Friday, 2 May 2014

A Dance with Dragons

(April 2014)

What to add to the massive multimedia behemoth that is a Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones? Not sure there’s really all that much, though the little that follows will probably have some spoilers, if you care about that sort of thing.

So it all continues. Awful people do awful things to each other and it’s all very entertaining in a curiously disheartening and nihilistic sort of way. Someone mentioned in my last post on these books that they were essentially a secondary world soap operaDallas with more in the way of dragons and sellswords and ye olde fucking – and I can’t disagree. Which leads me to my only real substantive thought on ADWD, and probably the whole series going forward (whensoever that may be): I can’t help feel that it was a mistake to allow Catelyn Stark to get resurrected, because now it look like we’ve got the same with Gregor Clegane and so all bets are off. This, for once, is a bad thing, because the whole point of this series is that anyone can die (except Dany, she’s pretty much bulletproof at this point), and so to have this Lord of Light resurrection bug floating about the place really robs death of that impact. Jon Snow gets stabbed at the end of this and, well, who cares? He may die, he may not, and even if he does he’s close enough to Mellisandre (in every sense) and/or his wolf that a resurrection isn’t that farfetched.

So what, exactly, is so bad about having a mechanism for bringing back fan favourites? Well, it’s that it’s exactly and obviously that – a mechanism. The seams are showing. It makes it feel far less organic; it breaks the suspension of disbelief and makes it all too clear that the author has his hand on the scales. Obviously all authors do at all times, but it shouldn’t show and the manipulation shouldn’t be obvious. It’s the High Fantasy equivalent of Bobby Ewing stepping out of the shower, and I can’t help but feel that some sort of shark has been jumped. Still, I’ll have probably forgotten all this when the next volume comes out, but at the rate things are currently going by that time I’ll probably also have forgotten how to feed myself and the names of my children. Hey ho.


  1. Didn't read through since I haven't gotten all the way through Dances With Dragons yet; I guess I'm delaying finishing because I know there won't be another one soon. Or will there?...

    1. Well, this one had the first chapter to the Winds of Winter (or whatever it's called) in the back, so there's at least something of the next one written. I'm not holding my breath though.

      Didn't read it myself. In fact, only read this one now to keep ahead of the inevitable spoilers that'll leak out as the TV series catches up and, inevitably, overtakes the books.