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A Dance With Dragons [SPOILERS!]


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Curious: have there been any indications that the gods, themselves, actually exist and have intervened? There's a lot of talk about the faithful and whatnot, but there's also a prevailing cynicism amongst most of the characters that the gods don't exist or simply don't care. There's been some indication that there's some power behind the religion of R'hllor, thanks to the various deeds of Melisandre and Moqorro, but I think there's still plenty of ambiguity as to whether or not their deeds are more tricks than anything else. There's also that interesting exchange between Jon and Melisandre where the latter admits that her visions are sometimes flawed and not at all certain (though she maintains faith that R'hllor's messages are pure and truthful).

I mean, I think Martin's pantheon does parallel our own world a bit here, and the variety of ways people interpret faith. Looking at the faith of the Seven in the books, Tyrion, Cat Stark, the Sparrows, the various High Septons, Cersei, and the Elder Brother (who has one of my favorite scenes in any of the books) all have drastically different takes on religion. I'm wondering if Martin is just going to keep being ambiguous with how faith works in this work, and not give a cut and dry answer.

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Curious: have there been any indications that the gods, themselves, actually exist and have intervened?

So far Bran and Daenerys seem to be the main characters most connected to something "out there." Daenerys' entire character plot is born out of the "miracle" of the birth of her dragons, while her moon and stars was permanently altered as a result of a religious ritual. And then there is the entire Bran issue, who though is now schooled in the art of psychedelic religion has always been affected by some sort of prophetic gift.

Taking our cue from this, it seems that this entire world of divine beings is somehow real, and it can be appealed to with varying degrees of success.

All the King's Landing stuff seems pretty bogus though, or has become more a political tool than anything.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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I finally finished this today. I loved it. I know a lot of fans were frustrated with both this book and Feast, but I'll admit that I like the slower pace. I liked all of the POVs (yes, even Quentyn and Victarion), but I especially liked Dany's and Theon's chapters.

And man, those pork pies at Ramsey and "Arya"'s wedding...ick.

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I think Theon really came into his own, and his arc showed off what Martin does best: transform characters that you come to hate so much, and slowly but surely bring them to a place where they rediscover some sense of nobility and honor. Of course, he still might turn out to be no good, but I have hope for him now, and I hope Martin does, too. Dany's arc did less for me -- the Meereenese politics got too muddled IMO -- but ended very well.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I'm nowhere close to approaching Book 5 yet, but I am nearing the completion of Book 3, and I find myself caught up in this tale in ways that actually keep me up at night, grieving over the loss of characters who meet shocking ends. I think. You never know with this guy. I'm sure many of you have experienced that as well. Martin is not a great writer, but he is a great storyteller, and I'm marveling at his ability to keep so many balls in the air simultaneously.

And I was right ... those dragon eggs were good for more than potential breakfast food.

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I'm nowhere close to approaching Book 5 yet, but I am nearing the completion of Book 3, and I find myself caught up in this tale in ways that actually keep me up at night, grieving over the loss of characters who meet shocking ends. I think. You never know with this guy. I'm sure many of you have experienced that as well. Martin is not a great writer, but he is a great storyteller, and I'm marveling at his ability to keep so many balls in the air simultaneously.

Glad to hear your fine the story compelling, Andy. I just wanted to say that while I certainly wouldn't rank Martin among the writers I consider great, he's certainly better than most folks working in the popular fiction realm. He dips into purple prose, sure, but there's always some nicely worded passages to round it out.

For what it's worth, he does such a good job of describing a certain Very Evil character in A Dance With Dragons that I had a nightmare the character was TORTURING ME. I actually woke up screaming.

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I don't mind that Martin strings us along. I don't even mind that he expects us to wade through 5,000+ pages, and counting. I do mind that the chapter where Jon Snow sends Sam, Gilly, and Maester Aemon off to the ship is repeated, almost word-for-word, from Book 4 to Book 5. Did he think we wouldn't notice?

Is it really word for word? The dialogue is the same, but since it's from Jon's point of view this time, I thought it was pretty different and fairly illuminating.

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Did you know that Martin has a Twitter account? He's never used it, though, which might be a good thing:

I'm glad @GeorgeRRMartin has never used his Twitter account--by now he probably would have eliminated all 140 characters.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Alfie Allen -- who plays Theon in Game of Thrones -- asked Martin about one of the biggest secrets in the series:

You know, I asked him about who Jon Snow's real parents were, and he told me. I can't say who, but I can tell you that it involves a bit of a Luke Skywalker situation. It will all come to fruition eventually. The whole thing with all the fight over proper succession is partly inspired by the War of the Roses in the late 1400s, and back then, to ensure pedigree, the monarchies were kind of inbred. It's definitely fucked up, but it definitely happened back then, so that's why there's incest with the Targaryen line. It's toned down, though.

If this is on the up and up -- and frankly, I'm a little suspicious that Martin would be so forthcoming -- then I think this lends credence to the theory that Snow's real father is Rhaegar Targaryen, not Ned Stark.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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