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Game of Thrones S3 (US Pace, Spoilers)


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Old 04-07-2013, 22:10
Facepalm
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And what, exactly is wrong with reading an encyclopaedia? What, precisely, do you imagine an encyclopaedia is for?
Nothing is wrong with reading an encyclopedia. That's not his argument. He's basically saying the point of a novel is to progress the story and characters- not indulge too much in unnecessary description and details. I've found the general feeling towards the last two books (from friends and forums) that there is little plot development (especially in the fifth book, compared to the first three novels), and there's a lot of focus on travelling to places.

Lots of characters spend many chapters travelling to places, rather than actually getting to places and doing things to progress the story. In these travel diaries, we got loads of details about locations that end up being completely unnecessary. In the first book, Catelyn travels to Kings Landing and we do not have three chapters of pointless and indulgent information about the locations she visited on her travels because it wasn't important for the story.

Your argument is pretty flawed anyway. The unnecessary detail is detrimental to the plot at times (can't specify which ones for obvious reasons, but you've read the books. You'll know which chapters drag on for a while.) because character and plot progression are being sacrificed for unnecessary details about the world the author has created. In the fifth book, many characters have particular aims and goals they want to achieve- and many do not reach them by the end of the book and are still heading towards them. 1500 pages later...

Also, just because I do not want to read an encyclopedia of the novels, that doesn't mean I'm not engaged with the novels. For example, I love Star Wars but do I really need to know about the local wildlife and plants of the planet Naboo? Not really, because it's not important for understanding and engaging with the overall story and characters. Same with the books in question. That doesn't make me a person with little attention span who wants a lightweight, fast paced novel like you seem to suggest. Enjoying unnecessary detail doesn't make you a superior person either.

Call me old fashioned but as a reader, I'd rather see the story and characters progress but whatever, I'm sure the far more superior and intellectual readers will enjoy reading about turtles, travel diaries and food, rather than interesting plot and character developments.

p.s this post seems a bit negative, but I did like A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons. Well, the 50% of it where things actually happened. The other 50% filler could have been trimmed from the novel with no consequence.
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Old 04-07-2013, 23:26
Cadiva
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The first three books managed to create a vivid and detailed world without so much excessive detail and filler concerning food and clothing constantly. When there's a whole chapter with consistent and pointless description of turtles and little plot/character development from it, you begin to wonder what the point is. Of course, pretty much every reader enjoys description and details in a story because they're important for creating a world that feels read (that's obvious) but there is a thing as too much detail.
In your opinion yes, in mine, not so much. The minor details are what flesh out a world and provide the background that people need when dealing with fantasy fiction. His world bares a resemblance to our own but it's the subtle differences which he narrates which make it "fantasy".
His details create the cultural differences between the peoples' of Westeros, Essos and beyond, they give depth to the experiences that the characters are going through, they don't have to advance a plot beyond giving the reader of sense of time and place.

For example, I love Star Wars but do I really need to know about the local wildlife and plants of the planet Naboo?
No, you might not, but there's clearly plenty of people who do given the extensive range of background material that's been created for most successful popular fiction series' Star Wars being just one of many.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:36
TommyNooka
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And what, exactly is wrong with reading an encyclopaedia? What, precisely, do you imagine an encyclopaedia is for?

You see I don't agree that the levels of detail are detrimental to the plot at all, I got so into the story that I didn't notice too much detail, it just added to the pictures in my head. I guess those who are criticising don't read the same way I, and clearly others, do; I fail totally to understand the argument that too much detail necessarily detracts from 'the plot' (which one? there are dozens in these books), and in this case, for me, it didn't.

I guess the fact that GRRM is coming out with an encyclopaedia and you consider the information in it to be irrelevant shows that you really haven't engaged with the world that has been created, so it's not surprising that you consider that this work has too much detail. I guess there are always going to be those who want a fast novel of a couple of hundred pages or so, and then they're onto the next.

