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A Song of Ice and Fire #5

A Dance with Dragons

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Alternate cover edition of ASIN B004XISI4A

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone—a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

1125 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 12, 2011

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About the author

George R.R. Martin

1,374 books108k followers
George Raymond Richard "R.R." Martin was born September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies, dramatic readings included. Later he became a comic book fan and collector in high school, and began to write fiction for comic fanzines (amateur fan magazines). Martin's first professional sale was made in 1970 at age 21: The Hero, sold to Galaxy, published in February, 1971 issue. Other sales followed.

In 1970 Martin received a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, graduating summa cum laude. He went on to complete a M.S. in Journalism in 1971, also from Northwestern.

As a conscientious objector, Martin did alternative service 1972-1974 with VISTA, attached to Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation. He also directed chess tournaments for the Continental Chess Association from 1973-1976, and was a Journalism instructor at Clarke College, Dubuque, Iowa, from 1976-1978. He wrote part-time throughout the 1970s while working as a VISTA Volunteer, chess director, and teacher.

In 1975 he married Gale Burnick. They divorced in 1979, with no children. Martin became a full-time writer in 1979. He was writer-in-residence at Clarke College from 1978-79.

Moving on to Hollywood, Martin signed on as a story editor for Twilight Zone at CBS Television in 1986. In 1987 Martin became an Executive Story Consultant for Beauty and the Beast at CBS. In 1988 he became a Producer for Beauty and the Beast, then in 1989 moved up to Co-Supervising Producer. He was Executive Producer for Doorways, a pilot which he wrote for Columbia Pictures Television, which was filmed during 1992-93.

Martin's present home is Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (he was South-Central Regional Director 1977-1979, and Vice President 1996-1998), and of Writers' Guild of America, West.


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Profile Image for Kelly.
889 reviews4,129 followers
July 24, 2011
Warning: The dragons in this review are named Giant and Spoilers. I have tried to shield most of them from view, but don’t get mad at me if one of them burns you. With this book, it was bound to happen.

This one was a real mudfight. Between me, myself and I.

Me didn’t get beyond “SQUEEE!” for several hundred pages,
Myself, while also trying to get over her grammatically awkward name, came up with the logical reasoning why this reaction was totally okay and based on something other than left over teenage hormones
...and I glared at both of these two delusional fools and tried to figure out what was wrong with them.

With these three in my head, along with GRRM’s cast of thousands, it made for a very messy, crowded and contradictory reading experience. It didn’t take me a week to finish this book because it was long. It took me a week to finish this book because the three people in my head needed to have it out after every chapter and big moment and would not shut up. Needless to say this is going to be a bit of a mixed review. So. Let’s start with the good stuff and get everybody settled in, shall we?

The Good: So, as usual, GRRM’s world is three dimensional (or perhaps more, I might’ve lost track in one of the appendices), sprawling, dirty, pulsing and real. It’s a banner of spices, wine, and gardens in full bloom unfurling. Opening these books is like walking into a forest and picking up a handful of dirt, letting it run through your fingers as you start on one of the hundred paths you know are waiting. After six years, it was a thrill to let it envelope me, and at least at first, I was totally fine just letting myself be guided unresisting through the scenery.

I also think that this book has a lot of really good things to say about politics, law, war, and the realities of being a ruler or a subject. The first few chapters seemed like a treatise on how fragile the foundations of law are, and in particular international law of any kind. GRRM shows everyone still scrambling from the disasters of Storm of Swords, trying to find some way to survive, after all existing law and order has disappeared. The law is just another chimera is people resort to: using outdated or foreign or superseded laws as weapons, and applying them wildly out of context because that’s the only way they can justify themselves.

He’s even better at talking about the wages of war and the realities of the aftermath. Aside from his squirm inducing descriptions of battle wounds, entrails hanging in bushes, and flies crawling out of eyeballs which, if nothing else, will not let anyone reading forget what war is, GRRM is excellent at showing how the cycle of conflict never, never, ever ends. We’re five books and twenty years on from the rebellion that put the events of Game of Thrones in motion, and there are at least four wars going on and three generations fighting them. The kids die and these old men linger on and on, cherishing plots within plots in hopes of revenge for events that occurred thirty years before. And the thing is that they still matter, because they’re still sitting there in their positions of power, long after the world is supposedly fighting about something else. They will rear their heads and . Peace and war mean nothing next to utopia and imperfections- waiting for it all to turn out just the way they planned is their ultimate payoff for years of humiliations and insults. Old men with all their eggs in one basket ar terrifying. The last chapter of this book was, ultimately, one of the more satisfying (though not as much as it could have been, see below) things in the book-

It was also great that along with these never ending generational conflicts, there were plots within plots with little tunnels leading to other plots. Those in Plot A might be involved in/aware of B, but certainly don’t know about C, though people in D are certainly aware of A but not B, etc, and are clearly going to have spectacular head-on collisions from flailing about in the dark, or thinking they understood the plan when they were very very wrong. I am a big fan of dropping Life Happens into carefully plotted stories. Just because. Because traffic jams on the interstate don’t know that you have an hour to defuse the bomb, and the lady next door was in a bad mood yesterday. You can’t just trust that you can go through the motions you have planned out and it will be okay- you have to work at each motion and there’s someone to be paid off, distracted, appeased, or avoided at each step.

I also liked that this book was an up close and personal look at all the stuff that King Robert was whining about in the first book- winning a kingdom is relatively easy compared to holding it. Winning is hammers and glory and a single purpose, holding is compromising and trudging your feet in the mud to get one inch of what you really want done. In a country where presidential campaigns get longer every year, and the news media prefers to analyze who ‘won’ and ‘lost’ at every political occasion ever, I feel like this is not an unimportant insight to bring up and explore. Of course they prefer to concentrate on the gladiatorial aspect- it is easy, clear, and not fraught with moral tangles that would be ‘elitist’ to try to discuss in a complex way on national television. Plus, ruling every day is boring and almost universally depressing. The wages of winning wars are getting what you wish for, over and over again, and finding out that what you wish for is just going to make someone else want to kill you as much as you wanted to kill the guy before. Martin is upfront about the terrible choices available to even a well meaning ruler (though from Stannis to Daenerys, the definition of ‘well meaning’ certainly varies), and the realization that you will never, ever make a choice that will not hurt someone.

A lot of people think that this book could have been skipped over, but I don’t think so. This is a necessary book in an epic that is really, in the end, thousands of pages about the nature of war and kings. Again, a lot of people don’t like all the random peripheral characters introduced, and the consequent lessening of the amount of screen time that we spend with old favorites, but I actually liked it. Ongoing conflicts and uncertainty will continue to involve more and more people, forced to finally become involved, or become something they weren’t before, and the game board will change day by day according to how desperate people get to live or how irresistible taking advantage of the chaos becomes. There are so many types of wounds, from so many different times and places, and Martin manages to show them all (everything from that excellent moment where . Do I think that his sprawling, ungainly cast of characters were all necessary? No. Do I think that we needed two books like this? No. I also don’t think he probably needed ten years and nearly two thousand pages to do this. In addition, I think that the map he’s laid out for himself is going to cause him problems in the future. But for now, this is an extremely effective book about how surreal, insane and mindboggingly awful war is. That works for me.

All right, now we come to the not-so-good to bad areas. Unfortunately, there were quite a few of these. First of all, while Martin’s world is three dimensional and vivid, he forgot to make his characters that way in this book. This is an odd occurrence. One of his strong points is generally how character focused these books are. But the story’s gotten away from Martin is my opinion. He’s gotten to the point in his series where he needs to start marching people along to a particular place, and people are now becoming signposts, of a sort. I think so many of these characters have now been stuck along a sort of continuum from innocence to corruption, from power mad to submissive, that that’s all that matters about them anymore. Either they are the extreme of innocence (Quentyn, Penny) or they are incredibly worldly wise, and there’s very little room for grey in the middle. Martin’s characterizations are not about people who sing, or a guy who moves his head in a weird way, or a man who must have three eggs every morning, the way you would usually do a character study, but simply what incarnation of power they are. And then he took an overly long time to tell me about their classification. Tyrion is perhaps the exception, and there are several moments that defied this, such as the , these felt real. Because they were sudden, made sense with characterization, had complex history and motivations behind them, and told me all I needed to know. But with the exception of the , he took ten unnecessary chapters to lead up to one good moment. Aside a few moments and Tyrion, Martin tears down any other motivation someone might have for something. There’s no room for a combined grey area of delusion, belief, family, the desire to be good, desire to improve, to make a name, the motivations of guilt and/or grief. It’s always, always, always about power. I don’t think that this is a realistic way of depicting why people act the way they do. Did he

Also, although I thought that Martin did make a number of good points (as detailed above), he also spent a thousand pages belaboring four points into the ground, and telling me rather than showing me, most of the time. Or showing me and then telling me later, which was almost worse. One: Everything is ugly/anything that is pretty is evil or doomed (um, the entire book), Two: love is always something else in reality (Tyrion, Quentyn, Daenerys, etc), Three: “words are wind” (EVER AGAIN, TOO SOON), Four: Clothes make the man (Cersei, Tyrion, Arya, Quentyn, Daenerys, the “mummers”). He hit me in the face with these points so many times, it went from being interesting and/or vivid to me wondering what sort of complexes he was working out on the page or asking mself he was just lazy or tired enough by the end of the book to just not care very much, and so repeating himself from earlier. I mean, I have so many questions. For example, why is it that everyone who is beautiful must be punished? I understand the skin deep thing and beauty is definitely a tool in the power game that can be taken away from someone, but why is it that it always, always must be wrong? You’re all about realism- it felt like a point, not like the random lottery it should be of beautiful people who are nice and those who are jerks, those who are innocent and those who are manipulative. Did we really need Arya’s entire storyline and most of Cersei’s to tell us that people see what you look like? That social rank is all trappings? I don’t think so. And yet, there seemed to be little point other than that.

Also, the bigger issue for me was that, I don’t know how to say this, but I think that Martin has forgotten why we all liked him in the first place. Or at least why I do, in large part. Because of his insistence on breaking down delusions and tales and attempting to retell legends with a dose of messy reality. The biggest symbol of this seemed to be his ability to deal with the most difficult reality of all: death. Fantasy and sci-fi genres have a lot of tools at their disposal to ensure that main characters never need to face this permanently. He chose to insist on it, quite effectively, starting right away in GoT. And now, five books later like he can’t live up to the way he helped transform the genre (or part of it) and the others who have followed in the kind of ‘movement’ he began. Guys like Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch and all the rest. The genre’s moved on from where it was when he first killed Eddard Stark, Maybe this would have been fine if all these books had come out one after the other in the late 1990s, but his audience (including me) has grown up now. I was in my early teen years when I started these books. They shaped my idea of what awesome fantasy was in a lot of ways since they got me so young and impressionable. But even I’m impatient with him now. The trappings aren’t enough to convince me he’s Important in some way. He’s still writing the same book he did in 1996, and not writing it as well.

I mean, I did try to put myself in his shoes. He’s probably been surrounded at conventions by fanboys and girls for ten years now, and in addition, my understanding is that he has been very lightly edited by his publishing house for at least the last two volumes because they just want to get the things out on the market and make some money. I can’t conceive that he gets challenged a great deal about whatever he writes, so he has little motivation to think that he’s doing anything less than perfect. I mean, I don’t know, it’s just a conjecture. At the opposite end of the spectrum, he’s held onto this book for so long and the hype has become so breathless that he must’ve felt the overwhelming need for some good old fashioned shock and awe. Hence I can only imagine the pressure. He wrote on his blog constantly about untangling the Meereenese knot. And the thing is.. after six years I don’t think he did. I think he wrote about the knot itself. Is that what I just paid for? 1000 pages of you telling me why you couldn’t move the plot forward? After 900 pages of doing that in the last book? I have a lot of patience for big books, and as I stated I don’t in principle mind peripheral characters, but I think we have to admit that he’s making his task in moving forward all the harder by introducing all these new threads and names, when he doesn’t even know what to do with the main storyline. Oh, maybe that’s why he did it. Just to stall. I don’t know.

In the end, my reaction to this book was, “Oh. So GRRM is just a normal fantasy writer now. Okay.” That's pretty much the point. His methods and plotting is no longer vanguard, different, or really, much above average for the genre. I mean, that isn't a horrible put down. Says a lot about the quality of at least the first three books, or at least my experience of them. It’s just run of the mill fantasy, from a plot perspective, with some writing skill and ideas that rise above, at times.

