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Old 04-09-2012, 02:02 PM   #326
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Default Re: A Song of Ice and Fire books

It's not bad. Most people dislike it because there's no Jon, Dany, or Tyrion. If it has POVs you like (Brienne, Jamie, Cersei, Arya, Sansa, Sam), you'll like it. Getting insight into Cersei is nice since she's so messed up. At first, I didn't give a crap about the Ironborn but it got more interesting. I never cared for Brienne and found her chapters a pain to get through but people like her for some reason.

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Old 04-09-2012, 02:23 PM   #327
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I think that's why its had such a strong start for me. I find the insight into new people interesting. I became interested in the Dorn's when the Red Viper helped Tyrion so its nice to see the fallout of that from the perspective of his people, and get insight into a culture that up until now hasn't been delved into. I also find the Ironborn interesting.

I can do without Jon, Tyrion, and especially Dany for a book. One thing in particular has already elevated this book to a winning status. No Catelyn Stark!

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Old 04-09-2012, 02:47 PM   #328
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AFFC is more verbose and there's little action-packed events in it but I don't mind it so much. The characters developments like Jaime and Brienne's etc far more makes up for it but the POVs in Dorne are the highlight for me, the POVs in the Iron Islands there's only one I found weaker compared to the others is Aeron Greyjoy- On the whole I don't love it as much compared to the first three but there's an unfair judgement since GRRM took an unique approach by splitting up what's essentially one long book and for the most part, it worked and it set up interesting groundworks for what's coming in ADWD.

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Old 04-11-2012, 12:13 AM   #329
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My problems with AFFC was that it meandered too much. There were tons of characters we'd never met before, and after thousands of pages that's already hard to restart meeting people, who then have no role but to move the plot along just a little and then we usually never see them again. Also, very little happened that moved the actual overall plot along until the last 150 pages of the book. The rest is mostly character development, which while great is disappointing after all the huge developments in ACOK and ASOS. And the ending is less of an ending (as the first three had closure to individual stories or arcs while leaving the overall story open), so much as a series of frustrating cliffhangers. Lastly, I didn't care about Dorne like at all.

But I didn't hate AFFC. In fact it had a lot I liked. Sam's chapters, as well as Arya's and Sansa's were great developments of those characters and their individual stories. Getting such rich development of Jaime and Cersei was really great, as well as seeing how terrible a ruler Cersei was. All though, I think there didn't need to be so many chapters of that. And the kingsmoot on the Iron Islands I found very intriguing.

It's a strange book and not up to the first three. But it's still a quality read.

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Old 04-11-2012, 01:20 AM   #330
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The best thing I can say about AFFC is that it introduced Victarion Greyjoy, who I'm almost certain is Martin's own personal homage to Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian.

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Old 04-11-2012, 10:48 AM   #331
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Default Re: A Song of Ice and Fire books

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Originally Posted by Oberon sexton View Post
The best thing I can say about AFFC is that it introduced Victarion Greyjoy, who I'm almost certain is Martin's own personal homage to Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian.
I personally thought the Greyjoy's were the best parts of Feast. Victarion is awesome.

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Old 04-11-2012, 11:15 AM   #332
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Default Re: A Song of Ice and Fire books

Man....

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Theon killed Bran and Rickon?! This book has me sad and angry, right now. Plus their direwolfs?! Just when I thought I liked Theon, I hate him. I wanted to see Bran live!

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Old 04-11-2012, 02:23 PM   #333
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I finished AFFC this morning. I've said this before but Martin's writing frustrates me. He writes GREAT characters, but I find some of the dialog tedious. It definitely lends a sense of authenticity to the story but I think it's overkill at times. Also I think he makes some odd POV choices at times. I would rather get POV from some one actually participating in a battle rather than the POV of some one who hears about a battle second hand. I think he needs an editor that would reign him in a little. Could probably cut it down to 700+ pages instead of a 1000+.

I also have a problem with him adding more and more character POVs to the story. It's a lot of characters to keep track of, even if Martin does write them beautifully. Of course there are always a lot of POVs "leaving" as well so maybe it balances out...wink wink.

