Amph ASOIAF: "A Clash of Kings" Chapter-by-Chapter: Chapter Thirty-Two: Sansa

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Nevermind, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    I would actually say that the Mongols are at least as likely a model for the Dothraki than the Huns. The equestrian culture was much more pronounced in the latter. They also share the penchant for council-like gatherings of an otherwise nomadic people to mark important events. To some extent, though, I suppose one could argue that coming from the same region, most all the cultures share similar features, and insisting too much on any one in particular as an inspiration is silly.

    I do have one large frustration with this thread, though. The format seems awful and inadequate for the task at hand. You purport to describe why you dislike Martin's works. Yet, much like Martin, seem to have chosen the most verbose and circuitous way of doing so. You note historical parallels, but then explain that you are not using them as a point of criticism, but merely bringing them up? Why? How does that help me understand why you dislike the book? Likewise, do the plot summaries shed any light on affairs? What is the body count supposed to imply, that all books with a certain amount of deaths in them are of a certain quality? Or is this merely another "by the way" statistical exercise?

    A novel is not just a series of short pieces haphazardly strung together. There is a whole that matters. Your approach so atomizes the book that no one ever gets a grasp on what you think is wrong with that whole. Instead, we just get a sentence or two of wry criticism about things that are, in many cases, ultimately trivial. If you have global criticisms of the series, why not address them globally? Your present approach only serves to produce a lot of filler material.

  2. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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  3. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

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    I don't think that's necessarily true. Even if I were to pick up something written by Charles Dickens or Wilkie Collins or Bram Stoker, I wouldn't consider their use of language to border on the ridiculous or the purple. There's a difference between using good vocabulary in an effective way and using good vocabulary for the sake of using it. What Martin does in this series, beating his metaphors to death and putting so much effort into describing irrelevancies, borders on linguistic abuse.

    In A Game of Thrones, yes, I'd agree with you; Dany was, by far, the most engrossing character, and her storyline the most spectacular to read. In A Clash of Kings, however, I couldn't get through her chapters fast enough. Simply put, nothing happened. Her fantastic character was just tossed aside. I hope that changes in the next installment.
  4. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    [image=http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp39/darthramza/HA_HA_HA_OH_WOW.jpg]

    I'm sorry, I love Dickens but... that's pretty much exactly what he used to do. Constantly. He's infamous for it. He never gets as bad as, say, H.P. Lovecraft, but he's being paid by the word and it shows to a tremendous degree. Martin may not exhibit the sort of concise, terse prose I'm especially fond of, but Dickens is hardly exempt from criticism on the same front.

    As for Stoker, his prose may be superior to Martin's, but I think he only managed to create an immensely compelling character by accident. Or, at least, that's the impression the second half of Dracula left me with. How the book manages to do a U-turn from compelling horror story to boring "Have I mentioned lately that Mina Harker is an amazingly pure snowflake?" diatribe merely by killing off Lucy confounds me to this day.
  5. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    What does the use of metaphors and extended descriptions have to do with linguistic abuse? I suspect--and your comments about Dany in ACOK and other POVs in your previous posts confirm this thought--that you just want to get to the action already. GRRM oughtn't be held responsible for your attention span. This series isn't about relentless action: far from it.

    I don't have an opinion about GRRM as a writer. I've never been struck by the quality of his prose, nor have I ever been annoyed by it. It seems, though, that you're letting your personal preferences in how the story is plotted muddy your view of his craft.

    edit: Also, I'd be very disappointed if a great many things happened to Dany in ACOK. She's in a giant wasteland, for goodness sakes!
  6. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Chapters 13 and 14 of "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens

    It's great comic writing; it's great writing. Is it like AGOT? Not hardly. Dickens' dialogue illuminates character, and he's got a terrific ear (he was a frustrated actor, and always knew what played.) He also has an equally terrific sense of humour. Granted he is not always this good; but he was also a satirist and social critic. You can only call Martin a satirist if you accept this work as a put-on (and there are times that I have suspected it.)

    I have to say, however, this thread has been *very* educational. It's interesting to see what sells, and to speculate why. I'm sure "Twilight" will be equally instructive.

    The interesting POV so far is Eddard, mainly because alone among the protagonists, he has some complexity of character. He is a weakling, for one thing, and thus exposes his wife and children to death and destruction because he can't swim with the sharks. I'm not being critical here; it's just a fact. Daenerys isn't a character so far; she comes across as a Mary Sue projection in what is (so far) a fanfic in style and content (and I've read a few, too. It's more ambitious, but the tone is the same.)

    Chapter Ten: Eddard

    Summary: Robert's a slack, lazy idiot, and tries to get Eddard (who is demonstratively unsuited to it) to do his dirty work for him.

