my sword, black, unadorned, &
the link on my chain.
For me, one of the big perks about finishing this book is that now I can go glean details off of the many wikis & fan sites for A Song of Ice & Fire without fear of spoilers. I can start forming theories-- or I have enough information to start shoring up my theories, & now I can see that other people share the same theories as me. & Oh, I have theories, & the are popular ones, too. I guess the "fan community" didn't like Feast For Crows, which sort of made me pause-- crap, was I going to be let down? I wasn't, not at all. I think the reason people complained about it was that it doesn't really deal with any of the main characters from the previous books. That...doesn't bother me one bit, actually. & really, thinking back-- we get Cersei Lannister, we get Jaime Lannister, we get Arya Stark & Sansa Stark. We get Samwell Tarly & Brienne of Tarth. There is plenty of continuity-- but no Daenerys & no Tyrion Lannister, which is what everyone wanted, I guess. Still-- George R.R. Martin uses new narrators to expand his worldbuilding, & you know I adore that. We see Dorne-- I'm maybe on Team Martell?-- & Braavos, both of which are really ripe for storytelling. As much as I liked the ruins of Ghis in Storm of Swords, Braavos & Dorne are actual living locations, places that are vital to the story of the throne of Westeros. We also get more on the religion of the Seven-- & we watch Cersi act a damn fool. George R.R. Martin manages to bring up both the terrors of modern religion with both the Burning Lord & the Seven as well as some good old fashioned historical church terror-- Maegor the Cruel broke the Faith Millitant, but dumb old Cersi can't see any problem reinstating them, no sir! Oh-- yeah, so this is the book where you really, really, really hope for Cersi's comeuppance. I liked it! I'm especially glad to see the other pieces on the board in play, & to finally get to The Citidal! I hope Sam's arc there is in the next book. & are the Cleganes dead? Somehow, I doubt it.
Okay, & one last thing, & spoilers: So for me, the essential question of the story is-- did Rhaegar Targaryen rape Lyssa Stark to death? Robert Baratheon certainly thought so, but I'm not so sure. I realize that Barristan the Bold might have said how nice & noble Rhaegar was & he still could be a rapist, but I do think if anyone is a good judge of character, Barristan Selmy is. So yeah, that brings us to...Jon Snow. Oh, yeah. I guess everyone has the same theory I do, which I'm glad to hear: Jon Snow is clearly not Ned Stark's bastard. Not because "Oh, Ned is so honorable, he'd never slip!" because, well-- George R.R. Martin has made it pretty clear that all his characters are flawed (& on the flip side, have the capacity for nobility). Just because-- it explains everything. Jon Snow is Lyssa Stark & Rhaegar Targaryen's child, right? It would explain why he has the "Stark" look, & we know that, especially in the bloodlines of Westeros, dark hair trumps light hair. Beyond that-- I feel like the culmination of the Others storyline is going to end in dragonfire, right? Obsidion arrows & Daenerys' dragons. Now, Maester Aemon says the dragon has three heads-- & if Aemon Targaryen talks about prophecy & dragons, I listen. One head is Daenerys, obviously-- but the other two? Well, Stannis could be one. He's a Baratheon, he's got a little dragon's blood in him, right? & it could be Jon Snow, if he's Rhaegar's son. Just a thought. I've also said-- I could see a climactic battle between white walkers (& ice spiders!) & dragons that culminates with the (apparent) destruction of The Others & of The Wall...& without a Wall & without The Others, what do you need a Night's Watch for? Maybe Jon will put off the blacks & be Daenerys' prince consort? Or maybe that is too neat, too pat.