That brings me to my final gripe.

He spends so much time crafting these great characters only to gleefully slaughter them or just burn their lives to the ground. Martin takes perverse pleasure in making us care about these characters before he casually disposes fo them with extreme prejudice.

I understand it is partly what makes the story so engaging, however, I personally find it hard to enjoy a series where characters who I have become fond of are consistantly killed or kicked in the balls. Kinda makes LOTR look like Enchanted in comparision.


Last Word . . . I said this after the Red Wedding (when I got pissed and threw my copy of Storm of Swords into my pool), but if Poderick Payne dies, I will drop this series . . . again! That kid needs to become a knight!

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Old 04-11-2012, 07:07 PM   #334
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I personally thought the Greyjoy's were the best parts of Feast. Victarion is awesome.
He's great, his chapters in ADWD were some of my favourites.
"The most beautiful woman in the world is in desperate need of my axe."
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:33 PM   #335
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Originally Posted by OsGom View Post
I finished AFFC this morning. I've said this before but Martin's writing frustrates me. He writes GREAT characters, but I find some of the dialog tedious. It definitely lends a sense of authenticity to the story but I think it's overkill at times. Also I think he makes some odd POV choices at times. I would rather get POV from some one actually participating in a battle rather than the POV of some one who hears about a battle second hand. I think he needs an editor that would reign him in a little. Could probably cut it down to 700+ pages instead of a 1000+.

I also have a problem with him adding more and more character POVs to the story. It's a lot of characters to keep track of, even if Martin does write them beautifully. Of course there are always a lot of POVs "leaving" as well so maybe it balances out...wink wink.

That brings me to my final gripe.

He spends so much time crafting these great characters only to gleefully slaughter them or just burn their lives to the ground. Martin takes perverse pleasure in making us care about these characters before he casually disposes fo them with extreme prejudice.

I understand it is partly what makes the story so engaging, however, I personally find it hard to enjoy a series where characters who I have become fond of are consistantly killed or kicked in the balls. Kinda makes LOTR look like Enchanted in comparision.


Last Word . . . I said this after the Red Wedding (when I got pissed and threw my copy of Storm of Swords into my pool), but if Poderick Payne dies, I will drop this series . . . again! That kid needs to become a knight!
I still don't see where, how, or why people think it's with glee, or some pleasure of his.

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Old 04-12-2012, 12:19 AM   #336
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I don't get why people assume he enjoys killing them off. I recall reading that he wrote all of ASOS except the RW because it was so hard for him to put it onto paper.

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Old 04-12-2012, 01:00 PM   #337
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"Kill the boy! Kill the boy and let the man be born!" - Maester Aemon

Hell yeah!

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Old 04-12-2012, 04:29 PM   #338
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Has anyone read Tales of Dunk and Egg? Is it worth reading?

Is Egg the same Egg Maester Aemon referenced on his deathbed?

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Old 04-12-2012, 04:30 PM   #339
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Double post

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Old 04-12-2012, 05:49 PM   #340
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Has anyone read Tales of Dunk and Egg? Is it worth reading?

Is Egg the same Egg Maester Aemon referenced on his deathbed?
The Tales of Dunk and Egg are great! They really tie into what's currently going on in the more recent ASOIAF novels, plus they're really well written stories set during the Targaryen dynasty.

Yes "Egg" is Aemon's brother Aegon, who eventually became king Aegon the the Unlikely, and great Grandfather to Dany.
But yeah I'd highly recommend them

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Old 04-19-2012, 05:26 PM   #341
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So I'm reading A Dance with Dragons and have been fairly unimpressed until I read the chapter where Dani first rides Drogon. All I have to say is WOW! What an amazing chapter. It completely changed the tone of the story.

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Old 04-20-2012, 10:05 AM   #342
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So I'm reading A Dance with Dragons and have been fairly unimpressed until I read the chapter where Dani first rides Drogon. All I have to say is WOW! What an amazing chapter. It completely changed the tone of the story.
That chapter is pretty fantastic, it's a shame that it's at the end. I'm one in the minority that likes Daenerys but the problem is that she's surrounded by boring side characters, the only ones I like in ADWD are like Barristan and uh, can't think of anyone else right now.

