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March 27, 2014 10:58 PM   Subscribe

George RR Martin has published a chapter of the Winds of Winter on line. SPOILERS!
posted by pjern (132 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Will not be tempted by scraps from his table. GIVE US THE WHOLE THING, PLEASE.
posted by sbutler at 10:59 PM on March 27 [8 favorites]


Read this yesterday. OMG SO GOOD
posted by KathrynT at 10:59 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


It's just Lucy and the football, people. Don't be Charlie Brown.
posted by Justinian at 11:19 PM on March 27 [23 favorites]


We should just crowdsource the last 2 volumes, give GRRM a hand
posted by Bwithh at 11:25 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


This is the shortest chapter he has ever written.
posted by cairnoflore at 11:53 PM on March 27


murdermurdermurder
posted by silby at 11:59 PM on March 27


The more books in a fantasy series, the worse is the series
posted by thelonius at 12:00 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


The more books in a fantasy series, the worse is the series

Terry Pratchett will see you after class.
posted by Jimbob at 12:28 AM on March 28 [58 favorites]


The more books in a fantasy series, the worse is the series

Nope.
posted by kmz at 12:29 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Pratchett's really slowed down since... Going Postal, I think? They're not bad, but his ear for dialogue and his eye for subtlety are shot.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:30 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Sure, but GP is still what, number 33 in the series? My fave is still Night Watch, and that's squarely in the latter half.
posted by kmz at 12:35 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


33! wow
posted by thelonius at 12:40 AM on March 28


Pratchett's really slowed down since... Going Postal, I think?

Okay I think maybe there is a humped distribution. The early ones were a bit repetitive and seemed to use the same jokes in every book. Still, my point stands. Sorry for the derail.
posted by Jimbob at 12:42 AM on March 28


murdermurdermurder

More like raperaperapegroperape. It reminds me again of why I like Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastard series so much.

(He gets brownie points to the allusion to Miles Vorkosigan via Miles' obsession with Richard III, though)
posted by sukeban at 12:45 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Huh, with Raising Steam, Discworld's up to 40 books!
posted by JHarris at 12:49 AM on March 28


Discworld doesn't count, since all the novels are standalone stories in a single universe. Come to think of it, Game of Thrones would have been SOOOOO much better if Martin had taken that approach.
posted by happyroach at 12:59 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Um. That's just a longish page. Chapter? Please. As if.

Also ... this material is still smolderingly new. In what possible way could it then have any spoilers?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:04 AM on March 28


Pratchett's really slowed down since... Going Postal, I think? They're not bad, but his ear for dialogue and his eye for subtlety are shot.

He's, uh, been suffering from early onset Alzheimer's for at least 7-8 years now.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 AM on March 28 [17 favorites]


Yeah, I think Thud! is where it first started to show.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:11 AM on March 28


Yes, I've stopped reading Pratchett books; it's too sad.

Thud was great though, I wouldn't put the start of the slide there at all.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:12 AM on March 28


Jumping on this Pratchett derail, I would also argue against Going Postal being the shark ramp because that excludes the last two Tiffany Aching books which were both pretty good.
posted by C^3 at 1:14 AM on March 28 [7 favorites]


Jumping on this Pratchett derail, I would also argue against Going Postal being the shark ramp because that excludes the last two Tiffany Aching books which were both pretty good.

I read those books completely unaware that they were supposedly some separate, special "young adult" diversion. They were great.
posted by Jimbob at 1:17 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Don't forget that GoT season 4 starts one week from this Sunday! I figure the TV series catches up to Martin in 2018.
posted by Justinian at 1:18 AM on March 28


[One comment deleted. Guys, please don't do rot13 or similar obfuscatory stuff here. Spoiler thread titled "Spoilers" is spoilery, and that's okay.]
posted by taz at 2:28 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Sebmojo: "Yes, I've stopped reading Pratchett books; it's too sad.

Thud was great though, I wouldn't put the start of the slide there at all.
"

I began crying when I found a grammar error in Unseen Academicals. It's not actually a sign of his decline, but it was such a sudden reminder.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:44 AM on March 28


Just finished it.
As ye' old midwestern skateboarders of the '90s used to put it: "That is tight."
posted by coolxcool=rad at 3:04 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Finish the goddamn books, already!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:46 AM on March 28


There are enough GRRM Drinking Game points in this chapter alone to get you as shitfaced as King Robert AND Queen Cersei put together.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:01 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


Maybe he's trying to kill all his fans via alcohol poisoning so that people stop bugging him to finish the books.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:16 AM on March 28


Don't do this to yourselves, guys. He's a heartbreaker.

(Veteran of the SoS wait and the DwD FfC wait, gave up after that.)
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:26 AM on March 28


Terry Pratchett will see you after class.

Eh, I dunno. Not because Pratchett hasn't written an awful lot of good books (although I stopped reading them after maybe 6 or 7; "great" and "to my taste" are not synonyms), but because Discworld is a setting more than a series. Yeah, the books build on each other, but the various runs and stand-alone books have a lot of differences, too, unlike, say, the Martin books which are a real series. (Kind of how Lord of the Rings is not really a "fantasy trilogy" in the marketing sense but, rather, a three-volume novel).

