A Song of Ice and Fire


Honestly, no. I’d say yes if he were still in his 40s, but late 60s and we’re talking living until at least 80 to do the eight books necessary to tell the story. And that’s assuming he retains his mental faculties and remain healthy enough to have a work schedule.


I’m currently right in the middle of Storm of Swords.

One thread from Game of Thrones that still hasn’t been picked up is Ser Barriston Selmy. I think that was his name. He was on Robert’s kingsguard but was taken off it when Joffrey came to the throne. They mentioned how foolish that was in Game of Thrones and Clash of Kings, and mentioned him again in Storm of Swords. And yet, we still don’t know what happened to him yet. GRRM’s tendency to play the long game on some of these seeds he plants is pretty awesome when you’re reading these books back to back. But can you imagine reading these books as they come out? I’d have forgotten most of these types of things.


Evil grin.


That’s why there are web sites devoted to those things so people can try to remember some guy GRRM brought up 2,000 pages earlier.



It’s been picked up, you just don’t realize it. . .yet. To be a little more blunt/direct than Scott’s evil grin.

The way the show handled his arc. . .those f’n hacks. God damn that 5th season was f’n atrociously bad.


Yes. I do.


Season 4 was rough, but Season 5 finally put me off of the show for good.


Gosh, this book (Storm of Swords) is so fantastic. I got past the red wedding, and even though I remember that being the end of the book for some reason, it was only the halfway point. I found out the fate of Ser Barriston Selmy. I got past Joffrey’s wedding just now. There are just so many things in this book I don’t remember, not even a flicker of recognition after reading it. The only parts of the story I remembered vaguely were Arya, Danyres, Lady Catelyn and Tyrion’s portions. So when I read those, I would feel that recognition, where I knew I’d read that before. But Bran’s part? Sam’s part? Jon’s Part? Jaime’s part? No recollection. It’s all new to me, and it’s all so well written. I still can’t believe this didn’t win the Hugo Award that year. Granted, it lost to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which was also really good, but for different reasons.


Really, Storm of Swords lost against Harry Potter for Hugo? What the?!


I finished Storm of Swords this morning, and I’m a little bit shellshocked.

First of all, what an amazing book. One of the best I’ve ever read, even this second time. Like I mentioned before, there’s just so many open threads throughout the first two books that the author leaves open, and in the second half of Storm of Swords, after the red wedding, all the threads start tying up, one by one by one. So many little things that were not fully explained in earlier books come full circle and you learn the truth about what really happened.

But I was genuinely shocked by the three murders at the end of the book. They’re not even major characters, but it’s the fact that major characters carry out the murders that’s shocking to me. I think the first time I was reading Storm of Swords back in the early 2000s, I was just so happy at the revelation that Tyrion wasn’t going to die that I didn’t even stop to contemplate his actions at the end. I was so blinded by my love for the character, I didn’t quite see him turning into a monster before my eyes.

And then, ending the novel at the Eyrie, and that murder is what left me just kind of exhausted. It’s my only real criticism of the book. It had already come to a fantastic conclusion with so many of the characters, adding this additional chapter at end, right before the Epilogue was… of questionable value. I think every other chapter transition and the order in which things are revealed was just brilliant. But I think this chapter could have been cut, and it didn’t flow well with the rest of the book.

Still, that niggling criticism aside, it was such a joy to read this book again, as if for the first time. Truly masterful storytelling at its finest. Honestly, even if the series goes seriously downhill from here on out, this was still worth it just for Storm of Swords.


As far as fantasy, Sci Fi or historical novels are concerned, I am of the view that A Storm of Swords is the best in the English language yet written.

And with that, I’m fresh out of praise.

Whether my opinion is objectively true or not, there are a great many people who enthusiastically share it. I think the unusually high quality to ASoS has harmed GRRM in the long run. He has been trying to live up to the quality of that book ever since. To nobody’s surprise, it’s not possible. So GRRM has been chasing an unattainable goal ever since and taking longer and longer to try and equal it. And of course he falls short every time. He can’t help it. It’s not his fault that he is forced to aim so high.

