After many weeks and months of struggle, I finally completed Game of Thrones: A Storm of Swords.
While this one took me as long to finish at the other two before it, I liked it a lot more than the others. I think George R.R. Martin had a better grasp on the story line in this book than in the two prior. I think it helps that he’s killed off so many characters that he has less stories to work on.
Many good books take a while to build up the plot because the author is trying to set the scene. It’s apparent that Martin has this world of Westeros fully developed in his mind, but I can only imagine how difficult it must be to translate from brain to text. So, it took him a couple of books to set the playing field. Then, I think he allowed himself to really move the characters along.
And he moves fast!
So much happens in the third book that you face shows more emotions than you usually would on a single day. I’ll try not to spoil too much though.
The characters also feel better developed so I felt a stronger relationship with all the various Points of View in the book. Like the other two, the book follows various story lines taken from different characters’ perspectives. This time, I feel like he fleshed out their story lines, revealing both a character’s dark side and their goodness. They feel like human beings now wandering through this fantastical world. Their struggles feel real. They aren’t like fairy tale stories with damsels in distress and knights in armor.
For example, an orphaned girl fighting for the throne still hasn’t full coped with all the people she has lost in her family. While their deaths aren’t at the front of her mind, they still float by her when she gets very emotional and it only fuels her rage. Sometimes this spells bad news for her enemies, but it also spells bad news for her friends. Her inability to mourn properly ends up putting her in situations where she makes irrational decisions. For example, she’s holding freed slaves who are hurting her army than helping it and some of these slaves just want to go back to their old ways. She feels helpless to their plight and can do nothing to fix them because she has an army to feed. However, she won’t let them go. While I can say that I’ve never held freed slaves, I could translate her struggles to women who have lost everything and go to desperate measures in the hopes of getting “something” back. Even though they know in their hearts that things can never go to the way things were.
Martin no longer has characters that have a strict sense of right and wrong (Ned Stark) or Greed-Driven (Twyin Lannister). He has characters that feel real and very likable at times.
Which is a bad thing because Martin is as famous for killing characters as Joss Whedon.
The ending leaves you on a cliffhanger, begging you to read the next book. However, I think I will needed to set Westeros down for a little while. It’s not them, it’s me. I need to see other books for a bit before I can delve back into The Game of Thrones.