THE OLD ADAGE ABOUT IRISH PLAYS IS THAT THEY COULD END AT ANY POINT IN THE STORY AND IT WOULDN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

WE OFFICIALLY HAVE THE IRISH PLAYS OF FANTASY LITERATURE.

FIRST OFF, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, THE FIFTH BOOK IN GEORGE R.R. MARTIN’S SONG OF ICE AND FIRE SERIES, IS MUCH, MUCH BETTER THAN ITS PREDECESSOR A FEAST FOR CROWS. BUT IN THE INTEREST OF BEING A COMPLETE DICK, SO ARE MOST THINGS.(1) BUT THAT OKAY. HULK WILL TAKE A MARKED IMPROVEMENT OVER REGRESSION ANY DAY OF WEEK.

PERHAPS THE SINGULAR REASON THE NEW BOOK SO MUCH BETTER THAT WE NOW BACK WITH ALL THE GOOD CHARACTERS: DAENERYS, TYRION, JON SNOW, THAT OTHER GUY(2), AND HEY THEON’S BACK! YOU REMEMBER ALL THOSE CHARACTERS, RIGHT? THE ONES WITH PERSONALITY AND RANGE OF EMOTION AND THE STUFF THAT MAKES US WANT READ THINGS. FUCK, EVEN BRAN HAS SOME NICE PARTS IN THIS ONE.

BUT MR. MARTIN GOES ONE BETTER THAN MERELY BRINGING THEM BACK AND ACTUALLY GIVES THEM STUFF TO DO! HE EVEN HAS THE GALL TO MAKE CHAPTERS HAVE RELATIVE POINTS, FURTHER DEVELOP HIS CHARACTERS, AND ADVANCE THE PLOT. SERIOUSLY! HULK KNOW! AFTER THE CROWS DISASTER HE ALMOST MAKES THE CONCEPT OF NARRATIVE FEEL REVOLUTIONARY.

FOR INSTANCE, THE BEST PART OF DRAGONS THAT TYRION’S JOURNEY = AN ACTUAL JOURNEY. EACH ONE OF HIS CHAPTERS FOCUS ON NEW PART OF HIS TRAVELS, OFTEN WITH NEW, INTERESTING CHARACTERS BEING INVOLVED. THERE CONSTANT THREATS TO HIS PERSON YET EACH CHAPTER  FEEL UNIQUE IN WAY THAT MAKE THE WHOLE THING WORK. AND THE INCLUSION OF PENNY EVEN SEEMS TO ORGANICALLY CHANGE HIS CHARACTER’S STUBBORN AND SELF-CENTERED VIEWPOINT… A BIT. (3) BEST YET, EACH ONE OF HIS CHAPTERS IMBUED WITH REAL NARRATIVE DIRECTION. IT BY FAR THE BEST PART OF THE BOOK.

THEN THERE DAENERYS(4) WHO AT THE END OF A STORM OF SWORDS STAYED TO RULE MEREEN AND NOW WE GET TO SEE WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED WITH ALL THAT. HULK WAS HONESTLY EXCITED ABOUT PROSPECT. DANY’S TRANSITION FROM HER MEEK START IN A GAME OF THRONES THROUGH HER RISE TO GLORY AT THE END OF SWORDS BY FAR THE BEST THING ABOUT THE BOOKS. HER CHARACTER HAVE THE BEST ARC OUT OF ANYONE AND IT SUPER-DUPER COMPELLING.(5)

BUT REALLY WHAT WONDERFUL HOW MUCH DANY’S CHAPTERS SET HER APART FROM WHAT MARTIN DID WITH CERSEI’S RULE IN CROWS. DANY’S RULE LITTERED WITH INTRIGUE, THREATS, DEATH, AFFAIRS, BABY-EATING AND OTHER INTERESTING STUFF. PLUS, IT A SURPRISINGLY NICE TAKE ON THE COMPLEXITY OF RULING POLITICS. MEANWHILE, CERSEI’S RULE PRETTY MUCH JUST COMPRISED HER SAYING BITCHY THINGS IN HER MIND AND NOT REALLY DOING MUCH OF ANYTHING. THEN WE JUST WATCH THAT IDIOT TUMBLE IN SLOW MOTION AFTER A SERIES OF BORING, REALLY STUPID HIRES/MOVES. HULK COULD BUY ALL THIS AS WAY OF SHOWING HOW DANY COMPETENT AND CERSEI NOT, BUT THAT A BIT OF A STRETCH (THERE’S NO JUXTAPOSITION AND NO ECONOMY). AND BEST OF ALL, WHEN DANY’S RULE STARTS TO BLOW UP IN ALL SORTS OF DRAGON-Y GOODNESS, SER BARRISTAN WHIPS OUT HIS HUGE GONADS AND STARTS TAKING CARE OF SHIT. IT GREAT.

JON SNOW HAS SOME NICE POLITICKING AT THE WALL TOO. HULK ACTUALLY HUGE FAN OF HIS MOVES ON THE WALL, UNDERSTANDING THAT THE WILDLINGS HAVE TO COME OVER BECAUSE EVERY LIVING BODY ON THAT SIDE OF THE WALL JUST A WIGHT/ENEMY WAITING TO HAPPEN. SO HULK LIKED IT ALL HONESTLY. THE GIANTS. THE WILDINGS. THE BANK GUY. HIS PLAN WITH MANCE. THE RESENTING MEMBERS OF THE NIGHTS WATCH. AND THEN… WELL… WE’LL GET TO HIS ENDING LATER.

AND THEON! THEON’S BACK EVERYONE! REMEMBER THEON! THAT IMPORTANT CHARACTER WHO ALL BUT FUCKING DISAPPEARED FOR SOME REASON HULK CAN NO EVEN REMEMBER? WELL, HE BACK! AND HE NUTS. NOT LIKE NUTS = AWESOME, BUT LIKE NUTS = CRAZY PERSON. TURNS OUT HE BEEN LEFT IN DOWN RAMSEY BOLTON’S DUNGEON TO STARVE AND BE FLAYED AND ALL SORTS OF OTHER HORROR. HE MISSING FINGERS AND TEETH AND THINGS. ANYCRAP, HE NOW RETURNED TO BE AN INTEGRAL PART OF ALMOST EVERY SINGLE THING GOING ON THIS BOOK… IT SORT OF WEIRD.

OH, AND THEON ALSO GETS TO HAVE THE OBLIGATORY STUPID, REPETITIVE GEORGE R.R. MARTIN-ISM THIS GO-ROUND WITH HIS WHOLE “REEK, REEK, IT RHYMES WITH ____” THING … IT ANNOYING BUT AT LEAST IT NOT ABOUT NIPPLES.

EVEN BRAN DOING STUFF! THERE ACTUALLY A PRETTY GNARLY WIGHT ATTACK AND THEN HE GET TO DO SOME PRETTY COOL THINGS IN A CAVE WHERE HE SEE THE WORLD NOW THROUGH A BIG TREE… HULK SERIOUS. HE HOOKIN UP WITH THE CHILDREN OF THE FOREST AND IT ALL TIGHT + ECONOMICAL + MYTHOLOGY-INVOLVED. PLUS HE GETS MOMENT THAT REMINDS HULK OF THE BEST ONION BY-LINE EVER WRITTEN.

AND DAMMIT IF THE RE-INTRODUCTION OF VARYS ISN’T THE BOOK’S SAVING THROW.

PLUS THERE A BUNCH OF OTHER PEOPLE! LIKE THE TOAD-LIKE MARTELL PRINCE WHO SORTA DUMB AND SWEET, BUT HAS ONE REALLY, REALLY, REALLY BAD IDEA. THEN ANOTHER TARGARYEN HEIR SHOWS UP. AND HE WITH SOME COOL, OLD GUY CALLED THE GRIFFIN. PLUS THERE BUNCH OF OF PEOPLE FROM LAST BOOK WHO SHOW UP:  STANNIS HAS REALLY NEAT IDEA TO ROUND UP THE HIGHLAND CLANS FOR HIS WAR, BUT THEN THINKS HE CAN MARCH THROUGH A BLIZZARD. ARYA GOES THROUGH THIS BLINDNESS TEST, STARTS TO GET HER WARG ON, GETS EMBRACED BY HER FACE-CHANGING CULT, AND THEN KILLS A DUDE. AND JEYNE POOL GETS A REALLY, REALLY, REALLY AWFUL COMEUPPANCE FOR PRETENDING TO BE  ARYA. PLUS SOME OTHER STUFF!

AND THAT WHY HULK REALLY FELT THIS ONE AN IMPROVEMENT OVER LAST ONE. STUFF HAPPENS! IT A LOT OF IT = SIGNIFICANT, IMPORTANT, INTERESTING, AND GOOD.

GEORGE R.R. HAPPY!

BUT…

THERE STILL THE BIG PROBLEMS…THE KIND OF PROBLEMS THAT ENSURE THAT A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE WILL ULTIMATELY JUST END UP A ZERO SUM GAME.

LET’S FACE IT FOLKS. THERE NEVER GOING TO BE A COHESIVE NARRATIVE TO THIS FUCKER. MARTIN KEEPS ARRANGING ELEMENTS WHERE WE GO “COOL! NOW THIS SET UP NARRATIVE TO ALL CLASH TOGETHER AND CREATE INTERESTING CONFLICTS.” BUT NO. THAT NOT HAPPEN. THINGS NEVER LINE UP. OUR CHARACTERS NEVER GET TO FACE THE CONFLICTS THEY SEEK. THINGS FIZZLE OUT. SOMETHING COMPLETELY RANDOM COMES IN THE WAY. AND AS RESULT ALL DRAMATIC TENSION RELEASED.

THEY STORIES SOMEHOW MANAGE TO BE COMPLETELY MYOPIC (HE SO FOCUSED ON DIVING INTO THE SCENE AT HAND THAT HE LOSE TRACK OF THE NARRATIVE STEAM HAPPENING ELSEWHERE IN THE STORY) AND YET HE ALSO AIM FOR SOME REALLY STRANGE LONG-FORM REVEALS. HULK GUESS HE JUST TRYING TO RAM HOME THE LENNON-ESQUE BELIEVE THAT “LIFE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE MAKING OTHER PLANS.” OR WAIT, WAIT. HULK GOT ANOTHER ONE THAT BETTER: “IF YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH, TELL HIM YOUR PLANS.” …OR SOMETHING… BASICALLY IF YOU EVER MAKE ANY SORT OF PLAN FOR LIFE IN THIS THINGS YOU’RE FUCKED.(6)

SO MAYBE MARTIN JUST TRYING TO PROVE THAT LIFE COMPRISED OF NOTHING BUT RANDOM, NON-STOP HORRIBLE-NESS… FINE. BUT THE WAY THESE ACCIDENTS STRUCTURED REMOVE ALL SENSE OF WEIGHT FROM THE NARRATIVE. WHICH MEAN IT NOT THAT LIFE HAS NO TRUE PURPOSE, BUT THAT THE ARC HAS NO TRUE PURPOSE. EACH EVENT IN THE STORY ULTIMATELY JUST MEANS THE SAME THING AS ANY OTHER DULL EVENT.  IT JUST LIKE THE IRISH PLAYS. BAD THINGS KEEP HAPPENING AND THEY GO ON AND ON AND ON AND THE “ENDING” SEEMS JUST AS RANDOM. KNOW WHY EVERYONE LIKE DANY SO MUCH? BECAUSE SHE A CHARACTER WITH A JOURNEY AND ARC. THAT PRETTY MUCH IT. ALMOST EVERY OTHER CHARACTER BASICALLY BEEN SLOGGING THROUGH NONSENSE FROM THE START OF THE SECOND BOOK, WITH NO REAL SENSE OF ENDING AND BEGINNING, NO PUNCTUATION MARKS… IT THE IRISH PLAYS OF FANTASY.

