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I just finished reading all of the ASOIaF books and I don't think that there is a topic on here.

 

First question: who was the Hooded Man that Theon runs into in Winterfell?

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I just finished reading all of the ASOIaF books and I don't think that there is a topic on here.

 

First question: who was the Hooded Man that Theon runs into in Winterfell?

Though not confirmed, it is rumored to be Mance Rayder.  I think the biggest questions come from Ramsay's letter and whether or not he is lying. 

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That entire chapter where Jon gets the letter and the

unpleasantness with Jon and Knives

that follows just feels off to me. I dunno.

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A FEAST FOR CROWS is probably one of the worst books I've read recently. Just a grueling ordeal. In the acknowledgements, Martin credits no less than 4(!) editors, but I would be hardpressed to find evidence of any "editing" that took place. Seriously, you mean not one of them had the spine to speak up and say, "Hey, George, you do realize that nothing happens in this book, right?" It's 700 pages of DNGAF.

He leads off the acknowledgements by saying, "This one was a bitch." You're telling me, bub.

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Ramsay's not the truth-telling sort, so the letter might be a "draw Jon out of the Wall since he's the last "heir" to Winterfell" standing between the Bolton's and the North (since Theon can easily say that "Arya" isn't Arya.)  This is backed by the whole Moat Calin episode, as well as the "letting Theon and Kyra escape just to hunt them down" stuff.  

 

That, and in one of the preview chapters of TWoW, Stannis is alive and well and possibly on his way to beheading Theon.

 

While I think Jon was killified by the stabbing, I'm pretty sure Melesandre is gonna say the magic words and bring him back.  Its kinda telegraphed by the whole "Thoros tells Melesandre that the magic R'hillor Resurrection words work" scene in the series that wasn't in the book..  That would make Jon the third Dragon, assuming Aegon is really Aegon, and R+L=J is true.

 

Do we really need spoiler tags here, or can we just assume that if you're in this thread, you've done all the reading?

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A FEAST FOR CROWS is probably one of the worst books I've read recently. Just a grueling ordeal. In the acknowledgements, Martin credits no less than 4(!) editors, but I would be hardpressed to find evidence of any "editing" that took place. Seriously, you mean not one of them had the spine to speak up and say, "Hey, George, you do realize that nothing happens in this book, right?" It's 700 pages of DNGAF.He leads off the acknowledgements by saying, "This one was a bitch." You're telling me, bub.

 

 

There's some good in there. Mostly the Cersei  and Jamie chapters. Every bit of the Daenerys stuff is boring. Most of the Ironborn stuff could've been pared down also.

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A FEAST FOR CROWS is probably one of the worst books I've read recently. Just a grueling ordeal. In the acknowledgements, Martin credits no less than 4(!) editors, but I would be hardpressed to find evidence of any "editing" that took place. Seriously, you mean not one of them had the spine to speak up and say, "Hey, George, you do realize that nothing happens in this book, right?" It's 700 pages of DNGAF.He leads off the acknowledgements by saying, "This one was a bitch." You're telling me, bub.

I know plenty of people hate this book, but I will defend it forever.  I think more happened than you realize and this is the book that is going to be best served in hind sight once the series ends.  I think people's issues with the book is that it takes three of the most beloved characters out of the book and replaces them with the most hated(Cersei's chapters are brilliant by the way) and a bunch of newbies that they aren't invested in yet.  I didn't like it much the first time, but I did the "reread" on Audible I understood a lot more about what was going on and realized that it is full of useful information.  Seriously, it sets up Oldtown, the potential for a Lannister downfall, Arya's quest for revenge, the Dornish finally becoming players, and the Ironborn deciding that they want a piece of the action. 