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Old 04-20-2012, 03:43 PM   #343
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Ugh!! Just finished ADWD and I stand by my analysis that George RR Martin is a sadist!! AND his editor should be flayed! Another book down and hardly any closer to anything resembling a satisfying conclusion. He teases things throughout the whole book that never come to pass. Then he kills characters like Jon just when they are becoming interesting, while preserving some truly dispicable villains. Storylines started 2 books ago remain unresolved or are not even mentioned.

If I didn't like these characters so much I would kick this whole damn series to the curb! I'm actually kind of shocked that HBO greenlit this series based on these books. I think by the time we get to season three people might start to get disheartened by the this dark and meandering story.

I'm pretty close to going all "Annie Wilkes" on his ass. I'm going to go reread the Dresden Files to cheer myself up! Screw you George!!!

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Old 04-22-2012, 08:58 AM   #344
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Currently reading through A Storm of Swords, Part 1. Just finished the chapter with Robb executing Rickard Karstark. Man has Robb been making some foolish decisions not allowing Grey Wind to remain with him as he scares Jeyne Westerling for one. I'm still dreading the Red Wedding though....

Also enjoyed the little swordfight between Jaime and Brienne as well.

And I do hope that Arya's Direwolf Nymeria will make a return later in the series. With all the training Arya has developed over the course of the series having Nymeria reuniting with her while acting as protection would be the icing on the cake.

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Originally Posted by CrypticOne View Post
Man....

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Theon killed Bran and Rickon?! This book has me sad and angry, right now. Plus their direwolfs?! Just when I thought I liked Theon, I hate him. I wanted to see Bran live!
Keep reading....

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Old 04-23-2012, 10:15 AM   #345
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Originally Posted by FVD View Post
Currently reading through A Storm of Swords, Part 1. Just finished the chapter with Robb executing Rickard Karstark. Man has Robb been making some foolish decisions not allowing Grey Wind to remain with him as he scares Jeyne Westerling for one. I'm still dreading the Red Wedding though....

Also enjoyed the little swordfight between Jaime and Brienne as well.

And I do hope that Arya's Direwolf Nymeria will make a return later in the series. With all the training Arya has developed over the course of the series having Nymeria reuniting with her while acting as protection would be the icing on the cake.



Keep reading....
Yeah, I finished the book last week.

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
I'm glad they made it. Hopefully they stay safe.


I'm about a hundred pages into ASOS.

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Also, I feel sorry for Tyrion. Dude is a warrior, and no one shows him the respect for what he did. And now he is even more deformed. I wonder what the TV show is going to do with what happens to him in that battle in ACOK.

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Old 04-23-2012, 12:31 PM   #346
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Default Re: A Song of Ice and Fire books

Posting this here instead of the show thread since it contains a lot of book spoilers

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Originally Posted by DACrowe View Post
He also said that Stannis was iron. Tough and strong, but brittle. When pressure is applied, it/he easily breaks.
Stannis ultimately proves him wrong though in ASOS and ADWD.


Quote:
And Stannis just relies on person to get him the Iron Throne. Melissandre.
He listens to Davos as much as her, even moreso later on.

Quote:
And to curry her favor he would burn babies alive, consider the murder of bastard nephews, cheat on his wife, break his wedding vows, and murder his own brother.
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Renly was a traitor, to his king and his brother. He deserved to die for it. He may have considered sacrificing children but he never did it. As for cheating on his wife, I think HBO included it because it's sex, the book is more ambiguous. Nonetheless, it's his most minor offense and Ned either did the same or let everyone believe it.


Quote:
Renly actually spoke of reforming King's Landing in the book and providing new services to the common people. It may have been out of vanity, but he actually wanted to improve the lives of the Westerosi. Stannis only wants what is expected. HIs older brother went to war with the Targaryens and out of duty and loyalty to an elder brother he hated, he joined them. Because of his own suspicions (in the book) and Ned Stark's letter, he knows Joffrey is not his brother's son and therefore wants the Iron Throne because it's his. What does he do want to do with it? He never says. He just wants it because he thinks he's entitled to it.
He doesn't think he's entitled to it, he IS entitled to it. He doesn't want the throne, he says himself it's not about wanting it. It his HIS duty to be king and therefore he must do it.

