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A song of Ice and Fire, discussion (spoilers)

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Just finished A storm of swords, part II and I *almost* started liking Petyr towards the end there, before I remembered what he did to Ned Stark. Also the part about the Greatjon in the epilogue made my day :D, he had drunk enough to kill 3 men, yet he still managed to wound 2, kill 1 and bit half an ear of another before 8 men managed to get him into chains, awesomeness.

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Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy, Liveship Trader trilogy, and Tawny Man trilogy are amazing.  The come highly recommended from George RR Martin himself, who came highly recommended by Robert Jordan.

 

After ASoIaF I would start reading Assassins Apprentice, the first of the Farseer trilogy.

 

Plus, the great thing about Robin Hobbs series is that they are actually COMPLETE!!!!  No waiting and waiting and waiting for years and years and years!

 

I would like to second that motion. Robin Hobb (aka loads o'crazy names) is way awesome. You can totally see the bits that Chriatopher Paolini didn't rip off from LOTR, he ripped off from here  :D ;D :D ;D

 

Also, i would like to third that motion. Because THEY ARE TOTALLY AWESOME FANTASY SERIE(plural) THAT ARE DAMN WELL FINISHED.

 

Then, i would like to sequal that third motion. Because that is how Hobb does things --> Trilogy, then a sequel trilogy. What more could you want?

 

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Because that is how Hobb does things --> Trilogy, then a sequel trilogy. What more could you want?
Alien rape monsters, orcs with a love of masturbation, ninja Jesus? Ahh, Scott Bakker, what would we do without you?

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Being halfway through Affc it seems to me that Martin has a secret fascination for inflicting pain and suffering on his characters. I would not want to be a figment of that mans imagination.

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I loved the Song of Ice and Fire books, and am eagerly awaiting the 5th.  It is just more realistic than any other fantasy I have delved into, and I have delved into many.  The dialogues are awesome, character creation superb (and unlike in other stories, his characters are not the invincible 1 man against 100 type-they die), and over-all, an immense story that will leave you like the rest of us, craving the release of the next book.  I truly hope George lives to finish his tale. It is also news to me that it is being adapted into a TV series.. That is just great!!

 

I recently finished Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy.  I wanted to mention it here, because at the close, it made it onto my list of fav fantasy series..  I liked it more than Elantris myself.  It would be an awesome story made movie, or TV series..  Is very dark though..  I listened to it on audio, and had a great time with it..

 

 

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I copied this from the opening post of a thread I started.  If this seems to be off topic, this is the thread the moderator gave.

 

Wheel of Time has these books left::

-Towers of Midnight (book 13)

-Memory of Light (book 14)

-maybe the 2nd & 3rd prequels

-maybe 3 Outriggers

 

Song of Ice and Fire has these books left::

-Dance with Dragons (book 5)

-Winds of Winter (book 6)

-Dream of Spring (book 7)

-Mystery Knight (3rd of Tales of Dunk and Egg)

Not sure if there are other planned books for that series.

 

It seems certain to me that Sanderson would finish the main Wheel of Time books before George Martin finishes the main books of Song of Ice and Fire.

If the prequels or the outriggers will be done, Song of Ice and Fire might be done first.  If both sets will be done (with one set being written after the other set), Song of Ice and Fire being done first would be more probable than if only one of the sets is done.

 

If Dance with Dragons is released before Towers of Midnight, there might be a chance of Winds of Winter being released between Towers of Midnight & Memory of Light.

Each of the 3 might be released might be released before the prequels or outriggers are even started; regardless of when Dance with Dragons is released.

Those things I am not entirely certain.

 

Wikipedia tells that Mystery Knight would be revealed in 2010.

 

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MYSTERY KNIGHT is in WARRIORS, which comes out in about twelve weeks' time, so that will be before anything else.

 

ADWD should be (knock wood) out in mid-to-late 2010.

 

Where things fall down after that is that, according to GRRM, he will take about three years each to write books 6 and 7. That's THE WINDS OF WINTER in 2013 and A DREAM OF SPRING in 2016. However, the last two books were supposed to be done as quickly and took five years instead, so it's possible, if not probable, it will be at least a few years longer.

 

I don't believe that Sanderson will do the outriggers/prequels. If there is no RJ-penned notes for them, there is no point to writing them.

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ASoIaF is easily my favorite series ever, but still, I've always found it a bit odd that the fantasy aspects, (i.e. dark supernatural beings, apocalyptic battle looming) have consistently taken a backseat to politics and the war of succession. Even Dany and her "children" are almost a secondary storyline. I'm pretty skeptical that he can wrap this up in 3 more books.

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ASoIaF is easily my favorite series ever, but still, I've always found it a bit odd that the fantasy aspects, (i.e. dark supernatural beings, apocalyptic battle looming) have consistently taken a backseat to politics and the war of succession. Even Dany and her "children" are almost a secondary storyline. I'm pretty skeptical that he can wrap this up in 3 more books.

