Songs of Ice and Fire – A Dance with Dragons
After a week spent being (only a little) annoyed with everyone who had it & another week (or so) spent actually reading it…I can now *finally* pass some kind of opinions on GRRM’s Dance with Dragons.
Aside from all the critics, Cristi, Adina & Raych all read the book before I did – and came out of it with varying levels of enthusiasm. I think I am, as I usually find myself to be, somewhere in the middle. What everyone noticed – and what I can also attest to – is that a considerable chunk of this book seems like an exercise in prevarication & evasion. And I’ll be blunt, I don’t care all that much about the history of Valyria or the Free Cities, about the relatives of whatever minor character pops up etc…building a world & a certain atmosphere takes time, but once you’ve built that world (and I do consider 4000 pages some serious building) you could get to the point quicker before you reach 5000. I’m just sayin’. I’m a little frustrated too, because it seems that we are nowhere nearer to tying together all the threads – if anything, the ball is ever more tangled than at the end of book 4. Plus, now I have….GRRM knows how many years to wait for it all to unravel.
But anyways, I’ll go through my usual roster of characters (with spoilers, obviously):
– Jon is…presumably dead. He wasn’t exactly a great Lord Commander – he’s not a uniting force within the Night’s Watch, but he tried to be more inventive and more open to the actual peril (the whole business with the wildlings). In the end, he didn’t make any allies and didn’t earn much respect either. For the most part, he just seemed to be beating his head against a wall really. But, for all the annoyance of feigned deaths & for all his occasional whining, I would be glad to have him back. (not as an other though)
– Bran has found his 3-eyed crow – only it’s an odd, half-human, half-tree figure living underground. Is he on his way to becoming king of the mole-people? 😛
– Arya is still training in the House of Black and White in Braavos. She’ll make a great killer, but I still wonder how she (or Bran, Rickon or Sansa – the last 2 didn’t even make an appearance in the book) will get swept up in the inevitable fight for Westeros & the crown.
-Daenerys started out as a queen in Meereen and ended up as Khal Jaquo’s possible hostage. But she did ride a dragon & fight various little battles (not necessarily of the kind that require swords) inbetween. Ser Barristan is still her loyal subject & Quentin Martell popped up at her court asking for her hand on the basis of a pact made by their parents (for other children, true, but who’s counting). Too bad he came on the eve of her wedding to Hizdahr, a son of Meereen who promised her peace in the Free Cities – and eventually this little adventure of his (and his attempt to steal a dragon) got him good and roasted. Good riddance, I say – one less character to track.
– Tyrion escaped to Essos, as we all know, and went from lord to slave and now to mercenary – member of a company of sellswords (they’re all the rage in that side of the world apparently). He’s clever as ever, but I was really hoping he’d get to meet and advise Dany – a goal which couldn’t be more distant. He did meet, on his way, a couple of resurrected characters (they were only presumeddead, but still 😀 ): Jon Connington, former Hand of the King and friend of Rhaegar Targaryen and…Aegon Targaryen, Rhaegar’s son, Daenery’s nephew, believed to have been killed by Gregor Clegane on Tywin Lannister’s order. Our friendly spider Varys was the one to save him and he has, apparently, been grooming him for kingship. Hopefully, that world is big enough to accommodate 2 Targaryens and 3 dragons 😉
– the other Lannisters aren’t exactly having the best time: Jamie only got one chapter, at the end of which he left with Brienne – since then, there’s only been word that he’s “lost in the riverlands” (did Brienne buy her life with his? I wouldn’t have thought it her style, but hanging can probably alter personalities a bit :D). Cersei did her walk of shame and she’s supposed to be excluded from any position of power but….her uncle Kevan was just killed by Varys. So…who knows, really, what she’ll do next? I assume the meek persona she’s displaying is just a facade…
– Stannis is dead, according to Ramsay Bolton. But since it’s this creep’s word we’re talking about, I wouldn’t be so sure. And speaking of Ramsay – he’s turned Theon Greyjoy into a shell of a man…but I can’t say I feel bad for Theon. What he did with Winterfell can’t be erased with a bit of flaying and some fingers.
All in all….everyone’s still scattered, and the dice are up in the air. But they’d better fall somewhere and make some moves in the next 2000 pages – otherwise we’ll be waiting for the 10th volume by 2031 😀
And a non-connected bonus: the cast of GoT+GRRM+the 2 creators & producers @ Comic Con.