A Dance with Dragons - George R.R. Martin
Holy fucking shit.

Oh, the tangle webs we weave...

Firstly, TRIGGER WARNING on the entire series for rape threats and rape. Lots of throwing around sexist and racist words as well.


A good Rage Comic I found to describe my feelings through the series:
TL;DR Version of my Feelings

Cons:
So many people, places, ancestors, flags & colors to keep track of
Lots of rape threats and rapes
No end in sight or anyone fighting against sexism (etc) in this society =(
Everyone and everything is dead or dying. You get used to it though. Valar morghulis.
All women are written in, by and for the male gaze


Pros:
Very descriptive (flowery, run on prose that might be a con for some)
Great characters that are fully fleshed out and dynamic
Well thought out world building and places
Lots of plots, subplots that are intriguing and engaging
Not the kind of story you can predict or see what's coming
Doesn't easily fall for tropes, stereotypes and similar pitfalls of fantasy books
Lots of little details that are awesome to find out but hard to remember

Martin is indeed long winded, as the length of the series can show, and there is lots of repeating phrases and lists of titles (etc). The books shift between characters first person POV, each section ending in a cliff hanger. Well woven, but admittedly frustrating when you just want to know what happens. It's a long ride but well worth it in my eyes.

Maps and list of people are handy to keep track of things and not lose your way. It's very easy to do so with the huge cast of characters, their ancestors and history long past, which is always talked about and relevant. I'm sure there are people I didn't recognize and have missed many things going on within the story. I'm sure when I find out on the wiki or the next book I will feel stupid but it's always been hard for me to keep track of such things when it comes to books about the game of thrones.

One of the interesting things to notice, is how different character POV's describe the same people but slanted to by their view point. Indeed, this is realistic and how it should be to get to know the character better. It's really nice to see an author pay attention to this. It's fascinating and fun to me for me, like the little details.

I loved this book and this entire series. I did not realize when I started reading that there is more books to come and that it's not over. I hate reading series before they are completed. I like to wait until it's finished and then read them all back to back, usually very quickly. Obviously, this isn't always possible and there are some series that are indeed worth the wait. This is one such series. I hope the next book comes out soon and that I remember this series well. There's so much here, I know I will need to refresh before reading the next book when it comes out in several years.

All in all, it's an awesome series. Lots of character and plots, subplots, hidden hints, secrets and meaning, all intriguing, well thought out and in depth. It's very descriptive which as someone who sees things in my mind's eye as I read, I really love and appreciate. This series is definitely not everyone though. There are several drawbacks to this series and it may simply be not fit for everyone.

At least this book, felt like a full book and not a stunted like the previous installment. There's an ending, a cliff hanger since there is much more story to tell. But it's a good cliff hanger. I can go and read other books in peace. I will still wonder what will happen to this place and people but it's not like it ended with someone being stabbed and not finding out if they are dead or not for years.
Oh, wait...

In the end, I feel like a maiden on her wedding night waiting my cherry to be popped. Don't fall asleep drunk on me, Martin, I shall be very disappointed. I'm waiting and I want the ending already, the suspense is killing me.

Favorite quotables:
"Valar morghulis"
"Words are wind"
"As useless as nipples on a breastplate"
My thoughts on some characters. By no means an exhaustive list
My poor Jon =(
You better come back from the dead like every other person. You're not suppose to get involved. You shouldn't have told them you were leaving the Wall. The Wall is yours, what about all the work you've done? All those starving and freezing wildings will rise again to tear down the Wall. You need to be there to lead and defend the realm of men. That stupid snotty stuck up wife of Stannis did this, didn't she? DIDN'T SHE? I've always disliked her, not I hate her. You better not actually die on me Jon, there is no one else to lead the Crows and the Wall. Haven't you learned that direwolves get bloody and fighting when their people are in danger? Why, oh why, didn't you pay attention? =(

Arya, my many faced little wof, who did you kill? I don't recognize the description but I know it was someone of importance and someone involved in the goings on of Westros, otherwise why chose him to test your meddle?

Bran, are you watching this through the crow's third eye? so many crows and fewer trees yet there is so much happening before them. If you see them, what can you do? Will you do anything yet Bran the All Seeing? Stop doing that to Hodor! It's how the Other's started. Why has no one discovered this yet? Will the Children of the Forest tell you why you can't do this to Hodor?