I didn't like the books I've read by David Gemmell, (apart from Legend), for exactly the opposite reason, they appear to me to be lightweight fluff. I don't want to read books like that, I only read 5 in the end, but clearly people do, or his books wouldn't be so popular.

Very few people will read an encyclopaedia from start to finish, it's a reference book, should you want to know more about a particular subject then read its entry in the encyclopaedia. That's why you can't borrow them from the library, they aren't intended for leisure reading.

Spoiler



That's just a small sample of the superfluous fluff that makes up the majority of AFFC & ADWD. This is not what I call interesting.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:55
blueisthecolour
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Very few people will read an encyclopaedia from start to finish, it's a reference book, should you want to know more about a particular subject then read its entry in the encyclopaedia. That's why you can't borrow them from the library, they aren't intended for leisure reading.

Spoiler



That's just a small sample of the superfluous fluff that makes up the majority of AFFC & ADWD. This is not what I call interesting.
Spoilers!!!!
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:58
srhDS
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I have reported that post and asked it to be tagged. I have thought a lot of the whining about spoilers was over reacting but to post a whole section from a future book (especially one that neames characters) is so irresponsible. There is a book thread, why is this conversation not in there.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:58
Darthchaffinch
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where?!?
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:27
anotherlongers
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Damn those turtles!
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:53
TommyNooka
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I have reported that post and asked it to be tagged. I have thought a lot of the whining about spoilers was over reacting but to post a whole section from a future book (especially one that neames characters) is so irresponsible. There is a book thread, why is this conversation not in there.
I realised after I'd posted it that I should probably have spoiler tagged it but by then it was too late to edit. It's hardly a spoiler in any case since there has been quite a bit of discussion about particular characters travelling......a lot.

I think it's doing any non-book readers a favour, this is what you can expect to fill your screens in future. It's just one example of GRRM's propensity for descriptive lists which have gotten completely out of control.


GRRM loves his turtles!!!
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Old 05-07-2013, 21:25
SliverOfDiamond
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Very few people will read an encyclopaedia from start to finish, it's a reference book, should you want to know more about a particular subject then read its entry in the encyclopaedia. That's why you can't borrow them from the library, they aren't intended for leisure reading.
Yes, well, I had a Pears cyclopaedia as a child, and I was forever reading it, same with my Guinness Book of Records amongst others. Doesn't seem to be much point in owning 'reference' books if you're not going to read them.


Spoiler



That's just a small sample of the superfluous fluff that makes up the majority of AFFC & ADWD. This is not what I call interesting.
You see I love that description, it sums up for me a perfect scene, of a riverbank and the wildlife around it and in it, I don't think that's superfluous at all, it conjures up a particular, very pleasant picture, to me. You may not like it, I do.

...lots of stuff...

Your argument is pretty flawed anyway. The unnecessary detail is detrimental to the plot at times (can't specify which ones for obvious reasons, but you've read the books. You'll know which chapters drag on for a while.) because character and plot progression are being sacrificed for unnecessary details about the world the author has created. In the fifth book, many characters have particular aims and goals they want to achieve- and many do not reach them by the end of the book and are still heading towards them. 1500 pages later...

....More stuff...
No, my argument is not flawed, I've been explaining why I enjoyed the books, and why I didn't find them at all dull and boring and overfilled with description, my argument can't be flawed because, well, I know that I enjoyed them .

...p.s this post seems a bit negative, but I did like A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons. Well, the 50% of it where things actually happened. The other 50% filler could have been trimmed from the novel with no consequence.....
Again, in your opinion. In my opinion, I would not have had the extra details for the pictures in my head, and thus would have been much the poorer without them.

