This second book, that I’m way behind the curve in reading, brought me more of what I’d come to (pleasantly) expect while reading the first. I don’t even feel ashamed of being inspired to read it by catching a few episodes of the HBO program first.
The medieval-inspired world is raw, and I think I understand what Martin’s going for, there, but I am growing a little tired of the “rape happens” attitude. People have sex. It’s important to humanity. Uncouth, differently trained types take it as their battlefield, or nobility due. Over it, now. Aside from that, I do like the realism that dominates the landscape and throws the hints of otherworldliness into perspective.
The cast of characters is large enough and the point-of-view moves around enough that there’s plenty to like and no harm if you draw away from certain characters. I can see where people might get put off by it, but I rather like it. Following certain characters gives a breadth of story without getting too impersonal. I do hope, though, that some characters (Brienne, for example) get to be POV characters sometime in the future.
I know, as a woman, I’m supposed to be rooting for Arya and I don’t even mind that I’m being set up to identify with this character. She’s the one for people who like plucky girls. Catelyn’s the one for women to admire and sympathize with as an adult. Sansa’s… well I’m not even sure. I digress, though. In spite of knowing I’m “supposed to,” I do like Arya and think about the little threads and mysteries of her small, hidden part of the war most often.
John Snow’s upcoming storyline appeals to me. I always did like “Mother Night” and other deep cover type stories. There’s a frustration in knowing the truth, but watching a character grow through perseverance (or going native, it can work!) is fun– if you like the character, and I do.
I have to say two, petty, things: Good thing Daenerys has the prophecy to keep me interested until she gets interesting again in her own right. Won’t SOMEONE get Ice back to the Starks? It’s getting on my nerves, or maybe it’s just that I’m tired of people thinking about how Eddard used it and was different and blah blah. For a person that does her own share of repetition, I see it too much in everyone else.
I’m looking forward to the library fronting me the next book.