Game of Thrones, I’m just not sure about you.
I don’t think I’ve ever taken this long to finish a book. Almost half a year.
There’s a lot that I love GRRM for. He made a new type of fantasy mainstream, a fantasy where the heroes and the good didn’t necessarily come out on top. Sometimes they ended up dead. I’ve said this before and I still think this is true: I don’t think my own fantasy books would have been as well-regarded if it wasn’t for Game of Thrones paving the way.
Buried in the 1100+ pages of this book, there are hints of a great story: characters making tough decisions and surviving tough times. In this book at least, we get to spend more time with the characters I enjoy: Tyrion and Daenerys and Jon Snow and more.
But there is just too much here where nothing happens and the story and characters aren’t moved forward in any meaningful way. I love worldbuilding, and there’s no doubt GRRM is second to none in this regard, but only if it advances the story, which it doesn’t always here.
In a past post I argued that Game of Thrones has the potential to be one of the greatest fantasy stories ever told. It also has the potential to be a complete dud. I worry that it moves more and more towards dud.
I’ll read the next book, if it ever comes out. I hope that as war and hardship thin the herd of characters GRRM can focus the story a bit more.
I want to see the series succeed, but I’m not sure I’m going to hold my breath anymore.