By September 7, 2011 5 Comments Read More →

A Dance With Dragons: Discuss!

While BGB isn’t typically the place where epic fantasy series are discussed, since most book groups don’t want to read doorstops (let alone series comprised of five doorstops so far with two more planned), I just had to throw this out there.

George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire aka Game of Thrones, has picked up in popularity ever since HBO aired season one of Game of Thrones, so I imagine there must be some book groups out there tackling the tomes.

I went to see Martin speak when he came to Seattle. He spoke about the complaints he has heard from fans about the wait between books, to which he staunchly defends his right to take his time to make his books the best they can be. He talked about the HBO series and his involvement with casting and in the creative direction of the series. Martin was charming and affable as he answered questions from the crowd.

I dove into the much-anticipated fifth book in the series, my newly signed A Dance with Dragons, with much interest and excitement, eager to learn what twists and turns and surprises would await me.

I had finished the previous book, A Feast for Crows, not long before, having saved it so I could read it closer to the release of book five as I knew Martin had written them to work as a long piece.

I found that while I enjoyed, as before, the fact that each chapter was narrated by a different character, that you never know which character will die next and how complexly layered the politics and plotlines were, I was surprised by how much Martin amped up the sexual violence in books four and five.

If the popularity of Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is any testament, many readers are not bothered by violence or sexual violence if the characters and stories are engaging enough. Some readers enjoy violence in books; I just don’t happen to be one of them. So I found it increasingly difficult to read Martin’s last two books for their (in my mind) excessive suggestions of and acts of sexual violence. I wanted to enjoy the book more, but found these elements distracting.

So I have to ask–have any other readers or groups found this in A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons? Or was it in the first three too to the same degree and I am just forgetting? Or is it just me?




About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

5 Comments on "A Dance With Dragons: Discuss!"

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  1.' RD Larson says:

    I love “Game of Thrones” and am eager to read each book. And no I am not bothered by violence and sex as it is part of the genre I write. Evil Angel @ Amazon is my thriller.

  2. Neil Hollands says:

    Misha, I’m in the school that doesn’t mind realistic violence in books (cartoonish, glorified violence is another story). Believable violence, with real costs, was actually something that appealed to me about Martin’s approach to fantasy in the early books in this series. But I agree that particularly in this last book (which I just finished too) it sometimes seemed gratuitous, and no longer germaine to the story, like he was simply trying to out-gross his earlier books. I will continue reading these books (the first three books are great achievements) unless his inability to tie up the plots gets even worse, but I do agree that the recent books are a little too graphic, and even worse, a little too meandering.

  3. misha says:

    Thank you, Neil! I also will continue to read these books, but also believe that the first 3 are much better than these last two have been.

  4. I loved the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo! The films story is very exciting and puzzling (for those that haven’t read the book) and the pace is steady with some really tense situations. The investigation part of the story is excellent. Although it is 2.5 hours long it is never boring.

    The soundtrack was also very fitting and helped to set the mood of the film. This is far above any other Scandinavian thriller production, and I look forward to the rest of the films/series.

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