After mentioning George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire a few weeks back, I’ll report here that I have finished (caught up?) with the series as it currently stands. While the level of quality is pretty consistent, A Feast for Crows did have its issues, all of which have been pointed out before, and so I won’t waste my time discussing them here. If you poke around on fan communities you will likely find that my opinions are the ones most generally held; hooray for the law of averages. That said, considering that each book up until this point has been pretty much 1000 pages, and A Dance with Dragons looks like it might end up being that long or perhaps some sort of quantum novel that exists in a perpetual state of unending, my fears about the series as a whole still stand. I very much doubt that GRRM can or will bring a satisfactory conclusion to such a substantial amount of reading — and we’ve still go two more theoretical books of buildup, people.
In other news, my own time observing the ASoIaF fan community has been amusing, apart from confusion at the sheer spiteful indignation of fans that the author is perceived to be withholding A Dance with Dragons from them. Anyway, while reading the books I was pleased to note instances of rather elliptical storytelling that strike me as being indebted to Gene Wolfe’s fantastic Book of the New Sun. Now, admittedly, GRRM isn’t at all as elliptical as Wolfe, but hilariously, the fan response is much the same. If you’ve read New Sun and any of the appropriate compendiums or mailing lists, you’ll know discussion of the book’s infuriatingly opaque narrative results in some pretty crazy interpretations, none of which I will go over in any detail, but suffice it to say they are there and most of them deal with particularly unorthodox genealogies. The Wacky Theory faction of the ASoIaF fandom concerns itself likewise with who is and is not secretly part of the formerly royal Targaryen bloodline, or as the shorthand goes, a “secret Targ.” One of the leading theories seems very reasonable to me, but there are others that fly to all sorts of crazy places. It reminds me of the widespread belief in some parts prior to Rowling’s Deathly Hallows that Dumbledore was in fact a time-traveling Ron Weasley.