We're just different. Although, if you didn't think they added anything to the story, you could just skip them, which I think it preferable to them not being there in the first place.
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:51
brangdon
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That's just a small sample of the superfluous fluff that makes up the majority of AFFC & ADWD. This is not what I call interesting.
The description of local wildlife adds colour to the book. It makes the places seem more real; we can imagine being there and having that experience. We then get the person observing it, and that gives us a bit more insight into their character and the kinds of things they notice. This is followed by some historical colour; possibly a tall tale, possibly not. It arguably tells us as much about the person telling the tale as it does about the historical personage featured in it. The passage ends with some background on a couple of new characters. We see that the person who was observing the wildlife is now observing their companions in the same way.

I think it's a pretty great paragraph. The segue from wildlife to companions was smoothly done.
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:22
Cadiva
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The description of local wildlife adds colour to the book. It makes the places seem more real; we can imagine being there and having that experience. We then get the person observing it, and that gives us a bit more insight into their character and the kinds of things they notice. This is followed by some historical colour; possibly a tall tale, possibly not. It arguably tells us as much about the person telling the tale as it does about the historical personage featured in it. The passage ends with some background on a couple of new characters. We see that the person who was observing the wildlife is now observing their companions in the same way.

I think it's a pretty great paragraph. The segue from wildlife to companions was smoothly done.
Couldn't agree more.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:09
scamrasc
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And what, exactly is wrong with reading an encyclopaedia? What, precisely, do you imagine an encyclopaedia is for?

You see I don't agree that the levels of detail are detrimental to the plot at all, I got so into the story that I didn't notice too much detail, it just added to the pictures in my head. I guess those who are criticising don't read the same way I, and clearly others, do; I fail totally to understand the argument that too much detail necessarily detracts from 'the plot' (which one? there are dozens in these books), and in this case, for me, it didn't.

I guess the fact that GRRM is coming out with an encyclopaedia and you consider the information in it to be irrelevant shows that you really haven't engaged with the world that has been created, so it's not surprising that you consider that this work has too much detail. I guess there are always going to be those who want a fast novel of a couple of hundred pages or so, and then they're onto the next.
for me, it detracted from the quality of the book because it was so boring. it got to the stage where i would start reading a massive paragraph - literally nearly a full page long - and realise it was entirely devoted to (what felt to me) rediculous and extremely excessive levels of description, so genuinely just jump right to the end of that paragraph and not miss out on anything.
don't misunderstand me here - i LOVE vivid descriptions. everybody does! but there is a skill to it. a fine, yet crucial, line between 'vivid' and 'excessive'. vivid will transport you into another world and make you read 10 pages without even realising. excessive....will make your eyes glaze over and create the loop of reading the same line over and over because you got bored. like others have pointed out, all of the previous books created a wonderfully fully fleshed out world through the power of vivid descriptions. GRRM hit the nail on the head and made everything come alive. but with the final 2, he openly admits he ran into trouble with plotting and timings and that very clearly affected the pace and quality of writing. perhaps not for you quite so much, but without question to a huge proportion of readers, as book 4 is widely considered to be the weakest.

and that's not because we haven't "connected" with the world he created, or because we're only interested in fast paced books of a couple hundred pages before moving on......it's exactly the opposite. we ARE connected with that world he created, and we want to remain in it....through a simple little thing called quality of writing. a good book does not require 100 pages of action, but it DOES require PLOT!!! it requires character developement. story. EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT. these are the backbones - the skeleton - and they must be brought to life by the tools surrounding them....quality of writing, pacing, and yes, description (among others) = the flesh. all of these are crucial and equally important. they need to be in balance. while description is wonderful and every good book most definitely needs it, it should NEVER come at the detriment of the others. and in AFFC and DWD, it did. that was GRRM's mistake with those two books. that's not to say that those books are bad (i personally highly enjoyed DWD), but they are certainly weaker volumes in terms of writing than his previous ouputs.

