A Storm of Swords
By George R.R. Martin
- Date Finished: Aug. 2, 2014
- Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
- Year: 2000
- Project: n/a
- Reading List: Summer 2014, NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction Novels (series)
- Grade: A
- Thoughts upon reading:
So I stayed up past midnight finishing A Storm of Swords last night. I haven’t done this in awhile. This could be for several reasons: J was out of town, and when he’s home, I usually don’t stay up so late. Also, I really wanted to finish so I could move onto The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which is going to have be renewed at the library regardless. Also, A Storm of Swords, like a lot of the Song of Ice and Fire novels, is really good.
Again, I don’t need to bring anyone up to speed on the plot since this book is right where the TV series has left off, so everyone’s heard of the Red Wedding, Joffey’s death, etc. I do feel awfully good about the fact that HAHA, I’ve finally caught up. Starting this fall with A Feast for Crows, I’ll suddenly be ahead of all the TV-watchers, and yeah. OK, this feeling isn’t as satisfying anymore now that I don’t work at a bookstore where half of everyone was obsessed with the TV show – I don’t know if anyone at the library has read the books, or cares – but still. Satisfaction. Of some sort.
What can I say, what can I say … well, A Storm of Swords sure did change the game in a lot of ways. A lot of big characters died. A lot of BIG REVELATIONS happened, including several that go back to the first book. I believe that with A Storm of Swords, George R.R. Martin is making it clear to us that these books aren’t going to be about the characters, or their silly ideals, or what they believe. There is no protagonist leading the way through these pages, giving readers some sort of moral guidance, and paving the way for the eventual climax. There are hints as to where this story is going – more White Walkers, fewer wars between petty kings (I hope) – but it’s clear that this story isn’t tied to anyone in particular. When we opened A Game of Thones, it seemed that this series was going to be about the Starks vs. the Lannisters, but now that we’re three books in, that premise has gone out of the window (half the Starks are dead, the Lannisters are falling apart, and I don’t think either family cares who holds the Iron Throne anymore).
This can make it tough for readers, but luckily, there are a few characters who seem to be pushing things forward, and thankfully, I like them (I’ve already noted how I wasn’t much a fan of anyone in these books). Because the TV show stops here, I don’t feel guilty saying that I’m very thankful my favs are still alive: Tyrion (just barely), Arya, Jon (same), and now Bran. I’m happy that they’ll have a big part to play in the later books, as the next stage of the plot rests on their shoulders. Oh, also the Targayen girl. Always with the dragons.
You see, I have a theory about people dying in this series (which is a big topic of discussion). When big characters die in this series, you can always tell beforehand (with a few exceptions), because these characters seem fated. Their whole point of living, and their story arc, always seem to be falling apart and winding down right before they kick the bucket. Because of this reason, I wasn’t surprised about the Red Wedding, though those deaths did make me a little sad (which surprised me). Joffrey’s death also seemed inevitable, just as Ned Stark’s in the first book. Like I said, Martin is moving these books away from the squabbles of petty kings, and so those characters that don’t fit into what’s to come get their due. The two major deaths at the very end of A Storm of Swords took me by surprise, though I’d have to say they were the only ones.
A few more things on this book: a month or so ago, I was discussing the series with a friend who’s a fan of the show but also the books, having read all of them. She said A Storm of Swords is where things start to change for a certain character – a one Jaime Lannister – and she was right. I was very pleasantly surprised with what Martin is doing with Jaime, and look forward to seeing what happens from here.
Also, I’m happy that the magic is starting to pick up a bit in this book, but I have to say: the people returning from the dead thing is confusing me. Just this “Lord of Light” religion, period. With Melisandre and Stannis Baratheon, it all seems like a big voodoo farce. But yet the priest Thoros is bringing people back from the dead with this Lord of Light, and it’s like, whaaaa? Zombie GoT? I just hope it all comes together at some point, because now it just seems random.
Also, I know now why Jon Snow doesn’t know anything. Poor Jon Snow. What a guy.
Previous reviews of the Song of Ice and Fire series: