion being the cause for them leaving. I used to think that Tyrion being a Targ was unlikely, but with that little tease of Aerys wanting his mother… It would also explain the pale hair and dreams of dragons. I guess I just don’t see why he couldn’t have met up with her already. I don’t see Dany ever trusting the Second Sons again, even if Tyrion does convince them to turn back in her favor. It seems like having Brown Benn Plumm buying the three of them and presenting them to Dany would have served the same purpose while also moving the story forward a bit more. Then Barristan could have reluctantly listened to his advice when dealing with Dany’s new husband.

    Also, someone mentioned about Dany miscarrying… I agree. I never thought MMD was cursing her so much as trying to demoralize her. Or possibly her Targ heritage caused MMD’s magic not to actually make her infertile like it would have a normal person…? Either way, her counting the moon cycles points in the direction of a miscarriage. I’m not sure what changes this will cause for her character, though.

  280. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Mirax,

    Ah, great theory! No, they only checked on them in the cells – did not take them out.

    How do you think that fits into earlier questions here about whether the Others can get across the Wall without it falling first?

    And do you think the fact the corpses had not turned is one of the things undermining Jon’s command?

  281. Mirax
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    I’m not entirely sure what the ramifications would be when it comes to the Others. Coldhands couldn’t pass through the Wall, but he is a reanimated wight, not an Other. The power keeps them from passing through the Wall, do we know if it keeps them from going over? Maybe the Wall needs to be manned because the rumored ice spiders are real and can be ridden up and over the Wall. It would make sense to have magic as a deterrent to going through it and the size a deterrent to going over it.

    Here’s a fun question along the same lines. If Mel revives Jon with the Kiss of Life as opposed to just healing him, will he be able to pass under the Wall? If he can’t and men find out, then what happens? Lord Beric said that memories of his previous life were fading. Granted he was revived many, many times so that could be the cause, but still. What other effects could it have on Jon if that’s the way GRRM goes with it?

  282. Gwalchmai
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Food for thought regarding Ramsy’s note. Theon/Reek mentions that Ramsy freaks out whenever someone uses the word ‘Bastard’ around him and gets violent. I thought it was odd Ramsy (supposedly) addresses the letter to ‘Bastard’ if he hates that word so much. Maybe it’s nothing, but maybe it means something like the note possibly isn’t really from Ramsy? Just a thought.

  283. Mirax
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    It won’t let me edit my comment, but I wanted to answer your last question. I think it was a contributing factor, but not the main thing. I think it really came down to the fact that for so many years the Wildlings were believed to be the true enemy, not the Others. Marsh may have seen a wight, but he hasn’t fought the Others, and it seems likely that he doesn’t really think of them as a threat yet. He just can’t get past his hatred of Wildlings, and the fact that Jon is willing to waste the lives of his brothers trying to save their enemy is just too much for for him to deal with.

  284. Edric Dayne
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Can’t look – won’t be able to until I’m finished, but nor can I remain silent. I have loved this series so far, but I had never SCREAMED with delight until Jon Snow took Janos Slynt’s head off. I believe I literally jumped for joy 100 times.

  285. SSprange
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Forgive the repost but this thread has much more life in it. Here it is:

    I was reading some comments of GRRM in the EW interview about how they just
    don’t have the budget for the Battle of Blackwater and it struck me that maybe this would be a good chance for people to show further support for the show and contri-
    bute to some kind of crowd-sourced fund to ensure that the show has battle set-pieces that go some way in doing the books justice, even if they are slightly smaller scale.
    Also I think GRRM could maybe even match what the fans raise since I’m sure between the show and his books he’s making pretty good bank right now. I person-
    ally don’t have the time or the resources to set up something like this but I’m sure there are some here who do. Hell, maybe this site could set up something.
    Anyway, since I haven’t seen anyone else put that out there I thought it might be something to think about. And if anybody takes up the challenge, I have 50 bucks waiting for them.

  286. gtrrr
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Flouride,

    I agree. Someone mentioned though that Jon could die and be brought back by Redhead so that he is no longer under oath to the Watch. Remember, Rob legitimized him and named him heir, and I am sure we’ll see that pop up somewhere in the next book

  287. obsidian
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Well, I still haven’t properly started a re-read. I rush off and do something then, I keep coming back here before i start and , oops !..sucked in. :)

    I must say, I like the Lemore/ Ashara theory.. and I like the Young Griff /Aegon double deception theory, in other words , he’s not Aegon, but a stand in who’s been raised to be a good king . I like the Tyrion=Targ hints,too. Gee, who’s who anymore ?

    On the Ned side, we’ve had hints that Ned+Ashara may indeed have come to more than dancing.. There was a real Wylla..maybe.. but real or not, the bastard story might still be a cover-up.

    So, what if A=L but the child wasn’t stillborn and maybe wasn’t even a girl ? Talk about your Mummer’s Dragon..

    It’s possible for L+R=J to be true…and for Ned to have not just one, but two wrong-side -of-the-blanket offspring wandering about. (But,hey..who’s keeping count?)

    :) My head is spinning..

  288. Mirax
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    The longer I sit and think about Jon’s last chapter, the more it bothers me. A lot. Why would he spend 2 hours hammering out a deal with Tormund but forget to relate the news to Queen Selyse and Melisandre? I realize he is worried about Arya, but he knows he doesn’t have the people that Ramsay is looking for, Ramsay apparently doesn’t have them (or why would he be looking), so why rush to where he knows they aren’t? He has been very methodical up to this point. Looking at all of his options and not making the rash decisions. I could believe his slip of the mind better if he had immediately run off and announced he was going to Winterfell. As it is, I just can’t imagine that passing on the news before he made it public didn’t cross his mind even once. At the very least I would think Jon would want to confront Mel about his sister and her vision of a grey girl running away from a marriage, again. He knew her flames had power already, if he thought about her long enough to recall she predicted the letter, why wouldn’t he have confronted her about it and Stannis before making his decision? ARGH!

    Also, just as the good guy shouldn’t always win, they shouldn’t always lose, either. We shouldn’t have to expect people to die as soon as their position in the world moves up. Eddard to Hand, Robb to King, Joff to King, now Jon to Lord Commander? I see so many ways out of it, I really hope it’s not true.

  289. Tedd
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Just finished, let me chime in with my two cents.

    By PoV (in no particular order):

    Dany–The last two Dany chapters, especially the one in the pit, were awesome. The rest…not so much. Just too much wheel spinning, and Dany acting like the girl who trusted Mirri Maz Duur instead of the warrior queen who sacked Astapor.

    Tyrion–I always enjoy Tyrion’s chapters for his inner snarking, but in the second half of the book his chapters started becoming cumbersome. The introduction of Penny was a mistake…she’s annoying and contributes nothing to an already overcrowded narrative. Tyrion wonders something I’ve been wondering about for a while but have never seen anyone discussing, which is the question of why the Targaryens waited so long (several centuries) after the Doom to actually invade Westeros. Huh.

    Jon–Good riddance Janos Slynt. I loved the way Jon changed his mind about the execution at the last moment. A good character moment. Jon’s acceptance of the wildlings was intriguing, though there was also a little wheel spinning in this plot thread. Something was up with that last Jon chapter…he was acting very strangely. I don’t think he’s going to stay dead for a moment; if he was, his plot for the whole series will have been a total waste of time. That would make me mad.

    Melisandre–Surprisingly uninteresting. Her inclusion seemed sort of gimmicky, as there wasn’t really any plot progression or any sort of explanation of her past or powers.

    Davos–The only PoV in the book that advanced the plot as much as it should have in the space allowed. What did Davos have, three chapters? And a LOT happens, much of it interesting (Manderly is a bamf). I was pleased.

    Bran–Very interesting stuff, and the first time really in the entire series that Bran’s chapters have held my attention. I thought the whole looking back in time thing through the trees was really well-done. On the other hand, no explanation for Coldhands (are we still thinking he’s Benjen? B. Stark continues to be brought up all the time), and I’m starting to wonder how the hell Bran’s story is going to resolve/tie into anything else that’s happening. And not in a good way.

    Theon/Reek/The Prince of Winterfell (I was starting to get annoyed with these coy chapter titles. The only one I cared for was Reek, because he’s legitimately having trouble remembering/using his actual name)–I actually felt sorry for him. Wonderful, horrifying writing. The situation at Winterfell started seeming a little Heart of Darkness-y to me. I kept expecting Roose Bolton to start muttering “the horror…the horror…”. Also, Ramsay Bolton…yikes. GRRM must have wanted to one up himself on the absolute monster scale, after dispatching Gregor Clegane. (Who’s apparently back as FrankenGregor, as we all predicted).

    Asha–Although I liked her, I’m done with Disastrous Marches Though the Snow. We had two in this book (Bran and co being the other) and had one in ASoS with the retreat from the Fist of First Men. That bit of drama has been officially played out now.The ending of her last chapter does not seem to mesh with the letter Ramsay sent to Jon. I think the Bastard (ahh, I’m sorry m’lord. Reek, Reek, it rhymes with freak) is probably lying.

    Arya–I love Arya…which is why her becoming a Faceless (wo?)Man is actually kinda annoying. I want her to stay Arya, not be Cat of the Cannals or Ugly Girl or whoever. I’m hoping that she somehow just learns to face change and then leaves the order or something.

    Victarion–Ugh. Someone else posted (and I’m paraphrasing) that he takes four chapters to go from 3/4 of the way to Meereen to 7/8 of the way to Meereen, without really anything of note happening other than (arguably) the rescue of Moqorro. A microcosm of some of the problems with the last two books.

    Barristan–I love me some Selmy, but don’t love me some Meereenian politics.

    Quentyn–Quentyn was so adorable that I knew from the first few pages of his first PoV that he was doomed. Still, didn’t think it would happen in this book, considering how few things of any sort happened in this book. I’m not going to definitively state that he was a waste of time until we see what happens in Dorne…but I’m leaning that way.

    Cersei–I concur with what people have been saying: the writing for her naked walk through King’s Landing was masterful.

    Jaime–What a tease! The way the end of that chapter was written seemed weirdly abrupt, like GRRM wrote a scene outline but forgot to actually write the scene.

    Others–Varamyr was interesting, we learned a lot about skinchangers, which came in handy later. Areoh Hotah’s chapters was one of my favorites, even though nothing really happened. I really enjoy all the Dornish character. Especially the Sand Snakes. Kevan Lannister…wait what? Varys actually did something himself?

    Final thoughts: I really enjoyed the book, especially the first half. Martin’s writing was fantastic as always, especially refreshing after reading a lot of Brandon Sanderson lately (who has his strengths to be sure but just isn’t that strong at nuts-and-bolts prose, especially dialogue). But not enough happened, especially considering the absurdly protracted waiting time between books.

    How in the 7 hells is GRRM going to finish this monstrosity in 7 books? I thought maybe this one would finally start to point us towards the end of the series…but no such luck. I still have no idea where we are going, which was nice at the beginning of the series but is getting a little worrisome. But we shall see…sometime later this decade.

    And I apologize for this novella-sized post.

    Tedd out.

  290. Franny Bee
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    gtrrr,

    I would love it if Jon and his beloved step-mom Catelyn met up again as reanimated corpses. Can they put their differences aside, or will undeadness just make for a pretty awesome scrap?

  291. Franny Bee
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    And now for something completely different…

    I have a Jon/death theory. Mel wasn’t around the time of the attack. What if she was checking her flames for her OWN safety first (as she says she does), and suddenly saw that Jon was her death? So the knives steaming are because of HER influence (mind control or glamoring herself) on Jon’s friends? Suddenly they are stabbing him with their meat knives… beware the friends who smile…

    So I think Mel is behind it. She tried to kill him. But it won’t/might not work.

    Hoping he warged into Ghost, similar to how Sixskins warged into his wolf at the chaotic moment of his death. (Or that he’s not dead, just saved by something c-c-ccold ?)

  292. Cyryl
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    I’ve been trying to explain my misgivings with the “Jon turns into Ghost” theory, but haven’t been successful.

    I mean, Bran is a talented warg-er. Obviously. Even Arya may have even gone into a cat (awesome)! But Jon doesn’t even know about the second life thing, and wasn’t taught warging at all. Neither was Arya, yes, but I doubt at the last moment of his life Jon’s really thinking “I’m dying right now! Maybe I could live through Ghost!” and thenwarg suddenly. If the Jon/Ghost thing happens because they have a bond so strong it just happens instantly, then that’s lame. Or maybe it’s a natural instinct thing…?

    Someone please try to disprove me. :P

  293. obsidian
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    Cyryl,

    I don’t think for a moment that Jon will simply live on in his wolf , since we know another skinchanger could inhabit Ghost , and Jon’s consciousness would slowly fade. I just don’t think that’s what GRRM has in store for him .

    It seems to me the Stark line is just as important as the Targ line in this story . They’re the Ice to the Targs’ Fire and both are important .Fire consumes but Ice preserves. Some things need to be burned away and some need to be saved.

    I also don’t think Jon will be undead . Surely one undead Stark is enough ? ( I mean Benjen, by blood , Cat is a Tully.)

  294. obsidian
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    Oh, I’m back one more time before I go to bed ( to read and then perchance to dream ;) )

    We see already that Bran is having quite a bit more success at communicating through the trees than he was told would be possible. We know he’s a talented Warg. What if he should be able to warg into Mormont’s raven..who has many more words than most ? If he could revive the long dead skill of speaking through a raven , that would be quite helpful, don’t you think ?

  295. Adam B
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    One theory that came to me immediately after finishing the last chapter: Arya is back in King’s Landing; she is one of the “little birds” with Varys in the scene with Kevan Lannister

    A child emerged from a pool of darkness, a pale boy in a ragged robe, no more than nine or ten. Another rose up behind the Grand Maester’s chair. The girl who opened the door for him was there as well. They were all around him, half a dozen of them, white-faced children with dark eyes, boys and girls together. And in their hands, the daggers.

    In the last chapter with Arya, she was leaving for her “first apprenticeship” to a place called Izembaro, but wherever that is, might it not have been a stop on the way to King’s Landing?

  296. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Mirax,

    Completely forgot about the ice spiders -yes, that would explain the need to constantly man the Wall.

    I’m pretty fed up with the zombies – frankenGregor coming back after the way he decomposing-while-living is just inexcusable in my book – but my fear about Mel healing Jon is that will make him one of her devoted drones and then I will wish he really was dead.

  297. Tansy
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Anyone else think the Ramsay Snow letter is a total fake sent by someone else in the Watch or Queen Selyse? Means that Jon puts his family before the Watch, so they can then justify stabbing him… the guy who brings the letter is sobbing… plus the only thing in it which people at the Wall mightn’t know which is in it is that Theon and Jeyne are missing, but if Stannis has sent a raven that has been intercepted before Jon gets it, that would explain that.

    I think young Griff/Aegon is another Robb Stark, will fight in a blaze of glory and win a few high profile battles but ultimately screw up off the battlefield. Adolescent boys who get involved in war in Martin seem to start off all Henry V and end up more Richard II.

    Jaime and Brienne – Cersei says she’d know if Jaime was dead, so Undead Cat might have cut down Brienne after she screamed whatever the word was and sent them both off on a quest.

    Also, Cersei has been told that her three children are going to die, so Tommen and Myrcella are next in the firing line… in that order I think. Poor Tommen.

  298. Shock Me
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    obsidian: Damryn of Dorne, I don’t think Osha would take Rickon north of the wall , but what about Skagos ? I think there’s also a reference to unsavoury practices there. Hmmmm..where else ?

    It may not have been on purpose. One of the Jon Chapters suggested a wrecked galley on Skagos. Though I’m not sure how they would obtain passage perhaps Rickon, Osha, and Shaggy were on it?

  299. Shock Me
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Phoenix_Torn: Who is Septa Lemore? Only guess I have is Ashara Dayne (since I’ve never been convinced she’s dead) Would make sense with the company she’s keeping. Baristan says “Long dark hair, and haunting purple eyes. Ashara’s Daughter had been stillborn Tyrion’s says Lemore has dark brown hair, stretch marks but never comments on her eyes.
    Since she was brought up a couple times in this one, it makes me wonder.

    Hope about Lemore = Lyanna?

  300. Gwalchmai
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    obsidian:
    Oh, I’m back one more time before I go to bed ( to read and then perchance to dream ;) )

    We see already that Bran is having quite a bit more success at communicating through the trees than he was told would be possible. We know he’s a talented Warg. What if he should be able to warg into Mormont’s raven..who has many more words than most ? If he could revive the long dead skill of speaking through a raven , that would be quite helpful, don’t you think ?

    I think you’re on to something here. The raven does say “Jon Snow” at one point.

  301. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Tansy,

    Ramsey letter is of course a fake but I thought faked by Ramsey. To be faked by Watch/Selyse would require a level of knowledge about Ramsey (his Reek) seemingly beyond them.

    Earlier suggestion that the word Brienne screamed was “sword,” telling unCat she was willing to kill Jaime.

    Speaking of Jaime, he’s going to kill Cersei (prophecy that she would be killed by her “younger brother,” which she assumes is Tyrion), maybe because she is responsible directly or indirectly for the deaths of Tommen and Myrcella. I can actually see Cersei killing Mercella just because the girl is now missing an ear.

  302. Cristian
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    the wait continues in Italy…. The first part will arrive in october (perhaps)

  303. Mirax
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Shock Me,

    Speaking of Skagos, does anyone have their map handy to see exactly where it’s located? The thing I’m currently curious about, was Wex supposed to have followed them or just have overheard what they said? Either way, I don’t see how it could be Skagos or Hardhome. He couldn’t have followed them to either place, and even with Osha being a wildling, I don’t see her willingly taking a small unruly child to a place like that, and I really don’t see her telling him where they’re going for Wex to overhear it. That leaves somewhere in Westeros proper, but I have no idea where.

  304. Victoria
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Just finished the book this morning…. at 5:30 :) Nobody around to discuss the book, so will have to post thoughts here.

    First, the book did feel like just the second part of AFFC, not a whole book. Some cliff-hangers were very artificial (read: Jaime and Brienna). I’d better read just the part where Cercei hears about that, not the actual Jaime part.

    Tyrion: WTF is with dwarfs in this book? Didn’t see any worth in Penny except for some compassion that Tyrion feels towards her and that she’s probably the only non-whorish female around him :)

    Jon: loved how hard he turned out, loved the Slynt part. The end was very strange. Maybe Jon will be forced to connect with Ghost spiritually this way, forced to be more warg than he let himself. I still believe that he’s half Targaryen. And him being a warg I can see Jon controlling a dragon without some stupid burn-y horn or spells. That shit with a whip Dany tried to pull just barely kept her alive. The dragons will become more wild, not less,. so that stuff just won’t work.

    Dany: holy whatever, she got me so tired with her crap! Her anti-Usurper stuff and other tendencies just show how damaged she really is by her crazy brother. BTW, did she got the flux in the city, from the water she drank in the ‘sea’ or was it just the berry poisoning? And that blood, again: flux or miscarriage?
    Meereen – that city must be burned! Just too much crap to fix.

    Arya: yay, girl! She must be very careful though, I don’t see her becoming a true Faceless.

    There were so many phrases repeating in this book, my head got spinning. Several characters were referred to as ‘little brothers’ (hello, Cercei!) including Stannis and real-or-fake Aegon.

    New characters: hated the Dornish prince. He was so… nobody. I was glad when he died. Now the old Martell will probably go with Aegon. Aegon himself… well, he’s just a boy, no matter what they say, he didn’t really suffer the way Tyrion, Jon or Dany did. He ‘knows nothing’, despite all his history lessons. There’s some thought-provoking scars/maiming I see in his future :) Jaime’s wound had the most therapeutic effect, maybe this one will learn too, if he’s a real Targaryen.

    BTW, I noticed that moment when Bran was sneaking on his father – Ned was praying so that the boys will grow up as friends. There’s importance to Jon’s birth again, I think, so no fisherman’s daughter for Snow-mommy.

    Also, Melisandre – she’s all like: I’m the best seer in flames, blah-blah, but she’s been wrong or not completely right so many times, and the red priest that Victarion saved – he had a much better strike at that. Is Victarion there just to move armies to Westeros?

    So many questions and no answers for the next 4-6 years. Arggghhh!

  305. Shock Me
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Mirax,

    My vote for Rickon and Osha is in the Greywater Watch.

  306. Mirax
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Victoria,

    I think Mel had a little self-fulfilling prophecy going when it comes to Stannis. We now know she believes Stannis is AA, and we’ve heard her reasons, but I’m tempted to think she decided it was him, then saw him in her flames. Her decision that it was him could have influenced the future that she saw. For example, She decided he was AA and that decision meant she would give him Lightbringer, so when she looked for Lightbringer, she sees Stannis with it, all because she already decided it was him. Does that make sense? I think her new visions of Jon Snow when she is looking for AA lends credence to the theory mentioned above about there being three AA’s for the three dragons. With his smoking wounds, Marsh’s salty tears, and the “bleeding comet” lord being swung around, Jon fulfills the prophecy now too. It could be a red herring, but there are too many ways for Jon to survive for me to think that the details of that passage don’t have meaning.
    Shock Me,
    That definitely makes sense, especially with all of the things we’ve heard that others think about the crannogmen. Would Osha risk being not being able to find Greywater Watch?

  307. Victoria
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Mirax,

    I always couldn’t decide whether Mel is lying to everybody else or to herself too. I mean, the sword Stannis wields must be her trick, not the real thing. So she’s presenting Stannis as AA and waiting for the real sword to pop up or what? Sorry, if I’m getting smth wrong, it’s been some time I re-read the first 4 books.

  308. Myles Ehrlich
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Am I the only person wondering why the sole Jaime chapter wasn’t just put into AFFC? I understand Brienne’s cliffhanger was strong, but it was really pointless to answer the question of Brienne’s near-death with one chapter culminating in Jaime’s near-death.

    Hopefully, on the way she tells him what’s up and they take out Lady Stoneheart.

  309. Shock Me
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Myles Ehrlich: Am I the only person wondering why the sole Jaime chapter wasn’t just put into AFFC? I understand Brienne’s cliffhanger was strong, but it was really pointless to answer the question of Brienne’s near-death with one chapter culminating in Jaime’s near-death. Hopefully, on the way she tells him what’s up and they take out Lady Stoneheart.

    I would have preferred a Brienne POV paired with the last Jamie POV. I was more interested in what happened to Pod. ( I was holding out hope the Blackfish would rescue Brienne and Pod to lure Jaimie into a trap.)

  310. obsidian
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Greywater Watch is another really good possibilityfor Bran and Osha…Osha’s natural tendency would be to go south ( doesn’t mean she couldn’t double back )..and it would be easier for Wex to follow if that was her destination.

  311. Ollie
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    so many thoughts especially after reading all of the above, what a book
    Jon- my ass is he dead or at least dead dead although i would prefer it if he does become undead as with got quite a large cast of that already (i do wish the mountain stayed dead he had a great and deservingly painful end). I did really enjoy his chapters and loved his decisions especially when someone lost there head what a character moment. ow and i think he is part tar and the white dragon is his or at least will be.
    Dany- never being the biggest fan of her and always skimmed her chapters in general and considering how much of the book was on her she did nothing and was very boring although I can see what george is doing by slowing dany attack he gives Aegon a chance to kick ass and teaches dany about how to hold conquest which whilst boring to read is important for her.
    Aegon- I like him and what him to do well and not end up as the next rob, his groups chapters were interesting and puts a twist in so its hopfuly be Dany attacking then becoming queen of westros but posible westros being spilt into three between Dany, Aegon and John, John the north Aegon with dorne and the deap south then Dany in the middle with a bit of free cities total speculation and knowing george one of them at least will die.
    Theon- I really enjoyed him, his broken spirit was so well done i felt sorry for him, and I really hope we get to see him face the bastard with him being the one in control or at least safe so you get to see him deal with the fear and see if he can remain theon or become reek again out of fear
    Tyrion- I never though i would get board of him but in this book i did, from start to finnish I felt Tyrion in this book was boring, he was ok with Aegon but with Penny I just stop caring about him.
    Davos- the most story driving of the pvo and had some of his best writing previous i was indifferent to him now i’m really interested. ps that fat lord who i cant spell is brilliant best new character to be brought in for ages frey pie, i never realised lol
    Victarion- story was the worse in my opinion as already said he went no wear and just draged give me crows eyes instead.
    Melisandre- I really enjoyed her chapter and wished for more, not a huge amount happened but i’v always liked her and wanted to get inside her head.
    Cersei- had the best chapter in the book with that walk, for that alone she kicked ass i might have felt pity for her which is something I never though I would.
    Arya-mixed about her story, I dont like her story much as i want her back in Westros but she so interesting I dont mind so much and the bit where she changes her face really creeped me out so well done.
    ok there are more I could go on about (a lot more) but i realise now just how long i’v gone on for ops. bring on the next book

  312. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Shock Me,

    ( I was holding out hope the Blackfish would rescue Brienne and Pod to lure Jaimie into a trap.)

    Love it! Yes, Pod has been mistreated despite his remaining loyal above and beyond the call. He deserves a reward, which probably means GRRM will make him suffer horribly.

    Brienne needs to see Jaime for the irredeemable shit he is, and the Blackfish is the best character to be jettisoned by GRRM for HBO cheapo production purposes.

  313. Adam
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Damn now I will have to go back and read all 5 books again, it is a good thing I have a kindle. As far as Jon Snow goes my heart kind of fell when I read that part. I do not think he is dead, but I am more afraid that Melisandre will turn him into a walking dead person like the other red priest did to Caetlynn and to to be honest I would rather he was dead. Dany did come of as a sniveling bitch in this book and I started losing faith in her abilities when she chained up her dragons, she could not be so naive as to not know this would happen eventually, she was planning on using them to take over Westeros. I do not think I can wait 7 more years for another book I hope he has a large portion finished and he is just not sure how it is going to be tied together.

  314. Judith
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Why are people supposing Targaryens are immune to disease? Didn’t the “spring sickness” finish off a Targaryen king as well as two of his grandsons?

  315. Gwalchmai
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Just checked the reviews on Amazon.com Looks like there is a lot of peeps angry about ADwD

  316. nixterida
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I like the scenario that Rickon is at Graywatcher Watch amongst devoted Stark bannermen like Howland Reed, Maege Mormont and Glover. But if he is there then why does he need smuggling out? It cant be right.. My money is on Skagos

  317. Blackfish Blues
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Shock Me: I would have preferred a Brienne POV paired with the last Jamie POV. I was more interested in what happened to Pod. ( I was holding out hope the Blackfish would rescue Brienne and Pod to lure Jaimie into a trap.)

    Amen. But I still hope.

    Yellow Dog:
    Brienne needs to see Jaime for the irredeemable shit he is, and the Blackfish is the best character to be jettisoned by GRRM for HBO cheapo production purposes.

    LOL, I don’t agree about Jaime (one of my favourites), but I do about the Blackfish, and for this you’re now one of my favourite persons. :D However I don’t think GRRM is jettisoning him because of HBO demands. It hurts to say so, but Ser Brynden Tully being replaced by Ser Not Brynden Tully in S1 made sense.

    However, if he doesn’t appear in S2, or in future seasons, it means GRRM himself is trimming his humongous saga. It’s a pity, because he’s so great at building awesome characters, but I have the sneaking suspicion he’s lost control of his material. ADWD slightly reassured me, but I really don’t know where he goes from here, with only 2 volumes left. I’m worried that the Blackfish will end up as collateral damage.

    I still hope…

  318. Shock Me
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    nixterida: I like the scenario that Rickon is at Graywatcher Watch amongst devoted Stark bannermen like Howland Reed, Maege Mormont and Glover. But if he is there then why does he need smuggling out? It cant be right.. My money is on Skagos

    My guess is that Rickon needs smuggling from whereever he is because Boltons and Freys are all around. Or perhaps he escaped White Harbor headed to Bear Island that ended up shipwrecked on Skagos, Tarth, or the Fingers.

  319. Judith
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Most frustrating bit of Dance:

    When Asha Greyjoy asks after She-Bear’s other sisters and gets the reply about two of them being “with Mother” while only the youngest remains at Bear Island. Damn, she knows where they are and what they are doing, and whatever it is, it’s given little Lyanna Mormont reason to tell off Stannis in favor of “the King in the North whose name is STARK”. It drives me bonkers that Asha, not being, well, US, doesn’t go on and ask her WHERE She-Bear Mere is! Where’d you see Mom last, and what is she UP to?

  320. Mirax
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Shock Me,

    If he ended up shipwrecked somewhere horrible, how would Wex know? Wex either followed them or overheard Osha say where they were going. Though I guess it is possible that he was following them and watched them get taken by someone who would logically have been headed somewhere horrible, but I still can’t come up with where.

  321. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Blackfish Blues,

    Good to see another Blackfish fan! As for Jaime, I’ll forgive him when he kills Cersei – preferably slowly and painfully – and not before.

  322. DHGoldfish
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    When I read it, I believed Jon was dead. I thought he wasn’t feeling the fourth stab wound because he was dead already. After all GRRM killed Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon, after we’d been led to believe they were who the story was about. Posts here have given me hope that he’s just warged out to Ghost, but given the Prolog, what hope does he have of getting back if his human body truly fails? I see bad things happening on the Wall without Jon to lead.

    I was also pretty pissed with GRRM for killing off Brienne and Davos in Feast. I really LIKED Brienne, and Davos didn’t even get a death scene, just a rumor heard in King’s Landing. Much happier now about Davos – and LOVE Manderly and his pies – but I’m still very suspicious about Brienne. With Mance GRRM showed how one character can die, but another assumes his identity. Afraid something like that is going on with Brienne.

    Speaking of Mance, I don’t believe most of Ramsey Bolton’s letter to Jon except that he wants his wife back. He may have unmasked Mance and the Spearwives, but I don’t believe there has been a battle for Winterfell yet. But wasn’t jumping off the wall with Jeyne Poole Theon’s first step on the road to redemption? There’s hope for him yet.

    Geez, people, give Dani a freaking break! When you were 15 could you have revolutionized the entire economy of a continent? When I was 15 I was learning all the words to the latest Beatles album and figuring out which hairstyle flatters my face shape. And the collie was a much easier family pet to manage!

    But back to Jon. I’ve never believed straight arrow Ned Stark cheated on his new bride. No one would ever tell Jon who his mother was. We’ve heard some conflicting rumors, but no one will confirm anything. What if Jon is baby Prince Aegon, fostered by Starks?

    So then who is the Prince Aegon with Connington? A part-Targ imposter from some other house?

    I’m a little frustrated by the maps. I’m not sure where the Valyria map jigsaws in with the Essos map, as there is no common label on both. I have yet to see a map that shows everywhere Dany traveled. Is there a better one out there?

  323. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    DHGoldfish,

    I’m a little frustrated by the maps. I’m not sure where the Valyria map jigsaws in with the Essos map, as there is no common label on both. I have yet to see a map that shows everywhere Dany traveled. Is there a better one out there?

    I think Dany’s early post-Drogo travels would be a blank page titled “giant desert waste littered with corpses,” but yes, I’d like to see where they fit together, too.

  324. Damryn of Dorne
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    My impression is that the Valaryian side it more south east of the Pentos/Braavos side… i think the road in the south of the PB side meshes with the road in the north west of the valaryian side.

  325. DHGoldfish
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t count on this ending in 7 volumes, either. I read about a GRRM interview where he said seven books, but Parris was shaking her head and holding up 8 fingers. Like history, it will be as long as it needs to be to tell the story. Can you see Bantam telling George, “No, you said seven books, and that’s all we’re going to print.” I can’t.

    In reference to recurring words, neeps came up just one time too many. I had to Google it. Now I have to go cook some.

  326. Cyryl
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Mirax,

    Skagos is a big island off the east coast. It’s as north as the Wall is, I believe. I wonder if Osha knows about Skagos, and I wonder if Skagos is chummy with wildlings. It’s main lord is Lord Magnar, so they may know the Old Tongue. Plus they’re pretty independant. Winterfell doesn’t really consort with them, even though they’re techically part of the North.

    I don’t think Wex is lying. Though how they got there is a wonder. Even Davos is worried about going there – apparently it’s a rough coast for ships.

  327. ewan
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I must be the only person who likes Penny. Hers is a sad tale, and her brother ended up collateral damage from Tyrion’s revenge on Tywin. Also, she teaches Tyrion to properly survive as a dwarf, where before he was able to live off being a Lannister. She also got him out of that hellish self-pity, that was so unbecoming.

    Yeah, so she’s naiive…but she’s a kid, and also, performers don’t tend to hang around siege camps and pit-fights much. Not everyone in the books can be a grizzled, back-stabbing conniving bastard ;)

  328. Mirax
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    ewan,

    I didn’t mind the character of Penny that much, as you said, not everyone can be conniving, and it was nice to see someone who has as fresh a view as she does. My problem stems more from the fact that after Tyrion linked up with Penny and Jorah, he didn’t really do anything that productive. I guess I don’t yet see why he needed to be moved around the whole story rather than being presented to Dany. Even if it had been that she had the two of them locked up until she made a decision, then went missing and they were left in a nice locked room, at least they’d have met her. Now, when the next book comes out, we’ll have to read more about them traveling around until Dany makes it back and then maybe Brown Benn Plumm will hand them over. Maybe. If Tyrion had already been presented to her, he could already start influencing Barristan bit by bit. I just think this portion of the story dragged quite a bit and unless there is some magnificent pay off in the next book, this set up just doesn’t seem worth it.