Just not enough times. Not nearly enough times.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’ll be in line with all of you for Winds of Winter when it comes out sometime in my old age. He’s earned that much, and at this point, his books have been big milestones of my adult reading life. I just expect that I will be reading it with more realistic expectations, rather than with the wide eyed breathless staying-up-all-night attitude that I dove into this one with.

Sorry, y’all. I won this particular mudfight. And I didn’t even really want to. Damnit.
* * *
UPDATE: Where all my nerds be at? BECAUSE THIS JUST GOT REAL: http://georgerrmartin.com/if-update.html
* * *
ORIGINAL: Amazon NOW claims that this book is coming out next fall. I'll believe it when I see it in my hands, George. Until then, I will assume this is another in your WEB OF LIES.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
785 reviews12.5k followers
April 25, 2023
Dear George R.R. Martin. Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You may have killed my favorite character. Prepare to die roll in dough as we continue buying your brick-sized creations.

(The above is what you'd expect from a book titled "A Dance with Dragons." Disclaimer: For the vast majority of this book's pages, none of it happens.)
Yes, I have a few problems with this latest installment in GRRM's neverending magnum opus. I have high standards for GRRM after ASOIAF 1-3. Hey, I read GRRM before I ever read Tolkien. He showed me that it was okay to hold fantasy to high standards, for crying out loud! And now I am disappointed. *sadface* So allow me to use this review space for the gripe-fest.
A thousand-plus pages doorstopper (this book can easily serve as a self-defense weapon in a dark alley) - and yet the story advances by a few millimeters at best. Nothing gets resolved. The characters spend pages and pages going about mundane tasks, participating in endless drawn-out conversations, pissing, eating, drinking, pissing, whoring, eating some more, pissing again. Is it supposed to make the story GRRM's trademark "gritty and realistic"?
Seriously, I have not encountered this much information about bodily functions and food outside of nephrology textbooks and Food Network.
This overload of description of landscapes, clothing, banquets, people, and food makes me snooze. FILLER! And it makes me wonder whether any editors AT ALL were involved in the creative process.


GRRM's trademark move is ending everything with an "OMG CLIFFHANGER!!!!!". Maybe it stems from his TV-writing days: the notion that the readers will tune back in, despite nothing really happening in the entire episode, only if the hero is left hanging off the cliff at the end?

That's what this book felt like to me: pages and pages of very little happening, of a narrative stagnation, of endless repetitive conversations. And then, with a few chapters left to go - BAM! POW! BOOM! ( Which guarantees that we will read the next book. Cheap and lazy trick, Mr. Martin.

In the meantime, I see another Tyrion or Dany or Quentyn or Davos chapter and get a nagging feeling - wait, haven't I read this already?
WORDS ARE WIND - GRRM seems to hammer this message in on what feels like every other page. Yet if this book is any indication, given the lack of overall storyline development, HE HAS PASSED MORE THAN ENOUGH OF IT.

Neverending repetition in this book is grating. Just to name a few: "Words are wind", "leal", "neeps", "where do whores go?", "kissed by fire", "Reek rhymes with...", "jape", "nipples on a breastplate", "kill the boy", "it is known", "must needs"... Enough already! I miss the times when I was just eyerolling at "You know nothing, Jon Snow". Which makes its appearance here as well, by the way.
My problem with this book is that I expected a story. You know, where things are happening and storylines advance. VERY LITTLE OF THAT HAPPENS. Very few of the storylines led anywhere. Those that advanced somewhat were Jon's, Dany's, and Bran's (and the first two should have been trimmed a bit), and Theon/Reek's story was fascinating in its horror (Ramsay Snow Bolton joins the list of most hated characters EVER). And yet we are still barely a step away from the events that transpired back in Storm of Swords.

And as for other storylines... Tyrion gives us a travelogue, and nothing that we could not have covered in a single chapter. Arya is doing pretty much the same stuff as before. Jaime's chapter traded one cliffhanger for another, and frankly, just like Cersei's chapters, was not necessary. Davos's and Quentyn's arcs could have been summed up with a sentence each in somebody else's POV. The ironborn, Dorne, Barristan - why were they needed in this book, again?

A pictographic summary of ADWD.
Which leads me neatly to what I think is the root of all evil. GRRM's trademark move number two is supposed to be killing off characters. I call BS on that. Yes, he killed a few protagonists. BUT IN THEIR STEAD HE UNFAILINGLY SPROUTS WHAT FEELS LIKE DOZENS MORE.

It seems that everyone and their grandmother is getting a POV chapter these days, which bogs down the story quite a bit. I really only care about the characters that we met in the first couple of books. I do understand the need to occasionally give us a perspective through a fresh set of eyes. That's cool. But here is a problem:
(a) Do I really need an insight into the head of EVERYONE? Leave me with some mystery, please.

(b) Too many cooks spoil the soup. I lose track of the overall story which comes to a standstill dealing with its ever-expanding cast.

(c) The entire story arc of Quentyn Martell. Why? The details of his voyage were unnecessary to the story. His ultimate act was interesting, yes - so why not dedicate just ONE chapter to him
The story by now seems to have sprawled too wide and out of Mr. Martin's control. How can he satisfactorily wrap up this monster of a story with only two more planned volumes unless he pulls a Steven King in The Stand and suddenly kills off most of his POV characters? Which raises a question - why the need to introduce them in the first place?

Martin is still a better writer than many out there - despite the gripe-fest above. But this was a mostly unsatisfying read which could have benefited from some serious editing and trimming of the verbal diarrhea. I will still read the next installment (when it's out, in a decade or so) - mainly because I need some resolution to this story despite its declining quality. I hope the next book will resemble the first three volumes. 3 stars.
Profile Image for Andrew.
99 reviews22 followers
December 4, 2013
"Words are wind," says George R. R. Martin (GRRM) no less than 13 times in the latest installment of his A Song of Ice and Fire series. In this incredibly windy tome there was very little advancement of the overall story and no resolution to any of the myriad plot threads. Instead, most of the book followed characters travelling, yet in its 1,000+ pages only one reaches his destination while the rest are still travelling.

Words are wind, and GRRM is a windbag. His predilection for overwriting is ridiculous; an editor was desperately needed and sorely missed. Had this book been properly edited, we might have been saved 129 appearances of GRRM's new favorite words: leal, niello, neeps, nightsoil, serjeant, jape, and nuncle. Or spared 151 repetitions of annoying phrases like:
Where do whores go?
You know nothing, Jon Snow.
words are wind
it is known
much and more
little and less
must needs
a man grown
a woman grown and flowered
nipples on a breastplate
Reek, rhymes with...
(he/she/name) was not wrong

GRRM likes to flood the reader with lists. Lists of dishes served at every meal, the exact order people entered and left rooms, a list of over 40 heraldic shields that used to hang in the Shieldhall of Castle Black: I do not like lists, GRRM. I would not like them here or there. I would not like them anywhere. I do not like lists. I do not like them, GRRM.

GRRM has become so well-known for killing off characters that he made a joke of it when he All of which was entirely pointless to the story.

GRRM ruined two of my favorite characters. Tyrion has become a whiny obsessive with daddy issues. Danaerys went from a strong-willed, self-righteous, slaughtering conqueror to a helpless, love-torn, indecisive, ineffectual character from a Jane Austen novel. GRRM cannot seem to write a strong female character unless she's a warrior (Brienne, Ygritte, Arya). He's disturbingly focused on tits and cunny (his word).

Robert Jordan's Crossroads of Twilight has often been called "Characters Show Up", which would be an equally appropriate title for GRRM's A Dance with Dragons . I couldn't put it down, not because it was great, but because I couldn't wait to be done with it and move on to a better book. It's sad that's the best thing I can say about it.
Profile Image for Michael.
274 reviews785 followers
August 17, 2012
Tyrion Lannister's horse was rubbing him raw as they rode onward, the branches of the trees above them swaying in a branch-like way. Ravens flew about among them, and clouds of dust hovered like halos around the hooves of their steeds.

Wiping sweat from his brow, Tyrion spoke to yet another minor character you've never seen before. "I hear that the Morvin and the Shornpel clans have sided with Darvus Farier from the great city of Bee Eff Eee, and are pushing forward late king Baratheon's bastard's scullery maid's uncle's melanoma as the true heir to the throne."

The minor character chortled as he spooned up some of the newt egg soup. It had been spiced with cloves and the lightest touch of pepper, and leaves of cilantro floated like corpses upon its surface. Eating a side of braised elk spleen and a hunk of bread with a cheese sauce, the minor character said, "If so, even more of the action is likely to shift away from the viewpoint characters, and THEN we'll see whether any of the characters from the first volume even make it to the final book, A Trample of Turtles."

"But," Tyrion pondered aloud, eating inch-long prawns from a trencher filled with a hot butter sauce, "If the Starks send nine hundred of their men from the outer borders of ThatoneplaceImentionedOnce, and they move down toward the Lannister forces on Dragon's Fjord before the Lannister forces can unite with the Great Army of the Unwashed Men, perhaps they can defeat the bunjillion soldiers in the south now being ushered in the general direction of King's Landing by that one other guy. I can't remember his name. You know, the one?"

The minor character shrugged, tearing a piece from his bread bowl and dipping it into a small puddle of balsamic vinegar. "You forget about the people beyond the wall, and the dragons in the east, and Bobbert, King Robert's mechanic. He now claims to have been conceived with the king's own cum, and thus has a claim to the throne."

Tyrion scratched his chin. "That does throw a new light on how convoluted things are becoming."

They continued riding, their horses traveling gradually. More branches passed overhead. It felt as if the traveling had gone on indefinitely, and the audience was more than capable of empathizing. Tyrion munched on fresh radishes and drank a bold red wine from a skin hanging from his belt. The wine was rich, with plum flavorings and an oaky aftertaste.

"But," said Tyrion, suggesting another possible set of things that could happen. He made reference to an event that happened nine-hundred pages ago, but remembered it wrong, then postulated what the possible outcome could be. They rode onward. Minor Character munched on some pine nuts.


Chapter 2

Eudaknow An Eudongivafuck, minor noble from Shelbyville, rubbed his temple, filled with anxiety at being introduced as a new viewpoint character 9,600 pages into the series. How would he live up to the amazing characters who had come before him and died so tragically? Perhaps because he had a valid claim to the throne, Having been the barista in King Robert's favorite coffeehouse. Yeah, that was the ticket. Riding his steed/ship across the desert/glenn/ocean/alley, he traveled gradually, wondering when he would arrive. Discussing with the others upon the ship, he theorized about possible outcomes of the conflicts in Westeros, all the while eating a succulent pomegranate, red juices running down his chin like he'd just been chewing on afterbirth.


Chapter 3

The titties tittied, jiggling with much breastful bosomliness. The oiled girls with Brazilian waxes down below wrestled and licked each other's areolas, but it was only to help you become immersed in a realistic depiction of the ancient world. As the breasts bosomed with titful abandon, Tyrion ate shark flank. It had been buttered, cooked for twenty minutes at 345 degrees, then drizzled with a lemon sauce and allowed to cool for five minutes. The flavor was only mildly fishy, and Tyrion burped, taking another drink of the white zinfandel before digging into the raspberry crepes with a chocolate fondu. "But still, Measter, you must understand the possibilities of that event rely on Stannis placing all of his trust in the moody lords of the upper northwest. They are known for being fickle and not holding to their oaths, and Stannis is more likely to try and seize the Port of Skulls. Will the king's ninth bastard even survive that battle? If so, at what cost to Stannis? Plus, what happens if the Lannisters and the Starks team up, and get Batman to join them, and Stannis can only get Iron Man? What then?"

Measter laughed at the dwarf. "That may be, dwarf. You might be short and a dwarf, but you have a mind as sharp as a blade. But you are very tiny, in case that had escaped anyone's notice. Even so, if Stannis enlists Dumbledore, Gandalf and Belgarion, he will be more than a match for the team-up of Lannister, Batman and Stark. Even if they get Rocky Balboa and Wesley Willis on their side."

Tyrion watched the boobs. "But what about Joshua Lyman? Because he could totally take Dumbledore, and maybe Iron Man."

Tyrion ate a lamb gyro, thinking back to the exciting thing that happened after the last chapter ended, thinking of it in an ambiguous and incomplete way. Since it had been 100 pages since his last chapter, you had entirely forgotten what the exciting thing at the end of the chapter was anyway, so it was not much of a loss. "Well," he said, "Now that all of the titties have jiggled sufficiently, we must needs be back on the road."

They rode their steeds along a road, hooves raising up halos of dust, the ravens flittering about in the branches and saying what words they had picked up from the conversation.

The half-man, who was short and a dwarf, wiped the sweat from his brow.

Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51.7k followers
August 13, 2023
Released eleven years ago today!

This is the review I did for the Sunday Express. It only appeared in hardcopy so I can't link it.

Since it's a national newspaper and many of the readers may never have read a fantasy book, let alone the first four in the ASOIAF series, the review is less about this book and more about the series and the author. I hope to make them the gift of a great reading experience.

My rating for the book is set in the context of the alternative works of fantasy on the shelves rather than in an attempt to rank this volume amongst its predecessors (I would say signficantly better than A Feast For Crows - less good than the first three, still excellent)

[Sunday Express review]

By the time you reach the end of George Martin’s A Dance with Dragons you will be nearly two million words into A Song of Ice and Fire, a sprawling epic fantasy series that is for many readers the single most defining work in the genre for a generation. A Dance with Dragons is itself over four hundred thousand words (one thousand printed pages), not that far shy of the whole of The Lord of the Rings or War and Peace - not that literary worth is measured on weighing scales.

Martin’s series, starting with A Game of Thrones, has been a slow-burning phenomenon, dwarfed only by the colossus that is Harry Potter. Right now all the volumes are on the Amazon top twenty list. When A Dance With Dragons was released in hardback last month it immediately became the fastest-selling fiction hardback this year in the UK.

It has probably been the most anticipated (adult) fantasy novel ever published, helped of course by the recent excellent serialisation of the first book by HBO. A significant contribution to the anticipation has been the six-year wait since the last book, a source of controversy and teeth grinding amongst the readership. Internet grumbling about the delay reached such a pitch it prompted Neil Gaiman to blog to fans: ‘George Martin is not your bitch’. Whilst the books may roll out of the printing house on a conveyor belt, the words themselves cannot simply be squeezed out of the author by mounting pressure!

So, has it been worth the six year wait? There was a five-year wait for book four, A Feast for Crows, and many fans felt the novel didn’t fulfill the promise of the first three, making the critical success of book five the focus of still more intense speculation.

Martin’s success stands on the simple fact that he has brought to the fantasy genre the mature skills of realism, characterisation, and observation more commonly associated with literary fiction, and married them to a vivid and endless imagination. His commercial success derives from the fact that the books are addictively enjoyable.

You don’t need to be a reader of fantasy to enjoy Martin’s work. Martin writes primarily about people. You will have fallen in love with, or at least be fascinated by, his characters long before you see your first dragon. By that point you’ll believe in the dragon because you believe in the people through whose eyes you see it.

A Dance with Dragons advances the story with more purpose and scope than its predecessor, reacquainting us with favourite characters (Tyrion, Jon, Dany, and Bran) we’ve not seen since A Storm of Swords (2000). The story ranges across thousands of miles from icy wastes to dusty desert, expanding the incredible diversity of Martin’s world, showing stories on the small scale (Arya’s training) and the grand (Daenerys’ realpolitik). And although the 1000 pages meander through many lives and situations, there are hints at the ultimate convergence and conflict of disparate story threads, a slow building sense of momentum, and finally a rising tension and pace that drives us breathless to the edge of several cliffs.

One quote that stuck with me is “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” And George Martin offers you a fair portion of those thousand right here.

Turning the final page you can only be disappointed . . . to find it is the last, and you’ll immediately want to reach for the next volume. And there maybe lies the rub.

Edit - and 10 years later it's really starting to rub! Here are the books I've published in between book 5 & 6 of this series

Though to be fair, GRRM's books are MUCH longer than mine and sell a lot better too!

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Profile Image for Valerie.
2,022 reviews166 followers
July 26, 2011
Purchased anew, and laid it beside her bed,
Conflicting thoughts flying through her head.
Afraid almost to crack the covers, read the pages,
What if it was the last book? "No, More," she rages.
What if it wasn't? How long the wait next time?
Five years? Seven? Thirteen? Unlucky, even in rhyme.
First I must reread all the others...
refresh my brain of Snow and all his Brothers.
Sansa is no smarter than I did recall.
Starks should avoid other Kings Halls.
Weddings never make things merry,
The price too high for use of ferry.
Mouse, wolf, frog, fish, crow
Dragon fire will lay them low.

Profile Image for Petrik.
689 reviews46.2k followers
August 24, 2021
A Dance with Disappointments.

I really thought A Feast for Crows would’ve been the lowest point of the main series. I was wrong because this book didn’t show any sign of improvement. In fact, I thought this was even worse due to the boring setting and unnecessary length of this tome. If it weren’t obvious before, this book displayed Martin’s struggle with writing his main series even more. Realistically speaking, due to the direction of the story in this book, I’m quite confident that A Song of Ice and Fire most likely will never be completed.

“Winter is coming, Jon reflected. And soon, too soon. He wondered if they would ever see a spring.”

Me too, Jon Snow. Me too. I do believe that we’ll get The Winds of Winter eventually, but the planned final book of the series, A Dream of Spring, is indeed a dream.

Picture: A Dance with Dragons by Marc Simonetti

Focusing on a different set of characters geographically, the story in A Dance with Dragons starts simultaneously with A Feast for Crows. It eventually went further beyond the one in the previous installment. How further though? Not by much; definitely doesn’t require a book this massive (400k words) to achieve. The last 15% was great. Yes, once again it ended in a massive cliffhanger—with no sequel in sight—but man the last 150ish (out of 1,100) pages of this book were awesome. The first 85%, however, is a different story.

I honestly don’t have too many things to say other than the parts that didn’t work for me here. The parts that worked for me were so small on the larger scale of things so I'll start with saying that Jon Snow’s POV was great, I was never bored with his storyline. I consider Bran’s and Reek’s POV a pleasant surprise because I certainly didn’t expect to enjoy their POV that much. Seeing Reek suffered repeatedly gave me immense satisfaction. Cersei’s walk of shame was also incredibly well-written and I felt like Martin was back at his best in this scene. Just like A Feast for Crows, almost all the final chapters of each character were superb. However, to reach them I practically had to REALLY force myself in order to finish this book.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”

The main reason why I’m disappointed with this one is very simple to talk about: there were too many unnecessary contents. A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons could’ve been easily compressed into one book. The cumulative word count of these two books reached 700k words and yet the actual storyline progressed the least; the content in A Clash of Kings (318k words) alone have so much more significant plot progression compared to these two. There were also too many repetitive phrases. How many times do I have to read the phrases “words are wind,”? I guess Martin was emphasizing how the hundreds of thousands of words in his two books were unnecessary, but still. It was highly infuriating reading Daenerys’s indecisive libido spiraling out of control for hundreds of pages. “I want to fuck him hard,” and “oh no, but I must not show my horniness,” line of thoughts regarding Daario being repeated so many times pissed me off so hard; it felt like I was reading a teenage (technically, she is a teenager I know) angst story that's usually found in YA books. Plus, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Tyrion’s POV ended up being one of the most boring POV to read in this book. Not THE most, we have Victarion Greyjoy and the Martell to thank for that, but Tyrion spent almost the entirety of the book getting wasted and asking “where do the whore go?”, to every person he met. C’mon… enough already. Go to a brothel.

No matter how you look at it, proceeding an installment geographically is not a good choice in an epic fantasy. It was very obvious from A Feast for Crows and this book that Martin was stuck in his writing that he had to divide his books this way. Doing this kind of storytelling makes The Winds of Winter extremely hard to write. The characters cast have grown so large—18 POV in this book—pointlessly and now Martin has to make sure that the huge number of POV's he separated in book 4 and 5 both converged and proceed together in the sixth book. There’s no way he can afford another repetition of the divisive storytelling method, especially when the fans have been waiting for eight years for the next book to come out. Book purists have complained a lot about Dorne’s storyline being cut off the TV shows; I disagree with this. What made this book worse for me was how uninteresting all the story beyond Westeros were. I loved the characters and setting of Westeros; I want to read more about them. I don't want to read this Meeren, Volantis, Pentos, or Dorne. There’s a good reason why season 5 of the TV show is filled with the content of book 4 and book 5. A Storm of Swords had to be divided into two seasons because there's so much amazing content in them. Book 4 and 5 is the other way around. When you take away all the repetitive and the boring content, the plot progression of these two books was utterly small and I think the TV adaptation up to season 6 did a better job in making sure the story remains engaging to the viewers.

I may be the odd one here, but I honestly think A Dance with Dragons was even weaker than A Feast for Crows; the pacing of these two books was simply abysmal. I still love A Song of Ice and Fire and Martin’s writing; the first three books in this series were absolutely amazing. I stand by my words that Martin is an extremely important figure in modern fantasy, but this and the previous book were a huge disappointment. I've heard from many readers of the same opinion as I did towards A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons that on reread, their reading experience of these two books improved significantly. I'm looking forward to the day when I reread this series, and hopefully, I sincerely hope I will end up agreeing with them. If I do, I'll rewrite my review for A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. I don't know how Martin will be able to get his series back on track and I sincerely hope he will be able to. For now, let's just say that I’m glad I've read this book because now I can wait for The Winds of Winter without getting my hopes up.

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
1 review8 followers
August 9, 2016

He awoke to the warmth of sunlight on his face. At last the day had come. He stretched to work out the kinks in his joints and muscles and groaned at the throbbing in his head. On his nightstand lay a bottle of Dornish red, which he downed in one long swallow to clear his mind, wine dribbling down his beard and tunic. He spied the book at the corner of his room where he had hurled it, and nearly threw the bottle too as the rage resurfaced along with his senses.

The book was called A Dance with Dragons, a book that he had vowed to write a review for to publish on Amazon.com. The ending had left him dazed and confused the night before, and he longed to leech the foulness from his blood in the form of a scathing review to warn others of the horrifying tedium that awaited them. But first...

His bladder was full to burst, and he propelled himself to the privy to relieve himself of his heavy load. A steaming stream shot from his hose like the boiling vomit of a sick dragon; far more than what he had anticipated. He counted five and ten seconds gone by as he continued to shoot and spurt, and when it ended he sighed in satisfaction. He shook off the last drops and pulled up his smallclothes, mission accomplished, but what was this...

His tummy rumbled.

A dragon's roar erupted from his hind quarters, a sound that bellowed like the wet cheeks of thunder itself. The smell was revolting, and flakes of brown and bubbling slime oozed down his legs like gravy.

"Farts are wind." He chuckled, saliva running down his beard and undershirt.


He opened his refrigerator to check its contents. He was hungry, and he was not going to write his review until he was full and sated. Much and more can be done in a day, and he wasn't about to rush himself.

Within were foods beyond count and description, but he was going to try anyway. Two cartons of eggs sat at the top shelf, each carton containing sixteen shells filled with delicious yolk and white. On the shelf below there were meats of every kind: ham and beef and pork, bacon and roast beef and steak, enough to make his mouth water and his stomach jiggle with hunger winds. Yogurts dominated the third shelf of at least three different brands and ten different flavors. Orange juice, apple juice, grape juice, juice of every fruit and flavor. He would not go thirsty, mayhaps. There were also cakes of cheese and chocolate and strawberry short, as well as pies of apple and custard for when he tired of cake. Winter may come, but he would not go hungry. The bottom shelves were for vegetables, cabbages and carrots, broccoli and lettuce, tomatoes and...what...

"Neeps? What the hell are neeps?" He shrugged.

He broke his fast on fried neeps and bacon, scooping them up in week old hard bread that he hollowed out and used as a trencher. He tipped the delicious soup into his mouth, bits of neep and bacon grease running down his chin and robe. When that was done he ate the trencher too, the soggy crumbs clinging to his facial hair. He mopped up the excess grease with his beard, saving it for future consumption. If there was anything he hated more than procrastination, it was wastefulness.

His review was in his mind. He yearned to write it, as that was his true purpose and he despised these bothersome distractions! But first, he had to travel. Surely there was plenty of time. Much and more can be done in a day, after all. Much and more.


The ship sailed down the river.

In truth, he was not on a ship, nor was he in a river. But he had always longed to go sailing, and if he could, he would write about it incessantly and without restraint. But as of now, he drove a car, and while there was no river, there was a road, a long strip of gray asphalt that continued on to the vast horizon, leading to his destination, wherever that would be, and oh the Seven only knew when he would get there. The cement was cracked and the paint that divided it chipped and faded, mayhaps from age and use. The buildings passed by in a vague blur, but he could not pay attention to them now. He had to look ahead, or risk getting lost at sea. If I look left I am lost.

Like the outstretched hand of a giant, a red light loomed before him, forcing him to stop in his tracks. There were three lights in all, red and orange and green. They played in sequence, herding the ships about like kings in an ocean court. He wanted to push on past that oppressive red god, but he knew to do so would be a one way ticket to the black cells. And the jail was dark and full of terrors.

He could not afford to risk that, to be held captive for the tenth time like some onion smuggler. He had a review to write, and no time to waste. But he would get there, he assured himself. He only had to sail - drive - thrice more. But first comes the setup, and then he would put his pieces to play.


"Good morning, sir. It's good to see you again!"

"Hello, wench." He greeted. On the counter was an assortment of goods and food products. He had enumerated them in excruciating detail the chapter before, but he saw no reason not to do so again. Packs of lunchables were stacked like a mountain of prepared meals to lazily break his fasts on on the counter before him. Jugs of milk stood next to them, flanked by bags of cookies and crackers in varying brands and flavors. And oh R'hllord the cheese! Sliced cheese, round cheese, white cheese, blue cheese, string cheese and cream cheese. New pieces of hardbread were grouped to the side, of which he would use as trenchers when they become old and tough as rocks. And-

"That would be thirty-six fifty, sir.", said the wench.


"Thirty six fifty. I rang them up while you were describing them. I like to pretend we're racing. I always win though." She smiled.

"Ah, I see." His eyes squinted at her, as if seeing her for the first time. Her hair was the color of straw and flowed past her shoulders and held in a band with a cute lion face (LANNISTER!) so as not to be obtrusive, culminating in a widow's peak at her hairline. Her eyes were like brown m&m's swimming in puddles of fresh milk. She wore a white blouse slashed with yellow with the top two buttons open. Her bosom was impressive, and on the left was a nametag.

"Darianne. Oh Darianne! How have I not noticed you before!", he crooned.

"Um...I don't know. We see eachother everyday...you like to describe your purchases while I-"

"Silence! Don't speak! You have awakened the dragon, and oh how he roars. I wish to sit for ten chapters straight and repeat your name! Darianne! Darianne! Darianne! And please, call me nuncle!" Suddenly he shook his head, and his eyes focusing and his gut retracting, as if waking up from a terrible spell. "No, I must not! I have a review to write, and these random romantic dalliances will only waste time!" But as if succumbing to an invisible force that filled with extreme laziness, his eyes glossed over and his stomach spilled over his belt, and once again he was lost. "Please, take me through your Myrish swamp!"


CHAPTER 52 - 88

"Go Giants!"


It had been a long day, longer than the longest of books, longer than even the longest installments of the most epic of epic sagas. There had been many distractions along the way (through no fault of mine!), many foods to enumerate and much sailing - driving - to do, and he was contented to immerse himself in all of it. But the end had come at last; there was no more time for those distractions. It was time for the climax, and he must needs go with a bang. If there was actually anyone waiting, this was the moment they were waiting for.

He sat in his chair, facing the computer screen, ready to write his review. The time was twelve and twenty, his cheek still stinging from the slap Darianne had given him, and his fingers flexed and ached to at last express what he felt after reading A Dance with Dragons. He glanced at the mirror hanging at his side, and for a fraction of a second he glimpsed the face of a rotund old man with a snowy white beard wearing a newsboy hat and an NFL jersey, who somehow reminded him of a greedy Santa. He shook his head. He must be weary from lack of writing.

His fingers twitched over the keyboard, eyes glued forward at the screen. There was no shirking it now. The end would have to come. No more excuses. It was the end of the road. The final countdown. Duh duh DUHduh, duhduh duhduhDUH! The "setup" was complete, and his characters waited in place, ready to make their moves. This was the moment he had spent an entire day and one thousand figurative pages preparing for. At last the day had come. His beard smelled awful. A Dance With Dragons was...

He wrote a word.
Profile Image for Luca Ambrosino.
83 reviews13.7k followers
February 2, 2020
ENGLISH (A Dance with Dragons) / ITALIANO

The fifth chapter of "A song of ice and fire" is yet another confirmation that George R.R. Martin, in the field of the epic-medieval fantasy, is the most worthy successor of J.R.R. Tolkien. The universe molded by Martin is described with a manic cure and with so many details that some readers are rather disappointed, accusing the work to be too long and/or boring. I do not agree. Game of Thrones has become what we today know exactly thanks to the painful precision of the author in painting the houses and the mechanisms that regulate their everyday life. The meticulous work done by Martin to draw up the genealogy of the main houses accompanying each volume recalls once again to Tolkien. At the moment, my reading experience is so immersive that I would probably guess the noble family of any new character only from the description of his ethics and behaviors. This means in my opinion that Martin has created a world, and he did it damn well.

«Life is not a ballad»
the bitter thought of Theon the "turncoat", the outcast Geyjoy, beautifully contrasts with the fact that Game of Thrones is one of the most beautiful ballads that contemporary literature has given us.

Lannister, Baratheon, Targaryen, Stark, Greyjoy, Bolton, Martell and many other houses continue their game for power constantly passing through alliances and betrayal, in which you can not trust anyone, not even your own children. The only voice out of the chorus is that of Jon Snow, who is not able to make everybody around him understand that there will be no Iron Throne to conquer unless the dark presence beyond the Barrier, the Enemy of all, will not be overthrown. Therefore, long life to George Martin. I hope he will leave his mortal coil at least in one hundred years. And not before finalizing A Song of Ice and Fire.

Winter is coming. Aye.

Vote: 8


Quinto capitolo delle cronache del ghiaccio e del fuoco ed ennesima conferma che il successore più degno di J.R.R. Tolkien in materia di fantasy epico-medievale è George R.R. Martin. L'universo plasmato da Martin è descritto con una cura maniacale, con una dovizia di dettagli che fanno storcere il naso a molti lettori, che accusano l'opera di essere lunga e/o noiosa. Non sono d'accordo. Il Trono di Spade è diventato quello che conosciamo grazie alla morbosa precisione dell'autore nel dipingere le casate e i meccanismi che ne regolano la vita quotidiana, più che gli eventi. Molto "tolkieniano" è anche il lavoro svolto a stilare la genealogia delle principali casate a corredo di ciascun volume. A questo punto della lettura, la mia esperienza è stata talmente "immersiva" che riuscirei probabilmente ad indovinare la nobile famiglia di appartenenza di un qualsiasi nuovo personaggio solo dalla descrizione che l'autore fa della sua etica e dei suoi comportamenti. Per me questo significa che Martin ha creato un mondo, e l'ha fatto bene.

«La vita non è una ballata»
è l'amaro pensiero di Theon, il voltagabbana, il reietto Greyjoy. Strano, perchè Il Trono di Spade è una delle più belle ballate che la letteratura contemporanea ci ha donato.

Lannister, Baratheon, Targaryen, Stark, Greyjoy, Bolton, Martell e tante altre casate continuano il loro gioco per il potere fatto di alleanze e tradimenti continui, in cui non ci si può fidare di nessuno, nemmeno dei propri figli. Unica voce fuori dal coro è quella del povero Jon Snow, che non riesce a far capire a chi gli sta intorno che non ci sarà nessun trono di spade per cui combattere se non verrà arginata l'oscura presenza oltre la Barriera, il Nemico di tutti. Pertanto, lunga vita a George Martin, che possa abbandonare le sue spoglie mortali tra cent'anni almeno. E non prima di aver terminato il Trono di Spade.

L'inverno sta arrivando. Aye.

Voto: 8

Profile Image for Nico.
321 reviews58 followers
July 20, 2011
Spoilers Included, so skip if you feel the need...

So, it's like this. You like hotdogs. Hotdogs are your favorite food. And there's a jumbo hotdog coming out on the 12th, so yay. Come the twelfth, all you get is the bread, and they say, eat that, the sausage is coming. It's so meaty, you're already salivating, dribbling on yourself in public like a fool.
Munch, munch, munch. But the bread is dry... Then you come upon a sausage factory. The Jumbo Sausage factory, and you get a grand tour, up and down every aisle, seeing the ins and out of sausage world, how they grind the meat, and all the health precautions and what-not.
At the end of the tour, you get a frozen ketchup packet. Half the day is gone, and you've seen the jumbo sausage showcased in the window but all you get is dry bread and a ketchup pack that promises to melt in the next five to ten years.

See how long-winded, pointless and totally irrelevant that was? It don't have nothing on ADWD.

I used to like Tyrion, but he spent half the book rowing down a river, and the other half wiping a man's ass.

Dany, reminds me of Brionny from Shadowmarch - clothes, food, suitors galore and loving servants willing to eat a sword for her. Dragons too, for about 50 pages, but mostly just food and tokars.

Jon, hopefully dead. Yes, I said it. I used to like Jon, but he turned into a wilding-lover, an idiot, and a Stannis enthusiast. He knew nothing, Jon Snow.

And those three make up 90% of the book.

Theon was good, until the repetitive nature of his POV became boring.

BTW, Aegon is still alive, which isn't really a shocker since the whole "There must be one more" vision, but we see him for all of five minutes. His bodyguard, the only truly interesting POV in the series gets two chapters. They are the only people who accomplish anything, and they do the majority off-page.

One Jaime chapter, which was more pointless than Tyrion's stint as a pig-riding slave, if such a level of pointlessness is possible. The two Cersei chapters read nice, but are still pointless, (we've had enough introspection from her, right? Time for the trial/axman/exile).

The whole thing is one massive filler that makes AFFC look like 5 star stuff.

1000 pages plus? 90% based in Asia/Persia/Egypt/Greece/wherever the eff Meereen is supposed to be beside a cesspit. It's a literal cesspit... literally. That pale mare is going to leave its hoof prints on your soul. Raise your hand if you want the entire continent burnt to the ground! Who cares?

I feel as if someone farted in my brain. And gave it the flux. Or if GRRM had the flux while he was writing this.

Winds of winter though is poised to be beautiful, at least. Hopefully no more Wall, and no more Meereen, but I get a feeling we still have some "Selmy's Round Table Rule" to mock through.

Victarion was in it, but he was on a boat too. Asha wasn't on a boat, but she was in the snow. Everybody was either in the snow, on a boat, or getting married and eating food. Even people get married in the snow.

One star for Aegon, the next star for Bran and the Bloodraven cameo. A thousand eyes and one... That was nice.

Imagine a morbidly obese Brad Pitt. (Upwards of 600lbs.) That's what ASOIAF is right now.

It'll take one hell of a fix up to return it to its former glory. TWOW should be good, but then ADDW was supposed to be good too, right? Am I holding my breath?
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
April 24, 2018
So where were the dancing dragons?

This book was so bad. Not a single dragon danced once. I’m so disappointed. Gosh! I may not even read the next one! You call that dancing?


I’m, of course, kidding. When the next book comes out I will devour it in an angry sort of way. It’s been far, far, far, too long.


Well, I should say “if” the next book comes out. But, let’s not go there it is far too painful to think about. I’m annoyed at the wait. I’ll curse George R.R. Martin for leaving me in suspense, but I’ll then praise his name whilst I’m reading again.

Enough of that, let’s talk about this book. This really wasn’t Dany’s finest hour. It seems like everything she has created has fallen apart in her absence. Every Queenly decision she has made has backfired on her. Her people are angry with her; they’re turning against her, and she can do little to prevent it. Here resides a massive flaw within her character. She has the strength to inspire, but she does not have the wisdom to rule effectively and efficiently. Her decisions are not constant. Some are governed by mercy and empathy whereas others are guided by cold logic and revenge. There is no sense of right or wrong anymore. She doesn’t know what to do. Instead of governing by an effective amount of either, she governs with a touch of both which is completely detrimental to her rule. She looks like a foolish despot.


What she needs is advice, what she needs is a friend; what she needs is some with the wisdom to help guide her compassion: what she needs is Tyrion Lannister. We all know is half way to her in this book. In the show he’s already there. But, I can’t wait to see it happen on the page. I can’t wait to see him guide her back to Westeros, join up with the reanimated Jon Snow, kick some ass and join ice with fire. Well, that’s what I want to see happen. Though in reality, something much more unusual will likely happen. What I want to see feels a like lot a typical plot line; it sounds like an obvious route for this to go down. George R.R Martin likes to be unpredictable, so it will probably end with something unforeseen, which will hopefully be better. I want to be surprised in the ending despite my investment with these characters.

Well, either way, I want to see Dany get the ending she deserves. I feel like she is the character who has, arguably, gone through the most; yes, all the characters have a rough time, but she has an especially rough time. She’s got a lot resting on her shoulders. I’m hoping she learns from her mistakes in Mereen, and uses them to benefit her possible rule is Westeros. Hopefully, she, with the help of Tyrion, will unite Westeros and destroy the Others.

I did enjoy this book, and the one before it, though the plot didn’t progress a great deal in either. It’s quite worrying to think that this story could be concluded in two books. I mean….if it’s another two like these two, where would that leave us?

