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...and I will certainly not be the first. But after reading it, I have some general questions:

1) With A Feast For Crows being slammed for being "too aimless" and A Dance With Dragons currently being slammed for being "too sprawling," was GRRM in a no-win with these 2 books? Or is he really guilty of the over-indulgence people accuse him of?

2) The more I read of book 5, the less I agreed with GRRM splitting up 4 and 5 like he did. I understand the publishers didn't want to publish 1 huge book (and there were more profits to be made with 2) but the split seems to hinder the cohesion of both books 4 and 5.

3) I enjoy A Dance With Dragons, more so than Feast. I understand there are unfinished plot-points, but don't people realize there are 2 more books to come?
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I like the part where everyone dies. That was cool.
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I enjoyed it. I was disappointed that some of the story lines did not move along more. I liked that some of the plots from AFFC got some love. Can't wait until book 6. I hope George gets it done in less time than this one.
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It's not as good as the rest of the 'odd' books, but it beats the pants out of Feast of Crows IMO. Making sense of it requires so little knowledge of what happens in book 4, GRRM could have just pasted about 4 choice chapters from it into this one, and claim it never existed.

Ultimately it's just a pacing issue: Books 1 and 3 just seem significantly faster than 2 and 5. Martin does better the faster the story goes.
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ninja I'm reading Feast For Crows again first as a refresher. ninja
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vandemonium wrote:
I like the part where everyone dies. That was cool.
He may or may not be kidding.
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cabalzero wrote:
ninja I'm reading Feast For Crows again first as a refresher. ninja


I'm re-reading the whole series as a refresher, just started up on Book 4. I remember being disappointed in it the first time, here's hoping that it's beter than remembered.
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I, too, liked the part where everyone died. I completely didn't expect the Mastacarians to descend on Westeros in their interplanetary spaceship and blast Westeros to ruin in a 1,000,000 Megaton nuclear fireball just to kill the Other Queen-King (the homosexual hermaphodite thing was right outta left field). And then when they revealed that they were the source of the meteor that gave the world Valyrian Steel, I was like, WOW!!!

I didn't quite get how Dany and the 3 dragons were able to stowaway though. It seems like in one chapter Drogon was dry-humping the huge statue in Braavos and Dany and Roz were having a "brothel encounter" with Littlefinger watching and then in the next they were just, poof, on the Battleship. Perhaps a little too liberal with the artistic license, eh George? At least the Others are now officially extinct and have been wiped from the Galatic Species Rolls. You would think a race as advanced as the Mastacarians would have been able to hunt them down several hundred thousand years ago, but I digress.

Good thing that the Night's Watch were able to transform the Wall in to a Vault before the bomb fell though, huh? I am totally looking forward to Fallout 4: Winterfell!!! And there are still 2 more books!!!!!
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The part where they finally got to the castle after trudging through the mud was amazing. There was a big feast and we got to find out what everyone ate.
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JohnnyOffice wrote:
I completely didn't expect the Mastacarians to descend on Westeros in their interplanetary spaceship and blast Westeros to ruin in a 1,000,000 Megaton nuclear fireball just to kill the Other Queen-King
that Masticarian storyline just draaaaaged on and on... I was so tired of it by the time they all ate their own entrails and died.
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I loved it when they said the princess was in another castle.
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I freaking hated it. Actually, not really. I loved the book up until the point at which I realized I had been scammed. We spent almost the entire book in the East and NOTHING HAPPENED!!!!

I know it's "cool" to hate on Feast, but that was a better book than Dance could ever hope to be. At least structurally. With the exception of Brienne's crap-fest, every other character arc had a direction, movement, and climax:

1. Sam started off on his own, overcame problems in Braavos and made it to the Citadel.
2. Cersei consolidated power, made poor choices due to paranoia, and got hers in the end as her plans unraveled.
3. Jaime struggled with his unfavorable choices of keeping his word and doing his duty, culminating his choice made and taking Riverrun.
4. Arianne plotted to put Mycella on the throne only to have her plans thwarted and then find out her Father's way more awesome plans.
5. The Ironmen hold conference and pick a new leader, who then sends them off to find the Dragons.
6. Littlefinger consolidates power in the Vale and clues Sansa in to his further plans.

I mean, there were a lot of open threads, but a ton of progress was made in the STORY, and even with cliff-hangers, there were good conclusions to the things that happened up until that point. Compare that with Dance:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
1. Tyrion gets thrown from one situation to the next, and never does anything except react.
2. Dany sits in Mereen bitching about her lousy situation while doing almost nothing to solve it (with the exception of her marraige)
3. Quentin was a totally wasted character who only managed to accomplish his own death.
4. John's arc was probably the strongest in the book, building an alliance with the Wildlings, but then only to have him die at the end.
5. Theon had a decent arc as well, culminating in jumping off the battlements into the snow and escaping with Jeyne.

But really, think about it. We spent most of the book focused on Mereen, only to have nothing happen in the end. Tyrion and Victarion haven't even gotten to her yet. She isn't even in Mereen anymore! And still not accomplishing anything akin to "training" Drogo.


