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taby

A Song of Ice and Fire, and Dark Tower 4.5

21 posts in this topic

I'm sure that the A Game of Thrones TV show is pretty popular? Has anyone read the books? I got to see two episodes on TV, and it seemed a little hokey but fun. It made me decide to try out the books instead. Well, I was absolutely blown away. They say the author George RR Martin was a TV writer at one point, and you can definitely tell because nearly every single chapter ends with some kind of cliffhanger, and the story flows smooth and quick for the most part.

I just finished reading the third book A Storm of Swords about a half an hour ago, and I think that this book was the best of them so far. I'm starting the fourth book right now, because I can't wait until tomorrow.

The last series of fiction that I read was Stephen King's Dark Tower, and I used to think that it was pretty dark and full of plot twists. Compared to A Song of Ice and Fire though, Dark Tower seems quite upbeat. I just can't believe how utterly dark A Song of Ice and Fire is. So many long-term characters who just up and die with no notice. Kind of drives the point home about the ephemerality of life in general. No nonsense. That said, I read the latest Dark Tower book Wind Through the Keyhole, and it seems pretty dark compared to the other books in that series, and also a very wonderful story. I won't spoil anything outright, but I do wonder if nanotechnology could be the hidden basis for some of the unexplained "magic" that occurred in the book.

It gets me thinking about whether or not A Song of Ice and Fire might also end up being a kind of post-apocalyptic post-technology story. That would put the icing on the cake. Ninjas too. That's about the only two cool things missing from it. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

In any case, both series kind of remind me of each other. Both being kind of a homage to the old tales of Arthur and Merlin and those kinds of things. So, for those of you who read A Song of Ice and Fire and Dark Tower, which is your favourite? Even if you only read one of them, which was your favourite book in these series? I am still partial to Wizard and Glass from the Dark Tower. Dave McKean did the art for that one, and it was pretty awesome.

Who are your favourite characters? From A Song of Ice and Fire, my favourite is Arya. So much nasty stuff happens to her, and by the end of the third book I was very happy about the state that her character was left in. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] As for Dark Tower... I know that it might sound dumb, but my favourite character is Oy the Billy Bumbler. Reading Wind Through the Keyhole only solidified it more for me. He doesn't appear too often, but when he does, it's always a treat, and he seems to always be saving someone. He's a true gunslinger, though I guess he may not have opposable thumbs per se. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] And it appears that having the name Ed sure is bad luck, no matter which of these fictional universes you belong to! ;)

I also hear that Javier Bardem (the killer from No Country for Old Men) is going to play Roland in the film adaptation of The Dark Tower. I kind of always envisioned Clint Eastwood playing Roland, but it's all good. :) I just hope they have a billion or so dollars (literally) to throw at the special effects, otherwise they might as well not even bother, because it'll just be a pathetic mangled mess. Ron Howard is producing it, so I'm hopeful.

Oh, and if you ever read Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub (another wicked book, definitely my favourite King book outside of the Dark Tower series), and you also read Wind Through the Keyhole... did the Black House and the house in the forest glimpsed in the boy's vision kind of seem like maybe the same house? That sneaky Stephen King! Edited by taby
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I've read up to the fourth book in A Song of Fire and Ice :) I'm very much looking forward to getting my hands on book five.

Arya is also my favorite character. I watched the first season of Game of Thrones and just had to pick up the books and read the series. I liked Arya the first time she was on screen. She comes across as a very scrappy character with tomboyish qualities who wants very much to be a male but is trapped in the confines of the gender roles of her time. She's very much a fighter and her resiliancy to the shit she goes through is her most endearing quality. I see a lot of myself in her. That, and I suspect she'll eventually be a master of assassins or something badass.

The crowd favorite character seems to be Tyrione. He's got a sharp wit and an impetuous attitude, but has the calculating mind of a chess master. As far as characters go, he's almost my second favorite, but he's a bit too predictable for me. In my opinion, Little Finger is more cunning and calculating and has more tricks up his sleeve than just about any other character. He's turning out to be a pretty good puppet master but what's still a mystery is the end game he's playing towards. Is he looking for a selfish goal of personal wealth, power and fame? or is he playing a game of love? Or perhaps he's actually working towards a legacy for his offspring? or maybe he's actually got some altruistic goal of 'protecting the kingdom'? I don't know, so he's interesting to follow.

