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Author Topic: A Song of Ice and Fire  (Read 9008 times)
Ocicat
Castle Watchcat
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Anything for a Weird Life


« on: April 12, 2008, 12:09:13 AM »

When it comes to fantasy novels, I think George RR Martin's series is the best thing to come out in the last several decades.  It's not finished yet - four books of a projected seven are out, and the writing is going slower than I might like.  He's a year later than he thought he'd be on the next book (he hopes it will be out next fall now). 

But if you haven't checked them out yet, and are up for a realistically grounded fantasy with lots of politics and great characters, try picking up A Game of Thrones.  Just be warned - Martin is known for doing bad things to characters you've come to like.  The books can get pretty brutal.  But then they're inspired by the War of the Roses, a pretty brutal time in history. 

And sure, there are dragons.  And zombies.  And sorceresses.  And Giants.  But for all that, he's created a world where magic is rare and mysterious.  Magic lurks in the background, while the foreground is taken up with very human characters engaged in intrigues and wars.  And nothing about these wars is justified or pleasant.  He really shows the effects of a medieval war on the farmers peasants, even while we follow the lords and knights. 

I could go on, but the point is I figured if we're going to have a "Fantasy Discussion" forum, these books really needed a thread...
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wherethewild
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2008, 03:32:34 AM »

I think I'm going to be the only person (in the whole world) with this opinion and alienate everyone right now:

I ended up really hating those books. There was something in them that really, really annoyed me, although I admit I haven't tried to work out exactly what it was. By the end I was just wishing for them all to hurry up and die already. In fact I hadn't disliked of a set of characters so much since Thomas Covenant.

Alright, now I've upset everyone who's ever cracked open a fantasy novel. Sorry!
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The Great N-sh whispers in my ear, and he's talking about you.
birdless
Lochage
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Five is right out.


« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2008, 08:07:15 AM »

I probably prefer fantasy over any other genre, but I don't know that I'm that well-read in it. Well, not in contemporary authors anyway, so I've not read any of his stuff, but it sounds interesting. Have you read any Tad Williams (talk about some immersive characters!)? If you have, I'd be curious to hear how you think they compare. Williams is at least as equally adept as Herbert in character development. Actually, I should probably specify that Williams does his best work in that area with the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy. His Otherworld series characters weren't as engaging to me. He's got some new stuff out, but he's so slow, I tend to just collect the series before reading them.
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davedoty
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2008, 10:21:12 PM »

Actually, my understanding is that George R.R. Martin was an SF writer with little interest in fantasy until Memory, Sorrow and Thorn convinced him that the genre could be more than his low expectations had led him to expect, and he went on to craft the Song of Ice and Fire series.  So if you like Williams, and MS&T in particular, I'd say you have a higher-than-normal chance of liking the series.

I haven't read Williams, so I can't speak from experience, although they're on my lists of "books I want to read before I die but I know it's too long and I won't be able to read more than a fraction of it."  And it's not especially high on it.
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sirana
Lochage
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2008, 02:32:25 AM »

Helpless GRRM fanboy here. Game of Thrones, Clash of Kings and Storm of Swords occupy the first three places on my favourite book list (Feast for Crows is a bit behind, it was still a very good book, but not as good as the first three).
At the current rate I doubt that he'll finish the series in his lifetime though (unless some kind of immortaliy treatment comes along...)
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davedoty
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2008, 09:05:14 AM »

Well, he claims that books 4 and 5 were so heavily delayed by how far he had to go from the original outline, because he was originally going to do a big time jump and it didn't work, so he had to completely restructure as he wrote.  IF that's true, and IF he can now get back to the original outline, then there's hope the subsequent books could come out in a more timely fashion.

Then again, maybe that's just an excuse for slow writing.
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birdless
Lochage
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Five is right out.


« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2008, 10:22:22 AM »

Actually, my understanding is that George R.R. Martin was an SF writer with little interest in fantasy until Memory, Sorrow and Thorn convinced him that the genre could be more than his low expectations had led him to expect, and he went on to craft the Song of Ice and Fire series.  So if you like Williams, and MS&T in particular, I'd say you have a higher-than-normal chance of liking the series.

I haven't read Williams, so I can't speak from experience, although they're on my lists of "books I want to read before I die but I know it's too long and I won't be able to read more than a fraction of it."  And it's not especially high on it.
Ah, that's cool! I didn't know that. As I mentioned in the thread you started, I've got the first three books of SoFaI sitting on my nightstand. I'm just finishing up a Neverwhere graphic novel before I plunge into it.
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eytanz
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2008, 10:29:14 AM »

Actually, my understanding is that George R.R. Martin was an SF writer with little interest in fantasy until Memory, Sorrow and Thorn convinced him that the genre could be more than his low expectations had led him to expect, and he went on to craft the Song of Ice and Fire series.

I'm sort of skeptical as to the verasity of that - for one, the only George R.R. Martin novel I've read so far - Fevere Dream - is a vampire story set in 19th century America, and I think it would be difficult to classify it as SF rather than fantasy. Not that he didn't write SF, but I don't think he refused to write Fantasy. Maybe it's the specific high-fantasy epic sub-genre that was at stake.

In any case, I haven't read any of the Song of Ice and Fire novels because of a Robert-Jordan induced fear of incompleted series. I have heard nothing but great things about it, and I'm pretty sure I'll love it, but I'm deferring the pleasure of reading them until I know the last one is available.
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sirana
Lochage
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2008, 03:21:06 PM »

I have heard nothing but great things about it, and I'm pretty sure I'll love it, but I'm deferring the pleasure of reading them until I know the last one is available.

Talk to you in 2064...
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2008, 04:33:09 PM »

In any case, I haven't read any of the Song of Ice and Fire novels because of a Robert-Jordan induced fear of incompleted series. I have heard nothing but great things about it, and I'm pretty sure I'll love it, but I'm deferring the pleasure of reading them until I know the last one is available.

I had the good sense to avoid Jordan's work like diseased crap, but I had the unpleasant experience of having to wait several years for Stephen King to resume work on The Dark Tower between books 4 and 5.

I had the even more unpleasant experience of reading books that sucked once they finally did come out.  Sad
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eytanz
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2008, 04:44:36 PM »

In any case, I haven't read any of the Song of Ice and Fire novels because of a Robert-Jordan induced fear of incompleted series. I have heard nothing but great things about it, and I'm pretty sure I'll love it, but I'm deferring the pleasure of reading them until I know the last one is available.

I had the good sense to avoid Jordan's work like diseased crap, but I had the unpleasant experience of having to wait several years for Stephen King to resume work on The Dark Tower between books 4 and 5.

I had the even more unpleasant experience of reading books that sucked once they finally did come out.  Sad

It's really not that much about the quality, for me - I mean, obviously it's important, but it's more about hating it when I finish a book that doesn't resolve the plot and having to wait an unknown amount of time for the next book. It's frustrating at that point because I'm impatient and want to continue, and it's frustrating again when the next book comes out two years later and I discover I forgot a lot of the details, or maybe even whole sub-plots.

These days, I very rarely will read a book that's part of an incomplete series. It's not like I'm short of stuff I want to read; hell, I've got two and a half full bookshelves in my bedroom of books I haven't started yet.
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birdless
Lochage
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Posts: 581


Five is right out.


« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2008, 09:45:13 AM »

Actually, my understanding is that George R.R. Martin was an SF writer with little interest in fantasy until Memory, Sorrow and Thorn convinced him that the genre could be more than his low expectations had led him to expect, and he went on to craft the Song of Ice and Fire series.

I'm sort of skeptical as to the verasity of that - for one, the only George R.R. Martin novel I've read so far - Fevere Dream - is a vampire story set in 19th century America, and I think it would be difficult to classify it as SF rather than fantasy. Not that he didn't write SF, but I don't think he refused to write Fantasy. Maybe it's the specific high-fantasy epic sub-genre that was at stake.

