Newsflash: George R.R. Martin is not the American J.R.R. Tolkien. If he is, I feel sorry for America. I suppose there is some skill in keeping a story going for so long without resolving a single plot line. How much longer can this go on? I just finished A Dance With Dragons. It's torture. It's the kind of disappointment I felt after reading a third Dan Brown novel. You know, when you discover that all of his books are the same exact plot with different character names and locations?
George, you can't just keep introducing new characters and story lines that have nothing to do with the original story lines!! Really, Robert the Strong?! Is that necessary? Was Davos Seaworth's whole freaking life story necessary to advance the story of Stannis Baratheon's campaign? Is he a foil to Melisandre? I consider myself to be a fairly astute reader, but I just don't get it. The only way I can wrap my brain around it is that this is just a soap opera with dragons and ghosts. The problem is that you can't take on something this large in scale and not have a game plan. It just slowly boils down and falls apart. It's like he has three dartboards, one with character names, location and event. Let's see... toss... thud! Bran Stark. toss... thud! at Winterfell. toss... thud! pushed out window. At first I liked the random killing off of characters, but even that has gotten old. Killing characters and adding new ones, and bringing some of the dead ones back, is not a device for transitioning to the next stage of the story. If there is a next stage to the story! C'mon, Georgie, you wrote a whole book just to fill in all the blanks that you left out of the last two books? You hack! I feel like I just ended a bad relationship and have only myself to be mad at. I knew you were trouble from the start, but I was enticed because you looked like someone I used to know that I really liked. Even though you kept disappointing me, I kept making excuses and telling myself that I could forgive your little dalliances, because underneath, that wasn't really you. There was a genius to your writing that I just hadn't come to appreciate yet, that as the story unfolded, you would reward your reader with some closure and tie up some loose ends. Nope, you just go on killing people and creating new story lines that don't contribute anything to the main story. My guess is that even if you have some plan to pull this all together in some tenth novel, you will have died before then, and left us all to wonder whatever happened to the Stark children, and the million other characters you have floating around in this book.