A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin
This entire series does need a TRIGGER WARNING for all the threats of rape and the rape scenes. I do not think Martin has been over graphic or used rape to titillate readers. I think he's avoided the pitfalls of writing about rape. However, rape is included often in this series and I would feel wrong to not warning my fellow survivors. I wasn't triggered by this book but it's different for everyone.I think people should know up front that rape is common in the book so they can make their own informed choices.
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I love this series so much. It's vast, complex, well thought out and engaging. I was raging, crying and screaming along with the characters, even ones I've grown to hate. I'm glad some characters are truly dead. I understand this is no fairy tale and I may wish certain characters were not treated as they are but in the end, it makes all the more engaging tale. I keep reading because I want vengeance and justice for them. A happily ever after ending would not suit this series so many wounds and much grief is felt through this long path. It's better this way but I still wish better for certain people, such as Cat prays for family though they lay in waste.
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I've constantly found Sansa annoying and have disliked the stupid shallow little girl. I've wept for Robb and their misfortunes but feel no real love for The King of the North. I cheer for Jon, Stark as Snow, and Ghost, so happy with his progression as a character. Sam, Craven Crow of the Wall, has found a place to belong with his brothers and a place in my heart. Arya no matter the name she takes, this little she-wolf is my favorite. I want her back in her pack with her wolf where she belongs but clearly she has a longer path to take to reach her home. Where will that be in the end? no one knows.
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There is one thing that has consistently annoying and irritated me through all three books so far. Martin has used "niggardly" in the past books and continues to do so in this books. In the previous books it wasn't used much but every time I read it, it irked me. It just drags me back into the real world instead of staying connected with story. It actively detracts from the series. Martin just throws "niggardly" around as an insult to almost everyone in this book. Why use this word? Really? It's just stupid and offensive. I understand there is racism in the books but there is no basis for the use of "niggardly". Martin hasn't used "nigger" in the book at all, it's not an insult in this fantasy verse so where does "niggardly" come from in this universe? We all know where it comes from and what it means in reality and I dislike the use of these words at all. The only reason for this that I can thing of, its that Martin shies away from using nigger but uses niggardly because he can get away with it.

Sadly, he can and will get away with it. He already has. I've read through and haven't found many people disagreeing with his use of this word. There is no good reason to use niggardly, there are plenty of other words to use that serve just as well. There is no basis for the word and meaning of niggardly to even exist in the Song of Fire and Ice world. The only thing the use of this word does is remind people of color that even in this fantasy world, niggers are still only scorn worthy and do not belong.

I will cringe and hate every time the word niggardly is used. I will have to add this a con to this series and warn everyone with a warning about the use of this racist slang. It does nothing but subtract from the book, when Martin could have easily chosen a dozen other words and phrases to call characters broke or cheap.

Martin, you disappoint me. Why push people away from this wonderful series with this stupid, needless racist word?

{sigh}

I will still continue this series. I'm too involved and connect to put it down. I will soon plunge in the Feast of Crows, to laugh and cry, to love and hate, to gain and lose with these characters and their world.

Still, it would have been better if he didn't use the word niggardly.

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Update (since this keeps getting commented on): So I got the etymology wrong on niggardly, but my point still stands because 1.) it totally could be a racist word for "nigger-like" and 2.) it does get used by racists in this way. Compounded with negative stereotypes of blacks in America (i.e. poor, cheap etc.) and how people just love to defend with this word with "You're being ignorant!", boom racists have a new word to sneer at blacks with while not being called racist. Language changes and I quite frankly care more about people. My point about how alienating this word can be, especially considering how fantasy is already so white washed and Euro-centric, I don't see why one would use this word (ever, really) and what's the problem considering the abundance of other word choices? I don't get it. I don't like it and quite frankly, you can wave your dictionaries all you want but that's not changing it for me. It's not going to make me feel comfortable with it. The dictionary doesn't update fast enough and it doesn't invalidate my experience with racists using the word.

It's not like I said everyone who uses it is racist or anything and I didn't call Martin a racist. Sure, I called it a racist word because that's the only way I've heard it before (and I have heard it before reading this series). So, meh. It's not me giving the word negative power or changing the definition, it's the racists so take up your problems with them.

Oh, but you say you don't know any? How lucky for you.