PICTURED: THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN... LIKE ONE PERSON WILL GET THIS REFERENCE

HERE’S WHY THAT SUCH A BIG PROBLEM: IF THIS THE GOAL OF THE BOOKS TO PROVE THAT LIFE IS A RANDOM, NON-STOP HORROR, THEN IT STILL FAILING AT EXHIBITING THAT. WHY? BECAUSE THERE STILL A WAY TO SHOW THAT NEGATIVE WORLD VIEW IN A DRAMATIC WAY. FOR EXAMPLE, THERE’S THE WIRE. WHILE THAT SHOW FAR MORE CONCERNED WITH THE CAUSE/EFFECT OF PERSONAL CHOICES AND THEIR EFFECT ON OTHERS (THESE BOOKS SEEM TO SAY IT MUCH MORE RANDOM) THE SHOW STILL EXPOSED A WORLD OF CYCLICAL INSTITUTIONAL HORRIBLE-NESS. LIKE MARTIN’S BOOKS, THERE WERE THOSE WHO WERE WELL-MEANING AND THOSE WHO WERE DESTRUCTIVE, BUT BECAUSE THE SHOW INTRINSICALLY UNDERSTOOD THE PRINCIPALS OF DRAMA, THEY MADE THE THEMES + STORY FUCKING ENTHRALLING.

NEED PROOF THESE BOOKS NO UNDERSTAND DRAMA? LET’S GET SPECIFIC. DANCE WITH DRAGONS CONFIRMS ALL THE BIG PROBLEMS IN SERIES MAY NOW JUST PLAGUE THEM FOREVER. FOR EXAMPLE… ACTUALLY… YOU KNOW WHAT?

THERE MAY BE BETTER WAY TO APPROACH THIS…

IT SEEMS LIKE A GOOD TIME FOR AN  INTERVENTION WITH GEORGE .R.R. MARTIN. WHAT YOU SAY? WE ALL CARE ABOUT HIM, RIGHT? THERE ENOUGH GOOD STUFF IN THIS SERIES THAT IT WORTH SAVING. HECK, WE ALL FEEL LIKE FRIENDS AND FAMILY HERE, HAVING GOTTEN A GOOD LOOK INTO MARTIN’S MESSED-UP PSYCHE. AND HULK THINK MR. MARTIN REDEEMABLE FOR SURE. ALL PEOPLE ARE. SO HERE GOES…

HEY GEORGE! HULK KNOW YOU STILL MAD AT HULK ABOUT THAT LAST ARTICLE. HULK SORRY. BUT HULK REALLY PROUD THAT YOU START TO TURN THINGS AROUND WITH THIS BOOK. THE PROBLEM THAT HULK  STILL WORRIED ABOUT YOU AND THE DIRECTION OF THE SERIES. SO TO ADDRESS THIS, HERE ARE SEVEN PIECES OF ADVICE:

1) STOP RESOLVING NARRATIVES SO LATE THAT NO ONE GIVES A FUCK.

WHO COULD FORGET THAT NEAR-ABSURD MOMENT IN SWORDS WHERE SUDDENLY WE TREATED TO THE REVEAL OF WHO GAVE THE DAGGER THAT WAS USED TO TRY AND KILL BRAN? IT WAS SUCH AN AMAZING “HULK COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT THAT” MOMENT, SOON FOLLOWED BY ANOTHER REVEAL OF WHO KILLED JON ARRYN. TWO MYSTERIES FROM THE FIRST BOOK, FINALLY DEALT WITH IN THE THIRD, AND DONE SO IN THE MOST UNDRAMATIC WAY POSSIBLE.  SADLY, THIS KIND OF REVEAL HAS BECOME COMPLETELY PAR FOR THIS SERIES.

FOR INSTANCE, IN THE LAST HALF OF DRAGONS, MARTIN SUDDENLY START OFFERING UP ALL THE PSEUDO-CONCLUSIONS TO THE STORIES LAID OUT IN CROWS. WHICH, YOU KNOW, COMPLETELY ROBS THEM OF ANY NARRATIVE WEIGHT SINCE THEY ARRIVE AFTER THE SENSE OF TENSION BEEN LIFTED OUT OF THEIR STORIES. REMEMBER HOW THAT BOOK CAME OUT FIVE FUCKING YEARS AGO? YEAH. CERSEI’S WALK OF SHAME WOULDA BEEN MUCH MORE RESONANT/CATHARTIC/HARROWING AFTER SUFFERING THROUGH ALL THE CRAP DECISIONS IN HER RULE. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE CLIMACTIC POINT TO A STORY THAT TOOK HUNDREDS OF PAGES TO TELL. AND THEN THERE THE MATTER THAT MOST PEOPLE FORGOT ARYA WOKE UP BLIND AT THE END OF LAST BOOK, SO IT DIDN’T MATTER HAVING IT FINALLY BE ADDRESSED. AND POOR BRIENNE, WHOSE STORY STILL UNRESOLVED AFTER THIS NEW BOOK AND WHO APPARENTLY  DOING ALL SORTS OF INTERESTED THINGS ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE NARRATIVE. UGH. AND SAMWELL? HE NOT EVEN MENTIONED. THAT OTHER GUY, DAVOS? HE GET INVOLVED IN SOME KIND OF COOL PLAN WITH MANDERLY AT WHITE HARBOR THEN PROMPTLY DISAPPEARS FROM THE BOOK. SANSA? IN CROWS WE LEFT WITH A COOL PLAN AND THE INCLINATION FOR A GRAND REVEAL, BUT IT STILL NOT EVEN CLOSE TO HAPPENING. AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CROW’S EYE? HE GOT PRETTY BAD ASS INTRO IN LAST BOOK AND HE NOT IN THIS AT ALL. THESE DECISIONS ALL DEEPLY PROBLEMATIC FOR THE DRAMA OF THE STORY.

AND GOOD GOD, THEON. THE REINTRODUCTION TO THEON ACTUALLY STARTLING AND RATHER WELL-DONE, BUT DUE TO THE LENGTH WHICH HE BEEN GONE IT END UP PUTTING READER IN REALLY WEIRD EMOTIONAL PLACE. THE SHIT WITH WINTERFELL FEEL LIKE HAPPENED SO LONG AGO THAT THERE NO LONGER ANY CONFLICTED RESENTMENT. YOU JUST BASICALLY FEEL AWFUL FOR HIM. HIS TURN-CLOAKING ON OUR BELOVED CHARACTERS HAPPENED SO LONG AGO THAT WHO GIVES  FUCK? AND LOOK, HULK TOTALLY UNDERSTAND THAT WE SUPPOSED TO FEEL AWFUL FOR HIM BECAUSE HE BEEN THROUGH HELL WITH RAMSEY, BUT DRAMATICALLY-SPEAKING WE SHOULD BE COMING AROUND ON HIM. INSTEAD, IT BEEN SO LONG THAT WE JUST INSTANTLY FEEL BAD FOR HIM RIGHT FROM THE START. IT COMPLETELY WRONG TONE. A TOTAL MISFIRE.

2) STOP TRYING TO DEFY EXPECTATIONS ALL THE TIME

AND HERE THE REAL RUB ABOUT #1, ALL THOSE NARRATIVES THAT YOU PUT ON THE BACK BURNER? MOST OF TIME THEY WILL NEVER GET ADDRESSED.

HULK GET WHY YOU TRYING TO DEFYING EXPECTATIONS ALL THE TIME. DOING SO GAVE YOU THE SIGNATURE MOMENT OF THE SERIES (NED’S MOMENT AT BAELOR), BUT YOUR INCESSANT NEED TO KEEP DOING IT WITH EVERYTHING SINGLE PLOT TOTALLY RUINING THE SERIES. KNOW WHAT MAKES DEFYING EXPECTATIONS SO GOOD? THAT IT UNEXPECTED. SO WHEN IT HAPPEN IN EVERY PLOT-LINE IT THEN BECOME, YOU KNOW, EXPECTED. WHICH BASICALLY MEAN YOU TAKE PROVERBIAL DUMP ON THE CONCEPT OF DRAMA BECAUSE WE ALREADY KNOW THINGS ARE LIKELY GOING TO GO TO SHIT AT ANY POSSIBLE SECOND. WE READ THE ENDLESS SLOG AND JUST SITTING THERE WAITING FOR THE OTHER SHOE TO DROP.

BUT INSTEAD OF WORRYING ABOUT HOW TO INJECT DRAMA, YOU WORRY ABOUT FINDING NEW WAYS TO DEFY-EXPECTATIONS WITH CHEAP MANEUVERS. LIKE IN THIS BOOK WE SUDDENLY INTRODUCED TO A NEW TARGARYEN OFFSPRING. HE DEALT WITH ECONOMICALLY AND HULK GUESS IN SOMEWHAT INTERESTING WAY TO BE INTRODUCED (SORT OF), BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN HE THE ONE WREAKING HAVOC IN WESTEROS WITH SOME OTHER GUY new CALLED THE GRIFFIN. EXPECTATION-DEFYING? SURE. BUT IT SO NEW AND NOT BUILT ON ANY SORT OF DRAMATIC FOUNDATION THAT IT HAVE NO REAL MEANING TO US… IT JUST SORT OF THIS THING THAT HAPPENING.

AND DON’T EVEN GET HULK STARTED ON FACT THAT ALL THE DRAMA HAPPEN OFF-PAGE. ROOSE BOLTON TAKES DOWN STANNIS’ HOST AND WE FIND OUT IN A LETTER (MAYBE, YET ANOTHER ONE OF THE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES OF FAKE OUTS, BUT LET US ASSUME IT TRUE). IT COMPLETE OVER-COMMITMENT TO CATCHING THE READER OFF GUARD INSTEAD OF MAKING THINGS DRAMATIC. WOULDN’T A SCENE OF BOLTON GETTING STANNIS BEEN WONDERFUL TO READ AFTER ALL THE BUILDUP? HULK FUCKING SURE OF IT. AND IT NOT LIKE MARTIN CAN’T WRITE THESE SEQUENCES (FOR A GUY WHO USES VERY LITTLE ACTION, HE ACTUALLY VERY, VERY GOOD AT WRITING ACTION). AND IT NOT EVEN NEED ACTION, JUST A TENSE MEETING.

IT THE CORE FUNDEMENTAL ASPECT OF DRAMA: SHOW DON’T FUCKING TELL. AND YET IN ORDER TO CONSTRUCT THESE LAME, BLUNT “SURPRISES” HE JUST TELLS THE MAJOR-MOMENTS OF THE STORY OFF-SCREEN AND AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. (6B) IMAGINE IF NED’S MOMENT WAS RELAYED IN A LETTER!

AND JUST SO YOU KNOW GEORGE, HULK NOT EVEN TALKING ABOUT THE TIMES YOU TRY TO SHOCKING US (THAT A LATER POINT).

SOME MAY ARGUE HULK BEING PUNY-MINDED AND NOT SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE OF HOW INGENIOUS MARTIN IS AT TELLING HIS STORY. THAT HE PLAYING HULK PERFECTLY AND HULK TOO CAUGHT UP IN CONVENTIONAL DRAMA AESTHETICS. THAT MAYBE HULK CAN JUST NO TAKE IT WHEN AUTHOR “NO DO SOMETHING HULK NO LIKE.”

SERIOUSLY? THAT WHAT YOU THINK GOING ON HERE? BULLSHIT. THESE BOOKS CONSTRUCT THE DRAMA BEYOND POORLY. END OF STORY.