    Some Thoughts: Here we come to a central mystery; is Jon Eddard's son, or that of his sister Lianna? And Rhaegar? Or not? (He looks like a Stark, so maybe this is wrong.) And exactly what do Eddard promise her? I'm guessing it didn't involve sending Jon to the Wall, but as I say, Eddard's not able to tell his wife to suck it up.

    For ye Fanboys: Lots of violence and treachery.

    Where Have I Seen This Before? Dept: "I, Claudius" and the death of Caligula's monstrous little daughter, Drusilla, whose brains are bashed out against a wall; and the death of Sejanus' two children.

    Grammatical Errors: 3

    Speaking Forsoothly: "I see no babes. Only dragonspawn.'

    Bad dialogue: "You were never the boy you were." Huh?

    Purple Prose: See Le Mot injuste.

    Le Mot injuste: "The rising sun sent long fingers through the pale white mists of dawn." Pale white?

    As You Know, Captain: Nearly this whole chapter is in 'as you know, captain' style. Eddard and Robert are telling each other something they already know. Even Robert complains: "This is well known," he says. This is known as Bad Exposition.

    It's So Good I have to repeat it: "Promise me, Ned."

    The Department of Silly Names: Baelor the Blessed

    Characterization: If Jon is Lyanna's son, Robert doesn't know it. It may not be the only paternity question he's ignorant of.

    What we learn: Robert and Eddard know about Dany's marriage.

    Not thinking it out: "Why should I mistrust him? He's done everything I ever asked of him." And at least three things you haven't.

    Criminal Record: 2 murders, 1 execution, incest, treason, attempted murder of a child, child endangerment by proxy, pimping, pedophilia, indecent exposure, 12 knifing deaths at a wedding reception, 2 child murders;

    POVs to date: 7

    Eddard;s character arc to date: Executes some poor working-class slob/Feels angtsy about executing some poor working-class slob/King Robert wants Eddard as his Hand/Robert gets Eddard as his Hand/

    Rating: 2/5

  7. The Great No One Force Ghost

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    just saying, but the poor working class slob was a man of the nights watch who deserted so... bad description there mate.

    and there is a vast difference in the types of whites. pale whites are the ones that don't really reflect light, then there are glaring whites that do, and then there are whites that are in the middle. so yes, pale white works as it evokes a certain specific image that just white fails to do.
  8. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

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    That's such a horrible myth. Dickens is readable, even by today's standards. In fact, many nineteenth century authors are more readable than Martin, at least as far as I'm concerned, because there's personality to their prose. There's humor or sarcasm or some sort of natural flow which evokes a certain mood, a certain tone. There is no originality to Martin's literary "voice," and his density of prose is almost unbearable, so much so that I have to read around it, at times.

    Then again, my definition of a "good writer" is one who can evoke the most emotion while using the least amount of words. I'm not saying that everyone should write like Earnest Hemingway, and who am I to say that an author should write like anything? I just believe that when your prose is detracting from the mood and the pace and the plot of the story that you're trying to build, then you need to do something about it. Most probably, you need to get rid of some of your prose. That's Martin's central problem, in my opinion.

    No way. You couldn't be more incorrect. I despise the action scenes in this series. I despise action scenes in general. I despire action-heavy novels. They're dull. I find myself skipping the longer ones and simply reading the outcome. And GRRM's strength does not lie with action or battle scenes, not by a long shot. Whenever the characters are interacting, when the intrigue and the plotting and the deviousness is moving forward at a satisfying rate, when a character's personal goals and emotional motivations are being realized, I'm a happy reader. And that's what keeps me reading. Not the battle scenes. Not the action.
  9. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    No, most of the nineteenth century authors who have withstood the tests of time are more readable than Martin. You're basically holding up a contemporary sci fi/fantasy author to the giants of 1800s literature and going "nope, not as good." No kidding, it's almost like if I were to compare fiction author X to Mark Twain I would be forced, forced to conclude that Twain was better.

    Furthermore, I resent the implication that Dickens' prose density is a "myth." I've read the damn books, he can get pointlessly verbose at times. It's my opinion, it's not some knee-jerk "Zeus hurls lightning bolts durrrrrr" statement with no basis in my experiences. Disagreement is one thing, but as worded it's like you're accusing me of lying for having the audacity to disagree with you.

