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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Ulc » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 am UTC

Czhorat wrote:Has anyone seen the discussion on ASoIaF at TigerBeatdown?

http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/08/26/ent ... -r-martin/

To summerize, the blogger found the books distasteful because if the prevalence or rape and threatened rape, that rape scenes are often eroticized, and that female characters display a lack of agency, especially sexually. Cersei does act with the same level of sexual freedom as many of the male characters and is, therefore, a villain. I think the blogger makes a good point about the level of brutality, especially sexual brutality, in these books. Reflecting on them, the level of sheer violence is the biggest thing separating this from any other endless fantasy doorstop. I'm adding them to Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant in the list of fantasy books with compelling plots that I'll not read (nor recommend to others) because of how they handle sexual violence against women.


Yeah, I've seen it.

I've also come to the conclusion that the author haven't read the books - but started on them, got uncomfortable with them, wanted to rant about them, and then thought "I'd look a bit silly for criticizing them based on only the first 70 pages, wiki summary to the rescue!". Because frankly, there are quite a few instances of her statements about the books being flat out wrong, and where she has gotten a entirely different message out of a situation than I can possible see.

Add in that then link is quite possible the single worst piece of writing I've ever had the misfortune of reading, and I just quietly put the author of it in the "disregard opinions due to being crazy as a vampire squirrel on lsd" column. In general, if people write paragraphs where there are more words italicized, bolded and underscored (and occasionally all three of them) I'll tend to remember the good old pratchett quote "Multiple exclamation marks, the sure sign of a diseased mind"

That's not to say that there isn't things to complain about in the books, because some of it is very, very nasty. But it should at least be approached honestly rather than what she does.

A few examples:
"The Night’s Watch, an honorable band of brothers devoted to defending the world against zombies, is largely comprised of convicted rapists." This is factually wrong - first of all the watch is portrayed as pretty damn nasty bunch of people, and them not being the honer able band of brothers that Snow imagines is a damn important plot point. Secondly, it's made pretty clear in the books that the watch consists of something like 1/4 that have become politically radioactive and needed to be gone, 1/4 that had the misfortune of being on the wrong side in a civil war, 1/4 that commited petty crimes - but in reality was guilty of little else than being poor*, and finally 1/4 guilty of major crimes like rape, murder and arson. Hardly "largely comprised of, I'd say.

"Sandor Clegane, who planned to rape Sansa, gets a late-stage character redemption." He does what now? In in his (supposedly) death he's shown as a utter bastard, completely unlike-able person and someone that doens't even deserve the mercy of a quick death. I really don't see the late stage character redemption**.

Cersei is not a villain because she has sex. The books really make that bloody clear. It's pretty clear that Cersei becomes who she is through ten years of a abusive relationship (the blame is pretty squarely laid at Roberts feet), and that she is obviously deranged. She's very obviously mentally unstable, unable to see faults in her horrible monster of a son, power hungry to the point where she will do *anything* for power and generally nasty. The books threat her sexual escapades as pretty incidental - yes, adultery is the charge that is finally laid on her, but only because a charge of "batshit crazy and trying her best to run the kingdom into the ground" isn't going to work, so they just pick whatever excuse for a charge they can.

*Yes, the justice system is rather draconian.
** It is hinted a bit that he might actually have survived and is tryign to start over his life - which might be prudent if everyone in the world wants you dead. But that's hardly redemption.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby mosc » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:31 pm UTC

I can't see blaming Robert for the fact that she slept with her brother. I'm sorry, I don't buy that for a second. They probably slept with each other for years before she was married.

The ONLY part of this discussion that has any meaning is the Danny virginity scene. It was close to rape, and it was eroticized. I think GRRM was trying to give a more thoughtful and complex description of a relationship between a grown man and an underaged girl. On some level, he clearly gives the problems with it but he doesn't just say "it's really really wrong" and throw up his hands. That type of relationship is one that existed throughout our history. Women have been married off at very young ages and were considered ready for sex after their first menstral cycle for much of history. Discussing the implications of that in a relationship beyond just pointing and condemning is a good thing I think. Arranged marriages, especially to what we would now call underage women, are a more complex thing than we like to think of them now. There were bad parts, and I'm not arguing that they should even be legal, but they also were marriages and not purely evil either.