    Also, does everyone think that Aegon was the real Aegon or a fake? If he’s real (I think so), what does that mean when it comes to Azor Ahai/Prince that was Promised? Rhaegar thought Aegon was t PtwP… was he wrong?

  329. ewan
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Mirax,

    Yeah, I get what you’re saying. The whole Meereen situation is a mess, and getting Dany out of there was probably for the best. Problem is, she’s left everyone else behind.

    Azor Ahai – there was a prophecy referring to AA being born of smoke and salt, that was all there at Jon’s end (the smoking wounds, Marsh’s tears)…I also think Aegon’s real, but far too nice to survive in ASOIAF for very long.

  330. Blueberry2
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Overall I loved reading it but it felt like it ended 100 pages short. It was all buildup and no climax, Dany didn’t even meet Tyrion or Victarion! It seems doubtful that he will finish in 2 books, it’s possible of course but GRRM has become a very slow and indulgent writer, stopping to detail every minor house history and feast’s menu rather than advance the main plot.

  331. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    ewan,

    Phooey! I don’t like Penny and you’re making me at least respect her – stop that! :-)

  332. Talon Lannister
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Tedd: Barristan–I love me some Selmy, but don’t love me some Meereenian politics

    Yes! I just want all of the Sons of the Harpy to be dragonfood…

    As for the Septa Lemore = Lyanna Stark or Ashara Dayne theories, if Tyrion’s description is accurate, she is too old, neither L nor A would be 40 at this point, merely early 30s. Which is too bad, because they are cool theories otherwise. The Wolf Maid and the purple-eyed laughing beauty were such compelling characters from their descriptions in AGOT, and have only become more so as more of their history is revealed.

    I want Aegon to be a real Aegon Targaryen, worthy of Egg’s name, and to actually become what Connington, Varys, and Illyrio raised him to be. I thought it was cool that Illyrio was saddened that he would not be able to continue on the journey with Tyrion. (He’s another one of those distinct, complex but minor characters that I just love in GRRMs work). But, I fear that Aegon/Young Griff is indeed doomed to be the paper dragon, slain in the mummer’s farce. I like that Henry V doomed to be Richard II comparison.

  333. Croccifixio
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    on with my thoughts

    THE BOOK
    I think i expected more from this due to the wait and the sort of status of AFFC as a building up book. Dance builds a lot of things and i could easily forgive it if shit really do hit the fan on Winds.

    TYRION
    He basically became a “Brienne” story in Dance. I don’t know, things werent that great with his chapters and i think he could have a better presence in the book if the book should how he turned the Second Sons but he just disappeared.

    There is a possibility that he is a Targ but come on, too may “maybe a Targ” theories already. He should end up doing this because his Tyrion not because of his blood.

    DANY
    I understand this is the point of “to go forward, you must go back” or something but i wish she is past this phase of lingering and do things in Winds. Things that actually push the plot onwards. Part of Westeros is practically calling here but she wants to stay where people want her dead. Her chapters are kinda frustrating.

    Her moon blood returned which makes me think if she fertile again.

    JON
    Last chapter is weird. Lots of opportunities to forsake his vows and he did it because Ramsay was rude? wtf man. at first i was kinda depressed but now i kinda hate the writing of his character in that chapter.

    i have a feeling the JON or BRAN will cause the fall of the Wall.

    BRAN
    I always have this feeling that Bran will be the Big Bad of the story. Sort of the Lich King to JON’s Arthas. the children of the forest broke the land bridge, maybe he will break the Wall, i mean come on, how dangerous or threatening are the Others if they can’t break the Wall. if they cant then Bowen Marsh is right, they just have to seal the gates and let the Wall defend itself.

    THEON
    a redemption story but he wont earn it by rescuing “Arya” because its not F@#@ arya in the first place. the only way for me to accept his redemption is if he killed ramsay and roose.

    VICTARION
    I think he will be the ride home to westeros and the blowing of the horn will not bind the dragons to the hornblower or to victarion but to solidify Dany’s hold on the dragons

    RICKON
    if by Winds Davos have not brought him back then right him out of the story. add him to the series’ epilogue or something

    BRIENNE/JAIME
    looks like Stoneheart will judge them in Winds. i hope the blackfish is with them

    AEGON
    personally, i hate this late addition of the Lost Heir Trope. if all speculation of targaryens are true then there are possibly six of them. SIX or five or four. too many Targs being revealed and too many Starks getting killed.

    ASHARA
    Well, i still want more past musings from the POV of Barristan to know history. So, it implies that Ned knocked her up and it was a girl which kinda takes her out of the Who is Jon’s Mommy? lottery

    VARYS
    Kills Pycelle and Kevan to sow more dissension so that Aegon could ran amok freely in the south but got me thinking, Tyrells are better placed now than the Lannisters so why not kill the Tyrells so that war will really sprung forth?

    ARYA
    Will train more and more on the arts of the Faceless Men but will discover more and more that she is still Arya Stark of Winterfell. Either she gets kicked out, goes rogue or become a judge of men and goes on a rampage killing people she judges.

    my thoughts are somewhat inconherent but the book also kinda does.

    It would seem that GRRM will still have a hell of a time to continue the stories due to the number of characters and plot lines but i think he should do what Esslemont does in every ending of his book. have his characters CONVERGE, not all but some. this way it will reduce the plot lines and POVs and also push the story to one big finale.

    before i thought they will converge at the wall but Dany is too slow and the seven kingdoms still reeling from the aftermath of the five kings

  334. A bomb
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    So the three heads of the dragon are going to be deaneryas, argon, and who? Quentin martell is dead is it going to be one of the ironborn cause they got the horn. There aren’t going to be any more character introduced and the dragon has three heads. Could it be a lannister? A stark?, an ironborn? A dornishman? Drogo’s dead. Maybe selmy or mormont. I am also dying to see how the dragons and the wolves are going to coincide. Any word on “****expected*****” release dAte for winds of winter ? I can’t believe there going with the WoW acronym but whatever

  335. Half Myrish
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    I haven’t been able to read through all the comments, but anyone else think Galazza Galare the Green Grace is the Harpy?

    Everyone keeps referring the Harpy as “he” and “him”, but the Harpies are female in mythology. The Green Grace is a crafty old woman and an influential figure in Meereen. She kept pushing Dany to do things she didn’t want to do, like marry Hidazr. Just because the Green Grace talks peace to Dany’s face doesn’t mean she’s not really an enemy. The last thing that decided me was her wanting to kill Dany’s dragons. No true friend of the Mother of Dragons would harm her children.

    I think Aegon is the real article. Varys at least thinks so when he is talking to Kevan, and why would he lie? Kevan is dying and not going to tell any one what Varys says. I’m not sure who the “mummer’s dragon” is referring to, but it could be someone other than Aegon. We’ll find out when Aegon meets the live dragons.

    Regarding Dany’s bleeding/ possible miscarriage: is it a sign of fertility returning to her womb or just confirmation that she “will never bear a living child?” Would she have carried the child to term is she hadn’t gotten ill with those stomach cramps? I think the father was probably Daario and it was probably a good thing she miscarried. Right now is not a good time for her to be pregnant with her at war. Also, a sellsword’s bastard could be inconvenient, not to mention if her scheming husband Hidazr thought the child was his. Better that she miscarried this one.

    I think Dany will some day have a living child with the other “heads of the dragon.” Otherwise House Targaryen will die out. It’ll be interesting to see if the dragons themselves reproduce as well (they’re neither male nor female according to Maester Aemon).

    Regarding Ashara Dayne and her child. Ser Barristan refers to a Stark, but not Ned specifically by name. Why not Brandon Stark who fathered her child? We know he was a womanizer already and that kind of behavior would be keeping with him.

  336. Nick Larter
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    Finished it.

    Can someone explain to me why Mel saved Mance. I spotted that it wasn’t Mance being burned – obviously he would never have broken down in the flames the way Rattleshirt did. But there had been so much build up to that point in ASOS and AFFC about the blood of kings being needed to raise the Dragonstone dragons – was what led Jon to send the babe and Aemon off after all – that I just didn’t get her saving him.

    Favourite scene I’m looking forward to in the next book: Theon, Jeyne, Asha and the Braavosi banker on the run from Ramsay’s girls. I’ll take his r-mail at face value for the moment.

    I think is was Jon getting stabbed in his last chapter – for it to be another glamour ruse I don’t think it would have happened in a Jon POV chapter.

    Arya – I think she will take as much faceless training as she can and then split before she gets irreversibly immersed.

    Missed the Frey pie.

    I place Osha and Rickon on Skagos.

  337. Mormegil
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Not read all the thread yet but here’s my initial thoughts.

    Started the book Saturday and finished at about 3 am this morning overall I’m a little disapointed.

    Part of that was I’d seen a spoiler saying Jaime, Jon and some one else (clicked away from the page very quickly) dies so was expecting this to happen in every Jon and Jaime chapter (and of course hoping the spoiler was fake). I guess since Jaime’s death wasn’t seen (till the next book anyway) the Spoiler was a fake.

    Then there was the fact that (early on at least) nothing was too surprising, Davos’s death was a fake, check, the Three Eyed Crow was Bloodraven, check. Rattleshirt being burned instead of Mance did fool me though.

    When Jon’s Julius Ceasar death did happen I did get a little angry (and was expecting to see Jaimes soon after) but as others have said this could be another fake death as Jons actions prior to it are very odd.

    Then again are we getting too many of these fake deaths Brienne, Davos, Possibly Jon and Stannis.

    A little shocked he killed off both Kevan Lannister and Pycelle in the epilogue, saw Ronnet Conningtons name on the first epilogue page before I started reading it and presumed he was the death character then realised if was Kevan.

    I’d been wondering if we would see any Varys in the book but his appearance in the epilogue did surprise me.

    Half Myrish: I think Aegon is the real article. Varys at least thinks so when he is talking to Kevan, and why would he lie? Kevan is dying and not going to tell any one what Varys says. I’m not sure who the “mummer’s dragon” is referring to, but it could be someone other than Aegon. We’ll find out when Aegon meets the live dragons.

    While the speculation was that the Mummers Dragon meant it was a fake Dragon It looks like it may just be that Aegon is being controlled by Varys (who used to be a Mummer)

  338. kalamitykat
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Can’t add a lot, but in reading all the comments, something occurred to me that I wondered about.

    In Melisandre’s point of view she thinks about how easier it is to put a seeming on someone if you have something of theirs. She thought of “a bag of finger bones” for one. That made me wonder if she somehow acquired that, perhaps someone brought it in as proof of Davos’ death after Blackwater?

    But what I now wonder is if she has/will cast a seeming of Jon over someone to protect him. I don’t have the book in front of me and can’t remember how much actual internal thought we got from Jon as he was attacked.

    Anyway, just a thought.

    Also, I think greyscale is going to be important in books to come. I’m worried about Shireen. She’s just a kid.

  339. Shock Me
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Mirax: Shock Me, If he ended up shipwrecked somewhere horrible, how would Wex know? Wex either followed them or overheard Osha say where they were going. Though I guess it is possible that he was following them and watched them get taken by someone who would logically have been headed somewhere horrible, but I still can’t come up with where.

    Perhaps he saw Osha and Rickon enter the bogs and feared to chase them further and was taken as he went toward Moat Cailin?

  340. Nick Larter
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Another thought; has anyone yet come up wth the definitive chapter order if you want to read AFFC and ADWD as a single book?

    And Ser Robert Strong – I just see him as some sort of golem – so it can easily be that he has some other head on Gregor Clegane’s body and then it really would be Gregor’s skull sent to Dorne.

  341. Dupree'sDiamondBlues
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Mirax,

    Rheagar thought ageon was AA, until he read something at Summerhall that made him decide AA had something to do with “Ice & Fire.” That’s why he “kidnapped and raped” Lyanna Stark. Actually I think he convinced her to go with him. I am now totally convinced that R+L=J. But I also think Jon died, and will be reborn by mel’s kiss that fulfills AA prophecy. His vow to the NW is also done (now my watch begins, it shall not end until my DEATH). Also the real Ageon is dead, and young griff is the mummer’s dragon. The 3rd head then must be tyrion (dragon dreams, ayres’ obsession with johanna). They are martin’s top 3 characters and the dragon has 3 heads….

  342. DaveB
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Mormegil: Half Myrish: I think Aegon is the real article. Varys at least thinks so when he is talking to Kevan, and why would he lie? Kevan is dying and not going to tell any one what Varys says. I’m not sure who the “mummer’s dragon” is referring to, but it could be someone other than Aegon. We’ll find out when Aegon meets the live dragons.

    While the speculation was that the Mummers Dragon meant it was a fake Dragon It looks like it may just be that Aegon is being controlled by Varys (who used to be a Mummer)

    I figured the mummer’s dragon was supposed to initially be taken as “Someone pretending to be a dragon,” but turned out to be a “Dragon pretending to be someone else.”

  343. DaveB
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Half Myrish: I haven’t been able to read through all the comments, but anyone else think Galazza Galare the Green Grace is the Harpy?

    I was waiting for that reveal in Barristan’s final chapter, but it never came. I agree, that would make some sense.

  344. C2
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Finished the book yesterday and thought it was pretty damn amazing all and all.

    Looking over the comments though, I”m amazed how many people are asking who “Robert Strong” is. Did you not read any of AFFC? Qyburn is practically clubbing the reader over the head with “clues”.

  345. Leeda
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    With regards to Tyrion maybe being a Targ – I dont think this is true. I am just re-reading a Cersei POV in FFC and she mentions that the first time that she ever saw Aegon and Rhaegar when they came to Casterley Rock was when she was ten and was secretly promised a bethrothal with Rhaegar.

    Tyrion was already a year old by this stage, Cersei was 9 when he was born.

  346. tysnow
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Shock Me,

    Brienne comes out of no where and then poof no Jaimie for the rest of the book. I agree, I thought to myself, WTF! after 6 years, and GRRM didn’t give us the resolution to Brienne’s cliffhanger ending. All we got was Brienne showed up and took Jaime away, WTF! that was plain wrong on George’s part. We have to wait 4 years, hopefuly no longer, for anything on Brienne, thats 10 fucking years, George. That was mean to say the least.

    Dany’s regression back to the 13 year old, insecure, accepting the bad advice, while ignoring the good advice, really has left me disliking the Dany thread. The plot was not advanced (until the very end) up till then, all we had was here pinning over Darrio and the boring governing the city subplot.

    My big complaint, where was the Dance with Dragons, was not in there, no fight over their control, all she did was dump them in a dungeon (and their her children). She cared more for the damn slavers than her own dragons, who gives a shit about that farmers child. Her dragons are 100,000,000 times more important than all of the slaver cities combined. Her character really regressed, it’s has if George completely ignored the Dragon queen she had become at the end of Storm and threw her back to the girl during the middle of Games.

    I do love the Barristan part of her story, his was the only reason I kept reading her chapters.

    In the first quarter of Winds (if he doesn’t give us a new book), Dany just needs to have the dragons burn the 3 cities to cinders. While thats happening, Tyrion and Victarion arrive and by the midway point they have left for Westeros. Otherwise we won’t have her arrive till the beginning of Spring, and thats not enough to really give a good conclusion. She needs to be in Westeros for two books at least. This is why me thinks the next book is going to be “A Prince was Promised” (Jon, Dany and Aegon).

    I get the feeling HBO and the publishers pressured George to publish something again (ala Feast) even though he wasn’t finished. So all the good stuff was moved to Winds.

    This leaves me to the BIG question, how in the world will George tie all this up in two books? He can’t thats what! Not without rushing thru to an unsatisfactory ending. We still are left with Dany no closer to Westeros, she even has stepped back in the plot, in my opinion. Tyrion’s journey, while at first interesting, became quite boring, after leaving Voluntis. Victarion, shit! just throw his chapters away, absolute bullshit, his character wasn’t enhanced, his journey not even interesting in this book.

    Reeks chapters were great and they showed his thread moving forward.

    I loved Jon’s story thread, that did moved forward., especially his cliffhanger.

    Davo’s few chapters, were perfect, awesome way to move his thread forward, Manderly is my new badass, mofo, and his daughter Wylla or Willa (what was it?) she’s the bitch (in a good way). I want to see more of her in the next book).

    Arya, getting real bored fast with her, and I love her, but her’s is becoming quite disinteresting. I believe George was going to make her ruthless, but like the rest of us, he has fallen in love with Maisie and doesn’t know what to do.

    I love the Aegon/Griff story, really interesting, especially the characters, I agree with the A=L here.

    Speaking of cliffhanger, this one’s was second best, after Game’s, Vary’s the man, er woman, should we fear his gash, I think so.

    Overall, I give half the book 5 stars (Jon, Theon, 1/2 Tyrion’s, Griff, Barristan and Davos), but half the book, 2 stars (Dany, 1/2 Tyrion, Arya, Brienne, Victarion), the worst in the series so far.

    A story needs to move completely forward, not just half of it, we are somewhat stuck in the muddle, just like Wheel of Time, with no end in site, at least for 3 books, mark my words.

  347. Alwyn Joseph
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I wasn’t very pleased with the book, Tyrion’s chapters especially .
    Nothing really happend until after 600 pages in, Penny was the most annoying character in the book, and Daenerys was behaving like a little girl, none of the mature and grown daenerys was present in this book, and her ending was reminiscent of book 1.
    Sad to see Quentyn and Jon Snow go although I suspect Snow will be brought back some way by Melisandre or that he will have warged into another human.
    We didn’t have enough of Bran in the books, and by saying that he will fly, do trhey mean the dragons or him warging into some bird or even a dragon.

    Not much happend in this book, and a lot of it could’ve been cut out. This book felt incomplete, its not the cliff hangers, all the previous books had them, it just didn’t feel right and something tells me GRRM is going to struggle quite a bit unless the chapters they shifted to winds of winter were the ones that completed ADwD.

  348. Alexander Dubrovsky
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    tysnow,

    This leaves me to the BIG question, how in the world will George tie all this up in two books? He can’t thats what! Not without rushing thru to an unsatisfactory ending. We still are left with Dany no closer to Westeros, she even has stepped back in the plot, in my opinion. Tyrion’s journey, while at first interesting, became quite boring, after leaving Voluntis. Victarion, shit! just throw his chapters away, absolute bullshit, his character wasn’t enhanced, his journey not even interesting in this book.

    Very easy, if he stops stalling and starts moving the plot, instead of describing what everyone eats for each meal, what everyone wears etc. He should stop resurrecting dead characters (once he was known for killing off everybody, now it looks like almost everyone of notice is safe. I don’t believe for one second that Jon and Stannis are really dead) because there are already more than enough of them and it’s obvious he doesn’t know what to do with some of them (Arya, Bran, Quentyn whose brief appearance was more pointless than entire Brienne’s plot in AFFC). He should abandon Essos entirely or finish up things there in a couple of chapters in the beginning of TWOW and focus on Westeros. The next book can be devoted entirely to the fight for the Iron Throne and to establishing some sort of order in the 7 kingdoms and the final book can be devoted to the war with the Others and the aftermath of the entire thing.

  349. Half Myrish
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    While the speculation was that the Mummers Dragon meant it was a fake Dragon It looks like it may just be that Aegon is being controlled by Varys (who used to be a Mummer)

    This makes sense. I wasn’t thinking about Varys’ history in context of Aegon. He could still be the Mummers Dragon and also a real Targ.

  350. Mirax
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Shock Me,

    Agreed. I think Greywater Watch is plausible. We the readers know that they aren’t cannibals. We also know that knights and lords look down on them as lesser people prone to all kinds of strange habits. The point I was trying to make is that they couldn’t have crashed anywhere because there is no way Wex could know about it. He needed to follow them, and that limits where they could be. I don’t think it’s possible that they went to Hardhome or Skagos. Greywater Watch is much more likely, but then again, that’s far to the south. Has enough time passed that he could have followed them there and made it back to White Harbor? Why would he go to White Harbor in the first place? Is it possible that they went somewhere we haven’t heard of before?

    Dupree’sDiamondBlues,

    I agree that Lyanna probably wanted to go with him, and that R+L=J. What makes you think Aegon is a fake? I took the mummer part to mean his appearance and name has been false like a mummer’s story, but that he truly is a dragon. I think Dany fulfills AA, but someone above had a theory that three heads means three AA’s, which I like. I can’t decide if Aegon would be the third head with Dany and Jon, or if it would be Tyrion, because dammit, he deserves a dragon!

    kalamitykat,

    I noticed the bag of fingerbones as well, but I can’t decide what meaning it has.

    Mormegil,

    I completely missed that it was Bloodraven, what do you take as confirmation of this?

    Half Myrish,

    I read it so differently! I read it as Barristan broke his vows with her, and then she let Ned console her (but he never would’ve jumped in bed with her). Then between Ned having to marry Cat, her brother dying, and her baby being stillborn, she killed herself. Then Barristan felt bad because if he had just told her how he felt, maybe she wouldn’t have been so depressed over Ned and Cat and wouldn’t have killed herself. I’m going to have to go back and read his chapters now! :)

  351. Blackfish Blues
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Judith:
    Most frustrating bit of Dance:

    When Asha Greyjoy asks after She-Bear’s other sisters and gets the reply about two of them being “with Mother” while only the youngest remains at Bear Island.Damn, she knows where they are and what they are doing, and whatever it is, it’s given little Lyanna Mormont reason to tell off Stannis in favor of “the King in the North whose name is STARK”.It drives me bonkers that Asha, not being, well, US, doesn’t go on and ask her WHERE She-Bear Mere is!Where’d you see Mom last, and what is she UP to?

    Yes! Where is Maege Mormont, badass extraordinaire?

    Yellow Dog:
    Blackfish Blues,
    Good to see another Blackfish fan!As for Jaime, I’ll forgive him when he kills Cersei – preferably slowly and painfully – and not before.

    I have a feeling that it’s exactly what will happen between Jaime & Cersei; everything points to it… but who knows WHEN it will happen.

  352. Tusuri
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    My two cents: while I did like the book, it felt more like the second part of Feast. There were some parts that felt a bit rushed, words or phrases that crawled everywhere, as if the editing work had been fast-tracked, and some plots moved too slow.

    I should have been weary such might happen, specially when Martin gave to his publishers the last chapters scarce weeks before the scheduled printing of the book.

    All in all, I think he shouldn’t have split both books by locations, but what do I know.

    Nonetheless, I haven’t lost my faith* in Martin knowing where he’s going like I feel some of you have (just an appreciation :) )

    *as long as he doesn’t take five more years :P

  353. Nick Larter
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    A few more thoughts:-

    Anyone have any idea on the Meera/Jojen cliffhanger? It was kind of being foreshadowed that Jojen felt his job was done and wanted to go home and then a bit later Meera just ups and runs out of the blue as if something bad has happened. Did she sense Jojen going outside and getting ripped to pieces by wights?

    Favourite Chapter – the one in Dorne; it advanced the plot a good deal and I just love the idea of ‘Tyene Sand; Agent of Dorne’ operating secretly out of the Sept of Baelor.

    Favourite Moment – Theon and Jeyne leaping off the winterfell battlements.

    Favourite Badass Moment – Janos Slynt.

    How I would start book 6 – a pitched battle at Castle Black between the pro Jon Snow Watch and wildlings and the anti Jon Snow Watch, wildlings and Rhllorists that leaves most of the protagonists dead and ends with zillions of ice spiders abseiling down the wall on icy gossamer.

    The ‘problem’ with the last two books, if there is one, is that whilst the first three built to a recognisable climax (Ned’s execution, Blackwater, the siege of the wall by the wildlings), the last two have not. We’ve had smaller scale cliffhangers affecting individual characters, but nothing really comparable at the bigger picture level. And I think that’s only a ‘problem’ because of the wait between volumes. If GRRM had presented a 6000 page Ice and Fire novel for publication in one go, no-one would bat an eyelid at the lack of big set pieces in the middle part of it.

  354. DHGoldfish
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Tysnow

    My big complaint, where was the Dance with Dragons, was not in there, no fight over their control, all she did was dump them in a dungeon (and their her children).

    Children get grounded. That didn’t bother me too much, just made me wonder when she was going to start riding lessons.

  355. Devongirl
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    My initial reaction to Brienne’s appearance was that she’d been hanged and reanimated and sent off by Stoneheart and the gang to retrieve Jaime. I really hope I’m wrong, and when I started thinking about it I remembered that Dondarrion and Cat both seemed to be the same personalities after they died, just kind of stuck on the last clear motivation they’d had. If that were the case I think that Brienne would have continued looking for Sansa. Either way, I think Pod is either a goner, or being held to ensure that B brings Jaime back.

    I enjoyed the book, but felt a little flat after (so much build up for what was actually little resolution). I wonder what some of the more pissed off readers would think of the books if they were reading them as a whole ten years in the future when the whole thing is finished – able to enjoy the experience of reading without the frustration of deferred gratification.

    I didn’t buy Jon’s defection either – if he stayed put while his whole family was murdered one after another, why was Stannis’ alleged death enough to send him over the edge? I’ll have to reread carefully (I kind of blew through it) and see how it takes me on a second reading.

    Don’t like Victarion – someone commented that he treated captives relatively well – holy hell did you not notice that he chained up and drowned the “perfumed boys”? And burned alive six young girls? On top of beating to death his wife with his bare hands! These are atrocities, people, not badass!!! I will accept claims of badassery when the dead and beaten are fighting men, or poisoners, or slavers or generally evil men, but this guy is regularly killing innocent people (and I count sex slaves, male or female, as innocent) in terrible ways. There is no way that he and Dany are ever going to see eye to eye – he offers the slavers a way out while casually slaughtering the enslaved. She might need him, but she’s not going to like him.

    Oh – and one thing I learned for sure – there are many things and people in GRRM’s world that are as useless as nipples on a breastplate.

  356. fuelpagan
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Finished last night. I actually read Feast and Dance together switching back and forth every few chapters. It worked very well, just make sure you finish Feast when you hit the Dorn chapter in Dance. I enjoyed Feast a lot more this way then I ever did reading it on it’s own. Spoilers to follow at your own risk.

    Jon: I loved how he was trying to save the realm and the wildlings. Him reciting the oath to Bowen Marsh and shouting “What are wildlings if not men?” was so moving for me. And put me in the camp with he won’t stay dead. He’ll live as a warg in Ghost until his brothers say, “and now his watch has ended.” then Mel will raise him with the kiss of fire. For him to stay dead makes his parentage mystery meaningless. But for him to die and be brought back releases him from his oath and now he can fight for the realm as a whole, not just at the wall.

    Tyrion: At first I was bored by the endless traveling, but now I’m liking it more after reflecting on his story arc in Dance. The “words are wind” phrase is so important here. In that the words are the wind that move the pieces in the Game of Thrones. As Tyrion discovered in how he moved Aegon with a few words. Now he is in a spot with great power. For the Second Sons to get there promises from Tyrion they must stay alive and keep him alive. He now can play the Game of Thrones. I do think he is a Targaryan. And the cause of the falling out between Aries and Tywin.

    Aegon: Brilliant work by GRRM. I love how subtle his clues were laid for this reveal. I had a sneaking suspicion since the house of the undying that he may still be alive. For those who think this came out of nowhere need to read the books again. The clues are there. I’m really curious who the woman Tyrion fawns over is.

    Dany: When she married the Meereen Lord I about screamed. I loved the escape on Drogon and the attack on Khal Pono’s khalasar. But I think she is doomed. She’s been the obvious choice since book 1 leaving her ripe for Martin to knock off. She’ll bring the forces over to westeros and die, leaving the 3 dragon riders to be Aegon, Tyrion and Jon. Funny how they all end with “on”.

    Arya: Loved Loved Loved these chapters. Unfortunately I think she is training for the wrong side. My biggest fear is Jon will end up killing Arya with lightbringer for the sword to finally take flame with heat and not just light. I hope I’m wrong.

    Bran: Really wish I read the Dunk and Egg novellas. If I new more about Bloodraven and Bittersteel I might have enjoyed these chapters more. I did like how he was talking to Jon and Theon. That was cool.

    Man there is just so much to talk about. Overall I would give it 4 stars at the moment. Right now it just feels like it could have been trimmed. But like I said, reading feast alone was different than reading it with Dance. I may add the last star once I see where all this is going.

    One last thought. The Meereenese knot is puzzling me. I think it was a case of keeping things hidden from the reader while still getting the story of what was happening to the reader that was causing Martin all the problems.

    Anyway, done for now.

  357. fuelpagan
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Devongirl: I didn’t buy Jon’s defection either – if he stayed put while his whole family was murdered one after another, why was Stannis’ alleged death enough to send him over the edge? I’ll have to reread carefully (I kind of blew through it) and see how it takes me on a second reading.

    You have to look at the larger picture. If Ramsay thinks the Night’s Watch is holding Reek and his wife, Ramsay will attack Castle Black. Castle Black can’t be defended from the south side of the wall. Stannis’ death means nothing stands in Ramsay’s way. Without Stannis, all the northern banners now belong to Ramsay. Jon’s only options are strike and break his oath, or stay and be part of the slaughter.

  358. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan,

    Excellent explanation – thank you, even though it shoots holes in the “Jon wouldn’t do that it must have been somebody else” theory.

  359. daveb
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan: Bran: Really wish I read the Dunk and Egg novellas. If I new more about Bloodraven and Bittersteel I might have enjoyed these chapters more. I did like how he was talking to Jon and Theon. That was cool.

    There’s a fair amount of Bloodraven in those, but not really much Bittersteel. Good reads, though!

    Anyone notice how, after having Dunk and Egg, now we have Duck and Egg?

  360. victarion
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Damn. Someone should ask GRRM for a master list of all the AFFC and ADWD chapters in the order in which he would have released them if he released a single book. That’s make for a cool re-read down the line.

  361. Mormegil
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan: For him to stay dead makes his parentage mystery meaningless

    I remember thinking to myself after he died, so that’s the answer D+D gave to GRRM when they first discussed the TV show and he asked them who is Jon Snows mother.

    D+D: “Well GRRM it doesn’t matter who Jons mother is as you’ll probably kill him off in the next book and we’ll never know”

    Mirax: I completely missed that it was Bloodraven, what do you take as confirmation of this?

    He’s an Albino (as was Bloodraven)

    He has Bloodravens Birthmark.

    He has Bloodravens Name (Brynden).

    He has only one Eye (as does Bloodraven)

    He was once of the Nights Watch (BR was Lord Commander).

    He’s lived longer than a normal lifespan (Bloodraven would be about a 130/140)

    He uses Bloodravens “catchphrase” “A thousand Eyes and One”.

    The Clues go back to when Coldhands (who pretty much has to be Benjen now that we know the iiicrow is Bloodraven) first appeared we saw hundreds of Ravens flying out of a weirwood tree which is the sigil for House Blackwood which is Bloodravens mothers House.

  362. Mirax
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Mormegil,

    Sweet! : ) I wasn’t disagreeing, just curious. I’ve only read the dunk and egg graphic novels once each, so I’m not as familiar with the older history. It’s awesome how those tie in with what’s happening now.

  363. Lala
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I think Aegon is either Ashara Dayne’s son (not by Ned, he just doesn’t have that “ned” feel), or Illyrio’s son (more likely). Illyrio seems to care for him, AND (!) his wife Serra had blonde hair streaked with silver and big blue eyes.

    We never actually read that Aegon has purple,violet,lilac eyes, he has dark blue eyes that almost seem purple in the right light :)

    He’s the mummer’s dragon and Jon is the only Rhaegar’s son.

    It is known.

  364. fuelpagan
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Lala: I think Aegon is either Ashara Dayne’s son (not by Ned, he just doesn’t have that “ned” feel), or Illyrio’s son (more likely). Illyrio seems to care for him, AND (!) his wife Serra had blonde hair streaked with silver and big blue eyes. We never actually read that Aegon has purple,violet,lilac eyes, he has dark blue eyes that almost seem purple in the right light :)He’s the mummer’s dragon and Jon is the only Rhaegar’s son.It is known.

    Jon Connington was Rheagar’s BFF. He would know Rheagar’s son’s face. I don’t see someone going through all he has to be in hiding for some mummer’s dragon. The dying of the hair is bringing out the blue in his eyes. It doesn’t mean his eyes are actually blue.

    The dragon has 3 heads.

    But if R + L = J we now know who Jon Snow was named after.
    My only question is…Why the hell did King Robert name his eldest son Joffrey?

  365. Shock Me
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan: Jon Connington was Rheagar’s BFF. He would know Rheagar’s son’s face. I don’t see someone going through all he has to be in hiding for some mummer’s dragon. They dying of the hair is bringing out the blue in his eyes. It doesn’t mean his eyes are actually blue.The dragon has 3 heads.But if R + L = J we now know who Jon Snow was named after.My only question is…Why the hell did King Robert name his eldest son Joffrey?

