Thursday, January 20, 2011

George R.R. Martin sucks

Haha! Yessss! I chose a dramatic title to this post!! :) Also just a warning, there’s a bit of spoilers! But I just can’t bitch enough about him and Kate Elliot. I think I’m very bitter about them. They’re like ex-boyfriends from relationships that ended badly. As a reader, I feel these two authors disappointed and betrayed me. And hence now, years after we ‘broke up’ ;) I still feel that bitterness and disappointment. :( For George R.R. Martin it happened in reading Feast of Crows (which was now 4 years ago and still no new books!). I think the final straw was the killing off of Brienne, the only character I could find to identify with and relate to, and the bringing back of Catelyn Stark as some kind of vengeful undead creature?! What the fuck!? But many straws went into breaking this camel’s back. Despite all my feelings for Martin and his series, I will admit I am ecstatic at the thought of the Game of Thrones TV series they’re making out of his books!!! Because, despite my disappointment, it is still absolutely fantastic fantasy!! Which is probably why I’m so bitter now... only great love can lead to great bitterness I suppose?! Haha! :)

So after completing Feast of Crows, I realized it was over between me and George R.R. Martin. *insert melodramatic music here* ;) And in my desolation, I wrote him an email at the time, which I’m including here.

From: Ida
Date: February 1, 2007 7:57:14 PM EST (CA)
Subject: devastated

Dear Mr. Martin,

Not sure if you actually read this email or not or whether this email is just for the Ring of Ice and Fire but I really feel a need to email and this was the only contact info I could find. I guess I will start with the fact that I absolutely love your series of A Song of Ice and Fire. Absolutely amazing series and one that is classic fantasy/medieval which seems to be rare these days as more and more authors add twists and interesting ideas to classic fantasy/medieval world which are great but not the same. The series is very captivating, enthralling, engaging and I find it hard to put the books down once I start! Great story-telling, great characterization, great setting.

But...... sigh..... I am nearing the end of Feast of Crows.... and I am simply devastated. I was seeing the trend of your books and I've come to the point where I give up. I cannot read any more, they are just becoming too disappointing. What I'm bothered by is the lack of a solid storyline. A good story has a beginning, a climax, an end. This is feeling like its becoming like a soap opera.... where the writer has no interest in concluding, just continuing the story for ever and ever. Characters are killed off, new characters introduced, the story is not advanced. Or if it is the overall storyline is advancing soooo slowly as all the minor ones are being advanced but those minor ones feel so pointless. They might not be but they feel it because as a reader I'm not understanding where they tie in. Or using a story/character for chapters and chapters just to add one point to the main storyline is sooo distracting. Granted its an immensely enjoyable distraction but it doesn't feel like its going anywhere. Now I could maybe ignore the lack of a main storyline if you weren't constantly killing off characters. I'm at the point where I don't want to read because your characterization is so good I care about the characters but what's the point when they're just going to be killed off?! The majority of the characters from the first book are dead, right there is a lack of cohesion through the books! So every book seems like an overlap of some new, some old characters, and it almost feels like the new ones are brought it in to replace the old ones!

I know this style of writing will make more money as readers get hooked into never-ending series and eagerly await the latest volume but it's not very fulfilling. And you lose buyers like me as I won't be buying or reading any more after I finish Feast of Crows. All the big fantasy authors are like this... Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind.... 1000+ pages/volume and they go to like 6-10 volume series, which means you need 6000-10000 pages to tell a story!?!? Well I give up, I want a story, not a TV show. I want to anticipate a climax and reach an end in a story. As of now you're planning for 3 more volumes? 3000+ pages!? What's the incentive to keep reading? Do you have a plan as to how you're gonna conclude this!? Any thought given to this at all? If you have a conclusion, do all the side stories and characters really further the story and help it reach that conclusion? Sigh.... it sucks.... I was willing to read your books endlessly, more so then any other long-winded author, coz they are absolutely amazing pieces of writing but lack of a main storyline is killing my enjoyment of them. I am now going to stick to series of max 3 volumes, or another great method that some authors do is trilogies where each volume is its own story with a conclusion, but the series is tied together by having the same characters and chronology. Just as good at hooking readers! You are the 2nd author I find myself giving up on that I absolutely loved and adored their first books. Ramblings that don't tie in are just a waste coz you can't care what happens to 20 characters.... you can only probably care for like 3-4 max.

Sigh..... sorry.... I had to rant. You have absolutely great books and great writing I'm just soooooooooo vastly disappointed that a plot tying all the books together is mostly ignored and for me that just ruins it.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

Your most devastated ex-fan,


Terrie said...

It's ok Ida! You're too good for him!

