A Song of Ice and Fire

Finally managed to get round to writing this review (in English no less, but that is because I read the majority of the works in English, excluding the first part, which I have only read in Swedish, and the third, which I have read in German). I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s an excellent series, but Martin belongs to exactly that class of writers who have too much verbosity for me to love it. Don’t get me wrong – I like the books, I love some of the characters, and I especially love the grey morality of the series. The fact that anyone can die and that he is realistic about not portraying his characters as Mary Sues or heroes who will survive the final battle is fantastic – and it’s actually hard to figure out who the protagonist of the series really is. (I guess you could argue that it’s Daenerys, but her storyline intertwines too little with the rest for me to really give that theory any credence).

But I do have a problem with the verbosity and the absolutely mind-boggling amount of characters contained in the novel. I get that Martin is thorough and enjoys making up new characters in his big world, but at some point the number of POV characters in the books exceeds twenty and I really start to lose track of who did what to whom when where and why. This makes the books very chaotic and that’s after editing, so I find it really hard to memorize which useless character did what exactly, and I have to refer to the index at the end to figure all of that out (for example I realised only recently that there are eight Sand Snakes… I always thought there were three, and I was astonished to find out I was wrong. Okay four of them are children, but still).

The other thing is that he really loves to reuse certain vocabulary and doesn’t really use any synonyms for them, making part of his style repetitive. Really, do you have to use ”jape” every time you mean ”joke”? I get that it’s a signature mark of the author but it annoys me to no end.

I am aware that it will take forever for Martin to release the upcoming novel, so here I also wish to mention that he had better not kill off Mr Snow for good (because I love Jon Snow) and that he had better bring back more of the old characters. Where’s that slimy bastard Littlefinger? What is Arya up to? etc. All in all, a very entertaining book series, with serious merits, but the verbosity really needs to be toned down a bit for me to really love instead of like the books. And I’ll still be buying it for the insanely cool plot twists, that you can rest assured of.

Now be happy I threw all my readers a bone by writing in English for once. That’s life for ya 😉

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Om joannavanschaik

Science communication graduate. Music, poetry, literature, travel, science and language collide in this blog.
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