    Because Grand Maester Pycelle couldn’t spell Joy Free.

  366. Johnny Bryant
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    clemintine,

    You’re probably right about the steal. The books have a few lines which are pinched from other places, in that same chapter he is describing the river in the cave as “flowing down to a sunless sea” (a lift from Coleridge’s “In Xanadu”). A lot of people will have noticed the slightly clumsy monty python steal about “farting in [someone's] general direction”. In fact he’s done it right from the beginning. Chapter one, page 3 of Game of Thrones has the description “black and soft as sin” (Chesterton’s “Lepanto”) Hard to know if it’s deliberate or not… I suspect there are a whole lot more, I’d be interested to know if anyone else had noticed others… I won’t judge because I guess that in doing that much writing it’s easy to use these little phrases that pop into one’s head.

  367. tysnow
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Clarifying my stance on the Tyrion chapters, I was doing a read marathon and it was late, so I sort of sped read Tyrion’s last 4-5 chapters. This afternoon, I completely read Tyrion’s chapters, and took my time at that. I understand Martin’s direction now I believe, I think Penny was brought in to awaken Tyrion to his failing’s. He had survived on being Lannister, she helped bringout the 13 year old Tyrion again, not worried about the Lannister image and all. She actually was able to position him into becoming her partner, something the old Imp would have never done.
    This brought the old crafty Imp back to the front, but mingled with the gentle, playful Tyrion of his youth, so he has become a more powerful character because of it.

    So I give Tyrion’s chapters 5 stars now, and apologize to GRRM for being too swift in my judgement of Tyrion’s later chapters.

    I think I will go to Arya’s chapters now, and read them through, see if I might have missed something George was driving at.

  368. Lala
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan,

    Do we ever see Jon Connington thinking “Aegon is the spitting image of Rhaegar”? On the contrary, we find out that Rhaegar had lighter coloured eyes than mummer Aegon.
    If Jon C. was given the baby early on, he would’ve spent his whole life thinking that the boy is in fact Rhaegar’s son. He has his hair and eyes, and children don’t always look like their parents. As someone already said, Joffrey wasn’t Robert’s son and Robert never suspected anything.
    We also know that Illyrio was a lithe and handsome water dancer when he was young (“Aegon” is described as lithe).

    I’m fairly positive that Jon Snow is named after Jon Connington :) That could be a final gift for Jon C. (who was in love with Rhaegar), to find out that his unrequited love named his son after him.

  369. Eric Niewohner
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Finished today and two morals for this story. 1. Don’t be born a Stark 2. If you are a Stark always keep your frigging Direwolf with you.

    So Martin went with a Ceaseresque killing of Jon, but is he really dead. I am hoping that Mel steps in and heals him and after that Jon needs to pull his head out of his butt and lay down the law with his black brothers or will he, wow a lot to take in.

    Will Dany awe the Khal into folowing her to break the siege? Hope so and hope she gets her act together and heads towards Westeros because there is no fixing that pig of a City Mereen, ugh.

    Have a lot more to say but have to run will post more tonight.

  370. Quotidian
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    just finished the book a few hours ago.. I was hoping that Dany was riding the pale mare by the end there. I really like her as a character, but she seemed pointless in this book.

    The sad thing about aDwD is that it could probably have been edited down a few hundred pages at no real cost to the narrative.
    That being said, I was completely lost in the world of Ice and Fire for many chapters, and I did actually enjoy Meereen as a location, and some of the characters’ road to Meereen quite a bit (up to a point). Maybe reading this book has gotten my reading speed up enough to give The Pale King another go, although I’m a bit tired of huge tomes by now -.-

  371. Shinyteapot
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading ADWD, but felt disappointed by the end. My first thought upon opening it and seeing the maps was that all that detail in Essos meant Dany would still be travelling around there and not reach Westeros by the end of the book. Even worse, Tyrion did the travelling and Dany hasn’t even started her journey yet (it seems pretty clear she’ll go via Asshai at least, and if she still wants to free slaves, she’ll go to Volantis too).

    Some POVs I’d previously found boring/annoying became much better this time. Sadly, others went the other way. I enjoy reading about the politics, the human stuff, the shades of grey. But not Meereen politics, largely because it lacks that- too much good versus evil. And Dany seems to have gone backwards in terms of character development. I was glad she took Daario as a lover- she’s the queen, she’s single, no reason not to have the same sexual freedom so many male characters do- and it makes her human too. But hated her handling of the flux- she probably brought it into the city herself. Being queen means making tough decisions and she didn’t seem up to it. It seemed like her story from GOT was being retold. Glad the dragons are not easily tamed, but not enough was done about it in this story. ‘Queen of Slaver’s Bay. She’s welcome to it.’ I agree, either make her interesting and get that story moving, or she’s brought the dragons into the world, served her purpose and can now be killed off (whoever has the horn will get the dragons). Liked the brief reappearance of Viserys in her dream though.

    Loved Barristan’s chapters though. I’m surprised (and happy) that he survived. His insight into the past is interesting, but as a character he seemed so like Ned (right down to fancying the same girl!) that I was sure he was marked for death. I hope he continues to survive (of course, he probably won’t).

    Quentyn seemed doomed to die from the start, so I wasn’t at all surprised by that, though it was a cool scene. I imagine Viserion thinking ‘small annoying creature knows my name’ while Rhaegal just went with ‘lunch!’.

    Jon was much better in this book. And not just because he got rid of Slynt. Far less whiny, and his POV so much more enjoyable for it. The last chapter was odd though. The letter was a pack of lies, but Jon doesn’t know that. The decision to run ff for Winterfell was strange, I hope we find out more about that later. I very much doubt he’s dead (at least not permanently), though I wouldn’t mind if he was- we need to lose major characters sometimes, and his big decisions should have consequences. However, it’s been strongly hinted that he’s AA (Mel looks for AA, sees Jon- though this could equally be interpreted as a message of ‘not now, see to this guy first’) so I think he’ll be back.

    Enough has been made of wargs living on in one of their favourite animals that I think this will be the case for at least one of the Stark/Snow children. Jon may well be that one. But that doesn’t mean it will happen yet.

    Of course we do now have another Wall POV, Melisandre. That was an interesting chapter. It seems she genuinely believes Stannis is AA, but she knows she can be wrong. She seems to have forgotten about the king’s blood to wake dragons though- no mention of that at all this book, which is strange.

    Speaking of waking stone dragons, here’s an out-there theory. Enough has been said about greyscale that I think it will be important later. Adults who get it end up in a stone-like state, and die. Children sometimes get a milder version, which leaves them scarred but immune to the adult version. Shireen has this, and it’s pointed out every time we see her, which means it may well be important. She also dreams of the dragon statues of dragonstone. Jon Connington has brought the infection to Westeros and could pass it on to anyone. So, very unlikely theory time- the stone dragons refers to dragons with greyscale. Either literally, or Aegon gets it. Shireen would be safe to be in contact with someone with greyscale.

    Speaking of Connington, I found his chapters rather boring, but maybe they’ll improve on reread. Refusing to cut off his fingers or whatever else necessary seems daft though- he’s no use dead, and he could infect others. Perhaps he’ll get into a battle and quietly chop his hand off then claim it was war inflicted.

    I was rather underwhelmed by the Aegon reveal- we’ve got the exiled heir, Dany, Jon might be a secret Targ too, maybe even one or two Lannisters (personally I doubt this, but wont rule it out)- so here’s another baby swap story and another secret Targ. I’d quite like it if it turns out he’s not really though (Ilyrio’s son? If, and it’s a big if, Ilyrio’s story about his past is true, ‘Aegon’ looks fairly similar to Ilyrio’s statue of himself as a boy), he’s been trained to be a good king, but has no real claim- could be interesting. His ‘septa’ could be Ashara Dayne. But my first thought was that one of Oberyn’s daughters had a septa for a mother. Who may well have needed new employment once she’d had a child.

    I didn’t think much of Tyrion’s story this time around. Being haunted by his father’s death is fair enough. But his story meandered a lot without doing much, lots of scenery but little substance. And I noticed he can be cruel when he wants to be (he was pretty horrible to that whore). Really hoped when he ‘drowned’ that would be it, nice shocking death- but always expected he’d be rescued, as of course he would. I cheered when Jorah showed up though. And noted the little touch that he’s ‘the Bear’. :)

    Surprised Penny made it to the end of the novel- and still a sweet, innocent character too. Thought the flux would get her. It’s good to see that little note of how a dwarf survives without being born into a powerful house, but I have no particular desire to see her hang around beyond that. Less Penny and more Jorah would have made that overlong storyline much more bearable.

    I found Victarion’s chapters surprisingly good to read, since I didn’t like them at all in AFFC. He’s not a nice person, but I enjoyed reading them. However, they did’t really go anywhere. Victarion went from being on the way to find Dany, to being on the way to find Dany. No change at all.

    I was surprised to see a Jaime chapter at all, and it really feels like it was only included to show that Brienne isn’t out of the story (of course she could be undead). Suppose we’d better assume that word was ‘sword’, unless WOW says otherwise.

    Cersei’s chapters were good though, her walk particularly. I think it really did affect her, but only to make her even more angry internally once she was through it. I believe she is praying a lot- for a chance to deal out painful death to everyone involved in her fall. I hope (doubt it, but hope) the ‘little brother’ that gets her is Rickon.

    On a related note, poor Kevan, killed for doing a reasonable job. I liked him once he refused to help Cersei and he really did appear to be trying to run things well. It occurs to me that if Varys is doing his own dirty work, he might be in trouble though? And I have a feeling at some point Arya will end up disguised as one of his little birds, if she isn’t already.

    Speaking of Arya, liked her chapters too, some great description of what goes on in the house of black and white. Loved the face change. But I hope she gets finished with training and onto tracking down her hit list soon. The acolytes always say she can leave whenever she wants, but I don’t believe it- otherwise anyone could get trained up then walk out. Which seems to be her plan.

    Bran’s chapters were ok, I’m glad they finally got where they were going. The 3 eyed crow seemed described to make us wary- the idea of a living person with bits of plant growing through them engenders disgust, shudders at least. I don’t think it’s as simple as Bran having joined the dark side though. One of the main themes is that nothing is as simple as good and evil- and if it’s Bran, the children and the Others versus Melisandre, her sacrifices and Dragons I’m not sure which is the bad side! And Melisandre doesn’t object to warging it seems. Loved Bran’s connection to the Winterfell heart tree, and Ned! I’m sure he was talking to Theon too- and to Jon through the raven.

    Ned seemed to be a bit of a repeated theme, he was mentioned a few times. This was a theme I liked (can live without ever reading ‘words are wind’, ‘dark wings, dark words’, ‘much and more/little and less’, ‘the night is dark and full of terrors’ or ‘I am only a young girl…’ again though!). And if Barristan is correct, it seems Ned did father at least one bastard- so if Jon isn’t his, he probably felt he (Ned, not Jon) still deserved the shame and Catelyn’s anger.

    Asha’s chapters were ok, but seemed to drag a little. Theon’s however were interesting. I still hate him and this is why: “only the Miller’s sons”. They were still two innocent boys put to death for Theon’s schemes (along with many other people), that they’re not the boys he (or the reader) knew doesn’t make it better. It shows that despite everything, he’s still the same horrible person inside. Ramsay is worse, but the only reason I’m glad Theon got away is so that Jeyne could escape.

    Asha clearly has plans for Theon to depose Euron, so he probably won’t die yet, but I rather hope he does. Ramsay on the other hand needs to live for a very long time indeed, in Qyburn’s company.

    Finally, Davos is now interesting! His chapters were much better, and I like Manderley very much too. That’s the pace the story should move at- only a couple of chapters and we get both cool and odious characters, a faked death, plot against the Frey’s in progress, a political deal and a plan to find Rickon and bring him back. Not to mention yet another possible parentage for Jon Snow (and the coincidence? that someone decided to name that girl Wylla). I wish the Rickon rescue storyline had gone further.

    Characters I now see as they were in the show- Barristan, Janos Slynt, Arya, Bran, Jorah, Tommen, Myrcella, Jaime, Alliser Thorne, Sam, Ned. Those who still look very different in my mind- Jon, Dany, Kevan, Cersei, Tyrion.

  372. Cutter Allen Kilgore
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a question that’s been bothering me: What, exactly is the story behind the Bridge of Dream and its mysterious haunted surrounding city? I might have read too quickly or been too tired while reading that section, but it’s been bugging at me.

    It is a bridge that crosses the river Rhoyne at the ruins of some once-great city. I got that. Now it’s all foggy and haunted and full of people who suffer severe greyscale who walk back and forth on the bridge all day and night and try to eat people? Capture boats? Have a nice little zombie party? What are they all doing there? What do they eat, how do they all end up at this one place and why the hell do they walk around on the bridge all day? It struck me as corny and odd.

    Doesn’t make sense to me. Was it ever explained? I feel like I’m missing something.

  373. fuelpagan
    Posted July 19, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Lala,

    If Aegon doesn’t look like Rheagar, why bother with a disguise? The realm isn’t going to follow a kid just because Jon C says it’s Rheagar’s son. Especially with the suspicions surrounding Joffrey and Tommen. They will want to see some resemblance before pledging their swords.

  374. Lala
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    fuelpagan,

    Lies within lies… :) Tangles within tangles…Because JON thinks Aegon is Aegon, and that’s why he makes the kid dye his hair. Because it’s not “time” yet. Aegon clearly resembles Rhaegar enough that he can pose as Rhaegar’s son. There were no DNA tests, they just took a leap of faith.

    Jon Snow is probably Rhaegar’s son, and he doesn’t look anything like him, does he?

    Besides, if he married Daenerys and had children with her, it obviously wouldn’t matter who he is any more, the children would still be heirs to the realm (Illyrio’s grandchildren).

  375. Croccifixio
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    REGARDING ON CHARACTERS’ DEATHS

    the list of major characters who died and “died”

    NED STARK
    beheaded
    was killed on ARYA’s POV

    ROBB STARK
    killed at the red wedding
    killed on CATELYN’s POV

    CATELYN STARK
    killed at the red wedding
    on her own POV and confirmed by ARYA’s POV thru the eyes of NYMERIA
    killed for real but was revived by BERIC

    JOFFREY
    killed on his wedding
    killed on TYRION’s POV

    BRAN and RICKON
    killed by THEON and RAMSAY
    implied killed on THEON’s POV
    but are not

    DAVOS
    killed by MANDERLY
    head and hand sent to CERSEI for proof
    CERSEI’s POV
    not dead

    BRIENNE
    implied hanged by STONEHEART
    her own POV
    not dead

    MORMONT and Maester AEMON
    died in SAM’s POV

    JON SNOW
    killed by sworn brothers
    own POV

    what i am trying to say is the only way we are really sure that a character died is if the death was witnessed by another POV character like NED, JOFF and ROBB.

    rumors of death such as DAVOS, THEON, BRAN, RICKON, AEGON, and now from ADWD JAIME are usually not true

    and deaths from own POVs like brienne prove to be false also. but the case of catelyn is kinda unique since she really did die but was revived.

    all i am saying is i will accept JON’s death the moment a POV from the wall actually confirmed his death and from the looks of it, it will be from MELISANDRE

    i am not saying he is alive or dead but from the way GRRM writes, you never really know, just like all the time i was waiting for ADWD, i believed Davos and Brienne are alive and not too surprised to see them alive like Theon.

  376. cat
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Victoria,

    Penny is Tyrion’s daughter by Tysha?????

  377. varradami
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised at the comments about Jon’s decision to attack Ramsay.

    Contrary to what some posters have suggested, Jon does know the letter may have lies – it is on page 909. Tormund says “Might be a all a skin o’ lies” and Jon says “[some reasons...] No. There is truth in there.”

    Furthermore, his justification for going off to fight Ramsay is that Ramsay directly threatens him (“Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard’s heart and eat it.”). In his speech (page 911) Jon says, “This creature … has sworn to cut my heart out, and I mean to make him answer for those words … but I will not ask my brothers to forswear their vows.” A bit flimsy as justifications go, but it is enough for Jon to see this as an honorable road. (Obviously some of his brothers don’t see it that way.)

    I also found it interesting that Jon suffers the same fate as the old bear. Though I do think it obvious he’s not finished yet.

  378. varradami
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    I also disagree with many posters about Dany’s arc in this book. I don’t see any regression in her character. Dany can be hard when she needs to be, but she is a caring person by nature. She’s not Tywin Lannister. She freed slaves in book 1 and again in book 3. That she would want to protect them now, these people who call her “mother”, doesn’t seem at all out of character to me.

    Dany isn’t stupid, she’s just in a tough position with no easy answers. She ends up in much deeper trouble than she expected (I quite liked how freeing the slaves in these cities had such far-reaching consequences). She’s had no experience or training in how to rule or how to wage a war.

    Yes, Dany spends some time failing. Who doesn’t? That is one of the things I love about these books – no character is perfect. Every one makes mistakes. I did get a bit bored with Meereen, but Dany’s last two chapters made up for it.

  379. Lala
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    Jon is going for Arya, not to kill Ramsay. I mean, he doesn’t really care if Ramsay threatens him, as much as he cares that Arya is obviously somewhere out there and if Ramsay found her, he would flay her. That is obvious from his flow of thoughts when he’s thinking about his family, read it again.

  380. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    cat,

    Yikes! But unlikely unless she and her brother were twins.

  381. Knurk
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Hmm don’t know how I really feel about this book, as others said it lacked closing chapters for a lot of characters as if George had to stop writing because else the publisher couldn’t print in 1 book. Too much Dany being a whiny tween, too much Theon which could have written in far less chapters and Tyrion going nowhere almost killed this book for me. If not for the epic chapters about Belwas (how much more awesome can this character get?), Bran (every word in those chapters gave me goosebumps), Arya and Davos this book could have been forgettable for me. Probably too much anticipation from my side, but I’m guessing this book will hugely improve on the reread as AFFC did.

  382. varradami
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Lala:
    Jon is going for Arya, not to kill Ramsay. I mean, he doesn’t really care if Ramsay threatens him, as much as he cares that Arya is obviously somewhere out there and if Ramsay found her, he would flay her. That is obvious from his flow of thoughts when he’s thinking about his family, read it again.

    Of course he wants to save Arya, I never claimed otherwise. However, his vows did not permit him to do so, which is why Mance Rayder was sent in the first place. When Ramsay threatens him directly, he uses this as a pretext to save Arya without needing to violate his vows (arguably).

    Though I expect he wouldn’t mind shedding some Bolton blood.

  383. fuelpagan
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Lala,
    varradami,

    I don’t think the major reason for Jon’s decision is either Arya or Ramsay. Sure they play a part, but the main reason I see is to defend the wall. There is enough truth in the letter that Jon can not take the chance of being attacked from south by Ramsay with an army. We’ve been told several times that Jon realizes Castle Black and the other forts along the wall are not defensible from the south.

    The letter from Ramsay was basically a declaration of war. Remember those points about wildlings and Castle Black Jon has mentioned in the past, all that has gone into this decision.
    - Castle Black can not be defended from the south
    - Wildlings don’t have the discipline of Soldiers.
    - The Night’s Watch numbers are too small.
    - Kill the boy

    His best option is an attack. Not for Arya. Not for Ramsay. But for the safety of all the men and women and children he is responsible for as Lord Commander. Honor bound Jon to break his oath, just as honor bound Bowen Marsh to kill him.

  384. Shock Me
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    fuelpagan: Lala,varradami, I don’t think the major reason for Jon’s decision is either Arya or Ramsay. Sure they play a part, but the main reason I see is to defend the wall. There is enough truth in the letter that Jon can not take the chance of being attacked from south by Ramsay with an army. We’ve been told several times that Jon realizes Castle Black and the other forts along the wall are not defensible from the south.The letter from Ramsay was basically a declaration of war. Remember those points about wildlings and Castle Black Jon has mentioned in the past, all that has gone into this decision.- Castle Black can not be defended from the south- Wildlings don’t have the discipline of Soldiers.- The Night’s Watch numbers are too small.- Kill the boyHis best option is an attack. Not for Arya. Not for Ramsay. But for the safety of all the men and women and children he is responsible for as Lord Commander. Honor bound Jon to break his oath, just as honor bound Bowen Marsh to kill him.

    I agree with the threat to the Night’s Watch inherent in Ramsay’s letter. I think it is a case of no good options. I do think Jon’s behavior is strange in how he went about addressing the problem knowing what the reaction of Bown Marsh was likely to be.

  385. purplejilly
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I’m depressed and burned out on ADwD. I’m maybe a fifth of the way through. Bran is becoming a tree and it looks like that’s all he can ever hope for. Dany can’t control her dragons. The Reek chapter was awful, horrible. I decided this just isn’t stuff I want to read, right now. It’s too depressing, and I am really down about all the graphic, gross stuff. I think I’m just feeling sensitive right now. And the story seems too long and drawn out, like an Octopus swelling like a giant balloon, overflowing everywhere, with tentacles going all over the freaking place, impossible to gather up. I’m just going to wait for S.2 of the show, and enjoy that instead.

    On another note, I started watching True Blood on Netflix, and I’ve seen two episodes, and no wonder any TB fans thought we were crazy complaining about the sex and nudity in GoT. TB takes the sex waaay seriously. But in a strange way, it fits better in there than it did in GoT, I think.

  386. fuelpagan
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Shock Me: I agree with the threat to the Night’s Watch inherent in Ramsay’s letter. I think it is a case of no good options. I do think Jon’s behavior is strange in how he went about addressing the problem knowing what the reaction of Bown Marsh was likely to be.

    I took it as a mistake of youth in rushing to action. Jon should have talked to the Queen and his officers before reading the letter to the crowd. He was in the process of realizing what he should have done before telling everyone when commotion started and he was attacked.

  387. fuelpagan
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    purplejilly: Bran is becoming a tree and it looks like that’s all he can ever hope for.

    Bran is becoming a God. That’s awesome!

  388. Ollie
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    does any one else think that Barristan and jamie will have a confrontation of sorts before one of them dies (most of you seemed to think Barristan would die in this book), I just think with Jamie redemption and position as Lord Commander of the kings guard it would be a great conclusion to his character growth. for it to work I think Jamie needs to be in a position of power of Barristan perhaps after a fight where even onehanded he is able to win (perhaps by a little luck) And also for Barristan I think it would be interesting to see if he can accept Jamie not as the kingslayer any more but as a man trying to defend his king and do right by the realm as he was forced to do when dany buggered off. just a theory just because i love the two and think the old Lord Commander vs the new in verbal and physical fighting would be great.
    anyone agree at all?

  389. persephone88
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Leeda: With regards to Tyrion maybe being a Targ – I dont think this is true. I am just re-reading a Cersei POV in FFC and she mentions that the first time that she ever saw Aegon and Rhaegar when they came to Casterley Rock was when she was ten and was secretly promised a bethrothal with Rhaegar.Tyrion was already a year old by this stage, Cersei was 9 when he was born.

    Just because Cersei had not seen Rhaegar and Aegon before age 10 (did you mean Aerys?) doesn’t mean that Joanna had not seen Aerys many times before. As the wife of Tywin, she would have been at many court functions, likely leaving her children behind at times. Tyrion could definitely have been a product of Joanna and Aerys. The white blonde hair does make me wonder (then again, shouldn’t they have blonded Tyrion up more in the series if this were the case?)

  390. HandmaidenofDany
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Cutter Allen Kilgore,

    Here’s a question that’s been bothering me: What, exactly is the story behind the Bridge of Dream and its mysterious haunted surrounding city? I might have read too quickly or been too tired while reading that section, but it’s been bugging at me.

    It is a bridge that crosses the river Rhoyne at the ruins of some once-great city. I got that. Now it’s all foggy and haunted and full of people who suffer severe greyscale who walk back and forth on the bridge all day and night and try to eat people? Capture boats? Have a nice little zombie party? What are they all doing there? What do they eat, how do they all end up at this one place and why the hell do they walk around on the bridge all day? It struck me as corny and odd.

    Doesn’t make sense to me. Was it ever explained? I feel like I’m missing something

    Can anyone answer this as I am wondering too!?

  391. purplejilly
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan: Bran is becoming a God. That’s awesome!

    But what good is it going to do him? It seems no one can hear him when he tries to talk through the weirwoods, and he can warg around, but will he be able to communicate with anyone else when he’s warged? It seems like it will be an extremely frustrating position for him to be in, able to see and hear all, but to do or influence nothing. It goes back to what’s better, an eternal life as an all seeing god, or a short life as a human where he can live and maybe find happiness? love? probably not children, allthough GRRM hasn’t specified if that is crippled as well..

  392. Mirax
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    HandmaidenofDany,

    I honestly have no idea. However, your mention of greyscale got me thinking…

    I had assumed that the grey girl Mel sees in her flames and intends Mance to find was either Jeyne or the girl that already showed up at the Wall. What if the mention of “grey” has to do with greyscale rather than it being a House color? There was quite a bit of talk about greyscale in this book, more than in any other, so I’m just wondering if there is more significance to the color than what I’ve been giving it.

  393. Mirax
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    I have to agree, if Bran is stuck in that cave forever, I don’t see what use he will really be, unless it is to witness history and just impart it to us, the readers, but not actually help out the story.

  394. persephone88
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Okay, finished the book. I’d place it 3rd or 4th in the series as far as quality, equal to or just behind A Clash of Kings, probably just behind.

    Mereen: I felt like this “exiled princess” story should have been neatly wrapped up a book or two ago instead of dragging out so long. Get Daenerys back to Westeros. Please. As I was reading the Dany chapters with their ton of Essos characters, I kept thinking to myself, “Too many Zs in this world: Reznak, Hizdahr, Galazza, etc.” Most of these are characters we know no backstory about – they feel like filler caricatures at best. Mereen, for me, became too many Zs, as in “Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”. Dany’s constant wavering, the proliferation of the different rival factions, the sycophants and courtiers all with similarly sounding eastern names became a boring blur for me. Only when Westerosi came on the scene or to the forefront did I become engaged. The scene with Drogon at the fighting pits was the only Dany chapter that I felt was really thrilling, along with the brief visit from Qaithe. I wish GRRM had ended her arc in this book with her flying off on Drogon. That last chapter in the Dothraki Sea, a disappointment. I’ve felt her story has dwindled and lagged on for several books now. I can only hope he gets her out of Essos quickly and builds her back up with the dragons.

    I thought the Theon arc was the best written in the book, that really felt like peak GRRM writing to me – crisp, concise, pointed and full of empathy and surprises. It was like a minor version of the turn around he did with Jaime in ASOS. Pulling sympathy for Theon was something I never thought I’d see, but he did it well.

    Wyman Manderly – his scenes with Davos were THE best written in the book, I thought. They felt like the best parts of AGOT and ASOS: surprising, cinematic, compelling and beautifully written. What a great surprise – and a delight to read.

    While I enjoyed the Cersei chapters, I almost wish they’d've been kept in the last book, though I know the timelines must have been a bear for GRRM with the split. Ditto the Jaime chapter – I felt like we were being thrown a bone just having that one chapter in there. Would have saved it for the next book, and Jaime is my favorite character. Not sure where he is going with the return of Brienne, but it felt rushed and puzzling. The Hound may kill the Stark daughter? Whaaaaat?

    As far as the three heads of the dragon speculation, I do not believe young Griff is Aegon. I think this is more of Varys plotting. If he IS Aegon, I’d see him as having more of Aerys’ instability in him than Rhaegar’s valor, and predict an untimely end. I think it more likely he’s an imposter put in place. Jon Connington does not strike me as valorous at all. I can’t see him grooming the real Aegon to be a true head of the dragon.

    I think it likely that Tyrion is the third head of the dragon, along with Jon and Dany. I’m not even sure I buy into the AA prophecy – but I would not be surprised if R+L=J is true that Jon is AA and Dany ends up being Nissa Nissa.

  395. HandmaidenofDany
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Mirax,
    It could be greyscale that makes it’s way to Westeros as a plague…Mel isn’t always sure what her visions mean. I am only half way through the book, so I thought it would have been resolved at some point who the rider is….apparently not.

  396. Mirax
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    HandmaidenofDany,

    I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize! :(

  397. fuelpagan
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Lala: fuelpagan, Lies within lies… :) Tangles within tangles…Because JON thinks Aegon is Aegon, and that’s why he makes the kid dye his hair. Because it’s not “time” yet. Aegon clearly resembles Rhaegar enough that he can pose as Rhaegar’s son. There were no DNA tests, they just took a leap of faith.Jon Snow is probably Rhaegar’s son, and he doesn’t look anything like him, does he?Besides, if he married Daenerys and had children with her, it obviously wouldn’t matter who he is any more, the children would still be heirs to the realm (Illyrio’s grandchildren).

    It’s an interesting idea. I just think the gig is up the moment Aegon reveals himself to those who knew Rhaegar. Rhaegar was loved and his image was known. Jon C is betting on Aegon resemblance to Rhaegar winning enough Lords to the cause. A glamour could solve that problem. It just seems like a stretch to me.

    I’m on my second read now so I’ll keep this in mind to see if anything comes out. But the idea of putting someone in hiding for years to reveal them and later be a fake just feels insipid to me.

  398. small tim
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    i would also like to add “leal subject, supporter etc” to that

  399. Leonid Kavardakov
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    John’s “kill the boy”-drill rhymes perfectly with what happens to him after all. The boy is dead now. GRRM couldn’t leave us more sure about that. Will there be a man when all is stabbed and done, that is the question. And what kind of man will it be?

    Didn’t like the thought that Theon could be somehow controlled by Bran or Three-eyed Crow, when rescuing Jeyne. Or that Jaime could be Three-eyed Crow-manipulated when pushing Bran out of window. The same with Brienne possibly being Beric-like animated now, or Arya’s being one of the children with Varys, after another face-change. All of these together would mean anyone can turn anybody (e.g. Ned Stark wasn’t beheaded, or his face can be put on by someone) or be controlled by some super-warg (imagine Three-eyed Crow controlling in fact all of the POVs from time to time – what a move!). So, the books we’ve read were really “A Game of Warg(s)”, “A Clash of Warg-puppets”, “A Storm of Face-changers” and so on like that?:) Come on, that’s ridiculous :)

  400. C2
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan,

    I’m almost positive “Aegon” is false and probably Ashara Dayne’s (aka Lenore) “stillborn child”. Quainthe makes mention of the mummer’s dragon (which could be interpretted as in “ownership by Varys” instead of (or and) false, but if you pair that with Moquarro’s talk of two dragons “one true, one false” I think that more or less puts the nail in the coffin on that one.

    Tyrion is the third head of the dragon.

  401. obsidian
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan,

    I’ve been composing some long musings, which I haven’t sorted out totally but ,I have to say , I’m right with you on Jon and the threat to the Watch posed by Ramsay. He knows people like Marsh will not see the threat..he knows he can’t appeal to brothers of the Watch to help save his sister, and really he wouldn’t want to strip their experienced men from the wall. His appeal is designed to sway the wildlings ( who are moved by brave , heroic gesture, but don’t really identify with duty and discipline )..they are the ones who would identify with a response to the personal threat in Ramsay’s letter.. Tormund loved his speech. Win them to you , then get them drunk.

  402. fuelpagan
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    C2,

    If say Illyrio were a descendent of Bittersteel making his son part Targaryan, that might work. Send the fake Aegon with Jon C so he will have the best claim and have the real Aegon raised up to become…oh captain of the Storm Crows maybe. That would be interesting. And you would still have all the Dragons in this book to call it Dance of the Dragons. All I’m saying is Aegon must be Targaryan in some way or I will feel like it’s a cheat.

  403. DHGoldfish
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Johnny Bryant

    The books have a few lines which are pinched from other places, in that same chapter he is describing the river in the cave as “flowing down to a sunless sea” (a lift from Coleridge’s “In Xanadu”). … Hard to know if it’s deliberate or not…

    It’s called literary allusion and you can be bet money GRRM knows exactly what he’s doing with it.

    I didn’t expect this volume to tie up any loose ends, so was not disappointed by that, just frustrated when the story ran out. But that was expected, too. Several people have commented that the books seem to be sprawling, spending too much time on inconsequential details like food and dress. Since I read the previous volumes a couple of months ago preparing for this release, I see a sharp contrast with the earliest part of the story, which was very lean writing. But I don’t mind it. All the talk of food and weather and architecture and furniture and costume and transportation all make the world come to life much more vividly. And if adding this lush level of detail is what entices GRRM to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair, if that’s what keeps it interesting enough to him for him to keep writing, then I’m all for it. I used to live with a writer who would, as they all do, get stuck in a story sometimes and be tempted to have all the characters be hit by a bus, the end. On alternate weeks the sun would go nova. My point is, GRRM could tie all these story lines up and move the pace along, but you wouldn’t like it! I’ll happly take all the text he wants to include. I don’t think it’s out of his control. All of you who skimnmed Tyrion’s travel chapters, you better go back and read them again. There will be a test later, you can bet on it.

