A Game of Thrones: Reflections I

After five chapters, I’m going to take a slight break and discuss comment threads of the prior posts, because I have a great commenting team. Also I will probably reflect on the book so far.

Mmm… well. I’ve heard the character focus only gets worse in later books, as new characters get chapters. If I remember right, it goes from like twenty to over one hundred people. I’m not sure that I like this, as I would expect it increases the strain on the reader to remember where we’ve been. It may be, of course, that Martin has eradicated the problem with how he’s handled it, but of course I don’t know anything just yet. That will be something to watch. At least so far Martin seems conscious of the fact that we don’t necessarily need to see events from multiple viewpoints.

There may be a point where there’s some event and it is vital that we see it from Catelyn’s and Daenerys’ point of views, picking two random characters (okay maybe Daenerys wasn’t that random), but at least in the books I’ve read, it’s never been necessary.

The world so far seems pretty interesting, with some complex history and batshit insane characters. Viserys for sure… personally I kind of think Robert is also batshit insane, but admittedly in a different way than Viserys is. I don’t think he’s terribly suited to be a king. Although I also got the impression it was either Robert or Ned (not sure why) and I think Ned would be even less suited in that I infer he doesn’t even want to be king.

Let’s see… comments…

I still want a direwolf. Anyone willing to give a girl one?

I’m developing two minds about the misogyny in the books—or at least where this blog is concerned. I get that it’s a different culture (in as much as it seems to be based on Earth’s historical culture), but it still bothers me. I think that’s good.

But should I continue mentioning dislike? I’ve got no problem with the fact that the comments have sidetracked into the portrayal of women, but from a reader perspective, I’m not sure that I’d like always hearing the same thing over, regardless of what it is. A belief that apple pies are awesome, that someone was cheated by a business, whatever. Enough already!

At the same time… my blog. I can say whatever I like. If every chapter invokes a “why are you treating women like this” reaction, tough luck for the readers. I appreciate that I’ve got three readers, however, if I’m not being honest, why bother at all?

There’s also the fact that shutting up about subjects is what some people might wish would happen, because they don’t want things to be challenged, so in that respect, my not mentioning it is bad.

…fucking hell why can’t we just grow the fuck up already and just have everyone be equal? I’ve said before, and I stand by it: I’m sick of hearing about privilege, how we need to treat everyone fairly, and pay women equal wages and all that. I’m sick of hearing about it because IT SHOULDN’T EVEN BE A FUCKING ISSUE. But it still is. I’m going to keep hearing about it until we solve it. And even if I dislike that and maintain we should have solved it already, that is how it should be. We won’t get anywhere if we ignore it…

Guess I’m still going to mention it.

Mmm… I mentioned a five year gap in a comment and Anna then clarified the ‘timeline issue’ regarding the timeline gap. Yes, Martin did take a while to produce the books. This will teach me to cite my sources AT THE TIME. *is a doofus* According to Wikipedia (which has nicely cited sources), Martin wanted to set book four, which at that point bore the title ‘A Dance with Dragons’, five years after A Storm of Swords.

The five year gap did not work for all characters, leading Martin to the realisation that he needed an additional interim book, which became A Feast for Crows. The five year gap was scrapped. Sucked for the people who got shafted in waiting for the books, I’d imagine.

I’m not sure I like the concept of ‘rape’ as shorthand for evil either, as Siri mentions. I agree that it seems like lazy writing… sure, the culture is misogynic. I won’t mention them here, but if I was writing a fanfic of ASoIaF, I could come up with several non-rape options to show this character is exceptional in his misogyny.

Who wants me to read faster?

Comments

5 Responses to “A Game of Thrones: Reflections I”

  1. Anna says:

    There are some new viewpoint characters introduced as the books go along, but it viewpoint count hovers somewhere around 15 (not counting prologue viewpoints, which tend to be temporary), and not every character gets and equal number of chapters – and there’s never a case of all 15-ish viewpoints being present in the same book – and AFAIK we never get two views on the same event. Sometimes, one viewpoint picks up right at the end of an event covered in another viewpoint, with perhaps a slight overlap, but there’s never a repeat of the same event. It is, as you say, pretty unnecessary. Also, as the characters spread apart geographically, we tend to get fewer viewpoints in each location – there’s only Dany’s eyes on events across the sea for 90% of what happens over there.

    • Dianna says:

      So I exaggerated. *grins*

      Oooh, I like the non-overlapping. 😀

      …I guess Martin is not as concerned with unreliability where either Dany or those events are concerned?

      • Anna says:

        Re: Dany and unreliability – though 90% of what happens over there is seen from her viewpoint, there are enough other characters doing and saying things that highlight the fact that Dany’s perception of the world isn’t necessarily 100% factual for the readers.

        And Dany’s unreliability has less to do with the actual progression of external events (marriages, deaths, battles, journeys across the world, etc.) and more to do with her perception of other people’s motives, and her grasp on what has happened/is happening in King’s Landing – her ideas of the Sack of King’s Landing are hazy and very Targaryen-angled, as is only natural, and her opinions of the Starks is highly coloured by the fact that she is a Targaryen, and thus highly loyal to her family line.

  2. Anna says:

    There are some new viewpoint characters introduced as the books go along, but it viewpoint count hovers somewhere around 15 (not counting prologue viewpoints, which tend to be temporary), and not every character gets and equal number of chapters – and there’s never a case of all 15-ish viewpoints being present in the same book – and AFAIK we never get two views on the same event. Sometimes, one viewpoint picks up right at the end of an event covered in another viewpoint, with perhaps a slight overlap, but there’s never a repeat of the same event. It is, as you say, pretty unnecessary. Also, as the characters spread apart geographically, we tend to get fewer viewpoints in each location – there’s only Dany’s eyes on events across the sea for 90% of what happens over there.

    (Also YES, Viserys is crazier than a barrel of monkeys. IMHO, Robert isn’t so much insane as he is self-centered and delusional – his crazy
    moments are more… limited)

    You know, if I were you, I would keep talking about the misogynistic moments in the books – because they are there. To ignore them would be pretty dishonest. That said I will give credit to GRRM for making his female characters complex and all different from one another – there’s no cookie cutter, “this is what all girls are like, right?”-moments – despite the clear issues the books do have. I have read FAR too many fantasy novels where the misogyny is worse than in ASOIAF. Which doesn’t mean ASOIAF gets away with anything – just that it’s not the worst contender.

  3. Siri Paulson says:

    Re: POV – I don’t find I have trouble keeping track of POVs, or even the various plotlines. (It helps that I go back and read chapter summaries before I start the next book…but I wouldn’t need to do that if I weren’t leaving a year between books) What I do have trouble keeping track of are the dozens of minor-but-recurring-and-fairly-important characters and houses.

    Re: misogyny – Hey, it’s your blog, write about it if you want to! You generally have interesting things to say, so I don’t mind if the same topics come up repeatedly. In fact, it’d probably be a little odd if they didn’t, since you’re still talking about the same book.

    Like Anna says, though, you may want to distinguish (in your head, not necessarily on the blog) between GRRM’s misogynistic characters/culture and his treatment of women in the books. The female characters are constrained by circumstance, but they do have strength and agency and a wide variety of roles. They’re not just sidekicks or love interests, and I really appreciate that.

    Re: reading speed – The speed at which you’re posting is just about perfect for me to read and respond to, but you’re the one who is reading to find out what happens, so I’ll understand if you want to speed up! 😉

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