*note: i'm keeping these comparisons and criticisms purely within the ASOIAF series, as i consider GRRM to be a highly skilled and gifted author on the whole. so when i say something of his is "weak", it's in reference purely to his own body of work.*

also - the bib...well, obviously, the plot pertaining to that character
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:52
scamrasc
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oh, and for the record, i too had a set of encyclopaedias that i would sit and read for hours as a child. i also read the dictionary every single night when i went to bed - the whole way through, full A-Z. but i don't see what relevance that has to anything. we're discussing novels here. and like i said before, good novels have good balance.
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Old 07-07-2013, 16:40
SliverOfDiamond
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oh, and for the record, i too had a set of encyclopaedias that i would sit and read for hours as a child. i also read the dictionary every single night when i went to bed - the whole way through, full A-Z. but i don't see what relevance that has to anything. we're discussing novels here. and like i said before, good novels have good balance.
The relevance, if you look at the post I was replying to, is that someone claimed that no-one sits around reading encyclopaedias. I begged to differ, because that's exactly what I did as a child, and clearly you did too.
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Old 08-07-2013, 05:06
scamrasc
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The relevance, if you look at the post I was replying to, is that someone claimed that no-one sits around reading encyclopaedias. I begged to differ, because that's exactly what I did as a child, and clearly you did too.
that's still not important - and still not relevant - to a discussion concerning the structure of a series of novels.
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:57
Cadiva
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that's still not important - and still not relevant - to a discussion concerning the structure of a series of novels.
Yes it is when the accusation about the structure of said series of novels is that it has "become like reading an encylopedia".

it should NEVER come at the detriment of the others. and in AFFC and DWD, it did. that was GRRM's mistake with those two books.
I also utterly disagree with you that AFfC and ADwD are any better or worse in terms of description overtaking plots than his earlier books. All of his novels have periods of verbosity which could easily have been cut out.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:05
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oh, and for the record, i too had a set of encyclopaedias that i would sit and read for hours as a child. i also read the dictionary every single night when i went to bed - the whole way through, full A-Z. but i don't see what relevance that has to anything. we're discussing novels here. and like i said before, good novels have good balance.
While you were reading the dictionary, did you come across the word 'ridiculous'?
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:17
TommyNooka
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The relevance, if you look at the post I was replying to, is that someone claimed that no-one sits around reading encyclopaedias. I begged to differ, because that's exactly what I did as a child, and clearly you did too.
I also had an encyclopaedia/dictionary/thesaurus (which I often referred to) as a child I even collected every single issue of Quest but that bears absolutely no relevance to sitting down and reading an encyclopaedia from cover to cover which is exactly what I said, I didn't say no one reads encyclopaedias. If no one read them they wouldn't exist but I find it highly unlikely someone would lie in bed reading every single page the encyclopaedia Brittanica.

I love Stephen King books, the guy writes books every bit as big as GRRM (sometimes bigger) and he uses quite a lot of descriptive passages but unlike those in ASOIAF they aren't littered with lists of items/heraldry/food/turtles.
Don't get me wrong I really enjoyed the first 3 books but the more I read the more I found to dislike, maybe it's the old familiarity breeds contempt 'syndrome' but I don't feel like that about SK and I've been reading his books for 25 years.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:06
scamrasc
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Yes it is when the accusation about the structure of said series of novels is that it has "become like reading an encylopedia".
i thought that that one throwaway line was latched onto rather literally as i took it to be simply a phrase used commonly to exaggerate a point (wrongly, i'm guessing, based on the posters last comment) - but i didn't think that it had any real merit in the first place anyway. if the line about an encyclopaedia is going to be taken so literally (rather than metophorically), then it's not relevant to start with, because they're totally different in absolutely every way.

basically i'm saying can we drop it and focus on the actual books in thier own right.