3) DON’T MAKE EVERY CHAPTER EXACTLY 18-20 PAGES

THERE THIS WEIRD THING YOU DO WHERE ALMOST EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER EXACTLY 18-20 PAGES IN EVERY SINGLE BOOK. IT PRETTY BIZARRE (NOTE: IN THE HARDBACK EDITIONS WITH BIGGER PAGES IT COME OUT TO 16 OR SO, WHICH 18-20 IN THE PAPERBACKS). IT NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF AN INHERENT PROBLEM AND IT KIND OF NICE GETTING TO KNOW THE CHARACTERS BY SPENDING SO MUCH TIME WITH THEM. BUT IT DEFINITELY LEADING TO MOST OF THE STORY BLOAT GOING ON HERE. MOST OF THE TIME IT JUST SEEM LIKE YOU FILLING IN GAPS BEFORE YOU GET TO THE POINT OF CHAPTERS. SOMETIMES IT WORK OUT WELL, LIKE WITH THE TYRION CHAPTERS WHERE A LOT HAVE TO HAPPEN IN ORDER TO GET FROM POINT A TO POINT  B. BUT MOST OF THE TIME IT JUST COMPLETELY ANNOYING. THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE CERSEI CHAPTERS CAN BE 8 PAGES AT MOST. AND BETTER YET, BREAKING UP THE CHAPTERS WOULD GIVE YOU BETTER OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY WITH FORM AND TIMING A BIT. A CHANCE TO LAYER THE NARRATIVE AND ACTION IN MORE CONSTRUCTIVE WAY. IT WOULD PROBABLY ALLOW YOU TO INCLUDE THE PARTS YOU WANT TO WRAP UP TOO. SO QUIT THE O.C.D. NONSENSE AND STOP MAKING EVERY CHAPTER 18-20 PAGES BECAUSE YOU’RE RUINING THE STORY.

4) STOP DOING CLIFFHANGERS

YOU WRITE 1000 PAGE BOOKS. NOT WEEKLY SERIALS. YOU UNDERSTAND THE BASIC DIFFERENCE RIGHT? AFTER A READER SLOG THROUGH 1000 PAGES OF HEDGE NIGHT NAMES AND IN-DEPTH NIPPLE DESCRIPTION THEY DON’T WANT INCONCLUSIVE WTF GARBAGE TO CAP THE STORY. THAT STUFF WORKS AT THE END OF TRUE BLOOD. IT NOT WORK AT THE END OF YOUR HALF-DECADE-LY MINI-OPUSES. AN 1000 PAGE BOOK THAT COMES OUT EVERY 6 YEARS SHOULD, BY  SHEER REQUIREMENT, BE REGARDED AS A SINGULAR AND SATIFYING EXPERIENCE ONTO ITSELF, EVEN IT IT PART OF A LARGER STORY. THERE JUST NO SENSE IN USING A CLIFFHANGER BECAUSE YOU LOSING THE ONLY THING THAT VALUE . HULK WILL COME BACK TO A SERIES 6 YEARS LATER BECAUSE IT GOOD, NOT BECAUSE HULK WANTED TO KNOW WHATEVER THE FUCK HAPPENED TO SO AND SO.

THINK ABOUT IT.  THE BEST TV SHOWS KNOW THAT CLIFFHANGERS WORK GREAT IN WEEK-TO-WEEK EPISODES BUT COME OFF ENRAGING IN SEASON FINALES.(7) THE BEST SEASON FINALES RESOLVE THE MAIN ISSUES AT PLAY AND YET LEAVE THE VIEWER WITH A TASTE OF THE PROBLEMS TO COME IN THE NEXT YEAR. WHICH, YOU KNOW, EXACTLY WHAT YOUR AWESOME FIRST BOOK DID (AND LO AND BEHOLD IT WORKED GREAT IN THE TV SERIES). THINK ABOUT IT: IF CLIFFHANGERS WORK REALLY POORLY IN SEASON FINALES, THEY WORK EVEN WORSE IN 1000 PAGE BOOKS THAT COME OUT EVERY 6 YEARS… SO STOP IT.

5) STOP DOING PROLOGUES THAT BRING UP NEW STORY ELEMENTS THAT ARE NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN.

REMEMBER THE PROLOGUES FROM THE FIRST FEW BOOKS? THE PROLOGUE IN THRONES FANTASTIC. IT INTRODUCE THE WIGHTS AND THEN LONE SURVIVOR IMMEDIATELY KILLED BY NED, WHICH INTEGRATES THE STORY IMMEDIATELY. BETTER YET, THE SURVIVOR’S WARNING NOT HEEDED.  SO WHEN JON SNOW WENT TO THE OH-SO-DANGEROUS WALL WHILE THE REST OF THE KINGDOM SQUABBLED, IT WORKED BEAUTIFULLY IN TERMS OF DRAMA. IN A CLASH OF KINGS, WE INTRODUCED HAUNTINGLY TO STANNIS AND MELISSANDRE (WHO CARES ABOUT THE SPELLING) AND THEIR CRAZY LORD OR LIGHT FANATICISM, ALL OF WHICH MAJOR PARTS OF THE STORY. IN SWORDS WE INTRODUCED TO SOME NIGHT’S WATCHMEN PLANNING TO DESERT AND KILL SOME MAIN CHARACTERS, A PLOT WHICH LATER COMES TO CLIMAX LATER IN THE BOOK.

AND THEN FOR SOME REASON, THE PROLOGUE FOR CROWS HAVE THIS WEIRD THING ABOUT OLDTOWN AND THE MAESTERS AND A KID WHO DIES FOR SOME STRANGE REASON. THEN THE BOOK ENDS JUST BY REINTRODUCING THIS KID WHO WE GUESS ABOUT TO DIE OR BE IMPORTANT OR SOMETHING, BUT THAT LITERALLY ALL THAT HAPPEN. WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANT. AND THE THE NEXT 1000 + PAGE BOOK FOLLOWS AND IT STILL NOT ADDRESSED WHATSOEVER. AT THIS POINT HULK COULD HONESTLY CARE LESS ABOUT WHAT IT MEANT. AND LASTLY, THERE THE PROLOGUE IN DRAGONS WHERE WE INTRODUCED TO A WILDLING WE BARELY/DON’T REMEMBER, VARAMYR SIXSKINS, AND HE DIE AND GO INTO SOME WOLF BUT THIS NOT REALLY RELEVANT TO ANYTHING IN ANY WAY. AT LEAST THAT WE KNOW OF SO FAR. ONE FRIEND TRIED TELL HULK THAT IT SETTING UP WHAT HAPPENING WITH BRAN, BUT ALL THE WAYS WARGS WORK ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED. THERE NO NEW INFORMATION. SO UNLESS THE WOLVES PLOT BECAME PART OF THIS BOOK IT JUST NOT RELEVANT. MAYBE IT WILL COME BACK NEXT BOOK BUT GUESS WHAT? HULK NOT REALLY CARE BECAUSE WE LIKE 9 YEARS AWAY FROM NEXT BOOK.

SO HOW ABOUT A PROLOGUE BEING BROUGHT BACK INTO THE SAME BOOK IN AN INTEGRAL WAY?

6) STOP WITH THE OBLIGATORY SHOCK VALUE

THIS, PERHAPS, THE BIGGEST ONE. HULK KNOW THIS ISSUE TIE INTO THE DEFYING EXPECTATIONS AND CLIFFHANGER PIECES OF ADVICE, BUT THIS COMMENT VERY SPECIFIC TO YOUR COMMITMENT SHOCK. AND YES, HULK MOST DEFINITELY TALKING ABOUT THE STABBING OF JON SNOW. ON ONE HAND, YOU COULD SUPPOSE THERE SOMETHING OF MERIT TO THE ACTION. HE HAD MADE SERIES OF ONGOING UNPOPULAR DECISIONS. HE HAD INSULATED HIMSELF AND SENT HIS BEST FRIENDS AWAY. HE HAD INVITED GIANTS INTO CAMP. AND HE ALWAYS EXPLAINED HIS REASONS FOR DOING SO VERY WELL INSIDE HIS HEAD, BUT NEVER THAT WELL TO HIS MEN (YOU KNOW, THE ONES HE HAD TO CONVINCE). SO YES, THESE ARE ALL THESE CONCEPTUAL REASONS THAT YOU COULD SUPPOSE A MUTINY WOULD MAKE SENSE.

BUT IT FELT LIKE YOU ONLY WROTE THE STABBING BECAUSE A) YOU WANTED TO SHOCK US OR B) YOU’RE SO IN ON “SHOCKING US” AT THIS POINT THAT YOU FELT LIKE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO… BOTH OPTIONS HERE SUCK.

HULK MEAN, YOU COMPLETELY DESIGNED TO COME OUT OF NOWHERE, TO REPLICATED HOW IT FELT FOR JON HULK GUESS? UGH. THERE A CRUCIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A READER BEING UNAWARE AND A CHARACTER BEING UNAWARE AND HOW THOSE ARE UTILIZED MATTER EXCEPTIONALLY. AND WORSE, HULK WENT OVER HOW IT WRITTEN, LIKE, FOUR TIMES AND IT ALL VERY VAGUE.  YOU NOT EXACTLY SURE WHO DOING IT AND WHY. IT LIKE THE WHOLE THING DESIGNED TO MAKE US GO “OH NO! NOT JON!” AND NOTHING MORE. AND THIS OBVIOUSLY NOT THE FIRST SHOCK OFFENSE IN THE SERIES. THERE THE RED WEDDING (WHOSE AFTERMATH HANDLED PRETTY NICELY, BUT WHOSE BUILD-UP NON-EXISTENT). AND THEN THE DUMB FAKE-OUT KILLINGS OF ARYA, BRIENNE, ETC. LIKE THE DEFYING EXPECTATIONS, YOU SO CAUGHT UP IN TRYING TO SURPRISE THE READER COMPLETELY INSTEAD OF DRAMATIZING IT AND THEN SURPRISING US WITH A TURN.

SEE WHAT MADE THE NED STARK MOMENT SO GREAT THAT IT NOT RANDOM IN THE SLIGHTEST. THE WHOLE SCENE PLAYS OUT BEFORE US. WE HANG WITH THE MOMENTS OF TENSION. WE WONDER WILL IT/WON’T IT HAPPEN. BUT WE HAVE FAITH THAT IT WON’T, NOT BECAUSE IT NOT IMPOSSIBLE, NOT BECAUSE YOU’VE MISLED US, BUT BECAUSE WE WANT IT TO WORK OUT FOR NED. AND OUR WANTS ALWAYS WORK IN COORDINATION WITH THE ESCALATION OF CONFLICT. AND IN THE SCENARIO OF ACTUAL DRAMA THE BAD THINGS  HAPPENING BECOME A TURN, SOMETHING WE EMOTIONAL AND SAD ABOUT, BUT STILL FEELS EARNED AND RESONANT. WHAT IT NOT IS A  COMPLETE FUCKING SURPRISE.

BUT NO. INSTEAD YOU THINK THAT BECAUSE WE LOVED THE AUDACITY OF THAT NED STARK MOMENT THAT WE JUST SEEKING THE SAME HIGH. SO THE ONLY WAY TO RECAPTURE THE INTENSITY TO MAKE THE CRAZY MOMENTS OF KILLING OFF BELOVED CHARACTERS EVEN MORE EXTREME. THEY OCCUR AS COMPLETE F-ING NONSENSICAL SURPRISES AND THEN YOU JUST EXPLAIN THE HOWS LATER. IT ABSURD.

THINK ABOUT IT: WHAT IF YOU HAD THE MEN CORNER JON? IF YOU HAD THEM BUILD UP THE TENSION BEFORE THE STABBING HAPPEN? YES IT MIGHT BE LESS SURPRISING, BUT IT WILL BE DRAMATIC AND RESONANT. IT WOULD FEEL LIKE A CLIMAX OF A DRAMA YOU BUILT UP AND NOT A CHEAP SHOT.

AND REMEMBER THAT EVEN IF YOU DO IT WELL THERE STILL ONE INESCAPABLE FACT:  IF THE HORRIBLE, RANDOM THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN LIFE MAKE US NOT CARE ABOUT OUR OWN LIVES, THEN THE HORRIBLE, RANDOM THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN YOUR BOOKS ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE US CARE ABOUT YOUR BOOKS.(7B)

LASTLY, 7) OWN YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES

GEORGE R.R. MARTIN, YOU ARE THE FOLLOWING: A PLEASANT, AUDACIOUS, BEARDED FAT GUY WHO LIKES MASTERBATING TO YOUR OWN WRITING. AND THAT OKAY!. REALLY. HULK THINK EVERYONE ACCEPTED WHO YOU ARE. THEY ALSO ACCEPT THAT YOU MIGHT BE A CRUEL AND VINDICTIVE BASTARD WHO LIKE ROBBING YOUR READER OF ANY HAPPINESS. AND THAT OKAY TOO! WE CAN CHALK THIS UP TO A WORLD-VIEW IF WE HAVE TO AND DEAL WITH IT.