Quite the opposite of the blogger linked to, I commend GRRM for being willing to tackle these issues rather than just gloss over them in fear of angering the narrow minded. Discussing such topics is difficult and the discussion itself will offend people. That's why it's all the more noteworthy that he's willing to do it.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Sonata » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:31 am UTC

The forum I run is having a book club on A Game of Thrones right now. You're all welcome to join, link is in the links/art section. We're trying to make it easy for people to avoid spoilers if they're only just starting to read them.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:28 pm UTC

Maybe I'm just out of the loop, but did anyone else know that there are two Ice and Fire inspired video games scheduled out in the none-too-distant future?
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby mosc » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:00 pm UTC

I did not know that. I agree with the guy commenting that RPG's don't work well without some type of magic/enhancement system. Most of the characters in the book have fairly human limitations which can be difficult for an RPG. The RTS could be very good though.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby IcedT » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:30 am UTC

I got A Game of Thrones for my birthday about a week and a half ago, and in maybe 4 days of reading I've knocked out 600 of 800 pages, which I think goes to show how much I'm enjoying it. The sexual content (re: the blogger) doesn't bother me much because, frankly, there was a lot of sexual coercion implicit in feudalism and part of the book's believability is the fact that it doesn't flinch away from the ugly, gross, unpleasant aspects of its world. I'll admit that the HBO series does feel a little more... sensationalist though, but I'm only one episode in. Mostly I feel like the first episode trimmed a lot of dialogue and characterization in order to fit in more titties and shots of people giving each other mean looks.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Shifter » Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:59 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:Has anyone seen the discussion on ASoIaF at TigerBeatdown?

http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/08/26/ent ... -r-martin/


I found a response to that, http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2011/08 ... yle-piece/
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Triangle_Man » Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:00 am UTC

Shifter wrote:
Czhorat wrote:Has anyone seen the discussion on ASoIaF at TigerBeatdown?

http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/08/26/ent ... -r-martin/


I found a response to that, http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2011/08 ... yle-piece/


Here's someone's response to that response!

I guess discussions like this happen a lot?
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Shifter » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:41 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:
Shifter wrote:
Czhorat wrote:Has anyone seen the discussion on ASoIaF at TigerBeatdown?

http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/08/26/ent ... -r-martin/


I found a response to that, http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2011/08 ... yle-piece/


Here's someone's response to that response!

I guess discussions like this happen a lot?


Hmmm, I think this is getting silly, I blame me.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Jave D » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:56 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:I'm adding them to Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant in the list of fantasy books with compelling plots that I'll not read (nor recommend to others) because of how they handle sexual violence against women.


Well at least it's good of you to not recommend to others books that you haven't read. :?
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby pollywog » Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:38 am UTC

I'm looking forward to starting this series again. My flatmates are reading them, and I'm just waiting for Flatmate C to finish Game of Thrones so i can start.

One of the things I enjoy waiting for most is the moment where 80%+ of my memories of a book I love dissipate, and I can be delighted by it again.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Yakk » Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:50 am UTC

Then don't read this:
Spoiler:
Snape kills Anya.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Fedechiar » Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:40 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:Then don't read this:
Spoiler:
Snape kills Anya.


With Rosebud, right?
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Yakk » Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:49 pm UTC

Spoiler:
No, her mother, shot by a hunter.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby ArchaicHipster » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:42 pm UTC

Spoiler:
And then they took the One Ring to the Death Star.


On topic, though: I'm about halfway through A Dance With Dragons and enjoying it muchly so far - it's wonderful to see all my favorite characters (Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Arya) back again.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby PeteP » Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:28 am UTC

Just finished A Dance with Dragons, it was good but
Spoiler:
,if Jon really died, I will have a dire lack of Characters I actually care about. Not that I don't find the others interesting, but I don't really care if they fail or are successful. Without Jon that would leave Arya but at the moment she is disconnected from the other plots . I kinda like Tyrion and he does interact with the main plot lines so that is something.
Well if Jon dies he would live in Ghost, but according to the things we currently know about that, that wouldn't be very interesting.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Yakk » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:56 pm UTC

Spoiler:
So, about Jon.

The oath of the Night's Watch:
Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.
It shall not end until my death.
death
He's bound by an oath that ends when he dies that prevents him from doing what he wants.

He's in a castle right next to a lady who (at least believes) can raise people from the dead.

People have come back from the dead already in this series (although, usually quite changed -- often not people anymore. But ... sometimes still people.)

