And then they all die: thoughts on Storm of Swords

Warning: Winter is still coming, and there be spoilers in this here post.

I previously proclaimed my love of Game of Thrones and recently finished reading Storm of Swords, book #3 in the series. For those of you at home following the HBO series and not the books, the most recent series covered half of book 3. I have to say, I was about halfway through (and that’s only about 500 pages or so into the book) before I really got invested in this one. I don’t know why the openings of the past two books have been so uninteresting to me. Maybe it’s because they take the point of view of characters who play a very small role in the story. Still, I persevered because I was certain it would get better. It was a slog to get to that point, but the pace did eventually pick up, around the time when VERY BAD things started to happen. I’m starting to think of these books like a train wreck that I just can’t look away from. I know the characters I really like are going to die. I’m just sure of it. (And don’t tell me. I’ll read it when I get there.)

Aside from the ho-hum beginning, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. The characters are usually what draws me into a story, and GRRM is great at creating compelling/repulsive characters. I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers for the series, which is hard to do because I can’t just avoid the internet while I read thousands more pages, but one tidbit I’d heard is that people seemed to start liking Jamie. This is a character I loathed in the first book. He threw a child out of a window and has a thing for his sister. No sympathy from me. And yet, I started to change my opinion of him in this book. I applaud the author for showing us this kind of character growth and making me grudgingly have a bit of respect for someone I previously despised.

As for the HBO series, I’ve only watched the first season on Netflix so far. It’s a bit graphic and over the top with the sex scenes, but the acting is great and season 1 was close to the book. I hear the following seasons start to change the plot, so I’m curious to see what I’ll think once I get through them. Still, the books are far better.

Biggest pet peeves in the book: the detailed descriptions of food (dear god, the number of courses at Joffrey’s wedding almost did ME in) and the endless cast of characters. My eyes glaze over whenever there was a long list of so and so, lord of such and such… I’m lucky I can keep track of the main characters.

And speaking of characters, here’s the rundown of my current favorites and those I love to hate:

Favorites: (I know, this means they’re going to die, right?)

Jon Snow: Still a favorite. Very pleased by the ending of the book, but it makes me worry for his safety.

Arya Stark: Again, still a favorite. I was hoping she’d stick with the Hound for a while. They make an interesting pair.

Ygritte: I liked the wildings a lot. They even seemed to have some gender equality. I really wished Ygritte and Jon had stayed in the cave, though.

Samwell Tarly: For all his whining, I really like Sam. He’s like an everyman and he’s so earnest and wants to do the right thing. I kept worrying he was going to be killed. Not yet, anyway.

Tyrion Lannister: Gotta love him, but I fear Tyrion is in way over his head. Shae’s betrayal just about broke my heart.

Jamie Lannister: Yes, he really did grow on me. He’s still an ass half the time. I keep hoping he and Brienne will get together.

Characters I despise:

Cersei Lannister: Still can’t stand her.

Tywin Lannister: Now we know why his kids are so screwed up.

Joffrey Baratheon: His wedding was indeed a joyous occasion.

Lysa Arryn: She is really messed up. I feel for her son.

Hmm, I can’t think of any others I truly loathed in this book so I have another category:

Characters I didn’t care much about:

Catelyn Stark: I still couldn’t get interested in Catelyn. I sympathize with her, truly I do, but she continued to put me off.

Stannis Baratheon: I struggled with the Davos chapters because I find Stannis so uninteresting. Not sure exactly why.

Daenerys Targaryen: She started off being interesting and the dragons are cool and I’m happy she’s freeing the slaves, but there wasn’t a lot of forward motion with her in this book. Maybe that will change in the next one.

So there you have it, my musings on Storm of Swords. Have you read it? What did you think? And if you’re watching the HBO series, how do you feel it compares with the books?

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About Cindy Young-Turner

Hippie chick who is still hoping to change the world someday. Author of the fantasy novel, Thief of Hope.
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