Review of A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

So I finally got around to finishing A Dance with Dragons. I had started this book sometime last year, but put it down for a while and just circled back around to it recently. If it had been written by anyone other than George and was a series which I had not already spent a good deal of time with, I probably wouldn’t have finished it at all. The first three books in the series are amazing and are still the best fantasy books I’ve ever read. If you’re interested in reading A Song of Ice and Fire, I’d highly recommend reading the first three books and stopping there. To know what happens in the next two books, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, I’d recommend just reading summaries of them somewhere on the web. Both books four and five are lengthy like the first three, but nothing significant really happens in either of them. And I really mean nothing significant. I cannot recall one event that stands out in either novel. Questions still loom from the end of Storm of Swords which have never been addressed. I was hoping for some reference back to what happens in the epilogue of Storm of Swords but you can’t find it anywhere.

Maybe I just missed the answers to some of these questions because I found myself speed reading to get through A Dance with Dragons. Most of the story goes nowhere. I even found myself bored with the series’ favorite characters: Tyrion and Jon. Tryion spends the entire novel, it seems, journeying to find Daenerys. Jon spends his entire time at the wall fortifying the wall. That’s about it. Some of the lesser characters I actually found more interesting in this novel. Bran’s storyline was intriguing to me for once, and then about halfway through, his POV stops and Martin never comes back to him. I personally wanted to read more of his narrative.

I’m not sure at this point what George intends to do with the series. The end of A Dance with Dragons certainly concludes with another cliffhanger, but at this point, can I be confident the final two books will be interesting enough to hold my attention for 2,000 additional pages? I don’t mean to sound too negative in this review. To highlight some good points, Martin’s writing style and his attention to detail and knowledge of his characters are unparalleled. I do enjoy reading his words as they are always so carefully chosen and fluid. Since I’ve invested so much time in the series, I will read the final two books, but I was disappointed with this one. By now, the story should be picking up at a faster rate, and instead, it felt like I was trudging through mud (or snow if you’re beyond the wall).

If this had been a standalone book by any other author, I would have given it two stars and probably not finished it. But because it’s George and I do think he is one of the best fantasy writers of all time, I’ll give it three.

George R.R. Martin to Develop New Series for HBO

According to Deadline.com, “George R.R. Martin, on whose fantasy book series HBO‘s hit drama Game Of Thrones is based, has signed a two-year overall deal with the pay cable network. Under the pact, Martin will continue as co-executive producer on Game Of Thrones, whose Season 3 premieres March 31. Additionally, he will develop and produce new series projects for the network.”

Read more at Deadline.

Read article at Screenrant.

Are you serious? More projects for George? Personally — and I’m sure a lot of fans of the series feel this way — he needs to concentrate on finishing the last two books in the series before undertaking new projects. Now granted, he can do whatever he wants, and I don’t blame him for wanting to take a break from the series and do other stuff; just as a fan, I’d like to see him finish the series because of the time we’ve invested as readers. At this rate, he is producing a new book about once every five years, and at his age, who knows? Will it become like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and George will never finish it?

Thoughts? 

Early connection between George R.R. Martin and Neil Gaiman

Interesting article by Trent Moore about how George Martin rejected an idea from Neil Gaiman before Gaiman became a well-known author.

When you’re successful, you get a lot of pitches from other people who want to be successful. A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin has been selling books for decades, so it’s no surprise he’s been approached by lots of folks wanting to get in on the action. Apparently, one of those wannabe writers was a young Neil Gaiman.

Read more…

HBO’s Game of Thrones – Season 2 Production Video

Game of Thrones, season 2, premiers April 2012. The second season is based on A Clash of Kings, the second book in George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. If HBO creates each season on each of the books in the series, they will make it to season six before book six is even published. They better slow down.

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. MartinThe release date for A Dance with Dragons is only a month away. I speculate how well it will be received since it has been five or so years since the last book. I feel like this series has lost a lot of momentum among readers, though the HBO series has probably revitalized some interest.

Hardcover: 1040 pages
Publisher: Bantam (July 12, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0553801473

Product Description:

Dubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine, George R. R. Martin has earned international acclaim for his monumental cycle of epic fantasy. Now the #1 New York Times bestselling author delivers the fifth book in his spellbinding landmark series–as both familiar faces and surprising new forces vie for a foothold in a fragmented empire.

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again–beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has three times three thousand enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

To the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone–a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge yet. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

And from all corners, bitter conflicts soon reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all. . . .

Game of Thrones on HBO

I’ve had the chance to catch the first two episodes of A Game of Thrones on HBO the past two Sundays. Having read the series, my perspective might be different from someone who hasn’t read any of the books before. I could definitely see how someone who hasn’t read the series could easily be confused with all the characters/families and the back stories. Personally, for example, I don’t feel the series has done a great job yet with explaining how Daenerys Targaryen and her brother, Viserys, ended up exiled away from Westeros. Also, I’m sure the place names can be confusing: Westeros, Essos, The Free Cities, The Seven Kingdoms, King’s Landing, Winterfell, etc. And even though the series hasn’t mentioned all these by the different names yet, it has touched on all of them.

If you have the books, it’s much easier to keep everything straight by referring to the maps and appendices, which visually map out the family trees.  If you don’t have the books, hopefully the HBO series will make everything clearer as the show progresses. Even when reading the books, it can be confusing, but it definitely helps to have the supplemental material.

As far as the characters, I don’t really have a problem with any of them so far, in regards to who the show cast to play the various parts. Everyone at this point is pretty much how I pictured them from the books. They really haven’t done much with Viserys yet though. As a viewer, you’ve yet to see how controlling and mean he is to Daenerys and how whiny he can be. Also, the show actually made me feel sympathetic for Cersei at one point when she was talking about one of her children she lost, and I don’t remember ever feeling sympathy for her character in the books. She is one character I never had a problem with disliking from beginning to end. Characters like Jaime have their redeeming qualities, but Cersei has none.