My feeling is that, if you write anything longer than 3000 pages, you are stating publicly that you have more to say than Proust. In 99.9% of the cases, I will suggest strongly that you do not.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:30 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


He should give up on the books and just keep writing for HBO. His stories make for great television but god I could not slog through his prose.
posted by HumanComplex at 4:31 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


> "The more books in a fantasy series, the worse is the series".
> "My feeling is that, if you write anything longer than 3000 pages, you are stating publicly that you have more to say than Proust. In 99.9% of the cases, I will suggest strongly that you do not."

With all due respect, I think these statements are a bit silly.

I do think it is entirely possible that 99.9% of authors are incapable of writing more than 3000 pages worth of great, Proust-level novels, sure. But is that really the bar? Not all writers have to be Proust. And is no one is capable of writing more than 8 to 10 books worth of good, enjoyable literature? I think it's pretty safe to say a good many people have proven that they can.

And as to the first, whether it is generally possible to do so within the context of a single fantasy series ... well, why wouldn't that be the case? I won't deny that some long-running series do have a problem where they run out of steam when the author runs out of ideas but keeps milking the same cow. But I can think of plenty that don't particularly suffer from that problem at all. In fact, I'll glance over my bookshelves for series I like which are longer than say, six books.

Before I do -- it's certainly true that it's easier if you have books set in the same world, but are not necessarily part of a single series; there's more room to introduce new elements and they may be less likely to get flogged to death. So we'll leave aside, for the moment, authors like Joe Abercrombie, who has a trilogy and then a bunch of stand-alones set in the same world. But I won't set aside Terry Pratchett, because he has several "sub-series" within his world which easily count as a single series. The "Vimes" novels alone would include at least Guards! Guards!, Men At Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, Night Watch, Thud!, and Snuff, which is an eight-book run.

So ...

Terry Pratchett (eight Vimes novels)
Patricia Briggs (eight Mercy Thompson novels)
Jim Butcher (fourteen Dresden Files novels)
P. C. Hodgell (eight Kencyrath novels)
J. K. Rowling (seven Harry Potter novels)

Especially considering that's restricted to "fantasy novels more than six books long on kyrademon's shelf at this very moment", that's considerably more than no one. Are they all Prousts? Of course not, none of them are, they wouldn't claim to be. Are they good books? Your mileage may vary, but out of the 80% of those that are still ongoing series, I will continue to read them as they come out.
posted by kyrademon at 5:17 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


My mileage varied
posted by thelonius at 5:18 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Fair enough. But given your "the longer, the worse" comment, can I ask -- Do you actually find them significantly worse than the average fantasy trilogy? Or do you simply have high standards for fantasy in general?
posted by kyrademon at 5:22 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Martin...Winds...hmmm.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:34 AM on March 28


Pretty small chapter. Only 550 pages.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:34 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


King Robert AND Queen Cersei put together.

I thought the whole reason behind the series was that Robert and Cersei DIDN'T get together, if you understand my meaning. Like Biblically. Or is that Seven-Pointed Star-rically?
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:52 AM on March 28


I liked the chapter, but now I'm all excited about reading a book that I won't see for years.
posted by Area Man at 5:57 AM on March 28


I thought the whole reason behind the series was that Robert and Cersei DIDN'T get together, if you understand my meaning. Like Biblically. Or is that Seven-Pointed Star-rically?

No, I'm pretty sure one Lannister would have found a reason to kill Robert off.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:58 AM on March 28


ugh not another new character. focus on the ones you've already made!
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 5:59 AM on March 28


ugh not another new character. focus on the ones you've already made!

I think you should read it again.
posted by Pendragon at 6:01 AM on March 28 [25 favorites]


Terry Pratchett (eight Vimes novels)
Patricia Briggs (eight Mercy Thompson novels)
Jim Butcher (fourteen Dresden Files novels)
P. C. Hodgell (eight Kencyrath novels)
J. K. Rowling (seven Harry Potter novels)


Hmmm. Actually, I think that Rowling and Butcher are really good examples of problems with long fantasy series -- in both cases, they made decisions early on that badly hobbled the series later. Rowling's need to have a fairly unnecessary "Harry in the normal world sequence which should have been lost after the first book or two, removing a couple of hundred pages, plus some of her less-well considered ideas about how the wizards and muggles interact that could have made the series more agile as a whole. Butcher on the other hand takes a couple of books to get going and by book 8-9 has so much unnecessary baggage in his plots that he had to do a somewhat flailing reboot to remove some of that weight. He clearly was not planning a long series when he started, an it really shows. The Dresden series would be much stronger and focused with about 50% of the pages edited out.

Kim Harrison's series named after Clint Eastwood westerns is another case in point of a series bogged down under decisions made early in a forming series and the need to find an endpoint after 4-5 books has made that difficult. Rowling at least had an endpoint to work toward.