  404. fuelpagan
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    purplejilly: But what good is it going to do him? It seems no one can hear him when he tries to talk through the weirwoods, and he can warg around, but will he be able to communicate with anyone else when he’s warged? It seems like it will be an extremely frustrating position for him to be in, able to see and hear all, but to do or influence nothing.

    He can warg into people and animals, not just the trees. If he has control of ravens he can manipulate what messages get to the destination and which ones go astray if he knows what the message contains. He’s just learning now. Who knows how advanced he could be.

  405. Shinyteapot
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    persephone88:

    I thought the Theon arc was the best written in the book, that really felt like peak GRRM writing to me – crisp, concise, pointed and full of empathy and surprises. It was like a minor version of the turn around he did with Jaime in ASOS. Pulling sympathy for Theon was something I never thought I’d see, but he did it well.

    Very well written I agree, but I don’t feel much sympathy for Theon. Because he seems to think the fact that the boys he killed weren’t Bran and Rickon should make everything ok- it doesn’t. What happens to Theon is horrific, but that ‘only miller’s sons’ stops me from pitying him the way I otherwise might.

  406. Eric Niewohner
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    I sometimes wonder how you got through the other four books because there was extremely graphic sex and violence in all those books and ADWD doesn’t have any more than the other books. You also complained about the sex in the show and again it was in the books so never understood your or other posters position or outrage about the sex. I do agree that the story was too spread out and there could have been more forward movement, but overall enjoyed the book a lot, but bummed that we have to wait at least 3 years, my early prediction for Martin to finish, before book 6.

    As far as TB goes I have read all the books and enjoy the series as a nice escape but the adaptation is just horrible and has diverged so far from the books that it is almost beyond belief. Anybody who complains about the GOT adaptation from book to TV should try reading TB and then watching that awful, awful show and you can see how bad an adaptation can be.

  407. Eric Niewohner
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed the epilogue and it great to get more of Varys motivations and for a character who seems to have no real loyalty it is now patently obvious that his primary motivation is to make sure the Targ’s once again hold the throne. Feel bad for Ser Kevan as he was one of the few Lannisters that I actually liked. Will be really interesting to see the Tyrell’s and Cersei go at it. With the Tyrell’s armies around the city there is only so much Cersei can do regardless of the Ser Robert Strongstein or Gregorstein. He could probably cut down a dozen men but enough men could overpower him and cage him if necessary.

    So will Dany kill the Khal or will he follow her because of Drogon and will Dany be able to direct Dany to help her lift the siege and please Dany get the hell out of Meereen because there is no saving that crap hole of a city.

    Will Doran ally with Young and Old Giff, who really wrote the letter? Was that really Jon who got stabbed or was it someone under Mel’s control under a glamour, remember the last time Jon saw Ghost, Ghost growled at him like crazy and Jon or the doppelganger of Jon passed it off as Ghost being upset by the boar, hmmm.

    What wil happen with Victorian meets Dany, it is not going to go the way he wants although what will happen when the horn is blown and who will blow it, could a red priest do it without dying?

    Was frustrated that Tyrion and Dany did not really meet and like a lot of you the whole Penny thing fell flat for me and seemed to take up valuable time.

  408. David Moore
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Just finished the book this afternoon. I read it every spare moment that I had, every train ride, over lunch, before bed. It was great.

    Now, I just hope we don’t have to wait another five years for Winds of Winter (that’s the next one, right?).

  409. obsidian
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    Well , Bran is having the beginnings of those abilities he’s been told not to expect. Already Theon hears the odd word … Mormont’s raven..who has more words than others and seems to understand, is there if Bran can develop further. Who managed to make Mel’s fire say Jon Snow.. R’hllor..or someone else ?

    Don’t be too depressed about sex.. Dany/Syrio is positive, as is Asha/ Qarl and as for Ramsay I think HBO will draw the line at bestiality.

  410. Cyryl
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    persephone88,

    I often wondered if Dany would be Nissa Nissa. I prefer that over Arya or Ghost. :P

  411. Franny Bee
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    obsidian:

    purplejilly,

    Well , Bran is having the beginnings of those abilities he’s been told not to expect.

    We may be looking at a ‘padawan’ takeover in the future… you know, how you train up the newbie, and then he kills the master(s) and children because he’s more powerful? Already has the power to do things the “3-eyed crow’ cannot, like speak through the trees… Darth Bran anyone?

  412. Franny Bee
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Shinyteapot: What happens to Theon is horrific, but that ‘only miller’s sons’ stops me from pitying him the way I otherwise might.

    Exactly. He’s still a prick and an asshole if he’s able to justify those senseless murders. Esp since he had intimate relations with their mom and then slaughtered her kids for ‘image’ purposes. WHO DOES THAT?!

    No pity for Theon. He deserves worse and more ;)

    PS: Maybe I’m just a sicko, but I didn’t find the violence, perversion, torture etc to be ‘too much’ or go ‘too far’. Just right for escalating ASOIAF imho. In real life, it would be disgusting and criminal. In fiction, heart-wrenching and compelling.

  413. Mirax
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Franny Bee,

    I could see Bran rising up against Brynden, but not the rest of the Singers unless they tried to do him harm of some sort, no matter how powerful he becomes. So far he has kept his delight in magic and the Singers, he believed in them and wanted to meet them for so long that I just don’t see him turning on them unless they attempt something drastic against him first.

  414. pietel
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed the book.
    Ok, its more predictable because by now we all know how Martin uses common fantasy tropes to surprise. That one second when Manderly looks angry at the Freys in his throneroom when he’s sentencing Davos was enough to KNOW that it was all fake and scened. As everyone knew Quentin was gonna die.
    But in the end it has a general feel of completion. The story has reached its peak in complexity. We know now all players and their luggage. Even Varys shows color. And finally the Dany-chapters get up to par with the rest of the story’s political scheming. It’s nice to see her world developed instead of her previous fantasy trope adventures.

    Feast/Dance was the necessary transition between regional conflicts and the big worldchanging events that will follow in the last two books. And still, for all the groundlaying and buildup, it is ever an engaging read.
    Now we can wait for the words that are winds of winter. And what a winter it shall be!

  415. Franny Bee
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    http://shelf-life.ew.com/2011/07/21/dance-with-dragons-shocking-twist-g/

    Must-read spoilerous interview with GRRM re : ADWD. Answered MY questions!!

  416. Lady Nym
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Franny Bee,

    De-lurking to quote from that interview:

    ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So why did you kill Jon Snow?
    George R.R. Martin: Oh, you think he’s dead, do you?

    Jon’s not dead!

  417. Shinyteapot
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Franny Bee: He’s still a prick and an asshole if he’s able to justify those senseless murders. Esp since he had intimate relations with their mom and then slaughtered her kids for ‘image’ purposes. WHO DOES THAT?!

    No pity for Theon. He deserves worse and more ;)

    I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling that way, was beginning to think I must be the monster!

    Depressing, that Theon can go through all that horror and still think those murders were somehow acceptable. I can’t help thinking that if helping Jeyne hadn’t given him a chance to escape too, he wouldn’t have.

    Even Jaime has managed to become a better person, and I say that as someone who still hasn’t forgiven him for throwing Bran out of the window (we need a special word for the shocking realisation while reading ASOS that you just felt sorry for the childflinging sisterfucker). But Theon? Genuinely been through torture, and still an arsehole.

  418. purplejilly
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Eric Niewohner: I sometimes wonder how you got through the other four books because there was extremely graphic sex and violence in all those books and ADWD doesn’t have any more than the other books.

    I skimmed it in the books. Whenever I would get to something I felt was ‘too much’, I would skim, just hoping to get the gist of whatever plotline part there was, without being grossed out or upset. I’m a very sensitive gal to that kind of stuff, probably has to do with real life experiences I have had, and too many unpleasant memories that it triggers back for me. in the same kind of way like when Saving Private Ryan came out, and those old ww2 veterans went and saw it and started sobbing in the theaters, in front of their shocked families, ya know?

    But I thought with ADwD, I would try and read it all, and not skim any of it, but I found out it’s just too much for me. I really can’t take the level of violence and graphic descriptions that he writes.

    In the show, it bothered me because I couldn’t skim. It was interpreted for me and put right out there on the screen – I had to watch it and take what they wanted to give me. Esp. due to sexposition, I had to listen to hear plot stuff. I almost wish they had separated the sex from the exposition, because then I could ff through the sex parts, at least.

    No denigration is meant towards those who don’t mind the sex and violence – I think different people just have different tolerance levels, based on their personality and life experiences, and so depictions in text or in a tv show affect people differently.

    So on TB, the books are better, eh? (that’s usually always the case). The show is mildly interesting, maybe I will switch to the books – how violent/graphic are the books compared to the show?

  419. John Engedal
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    THIS BOOK…when I finished it, I was like..F u George, then I was like, alright, okey, fine. Then I was like F U George again, but then I remembered…I love George Martin! So then I thought some more about ADWD, and now I love it of course!
    All these cliffhangers made me curse at him for a bit, but I have all the faith in the world that George knows EXCACTLY what he´s doing, and I´m with him all the way to the end.

    At which point I´ll probably cry like a little baby.

  420. Mirax
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    When I can manage to divorce the books from the show, I enjoy the show, but I definitely prefer the books. They are still graphic when it comes to violence, and there is a lot of sex, but the grittiness that exists in GRRM’s books isn’t nearly the same level in my opinion, which makes it different for me when I’m reading.

  421. Scott
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Wow, just finished ADWD, I thought it was a lot like AFFC, just like Martin said it would be…..
    I have read a few of the comments on this site and I am utterly shocked at some of them. Some people have actually said they think Martin should have done “this or that” with said character or plot line. People this is why we love these books! We could want certain (usually romantic) things to happen to our favorite characters but Martin will do what he always does, which is write the story the way he envisions it. (and this is the reason we love these books!)
    Mind you I wish he would write faster, but I think a lot of the criticism comes from waiting for 6 years for the damn book, and everybody expecting so much….
    but I loved reading it……even if it didn’t go where I wanted it to.
    And for anybody who thinks Martin is pandering to HBO and his characterizations are changing because of pressure from the TV show, well I believe that is pure horseshit.
    I do believe the book was timed to come out after the show however, but that is a separate issue.
    We still have probably 2000+ pages left in the story……Martin will figure it out …
    guess what?…. we might not like the ending!…….knowing Martin I’m sure it’ll be bittersweet…..
    and that will be all right by me…..
    but please George Martin….please don’t make us wait 6 more years………

  422. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Shinyteapot,

    I am with you on Theon and Jaime, except that I don’t think Jaime has become a better person – he is just pretending to have changed in order to protect himself while he is disabled (until he masters the sword left-handed), like Cersei is just pretending to be humbled in order to protect herself while she is a prisoner (until “Robert Strong” kills everybody.)

  423. paulgude
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Just finished about fifteen minutes ago.

    I really liked it. Already sad there’s no more book.

  424. Mirax
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Scott,

    There is nothing wrong with criticism. There are definitely things that I think could have made the storylines tighter and I expressed those thoughts. It doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book. I certainly did. However, my level of praise for ADWD, and AFFC for that matter, heavily depends on how things pan out. If something epic comes from Tyrion spending the whole book traveling around instead of making it to Dany, I will praise GRRM for his ability to pull threads this way and that and make something fantastic. On the other hand, if we merely got so many Tyrion chapters about traveling and it was just there to sort of fill space, then I will criticize to my heart’s content.

    Scott: his characterizations are changing because of pressure from the TV show, well I believe that is pure horseshit.

    It’s not pressure, per se, but Martin has admitted in interviews that Osha, at least, has already been affected by Tena’s portrayal and his plans for her have evolved from what they were before the show. To then draw a correlation between Tena and possible changes that come about in other characters isn’t illogical. It may end up being something GRRM had always planned for the character, but since we aren’t in his head, there is no reason we shouldn’t discuss the possibility of the show being the cause.

  425. Maxwell James
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    I just finished it too – thought it was terrific (and that’s despite having been spoiled by some jerk on Jon’s last chapter). It could have used stronger editing in some places, but I absolutely loved most of the Tyrion, Jon, and Theon chapters – Tyrion’s especially, which were just brimming over with humanity. Dany’s chapters were more of a mixed bag, but the scene where she finally took off on Drogon was obviously terrific.

    Loved the epilogue – “And in their hands, the daggers.” And I feel sorry for the Dornish, who keep producing likable characters born to die.

    Now for some spitballing:

    - Jon is not dead, or won’t be for long. The question is whether he’ll be a direwolf, a fire-zombie, or both.
    - The letter was a fake, and was actually written by Mance.
    - Aegon is a fake, and is actually going to turn out to be a Dayne. Though with Varys behind him, he may still end up as king.

    Also, props to Paul Gude for calling it: Varys is no eunuch.

  426. lorinheller
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    SPOILERS HERE!!!

    OK, haven’t read all comments yet, so a lot of this may be rehashing old territory, but here is my take:

    3rd favorite book behind 1 and 3. Did drag at points, but still kept me riveted.

    Favorite line:

    “LOCUSTS!” and probably paraphrasing: “Strong Belwas ate too many locusts. Needs milk.”

    Thoughts on specific characters / arcs:

    Dany: I agree that it would have been stronger to end her story this book with her flying off with Drogon, destination unknown. That said, I continue to think she’s a strong character. I completely appreciate and understand her arc. She stayed in Mereen as a monarch practice run, and it has blown up in her face. She’s unwittingly though indirectly caused an insane amount of damage. No wonder she’s in no hurry to wreak that on Westeros. She feels that unless she can prove herself where she is, she has no right to move forward.

    Jon: Brilliant story line. He made a great leader and almost all of his decisions were sound. I do agree that his sudden change to going after Ramsey Bolton seems out of character. They set up his gradual realization that he lacked neutrality around Stannis, but maybe a bit more setup would have made that decision make more sense. Now, is he dead? My take is: His body is dead, his soul / mind has gone into Ghost. His big decision next book may be whether or not to allow Melisandre to bring him back in human form. After what he’s been through, betrayed by his own Brothers, I could see him having a tough decision, thinking that the life of a wolf is much preferable to an undead body where he’ll be feared, rotting and unappreciated. BTW, the conspiracy to kill him really wasn’t well thought out. Now, the Bros are going to be run down by Wildings. Good move, Guys.

    Eagon: Totally came out left field for me. Retcon, though George just pulled it off. Griff bores me though.

    Victarion: Bores me silly.

    Bran: Needs to be seriously smacked for what he’s doing to Hodor, and I mean SERIOUSLY. It is rape. If he doesn’t go all the way to the dark side (and even if he does), I see an attempt to take over a dragon in Bran’s future.

    Tyrion: Find it interesting that he’s taking credit with everybody for Joff’s murder.

    Arya: Speaking of going to the dark side. Who wants to place a bet that she’s assigned to kill one of the good guys in the future?

    Quent: Well, part of him knew it was an incredibly stupid idea. Poor guy.

    Reek/Theon: LOVED it, especially his last scene with Asha. I love redemption stories, and if anybody ever needed redemption, it’s Theon.

    Barristan: Rocks.

    Wyman Manderly: SERIOUSLY Rocks. (He may well win the favorite character of Book 5 award.)

    Cersei: Yeah, that humiliation was pretty enjoyable. Wonder if our actress knows what she’s in for?

    Davos and Brienne: Phew.

    Um…. Who am I forgetting?

    STRONG BELWAS LIVES!!!

  427. Mirax
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Maxwell James: – The letter was a fake, and was actually written by Mance.Also, props to Paul Gude for calling it: Varys is no eunuch.

    I don’t think it needs to be blocked, but you did, so I did too. : ) What brought you to those conclusions? Especially the last one… It is mentioned specifically early on that he is.

  428. Bearuckus
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    not sure if anyone else has mentionedthis or not, but who do you think the person is in the ghost of winterfell chapter is? page 611 and 612.

    “”Farther on, he came upon a man standing in the opposite direction, a hooded cloak flapping behind him. When they found themselves face-to-face their eyes met briefly. The man put a hand on his dagger. Theon Turncloak. Theon Kinslayer.
    Im not I never….. I was Ironborn. False is all you were. How is it you still breathe? The gods are not done wth me, Theon answered wondering if this could be the killer, the night walker who had stuffed Yellow Dick’s c#$% into his mouth and pushed Roger ryswells groom off the battlements. Oddly he was not afraid. He pulled the glove from his left hand. Lord Ramsay is not done with me.
    The man looked and laughed. I leave you to him then. “”

    If this man was at the Jeyne/Arya and Ramsay wedding he would have know Theon was there, Yet he was surprised to see him. Just wondering who he might be….

  429. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Bearuckus,

    Wow. Great question. I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else.

    My first reaction is that it’s Theon’s conscience bothering him.

    But then, I don’t think Theon has a conscience.

  430. Shinyteapot
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Bearuckus,

    I think that’s Reek. I get the impression Theon has a split personality issue going on there- he’s seeing his reflection. Winterfell has glass gardens. Think Fight Club.

    Also explains who killed Little Walder- Mance and the spearwives might have been responsible for the rest, but Little Walder was becoming a mini Ramsay. Reek was too weak to kill an adult, but the smaller version of Ramsay- he could do that. Theon doesn’t consciously know who it was, because he’s not aware he did it.

  431. Mirax
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Bearuckus,
    Shinyteapot,

    Good question and good theory! I honestly hadn’t considered it at all. My only thought at the time was maybe it was the Blackfish, and he had been hiding out nearby or already headed North when he heard about the Boltons. Your theory fits a bit better as I can’t really think of where he could be hiding out so that Roose or one of his men wouldn’t recognize him.

  432. Maxwell James
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Mirax,

    A few paragraphs from the end, Kevan notes that Varys’ voice has grown deeper. Paul Gude (perhaps among others, not sure) has occasionally theorized that “the eunuch” may just be one more of the roles Varys plays. The change in his voice is a strong suggestion that may be the case.

  433. Mirax
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Maxwell James,

    Ah, I see. I just assumed his simpering higher voice was a part of his “Varys the Spider on the Small Council” not that he wasn’t a eunuch. I realize Illyrio is probably not telling Tyrion the full truth about things, but I just assumed he wasn’t lying when he mentioned Varys being beaten up for being a eunuch. His explanation of how the two of them met and started working together seemed rather plausible. Now I just need to go back and read Varys’ tale about how he was cut.

  434. Rinoa De la Pica
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog: Cyryl, Am I the only one that feels bad for Theon? Yes.

    No.
    Seriously? You are some sadistic fellow, aren’t you? I mean, does Theon deserve what Ramsay does to him? Not a little sympathy for the poor lonely and unloved Theony? He even recognized his dullness and miss the bloody (sorry) Starks.

    Ah, well, I won’t never understand cold-hearted people. Every character in these books have done stupid or selfish things but almost noone deserves THAT.

  435. Steve Coulson
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Just finished last night (due to being laid up in bed with a shoulder injury) and it was fun to FINALLY come into this thread and read all the theories. Wow, a lot of great stuff, some echoing my own thoughts, some making me want to go back and re-read sections because the are brilliant ideas! Wouldn’t it be great if somehow we could do a ‘community annotation’ of the text?

    Rather than repeat ideas that have been already posited (the true lineage of the Lannister kids, Jon dead or no, Bran in the raven, etc), a couple of very wild and crazy theories that I didn’t see mentioned but kept coming to my mind.

    1) That whole prologue about wargs being able to shift not only into people, but also what happens when they shift on death seems an important one. Which made me think about the possibility of a Warg shifting first into an animal and then back into a dead body to reanimate it. Which then got me thinking about the whole Beric/Lady Stoneheart thing and even if Lady Stoneheart is really who we all think she is. Also – is “Wargness” inherited? If so, as Jon and Bran both have it, does that mean R+L=J is wrong, and Ned really is J’s father? Because if so – does that mean… Ned could have been a warg? And if so…. hmmm

    2) The fact that Bran can both Warg into animals and people and now, via the tree, project his consciousness across the lifespan of the ancient trees, makes me wonder if he’s going to be able to project his mind back into the past into a person, and whether Bran will end up playing a part in the building of the Wall.

    3) Apropos of nothing, I still believe that we’ll see a final battle against the Others where a reanimated Robb dramatically takes to the field with a direwolf’s head

    Overall, while I enjoyed the book, I definitely think it had some structural issues. I get the feeling GRRM got so wrapped up in the plot and spent so long figuring out his issue, he lost sight of narrative drive. I understand that this is one part of a longer series, but seriously, each book should feel like it’s resolving some of the questions it poses. After hearing Tyrion say “where do whores go” for like a hundred times, I hate that after about half way through, that just wasn’t addressed. Tyrion (or for that matter Ser Jorah) not meeting up with Dany was a missed opportunity. I found the whole “Tyrion in the pit from Dany’s PoV” just frustrating.

    But there’s no disputing GRRM’s ability to get you inside a character. Just as he completely turned my head around on Jaime, so I started to feel a sneaking sympathy for Theon. I mean, really? Theon? wow.

  436. Rinoa De la Pica
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Brett: That’s almost certainly what happened. If I remember A Feast for Crows right, Undead Catelyn gave her the choice between “the sword” (killing Jaime) or the noose. The single word that she shouted in her last Feast chapter was probably “Sword”.

    Remember the name of the sword: Oathkeeper. This should mean something.

    I refuse to think Brienne had betrayed Jaime. She is the most honorable ‘knight’ in Westeros after all.

  437. purplejilly
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Steve Coulson: 2) The fact that Bran can both Warg into animals and people and now, via the tree, project his consciousness across the lifespan of the ancient trees, makes me wonder if he’s going to be able to project his mind back into the past into a person, and whether Bran will end up playing a part in the building of the Wall.

    Oh wow, that is messing up my head in one of those time travel/paradox ways. So maybe our Brandon Stark may be ALL the Brandon Starks? If he can get out of that tree, he might be able to do it. But there are so many butterfly effects he’ll have to avoid, if he starts messing around with the past too much. Or will he just create a parallel universe each time? Augh, now I’ll be thinking about Schrodinger’s dead/alive cat the rest of the day..

  438. purplejilly
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Steve Coulson: After hearing Tyrion say “where do whores go” for like a hundred times, I hate that after about half way through, that just wasn’t addressed.

    Yeah, ya know, I feel bad about Tysha, and bad about Tyrion and his whole relationship with her, but just vocalizing his emotions about it through that question, but never having it go anywhere is going to be immensely frustrating.

  439. purplejilly
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Steve Coulson: Which made me think about the possibility of a Warg shifting first into an animal and then back into a dead body to reanimate it.

    This would explain “Coldhands”, and his ability to retain his humanity and memories, and not just become another mindless wight. So is Coldhands BenJen? Was that ever addressed?

  440. Mirax
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    Some readers still seem to think he could be Benjen, but we know that wights are recognizable to the living. I don’t see how Bran could travel with Coldhands and not realize it is his uncle. I was ok with the theory while there was still a chance for us to see Bran’s recognition, but that just didn’t happen in this book.

    ::Edit:: Not saying I couldn’t be wrong, but GRRM would have to come up with an explanation for why Bran didn’t recognize him, and I personally don’t think that is likely.

  441. Hear Me Roar
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Only finished now, and can read the thread. Thank you for your love.

    It will take me quite a while to digest what I’ve read, though. I think that’s the case with everyone.

    Great experience reading the book, however the biggest OMG moment came early for me, second Bran’s chapter … it helped that I’ve just freshly read the short stories.

  442. Tully to a T
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    “All of you who skimmed Tyrion’s travel chapters, you better go back and read them again. There will be a test later, you can bet on it.”

    Awesome, DHGoldfish, and so true. Some complaints about ‘sprawl’ and structural problems are definitely justified, but someday, this series will be done. 7 books, 8 books, who knows, but it will be over. No more adventures, twists, reveals, battles, or descriptions of food to look forward to in the lives of these characters. When that day comes, and all that is left to us is re-reading these books, we’ll be glad for every last backstory, quest, and cryptic prophecy, as we crack the bones to suck out the marrow.

    I did learn a lesson from DwD … don’t get invested in a particular outcome. I found myself reading the book mainly to see Dany and Tyrion intersect, and when it didn’t happen, I came away feeling unsatisfied. Tyrion is just the Queen’s Hand that Dany is waiting for. As she wallowed through the politics of Meereen exclaiming “What can I do?” I kept yelling at her “Find Tyrion! He’ll know!! He’ll have this whole Harpy mess wrapped up in a couple of moves, oh and by the way he knows more about Dragons than anyone else around!”

    Dany is also just the Queen that Tyrion needs … he wanted so badly to do some good as Hand to Joffrey, and got nothing but mistrust and abuse for it. Dany is a contender who lacks experience but makes up for it in pure intentions and real concern for her people. When these two finally intersect and start working together, things are going to get exciting fast.

    Like many, I hated listening to Dany mooning over that arrogant blue-bearded captain, but otherwise, I totally get why she would stay put for a few years. Skulking into Westeros to reclaim the Iron Throne with three tiny dragons, some Unsullied, and a gaggle of starving freedmen does not sound like a good plan to me. Reclaiming a throne requires playing a long game, and nobody plays the long game like Martin.

    Aside from the frustration I felt that Tyrion did not intersect with Dany, I think his travels through the Free Cities are going to pay off in the long game … by the time he does reach Dany, he will have a very detailed knowledge of these cities and their people which he will need to be of any real use to her. While Dany gains a huge khalasaar, Tyrion can bring the Second Sons to the table, and Selmy can manage her knights and the Unsullied … in this way, Dany triples the size of her army and finally has a fighting chance at taking Westeros. She’ll also have some sense of how to negotiate a political landscape once she gets there. She can’t do it alone with three wild dragons, that’s for sure.

    I am looking forward to reading DwD a second time. First and second readings of these books tend to be very different experiences for me. The first reading is all about finding out what happens. The second reading tends to be more satisfying, probably because I am no longer trying to write the story I want to read in my own mind — I know the major plot points, and can now mine the story for the little details. I was very frustrated with AFFC on first reading — recently re-read it and loved it, like all the others, so rich with smaller moments that I didn’t catch the first time.

  443. Knurk
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Mirax: I don’t see how Bran could travel with Coldhands and not realize it is his uncle. I was ok with the theory while there was still a chance for us to see Bran’s recognition, but that just didn’t happen in this book.

    Weren’t there a few lines where it was said that Coldhands had a big scarf in front of his face and only his eyes could be seen? Maybe I misread, but when I read that line I was seriously thinking: this is a big hint for Coldhands being Benjen (as in: good excuse for Bran not recognising his uncle).

  444. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Tully to a T,

    Tyrion is just the Queen’s Hand that Dany is waiting for. As she wallowed through the politics of Meereen exclaiming “What can I do?” I kept yelling at her “Find Tyrion! He’ll know!! He’ll have this whole Harpy mess wrapped up in a couple of moves, oh and by the way he knows more about Dragons than anyone else around!”

    Dany is also just the Queen that Tyrion needs … he wanted so badly to do some good as Hand to Joffrey, and got nothing but mistrust and abuse for it. Dany is a contender who lacks experience but makes up for it in pure intentions and real concern for her people. When these two finally intersect and start working together, things are going to get exciting fast.

    Brilliant and dead on.

  445. The Over Analyzer
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Long-time lurker, first-time poster …

    Just finished the book and, as usual, loved it. Perhaps not as satisfying as books 1 through 3, but I just can’t get enough of this world, of these characters, and (with a few exceptions) GRRM’s prose.

    What follows are some thoughts on the book (for what they are worth; many of the points have been made before) as well as some issues that I would like to throw out for discussion.

    One of the things I have enjoyed most about the books are GRRM’s meditations on the qualities that define a “good person” and how these may conflict with the qualities that define a “good leader”. ADWD seems to pose (but not necessarily answer) a related question “how are good leaders made?”

    The epilogue indicates that Aegon has been trained to be a good leader, but has no practical experience with leadership. Dany and Jon have had less training to be a leader, but have been forced by necessity to take on leadership roles. Both Dany and Jon have made mistakes and will hopefully learn from them. Aegon appears to be about to learn some sharp lessons. I am interested to see how GRRM answers this question in the next book(s).

    On the qualities that define good leaders, GRRM’s meditations in ADWD appear to be threefold. First, leaders do not attempt to do “too much too fast”. Dany drastically reshapes the economy and society of slavers bay which predictably results in social meltdown. Jon drastically overhauls the organization of the NW resulting in the predictable backlash from the brothers.

    Second, GRRM seems to argue that “there is no substitute for experience/maturity”. On many levels, Jon seems to be doing a very good job of leadership. And Dany at least has the sense to know that there is no point in winning the iron throne is she is unable to rule the Seven Kingdom’s well. Thus she uses her time in slavers bay as an opportunity to learn about the process of ruling.

    Having said that, it is Dany’s youthful passion that leads her to Daario, to spurn Quentyn and Dorne, and to misjudge the effects of her actions on slavers bay. It is Aegon’s youthful bravado that leads him to want to lead the attack on Storms End. Youth/inexperience leads Quentyn to think that a marriage with Dany is a fait accompli. Likewise, I believe it is Jon’s youth/immaturity that leads him to rush to conclusions about how best to respond to Ramsey’s letter (whether rushing south to fight Ramsey is the “right” decision for the NW is immaterial; he probably should have revealed the information in the letter to the Queen before acting, and generally moved more deliberately).

    Third (and this is not new to ADWD), “good leaders know when it is necessary to sacrifice some of their people”. Dany is too slow to understand the threat the Astapor refugees and the bloody flux pose, brings the rider inside the city and initially offers help to the refugees in the process probably speeding its spread. Jon decides to rescue the wildlings even though (I admit that this is arguable) it risks severely depleting the NW of ships and men in the face of a substantial threat from The Others.

    I’d be interested in reading other peoples thoughts on these matters.

    Some other topics that I would like to pose for discussion:

    1. What is the relationship between Varys and Dorne? Varys brokered the marriage pact between Viserys and Arianne. Given Aegon’s claim to the throne, does this mean that he did not reveal Aegon’s existence to Dorne? Else why would the Prince agree to marry Arianne off to Viserys? Or send Quentyn to Dany? Or does Dorne know about the existence of someone known as Aegon, and that he is not the true heir? For that matter, what role does Varys have in mind for Dany? Is this why he was apparently prepared to poison her in GOT?

    2. One of my pet peeves about the fantasy genre is the ubiquitous prophecy. One thing I liked about ADWD is that GRRM went out of his way to emphasize that prophecies can be unreliable either because the person making the prophecy may misinterpret the signs, or because the visions can be of things that *may* come true, and not things that *will* come true. I would be personally delighted if the AA prophecy turns out to be misleading and/or just plain wrong. It seems possible (maybe this is wishful thinking on my part) that the emphasis on the lack of reliability of prophecy in ADWD is GRRM’s way of preparing us for the possibility that the AA prophecy will turn out to be false later on down the road.

    3. I agree with the conjecture that Jon will be reborn as a way of getting him out of his oath. He still seems like an “unkillable” character to me. After ADWD, Dany no longer seems to me to be “unkillable” (although I still think she probably lives to see the final act).

    4. GRRM appears to have fallen in love with the words “neep” and “niello”, and the phrase “words are wind”. There were also, in the first half of the book, numerous depictions of Tyrion’s process for urination. What’s up with that?

    5. I am very pleased that GRRM has abandoned another old fantasy cliche: dragons are (at least after an initial introduction) biddable.

    6. It appears that the morality of warging is that it is OK to do it with an animal, but not with a human. If the rationale for this lack of “animal rights” is the limited capacity of animals for rational though, then doing it with Hodor may well satisfy the morality of this world. So maybe Bran not acting as immorally as we fear.

  446. fuelpagan
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Tully to a T: Like many, I hated listening to Dany mooning over that arrogant blue-bearded captain,

    I think there is a good reason Dany was mooning over her arrogant blue-bearded captain.

  447. fuelpagan
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Maxwell James: Aegon is a fake, and is actually going to turn out to be a Dayne. Though with Varys behind him, he may still end up as king.

    Aegon may be fake, but not a Dayne. He’s a Blackfyre.

  448. Knihti
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Theres some similarity on Danys ruling Meereen in aDwD and Tyrions ruling Kings Landing in aCoK, food shortages, near coming war and bands of hidden rebels. Only that in aCoK tyrion chapters ruling city is more interistig because Tyrion knows that behind ruling there is cruel game of thrones about power beetwen people, who also must work together save that throne. In aDwD, Dany don’t look understand that, and so make poor choises. He thing always that is his birthright sit in Iron Throne, but it is not. He must be harder, clever and even more cruel than other players, otherwise he can never sit throne long.

    And there’s one big reason why Dany’s solve Meerenes knot so long. Otherwise than Tyrion, he got not good spymaster and must compromise with Sons of Harpy rather than do Tyrion ways on Antler Mens, what are quiq and best soliotion.

  449. dudemanbrohella
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    If jon snow is dead i shit u not i will make it my personal mission to spoil the next two books! Words cannot explain how pissed off i am. Who gives a shit about dany! she made more mistakes in this book then eddard, robb, and jon snow combined! and yet she lives while starks die? Jon snow was the only compelling charactor left in this series and you kill him off? Grrm…your a sick son of a bitch.

