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Seeker
02-11-2014, 08:50 PM
As far as we know, the Others cannot climb, swim or use boats...and there is a massive fvcking wall of magical ice in the way that they can't pass through.

Thus, they haven't come South yet...there's also about 1000 hints that they can only really attack South during winter which up until the very end of the last book, it wasn't yet that season.

Then make winter come sooner.

Create a plot device that brings down the wall, employ it and quit wasting our time with incest misogyny and character derailment.

rand
02-12-2014, 12:03 AM
No offense, but I think you're missing the point of asoiaf if you think the Others attacking is more central to the story then everything else going on.

Seeker
02-12-2014, 02:34 AM
That is but one, one flaw with this very horrible series. I could write a dissertation on this piece of trash. If you think I was hard on WOT, you haven't seen anything. (Remember, I think that overall WOT was a success).

So, I'll give you the bullet points of why I think this is a horrible piece of writing.

1) Misogyny.

2) Glorification of rape/violence against women.

3) Padding

4) Character derailment. (Specifically Jon Snow)

5) Issues with tone.

6) Overuse/poor use of the "anyone can die" trope.

7) Lack of coherent narrative. (By the fourth book, it really seems to be a story about random stuff that happened and not a focused narrative, which leads to...)

8) Overuse of shock-value. (Basically, much of the series's appeal is rooted in "I can't believe he went there." And since that's really the only trick that Martin knows to keep his audience interested, he has to go to greater and greater extremes with each book).

9) A complete lack of understanding of the "Law of Conservation of Detail."

10) Two many thin, two-dimensional characters. Not enough time and attention given to the few three-dimensional characters.

I'll stop there for now.

GonzoTheGreat
02-12-2014, 03:23 AM
10) Two many thin, two-dimensional characters. Not enough time and attention given to the few three-dimensional characters.
Two many? Are you sure it isn't three many, or even four many? :p

SauceyBlueConfetti
02-12-2014, 10:21 AM
Then make winter come sooner.

Create a plot device that brings down the wall, employ it and quit wasting our time with incest misogyny and character derailment.


There is a plot device for bringing down the wall, and it was hinted quite heavily in the last couple books. I actually think that is soon to occur. Soon being a relative term in the world of GRRM though.

No offense, but I think you're missing the point of asoiaf if you think the Others attacking is more central to the story then everything else going on

Errrrrm. The name of the series is A SONG of ICE and FIRE
THE focus from the first book was the ice and the danger/threat from the Others. Fire slowly made its way into the conversation by book 3 (if you discount the dragons and Dany earlier as the Fire bit)

Either way, I am reading just to finish what I started. I absolutely LOVED the first book. LOVED. I have lost a ton of respect for GRRM over the years now though, and the padding Seeker refers to is my major issue. He has his eyes on the television series now...which is understandable as that is his background and more of a passion (assumed, anyway) for him. The last book just pissed me off.

Brita
02-12-2014, 10:36 AM
I absolutely LOVED the first book. LOVED. I have lost a ton of respect for GRRM over the years now though, and the padding Seeker refers to is my major issue. He has his eyes on the television series now...which is understandable as that is his background and more of a passion (assumed, anyway) for him. The last book just pissed me off.

I only read the first book, when I thought it was a completed trilogy. I really enjoyed it. But when I found out it is another series with a million books planned, I stopped there. After WoT and the heartbreak of Jordan's death, I was reluctant to read any more series until they are completed. I am not so reluctant now (time has passed), but I am not sure I will pick this series up again. I am not big on shock for shock's sake- like...at all.

Seeker
02-12-2014, 12:37 PM
There is a plot device for bringing down the wall, and it was hinted quite heavily in the last couple books. I actually think that is soon to occur. Soon being a relative term in the world of GRRM though.

I know. :) It's a horn. My point was that a lot of people justify bad writing (in this case padding) by appealing to the dynamics of the fictional universe. itself. But the author set up those dynamics, so if there's a problem, it's still on him. If the logistics of your fictional universe force you to pad the story, it's a world building fail.



Errrrrm. The name of the series is A SONG of ICE and FIRE
THE focus from the first book was the ice and the danger/threat from the Others. Fire slowly made its way into the conversation by book 3 (if you discount the dragons and Dany earlier as the Fire bit)

Either way, I am reading just to finish what I started. I absolutely LOVED the first book. LOVED. I have lost a ton of respect for GRRM over the years now though, and the padding Seeker refers to is my major issue. He has his eyes on the television series now...which is understandable as that is his background and more of a passion (assumed, anyway) for him. The last book just pissed me off.

Exactly. The threat of winter is the overarching plot. It's the single narrative thread that binds everyone together. Which is why executing that thread would bring about a big improvement in the story. As I've said many times, characters need to be making choices and for that, the plot has to move forward.

I liked the first book. I thought it was very well done but subsequent volumes have demonstrated that Martin is a one-trick pony.

rand
02-12-2014, 03:17 PM
I'm certainly not going to defend GRRM, because I agree with a lot of Seeker's points. That said, I still don't think the main focus of the series is ultimately about the Others. Yes, it will probably come down to that in the last book, but as of now there's like, what...two or three pages devoted to the Others? It's not like WoT where pretty much each and every PoV is in some way related to defeating the DO (some obviously more distantly related than others). The vast majority of the characters in asoiaf are either ignorant of or couldn't care less about the Others. I think the final confrontation between the good guys and the bad guys is ultimately just a secondary focus compared to all the confrontations between the real characters in the story. That's why I enjoy it, at least--if it was just about the Others, then it would just be another good vs. evil story.

Seeker
02-12-2014, 04:11 PM
I think you're making the mistake of assuming that a story is about whatever topic occupies the most pages. That's not how it works. A story is organized around a central plot-line which is almost always set up early in the first book/film/episode. There are sub-plots that are related to the main plot by varying degrees. (Some have almost nothing to do with it) but every story has a central focus. (Or it's not a story).

Now, there can be diversions from the main plot and in many cases those diversions are wonderful. Rand and Min in WOT. That relationship was not necessary to tell the story of defeating the Dark One but it made the story so much better by its presence. Sometimes these diversions mean that large chunks of the book are not delving into the main plot line. This can be a good thing; however, the audience will only tolerate it for so long.

The central plot line is almost always something that affects all the characters involved. (In the case of epic fantasy, that means the entire world). It's almost never something that is specific to only one character. The exception, of course, being stories that are about one character and JUST one character.

So, if it happens that the vast majority of your pages (over 90% where ASOIAF is concerned) are not focused on your central plot, then you're fucking up.

rand
02-12-2014, 05:21 PM
The central plot (as set up halfway through book 1 or so) is "who will rule Westeros after King Robert is killed?" Granted, you can add a "and how will they deal with the threat of the Others?" to the end of that, but the conflict regarding the rule of Westeros (the "game of thrones") is the main point of the story, and is what each of the five books is about. I think you can blame GRRM for continuously adding new contenders for the throne, even in book 5, but I also think it's hard to deny that this conflict is more central to asoiaf then the Others.

Seeker
02-12-2014, 05:49 PM
The central plot (as set up halfway through book 1 or so) is "who will rule Westeros after King Robert is killed?" Granted, you can add a "and how will they deal with the threat of the Others?" to the end of that, but the conflict regarding the rule of Westeros (the "game of thrones") is the main point of the story, and is what each of the five books is about. I think you can blame GRRM for continuously adding new contenders for the throne, even in book 5, but I also think it's hard to deny that this conflict is more central to asoiaf then the Others.

