May 13, 2016

A Dance with Dragons

A Dance with Dragons

George R R Martin

I stand by what I said with my review for A Feast for Crows that the books should have been split differently, but ADwD was definitely more action-packed and entertaining than its predecessor. We still hear from some of the characters that were left off in AFfC, but that's more towards the end of the book. Now, to summarize what everyone's been up to:


Tyrion: One of my favorites up until this book, his wit amuses me as well as his ability to rise above those who look down on him (figuratively and literally), which is pretty much everyone up until this point. After fleeing to Pentos, Tyrion meets up with the Griffs to start a new adventure. He quickly realizes who the griffs actually are and then is snatched up by Jorah in a whorehouse on the way to Volantis. Once he's with Jorah, we can really start to see him weaken, or at least hold his tongue out of fear of being beaten. At some point, he runs into Penny, who was one of the jousting dwarves from Joffrey's wedding. This is where I really start to get annoyed whenever Tyrion's chapters come up. Penny is worthless and annoying in everything that she does. I understand that Tyrion pretty much feels bad for what happened to her and her brother, and that she believes that he was the cause since he wouldn't stoop to riding a pig and playing their game, but it still doesn't seem to fit his character to string her along on their mission to reach Dany in Mereen. After being sold to a slaver outside of Mereen and watching as their owner slowly dies of the bloody flux, Tyrion takes Penny and Jorah to talk to Brown Ben Plumm to discuss joining his forces. Overall, it was a confusing and pretty boring plot and I felt like Tyrion deserved more, the only good thing I saw is that he was humbled a bit by being a mummer slave.

Jon: Probably the only person in command of others left with some shred of decency (other than Dany). Jon struggles with doing what he knows is right and having his men obey his orders. As Jon well knows, the fight is not against the wildlings, but against the dead and he has a hard time getting others to see the truth of who their enemies really are. I love his relationship with Tormund, and really just Tormund in general, but we really start to see how close he becomes to the free folk. The more his sworn brothers see this, the more they resent him. Stannis and Selyse really piss me off because he has a hard enough time trying to get his men to listen and understand what he's trying to do and they just make it that much worse by trying to command him to give them land, men, and food (all of the things that he needs the most). It wasn't a surprise to me that his men turned against him, mostly because I watch the show, but also because you can tell how pissy the crows are getting about having to save and feed the people that they've fought against. You would think they would show a little humanity having seen the white walkers, but apparently not. And Wun Wun is just badass.

Bran: We can tell that Bran is clearly a very important character, and his plot is finally starting to get interesting. Coldhands leads him, Hodor, Jojen, and Meera through the land beyond the wall to find the last greenseer, who will be teaching Bran everything. He starts by warging into a raven and then eventually into a Weirwood, which we saw has no grasp of time and can see things in the past. I'm sure that Bran will be used to explain some important scenes from the past and learn more about the history of Westeros, and especially Winterfell and his father, Ned. It seems like he is also experimenting with trying to talk to people through the tree, as we saw with Theon. I'm glad that he's finally growing up and gaining knowledge/wisdom and not just bitching about his legs and how he won't be a knight.

Reek/Theon: Poor Reek. No more getting flayed, so that's good, but he's still confused. He knows that he is Theon, and technically a prince, but Ramsay has scared him to the point of madness. He knows that the girl sent to the Boltons as Arya is really Sansa's old friend Jeyne Poole, but he's scared to tell them and thinks that they may even know that already and thinks that he's supposed to play along. Once they're in Winterfell, we realize that the Bard is actually Rattleshirt, which is actually Mance and some spearwives who came to bring Arya back to Jon (even though it's not really Arya). Of course, Reek doesn't know this but still has to help Jeyne escape with the women, but their plan goes awry and Theon escapes with Jeyne and meets back up with his sister, who is being held captive with Stannis. It seems like they may escape, after Jon reads Ramsay's letter that says Stannis is dead and he wants his bride back. Theon may be able to redeem himself by helping Jeyne. REEK, REEK, IT RHYMES WITH FREAK.

Daenerys: I love the balance of ferocity and gentleness that comes with Dany. She's really struggling to bring peace to Mereen in order to prove that she is a worthy queen before she goes west to conquer Westeros. She doesn't realize what she's getting herself into, because Mereen is not Westeros the people and customs are different, and half of them don't want the peace that you brought. However, I find it commendable that she wants to see things through to make sure that when she leaves there won't be another uprising, like what happened in Astapor. I don't see the appeal in Daario, but I can understand that she had needs and he charmed her so she felt like she couldn't help but bed him before her marriage to Hizdhar. I looooved that she finally got to ride on Drogon, and it'll be a fun plot in showing how she tries to train her dragon with no knowledge of what her ancestors had previously done, eventually. But, for right now, it leaves Dany off in the middle of the Dothraki Sea being found by one of Drogo's old bloodriders who named himself Khal after Drogo's death. Hopefully someone will find her now that she pretty much made up her mind to leave Mereen and go conquer Westeros.