Lady Knight said...

hahahahaaaa!! thanks!! :P

Anonymous said...

I just read 'A Game of Thrones' recently -- and I was blown away! The characters were excellent, the setting was exquisitely detailed and the pace was thrilling. (Which was impressive, considering how conversational the book is: yet another point in its favor.)

Then I started reading 'A Clash of Kings,' and I was listening (audiobook) to the dwarf and eunach having an argument when the horrid truth washed over me...

It was BORING. Nothing was happening in the book so far!

And the characters had STOPPED GROWING.

In fact, there was a totally implausible character who'd had his fingers chopped off by one of the aspiring kings, yet felt no resentment toward him. So much for the psychological realism that had characterized the first book!

In short, 'A Song of Ice and Fire' starts to suck very early in the second book.

What a disappointment! (And since it was a $45 audiobook, and expensive mistake to boot!)

Lady Knight said...

exactly... A Game of Thrones was truly truly amazing! on all those levels!

actually now that you mention it, the series definitely started to suck in the 2nd book already but i was ignoring it and patiently hoping it would get better. sooooo patiently but it totally just got worse and worse!!!

and i think it just got so boring coz he just didnt seem to focus on furthering the plot, just adding endless new conflict with characters i didnt care about. ugh!

and yeah that describes it perfectly... the characters did stop growing! and also soooo many characters were killed off in that first book? wtf!

and ack! super sucks you spent $45 on it! now i'm glad i was patient enough to wait for paperback versions of the books, coz spending the price of a hardcover would've been enraging!

Anonymous said...

Thank You!

I was beginning to think it was just me! I have always been an avid fan of fantasy novels but am finding GRRM's books too much like hard work and his constant habit of killing of characters that you have invested interest in results in you not caring about any of them at all.

Meanwhile everyone is hailing him as some kind of literary genius which leads me to believe that they havent really read enough good fantasy.

oh well. Keep up the good work.

Lady Knight said...

oh my god totally well put!! how his killing of characters leaves you not caring about any of them. so much so that i wont be reading Dance of Dragons even! fuckit! ... sigh...

i recently described his series on my facebook page as a Shakespearean tragedy!! coz that's totally what it is! everyone dies!

and yessss so frustrating he's considered so brilliant. ugghhh! good writer, shitty story! and oh my god exactly theres sooooo much better fantasy out there!!! i'm currently reading Steven Erikson and he's definitely awesome!! AND he's actually finished his 10 volume series!!

thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who is sooo done with these books and hopefully can save someone else the pain (and money) of fire and ice. I travel and reading passes the time on the planes so that is my excuse. I read book 5 hoping for conclusion and I get more characters (at least 4) that have read in exhausting detail about and their grand plans suddenly dies within half a page. Quite a few are killed off by a "note from a raven" so it is not even covered, then another is killed just as quickly and then their story ends and that is it and Martin SUCKS!!!
(Do I sound bitter?)

Lady Knight said...

wow i am soooooo glad you guys are finding my blog post!! i felt i was the only one too! everyone i knew loved him!! so how was book 5?! and at least 4 new characters?! wtf! as if there wasnt enough already! and then a whole bunch are killed off?!!? and it seems so classic Martin to introduce then kill off characters and storylines?! he is SUCH a soap opera writer!!

and yeah you sound bitter, but i totally agree!! i feel bitter about book 5 just from hearing your description!!! arrrghhh!! ;)

and i'm in the middle of watching Game of Thrones right now and it's damn pretty to watch and nice to see fantasy on the small screen, but i am just reminded of how shit it is!! tragedy after tragedy, everyone dying. and then walking into bookstores where his books are in the window, at the cashier, etc is sooo annoying coz the books arent that good!! altho i will have to acknowledge i'd rather see them then harry potter!! haha!

Tim the Enchanter said...

Although the HBO series is at least entertaining, reading the novels on my Kendal is a massive beating. Constantly introducing new characters and referring to previously mentioned characters that haven't been mentioned in a thousand or so pages is so confusing. Those family trees at the end of each book are of little use when they are so hard to go back and forth to. It just seems like these stories go on and on without any hint of a possible conclusion. Good for you, GRRM, if your goal is to milk HBO for as much $$ as possible. As for me, I'm praying for good health for Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks, etc.

Lady Knight said...

YESSSS!!! perfect description "It just seems like these stories go on and on without any hint of a possible conclusion." SOOOOOO true!!! I think that's my biggest complaint about him, it just feels like a soap opera... there doesn't seem to be any desire to finish this series! Or write a single book with any sort of conclusion or story climax!!

hateit said...