That would work if there weren't constant allusions to the coming of the "others" as some apocalyptic event. As a rule, the central plot is the "biggest" blot in the story, the one that affects everyone. Who will become King or Queen of Westeros is a moot point when you're looking at the end of the world. The structure of the first three books makes it clear that the War of Five Kings was a side conflict. The humans use up all their forces fighting each other, leaving them weak and helpless when it comes time for the invasion. It's a classic villain's gambit, similar to what we saw with the White Tower conflict in WOT. Why waste your forces slaughtering the good guys when you can turn the good guys against each other. Now, the Others do not appear to be directly responsible for the War of Five Kings but the structure of the story still has that as a prelude to the main event.

So even if we accept "Who will be King" as the main story, there's still a problem. If you're central story is overshadowed by something as big as the god damn Apocalypse (or some variation thereof) you're fucking up.

rand
02-13-2014, 12:13 AM
So even if we accept "Who will be King" as the main story, there's still a problem. If you're central story is overshadowed by something as big as the god damn Apocalypse (or some variation thereof) you're fucking up.
I don't think it is overshadowed by it, though. You could completely cut out every mention of the Others and still have more or less the exact same story that's already in the books. Yes, I know the Others will enter the main story eventually and have a role to play, but I think that role is second fiddle to all the battles/murders/betrayals, etc. that have been the main (and only, really) focus of the story.

Or put it this way. If book 1 had introduced the Others and explained their diabolical plan to take over the world or whatever, and then shown them directly sparking conflict in Westeros, and then had everyone all up in arms about what to do about the Others, you'd have a point. But that's no what happens. There is almost zero focus on the Others. I honestly don't think GRRM intended his books to focus on good vs. evil. It kind of cheapens the story to think of it that way IMO, so I can see why you're disappointed with it if you're waiting for the Others to attack Westeros any second and thinking of all the other PoVs as filler.

Matoyak
02-13-2014, 02:40 AM
GRRM's stuff is one of the prime examples of how NOT to do Darker and Edgier, Kill 'em All, and Anyone Can Die.* I continue to be shocked by how much people enjoy those books. I gave the series a fair shake - read books 1-3. Book 1 was great. 2 and 3, however... blegh. Completely monotonous. The guy has zero concept of tone.

* In particular I get annoyed at how much credit he gets for doing these tropes "well", when he handles them about as deftly as, I dunno, Microsoft handled PR for the Xbox One. He's horrible at them, and yet gets all kinds of accolades for it. Boggles the mind.

Daekyras
02-13-2014, 08:07 AM
That is but one, one flaw with this very horrible series. I could write a dissertation on this piece of trash. If you think I was hard on WOT, you haven't seen anything. (Remember, I think that overall WOT was a success).

So, I'll give you the bullet points of why I think this is a horrible piece of writing.

1) Misogyny.

2) Glorification of rape/violence against women.

3) Padding

4) Character derailment. (Specifically Jon Snow)

5) Issues with tone.

6) Overuse/poor use of the "anyone can die" trope.

7) Lack of coherent narrative. (By the fourth book, it really seems to be a story about random stuff that happened and not a focused narrative, which leads to...)

8) Overuse of shock-value. (Basically, much of the series's appeal is rooted in "I can't believe he went there." And since that's really the only trick that Martin knows to keep his audience interested, he has to go to greater and greater extremes with each book).

9) A complete lack of understanding of the "Law of Conservation of Detail."

10) Two many thin, two-dimensional characters. Not enough time and attention given to the few three-dimensional characters.

I'll stop there for now.

Quoted for truth.

If you write a series that relies on "subverting the common tropes of the genre" as Martin has said he is doing then pretty quickly you BECOME a Trope.

Recently I have read dozens of book reviews with references to the author "doing a GRR Martin" etc and even Brandon referring to his "moment" which i assumed was Birgitte and not Egwene.

In the end his own limitations have held him back and the last two books were exercises in time wasting.

I loved the first book, enjoyed the next(two) but it has since fallen into close to unreadble territory.

Edit: I dont like agreeing with you seeker so i felt the need to go write a half assed response to your Love of mistborn in the "Does the one Power work" thread. Keeping the world in one piece is a delicate job :)

GonzoTheGreat
02-13-2014, 08:13 AM
I loved the first book, enjoyed the next(two) but it has since fallen into close to unreadble territory.
Which is a good reason for not judging a series until it is actually finished, unless the books can also be read stand alone. There are authors who seem to have good ideas and write mainly good books, but then totally fail at the end. There may also be writers who write lousy books but save it all with a perfect ending, but I can't remember having read such a case, which may of course be because I didn't finish such a book. And there's Arthur C. Clarke, who has brilliant ideas and writes boring books; dunno how to rate him.

yks 6nnetu hing
02-13-2014, 08:22 AM
Which is a good reason for not judging a series until it is actually finished, unless the books can also be read stand alone. There are authors who seem to have good ideas and write mainly good books, but then totally fail at the end. There may also be writers who write lousy books but save it all with a perfect ending, but I can't remember having read such a case, which may of course be because I didn't finish such a book. And there's Arthur C. Clarke, who has brilliant ideas and writes boring books; dunno how to rate him.

Bolded bit: Orson Scott Gard and the whole Ender world - book 1 reads excellently as a stand-alone but....

GonzoTheGreat
02-13-2014, 09:32 AM
I was thinking of the Discworld series, where basically every book is at least good, but the series won't have any actual "last battle" or the like.
But I do admit that Ender's Game is a good book too.

Matoyak
02-13-2014, 01:31 PM
If you write a series that relies on "subverting the common tropes of the genre" as Martin has said he is doing then pretty quickly you BECOME a Trope.Except that he's using tropes that were already in existence, already prevalent, and already done better. He's not subverting anything - he was just using a different (yet already in existence in moderate quantities) collection than what was mainstream at the time. Clumsily. He hasn't become a trope - he's simply become the face for tropes he mangled.

Uno
02-13-2014, 07:40 PM
Who will become King or Queen of Westeros is a moot point when you're looking at the end of the world.

Not necessarily. Not if having the rightful king on the throne is central to preventing the coming doom. The idea that the world will be out of order and nothing can truly be right until the true monarch returns is older than your average hill, though that's more along the lines of Tolkien's thinking than Martin's.

Seeker
02-13-2014, 07:53 PM
Sure.

But that doesn't change the fact that nothing has happened for three books now.

I mean maybe the plot of the Others is directly tied to who wins the throne but he's still bungling it with pointless padding.

Daekyras
02-14-2014, 05:14 AM
Except that he's using tropes that were already in existence, already prevalent, and already done better. He's not subverting anything - he was just using a different (yet already in existence in moderate quantities) collection than what was mainstream at the time. Clumsily. He hasn't become a trope - he's simply become the face for tropes he mangled.

I completely agree with you on this point. I was not trying to suggest he invented them, just that he went against the most common tropes.

And that he sucks.

GonzoTheGreat
02-14-2014, 06:53 AM
I completely agree with you on this point. I was not trying to suggest he invented them, just that he went against the most common tropes.

And that he sucks.
Well, that common tripe is common precisely because it usually works better, so the fact that he can't make things work if he tries to avoid it is not all that surprising. It might have been a good idea if he'd thought of that a bit earlier, though, rather than now when he finds out that he has no clue how to end his series.

Matoyak
02-14-2014, 12:56 PM
It might have been a good idea if he'd thought of that a bit earlier, though, rather than now when he finds out that he has no clue how to end his series.Eh, it's a feeling he's probably used to - he didn't know how to write anything but a good opening to begin with. Not having a clue what to do next is right up his alley.

...

...

Have I mentioned I really dislike this series? If not: I really dislike this series. A stupid, excessive amount.

Seeker
02-15-2014, 08:31 PM
Okay.

There's a trope called the Hero's Journey. Most people know it even if they're not aware of the name. It's basically the plot of the Hobbit. (the book, not the stupid film trilogy).

