The second, third, and fourth Song of Ice and Fire books, (a précis)

If you liked A Game of Thrones for its tight plotting and political machinations, you should like the sequels also. That is what I say. Martin’s writing does not make my heart sing, nor do his characters possess the depth and intricacy of, say, Chaim Potok’s. But my stars, the man can handle the plot. How his brain can contain all these plot strands is beyond me. I sometimes went slightly into character overload — the Dornishmen and the Iron Islands guys and particularly the gangs of scavengers were too many for me. When they get removed from their natural context I lose all ability to manage them. Take a Dornishman out of Dorne and transplant him to King’s Landing, and hell, I don’t know who the guy is anymore. But the plot keeps whisking me along anyway.

Sansa is going to save the day. Y’all should all be prepared for that. The day? In case you are worried about its fate? Don’t be! Sansa will save it! YES SHE WILL. When that happens you will all be staggered by my prescience and very very sorry that you ever doubted me and called Sansa a useless pansy. But I won’t be! I will have known all along. I will just say “I told you so” a lot of times until you are all sick of me. Four years later I am still saying “I told you so” about (HARRY POTTER SPOILERS UPCOMING) the fact that Snape knew Lily as a kid, which I deduced from Petunia saying “that awful boy” told Lily about dementors because I am a full-on genius.

Has anyone read A Dance with Dragons yet? If so, would you care to tell me in the comments, with spoiler alerts for those who do not want to know, of any particularly thrilling developments that develop? I already heard about the dragons being uncontrollableish.

27 thoughts on “The second, third, and fourth Song of Ice and Fire books, (a précis)

  1. I feel so left out with this series! I tried to read it once many years ago, and just couldn’t get into it. Now there is a new book, and everyone is going back and reading and loving this series, and where am I? Just sittin here. I am going to have to make the effort again, because I feel like I was much too hasty before, and also, at the time that I tried with the first one, I was not all that used to fantasy, which was cured by reading a few Guy Gavriel Kay books. Must start over with this!

    • Well, I hope you do like it! But if you don’t, I don’t think you’re a freak or anything — I can totally see how this series would not be for everybody. It’s not one of those series where I am dashing around demanding that everyone I know must read it.

  2. Good on you for making the Snape/Lily connection! I didn’t, although funnily enough, I figured Snape and Petunia had somehow met. I had a weird theory that they might have been romantically involved at some point, which is kind of gross, actually.

    • Well, the Snape/Lily connection was made by my mother — as early as the third or fourth book she was saying Snape was in love with Lily — so I cannot take credit for that. I only figured out that he’d known her when they were small. I am glad it never occurred to me that Snape and Petunia had been romantically involved, because, like, ew.

    • Thank you! But again, most of the credit goes to my mother! She knew Snape was in love with Lily, and I only figured out that it started in childhood. My mother is clever that way. 🙂

  3. I really liked the first book, but Sansa sort of bothered me… I couldn’t connect with her at all. I still haven’t written a review. I really should do that.

    • Aha, but think how much you will like Sansa when she SAVES THE DAY.

      (Nobody likes Sansa. That’s why I am clinging to this theory with such ferocious devotion.)

  4. She is still saying I told you so too. Not exaggerating. No one likes I told you sos in unimportant things quite like our family. I’m still sad that the hurricane destroyed the chair I told my aunt wouldn’t fit in her car so I can no longer I told you so her every time I go over.

    Jen, is it a good my brain is shattered into a million pieces by the most horrible test known to man recovery read? Or should I wait a week or two to try it?

  5. I loved the HBO series so I’m tempted to start reading the books. I have no idea whether or not the series was faithful but I really hope Sansa has a pointy object with which to stab Joffrey through the eye, preferably before their wedding night. Maybe I need to read the books after all!

    • The series stays remarkably faithful to the books, at least so far. I understand that in the subsequent seasons, they may be departing from the books a little — I imagine there’s some cutting they’ll have to do, and some character conflation. Just to make it fit.