When your 3rd novel is ASoIaF is the best you will ever write, yet you have four more to go, that complicates things. A lot.


I think the real problem is he followed up A Storm of Swords with basically two travelogues.


Lysa’s death isn’t of immediate importance to the narrative, but her rant sure let readers know that it was Littlefinger who started the War of 5 Kings.


I haven’t felt like diving into the next book quite yet. I’m still taking stock of the situation the world in the novels finds itself in after the third book.

Arguably the biggest mover and shaker in the world of Westeros is the Hand of the King.

  • Eddard Stark, as hand, made the decision to punish The Mountain and his men for their raiding, and send out Lord Beric and many of his own men to bring them to justice. This felt inconsequential later when war broke out, but it turns out that those men are still out there, fighting.
  • Tyrion Lannister was a much smarter Hand, and kept very careful track of who in the King’s court was a pawn of the Queen, and who was working for Littlefinger, and who would likely betray him. This certainly kept him alive, and saved King’s Landing long enough for help to arrive.
  • Tywin Lannister was probably the smartest man in Westeros, and his moves and counter-moves won him the war when he was the Hand. His strength, and perhaps his weakness as well, is his utilitarianism. For him, the lives of individuals are not important if it helps the overall big picture. That’s how he justifies individual monstrous decisions against certain people. And yet, this disregard for individuals ends up being his downfall. It makes him a master tactician for the big picture, but it also generates a lot of animosity from individuals.

I wonder who will be Hand of the King in the next novel? The likely choice is Cersei. She hasn’t shown herself to be all that smart in her decision-making thus far. I fear Westeros might be in pretty bad hands now. Tywin cared about Casterly Rock first, Westeros second. Cersei, so far, seems to care about Cersei first. That doesn’t inspire confidence. I think she will make a terrible Hand if it is her.

There was one other Hand: Lord Stannis’ Hand was Davos, the Onion Knight. He reminds me a lot of Eddard Stark. Not a master tactician, but he sticks to honor and chivalry and Doing The Right Thing. That got Ned Stark killed, but whether Davos can stick to his principles and stay alive, we shall see.

So take stock, here’s the status of all the major characters at the end of

Storm of Swords

  • Riverrun is in the hands of Blackfish, probably out of the picture as far as big picture concerns.
  • The land between Riverrun and the Twins and Kings Landing is still in flux, with Lady Catelyn and Lord Beric being brought back to life by the red priest, leading a rebellion there.
  • Bran and Hodor and his two kick ass frog companions have made it beyond The Wall thanks to Sam. They are still searching for the three eyed crow North of the Wall.
  • Poor Sansa is in the hands of Littlefinger, who now controls the Eyrie and is also officially Lord of Harrenhal as well. With Lysa dead, he might soon become a bigger player. I doubt if Sansa will remain a maid much longer, even though she’s wedded to Tyrion.
  • Tyrion has probably been shipped out of King’s Landing after he murdered Shae and Tywin. There was talk of shipping him east across the Narrow Sea.
  • Jamie has one hand, and is head of the Kingsguard. He set Brienne on the mission to find Sansa, but I have no idea how she would do that, given how few people know what happened to her.
  • Tywin, before his death, had ordered the Maester to somehow save The Mountain, who was severely poisoned with his fight against the Red Viper of Dorne. His hope was that if he delivers them the Mountain alive, and weds Cersei to the Red Viper’s brother, the Prince of Dorne, it might mean peace can be maintained.
  • Tormen, the new King after his elder brother’s death, is the young King, and is likely now going to marry the same lady who married Renly, and then Joffrey, so that this alliance with Highgarden can be maintained. Meanwhile, the Queen of Thorns, his new Grandmother-in-Law, is the one that killed his brother.
  • Arya’s epic journey continues. The Hound is dead, and she travels by herself, but her coin has helped her convince the trading captain to give her a ride to the destination of her choosing. She can decide to go to the Eyrie, or the Wall, or perhaps try to go back to Winterfell.
  • Theon is likely dead. Last we saw, Reek, who was really the Bastard of Lord Bolton, had lay waste to Winterfell and likely killed Theon or captured him.
  • Lord of Pyke was dead, and his throne was contested by his brother and his daughter last we heard in Clash of Kings. Storm of Swords never revisited this part of Westeros as none of the characters we were following went there.
  • Sam had helped broker a deal that made Jon Snow the Lord Commander of the black brotherhood, watching over the walls. That means he will turn down the deal offered by King Stannis to become Lord of Winterfell. But this is the true battle in the fight between Light and Darkness. Stannis has proposed a peace offering with the King Beyond the Wall, to settle all their people in the Gift, the area north of Winterfell, but below the wall. In return, all these wildlings could be recruited to man the Wall, and keep the darkness at bay. Jon Snow seemed to agree with this plan. We shall see if all parties agree now that he’s the Commander.
  • And finally, across the Narrow Sea on the Unseen Continent (I love that none of the books ever show more than a small portion of this land, and you have to use your imagination), Danyrus (sp?) has finally decided to stop marching. After she freed the first two slave cities, she found out in Mereen that the first city she left behind has left horrible consequences for the people. She doesn’t want that to happen again, so she’s actually going to stop and actually govern. It’s unclear if the two other betrayals she will suffer (for Gold and for Love) have come to pass yet or not. She was very upset that Ser Jorah lied to her, and cast him out of her city. But she kept Barriston the Bold by her side.

