A Dance with Dragons

A Dance with Dragons

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gathe...

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Title:A Dance with Dragons
Author:George R.R. Martin
Rating:
Edition Language:English

A Dance with Dragons Reviews

  • Valerie

    Purchased anew, and laid it beside her bed,

    Conflicting thoughts flying through her head.

    Afraid almost to crack the covers, read the pages,

    What if it was the last book? "No, More," she rages.

    What if it wasn't? How long the wait next time?

    Five years? Seven? Thirteen? Unlucky, even in rhyme.

    First I must reread all the others...

    refresh my brain of Snow and all his Brothers.

    Sansa is no smarter than I did recall.

    Starks should avoid other Kings Halls.

    Weddings never make things merry,

    The price too high

    Purchased anew, and laid it beside her bed,

    Conflicting thoughts flying through her head.

    Afraid almost to crack the covers, read the pages,

    What if it was the last book? "No, More," she rages.

    What if it wasn't? How long the wait next time?

    Five years? Seven? Thirteen? Unlucky, even in rhyme.

    First I must reread all the others...

    refresh my brain of Snow and all his Brothers.

    Sansa is no smarter than I did recall.

    Starks should avoid other Kings Halls.

    Weddings never make things merry,

    The price too high for use of ferry.

    Mouse, wolf, frog, fish, crow

    Dragon fire will lay them low.

    l

  • Mark Lawrence

    This is the review I did for the Sunday Express. It only appeared in hardcopy so I can't link it.

    Since it's a national newspaper and many of the readers may never have read a fantasy book, let alone the first four in the ASOIAF series, the review is less about this book and more about the series and the author. I hope to make them the gift of a great reading experience.

    My rating for the book is set in the context of the alternative works of fantasy on the shelves rather than in an attempt to ra

    This is the review I did for the Sunday Express. It only appeared in hardcopy so I can't link it.

    Since it's a national newspaper and many of the readers may never have read a fantasy book, let alone the first four in the ASOIAF series, the review is less about this book and more about the series and the author. I hope to make them the gift of a great reading experience.

    My rating for the book is set in the context of the alternative works of fantasy on the shelves rather than in an attempt to rank this volume amongst its predecessors (I would say signficantly better than A Feast For Crows - less good than the first three, still excellent)

    [Sunday Express review]

    By the time you reach the end of George Martin’s A Dance with Dragons you will be nearly two million words into A Song of Ice and Fire, a sprawling epic fantasy series that is for many readers the single most defining work in the genre for a generation. A Dance with Dragons is itself over four hundred thousand words (one thousand printed pages), not that far shy of the whole of The Lord of the Rings or War and Peace - not that literary worth is measured on weighing scales.

    Martin’s series, starting with A Game of Thrones, has been a slow-burning phenomenon, dwarfed only by the colossus that is Harry Potter. Right now all the volumes are on the Amazon top twenty list. When A Dance With Dragons was released in hardback last month it immediately became the fastest-selling fiction hardback this year in the UK.

    It has probably been the most anticipated (adult) fantasy novel ever published, helped of course by the recent excellent serialisation of the first book by HBO. A significant contribution to the anticipation has been the six-year wait since the last book, a source of controversy and teeth grinding amongst the readership. Internet grumbling about the delay reached such a pitch it prompted Neil Gaiman to blog to fans: ‘George Martin is not your bitch’. Whilst the books may roll out of the printing house on a conveyor belt, the words themselves cannot simply be squeezed out of the author by mounting pressure!

    So, has it been worth the wait? There was a five-year wait for book four, A Feast for Crows, and many fans felt the novel didn’t fulfill the promise of the first three, making the critical success of book five the focus of still more intense speculation.

    Martin’s success stands on the simple fact that he has brought to the fantasy genre the mature skills of realism, characterisation, and observation more commonly associated with literary fiction, and married them to a vivid and endless imagination. His commercial success derives from the fact that the books are addictively enjoyable.

    You don’t need to be a reader of fantasy to enjoy Martin’s work. Martin writes primarily about people. You will have fallen in love with, or at least be fascinated by, his characters long before you see your first dragon. By that point you’ll believe in the dragon because you believe in the people through whose eyes you see it.

    A Dance with Dragons advances the story with more purpose and scope than its predecessor, reacquainting us with favourite characters (Tyrion, Jon, Dany, and Bran) we’ve not seen since A Storm of Swords (2000). The story ranges across thousands of miles from icy wastes to dusty desert, expanding the incredible diversity of Martin’s world, showing stories on the small scale (Arya’s training) and the grand (Daenerys’ realpolitik). And although the 1000 pages meander through many lives and situations, there are hints at the ultimate convergence and conflict of disparate story threads, a slow building sense of momentum, and finally a rising tension and pace that drives us breathless to the edge of several cliffs.

    One quote that stuck with me is “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” And George Martin offers you a fair portion of those thousand right here.