A Song of Ice and Fire
1. A Game of Thrones- A life chnaging five stars
2.A Clash of Kings- An Impish five stars
3. A Storm of Swords - A Lannister loving five stars
4. A Feast for Crows - A flat 3.5 stars
5. A Dance with Dragons- A convoluted four stars
6. The Winds of Winter- Will I ever read you?

I think it’s become far too big with unnecessary point of view characters. That’s why I knocked my rating down a star; the book was very convoluted. I’m hoping with the rest of the series there is a focus back onto the main characters. Well, at this point, I’m hoping that this series actually gets an ending in the first place. As the years goes on it becomes less and less likely. I will be keeping my fingers crossed, waving my three headed dragon banner and wishing for Dany to finally take back what is hers.


Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,540 reviews9,969 followers
December 8, 2017
So now it's getting to where my watching the shows before the books are confusing me. I mean I have the pre-order of season 7 coming next week and I feel like this book isn't up to date. Then I remember that we are still waiting for the next book. Well, next 3 books according to GR.

Anyhoo, I'm going to add some spoiler gifs next. So if you haven't read or seen any of the shows you can pass up the next 3 gifs.

I will scroll down a wee bit before adding.




Mel ❤️
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
January 29, 2021
“I rose too high, loved too hard, dared too much. I tried to grasp a star, overreached, and fell.”

I did it. This is the longest book I have ever read. And while I am proud of myself, I also hope it will stay that way. GRRM better not let the sequels be longer than this beast.

Once again, I had a slow start. Once again, this took me more than a month. Once again, there was things I liked and disliked, chapters I enjoyed and parts where I wished neither I nor the author had such a vivid imagination. Some things just better stay unsaid.

POV's I liked:
Jon Snow - the 998th Lord Commander has a very interesting life...or has he?
Bran Stark - a bore for the first few books and now my favourite chapters
Arya Stark - one of the most intruiging plots, I have no idea where this may lead
Melisandre - she cloaks herself in red and mystery
Cersei - always making sure King's Landing stays interesting
Tyrion - the sharpest tongue and mind in pretty much everywhere

POV's I have struggled with or did not care about:
Areo Hotah - while I love Dorne and the Sandsnakes, Areo and the Prince are for yawns
Daenerys - such a frustrating plot, especially when you've watched the show first
Ser Barristan Selmy - see "Daenerys"
Victarion Greyjoy - disgusting character with an interesting plot
Theon Greyjoy - see "Victarion"
Jaime - I hardly remember his chapters
Jon Connington - not the most interesting character, but at least young Gryff is promising
Davos - why would someone write chapters about such a plain boring character. And why would someone give him an interesting storyline, so that I'd actually have to read them?
Quentin Martell - what is the purpose of reading this?
Asha Greyjoy - Stannis paired with an Ironborn makes everything grey and cold

Some chapters make me incredibly happy, others curious and others again unbearably frustrated and annoyed. But now I'm left to wonder when we will get to read ASOIAF6. However long it will take, I am still hooked.

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Profile Image for Grell.
4 reviews4 followers
July 28, 2011
Martin himself describes the writing process of Feast: ‘The last one was a bitch.” and of ADWD: “This one was three bitches and a bastard”. If the author had trouble writing it It’s not surprising that it is also “three bitches and a bastard” to read. Presumably the first 3 books were easier to write, I also found them far more enjoyable to read.

I think part of my difficulty with reading ADWD is my refusal to skip anything, I never felt this urge to in the 1st 3 books. I read this today and thought it was very applicable, in his essay “The Art of Fiction” Sommerset Maughm writes: “The wise reader will get the greatest enjoyment … if he learns the useful art of skipping. A sensible person does not read a novel as a task. He is prepared to interest himself in the characters… and what happens to them, he sympathises with their troubles and is gladdened by their joys. But he knows instinctively where his interest lies and he follows it as surely as a hound follows the scent of a fox. Sometimes, through the author’s failure, he loses the scent. Then he flounders about till he finds it again. He skips”

My interests are in Westeros, not in Mereen. I didn’t feel the urge to skip in the Theon, Jon or Davos chapters. With Dany, Jon and Tyrion’s character regression from the end of ASOS I have lost interest and sympathy with them. Its not a very plausible or thoroughly fleshed out setting, unlike Westeros with full family trees, coast of arms and centuries of history. As a reader I am floundering in these chapters because the author floundered in these chapters. Generally I can enjoy brilliant prose with zero plot. However Martin’s excessive repetition of phrases is jarring. So to is his increasing use of inconsistent faux-medieval invented/adapted words (serjeant, neeps, needs must, nuncle) it does not make for good prose.

In his 1st 3 books Martin avoided the fantasy tropes of unkillable farmboy saves the world. Now he has fallen victim of his own tropes, with comic-book like cliff-hangers at the end of every chapter and countless characters having soap-opera like resurrections. The realistic feudal medieval world of the early books is now replaced with an Orientalist flawed Eastern continent with none of the depth of the Westeros he created. Supernatural and fantasty elements are also prevalent, often as a tool for weak plot. Sadism, swearing and "grimdark" elements have also increased which is also in my opinion MArtin falling into his own tropes and not to the benefit of the prose or story.

I have only just finished ADWD but others seemed to have finished very quickly, I suspect they skipped many Tyrion and Dany bits and probably found the whole experience more enjoyable.

The Martin in the first 3 books is no longer the Martin of these last two. ADWD continues the drop in quality that came with FfC, I hope returns to enjoying writing the next 2 (or 3) so I can enjoy reading them again!
Profile Image for Matt.
937 reviews28.6k followers
April 26, 2016
This was a struggle between what I wanted to feel and what I felt.

I’m not going to lay false claim to being an early convert to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire cycle. To the contrary, up until April 17, 2011, I spent a great deal of time passively ignoring fantasy in general, and Martin in particular. (By passively ignoring, I mean I lived my daily life without ever thinking about the topic). However, on that date, HBO premiered Game of Thrones. Within three minutes, people were being decapitated, and my interest was piqued.

I bought the first book, A Game of Thrones, finished it, and waited a couple days before ordering the second, A Clash of Kings. In the interim, I stopped eating, threw other, lesser novels in the trash, and started sporting a hobo’s beard. When the second book arrived, I tore into it. By the time I reached the last fifty pages, I belatedly realized I needed to order the next installment, A Storm of Swords. (At this point I still thought I could kick the habit, and go back to a world where books that didn't feature castles, swords with names, and endless wine flagons could hold my interest).

There was a daylong lag between finishing Kings and receiving Swords. During that 24 hour period, I experienced intense symptoms of anxiety, agitation, and sleeplessness. In other words, I went through the same withdrawal as your garden-variety crystal meth user. By the time I started Swords, the fourth book, A Feast for Crows, was already in the mail. Thus, I had a smooth transition between book three and four, which is to say that I stopped muttering I don’t want to read other books ever again every time I looked at my bookshelf.

Due partially to good timing, and partially to luck, I completed Crows shortly before the release of Martin’s long-awaited fifth book, A Dance With Dragons. I went to work on the release date, signed out sick at lunch, drove to Barnes & Noble, and spent the rest of the day in Westeros.

All this is to say that I was excited for the release of Dragons. Indeed, when I woke up the morning of the release date, I was in a state bordering on giddy; it may be worth adding that giddiness is not a state I visit often.

Of course, my excitement doesn’t hold a candle to the fervor of the true fans, the ones who’ve been reading Martin since he first created A Song of Ice and Fire.

The first three novels came out two years apart, starting in 1996. Following Swords, in 2000, however, the gestational phase for Martin’s writing turned glacial. Crows did not come out for five years, and when it did, it landed with a thud. It had grown so large that Martin split the story in half; instead of dividing things chronologically, though, he did so by character. This meant that many fan favorites – Tyrion, Jon, and Daenerys – did not appear in Crows. Even worse, Martin stated in an afterward that the next volume – Dragons – would be arriving the next year.

Six years later, that was true.

So it’s been six years since Brienne was left hanging by the neck at the end of Crows. And it’s been more than a decade since we’ve spent any appreciable time with the main triumvirate of Tyrion, Jon, and Daenerys. That’s a lot of years for readers thirsting to know what happens next. Though I hadn’t been there from the start, I counted myself among the insatiable.

I counted down the days, checked Martin’s blog, and when they started coming out, I read every early review, spoilers be damned. To a one, they were positive: Glowing. Effusive. Filled with praise. Yet almost all of them also had a but. “It’s a great book, but…” “Fans should be totally satisfied, but…”

When I finally started reading, the buts were the farthest thing from my mind. I’m not what you’d call an overly optimistic person; still, Martin had done enough to earn my trust. It took me till page 500 before a bit of doubt crept in; I did my best to suppress that. By page 700, the doubts had turned to a dull roar.

On page 913, it hit me: nothing was going to save this experience. Dragons is a disappointment. More than that, it’s a Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace-like disappointment. This is a book you want to like. No, that’s wrong. This is a book you want to love. I’m sure plenty of readers will love it. Or they’ll say they did. I’m just unsure how real that love is. The alternative is bleak: a six year wait only to discover that Martin blew it; that his story has spun out of control; that despite nearly 1,000 pages, the plot doesn’t move an inch. I see now why the word but kept creeping into those reviews.

The plot for Dragons picks up where Swords ended and runs concurrent (at least for the first half) with Crows (in an early scene, between Samwell and Jon, we are treated to a conversation held in Crows, though this time it is told from Jon’s point of view, rather than Sam).

As with all the other books in this series, Dragons is told from the third-person limited point of view, through the eyes of select “viewpoint characters” that alternate with each chapter. Back in Thrones, there were only eight viewpoint characters, which gave you depth without scope. That is, the limited points of view allowed you to become intensely connected to the featured characters; however, many of these characters were in the same geographical area, which meant that a lot of action took place offstage, and was related through exposition. At times, it was like looking at Westeros through a keyhole.

In Dragons, there are a whopping sixteen viewpoint characters. This means you get great coverage of Martin’s world. He has now put boots on the ground in every corner of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. On the other hand, there’s very little chance to grow connected to some of these newer additions. For instance, characters such as Areo Hotah, Victarion Greyjoy, and Quentyn Martell flit past so quickly, they barely register an impression.

Right off the bat, Martin addresses the main criticism of Crows by treating us to successive chapters on Jon, Tyrion, and Daenerys. Indeed, these three comprise the bulk of Dragons chapters and length. Unfortunately, their mere inclusion is not enough to save the day.

Of these three, only Tyrion is still mobile. Long regarded as Martin’s greatest creation, Tyrion retains that distinction, if only because there are no other viable contenders. Tyrion, the Imp, is the dwarf son of a rich and powerful father, whom Tyrion killed in Swords. As always, Tyrion makes his way with a slashing wit, boundless confidence, and an unflagging desire for whores and booze. Part of Tyrion’s appeal – which is testament to Martin’s plotting – is that Tyrion is always dynamic. In Thrones, we underestimated Tyrion, who seemed a smart-assed, half-crippled bundle of hedonistic principles. In Kings, Tyrion was given a position of power, and used it wisely, displaying martial ingenuity along with flashes of humanity. By Swords, Tyrion’s power had been stripped, and he was engaged in battle of wits with his sister and father. The result is that Tyrion’s character has never settled; Martin has kept him on his toes, thereby engaging our interest.

That holds true in Dragons. Following his escape from King’s Landing, Tyrion embarks on a journey across the Narrow Sea, to find Daenerys Targaryen. I won’t get into detail about his trek, as it contains plot spoilers. Suffice it to say, beyond the surprises and reveals, there are many nice moments to Tyrion’s story, including a haunting boat ride past old Volantis, and a touching companionship with Penny, a fellow dwarf. Tyrion is still brash and funny and the bearer of a slightly-skewed moral compass. That I’m beginning to tire of him probably has more to do with the fact that he’s an old friend, and I’m overly familiar with all his tricks and quirks. (Alas, Martin’s attempt to frame Tyrion’s quest as a way to find his place in the world is cringingly pat).

Unlike Tyrion, Jon and Daenerys are rooted in place.

Jon is on the Wall, where he remains throughout the entirety of Dragons. His conflict has to do with wannabe-king Stannis Baratheon, the red priestess Melisandre, and the hordes of wildlings that Jon has to resettle south of the Wall. The problem with Jon is that he’s become a dull, stuffy hypocrite, in thrall to his own perceived rectitude. Despite spending much of Storms as a traitor, riding, eating, and sleeping with the wildlings (and by sleeping with, I mean boinking), Jon is still convinced of his own rightness. Throughout Dragons, his modus operandi as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch is to stiffly inform Stannis that he is not allowed to help him; then he helps Stannis; and later, he rationalizes those actions to himself. This is repeated on a loop until the book ends.