BUT WE WILL NOT ACCEPT YOU DEFLATING THE OVERALL STORY INTO LUKEWARM, INEFFECTUAL GARBAGE.

HULK WILL PERSONALLY NOT ACCEPT THIS.

WHY? BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE YOU ARE MR. MARTIN? A GOOD (ENOUGH) WRITER. YOU SHOWED HULK WITH DRAGONS THAT YOU DIDN’T FORGET THE CONCEPT OF NARRATIVE STEAM AND HAVING POINTS TO CHAPTERS. WE EVEN KNOW THAT YOU CAN WRITE OUTSIDE OF THE WEIRD MYOPIC-FOCUS YOU’VE HAD GOING ON THESE LAST TWO BOOKS. WE KNOW THAT BECAUSE WE REMEMBER THE FIRST BOOK IN THIS SERIES. WE REMEMBER HOW THRONES HAD A TIGHTLY WRITTEN PLOT AND STORY ECONOMY. WE REMEMBER HOW YOU DIDN’T GET BOGGED DOWN IN DIVERSIONS. WE REMEMBER HOW IT PRETTY FRIGGEN GREAT.

BUT HULK NOT SURE YOU REMEMBER. INSTEAD OF ADHERING TO THOSE INITIAL PRE-FAME PRESSURES TO DELIVER A TIGHT STORY, YOU TOOK THE EXACT WRONG LESSON FROM THE BOOK’S SUCCESS AND GOT HUNG UP ON THE TANGIBLE DETAILS THAT BECAME THE BOOK’S TALKING POINTS: THE SHOCKING PEOPLE. THE SEX.(8) THE CRUELTY. THE UNSEEN DANGERS. AGAIN, HULK KNOW THESE ELEMENTS PART OF YOUR NATRUAL INCLINATION, BUT YOU SHOWED SUCH UNDERSTANDING OF DRAMA IN THAT FIRST BOOK. YOU CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD HOW TO MAKE HULK CARE IN THE FIRST PLACE AND NOT WITH MAKING THINGS SHINY OR HAPPY, BUT WITH WRITING A GOOD STORY. AND THAT THE WRITER’S RESPONSIBILITY.

SO IT TIME TO CARE ABOUT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. HULK WILL ACCEPT THESE TWO BOOK FOR ONE UNEVEN FAILED EXPERIMENT, BUT IT TIME TO FOCUS DOWN THE STRECTH. THE CONSECRATION OF THE OVERALL NARRATIVE COMES FIRST. THE SHOCK AND INCLINATIONS MUST COME SECOND.

AND LOOK, HULK LIKE THAT YOU TAKE YOUR TIME AND NO RUSH. RUSH JOBS ARE EVIDENT AND HORRIBLE TO READ. BUT YOU TOOK SIX YEARS TO WRITE THIS BOOK AND IT STILL LITTERED WITH KIND OF STORY CONSTRUCTION PROBLEMS YOU FIND IN RUSH JOBS. SO LET’S FACE IT. THESE BOOKS ARE NOT, NOR WILL EVER BE MASTERPIECES THAT TRANSCEND THE FANTASY GENRE. NOR SHOULD THEY STRIVE TO BE, BECAUSE THEIR CORE-IDENTITY = LONG-WINDED, MASTURBATORY FANTASY BOOKS WITH SOME GOOD CHARACTERS, A NICE SENSE OF POLITICAL INTRIGUE, AND THE WILLINGNESS TO GO DARKER THAN A LOT OF COMPARATIVE FANTASY. IT GREAT THAT YOU TRIED ADD THAT REALISTIC ELEMENT, REALLY, BUT YOU NOT TRYING TO DOCUMENT THE REALITIES OF MEDIEVAL LIFE.  YOU TRYING TO WRITE EFFECTIVE FANTASY BOOKS.

YOU NOT TRYING WRITE THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL.

SO THERE.

HULK KNOW YOU WILL PROBABLY NEVER TAKE THIS ADVICE AND FIX THESE ISSUES, BUT HULK JUST THOUGHT HULK WOULD OFFER. HULK NOT WRITING THIS STUFF NOT OUT OF HATE, OR SPITE, OR BECAUSE HULK THINK YOU OWE HULK ANYTHING. HULK FULLY REALIZE HULK COULD JUST STOP READING AND THE PROBLEMS GO AWAY FOR GOOD. HULK DOING THIS BECAUSE THERE REALLY A LOT TO LIKE UNDERNEATH THE BIG PROBLEMS. AND BECAUSE MOST OF ALL, HULK WANT SEE YOU PROVE HULK WRONG AND KNOCK THE ENDING OF THIS SERIES OUT OF THE FREAKIN’ PARK.

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS PROVED TO HULK THAT YOU NOT A TERRIBLE WRITER.

BUT YOU MAY HAVE PROVED THIS WILL BE A TERRIBLE SERIES OF BOOKS.

ENDNOTES

(1) HERE’S THE LIST OF THINGS BETTER THAN A FEAST FOR CROWS: HATE CRIMES.  YOUR HARD DRIVE CRASHING.  “MY MOTHER THE CAR.”  GOUT. GOING TO THE DENTIST. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU NEVER GO TO THE DENTIST. GETTING PUNCHED IN THE KIDNEY. OJ SIMPSON. YOUR LIFE BECOMING THE SUBJECT OF A DANNY BOYLE MOVIE. EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT LOTR BOOKS. PEANUT ALLERGIES. MTV REALITY SHOWS. SEEING YOUR PARENTS DO IT. DYSENTERY. TSUNAMIS. AND WHATEVER IS THE WESTEROS EQUIVALENT OF AIDS.

(2) THAT OTHER GUY ALWAYS = DAVOS. HOPEFULLY THEY GOT A GREAT “THAT GUY” TO PLAY HIM IN THE SHOW… WAIT… HULK GOING CHECK… HOLY SHIT! THEY DID! LIAM CUNNINGHAM! SWEET!

(3) IS IT HULK OR IS PENNY WRITTEN LIKE WHATEVER THE MINSTREL VERSION OF MIDGETS IS?

(4) CAN ANYONE ELSE NEVER SPELL HER FUCKING NAME RIGHT? THAT WHY HULK GO WITH DANY.

(5) HULK MADE WEIRD COMPARISON OF DANY ON TWITTER. ANYONE ELSE WATCH ON COMMUNITY? THE TRANSITION OF BRITTA PERRY FROM WHAT WE THOUGHT SHE GOING TO BE ON THAT SHOW INTO WHAT SHE TURNED OUT TO BE WAS ONE OF MOST GLORIOUS TV COMEDY TRANSITIONS EVER. AND IT VERY SIMILAR (IN TERMS OF OUR AUDIENCE EXPECTATION) TO WHAT HAPPENED WITH DANY… BUT REALLY THE COMPARISON KINDA STOP THERE… UM… THEY BOTH BLONDE?

(6) ALSO TRUSTING PEOPLE… TRUSTING PEOPLE APPARENTLY FOR SUCKERS.

(6B) “IT’S ALMOST LIKE (S)HE GETS OFF ON BEING WITHHOLDING.” REMIND YOU OF ANYTHING?

"NEVER DO THAT AGAIN."

(7) HULK UNDERSTAND THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDIUMS AND THAT TV CAN GET AWAY WITH THINGS DIFFERENTLY. THIS TRUE AND HULK AWARE.  STATEMENT STILL STANDS.

(7B) AND YES HULK KNOW JON SNOW COULD TOTALLY BE FINE. WHICH MAKES THIS EVEN MORE POINTLESS.

(8) HULK JUST REALIZED. FOR ALL THE SEXUAL RANGE OF CRAZINESS IN THESE BOOKS IT SEEM LIKE THEIR AN UNPROPORTIONAL LACK OF BLOWJOBS. ANYONE ELSE NOTICE THIS? JUST HULK? FINE. HULK’S THE WEIRDO. HULK JUST CURIOUS WHY THE GUY WHO FANTISIZES ABOUT EVERY CONCEIVABLE SEXUAL SCENARIO HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO FANTISIZING INTEREST IN GETTING A BLOWY. IT WEIRD DAMMIT. MOVING ON!

RANDOM ENDNOTE #1: HULK REALIZE HULK BEING ASSHOLE IN THIS ARTICLE. SOMETIMES HULK DOES THAT. IT OKAY. AS LONG AS YA’LL UNDERSTAND IT NOT THE DEFAULT SETTING.

RANDOM ENDNOTE #2: HULK THINK THE ONLY REASON HULK STILL READING THESE BOOKS IS BECAUSE HULK THINK THE TV SERIES = MUCH, MUCH BETTER AND JUST WANT HAVE SENSE OF HOW THEY ADAPTING IT. PLUS IT FUN TO ANTICIPATE HOW THE SERIES GOING PLAY OUT BEFORE THEIR EYES. THE TRUTH IS A LOT OF THESE NARRATIVE PROBLEMS CAN BE ADAPTED TO TV SO, SO, SO, SO MUCH BETTER. PARTICULARLY THE AFOREMENTIONED SEX ELEMENT…

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THIS ONE WAS A BITCH

THUS BEGINS MARTIN’S ACKNOWLEDGMENTS SECTION AT END OF A FEAST FOR CROWS, THE FOURTH BOOK IN HIS SONG OF ICE AND FIRE FANTASY SERIES. AND YES, G.R.R. MARTIN, YOU RIGHT. NOTHING SO OBVIOUSLY CLEAR AS FACT THAT THIS BOOK = A BITCH FOR YOU WRITE. HULK BET YOU HAD FUCK-ALL TIME DRUDGING THROUGH IT. AND IT CLEARLY JUST AS AGONIZING CHORE FOR YOU AS IT WAS FOR YOUR READERS TO READ. YOU KNOW WHAT? HULK ACTUALLY HAPPY YOU MADE IT SO CLEAR THAT YOU HATED WRITING THIS BOOK AND IT NOT SOME MERE INSANITY OF MISPLACED PRIDE WITH WHICH YOU DECIDED RELEASE IT.

HULK JUST WANT CONVEY SOMETHING VERY SIMPLE: IF A FEAST FOR CROWS NOT ONLY ONE OF “WORST” BOOKS HULK EVER READ, IT MOST DEFINITELY THE LEAST SATISFYING.

TWO QUICK MATTERS OF PREFACE:

1) THE “HULK READ A BOOK!” TITLE ABOVE RATHER MISLEADING. HULK READS LOTS OF BOOKS. HULK NOT ONE OF THOSE MOVIES GUYS WHO NO READ. SINGULARITY SEEM LIKE STRANGE WAY TO APPROACH ANY ART.

2) HULK FIRST PICKED UP SERIES SOME YEARS AGO, BACK WHEN HULK HEARD IT BEING DEVELOPED BY H.B.O. HULK THOUGHT THAT GOOD ENOUGH DISTINCTION  SO HULK BOUGHT THE FIRST 3 BOOKS. HULK  ENJOYED THE FIRST BOOK A GAME OF THRONES VERY MUCH. FOR ONE, IT HAD MASSIVE BALLS. AND WHILE THINGS FLYING OFF HANDLE HULK THOUGHT IT SET UP WHAT HULK ASSUMED WOULD BE GREAT OVER-ARCHING STORY. THEN CAME A CLASH OF KINGS AND HULK FOUND IT BE RELENTLESSLY DOUR AND AIMLESS. RATHER THAN HEAD OFF INTO MEAT OF OVERARCHING CONFLICTS, THE STORY SHIFTED TO THE MINUTIAE WITH MIDDLING RESULTS. LUCKILY, THE ENDING OF THAT BOOK MORE OR LESS OKAY SO HULK KEPT READING. BUT IN THE FIRST HALF A STORM OF SWORDS MARTIN JUST TROTTED OUT MORE OF SAME AIMLESSNESS AND AT ONE POINT HULK TOSSED BOOK ACROSS ROOM IN ANGER AND STOPPED READING IT (NOT AT WHAT YOU PROBABLY THINK THOUGH. HULK EXPLAIN LATER) … A YEAR-PLUS LATER, RIGHT AFTER HULK WATCHED THE FIRST EPISODE OF THE FULLY-REALIZED “GAME OF THRONES” SERIES HULK SAID, “DAMMIT, THIS REALLY GOOD. HULK SHOULD REVISIT THE BOOKS SO HULK KNOW WHERE THIS GOING.” IN MANNER THAT TRULY FITTING, HULK STOPPED READING EXACTLY 8 PAGES BEFORE SWORDS  REALLY STARTED COOKING. THE SECOND HALF OF SWORDS FILLED WITH TRULY BIG, BOLD, GREAT + BATSHIT STUFF. SO HULK IN FULL-TILT AGAIN AT THAT POINT.