 

The structure of the series is meant to keep the supernatural and more overtly fantasy aspects to the background and then bring them foreward as the series progresses. ADWD should be the biggest change in emphasis as the war in Westeros and its aftermath drops into the background and the series refocuses on Jon on the Wall (with Melisandre and more stuff with the Others), Bran beyond the Wall (including his meeting with Coldhands and maybe the three-eyed crow) and Daenerys (including more with the dragons, Quaithe and the mystical stuff in the east).

 

Once Daenerys comes to Westeros and the Others invade (if that is there goal), both likely to happen in Book 6 I believe, my guess is that the 'fantasy' side of things will take over a lot more.

 

As for wrapping up in three more books, it is doable. Book 5 to wrap up Dany's story in the east and get her moving to Westeros, and for Jon and Bran to perhaps learn more about the Others and maybe start the war against them on the Wall. Book 6 for the Others' invasion and Dany's conquest of Westeros. Book 7 for the final struggle (presumably Dany and the conquered southlands against the Others in the North). I can see that working. I think GRRM can only achieve this by narrowing the focus, dropping unnecessary POVs and maybe getting back some of the conciseness of Books 1-2. I think in 3-4 he definitely started filling in too many details instead of keeping the story more at arm's length and only zooming on those key moments that we need to see. If he can recapture more of that structure, we should be okay to get it done in 7.

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So which is better WOT or SoIaF? Both are truly great and Epic fantasy and are the best books I have read. Jordan I grew up with so may be biased but think he just edges it for me. But I do remember when GoT came out I thought it was the best fantasy book I'd read gritier and harsher than anything Jordan had wrote, and you don't have to read about girls mooning over boys etc.. which can get anoying to say the least. But I do love the "oh my god that boy can kick arse" moments that Jordan puts in and the fact that even after years people are still debating on who killed Asmodean and who Messana is.

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So which is better WOT or SoIaF?
There's only one way to find out - FIGHT!!
But I do remember when GoT came out I thought it was the best fantasy book I'd read gritier and harsher than anything Jordan had wrote, and you don't have to read about girls mooning over boys etc..
*Cough*Sansa*cough*
But I do love the "oh my god that boy can kick arse" moments that Jordan puts in and the fact that even after years people are still debating on who killed Asmodean and who Messana is.
Well, Martin has a couple of mysteries of his own - Jon's parentage and who is the Prince That Was Promised? Although that last appears to have been answered by now.

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Cheers Mr Ares, Jons parentage seems obvious now (although I may have needed a bit of a hand figuring it out) the other one was who would be the three to ride Dany's Dragons? The Prince that was promised although I think I know who it is have a sneaky feeling it may not be as simple as that. But still don't think that SoIaF has raised as much debate as WOT but since it is 5 books to 12 that may be understandable.

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I read the first three books (haven't read AFFC and don't plan to either).

 

I felt unsatisfied by the experience and after some reflection I think I found out why: I like to be challenged. Martin's books don't challenge me. Let me explain using WoT as an example. WoT, as it is written, is a huge jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces. The challenge I like is to try to put it all together again. WoT is exceptional in that respect because it is so vast, and because it is so intricately plotted. There's still prophecies, foreshadowing, hints, cryptic remarks etc. from book 1 which await resolution. We discuss color of dresses to find out who's Mesaana, cryptic remarks, to find out whether Verin lied or not, whether Taim is a darkfriend etc. whatnot. And who killed Asmodean anyway? In essence, WoT is a series of dozens if not hundreds of interwoven whodunnits on an epic background. There is valid criticism, too. Yes, maybe some characters are wooden, and communication between characters doesn't happen (an obvious plot device), and perhaps it went over the top and was drawn out too much around CoT. Anyway, the pleasure I derive from WoT comes from the challenge it poses to try to put all pieces together.

 

When I contrast this with Martin, there's nothing comparable. It's huge, it's epic, but it's not intricate. It's plotting by sledgehammer. Now, to be fair, the book is a bit more character driven than plot driven, and the writing itself might be a bit better, but it doesn't help when the characters themselves aren't challenging. Most of them are pretty one-dimensional. In particular, the children characters are bland. The best one is probably Tyrion which is also the most conflicted one. Far behind that is Jaime. The Hound and Theon are somewhat interesting sidekicks, but that's basically it. Note that none of the Stark characters make my list.