    Turning the final page you can only be disappointed . . . to find it is the last, and you’ll immediately want to reach for the next volume. And there maybe lies the rub.

    Edit - and 5 years later it's really starting to rub!

    ..

  • Kelly

    This one was a real mudfight. Between me, myself and I.

    Me didn’t get beyond “SQUEEE!” for several hundred pages,

    Myself, while also trying to get over her grammatically awkward name, came up with the logical reasoning why this reaction was totally okay and based on something other than left over t

    This one was a real mudfight. Between me, myself and I.

    Me didn’t get beyond “SQUEEE!” for several hundred pages,

    Myself, while also trying to get over her grammatically awkward name, came up with the logical reasoning why this reaction was totally okay and based on something other than left over teenage hormones

    ...and I glared at both of these two delusional fools and tried to figure out what was wrong with them.

    With these three in my head, along with GRRM’s cast of thousands, it made for a very messy, crowded and contradictory reading experience. It didn’t take me a week to finish this book because it was long. It took me a week to finish this book because the three people in my head needed to have it out after every chapter and big moment and would not shut up. Needless to say this is going to be a bit of a mixed review. So. Let’s start with the good stuff and get everybody settled in, shall we?

    The Good: So, as usual, GRRM’s world is three dimensional (or perhaps more, I might’ve lost track in one of the appendices), sprawling, dirty, pulsing and real. It’s a banner of spices, wine, and gardens in full bloom unfurling. Opening these books is like walking into a forest and picking up a handful of dirt, letting it run through your fingers as you start on one of the hundred paths you know are waiting. After six years, it was a thrill to let it envelope me, and at least at first, I was totally fine just letting myself be guided unresisting through the scenery.

    I also think that this book has a lot of really good things to say about politics, law, war, and the realities of being a ruler or a subject. The first few chapters seemed like a treatise on how fragile the foundations of law are, and in particular international law of any kind. GRRM shows everyone still scrambling from the disasters of Storm of Swords, trying to find some way to survive, after all existing law and order has disappeared. The law is just another chimera is people resort to: using outdated or foreign or superseded laws as weapons, and applying them wildly out of context because that’s the only way they can justify themselves.

    He’s even better at talking about the wages of war and the realities of the aftermath. Aside from his squirm inducing descriptions of battle wounds, entrails hanging in bushes, and flies crawling out of eyeballs which, if nothing else, will not let anyone reading forget what war is, GRRM is excellent at showing how the cycle of conflict never, never, ever ends. We’re five books and twenty years on from the rebellion that put the events of Game of Thrones in motion, and there are at least four wars going on and three generations fighting them. The kids die and these old men linger on and on, cherishing plots within plots in hopes of revenge for events that occurred thirty years before. And the thing is that they still matter, because they’re still sitting there in their positions of power, long after the world is supposedly fighting about something else. They will rear their heads and

    . Peace and war mean nothing next to utopia and imperfections- waiting for it all to turn out just the way they planned is their ultimate payoff for years of humiliations and insults. Old men with all their eggs in one basket ar terrifying. The last chapter of this book was, ultimately, one of the more satisfying (though not as much as it could have been, see below) things in the book-

    It was also great that along with these never ending generational conflicts, there were plots within plots with little tunnels leading to other plots. Those in Plot A might be involved in/aware of B, but certainly don’t know about C, though people in D are certainly aware of A but not B, etc, and are clearly going to have spectacular head-on collisions from flailing about in the dark, or thinking they understood the plan when they were very very wrong. I am a big fan of dropping Life Happens into carefully plotted stories. Just because. Because traffic jams on the interstate don’t know that you have an hour to defuse the bomb, and the lady next door was in a bad mood yesterday. You can’t just trust that you can go through the motions you have planned out and it will be okay- you have to work at each motion and there’s someone to be paid off, distracted, appeased, or avoided at each step.

    I also liked that this book was an up close and personal look at all the stuff that King Robert was whining about in the first book- winning a kingdom is relatively easy compared to holding it. Winning is hammers and glory and a single purpose, holding is compromising and trudging your feet in the mud to get one inch of what you really want done. In a country where presidential campaigns get longer every year, and the news media prefers to analyze who ‘won’ and ‘lost’ at every political occasion ever, I feel like this is not an unimportant insight to bring up and explore. Of course they prefer to concentrate on the gladiatorial aspect- it is easy, clear, and not fraught with moral tangles that would be ‘elitist’ to try to discuss in a complex way on national television. Plus, ruling every day is

    and almost universally depressing. The wages of winning wars are getting what you wish for, over and over again, and finding out that what you wish for is just going to make someone else want to kill you as much as you wanted to kill the guy before. Martin is upfront about the terrible choices available to even a well meaning ruler (though from Stannis to Daenerys, the definition of ‘well meaning’ certainly varies), and the realization that you will never, ever make a choice that will not hurt someone.