There was a Game of Thrones game released on Steam a few months back. I've only seen the screenshots, and it looks interesting, but I didn't pick it up so I can't comment on whether its a faithful recreation of GRRM's world and atmosphere.

In my humble opinion though, the "A song of fire and ice" series is inferior to the "A wheel of time" series, but much better than "Lord of the Rings".
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I'm waiting for some more of the books to be finished before I start. The last thing I need is another book I need to wait for (Kingkiller Chronicles is enough waiting for me).

Show is pretty great though, I'm sure the book is amazing.

If you like that style of writing, with a cliffhanger on every chapter, try Alexander Dumas (count of monte cristo, three musketeers). Most of his books were serial novels so there is like a mini-plot every chapter, makes it very interesting to read.
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[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1338381412' post='4944646']
I'm waiting for some more of the books to be finished before I start. The last thing I need is another book I need to wait for (Kingkiller Chronicles is enough waiting for me).

Show is pretty great though, I'm sure the book is amazing.
[/quote]
I will say you may want to stop watching the show also. There's some pretty significant events coming up in the show that are going to totally spoil the first 3 books. One of my most emotional experiences while reading a book was in a song of ice and fire, and if I saw that episode on TV, it would totally change how I read all the books up to that point.

[SPOILER]
I guess I would liken it to knowing that Ned Stark dies at the end of the first book. In the book they make it seem like he might make it into the second book at least, and knowing he doesn't would really change how you view a lot of his interactions.
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I used to read quite a bit of fantasy. After reading ASOIAF a few years ago, I haven't had any interest in reading fantasy, and may never again. Maybe the deconstruction of the genre as presented in GRRM's novels, typical fantasy books seem either too cliche (which I've alwasy known just never cared), or trying to be too different for it's own sake.

Or, it could just be coincidence that my interests changed at the same time I read those books, dunno.

[quote]
One of my most emotional experiences while reading a book was in a song of ice and fire
[/quote]

I have a feeling I know what you are talking about - had to put the book down for a few days, not sure how a fictional story could affect me so much, almost cathartic in a way. Edited by laztrezort
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Awesome replies, thanks for those!

[spoiler]
Yeah....... I have to admit that I got a little misty with joy when Arya finds her long lost [spoiler]Needle[/spoiler] at the inn, near the end of the third book. I also love how her hit list got quite a bit shorter within the span of two or three chapters. I didn't see any of that coming.

And as for her becoming a bad-ass assassin, I was totally hoping that the Hound and her would travel for a long time together, perhaps him picking up where Syrio left off. Alas, that was not to be.

I do like Tyrion a lot. It seems like Martin saves all of his best lines for Tyrion. I love how he tells the Dornish prince something like "You better keep a [lover] close by at all times, because you said you wanted to die [happy]". LOL. What a guy.

My second favourite was slowly becoming Jaime, and by the end of the third book the deal was sealed. When he [spoiler]gives Brienne the remade version of Ice and then writes in the Kingsguard's white book about her, and THEN sets Tyrion free[/spoiler], I knew he was turning a new leaf. Plus he seems to be really falling out with Cersei in the fourth book so far (only about 6 chapters in), and that makes me extremely happy. Or maybe that's just a trick by Martin. We'll see. I hope Cersei gets disembowled by a direwolf or something nasty. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

And yeah, wow, that stuff that happened with Littlefinger right near the end of the third book. I totally did not see that coming. I had very much feared that Lysa's son would be destined to become another Joffery, but... well... looks like that might not come to pass after all. Good.

Even after Ned dies in the first book by near total surprise, you'd think you'd be prepared for all of what happens in the third book, but no. Man, that Martin guy is the master of building up a character for thousands of pages and then whacking them with a half a paragraph's notice. LOL. Sneaky guy. This is kind of why I think that this series is a bit darker than the Dark Tower series. [spoiler]Sure, a couple of characters die off in Dark Tower, and it's a surprise, but it's not a habit.[/spoiler] Of course... there is [spoiler]zombie Catelyn[/spoiler], which made me very happy. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
[/spoiler]

I'll have to check out The Wheel of Time series some time. I've heard a lot about it.