Part of the problem, I think, comes from Robin Laws' idea about Dramatic and Iconic heroes. We follow Dramatic Heroes to see them change, and their arc is, therefore, necessarily limited (and it needs to be scripted in advance). We follow Iconic Heroes, on the other hand, to see them do their Signature Moves. We want to watch Holmes solve mysteries, Batman detect crimes and fight lurid villains, Doc Savage get out on the wing of a biplane, etc. They are well suited to serial formats, and they do not need to progress, so they work with open-ended series in a way that Dramatic Heroes don't. If you don't have an endpoint for the Dramatic Hero, they don't seem to grow so much as flail around in circles. If you try and insert "growth" into Iconic Heroes, you risk losing their iconic status and what makes the character interesting (a series problem with the Nolen Batman trilogy, in my opinion, and a reason why so many superhero movies tiresomely get bogged down in origin stories).

Pratchett neatly avoided this by having a common setting, but allowing himself to jump from place to place so characters can have arcs and grow but be allowed to savor the fruits of that growth, while still giving the reader the pleasure of the familiar elements of the setting.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:09 AM on March 28 [9 favorites]


Strictly speaking, Discworld began as a parody of fantasy tropes in TCOM and TLF, and got really going when it stopped doing that and developed the various narrative arcs. This is especially glaring with the Patrician's early appearances, which are very different from the Vetinari we all know and love (or something). So yeah, not the best example of a coherent worldbuilding here, but the History Monks did what they could.
posted by sukeban at 6:26 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


(The first appearance of Death is another example of Early Installment Weirdness when you compare him to his characterization from Mort onwards)
posted by sukeban at 6:28 AM on March 28


That was decent. I hope a substantial portion of the book takes place with the same character and in the same location. Martin did a good job rendering Bravos.
posted by codacorolla at 6:29 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Martin did a good job rendering Bravos.

Generic City of Canals/ Venice Lookalike is generic.
posted by sukeban at 6:31 AM on March 28


Oh, man, if somebody could have just bit into a hunk of meat and have grease run down their chin, I could have had a bingo.
posted by ftm at 6:34 AM on March 28 [10 favorites]


As long as the hunk of meat was placed in a hollowed piece of stale bread used as a trencher.
posted by sukeban at 6:35 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE. FINISH THE BOOK GEORGE.
posted by lalochezia at 6:45 AM on March 28


Mercy!
posted by ocherdraco at 6:52 AM on March 28


(Kind of how Lord of the Rings is not really a "fantasy trilogy" in the marketing sense but, rather, a three-volume novel)

Worth reminding folks that Tolkien disliked the division into three volumes and felt it didn't fit the work at all, which he conceived as a whole novel in six parts, half of a duology with The Silmarillion. This forum page has a bunch of info, including quotes from his letters:

P.S. The book is not of course a 'trilogy'. That and the titles of the volumes was a fudge thought necessary for publication, owing to length and cost. There is no real division into 3, nor is any one pan intelligible alone. The story was conceived and written as a whole and the only natural divisions are the 'books' I-VI (which originally had titles).
posted by mediareport at 6:54 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Martin did a good job rendering Bravos.

Generic City of Canals/ Venice Lookalike is generic.


The Winds of Locke Lamora?
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:56 AM on March 28


The more books in a fantasy series, the worse is the series.

My best counter to this argument is the Malazan Book of the Fallen, which gets better and better until it reaches its satisfying climax in the 10th book. It's grimdark and unbearably tragic, which is likely to put a lot of people off, but it's an incredible piece of work.

The worst offender must be Robert Jordan.
posted by drklahn at 6:57 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


City of Canals Warning: TVTropes
posted by sukeban at 6:58 AM on March 28


Resisting the urge to read! Give us the book already, Georgie-boy!
posted by firei at 6:59 AM on March 28


ugh not another new character. focus on the ones you've already made!

I think you should read it again.

Ah, yes. One of our regular characters starts taking on different aliases and lives as of DwD, remember? She had a list of guys she wanted to kill.....
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:02 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


i was so pumped for the new series to start that I started watching the previous serieses in anticipation.

it did not go well

I've decided instead to watch only the series intro and episode 9. I should be able to accomplish that by next week.
posted by rebent at 7:02 AM on March 28


drklahn: The worst offender must be Robert Jordan.

I really liked what Brandon Sanderson did with the end of the series, and I think it was a really neat way to end a way too long series, though I'm not wishing death upon any overly verbose and rambling authors.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:04 AM on March 28


My best counter to this argument

...de gustibus non est disputandum, but I though the Malazan books grew increasingly horrible until I could not go on anymore (and I made it to book 8, maybe 7). To be fair, there will elements that were really intriguing, but I can only handle so much torture-porn before I have to stop. Yeesh. I am astounded that I never realized that a side effect of having healing magic in a fantasy world is that you can lovingly maim your characters over and over, but it's not my thing.

