So, the first two books done. A great start. I’ve been whisked through the mountains of Westeros, sailed the high waves of a dragon sea and imagined more tits than I can shake a stick at. It’s a fantastic world, I think it is fair to say that Mr. Martin certainly has a vivid and intricate imagination. There is such depth to the scenes, to the inumerable characters and the ever changing relationships between each and every one. I’m left gobsmacked by how such small, inconsequential triggers will spark off events years later on the other side of the world. Mr. Martin’s planning board must have been pretty enormous, and credit to him for that. It is no easy task to create such a lush and realistic saga.
But, and a big but it is, it’s a slog. I read somewhere that Martin tests the attention span of even the most caffeinated reader and I have to agree. The world, although beautifully crafted, lacks a certain individuality that would make it spring higher and louder from the pages if it was just a little bit more magical, a little bit more fantastical. I know that Mr. Martin wanted to create a world more rooted in the real, yet we read these novels to escape, and who wants to go somewhere similar to Medieval Yorkshire on a cold Wednesday night? The small glimpses of magic and fantasy shown have been achingly short so far. Dragons? Great, I love ’em. Why not include them more? Why not actually integrate the most intriguing character, Daenerys, into the story from the start? We don’t need to follow her for two books, wandering around like a lost sheep whosew nurturing father has been slain. Maybe as I read on Dany will become more central to the plot, I don’t see how else her thread could progress, but at the moment she is a side note of little worth to Martin. Perhaps he writes a chapter for her as some light relief after slogging through endless pages on the colour of a man’s robe.
I have not finished the series so obviously say what you will. I need to get to the end before casting real judgement. However from the murky elongated pages at which I stand, I believe that A Storm of Swords will be my last fray into Westeros. Whoever wants the Iron Throne can have it, it’s all the same to me.