Quote:
He only went to defend the Wall AFTER losing his ability to take KL on the Blackwater and AFTER Davos reminded him of his duty. Keep in mind, he was five seconds away from setting Davos on fire because he doesn't trust Melissandre.
He didn't know about the threat beyond the Wall before the Blackwater, King's Landing only knew because Allister Thorne went there with the wight hand.

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
He may have been close to burning Davos, but did he? No, instead he makes him a lord, admiral and his Hand. He knows Davos plotted to kill Melisandre out of loyalty to Stannis and spoke out against a plan to attack the commoners on Claw Island just because their lord submitted to Joffrey. Stannis knows this and respects him for it.


Quote:
I honestly think people mix up what Davos sees in Stannis (as Davos is the POV we usually see him from) and Davos's own strong morality with Stannis's. The king's actions, other than one brief selfless moment late in ASOS, are not so noble as he likes to pretend they are or Davos wants to believe they are. That's how I have always viewed him. And again, a man that unloved could never rule for long.
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
One brief moment? Way to dismiss one of the major turning points in the series. It legitimizes the threat of the Others to the realm. In ADWD, his goal is to liberate the North and punish those who betrayed the Starks. Renly deserved to die a traitor and Alester Florent, the man he burned, tried the same by surrendering to the Lannisters and marrying off Stannis' daughter to Tommen (a bastard of incest between a kingslayer and his brother's murderer).

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Old 04-23-2012, 12:56 PM   #347
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Stannis ultimately proves him wrong though in ASOS and ADWD.
I haven't read ADWD yet. However, I don't think ASOS proves it wrong. It proves after he loses his claim to the throne for all intensive purposes he finally thinks about something other than his ego. And again, it is Davos who thinks of it and urges Stannis.

Who knows maybe if he wasn't killed by his black magic-using brother Renly could have "proven him wrong" too?

Quote:
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Renly was a traitor, to his king and his brother. He deserved to die for it. He may have considered sacrificing children but he never did it. As for cheating on his wife, I think HBO included it because it's sex, the book is more ambiguous. Nonetheless, it's his most minor offense and Ned either did the same or let everyone believe it.
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
That's ridiculous. Renly DESERVES to die for not following his brother? Then Robert, Ned and John Arryn deserved to die for rebelling against their rightful king. Madness or no. He also didn't burn a child because Davos convinced him to go North. He then didn't burn a baby because Jon Snow spirited him away with Sam Tarly to the South. He didn't burn children because other characters take the option out of his hands. Also, he did cheat on his wife. I got that from reading the books. It's heavily implied in both ACOK and ASOS. I know you like the guy, but he created those shadow babies and was doing more than "praying" with Melissandre alone at night. There's a reason the shadow babies looked like Stannis to Cat and the Red Priestess more or less admits it to Davos in ASOS when she propositions him. To me, this would be akin to someone arguing that Renly and Loras aren't gay, but just really good friends in the books.


Quote:
He doesn't think he's entitled to it, he IS entitled to it. He doesn't want the throne, he says himself it's not about wanting it. It his HIS duty to be king and therefore he must do it.
Thus Robert and Ned are traitors because Aerys was entitled to his throne. The king can do as he likes and that includes burning Ned's father and brother alive and being generally a genocidal maniac. To paraphrase Varys, power is an illusion. Just because Stannis thinks it is rightfully his does not mean he dserves it or should rule the realm.

Quote:
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
He may have been close to burning Davos, but did he? No, instead he makes him a lord, admiral and his Hand. He knows Davos plotted to kill Melisandre out of loyalty to Stannis and spoke out against a plan to attack the commoners on Claw Island just because their lord submitted to Joffrey. Stannis knows this and respects him for it.
He also burns his Hand for giving him bad advice and burned several other of his bannermen because they didn't convert to his religion. If Davos had not that letter, he'd be done for.