    A lot of people think that this book could have been skipped over, but I don’t think so. This is a necessary book in an epic that is really, in the end, thousands of pages about the nature of war and kings. Again, a lot of people don’t like all the random peripheral characters introduced, and the consequent lessening of the amount of screen time that we spend with old favorites, but I actually liked it. Ongoing conflicts and uncertainty will continue to involve more and more people, forced to finally become involved, or become something they weren’t before, and the game board will change day by day according to how desperate people get to live or how irresistible taking advantage of the chaos becomes. There are so many types of wounds, from so many different times and places, and Martin manages to show them all (everything from that excellent moment where

    . Do I think that his sprawling, ungainly cast of characters were

    necessary? No. Do I think that we needed

    books like this? No. I also don’t think he probably needed ten years and nearly two thousand pages to do this. In addition, I think that the map he’s laid out for himself is going to cause him problems in the future. But for now, this is an extremely effective book about how surreal, insane and mindboggingly awful war is. That works for me.

    All right, now we come to the not-so-good to bad areas. Unfortunately, there were quite a few of these. First of all, while Martin’s world is three dimensional and vivid, he forgot to make his characters that way in this book. This is an odd occurrence. One of his strong points is generally how character focused these books are. But the story’s gotten away from Martin is my opinion. He’s gotten to the point in his series where he needs to start marching people along to a particular place, and people are now becoming signposts, of a sort. I think so many of these characters have now been stuck along a sort of continuum from innocence to corruption, from power mad to submissive, that that’s all that matters about them anymore. Either they are the extreme of innocence (Quentyn, Penny) or they are incredibly worldly wise, and there’s very little room for grey in the middle. Martin’s characterizations are not about people who sing, or a guy who moves his head in a weird way, or a man who must have three eggs every morning, the way you would usually do a character study, but simply what incarnation of power they are. And then he took an overly long time to tell me about their classification. Tyrion is perhaps the exception, and there are several moments that defied this, such as the

    , these felt real. Because they were sudden, made sense with characterization, had complex history and motivations behind them, and told me all I needed to know. But with the exception of the

    , he took ten unnecessary chapters to lead up to one good moment. Aside a few moments and Tyrion, Martin tears down any other motivation someone might have for something. There’s no room for a combined grey area of delusion, belief, family, the desire to be good, desire to improve, to make a name, the motivations of guilt and/or grief. It’s always, always, always about power. I don’t think that this is a realistic way of depicting why people act the way they do. Did he

    Also, although I thought that Martin did make a number of good points (as detailed above), he also spent a thousand pages belaboring four points into the ground, and telling me rather than showing me, most of the time. Or showing me and then telling me later, which was almost worse. One: Everything is ugly/anything that is pretty is evil or doomed (um, the entire book), Two: love is always something else in reality (Tyrion, Quentyn, Daenerys, etc), Three: “words are wind” (EVER AGAIN, TOO SOON), Four: Clothes make the man (Cersei, Tyrion, Arya, Quentyn, Daenerys, the “mummers”). He hit me in the face with these points so many times, it went from being interesting and/or vivid to me wondering what sort of complexes he was working out on the page or asking mself he was just lazy or tired enough by the end of the book to just not care very much, and so repeating himself from earlier. I mean, I have so many questions. For example, why is it that everyone who is beautiful must be punished? I understand the skin deep thing and beauty is definitely a tool in the power game that can be taken away from someone, but why is it that it always, always must be wrong? You’re all about realism- it felt like a point, not like the random lottery it should be of beautiful people who are nice and those who are jerks, those who are innocent and those who are manipulative. Did we really need Arya’s entire storyline and most of Cersei’s to tell us that people see what you look like? That social rank is all trappings? I don’t think so. And yet, there seemed to be little point other than that.

    Also, the bigger issue for me was that, I don’t know how to say this, but I think that Martin has forgotten why we all liked him in the first place. Or at least why I do, in large part. Because of his insistence on breaking down delusions and tales and attempting to retell legends with a dose of messy reality. The biggest symbol of this seemed to be his ability to deal with the most difficult reality of all: death. Fantasy and sci-fi genres have a lot of tools at their disposal to ensure that main characters never need to face this permanently. He chose to insist on it, quite effectively, starting right away in GoT. And now, five books later

    like he can’t live up to the way he helped transform the genre (or part of it) and the others who have followed in the kind of ‘movement’ he began. Guys like Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch and all the rest. The genre’s moved on from where it was when he first killed Eddard Stark,

    Maybe this would have been fine if all these books had come out one after the other in the late 1990s, but his audience (including me) has grown up now. I was in my early teen years when I started these books. They shaped my idea of what awesome fantasy was in a lot of ways since they got me so young and impressionable. But even I’m impatient with him now. The trappings aren’t enough to convince me he’s Important in some way. He’s still writing the same book he did in 1996, and not writing it as well.