Meanwhile, Daenerys is stuck in Meereen with her army. The invasion that began with such promise in Storms has become a quagmire. While this may be a trenchant commentary on America’s current military adventures in the Middle East, it creates a resounding narrative lull (about the only action in Meereen comes from the dragons, one of which gets loose and begins poaching children).

Daenerys has chosen to stay in Meereen, despite all strategic advice to the contrary, because she wants to care for her people (whom she describes as “children” with queenly condescension). At a gut level, I disliked her for this stance. From the beginning of A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin has expounded on the theme of power and politics. Time and again, Martin has rewarded the purveyors of Kissingerian Realpolitik (such as Tywin Lannister) to the detriment of Stevensonian idealists (such as the late Eddard and Robb Stark). I spent much of Dragons annoyed with Daenerys for not making the tough, brutal, pragmatic choices that would allow her to win. Having given the notion a bit more thought, I realize that Daenerys actually deserves a bit of credit for having the most finely tuned moral sense of any other character. She is, after all, trying to help the poor, close the fighting pits, and free the slaves (even though Martin’s other characters make such a persuasive case for slavery I got a little uncomfortable). Still, Daenerys’ goodness is not a substitute for plot. As with Jon at the Wall, Daenerys’ chapters are eye-glazingly cyclical: in each one, she is badgered to do something by an advisor or courtier; she gives a little ground while still holding to her principles; later, she is proven wrong; and the whole charade begins again.

The other viewpoint characters are a mixed batch. The connecting theme with most of them is a desire to reach Daenerys in Meereen. The highlights include Bran, growing into his shape-shifting abilities; Arya training with the Faceless Men (and moving farther from the light); Ser Barristan Selmy at the twilight of his career, filled with regret yet still capable of kicking ass; and Cersei Lannister, who is forced to undergo an excruciatingly riveting trial by shame, which duly whet my appetite for her eventual vengeance.

On the other hand, I don’t care for the Greyjoys or the Martells. They were introduced too late into the series for me to have any profound connection. Moreover, their arcs and characterizations are uninspired. (There are two viewpoint characters for whom discussion would involve potential spoilers. Suffice it to say, one of these characters represents some of Martin’s best work; the other embodies just the opposite).

If it’s not clear, my main criticism in Dragons is that nothing much happens. There is no action. It’s a lot of people walking and talking and drinking and eating skewered meat. In other words, it’s like a Renaissance Faire. But at least a Ren Faire has a joust. Here, in the midst of all that walking (and riding and boating) and talking, there are precious few battles, swordfights, fisticuffs or gratuitous sex scenes. I almost longed for a scene of depressingly low taste, such as the incestuous flirtation between Asha and Theon in Kings.

To make matters worse, Martin (formerly a writer for The Twilight Zone) employs a cheap serial style that only serves to emphasize how little is happening. Each individual chapter follows the same general outline, just like a serialized drama. The viewpoint character is introduced; the character has a flashback that explains what he or she has been doing lately; the current narrative thread is joined; and finally, a conflict will arise. Just as something is about to happen, Martin will end the chapter with a cliffhanger. (One chapter ends with a character drawing his sword, just as a fight is about to start). This style is a huge miscalculation. After awhile, I became resigned to the fact that nothing would ever happen until the last page. Instead of action, I’d be forever plunging forward, looking for a resolution that never came (or if it came, it’d be so far forward in the book that I couldn’t remember the cliffhanger to begin with).

To be sure, Dragons is better than Crows. The writing is more sure-handed, unlike Crows which seemed carved out by an editor. Yet there is a distinct drop-off fromSwords. The descriptions aren’t as fresh; the dialogue isn’t as sharp; the plotting isn’t as intricate. Maybe this is a function of the series’ length, but cracks are beginning to show. I started to notice the clichés, the lazy phrases, the writerly tics. For instance, in the span of two pages, Martin twice describes a character saying words that left “a bitter taste” in her mouth (in all my life, I’ve never tasted a single word; apparently, this character feasts upon them). The dialogue, which once had a pulpy, almost Mamet-like pungency to it, has become pretty lousy. There are still some decent monologues, but the exchanges have devolved from evocative to exclamatory (and sometimes just lame; two different characters declaim that such and such a person is “as useless as nipples on a breastplate”). The leitmotifs, which used to be as simple and as elegant as “winter is coming,” are now heavy-handed (“words are wind”) or crude (“where do whores go”). Even the names have gotten worse. We used to have good, solid, muscular names, such as Bran or Ned or Robert or even the androgynous-yet-uncomplicated Jaime. Now, the reader is forced to make sense of unpronounceable collections of consonants and increasingly ridiculous aptronyms (Bloodbeard? Really?).

(Anyone who doubts my qualitative critique of Martin’s writing should find someone to read aloud to them from a Daenerys chapter. After a few sentences of stumbling over names and reciting exclamation-point-dotted sentences will prove my point).

I don’t think I’m giving anything away by telling you there is a cliffhanger at the end of Dragons. By the time I got there, I didn't care at all.

See, in Dragons, as in Martin’s other books, major characters die. Or at least they appear to die. Back in Swords, Martin brutally killed off Catelyn and Robb Stark at the Red Wedding (and had Robb’s decapitated body decorated by Robb’s wolf’s head). Since then, Martin has shown a preference for fake-killing his characters, tricking his readers into believing someone is dead before having that character reappear at a convenient moment. By this point, Martin has resurrected more people than Jesus. When people died in Dragons, I just shook my head and made my wagers as to when that person would show up.

The biggest problem with Dragons is that it didn't fulfill what I needed it to fulfill. In other words, I set for Dragons an impossible task, and reacted with surprise when it could not complete it. Yet my expectations – and the expectations of millions of others – are part and parcel of Martin’s grand enterprise. He set the bar very high for himself. It is becoming increasingly clear that he is wilting from that pressure. Instead of narrowing his story and focusing on its fundamentals, he has let the narrative explode. Instead of fine tuning plot points, he keeps throwing more plotlines into the mix. He’s like some juggler who keeps adding pins to distract you from the fact that he’s not wearing pants.

The most damning indictment I can give Dragons is that I finished it a week after it came out, but didn't get around to the review until now. In those weeks, I have not missed it. Furthermore, I have not once thought about how long I’ll have to wait until the next one. With his exceedingly long turnout time, Martin has set me up to stop caring.

I don’t know where I’ll be in five or six or seven years (it is a terrifying prospect to behold); still, I’m pretty certain that A Song of Ice and Fire won’t have a special place in my heart. Too many things will have happened. By that time, Dragons will be a distant memory: a book read by a different person in a different world. If the next book gets written, I may pick it up (or have it uploaded directly into my brain, if that’s how things are done in the future), but it won’t be the same experience. For me, the vibrancy is gone. If I move forward with the series, it will probably be out of a sense of nostalgia.
Profile Image for Candace.
1,176 reviews4,337 followers
June 4, 2016
Wow! Another one down! Each of these books are so incredibly long that it feels like a major accomplishment to complete them. I feel like I should get a merit badge or something.

Nonetheless, this epic saga continues. While I didn't see a lot of forward movement, I appreciated the time spent with some of my favorite characters. Mr. Martin is not one to spare details, and this book is full of them.

That being said, I spent a lot of time feeling lost. As if there weren't enough characters already, Mr. Martin continues to add even more side stories to this epic adventure. Maybe I'm missing something or just lack the insight to understand the workings of his brilliant mind, but I found many of these extra details to be trivial and irrelevant. I'm having enough trouble keeping the major characters straight. I certainly didn't need more added to the mix!

Unlike book 4, this fifth book offers plenty of time with Dany and the dragons. This was a major plus for me, since Dany is my favorite character in the series thus far. I particularly enjoyed the way she finally embraces her dragons. I have an image in my mind of her flying through the sky on the back of her dragon that leaves me dying to get my hands on the next book.

However, this book also showed the less confident side of Dany. She often struggled in her role as Queen, failing to make wise decisions. As her advisors have been whittled down, her ability to be the effective leader that she wants to be has declined. Many of the changes she implemented seemed to unravel in this book. Although, by the end of the book I had a renewed sense of optimism where Dany is concerned.

'A Dance With Dragons' also features Cersei finally getting a taste of her own medicine. She is a character that I love to hate and seeing her brought down a few pegs was long overdue. If for no other reason, I would've read this gigantic book just to see her public humiliation and degradation. It was so worth it!

Tyrion also reappears in this book. He's slowly making his way to Dany...and boy does she ever need him! Although his recent life events have made him even more aware of his expendability, he continues to be highly entertaining and incredibly wise.

I am curious to see where this epic adventure is heading. It seems that these worlds are about to collide and I can only hope that my favorite characters don't begin killing each other off. Now that I've finished this book, I guess I can join the wait!

As a side-note, I can say that the differences between the books and the HBO series are becoming more apparent the further along the series gets. Some of the events happen out of sequence and some things are added in that haven't happened yet. However, I'm still enjoying both immensely.
Profile Image for Tamora Pierce.
Author 106 books83.5k followers
May 29, 2012
At the risk of getting thoroughly stomped by series fans, this was the first book where I really felt "it was ok" is the best I can say of it. It's wildly scattered all over the landscape of the current story, both in term of physical location and in terms of characters. There are so many new characters, new armies, new leaders, new kings, new slaves, new queens, and new vicious psychopaths that it's impossible to keep track of everyone, even if I wanted to. I know fans will say that's what the list of characters is for, but my *personal* attitude is that I don't like flipping back and forth in the book every time I forget who someone was four chapters ago.

I feel as if the hole Martin got himself into when Danaerys chose to settle in one city rather than keep moving has expanded into a massive, unmanageable trap that it's going to be well-nigh impossible to write his way out of for any of the characters caught there. I feel the introduction of other contenders for her crown and the Iron Throne has pulled the story away from its central core and that most of this book could have been cut with no detriment to the main story at all. I feel the story's momentum has slowed to a complete crawl.

Please don't yell at me for not loving the book or for questioning the series. This is my opinion, and it's the opinion of someone who's read the first four books twice. I've waded through a lot of gore, viciousness, woman-bashing, flaying, and cannibalism to get this far without a peep. (And please don't tell me there was a lot of rape in the middle ages. If that reasoning's going to be used, may I point out there weren't zombies, dragons, or White Walkers in the middle ages.) I do wonder if Mr. Martin isn't gaming the plot out, which at least would explain why it's gone so meander-y. Maybe it'll tighten up in the next book. I hope so. If it doesn't, or I lose one more character that I've been hanging on for, I am outie.

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews50 followers
May 17, 2022
A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5), George R.R. Martin

A Dance with Dragons is the fifth of seven planned novels in the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by American author George R. R. Martin. In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance, beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind. Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone, a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice. From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skin-changers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

ترجمه فارسی در سه جلد چاپ شده است
تاریخ نخستین خوانش کتاب اول:روز بیست و هشتم ماه ژوئن سال2015میلادی
تاریخ نخستین خوانش کتاب دوم: روز ششم ماه جولای سال2015میلادی
تاریخ نخستین خوانش کتاب سوم از روز ششم ماه جولای سال2015میلادی تا روز دوازدهم جولای سال2015میلادی

عنوان: نغمه آتش و یخ جلد پنج؛ رقص با اژدهاها کتاب اول؛ نویسنده: جرج آر.آر مارتین؛ مترجم رویا خادم الرضا؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، نشر ویدا، سال1394، در542ص، شابک9786002911599؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده21م

عنوان: نغمه آتش و یخ جلد پنج رقص با اژدهاها کتاب دوم؛ نویسنده: جرج آر.آر مارتین؛ مترجم رویا خادم الرضا؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، نشر ویدا، سال1394، در552ص، شابک9786002911360؛

عنوان: نغمه آتش و یخ جلد پنج رقص با اژدهاها کتاب سوم؛ نویسنده: جرج آر.آر مارتین؛ مترجم: رویا خادم الرضا؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، نشر ویدا، سال1394، در551 ص، شابک9786002911377؛

یکی از بهترین کتابهای سری «نغمه ی آتش و یخ» است؛ برگردان کتاب «رقص با اژدهاها» در «ایران»، مجموعه ای سه جلدی و پنجمین عنوان از «حماسه ی نغمه آتش و یخ»، نوشته ی «جرج آر.آر مارتین» است، که نخستین بار در سال2011میلادی وارد بازار نشر شد؛ پس از نبردی بزرگوار و خونین، آینده ی پادشاهیِ هفتگانه از هر سو با تهدید روبروست؛ در شرق، «دِنِریس»، آخرین بازمانده از خاندان «تارگِریَن»، به عنوان ملکه ی شهری ساخته شده از غبار و مرگ، با سه اژدهای خود حکمرانی میکند؛ اما «دنریس»، دشمنان بیشماری دارد، و بسیاری میخواهند او را پیدا کنند و از بین ببرند؛ «تیریِن لنیستر» نیز که در حال فرار از «وِستِروس» است، تلاش میکند تا خود را به «دنریس» برساند؛ دیواری بزرگ از یخ و سنگ از شمال نگاهبانی میکند؛ سازه ای که استحکام آن، درست به میزان توان نگاهبانانش است؛ در آنجا، «جان اسنو»، نهصد و نود و هشتمین فرمانده ی محافظین شب، با بزرگترین چالش زندگی اش مواجه خواهد شد، چرا که دشمنانی توانمند، نه تنها در میان نگاهبانان بلکه در پشت دیوار، و در سرزمین موجودات یخی، انتظار نابودی او را میکشند؛ نبردهای خونین از هر گوشه و کنار، دوباره شعله ور میشوند، خیانتهایی ناباورانه رقم میخورند و گروهی بزرگ از مجرمان، کشیشان، سربازان، جادوگران، اشراف و بردگان با موانعی به ظاهر غیرقابل عبور مواجه میشوند؛ برخی، شکست خواهند خورد و برخی دیگر با سود بردن از توان تاریکی، قد عَلَم خواهند کرد؛ اما در زمانِ هرج و مرجهای فزاینده، امواج سرنوشت و سیاست، بی تردید و به شکلی اجتناب ناپذیر به بزرگترین رقصِ ممکن خواهند انجامید

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 26/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Hirondelle.
956 reviews208 followers
July 17, 2011
So, this is it. The dragons were supposed to dance, instead they barely spread their wings. And I am left thinking, this is it?!?

