Again, I tried reading “A Dance With Dragons” by George R.R. Martin. It is book five of an interminable series called “A Game of Thrones,” the most violent, grim, and repetitive — and long — series ever written. It makes “Lord of the Rings” look like a short story.
Originally, I gave it three stars, but I’m dropping it one. I disliked the books and hated what little I saw of the television show. The books are dark, long, and monotonous interspersed with periods of horror. The series may go on forever, but I will not be there for its conclusion.
The first time I encountered a 40-page description of the food at a royal banquet and drifted into a coma, I thought “Hmm. Filler.” Shortly thereafter, Mr. Martin began to knock off any character to whom I felt anything resembling affection or empathy, leaving only the characters I would have happily killed on my own. That didn’t give me any warm fuzzies either.
To enjoy a story, I need to feel some kind of positive relationship with at least one character. In these books, I dislike everyone and relate to no one, I lose interest through boredom, but the distaste comes first. Reading a very long series when there’s no character I like or respect is like going to a big party that goes on forever … but you have no one to talk to. I don’t usually go to parties for exactly that reason.
Science fiction/paranormal/fantasy/alternative reality fiction is my favorite reading arena, the one in which I spend most of my literary hours. The problem is not a lack of familiarity with the genre. I just don’t like this series.
It is long and slow. The plot never seems to advance. The situation never changes in any substantial way. Just one set of machinations replaced by another in an endless cycle of nastiness, back-stabbing, murder, and intrigue. I guess I need more than plotting and murder to hold my interest.
Does its placement in an alternate reality improve the story? Not for me. These days reality is alternate enough.
This is a popular series. I own a bunch of volumes because I optimistically assumed I would like it. Big mistake. I was glad the series ended although I was part of a very small minority who was relived it finished. Apparently, people enjoyed it. Why? I do not know. Good acting doesn’t improve and the storyline. Ironically, this was a series that apparently followed the original books pretty well.
Garry and I watched the first quarter of the first show. It was enough. The rest I learned about on talk shows. And of course, by reading a couple of the books hoping that I’d discover I like them.
I didn’t happen and I’m pretty sure it never will. Oh well.