Sunday, January 23, 2011

Well, There Goes the Rest of My Spare Time For the Forseeable Future...

I visited my local used book store yesterday to see if they had book two of A Song of Ice and Fire in stock and guess what?! They had all three! The bookseller was quite delighted with my purchases; he seemed to be a big fan of the series. He warned me ominously that it's been years since the last book came out and that No One Knows when book five will be out. I assured him that I was aware of the risk and was willing to fling myself headlong into book-related heartbreak.* The best part is that they only cost me $10! YAAAY! (All three at Amazon was going to set me back $30, which had me squawking in indignation, but I was still totally going to pay it.)

Also, Sorcha and I may need to have a mild throwdown over Sansa Stark. Only mild because I can see her point of view, but I have all this empathy for Sansa.

*Hey, it was, like, twelve years between the releases of the fourth and fifth Earth's Children novels. Wait. Bad example. Book Five of that series,
Shelters of Stone, suuuuuucked. Like, a lot.


Sorsha Ni said...

Ok. Really? REALLY? Compare Sansa to Dany, Catelyn, Arya, even freakin Cersei! She's a stupid pawn. She's all "I want the night in shinning armor and happily ever after" while all HELL is breaking out around her: plots to kill her father and her brothers, as well as the plots to take her "maiden head" (I love that phrase!) between Joff, Littlefinger and The Hound! How daffed is she to not see all of this? Now, with that in mind I feel bad for lesser mortals when they are tortured for 3 books now by Joffrey and Cersei. Yes, 3 BOOKS of Joff's horrid treatment makes me feel bad for her, truly. No one deserves that. But, why can't she woman- up like Dany did and knife this pubescent ass wipe or cut his mom's precious porcelain throat? It drives me nuts. Do something child! Make a move! Either run away or Patty Hearst it full force and join the fun. GOSH!

Just a hint of the end of book 3, she DOES get away from Joff but is betrayed and stumbles into the arms of yet ANOTHER foe. Really, Sansa? REALLY???

EGT said...

Is he writing other books? Or is he just sitting around being lazy? I mean, surely he has a contract! Where are the lawyers?!

Dan Mac said...

Reading these books before the series debuts should be so rewarding. Someone will tell you, "Oh, [redacted] is my favorite character!" and you can be all "HAHAHA you're going to love the Red Wedding."

I don't have much use for Sansa, but I really like how Martin uses her narratively, especially in A Game of Thrones. For my money she didn't have very much interesting to do (and she's... kind of dumb, all "this dress is just dreadful" while every other character is worried about being maimed and/or summarily executed and/or being raped by an 8' tall Genghis Khan), but Martin uses her as a spectator, to give us what amounts to an objective, uninformed perspective at events where it adds to the dramatic tension not to see the action through the eyes of a character closer to it. It's been over a year so my memory's foggy, but I'm thinking of Robert's big tourney (Sansa: "Loras Tyrell is so pretty," while important character dynamics are playing out, like all The Hound's character development there) and... wait, you're not done with it yet? Well, there's an execution toward the end of AGOT, and we never get the victim's thoughts leading up to Ilyn Payne shortening her (or him?!) by a head, which is cool. (Actually, I think that's an Arya chapter, but the point stands.)

Sansa gets a lot more to do later in the series but she's, well, she's a princess. I guess I appreciate getting a more frivolous character's experience of these otherwise unrelentingly grim events, and I imagine there's an interesting, not accidental parallel to be drawn between her and Dany (second only to Tywin Lannister in badassery in my book). And at least Sansa's not a bitch like Catelyn Tully. Or a boring, stubborn, narrative dead end like what's her face, the ugly one. Brienne of Tarth. (That'll be interesting casting. "We need an actress built like a man, who's repeatedly described as 'horse-faced'.")

Everyone's worried that Martin's going to die like Robert Jordan, and/or that he's using all this time to turn the series into a shapeless, grinding monster with ever multiplying, needless plot threads (also like Jordan). I'll be interested to see what you think of the 4th book (whatever it's called, A Feast for Crows right?). It gave me some cause for alarm.

I think my favorite character is Beardless Dick. He's one of approximately two dozen variously nicknamed Dicks posted to the Wall, and he's only featured as a background player, but come on. Great name.

Dan Mac said...

Oh yeah, Winter is Coming is where I go for all that straight dope on the series. If you don't know, now you know.

Bea said...

Ok, my big defense of Sansa. Um. I did that thing where I was so fascinated by someone's story that I maybe went ahead and read all her chapters in the next two books. (I did that with Dany's chapters in book 1. LOVE her.) ANYWAY.