In any case, I haven't read any of the Song of Ice and Fire novels because of a Robert-Jordan induced fear of incompleted series. I have heard nothing but great things about it, and I'm pretty sure I'll love it, but I'm deferring the pleasure of reading them until I know the last one is available.
Ha! I'm reading the 2nd book of Song of Ice and Fire. On page 349 of the TPB, a knight in Renly's court is named Willum, with two sons named Elyas and Josua. This is an obvious tribute to William's royal brothers, Elias and Josua, in a battle for the throne in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. So whether Martin was inspired to write fantasy because of William or not, he has obviously read those books.

<edited spelling error>
« Last Edit: July 04, 2008, 09:47:48 AM by birdless » Logged
Sandikal
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« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2008, 10:24:57 AM »

I think I'm going to be the only person (in the whole world) with this opinion and alienate everyone right now:

I ended up really hating those books. There was something in them that really, really annoyed me, although I admit I haven't tried to work out exactly what it was. By the end I was just wishing for them all to hurry up and die already. In fact I hadn't disliked of a set of characters so much since Thomas Covenant.

Alright, now I've upset everyone who's ever cracked open a fantasy novel. Sorry!

I read "A Game of Thrones" for a reading group.  I didn't hate it, but I felt really manipulated by it.  I hated how every plot line was left hanging.  But, that's par for the course with fantasy.  Everything has to be multi-volume works.  I see it as a ploy to keep people buying books.  I much prefer a tightly written, done-in-one novel.  I don't mind revisiting a fictional world, I just don't want to be forced to.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2008, 02:37:10 PM »

Quote
I hated how every plot line was left hanging.  But, that's par for the course with fantasy.

Some discussions I've read recently suggest that this is driven by publishers, not authors.
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Sandikal
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« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2008, 02:47:48 PM »

I hear that a lot too, Rachel.  I call it "The Lord of the Rings Syndrome."  I'm really getting frustrated by all the series that are out there.  It's affecting my first love, science fiction, too.  I think part of the reason I'm enjoying the Pod Castle and the Excape Pod podcasts is that each story is complete.  There are no cliffhangers and no waiting for the next installment to find out what happens next. 

I am a realist though and I do understand that publisher wouldn't be insisting that writers do these series if they weren't making beaucoup bucks from it.  It's much harder to sell stand-alone novels. 
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sirana
Lochage
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2008, 02:54:41 PM »

Wuhuu, HBO has greenlit the pilot to the TV-Series based on A Song of Ice and Fire.
Anouncement is here
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DKT
Friendly Neighborhood
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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2008, 03:03:34 PM »

Cool.

Now all I have to do is figure out if I want to read the first book before I watch the series, or read it after I watch...
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deflective
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« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2009, 09:17:14 PM »

i got into this series a couple months ago after i found out that my local library offers audiobook downloads. it's a very solid series but it can be tough to get attached to the characters since there's a touch of soap opera. people are people, doing things for their own reasons. if you become vested in someone they're likely to do something that shocks you, or die.

the reading is interesting in its own right. over an extended series like this the reader has to differentiate between hundreds of characters and he puts a lot of effort into it, developing accents for the different regions and families. on the other hand, each book plays for well over 24h and it's taken months to get through to the end of the third book. podcasts suffer for it too. =/
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deflective
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« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2009, 02:34:59 PM »

oh, goddammit! they change narrators for the fourth book.

i've got hundreds of hours invested into certain voices for certain characters and now that's all gone. i hate you new guy. you sound like a nice guy but, just... goddammit.
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sirana
Lochage
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« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2009, 03:02:13 PM »

Yeah, I was really pissed about that, too. The new guy was ok, but Roy Dotrice really made the world come alive.
I don't think he will be reading the next book either. He is 86 at the moment and it looks like GRRM will need another 5 years to write "A Dance with Dragons".
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