  450. Dreamlife
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Having finished the book literally moments ago…

    To be honest, I’m really pissed off about Jon Snow. Ever since that prophecy/dream Bran had of the life draining out of Jon, I had a feeling he was going to get killed. I’m pissed that he kept ignoring Melisandre’s warnings. I’m pissed that he ignored everyone’s advice. I feel like this was completely inconsistent with the character. But more than anything, what bothers me most is now I’m reading interviews where GRRM is saying, “oh, is he really dead?” So now I’m supposed to hope that maybe Jon survived all those stabs? It’s not at all amusing to make readers think a main character is dead, have them mourn, and then bring him back in the next book (whenever that book comes out), if that’s what he’s planning. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jon Snow and am clinging to hope he’s still alive, but the impression I got from that chapter is he was murdered and the only possible save is he reached out for Ghost. And I feel like that’s just a really cruel thing to do to readers. It’s one thing to kill a favorite character (Ned, Robb) but to not give a definitive answer is worse.

    Also, for all the talk about wanting to be different from other genres, how come the bad guy keeps living to terrorize another day? That seems pretty generic to me. I’m so sick of Cersei it is unbelievable. And apparently she’s in the next book. Great…. And I’m guessing Robert Strong is The Mountain.

    If Jon Snow is confirmed dead I’m done with the series. No characters left that I’m interested in.

    (Or maybe the bitterness will go away when the next book comes out?)

  451. Knurk
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    dudemanbrohella: If jon snow is dead i shit u not i will make it my personal mission to spoil the next two books!

    you are pathetic, so this is how a troll’s mind works: I’m not happy, so I’m going to ruin it for everyone else as much as I can!

    Besides, almost everyone seems to agree Jon’s not dead. It just proves the point how bad trolls read these books, because all the trolls posting spoilers over the internet (as soon as the book was shipped early in Germany) were screaming: JON DIES!!! Sucks to be you.

  452. Alexander Dubrovsky
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I finished the book yesterday. I would put it above AFFC but below the first three.
    So, there’s no way Jon is dead. No way Stannis’ army is destroyed the way it’s described in Ramsay’s letter. Probably the opposite is true – there was a battle, Bolton’s forces were destroyed, he’s holed up in Winterfell and writing insane rambling letters to vent his frustration. This letter didn’t sound like something Roose Bolton would allow to send.

    I didn’t understand the point of having 4 or 5 chapters about Quentyn Martell. His chapters are even more useless than Brienne’s from AFFC. Instead of reading about him, I would prefer more Victarion’s chapters or more Jaime or Cercei.
    Speaking of Jaime – IMO Martin should’ve done one of the two things: either leave Jaime out of this book entirelyor add another one or two chapters to resolve his cliffhanger. The way it happened in the book, Brienne’s cliffhanger from AFFC was just exchanged for a similar one for Jaime, while learning nothing about how Brienne survived her cliffhanger.

    I think that it really doesn’t matter if Aegon is the real deal or not. Looks like Jon Connighton believes that he’s real, there are not many people left who can prove it one way or another. If Dany ever gets to Westeros, and I’m starting to think that she might remain in Essos and build her slave-free empire there, it’ll be interesting to see the interaction between the two.

    The epilogue will throw King’s Landing into further chaos, Cercei’s paranoia plus her humiliation with addition of Gregorstein will probably result in Mad King’s Best Moments, part 2.

    And last, but not the least – Victarion Greyjoy is awesome. I wish he had more chapters and I think he will play a big part in what happens in Salver’s Bay. No one expects him, so his attack will be a surprise. The addition of the red priest who actually told him how to use the horn properly will probably result in Victarion having 2 dragons to himself.

    Some fun small things I’ve liked:
    - One of the Ironborn from Moat Cailin was described as having a very similar look to Innsmouth people from Lovecraft’s Shadow Over Innsmouth.
    - At one point someone used a phrase “fart in your general direction”.
    - Manderly’s ancient recipe for Frey pie.

  453. Eleanor
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    cat,

    Penny’s much too old to be Tyrion’s daughter by Tysha, surely.

  454. Master Varys
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Dreamlife,

    If you actually paid attention to the books, you know characters can live an die, I donot see what your complaining. Characters do die, and I donot see why you classify the bad guys. Sure I donot like Cersei, but I can see she is not black and white….Thats the point of this series, there are no good guys or bad guys. Its gray…as life is. Simple as that.

  455. Kroket
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Finally finished the book! Definitely a great read even though it does not quite match up to ASOS its still good. Didnt go over all comments yet but here are my thoughts to the characters:”

    Arya – Probably my favorite chapters of the book, too bad it was just two chapters, both Arya and Bran seem to have storylines that will take some time before they rejoin with the other characters. My guess for Arya: she learns everyone there is and then flees to westeros to proceed with killing of her list.

    Bran- Love these chapters too! I am very interested to see what will happen to Bran next, will he leave the ‘rabbithole’ again?? My guess for Bran: He won’t instead he turns out to be so powerful a greenseer (remember how the original greenseer couldnt talk to people, Theon heard his name that was Bran i think) that he communicates with some characters through ravens and trees. To what end i am not sure though. Maybe he will tell people at the Wall and KL (after the Wall has fallen which will probably happen some secrets about the others?!

    Danny: Her storyline was a bit tedious at times. I was like ‘leave Mereen already’ maybe now she will, interesting to see if she managers to convince the Khal to work for her or if Drogon just kills the lot. I HOPE she will leave Mereen next book i mean she has to right there are only 7 books and she still has to go to Asshai (where she will probalby learn about the true enemy the Others). My Guess: Danny will be more busy the next books. As for the other 2 heads of the Dragon: Aegon and Jon (R+L) it has to be… Tyrion might be another since he is fascinated with Dragons but that would be odd. Tyrion WILL join Danny his only choice now i think

    Jon: Is most certainly not dead dead. He might be either : dead and return like Beric through R’hllor, 2 wounded and he somehow escapes though in that case clearly no future for Jon at the Wall, again he will join up with Mellisandre. Scenario 3 is the warg scenario in which case his storyline will probably become connected to Brans.

    Theon: I have never seen Theon as a bad guy really i mean he did kill people at Winterfell but that was only to earn the respect of ironborn and his father. He wanted the ironborn to join Robb after all. Kind of gruesome what happened to him but good Jeanne and he escaped somehow.

    in the north:
    Stannis might actually be dead how else would ‘the creature’ know about lightbringer?! Makes me wonder how Theon escaped. Mance is probably dead. Still awaiting the big betrayel by Manderling. I think it would be weird for him not to betray the Boltons when Stannis attacked but we know just about nothing what really happened there.

    Kingslanding:
    Robert Strong = reanimated zombie Clegane without a head!? Looks like Qyborn knows some tricks too! I think the zombie will be ‘beheaded’ in the trial only to kill the champion of the faith afterwards which would be bad for Cersei because she seems to be in leauge with demons or something (my weird guess)
    Margaery will probably be found guilty somehow (she doesnt have a maidenhead might be enough to convinct her) which will end the alliance between lion and flower. Tyrell/Tarly will free Margaery and ignite a new war in the south. Tyrell might just end up joining Aegon (which could be Margaery’s 4th marriage?!)

    Dorne: More than ready to join Aegon. Wonder what that means for Danny. Doran will need to know he can succeed though so i reckon the flowers will leave the lions soon, combined he wouldnt risk it.

    Aegon: will probably smash the lannisters sooner or later. Suprised to hear he was alive but then again the hints were there…

    all in all an enjoyable read and well worth the wait. Lets hope GRRM gets the next one within a year or 3…

  456. Eric, of the North
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Can someone give me the rundown of how ADWD incorporated some of the Dunk and Egg stories.

  457. Knurk
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Ok, I want to start a new discussion here: who thinks HBO-executives who are reading the book now are thinking that they should end with book 3 or take the story in a very different direction?

    Because let’s face it: book 4 and 5 are too spread out, all major characters are on their own and need a supporting cast around them which will result a cast twice as big as season 1. It’s simply unfilmable to have all the big characters in different cities (several Free Cities, Dorne, Iron Islands, a few Slaver’s Bay cities…), look how much trouble they had with only The Wall, King’s Landing, Pentos, Winterfell and the Eyrie (do the Twins count?) in season 1.

    And then we have the story itself: the pace is much slower than the previous 3 books. It’s looking like book 4 and 5 were about getting people together and traveling, GRRM is setting all his pieces on the chessboard.

    A drastic conclusion could be: use the 5 year gap George wanted to use in the first place.

  458. Knihti
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Eric, of the North,

    -Brynden River (Greenseer in Bran chapters) are mentioned in Sworn Sword and seeing in Mystery Knight.
    -Dagon Grayjoy (another rebel king mentioned in Reek chapter) are mentioned in Sworn Sword.
    -Pennytree (village in Jaime chapter) is Ser Arlan of Pennytree’s home, who was Dunk’s master. No we finale knows where he are from.
    -Webber (sellsword in Quantyn chapter) have propably some distant releationship with house Webber of Coldmoat from Sworn Sword.
    -Many exiled nobles in Golden Company (in Jon Connigton chapter) are mentioned in Sworn Sword and seeing in Mystery Knight.

    Theres are some.

  459. Jim Cross
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t notice shit as much as I noticed best milk I’m feast….
    Kelly Bray,
    Jon is far from dead…
    Theon hasn’t been gelded ….. Yet, I think this is GRRM’s famous skills at foreshadowing that has us all wondering

  460. Onos Toolan
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Just typed a ridiculously long list of gripes with the book but decided to delete it all and just leave it at this. Pretty damn dissapointed with a lot of things in this book. Hopefully GRRM will just get things moving already and get everyone back on Westeros soon…..because the majority of the plots across the narrow sea have been pretty damned lame.

  461. Mirax
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    I remember a mention of a scarf, but I thought he unwound it when they were in the abandoned village…? I’ll have to reread. As I said, I could be wrong, and as I generally inhale books on the first read, I don’t always catch all of the details, though I have been attempting to think more critically on my first read.

    ::EDIT:: I was wrong. : ( I remembered when they decided Coldhands was dead and asked him to show his face, I didn’t remember that he refused to do it and just admitted he was dead. So Benjen is definitely still on the table as far as that goes. My apologies!

    Kroket,

    You actually answered your own question in regards to Stannis and Lightbringer. : ) I think that Ramsay caught either Mance and/or all of his spearwives. Any of them could have mentioned Lightbringer once caught.

    I noticed a lot of people mentioning they didn’t catch on about Mance being the bard. I didn’t notice at first, but I remember being so proud when I did figure it out after a couple of hints because I almost NEVER catch those things. :D I figured that Manderly had the Freys traveling with him murdered, but I only caught on to the pies when he requested a song about the Rat Cook.

  462. Adam Wing
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Johnny Bryant: You’re probably right about the steal. The books have a few lines which are pinched from other places, in that same chapter he is describing the river in the cave as “flowing down to a sunless sea” (a lift from Coleridge’s “In Xanadu”). A lot of people will have noticed the slightly clumsy monty python steal about “farting in [someone's] general direction”. In fact he’s done it right from the beginning. Chapter one, page 3 of Game of Thrones has the description “black and soft as sin” (Chesterton’s “Lepanto”) Hard to know if it’s deliberate or not… I suspect there are a whole lot more, I’d be interested to know if anyone else had noticed others… I won’t judge because I guess that in doing that much writing it’s easy to use these little phrases that pop into one’s head.

    Good writers borrow. Great writers steal. (Came up with that myself.)

    But seriously. I loved this book. It may actually be my favorite.

    See below:

  463. Adam Wing
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    To everyone up in arms about Dany’s time in Meereen, the final Dany chapter in STORM finishes like this:

    “What will you do then, Khaleesi?” asked Rakharo.
    “Stay,” she said. “Rule. And be queen.”

    I don’t know what else we could have possibly expected. What we got though, was rebellion, war, sexual intrigue, betrayal, famine, plague and court maneuvering. As far as stories about governance go, I don’t think we could have hoped for much more than that. Personally I thought Dany’s was quite a well told story. Any scenario in which she ruled Meereen and DIDN’T find herself quagmired in such an unwinnable mess, but simply setting things to rights to move off, confident in the peace she left behind her, would have betrayed the tone of the series. Even the Mother of Dragons has to live in a complex and morally grey world.

    I liked seeing her brought down to earth from the invincible Dragon Princess we’ve known so far (though that was good too). She does her best to make peace with those whose only goals are to see her dead and her people enslaved. She shows some of the naivety one should expect from a girl her age, and more often than not, she fails to achieve her desired goals. These are not the actions of a ‘high fantasy – Princess of Destiny’, but a flawed and vulnerable human being.

    And this makes the spectacular blaze of epicness, seen in her last two chapters, all the sweeter.

  464. Adam Wing
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Jon:
    First, he’s not dead. F@%k that. Not because I love him (and I do) and not because he’s too important to future events (though I think he is). By themselves these reasons would make me confident enough to say, he very well MIGHT come back. But I have too much confidence in Martin’s storytelling to believe he would lead us four books down this road just to serve us a dead end. He killed Ned to shatter the Realm. He killed Rob to weld it back together. Jon’s death would bring war to the wall but that is just one story arc separate from almost every other POV. Nope. Not going to happen. But he’s NOT going to warg into a dragon. That’s just silly.

    As to his actual part in the book, I thought Jon’s story was much the same as Dany’s. A young, untested commander (ruler) trying to broker an unlikely peace between two peoples who would both rather see the other dead. I get the impression that fewer people disliked these chapters than the Dany chapters but some still seemed impatient. I think it’s unreasonable to say nothing happened though. It was all maneuvering and machinations, yes. But if you care for such things it was totally engrossing. (And if you don’t how did you ever get through Clash?)

    And come on guys, the letter was a threat to the Wall guys. He couldn’t ignore it.

  465. Adam Wing
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    As for other characters:

    Tyrion:
    I sympathize with those upset about his (literally) windswept wanderings. But I think it’s a nice change of pace for him. We’ve already had three books of him scheming, talking and maneuvering with the best of them. I love that he was given an adventure of his own, free of his father’s judgment, dispossessed of the safety net that comes with the name Lannister. Did it amount to much? A little, but not much, no. Was it treading water? Sure. Was some of it a bit unbelievable? Absotively. But it was fun to read.

    Penny:
    Jaime got Brienne. Tyrion gets Penny. ‘Nuf said.

    Bran:
    Yes, his magic plants him in the ground, to live a life through others’ eyes. Life’s unfair though. He learned that in GAME, remember? In the mean time he gets to discover a different kind of awesomeness. (We’ll see about the Hodor thing.) And it was Bloodraven. Here’s some real fantasy fantasy.

    Davos:
    Some real cools stuff for a character who I’ve always liked but found in situations I didn’t really care about.

    Ser Berristan the Bold:
    Loved it. He was doing so well in his fight with Khrazz I was certain he would die. (Remember the Red Viper). His secret war was great and now somehow the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard ended up ruling a city in Slavers’ Bay. WHAT?!

    Quentyn:
    What can I say, maybe his story was superfluous, but he was young and sweet and he let the dragons out. That scene in the new dragon pit was thrilling and terrifying.

    Cercei:
    That was some of the most beautiful writing I have ever experienced.

    Jaime:
    Ye-e-e-a-ah… I’m with you guys. I think GRRM felt pressure to include (at least) an (implied) answer to ‘Sword of Noose’ and so we got a one-hit pseudo-cliffhanger when it should have been pushed back to the next book.

    The other Greyjoys:
    As I said, I don’t like Greyjoys. Asha’s kind of cool I guess and I’m curious and nervous about how that horn is going to factor in, but overall, meh.

    Arya: I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

  466. MyKingdomForAHorse
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Yellow Dog,

    Yellow Dog: I can actually see Cersei killing Mercella just because the girl is now missing an ear.

    Oh sure, and then, it wouldn’t surprise me if Jon Snow kills Ghost, because he doesn’t really like white wolves, and Bran kills Meera because he realizes that she’s an inch taller than he is…

    Sorry to ridicule, but, really? Your hatred of Cersei is lodged uncomfortably somewhere between scary and hilarious!

  467. Mirax
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Adam Wing,

    The reason why I enjoyed Jon’s chapters more than I enjoyed Dany’s was twofold.

    1. People We Know and Care About: Jon interacted with people we already know and care about (at least to a certain degree.) Dany has her loyal crew around her, but she doesn’t really do anything with them so much as talk at them. We don’t know any of the people she is up against or attempting to make alliances with. You could argue that this was also the case in AGoT, but it’s different. At least in AGoT the PoV characters would remember things about the non-PoVs. This doesn’t happen with Dany, and to me, that lack of knowledge led to lack of interest.

    2. Achieving Goals: Dany had so many people on their way to her, and only ONE of them made it. It felt like there was so much build up waiting for Tyrion, Victarion, Quentyn, and Aegon (up to a point) to reach her, and then to have the only one that does, die, just sucked. Jon, on the other hand, seemed to actually achieve some of his goals. The wildlings made it past the Wall. He managed to get Tormund on his side, and his warging abilities are getting stronger.

    Those two points really made all the difference for me.

  468. durandal
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I always thought Brienne’s last word in AFFC was ‘Arya’, since she learned from the priest on that island that Arya was still alive. It would have aroused Cat’s curiosity enough for her to stop the hanging and send Brienne on a quest to fulfill part of her promise and find Arya.

  469. Maxwell James
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    I’d be a little surprised if anyone thinks they should end with book 3 – because for all the complaints about cliffhangers at the end of Dance, Storm ends almost as precipitously. I think fans of the show would take it almost as badly as fans of Deadwood took that series’ ending.

    But yeah, I’m sure that if we get to a season 4-5 that there will be some major deviations from the text at that point. Not due to the plot so much as the sprawl. Even if the show is successful beyond anyone’s dreams, there are just way too many locations and characters by that point – a logistical nightmare. It will need to be seriously condensed.

    That said, there are plenty of threads that I think could work well on a show, including:

    Brienne’s search for Sansa (possibly modified in certain ways)
    Littlefinger’s mentoring of Sansa
    Bran’s quest for the 3-eyed crow
    Arya’s training as an assassin
    Tyrion’s quest to meet up with Dany (possibly removing Aegon, though, unless he turns out to be absolutely crucial)
    Jon’s command of the Wall and issues with Stannis
    Cersei’s implosion at King’s Landing
    Jaime’s “winding down” of the war
    Osha’s hiding of Rickon, and Davos’ subsequent quest to find them

    I have no idea what they should do about the Dany/Dorne/Ironborn plotlines, which are all important or very important, but in combination could make the story unmanageable. A creative solution would be needed here. I suspect having Victarion capture Dany much earlier might be part of it.

    UPDATE: Oh, and the Theon storyline from Dance should definitely be kept, but I could see it getting moved into the second half of Storm/season 3.

  470. Maxwell James
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Adam Wing,

    Completely agree about the Tyrion chapters, which IMO were actually the best part of the book. Yeah, he did a lot of travelling. So did Huck Finn and Odysseus. I’m not sure how that’s supposed to be a critique.

  471. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    So, is it Gregorstein or Frankengregor.

    we need to all get on the same page here. :)

  472. Dreamlife
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Master Varys,
    Cersei:
    I do not see any “white” or “gray” in Cersei only black. I know GRRM tried to make her sympathetic by describing her crappy marriage with Robert (it couldn’t have been worse than Sansa’s betrothal to Joffrey or Fake Arya’s marriage to Ramsay, both of which she had a hand in), her dreams to marry Rhaegar being spoiled, etc., being born a woman instead of a man, blah blah blah, but I can’t get over all the terrible things she’s done or allowed in her quest for power including her sheer blindness to her monster of a son. I really feel like the only possible good that can come from keeping in the story is to see her prophecy unfold. I’m not looking forward to seeing Tommen and Myrcella murdered, because they seem sweet kids, but I am very much hoping she gets strangled to death by Tyrion or Jaime (if he isn’t murdered by Lady Stoneheart first).

    Having taken some time to think about the book overall and browse the forum at Westeros here are my thoughts.

    The good:

    Bran: Loved his chapters, especially meeting Brynden Rivers. I got teary-eyed when Bran wanted to comfort Meera but physically couldn’t. Also when Bran realized he’d never actually walk again but live out his life as a tree. However, his vision in the Winterfell godswood was the most fascinating. I didn’t catch who most of the people were until visiting the forums. I got Ned and Lyanna, but not Benjen, their mother or grandmother being the pregnant woman, Nan and Dunk, Brynden, or Bran the Builder. I have no clue who the captive or white haired woman were, but think the white haired woman is a Targaryen and the captive is important.

    Arya: Loved her chapters, but wish there were more. Glad she’s not permanently blind and we didn’t have to spend any chapters with her crying over her blindness but instead seeing her embrace it and learn from it. Very cool how she literally wore a new face rather than magically changing her face as Jaqen had done. Her first kill was clever. Had me wondering how she actually killed him, but I figured it out after rereading those lines. I didn’t catch that she warged into the cat and that’s what she meant when she told the Kindly Man she could see him.

    Jaime: Some complain that it was basically as bad as Brienne’s last chapter in AFFC, but I liked it because we got a semi-answer to the question of her fate and that’s all I wanted. Whether she’s truly alive or undead is up in the air, but that’s better than not knowing anything, IMO.

    Jon:
    I am feeling a little better about Jon’s final chapter. I didn’t catch any of the references to the Azor Ahai prophecy, though I did find it weird that his wound was smoking and Bowen Marsh was crying. I knew those were important, but I didn’t figure it out since I was so upset. I love every bit of his story in this book and really look forward to seeing Kit Harrington play Jon during this arc. Of course if Jon truly died…that would suck.

    Asha: I enjoyed her chapters because I like her as a character. Especially liked her interaction with the Mormont girl and her explanation of the fall out in the Iron Islands.

    Reek/Theon: his chapters were very difficult to read. While he deserved punishment, maybe even a painful death, he did not deserve the flaying, maiming, and psychological torture he endured while in Ramsay’s “care”. I was rooting for him to escape and for half a heartbeat thought he and Jeyne would be recaptured. I hope he never falls into Ramsay’s hands. I’d prefer her to live, but death would be better than going through that hell again.

    Areo Hotah and the mission of the Sandsnakes. Should be interesting.

    Victarion: the man is frightening, but quite fascinating at the same time. Really liked his gaining his own red priest, who I want to learn more about. Moqorro/Moroqo? I’m already having images of who could play him—Mr. Eko/Adebisi from Lost/Oz fame??

    Davos: I’ve always liked his chapters and especially love that his new mission is to find Rickon. I’m worried but looking forward to his journey on Skagos *shivers*

    Barriston Selmy: while I didn’t like Dany’s chapters so much, I thought Selmy’s were actually quite entertaining. I thought for sure he’d die after donning his fancy armor and reminiscing about his life.

    The disappointments:
    Dany:
    Besides her first couple chapters and final chapter, I found just about everything in between to be a complete bore. I enjoyed Quaithe giving her and us a new prophecy to ponder while reading the book, though. I also liked her final chapter fulfilling Mirri Maz Dur’s “prophecy”/answer to Dany’s question and I like the idea that instead of Khal Drogo being the result, her becoming able to have babies again be the true result.

    Tyrion:
    Wow. I thought it was pretty silly of him to escape from imprisonment, but at least held onto the hope that there were big things in store for him in Essos. I thought maybe he’d actually meet up with Dany. Didn’t happen. I was really disappointed with his chapters after his journey with Griff. I was kind of hoping he’d get gray scale, not because I dislike him but at least there would be something to worry over. I really felt his purpose was to introduce us to a lot of new characters/players (Jon Connington, Aegon, Lemore, Moroqqo) and get their stories moving along rather than any actual character arc for himself. (PS I am fairly certain we won’t see Peter Dinklage doing cartwheels and joisting on a pig any time soon).

    Quentyn: The kid was nothing like I expected and since we didn’t really know him that well his death didn’t have much impact on me.

    Griff/Young Griff. Too many questions, not enough definitive answers.

    Cersei: her Walk of Shame was waste of time and I don’t believe for a second that it’s humbled her. If anything it’s made her even more angry and crazy. Looking forward to her getting a good, painful death in future books.

    To answer a question about how this book should be incorporated into the series, a couple things I really hope they do:
    Shorten Dany’s arc in Mereen or even move it up to an earlier season (season 2: House of the Undying, quest to gather her armies; season 3: a little bit of ASOS and ADWD but hopefully more of Dany with her dragon/s and whatever GRRM has in store for TWOW).

    Same with Tyrion’s arc. In fact I would cut out the whole part where he, Jorah, and Penny are enslaved because that was just stupid.

    More of Victarion/Euron as they seem a very formidable threat to Dany.

    If there’s actually something to Jon Connington/Aegon, then by all means focus more on their backstory before running into Tyrion and more on their landing in Westeros. Otherwise save it for later?

    Either cut Quentyn’s story, improve upon it by either saving it for later when the Sandsnake story goes into full swing or at least show more of his life before being turned down by Dany and foolishly causing his own demise.

    Do not split characters up as was done in AFFC/ADWD. I can’t possibly see fans tuning in for a season without Jon, Dany, and Tyrion and then a season without a focus on Sansa, Brienne, Jaime, and Sam. It’ll be tough, but I really think all the main POVs need to be in every season.

  473. Knihti
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    When I’m thinking wargs and Brans all dreams about three eyed crow, I remember very similiar case in AFFC. End of The Reaver (Victarion) chapter, Euron Crowseye tell his brother:
    “When I was a boy, I dreamt that I could fly,” he announced. “When I woke, I couldn’t… or so the maester said. But what if he lied?”

    Too similiar with Bran, are Bloodraven take a contack Euron? Are Euron warg too? Are his part in story more bigger?
    Or it can be only phare before;
    “Perhaps we can fly. All of us. How will we ever know unless we leap from some tall tower? No man ever truly knows what he can do unless he dares to leap.” what only tell that Euron tells Victarion that winning you must risk yourself.

  474. Who Is Jacopo Belbo?
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    in order to make this work as a show you’d have to cut out the entire Dorne storyline since it ends in Qyenten’s death anyway and i’d also probably leave out the Young Griff/Aegon storyline since we already have an established Targ we care about in Dany.

    you’d probably have to leave in the Ironborn since we’ve already introduced them thru Theon and there is plenty of stuff going on with them in realation to the North which is an area we are already connected with.

    i am really disappointed that Martin has pulled a Jordan and just gone completely off the rails and expanded the story so far that there is too much going on to really care about any of it or to really give enough time to the stuff we used to care about. honestly dude you have about 3-5 storylines to many. it doesn’t make you a great writer to unsuccessfully juggle so many balls at one time it just makes you a lazy writer with no ability to be concise and tell a few stories really well. as the series has gone on and the storylines have mushroomed the overall series has gotten worse. kind of sad that he doesn’t have a better editor to tell him to cut it the f**k out and drop about 1/4 of the current stories and focus on the characters people have cared about from the beginning.

    and i fear that HBO will see this ever growing monstrosity of a book series and just say “there is no way to make these books into quality television after book 3, not without decimating the story which would anger the “fanboi” crowd that thinks Martin can do no wrong so we aren’t even going to bother”

    sad but that is the likely scenario … thanks Martin … hope your wildly self indulgent writing style keeps you warm at night because your series has gone of the rails into a ditch and is currently blazing away in a heaping pile of disaster.

  475. Alexander Dubrovsky
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    and i fear that HBO will see this ever growing monstrosity of a book series and just say “there is no way to make these books into quality television after book 3, not without decimating the story which would anger the “fanboi” crowd that thinks Martin can do no wrong so we aren’t even going to bother”

    You can’t anything about the quality of those books until we’ve seen how the story ends. Those two books, despite being cut and released separately, are still incomplete, both books ended with cliffhangers for the most characters. Maybe all of this is a brilliant setup for some crazy plot development, or maybe TWOW will be just another 1000 pages of descriptions of the food and of how strong is Dany’s desire for another Daario, ending with another 17 million cliffhangers.

  476. Mirax
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    We already know that they shorten journeys. There is no reason to think that HBO and D&D wouldn’t take that liberty when it comes to AFFC and ADWD. Show 5 to 10 secs of Brienne arriving at a new town and asking after Sansa and leaving a different area at the end of the show. Cut how she meets Nimble Dick, but in one episode show him pointing out where he sent the fool, and then have her fight with the Bloody Mummers. Cut a couple of the castles that Jaime goes to, just have him go to Riverrun and treat with Edmure. Have Tyrion do one scene at Illyrio’s manse, one scene traveling with the Griffs, greyscale and capture. Have Jorah rescue him from the river and Penny just be a slave they meet when they get sold and bought. It will still take time, and the hardest will be deciding where to put the break in between 2 seasons, but I don’t think it will be as difficult as everyone is imagining.

  477. Brian Aufderheide
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I think it is clear as mentioned by others that HBO will have serious problems using books 4 and 5. Not are they only very sprawling and at times main characters from first three books are absent for huge chunks of time, but quite frankly they have not been well received. While there is universal love for the first three books, the number of people who truly love books four and five are equalled by the number who hated them. And the vast majority lie in the middle wishing somehow an editor had the courage to reign George in and write something more concise and quite frankly at times more interesting. Also it is very disappointing to see almost all the dead guys coming back again. It has become trite.

    Personally I will see the series through to its entirety but hope that HBO completely redoes much of books 4 and 5 (if it gets there).

    As for many of you who are diehard fans and can see no wrong in what George does, can we stop with this being one of the all time epic fantasy series? “American Tolkien”? Ummm… no George is not. Could have been but these last two books struggle to be good at best.

  478. OldGran
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    What do any of you make of the Tyrion chapter where they encounter The Bridge of Dream twice. That whole chapter is weird, Ysilla said that the fog was no ordinary fog but stinks of sorcery. Are we in another reality now?

  479. Ed
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Taryn:
    Chris,

    He also has developed a fetish for the phrase “much and more.”

    and “_______ was not wrong.”

  480. Mike Chair
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    metalgoddessamb: So, is it Gregorstein or Frankengregor.

    How about Deus Ex Gregor?

    Alexander Dubrovsky: You can’t anything about the quality of those books until we’ve seen how the story ends. Those two books, despite being cut and released separately, are still incomplete, both books ended with cliffhangers for the most characters. Maybe all of this is a brilliant setup for some crazy plot development, or maybe TWOW will be just another 1000 pages of descriptions of the food and of how strong is Dany’s desire for another Daario, ending with another 17 million cliffhangers.

    Forgive me, Alexander, I must respectfully disagree with your first point. A novel should stand on its own to some extent. It should give readers who waited for years for its release and read its 1000 pages, some closure. ASOS had some closure and some cliffhangers. Here, I did’t cheer or gasp the way I did in the prior books (maybe a little when Drogon finally showed up). There was a lot I liked, but I feel there was too much I didn’t like. It was more like your second point: yeah, yeah, she loves Daario, or yeah, yeah Theon thinks his name is Reek and is afraid of Ramsay, I get it. Reek, it rhymes with critique. //ADWD bashing rant warning// I felt like too many tricks strained plausibility: Baby Aegon, Ser Robert Strong (oh, please), Davos is alive, Mance is alive, Brienne is alive — and we’re supposed to think Jon, Stannis, etc. are dead, and Varys — he’s baaack! What about Mel? That’s the worst Red Priestess I ever saw. She can shit out a shadow baby but can’t tell Arya from Jeyne. Hey, Mel, she’s the one who looks like Jon. The Others didn’t show up because they can’t stop laughing. Can Dany ride a dragon or not? What about these “scale of the dragon that burned you” lines? Lame. //End ADWD bashing rant//

    Yeah, I’m glad Arya isn’t blind and will make a great assassin (really, I am). I’m glad Littlefinger and Sansa avoided this whole mess. I’m glad everyone saw Cersei’s stretch marks. If this was a 500 page novel with the next one coming out in a year, I’d say okay. But, after 1K pages with the next one coming out whenever GRRM feels like it — Seven save us.

  481. Dreamlife
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Mirax,

    Mirax, the difficulty comes when you look at how many characters there are between books 4 and 5: Jon, Stannis, Melisandre, Davos, Bran, Sansa, Littlefinger, Reek and Ramsay, Cersei, Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, Victarion, Asha, Euron, Damphair, Arianne, Areo, Dany, Arya, Griff, Tyrion. These are all main characters so this list doesn’t even include the supporting characters. That’s a lot of arcs that need to somehow be worked into a cohesive season. They’ve got to cover both books for sure, but probably need to cover events of Westeros separate from events in Essos (i.e., alternate episodes).

  482. Mirax
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Dreamlife: somehow be worked into a cohesive season.

    I am assuming they would merge the books and do two seasons, not one. If you don’t think it can be done, fine, but I do. As much as the characters seem to be spread apart, with only a couple exceptions, the main characters that you listed are in groups of two or three throughout the story. I see things that I believe could be shortened or cut altogether without cutting a major storyline (Dorne – I’m looking at you Jacopo) or making the story incomprehensible. If HBO wants it, they’ll do it. They may decide it’s too much work, or more likely too much money for all of the different settings, but I still think D&D could do it.