    I mean, I did try to put myself in his shoes. He’s probably been surrounded at conventions by fanboys and girls for ten years now, and in addition, my understanding is that he has been very lightly edited by his publishing house for at least the last two volumes because they just want to get the things out on the market and make some money. I can’t conceive that he gets challenged a great deal about whatever he writes, so he has little motivation to think that he’s doing anything less than perfect. I mean, I don’t know, it’s just a conjecture. At the opposite end of the spectrum, he’s held onto this book for so long and the hype has become so breathless that he must’ve felt the overwhelming need for some good old fashioned shock and awe. Hence

    I can only imagine the pressure. He wrote on his blog constantly about untangling the Meereenese knot. And the thing is.. after six years I don’t think he did. I think he wrote about the knot itself. Is that what I just paid for? 1000 pages of you telling me why you couldn’t move the plot forward? After 900 pages of doing that in the last book? I have a lot of patience for big books, and as I stated I don’t in principle mind peripheral characters, but I think we have to admit that he’s making his task in moving forward all the harder by introducing all these new threads and names, when he doesn’t even know what to do with the main storyline. Oh, maybe that’s why he did it. Just to stall. I don’t know.

    In the end, my reaction to this book was, “Oh. So GRRM is just a normal fantasy writer now. Okay.” That's pretty much the point. His methods and plotting is no longer vanguard, different, or really, much above average for the genre. I mean, that isn't a horrible put down. Says a lot about the quality of at least the first three books, or at least my experience of them. It’s just run of the mill fantasy, from a plot perspective, with some writing skill and ideas that rise above, at times.

    Just not enough times. Not nearly enough times.

    I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’ll be in line with all of you for

    when it comes out sometime in my old age. He’s earned that much, and at this point, his books have been big milestones of my adult reading life. I just expect that I will be reading it with more realistic expectations, rather than with the wide eyed breathless staying-up-all-night attitude that I dove into this one with.

    Sorry, y’all. I won this particular mudfight. And I didn’t even really want to. Damnit.

    * * *

    UPDATE: Where all my nerds be at? BECAUSE THIS JUST GOT REAL:

    * * *

    ORIGINAL: Amazon NOW claims that this book is coming out next fall. I'll believe it when I see it in my hands, George. Until then, I will assume this is another in your WEB OF LIES.

  • Nataliya

    Dear George R.R. Martin.

    roll in dough as we continue buying your brick-sized creations.

    Dear George R.R. Martin.

    roll in dough as we continue buying your brick-sized creations.

    A thousand-plus pages doorstopper (

    ) - and yet

    Nothing gets resolved. The characters spend pages and pages going about mundane tasks, participating in endless drawn-out conversations, pissing, eating, drinking, pissing, whoring, eating some more, pissing again. Is it supposed to make the story GRRM's trademark "gritty and realistic"?

    This overload of description of landscapes, clothing, banquets, people, and food makes me snooze. FILLER!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    . Maybe it stems from his TV-writing days: the notion that the readers will tune back in, despite nothing really happening in the entire episode, only if the hero is left hanging off the cliff at the end?

    And then, with a few chapters left to go -

    (

    Which guarantees that we will read the next book. Cheap and lazy trick, Mr. Martin.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    - GRRM seems to hammer this message in on what feels like every other page. Yet if this book is any indication, given the lack of overall storyline development,

    .

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Just to name a few:

    ... Enough already! I miss the times when I was just eyerolling at

    . Which makes its appearance here as well, by the way.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    My problem with this book is that

    . You know, where things are happening and storylines advance. VERY LITTLE OF THAT HAPPENS. Very few of the storylines led anywhere. Those that advanced somewhat were Jon's, Dany's, and Bran's (and the first two should have been trimmed a bit), and Theon/Reek's story was fascinating in its horror (Ramsay

    Bolton joins the list of most hated characters EVER).

    And as for other storylines... Tyrion gives us a travelogue, and nothing that we could not have covered in a single chapter. Arya is doing pretty much the same stuff as before. Jaime's chapter traded one cliffhanger for another, and frankly, just like Cersei's chapters, was not necessary. Davos's and Quentyn's arcs could have been summed up with a sentence each in somebody else's POV. The ironborn, Dorne, Barristan - why were they needed in this book, again?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    . GRRM's trademark move number two is supposed to be killing off characters. I call BS on that. Yes, he killed a few protagonists.

    .

    I really only care about the characters that we met in the first couple of books. I do understand the need to occasionally give us a perspective through a fresh set of eyes. That's cool. But here is a problem:

    How can he satisfactorily wrap up this monster of a story with only two more planned volumes unless he pulls a Steven King in

    and suddenly kills off most of his POV characters? Which raises a question - why the need to introduce them in the first place?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Martin is still a better writer than many out there - despite the gripe-fest above.

    I will still read the next installment (when it's out, in a decade or so) - mainly because I need some resolution to this story despite its declining quality. I hope the next book will resemble the first three volumes.

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  • James Broussard

    I'm blown away that someone could write a book so long in which nothing actually happens

    I wrote a longer review at

    But it says pretty much the same thing.

