Wednesday, November 30, 2011

#90: A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

New York: Bantam, 2005. 784 pages

OK, I am running out of gas on this series. This books swings away from the stories of Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys who are not heard from, while Cersei Lannister and Brienne of Tarth get a little more than 40% of the chapters. This has its benefits and drawbacks:

The Good!
Brienne is a fantastic character. She encapsulates the plight of females in Martin's world and in some small way our own. What is valued is beauty and youth in women; there is nothing else. How female characters react is limited: they can live out the stories of valiant knights and virtuous ladies, scheme from behind the throne, or strap on a sword and kick some ass. Sansa takes the first route (less so in this book), Cersei the second and Brienne the third. Brienne cannot take the other two because of her physical self. She appears more manly, so she acts manly because of the men in her life. At the beginning to spite them, and then to earn their respect. Of course, neither of these works. I find her, along with Tyrion, as the most compelling characters in this series. They are both MUCH more than they appear because of circumstances beyond their control. Brienne is ten times the "strong female character" than the Arwen that was created for the Lord of the Rings films.

Arya Stark makes great strides in this text. Methinks she will be a complete and absolute Bad Ass by the end of the series. 

The Bad!
Alas, too much Cersei. As much as I love Brienne's character, the "power behind the throne" motif is old and tired. Throw in a pinch of wicked stepmother and you have Cersei. Samwell's character does not develop very much in this text, which is shitty. The cloud hanging over this text are the dual specters of Winter and The Others, and they are not developed very much. This pissed me off.

The Ugly
I don't buy the shift in Jaime Lannister. In fact, the more I read these books, the only characters I do not want to see get a dagger up the strap are Arya, Brienne, Jon Snow and Tyrion. Is it poor to want a lot of characters to die in hideous ways? I can't get on board with Daenerys either. I just don't care. One thing is certain, and that is this thing better show some wrapping up in the next book. I don't mind the length, as this is the first of the series that has made me question whether or not it needs to be this long. That thought may creep into my little head if the next book does not tie up at least a few strands.

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