Phew. Wow, that’s a lot of characters, and a lot of moving pieces. And GRRM always introduces new characters in each novel as well, and new points of view from which to follow the story. Thinking back, I guess I’ve waited about 14 years to read the next chapter in this tale. It’s about time to get to it.


Do yourself a favor and keep this in mind: books 4 + 5 represent act 2 of the story, and GRRM learned that with the advent of the internet and its message boards he needed to be far subtler than he was in the previous books. So what might initially appear as plodding story arcs can actually be very rich setup for act 3. Once done, hit this link, especially if you think books 4 + 5 were disappointing but do NOT read it before the books since it discusses them in detail: https://meereeneseblot.wordpress.com/essays/


Good. I’m definitely ready for a change of pace. Clash of Kings ramped up, and Storm of Swords ramped up even more. So much so, I had to take a break for a few days after finishing it. Plodding story arcs sounds like the perfect speed right now after Storm of Swords.


famous. last. words.

  • Theon is likely dead. Last we saw, Reek, who was really the Bastard of Lord Bolton, had lay waste to Winterfell and likely killed Theon or captured him.

I thought Theon is Reek. That’s how the TV series portrayed him. I forget how it was in the book.


I haven’t seen the TV series, but in the books,


Theon has been brought up by Ned Stark from a pretty young age. He was a “hostage” to ensure that his father, the Lord of Pyke, doesn’t declare war on the other 6 kingdoms again. When crippled Bran is left alone by Robb while they’re hunting, he’s attacked by wildlings, Theon kills the one that’s holding Bran, and Robb is mad about that. Later Theon helps Robb win the battle where Jaime Lannister is taken prisoner. And then, against his mother’s advice, he sends Theon back to his father, with the idea that the Lord of Pyke attack Casterly Rock from the sea. Instead, Theon gets there and finds that they think he’s weak, and to prove himself worthy, when he finds out they’ll be attacking the North, he hatches a plan to take Winterfell. And he does take it. He holds the household hostage. They all hate him for being a turncoat, but he sees himself as merciful since he saved their lives. When he asks for people to come over to his side, the one they call Reek is one of them. Reek is the one that comes up with the idea of using the boys from the mill when Bran and Rickon get away. And Reek later comes back and kills the army that’s outside Winterfell. Once inside, Reek is revealed to be the bastard of Lord Bolton, and as he’s about to kill Theon in Winterfell, that’s the last chapter that we read from Theon’s perspective.


Thanks for the summary Rockman. That’s a good refresher. I’ll probably re read A Storm of Swords base on your enthusiasm and my poor memory. That was a great ride, I remember it to be.

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