Quote:
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
One brief moment? Way to dismiss one of the major turning points in the series. It legitimizes the threat of the Others to the realm. In ADWD, his goal is to liberate the North and punish those who betrayed the Starks. Renly deserved to die a traitor and Alester Florent, the man he burned, tried the same by surrendering to the Lannisters and marrying off Stannis' daughter to Tommen (a bastard of incest between a kingslayer and his brother's murderer).
I haven't read ADWD yet. However, as Stannis likes to say "the good does not wash out the bad nor the bad the good." He does a great thing in ASOS. But he has done so many terrible things up to that point, I really don't like him or think he deserves to be king. Honestly, at this point I hope Dany gets to Westeros as fast as she can.

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Old 04-23-2012, 07:27 PM   #348
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I haven't read ADWD yet. However, I don't think ASOS proves it wrong. It proves after he loses his claim to the throne for all intensive purposes he finally thinks about something other than his ego. And again, it is Davos who thinks of it and urges Stannis.
He does not lose his claim to the throne, only a majority of his army to win it. Stannis never received the message since everyone who gets it ignores it. Davos reads it and urges Stannis to help which he agrees to because he realizes, as king, his duty is to the realm.

Quote:
Who knows maybe if he wasn't killed by his black magic-using brother Renly could have "proven him wrong" too?
I doubt it since Renly is never respected or taken seriously. Everyone mocks him behind his back because of his relationship with Loras Tyrell.


Don't feel like spoiler tagging your comments and mine so it's all here:

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Quote:
That's ridiculous. Renly DESERVES to die for not following his brother? Then Robert, Ned and John Arryn deserved to die for rebelling against their rightful king. Madness or no.
Renly did deserve to die, he claimed himself king over his brother and stole the men of the Stormlands. Renly would have been in a position of power to enact whatever ideas he supposedly had, but he chose to usurp his brother.

Robert, Ned, and Jon Arryn deserved to die for their treason, but they won the war so it's a moot point.

Quote:
He also didn't burn a child because Davos convinced him to go North. He then didn't burn a baby because Jon Snow spirited him away with Sam Tarly to the South. He didn't burn children because other characters take the option out of his hands.
He still didn't do them. ADWD spoiler He still hasn't burned Mance Rayder's "son."

Quote:
Also, he did cheat on his wife. I got that from reading the books. It's heavily implied in both ACOK and ASOS. I know you like the guy, but he created those shadow babies and was doing more than "praying" with Melissandre alone at night. There's a reason the shadow babies looked like Stannis to Cat and the Red Priestess more or less admits it to Davos in ASOS when she propositions him. To me, this would be akin to someone arguing that Renly and Loras aren't gay, but just really good friends in the books.
When I read the book, I found it far more ambiguous than Renly and Loras' affair. There's also a passage that suggests Stannis didn't have an active role in Renly's death (remember, the show is combining Courtney Penrose's death with Renly) and feels somewhat guilty about it (I don't have my book on hand to check).


Quote:
Thus Robert and Ned are traitors because Aerys was entitled to his throne. The king can do as he likes and that includes burning Ned's father and brother alive and being generally a genocidal maniac. To paraphrase Varys, power is an illusion. Just because Stannis thinks it is rightfully his does not mean he dserves it or should rule the realm.
As I said, Robert and Ned were traitors but they won. Stannis has the rightful claim, Robert won the throne, exiled the Targaryens, and with no trueborn heir it goes to his eldest brother. Stannis has the rightful claim, just not the people who believe it which is what Varys' riddle is about.

Quote:
He also burns his Hand for giving him bad advice and burned several other of his bannermen because they didn't convert to his religion. If Davos had not that letter, he'd be done for.
The Hand he burned was Allester Florent who wanted him to submit to the Lannisters and offer his daughter to wed a bastard of incest. He was about to send this offer to Tywin as well since he was given the king's seal.