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheHerosJourney

So, what George Martin did was subvert this trope in his first book. The first novel really makes it look like Ned is going to be our central hero. Maybe even the future king of Westeros. Ned's story takes up most of the narrative with daughters' stories joined to his at the hip. By the end of the book, you've built up Ned in your mind as the hero.

Then Martin kills him.

It was a bold move. A very well-executed subversion. So, George Martin realized that his fans liked that twist so much, he may as well use it again... and again... and again and again and again.

So, he uses it again with Catelyn, with Robb, with Brienne, with Arya, with Jon (I had to look that one up. Apparently, he gets an arrow in the chest in the fifth book). And so on and so on. But of course, the trick gets old. So, he has to start going to bigger extremes.

More incest.
More torture.
With even more graphic descriptions.

There's no story anymore. Nothing that happens seems to affect anything else that happens. It's all random and never builds to anything. This isn't a fantasy series anymore, it's a freak show in literary form.

rand
02-15-2014, 11:29 PM
Just pointing this out, but the only character on your list that actually gets killed permanently is Robb--and at the end of the day he isn't even a PoV character, and he'd really stopped being important to the story anyway.

Assuming Jon is still alive (and he gets stabbed btw, but odds are he's not dead or will be resurrected), GRRM has only used the "kill off the main character" trick once, with Ned.

Also, characters like Dany and Jon still more or less have their own individual Hero's Journeys.

Seeker
02-16-2014, 12:19 AM
Just pointing this out, but the only character on your list that actually gets killed permanently is Robb--and at the end of the day he isn't even a PoV character, and he'd really stopped being important to the story anyway.

Rand, you have the amazing ability to rationalize anything, don't you? Robb was a contender to the crown and you JUST told me that the story of who becomes king is the CENTRAL PLOT-LINE OF THE BOOK!

That makes him one of the most important characters in the story. You don't have to be a point of view character to be important. The Sherlock Holmes series is told from the POV of Watson and yet Holmes is the most important character.

Assuming Jon is still alive (and he gets stabbed btw, but odds are he's not dead or will be resurrected), GRRM has only used the "kill off the main character" trick once, with Ned.

Robb?

For a while there he was building it up so that it really looked like Robb was going to win. Then he pulled the same trick again.

Yes, Catelyn's undead and I don't know what happened to Brienne (nor do I care). The point is, he keeps his audience entertained with a very small bag of tricks.

Gratuitous sex scene with rape overtones.
Incest.
Gratuitous torture scene.
Depictions of human depravity.

Not story. The books are ten percent story, ninety percent padding and peppered "freak-show" scenes.
In other words, it's all shock-value. "How low is he going to go this time?"

I am not opposed to dark themes/motifs in a story if they serve the plot. I am not opposed to reading about torture or incest or rape if it serves the plot. I would advise any writer to have a care when dealing with such subject matter and be respectful of it but if it serves the plot of a well-written story, I can accept it and even praise it.

But Martin doesn't write about these things to further his story. He does them for two potential reasons. Either a) he really likes thinking about that stuff, which makes him a bit of a depraved psycho or b) He knows that he can cash in on the shock-value. Take your pick.

Seeker
02-16-2014, 12:33 AM
RJ kept us entertained with story. He set up lots of wonderful subplots and then advanced them.

Which girl is Rand going to choose?
Who's the Daughter of the Nine Moons.
How do you cleanse the taint?
Can Perrin save Aram before he goes Dark Side?
Berelain vs Faile.
What's up with Lews Therin?
Will Egwene learn to negotiate White Tower politics?


Yes, his series got bogged down toward the end of his career - and yes that is a flaw - but he kept us entertained with story. Which is what he's supposed to do. He kept us entertained by making us wonder, speculate and wait with baited breath to see what happens next. That's why Theoryland exists.

I can't think of a single scene in WOT that I would call depraved. And though he most definitely wrote about torture, it developing Rand into the kind of person who has the strength of character to overcome that pain and embrace compassion.


Martin doesn't do that.

rand
02-16-2014, 01:02 AM
Robb gets killed off and the war for the throne continues without pause. New contenders step up to take his place. So I don't see how Robb dying affects the "game of thrones" from being the central focal point when there are plenty of other people still fighting for the throne.

When Ned was killed we'd spent an entire book and hundreds of pages of PoVs with him. When Robb was killed, we'd never once been given a glimpse into his head. No, he doesn't have to be a PoV character to be important. But to say that Robb was the biggest contender is a big stretch, as is equating his importance in book 3 with Ned's importance in book 1.

As for the rest, it's your opinion. RJ and GRRM have different writing styles. GRRM isn't trying to write like someone like RJ and doing a bad job of it, he's writing the story the way he wants to write it. He's writing exactly how HE wants to, not how YOU want him to. Like I've said before, I agree with a lot of your complaints about GRRM.

There are entertaining subplots that people make theories about in asoiaf too, so I'm not really sure where you're going with that.

GonzoTheGreat
02-16-2014, 03:21 AM
Who's the Daughter of the Nine Moons.
Can you explain to me why that was a puzzle at all?
At most, there were two potential contenders: the Seanchan Empress, or her Daughter Heir. The latter seemed more likely, considering the "daughter" part. And this had been clear ever since book 2, when the Court of the Nine Moons was mentioned a number of times.

Tomp
02-16-2014, 04:33 PM
Well, that common tripe is common precisely because it usually works better,

I have nothing to add on this topic since I've never eaten or cooked tripe. :p

Seeker
02-16-2014, 05:58 PM
Robb gets killed off and the war for the throne continues without pause. New contenders step up to take his place. So I don't see how Robb dying affects the "game of thrones" from being the central focal point when there are plenty of other people still fighting for the throne.

Five finalists are competing for Miss America. One is eliminated from the competition. But no... That doesn't affect the other four in any way!

This is what I mean when I say you rationalize stuff. Normally I make it a policy to take people at their word but you can't honestly believe what you just wrote there.

Add to that the fact that Robb was set up to be the only king with a conscience, the only one who seemed to give a damn about his people and not the pomp and circumstance of royalty and yes, he was a pretty damn important character.

When Ned was killed we'd spent an entire book and hundreds of pages of PoVs with him. When Robb was killed, we'd never once been given a glimpse into his head. No, he doesn't have to be a PoV character to be important.

So then why is the issue of whether we get a glimpse into his head relevant?


But to say that Robb was the biggest contender is a big stretch, as is equating his importance in book 3 with Ned's importance in book 1.

He was the one the audience cheered for. The one we wanted to win. It doesn't matter if he was the least likely to win. (in fact, that makes him even more of an important character).

And again, the complaint isn't so much that he died as it is that George Martin just used the same stupid trick over and over again.

As for the rest, it's your opinion. RJ and GRRM have different writing styles. GRRM isn't trying to write like someone like RJ and doing a bad job of it, he's writing the story the way he wants to write it.

And doing a bad job of it.

He's writing exactly how HE wants to, not how YOU want him to. Like I've said before, I agree with a lot of your complaints about GRRM.

Recall what I said to Weird Harold. Just because an author "wants" to do something doesn't mean doing it was a good move.

There are entertaining subplots that people make theories about in asoiaf too, so I'm not really sure where you're going with that.

I'm trying to think back and recall the subplots I really cared about.

I remember wanting Sansa to fall in love with Tyrion as a way to develop her character out of the "spoiled, vapid little girl" that was still lingering at that point. But Martin nixed that relationship.

I remember wanting Dany to get off her ass and join the rest of the cast already... If my guess is right, we're still waiting for that.

I remember wanting Jamie to become a kinder person, a more responsible person.