 

But back to the plotting. It's actually not so much plotting but emotional chain yanking. The two most cited instances are what happens with Ned and what's called 'Red Wedding' (I hope I don't give away too much). Neither worked for me. For a character driven novel, the biggest disappointment for me is that we never get the viewpoints of the perpetrators of those events. What a missed opportunity for Martin to show us inner conflict of his characters! What is then the point of showing us those events at all? I think the underlying problem is that Martin cannot break out from his past as a Hollywood writer, because what doesn't work for me in the books, I can see might very likely work well on the screen. No wonder his series is picked up by HBO. The last drop in the bucket for me is his overuse of cliffhangers. Again, it's symptomatic of poor plotting, his inability to break the Hollywood mold and his ignorance of what works in a book vs. a screenplay. 

 

Anyway, that's why I prefer WoT over Martin. I could have made a similar case for Bakker. I've read the three first books of PoN, and found them excellent, in particular Akka's character. I recently discovered Erikson's Malazan series and I'm blown away. In the way it challenges me, it is very reminiscent of WoT. Also I enjoyed Sanderson's Mistborn series quite a lot, mostly because of Vin. Martin doesn't work for me.

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Well, Martin has a couple of mysteries of his own - Jon's parentage and who is the Prince That Was Promised? Although that last appears to have been answered by now.

 

For the record both of those have pretty much been answered. Jon's parentage takes about two seconds of thought after Eddard's last chapter, and is only supported further and further by all the other evidence. As for who the Prince That Was Promised is, AFfC certainly has us believe it's one of two possible characters with the characters in the book saying it is, which means it's the other one most likely. But Jon's parentage we totally know.

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When I contrast this with Martin, there's nothing comparable. It's huge, it's epic, but it's not intricate.

 

ASoIaF is considerably more intricate than WoT, comparing like for like (that is, comparing both series as of their fourth books). Of course WoT is more intricate as of the end of THE GATHERING STORM. It's three times the length. But as of the end of THE SHADOW RISING? There is no comparison. There is a far more complex and intricate backstory, more unresolved and much-debated mysteries and far more questions about character nuance in ASoIaF.

 

Jon's parentage - which by now has attracted as much, if not more, debate than Asmodean's death and unlike that issue is actually relevant to the core storyline - is not as clear-cut as some have made it out to be (the ADWD preview chapters have revealed a considerable curveball that may make people rethink their stance on this), the motives of the characters present at the great Harrenhal tourney is still a major mystery and in the story itself there are plenty of mysterious elements, such as Quaithe's prophecies, Rhaegar's goals in doing the things he did, what's going on with the red priests and their abilities, the situation with the three-eyed crow, the identity of Pate, the ambiguous fate of Sandor Clegane and so on.

 

It's plotting by sledgehammer. Now, to be fair, the book is a bit more character driven than plot driven, and the writing itself might be a bit better, but it doesn't help when the characters themselves aren't challenging. Most of them are pretty one-dimensional. In particular, the children characters are bland. The best one is probably Tyrion which is also the most conflicted one. Far behind that is Jaime. The Hound and Theon are somewhat interesting sidekicks, but that's basically it. Note that none of the Stark characters make my list.

 

Yes, I've heard this before. Some readers don't like it that the characters in ASoIaF are presented as flawed human beings with multiple and sometimes conflicting urges, loyalties and ideals. The fact that they are realistic and 'grey' also makes them allegedly 'bland', presumably because they do not wear easily-identifiable black hats or white hats. I don't subscribe to this theory because morally certain characters in epic fantasy are extremely dull.

 

Given that Jordan, probably coincidentally, moved in the direction of making his own characters and storyline much more morally ambiguous after reading AGoT (during the writing of ACoS), and Bakker is anything but morally certain, I'm guessing this isn't your complaint. The characters certainly aren't one-dimensional. Sansa, for example, is torn in many different directions by her own actions and by what has been done to her, and as we see towards the end of ASoS and into AFFC she has been shaped by her experiences into a very different character to the doe-eyed girl we met in the first book who thought life was just a song. Arya is, by the end of ASoS, the most psychologically-damaged character in the books by some distance and isn't bland by any familiar description of the word. Jon Snow may be suffering some form of PTSD by the time we get to the end of ASoS.

 

For a character driven novel, the biggest disappointment for me is that we never get the viewpoints of the perpetrators of those events. What a missed opportunity for Martin to show us inner conflict of his characters! What is then the point of showing us those events at all?

 

We see the viewpoints of the perpetrators (not from their POV, naturally, due to the strict POV system in the books which I agree is sometimes limiting). We see the precise moment (via Arya) Roose Bolton decides to carry out the Red Wedding, in A CLASH OF KINGS. We see the Frays' reaction to Robb's betrayal in A CLASH OF KINGS (long before we hear of it ourselves at the start of the next book). We see Tywin in the midst of planning his end of it (via Tyrion's POV in A STORM OF SWORDS). We see exactly why these characters are doing these things. It's not spelt out for you on a blackboard, no, because the author respect the reader's intelligence to work out why they are doing what they are doing. The Red Wedding had to happen to smash the willpower and strength of the North, to make it into the battleground for the next stage of the struggle, between the Boltons, Greyjoys and Stannis' forces for control of the North under the threat of the Others' incursion. Doing that with Robb and the Northmen fully intact and able to fight on wouldn't be very dramatically satisfying.