  483. Shawn Edward Cantu
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    Finally finished the book and loved it. People who crave ‘resolution’ should be reading something else entirely. Five books into a massive series is way to late to play the ‘advance the plot’ card, this series has always been about realistic characters with complex motives shaping an entire world, the fantasy element thrown in to attract readers the same way Gygax used it to attract players. Some of the best fiction I’ve ever read ostensibly goes nowhere, from Salinger to McCarthy many great works aren’t about the plot or even the characters, but about the art of interior storytelling, where the real developments occur inside people and the real conflicts often occur between personal demons and guardian angels. Martin’s world exists to simply show how these inner struggles both create and reshape the political terrain of an entire world. If there was a theme to his work it would be that the masses are subject to the excesses of character of the few. It’s great work and I appreciate the ride in all it’s wandering splendor.

    Personally I’m happy:
    to have seen Raventree Hall, something that grew on me after re-reads and being fascinated by the Blackwood and Bracken rivalry which I overlooked on my first read.
    to be thrown curve-balls and new possibilities this late in the game (Aegon, etc).
    to have been reminded of my own prejudices with the masterly surprise that is Manderly.
    to once again feel deeply about one-time despicable characters, and yet not entirely forgiven them.

    A couple of items and criticisms I’ve seen on this thread that I would comment on:
    Some people felt that the attack on Jon was un-foreshadowed. I contend that the same could be said of Salazzo’s attack on Don Corleone, but you’d be a fool to say the writing wasn’t ‘on the wall’ in hindsight. It was obvious for a long time that Bowen Marsh considered him a traitor.
    Also there are those that consider Jon’s reaction to Ramsay’s letter too unlike him. Again I would contend that it’s perfectly rational; what would you do if you thought your sister might be at the mercy of such a man? It also bears similarity with the only times Eddard broke his vows, and further for R+L subscribers beckons to the ‘wolfsblood’ he may have inherited.

    Lastly, I’m just glad I picked up on the Manderly pies and Abel’s identity before it was pedantic or I read a forum. Too many times I’ve been too dense to pick up on Martin’s ‘double entendres’.

  484. hornhillbilly
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    Agree with much of what Tedd said. Pretty disappointing. Davos pov chapters only ones where plot was advanced speedily. I almost groaned when a Dany chapter came up. Just get out of Meereen. What was the point of almost a thousand pages. Really for 26 euro, it’s just a lot of filler. Can’t help feeling hard done by and dis-satisfied. The first three books were great but sadly the story has wandered off in a meandering direction I won’t be to bothered to follow next time out. Very poorly edited and I kept thinking throughout of GRRM getting paid by the word.

  485. dimensionallyt
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    I’ll read the posts and reply to comments later, but now I have just finished I wanted to say. Holy crap! That was well worth the wait! I loved it, only the first few Dany chapters were a bit dull, the rest were frakking awesome! Plus, we got some happy (if only temporarily) endings! Yey for Theon, Yey for Dany, Yey for the Dragons, Yey for Jeyne, Yey for Asha, Yey for Arya, Yey for Varys! Yey for the Wildlings! Also, I am totally loving Melissandre. Thank God for her POV! No way is Jon dead and (of course) neither is Stannis.

    Awesome book, up to par absolutely! At the very least it is a million times better than the disaster that was AFFC!

  486. Tusuri
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Oooh so much negativity. While I understand the critiques being thrown around, I’m hard pressed to say without a doubt that George has gone off the rails. I assume all this has got to do with the whole Mereneese knot or somesuch. Also, the long wait has balooned the expectations of people -mine have that’s for sure- for what amounts to AFFC part two :).

    Anyways, if the next book is more of the same, then by all means, fire away all canons, I may even join in the assault.

  487. Maxwell James
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    fuelpagan,

    Ooh, I hadn’t even considered that, but it makes perfect sense. Sold!

  488. Knurk
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    For anybody who is angry with the book, or some parts with the book. Iswintercoming? is a pretty fun forum with a lot of people who have rants about the book. Some entertaining reads over there. Though if you’re a bit sensitive I suggest you avoid the place, some people really have a go at GRRM.

  489. dimensionallyt
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    So my thoughts on various comments on here:

    - I have never thought that this was only about Westeros and I am surprised so many people want to get back to that. The scope of this series has always been about the world and I am very happy to finally get a real idea about Essos. It is nice to read about something other than lords, knights, servants, and peasants!
    - Jon was in character. Everytime he chose the NW over family it was because he had good advice from people he trusted and cared about. In ADWD he is alone. He has nobody to help him make the choices that prioritise his duty as Lord Commander.
    - The various journeys with Tyrion, Victarion etc were all critical. ASOIAF has been and always will be a character driven series. It is not about getting from one plot point to the next, it is about seeing what happens when we make certain choices in life. In the same vein…
    - While I agree some of Dany’s chapters were a bit dull, this is because of her state as a character at the moment. She is trying to balance being a teenage girl, lover, mother of dragons, mother of slaves, wife, leader and warrior. She had to realize she couldn’t do that. Sure some of her early chapters could have been shorter or edited down but her character within them, as a moaning minnie, was critical.
    - I don’t miss reading about big battles. I always hated reading them anyway and just skimmed them. Boring!
    - I can’t believe people actually think Stannis is dead and the war is over. Jeyne and Theon are missing, that is a huge flag saying *this letter is a pile of bullshit and I am playing my last hand* (and I’m not one that *gets* everything, I totally missed Frey-pie and Abel=Mance!)
    - Tyrion is first and foremost a survivor. He would sing, dance, ride a pig, and suck a giant’s cock if the only other choice was death!

    I LOVE Sygerrik of Skagos’ theory about the three PWWP (Dany, Aegon, Jon). Totally makes sense! This is my new head-theory!

    If there is one thing I would have liked, it would be for Tyrion and/or Jorah to meet Dany. Hopefully that will happen at the beginning of the next book.

    Finally, characters from the TV show who replaced my book-head versions: Theon, Jorah, Barristan, Varys. Occasionally PD’s Tyrion would pop into my head but he wasn’t dominant like the others.

  490. metalgoddessamb
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    The only show character I didn’t see in my head while reading this was Iain Glen. The other show characters have totally taken over my imagination.

    Especially that last chapter. Picturing it while reading it was so vivid-like a movie in my head-complete with the sets, props, costumes and actors, and even camera angles! weird!

  491. Knurk
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Characters in my head replaced by actors: Jorah, Theon, Bran and Tyrion. Arya will always be my avatar.

  492. purplejilly
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    metalgoddessamb: So, is it Gregorstein or Frankengregor. we need to all get on the same page here. :)

    Personally I like Frankengregor

  493. SugarVampire
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    I think D&D in Comicon already stated that GoT will diverge from ASIoF after season 2.

    I think both AFfC and ADwD will drastically condensed and changed. D&D will probably put the battle of Winterfell and the battle of Meereen in season 5 and 6 respectfully. After that, they will probably create the rest loosely based on GRRM’s outline. They could possibly skip Meereen rule altogether since most readers don’t care about it. (I don’t think TWoW will be ready before 2016 which will be season 6. D&D will have to make the decision about AFfC and ADwD by 2013. Realistically, GRRM won’t be able to finish ASoIaF before 2024 at the earliest – 3 books to finsh, 3 to 3.5 yrs per book, 0.5 yr to promote.)

    GoT could possibly wrap up in 6 to 8 seasons depends on the ratings and auxillary revenue. Don’t know whether D&D will be enthusiastically enough to go the distance.

  494. Yellow Dog
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Mike Chair,

    Love the rant!

    And this:

    How about Deus Ex Gregor?

    Is Dead. On.

  495. Avalanche3319
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Stayed up until 5 a.m. finishing the book so I have to put down just a few quick thoughts before I go to work. Overall a very good book, but a bit disappointing. Considering how long we’ve had to wait I expected a little more resolution and plot advancement. I really don’t see George being able to wrap up this story in two more books. I felt it started out really well then got bogged down about half way through.

    Danys chapters are as boring as ever, except the last couple which were better, but still not wonderful. I really could care less about Meereen and all of Slavers Bay. I enjoyed everything from the North. Bran had some of the most interesting chapters and we only got three of them? Out of almost 1,000 pages?! I loved Theons arc and development from Reek back to (sort of) Theon. I’m sure Jon isn’t dead, but just the possibility that he could be pisses me off. And the fact that we’ll be waiting another 5 years to find out pisses me off even more.

  496. Dash
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    stoastyd,

    I vote for real skull, and mountain get an new “adamantium” skeleton

  497. Knihti
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Lets hope that in way on Westeros Dany don’t meet Jalabhar Xho and go with him Summer Island. One book about that trip.

    I’m eager to wait Sansa chapters in tWoW. Marrying Harold Harrying will give her all troops in Vale, and upsets Riverlords will rally to her when Vale march down mountain roads to war. Littlefingers little plan will destroys all other characters plan in Westeros.

  498. Mars
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    My two cents and theories:

    1. Jon- I don’t wanna believe he’s dead, but the way GRRM writes, he’s gotta pay a price for bringing wildlings through the wall when the hatred runs so deep for so many of his brothers. I don’t believe the attack was faked or somehow his idea, the situation is volatile enough that he’d never pull something like that (then again why would he head South against Ramsey… it might ease tensions by getting some wildlings away from the wall, as would sending Tormund up North, but you’d think that would appease the attackers or at least give them a reason to wait instead of attempting an assassination with so many wildlings close by who are somewhat loyal to Jon… confusing).

    2. Coldhands- I’m thinking it’s Benjen, who’s got some natural skinchanger abilities and was able to take control of the weight he became when he died. Whaddya think?

    3. Anybody else think Bran’s gonna take control of a dragon at some point? That would be so badass. So far we’re lead to believe the whole “winged wolf” thing applies to his ability to control birds but come on, how awesome would Dragon Bran be? F yeah.

  499. Falcon Critical
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed the book and while I missed some of the hints that people have pointed out here, I really enjoy the political and military maneuvering and in this book much of it was around Mereen.

    First off I wouldn’t be too sure that this Khalasar will throw in with Dany. Sure it’s a fearsome sight seeing a dragon and a girl chomping on a scorched horse, but I say there’s just as much chance that they’ll attack Drogon, take casualties but drive him away and take Dany as a hostage. GRRM said in an interview that Mago turns up as a nasty bloodrider in tWoW and that could sway the Khalasar.

    I enjoyed reading about Victarion this time around, and like the idea that the Iron Fleet sits outside the blockade around Mereen and captures every ship that is released. Supply lines for Mereen’s enemies will be drying up, if there wasn’t that fleet coming from Volantis he could just sit there for months.

    As things stand at Mereen, Dany’s enemies are her husband in prison, the harpy’s assassins, and the Yunkai outside the walls. Her allies are Barristan, the Unsullied, the Brazen Beasts, with potentially the Second Sons, Khalasar and Iron Fleet that at this point could go either way. Her husband is no threat, the Harpy’s sons are unlikely to appear in open war and the Yunkai are plagued by the “pale mare”. Her enemies have never been weaker, it all comes down to how the Khalasar react to her. Holding Mereen will be hard with the Harpy around, but the Yunkai are asking to be smashed.

    In Westeros it was cunning of Varys to kill Pycelle and Kevan. Yes Highgarden is already dominant in many positions in court, however they will be the prime suspects in killing these two. Whether Cersei blames a hidden Tyrion or the Tyrells remains to be seen, but she’s going to make overt plays at taking control again which will destabilise the throne.

  500. Chris
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Just finished! I think everything in the north was some of the strongest threads of the story yet. Everything else…. I dunno. Definitely wasn’t satisfied like the first three books, but wasn’t as underwhelmed as AFDC. More like, some of it was so good that I wish the rest would have been better.

    I am in the camp that thinks Jon pulled a varymyr and is currently warged into Ghost. I think things must have come to blows between the nights watch and the wildlings, leaving the nights watch decimated and the wall ripe for attack.. I think bran is going to reach out to wolf Jon in a similar way that the three eye crow reached out to him. I think Coldhands is definitely going to play a part in that and may be a hint as to what kind of “life” Jon may have ahead of him.(Stark reunion!)

    Anyone else think the horn that victarion has may be the horn that mance was never able to find. Just seems like it’s going to have some significance in the story and grrm likes to misdirect, making us think it’s a horn to tame dragons… And how could Euron have been sure of that anyways?

  501. Eric Niewohner
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    Sorry I have not responded earlier work has been crazy and my daughters are with me for the summer so busy, busy.

    Really appreciate your explanation about your discomfort with the sex and violence and also the way you explained it, very patient and rational. Given what you said I can see why you have more than a little discomfort around those issues and yeah in the show you can’t really tune it out especially since they use some of those scenes for exposition. Thanks for sharing a little more about yourself it is pretty cool that you would be open about it.

    Yes the TB books are way better than the show. There is sex in the books but it is nowhere near as graphic as in the Martin’s books. Some of the violence can be intense, but not to the level of Martin, but maybe close in some scenes. The books are not in the same league as “Song of Ice and Fire”, but a fun escape.

    The books you might really like are Jim Butcher’s “Dresden series” the first one is Storm Front. These are very cool books, there a ton of them, and a great series. Based on some of the stuff you have written I think you would really like the protagonist Harry Dresden. There is violence, but very little sex and the stories are excellent. So if you have not read them and you want to keep yourself busy while waiting for the next Martin, years from now, check them out.

  502. Josh Atreides
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    persephone88,

    I pretty sure Jaime is being lead by Brienne to Lady Stoneheart…and the noose. This will be an interesting encounter methinks.

  503. Josh Atreides
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    So is the beginning of the end for ASOIAF? Is there a point to watch GOT anymore? I mean, this was not the best in the series by any means but are people completely abandoning the story? Is this it? Really? Just as its becoming huge?

    Sad.

  504. Mirax
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Josh Atreides,

    That isn’t the vibe I’m getting from these comments. While I personally have some critiques of both AFFC and ADWD, I by no means didn’t enjoy them. I still like both books and still love the series. When I think about the fact that all of these storylines were supposed to be part of the same book, the lack of resolution makes more sense. As someone said above, GRRM is moving people into place, setting up things for the future. Now, if the next book is still mostly set up and not resolution, then I will start to rethink my opinion of the series. Also, more than a few people have stated that they didn’t like AFFC on their first read, but that it was immensely more enjoyable upon the second and third reads. I have a feeling ADWD will be the same.

  505. Lord Willum
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Taken me almost as long to read through these comments as to read the book itself! Was very much undecided on finishing ADWD, with much of my satisfaction/dissatisfaction better put into words by others above. Still pretty much undecided! :-)

    I remember during the season someone commenting that episode 9 felt flat, after the beheading of episode 8. Of course you’re not going to get another dramatic gut-punch like that, and if you did it would soon become stale!

    So while, like many others, I found the Davos/Reek/Bran chapters to have the punch and pace I look for in aSoIaF, and the pace lacking in other threads, the same applies – of course Davos ‘death’, resurrection, and the reveal of the true Manderly was awesome, but it took a lot of set up for that to become possible

    Couple of oddities arising from the discussion – some folk saying he’s changed his style to ‘pander’ to HBO, others that they were reading it and wondering at the paroxysms D&D would be having at the number of new characters, locales, and sfx-requiring stuff (count me among the latter!). Did feel perhaps the Viserys vision could have been a nod to Harry Lloyd, giving him a a wee cameo opportunity if the show lasts that long, given the critical/fan reaction to the part

    Also find the suggestions that Varys isn’t a eunuch interesting, not sure where I fall on that, we’ve never had him as POV, and never seen the actual ‘gash’, so given his skill at mummery could be entirely plausible

    Sort of connected, found Grey Worm’s mention of ‘the god on whose altar our man-parts were burned’ quite interesting. It tallies up with Varys’ story in aCoK (I think!) where he tells of his own gelding/part burning and the accompanying sorcery

    Not that that gives any evidence one way or the other as to his eunuch-hood, Varys is nothing if not an informed guy, the story could be something he lifted to add another layer to the mummery

    Is this burning of the manhoods connected to the wider web? Could be some remnant of Valyria perhaps? Could be a deity involved in the Rh’llor/Great Other War? Just seems a lot of the fire-and-blood-magic (the most/only effective type of magic in Martin’s world) is connected somehow, and the gelding/burning could definitely be part of that

    That’s about it for now, other than didn’t really get annoyed by the Jamie/Brienne or Jon endings in the book, just immediately thought (as someone else said) ‘George is f*cking with us’ – in itself kind of annoying as lost the emotional impact due to it being a blatant fan-baiting

  506. purplejilly
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Okay, despite my previous protestations, I am reading again, here and there, bits and pieces. I am actually sort of following what BlackfishBlues is doing. I went and read the epilogue. Then I went and read Cersei’s chapter. Then I randomly skip through until I find a chapter that looks good and read that one. In a strange, weird way, it doesn’t upset me as much when I read it out of order. It’s crazy, I’ve never read any other book this way. But somehow, I can handle the things he(GRRM) is doing that I don’t like, when I just read the chapters randomly. What a goof I am. But it works!

  507. purplejilly
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Eric Niewohner,
    Thanks for that nice reply, Eric! Enjoy your daughters! they grow up so fast! (sigh). Thanks for the recommendation for the Dresden series – I will look them up!
    I just posted that I am dipping back in to ADwD, and reading it out of order, and somehow, that’s making it a little easier to read. Pyschology, maybe? Do I feel more in charge when I pick the chapter I want to read next, instead of going how Martin wants me to read it? Did I just answer my own question? I think so XD

  508. Ed
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Over-dramatize much?

    Josh Atreides:
    So is the beginning of the end for ASOIAF? Is there a point to watch GOT anymore?I mean, this was not the best in the series by any means but are people completely abandoning the story?Is this it? Really? Just as itsbecoming huge?

    Sad.

  509. missandei
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    this one thinks that the 3 dragon riders are: dany, jon, & tyrion.

  510. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Finally finished – who would have thought that Azor Azhai was actually Hodor all long?

    Seriously though, after a quick glance through this thread has me a bit surprised at some of the criticism. (Of course, I’m one of the few people who prefer AFfC to CoK.)

    I’ve always been a bit surprised about the amount of ire GRRM seems to invoke amongst his “fans.” If you don’t like it then why do you bother reading his books or commenting on his threads? I have a strong aversion to Twilight, so not only did I not read the books, but I also didn’t go to the movies or comment frequently on the message boards.

    At any rate, we’ve got this massive world with an amazingly huge cast of characters. There is so much going on that we can all talk about and argue about interpretations of a prophecy and posit several theories – all of which are potentially valid. Think about that. That’s an incredible feet. I don’t think there has ever been a work of fantasy as fully fleshed out and nuanced as this one. This is a massive epic, and if GRRM dropped dead tomorrow and didn’t finish it, I’d be grateful for what I had gotten.

    I tried to read The Name of The Wind some time ago. I had heard it was brilliant, and everyone on Amazon (like every user ever) gave it five stars… I ended up angry at it. It was such a juvenile, clunky mess. It isn’t a fraction of the size of Song of Ice and Fire and Rothfuss still couldn’t keep all the balls in the air. Yeah, George has his missteps here and there, but he’s still creating a masterwork here, and Dance is no exception, in my opinion.

    It makes me really happy that we’ve got writers like Martin helping fantasy evolve. Not jus tin terms of social acceptability, but also in depth and quality. Tolkien gets allt he credit in the world for basically creating the genre, but Martin is taking it to the next level. (Feast and Dance are definitely the Twin Towers of this epic – in other words, they’re brilliant.)

  511. Obsidian
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    missandei,

    Those 3 are still my candidates at this stage of the game , too. Of course , everything is subject to GRRM’s thinking on the matter , but as for now, I’m seeing Aegon/Griff as a red herring. I do hope A/G’s not in for as much of a shock as Quentyn , though.

  512. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Obsidian,

    Nah, it is totally going to be the High Septon, The Kindly Man, and Tommen.

    If it is Dany, Jon, and Tyrion then I think there must be a “killed your mother while they were giving birth to you” requirement clause in dragon riding contracts.

  513. Maxwell James
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist,

    This is nothing – most commenters here still love the series and have expressed relatively mild disappointment, if that. On plenty of other sites (including Amazon) the more frequent response is anger and loathing.

    But yeah – hell hath no fury like a fanboy/fangirl scorned. I agree with you that the book is considerably better than fan reviews suggest, although I am sympathetic to some of the complaints – in particular that Martin is reusing too many of his old tricks, and that he’s let the story get somewhat bigger than it needed to be.

    If GRRM can bring the series to a satisfying conclusion (even if it takes 8 books rather than seven), none of this will matter though. The books are gaining new fans every day, all of whom are starting at the ground floor and haven’t suffered through 15 years of waiting. If he can’t – well, I’ll still think he managed a marvelous achievement, even if it wasn’t all it could have been.

  514. fuelpagan
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Obsidian: missandei, Those 3 are still my candidates at this stage of the game , too. Of course , everything is subject to GRRM’s thinking on the matter , but as for now, I’m seeing Aegon/Griff as a red herring. I do hope A/G’s not in for as much of a shock as Quentyn , though.

    But Quentyn was the Sun the rose in the west and set in the east.

  515. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Maxwell James,

    Oh yeah – I think complaints are valid. I wouldn’t say any of the books in the series are perfect by any stretch.

    I do think that a lot of people who complain loudly though are largely raging not at the story they just read, but at the juxtopisition of that story vs. the story they had been fantasizing about in their head. For example, people cried bloody murder on some of the threads when they found up Tyrion never made it to Dany… But Dany and Tyrion not meeting yet didn’t bother me in the slightest. The story went somewhere else.

    People hate the Mereen stuff, calling it a detour or a waste of time, but honestly I think it is absolutely integral – especially when you contrast Dany with Cersei. The fact that he’s allowed his story to breathe and to have this point in the middle of the plot where we can compare their ruling style is brilliant. Dany fails to be an effective Queen because she lacks experience and she wants to do the best by her people. Cersei fails to be an effective Queen because she is only out for #1. I like taking the time here to tease out the parallels. I like not only having the massive sandbox, but taking the time to play in it. The world grows and expands with every novel, and that is one of the best things about this series.

    Now, the one quibble I had with Dany is that I don’t think the Daario affair was well written. I mean I get it, Martin is showing her to still be a teenager, he’s underlining her immaturity. It still doesn’t work for me, really. But you know what? Even that isn’t as big a deal as it is made out to be on the boards. Ultimately it still “works.”

    At any rate, I’ll never really understand the vitrol. I can understand not liking something – but if it is just a book… is it worth the energy crusading against it? I mean, yeah, if you perceive the book as “dangerous” and potentially corrupting society, I guess (I’m looking at you Ayn Rand’s canon!) but this is a series of fantasy novels.

  516. fuelpagan
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist:
    Now, the one quibble I had with Dany is that I don’t think the Daario affair was well written. I mean I get it, Martin is showing her to still be a teenager, he’s underlining her immaturity. It still doesn’t work for me, really. But you know what? Even that isn’t as big a deal as it is made out to be on the boards. Ultimately it still “works.”

    Martin seems to be doing this for a reason. He’s banging on the point “Daario is too lowborn” the same way he bangs on about “Jon is a Bastard” or “Varys is a Eunuch”. There is more too it then Dany teenage crush. IMO.

  517. Obsidian
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist,

    The High Septon, The Kindly Man and Tommen…would be a lot of fun..but maybe 10 books’ worth.

    I’m engaged in my ” Sinking-in Read ” right now and open to almost any idea.. stress almost. For example, I can see how Lemore = Ashara might work out, but dig in my heels a bit at the suggestion that Brandon or ( even worse ) Barristan is the Papa … I’d like to think Ned had a bit of fun before all the angst set in. ;)

    I can’t understand the intense negative reactions , either. Mind you ,I’ve only found myself sucked into this maelstrom for a little over a year , so I do feel a bit of sympathy for those who’ve been waiting the better part of a decade.( And I fervently hope WoW will see bookshelves in closer to 3 than 5 years ) Still, the man can only tell the story in his own way in his own time, so either we stick around to see if we like the whole thing ,or spend our time some other way. No amount of ranting , venting or vilifying will change things.

  518. Steven Swanson
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist,

    I do think that a lot of people who complain loudly though are largely raging not at the story they just read, but at the juxtopisition of that story vs. the story they had been fantasizing about in their head.

    Very well said. I just finished but have been reading many reviews and following along on the chapter-by-chapter threads, and I’m seeing this theme bigtime. The last two books have really pissed off a lot of people because George doesn’t seem to be telling the same kind of story they either want him to be telling or thought he was telling. Whether that’s because of the point in the series we’ve reached (the middle, more or less) or because he’s changed his style during the intervening years I don’t know. But I’m seeing a distinct difference between readers who’ve made a certain commitment to the world itself and who are along for the ride and those who are angry because they don’t want the scope to be as wide as it is or just disapprove of the level of detail we’re getting and so want off.

    Me, I loved it. I showed more discipline than I ever had before with one of these books, reading it slowly simultaneously with a Feast reread (highly recommended, I hated the book split idea and still do), and found that paid off. These are books to sip and savor, not chug.

    And I’m wondering if a lot of the anger is from people who tore through the book to “see what happens” and when the happenings don’t meet their expectations they think nothing happened. But there are subtler pleasures here for those who take the time and let them sink in. I’ve actually heard many say that about Feast, that they liked it much more on a reread, and hopefully Dance will be similar.

  519. Knurk
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist: I do think that a lot of people who complain loudly though are largely raging not at the story they just read, but at the juxtopisition of that story vs. the story they had been fantasizing about in their head.

    I strongly disagree. The biggest criticism of the book is lack of plot. GRRM working on this book for 6 years made me believe he had some kind of masterplan for this book, instead all we got was some kind of status quo for most of the characters in this book. I really don’t want this story to play out the way it does in my head, because that would be boring as hell. What I do want however is for the story to move on instead of being stuck where it is now.

  520. Knurk
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    For example: I was so fed up with Tyrion’s storyline I was hoping they would release the lions on him. It would have been the most epic of deaths in the entire aSoIaF saga despite being one of my favourite characters. Instead we get a chapter with both Tyrion and Dany, yet a secondary character like Strong Belwas totally steals the show (this was btw one of the better chapters of the book).

    What made me really angry though was the Quentyn-arc. The last Dorne-chapter in aFfC was phenomenal: “Fire and Blood!” And I friggin’ loved Dorne in that book! But whith the Quentyn arc in this book all that revengetalk in aFfC loses its power, so aFfC won’t be as good the next time I reread it. GRRM was building toward a climax in the end of aFfC and it concluded in aDwD with Dany saying: “Ghihi, what a loser you are, I’d rather fuck your handsome friend! But what do I know of tactical warfare and husbandchoosing? Now shoo away you douche!”

    Now you can say: see, it didn’t play out the way it did in your head. But I didn’t have anything planned for Dany & Quentyn, he could have done so much with those two, yet what he did was a total anticlimax and therefore removing a very strong plotpoint in the former book.

  521. Maxwell James
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Knurk,

    I agree with the criticisms of Dany’s storyline, which IMO was needlessly drawn out and featured a bunch of uninteresting Meereenese characters. And Martin’s failure to really bring that storyline to a close seems to me the biggest flaw in the book.

    I found Quentyn’s kind of moving, though. I mean, despite the foreshadowing in book 4, it turns out he’s kind of a loser – a nice guy, but a loser. Much like Brienne’s frustrated quest in the previous book, this struck me as a realistic narrative decision. Not everyone can be heroically competent, and many important events are as determined by incompetency and failure (in fact, this describes Dany and Jon Snow’s arcs to a degree as well). That’s something that I like about the series.

    And Tyrion’s? I loved Tyrion’s storyline almost without reservation and find the complaints about it bizarre. The whole point of it is him figuring out how to live and what to live for after both suffering horribly and doing horrible things in Storm. And it’s pulled off in a way that’s funny and engaging, and without cheap sentimentality.

    It’s true that he never reaches Dany. I can understand why that might frustrate some people but that is entirely a reader expectation. And really, only the sort of expectation that a long-time fan would have. As far as I’m concerned, if Martin plays to much to those expectations the books will have become entirely boring and predictable. Tyrion’s story was not lacking in action, was often quite lively (especially compared to his depressing arc in book 3), and ended satisfyingly (if with a slight cliffhanger). Along with the Northern chapters, I thought it was the best part of the book.

  522. Knurk
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Maxwell James: It’s true that he never reaches Dany. I can understand why that might frustrate some people but that is entirely a reader expectation. And really, only the sort of expectation that a long-time fan would have. As far as I’m concerned, if Martin plays to much to those expectations the books will have become entirely boring and predictable. Tyrion’s story was not lacking in action, was often quite lively (especially compared to his depressing arc in book 3), and ended satisfyingly (if with a slight cliffhanger). Along with the Northern chapters, I thought it was the best part of the book.

    although I did expect (like everyone else) for Tyrion to team up with Dany in this book, it was not the fact that he didn’t that frustrated me in this book. He has a boring sidecast and all he can do is make japes to keep his story interesting, because in contrary to the previous books he can’t make things happen: he just goes with the flow in this book. It could have been interesting, but to me it seemed Martin just didn’t really know what to do with him in this book. The only segment I liked in his story was his talk with ‘Aegon,’ influencing him to go to Westeros. This was old school Tyrion: is he giving true advice or does he see this boy and his army as competition for an alliance with Dany in Meereen, so that he needs to get rid of them?

    Although the setting of that Greyscale-city in the Rhoyne was pretty awesome (second best setting in the book, after the Bloodraven tree), what happened to him there seemed really off. It was more of a short story in the book with a very crappy ending.

  523. Maxwell James
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    While I don’t expect to convince you otherwise, here’s why I disagree:

    - If anything, Tyrion was even more a victim of circumstance in ASOS. He starts the book having been demoted to a powerless role, and is quickly put through round after round of humiliations and defeats. Prior to the ending, what does he actually do in that book? He gets blamed for killing Joffrey but doesn’t get the satisfaction of actually doing it. He gets put through an utterly horrifying trial. The one significant action he takes, the murders of Tywin and Shae, plus his breakdown with Jaime, is bracing yet horrible and really challenged this reader’s sympathies.
    - In Dance, yes he’s dragged off from place to place and even briefly becomes a slave. But ironically, it’s also in this book that he rediscovers his ability to proactively impact events. He both saves Aegon’s life then changes the course of his strategy. More than once he saves the lives of Penny and Ser Jorah through swift thinking. By the end he’s again shaping events in his favor, gathering a new army of rogues to manipulate. His mastery of chess (ok, cough, “cyvasse”) provides an elegant metaphor for his growing power.
    - I thought Griff, young Griff, Septa Lemore & co were all quite intriguing – not only as characters, but in what they revealed about Illyrio and Varys. Similarly, I loved that Martin thought to throw him together with Ser Jorah, a character I’ve always enjoyed.
    - And I even liked his relationship with Penny, who’s not that interesting in herself but who provided a useful mirror for Tyrion to see his own dwarfism outside the light of the Lannister name. I also thought that his decisions to save her (and Ser Jorah for that matter) were a great reflection of his core ethic – sympathy for cripples, bastards, and broken things. Which in turn, I think, provides the core background reason for his renewed desire to live.
    - Finally, we also get a long-overdue explanation for his unlikely somersault in the beginning of AGOT. About time, I say.

  524. Knurk
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Of course we won’t agree, because talking about the book after reading it won’t change much on how you feel about it. You found his sidecast intriguing, I find them a bunch of lackwits who didn’t balance Tyrion’s character out like Bronn did in previous books. Although Tyrion wasn’t as pro-active in aSoS as in the previous books, the people around him had very interesting stories to tell and the story of his own downfall with an epic conclusion was also very satisfying. None of those things happened in Dance (in my eyes).

  525. HandmaidenofDany
    Posted July 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I’ve notice a lot of people knocking Dany’s relationship with Daario. Dany likes guys that aren’t neccessarily nice, typical “good-girl/bad-boy” relationship. She is also a horny teenager. She will learn something from this experience…hopefully it doesn’t bite her in the ass. Either way she will come out stronger.

  526. Mary
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    About 1/2 way through. Ok, I haven’t read all the comments, but after reading the first dozen or so I am wondering if I am the only one that is disappointed in DWD. But before anyone flays me for my comments – know that I’ve been a GOT advocate since the book was first published in the 90s. (I kick myself for not buying the original hardback when I saw it on the clearance shelves at B Daltons in 1997.) I’ve turned all my friends and husband onto the series. I even signed up for HBO just to watch it on TV. But, with all that being said – I have to go out on a limb here and say having waited with barely concealed anticipation for 5 years, I am having to force myself through this book. When I put the book down (which is quite easy) I am left with the feeling that this is the weakest of all the books.