  • Michael

    Tyrion Lannister's horse was rubbing him raw as they rode onward, the branches of the trees above them swaying in a branch-like way. Ravens flew about among them, and clouds of dust hovered like halos around the hooves of their steeds.

    Wiping sweat from his brow, Tyrion spoke to yet another minor character you've never seen before. "I hear that the Morvin and the Shornpel clans have sided with Darvus Farier from the great city of Bee Eff Eee, and are pushing forward late king Baratheon's bastard

    Tyrion Lannister's horse was rubbing him raw as they rode onward, the branches of the trees above them swaying in a branch-like way. Ravens flew about among them, and clouds of dust hovered like halos around the hooves of their steeds.

    Wiping sweat from his brow, Tyrion spoke to yet another minor character you've never seen before. "I hear that the Morvin and the Shornpel clans have sided with Darvus Farier from the great city of Bee Eff Eee, and are pushing forward late king Baratheon's bastard's scullery maid's uncle's melanoma as the true heir to the throne."

    The minor character chortled as he spooned up some of the newt egg soup. It had been spiced with cloves and the lightest touch of pepper, and leaves of cilantro floated like corpses upon its surface. Eating a side of braised elk spleen and a hunk of bread with a cheese sauce, the minor character said, "If so, even more of the action is likely to shift away from the viewpoint characters, and THEN we'll see whether any of the characters from the first volume even make it to the final book,

    "

    "But," Tyrion pondered aloud, eating inch-long prawns from a trencher filled with a hot butter sauce, "If the Starks send nine hundred of their men from the outer borders of ThatoneplaceImentionedOnce, and they move down toward the Lannister forces on Dragon's Fjord before the Lannister forces can unite with the Great Army of the Unwashed Men, perhaps they can defeat the bunjillion soldiers in the south now being ushered in the general direction of King's Landing by that one other guy. I can't remember his name. You know, the one?"

    The minor character shrugged, tearing a piece from his bread bowl and dipping it into a small puddle of balsamic vinegar. "You forget about the people beyond the wall, and the dragons in the east, and Bobbert, King Robert's mechanic. He now claims to have been conceived with the king's own cum, and thus has a claim to the throne."

    Tyrion scratched his chin. "That does throw a new light on how convoluted things are becoming."

    They continued riding, their horses traveling gradually. More branches passed overhead. It felt as if the traveling had gone on indefinitely, and the audience was more than capable of empathizing. Tyrion munched on fresh radishes and drank a bold red wine from a skin hanging from his belt. The wine was rich, with plum flavorings and an oaky aftertaste.

    "But," said Tyrion, suggesting another possible set of things that could happen. He made reference to an event that happened nine-hundred pages ago, but remembered it wrong, then postulated what the possible outcome could be. They rode onward. Minor Character munched on some pine nuts.

    SUDDENLY, SOMETHING EPIC WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!

    Eudaknow An Eudongivafuck, minor noble from Shelbyville, rubbed his temple, filled with anxiety at being introduced as a new viewpoint character 9,600 pages into the series. How would he live up to the amazing characters who had come before him and died so tragically? Perhaps because he had a valid claim to the throne, Having been the barista in King Robert's favorite coffeehouse. Yeah, that was the ticket. Riding his steed/ship across the desert/glenn/ocean/alley, he traveled gradually, wondering when he would arrive. Discussing with the others upon the ship, he theorized about possible outcomes of the conflicts in Westeros, all the while eating a succulent pomegranate, red juices running down his chin like he'd just been chewing on afterbirth.

    SUDDENLY, SOMETHING AMAZING WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!

    Chapter 3

    The titties tittied, jiggling with much breastful bosomliness. The oiled girls with Brazilian waxes down below wrestled and licked each other's areolas, but it was only to help you become immersed in a realistic depiction of the ancient world. As the breasts bosomed with titful abandon, Tyrion ate shark flank. It had been buttered, cooked for twenty minutes at 345 degrees, then drizzled with a lemon sauce and allowed to cool for five minutes. The flavor was only mildly fishy, and Tyrion burped, taking another drink of the white zinfandel before digging into the raspberry crepes with a chocolate fondu. "But still, Measter, you must understand the possibilities of that event rely on Stannis placing all of his trust in the moody lords of the upper northwest. They are known for being fickle and not holding to their oaths, and Stannis is more likely to try and seize the Port of Skulls. Will the king's ninth bastard even survive that battle? If so, at what cost to Stannis? Plus, what happens if the Lannisters and the Starks team up, and get Batman to join them, and Stannis can only get Iron Man? What then?"

    Measter laughed at the dwarf. "That may be, dwarf. You might be short and a dwarf, but you have a mind as sharp as a blade. But you are very tiny, in case that had escaped anyone's notice. Even so, if Stannis enlists Dumbledore, Gandalf and Belgarion, he will be more than a match for the team-up of Lannister, Batman and Stark. Even if they get Rocky Balboa and Wesley Willis on their side."

