Thursday, January 24, 2013

Game of Thrones Revisited

A few months ago, I wrote about reading The Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I have since read books two through four of the series, and I have to revise my original thoughts on the series. First of all, my excitement after reading the first book has diminished significantly, and I've been having second and third thoughts about even finishing the series. I think the only reason I'm really sticking with it now is that I've invested so much in reading the four books I have.

Don't get me wrong, this book is still the elaborate and complex political drama that I praised it for being in my last post on this subject. What I don't like is what Martin does with some of the characters. I can understand making characters suffer and dragging them through the dirt--that's part of what makes a lot of stories good. I can even understand some character death (and here I mean the characters you might want to champion, not the baddies), although I do shy away from needless character death. Here, Martin has crossed a line a few times too many for me.

---SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW & A BIT OF A RANT--- (skip this next 2 paragraphs if you want to avoid)

This is going to be a bit of a rant. I could shrug off Ned Stark's death even if I didn't like it. That didn't break my enjoyment in the story. I felt bad for Catelyn with Bran and Ricken's "deaths" and the deaths of the two children who died in their place didn't sit well with me, but as they were unnamed characters it was easier to detach from that incident. However, the real turning point for me was at the Red Wedding. What Martin did to Robb and Catelyn made me feel physically ill. I had to reread the last page of that chapter several times to make sure I'd read it right. From that point on I've really struggled to keep reading these books. Sure a few chapters later, Martin threw a bone in my direction and killed off Joffrey, but it wasn't nearly enough to entice me back to the story. I also do not appreciate how in book four we spend many chapters following Brienne who is spending every effort to fulfill her vow to Catelyn in whatever way she still can only to have her hung near the end of the book--really, what is the point in even following these characters? I didn't feel revulsion as much as I was honestly angry after reading this. Killing her at that point served almost no purpose in the book other than to maybe show how irrational the revenant version of Catelyn is. The only positive that came out of book four was Cersei's disgrace, and as her skin is still intact and has not been flayed off or something equally nasty, I am far from appeased. I've been told that my favorite, Jon Snow, makes it through book five, but I'm still not sure if that's enough to get me to read the next book, especially given the general pattern that characters (not just in this series) I get attached to tend to die. There's supposed to be two more books published after #5; I honestly hold out little to no hope that Lord Snow will make it through to the end.

I guess it's also worth noting that my respect for Sansa has increased since the last post I wrote. I think it helped that she quit mooning over Joffrey quite so much. She reminded me a bit too much of the cheerleader archetype, and I never liked people (girls especially) who go with the crowd even when it goes against their better judgment--I'm thinking specifically of the incident when Sansa turned against Arya when Nymeria bit Joffrey in the first book. I guess I will also add that I appreciate that characters do change, and sometimes (even in this series) it's actually for the better.


 So, I could be completely wrong, and regardless of what I said, I'm still probably going to finish the series. Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment. I guess you could say I have a real love-hate relationship here. XD I did get Dance of Dragons from the library; I haven't read past the prologue yet though. Although, to be fair, a lot of that is because I've been so busy lately I haven't had the chance to pick up a book to read for fun. I'm considering returning the book and checking out the audio book instead. That way I could listen to the book (with headphones, of course--these books are so not appropriate for younger ears) while working on other projects.

No comments:

Post a Comment