I tried to read Lord of the Rings. I read one paragraph, about halfway through the second book, literally a dozen times... and said "forget it", and never tried again. The monotony. Oh man. It was like pulling teeth. I thought the movies were pretty superb though. Edited by taby
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[quote name='laztrezort' timestamp='1338388169' post='4944681']
feeling I know what you are talking about - had to put the book down for a few days, not sure how a fictional story could affect me so much, almost cathartic in a way.
[/quote]

HAY. HOW DO YOU MAKE THOSE PRETTY SPOILERS?!

HUGE ASS SPOILER
[spoiler]It was the red wedding. I was reading the book to go to sleep. usually read from like 11-12AM, and that night I read till 11:30, hit that, put the book down, and spent 5 hours pacing around murmuring curse words to myself. And Geoffry's death was entirely unsatisfying for me. The way he always played up how big a man he was for all the books I was really expecting someone to make him look like a total bitch when he died. I just wanted to see him get in a fight with anybody and get dominated.[/spoiler] Edited by way2lazy2care
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[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1338391855' post='4944702']
that night I read till 11:30, hit that, put the book down, and spent 5 hours pacing around murmuring curse words to myself.
[/quote]
Same thing happened to me ...

The 3rd book was definitely my favorite. Can't wait for the next season of the HBO show.
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[spoiler]
I think I read on wikipedia or something that Martin saved the red wedding as the last chapter that he wrote for that book because it was hard for him to know how to write it. I have to admit that it was a little disappointing to lose so much. I kind of saw something coming, with everyone acting so odd (plus, Catelyn with her "seeing grumkins in the wood pile" paranoia), but I didn't think it would have ended that way. [spoiler] The part that made me the most angry was when the direwolf got killed. That's precisely why I hated Joffery from the start, so I'm looking forward to seeing some Freys get whacked in nasty ways... crossing my fingers for that.[/spoiler] Joffery's wedding sure made up for a lot of it though. I laughed out loud when the jousting dog tried to hump the jousting pig, etc. That was totally silly, and silliness definitely doesn't come up very often in these books. It was a nice treat. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] [spoiler]Yeah, it sure would have been nice to have Joffery's death dragged out a little longer, a little nastier. Ditto for Tywin. Like, you don't just die ten seconds after being shot in the gut LOL. Martin even contradicted that when Arya stabbed the squire in the guts at the inn near the end... the Hound said "he'd be a long time dying, you better give him mercy". Meh. [/spoiler] I just hope that if/when Cersei dies, it's something totally painful and long and drawn out, and painful. Did I mention painful? [spoiler]Kind of like what the Mountain's going through. Alas, unfortunately Arya and the Hound whacked the Tickler. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img][/spoiler]

I'd been reading the third book for a few weeks now, a few pages at a time, but I read pretty much non-stop once I was done the red wedding chapter! I haven't had a marathon read like that in a long time... took me like 8 hours or something. That book was totally awesome.
[/spoiler]

Sorry for the unhidden spoilers. :( Edited by taby
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[quote name='taby' timestamp='1338396254' post='4944723']
blah
[/quote]
You should probably cover more of your post with spoiler tags.
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[quote name='taby' timestamp='1338388647' post='4944684']
I'll have to check out The Wheel of Time series some time. I've heard a lot about it.
[/quote]

Do yourself a favor and don't. Overrated tripe. Jordan wasn't in the same league as Martin. I'll may pick up the books Sanderson is writing to close out the series, but that's due to enjoying his work more than any interest I have in the setting Jordan created.

If you're looking for another fantasy series, give Brandon Sanderson a try. He is an excellent world builder, but not as strong with characters as Martin. Robin Hobbs Farseer Trilogy are also worth a read. Edited by tstrimple
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[quote name='tstrimple' timestamp='1338415561' post='4944796']
[quote name='taby' timestamp='1338388647' post='4944684']
I'll have to check out The Wheel of Time series some time. I've heard a lot about it.
[/quote]

Do yourself a favor and don't. Overrated tripe. Jordan wasn't in the same league as Martin. I'll may pick up the books Sanderson is writing to close out the series, but that's due to enjoying his work more than any interest I have in the setting Jordan created.
[/quote]

I thought Jordan started out well, but got lost in the mire of sub plots he created to the detriment of the overall story. I had pretty much given up on the series after I read the last few books (9, 10 and 11), as it just got worse and worse with new sub plots being piled on without satisfactorily resolving the old ones. Then Jordan died and I completely gave up on them.

