Sunday, November 06, 2011

A Storm of Swords, by George R. R. Martin

A Storm of Swords, by George R. R. Martin

Once again Martin spins an exciting tale of treachery and war in the Seven Kingdoms. Even knowing his tendency to kill off or maim key players, I was shocked at the betrayals found here. The Red Wedding is foreshadowed just enough to instill a feeling of dread and disbelief, and then still goes over the top when it happens. The last novel saw Tyrion become a fully fleshed-out character; here it is Jaime’s turn to be redeemed. Known as the Kingslayer, Jaime has been depicted until now as an oath-breaker, a man without honor. Martin takes us inside Jaime’s head, though, and shows him as a man who killed his king in order to save the lives of thousands, and returned to save his former jailer because she treated him fairly and honestly. A nice depth added here, to someone previous shown only as a villain.

Many of the other characters could use this same treatment, though. Cersei, Joffrey, Lysa, and Littlefinger are all embarrassingly singly-dimensional, and I cringe every time Daenerys takes center stage. Jon Snow has a somewhat deeper characterization, but his plotline at the Wall is entirely too predictable—very unlike Martin. I’m still enjoying the series, but am starting to wonder through how many books this story is going to drag out.

First Sentence:
The day was grey and bitter cold, and the dogs would not take the scent.

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