Did you watch the first episode of Game of Thrones last night? Apparently it was already available on Saturday afternoon, along with episodes two, three and four. That’ll teach HBO to send advance copies to reviewers. According to TorrentFreak the first episode was downloaded over a million times during the first eighteen hours. So much for trying to keep anything secret in the digital age.
In 2012 Metro Trains in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia released a public service announcement in the form of a little animated video and song, titled Dumb Ways To Die. The video went viral on social media (in two years it has had over one hundred million views on YouTube), spawned a mobile game, and even yours truly have used it in a piece of short fiction.
The video has also inspired numerous parodies, the latest one featuring Game of Thrones which is, frankly, filled with dumb (or at least gruesome) ways to die. They have kept the words of the original, but the video depicts all of the most memorable deaths of the series thus far.
Spoiler alert: Don’t watch this if you haven’t yet watched season four/read A Feast for Crows. (And for goodness sake, stay away from the comments!)
This is not a review. A review, in my mind, seeks to make a balanced evaluation of a (in this case) book, highlighting both strong and weak points and, while it does make a judgement about said book, it leaves the reader to make a choice whether they want to read the book. This is not that. This is a rant about a book that I hate and that I’m probably going to hate for the rest of my life. It doesn’t help that the book is smack-bang in the middle of a series that, up until now, I’ve really enjoyed.
Here’s what happened. Nothing. Seriously. Nothing happens for more than seven-hundred pages (which actually makes a spoiler-warning a bit superfluous, but be warned this post contains significant spoilers regarding the third and fourth books in the Song of Ice and Fire franchise (or the coming fourth season of Game of Thrones for those barbarians among you who only watch the TV show). To skip spoilers, go straight to the last page when you reach the end of this one.)
I’d been taking a break from the books since I finished A Storm of Swords in April last year (the plan was to finish my reading for my Master’s…yeah, that worked out well), but with the fourth season of the TV series looming I reckoned I’d better read the next book so I can stay ahead. (I know the fourth season is still primarily based on book three, but they’ve been weaving in snippets of later books since season three already, as flashbacks don’t work so well on the telly.) I wish I hadn’t.
To start with, over half of the main characters are not even in the book. Mr Martin wrote a nice little note in the back that the book had grown too long and he decided to split it, having one bunch of characters in the one book and the rest of the characters in the next. But he didn’t put any of the interesting characters in this book. Jon Snow, Daenerys, Tyrion and Bran never make an appearance (except the very first chapter from Samwell Tarly’s perspective where Jon Snow makes a quick cameo). And those characters that are there spend most of the book going nowhere and doing nothing.
Continued on Page 2. To avoid spoilers, skip straight to Page 3. Also on Page 3, links to actual reviews on A Feast for Crows.