    ... Okay, sometimes I do lie for the purposes of disagreeing, such is my hobby when I'm on the internet, but this time I'm not. :p

    NIAWYC. Well, that and he's gotten to that really comfortable place in sci fi/fantasy publishing where the editor is more concerned with continuity than with, y'know, readability. I'm hardly claiming Martin's prose is faultless - hell, I had to stop reading about 100 pages into A Storm of Swords because I got burned out on his style - but I also don't think it's the crime against literature that you and Zaz seem to be painting it as.
  10. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    One of the True Believers described him as a 'genius' early in this thread; as indeed he is, though not in the way they think. Certainly not as a writer, a plotter, nor as a storyteller.
  11. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    You know, this was totally going to be a gotcha post until I checked and, yes, someone did call him a genius. Which... I dunno, can you be a genius at aiming squarely for entertaining and marketable? I'm hesitant because then that makes George Lucas a genius and... yeah...
  12. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

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    Not necessarily. That a novel has stood the test of time is not always a testament to its "betterness," in my opinion. If you don't think Twain's a good writer, then that's your right. I'd consider Twain's novels to be more readable than Martin's, but that has nothing to do with Twain's perceived "status" as a writer. That said, I'd say that Martin has created more enjoyable characters than Twain did. And that has nothing to do with Martin's genre or the year the novels were published or anything else you mentioned.

    To (try and) make my point, I used Dickens and Stoker et al as examples because I knew they'd be familiar. But I could've compared any author from any genre and any time period to Martin. It doesn't matter. Crappy prose is crappy prose. That was true in the nineteenth century, and that's true now.

    Sorry, I didn't mean to come off that way; it seemed as if you were suggesting that Dickens' verboseness is some sort of widely-accepted literary fact.

    I don't think it's a crime against literature. [face_laugh] I just don't think the series is all that brilliant, and I definitely don't think Martin's writing style is brilliant. Literary preferences are totally subjective, and I get that. I respect that. But I don't get why Martin is considered a master of the genre.
  13. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    I can dig it.
    Well, he is, but I don't say that necessarily as a compliment to Martin, if you get my drift.
  14. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

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    Well, master of the subgenre, maybe? Master of high fantasy? That might be true, but if that's the case, I wouldn't consider it a compliment, either. But master of fantasy? Not really. Not for regurgitating a host of century-old tropes and throwing in a few zombies. :p
  15. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Regurgitating old tropes isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's how you use them. Hell, by merely being able to deconstruct a few of the more typical fantasy cliches, he's already leaps and bounds ahead of most of his competition.:p
  16. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

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    But that's not saying much. :p
  17. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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  18. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    I didn't use action to mean battle--I meant it to mean just that: action. You complained about Dany's arc being better in AGOT than ACOK, and I discussed why the two arcs were different; yet neither had battle scenes.

    Sometimes things are more sedate. Not everything moves at a frenetic pace.
  19. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    re: Martin's prose. His background is as a horror writer, which (generally) requires great economy of language to be done well, and I think that informs his style more than any fantasy tropes. His prose isn't affected high fantasy purple, and it's not Proust, and it won't go down in history, etc -- what it is is admirably and consistently clear, especially given the huge (and increasing) number of plots and characters he's juggling. Zaz noted early that there was some repetition between viewpoints: in my recent re-read of the first book -- the first time I'd read it since 2000 I think -- I was impressed in just the opposite direction. I've read a lot of fat fantasies that didn't seem to go anywhere because all the characters were doing everything all at once and it just bogged down in multiple viewpoints. Martin, on the other hand, I thought did very well moving forward with each chapter; the first book covers roughly a year, IIRC, as opposed to the mere days or weeks of many fat fantasies, and when an event we'd seen already was reconsidered by another character, it always seemed to have been done with purpose. I think more beautiful prose on top of the weighty subject matter and the huge cast of characters might have just tipped the whole thing too far over the top; as it is it is, for me, extremely addictive.
  20. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    I do agree with this: "He is not Proust."

    Give me an example of something you consider particularly well expressed.

    (Please, please, please NOT the "Tower of Joy" thingy)



  21. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Chapter Eleven: Tyrion

    Summary: Tyrion accompanies Jon and his uncle because...well, I must of missed that part.

    Some Thoughts: Not much action

    For ye Fanboys: The dragon-story, especially the battle

    Where Have I Seen This Before? Dept: The Dragon Riders of Pern (shudder)

    Grammatical Errors: 2

    Speaking Forsoothly: There is much less of this in the Tyrion/Eddard chapters

    Bad dialogue: Tyrion's monologue

    Purple Prose: "The teeth were long curving knives of black diamond."

    Le Mot injuste: "A grotesquely ancient oak..." No. It can be grotesquely twisted, but it's not grotesquely ancient.

    As You Know, Captain: The dragon story takes care of the Bad Exposition this time.

    It's So Good I have to repeat it: It's cold, chilly, freezing, etc. etc. etc.

    The Department of Silly Names: King Mern of the Reach.

    Characterization: Tyrion has a lot of boring self-pity.

    What we learn: The Night Watch isn't a high caliber group. Given the celibacy, I'm not surprised.

    Not thinking it out: "You are remarkably polite for a bastard, Snow." You're remarkably rude for a dwarf, Tyrion.

