I am writing about BOTH Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow and Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold.
Sorry but the books have sort of merged into one for me, which of course they are for any American readers but us Brits have to pay twice as much cause the book is so damn big!
Anyhow...if you have read all of A Storm of Swords then you will agree that it is a pretty shocking book, with a lot of death! Some of it much more upsetting than others. I mean, come on, show me someone that was upset when Joffrey kicked the bucket...I certainly wasn't, I was glad, though I did find Sansa annoying at first she has grown on me as a character and I was glad to see her rid of Joffrey.
Of course most shocking of all is the Red Wedding, now I did know that it was coming when I read it and to be honest I thought that it was going to be far more gruesome than it was, though it was bad enough! That was a really heart wrenching moment, cause even though Robb himself wasn't a POV character you do grow to like him, seems to me that Martin wants people to like the Starks, its not really possible not to, except really Rickon who I feel pretty much indifferent too, possibly because he hasn't really done much yet. I suppose the reason that the Red Wedding wasn't as gruesome as it could have been is because it was from Catelyn's POV, meaning that we could only see what she could see, and with only one set of eyes that certainly isn't everything. All in all I have found myself diliking the Freys even more and the Boltons...well lets just say I loathed him anyway.
What I did find a good twist was the epilogue (I know I haven't mentioned a lot of things yet but as it is related to the Red Wedding so I thought it was relevant) and the way Catelyn comes back from the dead. I think this is one of the ways that Martin really has come into the realm of fantasy, there are a few points where it does simply feel like a medieval story with plots and incest and whatever, despite Daenarys' dragons. This was necessary, though does have me wondering whether Catelyn is now related to the Others/Wites. I suppose I shall find out soon ish, though half way through a Feast for Crows there's been nothing on Catelyn yet.
I found myself while reading these two bbooks longing to read about Daenarys more and more, she is fast becoming my favourite character (and for this I am glad that the Starks are out of the war of many kings because I want Dany to win but I don't want them to fight her!). These 2 books saw a different side to Dany as well, we already knew that she could be ruthless and fiercely protective of what she has, and has earnt, but these books really saw her grow into a Queen, she sacked cities but she also freed the slaves, showing a much softer side and a concious, two more things that have me routing for her to win the war...even though she isn't yet part of the it!
We then have all that is happening for Jon Snow. I'd heard before I'd read the books, long before, that Jon was a bit of a nasty character, personally I haven't seen this yet. Yes Jon makes a very large number of mistakes yet the people reading the novels seem to forget that he is 14/15 I can't remember if he's had a Name Day since the books began, and most teenagers make mistakes...like Ygritte. The bit that could be seen as bad in Jon was that he seemed more upset by the fact that he'd broken his vows (part of which is Chasitity) with her than the fact that he knew he was going to betray her, though to give him credit he was upset when she died at least.
I can't believe I am going to say this but I think I'm starting to like Jamie Lannister as a character. Though this could be partly to do with a Feast of Crows as well. There is part of me that thinks something romantic will happen between him and Brienne as well, though this could just be wishful thinking, and it is quite possible that one or both of them will die in the near future, and it can't be marriage in the end because of Jamie's vows. But his hand was cut off, how shocking, you can't have a Kingslayer without a hand! Though part of what I like about Jamie (and this definately does continue into a Feast for Crows) is that he doesn't let the loss of his hand be the end of it all, he carries on trying to do the right thing, and even finds courage to stand up to both Tywin and Cersei. It also becomes clear that he loves his little brother Tyrion which isn't something other, previously mentioned family members plus Joffrey, seemed to do, confirmed really when Cersei got her POV chapters (hasn't made me think any different of her).
Tyrion himself was shown in a different light too, he wasn't really taken seriously as the King's Hand except when he had the power of violence behind him (how very Lannister) and this showed later on. The hatred of Cersei towards him was also high lighted in her attempt to get him killed during the battle of Blackwater. Though his chivelry, which seemed none exsistant til now, was shown through how he treated Sansa after their wedding.
This is where I realise I haven't mentioned Arya yet or the Hound or several other characters! Oh dear! Well to be fair Arya's adventures were basically running round the Riverlands with the Hound at one point, and Gendry and Hot Pie and aquiring more and more pseudynems, I swear that girl has more names than years on her! Though she gains more in Feast for Crows. She regains Needle (thankfully) and succeeds in removing some names from her pray of people she wishes dead, the only one who is still alive when he leaves it being the Hound, who has proved himself to the reader through both Sansa and Arya's eyes to not be as bad as he seems!
One thing about this book is that Weddings seem to be dangerous places to be at, with Robb Stark, King of the North, his Mother Catelyn and many of his bannermen (and one banner woman in Dacey Mormont) slain by the Freys at the Red Wedding, and Joffrey, the King on the Iron Throne, poisoned (allegedly by the Tyrells) at his own and his uncle Tyrion Lannister imprisoned for the act with Sansa Stark (or Lannister if you want her to take her husbands name) wanted for the same thing! I would NOT want to be at a wedding in the Seven Kingdoms if I lived there!
A Note on the TV Series A Game of Thrones
I haven't even seen half of it unfortunately as the youtube channel I found it on has been blocked :( however what I did see of the series was fantastic and I sat there thinking about just how close it runs to A Game of Thrones, even the characters' appearances are good, though a few characters are a little older than they should be, but with a second series comissioned and some of the things that the characters have to do I can understand why. One thing about what I've seen vexed me. Jamie Lannister wasn't blond enough. Yes thats all! One of my friends has seen the whole thing and she said that there were only 2 scenes that really divulged from the book. I can't remember the first one, though she said that it was good and added to it. But the second one was to do with a potentially gay moment between Renly Barathanon (future King in Highgarden) and Loras Tyrell (The Knight of Flowers and Commander of the Rainbow Guard later on, and after that a member of the Kingsguard) which though is possible in the books is not part of Martin's writings and I can understand why people would think it was unnecessary.
A Note on A Feast for Crows
Which seems like a silly title as its always Ravens that are mentioned really.
Anyway I am half way through and Arya has already knocked up twice as many new names as she had previously. This book is no where near as caprivating as the previous 3 (or 4 depending how you look at it) hence the fact that I have the time to post reviews about the previous ones, because I'm not reading constantly! I am getting there though, its just taking some doing. There are several characters missing from this book, Daenarys being the one I am saddest about cause I love her character, and I'm finding that Cersei's chapters are literally just 'I am ruling' and paranoia about Tommen and his seat on the Iron Throne. Oh and her hatred of Margery Tyrell (and Loras though that isn't so pronounced.)
So far many Kings have died: Robb Stark King in the North, Renly Barathanon the King in Highgarden, Joffrey Barathanon the King on the Iron Throne and Balon Greyjoy King of the Iron Isles leaving only Daearys Targaryen the Queen across the Narrow Sea and Stannis Barathanon the King on Dragonstone (well on the Wall at the moment) left of the original Kings/Queens and no one knows much about Daenarys in Westeros. Though Tommen (Joffrey's brother and Cersei and Jamie's incestous son number 2 is now on the Iron Throne) and I think Euron Greyjoy has just been elected as King of the Iron Isles...so we'll see how this goes!
Til Next Time,