My complaint by the way, is not about the wait itself. I think I have been waiting since 1998 for this (this was supposed to be book 3 sometime in the past). After a few years of waiting, I think I managed to ignore it (by ruthlessly ignoring almost all discussion of anything related to these books for years). Other authors take their time: Megan Whalen Turner seems to also take 5-6 years on each new book and that does not impair my love and appreciation for those. Dorothy Dunnett also took her own time planning and writing. My criticisms are not about the wait. (I certainly got enough other books to read while waiting). My complaint is that this series seems to have lost focus, became much slower and fragmented. We have many mysteries, prophecies pending from the first 3 books. I want to know who Jon´s parents are (for sure, I mean), or what Varys´s objectives actually are, know how this ends. And we got almost nothing. More hints, more misdirection, a few historical easter eggs for hardcore fans and many many cliffhangers for us to mull till the next book cames out (3 books wait, mininum according to the author). We are not amused.

First the good news : I love this series. I love many of the characters. The writing is still awesome, sympathetic, interesting and (usually) subtle. This solves *some* riddles from the previous books and it was nice to see some characters again.

But this is not as good as A Storm of Swords. It´s not even as good as A Game of Thrones. Not even close. Maybe that is inherent to the type of tale being told, it was like we were following a small pebble rolling and becoming an avalanche of grief, from AGOT to ASOS. And from then on, if you will forgive the mix of metaphors, the tale went fractal, it split and split, there are new PoV characters and motivations, all is possibilities and confusion. And the momentum seems lost, stalled for us to get to where we know (through foreshadowing and visions) we are going. And it seems like we just can not get there. 1000 pages (ok, about 960, the rest is the very useful character list) and this is it? All of it?

There are two particularly annoying issues with this book which damaged my appreciation for the previous books - because those two issues were already present in the rest of the series, and I had dismissed it, excused it. I even used to be a AFFC apologist! One of these issues is the cliffhangers which have been gotten more and more frequent and annoying with each book. I am tired of PoV chapters about nothing in particular, with some flashbacks to the past and then kaboom, chapter ends with some massive revelation (that we are not told of) or even more likely, the character in apparent mortal danger . This is particularly bad here, there is very little resolution in this book to anybody´s subplot.

The other issue which throws my appreciation of the rest of the series
into confusion is the female characters. Dear Sansa Stark, dear Catelyn Tully, I get it now, it´s not you, it´s the author. I better put this into . Now that I mention that .

There are more things which bugged me : unlikely conversations between our PoVs and people in powerful positions over them which strike me a bit like plot "as you know Bob"s namely .

Another problem, we now see a lot more of this universe in this book. We are shown much more cleary that Westeros is just a poor backward corner of it. Why then such a focus on Westeros and its wall? And the bigger this universe seems, the more problematic its magical-length multiple years seasons seem to me. And being from the south myself, while I get that real winter is a monstrous thing, a really long, dry, summer can be a horrible thing for lands in the South - there has been no acknowledgement of that so far, no balance, though I still hope for some of that in the rest of the series.

I have hope yet there will be a complete rest of the series. But I am stopping recommending it to people now. For years I have been saying, part of the fun is the wait and discussing it with other fans and reading it along with people when it cames out. But after two books which carry the story very little forward, yes, better wait till we are sure the story is completed (and not disappointingly) to wait to read it.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,678 reviews5,258 followers
February 7, 2013
An Initial Reaction to an Initial Reaction

Chicago Tribune:
“What’s A Song of Ice and Fire? It’s the only fantasy series I’d put on a level with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. . . . It’s a fantasy series for hip, smart people, even those who don’t read fantasy.”


"a fantasy series for hip, smart people"...you make me want to never read this. but i won't let you influence me. fuck off, douchebags! how dare you spoil my excitement with your pretentious, bougie nonsense.


A Series of Progress Notes


An Astro-Freudian Analysis MORE SPOILERS AHEAD

both the practice of Astrology and Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche are, in this modern world, often dismissed as existing in a fantastical version of reality. although there is an obvious gulf between the two... what of it? let us combine them into an exciting new form of analysis in order to evaluate the various characters that have sprung from the mind of George R.R. Martin, as seen within the pages of his fantasy A Dance with Dragons.

born on September 20th, Martin falls under the Sun Sign Virgo.



Virgo is often associated with "the Virgin" and as such is commonly mistaken as a sign of repressed sexuality and enforced innocence. but it is the opposite that is true: Virgo is an earth sign and is therefore actually associated with sensuality and fertility. Virgo is a sexual sign. however, Virgo is also a discriminating sign and so will often find vulgarity and selfish physicality to be negative and worthy of critique and improvement; the unrepressed pleasure principle of the Id is an aspect of the personality that must not be allowed to take precedence.

Martin places his Id within his POV characters Theon and Asha Greyjoy. he alllows them unbridled ambition, overweening pride, strong physicality, and a fondness for quick violence. he gives them the nastiest of sex scenes - ones that are striking in their pornographic detail, their often uncouth language, their tendency to revel in degrading and aggressive/submissive behavior. and then he punishes them for it. in A Feast for Crows, Asha spends all of that book attempting to assert dominance over her people, to rule them; she fails and is publicly humiliated. in Dance, her appearance is more brief: she engages in an exceedingly explicit consensual faux-rape scene with her lover Qarl the Maid; immediately afterwards, her castle is captured and she is put into chains by that most repressive of characters, Stannis Baratheon. in both A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, Theon's id is equally on display, as he boasts, brags, encourages warfare, invades his former home Winterfell, has various bouts of degrading sex with various women whom he then discards, and finally allows the death of two innocent children. Martin the Virgo does not allow him to remain unchastised: by the time Dance with Dragons occurs, Theon has been tortured beyond belief, broken, and turned into a sad, empty shell of a man. the Greyjoy Id is thus thoroughly chastened by the discriminating Virgo author.



a traditional Virgoan trait is to form a strong attachment to the ideal of altruism; Virgos frequently live to serve "the greater good". and so Virgo is often at ease within the Superego, the place of the conscience. this is not an entirely positive thing; Virgoan comfort with expressing and enacting their ideals may often make others uncomfortable. Virgos who do not restrain their tendencies towards constant altruism will often, at best, rub people the wrong way and, at worst, be easily taken advantage of by those that they hold in high regard or be held hostage to their own belief system.

Martin has placed his Superego in many characters. and, surprisingly, he has then often destroyed them. Eddard Stark operated entirely from his conscience, by following his own higher ideals... and that led him to his death. Catelyn Stark followed her own misguided Superego and her throat is cut (only to be resurrected as pure Id, in the form of Lady Stoneheart). who knows what fate is in store for Barristan Selmy. the Superego is also what guides Davos Seaworth and Jon Snow. Davos' higher ideal is clearly his unwavering service to King Stannis. he will bravely follow his lord's every command, no matter the danger, no matter the cost - whether it be his freedom or even the lives of his sons (indeed, after the deaths of his four elder children, he continues to entrust another child to Stannis). Jon Snow follows his own array of Superego ideals: the code of the Black Brother, the rebuilding of the Wall's defenses at any cost, and the Saving of Wildling Lives - no matter the feelings and prejudices expressed by his fellows. in the end, his good works earn him knives in the dark. will he survive? well duh, of course he will.



the fully actualized Virgo must balance the competing goals of their Id and Superego. they must be careful not to over-indulge in the pleasures of the flesh, the joys of vengeance, even the self-absorption of the romantic heart. they must also reign in their tendency to parade both their intelligence and their overtly altruistic nature in front of others as a sort of badge of honor. a positive Virgo keeps their shit in order. the well-balanced Virgo (indeed, the well-balanced human in general) will act simultaneously from the heart, the head, and the groin... but the reality principle that is the Ego can be difficult to maintain. Martin centers this constant balancing act within his characters Daenerys and Tyrion.

in A Game of Thrones, Daenerys spent most of her time attempting to balance her twin desires for Power and Love; at this early stage, her Id appeared to be strongly present, yet was often thwarted by her sensible Ego-driven nature. by the time of A Storm of Swords, her nascent Superego had risen, eventually coming to its zenith during her burning destruction of the slave trade in Astapor & Meereen. but in A Dance with Dragons, Daenerys has become the Ego personified: on the one hand, remaining in a city of horrors to follow the higher call of improving the lot of her people; on the other, indulging in her Id-driven need for a romantic/sexual relationship with the clownish Daario Naharis... both tendencies existing in careful balance.

Tyrion has had a similar engagement with his balancing reality principle - often indulging in the lusts and vengeance of the Id, yet seldom straying far from his Superego's need to do the right thing, whether it be his support of Jon Snow, the design of a riding saddle for Bran, his intent to do right for his newly acquired allies, cleaning up and preparing King's Landing for war, or even saving Aegon Targaryen from the stonemen at the potential cost of his own life. it is this integration of both tendencies within one body - this constant balancing - that makes Tyrion one of the more real characters in the series. perhaps in some ways he is Martin's stand-in. he certainly has a host of classic Virgoan tendencies: overtly critical, analytical, calculating, and possessed of a dangerously sharp tongue. as a Virgo myself, i personally demonstrate these myriad - and wondrous, oh so wondrous! - traits on a regular basis, and of course, on command.


A Summary of Sorts

overall, i loved the book, a typically awesome entry in the series. it is also a flawed book: overlong, filled with far too many names, ordeals that seem to go on and on. and NOTE TO MARTIN'S EDITOR: HE NEEDS TO STOP BEING SO GODDAMN REPETITIOUS WITH SOME OF HIS KEY PHRASES. FUCKIN' A, ENOUGH ALREADY! although it has a much wider canvas and a diverse range of perspectives, it was somehow less distinctive than the female-driven, almost crushingly bleak A Feast for Crows. and it features only one genuine set piece (although an amazing one): Daenerys' flight from Meereen on Drogon.

but i still loved it, from beginning to end. i loved the returning POVs that i missed so much from the prior volume, and i also really enjoyed the new POVs. the Theon/Reek chapters were morbidly compelling. i always appreciate Davos' chapters (too few of them, alas) and i particularly liked his two meetings with Wyman Manderly. as Kelly says in her excellent review, much of Daenerys' (and Jon Snow's) chapters were all about the complex business of actual government, of the challenges in balancing competing needs... an admirable goal for a fantasy novel. and as Ryan mentions in his own review, Martin continues his fascinating study of Identity, of the roles and often guises that men and women are forced into - a theme that reverberates throughout nearly all of this series' major perspectives and so many supporting characters: Eddard, Sansa, Jon Snow, Maester Aemon, Bran & Brynden Rivers the Bloodraven the Three-Eyed Crow, Catelyn/Stoneheart, Arya & the Faceless Men, Theon/Reek, Barristan/Whitebeard, Tyrion and his two names, the fake Hound, the hidden Aegon, the disguised Quentyn, Varys, Jeyne Poole/fake Arya, Mance Rayder, not-a-princess Val & the switched babies, etc, etc.

so yeah, despite its issues, overall i loved A Dance with Dragons, from intriguing Prologue to completely satisfying Epilogue.