I can't for the life of me say I cared about what happened to Jon. I know I was supposed to, that he was the one who was most likely to complete a hero's journey but he was just such a bland character to me. (I could go into detail about why but to summarize it's because his character traits are always shifting to whatever is convenient for the plot). Now he's been stabbed. I hope he dies.

I remember losing interest in Arya around the end of the second book/beginning of the third. Because she spends most of the third being dragged about by one group or another and not really doing anything or furthering her arc and then by the fourth she seems to be turning into a cold-blooded killer. But I will admit that the Arya parts are the only good part in a Feast For Crows. If that sounds contradictory, it's a case of I didn't like where her character was going but at least her character was going somewhere. (As in I don't have to personally like something to recognize whether it works as a piece of fiction).

It's hard to remember.

I couldn't give a fuck about Cersei. Reading her POV was always a chore for me.

Even when he started getting his own POVs, Sam was too much of a side character for me to get that invested in him. I was happy that he finally had a love story but that's it.

Now, there's a lot of personal taste in all of this and I will freely admit that most of what I've said here in this last section applies to me and me alone. However, I will say that objectively speaking, if it becomes clear that you're going to torture most of your characters and bring them to a bad end primarily for shock value, I think most people will start to lose interest.

Then again, what do I know. People watch the Kardashians.

Matoyak
02-16-2014, 07:22 PM
However, I will say that objectively speaking, if it becomes clear that you're going to torture most of your characters and bring them to a bad end primarily for shock value, I think most people will start to lose interest.The issue is that it becomes monotonous. If you do not include points of light, then the darkness blends together. There absolutely has to be contrast in order to make the extremes play out. (You also cannot just jump between extremes, from high to low and back again without fatiguing your audience.)

GRRM almost has a similar problem that, say, Call of Duty has. In CoD, everything is always turned to 11. Every dial is set not just at max, but at "raise the roof" volumes. There are no breathers - it's pure action all the time, always, nonstop. The end result is monotony and boredom from lack of variety. Now, I'm not saying GRRM is all action all the time, or that he lacks action. Just that the concept is the same - variety is absolutely necessary to keep the audience from becoming bored. Variety in tone, action, pace, what have you. He tends to do well on action, is haphazard on pacing, and fails in every possible way on tone. (Variety-wise speaking)

rand
02-16-2014, 10:28 PM
Five finalists are competing for Miss America. One is eliminated from the competition. But no... That doesn't affect the other four in any way!

This is what I mean when I say you rationalize stuff. Normally I make it a policy to take people at their word but you can't honestly believe what you just wrote there.
What are you talking about? I said Robb's death doesn't affect the fact that the the game of thrones is the central focus of the story, not that it doesn't affect any of the other characters. The battle over the throne goes on despite the fact that Robb kicked the bucket.

Add to that the fact that Robb was set up to be the only king with a conscience, the only one who seemed to give a damn about his people and not the pomp and circumstance of royalty and yes, he was a pretty damn important character.
Not sure about that. Compared to Joffrey and Balon + Euron + Victarion Greyjoy he definitely seems like the good guy, but I think people like Jon, Daenerys, and Aegon fit that description as well. There's also people like Tyrion, Tommen, and Myrcella, but I doubt any of them has much of a legitimate chance of getting the throne (or sole possession of it, at least).

So then why is the issue of whether we get a glimpse into his head relevant?
Emotional connection. When Ned was killed we'd basically spent the entire book with him. We knew all his thoughts and understood why he did what he did. So when he gets his head lopped off, we feel like we actually know the guy. When Robb gets killed, we've only ever seen him through his mother's eyes. We only have a vague sense of why he made all the stupid decisions he made, and so there isn't as great of an emotional connection with his character as there is with Ned's.

Recall what I said to Weird Harold. Just because an author "wants" to do something doesn't mean doing it was a good move.
It's his book, though. If you think he's doing a bad job with it then that's fine. That's your opinion. There are actually quite a few people who obviously feel differently and think GRRM is writing his story the "right" way.

And sorry if I'm coming off like a GRRM fanboy or something. I like the series, but I think books 4 and 5 (especially 4) were pretty bad. I think GRRM the person is a pretty big dick for taking--what is it, 18 years, and he's only written 5 of the 7 books? But I'm able to put that all aside and still enjoy the books when he deigns fit to write one every decade or so. So personally I don't think he's writing his series "wrong," he's just taking an annoyingly long time to write it.

Seeker
02-17-2014, 03:07 PM
What are you talking about? I said Robb's death doesn't affect the fact that the the game of thrones is the central focus of the story, not that it doesn't affect any of the other characters. The battle over the throne goes on despite the fact that Robb kicked the bucket.

Oh, I see what you're saying.

But that's a completely different issue. I find it questionable that you can make control over one nation of the world a bigger story point than the possible extinction of the human species but I'll let that be.

The point is that killing Robb after setting him up to be "the just king" is the same as killing Ned in terms of the tropes involved.

Emotional connection. When Ned was killed we'd basically spent the entire book with him. We knew all his thoughts and understood why he did what he did. So when he gets his head lopped off, we feel like we actually know the guy. When Robb gets killed, we've only ever seen him through his mother's eyes. We only have a vague sense of why he made all the stupid decisions he made, and so there isn't as great of an emotional connection with his character as there is with Ned's.

Yeah, you're probably right. Most people would be more connected to Ned. It doesn't change the fact that it's the exact same story again. Only less effective this time in part because of the lack of emotional connection.

Robb chose his principles over power and died for it? I've NEVER seen that before!


It's his book, though. If you think he's doing a bad job with it then that's fine. That's your opinion. There are actually quite a few people who obviously feel differently and think GRRM is writing his story the "right" way.

If it's all a matter of opinion, then why are we having this discussion?

And sorry if I'm coming off like a GRRM fanboy or something. I like the series, but I think books 4 and 5 (especially 4) were pretty bad. I think GRRM the person is a pretty big dick for taking--what is it, 18 years, and he's only written 5 of the 7 books? But I'm able to put that all aside and still enjoy the books when he deigns fit to write one every decade or so. So personally I don't think he's writing his series "wrong," he's just taking an annoyingly long time to write it.

You don't sound like a fanboy.

rand
02-17-2014, 04:03 PM
But that's a completely different issue. I find it questionable that you can make control over one nation of the world a bigger story point than the possible extinction of the human species but I'll let that be.
The battle with the Others might have bigger implications, but that doesnt change the fact that all the books are focused on the war for the throne.

If it's all a matter of opinion, then why are we having this discussion?
Whether or not GRRM is writing "wrong" is a matter of opinion. But the question of whether the book is focused more on the Others or on the game of thrones should be pretty clear--it's pretty obvious right from book 1 that the Others aren't going to get a whole lot of focus.


Also, not to change the direction of the thread, but I figured I stick this here as it's somewhat related. What do you guys think will happen to characters like Sansa in the TV show after season 4 is done? I'm guessing seasons 5 and 6 will focus mainly on books 4 and 5, and Sansa really doesn't do anything in those books. So will they just make up things for her to do or something?

Matoyak
02-17-2014, 04:05 PM
it's pretty obvious right from book 1 that the Others aren't going to get a whole lot of focus.This is not true. It's set up as the focal point of the entire story, and the Big Thing that will be dealt with.

rand
02-17-2014, 04:15 PM
I don't think so. The Others appear in the prologue, but that's it. The rest of the book (and the four others that follow it) deal almost exclusively with the war for the throne. In short, the matter of who's on the throne when the Others attack is, I believe, of more importance than the actual attack itself.

Seeker
02-17-2014, 04:37 PM
Okay, Rand...

Have you seen Babylon 5?