Dravos, I do not like you. You are an asshole to those poor girls and boys. Choosing only to free those who would benefit you. Slaves forced into prostitution should not be blamed for what they have done and called "abominations". You ass clam. I hope the Young Thought to Be Dead Prince is a better match for Dany than you, because you certainly do not deserve her. She will not like your cruelty towards her people.

For the Young Thought to Be Dead Prince, you are a sorry state right now. You're one good idea and move came from Tyrion who isn't there to consult you anymore. I hope you turn out better than your current showing. Otherwise, I hope you die or are cast out by Dany. I do not hold the faith in you that the spider does. You have shown nothing of value except your birth right. I want Dany.

Tyrion, you tormented dwarf. Truly a well thought out character. Not black and white, but grey in morality. You try and fail. You've had a hard life and made some mistakes but I love your wit and cunning. You are a better person than people believe and don't deserve what troubles fell before you previously. I really hope you get to Dany's side, she will indeed be served will by you, I think. I always look forward to reading your passages.

Asha! You are a fierce warrior feminist that was won my heart. Cunning and feisty. I wonder what will happen now that you are reunited with your brother and the Not-Arya-Stark. I hope the letter Jon received was false, of course if he's truly dead it means he died for nothing....
=(




My thoughts about some quotes and random things as reading:

Asha on page 903
"Cunt again? It was odd how men like Suggs used that word to demean women when it was the only part of a women they valued"
.
The reason why it is an insult because women are only cunts, to be fucked willingly or no. Women are not seen as people, only warm holders of holes to shove their dick into. Cunts are not valued, they are dominated, subdued and made to obey. There are quotes in this book where it says things like "the man treats his people like his dogs and his dogs are well cared of" and "there are worst ways to be treated than like a dog" which shows the meaning. Dogs are property. They may be companions but they must follow your orders, eat when they are told and lives revolve around the owner. They do not have lives of their own. Which is fine, except when they use this to talk about people.

The thought continues as
" ... When he says the word he means it."


Yeah, their isn't an instance where calling someone a cunt isn't gendered. Whether you call men or women that, the word not divorced from its meaning. Being a cunt is bad, being a woman is bad, and you do not want to be like them.
Of course, the man being talked about is threatening Asha with rape, but it's not just the rapist that are misogynist. It is also the people who apologize for them, make excuses, allow it to happen and consider women as less than people.


Cersei, page 937
"Whore! Someone cried out. A women's voice. Women were always the cruelest where other women were concerned"


This is due to the fact the only people women rank above is women that don't tow the line. Be a good girl and pretty, the world is yours. By that it means you are a praised as a nice trophy.

It later goes on in that same Cersei section, page 941:
"Gowned and crowed, she was a queen. Naked, bloody, limping , she was only a woman, not so very different from their wives, more like their mothers than their pretty little maiden daughters.

Note: the view of mothers/daughter to their relation to men.

Contrasted this passage with the state of Dany in the last section of the book when they found her ripping chunks of smoking meat from the dead horse with bare, burn hands. Dany is seen more like the warrior commander. Who fights with you, gets bloody and hurt, but it's a good thing.
Bring them all fire and death, Daenerys, fire and death.


on page 271:
"Inconceivable" said Haldon Halfmaester.
All I could think was "That word does not mean what you think it means"

Tyrion, page 273:
They would not love me living so let them dread me dead.

Tyrion pg273 Love this sentence and its meaning, it flows so well. Awesome last words as it were, hope he can repeat them or come up with something better if he does die.

Tyrion, page 322
Give me priests who are fat and corrupt and cynical" he told Haldon, "the sort who like to sit on soft satin cushions, nibble sweet-meats and diddle little boys. It's the ones who believes in gods who make the trouble"

Tyrion pg 322
Apt no? It's the men who think their claim is godly and correct no matter what that reeks the most havoc. Plenty of real world examples.Especially considering how often people claim the trouble with gods is that they do not answer. This has been repeated about every god.

Nice parallel Martin, I see what you did there.

Tyrion, page 955:
"There has never been a slave who did not choose to be a slave, the dwarf reflected. Their choice may be bondage or death, but the choice is always there."


Really? Really? You fucking asshole. Yeah, the slaves made a choice to be slaves so put the onus on them for their lot in live. There is so much wrong with this though and I swear if someone around me expresses this thought as belief, I'd be hard pressed to resist punching them in the face.