    Tyrion watched the boobs. "But what about Joshua Lyman? Because he could totally take Dumbledore, and maybe Iron Man."

    Tyrion ate a lamb gyro, thinking back to the exciting thing that happened after the last chapter ended, thinking of it in an ambiguous and incomplete way. Since it had been 100 pages since his last chapter, you had entirely forgotten what the exciting thing at the end of the chapter was anyway, so it was not much of a loss. "Well," he said, "Now that all of the titties have jiggled sufficiently, we must needs be back on the road."

    They rode their steeds along a road, hooves raising up halos of dust, the ravens flittering about in the branches and saying what words they had picked up from the conversation.

    "Death!"

    "Dumbledore!"

    "Titties!"

    The half-man, who was short and a dwarf, wiped the sweat from his brow.

    SUDDENLY. . .

  • Ser Nico

    Spoilers Included, so skip if you feel the need...

    So, it's like this. You like hotdogs. Hotdogs are your favorite food. And there's a jumbo hotdog coming out on the 12th, so yay. Come the twelfth, all you get is the bread, and they say, eat that, the sausage is coming. It's so meaty, you're already salivating, dribbling on yourself in public like a fool.

    Munch, munch, munch. But the bread is dry... Then you come upon a sausage factory. The Jumbo Sausage factory, and you get a grand tour, up and d

    Spoilers Included, so skip if you feel the need...

    So, it's like this. You like hotdogs. Hotdogs are your favorite food. And there's a jumbo hotdog coming out on the 12th, so yay. Come the twelfth, all you get is the bread, and they say, eat that, the sausage is coming. It's so meaty, you're already salivating, dribbling on yourself in public like a fool.

    Munch, munch, munch. But the bread is dry... Then you come upon a sausage factory. The Jumbo Sausage factory, and you get a grand tour, up and down every aisle, seeing the ins and out of sausage world, how they grind the meat, and all the health precautions and what-not.

    At the end of the tour, you get a frozen ketchup packet. Half the day is gone, and you've seen the jumbo sausage showcased in the window but all you get is dry bread and a ketchup pack that promises to melt in the next five to ten years.

    See how long-winded, pointless and totally irrelevant that was? It don't have nothing on ADWD.

    I used to like Tyrion, but he spent half the book rowing down a river, and the other half wiping a man's ass.

    Dany, reminds me of Brionny from Shadowmarch - clothes, food, suitors galore and loving servants willing to eat a sword for her. Dragons too, for about 50 pages, but mostly just food and tokars.

    Jon, hopefully dead. Yes, I said it. I used to like Jon, but he turned into a wilding-lover, an idiot, and a Stannis enthusiast. He knew nothing, Jon Snow.

    And those three make up 90% of the book.

    Theon was good, until the repetitive nature of his POV became boring.

    BTW, Aegon is still alive, which isn't really a shocker since the whole "There must be one more" vision, but we see him for all of five minutes. His bodyguard, the only truly interesting POV in the series gets two chapters. They are the only people who accomplish anything, and they do the majority off-page.

    One Jaime chapter, which was more pointless than Tyrion's stint as a pig-riding slave, if such a level of pointlessness is possible. The two Cersei chapters read nice, but are still pointless, (we've had enough introspection from her, right? Time for the trial/axman/exile).

    The whole thing is one massive filler that makes AFFC look like 5 star stuff.

    1000 pages plus? 90% based in Asia/Persia/Egypt/Greece/wherever the eff Meereen is supposed to be beside a cesspit. It's a literal cesspit... literally. That pale mare is going to leave its hoof prints on your soul. Raise your hand if you want the entire continent burnt to the ground! Who cares?

    I feel as if someone farted in my brain. And gave it the flux. Or if GRRM had the flux while he was writing this.

    Winds of winter though is poised to be beautiful, at least. Hopefully no more Wall, and no more Meereen, but I get a feeling we still have some "Selmy's Round Table Rule" to mock through.

    Victarion was in it, but he was on a boat too. Asha wasn't on a boat, but she was in the snow. Everybody was either in the snow, on a boat, or getting married and eating food. Even people get married in the snow.

    One star for Aegon, the next star for Bran and the Bloodraven cameo. A thousand eyes and one... That was nice.

    Imagine a morbidly obese Brad Pitt. (Upwards of 600lbs.) That's what ASOIAF is right now.

    It'll take one hell of a fix up to return it to its former glory. TWOW

    be good, but then ADDW was supposed to be good too, right? Am I holding my breath?

  • Andrew

    "Words are wind," says George R. R. Martin (GRRM) no less than 13 times in the latest installment of his

    series. In this incredibly

    tome there was very little advancement of the overall story and no resolution to any of the myriad plot threads. Instead, most of the book followed characters travelling, yet in its 1,000+ pages only

    reaches his destination while the rest are

    .