On thing that I like about the Game of Throne TV series is that a lot of Martin's (as I find it) turgid prose used to convey how dismal the world is can be rendered quickly (although often nastily) through visuals without feeling as heavy handed. It also takes much less time to get through, which is also a bonus. There is so much to read!
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:07 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


My best counter to this argument is the Malazan Book of the Fallen, which gets better and better until it reaches its satisfying climax in the 10th book. It's grimdark and unbearably tragic, which is likely to put a lot of people off, but it's an incredible piece of work.

Really? Erikson is my go-to example for a writer who shot his editor after about book three. By ten I felt like I was reading a self-parody of some kind.

At this point, I read Martin's stuff out of pure enjoyment of wandering around his world, not because I ever expect to get closure on anything. Given the extinction of the Starks, the arrival of the Martells and Tyrells, and the new characters in DwD, I almost expect to see the entire original cast replaced by the time he actually finishes the series anyway.
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:15 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


I am so excited for a place already spoilery I can talk about this. I have been squealing with delight since I finished reading it.

From the very beginning, I was chanting in my head, "Please be her, please be her, please be her." And it's so great - she has really come into her own. There's no split anymore - she both is who she is and mourns the person and the goodbye of the person, while still using it for her own ends. I would like to know how much that changing is dependent on being centered at Bravos though. We saw Jaqen H'ghar change while traveling, but don't know if he was simply taking off the first face, or if it was a new face that he did put on.

What I found additionally interesting was the significance of the play itself. So the King of Westeros is sending his envoy, and they choose a play called the "Bloody Hand". If it's contemporary, then it would refer to either Tywin Lannister or Ned Stark - both of whom died in very bloody ways. Yet reference is also made to a king, a queen in a wedding scene, and the rape of a noble virgin by a dwarf. A piece of the dwarf's dialogue is given:
“The seven-faced god has cheated me,” he said. “My noble sire he made of purest gold, and gold he made my siblings, boy and girl. But I am formed of darker stuff, of bones and blood and clay, twisted into this rude shape you see before you.”
Gold is a clear reference to Casterly Rock, with siblings referencing Cersei and Jaime. It's pretty certain from that that the dwarf raping the maiden is a reference to Tyrion bedding Sansa, and since it opens with him in a graveyard, likely the Hand referenced is Tywin. Mockery of Tyrion would please the Lannisters, but making a play about a recently murdered Hand seems dangerous in the extreme - unless, of course, it's not. Does the mummer's play reflect the mood in the city - which may be more likely than others to know which way the Iron Bank swings?
posted by corb at 7:24 AM on March 28 [9 favorites]


I really liked what Brandon Sanderson did with the end of the series, and I think it was a really neat way to end a way too long series, though I'm not wishing death upon any overly verbose and rambling authors.

Though I really think that book 11 (the last the was entirely penned by Jordan) is where the series started to get to the top of the hill so it could get rolling down the other side. So I think the feeling of being back on track when Sanderson took over is not completely his doing. I did enjoy the lack of sniffing and arm-folding though.
posted by VTX at 7:26 AM on March 28


Was there tugging of braids? As for pTerry, I thought the last Tiffany Aching book (so grim) and Unseen Academicals were better than Thud! for instance. Snuff's goblin theme was a bit of a déjà vu, but I liked that he explored some of the consequences of Vimes' status as a Duke (see also Athos in the d'Artagnan romances).
posted by ersatz at 7:38 AM on March 28


If you're wondering how much of TWOW has been released, read at signings, etc., Tor.com has a roundup.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:41 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


:/ I think people tend to jump to "OMG Pratchett's got Alzheimer's his book quality is degrading!" too quick. I remember reading this very criticism about Unseen Academicals before I read it and anticipating a sharp decline, but ending up liking that story so friggen much, it's one of my favorite DW books. And fwiw grammatical errors are often the fault of the publisher not the writer, there are SO FUCKING MANY copy errors in HarperCollins books I think they must have trained bonobos cranking out the first edition copy.

So, yeah, I've no beef if random_X person doesn't care for random_Y Discworld book, thee are plenty I am pretty meh about, (if Eric was written/published today people would bitch to high heaven about it and cite it as example 1 of Pratchett's decline), I really didn't care too much for Snuff myself, but I remain pretty wary of pulling the big A card just yet. It's like a Tom Waits album, every one seems to bitch about em when they come out, but five years down the road they are classic.


I think the criticism GenjiandProust brings up about Butcher and The Dresden Books is spot on. I read them kinda guiltily as I think the world building is pretty good, but some of the writing is depressing. Cripes if there isn't some completely new and all encompassing threat to all reality in nearly every single book. I think Butcher has blown 6 or 7 good completely separate series ideas by trying to cram new thing after new thing into
the story line, too much excess. Dude needs to ratchet it back just a little.
Harry Potter does suffer from being too long, I think as the series progressed editors got more fearful of working their magic, or Rowling got too powerful in being able to demand only the edits she thought was best. That last book was a sloppy mess of finally lets get this thing over with.
posted by edgeways at 7:48 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


I think the Bloody Hand refers to Tyrion himself; especially given that he seems to be the main character. It seems a similar play to Richard III.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:57 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


I guess I should really get around to reading "A Dance with Dragons". I feel like I read "A Game of Thrones" almost a generation ago. Wait....I did.
posted by beowulf573 at 8:07 AM on March 28


If we assume that the Bloody Hand is Tyrion, and that there is then a rape scene in the second act, where the Dwarf rapes the Maiden, is Arya playing her sister? (because, obviously, if he's going to be evil and menacing and terrible, then of course he'd rape the maiden as well as everything else he does. Probably gets blamed for the Red Wedding and sacrifices everything to the fire god and on and on an on...)

