Thursday, February 4, 2016

[Re-read] Tyrion II, "Are we there yeeeeeeeeeeeeeettt.............zzzzzzzz."

It's a random day, and y'all know what that means. Another chapter from the combined re-read of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, niftily re-titled A Feast with Dragons, following the order as suggested by All Leather Must Be Boiled (and all smallclothes must be soiled, if the narrative of A Song of Ice and Fire is any indication). This brings me to Tyrion Lannister's second chapter in A Dance with Dragons, and the eleventh chapter in total. My re-read of Tyrion's first chapter, "Wine, Whores and Song" can be found righto here.

And for once I'm going to dive straight in and skip all my usual before-reading drivel about everything else. May the Force be with us all. Oh yeah, one thing (sorry) - I have decided to avoid all spoilers and rumors concerning Game of Thrones season six! Usually I have no willpower for such things, but in this case I'm doing just fine, as I would like to enjoy The Winds of Winter relatively untainted by the TV show.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

[Re-read] Bran I, or "Return of the Cannibal Slaver"

With 28 books in my currently-reading pile, stories to write and games to play, it's become more and more difficult to muster the energy to read A Feast with Dragons. I ask myself, why am I doing this? Then I remind myself, that the goal of this project is to see if I can find a new appreciation for the fourth and fifth volumes of Martin's saga; could I have overlooked something when I read these books upon release, something elusive that, if I'm able to just see it, will make me go "Wait a minute! This stuff is actually brilliant!" So far, no luck. 

Still, I'm in the early chapters, with a lot of reminders of what has happened earlier in the story, a lot of slow building, and I did enjoy a few chapters more than I did the first time around. To read my thoughts on the chapters I've read so far, check out the links available somewhere on this page.

I am still planning to renovate this blog, but it's on the backburner; everything seems to be on the backburner these days, and I blame it on two video games that have eaten a lot of my time over the last months: Star Wars Battlefront, which is indeed not a very good game unless you love pretending to be a Stormtrooper (and of course, I love that), and The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, which is just amazeballs and most definitely a game that dips its toes in George RR Martin's style of fantasy. At times, you'd be forgiven to think you're actually in the Riverlands. Except that it for some reason must needs have dwarves and elves. After a solid opening (the whole introduction to the story is so good I've watched it a few times over) you go about business in a Westeros-like world, and then suddenly you meet a dwarf. Who is a smith. And who has a Scottish dialect. Completely took me out the experience, so I've learned to avoid dwarves. Anyway, if you like grimdark, you'll like The Witcher III, despite the occasional dwarf. Well, more on Geralt of Rivia later. It's time to dive back into the re-read of books four and five - A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons - combined into A Feast with Dragons, using the All Leather Must Be Boiled proposed reading order. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

And a Happy New Year!

The rumors of my demise were somewhat exaggerated. While December definitely was hard on mind and body, it didn't kill me entirely. When Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally came to the theater, it was a relief. I was extremely hyped right up to the moment the Lucasfilm logo appeared on the big screen, not being able to find interest in anything else but Star Wars. The whole lead-up to the seventh episode caught me hook, line, and sinker, and all my other geek interests were momentarily forgotten. With the movie finally ingested and digested (saw it twice) and facing the fact (which I knew all along of course) that it was just a movie, I calmed down on the whole deal and now I'm able to get back to my other pursuits - which in the last few days has been preparing a tabletop roleplaying session in our ongoing gritty fantasy campaign, now in its twelfth year, writing flash fiction and microfiction and whatnot, drawing maps...