    Criminal Record: 2 murders, 1 execution, incest, treason, attempted murder of a child, child endangerment by proxy, pimping, pedophilia, indecent exposure, 12 knifing deaths at a wedding reception, 2 child murders;

    POVs to date: 7

    Tyrion's character arc to date: Slaps nephew/Talks too much/

    Rating: 1/5
  22. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    Evidently this thread is meant to consist mainly of opinions -- opinions put forward confidently, and often derisively, in comparing A Game of Thrones to preceding works, both historical and fictional, which the thread author regards as similar and superior.

    Early in this thread, I endeavored to rebut Nevermind's several errors of fact. He has so far opted not to engage me in a discussion of fact, even though this discussion began when he made fact-based assertions (in another thread) which proved, on analysis, to be in error.

    My sole recourse, then, if I expect any kind of two-sided discussion to take place with the thread author, is to meet Nevermind apples-to-apples: I will offer my opinions -- as subjective and experience-based, as Nevermind's own have been, on AGoT.

    My friends, my wife and I find ASoIaF to be a sublime work of deeply engaging fantasy fiction. For the past two months a circle of five friends, my wife and I have got together twice a week to watch the HBO series and to discuss the show and the book(s) on which the series is based. Some nights, hours pass -- during which we dissect plot and character, speculate on future events and past motivations, and marvel at the story's multiple layers, symbolic meanings and real-life truths. The author's insight into human nature and human behavior has been praised on more than one occasion. The word "brilliant" has been employed.

    In general there's a palpable thrill among and between our various members, a pitched enthusiasm for the material that I, even as a literature minor and lifelong fanboy/cineaste, have encountered only rarely. It's exciting to be a part of, especially when I see the same heat being generated on-line, in forums like Westeros.org and other fansites.

    Meanwhile, I drift into this thread every couple of days to see what new element of plot or character has stuck in Nevermind's craw. I usually shake my head in bald disbelief at his would-be erudite pronouncements. Before my disbelieving eyes, allusions to supposedly analogous literature or history somehow transform into swift dismissals of this novel as a whole. A curt analysis of Martin's putatively long-winded prose style offers no example of the kind of writing the thread author would prefer, nor does he offer any insight into why we are supposed to agree with him that "purple prose" and "speaking forsoothly" are inherently negative. Grammatical errors are enumerated but never listed so that readers can examine these for ourselves.

    I confess that after x number of pages of this irrational screed, I've got to the point I'm only skimming Nevermind's posts on the subject, so dismissive and holier-than-thou do I find them. Frankly, it makes for unpleasant reading when I know there is nothing I can say or write that will challenge the author's viewpoint on the subject, or help him to see these books in the highly favorable, even laudatory light in which my friends and I see them.

    I can't help but recall that soon after Henry James' novella Daisy Miller was published, much of the English-reading public was caught up in a controversy divided neatly into what one observer called "Millerites and anti-Millerites". Much the same thing occurred in critical circles with Tolkien, with all six Star Wars movies, with the Potter books and films, and so forth and so on. At the end of the day, folks, you're wither into this stuff or you're not. Nevermind isn't. I am. If we had a /shrug/ icon on this board, I'd probably use it here. ;)

    Facts are certainly facts but opinion is only opinion, and as Nevermind himself has written many times: Your Mileage May Vary.
  23. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

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    Oh, I see. No, I don't think everything should move at a frenetic pace, but I do think that something should happen in each chapter and each piece of dialogue to advance the plot, and that everything else is superfluous. There seems to be a lot of superfluousness in this series. :p

    Because you think the series is brilliant and Zaz doesn't, that means Zaz isn't "eruadite" like you and your fanboy buddies are? That's certainly what you seem to be saying. And it's completely contradictory to the assertion that your mileage may vary.

    Which, incidentally, is very true, and is always true, and must always be true. I don't fault you for liking the series. I don't fault you for liking anything. I'm willing to bet there are a few things I like which you'd dislike. However, I don't quite comprehend why you consider the series to be so "brilliant," and you never seem to elaborate on that. Instead, you seem only interested in repeating that you and the rest of the universe considers it to be brilliant. I'm extremely interested in knowing why.
  24. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    No, you've misread me, or ascribed feelings to my post that I did not intend. I accused Nevermind's historical and fictional allusions of being "would-be erudite"; I did not mean to suggest that my friends and I are in any way erudite ourselves. Hope that clarifies.
  25. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    (Sorry for the double post.)

    However, I don't quite comprehend why you consider the series to be so "brilliant," and you never seem to elaborate on that. Instead, you seem only interested in repeating that you and the rest of the universe considers it to be brilliant. I'm extremely interested in knowing why.

    Well, I only have so much time at a sitting, you know! I had to get the above on the table first. I appreciate your interest, and I'll try to satisfy your curiosity in the posts and pages to come. :cool: