Books Jul 27, 2011 at 4:00 am

A Primer of Ice and Fire


Sounds like you and I spent much of July coming late to the same party- I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did!!! Love the review- and I have to say, I am glad I came late because I am grateful to have been able to read all 5 in a marathon stretch and only have to wait for the next installments!
Love, love, love the series and I actually do dream about it! Quite often as a matter of fact. Disembowelment, rape, incest, lions, and wolves do not make for pretty dreams, but I cannot help reading before I go to bed.
Lindy, I love that you're a Syrio fan. The rest of us are still holding out for the real Hound.
@4: If the Hound is revealed, I hope it gets revealed that he's really Syrio Forel now taking the face of the Hound. Hah!
I can tell you read the books recently because you used the word, "rheumy." Good summary. Also: if there is a location named on the map, there is some sort of rule that some chapter will take place there eventually. Map names are like a checklist. Why do we need to follow Brienne to Crackclaw Crackpoint? Because it's on the map, that's why.
Sweet Tortall reference, Lioness!!
Okay, I'm one of these new to the books. Mostly because I've been burned by my fantasy-loving friends who have told me in the past "You HAVE to read this ZOMG itz the BEST THING EVAR!!!!!!!" And then it's some poorly written piece of crap - that occasionally lapses into bodice-ripper territory - with a dragon on the cover. So I stopped listening to the recommendations.

I'm not a literary snob - I'm a monster-huge fan of Christopher Moore, if only because reading a paperback titled "Practical Demonkeeping" will assure that the seat next to you on the bus stays empty - but there's a lot of really bad fantasy out there.

This stuff is the shit. It is SO not in that category. This stuff is awesome, and I'm kind of grateful I didn't have to wait years for A Dance with Dragons. Now I just have to wait for Winds of Winter like everyone else.

Anway, so - yes, holding out for Syrio. I still can't figure out why Sam is still fat either. The armor description cracks me up on occasion, but you also forgot to mention the food obsession - every meal is lovingly described. Sometimes I felt like I needed to keep olives and bread on hand to snack on while I was working my way through the books!

If you like the food descriptions, you need to go to this site:
Yaaaay Tortall! (At least for the first series.)
Just to be nit-picky about your list of triggers, technically it should be "Coming back to UN-life as a zombie". Except maybe that shrouded guy who's probably Uncle Benjen who guided everyone's favorite paraplegic snot-nose to the underground tree-huggers realm north of The Wall.

And a big Braavos shoutout to all the Syrio fans.
Haven't finished reading the article, but I just HAD to tell you how AWESOME it was to read "Tortall," then dig into my memory bank and drag out all the hours I spent reading those books. They were some of the first books I read that had sex in them, and I LOVED IT.
@8 I finished Feast for Crows this weekend, and had to laugh when there was a literal bodice-ripping in one of the sex scenes towards the end of the book.
Let me be your gay man-maiden. I think I love you.
And I think the Summer Islanders are the black people.
all of my friends who are reading these books look really guilty when they talk to me about it and apologize to me about the book rapes. it's good to know my reputation as humorless feminist even has my friends nervous about their fiction choices. that said, i still might read them.
@8, your reasons are my exact reasons for coming late to this party. My ex adored the books, and he desperately wanted me to read them, but all i could think of was "Ugh, dragons and LARPer talk, no thanks." Honestly, I don't think he did a good job explaining why they were such amazingly good books...I'm not even sure if he (or anyone) could. I try to tell people now about how awesome they are, and they give me the same look I gave him.
The Summer Islanders are most defiantly black. Also, people from Asshai and YI TI are pretty dark as well. I think most people from the jade sea are dark skinned.
@16: Isn't Melisandre from Asshai? She's not described as dark, as far as I remember.
Tortall! Loves it!