So even if he is dead, he may not be dead-dead. And we have little evidence he is dead (he got stabbed).
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby quantumcat42 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:31 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Another point on Jon being right next to Melissandre -- we find out in her POV that her power is enhanced at the Wall. So there's a good chance that any resurrection she performs there will work much better than Beric or Cat.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Yakk » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:42 pm UTC

So... how about some foreshadowing?
Spoiler:
Suppose Jon dies. This invalidates the oath. What if we inverted every part of the oath?

Light comes, and now my watch ends.
I shall take a wife, hold lands, and father children.
I shall wear a crown and win glory.
I shall leave my post.
I am the sword of light.
I shall not merely watch on the wall.
I am the shadow that freezes warmth, the darkness that brights the night, the sword that breaks the horn, the claw that tears the realm of man apart.
I renounce all claim the Night's Watch has on me, for this day and all the days to come.

... well, we could keep the 2nd last sentence intact without inverting it. :) Then drop the last sentence, and the death clause (which is the key to the inversion) and we get:

Light comes, and now my watch ends.
I shall take a wife, hold lands, and father children.
I shall wear a crown and win glory.
I shall leave my post.
I am the sword of light.
I shall not merely watch on the wall.
I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby PeteP » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:50 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Yeah them stabbing him doesn't have to be fatal, but it could be.
But resurrection is a good point, forgot that she said she could do that. It would be a fine way to get around the pesky oath. I don't really expect him to be dead-dead, especially since we need a view point character at the wall. I just don't rule out the possibility.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:06 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Mellisandre and Stannis are both at the wall though, so they could serve as PoV characters. Just sayin'
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby pseudoidiot » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:16 pm UTC

Spoiler:
For the time being, at least, Stannis is occupied elsewhere.

Speaking of which in case anyone missed it, here's a sample chapter from Book 6, "The Winds of Winter": http://georgerrmartin.com/if-sample.html

Spoilers there, of course, if you haven't finished book 5.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby PeteP » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:47 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Spoiler:
Mellisandre and Stannis are both at the wall though, so they could serve as PoV characters. Just sayin'

Spoiler:
I don't count Stannis he is outstandingly "meh" and at the moment he isn't at the wall, Mellisandre is there but if here role stays limited to manipulating others, she would be a bit disappointing as sole viewpoint character. But I guess her role could change.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby mosc » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:51 pm UTC

Spoiler:
I'm wondering if John is really dead or not. The fire mage might save him or something. I'd think Mance Raider (sp?) would be a likely POV character at the wall, don't forget about him.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Obby » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:01 pm UTC

mosc wrote:
Spoiler:
I'm wondering if John is really dead or not. The fire mage might save him or something. I'd think Mance Raider (sp?) would be a likely POV character at the wall, don't forget about him.


Spoiler:
Well we don't even really know where he is, IIRC (it's been a few months since I read the books). We haven't heard or seen anything about him since he was sent away to hunt for John's sister, other than when John is wondering about him right before he decides to storm Winterhold due to Bolton's taunting.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby pseudoidiot » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:32 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Isn't Mance at Winterfell disguised as that bard?
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:07 pm UTC

pseudoidiot wrote:
Spoiler:
Isn't Mance at Winterfell disguised as that bard?

Spoiler:
Didn't Mance die in the raid that got Theon and Jeyne out?
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby maybeagnostic » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:09 pm UTC

pseudoidiot wrote:
Spoiler:
Isn't Mance at Winterfell disguised as that bard?

Spoiler:
I thought the Bolton's captured him when he tried to run away with Jeyne Poole?
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby pseudoidiot » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:12 pm UTC

Maybe. I don't quite remember now.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Adam H » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:39 pm UTC

Mance:
Spoiler:
pseudoidiot wrote:Isn't Mance at Winterfell disguised as that bard?
AGHH of course he is. Man, I'm dense. The 7 ladies he asked for at the wall... it all comes together...

In the note that Jon gets from bolton, doesn't bolton claim to have mance captured or dead? How would bolton know about mance unless he was indeed captured or dead?

But I don't remember the bard taking any active part in the theon/jeyne escape other than maybe planning.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Jave D » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:06 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:Mance:
Spoiler:
pseudoidiot wrote:Isn't Mance at Winterfell disguised as that bard?
AGHH of course he is. Man, I'm dense. The 7 ladies he asked for at the wall... it all comes together...

In the note that Jon gets from bolton, doesn't bolton claim to have mance captured or dead? How would bolton know about mance unless he was indeed captured or dead?

But I don't remember the bard taking any active part in the theon/jeyne escape other than maybe planning.


