Tag Archives: Stark

A Feast for Crows

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Over the weekend I finished reading the forth book in George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. A Feast for Crows was quite different from the other books in the series and if I had not been forewarned to one of those differences I would have been pretty upset. You see, this book only follows half of the characters that we have come to expect to see in each volume. Tyrion, Daenerys, Jon, Bran – none of these characters appear (well, Jon does in one chapter). Instead, this book focuses on the happenings within Westeros.

Once I got used to the idea that several of my favorite characters would not make an appearance I was able to get lost in the characters that were present, and there were several new ones. That was the other big change in this book. Martin took us into two new groups of people, but rather than picking one person to be the window into those groups he switched between about three people in each and named the chapters things like “The Drowned Man” as opposed to the person’s actual name. This didn’t effect the narrative in any way, but was an interesting change none the less. The only thing I will say about this new device was that it took me longer to care about these particular storylines than any of the others because I spent the first several pages of each chapter trying to get anchored into who was narrating.

I was very excited that the female warrior, Brienne, got her own chapters in this book. I have been very intrigued by her character ever since she was introduced in A Clash of Kings and it was nice to finally get some real insight into her head. I was also intrigued when I saw that Cersei had her own chapters in this book. I went into her chapters wondering if I would begin to sympathize with her like I did with Jamie in the previous book (who, as an aside, is now officially one of my favorite characters). Yeah, that did not happen with Cersei. Any shred of sympathy I had for her is now gone. I am glad that we were able to see the inner workings of her mind, but goodness, she is a terrible person. She is the Umbridge of this series for me. *shudders*

This book also saw a lot of growth and change for the two Stark girls. I have always loved Arya and that did not change here. Her story is at this weird crossroads right now, but I am still very invested in her and what she is going to do next. Sansa, on the other hand, is a character that has always annoyed me. I was always able to sympathize with her – the poor girl has been forced to endure some awful stuff – but I had difficulty getting past her silliness. This book changed all that. For the first time, I didn’t cringe every time I had to go inside her head. She is still the same Sansa, but she is more mature. She is growing. I can now see a wealth of potential within her and am excited to see how it develops.

A Feast for Crows is a book that is all about schemes. Unlike the other books, this one had no major battles or world shattering executions. This was very much a transition book. Several key events were set in motion, important information was learned, and carefully laid plans came to fruition for better or worse. But even though this book had less intense action it was no less riveting. As much as I want to know what was going on with the missing characters I am incredibly bummed that I am not going to find out what happens next with these characters when I pick up A Dance with Dragons.

Have you read A Feast for Crows? How did you feel about the narrative changes that Martin made? What about this book did you like? Not like? Let me know in the comments.

A Clash of Kings

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A few weeks ago I wrote a post about George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. I had really enjoyed the HBO series and was pleased to find that the book was even better leaving me eager to pick up the next installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series. It took me longer than I would have liked, but I was finally able to read A Clash of Kings and it did not disappoint. This second book picks up right where the first left off with the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros fractured and stuck in a tug-of-war between five different self-proclaimed kings; of course by the end that number is diminished.

One of the most important elements of a good story, regardless of medium, are the characters. If a story does not have compelling characters, then regardless of how good the plot is I find myself not as invested and not really caring. Martin excels at this task. Each and every one of his characters, especially the ones who narrate the story, are layered and multifaceted.  At the end of almost every chapter I would be disappointed that I had to leave whoever had been narrating only to find myself immersed in the new perspective within a few paragraphs. The one character I am always exited to see listed at the start of a new chapter, though, is Tyrion.

Tyrion is by far the most fascinating character in the series to me. (As a side note, I am so glad that Peter Dinklage won the Emmy for his portrayal of Tyrion. It was well deserved.) Tyrion is a member of the Lannister family which should automatically place him in the antagonist category, yet it doesn’t. In spite of the way he has been neglected and humiliated by his family because of his dwarfism he is still loyal to them and works to help them. It is so interesting to see how, while he has still learned how to use his vast intellect to manipulate, he has been spared from the lessons of cruelty and selfish indifference towards others that his siblings learned. In their disgust for him and the resultant neglect his family inadvertently helps Tyrion to become the most moral of the group. He uses a lot of the sneaky and often underhanded tricks of his family to achieve his goals, yet most often those goals are for the benefit and protection of others. Thanks to Tyrion I am always torn between wanting the Lannisters defeated and wanting Tyrion to succeed. I could write an entire blog on his character alone and I can not wait to see what Martin does with him in the next book.

The character that competes with Tyrion the most for my attention is Arya. She is by far my favorite of the Stark children. I love how she is such a contrast to Sansa who represents the more proper and ideal Lady. Her tenacity is incredible. We are shown that she does indeed get afraid by the things she faces, yet no matter what it is she does not back down and does her best to find a solution. It is easy to forget that she is just a little girl caught in a current of circumstances beyond her control and she is trying her hardest to keep her head above water and swim to shore. We see her make mistakes, but she always learns from those mistakes and grows. I imagine by the end of the series she will truly be a force to be reckoned with.

In the first book I loved the story of Daenerys and couldn’t wait to get to her chapters, but in A Clash of Kings I became much less interested in her. After all the excitement and importance that surrounded her before it felt like she didn’t have much of a story to tell this time. I am hopeful that this will change in the next book as she seems to have gotten a least a little more clarity and direction by the end. Similarly I found Jon’s story slightly less interesting than before. I was excited when we learned he would be going beyond the wall, but when he got there very little happened until his last chapter when his life took a drastic turn. Now I am very excited to see what happens next.

I am so glad that HBO introduced me to this series of books. Martin has created a world that I love spending time in and characters that are able to pull me into it. A Clash of Kings gave me a much different reading experience since I did not know what was going to happen like I did with A Game of Thrones and as a result I was able to become more involved with the story. I am now fully committed to this series and can’t wait to start A Storm of Swords. The only thing I am not looking forward to is the insanely long wait between books as I am positive I will finish the five that are currently out long before the sixth and seventh are released!

What about you? Have you read any of the books in the Song of Ice and Fire series? Who are your favorite characters? What do like and dislike about the series? Let me know in the comments!