Couldn't stop laughing when I read this. As for Sam being fat, didn't they try to address that in LOST with Hurley? Maybe he's still fat, but slightly less fat.
seen the show? also badass. and makes the ages a tad more appropriate.
I'm sorry, but any book whose first paragraph includes the word "wildlings" does not make my list of Books That Are Well-Written. Granted, I only read the free sample of the first volume on Google Books (a mere 70 pages or so), but it was enough to convince me that the free sample was too expensive.
Lindy, I love you. Yes yes yes, on all counts. Not sure about the racism -- I read it more like no matter where you're from or what you look like, you're probably a shitty person -- but true that as yet he doesn't have any dark-skinned main characters. (Dornish don't count.)

@4 YES! The Hound can't be dead. Not dead-dead. Maybe undead...
Eee, Tortall! Those books were so formative for me. I can't be a knight? Fuck that noise, I'm gonna be a knight.
The series is very good, but the books have been published so far apart that I hardly remember the characters' names and many of the plot lines. Suffice it to say that I won't be spending $35 on the hardcover edition of A Dance with Dragons.

If you are really interested in quality fantasy novels real Steven Erikson's Malazan Books of the Fallen.

The Hound (Sandor) is the tall guy at the monastery in book 4.

Every character is Jaqen H'ghar in disguise. Even the ones talking to each other.
@25: You beat me to it!
New fan: Even Jaqen H'ghar is Jaqen H'ghar in disguise?

Experianced fan: Especially Jaqen H'ghar is Jaqen H'ghar in disguise.
I love all this validation that I'm not the only total fanatic for this series.

Lindy, are you going to be at the book signing tomorrow?
Just so.

Wait, was Syrio Jaqen too?

I think it's fair to point out that as of the end of book 4 Sansa, Arya, Catelyn, Brienne, Melisandre, Margaery, Myrcella, Arianne, and the Sand Snakes have NOT been raped in their vaginas. Rape most certainly occurs in this series, but to say having a vagina guarantees a raping is overkill.
I get that you're joking...but I can't tell if you're drifting into Penny Arcade assholery with your "trigger" comment.
Lindy, that was the funniest and truest review of Ice and Fire I've ever read! I'm one of those who read the series from wayyyyyy back and I'm happy more people are finding out what a cool series it is. Welcome to the party, Lindy - just remember to keep your back to the wall and your eyes on your intestines.
@14 you should read the books because the rapes *make sense* in the context. Lots of women got raped then, it's interesting to see how they dealt with a very real facet of their life. A 13 year old tells an 11 year old he's going to rape and impregnate her as soon as she's reached menarche. She contemplates murdering him. A 14 year old bride is married off to her non-english speaking warlord husband, who takes the time to learn two words in english (yes and no), specifically to obtain her consent. One lady talks about using 'other methods' to satisfy her husband so she doesn't have to sleep with him. It's treated with integrity every time.
Sam is less fat than he used to be. From page 82 out of 774 of my e-book version of A Feast for Crows

"Wheres your longbow, Sam?" asked Grenn. Ser Alliser used to call him Aurochs, and every day he seemed to grown into the name a little more. He had come to the Wall big but slow, thick of nest, thick of waist, red of face, and clumsy. Though his neck still reddened when Pyp twisted him into some folly, hours of work with sword and shield had flattened his belly, hardened his arms, broadened his chest. He was strong, and shaggy as an aurochs too. "Ulmer was expecting you at the butts."
Sam is less fat than he used to be. From page 82 out of 774 of my e-book version of A Feast for Crows

"Wheres your longbow, Sam?" asked Grenn. Ser Alliser used to call him Aurochs, and every day he seemed to grown into the name a little more. He had come to the Wall big but slow, thick of nest, thick of waist, red of face, and clumsy. Though his neck still reddened when Pyp twisted him into some folly, hours of work with sword and shield had flattened his belly, hardened his arms, broadened his chest. He was strong, and shaggy as an aurochs too. "Ulmer was expecting you at the butts."
Roland00, that is a description of Grenn, not Sam. Aurochs was a nickname Ser Alliser bestowed on Grenn. Sam is still a Hurley.
You totally forgot the most important thing to remember: Jon Snow knows nothing
Wait ...