...but really, the last three months or so of 2015 was wholly dedicated to that galaxy far, far away. I've played the heck out of Star Wars Battlefront, having fun along the way; I've read several of the tie-in novels for The Force Awakens, devouring them eagerly; I've made space on a shelf to display some of my old Star Wars toys, in short I was truly a fanboy again for a good while. My son and heir did enjoy Episode VII a lot more than his dad, though, but I'm trying not to say anything bad about it, as this Star Wars is for him and his generation. It was an extremely fast-paced, entertaining and witty Star Wars film, no doubt, and it absolutely crushes the prequel trilogy in almost every department, but whereas George Lucas went too far away from what made Star Wars great, J.J. Abrams stayed too close. The plot was and is wafer-thin, and it was precisely a new, fresh and interesting story I most wanted to succeed with this new trilogy. I can't believe how contrived the plot is, and yes I know you could say the same about the original movie, but there's a difference - The Force Awakens was a continuation of a story that began simple enough but took on epic proportions; I feel that simply reskinning the original film with some additional bells and whistles was a very weak decision, but, seeing the spectacular success, I'm sure it was a good decision marketing-wise. Artistically, though...that being said, the first twenty minutes is a home-run, it was enrapturing, powerful, and most importantly, different yet Star Wars all the way. All the new characters were top notch, and I would not have minded the original trio's complete absence, as Rey, Finn, and Poe have more than enough screen presence on their own. Blah blah ramble ramble.

And then...George R.R. Martin updated his Not A Blog.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Give the man a mirror!
My oh my, the days fly by, and A Song of Ice and Fire is all but forgotten in the rampant lead-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I haven't been this excited for a geek product since A Feast for Crows' publication date was announced. I've gone from cautiously optimistic to overhyped with the release of two teasers, one trailer, one Japanese trailer, and various behind-the-scenes footage. Perhaps not a good thing, considering how badly burnt I was on the prequel trilogy, but so far everything I've seen looks pretty awesome. The only crux is the plot and character types which - minor spoiler - feel a bit too recycled from the original trilogy. Where the prequels went too far off the charts like Anakin's midichlorian count, the sequels seem to hew too close. Ah well, 32 days and I'll be sinking back in the chair, tears in my eyes, ready to witness this piece of ... yeah, it's just a movie, but for me Star Wars is a little more than just that. It's perhaps the closest I can come to a kind of spirituality, in spite of all the silly things. Perhaps because I've loved it since I was a child, and it never let go; kind of like how many people can't get let go of certain notions and beliefs that have been there since childhood. Star Wars isn't really an "adult" tale like A Song of Ice and Fire - it's suitable for most ages, but there's a certain resonating mythmaking in the original trilogy combined with spectacular designs that will always push this franchise to the top of my love list, even if it lies dormant. A Song of Ice and Fire then, the first three books, is the closest any other franchise has come to sniff at that first spot on the love list, but the author isn't making it any easy to continue to live the fantasy, eh?

That being said, I guess it's been so long since I have visited George's blog, I better take a look to update myself on the progress of that next book whatever it was called.

"More Hugo Thoughts."
A great short story full of more thoughts, at 737 words, this post contains approximately 0% useful information for a fan of Martin's saga.

"Suicide Girls."
A nice reminder that there's some kind of weird movie playing in Martin's private cinema. This is of course extremely useful for the 99.99% of his readers living elsewhere in the world. Update info: 0%.

"Signed Books."
Why the hell would I want a signed book from this man? Spend those two words and two letters on The Winds of Winter instead, Mr. Can someone ask him to sign a copy of book six?

"Maybe you CAN go home again..."
Wow, that sounds like a piece of poignant dialogue from the upcoming book, but who knows? This post is all about Martin not writing on the book, so I couldn't care less.

"Back to Evanston"
Right. Fuck.

"Hugo Thoughts"
The exciting prequel to More Hugo Thoughts, this short story at 729 words is as useful as a dead mouse found in a used diaper.

"Sunday Bloody Sunday"
Ooooh, betrayal and murder and bloodshed? Or is that just another sports commentary written by someone who is better off writing about comic books and toy knights?

"Books for Brains"
I realize you had fun there, Mr. Martin, I really do.

"Three Cheers for Snod"
First reading it as "snot" I wondered what this was going to be about. The post is as interesting as reading Star Trek fan fiction written with Egyptian hieroglyphs. Upside down. While being molested by an angry ferret.