  6. Sansa will save the day! Actually I say that without having read even the 3rd book yet but I know it in my heart. Or at least she better or I’m going to be really disappointed.

    I agree with you — sometimes there are too many characters to keep track of but he never misses on plot.

    • Awesome, I am so excited that somebody agrees with me! Most people try to placate me by saying things like “Uh, sure, maybe,” but it is so rare for me to get resounding agreement. Awesome! YES. When she does save the day, you and I can gloat like crazy.

  7. Yay! I’m also a believer in Sansa. How the heck did you manage to read so fast? You’re eyes must burn holes. I’m still on the third book, and Sansa sort of disappointed me when she started dreaming about good times and stuff again and not paying attention to the crappy reality she lives in and thus missing her chance to do a certain something. But, oh, well.

    Btw, who is your fav character so far?

    PS – I, too, have always believed Snape knew more than what JK Rowling was showing us, but wow, people really hated him by the end of the 6th book. I always thought Jk Rowling was hinting that there was something going on between D and S that night… so it led me to think that D might not actually have died. 😦 I have half right anyway.

    • Oh, I didn’t read them that fast between my first post and this one! That would have been crazy. No, by the time I wrote my review of the first book, I was already midway through the third. And then I delayed posting it for some reason. So.

      My favorite character, let’s see. I want to say Jaime, but I feel like I’m swayed by how incredibly handsome the actor who plays him in the series is. Soooooo…tough call. :p

      I remember when I read the sixth Harry Potter book for the first time, i had about two minutes of white-hot all-consuming rage at Snape. And then I remembered that Snape was a good guy and that he had undoubtedly killed Dumbledore at Dumbledore’s request. But I still hate Snape. I hate him. I think he crossed the moral event horizon when he made fun of Hermione’s teeth in the fourth book. What kind of grown-up makes fun of a fourteen-year-old girl?

  8. I just finished up Dance and can give you any and all spoilers you haven’t found on the internet so far.

    • Ok, Captain Hammer, I don’t want spoilers, I do want to know if it’s good for me to read while mentally broken right after the bar or if I should wait a week or two to be able to comprehend.

    • I don’t even know what I want to ask! I know that a certain someone gets brutally stabbed a la Julius Caesar, but I’m pretty sure that person isn’t really dead.

  9. I got Snape’s last scene right on! (Well, almost. I thought he was going to look into Harry’s green eyes and deliriously think he was talking to Lily.) But I TOLD YOU SO. (Still debating about these books. High fantasy, meh.)

    • YOU DID NOT, MOTHER. YOU DID NOT GET IT RIGHT. You had the most maudlin scenario in the whole history of time, and when I read the actual scene, all I could think about was how UNMERITEDLY SMUG you were going to be even though you obviously did not get it right at all.

  10. I had the same matched set dilemma you’re having but with the Harry Potter books, which I’ve collected in hardcover. The library where I used to live would let you get on the holds list when the book went on sale at Amazon, so I got books 5 and 6 within a week of the release date (book 6 on the release date). My new library does not do this, so I was all kinds of torn. I was so desperate to read it without spoilers that I actually ended up buying the hardcover, reading it, and giving it away.

  11. My husband is loving these books this summer – ripping through them at an incredible speed. But is unhappy that he has all paperbacks and the newest installment, the one driving him on in his reading, is a hardcover. Sigh. Still wondering if I should read too.

  12. Aha, your husband’s plight is very reasonable. :p I wish I lived in Louisiana still, then I’d be able to borrow a copy from my sister’s boyfriend.

  13. I’m glad that you’re liking these. I just finished the second book, and I agree with you about R.R.’s (as I affectionately call him) ability to handle such a complicated plot. But, I must say, that there are parts of the writing that make my heart sing. 🙂

    And, as far as Sansa goes, I’m not just a little surprised to hear that she survives through the fourth book. My money’s on Arya for day-saving.

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