If not, I'll give you some exposition. The central plot of Babylon 5 is the League of Non-Allied Worlds (including Earth and its neighbours) banding together to defend themselves against an ancient and powerful race called the Shadows. The Shadows were the stuff of legend. They'd been gone for over 1000 years and not many people believed them anymore until they returned and started carving up the galaxy.

The point is that while the Shadow War was the focal point of the series, the Shadows make only two appearances in the first season, for a total of less than five minutes of screen time. Why?

Because JMS was taking a less is more approach. He wanted the Shadows to be strange and mysterious and to give his audience the impression that they were lurking in the background.

A Game of Thrones does the same thing with the Others. The story practically screams "Look at these idiots, scheming and playing politics and completely unaware of the monstrous threat on their borders."

Keeping the Others subdued in the first book was a good move because it shows us the world before their invasion. Then you have them invade and you change the world so that when it's over, nothing is the same anymore.

Except George Martin can't seem to get out of the first act of his three act structure.

rand
02-17-2014, 04:49 PM
Okay, Rand...

Have you seen Babylon 5?

If not, I'll give you some exposition. The central plot of Babylon 5 is the League of Non-Allied Worlds (including Earth and its neighbours) banding together to defend themselves against an ancient and powerful race called the Shadows. The Shadows were the stuff of legend. They'd been gone for over 1000 years and not many people believed them anymore until they returned and started carving up the galaxy.

The point is that while the Shadow War was the focal point of the series, the Shadows make only two appearances in the first season, for a total of less than five minutes of screen time. Why?

Because JMS was taking a less is more approach. He wanted the Shadows to be strange and mysterious and to give his audience the impression that they were lurking in the background.
I've never seen the show, but I think the part I bolded is the difference. If asoiaf had everyone banding together to fight off the Others, then you'd be right. But all they care about is killing each other.

Keeping the Others subdued in the first book was a good move because it shows us the world before their invasion. Then you have them invade and you change the world so that when it's over, nothing is the same anymore.

Except George Martin can't seem to get out of the first act of his three act structure.
Or, GRRM never intended to do so in the first place, and always intended the books to be about the game of thrones.

Matoyak
02-17-2014, 05:03 PM
Or, GRRM never intended to do so in the first place, and always intended the books to be about the game of thrones.Then maybe that should have been his name for the entire series (instead it's the name of the first book, with the implication being that it's early stuff, not series-pervading stuff) and maybe if you want to write a fictionalized version of the War of the Roses instead of a fantasy epic about the end of the world... maybe don't bill it as the latter, don't have the main setup to be about the impending doom, and don't set smoking guns on the mantle that you never fire.

rand
02-17-2014, 05:11 PM
The name A Song of Ice and Fire has many meanings, only one of which is "the Others vs. Westeros." There's north vs. south, Stark vs. Targaryen, Jon Snow vs. Dany, etc.

The Others are a smoking gun, I just don't think GRRM ever intended for it to be fired until very late in the series. He's all about creating "gray" characters that aren't really on anyone's side but their own, so it would be odd if GRRM had focused on a generic good vs. evil battle when he has a much more interesting story that he can (and does) choose to focus on.

Seeker
02-17-2014, 05:17 PM
I've never seen the show, but I think the part I bolded is the difference. If asoiaf had everyone banding together to fight off the Others, then you'd be right. But all they care about is killing each other.


Or, GRRM never intended to do so in the first place, and always intended the books to be about the game of thrones.

The appearance of the Others in the prologue.
The fact that Benjen Stark is missing.
The dead man's hand.
"Winter is coming."
The three-eyed crow.
The wildlings coming south.

All of these are very big hints that something big and bad is going on north of the wall. All in the first book.


The book was designed to foreshadow an impending apocalyptic event. To make it clear that something sinister was looming on the horizon.

In the first two seasons of Babylon 5, all the league worlds cared about was killing each other. Then the Shadows came and forced them to deal with bigger concerns.

That's the story-structure for this kind of tale.

He's just delaying the next act.

rand
02-17-2014, 05:32 PM
That's the story-structure for this kind of tale.
That's the story-structure for how you would tell this tale.

And yes, the first book, and the other books, certainly foreshadow the Others coming. This doesn't take away from the fact that the books focus much, much more on everything else going on.

Seeker
02-17-2014, 08:47 PM
It's not a matter of personal taste.

He's already decided that his story is going to be the story of a group of feuding people vying for political power who also have to deal with an invasion of demons.


Now, typically, when you do that story, you have the demons attack when the feuding people are most divided.

They've been extremely divided for three books now.

Uno
02-17-2014, 09:30 PM
Well, I'll probably still buy Martin's next book in hardcover, though I agree that the first book was the best and the later ones have been so-so, especially Feast of Crows, which was frankly a chore to get through.

rand
02-17-2014, 10:22 PM
It's not a matter of personal taste.
It is, though. Martin can write the story however he damn well please. You (or me or anyone) might not like how he writes it, but that doesn't mean he's wrong. GRRM doesn't have to follow any kind of guidelines for how this type of story is meant to be written. He could include robotic zombie demon pterodactyls that suddenly attack from the south in book 6. Would this be stupid? Of course it would. But it wouldn't be "wrong" assuming that GRRM wants to have robotic zombie demon pterodactyls in his story.

Well, I'll probably still buy Martin's next book in hardcover, though I agree that the first book was the best and the later ones have been so-so, especially Feast of Crows, which was frankly a chore to get through.
AFfC is definitely the worst. A Dance with Dragons isn't much better in terms of advancing the plot, but it does actually bring the characters back together a bit. I also simply like the characters in aDwD better than the ones in aFfC. Hopefully Winds of Winter (book 6) is worth the wait.

SauceyBlueConfetti
02-18-2014, 11:53 AM
This isn't really so much a reply to anyone in particular, moreso an overall reply to what is happening to GRRM.

I call it the "ER syndrome" and it happens on TV shows and books.

ER, for those who don't know/remember, was a great show about the inner workings at a Chicago Emergency Room. The first couple years had great characters, great development, dialogue was well written, interactions were interesting. And the key...BELIEVABLE.

Then, the series became the number one show on TV, actors started leaving for bigger and better things (well, hellllllooo George Clooney!) and everything came crashing down.

Each week was like a sweeps week trying to have THE BIGGEST and BADDEST special episode.

I mean really...week after week of, gee, let's reminisce:

A FLOOOOOOD ! OMG!
A KILLER IN THE ER ! OMG!
A PLAGUE BREAKS OUT !! OMG !
A HOSTAGE SITUATION!! OMG
A HELICOPTER CRASH ! OMG!
TRAPPED IN A HYPERBOLIC CHAMBER ! OMG!
AMBULANCE CRASHED INTO THE ER WAITING ROOM! OMG!
A PSYCH PATIENT COMES BACK TO KILL SOMEONE--WITH A TANK! OMG!!

That is just a smidge of the crap that surfaced. Seriously, that isn't even half of the stuff that showed up. It was absolutely ridiculous and became a joke to the point of friends played drinking games whenever something...dun, dun, dun..UNEXPECTED AND TERRIFYING happened and Time. Is. Running. Out.

The sad part is most television shows now feel they have to do this, every stinkin' week. The storyline has to be gloriously over-the-top. I have given up on tv, I rarely watch anything anymore.

GRRM reached the ER/plotline point a couple books ago. Partially, I think because he liked the reaction he got from the first couple unexpected/horrifying things and gleefully tried to find more of those moments. Then he had writers block and all hell broke loose. He couldn't write anything GOOD so he ONLY wrote ER plotlines.