I just don't see how you, as an author, can spend 3/4 of the narrative of a book setting up the climax of the events in Mereen and then not pay it off. It makes the book not a book at all. Even in a series, you still have to have character arcs that pay off in each installment. GRRM did that with every book except Dance, and it suffered mightily for it.

Worst book of the series, easily. Although the stuff in the North was pretty cool, and generally pretty well-structured.
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radynski wrote:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
1. Tyrion gets thrown from one situation to the next, and never does anything except react and wonder where whores go.
2. Dany sits in Mereen bitching about her lousy situation while doing almost nothing to solve it (with the exception of her marraige) and doing nothing to master the use of her supposed Westeros conquering dragons despite having perfectly good target practice on her doorstep.
3. Quentin was a totally wasted character who only managed to accomplish his own death and the release of the same Westeros conquering dragons unleashing them on the already besieged population of Mereen.
4. John's arc was probably the strongest in the book and the arc still didn't have a real conclusion, building an alliance with the Wildlings, but then only to have him die at the end. However we don't actually see him die or a head on a spike or a body burned. All the other big, unexpected shock deaths we've seen (Ned, Rob, Catelyn) have shown us the aftermaths.
5. Theon had a decent arc as well, culminating in jumping off the battlements into the snow and escaping with Jeyne from the Bastard of Bolton only to be picked up (assumed again as a prisoner) of Stannis.
6. The disappointing 3(?) Bran chapters finally have him find the Children of the Forest only to have nothing really happen except the reveal that he can warg into trees as well as animals.
7. The even more disappointing 2(!?!) Arya chapters tell us what we already know with no plots concluded. She's a killer. She's sneaky. She's learning how to be better at both. Yawn.


But really, think about it. We spent most of the book focused on Mereen (trudat. Yawn.), only to have nothing happen in the end (BIG YAWN).

Helped you out there.
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I only got started on ADWD a few days ago. I'm about halfway through at this point, and it's become increasingly obvious that nothing significant has happened nor is likely to happen. I mean, seriously... I don't think a single major plot thread has advanced anywhere at all in the last 500 pages. The closest to it would probably be Bran's chapters, and there were only 3 of those IIRC, ~40 pages out of 500?. I'm not sure what's worse... reading 1000 pages with a semblance of a plot about characters I don't care about (A Feast for Crows) or reading 1000 pages with no plot about characters I once cared about (A Dance with Dragons). Either way, the series has become sprawling, undisciplined, and gratuitous. I'm not sure finishing this volume is worth my time.
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Just remember to eat your bread while still warm from the oven, or they will just turn it into a trencher for some lousy stew.
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MisterCranky wrote:
Just remember to eat your bread while still warm from the oven, or they will just turn it into a trencher for some lousy stew.

Please, do go on... Could you describe the meats in that stew? Where the animals came from? How they were slaughtered and cooked? Wait, wait... will the greasy stew dribble down my chin onto my tunic? That would be awesome.
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tppytel wrote:
MisterCranky wrote:
Just remember to eat your bread while still warm from the oven, or they will just turn it into a trencher for some lousy stew.

Please, do go on... Could you describe the meats in that stew? Where the animals came from? How they were slaughtered and cooked? Wait, wait... will the greasy stew dribble down my chin onto my tunic? That would be awesome.


Your tunic you say? What colour is it? What patterns have you got on it, I mean it is only time I will hear of your sigil, but I must know what it is. And your chin, is it freshly shaven, stubble or beard, how can the story keep moving without this knowledge.
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JohnnyOffice wrote:
Helped you out there.

You know nothing, Jon Snow.
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A Song of Ice and Fire is like George R. R. Martin. It has a purpose buried somewhere inside its massive paunch, but we may never know what it is unless it staves off cardiac arrest by losing half its fleshy girth.