I feel like GRRM is ignoring the basic yearning that every single one of his readers shares and that is to see the triumph of the good and the destruction of bad which in five books has only gotten worse and worse. I don't want to give away any spoilers but in the last chapter that the WALL is mentioned in book 5, GRRM elavated the mood in an astounding way that literally made me say "hell yeah" out loud and then a few paragraphs later i found myself closer the book and i haven't looked at it since. Why would i want to keep reading such depressive books in which bad deeds continue to be rewarded anf Honor and kindness only result in death. The series is hopeless and GRRM SUCKS!

Anonymous said...

I just read the fifth book. I've read all of them in the last five months. I totally agree. The first book was an awesome amazing start. And with each book, when I've finished, I have examined what really happened and thought that the books were extremely slow.

To me, it's sort of like a fantasy fiction version of a daytime soap opera. It's meant to last years and year.

Anonymous said...

I shared your sentiment after Crows - well honestly I was livid?! But hey - it's been years - there's another book - why not right? And until now - I'd allowed that Martin could be considered a solid writer - especially if you're the sort who likes things shiny and prefers not to think too hard.

At this point it's pretty clear he's in way over his head & probably up to his neck with his publishers. There's been all this talk of how complicated the continuity of the last 3 books has made it take longer. Having recently reread - what was complicated? Nothing has happened for almost 3000 pages - what was there to get so confused about? And if you insist on killing off most of the vaguely interesting characters - don't bring back people as zombies or Frankenstein knights - your realism was most appreciated - not the stock fantasy salad you're serving us now!

At least Jordan stopped bloody writing when he realised he was too senile to finish it - and I have to say Sanderson has saved that series in particular.

So give it up George - get Erikson or someone to finish your story - it might take another 10 books but hey - at least stuff will happen! One thing is for sure - season 3 & 4 on HBO will either be completely rewritten (I hope) - or the show will be canned!

Anonymous said...

Ida you are a dumb B without an imagination. Not only is he creating an amazing storyline but he is building to a climax and an end that I simply NEVER want to come. I would love it if he would keep writing Ice and Fire till the day I die!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Fire and Ice

Anonymous said...

He's completely lost interest. As someone who has tried his hand at fiction, I can say that when you have found yourself painted into a corner, the urge to bail is quite overwhelming. He's written, what, 300-odd pages in the last 7 years (I am taking him at his word that ADWD was 75% done when AFFC came out)? I wish he would just man up and admit that he's done with it, instead of pretending he's still working on it.

Lady Knight said...

hey everyone!! thanks for all your comments!! keep posting! and a couple of you mentioned that he has likely lost interest or is in over his head!! soooo true and would explain why the books got worse over time!! and why i bet it'll be years before we see another! or if!

Anonymous said...

Wow, halfway thru A Storm of Swords and I gave up because of the needlessly gargantuan cast of unimportant characters. I read for pleasure and not for work. I finally go so bored I took my bookmark out at page 621. Literary genius? Hardly. A Tolkien Mr. Martin IS NOT. This book appeals to the Facebook/Sportsaholic/Computer-TV addicted/conformists among us. Wow, yeah, EVERYBODY'S reading it so it MUST be good, right? Gotta do! Gotta have!
What I find truly saddening is that there is virtually NO venue for criticism or objective discussion of this dreck. Everything is about the GREAT FAT WOG that wrote the books. Anyone remember that pompous ass, John Williams??? Composer of Star Dreck? The mindless groupies are having a self-congratulatory field day with this one.

Harry Bradley said...

I read the series last summer. The books are way too drawn out. And what's worse is that, in my opinion, he hasn't even gotten to the actual plot yet.

The book series is called "A Song of Ice and Fire" and not "A Game of Thrones" for a reason. Yes, by all means, set up the "game" as the setting. Show the politics of Westeros, the War of the 5 Kings. But the important fact is that while the players of this game may always change, the game has always been there. Whether it was Robert, Ned and Jon Arryn versus the Mad King and Prince Rheagar or whether it is now the North versus the Lannister-contrlled Iron Throne versus Stannis Barratheon, the players change but game has always been and will always be, long after the current players are dead.

What is new now, what makes this era worthy of prose, is the Song of Ice and Fire. It is the Others and it is the dragons. If these books were to be about the game, then GRRM should have called the series The Game of Thrones. But he got our hopes up that the series would be something more. That was the point of the prologue to the first book, to tell us to expect something more then a series of books about the Game.

But as of the last book, that has barely moved at all. I wouldn't mind the book series being 5-7 books long if he devoted maybe the first 2 books to the Game, then the rest to the Song. But we've been waiting for something that has yet to come. Get to the point.