    So here it goes….GRRM – ENOUGH!! I don’t want any more new characters. And, I want the story to get moving again. The whole FFC/DWD combo thing has me really pissed off and bored to death. FFC leaves us with Sam and Gilly already at the Citidel, and DWD opens and they haven’t even left yet? ARRGHH. Doran Martell’s son? Really? Did you really need to introduce him to advance the story? And Aegon alive? My first thought was “GRRM this is the most trite overused story plot in history – you’re not really doing this are you? Varys switched the babies, somehow having the prescience to know that Aegon and his twin would be killed. Really? Really?” The first few chapters on Jon/Dany have been available online or in previous books for years now. I read them feeling ripped off – like come on – you couldn’t plug in some fresher chapters? All Tyrion is doing thus far is wandering the roads – boring!! And, somehow I just can’t buy Tyrion losing his mind. He’s been abused all his life – by his whole family, except for perhaps Jaime, and he is suddenly traumatized to the point of suicide and disassociative moments? Sorry. I just can’t buy it.

    Jon is just being boring on the wall. Reek/Theon is back – too bad. I thought he had died – and was extremely happy that he’d be gone from the books. There are more new characters that truthfully, I don’t care about. My time and interest is vested in the original GOT key characters and a few introduced in COK (like Brienne). I’ve skipped every Davos chapter in every book because I don’t understand the purpose of the character – and I don’t think I’ve missed anything!

    Honestly, DWD is beginning to remind me of the 4th or 5th Dune book – or the 4th or 5th Robert Jordan ‘Wheel of Time’ books – where the authors have clearly lost control of the story and seem to be writing just for the sake of getting the darn book out and published for a fan base. I gave up on Dune and I gave up on Robert Jordan because – well, frankly, they just got boring and trite. GRRM – please don’t do that to the GOT series! All I can say is that I hope DWD gets better. Because right now, if I don’t finish the book, I kinda feel like I won’t be missing anything.

  527. Epic Awesomesauce
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    I started reading the book, then got bored and took a long ass break. That worg guy… cool eh? i guess u knew he wuz gonna die because he’s in da prologue n all. Tyrion chapters are fackin tedious eh? Who knew: only John Snowbumpkin chaps are good readin’…. I guess it been 10 years so I got grown up since then. Da rest is frackin drawn out eh?

  528. shadallion
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    Finished finally.

    1: I did NOT anticipate Aegon being alive and well. I never once even so that postulated on any fan speculation thread. So bravo for being ingenious enough to keep that from us, GRRM.

    2: The Reek chapters were the best in the book, and some of the finest writing I’ve read, in any novel. Chilling and deeply disturbing look at the mind of a tortured wreck.

    3. Like everyone else, I didn’t give two shits about Mereen or any of it’s inhabitants other than the core characters from past books.

    4. The Drogon scene in the fighting pits was legitimately heart-pounding.

    5. Jon is going to be warged-up with Ghost from now on, I guess.

    6. My God this Ramsay Snow makes me long for the gentle kindness of Joffrey and Walder Frey.

    7. Too much “off-screen” events; is GRRM getting gun-shy about writing battles or even most conflicts? HBO-influence?

    8. Arya’s story is cool but how does it relate to the larger plot?

    9. NEXT BOOK PLEASE!

  529. shadallion
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Oh, one more:

    10: If HBO wants to trim some fat, let me suggest one character who can be drasticaly reduced or cut entire: ASHA.

    Her presence has been entirely superfluous, even back to book 2. Really, think about it: she had a weird flirtation with Theon, she holds Moat Cailin (or Deepwood Motte, I foget) which could just as easily be held by some nameless ironborn, she fails in her bid to be Queen, and then she is captured after we are subjected so a Penthouse-letters wetdream by GRRM. She is pointless.

    Eliminating Asha would be free up a little time, not to mention free us from this Osha/Asha debacle.

  530. jaybe
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Wow!
    I think both book 4 and 5 are a kind of presentation books where Martin is setting the board for the final books which will be as much intense as the first 3. Maybe it fails in some points because the expectations are already too high to make as wonder about travels in the snow, meerense court plots…
    Also, I think we start to own Martin too much: When some main character makes plans and he descrive it in evey detail it’s clear that it’s not going to end well.

    first conclusions:
    1- I suspected about Aegon since the Mountain denied he killed him in Tyrion’s trial (why should he do that? everyone knows his reputation. He should be proud of it). But I though that somehow he may be Jon.
    2- Varys has … balls of steel… (poor littlefinger, his titles are wet paper against the plots of Varys)
    3- Melissandre will … not, MUST, do something. Martin cannot leave us with the mystery…. wait … actually he can, he’d done worst.
    4-Meerense knot is tied and hard-tied. Martin, why didn’t you finished in this book?? the waiting will be eternal!
    5-All the events of this book are ruled by the weather and diseases. Maybe in the Winter all of the characters will be aware of it, but in this one they all succumb to the snow, storms, plagues and starving.

    The best:
    1- The fighting pit. I think the best chapter of the whole saga. In that moment each of the Lannister brothers had the noose around their neck, and the deux ex machina saving Tyrion was just hilarious.
    2- Vyctarion Greyjoy. Every one that engage a long sea travel suffers the lost of everything… everyone but the ironmen. I bet he arrives at Meeren with a larger fleet that the one he took from the Shields.
    3- Reek, it rhymes with BIG.
    4- The dragons. Awesome description, awesome behaviour. I love them. They have a richer personality than most main characters in fantasy novels.
    5- It’s incredible. When you read the Prologue and Epilogue you know that the character will get killed. But I don’t know how, Martin surprised me in that epilogue.
    6-Hizdahr zo Loraq. I find him a great character. Really, is everyone sure about his intentions?

    My bets:
    - Stannis must aware of the treason of the Karstark. Because of the bravosi and Theon. Somehow I don0t believe everything was as Bolton told.
    - If not, Theon, the bravosi, Asha and her beloved knight escaped with Jayne.
    - There’s a dragon in hardstone and Jon is meant to have it. But after that final chapter…
    more figured out:
    - Rickon is in Skalos, and Davos will be eaten by the cannibals
    - Robert is the Mountain
    - Jaime’s head will arrive inside a bag for Cersei’s trial.

  531. Knurk
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Mary: I’ve skipped every Davos chapter in every book because I don’t understand the purpose of the character – and I don’t think I’ve missed anything!

    too bad, his were the best in the book because of the epic awesomeness that is Wyman Manderly.

    And you are definately not the only one, it seems that a majority of readers is ‘dissatisfied’ with this book, to say the least. It’s getting 3 stars on Amazon, and in my eyes that’s saying a lot. If you want to rant some more without people telling you ‘you’re reading the book wrong’ or ‘you’re expectations were too high’ I suggest you go to this site.

  532. purplejilly
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Ahh, I have found something in ADWD that FINALLY made me feel VERY happy. While reading the last Dany chapter, she has a dream about Viserys talking to her. And the whole time I read it, I pictured Harry Lloyd back, in his regular Viserys costume and wig, doing the scene with her. And it made me happy. The dialogue is touching, moving, and sad. It will be fabulous when they film it! THAT is something I can look forward to seeing when the show gets to ADWD.

    I’m a bit disappointed that there are no hints about Syrio and Ja’qen, but I guess all those parts are in AFFC. I was really hoping for some little sort of nugget to bring the mystery clearer, but so far I have found nothing.

  533. HandmaidenofDany
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    shadallion,

    Wow, get rid of Asha? As a female fan of the books I look forward to all the female POV chapters. I love the strong warrior women Asha and Brienne. I have more of a connection with Arya and Brienne, but I love Asha’s character “Meet my husband” *pulls out a huge ass axe* ! Love it!

  534. shadallion
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    HandmaidenofDany,

    Yes, that line is cool, but how does her character impact the plot? I don’t think she really does.

  535. Suvantar
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I must beg forgiveness for this is the first time I’ve seen this site. Secondly, I must also beg forgiveness for how long this post is likely to be. Half of my friends have read the books, half have not, and none except for me have finished Dance, so I haven’t been able to discuss Dance in any detail with anyone. This thread solves that problem.

    I’m torn on my opinion of Dance. I think it is well written, but I wasn’t always fond of the direction some of the characters took, notably Dany and Tyrion. I think if Dance had come out within a year of Feast I might feel differently about how the story arcs went, but having waited the full lengthy time period between books, I was hoping for more of a move toward resolution than I feel I got. That said, I enjoyed the read (mostly), even of the parts I didn’t like. I also got just the faintest, oh so subtle whiff of contrivance with some of the Meereen plot line, but that could be because I read so much about George untangling the Meereenese knot that I was expecting it. I could simply be seeing something I expected to see. I’ve begun a random chapter re-read to soak in more of the detail, so it’s entirely possible that my opinion will change as I go back through.

    On to the spoiler-esque stuff:

    I read just about every word in this thread, and I have to admit to a bit of surprise at the lack of mention of a key element in the Jon’s parentage debate. I am pretty firmly entrenched in the R+L=J camp. I think it makes the most sense as I have yet to see a piece that does NOT fit into it. Clearly Jon is more than just Ned Stark’s bastard. Some of the theories I’ve seen are pretty wild, and of all of them the R+L=J theory meets Occam’s Razor the cleanest. The piece I found oddly lacking here is there was no mention of Howland Reed, the other person to survive the battle at the Tower of Joy (aside from Ned). This makes Howland Reed the only living person who really knows what promise Lyanna made Ned swear before she died.

    I missed the Ser Patrek’s sigil bit in Jon’s last chapter. With that in the mix, what I suspect will happen is that he will have died. The Night’s Watch will insist on burning the body, Melisandre will insist on presiding over the funeral, and Jon will awaken from the pyre the way the dragons did. Several people here have mentioned him inhabiting Ghost. I won’t say it isn’t possible, just that I don’t find it likely. He lacks Bran’s extended gift. Jon is no more a warg than Jojen Reed is a green seer (“I’m just a boy who dreams”).

    I don’t think there is enough evidence to say anything for certain about Ramsay’s letter, so everything is conjecture. I’m content to wait and see how that plays out.

    Bran: for the life of me I can’t see Bran siding with the Others. I can see Bran going in a couple of different directions, but not while being on the wrong side of the battle. His use, from a strategic standpoint, is as an almost instant communications device between the different factions at whatever point they all start fighting a common enemy. Bran is in a position to be an AWACs eye-in-the-sky.

    Theon: I honestly thought Theon was dead. I was shocked that he was not. I thought having him killed at Winterfell fit very nicely into the story as Theon’s primary purpose had been fulfilled at that point. I like Theon as a character; I do not like him as a person. I didn’t have any qualms about thinking he was dead. I do pity him now, but I do not like him.

    Dany: I didn’t like much of the way her arc went. That’s not a knock on the writing, mind you. As Bran is learning, the story is what the story is; the storyteller is just telling it. I had to ask myself if I wanted to see how the story actually goes, or if I’d rather the teller says what I want to hear.

    Tyrion’s arc was deeper than some people think. At the start he was suffering a little post-traumatic stress. I think his physical journey turned into emotional catharsis. By the end he was sober more often than not and he wasn’t asking random people on the street where whores go. I was part of the Tyrion joins Dany crowd. Now I haven’t the foggiest where he’ll end up.

    Arya: good chapters. Can’t wait to see where she ends up and who she ends up as.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that Cersei will be eaten by a dragon.

    I have discovered that I actually like Jaime, and it isn’t because of Brienne. He is starting to understand how his actions affect other people, and I think that he is the only person in his family who respects, and even loves, Tyrion. The fact that they are brothers means more to Jaime than Tyrion being a twisted little monkey demon does.

    Of the non-POV characters, my favorite is probably Littlefinger. He is, hands down, the best player of the game of thrones from a personal gain standpoint. He IS currently in a position to get screwed (see Ser Shaddrich), but it hasn’t happened yet. Varys is a respectable second place, but Varys plays for the good of the realm, and Varys didn’t control the treasury. I would also like some final disposition on Sandor Clegane. The Hound was/is a brute, but he had his own twisted code of honor.

    That’s probably long enough for one post. Sorry to say, you probably won’t be rid of me for awhile.

    ~Suvantar

  536. Mirax
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    fuelpagan: But Quentyn was the Sun the rose in the west and set in the east.

    I never once thought of that! Even with all of the speculation about whether Dany was miscarrying or had the bloody flux at the end. THANK YOU! :D

    Suvantar,

    I respectfully disagree. Jon may not be as strong a warg as Bran, but he is definitely a warg. He is having wolf dreams and I’d need to double check, but I’m pretty sure there is a line when he’s leaving his bedchambers about him seeing from Ghost’s point of view when they are close to each other. Arya is having a similar experience, except that she is warging with a cat rather than Nymeria due to proximity.

    On a separate note, I find all of the “If you don’t like it, why’d you bother reading it and coming to a message board to talk about?” stuff very annoying and simplistic. Just because I have critiques of the book(s) doesn’t mean I don’t like the series. Also, the books aren’t perfect. I think they are wonderful, but am I not allowed to be a fan and also find some fault with them? When did fans have to love absolutely everything in the fandom? Also the assumption that the story isn’t bad, it’s just the readers’ expectations getting in the way is a little tired as well. OF COURSE a reader’s expectations will influence their opinion of the book, but that doesn’t automatically mean the reader didn’t “get” it or was too hung up on expectations to enjoy it. Somethings don’t resonate as well with people and that can easily draw a person out of the story. I come to this site to discuss everything about the books, not just the good stuff! If I don’t point out the things that I think fall a bit short, as well as the things I like, I’m not going to get as in depth a response as to why others DO like it that might influence how I perceive it on a second read.

  537. DibuK
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I went through most of the comments (took me longer than the book lol) and learned some cool new things.

    But I didn’t see any discussion of Tyrion’s advice to young Griff/Aegon. At the time he made it, it looked like a sage and reasoned advice. By the time Tyrion learns that Aegon actually followed his words, he seems quite smug about it- as if he managed to fool him.

    What do you think was his motivation? To go to Dorne (he didn’t know he’s going to be abducted)? To stir the pot for no reason other then? To fuck Griff up? Why would he do that?

  538. Suvantar
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Mirax,

    Disagreement makes for entertaining discussion, I find. Talking with people who agree with everything gets boring quickly.

    As I said above about Jon, I’m not saying that it isn’t possible that Jon’s conciousness is residing in Ghost. Yes, Jon sometimes sees through Ghost’s eyes, but he doesn’t command the ability to nearly the extent that Bran does, or that Varamyr did. Bran can enter Summer, and Hodor, at will. For Jon and Arya it is more accidental or stress-induced, or at least that’s how it seems to me. I don’t recall either of them doing it intentionally. That could very well be the way it plays out; we’ll have to wait and see. If that is how it plays out, it will bump up against the edges of my suspension of disbelief.

  539. Mirax
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Suvantar,

    Ah, I see the point you’re making now. I think if anything it would just be the “push” Jon needs to further his warging ability, but that he would be more like Bran was when he first started traveling with the Reeds. He’d be in a worse position, though, because he wouldn’t have anyone to bring him back/remind him of himself. Crazy theory just now!!! Ok, let’s say that the stabbing causes Jon’s consciousness to flee into Ghost. If I remember correctly, when Bran would go deeply into Summer at first, his heartbeat would slow, as would his breathing. If this happens to Jon, it could keep him from bleeding out until Clydus or Mel could heal his wounds the old fashioned way. I do think it’d be cool if she healed him like Victarion gets healed, but I’m not sure how that would change his character. It would definitely be interesting. Hmmm. I’ve been assuming the whole time that either he would be reanimated the way Beric was or he would be like Coldhands, but I like the possibility of him healing naturally while he’s in Ghost. I wouldn’t want a ton of Jon as Ghost chapters, though, unless he was able to keep more of his identity and not just have wolfish thoughts.

    *I realize plenty of other people were quite possibly thinking this exact thing when they talked about Jon warging into Ghost, but I don’t think anyone ever spelled out the healing thing, so it’s still a new idea to me. :)*

  540. Mirax
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    DibuK,

    I had the same reaction while I was reading those parts. Maybe you or someone remembers, did Tyrion ever find out that Quentyn was heading for Dany? If he did, was it before his last thoughts about Aegon? The only other thing I can think of is that it was intentional misdirection the entire time that he was hoping Aegon would fall for. He knows Dorne is a bad idea because of his talks with Illyrio. Hmm, or maybe he just wants a chance for both Targs to like him? If Aegon gets Dorne behind him, he would probably be very happy with the man who gave him that idea in the first place. Also, it takes people away that Dany might be more likely to trust over him when/if he ever reaches her.

  541. Suvantar
    Posted July 31, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Mary,

    I’ve skipped every Davos chapter in every book because I don’t understand the purpose of the character – and I don’t think I’ve missed anything!

    Not to be snarky, but maybe if you read the Davos chapters you would find a point in the character. It’s a little hard to see the use of a character whose chapters you never read. For me, Davos serves 2 purposes: 1) he is/was the POV used to teach us about Stannis, and 2) he’s about the only person on Stannis’s side who is at all likeable. Davos is one of the few truly good men in the entire story and Stannis treats him with a great deal of respect. While that doesn’t make Stannis a sympathetic figure, it does speak well of Stannis’s ability to choose his advisors wisely and his willingness to deservedly reward good men in his service who have earned it. Now Davos gets a chance to put his smuggling abilities to use again by attempting to rescue Osha and Rickon and return a true Stark to the North.

    There are very few success stories in the story so far to counter all of the tragedy, at least amongst characters worth routing for. Davos is one of the success stories and is the easiest of the characters to think of as a good person.

    Heh. Plus we needed Davos available so we could see the true awesomeness of Wyman Manderly.

  542. Shock Me
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I rather like Dance. Since ACoK I’d given up on Martin getting to the point. In a GoT I accepted some detours as part of the story and general happenstance. By ACoK it became clear that almost no one excpet the bad guys end up where they intend to go. Again I accepted this as something for the “good guys” to be challenged by.

    The chief example of this is Daenrys, although Arya’s chapter suffer from this as well. The only Starks who move relatively quickly all seem to come to bad ends. Now we have Daeny reset back to the Dothraki sea all alone save for Drogon.

    Love the series but GRRM please get on with it.

  543. Josh Atreides
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Ed,

    Have you read the reviews on Amazon?

  544. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I feel it is worth pointing out how polite people are here compared to Amazon. I’m glad that people can actually disagree here without getting “downvoted” and attacked for doing nothing more than sharing their opinion. I think people who push for “dislike” buttons on Facebook need to look at how awful that model is on Amazon. Art isn’t democracy, and a minority opinion is just as valid (not more and not less) than a majority one.

    Love it or hate it, Dance has certainly pissed some people off. I’m glad there is a board here where people can respectfully agree and disagree with each other in a civilized fashion. So, basically, big ups to the WiC community!

    Personally I’m really happy with the expanded number of POVs in Feast and Dance (I’m one of the few people who prefers FfC to CoK.) There is something really amazing about the fact that Martin expands the world with each story, in my opinion. I’m all for it – there are two books left, afterall. I’m fairly certain that once the story is done Feast and Dance will both be cut more slack than they have been.

  545. coltaine777
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I just finished the Dance…I LOVED this book…but I don’t think it’s going to be complete in 2 books…unless he pulls a “LOST”..the kingdoms will become united just in time to face the OTHERS..and the rest will be left to our imaginations…imo…unless the series goes 10 books lol…

  546. rorschach-
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Just finished my part of the work. Have to say something somewhere and at 5 AM here in Finland this is as good place than any.

    As much as I like to read Martins easy flowing writing this is just too long. Or too much time spend on Tyrion going wild in the mushroom kingdom of the yellow whale and suddenly WHAM! “this chap here is lost heir to the true born king.” You can’t be serious?

    Or chapter of Dany being 15 year old girl – chapter of Dany dreaming of sex with warriors, the rock singers of the middle age – chapter of Dany brooding about not having fun – Jaime Brienne zombie what happened – chapter of Dany having pillow fight with her BFF. You have to back track couple of pages and think that what I just actually read.

    Though I have to admit that I actually enjoyed Jons chapters. His really subtle spin towards the madness that happened in the end was nice read even though quite predictable almost after the prologue. How he slowly started to shun more and more of those around him and using power to things that seem well intented but are really just delirious madness. It eventually had to come to that.

    Quent suffered bit from Oakheart-syndrome. This man who is bit foolish and not so particulary exciting gets few plot driving chapters and then off with the head. Even though the chapter itself was a good read, I doubt that very many flinched when that “Oh” ended the chapter.

    Arya was as always good read, as was unexpectedly also Barristan, though Martin really should cut some of the “words are wind/I’m not suited for this/Where do whores go” lines. Victarion got even few laughs and finally I cared for one of the Iron Islanders. Varys saying “You are suffering, I know, yet here I stand” was straight from the GOT and Conleth Hill was voicing it aloud in my head.

    So all in all. Good book and I’m going to read it soon again to spot those things that I’ve missed (damn you Frey pie, I feel so stupid), but suffers bit from too many pages of nothing happening. And then new things happening too suddenly without almost any context just for pleasing old readers or tying/opening – old/new plotlines.

  547. Mary
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Suvantar,

    Perhaps I should clarify, I repeatedly tried reading the Davos chapters and found them plodding, boring, and unnecessary. So, I gave up and didn’t bother reading anymore. (This is the same reason that I’ve skipped the whole Tom Bombadil section in Fellowship of the Ring – Shocking! OMG! I did what? – Yes, Tom Bombadil was complete unnecessary to the plot – and you don’t miss anything.) And, your response was a little snarky. That’s ok, though. I don’t take these books quite a seriously as others do. I think GRRM is a wonderful author, but I do believe that his biggest fault is to over-engineer characters and plots. Davos, IMHO, is a classic example. Quentyn Martell, Victorian, and Asha are other examples. A writer doesn’t need to keep adding characters to convey a concept. I can think of a million and one simpler ways to convey Stannis’ personality without having to over-engineer yet another character. (And, guess what, contrary to your assertion, I did figure out Stannis’ personality without reading the Davos chapters. Yes. Really.) It seems to me that GRRM has a habit of stumbling on an interesting character, like Brienne. And then, rather than letting that character’s personality come out through the eyes of already established characters and plots, GRRM seems to go down these multi-chapter tangents that ultimately serve no purpose. Look at Quentyn Martell – what purpose did he serve except to release the dragons? GRRM could’ve had any number of minor characters do this, and not waste 4 or 5 chapters in the book telling us the boring story of Quentyn’s journey. Ultimately all GRRM has done is create an unwieldy mess. I finished DWD last night and have come to the conclusion that I might be finished with this series. There was not one element to DWD that left me wanting more.

  548. Suvantar
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Mary,

    My apologies for whatever seemed to be snarky. That really wasn’t my intent.

    You are entitled to whatever opinion you hold, of course. I found Davos’s chapters enlightening where Stannis in concerned. You won’t learn as much about Stannis or Melisandre without reading Davos’s chapters. I also enjoyed them because it was refreshing to have a character who isn’t completely stuck on pride. After he’s made Hand, he goes and learns to read because “a King’s Hand should know how.” It’s nice to have a character like that to counter the flavor of all the intrigue. They aren’t the most exciting chapters, granted, but I certainly wouldn’t include Davos in a list of non-essential characters like Asha.

    I have felt at times about Sansa’s chapters the way you feel about Davos. I would see her name at the top of the page and think “this is a good time to start some laundry.”

  549. Ed
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    While what you say IS true (Tom Bombadil was worthless and unnecessary), how do you KNOW that when you’re reading it?

    I mean, how do you KNOW he’s going to be important or not??? And the only real answer is: You don’t. So for you to say “I skip Davos’ chapters cause he doesn’t matter” is ridiculous. You have no idea if he will be important or not.

    (Unless of course, you are so great, and are simply blessed with a keen insight and abilities that we just don’t have…) (where’s the eye rolling icon?)

    Mary:
    Suvantar,

    Perhaps I should clarify, I repeatedly tried reading the Davos chapters and found them plodding, boring, and unnecessary.So, I gave up and didn’t bother reading anymore. (This is the same reason that I’ve skipped the whole Tom Bombadil section in Fellowship of the Ring – Shocking! OMG! I did what? – Yes, Tom Bombadil was complete unnecessary to the plot – and you don’t miss anything.)

  550. Maxwell James
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    coltaine777,

    I just finished the Dance…I LOVED this book…but I don’t think it’s going to be complete in 2 books…unless he pulls a “LOST”..the kingdoms will become united just in time to face the OTHERS..and the rest will be left to our imaginations…imo…unless the series goes 10 books lol…

    That’s interesting. I wonder how many people who were very disappointed with the last two books were so because, at least in part, they expect the 7 kingdoms will have to be reunited by the end.

    I don’t expect that. I’ve long figured that in the end the seven kingdoms will be seven again, not one. That whoever does stop the Others will receive no glory for it. So for things to still be in a state of chaos by the end of book 5 seems sensible to me.

  551. rorschach-
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Maxwell James,

    I myself don’t expect happily ever after either. I actually expect Wall to break, Throne to shatter, lands turn to sea and seas to boil away. Still I wonder unless something really starts to happen in next 2 books, Martin is in pinch to make it all happen. I think one of the “bad” parts of the FFC and DWD was that everybody was expecting plot to start and pick up pace, but plotwise what actually happened in FFC and lets say about in 900 first pages of DWD? And the last 100 pages goes probably like; letter about Stannis is mostly lies, Jon goes and does Fitz trick, Quent is mourned but Aegon is already in shore above Dorne, Dany was lost and found, Meereenese knot is still intact.

    Though in a way it would be suitable to the books to actually not have a ending. Familes continue thriving for power and wars will always happen in seven kingdoms.

  552. Knurk
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist,

    well, I’m glad the reviews on Amazon can be up or downvoted, it easily filters out the useless reviews. I also read your review and it was a very condescending one towards people who didn’t like the book: you’re telling the people who didn’t like the book WHY they didn’t like it. You just should have reviewed the book and not the people who didn’t like it.

    There are really a lot of positive reviews over there starting with: I can’t understand all the negative reviews! But I read a lot of those reviews (to see if I was not alone hating this book) and the negative reviews clearly state why they didn’t like it, yet a lot of the positive ones can’t formulate why they did like it. Which is not per se a problem, sometimes you just like something without knowing why you like it. But those reviews aren’t really helpful because readers can’t grasp reviews just based on feeling alone, so those reviews get downvoted.

  553. fuelpagan
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Mary: Suvantar, Look at Quentyn Martell – what purpose did he serve except to release the dragons? GRRM could’ve had any number of minor characters do this, and not waste 4 or 5 chapters in the book telling us the boring story of Quentyn’s journey. Ultimately all GRRM has done is create an unwieldy mess.

    It’s comments like these that I love. Because I felt the same way at first. Sure anyone could have released the dragons. But they wouldn’t have been the Sun that rose in the west and set in the east now would they.

    It looks like an unwieldy mess because that’s what GRRM wants you to think. He may see the direction the story is going, but he doesn’t want you to be able to predict it. There would be no point in writing any more books if that were the case.

  554. Maxwell James
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    rorschach-,

    Oh, I doubt Martin can finish it in seven – not satisfyingly anyway. There are simply too many characters to write resolutions for. And now he’s loudly on record about not wanting to “pull a Lost,” so he’d better get the ending right. That much I’ll definitely concede to those who were unhappier with the book than I was.

    But yeah, I think things are a huge mess now in part because the finale will not be all that clean. I very much doubt, for instance, that Dany will ever lead an invasion of Westeros – in fact, I expect she’ll more or less “fly solo” from here on out, at least until the other dragon riders make themselves known. And I expect the civil war in Westeros to continue raging up until the bittersweet end.

  555. metalgoddessamb
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Quentyn’s storyline wasn’t just to release the dragons. Don’t you think it was also ment to finally piss Doran Martell off enough that he will now make some kind of move in Westeros, instead of sitting quietly by and biding his time?

  556. metalgoddessamb
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I think the Davos chapters were some of the best in the book. His chapters at least had some forward story movement, and had revelations in them that we didn’t know before. and I’m not talking about Davos being alive, I just knew he wasn’t dead.

    We find out that Lord Manderly is a staunch Stark loyalist, and has no intention of bowing down and accepting the Bolton’s as his liege lord. And we find out that he knows Rickon is alive, and wants to rescue him.

    to me, this is some of the best development in the book.

  557. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Knurk,

    Funny, I see the opposite. I see tons of negative reviews focusing on what people wanted to happen that didn’t (Such as Dany not meeting up with Tyrion and Dany doesn’t star ther invasion.) Personally, I don’t feel as though my review comes off as condescending, I’m sorry that you do. Certainly I feel that everyone is in their rights to hate / love / feel indifferent.

    I do honestly think that if you approach the book banking on things like Tyrion uniting with Dany and becoming her hand then you’re going hate it. If you come into the book wanting the story to become more focused, then you’re going to be disappointed. Is that sentiment really condescending?

    Downvoting is a useful idea in theory, but it is too easy to abuse. Voting up works well – you can punish something by ignoring it and support what you like.

  558. Knurk
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist: I do honestly think that if you approach the book banking on things like Tyrion uniting with Dany and becoming her hand then you’re going hate it. If you come into the book wanting the story to become more focused, then you’re going to be disappointed. Is that sentiment really condescending?

    no, that sentiment is not condescending because that’s a truth nobody can deny. But your review says: people who don’t like the book didn’t like it because it didn’t play out the way it did in their heads. It sounds like you have the knowledge why we didn’t like the book (condescending in my opinion), but that’s not the case. From the negative reviews I read there is one big gripe with this book: plotmovement. There were just too few things happening in 1000 pages.

    I’m just trying to argue a bit with you here, so don’t think I think all your opinions are bs. But when people are reading reviews on Amazon, they’re not searching for a (not very well founded) analysis why people didn’t like the book. Now if you just said in your review: please don’t go into this book expecting a lot of things to happen and all kind of characters hooking up, but just enjoy the ‘story,’ your review probably wouldn’t have had all that criticism.

  559. purplejilly
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Just a few random thoughts I wanted to share.
    I do like how GRRM includes a lot of plus-sized people in his stories, and includes them being somewhat unapologetic to their size, and love for food. You don’t see that much, or if you do, they are an over-the-top bad guy, like the floating Baron in Dune.

    As I read Dany’s last chapter, I do think he is trying to imply she is miscarrying, without making it too obvious. Which is not too surprising, since MMD has told Dany she will never bear a living child again, so having her get pregnant and miscarry once, or many times, wouldn’t be a shocker, just sad.

    Every time a new character comes along, and things seem to be going well for them, and their stories and details are written out in a complex and compelling manner, I know they are heading straight for GRRM’s pen axe, and he will be killing them soon.. He’s gone too far with this technique, and now the character dying is the rule, rather than the rare exception!

  560. Shinyteapot
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    purplejilly:
    Ahh, I have found something in ADWD that FINALLY made me feel VERY happy.While reading the last Dany chapter, she has a dream about Viserys talking to her.And the whole time I read it, I pictured Harry Lloyd back, in his regular Viserys costume and wig, doing the scene with her.And it made me happy. The dialogue is touching, moving, and sad.It will be fabulous when they film it!THAT is something I can look forward to seeing when the show gets to ADWD.

    Likewise. The series needs to get that far just so we can have one more Viserys scene! I’d call that worth all the time and expense :) (however, if the series gets that far and that scene is cut- Fire and Blood!) :p

    In fact, if they could just cut out half the Meereen stuff and give us more of Dany chatting with a vision of Viserys, that would be fine. :)

  561. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    That IS the actual sentiment of the review though. I’ve taken a look at my wording to see if I’ve perhaps misphrased something but honestly (to me, anyway) it feels like the phrasing is respectful. I think that compared to a lot of reviews which say things as if they are fact, I’m pretty open that this is just an opinion.

    I haven’t had that much critcism really (just two vocal people, both of whom I engaged with, which is perhaps a mistake.) The up and downvoting is effectively useless, IMO. It is pretty much like having (D) or an (R) next to your name. One side will upvote you and the other side is going to downvote you regardless. Given that there are more 1 star reviews than 5, and that the detractors are more present than the people who liked it, I’m actually surprised I’m above .500. That’s like having the (D) next to your name and getting elected in Oklahoma, or having (R) and winning a seat in New York.

    Personally I felt like Dance was full of plot movement, especially for a middle book in a series. I do confess the “nothing happens!” criticism confuses the hell out me, because there was a great deal of events occuring. It felt as full of plot movement as any other book in the series to me.

  562. Knurk
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist,

    ok, it’s probably my interpretation then, but somehow these two sentences irked me a bit in a way that you were telling me why I didn’t like the book. And I’m of the opinion the majority of the ‘detractors’ don’t like the book for completely different, more legitimate reasons:

    In my opinion, a lot of the people who are complaining and giving this book one star are merely reacting to the fact that this is not the book they imagined.

    In my opinion, a lot of the people who are complaining and giving this book one star are merely reacting to the fact that this is not the book they imagined.

    But we’re getting a bit off topic here and I need to put this book away because it is filling me with RAGE.

    Final edit:

    The Harpo Marxist: Personally I felt like Dance was full of plot movement, especially for a middle book in a series. I do confess the “nothing happens!” criticism confuses the hell out me, because there was a great deal of events occuring. It felt as full of plot movement as any other book in the series to me.

