In the second, and even longer, instalment of A Song of Fire and Ice (or Game of Thrones, both seem to be names for the series, though the former is more likely correct) we have four, no five, kings vying for the Iron Throne, and a khalessi trying to find her way back to Westeros to win back the Iron Throne, so much effort for a most uncomfortable chair.
I mentioned last time about the multiple points of view, and I think in this book we see the downside to this technique as we swap away from a character only to return later when things have happened. So we miss some events. Obviously GRRM didn’t think them essential, but it would be nice to not skip. Of course even with one POV the author can choose to skip, but I think here it is somewhat a limitation. But still, the book wouldn’t quite work if we were stuck with one protagonist, there’s just too much going on!And I think that’s what I do like about this series, there is a lot going on, there’s plenty of action, whilst still having plenty of characterisation.
The further introduction of magic with The Red Woman, Melisandre, from Asshai as well as Jaqen H’ghar excites me, as we start to solidify why this is fantasy rather than just a medieval tale. Though I’m still unsure about the rules of this world, what are the limitations, who can do what, what can be done, and what other creatures exist? It sounds like a number of creatures such as dragons and manticores exist, but what of other mythical creatures? And is there a limit to magic, are they born or made? So many questions about the fantasy aspect. And the white walkers, what are they? I am quite interested in Asshai, and I would love to travel there (well not personally, but perhaps Daenerys will go there? Or maybe Arya, after all she has that coin and the words, that’s an open plot thread if I ever saw one). And I think that’s another thing I really like, there’s so many different places and possibilities for where this story will go, and it’s all very exciting. The shear number of plot threads is overwhelming, and who knows what’s going to happen next, apart from people being killed that is!
Sure a lot of people died in this book, and even the first, I’m yet to be too shocked or emotionally distraught by it. I’m probably setting myself up here for sadness in the later books, but so far it’s been alright. Though the deaths of Lbera and Znrfgre Yhjva (rot13-ed for spoiler protection) were probably the most significant. The former was quite disappointing, because it means that the Night’s Watch is yet again deprived, and the latter, well, if you know who it is, then, you’ll know why he was important. But the latter’s death is certainly symbolic of the demise of well, you know what and where. Which is the real sad part of the story.
Jon Snow’s journey Beyond-The-Wall is very interesting, and I’m excited for the next book to see what happens when he meets the King Beyond-The-Wall, which I’m sure will happen sooner rather than later, unless GRRM wants to antagonise us, which I think he is prone to do.
And can I just say I’m so unsure about Tyrion. Are we rooting for him, or is he evil? Again it’s a wonderful aspect of the book, with it’s ambiguities. I mean should we even want Daenerys to get a fleet of ships to try to reclaim Westeros? I still really want to know who sent the ‘assassin’ on Bran, was it Tyrion, Jaime, Cersei, or even Littlefinger? But Tyrion is a wonderful character, and his wit is fantastic, but with his father around now, I wonder what his role will be.
Well the second season of the TV show didn’t quite stick to the books like the first one. I guess that should be expected, it does mean that for those who have read the book there will still be surprises along the way. A couple of things I didn’t really like were the ramping up of sex. Yes, it’s in the book, and yes this is an adult show, but it was a bit much. Further to that, they created sexual tension between Jon Snow and his captive (who wasn’t a captive for long in the book) and between Robb and Talisa. The last one results in a marriage! Maybe something like this happens in the third book, I don’t know, but seems unnecessary. And Lady Stark freeing the Kingslayer, in the book we don’t know what happens after she asks for Brienne’s sword, but the show definitely wanted to add more drama. And the Khaleesi’s dragons being stolen, really pointless drama point, plus now I think all her handmaids or whatever you’d like to call them have been killed. What’s worse they removed the whole Song of Fire and Ice reference as well as the prophecy for Daenerys. At this stage I’m definitely liking the books more than the show, but the show certainly has been interesting and enjoyable. Though at least they didn’t skip the battle scenes like last season, so that was good.
Definitely looking forward to the next book, and the next season.