 

I think the underlying problem is that Martin cannot break out from his past as a Hollywood writer, because what doesn't work for me in the books, I can see might very likely work well on the screen. No wonder his series is picked up by HBO. The last drop in the bucket for me is his overuse of cliffhangers. Again, it's symptomatic of poor plotting, his inability to break the Hollywood mold and his ignorance of what works in a book vs. a screenplay.

 

Except that Martin was a (multi award-winning, bestselling) novelist and short story writer many years before his time in Hollywood. And you can't really condemn one author for his use of cliffhangers and call it poor plotting whilst praising Jordan, who once left a character buried under a building for 900 pages and once wrote an 800-page novel in which literally nothing happened of any substance despite the biggest event in the history of the series happening immediately beforehand and basically no-one giving a toss.

 

Bakker is excellent, although the (deliberate) extreme and often violent misogyny is a bit off-putting, and the main bad guys being rapist evil aliens FROM SPACE is, if you think about it too much, quite silly. Erikson started off decent but fell apart later on, when he started repeating himself and using mysterious demigods, ubermages or new forms of magic to save the day at the last second in every other book. Mistborn is a very accomplished and enjoyable trilogy.

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Have to agree with Erickson, I still can't decide whether he is genius or a madman. What I can say is that I read his first 4 books back to back but when I came to the 5th I couldn't go on starting a whole new story jsut got a bit much for me. I know it explains some of the incidents in the other 4 but I just couldn't be arsed. Will hopefully get back to them in the new year.

 

Jordan = Old school black and white, good and evil.

Martin = Shades of grey their is no good or evil although there is innocence (which doesn't last long) and deception.

 

Both writers are brilliant, the only reason I brought up the subject is that I feel Jordan gets a lot of unfair criticism probably due to the length of the series. But I for one will be very sad the day I read the last page of WOT.

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I don't believe that Sanderson will do the outriggers/prequels. If there is no RJ-penned notes for them, there is no point to writing them.

Most sources (if not all) seem to tell that Robert Jordan had enough notes for at least the prequels.

 

So which is better WOT or SoIaF?

That would depend on the reader's taste.  Some may see Wheel of Time as the better series; some may see Song of Ice and Fire as the better series; some may see both as equal to each other.

I'm part of that last group.

 

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Have to agree with Erickson, I still can't decide whether he is genius or a madman.
Neither. He's a talent, certainly, but not a genius, and the flaws in his work are not those of insanity but far more down to earth: lack of editing and rewriting. There are certainly good things about the later books, making them worth reading, but putting out one book a year seems to be catching up with him now.

 

Jordan = Old school black and white, good and evil.
No. There are shades of grey in Jordan's work. True, there is good and evil, but the good guys aren't perfect.

Martin = Shades of grey their is no good or evil although there is innocence (which doesn't last long) and deception.
No, there is good and evil in Martin's work. You can't have shades of grey without it, after all.

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MB don't sit on that fence too long you'll get splinters. And Mr Ares your nit picking, I meant in generic terms.

Jordan has the DO and the Dragon a case of good vs evil. GRRM doesn't really and don't mention the cold ones (or whatever they're called) we don't even know what their motives are yet, for all we know they could bring peace and tranquility to the world (ok I doubt it as well, shall I just get my coat?).

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Yes, RJ has the Dragon Reborn, an insane tyrant who wishes he could control the entire world. And Mat Cauthon, who shot a woman in the back. And Perrin Aybara, who tortured a man for information. These are your good guys. What is that if not shades of grey? And martin, famed for his nuanced characters, has Ser Gregor Clegane, the Mountain That Rides. A man who rapes and murders his way through the series with not a single redeeming feature. Or Ser Amory Lorch, or Vargo Hoat. Jordan himself has said that good and evil does not exclude shades of grey.

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Totally agree, if the charchters didn't have their flaws and ruthless streaks they would be boring and I wouldn't be reading the series. But I say this again I meant in generic terms. You know who the good guys are in Jordan, to a certain extent you do with GRRM but this will probably change Jamie Lanister (sorry if the spelling is wrong) is a good example. But I do understand where your coming from.

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I just think that sayng "one is black and white, one is shades of grey", even in the most general terms, isn't really helpful or accurate.

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Fair enough even Cinderella had it's shades of grey. At the end of the story Prince Charming (or whatever his name was) straps iron boots onto the ugly sisters and heats them up to make them dance. Not in the Disney version ofcourse.

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MB don't sit on that fence too long you'll get splinters.

'sitting on the fence' I think is reasonable when deciding between two (or more) series.

 

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