That being said, I couldn't put ADwD down. It was as engrossing as it was ultimately unsatisfying.
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I shall be your champion in trial-by-battle, GRRM!
Hand me my sword...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
radynski wrote:
We spent almost the entire book in the East and NOTHING HAPPENED!!!!
Incorrect. Plenty of things "happened." Just because the things you wanted to "happen" did not "happen" does not mean nothing happened.
radynski wrote:
1. Sam started off on his own, overcame problems in Braavos and made it to the Citadel.
Overcame problems? He waited around for a ship to take pity on him. Talk about simply reacting to a situation.
radynski wrote:
2. Cersei consolidated power, made poor choices due to paranoia, and got hers in the end as her plans unraveled.
These were the best chapters, but too squooshed into 1 book. It became too obvious that she was faltering and the mystery vanished as a result.
radynski wrote:
3. Jaime struggled with his unfavorable choices of keeping his word and doing his duty, culminating his choice made and taking Riverrun.
He rode up to a gate and the siege ended. Hardly a "happening" at all really.
radynski wrote:
4. Arianne plotted to put Mycella on the throne only to have her plans thwarted and then find out her Father's way more awesome plans.
Good plot point, but took up all of 2 chapters.
radynski wrote:
5. The Ironmen hold conference and pick a new leader, who then sends them off to find the Dragons.
A great midpoint to the story of the Ironborn, but hardly a conclusion to anything. I thought you wanted things to "happen" not just be strung along to find more questions.
radynski wrote:
6. Littlefinger consolidates power in the Vale and clues Sansa in to his further plans.
Another fairly boring side-story that serves as a waypoint, not a conclusion. We all know that Littlefinger is scheming.
radynski wrote:
1. Tyrion gets thrown from one situation to the next, and never does anything except react.
Exactly! Tyrion is taken from a situation where he makes things happen to a situation where things happen to him. That's the point: seeing how he reacts when he isn't in control. And can he stay alive when there is a price on his head.
radynski wrote:
2. Dany sits in Mereen bitching about her lousy situation while doing almost nothing to solve it (with the exception of her marraige)
Exactly! She painted herself into a corner, and the suffocating fear that creeps in is represented by her foes both within and without. And her choice of marriage is highly interesting as well, given her love-interest arc. And she freakin' rides a dragon, dude! Did you miss that part?!
radynski wrote:
3. Quentin was a totally wasted character who only managed to accomplish his own death.
Not wasted at all. One of the devices in Martin's bag is introducing characters that seem like they are major plot points, only to be shortly disposed of (see also: Ygritte, Rickard Karstark, The Red Viper of Dorne.) You're seeking the cliche when you should be pleased with the swerve.
radynski wrote:
4. John's arc was probably the strongest in the book, building an alliance with the Wildlings, but then only to have him die at the end.
Agreed.
radynski wrote:
5. Theon had a decent arc as well, culminating in jumping off the battlements into the snow and escaping with Jeyne.
Agreed again, and it marks another interesting direction: Taking a character assumed disposed of, and re-introducing him as a totally different person.

And you totally glossed over the appearance of the heretofore-thought-dead Aegon Targaryen!

radynski wrote:
I just don't see how you, as an author, can spend 3/4 of the narrative of a book setting up the climax of the events in Mereen and then not pay it off.

GRRM himself kind of admitted this is the EW interview he did:

EW and GRRM wrote:
You intended the story in Book 5 to go further, I hear?
It’s always difficult to know where to break each book. You’re walking a fine line. Like Lord of the Rings, you’re writing one story. At the same time, I want each book to represent a phase of the journey. I try to end each character with a cliffhanger or some kind of resolution. And I try to make the cliffhangers the smaller portion — I don’t want eight cliffhangers. [Dance] had more cliffhangers than I ideally would have liked.


But even with the book being mostly furthering the story and less "oh shit!" moments like Eddard's head and The Red Wedding, I presume most people would at least have more fun reading Book 5 and exploring the new places and new people that are part of it, compared to the sleepwalk that was the overly-familiar and narcoleptic Book 4. Maybe the payoff of Dance wasn't what people wanted, but it kept you interested enough to want to know. Which is more than I can say for Brienne Of Tarth and Feast.


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You do realize that the House of York wins the war in the end, only to have the King betrayed by his brother, Richard III, who is then deposed by a common front against him?

Oh, sorry. I was remembering the story as told by that hack, Billy Shakey Speares or something or another.

(I never could get over the extent to which that Martin's work was a direct crib from the War of the Roses, down to Houses 'Lannister'(Lancaster) and 'Stark' (York). Sheesh, guy!)

Darilian

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radynski wrote:
I freaking hated it. Actually, not really. I loved the book up until the point at which I realized I had been scammed. We spent almost the entire book in the East and NOTHING HAPPENED!!!!

I know it's "cool" to hate on Feast, but that was a better book than Dance could ever hope to be. At least structurally. With the exception of Brienne's crap-fest, every other character arc had a direction, movement, and climax:

1. Sam started off on his own, overcame problems in Braavos and made it to the Citadel.
2. Cersei consolidated power, made poor choices due to paranoia, and got hers in the end as her plans unraveled.
3. Jaime struggled with his unfavorable choices of keeping his word and doing his duty, culminating his choice made and taking Riverrun.
4. Arianne plotted to put Mycella on the throne only to have her plans thwarted and then find out her Father's way more awesome plans.
5. The Ironmen hold conference and pick a new leader, who then sends them off to find the Dragons.
6. Littlefinger consolidates power in the Vale and clues Sansa in to his further plans.

I mean, there were a lot of open threads, but a ton of progress was made in the STORY, and even with cliff-hangers, there were good conclusions to the things that happened up until that point. Compare that with Dance:

[o]1. Tyrion gets thrown from one situation to the next, and never does anything except react.
2. Dany sits in Mereen bitching about her lousy situation while doing almost nothing to solve it (with the exception of her marraige)
3. Quentin was a totally wasted character who only managed to accomplish his own death.
4. John's arc was probably the strongest in the book, building an alliance with the Wildlings, but then only to have him die at the end.


You sure about that? Didn't Brienne get hung at one point only to show up again? I wouldn't count out Jon just yet.
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