AND THEN A FEAST FOR CROWS HAPPEN.(1)

WHAT HATH THEY WROUGHT!?!??!?

LET HULK FOCUS ON THE GOOD FIRST.

ON PURE STYLISTIC LEVEL, HULK THINK CROWS ON PAR WITH REST OF SERIES. IT NOT LIKE G.R.R. MARTIN A TERRIBLE WRITER. HE JUST NOT THAT GREAT.(2), HE HAVE PASSABLE SENSE OF LYRICISM AND CANDOR. WHEN HE NOT SIMPLY LISTING BUNCH OF HEDGE KNIGHTS AND THEIR COMPLETE GENEALOGIES, HE MANAGE PROVIDE HOST OF RICH, TEXTURED, OR WONDERFULLY HATE-ABLE CHARACTERS. AND ASIDE FROM SOME TRULY AWFUL HANGUPS INVOLVING SEXUALITY AND REPETITIVENESS (HULK GET TO THOSE LATER), MARTIN’S INTENTIONS FOR CHARACTERIZATION AND MOOD COME ACROSS PRETTY FREAKING CLEAR.

MARTIN EVEN MANAGE CREATE A FULLY-IMMERSIVE WORLD IN WESTEROS. IT NOT EXACTLY A “FUN” WORLD LIKE STAR WARS/HARRY POTTER/LOTR. INSTEAD IT REFLECT THE LIKELY TRUTH OF MIDDLE-AGES-HORRIBLENESS AND HOW IT MUST HAVE SUCKED FOR JUST ABOUT EVERYONE. UNLIKE MOST FANTASY, THERE NO GOOD OR EVIL. JUST LOTS OF FOLKS ACTING SELFISHLY OR OUTRIGHT AMORALLY. EVEN THE POLITICS TEND TOWARDS SHADES OF GRAY, IF NOT SLIGHTLY WIRE-ESQUE. AND WHEN GOOD, IT GREAT. FOR EXAMPLE, HULK’S FAVORITE THEMATIC POINT IN CROWS HAD DO WITH THE RAVAGING NATURE OF WAR. ONCE THEIR SOLDIERS SCATTERED, IT TURNS OUT THE NOBLE AIM OF THE STARKS ONLY ENDED IN DEVASTATION AND HORROR FOR COUNTRYSIDE. SO OFTEN THE CALL TO WAR PAINTED AS HEROIC THING, BUT HERE IT BECAME MORE EVIDENT THAT STARKS UPROOTED AND RUINED THOUSANDS OF LIVES IN NAME OF A VALID, BUT-ULTIMATELY-JUST-PERSONAL GRUDGE. MARTIN ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT THE COST OF JUSTICE. WHICH RATHER POIGNANT AND UN-FANTASY-LIKE.

MEANING THE WORLD OF SONG OF ICE AND FIRE MORE INTERESTED IN BEING “REAL” THAN MOST STANDARD FANTASY. IT REALLY TRYING BE LIKE OUR WORLD, THEY JUST GOT DRAGONS AND SHIT.(3) AND EVEN IF HULK THINK MARTIN’S EXECUTION IN SERIES = CONSISTENTLY MIDDLING, AND HE TEND SLAM THESE POIGNANT THEMATICS OVER HEAD WITH FORCE OF SLEDGE HAMMER, THERE STILL ONE OTHER THING THAT G.R.R. MARTIN HAVE IN SPADES:

DARING.

AIN'T NO THANG

MARTIN PERHAPS WORK BEST AS NARRATIVE DAREDEVIL. HIS HUGE RISKS PRETTY WELL-KNOWN AT THIS POINT AND THEY JUSTIFIABLY LAUDED/HATED. HULK SURMISE THAT THE RISKS IN THRONES WORK BEST BECAUSE THAT BOOK SET UP FAIRLY STANDARD NARRATIVE AND WHEN EVERYTHING GO TO SHIT, IT TRULY RESONATE BECAUSE IT BOTH NEW AND UNEXPECTED. BUT THEN THE OTHER BOOKS COME ALONG AND MARTIN NOT AFRAID GO DEEPER DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE AND TORTURE/KILL OFF MORE BELOVED CHARACTERS IN UNCEREMONIOUS WAYS.

AT WORST, THIS COME OFF AS PURE SADISM, A WRITER WHO CAN ONLY DELIGHT IN TORTURING THE READER. HULK ARGUE THAT IT MORE LIKELY HE JUST A WRITER WHO MISTAKE SURPRISE AND SHOCK FOR ACTUAL GRAVITAS AND SIGNIFICANCE, SOMEONE WHOSE ONLY WAY TO EMOTIONALLY RESONATE WITH YOU TO PISS YOU OFF EVERY 40 PAGES OR SO. BUT AT BEST, MARTIN UNDERPIN THESE MOMENTS WITH THE SLIGHTEST TRAPPINGS OF HOPE. BUTH THOSE PRETTY RARE. HULK MOST CONSOLED THROUGH THE META-REALIZATION THAT THERE ACTUALLY A WRITER OUT THERE MORE THAN WILLING TO BE BOLD; TO TRY AND ARTICULATE THE RANDOMNESS AND CHAOS OF NATURAL LIFE AND BRING IT INTO GENRE WRITING RATHER THAN MODERN FICTION. IT A BOLD AIM. BUT THE TRUTH THAT HULK NOT REALLY SURE… G.R.R. MARTIN SEEM ALTERNATE BETWEEN THESE TWO ENDS OF SPECTRUM AND OFTEN APPEAR BE DOING BOTH AT ONCE.

BUT EVEN HULK CAN DISTINGUISH THAT A FEAST FOR CROWS THE LEAST DARING BOOK HULK EVER READ.

THERE TRULY NOT ONE SINGLE NARRATIVE “RISK” MARTIN SO FAMOUS FOR. NOW, HULK NOT SAYING HULK INNATELY REQUIRE THESE RISKY-RISKS TAKE PLACE, AS IF HULK SOME READER TAKING THIS IN ON PURE OCD LEVEL. IT JUST THAT WITHOUT THESE RISKS, MARTIN NOT REALLY HAVE NARRATIVE BACKBONE FALL BACK ON. FACED WITH THE COMPLETE ABSENCE OF SHOCK, HULK REALIZED MARTIN HAVE PISS POOR-CONCEPT OF DRAMA (BUT AGAIN, MORE ON THAT LATER).

ACTUALLY, KNOW WHAT? IF HULK TALKING ABOUT BOOK ON META LEVEL, THEN HULK COULD ARGUE CROWS THE MOST DARING OF ALL FOUR BOOKS; IN THAT MARTIN RELEASE OF BOOK WHERE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF INTEREST HAPPEN OVER 1000 PAGES AND THE BEST CHARACTERS ALL REMOVED. BETTER YET, IT WEAKLY IMPLY THE NARRATIVE MOVING TOWARD BIG CHANGES AND CLIMACTIC ACTION, BUT THEN PROMPTLY END BOOK ON SERIES OF EMPTY THREATS AND FUCK-ALL GESTURES… SO YEAH… IN THAT WAY THE BOOK SUPER DARING.

LIKE THIS

DOES CROWS TRULY WASTE ALL THAT TIME ON POINTLESS NARRATIVE?

YES.

IT TOTALLY DOES.

CONCEPTUALLY, CROWS JUST GO WITH EVERY WRONG INSTINCT POSSIBLE. IT SORT OF AMAZING.

SO LET HULK DELVE:

… AND OH YEAH, BEWARE THE SUPER-DUPER-SPOILERS:

FOR STARTERS, WHERE DID HULK LAST LEAVE SOME AWESOME CHARACTERS AT END OF SWORDS? DANEYRS = NOW IN CHARGE OF MINI-EMPIRE ACROSS THE SEA AND SHE TOTALLY A BADASS. TYRION = JUST KILLED HIS DADDY AND TOTALLY A BADASS. JON SNOW = NOW BEING PUT IN CHARGE OF WALL AND TOTALLY A BADASS. CATELYN = REVEALED TO BE STILL ALIVE AND HANGING FREYS WITH THE LORD OF LIGHT AND NOW TOTALLY A BADASS ZOMBIE. STANNIS = NOW A KING WHO SAVED THE WALL AND WANTS TO MAKE JON SNOW LORD OF WINTERFELL AND TOTALLY A BADASS. DAVOS = NOW AT ODDS WITH MELISSANDRE AND STANNIS, YET STILL SOMEWHAT A BADASS.

AFTER ALL THAT, HULK COULD NO WAIT READ CROWS.

EXCEPT THAT ALMOST ALL THOSE CHARACTERS NOT IN THE BOOK WHATSOEVER.

IN FACT, THEY BARELY EVEN MENTIONED BY OTHERS. AND IF ONE OR TWO DO APPEAR IN BOOK, IT ONLY FOR LIKE TWO SECONDS. AND OH YEAH, IN THE WORST CASE, ONE APPARENTLY KILLED OFF.

… UGH.

SO WHAT HULK TREATED TO INSTEAD? HULK GET CERSEI, JAIMIE, BRIENNE, AND SAMWELL…GOOD GOD. ..MARTIN REALLY IS A SADIST. AND WAIT TIL YOU SEE HOW LITTLE FOCUS ARYA AND SANSA GET WHEN COMPARED TO THE THESE FUCKERS. THEY EVEN GET WAY LESS TIME THEN WHOLE BUNCH OF NEW ASSHAT CHARACTERS.

LOOK. HULK MAYBE BELIEVE THERE SOME VERSION OF THIS STORY THAT SUCCEED IN ITS AIM AND HANDLE THE DIRECTION OF THESE CHARACTERS. HULK TRULY DO. HULK NOT REACTING OUT OF SOME O.C.D. SPASM HERE. THE PROBLEM THAT WHAT IN MARTIN TRYING ACCOMPLISH, HE DO PISS POOR JOB OF. MARTIN’S APPROACH TO STRUCTURING THIS NOVEL = DEEPLY PROBLEMATIC.

TO HIGHLIGHT, HULK GOING SUMMARIZE THE ENTIRE PLOTS OF EACH CHARACTER AND LOOK AT CHAPTER/PAGE COUNTS INVOLVED TELLING THE  STORIES. NOW, THIS NOT IMPLY PAGE COUNTS SOME MAGIC INDICATOR OF WASTE, HULK JUST TRYING SHOW EXACTLY WHERE MARTIN’S FOCUS WAS WHILE WRITING:

CERSEI – THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN HER SWAN SONG. WHEN STORY STARTED HULK SOMEWHAT INTERESTED BECAUSE SHE FINALLY GIVEN THE POWER SHE ALWAYS CRAVED. AND MARTIN MAKE IT CLEAR EARLY ON JUST HOW PROBLEMATIC THIS GOING TO BE. THE LARGER PROBLEM = CERSEI STILL A CHARACTER THAT MARTIN HAVE NO INTEREST IN MAKING SOMETHING OTHER THAN CRAZY-PSYCHO-BITCH. THERE LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE GOING ON WITH HER ON CHARACTER LEVEL. CERSEI SIMPLY IS.  SO NATURALLY, IN THE BOOK THIS HORRIBLY STAGNANT CHARACTER GET RECORD-SETTING 10 CHAPTERS OF SINGULAR FOCUS AND RECORD-SETTING 207 PAGES OF PLOT LINE. WHAT COULD DESERVE SO MUCH ATTENTION? NOT MUCH. THE FOLLOWING ALL THAT CERSEI DO IN BOOK: SHE HIRE “YES MEN” AS ADVISERS, SHE HAVE COMPLETELY ABSURD THROWAWAY LESBIAN AFFAIR, SHE SIT AROUND THINKING ABOUT HOW SHE NOT LIKE THE INFLUENCE OF TOMMENS NEW OLDER BRIDE, SHE SCHEME IN HER MIND TO TAKE THEM DOWN BY ARMING THE HIGH SEPTONS, AND THEN THE HIGH SEPTONS ULTIMATELY ARRESTING HER FOR TREASON… NOW… THIS SOUND LIKE DECENT-IF-SORT-OF-OBVIOUS ARC, FOR SURE. THE SPECIFICS FINE… BUT IT ABSOLUTELY COULD HAVE BEEN HANDLED IN 4 CHAPTERS OVER ABOUT 70 PAGES. INSTEAD, THERE HAVE BE ABOUT 100 PAGES OF CERSEI JUST THINKING PEOPLE ARE ASSHOLES.  OVER + OVER + OVER AGAIN. HULK REALLY JUST WANTED HER TO SHUT UP. AND THEN THERE WERE LIKE 90 TIMES PRINCESS MARGEARY DO SOMETHING THAT MAKE YOU THINK CERSEI GONNA BLOW GASKET AND INTERVENE, BUT THEN CERSEI DO NOTHING. SHE JUST THINK OF SOMETHING BAD TO SAY IN HER HEAD. HULK UNDERSTAND HOW THIS TRYING SHOW THAT CERSEI BEING CAUTIOUS FOR CHANGE AND WAITING FOR FOR BIG MOVE, BUT AFTER DOING THAT 40 TIMES, HERE HULK’S QUESTION… HOW THE FUCK IS THAT DRAMA? GUESS WHAT? IT NOT! AND THIS WHOLE PLOT LINE THAT TAKE UP 1/4 OF THE BOOK! AND THE BIG CLIFFHANGER = CERSEI WRITING LETTER TO JAIME PLEADING FOR HELP… THAT IT.

JAIME – A CHARACTER THAT GROWING INCREASINGLY LIKABLE/INCREASINGLY HONORABLE GET 7 CHAPTERS AND 140 PAGES AND DO NOTHING BUT: GET BITCHED AT BY CERSEI, GO ON WALK ACROSS COUNTRYSIDE, OBSESSES OVER HOW CERSEI CHEATED ON HIM, STAY WITH RELATIVES AND LISTEN TO THEM BITCHING, THEN FINALLY GETS TO GOAL OF THE SIEGE OF RIVERRUN! ONLY INSTEAD OF DOING ANYTHING BIG, HE JUST NEGOTIATE PEACE. THE TRUTH = THAT HULK LIKE JAIME SEEM BE FINDING HIS SOUL. BUT THERE JUST SUCH NAKED OBVIOUSNESS ABOUT WHOLE THING. AND HIS MOVE TOWARD INACTION WORSENED BY THE FACT THAT THE BOOK NOTHING BUT INACTION. THERE NO POIGNANCY. AND THE BIG CLIFFHANGER = JAIME HAVING NO INTEREST IN ANSWERING CERSEI’S PLEA AND THROWING AWAY LETTER…  A NICE GESTURE, BUT STILL, JUST A GESTURE. THERE NO BIG CONFLICT IN ANY OF JAIME’S ARC. IT A MAN BECOMING INCREASINGLY BORED AND ANNOYED BY HIS ROLE. SO GUESS WHAT THE READER EXPERIENCE?

NOW WITH A FACE!

BRIENNE – SHE PROBABLY THE MOST LIKABLE CHARACTER, BUT THAT NOT EXACTLY MEAN SHE INTERESTING. SHE OFTEN NOTHING BUT BLIND FAITH AND NAIVETY. AND SO THE BOOK TAKE 8 CHAPTERS AND 164 PAGES OF BRIENNE WANDERING AROUND ON AIMLESS QUEST THROUGH THE FIELDS NORTH OF KINGS LANDING, ASKING THE SAME EXACT QUESTION: “HAVE YOU SEEN A MAIDEN OF TEN AND THREE WITH AUBURN HAIR?” SHE ASK THAT QUESTION AT LEAST 4 MILLION TIMES (GIVE OR TAKE). ASIDE FROM THAT, BRIENNE MEET A WHOLE BUNCH OF FALSE LEADS, TAKE ON A FEW BORING TRAVELERS, AND HAVE A COUPLE SKIRMISHES WITH CHARACTERS HULK LITERALLY FORGOT EXISTED. BUT THE BIG CLIFFHANGER = DRAMA! CONFLICT! FINALLY! BRIENNE BROUGHT TO LADY CATELYN, THE VERY PERSON THE READER BEEN WANTING TO FOLLOW UP WITH FOR 1000 PAGES. AND CATELYN WHO NOW ASSUME BRIENNE A TRAITOR! THIS THE EXACT KIND OF STUFF MARTIN DO WELL. SO RIGHT WHEN THEY ABOUT TO STRING UP BRIENNE AND HANG HER SHE MANAGE SAY ONE WORD JUST BEFORE IT HAPPEN. END STORYLINE… OKAY… NOW THIS ENDING NOT ACTUALLY AN ACTION. IT THE THREAT OF ACTION. WHICH MEAN THIS GESTURE WOULD BE INTERESTING IF HULK THOUGHT THIS REALLY THE END OF BRIENNE… BUT IT JUST SO NAKEDLY A FAKE-OUT. EVERYONE KNOW SHE ABOUT SAY “ARYA” OR “SANSA” AND LADY CATELYN WILL NOT HANG HER TO LEARN WHAT SHE KNOW ABOUT HER DAUGHTERS. BUT HERE THE THING: EVEN IF HULK WRONG AND THAT THE ACTUALLY THE END OF BRIENNE, THE ALL RESONANCE STILL LOST. MARTIN TELEGRAPHED THE FEINT SO BADLY THAT HULK NOT EMOTIONALLY INVESTED EVEN IF IT HER LAST MOMENT. IT COMPLETELY COLLAPSE IN ON SELF. WHICH MEAN HULK LITERALLY NOT CARE WHAT HAPPEN NEXT WITH CHARACTER HULK LIKE VERY MUCH… HURRAY.

SANSA – SANSA, AN ACTUAL STARK, MEANWHILE GET JUST 3 CHAPTERS AND 73 PAGES. REALLY, SHE BARELY IN IT. THE BIGGER PROBLEM THAT HER STORYLINE JUST AS UNINTERESTING AS THE OTHERS. SANSA MOSTLY SIT AROUND TAKING CARE OF SICKLY BOY ROBERT. THEN SANSA ACTUALLY GETS PRETTY NEAT THING REVEALED TO HER BY LITTLEFINGER AT END… THE ONLY THING IS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN LOT NICER SEE LITTLEFINGER’S SCHEME AT PLAY AND NOT SIMPLY RECAPPED TO US IN FOUR PAGE MONOLOGUE. EVER HEAR “SHOW DON’T TELL?” MARTIN FUCKING LOVES TO JUST TELL. AND EVEN THEN IT NOT EVEN AN ACTION, JUST A PLAN. ABOUT AS WORTHWHILE DRAMATICALLY AS THE EMPTY GESTURES. OF COURSE, THE BIGGER PROBLEM OF HANDLING SANSA IN SUCH ECONOMIC FASHION THAT IT MAKE YOU WONDER WHY THE FUCK THE OTHER OTHER CHARACTERS COULDN’T HAVE ENJOYED THE SAME ECONOMY.

ARYA – NOW… THIS ONE COULD HAVE BEEN PRETTY NEAT, BUT IT ONLY ENDED UP BEING MERE INTRODUCTION. ARYA JUST GET 3 CHAPTERS AND JUST 58 PAGES (THE LOWEST TOTAL ANY CHARACTER GET IN ANY BOOK) TO TELL HER TALE. AND THAT SUCKS BECAUSE ARYA NOW IN BRAVOS AND SHE BEGIN LEARNING THE WAYS OF THE ONE WITH MANY FACES. AND WHAT LITTLE THERE = TOTALLY FANTASTIC. IT A RESONANT, EMOTIONAL, DARK, AND HAUNTING PLOT-LINE…. SO OF COURSE MARTIN BARELY GIVE IT ANY ATTENTION. THE WORST OFFENSE THAT HULK ACTUALLY FORGOT WHAT HAPPENED AT END OF HER PLOT BECAUSE IT HAPPENED SO MUCH EARLIER IN BOOK THEN THE REST OF STORY’S “CLIMAXES”… BOO.

YUP. ME.

SAMWELL – UGH. SAM. AT BEGINNING HE SENT BY JON TO OLDTOWN BECOME A MAESTER. HULK SORT OF GET ON BOARD WITH THAT IDEA AND HULK EXCITED FINALLY BE PULLED INTO THAT WORLD, ESPECIALLY AFTER THE TEASE AT BEGINNING WHICH INSINUATE SOME MAJOR INTRIGUE GOING ON THERE… BUT SAM’S JOURNEY TAKES 5 CHAPTERS AND 87 PAGES AND IT BARELY GET THERE. THE MOST SIGNIFICANT THING THAT HAPPEN ALONG THE WAY = AEMON DIES. AND SAM MAYBE HAD SEX WITH A GILLY. IT SORT OF GLOSSED OVER. FOR THE MOST PART SAM JUST FUTZES AROUND AND FEELS HELPLESS. AGAIN, HULK LIKE HIS CHARACTER, BUT DRAMATIZING FROM HIS PERSPECTIVE JUST SO ENDLESSLY ANNOYING. AND WITH SAM, MARTIN CONTINUALLY USE ONE OF HIS WORST DRAMATIC CONVENTIONS OF HAVING SAM AT NEW/DIFFERENT PLACE THAT RECOUNTING HOW HE GOT THERE. THIS CAN BE FINE, BUT OFTEN IT SAP THE ENERGY OF NARRATIVE RIGHT OUT.  ANYCRAP, SAM EVENTUALLY GET TO OLDTOWN AND THE BIG ENDING GESTURE OF HIS STORY? THE ONE THAT CAPPING OFF THIS LONG-ASS JOURNEY? THE SAME GESTURE THAT SUPPOSEDLY WORTHY ENOUGH TO BE THE ENDING GESTURE/CLIFFHANGER FOR THE ENTIRE BOOK? SAM MEET A TINY CHARACTER WHO DIED FOR SOME REASON IN THE OPENING TEASE. A CHARACTER WE NO CARE ABOUT. AND THE READER STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT HAVE DO WITH ANYTHING WHATSOEVER OR WHAT IT EVEN IMPLYING… UGH… FUCKING GARBAGE.

THE DORNISH FOLK! – NOW THIS WHERE THE NEW BOOK TAKE LEFT TURN AND INTRODUCE LOTS NEW CHARACTERS. ONLY INSTEAD OF GETTING ONE CHARACTER TO FOLLOW AND GET TO LIKE, THERE A ROTATION OF “ONE-OFFS” THAT ALL HAVE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON STORY. ON SURFACE THIS SEEM LIKE INTERESTING IDEA. SOME CHARACTERS COULD HAVE DIFFERENT KNOWLEDGE OF EVENTS AND HOW THINGS PIECING TOGETHER. IT SEEM LIKE GOOD OPPORTUNITY FOR INTRIGUE… EXCEPT IT USED FOR SHIT. HULK CAN LITERALLY THINK OF NO ADVANTAGE GAINED BY HOW MARTIN USES THIS DEVICE IN CROWS. NONE. THE WHOLE DORNISH PLOT-LINE INVOLVE THE VARIOUS FAMILY MEMBERS OF THE RED VIPER WANTING TO GO TO WAR AND THEN THE CURRENT PRINCE JUST PREVENTING THEM. AT FIRST HE JUST SEEMS LIKE WUSS, BUT AFTER 4 CHAPTERS AND 85 FUCKING PAGES IT JUST REVEALED THAT THE PRINCE ALREADY HAVE MASTERPLAN WITH DANY ACROSS THE SEA… MAYBE… IT ACTUALLY NOT ALL THAT FUCKING CLEAR. THE POINT IS IT NOTHING BUT MORE INACTION.