And then, the worst of the worst happened. He got a tv series out of it. Now, he wants anything that has special effects potential, he wants shocking and lewd behavior to be the focus, and most important on his list: he want to keep this train rolling.

rand
02-18-2014, 01:26 PM
Unfortunately, people--whether they're directors, producers, writers, etc--are going to choose money over quality nine times out of ten.

Davian93
02-18-2014, 02:45 PM
Then maybe that should have been his name for the entire series (instead it's the name of the first book, with the implication being that it's early stuff, not series-pervading stuff) and maybe if you want to write a fictionalized version of the War of the Roses instead of a fantasy epic about the end of the world... maybe don't bill it as the latter, don't have the main setup to be about the impending doom, and don't set smoking guns on the mantle that you never fire.

Exactly...I was going to make a point about the whole thing just being a regurgitated Wars of the Roses...NOW WITH DRAGONS rather than a coherent story with a plot.

Add in..


Gratuitous sex scene with rape overtones.
Incest.
Gratuitous torture scene.
Depictions of human depravity.


And it has gotten really really fvcking old by Dance With Dragons. The scenes with Bolton's bastard in Dance basically turned my stomach...I kept wanting to give GRRM a chance but the last 2 books and 12 years he's taken to put them out are a fvcking joke. I dont give a damn if that's not his job (to put out books or whatever Neal Gaiman whined about...speaking of which Gaiman, your books suck ass too so go fvck yourself with a rusty sword you bloody wanker)...GRRM will likely die well before he finishes the books and HBO will take it home regardless. It will have more nudity and more gratuitious violence/rape/sex that doesnt advance the plot but they'll get good ratings and idiots that dont like reading books will love them for it but whatever.

Dance was a complete and utter garbage POS book that was a massive let down after SIX FVCKING YEARS of waiting for it. Where do whores go? WHO THE FVCK CARES...JUST MOVE THE PLOT FORWARD ALREADY!!!

Seeker
02-18-2014, 08:17 PM
It's the depravity that turns my stomach. As Dav said.

I'm sure everyone knows by now that I'm not the kind of person who enjoys padded stories. And while I do consider it to be a flaw, I also know that that kind of writing has a niche.

But as I've said, what Martin does is basically a verbal freak show.

SauceyBlueConfetti
02-19-2014, 09:39 AM
I watched Jimmy Fallon's first Tonight Show (for those not in the US, this is a late night talk show, brand new host started this week).

Will Smith was his first-ever guest. I loved the comments he made about what he does for a living. He has tried to teach his kids (two are now actors) that what they do is a GIFT. It is meant to be shared and given to people to make them happier, to make their lives better. And the minute people stop doing their art for others, they lose. When it becomes all about the artist, the ego, it is no longer a good thing.

Valuable lesson that Mr. Martin needs to learn.

Seeker
02-19-2014, 12:21 PM
Well, Saucy, I'm afraid Theoryland's unfair repping policy prevents me from giving you more rep so I will just say in a cartoonish voice.


GENIUS!

Daekyras
02-24-2014, 07:09 AM
I watched Jimmy Fallon's first Tonight Show (for those not in the US, this is a late night talk show, brand new host started this week).

Will Smith was his first-ever guest. I loved the comments he made about what he does for a living. He has tried to teach his kids (two are now actors) that what they do is a GIFT. It is meant to be shared and given to people to make them happier, to make their lives better. And the minute people stop doing their art for others, they lose. When it becomes all about the artist, the ego, it is no longer a good thing.

Valuable lesson that Mr. Martin needs to learn.

Oh, I cannot agree with this more.

Also, reading this thread reminds me of why I love and hate forums.

1. Like spirited Debate.
2. Hate entrenched views that do not change despite relatively clear evidence to the contrary.
3. Seeker

GonzoTheGreat
02-24-2014, 08:08 AM
Will Smith was his first-ever guest. I loved the comments he made about what he does for a living. He has tried to teach his kids (two are now actors) that what they do is a GIFT. It is meant to be shared and given to people to make them happier, to make their lives better. And the minute people stop doing their art for others, they lose. When it becomes all about the artist, the ego, it is no longer a good thing.
I can disagree with this at least to some extend. Art need not be aimed at others, it can be done purely for personal pleasure too.

Martin's flaw is not that he is doing the writing just to gain whatever advantage (mainly monetary, it seems to me) from it that he can, but that he's bad at it as he is going right now.
Some people actually can make good and interesting art when their aim is "get rich", Martin can't. He should go back to writing for personal pleasure (or whatever it was that motivated him when his books were still good), and then the money will come more or less automatically. Perhaps he should just give up on ASoIaF.

yks 6nnetu hing
02-24-2014, 09:29 AM
I can disagree with this at least to some extend. Art need not be aimed at others, it can be done purely for personal pleasure too.
I'm always surprised how much more I love Salvador Dali's "functional art" than I like the stuff he did just for art's sake. Case in point: the Chupa Chups logo.

As for art for art's sake, sometimes it's just not worth a dime. Case in point: poo in a jar. stuff written by Hemingway. progressive jazztorture.

GonzoTheGreat
02-24-2014, 09:53 AM
You may notice that I sneakily used "can be done" to imply that not everything which is presented as art actually is art.
That said: considering the current books by by Martin, your "poo in a jar" example is rather on topic. I haven't read so much Hemingway that I feel entitled* to opine on that. As for the progressive jazztorture: there's probably worse rap which still earns the maker money.

* Should that be "detitled", if one is not entitled?

Ozymandias
03-05-2014, 06:56 PM
Five finalists are competing for Miss America. One is eliminated from the competition. But no... That doesn't affect the other four in any way!

Yes, but in a violent, medieval-type world, its not like the contest for the thrones ends with the four non-winners holding back tears and applauding for the winners.

I really don't get this particular complaint; Robb didn't win his war and he died. How is that bad? Maybe you identified with his character, but how does that make his character any more important? He was never even a POV character.


Add to that the fact that Robb was set up to be the only king with a conscience, the only one who seemed to give a damn about his people and not the pomp and circumstance of royalty and yes, he was a pretty damn important character.


If you honestly believe that then you haven't been reading closely enough. Plenty of rulers or people in ruling positions who also care about their people.


And again, the complaint isn't so much that he died as it is that George Martin just used the same stupid trick over and over again.


He used it once. Ned Stark was a "main" character, in the sense that we cared about him, the story revolved around him, and we saw events through his eyes.


I remember wanting Sansa to fall in love with Tyrion as a way to develop her character out of the "spoiled, vapid little girl" that was still lingering at that point. But Martin nixed that relationship.

You mean the one that made no sense? A major influence of his story is not having this be a fairy tale; beautiful young girls weaned on tales of chivalry don't fall for ugly, misshapen dwarfs. And in not reading, you've missed GRRM telling us that she is transitioning out of that damsel in distress role.


I remember wanting Jamie to become a kinder person, a more responsible person.

Wish granted.

Now, there's a lot of personal taste in all of this and I will freely admit that most of what I've said here in this last section applies to me and me alone. However, I will say that objectively speaking, if it becomes clear that you're going to torture most of your characters and bring them to a bad end primarily for shock value, I think most people will start to lose interest.


Fine, that is reasonable, not every book is for everyone. But some of your initial complaints are either wrong or highlight the intention of the author.

1) Misogyny.

This is meant to reflect the prevailing attitude towards women in Late Medieval/Early Modern times. GRRM is given quite a bit of respect for his portrayal of strong, multi-dimensional women who are not only defined by their juxtaposition to men.

2) Glorification of rape/violence against women.

You think he glorifies it? You find rape scenes glorious? I think its repulsive. You find me a single rape scene in which the act is portrayed as glorious or where the woman comes to like it, or something, and I'll consider this point.

10) Two many thin, two-dimensional characters. Not enough time and attention given to the few three-dimensional characters.

