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Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Hell Yes

    by Hip

    Time for some serious Brother on Brother action.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Blackwater *Possible spoiler*

    by Hip

    I still don't see how they are going to be able to film Blackwater, they had to cut a lot less pricy things out of Season 1... how could they possibly re-create that scene?

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Good holy fuckballs!

    by syn_flood

    I came

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Holy. Shit. Dude.

    by Crow3711

    This is the best realization of anything ever. HBO is fucking killin it. So pumped.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Simply Amazing

    by WerePlatypus

    Been a huge fan of the books since before I even met my wife. Sometimes I still can't believe this is actually happening.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:25 p.m. CST


    by blackwood


  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:35 p.m. CST

    Best series on TV now, only equaled by Breaking Bad

    by lv_426

    April Fool's Day can't come soon enough.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:39 p.m. CST

    I Fucking Love Stannis.

    by Crow3711

    I can not wait to see him be steely, and cold, and resolute and cold and grinding his fucking jaw all day long. I can not wait for his grizzled badassery. His inability to compromise. His refusal to give up. The only character I'm more looking forward to seeing realized on screen is Victarion Greyjoy...but for season 2, stannis will do. I want to see Lightbringer! Shadows! Davos the Onion Knight! STANNIS FOR KING!

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Crow3711 , I agree....

    by soladeo1

    I always get weird looks when I mention my admiration for Lord Stannis to fellow fans of the series... Hell, what can I say, I like the man. He is true to his beliefs and honor, regardless of what you think of them, and he's strong and resolute, and in my opinion has the best claim to the throne than anyone.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:46 p.m. CST

    It would be funny is at the end of the series Stannis...

    by soladeo1

    ...wins the throne (after an epic battle against Daenerys) and installs the Imp as his Hand...

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Crow3711 and soladeo1, I agree too...

    by Dlgothv

    Stannis is all kinds of grizzled badass. I can't wait ti see him on screen. Also, I'm looking forward to seeing Vargo Hoat and his depraved motherfuckers. And Victarion!

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:54 p.m. CST


    by Dlgothv

    They've already gone on record saying the Blackwater is unfilmable as portrayed in the book. More than likely, as by the clips in the embed, we will see a tremendous explosion, and Davos falling into the water and blacking out.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 4:56 p.m. CST

    Don't know how they film blackwater either, but...

    by Tim

    they definitely showed Tyrion holding a green jar of wildfire! Some of the shots in this preview look insane...should be an excellent season and I hope the ratings soar.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:01 p.m. CST


    by gotilk

    Well, the ninth episode is called Blackwater and it's been said Blackwater takes up 16 minutes of the episode, so at least it isn't a fade to black and a bunch of people standing near some bodies looking exhausted and saying... *welp... that was Blackwater then.. sigh* It's directed by Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent).

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:07 p.m. CST


    by Dlgothv

    Wow, that sounds awesome. Neil Marshall! Can't wait to see Tyrion's brilliant plan in action. Wonder if they CGI him without a nose?

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:07 p.m. CST

    Refuse to read these books.

    by JediWuddayaknow

    The series is so fucking good, I wouldn't want to spoil ANYTHING. So awesome.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:08 p.m. CST

    So there is hope... *spoiler*

    by Hip

    CGI ships?

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:09 p.m. CST

    Crow and guys...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...first, let me say that trailer is all kinds of wonderful. But then... guys know all the different varieties of bastard Stannis is, right? Have you read the teaser Martin's put up from the next novel? I mean maybe you could argue that Stannis is like a dark reflection of Ned, maybe, but that's one horribly distorted dark reflection. I mean yeah, a great character...but you're rooting for him to win?

  • I can't recall Robb Stark having a love affair in the 2nd book.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:13 p.m. CST


    by gotilk

    Yeah it does sound awesome, doesn't it? I liked Dog Soldiers and loved The Descent . Good choice for director.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:13 p.m. CST

    The Iron Throne won't exist by the end of the series.

    by Sardonic

    But Sansa will be Queen of the North. I'd literally bet money.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:14 p.m. CST

    Stannis Has Honor and Guts.

    by Crow3711

    I always felt like he was a really harsh, difficult replacement for Ned in a way. But I've just loved him since his opening prologue chapter on dragonstone in Clash. I would follow Stannis. It wouldn't be easy, he's certainly hard as nails...but he's got what it takes, and he doesnt ask people to do things and endure things that he wouldn't ask of himself. Me, soladeo, and dvgoth will join Stannis' army. I'm glad to hear some fans have sense and don't just think of stannis as that "unenjoyable dick". I enjoy his dialogue with every character immensely

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:16 p.m. CST

    red ned lynch....