Spoiler:
Bolton lies! Like he lied about capturing Stannis and his sword. He does this just to fuck with people's minds. Us sitting here questioning everything is exactly what he wants! :shock:
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:26 pm UTC

Jave D wrote:
Spoiler:
Bolton lies! Like he lied about capturing Stannis and his sword. He does this just to fuck with people's minds. Us sitting here questioning everything is exactly what he wants! :shock:


Spoiler:
In order for Bolton to lie, though, he has to know something. I mean, the only way he could know about Mance and the spearwives is if he either came across them, or has a spy at the Wall who knew about the plan--which seems rather unlikely--or, I suppose, he captured some of them and tortured enough information out of them to construct this story. That said, I don't think it is entirely unreasonable to suspect that Bolton probably did end up capturing Mance and the spearwives, although the how of it is yet to be revealed. Stannis, on the other hand, may well not be dead, since the knowledge of his shiny sword is reasonably well-known, and we definitely know that Bolton has confederates within Stannis' camp.

I actually think it is plausible to take most of Ramsay's letter to be true. I would suggest, for example, that we can probably take for granted that Ramsay did not capture Theon. He has no reason to lie about not knowing his whereabouts. The letter does not mention Asha, so I would suggest that she probably escapes with Theon--in all likelihood, she orchestrates the escape, since I think we can take for granted that Stannis would not release them willingly. It would surprise me somewhat for Stannis to beat Ramsay in battle based on what we know about the relative strengths of their armies. It's possible, but not terribly likely--and, frankly, less interesting from a narrative point of view, especially since most of the POV characters in the neighbourhood will be probably fleeing before or possibly during the battle.

Besides, Stannis has to die in order for Jon to become king.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby pseudoidiot » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:22 pm UTC

Some of this conjecture is cleared up if you read the sample chapter of the next book on GRRM's website.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Adam H » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:47 pm UTC

pseudoidiot wrote:Some of this conjecture is cleared up if you read the sample chapter of the next book on GRRM's website.
Pray tell. All I learned from the sample chapter is (major wild guessing spoilage for the sample chapter ahead)
Spoiler:
That Theon either dies or escapes (probably with Asha), and that Bran probably can communicate rudimentarily through ravens and has reason to want theon to be executed or brought before the weirwood tree, and possibly has some correspondence with Asha. But as previously stated, I am really dense.

And I don't remember it mentioning Mance, does it?
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby pseudoidiot » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:01 pm UTC

Are we talking about the same sample chapter? This is the one I'm referring to.
Spoiler:
Because it's obvious Theon is still alive, although Stannis has every intention of executing him.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Adam H » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:21 pm UTC

pseudoidiot wrote:Are we talking about the same sample chapter? This is the one I'm referring to.
Spoiler:
Because it's obvious Theon is still alive, although Stannis has every intention of executing him.
Yup.
Spoiler:
I assumed perhaps wrongly that the events in the sample chapter occur before Jon gets the letter from bolton.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby pseudoidiot » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:22 pm UTC

Oh, right. I hadn't really considered that. Who knows what order some of this could be occurring in.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby mercutio_stencil » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:20 am UTC

Is there anyone else vaguely concerned about the increasingly large role the Iron Bank is having with events? I have the horrible feeling the books are going to be more about trade disputes and international monetary transactions than anything else, but I'm a bit of a pessimist.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Jave D » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:24 pm UTC

I doubt it's going to become "about" those things, but that they may have a role is already been clearly established ever since we heard how indebted King Robert's administration was (to the Iron Bank, to the Lannisters, etc) and how there are many other political entities than the Seven Kingdoms out there. I rather like hearing more about these other places, especially now that the Seven Kingdoms has been rather thoroughly explored already.

And knowing the way this series goes, I doubt the Iron Bank is going to be just some dry banking establishment... no doubt there will be some sort of dark secret or extra-nefarious persons involved there.

Also, I just really want to know who the hell the Others are and my concern is that they will be unexplained just so that they're more mysterious.
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Re: Ice and Fire?

Postby Fedechiar » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:36 pm UTC

Jave D wrote:Also, I just really want to know who the hell the Others are and my concern is that they will be unexplained just so that they're more mysterious.


I have a diametrally opposite concern...I'm really afraid that he's going to work himself in a corner with the next book and will have to resort to some magical mumbo-jumbo to explain them (I really liked the approach of the first books - very little fantasy, a truckload of war and intrigue)
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