Can't really see this one either. I think GRRM does a commendable job exploring most of his characters. Even the secondary ones. I'll give you that there may be too many character and it takes away from the pacing of the story, but it certainly doesn't take away from the characterization of the couple dozen majors.

6) Overuse/poor use of the "anyone can die" trope.

Ned Stark, and I guess you think Robb Stark. Two characters. You got something else, because that isn't a whole lot, and the latter one doesn't really count.

Hulle
03-06-2014, 04:59 AM
My thoughts on this is that readers/viewers who expected a fantasy-series are dissapointed that there are so few actual fantasy-concepts involved and readers who like lots of talk and backstabbing politics in a medieval settning likes it. (And viewers of the Tv-series who like it probably just like nudity.)

I personally prefer fantasy like WoT, Deverry and Midkemia to A song of ice and fire. But that's just my opinion. Westeros needs more magic and less politics.

I think what many fantasy-fans are finding hard to believe in Martins books is "why the hell are you fighting and killing each other over a worthless throne (if you win it you're just going to get assassinated in a month anyway) and not marching north to save the world?". Obviously that's not the kind of book-series Martin intended to write.

Seeker
03-06-2014, 11:33 PM
Yes, but in a violent, medieval-type world, its not like the contest for the thrones ends with the four non-winners holding back tears and applauding for the winners.

I really don't get this particular complaint; Robb didn't win his war and he died. How is that bad? Maybe you identified with his character, but how does that make his character any more important? He was never even a POV character.

Right, so you're going to make me have to repeat my point that a character does not have to be a POV character to be a main character, an important part of the story, or a fan favourite. People forge emotional connections with non POV characters all the time. (Mat for the first two books, Elayne for the first three and Moiraine is almost always seen through someone else's eyes)

If you honestly believe that then you haven't been reading closely enough. Plenty of rulers or people in ruling positions who also care about their people.

Yeah, you know, that's one of the worst arguments when defending a work of fiction: the "if you don't like it, then you just don't get it," argument. Some even go so far as to call it a fallacy. Could you perhaps provide examples. I'm aware of Daenerys but she's not really in this conflict yet.


He used it once. Ned Stark was a "main" character, in the sense that we cared about him, the story revolved around him, and we saw events through his eyes.

Robb and Catelyn were also main characters. Jon was a main character. And before you mention Lady Stoneheart,I don't care if he brings them back as a walking corpse, killing her was the same trope as killing Ned. Then there's the Arya death fake-out. Brienne's death (fake-out? I haven't read the fifth book).

Then there are the deaths among the side-characters.

Robert's death.
Renly's death.
Lady Lysa's death.
Jory's death.

The list goes on and on and on. The point is that he can't create drama by advancing relationships and having the characters grow and learn because that would require him to actually WRITE a plot instead of just creating 500 pages of padding, slapping some cover art on it and rolling in the cash. So, he creates drama by either killing the characters he knows the audience likes or by resorting to gruesome shock-value scenes. It's all shock value.

Yes, there are some exceptions, but for the most part it's just "kill, maim, torture and wait for your audience to gasp."

You mean the one that made no sense? A major influence of his story is not having this be a fairy tale; beautiful young girls weaned on tales of chivalry don't fall for ugly, misshapen dwarfs. And in not reading, you've missed GRRM telling us that she is transitioning out of that damsel in distress role.

Structurally, it made perfect sense. Sansa's biggest character flaw is that she always equates beauty with goodness. I'm not just talking about physical attractiveness but also wealth and social status. "They live in a castle; they must just rulers. They have nice clothes; they must be cultured and well spoken." She makes the same mistake over and over again - with Joffrey, with Cersei, with Loras. Finally, Tyrion enters the picture, and he's all the things that Sansa claims to believe in. He is a just ruler; he is brave; he is kind and gentle. Yes, he has faults, but overall, he wants the best for people. This gives Sansa a chance to look beyond her preconceptions. And in doing so, we would see who she really is. In fact, the set up is so perfect that I think you could call it an aborted arc.

But no, not in Martin's dystopia. Character's don't grow in Westeros. Yes, I'm aware that he "intended to create a dark story and not a fairy-tale," but he did a lousy job of it. He's so heavy-handed about it that it almost comes off as parody.

This is meant to reflect the prevailing attitude towards women in Late Medieval/Early Modern times. GRRM is given quite a bit of respect for his portrayal of strong, multi-dimensional women who are not only defined by their juxtaposition to men.

Too bad he either kills them or turns them into psychopaths.

You think he glorifies it? You find rape scenes glorious? I think its repulsive. You find me a single rape scene in which the act is portrayed as glorious or where the woman comes to like it, or something, and I'll consider this point.

The glorifying is in the excessive attention given to this and the use of rape in gratuitous ways that don't benefit the story at all. Rape is shown for shock-value; that you should find it repulsive is the whole point. But here's the thing, RAPE ISN'T THE KIND OF SUBJECT THAT ANY PERSON WITH A CONSCIENCE WOULD USE STRICTLY FOR SHOCK-VALUE!



Can't really see this one either. I think GRRM does a commendable job exploring most of his characters. Even the secondary ones. I'll give you that there may be too many character and it takes away from the pacing of the story, but it certainly doesn't take away from the characterization of the couple dozen majors.

Cersei is a flat, one-dimensional character with no depth whatsoever. You know how some writers get accused of creating characters that are all-good and too perfect? Cersei is the opposite of this. She does not have a single redeeming quality. She's controlling, manipulative, a horrible mother, politically inept, arrogant, cruel, sadistic and misogynistic. This is what you call a flat character.

Jon Snow.
Jon Snow is the typical hero archetype and nothing else. He's angsty, hot-headed, and so damn green they like to shoot movie scenes on his back. He's a paint-by-numbers hero.

Step 1:
Create an unfair social issue that makes the hero's life hell.

Check.

Step 2:
Have the hero join an organization dedicated to some higher, nobler purpose.

Check.

Step 3:
Have the hero wrestle with his allegiance to the higher, nobler purpose and some external temptation.

Check.

Step 4:
Create a conflict where the hero must take charge and lead his people.

Check.

Step 5:
Now that the burden of leadership is on his shoulders, turn the hero into a brooding, loner character who frequently muses on the weight of responsibility and the fact that all men must do their duty no matter how it pains them.

Check.

Here's Jon Snow's character arc in a single paragraph.

Jon is pissed that bastards don't get opportunities like other people, so he goes to join the Night's Watch. He trains for a few months and then swears his oaths as a brother of the Watch. He thinks about deserting but decided to keep his oath. Shortly after that, he goes ranging with his brothers beyond the wall. While out in the wilderness, his commanding officer sends him on a deep-range scouting mission with an experienced ranger. Jon is captured, the ranger is killed. He spends some time with the wildlings, loses his virginity and eventually comes back to the wall. Then he takes charge during a critical battle, displaying leadership skills that come from out of nowhere, and is named Commander of the Night's Watch.

So, when did Jon - who was clearly too petulant and short-sighted in the first book - suddenly gain a natural talent for leadership? How did his long history of standing around moping, lying to his companions, fucking a girl and then betraying her prepare him for the burdens of command? It's not a natural change because it's just another step in the formula.


Oh, I could go on.

I will say that Jamie is a three-dimensional character and Tyrion WAS a three-dimensional character but there are SOOOOOO many flat, uninteresting characters in this series.

Ned Stark, and I guess you think Robb Stark. Two characters. You got something else, because that isn't a whole lot, and the latter one doesn't really count.

Ned
Robb
Catelyn
Arya
Jon
Brienne.