Are you saying this isn't Avatar?
@35/36, Aurochs is Grenn, not Sam.
@39: Will you go be a shit-for-brains somewhere else

@20; You are a sucky human.
What do we say to the god of death, Lindy? Not today!

I am expecting Syrio to leap out sooner or later, muss someone's hair, and proceed to cut everyone in half.
It's less rape-y than it could be. I mean, how can it even be possible than Sansa and/or Brienne haven't been raped yet, what with all the other shit that's happened to them?

Also, Tyrion IS funny, dammit! HE'S FUNNY!
TORTALL!!! :3 my entire childhood was spent there. Of *course* Lindy is a fan, my heart is warmed.
@43, Sansa hasn't been raped yet, because she swallowed the "women must be complacent" schtick hook, line, and sinker. If she had been married to Joffrey, she would have seen it as her duty. Rape wasn't the worst thing you could do to Sansa, so it wasn't necessary. Brienne hasn't been raped yet for ironic reasons. We need her to be the complete opposite of Cersei, so that the humiliation when Jamie falls in love with Brienne is all the more potent. Jamie needs something he believes in to defend.
I absolutely hate that The Stranger wrote about this series. It's mine bitch. Got it? Good. Stay the fuck away from it "The Stranger".

anyes, I find your post confusing. How is the fact that Brienne hasn't been raped "ironic"?
you had me at sand sandwiches
I read the first book and LOVED it. I refused to read any further in the series because I was burned out on epic fantasy series, and even the first book was totally emotionally grueling. I don't regret that. I MAY pick up the books again, but only on my own terms. Dammit.
@50 If you found the first book emotionally grueling, your fragile heart will be put through the wood chipper by the rest of the series. Save yourself the heartache (and the thousands and thousands of pages).
"The one with the intestines"! The cheap red wine that is currently dripping down my monitor? Totally your fault Lindy.

And @8, I agree wholeheartedly. There is so much bad fantasy out there, ASOIAF is not that, and Chris Moore is funny as hell.

I watched the series and couldn't believe that I'd managed to miss these books. I just got the first four on Friday and I just can't put "A Game of Thrones" down. It's like a siren song! "The dishes can wait. Pets don't need to be fed EVERY day. Just one more chapter."
I think Dolorous Edd is pretty damn funny. His lines in DwD made me laugh out loud literally ........
I love you, Lindy.
i too love you, lindy. at every point you made i just kept saying, "yes! yes!"

i also wonder why sam is still fat and am pretty certain that now that he's portrayed by a real actor he's doomed to stay fat for sure as it seems much easier to get a fictional character to go on a diet than a real person. remember hurly in lost?
If you think about it, there was only 1 actual rape so far (other than when towns are sacked and the spoils of war are taken, but we don't really get any details of those acts.) and that was Lollies. Brienne hasn't been raped because she will disembowel any man who tries. Sansa hasn't been raped yet, and I say yet because I don't trust Little Finger. But otherwise it is all just sex, most willingly, some dutifully which turns into willingly. Either way, all rapes considered, from a woman's perspective I don't think this story is anti-woman in anyway, Daenerys kicks ass with her Dragons and Arya is going to be the next Syrio Forel/Jaqen H’ghar. I absolutely love the series (started shortly after the 3rd book came out) and compare all other fantasy to this (or to the Wheel of Time which is also amazing, if you haven’t read it, DO!) I agree with all of you who mention bad fantasy, there is a lot of it out there but this series is amazing and will only make it that much harder for other fantasy writers to measure up.
One thing I'd like to add...the plot device Martin uses over and over again where a chapter ends with someone (possibly) getting killed, or maybe they just got knocked out but you'll have to wait at least a hundred pages to find out which it is. Or in the case of Brienne..another book.

Please wait...

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