Quote:
I haven't read ADWD yet. However, as Stannis likes to say "the good does not wash out the bad nor the bad the good." He does a great thing in ASOS. But he has done so many terrible things up to that point, I really don't like him or think he deserves to be king. Honestly, at this point I hope Dany gets to Westeros as fast as she can.
But he's done more good than bad, almost doing bad (like sacrificing children) doesn't count. I don't think Stannis will ever sit on the Iron Throne or have a long, successful reign but I admire his tenacity. Personally, I think Dany has too much of Aerys in her to be a good queen. If I had to choose a king, it would be Jon but I think he will either stay at the Wall (even if it melts) or die and live on in Ghost.

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Old 04-23-2012, 07:32 PM   #349
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Default Re: A Song of Ice and Fire books

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Originally Posted by DACrowe View Post
I haven't read ADWD yet. However, I don't think ASOS proves it wrong. It proves after he loses his claim to the throne for all intensive purposes he finally thinks about something other than his ego. And again, it is Davos who thinks of it and urges Stannis.
He does not lose his claim to the throne, only a majority of his army to win it. Stannis never received the message since everyone who gets it ignores it. Davos reads it and urges Stannis to help which he agrees to because he realizes, as king, his duty is to the realm.

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Who knows maybe if he wasn't killed by his black magic-using brother Renly could have "proven him wrong" too?
I doubt it since Renly is never respected or taken seriously. Everyone mocks him behind his back because of his relationship with Loras Tyrell.


Don't feel like spoiler tagging your comments and mine so it's all here:

Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
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That's ridiculous. Renly DESERVES to die for not following his brother? Then Robert, Ned and John Arryn deserved to die for rebelling against their rightful king. Madness or no.
Renly did deserve to die, he claimed himself king over his brother and stole the men of the Stormlands. Renly would have been in a position of power to enact whatever ideas he supposedly had, but he chose to usurp his brother.

Robert, Ned, and Jon Arryn deserved to die for their treason, but they won the war so it's a moot point.

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He also didn't burn a child because Davos convinced him to go North. He then didn't burn a baby because Jon Snow spirited him away with Sam Tarly to the South. He didn't burn children because other characters take the option out of his hands.
He still didn't do them. ADWD spoiler He still hasn't burned Mance Rayder's "son."

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Also, he did cheat on his wife. I got that from reading the books. It's heavily implied in both ACOK and ASOS. I know you like the guy, but he created those shadow babies and was doing more than "praying" with Melissandre alone at night. There's a reason the shadow babies looked like Stannis to Cat and the Red Priestess more or less admits it to Davos in ASOS when she propositions him. To me, this would be akin to someone arguing that Renly and Loras aren't gay, but just really good friends in the books.
When I read the book, I found it far more ambiguous than Renly and Loras' affair. There's also a passage that suggests Stannis didn't have an active role in Renly's death (remember, the show is combining Courtney Penrose's death with Renly) and feels somewhat guilty about it (I don't have my book on hand to check).


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Thus Robert and Ned are traitors because Aerys was entitled to his throne. The king can do as he likes and that includes burning Ned's father and brother alive and being generally a genocidal maniac. To paraphrase Varys, power is an illusion. Just because Stannis thinks it is rightfully his does not mean he dserves it or should rule the realm.
As I said, Robert and Ned were traitors but they won. Stannis has the rightful claim, Robert won the throne, exiled the Targaryens, and with no trueborn heir it goes to his eldest brother. Stannis has the rightful claim, just not the people who believe it which is what Varys' riddle is about.

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He also burns his Hand for giving him bad advice and burned several other of his bannermen because they didn't convert to his religion. If Davos had not that letter, he'd be done for.
The Hand he burned was Allester Florent who wanted him to submit to the Lannisters and offer his daughter to wed a bastard of incest. He was about to send this offer to Tywin as well since he was given the king's seal.

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I haven't read ADWD yet. However, as Stannis likes to say "the good does not wash out the bad nor the bad the good." He does a great thing in ASOS. But he has done so many terrible things up to that point, I really don't like him or think he deserves to be king. Honestly, at this point I hope Dany gets to Westeros as fast as she can.
But he's done more good than bad, almost doing bad (like sacrificing children) doesn't count. I don't think Stannis will ever sit on the Iron Throne or have a long, successful reign but I admire his tenacity. Personally, I think Dany has too much of Aerys in her to be a good queen. If I had to choose a king, it would be Jon but I think he will either stay at the Wall (even if it melts) or die and live on in Ghost.