I am so delighted by this play and the mummers and the envoy from Westeros that I am actually sad that she'll be moving on from this. I almost want an entire novel devoted to how the entire clusterfuck of Westeros is heard across the rest of the world, through plays, gossip, songs, barroom tales...

But, no, we're going to go back to all the battles and blood and political fighting. Come on, I am so bored of royalty and fighting for the crown and what-the-fuck-ever...
posted by Katemonkey at 8:09 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Yeah, Arya is playing Sansa, which is just great. Her boss seems to be playing Robert, who will be killed by a boar in the play, so the play seems to cover a lot of ground.... maybe it's now hypothesized by the public that Tyrion also had a hand in Robert's death.

This is a really clever chapter.
posted by painquale at 8:15 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


My best counter to this argument is the Malazan Book of the Fallen, which gets better and better until it reaches its satisfying climax in the 10th book. It's grimdark and unbearably tragic, which is likely to put a lot of people off, but it's an incredible piece of work.

Malazan is one of the few book series that actually made me feel bad for reading it. "Grimdark" is right; it reads like gore-porn. That, plus Erikson's tendency to go off on 1000-page tangents about people who I didn't care about, ended up with me stopping around Bonehunters. It's also worth noting that Erikson is pretty much the poster-child for laughable Fantasy names: D'ivers, T'ian, T'lan Imass, Onos T'oolan, K'Chain Che'Malle.

It's just comically bad.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:34 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Erickson - so much good and so much bad. Books seven and eight fell through the roof, the timeline was so fucked up it caused madness in those who tried to make sense of it, the constant leveling up of characters, the naming conventions, the world-building was so broad yet so shallow, the magic system ridiculous and indecipherable. But in book nine he began to pick up the pieces and stuck the landing, the scene where Quick Ben decimated the two neuromancers in MoI was just the best Fuck Yeah, his female soldiers stand their ground as equally as the men, Rake was the baddest badass to ever walk any world... I would never recommend this to anyone lacking an infinitesimal patience but there is some fantastic shit inside those ten volumes. Not as good as GRRM, or Lynch, or Abercrombie but still, if you have the patience and the time.
posted by Ber at 8:52 AM on March 28


Malazan is one of the few book series that actually made me feel bad for reading it.

I did enjoy all the marching through inhospitable terrain, however.

Slightly more seriously, Erikson's magic system, while feeling a bit like WarHammer Fantasy, had a nice quality of "we know how this works now, but it used to work in different ways and no one know why." Alas, that is not worth reading 7000 pages to find out.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:58 AM on March 28


Phario Forel had written it, and he had the bloodiest quill of all of Braavos.

And a rapier wit to match.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:00 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know if the WoW chapters released to date are collected anywhere? I'm mid-way through A Dance with Dragons and want to keep the party going!

(He says on his blog that previously released chapters are taken down when the new one goes up but I missed those.)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:15 AM on March 28


The Wiki lists five chapters released, though I didn't see them collected anywhere.
posted by DynamiteToast at 9:27 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


I guess I started a big derail with my little cranky rule-of-thumb; I am sorry.

Just finished the chapter - it was good - now I will try to forget it exists until the thing is out.
posted by thelonius at 9:31 AM on March 28


Another possibility is that Arya is playing Shae, not Sansa. In her testimony during Tyrion's trial, Shae lies and says that she was a maiden, betrothed to a squire, and implies that Tyrion raped her:
"But the Imp saw me at the Green Fork and put the boy I meant to marry in the front rank of the van, and after he was killed he sent his wildlings to bring me to his tent. Shagga, the big one, and Timett with the burned eye. He said if I didn’t pleasure him, he’d give me to them, so I did. Then he brought me to the city, so I’d be close when he wanted me. He made me do such shameful things..."

—Tyrion X, A Storm of Swords
posted by ocherdraco at 9:50 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Two of the excerpts are available via the Wayback Machine:

Theon I
Arienne II
posted by nicepersonality at 10:05 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


I always hated that shae lied. It makes me so sad. Maybe there were clues to her inevitable betrayal but I was as blind as tyrion.

I'm rereading storm of swords and coming up on that part soon. Sigh.
posted by sio42 at 10:08 AM on March 28


“Walk?” His fingers were slick with blood. “Are you blind, girl? I’m bleeding like a stuck pig. I can’t walk on this.”

“Well,” she said, “I don’t know how you’ll get there, then.”