Davos: I almost forgot about Davos. He was sent from Eastwatch to make cause with Manderly to support Stannis. After a storm, he is swept into the shore of the Sweetsisters and captured. Eventually, he goes to Manderly where they are entertaining some Freys and swore fealty to Tommen, but we see that it is all a ruse. Manderly sends Davos on a quest to find Rickon and, if he should succeed, Manderly will go over to Stannis.

Quentyn: New character! I didn't really like Quentyn since he was first introduced. He just seemed like he didn't really know what he was doing, he just assumed that he was going to bring Dany the old pact stating that his sister was supposed to marry her brother, and that she would honor the pact by marrying him instead. First of all, that's not what the pact says and it's not her fault that Viserys is dead. Secondly, she can marry pretty much anyone. Even though an alliance with Dorne would be nice, the only thing that Quentyn comes to offer is himself, which did not please Dany especially with Daario standing next to him. Then he decides to hire sellswords to help him steal a dragon because he thinks that they will obey him. Dude, they're dragons. They only listen to Dany (occasionally) because she is blood of the dragon and basically birthed them. Just because you have some distant Targaryen relative doesn't mean that you have blood of the dragon. When he died I was actually kind of happy. The picture clearly isn't Quentyn since he isn't in the show, but I just like the thought of him getting roasted.

Ser Barristan: Barristan is conflicted once Dany disappears and wonders where his loyalty lies. He knows that he should probably be protecting the king, but he also knows that someone tried to kill Dany and he never really like Hizdhar. If Selmy wasn't still in Mereen, Dany's reign would have completely gone to waste. He makes the decision to capture the king for questioning about the poisoned food and also about the Harpy's kills, which may have brought war on Mereen but I'm okay with that. He's truly loyal to Dany which makes me like him more.

Griff/Jon Connington: This whole storyline blew my mind. No one really expected Aegon to be alive, or to be as great as he is. However, he seeks adventures as all young boys do in his world and may be prone to putting himself in danger. Jon Connington is a lot like Barristan in some ways, both feel guilty about the kings that they were sworn to protect that died in the past, and both feel the need to redeem themselves with the existing Targaryen line. Who knows if little Griff is actually Aegon, but I guess we'll find out. Anyways, Tyrion convinces little griff that he's a fool for thinking that he can just show up and marry Dany (like Quentyn) and that instead, he should take the opportunity to sail to Westeros and take over the Iron Throne while it's vulnerable. At the end of this book, Jon plans to have them take over Storm's End and eventually make an alliance with Dorne and Aegon says he likes the idea, but that he wants to lead the battle. We then see Varys return (finally) to kill Kevan and Maester Pycelle for almost saving the realm, because he is a supporter of Aegon's claim to the throne and wants to see the young Targaryen conquer. This storyline is not yet in the show, but when I googled images of Jon Connington, this actor showed up and of course as a Grey's Anatomy fan, I had to have Owen in there.

All other characters/Characters from the last book continued (Jaime/Cersei/Arya/Asha/Stuff in Dorne): Jaime was sent to recapture castles in the Reach, but Brienne finds him and says that she knows where Sansa is so he goes off with her somewhere. This also shows that Brienne wasn't hanged, unless Thoros brought her back also, which I doubt. Cersei left off in the dungeons of the Sept, and she eventually agreed to admit to some of her sins and was paraded through the streets naked and bald. We learn that the Mountain has returned as mute Robert Strong, and will be her champion in trial by combat against the Faith. Arya trained and received her eyesight back, and killed her first man for the God of many faces and will remain at the House of Black and White now that she has used her first face. Asha was captured and brought with Stannis' troops to march to Winterfell and was reunited with Theon. Doran tells Arianne about the pact and where Quentyn is going, and also distributes the sand snakes to help with his plan to join forces with Dany to take over the Iron Throne. Once he learns that Quentyn is dead, he'll most likely join up with Aegon so that should be interesting.

Overall, a lot of information was crammed in this book. I felt like there were some unnecessary little characters, but other than that all of the characters' stories left off with cliffhangers and I can't wait to see where GRRM goes with it, and also how the show continues without a book to guide it. We'll see!

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