THE FUCKING IRON ISLANDS GANG – QUICK! WANTED TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THE IRON ISLANDS? EVERY PERSON WHO LIVED THERE? THEIR TRADITIONS? EVER HEARD OF A KINGSMOOT? WELL YOU IN LUCK! AND BY THE WAY, THERE’S NO THEON, WHO THE ONLY ACTUAL MEMBER OF THIS CREW IT BE NICE REVISIT AND FIND OUT WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED WITH HIM…. BOO… BUT REALLY THE PROBLEM WITH THIS WHOLE IRON ISLANDS THING THAT WE EVENTUALLY INTRODUCED TO WHAT ASSUMED TO BE MAJOR CHARACTER: THE CROW’S EYE. HIS STORY ABOUT GOING TO VALYRIA = ALLURING AS FUCK, AND HE EVEN REVEALED TO HAVE THIS GAME CHANGING WEAPON AT HIS DISPOSAL (WOW, THESE MAGIC GIANT HORNS PRETTY POWERFUL HUH? REMEMBER THE ONE THAT CAN TAKE DOWN THE WALL? BET YOU DIDNT REMEMBER IT CAUSE IT NOT EVEN MENTIONED IN THIS BOOK). THIS NEW IRON ISLANDS RULER IMPLIED THAT HE CAN BE THE GUY WHO CAN TAKE DOWN DANY’S DRAGONS! CRAZY! THAT PRETTY INTERESTING… SO PARDON HULK BUT WHY SPEND 5 CHAPTERS AND 96 PAGES AND NOT REALLY KNOW ANYTHING SUBSTANTIAL ABOUT THIS FUCKER. OH HULK COULD TELL YOU ALL ABOUT AERON, OR ASHA, OR VICTARION, OR THE LIBRARIAN OR WHOEVER ELSE THE FUCK. WE GET SPEND HOURS WITH THEM FOR SOME REASON. BUT THE ACTUAL INTERESTING GUY WHO FULL OF INTRIGUE? BEST KEEP HIM ON THE PERIPHERAL. AND HOW DOES HIS STORY ROUND OUT? OH YEAH. MARTIN NEVER MENTIONS THEM OR THEIR STORYLINE FOR THE LAST 1/3 OF THE BOOK. SERIOUSLY, ALL THE IRON ISLANDS CHARACTERS STOP BEING MENTIONED ON PAGE 633. IT SO FAR FROM END THAT HULK FORGOT ABOUT YET ANOTHER CLIFFHANGER. AND HULK MEAN, WHY DEAL WITH THAT STORY, WHEN YOU CAN HAVE BRIENNE WANDER A BIT MORE?

SO THAT = A FEAST OF CROWS IN ALL IT GLORY.

HULK WORRY THAT WHAT HULK JUST  DESCRIBED SEEM LIKE A LOT. BUT TRULY IT NOT. IT THE PLOT FOR WHAT HULK ESTIMATE TO BE A 400 PAGE BOOK THAT STILL FEEL ORGANIC…  IN FACT, HULK MORE OR LESS COVERED EVERY SINGLE PLOT POINT IN FEW HUNDRED WORDS… SO OVER 1000 PAGES OF IT = FUCKING TEDIUM. BORING. REPETITIVE. MIND-NUMBING. TEDIUM.

TO HIGHLIGHT JUST HOW THIS SO, HULK WANT THINK ABOUT THE POSSIBLE SEASON OF TV BASED ON THIS BOOK (THAT NOT GOING HAPPEN, IT WILL BE TIED WITH DRAGONS, BUT STILL, HEAR HULK OUT). WHAT PARTICULARLY TELLING THAT THERE JUST SO LITTLE ACTION TO DRAMATIZE. HULK NOT TALKING ABOUT “ACTION SCENES” BUT EVEN JUST CONFRONTATIONS AND CONFLICT. EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENING IN BOOK HAPPENING ON OBSERVATIONAL LEVEL. THERE LIKE 4 ACTUAL EVENTS OF CONFLICT. MAYBE IT GET SOME MILEAGE OUT OF CERSEI’S POLITICAL DECISIONS, BUT FOR MOST PART THOSE EQUALLY REPETITIVE. THERE LITERALLY NOTHING TO USE IN TERMS OF DRAMA. AND EVEN IF THE TV SHOW USE A DANCE WITH DRAGONS THEY STILL GOING HAVE DIVIDE MATERIAL UP OVER TWO SEASONS (AT LEAST THAT THE PLAN) SO THEY ONLY HAVE HALF MATERIAL FROM EACH TO GO WITH… AND GIVEN HOW LITTLE THERE ALREADY IS, HULK JUST NO SEE HOW IT POSSIBLE. IF THE NEW BOOK ANYTHING LIKE THIS LAST ONE, IT WOULD MEAN THERE LIKELY ONLY 1 SEASON OF MATERIAL TO GET OUT OF 2,500 FREAKING PAGES. THIS TV-ADAPTING THING MATTER TO HULK BECAUSE IT REFLECT JUST HOW MUCH THIS BOOK = A NON-STORY.

ULTIMATELY, IT JUST MAKE CROWS THE MOST UN-CONSCIENTIOUSLY UNSATISFYING AND MAYBE THE “WORST” BOOK HULK EVER READ. OH SURE, STUFF LIKE TWILIGHT FAR MORE INSIPID.(4) BUT HULK NEVER READ A BOOK THAT SO AMAZINGLY FORGET ITS CORE IDENTITY AND MISSION. HULK GET ALL OF MARTIN’S INCLINATIONS, BUT IT JUST SEEM LIKE THE COMPLETE MISUNDERSTANDING OF WHY PEOPLE READING THE BOOK. THE TANGENTS AND REALISM OF ROAD TRAVEL = THE WINDOW DRESSING THAT HELP ONE ENJOY THE OBJECTIVE, NOT THE OBJECTIVE ITSELF. THIS LIKE IF J.K. ROWLING WROTE A VOLUME OF HARRY POTTER THAT JUST THE CAMPING.

WHAT COULD TRULY POSSESSED GEORGE R.R. MARTIN TO WRITE THE BOOK LIKE THIS?

GOOD GOD, WE GOING HAVE GO INTO HIS MIND NOW...

IT POSSIBLY JUST ONE TERRIBLE DECISION. MARTIN APPARENTLY GOT MOST WAY THROUGH WRITING CROWS BUT HE THOUGHT IT TOO LONG… SO HE JUST, YA KNOW, TOOK OUT ALL BEST CHARACTERS AND EITHER NO EDIT THE OTHERS OR STUFF THEM FULL OF EVERY DETAILED WHIM. IT LIKE MARTIN HAVE SOME SECRET REQUIREMENT THAT THESE FUCKERS BE OVER 1000 PAGES. AGAIN, THIS EXACT STORY COULD HAVE BEEN 400 PAGE BOOK AND EVEN THEN IT STILL NOT VERY INTERESTING. AND NO TELL HULK PAGE COUNT NO MATTER. ECONOMY HELP DRIVE STORY AS WELL AS CHARACTERIZATION. IT NO ACCIDENT THAT THE BEST BOOK IN SERIES, A GAME OF THRONES, ONLY 694 PAGES. IT HAVE MUCH, MUCH BETTER PACING.

BUT REALLY THE DECISION TO STRUCTURE BOOK LIKE THIS GO BACK TO WHAT HULK CONSIDER HIS BIGGEST PROBLEM:

GEORGE R.R. MARTIN WRITE LIKE AN ANT WALKS.

HEAR HULK OUT: THIS NOT TO IMPLY HIS WRITING JUST SLOW (WHICH IT IS), BUT INSTEAD THAT MARTIN SEEMS TO TREAD SLOWLY AND DELIBERATELY THROUGH EVERY WORD HE WRITING WITHOUT GIVING SINGLE THOUGHT TO PACING, ARC, BEATS, ETC. THIS NOT TO IMPLY HE UNAWARE OF THEM. BUT HE DEVISE A POINT A AND POINT B AND THEN JUST TAKE THESE  LONG, STEADY STEPS, ONE AFTER ANOTHER TOWARD CONNECTING THEM. THE NARRATIVE FOR EACH CHARACTER JUST A STRAIGHT LINE, WHICH DESCRIBING EVERY LITTLE BIT OF NEEDLESS DETAIL ALONG WAY (EVEN WHEN THE DETAILS INTERESTING, THEY NEVER TRANSCENDENT… AND MOST OF THE DETAILS NOT THAT INTERESTING). NOT ONLY THE PROCESS = TEDIOUS, IT CAUSE THE NOVELS BE DISTINCTLY “A-DRAMATIC.” LOOK, HULK LIKE AN ORGANIC FLESHED-OUT NOVEL AS MUCH ANYONE. GIVE HULK JOYCE, FAULKNER, PYNCHON, OR DFW ANYTIME. (5) BUT THOSE VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF BOOKS WITH VERY DIFFERENT SORTS OF AIMS. THE VERBOSE NATURE OF THE DETAILS WITHIN THEM SPEAK TO LARGER THEMATIC POINTS. AND THE LARGER POINT OFTEN SEEM ESCAPE MARTIN.

MARTIN TRULY SHOWCASES A DISTINCT LACK OF SELF-AWARENESS. HE SEEM IN CONTROL OF THE WRITING AND CHARACTERIZATION, BUT IT LIKE THE ACTUAL STORY VOMITTED FROM HIS ID, PAGE BY PAGE. PERHAPS HE KNOW THE ENDGAMES FOR CHARACTERS. BUT FOR LONG STRETCHES IT JUST SEEM LIKE THERE NOT EVEN SLIGHTEST INKLING OF PLAN OR DEVELOPMENT. THE CHARACTERS SIMPLY ARE AND RARELY CHANGE. THE STORY HAPPENS AROUND THEM.

AND THE VOMITING ID NOWHERE MORE OBVIOUS THEN THE LUDICROUS SEXUAL HANG-UPS ON DISPLAY THROUGHOUT THE SERIES. HULK KNOW SOME WRITERS BORDER ON MASTURBATORY, BUT THIS THE ABSOLUTE PINNACLE OF MASTURBATORY WRITING. HULK WOULD BET LIFE SAVINGS THAT GEORGE RR. MARTIN TOTALLY JERKED IT TO VAST MAJORITY OF HIS SEX SCENES. THEY THAT ABSURD. THE LANGUAGE USED LIKE NOTHING ELSE IN THE BOOKS. THE NARRATIVE WILL ABSOLUTELY STOP FOR FULL-ON PAGES SO THAT WE CAN HAVE LURID DESCRIPTIONS OF WOMEN’S BODIES (SORRY STRAIGHT LADIES, MARTIN NOT INTERESTED IN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OGLING). THE TRUTH INESCAPABLE: GEORGE R.R.R MARTIN TOTALLY MASTURBATES TO OWN WRITING.

PICTURE IT! MWUHAHAHAHA! PICTURE IT!

YEAH, TOTALLY GROSS.