“You’ll need to carry me.”

See? thought Mercy. You know your line, and so do I.

“Think so?” asked Arya, sweetly.


OHHHHHHHHHHHHH SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP
posted by dhens at 10:14 AM on March 28 [12 favorites]


Here's a little hidden cameo:

"She took a deep breath to quiet the howling in her heart, trying to remember more of what she'd dreamt, but most of it had gone already. There had been blood in it, though, and a full moon overhead, and a tree that watched her as she ran."
posted by painquale at 10:23 AM on March 28 [7 favorites]


Except in dreams. She took a breath to quiet the howling in her heart, trying to remember more of what she’d dreamt, but most of it had gone already. There had been blood in it, though, and a full moon overhead, and a tree that watched her as she ran.

Bran sensing Nymeria?
posted by dhens at 10:24 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


jinx, painquale!
posted by dhens at 10:24 AM on March 28


Just finished this! Oh man now I'm excited!

Are there any other characters in the envoy we're supposed to recognize? I'm not the best at that sometimes.
posted by sio42 at 10:27 AM on March 28


Besides Harys Swyft and Raff the Sweetling (and the "Black Pearl" from Braavos who is entertaining Swyft), I don't think so.
posted by dhens at 10:30 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Arya has met the Black Pearl before, when she bought some cockles from Cat of the Canals. Harys is the current Lord Treasurer of Westeros, and Kevan Lannister's father-in-law.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:41 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Game of Thrones spoilers used as classroom management tool.
posted by frimble at 10:44 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


“You’ll need to carry me.”

I didn't catch this line and needed to look up what it referred to. For others:
One of the spearmen drifted over to Lommy. “Something wrong with your leg, boy?”

“It got hurt.”

“Can you walk?” He sounded concerned.

“No,” said Lommy. “You got to carry me.”

“Think so?” The man lifted his spear casually and drove the point through the boy’s soft throat. Lommy never even had time to yield again. He jerked once, and that was all. When the man pulled his spear loose, blood sprayed out in a dark fountain. “Carry him, he says,” he muttered, chuckling.
It's later revealed that the spearman is Raff the Sweetling.

There are a lot of rich connections between this chapter and previous books. Izembaro has been mentioned before. Cersei was once told about rumors that Tyrion was hiding in a mummer's show in Braavos. And then there's this mysterious new Forel.

I really adore the way the play is a weird satire of events as we know them to have passed. Tyrion entreating the Stranger for a poison cup in a graveyard is great: I guess there is also the implication that he summoned the demonic boar. My favorite bit in the new chapter is this, which reveals that Arya has become what everyone else assumes that Tyrion has become:
"... As I cannot be the hero, let me be the monster, and lesson them in fear in place of love.”

Mercy mouthed the last lines along with him.
posted by painquale at 10:45 AM on March 28 [13 favorites]


Are there any other characters in the envoy we're supposed to recognize? I'm not the best at that sometimes.

Another one of the Mountain's men, Dunsen, is on Arya's list and may be among Harys Swift's retinue—he was told to take the Mountain's men with him as guards—but there wasn't any mention of him in the chapter. It sounds like Arya got a look at the faces of all four guards who were with Swift, but she only recognized Raff. Maybe he has other guards elsewhere?
posted by The Tensor at 10:46 AM on March 28


Dunsen was last seen with Raff escorting prisoners to the Wall, so it's very possible he's around.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:53 AM on March 28


Honestly that chapter contained almost exactly what it needed to flirt with rekindling my interest in this series. Well player, Mr Troll Author.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 10:56 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Also: <twentyone>I said retinue.</twentyone>
posted by The Tensor at 10:58 AM on March 28


This chapter and the Theon sample chapter (linked to above) are both pretty good. The Tyrion chapter released with the Ice and Fire app a few days ago was OK; a bit too much of Tyrion brooding.
posted by dhens at 10:58 AM on March 28


If Arya's going to start getting seriously into theatre, I'd love to see her take on Gilbert and Sullivan. I have a feeling her rendition of "I've Got A Little List" would be epic.
posted by ilana at 10:58 AM on March 28 [12 favorites]


Oh man. That would be amazing.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:03 AM on March 28


I feel like both tyrion and arya started out not really liking killing as much as others, or at least with much less casualness.

But then they both were fuck it, these people are going down.
posted by sio42 at 11:09 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


There's the kid who killed my dad and others of his race,
And the sadistic torturer — I've got him on the list!
And the motherfucking bastard what stabbed Lommy in the face,
They never would be missed — they never would be missed!


Not sure that keeps the G&S spirit.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:13 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


Bran sensing Nymeria?

Oooh, very nice catch.
posted by corb at 11:25 AM on March 28


Oooh, very nice catch.