 

I personally think Dances With Dragons is the book that is going to hold up the least.  I thought it illustrated the fact that Jon and Daenerys have basically been spinning their wheels for the majority of the series.  Thankfully they've both been put in positions where they actually have to make moves, and can't just sit around doing nothing.  Tyrion's travels just drag on and on, Jon not realizing that he is losing his men borders on ridiculous, and Dany trying to rule a city of people who hate her, despite the fact that she knows she will have to abandon it, just really makes it a chore to get through. The thing about the two books is that they would have probably been better as one book, but the Feast of Crows half is just so much more dense than the Dance of Dragons half that I don't know if it would have worked. 

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See, to me, the Cersei stuff is indicative of the problems with the whole book. It's obvious from the start that, literally, everything she's doing is completely wrong and is going to backfire on her spectacularly. But it doesn't for 600 pages. Her story ends in an interesting place, but it's a LOOOOONG time getting there, and, worse, it's a damn cliffhanger, so you don't even get the complete payoff.

Same deal with Brienne. We know from the very beginning that she's on a wild goose chase with no hope of finding who she's looking for, and yet it carries on and on and on for 600 pages. Her story also ends in an interesting place, but, again, it's a cliffhanger, providing me with precious little reward for slogging through the whole thing.

Arya isn't in the book a whole lot, but when she is, her story basically boils down to "Arya does chores for various people."

And, FUCK, there is no excuse for Sam's story dragging out as long as it does.

Jamie's story is alright, but in one of the better books, it would be, at best, the 7th or 8th most interesting thing going on.

I actually like the Ironborn gang, but they were in a tough spot, being this brand new gaggle of characters getting dumped into an already overlong book. On the flip side, I think the goings-on in Dorne would be a drag regardless of context.

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See, to me, the Cersei stuff is indicative of the problems with the whole book. It's obvious from the start that, literally, everything she's doing is completely wrong and is going to backfire on her spectacularly. But it doesn't for 600 pages. Her story ends in an interesting place, but it's a LOOOOONG time getting there, and, worse, it's a damn cliffhanger, so you don't even get the complete payoff.

 

I almost wish that Cersei's stuff was its own book.  I think all of it is necessary, but in a huge ensemble her craziness and disconnectedness feel like they are part of a different story.  It is 600 pages of the least reliable narration I've ever read, but I liked all of it, but it probably could have paid off in Feast for Crows. 

 

Arya isn't in the book a whole lot, but when she is, her story basically boils down to "Arya does chores for various people."

 

Arya is basically in a Karate Kid movie, doing chores for people that somehow will turn her into the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament champion a total bad ass. 

 

On the flip side, I think the goings-on in Dorne would be a drag regardless of context.

 

I couldn't disagree more with this.  The Dornish are the biggest x-factors in the entire series. In a world where rushing into wars they can't possibly win seems to be the order of operations, they are playing a long game that no one sees coming.  You could probably argue that the two best chapters in the entire book are the Arys Oakheart chapter and the Queenmaker chapter.  And how can you not be interested in a squad of warrior women bent on revenge?

 

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I have little doubt that, Martin being the meticulous plotter that he is, a lot of this stuff will end up being important down the line. I just don't think much of any of it works as a book, in and of itself, which is what makes it such an unenjoyable read. If it were a TV show, people would write it off as a "piece mover" episode, recognizable as necessary for setting up things to come but not something you'd ever be excited to watch again.

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Well that's what he had to do with these last two books. A Storm of Swords was the big climatic end to a lot of things, and these last two (which I've been lead to believe started out as one thing that got out of control) had to reset the table a bit for the big finale to come. Also, I think that GRRM got bogged down writing the Mereen stuff. I can't believe that was any fun to write. 

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There's as many candidates for The Hooded Man as there were for the Hummer Limo Driver in '99.  The most amusing -- and thus my preferred -- theory is

 

The Hooded Man is a Tyler Durden-esque figment of Theon's imagination, enabling him to do the things he is too craven to do as Reek

 

Ramsay is almost certainly either full of shit or misinformed when he writes that letter.  The clincher is

If he had killed Stannis, he'd have "his bride" and "his Reek" back, because they were delivered to Stannis

  Assuming, of course, he even really wrote it -- again, "real author of the Pink Letter" wanders into Hummer Driver territory.

