OR The Book Where Shit Went Down
And back with the next volume of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire: As Storm of Swords. The third installation of the series was 992 pages and took me just over two weeks to finish. I started on May 29 and closed the book on June 14. I’m going to go out on a bold limb right now. I think that A Storm of Swords was my favorite book so far out the series. Even after typing that I had to think about whether I wanted to retract my declaration. But, I’m going to stand by my words here. Maybe because, as my title so blatantly stated, in this book shit went down. I’m talking big moves by all the main characters. There were multiple instances in this book where I was shocked, stunned, and or impressed by something that happened. This isn’t to say that nothing big or exciting happens in the previous two books, or even in the upcoming two, because there are those moments of course. But, A Storm of Swords just seemed to have the most going on for everyone in the bigger story. In some instances, that meant more death (the Red Wedding was a real killer. Hah, killer, get it?) while in others it meant more personal battles like in the case on Jon Snow. But, in all instances, the battles/changes/game of thrones playing, the moves were big.
A Storm of Swords added two more first person narratives to its ever growing mix: the perspectives of Jaime Lannister and Samwell Tarly. The addition of these new narratives was easier to accept. Maybe this was because they were more prominent characters before I got to know them first hand (I had never heard the name Davos Seaworth before he was thrown at me as a narrator in the second book). Surprisingly, I also didn’t hate Jaime Lannister’s character from the first person. I knew right away that I would take to Sam’s perspective (I’ve always had a soft spot for the trustworthy friend, which here I drew a strong comparison to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings character also by the name of Sam. In fact, I find it odd that Martin didn’t choose another name seeing as they’re both SO similar. I mean, c’mon. Samwell Tarly vs. Samwise Gamgy… but moving on). On the other hand, I had big doubts that I would enjoy reading Jaime’s narrative. Martin did a great job though, creating a much more complex character in this white knight than I expected. And, (again, spoiler alert for people who haven’t read this book), by chopping off Jaime’s hand, the entire ballgame was changed. I never really wanted the Lannister’s to succeed, and anyone that was responsible for spawning Joffrey needs some serious punishment, but in taking away his sword hand, Martin made Jaime infinitely more interesting to me.
It was in A Storm of Swords that I also started using the highlighting feature of my nook to make sure I remembered certain passages. This was because I started noticing the growing amount that Martin referenced opposites, so much in fact that it was almost like he was slapping you across the face with a theme. Many of the passages that I highlighted specifically referenced ice and fire (ding ding ding, series title!) and if it was possible for the two to coexist. I personally tied this in with my constant struggle of rooting for two characters who at the same time are trying to defeat one another. How could I possibly want Daenerys to rule Westeros while Tyrion is such a badass that I can’t help liking him?!
And so, I think I’ll wrap up A Storm of Swords here. Up next, A Feast for Crows and my serious bone to pick with Mr. Martin.