To be fair, I didn't catch it, but someone in the forums I frequent did...
posted by dhens at 11:27 AM on March 28


Raff broke the first rule: never go with an Arya to a second location.
posted by maudlin at 11:53 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list — I've got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!
There’s the kid who killed my direwolf and later on, my dad
I’d just remove his sniveling face and tell my sis, too bad —
Ruthless disfigured murderers who kidnap, fight and Hound —
I’d truss him up while sleeping and I’d take him to the pound —
And torturers who gnaw your bowels the second you resist —
They'd none of 'em be missed — they'd none of 'em be missed!

(Chorus:)
She's got 'em on the list — she's got 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed — they'll none of 'em be missed.

(Ko-Ko:)
There’s the man who captures children and then hits them in the face
Falling, watch his body twist — I've got him on the list!
And the manticore who kills the crow ‘fore he can fly this place,
He’d bear it, I insist — he never would be missed!
The man who heaps abuses from his lips festooned with boils
For missteps like a single look in midst of endless toil
And the Mountain who rides like a man, the biggest, cruelest guy,
We’ll see how big he’s feeling when his time has come to die
And to Polliver who took my sword, that damned recidivist—
I don't think he'd be missed — I'm sure he'd not he missed!

(Chorus:)
She's got him on the list — he's got him on the list;
And I don't think she'll be missed — I'm sure she'll not be missed!

(Ko-Ko:)
And that gloomy Ilyn Payne, the executioner absurd,
The speechless humorist — I've got him on the list!
My father’s sword, Valyrian steel – he won’t have the last word
They'd none of 'em be missed — they'd none of 'em be missed.
And that wretched drunkard queen who plots to ruin all our lives,
She’ll learn that brothers shouldn’t want their sisters for their wives
The rats who when the tables turn begin to run and cry
Who cares how this rendition ends because all men must die
So it really doesn't matter whom you put upon the list,
For it’s valar dohaeris — and valar morghulis!

(Chorus:)
You may put 'em on the list — you may put 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed — they'll none of 'em be missed!
posted by ilana at 11:55 AM on March 28 [22 favorites]


I wonder if arya is mad she didn't get to kill joffrey. I can't remember everything that happens in the last few books and if she even knows.
posted by sio42 at 12:05 PM on March 28


I love that you know the story well enough to write those lyrics. That is awesome and now I need to look up original so I know the tune.
posted by sio42 at 12:05 PM on March 28


Thanks for this thread, Metafilter. These books are so dense with proper nouns that I find myself skimming a bit more than I should, and I hadn't realized how rich the connections and continuity were. When I go back through these to prepare for the new book I'll try to take a lot more care.
posted by ftm at 12:23 PM on March 28


for those interested in delving deeper, the westeros.org forums are rich in deep discussion of the books (and shows) for endless speculation and analysis. it may assuage your pain while you wait...
posted by supermedusa at 12:28 PM on March 28 [3 favorites]


It really does. I love when I find out things I didn't even know I missed or misunderstood.
posted by sio42 at 12:29 PM on March 28


The asoiaf subreddit is also good.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:20 PM on March 28


Aren't they all dead yet? Should this be a human-less savage world of animals by now?
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:47 PM on March 28


Aren't they all dead yet?

I think you've underestimated the sheer number of characters in ASOIAF.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:58 PM on March 28 [7 favorites]


The more books in a fantasy series, the worse is the series
posted by thelonius at 8:00 AM on March 28 [+] [!]


Unless it's The Moomins.
posted by dng at 2:48 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Man, that ending was just such a worthwhile payoff. That's the thing about GRRM - he gets you to slog through all the Ironborn and the Sand Snakes because every once in a while you know you'll come across something that makes you go "ohhhhhh shit!"

It was totally weird though to read a POV from Arya playing a character who is so girlish and even sexualized. Although on the girlish front, I kinda like to think that she's playing Mercy as a version of how she saw Sansa.

Did anyone catch how she injured Raff the first time? That was confusing because it seems like he started bleeding without having felt any pain.

the extinction of the Starks

Nuh-uh! We've still got almost all the kids: Arya, Sansa, Bran, (maybe) Jon, and of course poor wild forgotten Rickon. And I hold out hope that Benjen is still around somewhere.
posted by lunasol at 3:47 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


How many years have passed in book time? I think Arya is now 12 or 13, but I'm not sure.
posted by Area Man at 3:54 PM on March 28


What is age in the face of inevitable mortality?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:59 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


I think Martin once said that three years had passed since the beginning of the first book. She was 9 in the first book, so that makes her around 12 now.
posted by lunasol at 4:30 PM on March 28


AGOT started in 298 A.L. Joffery's wedding was in 300 A.L. I don't believe we've seen a reference to the date since (perhaps understandable given the elimination of the planned five year gap.) Three years is a common estimate, but it could be a bit more.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:16 PM on March 28


She caught his nose between her thumb and forefinger and twisted. “You’ll have no nose until you get your hands off me.”

“Owwwww,” the dwarf squealed, releasing her.

[...]

Bobono rubbed his tender nose.
So, either Bobono ain't Tyrion, or GRRM's being GRRM.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 6:48 PM on March 28


martin is working on a scale that few genre authors dare attempt. and if he doesn't die of good living, i'm absolutely certain he's gonna stick the landing.

moan pointlessly about his 'turgid' prose, if you still feel the need; the deep narratives of martin's first three volumes -- the swirl of conflicting stories and crosscutting motivations surrounding Robert's Rebellion, the perverse awful ambivalence of the Targaryens, the shuffling of Titanic deck chairs that is the War of Five Kings, the delicate and well-paced 'return of magic to the world' story -- are handled with extraordinary patience and craftsmanship. like dave-sim-constructing-Cerebus level stuff. once martin found his characters' inner voices somewhere in the middle of the first volume, he was on a fast climb to a high peak two books later.

the climax of Storm of Swords ties together an extraordinary amount of story-stuff -- it's hard to believe that a guy with tv-melodrama sensibilities has produced a series that handles human-scale history and cosmic-scale 'magical destiny' stuff so adeptly, and doesn't skimp on the soapy stuff. (i tend to think that's the weakest material, frankly -- which is why the perfectly lovely tv show doesn't much interest me, as it strips out the 'worldbuilding' and the evolving, ever-deepening historical 'backstory' that are the written series's main attractions for me. you might say that GofT the tv show takes place in Westeros's present, but the characters in the books are playing out the tail end of a story set during the rein of Aerys Targaryen and his predecessors.)

anyhow i love the books. and i'm psyched to read this chapter when it's printed between two (widely separated) covers. but likely not 'til then.
posted by waxbanks at 7:19 PM on March 28 [13 favorites]


and if he doesn't die of good living, i'm absolutely certain he's gonna stick the landing.

That will be quite impressive since he's currently flopping around having lost his grip on the high bar with one hand. I think it's more likely he falls down in a giant belly flop to the sound of sad trombone.
posted by Justinian at 9:27 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


When you name a little person after an ape (transposing a couple of letters) and are obviously baiting a segment of the fanbase that is uncomfortable with the sexual violence you toss into stuff, it's time you got an editor who will stand up to you.
posted by mobunited at 4:06 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Man I wasn't going to read the chapter but this thread convinced me. Thanks!
posted by graventy at 10:03 AM on March 29


My prediction: Arya dies. It breaks everyone's heart.

Then Nymeria takes out that One Important Person We All Thought Arya Was Going To Kill.

Anyone want to bet $1.00?
posted by Cyrano at 11:12 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


My personal bet, if I had to make it, would be that all of the Starks die or turn evil. The Starks are the traditional heroes of fantasy fiction: strong central characters who solve problems through their wits, strength and superior morality. I've always felt that Martin wants to subvert the genre, and part of this would be killing the traditional heroes.

I mean... if this ends with superstar couple Dany and Jon joining forces and genitals to combat the threat of The Other I will be extremely surprised.
posted by codacorolla at 11:39 AM on March 29


Hmm. Dany's not supposed to be able to have children. But it would be interesting if she did become pregnant by Jon snow, since she's supposedly his aunt. If she was rhaegar's sister and jon is supposedly rhaegar's son....I had been all about this theory until about 5 min ago. Hmmm. Not so sure now.

Although people marry and have kids early, so there could be may be only a 5 year gap between them since she was youngest and rhaegar was oldest, which could put jon and dany in the same age range.
posted by sio42 at 12:46 PM on March 29


sio42: Jon and Dany are almost exactly the same age (he's actually a few months/one year older). Jon was born around the end of Robert's Rebellion, and Dany was born shortly thereafter. Rhaegar was about 20 years older than Dany.
posted by dhens at 12:53 PM on March 29


I really don't see Jon + Dany happening though. I think Jon will be "married" to his fight against the Others, and I think Dany and her dragons are a giant red herring. Everyone sees Dany's dragons as melting the Others, but I have a hunch that she will come to Westeros not as a savior but as a conqueror.
posted by dhens at 12:55 PM on March 29


Conversely, I think that the Others might be the red herring, and that they'll be put down by Stannis or some other side character and only indirectly affect the more interesting political narrative we've been reading so far. The conventional or predictable narrative would have the series culminate in a big battle battle with the supernatural and make the fight for the kingship will end up looking like a petty squabble. But the narrative that GRRM has been telling so far is all about the Game of Thrones: the war with the Others will be nothing more than a resource suck on the houses that need to turn their attention to the North. I can imagine either Dany or the Starks being taken out of the Game long before the end of the series by battling the Others out of a sense of duty.
posted by painquale at 5:11 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Stannis or some other side character

Oh them's fighting words!
posted by dhens at 6:17 PM on March 29


(Though I realize as a non-POV, he is of necessity "secondary" ;-) )
posted by dhens at 6:18 PM on March 29


IF YOU WANT A FREE TYRION CHAPTER, the World of Ice and Fire guide mobile application (for iOS, Android, Nook) has it included.
posted by dhens at 10:50 PM on March 29


grump, want that chapter
posted by rebent at 6:34 AM on March 31


WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE SAMPLE: AEGON’S CONQUEST
posted by homunculus at 8:29 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


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