Dan, that's exactly why I'm so enthralled with Sansa's chapters - I love seeing all this crazy shit happening through these somewhat-vapid, totally disinterested eyes. She is kind of dumb and hopelessly naive. And that's why it's gut-wrenching to see her get abused and mistreated over and over again. Hey, Tyrion! Thanks for not raping her. That was cool of you. (The sad thing is, I'm not really being that sarcastic. His being all, "Hey, not into this if you aren't" is the nicest thing anyone did for her in months.)

And I feel so terribly fond of her. Not everyone can be Arya (More's the pity for Sansa). Or Dany, for that matter. She's been drilled to be pretty and sweet and to be a lady. And she had a pretty good role model in Catelyn. Being pretty and a lady worked out well for her; she's the mistress of Winterfell and bagged the lord and all. And it looks like Sansa can do her one better and be the queen! And everyone always despaired of Arya and her unladylike ways and petted and praised Sansa for being such a dainty. (Catelyn is kind of a secret badass, but I think we can bet that Sansa never really saw that side of her.)

And Sansa is SO young! What is she, like, 11 in the first book? Maybe 12, but certainly no older than that.

God, I hate Joffrey SO much. What a miserable little shit. And I just felt so claustrophobically sick for Sansa when she realized the was going to have to marry his sociopathic ass.

Whew. Ok. I just really like and feel bad for, Sansa. Though I'm more interested in book 2 in seeing what Arya's going to get up to. And Sorsha promises me that Catelyn is going to get more interesting (Because her chapters, for me, are like blackholes of boredom, I'm sorry). And my girl Dany and her baby dragons. She's got some asses to kick and names to take, I feel.

Bea said...

@Sorsha - yeah, I am sort of hoping that Sansa will finally say, "Yeah, enough of this shit. Someone show me how to use a fucking sword already" and then she'll stab Cersei in the face. That would be cool. But no, Sansa will probably die. Horribly. For reasons she won't even understand.

@Dan - I finished "A Game of Thrones" last night, but I'm not worried about spoilers at all. I'd rather devour everything I can read or listen to about these books than worry about spoilers. Aw, you don't like Brienne? I was looking forward to meeting her! DAMN IT.

Thanks for the link!

Sorsha Ni said...

Cat is a secret badass, game player and apparently if rumor be true also NOT a maiden when married to Eddard as she allegegly banged the same guy her sister Lysa did: f'ing Petyr Baelish! But he could be lying. **SPOILER** And of course Sansa would not know all of that and more about her mother...until someone tells her at the end of book 3 when she falls into the hands of yet ANOTHER enemy! It was a lovely scene. Stupid, vapid girl. I agree she does not deserve Joff and Cersei, but she NEEDS to get a clue. Oh, she irks me. But truth be told, so does Arya. She's always getting caught by enemies because she is too arrogant and hotheaded. She gets angry so easy and is often an annoying little girl. But at least she fights back, for better or worse. Sansa lacks that.

Cat's chapters bored me in book 1, too. I liked her more & more in book 2 and in book 3 she is, well, she changes after the wedding. It's interesting as all hell.

I liked Brienne alot in book 3. I really loved the affect she had on Jaime. The fight they had before the Goat took them hostage was AWESOME. She kicked his butt! I'm pretty sure she meets a bad end though.

Sorsha Ni said...

EGT- He is writing other books and such. Apparently he has at least one chapter of the 5th book written and he knows the ending. I'm ok with him taking his time as long as it's good stuff in the end.

Dan- I'm affraid he's old and gonna die too before he finishes the series. However, I learned from JK whom took her time writing the last 3 HP books, that rushing an author to put something out would suck because she STUNNED me with the last 2 books. So, I work on my karma and try not to bitch about George. Cat is a bitch, I accept that. But I like her for it. Its ashame Arya got all her fire and Sansa got all her lady-like manners. You didn't like Brienne? I dug her with Jaime. She started to break him from Cersei and he even thinks that in the tub scene.

Dan Mac said...

I like that Sorsha brings Cersei into the Sansa discussion. The more I think about it, the more it seems important that we have one female character who is ladylike--a Disney princess in a dirty world--to put things in context. I didn't fully clue in to that on my reading, so this comments thread has already been more productive than my work week promises to be.

Oh, I guess the best corollary to Sansa is Lysa Arryn. Hahaha, Lysa Arryn, that really says it all.

