Initially the title for this post was going to include “Or Why I Hate Sansa” but the end made me feel bad for her, so I’ll dial it back a little. Not that I don’t still hate her, cuz I totally do, but I don’t hate her as much. It’s a little hard to hate someone when they’re stuck in that kind of situation.
Anyway! Moving on to the breakdown! I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this book since I find the concept and the story itself very interesting, but the writing and the characters kind of kill it for me. There is, out of a cast of like twenty or something, five characters that I liked. Everybody else was out and out evil, horrible, kind of heartless or fairly unsympathetic. I liked Jon, whom I have a theory about that I will share momentarily, Robb, Bran, Arya, Danaerys and Tyrion. I really wanted to like Ned but I just didn’t. I respected him but I can’t say as I really liked him, dug him, would want to hang out with him, etc. I’m a little on the fence with Danaerys too, but she’s a survivor and she’s got moxie, I like that in a character. Catelyn should have been cool but she was just… flat, I guess. She had no heart, no depth. I didn’t feel like there was any traction with her character, like the author had no idea what was going on inside her head so he just navigated her around like a puppet on strings. I hate it when authors do that.
The story itself is interesting; the ruling houses duking it out for the throne and power while winter is coming and the Others are massing north of the wall, which is deeply understaffed? Awesome concept! But the writing… maybe it’s just me, but it took me a good few weeks to finish this book. That’s unheard of! I had to slog my way through six hundred pages before I felt like things really got interesting.
I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to continue with this series. I mean, it’s a great concept and I’d love to see how it turns out, I’m very interested to see what happens when winter does come, when the Others start coming south, who becomes king, who dies, if freaking Sansa makes it out alive (and if she does, I swear to god…), but the fact that I had to slog through six hundred pages until war came and all of a sudden I was like “Now we have a book!”… it doesn’t bode well.
But I do have a bet going with myself as to who becomes king. Some of my money is on Danaerys, who, like I said, has moxie and the pedigree to claim the throne. And apparently an army to back it up, if she can get it pointed in the right direction, so good for her. I had money on Robb, but if he becomes King of the North I guess that works too. Although in his fight for independence I guess he could inadvertently conquer the rest of the kingdom, which would be cool. But most of my money is on Jon, and I will tell you why: everyone keeps talking about how winter is coming, winter is coming, send the troops north, not south, winter is coming, and Jon is on the Wall and set up as the heir to Castle Black, basically. He has sworn an oath to protect the Wall, and his loyalty is to the Wall before all else. In a way, that’s swearing protection to the realm itself, which is a king’s job. Also, he’s a bastard and there’s a certain mythological rightness to the bastard becoming king. It happens in all the fairy tales, the child of mysterious origins (note how Jon has no idea who his mother is) becomes king by saving the kingdom. And winter is coming. Bad things will be coming south, very soon. Jon will be saving the day, I promise you that. And what was King Arthur if not a bastard? But my largest reason hangs on a bit of supposition, but bear with me here. Ned will never say who Jon’s mother is, he never even speaks her name, but all throughout the book he keeps having flashbacks to his sister making him promise something, but they never say what. All we know is that Lyanna made Ned promise something, something very serious, before she died. We also know that Lyanna had intercourse with Rhaegar before she died. I say intercourse because while King Robert says she was raped, Ser Jorah makes a comment to Danaerys along the lines of Rhaegar was anti- rape. But we at least know that their private bits got to know each other. My theory is that Jon is not Ned’s son at all, but his nephew. My theory is that Jon is both Stark and Targaryen, which would make him heir to the iron throne and at least kin to the king of the north, if not actually heir to the north himself, which would quiet the lords who are currently (as of the end of book one) clamoring for independence.
Now, obviously, I have no way of knowing if this is true or not without reading the rest of the books and a good chunk of the series has yet to be written, from what I understand, but I’m fairly confident in my theory. I have reconciled myself to the fact that, unlike most author’s, I cannot guess what George R.R. Martin is going to do but, based on the little details he sprinkled throughout the first book, that’s what I put together.
Also, what the hell is wrong with George R.R. Martin? Seriously! He has a book with crazy people, incest, sadists, a cast that is largely unlikable, girls who hate their sisters unto not caring what happens to them during a castle coup, treason, murder, women who hate innocent children, rape casually being bandied about and all sorts of lies being told all the time. And from what I understand it only gets worse! What is it like inside that man’s head? Not that I really want to know, the broad strokes I got from reading his book were enough, but I would like a diagnosis. (And for anyone who hasn’t heard, he totally goes after his characters with a freaking meat cleaver. He has zero sentimentality about his charcter and has terrible things happen to them at a moment’s notice.)
Oh, and here’s the “Why I Hate Sansa” part: she’s horrible! She is a shallow, pathetic, naive, incredibly stupid, spoiled brat who betrays her family! She runs straight to the queen when Ned is about to make his big move, begging her not to let him send her away. She basically told the queen exactly was about to happen, giving her an exact timeline for when she needed to make her move and kill the king and take over the castle. And she was too stupid and naive to realize that that’s what she did. She is being played by the Lannisters like a freaking harp and she is too freaking stupid to realize what’s going on! She’s so blinded by that little sadist’s princehood to realize what he is, that she determines she’s in love with him on zero acquaintance! She yells at her little sister all the time for not being a lady and hates her for ruining everything, just by being herself! And she apparently thinks so very little of her that when a freaking palace coup is going on and people are dying, her father is in jail for treason and armies are being massed, that she didn’t think to ask what’s going on with her ten year old sister! A ten year old little girl is all alone in the midst of that chaos and she is so spoiled, self centered and mind blowingly stupid that it never even occurs to her to ask what happened to her! I can’t express enough to you how much I dislike her character and would like to beat the shit out of her. To be fair, Joffrey does beat her, or is the cause of her being beaten. To which I feel bad for her and say “Be careful what you wish for.” She wanted her prince and now she’s got him. I do hope she gets out of there, if only because he’s a sadist and he’ll kill her horribly and painfully, but I live with the hope that she gets offed in some smaller, less painful way. I mean, everyone else is being killed, all over the place they’re being killed or crippled for stupid or random reasons, so if fucking Sansa makes it out this series alive…