IN THRONES IT ALL SEEMED INNOCENT ENOUGH. WE GOT A MARRIED COUPLE AND FEW OTHER BITS. AT FIRST THE THREATS OF RAPE AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE WORK EXACTLY AS INTENDED (TO MAKE READER FEEL VULNERABLE AND SCARED) AND THEN AT ONE POINT IT JUST ERUPT INTO MARTIN’S DISTURBING SEXUAL ID. MARTIN GO FULL PAST IMPLYING THAT RAPE A FACT OF LIFE IN THESE DAYS, AND INSTEAD IT BORDER ON MANIACAL INSISTENCE. THE WHOLE “PEOPLE = HORRIBLE” HYPOTHESIS LOST ALL NARRATIVE EFFECT. MARTIN PROVED IT. AND ULTIMATELY IT JUST MAKE HULK FEEL EITHER TIRED AND UNSEEMLY. THE WORST REACTION HULK CAN HAVE = TO READ SOME HORRIBLE STUFF AND JUST SHRUG. BUT THAT WHAT MARTIN DO. THERE NO HINT OF META-UNDERSTANDING TO VIOLENCE AND SEX . THIS NOT A CLOCKWORK ORANGE TREATMENT. IT A COMPULSION.

FRANKLY, THE CONSENSUAL SEX NOT ANY BETTER. SWORDS HAVE ONE INCREDIBLE MOMENT WHERE MARTIN WRITE HIS PAINFULLY-OBVIOUS REDHEAD FANTASY WITH JON AND YIGRITTE. IT FILLED WITH ALL THIS MODERN VERNACULAR AND INANITY THAT IT MADE HULK HURL THE BOOK ACROSS ROOM IN DISGUST. HULK NOT EXAGGERATING WHATSOEVER WHEN HULK SAY IT READ LIKE A HIGH SCHOOLER’S SLASH FIC PORN.

AND CROWS HAVE THE DISTINCTION OF INTRODUCING READER TO MARTIN’S SWEET NIPPLE FETISH! AND THANKFULLY, THE COLOR, SIZE, AND PROXIMITY OF EVERY NIPPLE IN THE BOOK ACCOUNTED FOR IN EARNEST. HULK ESTIMATE A HEALTHY 50 PAGES DEVOTED TO NIPPLES AND THE VARIOUS THINGS PEOPLE WANT TO DO WITH NIPPLES. AND FOR THOSE OF YOU NOT INTERESTED IN THIS STRAIGHT-UP SEXUALITY SHIT, NO WORRY! THERE PLENTY OF SUDDEN AND STRANGE S+M BITS WITH IN-DEPTH DETAIL ABOUT HOW WOMEN TORTURED AND THEIR NIPPLES CUT OR BITTEN OFF. IT FUN FOR ALL!

OKAY, HERE THE THING ABOUT MARTIN’S CREEPY-ASS SEXUAL HANGUPS: IN BOOK FORM THEY INSUFFERABLE. BUT ON TV, THE SEXUALIZATION PRESENTED THROUGH THIRD PARTIES. WE NOT GOING DIRECTLY INTO SOME WEIRD GUYS HEAD, WE JUST GETTING SEX PRESENTED BY HOST OF ACTORS AND WHOLE SERIES OF DECISION MAKERS, ETC. NOW HULK KNOW THERE SERIOUS AND OFTEN UNSEEMLY SEXUAL POWER-POLITICS THAT GO INTO ON-SCREEN NUDITY (AND FOR SURE AND HULK NOT DISCOUNTING THEM), BUT HULK JUST TRYING TO POINT OUT THAT THERE A MORE DEMOCRATIC AND LESS-ICKY SENSIBILITY TO IT ON TV. THE SEX “EXIST” IN A WAY THAT VIEWER SEEMLY WATCH.(6) WHEN READING, HOWEVER, THE READER COMPLICIT IN CONSTRUCTING THE SCENES FROM MARTIN’S FUCKED UP IMAGINATION. HULK KNOW THIS ALL SORT OF MACLUEN-ESQUE, BUT IT PARAMOUNT. THE NUDITY ABSOLUTELY GRATUITOUS ON THE SHOW, BUT RARELY IT FEEL OUTRIGHT PORNOGRAPHIC. MEANWHILE, MARTIN’S BOOKS = ABSOLUTELY PORNOGRAPHIC.

WHICH BRINGS HULK TO A DECLARATION OF INTENSE SACRILEGE:

THE TV SHOW = WAY BETTER THAN THE BOOKS.

IT TRUE. AND NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THE SEXUALITY. ALL THROUGHOUT FIRST THREE BOOKS HULK JUST KEPT SAYING TO HULKSELF: “THIS WILL WORK REALLY WELL ON TV!” AND IT DID. ALL THE BEATS OF THRONES CAME OFF LIKE GANGBUSTERS. BETTER YET, ALL THE NARRATIVE PROBLEMS OF BOOKS DRIFT AWAY AND WE LEFT WITH THE GREAT CHARACTERS, A GREAT ENVIRONMENT, AND SOME GREAT OVER-ARCHING CONFLICTS. THE AMAZING ACTORS PROVIDED THE CHARACTERS WITH A SUBTLE, ROUNDED NATURE THAT MARTIN NEVER COULD. THE FAT GOT TRIMMED. THE PACE FOCUSED. THE THEMATICS RAMMED HOME. THE SHOW FEEL BALANCED IN WAY THE BOOKS NEVER EVEN COME CLOSE ACHIEVING. YES, IT ALL STEM FROM MARTIN’S DELIGHTFULLY MESSED-UP ID AND HULK THANKFUL FOR BOTH HIM AND HIS VISION, BUT THE SHOW GET FILTERED THROUGH MANY TALENTED FOLKS TILL IT APPROXIMATED INTO SOMETHING BETTER.

PICTURED: BETTERNESS

AND IF HULK BEING SUPER HONEST, HULK THINK THE LOVE OF THE BOOKS MISGUIDED IN GENERAL. HULK KNOW THIS MIGHT BE UNPOPULAR OPINION OR MAKE HULK SOUND LIKE A FUDDY-DUDDY. THE FANS OF SERIES REALLY DEVOTED AND HULK UNDERSTAND THE DEVOTION. THEY VALUE THE PROPERTY BECAUSE IT DO THINGS FEW OTHER THINGS EVEN TRY TO DO. BUT HULK JUST BEING HONEST ABOUT OPINIONS AND ONLY THINGS GOOD COME FROM HONESTY. SO HERE GOES:

HULK THINK THE FIRST BOOK = A GREAT STORY AND THE SECOND HALF OF THE THIRD = THE PERFECT KIND OF NUTS. BUT HULK THINK THE GOODWILL OF ENTIRE SERIES TRULY INDEBTED TO BRUTAL, DEEPLY RESONANT MOMENT WHERE THEY KILLED OFF NED STARK. HULK TALKED ABOUT THE SHOCK OF THAT INITIAL READ AND HOW ELECTRIFYING IT FELT. SO FROM THAT POINT ON, READING THE BOOKS = TRYING RECAPTURE WHAT MAKE THAT SINGULAR MOMENT SO GOOD. ONLY THIS A FALSE AIM. THE REASON FOR THIS TWO-FOLD: 1) BECAUSE WE SUBCONSCIOUSLY CRAVE “THE SHOCK” THE READER CAN NO LONGER EXPERIENCE IT IN SAME WAY AS ONCE DID. THIS AMPLIFIED BY 2) MARTIN NOT REALLY HAVING MUCH ELSE TO DRAW BACK ON WHICH CAN ACHIEVE SAME LEVEL OF RESONANCE. HE NO WRITE BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS. HE NO WRITE CATHARTIC MOMENTS. TIME AND TIME AGAIN, MARTIN COME AT YOU WITH THE SAME EXACT TACTICS OF DOURNESS, DEATH, AND SHOCK. ONLY NOW THEY LESS AND LESS EFFECTIVE . HECK, IN NEXT BOOK, ANY CHARACTER COULD DIE FOR ANY REASON AND IT NO SURPRISE HULK WHATSOEVER. FUCK, DANY COULD GET HIT BY A BUS.

WHAT IT MEAN THAT THE READER PARTICIPATE IN THESE NOVELS LIKE A DRUG ADDICT.

HULK KNOW THIS SOUND LIKE HYPERBOLE. BUT IT TRUE. HULK GOT THE “FIRST HIGH” AT NED STARK’S DECAPITATION AND NOW BEEN CHASING THAT HIGH WITH DIMINISHING RETURNS EVERY TIME. THAT EXACTLY WHAT IT MEAN TO BE DRUG ADDICT. BUT HULK KEEP DOING IT NO MATTER HOW ENRAGING AND AWFUL BECAUSE, FOR BETTER OR WORSE, HULK SIMPLY IN AT THIS POINT. HULK JUST ADDICTED AS ALL THE OTHER DEVOTED READERS.

EVEN IF CROWS FEEL LIKE A “BOTTOMING OUT” MOMENT.

SO, IF EXCUSE, HULK HAVE PREPARE HULK-SELF FOR OBLIGATION OF A DANCE WITH DRAGONS IN FEW DAYS.

…HERE’S HOPING SOMETHING HAPPEN IN IT.

ENDNOTES:

(1) – HULK READ IT IN ABOUT 5 DAYS. THAT SEEM A LITTLE EXTREME FOR 1000 PAGE BOOK, BUT IT JUST THAT THOSE DAYS COMPRISED TWO CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHTS AND FREAKING TON OF DOWN TIME. SO JUST KNOW HULK NOT TRYING IMPLY IT “ELECTRIFYING-CAN-NO-PUT-IT-DOWN-READ!” NOT AT ALL. HULK WOULD HAVE BARELY SLOGGED THROUGH IT IN DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES.

(2) – HULK REALIZE STATEMENTS LIKE THIS CAN BE OFF-PUTTING. IT NOT MEANT LIKE THAT. THE GOOD WRITER/BAD WRITER ARGUMENT TEND BE MOST BIZARRE ONE. LIKE HULK ARGUE J.K. ROWLING NOT A “GREAT WRITER” BUT SHE MAYBE ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE IN THE WORLD. WHEREAS, HULK THINK UPDIKE ONE OF THE BEST WRITERS IN WORLD, BUT HULK THINK HE TOTALLY INEFFECTIVE. MEANWHILE, MARTIN JUST SOMEWHERE IN MIDDLE WITH BOTH. BACK TO EXPLAINING WHY…

(3) SOMETIMES MARTIN’S DESIRE BE LIKE REAL LIFE, YET SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT COME OFF KIND OF HILARIOUS. HE FILL THE BOOKS WITH SUPER-SPECIFIC MODERN PROPER NOUNS AND THEN THROW IN THE OCCASIONAL CHANGE UP: “MILK OF THE POPPY”, “HE’S BUT FOUR-AND-TEN”, “GOOSE PRICKLES,” ETC. THE FUNNIEST PART ABOUT THESE THAT MARTIN BECOME OBSESSED WITH THE SAYING FOR LIKE A GOOD 200 PAGES AND THEN FORGET ABOUT THEM COMPLETELY. “GOOSE PRICKLES” WAS USED IN THE FIRST BOOK LIKE 90 TIMES AND NOT MENTIONED SINCE. IN CROWS, EVERYONE SUDDENLY EAGER SAY HOW OLD THEY ARE “I’M FOUR-AND-FORTY YEARS!” WHEN HULK SERIOUSLY CAN NO REMEMBER THE CONVENTION EVEN BEING USED BEFORE (IT MIGHT HAVE). THE POINT THAT MARTIN ALWAYS HAVE THESE LAZY, TEMPORARY LANGUAGE OBSESSIONS WHEN TRYING TO FANTASY SHIT UP.

(4) – HULK ACTUALLY GOT 2/3 THE WAY THROUGH IT. BUT THIS WAS LONG BEFORE IT WAS “TWILIGHT” AND JUST SOME BOOK SOME TEENAGERS READING… WHAT?… SERIOUSLY?… SHUT UP! HULK LIKE STAY UP ON YOUNG-ADULT FICTION BECAUSE IT FUCKING IMPORTANT, THAT’S WHY!

(5) – HULK WOULD ACTUALLY LOVED TO SEE ANY OF THOSE GUYS TRY WRITE THEIR VERSION OF FANTASY BOOK.

(6) – THIS GET INTO ISSUES OF VOYEURISM, BUT THAT ANOTHER CONVERSATION.