    Words are wind, and GRRM is a windbag. His predilection for overwriting i

    "Words are wind," says George R. R. Martin (GRRM) no less than 13 times in the latest installment of his

    series. In this incredibly

    tome there was very little advancement of the overall story and no resolution to any of the myriad plot threads. Instead, most of the book followed characters travelling, yet in its 1,000+ pages only

    reaches his destination while the rest are

    .

    Words are wind, and GRRM is a windbag. His predilection for overwriting is ridiculous; an editor was

    needed and

    missed. Had this book been properly edited, we might have been saved 129 appearances of GRRM's new favorite words: leal, niello, neeps, nightsoil, serjeant, jape, and nuncle. Or spared 151 repetitions of annoying phrases like:

    Where do whores go?

    You know nothing, Jon Snow.

    words are wind

    it is known

    much and more

    little and less

    must needs

    a man grown

    a woman grown and flowered

    nipples on a breastplate

    Reek, rhymes with...

    (he/she/name) was not wrong

    GRRM likes to flood the reader with lists. Lists of dishes served at every meal, the exact order people entered and left rooms, a list of over 40 heraldic shields that

    in the Shieldhall of Castle Black:

    I do not like lists, GRRM. I would not like them here or there. I would not like them anywhere. I do not like lists. I do not like them, GRRM.

    GRRM has become so well-known for killing off characters that he made a joke of it when he

    All of which was entirely pointless to the story.

    GRRM ruined two of my favorite characters. Tyrion has become a whiny obsessive with daddy issues. Danaerys went from a strong-willed, self-righteous, slaughtering conqueror to a helpless, love-torn, indecisive, ineffectual character from a Jane Austen novel. GRRM cannot seem to write a strong female character unless she's a warrior (Brienne, Ygritte, Arya). He's disturbingly focused on tits and cunny (his word).

    Robert Jordan's

    has often been called "Characters Show Up", which would be an equally appropriate title for GRRM's

    . I couldn't put it down,

    because it was great, but because

    . It's sad that's the best thing I can say about it.

  • J. Denton

    PROLOGUE

    He awoke to the warmth of sunlight on his face. At last the day had come. He stretched to work out the kinks in his joints and muscles and groaned at the throbbing in his head. On his nightstand lay a bottle of Dornish red, which he downed in one long swallow to clear his mind, wine dribbling down his beard and tunic. He spied the book at the corner of his room where he had hurled it, and nearly threw the bottle too as the rage resurfaced along with his senses.

    The book was called A Dance

    PROLOGUE

    He awoke to the warmth of sunlight on his face. At last the day had come. He stretched to work out the kinks in his joints and muscles and groaned at the throbbing in his head. On his nightstand lay a bottle of Dornish red, which he downed in one long swallow to clear his mind, wine dribbling down his beard and tunic. He spied the book at the corner of his room where he had hurled it, and nearly threw the bottle too as the rage resurfaced along with his senses.

    The book was called A Dance with Dragons, a book that he had vowed to write a review for to publish on Amazon.com. The ending had left him dazed and confused the night before, and he longed to leech the foulness from his blood in the form of a scathing review to warn others of the horrifying tedium that awaited them. But first...

    His bladder was full to burst, and he propelled himself to the privy to relieve himself of his heavy load. A steaming stream shot from his hose like the boiling vomit of a sick dragon; far more than what he had anticipated. He counted five and ten seconds gone by as he continued to shoot and spurt, and when it ended he sighed in satisfaction. He shook off the last drops and pulled up his smallclothes, mission accomplished, but what was this...

    His tummy rumbled.

    A dragon's roar erupted from his hind quarters, a sound that bellowed like the wet cheeks of thunder itself. The smell was revolting, and flakes of brown and bubbling slime oozed down his legs like gravy.

    "Farts are wind." He chuckled, saliva running down his beard and undershirt.

    CHAPTER ONE

    He opened his refrigerator to check its contents. He was hungry, and he was not going to write his review until he was full and sated. Much and more can be done in a day, and he wasn't about to rush himself.

    Within were foods beyond count and description, but he was going to try anyway. Two cartons of eggs sat at the top shelf, each carton containing sixteen shells filled with delicious yolk and white. On the shelf below there were meats of every kind: ham and beef and pork, bacon and roast beef and steak, enough to make his mouth water and his stomach jiggle with hunger winds. Yogurts dominated the third shelf of at least three different brands and ten different flavors. Orange juice, apple juice, grape juice, juice of every fruit and flavor. He would not go thirsty, mayhaps. There were also cakes of cheese and chocolate and strawberry short, as well as pies of apple and custard for when he tired of cake. Winter may come, but he would not go hungry. The bottom shelves were for vegetables, cabbages and carrots, broccoli and lettuce, tomatoes and...what...

    "Neeps? What the hell are neeps?" He shrugged.

    He broke his fast on fried neeps and bacon, scooping them up in week old hard bread that he hollowed out and used as a trencher. He tipped the delicious soup into his mouth, bits of neep and bacon grease running down his chin and robe. When that was done he ate the trencher too, the soggy crumbs clinging to his facial hair. He mopped up the excess grease with his beard, saving it for future consumption. If there was anything he hated more than procrastination, it was wastefulness.

