Sunday, April 22, 2012

ASoIaF reread: "A Storm of Swords" by George R. R. Martin

I have finally finished reading "A Storm of Swords", the third book in "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, and I am thankful for it. Not that I object to its quality or enjoyment it provided me with, but this book is soooo long, it's no wonder there are split editions available! First when I started reading it, I was surprised with how much I have forgotten. I read this book at least three times, but it was few years ago and it looks like the time affected me more than I expected. Sure, I knew the events in general, even few of the specific minor events, but I lost a picture of the book as a whole. I wasn't sure what will happen next, and I forgot which events happened here and which in "A Feast for Crows". But as I was approaching second half of the book (I even forgot there were two parts), things finally settled in my head and I once again had a good clear picture of this book. And even then, I was surprised how long it was.

This is a point in series where things start to spiral down, not in quality but in... let's say level of optimism. You can't say that events in first two books fared well for the "main characters" (e.g. Starks, Tyrion...), but they had a few victories and there was a feeling of cautious optimism regarding their future. But this is where things change from bad to worse for them, and Martin really slams it down for them and makes us question what worse can happen. Of course, the bleak autumn (constant rains, floods, death) helps to achieve really depressive feeling, especially in second part. Lost is the fell of summer and optimism, just as Catelyn predicted in "A Clash of Kings"...

Also, this is when Martin forces us to leave any prejudices we had about who is good and who is evil (not that he encouraged them in first two books). He does with adding Jaime to the list of POV characters. Jaime, one of most arrogant and least honorable persons in first two books, a person who killed those who he sworn to protect, throw kids from towers, talked with scorn to everybody and anybody. Now we are forced to follow him from the inside and see that is neither bad nor pitiful, just a victim of events as anybody else. As in Malazan Books of Fallen, and I think this is a mark of really great books, nobody is really evil. People are cruel, ambitious, insensitive; they got blood-crazy when they go to war, or they fight with members of their family; but except in few notable exceptions, this behavior can be explained, whether by the society they live in, or by mistreatment of their parents, or by some other reason that force people in real world to behave evil.

As with first two books, "A Game of Thrones" and "A Clash of Kings", "A Storm of Swords" is another great book in this great series.

Few days ago I found this post: Game of Thrones Reimagined. I think that images are great, but this is not even close of how I imagined the characters. In my mind, Starks are, well, starker, with lanky hair and pale faces, while Daenerys is much younger and fragile. All in all, all characters depicted are looking too glamorous.


  1. This series has evolved into a soap opera---a damn good one, but a melodrama nonetheless. Almost every chapter is a cliffhanger, and the ending is geared to keep you hanging in suspense while you wait for the next installment. Shifting and twisting from one character and plot thread to the next, many pass each other like ships in the night, and just when you think they might meet and provide some resolution, they sheer away again, following their own separate adventure, only the general upheaval of the book's background holding the multiple storylines together. This is not a series that appears anywhere near a conclusion, and with the author's ability to continuously create and weave together more and more credible subplots, don't expect an ending to this series any time soon: after all, as the text admits, Daenerys' dragons are years away from being able to be ridden.

  2. At this point in the series, maybe even after the next book ("A Feast for Crows"), I would agree with you. But after reading "A Dance with Dragons" recently, I have no problem believing that Martin will be able to finish this series in two more books (making total of seven).

    But even if this wasn't so, I personally wouldn't mind if it was extended for one or two books.