A Dance with Dragons....thoughts...

Warning: much spoilers ahead....

I wanted to wait a bit to post a review of the novel, to give it some time to digest the whole thing. As I read the novel I enjoyed it. I daresay I thought it was as good as A Game of Thrones but nowhere near as good as A Storm of Swords. Now that I look back I'm not as impressed. There were a plethora of jaw-drop moments to mull over but on the whole I really don't believe a lot was accomplished in this novel, plot-wise. GRRM stressed that this novel would focus on the three main characters: Dany, Tyrion and Jon. I was already bored with Dany's storyline and can't say that thought of revisiting it made me jump for joy. YAWN...it actually became even more dull than before. Only the occasional appearances of Ser Barristan Selmy captured my attention. I hope that she does stay with the Dothraki for a bit and then just simply goes to Westeros...I've had enough of her life overseas. Get her into the action already. If this series ends up with her on the Iron Throne I truly will be disappointed. She is a dreadful ruler.

Tyrion's wit is usually a welcome reprieve but in this book his POV chapters were relatively dull and almost unbelievable. I expect more from him. It was a waste of brilliant character. I did enjoy his time with Jon Connington - that was in fact one of the better 'new' storylines in the series. I would have thought that when Ser Jorah showed up that things would pick up a little. Alas, not so.

So that left Jon Snow to save the day. Although I can't say his POV chapters were brilliant, they were far superior to Dany's or Tyrion's. At least his character has matured and improved. The confrontation with Janos Slynt was one of the better moments in the novel. I actually cheered for about ten minutes after I read that scene. I had so much hope for Jon though. I wanted him to wind up with the Throne but now I feel all I can hope for him is a happy life...perchance with Val?? But even that seems unlikely in a GRRM world that will supposedly reach a bittersweet conclusion. One thing I do know for sure...there is NO WAY Jon Snow is dead. PERIOD.

As for the peripheral POV charactes, they saved the novel IMO. Their POV chapters were far, far more satisfying than the adventures of Dany or Tyrion. The introductions of Jon Connington & (possibly) Aegon Targaryen added a great new dimension and were thoroughly refreshing. I do hope Aegon is actually Aegon but I have my doubts. Let me just say this right now...I love Dorne. I love everythig about Dorne. I have ever since A Feast for Crows. I wish GRRM would spend more time there...I'd love to know all of Doran's plansl. And I wish the Red Viper was still around. Damned that would have been great. I wish I was one of the Sand Snakes. Any one of those girls could kick Dany's butt IMO. I can't wait to see Lady Nym in the court of King's Landing. I can't say as I enjoyed Quentyn Martell's bit though - it was rather sad in the end. I expected more from it since GRRM built it up so much and then ended it so abruptly. What a shame. Did the same with the Red Viper as well. I guess he has it out for Dorne :(

I loved the Lannister twin chapters. Surprisingly I'd say Cersei's were the most enjoyable reads in the entire novel. I actually look forward to seeing her pick herself back up and claw her way back in the future. Love where Davos' story is going (= Rickon)...I just wish he had made it there in this novel already. Bran's story is also progressing too slowly. There is so much potential with his storyline yet, to me, it has not even come close to where it should and could be. I do not want to have Bran sit around and do nothing throughout the next novel. And please, the assassin training must come to end...trust me, I'm pretty sure Arya has graduated to the top of the class. Let her get back to Westeros.

Wyman *cough* Titus Andronicus *cough* Manderly is my new idol...brilliant!! Can't wait to see HBO's version of that banquet...LOL. Assuming the top spot in my most hated character list...step aside Walder Frey and Gregor Clegane and make some room for Ramsay Bolton. I agonized my way through every single chapter that expicitly detailed all his cruelties. If there is any justice in this world somewhere down the line GRRM will provide him with some extremely gruesome demise...preferably by the hands of Theon Greyjoy. I already expect things aren't going that well for him though...that 'bastard' letter REEKS of desperation (no pun intended). I genuinely expect and hope that Stannis is alive. What can I say, I actually like the lobster and I do feel he h as been given somewhat of a bum deal. Can't say as I want him on the Iron Throne in the end. Not enough of Shireen. I really think she is adorable and I want to see her have a happy life.

Finally, the star of the novel, and the most compelling POV chapters by far = (please be sitting down for this one....) THEON GREYJOY. I know. If you had told me after reading A Clash of Kings that I would actually like the guy let alone feel sympathy for me I would have laughed in your face. In fact, I still can't believe I'm even typing this now. I love Theon. I have to list him as one of my fav characters now. Now that Asha has been reunited with him I can only hope that they will both have brighter futures ahead of them.

Aside from Cersei's walk of shame, the very best chapter has to be the one I've waited years for = the Melisandre POV chapter. There are two characters in ASOIAF that I never expected GRRM to allow to have POV chapters - primarily to keep us from knowing what they are really about: (1) Sandor Clegane and (2) Melisandre. Surprisingly we were granted access into Mel's thoughts and it was so wonderfully enlightening finally being able to see what was real and was was perception when it comes to the enigmatic priestess. Now I just want more. I was always pro- Melisandre and I believe this chapter justifies and redeems her to a point. Now is it too much to dare to dream for a Sandor POV...if not in Winds of Winter, maybe at least in A Dream of Spring.

Speaking of Sandor, no Sandor nor Sansa in this one...but I expected that. Sadly no Aeron Damphair either...I did expect him to show up at some point. Not sure why I enjoy him so much, I just do. Must be that whole John the Baptist thing. Oh and way to show up last minute, Varys. I was wondering where he was the whole time and then he magically appears the minute I've totally forgotten about him. LOL.

Oh well, I guess another half decade or so until The Winds of Winter. In the meantime there is always the series to look forward to. With all the casting news I can't help but worry for the future of some of my fav characters - the Reeds and Podrick. There is no casting news about either. I fear they have cut their parts. What a shame. I think they absolutely need to have the Reeds - if they somehow turn this around and have Osha escort Bran I will be so disappointed. And Pod...it just won't be the same without him. They could age his character a bit - I'd have no problem with that. Just keep him around please! One other annoying thing about next season. Do we really have to sit through the Robb Stark/Jeyne Westerling love story. Arrrgggg...no!!! I was so thankful we were spared from the details in the novels but apparently HBO will be beefing up their romance for the coming season. God only knows why. It's not like the ratings are that bad that they require some 'teen romance'. Besides, with Natalie Dormer's arrival as Margaery, I'm a hell of a lot more interested in the already enjoyable Margaery/Renly/Loras triangle. Even the Sam/Gilly 'love story' is more exciting. In fact, even the Gendry/Arya pseudo pairing holds more promise. I won't hold my breath for Sandor/Sansa but I still have hope for Jaime/Brienne. I guess we just wait and see...wait...and see
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