Until one day a few years ago I got stuck in an airport (flight delayed in transit). I was on my own and the only english language books in the bookshop were "The Gathering Storm" and "Twilight". Since I would sooner have surgery without anesthesia than read that emo-vampire nonsense, I picked up the Gathering Storm.

Despite my reservations, it was actually much more enjoyable than I expected. It felt like the plot was moving again. The next book was even better. I really hope Sanderson can finish strong.

As for the OP post, I'm really enjoying Game of Thrones (the tv show). So much so, that in a very rare move for me, I've decided [b]not [/b]to read the books as I don't want the show spoiled for me. Even I think this is kinda weird....
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Thanks a lot for all of the recommendations everyone. FWIW, I read The Count of Monte Cristo after the movie came out in ~2000 or so. It was indeed a great book. I was also big into the Horatio Hornblower series back then, so I really enjoyed The Count because of the period that it was set in. Another book that I read in that kind of time period was Treasure Island. Of course, there are people who may label it as "young adult" literature, but whatever. It was great.
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Great literature is great literature, it doesn't matter who it was written for.

That said, Song of Ice and Fire is possibly great. We'll see in fifty or so years if kids still pick it up to read, or if it gets eclipsed by something else.

The Wheel of Time? Not really great. Started off strong, was a great easy read for the first few books, but honestly it really went to hell around book 6 or 7 when basically nothing happened that really mattered, and the pointless plots went on. Frankly, it would have been a vastly superior story to read if he had of just split the series, picked one or two main focus characters, and wrote a single story at a time, instead of trying to feed us a dozen or so at once.

The biggest problem with writting like he did is that readers eventually just stop giving a damn. I pushed forward looking for the end not because I was enjoying the books, but because I had already invested so much reading time in that I figured in for a penny, in for a pound. So no, I won't suggest anyone else put themselves through that.

Hell, a few months ago I thought about getting back into the series and reading what happens in the last few books. I started reading a detailed summary to refresh my memory of what had happened in the previous books. (Was a few years since I read them last. I read shorter novels than the damn summary turned out to be!
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I read "The Wheel of Time" series to its most recent book about a decade ago, and I think that was book #8. If the series went to shit afterwards, I wasn't aware.
The pacing of the series was a bit slow, but I felt that Robert Jordan did a great job with writing out the action sequences. Lord of the Rings was a bit annoying to read because it was about people talking and walking around most of the time. The antagonist was a bit too uninvolved to really be a good antagonist.
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I dropped ASOIAF because it was so "dark." And cheaply manipulative. If I want depressing, I read the papers.
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[quote name='JQP' timestamp='1339276413' post='4947752']
I dropped ASOIAF because it was so "dark." And cheaply manipulative. If I want depressing, I read the papers.
[/quote]

You'd absolutely hate Life of Pi.
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[quote name='ChaosEngine' timestamp='1338417066' post='4944802']
As for the OP post, I'm really enjoying Game of Thrones (the tv show). So much so, that in a very rare move for me, I've decided [b]not [/b]to read the books as I don't want the show spoiled for me. Even I think this is kinda weird....
[/quote]

My guess is that as time continues, the stories will be less and less linked. I'm hoping by the third season they will change enough stuff so that it will be two separate experiences instead of feeling like one spoils the other.
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[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1339932788' post='4949993']
My guess is that as time continues, the stories will be less and less linked. I'm hoping by the third season they will change enough stuff so that it will be two separate experiences instead of feeling like one spoils the other.
[/quote]
That's pretty much what they did with True Blood. I think I like that route too tbh. It keeps it fresh and exciting for people who have already read the books. There are so many things that are going to be worse for me knowing how they end.
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ASOIAF is definitely a must read for anyone interested in fantasy (open minded). I've read it 3 times in italian and 1 time in english and it never ceases to impress me. I've found the last 2 books a bit disappointing (too slow and to many sub plots which really don't add anything to the story) but I guess its a consequence of the change to the initial plan (the year gap that should have occoured before TWOW and filled by Martin with these 2 books).

The tv series is well done, but writers did a poor job for many charachters (mostly jon, dany and robb). And then there is Ros, may the Others take her...
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