Those are just the main heroes.

rand
03-07-2014, 12:16 AM
Hi. I don't really want to rejoin this whole argument, but just wanted to point out that I think you're a bit off with your assessment of Jon. First, he isn't elected as Lord Commander because he's the best leader, he's elected because Sam Tarly more or less tricked everyone into voting for him so that less desirable veterans wouldn't be elected. Second, Jon is not all of a sudden a good leader. In fact, he's a pretty bad one, at least for the Nights Watch, which is why they betray and murder him. Keep in mind that he's also likely the true heir to the Iron Throne, and that Robb named him his own heir, so his story's end may have little to do with the Nights Watch at all.

I don't think Cersei is as one-dimensional as you think either. I don't know if you've read books 4 and 5, though, which is where all her PoVs are.

Just my two cents.



Also, I agree with Hulle (welcome, by the way :)) in that a lot of people are probably put off from Martin's work because he's not writing what people would typically expect from a fantasy story.

GonzoTheGreat
03-07-2014, 02:52 AM
So, when did Jon - who was clearly too petulant and short-sighted in the first book - suddenly gain a natural talent for leadership? How did his long history of standing around moping, lying to his companions, fucking a girl and then betraying her prepare him for the burdens of command? It's not a natural change because it's just another step in the formula.
Obviously, Jon's leadership talents are given to him by the Others. It is part of their plot to bring down the Wall. The fact that you can't explain it is logical, since the origin of his leadership lies in magic, which by definition* defies explanation.

* If it can be explained, it's technology, not magic.

Southpaw2012
03-18-2014, 02:04 PM
I enjoyed the series. I don't have a single idea how GRRM will finish the books before the show catches up though. I just read a few days ago that he plans on writing ANOTHER short story. Why the hell does he not just finish Winds of Winter and then A Dream of Spring before moving on to short stories? I understand that it is a long, vast series with a whole lot going on but come on.... He's a skilled enough writer and storyteller to move a little faster.

I do have a lot of the same complaints in regards to the series as the rest of you have shared. I don't give a shit about a single character in the series, for one. When Robb died, I was shocked but I didn't really care. Catelyn annoyed me and Robb was just, well, Robb. Didn't care. Same for Quentyn, Joffrey, Ned, Jon, etc etc. With The Wheel of Time, I loved these characters. Even the ones I found annoying at times (Elayne) I still cared for. Just not the same with ASoIaF.

Seeker
03-19-2014, 12:49 AM
I agree 100%

GonzoTheGreat
03-19-2014, 05:06 AM
I just read a few days ago that he plans on writing ANOTHER short story. Why the hell does he not just finish Winds of Winter and then A Dream of Spring before moving on to short stories? I understand that it is a long, vast series with a whole lot going on but come on.... He's a skilled enough writer and storyteller to move a little faster.
I am not entirely sure, but I suspect that he simply does not know how he wants to end it, so he does not know what to aim for. He could write more filler books, but doing so would annoy even more of his readers.

rand
03-19-2014, 12:36 PM
I think a lot of the problem comes from the fact that he really screwed up a lot writing books 4 and 5. GRRM originally planned it all as one book, and that it would take place five years after the events of book 3. And he started out writing it this way. But then, several years in, he decided that it would be best to just start the book right after Storm of Swords after all. So he scraped everything and started over. As a result of the back and forth on the five year thing, we're left with several characters (Bran, Sansa, Arya, etc.) having little to do it books 4 and 5, whereas people we never really cared about before (Brienne, Victarion, Arianne, Quentyn, Barristan, etc.) all come to the forefront. And on top of all this is the fact that he had to split the book into two (it would all originally have just been Book 4--at least, I think that was his intention). And of course there's the fact that he split the book in a weird way, by character instead of chronologically. Anyway, with all these changing plans and back and forths over what to do, it's kind of easy to see why it took GRRM something stupid like ELEVEN YEARS to write two books.

I hope--like really, really hope--that he's back on track and Winds of Winter is good. A lot of things were set up, at least, at the end of Book 4/5, so there should be plenty of things to do: Cersei's trial, battle of Winterfell, battle of Slaver's Bay, Euron attacking Highgarden, Arianne + Aegon attacking King's Landing possibly, Dany and her new Khalasar, etc. Plus whatever Jon, Bran, Sansa, and Arya get up to.

Sarevok
03-19-2014, 12:57 PM
I am not entirely sure, but I suspect that he simply does not know how he wants to end it, so he does not know what to aim for. He could write more filler books, but doing so would annoy even more of his readers.

I think it's more likely that he has a rough idea of the very end, but, with all the complicated plotting, no real idea of how to get there...

Uno
03-19-2014, 09:29 PM
In defence of Martin: writing a book is hard. It took me many years to get my first book published and I haven't written a single sentence for the second one. On the other hand, authors of fiction don't have to do the same amount of research, so it's not really comparable.

GonzoTheGreat
03-20-2014, 03:57 AM
In defence of Martin: writing a book is hard. It took me many years to get my first book published and I haven't written a single sentence for the second one. On the other hand, authors of fiction don't have to do the same amount of research, so it's not really comparable.
Yes, writing a book is hard. For most people, writing a good book is even harder. Doesn't change the fact that Martin doesn't write these final books, does it?

Uno
03-20-2014, 12:42 PM
Yes, writing a book is hard. For most people, writing a good book is even harder. Doesn't change the fact that Martin doesn't write these final books, does it?

That's a matter of debate--in fact, the debate this thread is about--and, at any rate, I was addressing the common criticism that he writes slowly.

Daekyras
03-24-2014, 06:55 AM
That's a matter of debate--in fact, the debate this thread is about--and, at any rate, I was addressing the common criticism that he writes slowly.

I don't mind if he writes slowly.

What bothers me it that the series started out really strong but, in my opinion, the quality has gone down hill. Or dropped off a cliff.

People have labelled this sort of criticism at wheel of time before but, again in my opinion, it is not as bad of a drop off.

I used to hate book 9 and 10 but in my last read through found them to be entertaining although obviously not anywhere near as good as tFoH.

With Martin I found it almost impossible to complete my read through for aDWD and very nearly quit during that book.

I have never failed to complete a series once I began. This includes reading every Dragonlance literary abortion and every book by the "King of diminishing returns" raymond e feist but I am seriously tempted to let aSoIaF go. Although the tv show is ace.

GonzoTheGreat
03-24-2014, 10:14 AM
Although the tv show is ace.
So far.

It is worrying if the television show is better than the book series it is based, though.

rand
03-24-2014, 03:50 PM
I don't mind if he writes slowly.

What bothers me it that the series started out really strong but, in my opinion, the quality has gone down hill. Or dropped off a cliff.

People have labelled this sort of criticism at wheel of time before but, again in my opinion, it is not as bad of a drop off.

I used to hate book 9 and 10 but in my last read through found them to be entertaining although obviously not anywhere near as good as tFoH.

With Martin I found it almost impossible to complete my read through for aDWD and very nearly quit during that book.

I have never failed to complete a series once I began. This includes reading every Dragonlance literary abortion and every book by the "King of diminishing returns" raymond e feist but I am seriously tempted to let aSoIaF go. Although the tv show is ace.
I agree that aFfC and aDwD aren't great. One thing you could try, though, is to read them together. This (http://boiledleather.com/post/24543217702/a-proposed-a-feast-for-crows-a-dance-with-dragons) list is probably the best order to read them in. It hardly makes the combined book an award winner, but I think they're better when read together than back to back. The only real problem this brings up is that some characters like Bran and Sansa, who only have 3 PoVs over both books, kind of have huge gaps between PoVs of hundreds of pages. But some of the "minor" stories (like the Iron Islanders and the Dornish) become more interesting when you read their whole story at once. And of course it's all pretty much in chronological order this way.