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Old 04-23-2012, 09:45 PM   #350
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Default Re: A Song of Ice and Fire books

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Originally Posted by Spidey-Bat View Post
He does not lose his claim to the throne, only a majority of his army to win it. Stannis never received the message since everyone who gets it ignores it. Davos reads it and urges Stannis to help which he agrees to because he realizes, as king, his duty is to the realm.
Let's just say he's a long way from taking the Iron Throne at this point.

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I doubt it since Renly is never respected or taken seriously. Everyone mocks him behind his back because of his relationship with Loras Tyrell.
He is taken more seriously than Stannis, because men follow Renly and he commands natural leadership and loyalty. Everyone snickers behind Stannis's back because of his relationship with Melissandre and also because of the rumors (started by Cersei and Littlefinger) that his fool is the real father of his daughter.

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Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:

Renly did deserve to die, he claimed himself king over his brother and stole the men of the Stormlands. Renly would have been in a position of power to enact whatever ideas he supposedly had, but he chose to usurp his brother.

Robert, Ned, and Jon Arryn deserved to die for their treason, but they won the war so it's a moot point.
He didn't [blackout]steal Stannis's men. Stannis is a bad leader and lost them to a more effective one. If Robert is justified by victory, so is Renly in their allegiance. And he did this without murdering his brother, something he didn't even consider doing in the battle.[blackout]

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He still didn't do them. ADWD spoiler He still hasn't burned Mance Rayder's "son."
If I had to guess, it's because Melissandre's flames have told her the truth. Until I read ADWD, I give that credit to Jon Snow.

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When I read the book, I found it far more ambiguous than Renly and Loras' affair. There's also a passage that suggests Stannis didn't have an active role in Renly's death (remember, the show is combining Courtney Penrose's death with Renly) and feels somewhat guilty about it (I don't have my book on hand to check).
[/spoiler]
I feel there are enough clues to assume what they showed in S2 of the show happened. I hear that the Red Lady comes out and just says it in ADWD. As for Renly, I think Stannis is just coping. But he acts far too guilty with his obsession over the peach and is too haunted by it to be innocent. Plus the shadow did look like Stannis to Cat.

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As I said, Robert and Ned were traitors but they won. Stannis has the rightful claim, Robert won the throne, exiled the Targaryens, and with no trueborn heir it goes to his eldest brother. Stannis has the rightful claim, just not the people who believe it which is what Varys' riddle is about.
My point is that "rightful claims" are irrelevant in Westeros. The Targaryens proved that 300 years ago. Robert proved that 17 years ago.

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The Hand he burned was Allester Florent who wanted him to submit to the Lannisters and offer his daughter to wed a bastard of incest. He was about to send this offer to Tywin as well since he was given the king's seal.
Somehow, I don't think Ned (the symbol of all that is honorable and just in this series) would ever burn Maester Luwin or Ser Rodrik alive if they gave him advice he disliked. He also burned Sunglass (terrible name, btw) alive for not converting. Again, these aren't very honorable or just actions.

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But he's done more good than bad, almost doing bad (like sacrificing children) doesn't count. I don't think Stannis will ever sit on the Iron Throne or have a long, successful reign but I admire his tenacity. Personally, I think Dany has too much of Aerys in her to be a good queen. If I had to choose a king, it would be Jon but I think he will either stay at the Wall (even if it melts) or die and live on in Ghost.
I hope Jon either becomes Lord of Winterfell (married to Dany is optional) or that. I also hope Sansa makes it home to Winterfell, but if she does she will be bitter and dangerous, I fear. I doubt Arya or Bran will make it back. I could even see GRRM killing Arya, but I hope she lives on to get Walder Frey and maybe let Sansa and Jon know she's alive, even if she decides not to go home. I could see her honestly living the life of a commoner with Gendry. I just don't see her ever becoming a Lady or a true professional assassin/faceless man. That's probably why the bleak ending is the most likely.

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