An Unsettling Character



A Major Player (and Semi Major Player) DEATH LIST

Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
August 19, 2022
George R. R. Martin’s fifth Song of Ice and Fire book was first published in 2011, a few months AFTER HBO started the wildly popular series about the books. So there has not been another book published by Martin since the show started (the sixth planned publication will not be published in 2018, word on the street is MAYBE 2020 – when Martin will be 72).

Full disclosure – I’ve only just started watching to series and am picking up what they are throwing down.


This is another wonderful visit with George and his masterful creation. The meandering plotlines and varying POV chapters keep this moving as well as the previous novels and his world building keeps getting better. His further expansion in the story to include more Essos chapters and a more detailed approach to those sub-plots were compelling and thoroughly entertaining. The return of Daenerys, Jon Snow and Tyrion (conspicuously absent from 2005’s A Feast for Crows) adds to this latest outing as well.

All that to say that THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!

So I’m caught up and I now stand in line with millions of other readers worldwide and will lend my voice to the growing cacophony:

“HEY GEORGE, WHILE WE’RE YOUNG! (and while you’re still alive)”

Profile Image for Luffy (Oda's Version).
764 reviews764 followers
August 22, 2021
Whenever I've heard about other people's favorite books that they reread once a year, I'm puzzled by the fact that they say that they find new things every time when reading. Not every time, is it?

In fact whenever I reread a Dance with Dragons, I get lost at the very same place, my most treasured book parts are the self same. I don't read the book to hone any detective skill that might be lying dormant in me, but for pure pleasure.

I know the book has problems, but I say that it wouldn't do to follow the same schema as previous books. A Dance with Dragons is officially the fourth best book I've ever read. I can't find the right words to express that hyperbole ( to others). But you know who you are. You who have favorite books and reread them every year. We share the same hobby!
Profile Image for Junkie for the Written Word.
741 reviews111 followers
August 27, 2011
8/27/11 Ok, no it didn't take me a month to read the book. It took me a few days. I just waited to write the review because it's one I didn't want to write.

*****BELOW THAR (may) BE SPOILERS********

Ok, I'm underwhelmed. GRRM is undoubtedly a fantastic writer and the writing was superb, as always. But the god damned story is dragging.

1. Dany and her dragons will never ever ever ever ever ever ever get moving. Never ever. Never. And that's bullshit. There was no dancing with dragons. There was a nice little view of dragons in a third rate zoo from a hundred yards away.

2. Everyone else, wtf?

I felt like the majority of this loooooong book was filler material. Like the chips they bring you at the mexican place to hold you over until they cook the meat and cheese.

I'm dreadfully disappointed.


7/22/11 Yes, finally we reads the precious.
7/12/11 Update: The precious, we has it.

The published date says October 28th 2010...

Nobody likes a tease Georgie. Amazon did this to me way back in 08.

Ah yes I fondly remember when I read the first book, I in my training bra, reaching forth into the world George R.R. Martin had created. Gasping as the epic adventure swept me away. Reeling with despair at the loss of father, home, and family. Shocked by the depravity awaiting behind a beautiful façade. Torn with angst over a young life thrown away in the far reaches of the north… I was besotted with a tale, a fantasy so rich it enveloped me in it’s warm embrace and held me there through it’s pages. I knew nothing of deception, nothing of promises broken, but I learned quickly, yes, I learned quickly of the lies of men... especially GEORGE RR FREAKING MARTIN

Rage is hard to convey on a keyboard.

Profile Image for Steven Medina.
204 reviews938 followers
July 11, 2023
Entre más extenso sea un libro o una saga, más probabilidad existe de que el inconformismo aumente. Buen libro, pero no en todo momento.

Si tuviera que explicar cómo ha sido mi experiencia con esta saga mencionaría que ha sido satisfactoria. Sin embargo, si tuviera que explicar cómo ha sido mi experiencia con este volumen mencionaría que ha sido bastante conflictiva. La saga me ha encantado, disfruté cada volumen, cada muerte, cada giro inesperado, cada traición y cada cambio de poder en el trono, pero cuando una serie es muy larga tarde que temprano llegará el momento en que nos aburrirá. No aplica en todos los casos, pero aquí sí. El exceso de información, de linajes, de historias, de descripciones, ese intento de seguir agrandando el universo creado por Martin no es una buena elección, y más, cuando siguen existiendo tantas incógnitas con referencias a personajes desaparecidos... más cuando la edad del autor no nos da garantías de que la serie finalice en algún momento... Como lectores agradecemos que nuestras lecturas tengan un final, de hecho es muy importante que exista un final, pero acá, queridos interesados en George Martin, eso jamás lo encontrarán.

Tal y como mencioné en la pre-reseña han sido más de 5000 páginas leídas las cuales no me arrepiento de leer, a pesar de que ha sido uno de los viajes literarios más prolongados que he tenido en mi vida. Un viaje que de todos modos aún no termina porque todavía me falta leer algunos libros adicionales como Fuego y sangre, o El mundo de hielo y fuego; eso sin contar los doce o trece capítulos adicionales que aparecen en internet que pertenecerían al hipotético sexto libro. Este viaje que a simple vista parece infinito me ha dejado muy buenos recuerdos grabados en mi mente, un sinfín de horas de entretenimiento, y un torrente de emociones derramadas en cada una de las escenas que han logrado impactarme. Es este el momento en que quiero agradecer a aquellas personas que me han acompañado en esta travesía y que me han otorgado amablemente sus consejos. Gracias, muchas gracias, en verdad una lectura es más bonita cuando te sientes acompañado en el viaje. Muchas gracias.

Sobre este quinto volumen debo reconocer que la experiencia no ha sido totalmente satisfactoria. El inicio fue súper tedioso, casi nada me gustaba, la transformación de identidad de varios de mis personajes favoritos no me agradó para nada (Tyrion y Daenerys), y muchos capítulos los sentí monótonos, lentísimos y fuera de lugar. Ya me habían advertido que algo así me ocurriría pero nunca imaginé que el sentimiento de desagrado fuera a ser tan alto. Fue una sección donde sufrí mucho, maldecía cada rato, no había adrenalina, no había casi nada emocionante. En mi opinión, es el libro de la saga que tiene el peor arranque de todos. Obviamente, no fueron todos los capítulos. Por momento algunas pinceladas de genialidad las noté en ciertos capítulos (Jon Nieve y Hediondo), y resultaron convirtiéndose en el empuje necesario para no abandonar la lectura. Eso sí, solo sería hasta más allá de la mitad del libro donde empezaría a sentir realmente curiosidad por seguir leyendo, antes no.

Siendo del todo honesto ha sido una experiencia extraña porque lo que anhelaba leer en este volumen no lo encontré, eso me generó insatisfacción, pero las escenas que más me gustaron fueron completamente inesperadas y me han dejado con mucha curiosidad de seguir leyendo la continuación: Es por ello que me siento confundido al escribir sobre este libro. En el cuarto y quinto libro he sentido que el autor se ha alejado bastante de lo que sus lectores esperan encontrar en sus historias, y en vez de reducir un poco las incógnitas —o por lo menos narrar la continuación de los personajes presentados anteriormente— lo que hace es justamente lo contrario, es decir incrementarlas. Para ser un poco más concreto mencionaré el claro ejemplo del prólogo en el cual se menciona una historia que no vuelve a nombrarse en el resto de libro; no obstante, es un capítulo que nos deja dudas, del cual esperamos información adicional, algo, lo que sea, pero nunca aparece algo así: Es más, ya había olvidado el prólogo, pero solo lo recordé cuando finalicé el libro y revisé nuevamente como iniciaba el libro. Asimismo, la expansión de personajes y linajes es cada vez más excesiva llevando al inevitable aburrimiento de un mundo infinito que el autor no quiere finalizar jamás. Muchos de aquellos personajes ni siquiera son importantes, pero el autor insiste en nombrar a todos los que rodean a los «protagonistas» así la escena tenga la duración de solo una página. Tantos personajes, tanto aplazamiento de lo inevitable, tanta espera me desesperó por momentos y me hizo sentir que estaba leyendo relleno.

También siento que le ha faltado al libro más adrenalina y mejores participantes en este juego de tronos. Muchos de los personajes importantes tienen poder, eso es genial, pero no lo saben utilizar por lo que descubrir las falencias en sus estrategias es un poco desilusionante. Teniendo en cuenta que como lectores venimos de conocer las artimañas de ciertos personajes que son unos genios para el arte de la guerra, entonces no es fácil soportar a malos jugadores del juego de tronos. Es como si acabáramos de ver las competencias de los Juegos Olímpicos y luego nos dedicáramos a observar alguna competencia deportiva a nivel regional; como acabamos de ver a los mejores atletas del mundo obviamente será poco probable que nos emocionemos con estas jóvenes promesas que aún necesitan de más entrenamiento: Eso fue lo que me sucedió con Danza de Dragones. La reorganización de los diferentes entes del poder, la preparación de futuras guerras, la repartición de tierras, títulos, etc., todo eso es genial, pero ese cambio y esa inexperiencia de los futuros gobernantes le resulta costando al libro mucha adrenalina; aspecto que había sido protagonista en todos los volúmenes anteriores.

A pesar de todo me ha gustado, no puedo negarlo, solo que en mi opinión es excesivamente largo. Creo que el autor pudo haber omitido muchos capítulos pero la decisión del autor fue crear su libro así, por lo que debemos respetar y tolerar su elección. Me siento con la misma cantidad de incógnitas y preguntas que cuando finalicé Juego de Tronos; me siento realizado por lograr una meta que exige tanto tiempo y disciplina como leer esta saga; me siento contento de finalmente conocer el argumento de una de las sagas de fantasía más valoradas de la literatura; me siento triste porque mi percepción me indica que nunca conoceré el final de esta historia; me siento impresionado por la gran capacidad de GRRM para crear un mundo tan abismal como el de Poniente; me siento satisfecho porque esta saga ha sido una muy buena compañía para mi vida.

Sobre esta saga hay mucho que contar, sinfín de detalles para analizar y cotillear, pero siento que con lo que he escrito es suficiente. ¿Un buen libro? Sí. ¿El mejor? Claramente no. ¿Lo repetiría? Por supuesto que no, muchas páginas tienen relleno. ¿Recomiendo la saga? Claro que sí, no obstante después del tercer volumen la probabilidad de que aumenten las quejas y molestias es alta. ¿Lo mejor? Los constantes cambios de poder, traiciones, planes, asesinatos y demás. ¿Lo peor? Que la historia es interminable. Cada quien toma la decisión de leer lo que acapara su atención, sin embargo, Canción de Hielo y Fuego es un paso cuasi obligatorio para todo amante de la fantasía. La calificación podría ser de cuatro estrellas pero por la primera mitad del libro no puedo hacerlo, tres estrellas me parece una puntuación justa.
Profile Image for Steven E.
69 reviews1 follower
July 19, 2011
Well, I guess we know now why Martin took so long to release this latest volume: it's a steaming mess.

Forget for a moment the fact that of the many principal POV characters, only one (Jon Snow) has any discernible character arc throughout the tome's 940+ pages. Forget too that the only female POV characters (Cersei and Dany, and even Asha in her first chapter) can scarcely go two pages without pining lustily and pathetically for their male paramours. Don't trouble yourself with the chapters (Victarion, Davos) that could have been told more effectively in three sentence flashbacks in the next installment. And sure, one storyline features a character to whom we have never been introduced (Quentyn), forced to spend dozens of pages on, only to have that character fail to be an interesting character or a consequence to the larger narrative. So what?

The larger issue is this: Martin has created a wondrous, fully-realized world in which many people (including myself) are happy to spend a great deal of time. He's just forgotten that he's supposed to be advancing a story within that world. Instead he spins his wheels. Nearly all the action takes place in a far-flung city operating within an alien (and uninteresting) civilization with a unique set of moral norms, with no apparent consequences for the people with whom we've already spent four books and 4000 pages with. Some characters don't advance at all from the beginning of this book's action; worse, some characters end up back where they began several books before.

It's as if J.K. Rowling decided to create a book between 4 and 5, with the great bulk of time devoted to Hermione's wanderings in Dobby's homeland instead of Hogwarts. What a misfire.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
December 11, 2020
I'm not sure I've ever read a book with this little plot advancement happening in this many pages.

And I'm still upset that the book series has so thoroughly ruined Tyrion for me.
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