I also utterly disagree with you that AFfC and ADwD are any better or worse in terms of description overtaking plots than his earlier books. All of his novels have periods of verbosity which could easily have been cut out.
all of them have periods of verbosity, yes....but AFFC + ADWD much much more so than their predecessors. which is why i never got the feeling of plot becoming stagnant in favour of needless passages/chapters contributing nothing with the earlier books, or that the balance was thrown off with them like i did with the latter 2 - which if you'll read my comment, was what i said before.

While you were reading the dictionary, did you come across the word 'ridiculous'?
are you really trying to sass me because i spelt that one word with an 'e'....as spelling errors go - weak. perhaps if you're going to bother posting, something worthwhile in contributing to the discussion might be a better route to go down.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:52
SliverOfDiamond
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are you really trying to sass me because i spelt that one word with an 'e'....as spelling errors go - weak. perhaps if you're going to bother posting, something worthwhile in contributing to the discussion might be a better route to go down.
You have to admit that a mis-spelling from someone claiming to have read a dictionary every single night as a child, for pleasure, is somewhat ironic.
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Old 09-07-2013, 21:37
Palmerwho
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Ref Spoilers.

Where are you safe to talk when your ahead of the series but only two thirds of the way through ASOS part 2!!! Reading at least a chapter during my lunch break at work, and loving it. It was really hard to get into, but once you do you struggle to stop!

So much has happened but I don't want to be 'that person' like the considerate person who ruined the fate of Robb Stark.

To be fair I know this is really a rhetorical question, I just don't have anywhere to vent my opinion and the 'All Books' thread looks really scary tbh.
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:10
blueisthecolour
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Ref Spoilers.

Where are you safe to talk when your ahead of the series but only two thirds of the way through ASOS part 2!!! Reading at least a chapter during my lunch break at work, and loving it. It was really hard to get into, but once you do you struggle to stop!

So much has happened but I don't want to be 'that person' like the considerate person who ruined the fate of Robb Stark.

To be fair I know this is really a rhetorical question, I just don't have anywhere to vent my opinion and the 'All Books' thread looks really scary tbh.
I'd recommend starting up your own thread if you just want to discuss ASOS.
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Old 10-07-2013, 13:58
burton07
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i thought that that one throwaway line was latched onto rather literally as i took it to be simply a phrase used commonly to exaggerate a point (wrongly, i'm guessing, based on the posters last comment) - but i didn't think that it had any real merit in the first place anyway. if the line about an encyclopaedia is going to be taken so literally (rather than metophorically), then it's not relevant to start with, because they're totally different in absolutely every way.

basically i'm saying can we drop it and focus on the actual books in thier own right.



all of them have periods of verbosity, yes....but AFFC + ADWD much much more so than their predecessors. which is why i never got the feeling of plot becoming stagnant in favour of needless passages/chapters contributing nothing with the earlier books, or that the balance was thrown off with them like i did with the latter 2 - which if you'll read my comment, was what i said before.



are you really trying to sass me because i spelt that one word with an 'e'....as spelling errors go - weak. perhaps if you're going to bother posting, something worthwhile in contributing to the discussion might be a better route to go down.
Well, if you are going to bother posting, contribute to the discussion yourself instead of making ridiculous claims that you read the dictionary every night from A-Z.
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Old 10-07-2013, 15:32
sootysoo
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For those who have read AFFC + ADWD, do you recommend them?

I have just finished ASOS but I don't want to get the other books if they aren't any good or don't continue to story arcs that I enjoy.
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Old 10-07-2013, 16:30
blueisthecolour
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For those who have read AFFC + ADWD, do you recommend them?

I have just finished ASOS but I don't want to get the other books if they aren't any good or don't continue to story arcs that I enjoy.
Um, it's all subjective really. Though I doubt that there are many people that read the books that wished they hadn't bothered, just some that wished they were 'better'. Personally speaking I agree that they lose focus and spend too long telling some of the (not very interesting) stories. I won't type any more as I don't think this is the place, just to conclude that Wikipedia says that reaction to AFFC was generally negative whilst ADWD was seen as an improvement.
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