    And that’s probably why you are searching for other reasons why people don’t like the book (but now I’m probably being condescending). In your eyes a lot of stuff happens, for the peope who don’t like it there just isn’t enough plotmovement (except for Bran and Davos I don’t see how any of the characters have moved on since Swords/Feast).

  563. Mirax
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Knurk: ok, it’s probably my interpretation then, but somehow these two sentences irked me a bit in a way that you were telling me why I didn’t like the book.

    I actually completely agree with your interpretation and feel irked as well! I actually mentioned this just a little bit upthread. I think to say that most people didn’t like it due to their own expectations is simplistic, but I’ve explained all of that in my previous post (which wasn’t directed straight at The Harpo Marxist, but to the general crowd expressing that sentiment) so I won’t type it all out again.

  564. andrea
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    The book arrived today! Just wanted to say to you that you were right (arrived earlier than expected) and… Argentina’s postal system is not bad at all.
    Beginning to read now.
    Luckily, my English dictionary is as huge as the book.

  565. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    I see how those sentences could come off badly – especially in a vaccuum. They certainly weren’t meant to come off like that – the idea was more along the lines of SOME people are reacting probably more negatively than they otherwise would because of etc. etc. It wasn’t intended to mean “Everyone who hates this book has this misconception.” Though now I can see how some people might take it that way.

    I’ll try to fix it so the language a bit when I get chance. This (and the typos) are what comes from having to compose rapidly while at work. Thank you for the input, Knurk.

  566. andrea
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    Ups! as I didn´t read the previous reviews didn´t know what you think about the book but now I read the last two and I´m sorry… you wait so long for this book.
    I hope you don´t disappear completely from this thread. Give me some time to finish it!

  567. Suvantar
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    purplejilly,

    It’s funny: when I sit down and count the number of main characters who are undeniably deceased, it’s not a very large number. The trick in this series is remembering which characters are aware of the true dispositions of the other characters.

    Undeniably dead: Ned. Robert. Joffrey. Robb. Drogo. Viserys. Oberyn Martell. Gregor (mostly dead). Lysa Arryn. Beric Dondarrion. Quentyn Martell. Renly.

    Here’s where it gets tricky: the remaining Stark children, except for Sansa, are presumed dead by most of Westeros, the readers know they are not (assuming Rickon isn’t dead). Aegon was presumed dead a long time ago, so almost no one on Westeros is aware of his existence. Brienne is still ambulatory. Catelyn is, too, though I’m not sure it can be called living in her case. Sandor Clegane: we don’t know for sure one way or the other. Davos is assumed to be dead by most people in the book. Stannis now.

    I’m sure there are more. The point I’m getting at is that aside from Ned, none of the main POV characters are actually dead dead. Martin hasn’t killed off but 1 main character. Lots of important characters have died, obviously, but only Ned was a POV as far as I can recall.

  568. Knurk
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    andrea,

    haha Andrea, I’ll never leave this board untill D&D are saying they will literally adapt ADWD chapter for chapter, word for word (that’s gonna be a problem). I LOVE your reaction toward the show and the books, don’t let my grrumpy opinion get in the way of you. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the book more than I did! Please let me know how you feel about it (and also interesting, comparing this book to AFFC). BTW, I told Maxima to tell her minions to deliver that package asafp: I still think it was delivered too late!
    (why the heck are you reading this thread by the way? you’re lucky that there’s not a lot going on this book or you would have been spoilered to death reading these comments!!!)
    The Harpo Marxist,

    don’t worry mate, reading your previous comments on this board I knew you weren’t an apologist but that you genuinely loved the book. I just wished I could have your take on the book.

  569. coltaine777
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Maxwell James:
    coltaine777,

    That’s interesting. I wonder how many people who were very disappointed with the last two books were so because, at least in part, they expect the 7 kingdoms will have to be reunited by the end.

    I don’t expect that. I’ve long figured that in the end the seven kingdoms will be seven again, not one. That whoever does stop the Others will receive no glory for it. So for things to still be in a state of chaos by the end of book 5 seems sensible to me.

    Interesting opinion…you may be right..we will see…

  570. coltaine777
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    metalgoddessamb:
    I think the Davos chapters were some of the best in the book.His chapters at least had some forward story movement, and had revelations in them that we didn’t know before.and I’m not talking about Davos being alive,I just knew he wasn’t dead.

    We find out that Lord Manderly is a staunch Stark loyalist, and has no intention of bowing down and accepting the Bolton’s as his liege lord.And we find out that he knows Rickon is alive, and wants to rescue him.

    to me, this is some of the best development in the book.

    AGREED !!!

  571. Mary
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Ed,

    Geez, Ed. Lighten up. My comments weren’t an attack on you personally, nor were they an attack on anyone else on this site. What is it with message boards these days? People think they are sitting behind closed doors and that gives them license to get snarky and rude. Get over yourself. I am of the opinion that Davos and others in the series are not necessary characters. So what?

    For the record, an interesting critique on DWD on Amazon points out that GRRM went from 9 points of view (POVs) in GOT to a combined total of 25 in FFC and DWD. 25! That is an unwieldy mess – no question! The average rating for DWD (with over 500 people voting as of last night) on Amazon is only 3 stars, AND there are a huge number of 1 and 2 star votes.

    If you read the reviews you’ll see that the vast majority of people think that DWD is a confusing mess, and most of the reviewers cite the problems with the ever-increasing POVs, constant new character introduction, and lack of plot movement.

  572. Mary
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Suvantar,

    Interesting your comment on Sansa. I do have to wonder if this is a male/female thing. I am noticing that most males on the site are absolutely freaking out at my assertion that Davos is boring and unnecessary. I was ok with Sansa, although she is one of the original POVs from GOT, so I had a much greater vested interest in her story. Although I do have to say that it can’t be entirely a male/female thing, because I found the Cat chapters really annoying. Not that she wasn’t necessary – just annoying. I’d groan inwardly when I had to read a Catlyn chapter.

  573. andrea
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Knurk: Please let me know how you feel about it (and also interesting, comparing this book to AFFC). BTW, I told Maxima to tell her minions to deliver that package asafp: I still think it was delivered too late!
    (why the heck are you reading this thread by the way?

    I will of course, but I have no idea when I´ll finish reading… This is the second book I read entirely in english (about the only thing I read and reread in english is Shakespeare complete works). What I have in my favor right now is time, loooooooots of time.
    So, you think that MÁXIMA´s ROYAL minions are slow? how dare you?…we’re talking about royalty here! If those minions are argentinians is completely normal to be slow I dare say (I mean, not the brainless way). Probably she should have better slaves but I´m happy for now I didn´t mind the delay. We’ll see what I feel after reading ADwD. I almost always agree with what you say and find it very interesting too so… that does concern me a bit. Well, if I don´t like the book … we´ll rant together. Certainly will not be your fault.
    I didn´t read this thread… well maybe one time my eyes met a killer phrase like “Jon Snow is dead” (8O)… but I stopped screaming now. Don´t worry.

  574. Suvantar
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Mary,

    That’s a fair question. It’s not a matter of male vs. female. I love Arya and Dany both. I groaned at the Sansa chapters not because I think Sansa is a waste of space on the page but because Sansa’s personality annoys me. She’s important TO the story for the same reason that she’s important IN the story: by virtue of her birth. I agree with Arya where Sansa is concerned: “stupid, stupid, stupid.” Now that Sansa is showing a fraction of the courage and gumption of her little sister and doesn’t seem two heartbeats away from curling up in a ball and dying, I find her much less annoying. Most of the characters are important to the story because of something they have done or are doing; Sansa is only important because of who she is. Until recently, Sansa has been nothing more than a claim to Winterfell. She’s STILL really only a claim to Winterfell, but at least she’s a less annoying one.

    Heh. All of that said, I do root for Sansa and I enjoyed the last chapter she had. But I enjoyed it because of Littlefinger.

  575. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Just some random thinking out loud…

    One thing I’d been pondering about in terms of Feast / Dance is how they are reflective of each other. I think we’re invited to compare certain characters. My initial thought was this was mainly about Cersei and Dany. Both are queens, but both have wildly different styles of ruling – and to a large degree both fail to be effective queens. Cersei because she is to selfish, and Dany because she is too selfless.

    As I dig into each novel more thoroughly though, I think the main pairing we’re invited to examine is Littlefinger / Varys. Feast is about Littlefinger’s machinations, and Dance as Varys’s. There is little question in my mind that these two characters play the game of thrones better than any other – and that these are the two most dangerous people in Westeros. In Feast we see Littlefinger continue his ascent, and we come to understand his manipulations, motivations, and plans. Dance gives us the same thing with Varys. The contrast in their styles is awfully compelling to me. We get a lot of Littlefinger’s presence in Feast. He’s a master manipulator, certainly, but he very much needs to be on the board to control it. Varys is fascinating in his absence (and brief presence.) We know more about “the mummer” through the ripples of his plans than through his own direct actions.

    When I do a reread sometime in a year or two, I’m definitely going to try and think about the struggle between these two forces (not good vs. evil so much as vaguely evil vs. eerily sinister) as THE primary struggle. It isn’t really Lannister vs. Stark at the root – it is The Spider vs. Littlefinger.

  576. Art Dude
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I was going to get the book at the library, but it already had 25 holds ahead of me…That would be something like 2 years of waiting. So I managed to find another free copy.

    Just finished it. My expectations were high, and then very low, given the brutal criticisms on amazon.com, among other sites. All I can say to that is WTF??? Especially to the many 1 and 2 star reviews. I enjoyed it just as much as the first three books, and much more than AFFC. (probably due to character POV’s) Sure, there was little resolution of the major plot lines, but what were people expecting from the 5th of (at least) a 7 book series? I also get that there was a fair amount of non-action in the form of travelogue, history, and pondering on political maneuverings. But there was plenty of this in the other books, as well. Maybe it’s just that over time, expectations build. I only started the series a year ago, so the wait was not as long. Perhaps I’ll understand if Winds of Winter, after 3 – 5 years of waiting, doesn’t resolve anything and adds even more plot lines ending in cliff hangers.

    So, Dance for me was 4 out of 5 stars. And I’m left fantasizing about how HBO will film the arena scene with Dany and Drogon. (5th season?) Hope it’s just as good as the final scene of the first season.

  577. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Art Dude,

    I think a lot of the one and two star reviews come from people who did want less loose ends and a streamlined story. I personally understand that desire, but I don’t think Song of Ice and Fire is like that – it never has been.

    The wait certainly helped contribute to the lower ratings. I’ve read a lot of people who blasted the book with 1 or 2 stars and then say things like “If I have to wait 6+ years for WoW, more better happen!” Which to me says that Dance actually left them wanting more. When I want more of something it typically means that I enjoyed it. This is not to say that some people weren’t legitimately like “Eh, this series isn’t what I thought – I’m done.” But I do think there were people who enjoyed the book more than they let on – perhaps not enough to balance out their frustration at having to wait again (or in the first place) – but definitely more than they rated the book.

    In my mind Dance is probably the second best in the series (tied with GoT.) I feel like it had less “wandering” than Clash, and the wandering that was there was really “full” actually. There are a ton of gems in the book, little hidden things that are easy to miss. I suspect it will be a fantastic second read, I feel like I must have only gotten the tip of the iceberg (Beware the perfumed senenschal, and then the name of Tyrion’s boat…. The Frey pie… “Bael”…)

    I always feel like ambition should count for something too – I’d rather read a book that swings for the fences and strikes out over something that goes gor a bunt single and pops out to the catcher (pardon the baseball metaphor.) If I had found everything to fall flat in this book, I’d probably still give it two stars instead of one simply for the attempt.

    The other thing that puzzles me is how a fantasy book like The Name of the Wind gets so many five star nods while people slam Dance. To me there is no comparison at all. At least partially, I think the lower than expected reviews come from a rather sizeable contigent of “anti-fans.” The GRReMlins. Some writers have people who will five star them no matter what (and Martin certainly has those) but Martin is one of the few authors who I think undeniably has a movement of people who will one star him regardless at this juncture. This is not to say that one star is an unwarranted amount to give him for this book – but there are definitely people out there doing it for no other reason than it is GRRM, and the book is Dance With Dragons. *shrug*

  578. Maxwell James
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist,

    It isn’t really Lannister vs. Stark at the root – it is The Spider vs. Littlefinger.

    Great observation. I’d add that much of the action in Feast (especially in Cersei’s chapters, but also to some degree Jaime’s) is as much the result of Littlefinger’s manipulations as the action in Dance is the result of Varys’.

    Art Dude,

    I only started the series a year ago, so the wait was not as long.

    Yeah, I suspect this is a big part of the divisive reviews. I only started the books three years ago, so I can’t fully empathize with people who started them 15 years ago. But I suspect that if I had waited that long I might feel a lot more frustrated with the lack of resolution in Dance, especially given the rather outrageous cliffhangers at the end.

  579. Suvantar
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist,

    I think you’re dead on on the movements between Littlefinger and Varys. I think there are a couple of points to make, however:

    Varys doesn’t seem to have much interest in bettering his own position; so far, anyway. He does very much seem to operate for the betterment of the realm. Littlefinger enjoys more personal gain, and I believe it is all much more of a game to him than it is to Varys. The two aren’t necessarily at odds: LF can get the things he wants without interfering with Varys’s machinations, and Varys’s end game goals have room to include Petyr’s advancements. I don’t know if it would be more fun to see them go head to head or to see them team up.

  580. Knurk
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist: The other thing that puzzles me is how a fantasy book like The Name of the Wind gets so many five star nods while people slam Dance. To me there is no comparison at all. At least partially, I think the lower than expected reviews come from a rather sizeable contigent of “anti-fans.” The GRReMlins. Some writers have people who will five star them no matter what (and Martin certainly has those) but Martin is one of the few authors who I think undeniably has a movement of people who will one star him regardless at this juncture. This is not to say that one star is an unwarranted amount to give him for this book – but there are definitely people out there doing it for no other reason than it is GRRM, and the book is Dance With Dragons. *shrug*

    The Name of the Wind was way, way better than Dance in my opinion (but then again, most books are). And now you’re starting to sound like GRRM who says all those negative reviews on Amazon are from trolls. That’s such bullshit: some people liked the book, more people didn’t. The wait contributed to that, because if someone’s reshaping a story for 6 years it must be good right? GRRM created a certain expectation for quality that he didn’t reach in the eyes of a lot of reviewers.

    I read more reviews of people who weren’t happy with the book but still gave it 3 stars or more than vice versa. Please stop searching for excuses, the Amazon reviews are what they are.

  581. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Knurk,

    Yeah, they (the reviews) are what they are – but there are reasons they are what they are. I’m not searching for excuses – I’m just attempting to define the data we have. You yourself even said the wait contributes to ratings. I think the wait and the GRReMlins both contribute.

    Patrick Rothfuss doesn’t have to worry about a loud contigent of anti-fans, and GRRM didn’t have to worry about that either for his first three books.

    I don’t think all the negative reviews are from trolls. Many are quite “legitimate.” But I do think there are a lot of negative reviews that are blowing things out of proportion and yeah, there are some from trolls (just like there are some positive reviews that are basically thoughtless.)

    The Name of the Wind was just… Ugh. To me it came off as complete juvenile male fantasy. All the minor characters were flat, and the women in particular were just wretched. None of them had an iota of agency – they all existed to be saved by Kvothe or to be his (overly melodramtic) objects of his desire – part of his “epic” story. That alone is enough to put it well below Dance in my opinion.

    The reason that book irks me is because it feeds into the popular stereotypes about fantasy novels – namely that they are male wish fulfillment and largely mediocre in breadth and actual substance.

    I’m dying to know what I missed – why is that book so popular? I’m not liable to change my mind about how reprehensible I find it (at least the criticisms of Dance are literary in nature – too many characters, etc. NOTW is fundamentally flawed, IMO) but nobody can ever seem to tell me why they find that story any good (aside from “well, Sympathy is cool.”) An orphan boy attends a university? He has a one dimensional rival and a teacher that hates him for no reason? And these flat tropes are more appealing to people than the massive, intricately detailed world in Dance… How exactly? People would really rather have everything spelled out in bright neon lights than something that buries all sorts of neat little gems (like delicious Frey pie) to be unearthed?

    I’m not intending to combatitive – these are legitimate questions I have. Nothing is meant personally, FYI. Most of my friends loved NOTW. I don’t know WHY, but apparently the book does something right for some people. I just wish I knew what.

  582. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Suvantar,

    Yeah – I think you nailed it there. Varys is less interested in his “personal” position than LF. They’re actually very similar to Dany / Cersei. One is about the realm, was about their own advancement.

  583. fuelpagan
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist,

    Seems to me you missed quite a lot in NotW. For starters it’s first person and I would never call it epic. The heart of the story is about how stories about heroes get blown out of proportion. Sometimes by the hero himself, sometimes by the witnesses who don’t understand what happened, so they seem like a god.

    If it was truly epic with multiple POV’s and the women where the same way, I would agree with your criticism. But given the primarily one POV, women are going to be seen through his eyes. It would be like judging all the women characters in ASoiaF through the eyes of Tyrion alone.

    What’s funny is in A Wise Man’s Fear, a woman complains to Kvothe that he sees women in the way you are complaining about. So what you see as a flaw in the story is actual a flaw Rothfuss built into the character.

    I’m not saying NotW doesn’t have its flaws, just that I don’t think you are giving it a fair shake and not looking past the surface of the story.

  584. Knurk
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist: Yeah, they (the reviews) are what they are – but there are reasons they are what they are. I’m not searching for excuses – I’m just attempting to define the data we have. You yourself even said the wait contributes to ratings. I think the wait and the GRReMlins both contribute.

    I think you vastly overrate the detractors’ influence. I’m on their forum and they’re a reasonable bunch of people. ALL of them wanted to like the book, some actually did like the book and are free to express their views on the book there. It’s not a bunch of haters who are going to hate no matter what. They’re a group of fans who were forced to create their own fora and blogs because Not-A-Blog and Westeros wouldn’t let them express their opinion about GRRM’s work ethic and quality of Feast (and now Dance). They are not a bunch of trolls spamming Amazon and the rest of the internet with their reviews, you should take a look over there.

    By the way, Rothfuss’ latest book was also years too late (and also not as good as his previous book in my opinion), you can bet your ass there were disgruntled fans too. But people are not giving bad reviews BECAUSE of the wait, but the long wait made fans like me think they were actually busy all those years writing a good book.

    You are searching for a reason why the reviews are what they are, I’ll give you the most obvious one: the book wasn’t good.

  585. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan,

    I understand what Rothfuss was attempting with how he set up the structure of the story – and a lot of that could certainly be interesting (if executed properly.) The problem is I, as a reader, didn’t get a sense that the flatness of the female characters was intentional. Rather, it seemed to me, it was a failure of the author write women. There is a noticeable tone of voice change whenever a female is present on the page. If the second book makes mention of it, I’m sure it isn’t because of a master plan on Rothfuss’s part, I think that he probably heard a common criticism (that he can’t write a character with two X chromosomes to save his life) and then tried to allude to it. Granted, I haven’t read the second book – perhaps he gets better in this department, perhaps not. All I know is that it absolutely sunk the book for me (in conjecture with all the cliches.)

    I misused epic, apologies. I meant it in how it was supposed to pertain to his love affair with Denna (an epic love affair.)

  586. fuelpagan
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    I think Feast and Dance suffer from the fact they are the middle of the story. There is a lot in these books that right now seems like they are unnecessary, but we will appreciate more once we have the rest of the story. I could be wrong, but I’m giving GRRM the benefit of the doubt until I see the rest of the story.

    Almost like a puzzle, right now it seems like a jumbled mess. Once we know how all the pieces fit will we actually be able to judge this book. Personally I like the chaos GRRM appears to have created and look forward to seeing how he brings it all together. But I can see where some see the choas and go “this is crap, he’s lost control of the story”. Both viewpoints right now are valid until we see the rest of the story. Anyway, that’s why I see the mixed reviews being what they are.

  587. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    I don’t really buy it – sorry. I think, in a vacuum, if nobody had really heard of GRRM and all of these books had come out at the same time, then I think Dance would be rated at least as well as Feast. I honestly do. Which leads me to the conclusion that there is something about the context of the situation that is skewing one way or another. I don’t think this is unusual or extraordinary in anyway.

    It is kind of like the Tea Party. They are a minority of people who happen to have a very loud voice at the moment, and they have influence disproportionate to the segment of the population they actually represent.

    Most of the people I know in “real life” are loving Dance. Will they go on Amazon and post a review? Probably not. But I know someone who is half way through right now who – if she hates the book – will definitely post a negative review, but if she likes it then she won’t post one at all. At this moment in time, the more passionate (and vocal) fans are the disappointed ones. They are – of course – totally in their rights to feel that way and act on their feelings. It does mean though, that there is a skew that is not natural. Would you bet your life that if everyone who read Dance automatically had to rate it on Amazon that the numbers would be the same way they are right now? I certainly wouldn’t.

    It seems well liked to me – most professional reviewers and most people I know enjoyed it.

    I do think there is a difference between what is really happening, and what is happening on Amazon. Your “obvious” reason is not, in fact, all that obvious. For reasons I (and many) have gone into, the quality of the book is a matter of opinion.

    We can’t say “this book is terrible” and prove anything – but we can say “It has a lower rating than any other book in the series on Amazon.” That’s a fact. Now, we can interpret that fact in a number of ways. We can say “Not as many people like it, hence the lower ratings.” This is a theory. We can also say something like “The people who don’t like it are more apt to spend their time and energy writing about it than the people who are satisfied.” Also a theory. Statistically, given the circumstances of the release and the existence of fairly organized GRRM detractors (Is Winter Coming? etc.) I’d say that there is a significantly higher probability the latter theory is more accurate.

    In no way am I claiming that any of the detractors are “unreasonable” by the way. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I’ve had some fairly good online discussions with people who disagree with me (such as yourself.) I’ve also had people basically troll me and act rudely too, but hey, it is the internet :). I certainly don’t think one or two bad eggs represent the entire group.

  588. fuelpagan
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist,

    I think it’s pretty unfair to assume the comment was a cover up having not even read the next book. It felt to me like a sharp valid criticism of the character allowing for him to grow beyond seeing women as sex objects and things to be rescued. I’ll have to wait for the next book to see if that is the case. Maybe you never got the uncomfortable feeling around a woman, wondering what you should do, hoping for affection but being scared to death you’ll mess it up, which in the end causes you to mess it up. I guess I was relating to what Kvothe was feeling and ignoring whether or not the author could write women. But for me, Rothfuss nailed how Kvothe couldn’t relate to women.

    Based on your criticisms, it seems to me you see a superficial story and that is all you are allowing yourself to see. But hey, I had a buddy who is a big fantasy fan so I loaned him Game of Thrones and he didn’t like it. Different strokes I guess.

  589. Richard Weetabix
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Hi,

    I’m new to the site, replying to someone, but this question is really for all GRRM vets…

    I knew nothing of the series before the HBO adaptation. Watched it, loved it, devoured Clash of Kings and Storm of Swords in a month. Picked up Feast and Dance and am considering reading them more or less simultaneously, a few chapters of one, a few of the other. For those vets forced to read Feast first, do you think this is a good strategy?

    danceofruin,

  590. fuelpagan
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Richard Weetabix,

    That’s fine. Just make sure when you hit the Areo Hotah chapter in Dance that you are finished with Feast.

  591. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan,

    My problem isn’t how Kvothe relates to women – my problem is how Rothfuss does. None of his female characters have any agency. None. None at all. That’s a huge flaw for me. It shows a lack of understanding of over half the population of the world. A first person perspective is no excuse – plenty of first person characters are misogynistic or can’t relate to women (read, say, American Psycho, for example) but at the same time there is a commentary in the piece about that.

    Westeros is actually a fantastic example of a misogynistic world. If Martin’s huge cast had no women protagonists and if the book wasn’t really commenting on the misogyny then I’d have issues with that. As it is there are a ton of female characters who have a great deal of agency and there is commentary – both explicit and implicit – about the misogyny in that world. The issue he brings up are complicated, and the relationships between the women and the society are nuanced. There’s a real artistic exploration going on there (in my opinion.) With Rothfuss I just see a male writer who can’t write women so he marginilizes them and uses them only as objects of desire to be rescued or to somehow enhance the male protagonist by showing him to be passionate/heroic/shy/etc.

  592. BrianAu
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Harpo Marxist,
    I could not disagree more strongly. The majority of the reviews for Dance are 3′s. People simply do not love this bo0k nor do they absolutely hate it. The comments here reflect that as well. The majority feel that the book rambles and sprawls but does not actually go anywhere. That there are excellent sections but also way too many that seem pointless. I think we all agree that George is brilliant. And I think the overwhelming majority feel that George needed a strong editor in the two past books, and it did not happen.

    Your premise that the haters are more vocal so they make the ratings look skewed is laughable. We are George’s fan base. How many of us readers have read many other books that George has written? We are the same ones that raved about books one through three. We are the same ones that have read all of the 3500 plus pages in the series. We are the same ones that love the HBO show. We are the same ones trying to get people interested in reading the series. And we are the same ones that quite frankly are not totally happy with the last two books.

    Do you honestly expect the reviews to go up for books four and five when the new to the series readers who do not typically read fantasy novels (or as one friend stated anything with a map in the first two pages) but love the HBO show start to read them? Are you kidding me? Do you think they will want to see the indecisive Danerys of book five after seeing the last episode of the show? Are you serious?

    As for the Name of the Wind, I think it is interesting that you bring it up. Because it is IMO excellent. But Wise Men’s Fear is exactly the same scenario as books 4 and 5 of Song of Fire and Ice. Where is the freakin’ editor? All three books have potential to be great but go off the rails. All three have excellent mind blowing scenes. But these scenes are stuck in meandering pointlessness. I am starting to not care about Danerys just like I cringe reading something about Denna. And you know what the ratings for Wise Men’s Fear back it up getting a majority of threes with the majority of us wishing somehow these two great writers would realize that epic and being different does not mean you cannot leave some of the minutiae or leave some of the third tier characters to rest.

    And you know what we will stick through it and read the next books too. We are their fans. It does not mean that we cannot lament that greatness for both of these series is slipping away to something still very good, but not what it could have been.

  593. Obsidian
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Like Art Dude , I was only kept waiting a year or a bit more for this book , and I share his sort of bemusement at all the negative responses. While I hoped for hints to some of the major theories, I never expected any major resolutions, especially knowing that the first half of the book was going to be bringing the missing characters from AFFC up to date with the rest.. and knowing that there would be at least two more books to go before the tale was told.
    As a reader, I’m still at the delicious anticipation stage , but I don’t know if I might feel a bit differently if I’d been waiting as long as some. I do have a certain level of anxiety stemming from the fact that I’m pretty much a contemporary of George. Never mind the morbid contemplations out there of “will he live to complete it”…. will I live to read it , if he does ? ;) ( All men must die , and women too..)

    I do know this, though ( from my many years of day jobs in retail ), there is always a disproportionate number of dissatisfied customers ready and willing to speak up. Those who were satisfied, or even wildly enthusiastic, never feel as motivated to register their thoughts , I never can take things like Amazon customer reviews as definitive. Yes, they can be useful and interesting , but need to be balanced with professional critique as well , and in the end, no critique is going to be as important to you as your own.

  594. Yellow Dog
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan: Richard Weetabix, That’s fine. Just make sure when you hit the Areo Hotah chapter in Dance that you are finished with Feast.

    Ditto to fuelpagan. I would also recommend that you read A Game of Thrones, too – lots of good stuff there that HBO left out, and some of it will make the later books more enjoyable and understandable.

  595. fuelpagan
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist,

    So because American Psycho talks about the inability to relate to women in the same book, that is good, but Rothfuss waited until the next book and that makes it bad and a cover up? Part of the reason Kvothe can’t relate to women is because he hasn’t had much interaction with them beyond his mother and begging on the streets. I see the marginalizing of women as part of the story in his early years and a driving force for the character, you want to make it a flaw of Rothfuss himself. Where in the next book, Kvothe has his ass handed to him by a few different women? It’s the character flaw that lead Kvothe to underestimate them, not a flaw in Rothfuss.

    I’m sorry you don’t like the book and that is fine. But I find this criticism to be baseless.

    It reminds me of the reviews of the first few episodes of GoT and those complaining there are no good women characters in the show.

  596. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    BrianAu,

    George has a fan base, but he also has a group of anti-fans. He didn’t have that group before the long wait. Hence the difference. Some of his fans have turned on him. I’m not saying they aren’t in their right to do that, but my theory on the changes in the ratings is certainly not “laughable.” I don’t think the three star votes are the issue – I think there are plenty of people who gave it one or two stars that would have given the same text higher several years ago. Like Obsidian and Art Dude pointed out.

    What would be laughable would be assuming that certain factors have NO IMPACT AT ALL. (Such has GRReMlins, the wait, etc.) The quality of the book is debateable, we all have opinions. But there are legitimate, solid external factors that can reasonably be considered to contribute to lower ratings. There IS a skew. Like it or not. Does it make the lower opinions somehow invalid? No, not at all. But it is crazy to say that the wait and the GRReMlins aren’t contributing in some fashion.

  597. Knurk
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist: It is kind of like the Tea Party. They are a minority of people who happen to have a very loud voice at the moment, and they have influence disproportionate to the segment of the population they actually represent.

    Tea Party, classic! But where are the vocal GRRuMblers? I’ve never seen them anywhere because they get moderated away by GRRM and Ran&Linda but now suddenly they ALL show up on Amazon? No, those negative reviews come from long time fans who are just dissapointed in this book, and therefore the Amazon rating can be taken seriously. You may be right that a dissapointed fan would sooner post a review than a satisfied fan, but that reasoning also justifies the Amazon-rating because if the book was ‘good’ those fans wouldn’t have posted a review in the first place and the rating would have been higher. I’m not claiming the Amazon-rating is accurate as in 3 stars must mean this book is a 6 out of 10, but if you compare it with other ratings on the site you get a good grasp of how well a book is liked by a big audience (3 stars on Amazon is usually the lowest an average rating goes). I would bet my life that if this book came one year after Feast it would have the same rating btw. I totally respect you and your friends like the book, but the general vibe around the internet for this book is that it’s a clunker.

  598. The Harpo Marxist
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    fuelpagan,

    This criticism is far from baseless. And it has nothing to do with waiting for the next book or not before adding a sentence or two. Don’t be ridiculous. That’s not what I said.

    American Psycho COMMENTS implicitly on the narrator’s attitude towards women. This is because the writing is skilled enough that even through a first person POV we (the reader) can see things the character doesn’t see that the author wants us to. In the case of Rothfuss, he just plain can’t write women.

    It would be one thing if Kvothe thought of them as one dimensional and the reader could see they weren’t – the problem is they ARE just one dimensional. He writes women as if he’s never had a conversation with one. He feels the need to always comment about their physical appearance in terms of how sexually appealing they are (vs his men who have actual physical traits.)

    Over half the population in the world is female. There is a place for a story that is purely male (Glengary Glen Ross, Waiting for Godot, etc.) just like there is a place for a story that has only female characters (The House of Bernarda Alba) but I personally get turned off by anything that completely marginalizes one entire gender for no reason. Romcom’s that have only two guys – the “jerk” and the “nice guy” are pretty pathetic IMO. A fantasy book about a male character who is smarter, better looking, and more skilled than everyone around him that only uses cardboard women as devices to make the male protagonist “cooler” is just as reprehensible and the fluffy romcom.

    If you’re okay with flat, marginilized women, then fine, you can enjoy Rothfuss. For me it hamstrings the other (potentially interesting) things he is trying to do with that novel. There’s nothing “baseless” about feeling that way.

  599. Tom Hazel
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I hate Aegon, he is clearly channeling the spirit of Joffrey…

  600. Obsidian
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Richard Weetabix,

    I’ve already read both books, but i’m now going to do a chronological read of the two. Someone on one of the threads here ( don’t ask me who or where ) has posted a link to a couple of charts detailing which chapters fit where.

    The one I printed out is entitled ” My Reading Order for a feast and Dance Megabook ” . You might want to google.

  601. Knurk
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    The Harpo Marxist: George has a fan base, but he also has a group of anti-fans. He didn’t have that group before the long wait. Hence the difference. Some of his fans have turned on him. I’m not saying they aren’t in their right to do that, but my theory on the changes in the ratings is certainly not “laughable.” I don’t think the three star votes are the issue – I think there are plenty of people who gave it one or two stars that would have given the same text higher several years ago. Like Obsidian and Art Dude pointed out.

    I’ll add again: those people you call ‘anti-fans’ really, really, really wanted to like the book. I have not read a single review or read any comment of someone who said: because GRRM is such a lazy bastard I’m giving this book 1 star! I did see a few ‘detractors’ who weren’t going to read the book because of the bad reviews on Amazon, and because of those criticisms stated in the reviews they knew they would have the same problems with it. Or people who have already given up on the series, but they’re NOT the people who are giving the bad reviews.

    Fuelpagan: I also think there is a chance this book will probably get better when book 6 and 7 are out. But it’s simply not acceptable for me as