And on and on it goes. Yes, there have been a lot of Not a Posts, and not one of them has any relevance to A Song of Ice and Fire. Why can't the man at least try to give his fans a post, just once in a while? It's not like it was his other work that made him the stinking rich celebrity he is today.


Aw, what the hell. TA-TAAAAAAA! ta-ta-ta-TAAAAA-TAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!


I still don't know when I'll continue with my re-read of A Feast with Dragons. As I've said, motivation is low, partially because of the insanity of waiting so long for a new book, and partially because those two last books drag on and on and dance with drag ons, they are so boring I'm not sure I can handle the pain of it all, despite my initial positive attitude going in, the goal being to better appreciate the work.

Right now, though, I have a hopefully awesome weekend ahead, when my old gaming group from the late 90s/early 00s is coming together for a weekend of nostalgia featuring weird-shaped dice, character sheets and all the other geek stuff used in roleplaying games. Swords shall be drawn, and spells will surely be cast, and cold drinks will most likely feature heavily and I'm so excited I can barely hide it. Two days without responsibility - what a luxury!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Blog dead?

While I'm not exactly posting mass amounts of geek stuff these days, I am intent on getting on with my re-read of A Feast with Dragons. It's just been a fantastically busy fall so far, and I've had to set my priorities straight. Keeping this blog alive came pretty far down the list, unfortunately, but I hope to soon be back and rolling.
In fact, I've started the next re-read post many weeks ago, and added a paragraph inbetween everything else during the last month or so, so I am kind of getting there, but slowly. Just like a certain author, except an update!

Saturday, October 3, 2015


A Game of Thrones: The Coloring Book.

Insanity prevails.
This world.
Is it even real?
I'm *this* close to giving up on the man and his works.
I can't deal with it anymore.
The long, looooong, loooooooooooooooooooooooong third wait.
And he manages to defecate a post about a fricking COLORING BOOK FOR ADULTS.

How about just publishing a book of blank pages.
The Winds of Winter: The COLORING BOOK FOR ADULTS.

I've had it with this [expletive deleted]
I'll be enjoying the hype-ride of Star Wars instead.
And lovingly lose myself in RPG books.

You had me at "We should start back", urged Gared, (paraphrasing here!!) but you're losing me right now.

I'm thinking it will be a miracle if we ever see Winds in print.
Damn it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Week in Geek

Yeah, things have definitely been quiet on the re-read front. My apologies for that. It's a busy time of the year - and I've been geeking out on other stuff. I've had ups and downs with A Song of Ice and Fire before, but right now I'm just not as passionate about it anymore. My interest in Game of Thrones waned to nothing during season five. No news or updates or anything regarding The Winds of Winter. It's like the franchise died a little and only book six can revive it. A bit like Jon Snow, then. Whoooops spoiler for a four year old book.

So what has been occupying my geek mind? Well, there was the second headstart for Sword Coast Legends, a Dungeons & Dragons video game that I had high hopes for. Long story short, I asked for a refund.

I've been tinkering a lot with my own setting, having a blast making maps and making up lore. It began with a small corner of the world, and now I've moved on to other continents. Absurdly geeky, but something about doing stuff like this is, I don't know, I just get totally engrossed.

As for reading, I'm still busy with Django Wexler's The Thousand Names, and it is still very good, but I've also been reading Star Wars: Journey to The Force Awakens: Aftermath, by Chuck Windig, as well as my latest acquisitions in my mad attempt at collecting everything Forgotten Realms, a big pile of sourcebooks that technically should see me through many years of entertainment.
And of course I've spent way too much time browsing forums related to my geek passions, but I barely bother to check out Ice & Fire sites these days.

Just for kicks - you never know - I'm going to check Martin's blog now, in the vain hope....

...oh. Game of Thrones, numerous Emmys.
Well that's great and should've come earlier, now HBO will think that season five was somehow good. And Martin of course will be full of it and do another round of exhausting interviews with the same tired questions and yes the Emmys basically means The Winds of Winter just got postponed a little more. Grrreat!

Oh well.

Coming up: Re-reading A Feast with Dragons