 

AFFC finishes way stronger than its mostly slow, plodding, table setting build.  Cersei exposing just how batshit she actually is is a highlight for me, as is Jaime's fake hand becoming his version of Cowboy Bob Orton's cast because, while she and the book aren't really going anywhere, at least she cuts a fun heel promo each time.   Dorne is a snore until the big bomb at the very end.  It does suffer from it's "JV" feel, with all the new characters and The Big 3 (and Bran) on the POV sideline.

 

For ADWD, I think Dany Jon and Tyrion spinning their wheels -- especially as Jon and Dany learn that Rulin' Ain't Easy -- is part of the point.  But even with that said, it's not as fun to watch them meander and flounder.  It gets to the point where Victarion is a breath of fresh air because he's actually GOING SOMEWHERE if only because he never slows down to actually think.  But there's a current of black humor to his chapters, like a parody of Icelandic Sagas (perfect for the Vikingesque Ironborn) that makes me like his bits too.  Arya also doesn't really move forward much (even when it feels like she should: she Makes Her Bones with the FM), and even Bran feels like he got more of a teaser of an arc than a full arc.  Like they got chapters because they had to have chapters. 

And Sansa didn't even get a chapter at all!  Rather disappointing, her cliffhanger at the end of AFFC interested me far more than Arya's.  LF reveals his master plan to Sansa AND a subtle tip off that the Lords Declarant, via Myranda Royce, have figured out who she really is?  Where was her token chapter?

 

they were initially one book, but most/all of this content was there so it was so extremely long that the publisher told him to split it in two.  This seems to have forced him to rework his long term plan and may be partly why the books have taken so long to come out now.

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I am only up to Davos's first chapter in ADOD and so I've been skipping all the speculation.  It took me a year to read Storm of Swords and only about 3 months to make it through Feast.  Book four thoughts, minimal on spoilers:

 

I actually kind of liked the Dorne parts even before the final chapter, and in retrospect there aren't nearly as many as there seem to be as the story goes on.  I also think that getting a full book's worth of Quentyn hate from Arianne before we actually meet him and see what he's really like helps a great deal.  At the same time, half a book of hearing about

Manderley killing Davos and sending his head as proof of fealty to King's Landing

means that, even if that's a fake out, it hurts the drama in some ways.

 

At this point, I am WAY more interested in what happens next to Cersei and Littlefinger/Sansa than what Jon and Dany are up to.

 

So, Victarion and Arya get POV chapters in book 5 too? Huh.

 

I really expected

the mystery of the False Hound

to be a bigger deal, and I don't know why.  Given the rules Martin plays by, it could never be anything more than a distraction, and yet I was still let down when it turned out to be so quickly dealt with.

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Sometimes, the way GRRM builds up his villains, I wonder if he was ever a wrestling fan at some point in his life.

 

Primarily its Joffrey that has me think this way.

 

But The Viper vs The Mountain is a classic build to the PPV bout.

 

 

There's also

"Ser Robert Strong", who has all the hallmarks of "Charlie Brown from Out Of Town", "The Midnight Rider", and every iteration of that classic angle. 

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Eighteen seconds before the sun goes nova and we all die.

On the plus side, Earth is eight light minutes from the sun, so that gives us a full eight minutes and change to get some reading in.

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That won't be the next book.

 

No, GRRM is much crueler than that.  We'll get the next book.  It'll be the final book right before the heat death of the universe.

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At this point, we have a better chance of Martin dying and getting the ending on HBO then the next book coming out.

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At this point, GRRM releasing preview chapters is the only way we're getting TWoW.

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So, am I somewhat safe in assuming that the three eyed raven/tree dude is/was a Stark? It's the vibe I get from his interactions with Bran.

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Well...

 

New popular theory going around is that its Future Bran using Tree-Time-Warging/Greendreaming to talk to his present self.  

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