"Being pretty and a lady worked out well for her..."

HAHAHA you're going to love the Red Wedding.

"And everyone always despaired of Arya and her unladylike ways..."

Yeah, Arya's deadlier than smallpox. I enjoyed and was impressed by how far Martin pushes her. Great anecdote from Making Game of Thrones:

"Today's work features Arya Stark (Maisie Williams). As always, she's in terrific form. And here's an exchange I witnessed which should illustrate why she's such a joy to work with. Dan Minahan is working with Maisie on a bit of action involving Arya's prized blade (Needle):

DAN: Wait, are you left-handed or right-handed?

MAISIE: Well, I'm right-handed. But Arya's left-handed.

My eyes widen. Indeed, Arya is described as left-handed in George's books. I just assumed we had lucked out and found an actor who happened to be left-handed. But, no! Upon further investigation, I discover Maisie expressed early on that she wanted to learn her sword fights left-handed to honor the description in the original novels. She's already shot a sequence involving some complex choreography that would challenge any actor, not to mention one not using her favored hand. What a kid!

How adorable is that?

On Brienne:

We all have complaints with various characters. Some don't like Sansa cause she's a twit, I don't like Catelyn cause she's... 'harpy' isn't the best fit, but you get the idea. Or Ned Stark: nice guy, kind of a fool. That only means I wouldn't want to have a beer with any of them. It's not that they're bad characters, they just have characteristics I don't appreciate, like any real person.

My problem with Brienne is that her defining characteristic is "stubborn" (or maybe it's "ugly"). She doesn't have any more complex or dynamic motivation than willfulness, and I find that uninteresting. Now, she's good paired with Jaime, those are good chapters, but after that we waste a lot of time with her doing essentially nothing. She spends what feels like an entire book spinning her wheels on a quest that amounts to exactly nothing, and since I found her perspective so one-note, I was disappointed that Martin was evidently too in love with her to practice more discipline. She does have value to the story, but she's not as multi-faceted as everyone else, and we shouldn't have been subjected to her cross country tour which moved the plot ahead not at all.

I feel bad saying so much about a character you have yet to encounter, but I'm geeking the fuck out over here. Again, I think what most find so compelling about the series is that nearly none of the characters are entirely admirable, so every reader's mileage varies. I wouldn't take my word for it.

Bea said...

Littlefinger is TOTALLY lying. There's no way he tapped both Tully girls.

Bea said...

Oh, Ned Stark. When he confronted Cersei on her incestuous, inbreeding ways, I just wanted to reach into the book and slap some sense into him. Talk about signing your own death warrant. And those of your family. Because Cersei? Is a fucking evil bitch.

Sorsha keep assuring me that I'll come to like Jaime more in future books. I already like him a teensy bit more than his lover/sister because at least he's somewhat decent to Tyrion. Who's my faaaaavorite.

EGT said...

Sorsha is so much nicer than I am. I'm like, "What the hell, I wrote a novel in a few weeks while holding down a full-time and extremely demanding job doing something entirely different, STOP PROCRASTINATING AND WRITE YOUR BLOODY BOOK."

Bea said...

@EGT - You wrote TWO. OK, George? (Speaking of, where's book three? Hee.)

Sorsha Ni said...

Dan-I give in that Brienne is NOT multifaceted or as deep as other characters. But she is a soldier and takes it seriously. She loved King Renly so much she simply want to die for him to show it. **SPOILER ALERT** Instead, he died in front of her and she could not stop it. With her PTSD of losing Renly and her potential crush on first Cat then Jaime, I think she is very put off by her potential sexual feelings that don't meet societies rules and won't embrace this complexity, which would be a way to make her interesting. The whole "I'm a girl in a man's world and it's hard" is something as a woman makes me feel for her down deep. I hate that everyone keeps beating her & Tyrion up for being "different, ugly and stubborn." Neither are bastards, both born of high birth parents and served in big positions in their life. But society, even a fictional one, is cruel.

For the record, I don't mind them reminding The Hound he's burnt and ugly. He seems to use it to his advantage for fame and to scare the hell outta most folk. Gods I like him!

EGT-I'm not "nice." Just worried about my potential options for my afterlife, thus karma cleansing after the fit I threw for last 3 books of HP series. LOL

Sorsha Ni said...

Bea, WHEN will we get your review of book 1, AGoT? Come on! I'm done book 3, thus I need more geeky rantings and fodder to keep the fires lite until March when I start book 4 and April when the mini-series starts. Give us your insights, thoughts and rants soon!