    His review was in his mind. He yearned to write it, as that was his true purpose and he despised these bothersome distractions! But first, he had to travel. Surely there was plenty of time. Much and more can be done in a day, after all. Much and more.

    CHAPTER FIVE

    The ship sailed down the river.

    In truth, he was not on a ship, nor was he in a river. But he had always longed to go sailing, and if he could, he would write about it incessantly and without restraint. But as of now, he drove a car, and while there was no river, there was a road, a long strip of gray asphalt that continued on to the vast horizon, leading to his destination, wherever that would be, and oh the Seven only knew when he would get there. The cement was cracked and the paint that divided it chipped and faded, mayhaps from age and use. The buildings passed by in a vague blur, but he could not pay attention to them now. He had to look ahead, or risk getting lost at sea. If I look left I am lost.

    Like the outstretched hand of a giant, a red light loomed before him, forcing him to stop in his tracks. There were three lights in all, red and orange and green. They played in sequence, herding the ships about like kings in an ocean court. He wanted to push on past that oppressive red god, but he knew to do so would be a one way ticket to the black cells. And the jail was dark and full of terrors.

    He could not afford to risk that, to be held captive for the tenth time like some onion smuggler. He had a review to write, and no time to waste. But he would get there, he assured himself. He only had to sail - drive - thrice more. But first comes the setup, and then he would put his pieces to play.

    CHAPTER THIRTY

    "Good morning, sir. It's good to see you again!"

    "Hello, wench." He greeted. On the counter was an assortment of goods and food products. He had enumerated them in excruciating detail the chapter before, but he saw no reason not to do so again. Packs of lunchables were stacked like a mountain of prepared meals to lazily break his fasts on on the counter before him. Jugs of milk stood next to them, flanked by bags of cookies and crackers in varying brands and flavors. And oh R'hllord the cheese! Sliced cheese, round cheese, white cheese, blue cheese, string cheese and cream cheese. New pieces of hardbread were grouped to the side, of which he would use as trenchers when they become old and tough as rocks. And-

    "That would be thirty-six fifty, sir.", said the wench.

    "What?"

    "Thirty six fifty. I rang them up while you were describing them. I like to pretend we're racing. I always win though." She smiled.

    "Ah, I see." His eyes squinted at her, as if seeing her for the first time. Her hair was the color of straw and flowed past her shoulders and held in a band with a cute lion face (LANNISTER!) so as not to be obtrusive, culminating in a widow's peak at her hairline. Her eyes were like brown m&m's swimming in puddles of fresh milk. She wore a white blouse slashed with yellow with the top two buttons open. Her bosom was impressive, and on the left was a nametag.

    "Darianne. Oh Darianne! How have I not noticed you before!", he crooned.

    "Um...I don't know. We see eachother everyday...you like to describe your purchases while I-"

    "Silence! Don't speak! You have awakened the dragon, and oh how he roars. I wish to sit for ten chapters straight and repeat your name! Darianne! Darianne! Darianne! And please, call me nuncle!" Suddenly he shook his head, and his eyes focusing and his gut retracting, as if waking up from a terrible spell. "No, I must not! I have a review to write, and these random romantic dalliances will only waste time!" But as if succumbing to an invisible force that filled with extreme laziness, his eyes glossed over and his stomach spilled over his belt, and once again he was lost. "Please, take me through your Myrish swamp!"

    "..."

    CHAPTER 52 - 88

    "Go Giants!"

    CHAPTER 89

    It had been a long day, longer than the longest of books, longer than even the longest installments of the most epic of epic sagas. There had been many distractions along the way (through no fault of mine!), many foods to enumerate and much sailing - driving - to do, and he was contented to immerse himself in all of it. But the end had come at last; there was no more time for those distractions. It was time for the climax, and he must needs go with a bang. If there was actually anyone waiting, this was the moment they were waiting for.

    He sat in his chair, facing the computer screen, ready to write his review. The time was twelve and twenty, his cheek still stinging from the slap Darianne had given him, and his fingers flexed and ached to at last express what he felt after reading A Dance with Dragons. He glanced at the mirror hanging at his side, and for a fraction of a second he glimpsed the face of a rotund old man with a snowy white beard wearing a newsboy hat and an NFL jersey, who somehow reminded him of a greedy Santa. He shook his head. He must be weary from lack of writing.

    His fingers twitched over the keyboard, eyes glued forward at the screen. There was no shirking it now. The end would have to come. No more excuses. It was the end of the road. The final countdown. Duh duh DUHduh, duhduh duhduhDUH! The "setup" was complete, and his characters waited in place, ready to make their moves. This was the moment he had spent an entire day and one thousand figurative pages preparing for. At last the day had come. His beard smelled awful. A Dance With Dragons was...

    He wrote a word.

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