    by soladeo1

    ...of the claimants on the throne of course Daenerys is the popular choice... the others, well, each is flawed in many ways...and without giving away any spoilers, some have assume room temperature... But besides Daenerys I have to say I like Stannis. Sure, he's a bastard and inflexible and humorless and cold but hell there are far worse sins in kings. At least he's fair and tough. He doesn't tolerate wanton cruelty either. I kind of see him as a civilizing force actually. Hell, the Onion Knight vouches for him so that's got to count as something.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Red Ned...

    by Dlgothv

    Agreed, he's a right wrathful bastard, but I do admire his no budging no backing down attitude. Do I think he should be king? Hell no. Personally, I would love to see Daenarys win it back. And I have a couple theories on who the three dragons will go to.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:26 p.m. CST

    I agree with much...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...of what all three of you say. But without being too spoilery for those who haven't read the books... ...he's been fairly thoroughly misled and isn't know...anymore.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Realistically, I Hope Stannis Gets a Dragon and Joins Dany

    by Crow3711

    I'd love for him to be involved in end game on that side. But I doubt that will happen. I'm banking on Dany, Victarion, and Young Griff getting them most like. Or Selmy perhaps? Any other suggestions?

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:28 p.m. CST

    Mind you...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...if it was a how bad do you want it competition that would be an entirely different thing.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:31 p.m. CST

    crow3711 and dvgoth...

    by soladeo1

    Yes, we'd join Lord Stannis is what surely would be a Campaign of Misery. We'd suffer unimaginable horrors along a bitter road of seeming hopelessness and defeat... And the Red Witch wouldn't make us any more content with her weird, perverse religion... But yet we'd press on...undaunted, grizzled, and lock-jawed... Why? Because we are loyal subjects and believe in our Lord's claim.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:36 p.m. CST

    I predict Stannis...

    by soladeo1 the end of the series will do the brunt of the brutal work of defeating the Baratheons but at the end will be a shell of what he was and with virtually no army left... Dany and the Imp will offer him an honorable defeat and possibly a senior position in the new regime but Stannis being Stannis will utterly reject the offer and force a confrontation in which he will finally be killed on the field of battle...

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:39 p.m. CST

    WILDFIRE!!! I sees it!

    by Gene Cowan

    That is all.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:39 p.m. CST

    Yes! For Lockjaw! for Stannis!

    by Crow3711

    But seriously, I do absolutely agree, aside from my personal feelings, that Stannis Has the best and most legitimate claim to the throne. Besides basically any Targaryen of course. But that's a whole different story.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:42 p.m. CST


    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...your lips to Martin's ear, but that seems an entirely too optimistic endgame considering what we've been given so far. My nightmare is Littlefinger and Sansa. Well, one of them, anyway.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 5:44 p.m. CST

    I didn't see any wights in that trailer...

    by gopher

    ...unless I missed them. That would have been cool.

  • From the -very little- they showed in the trailer, this is my guess: they aren't taking literal events or scenes from the third book, but events that took place "off screen" in the second book and which are referenced in the third book seem to be making it into this season.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 6:36 p.m. CST

    Surprised by the Stannis love...(BOOK SPOILERS)

    by BlackBauer0320

    I do find the guy likeable as a character, and he definitely has the most justifiable claim to the throne in book 2, but come on. "True to his beliefs and honor?" The guy burns his old gods to get some magical power on his side! Also, it was a little surprising to see the plot point of Robb and a woman. It's a change from the book, but one I think is easy to get away with, given that you never see his point of view and are most often hearing of his actions from other characters.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 6:37 p.m. CST


    by maelstrom_ZERO

    That was a fantastic trailer. I'm actually kind of hyped about the whole thing and geeking out a little bit. Wow.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Haha guys!

    by Dlgothv

    Great talkback by the way! Marching for Stannis would be pure misery! Good points all. My theory on the three dragons: Dany, Griff, and Jon Snow. I believe Jon is actually the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark (Ned's dead sister), and she made Ned promise to save the boy (his vow that was never explained).

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 6:48 p.m. CST

    Red Ned

    by Dlgothv

    I snuck a peek at that chapter online you mentioned. Bring it on Ramsay!

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 6:58 p.m. CST


    by Red Ned Lynch got me pretty excited too.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 6:59 p.m. CST


    by Dlgothv

    They cast Jeyne Westerling a while ago, that's the girl that steals Robb's heart. Some of that storyline will be in this season. I expect they will blend more as the series progresses, mostly for the big chunk that was divided by Feast and Dance.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 7:10 p.m. CST


    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...I just read your predictions on the dragons! You're optimistic, too. Man, I can't even tell you how much I hope you're right. You know, for a long while I thought that maybe Jon and Dany would be the eventual winners, coming together in some way, perhaps with the participation of the Imp. The last book made me rather...pessimistic about this reasonably rosy outcome.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 7:37 p.m. CST

    You know how I know it's great ?

    by Itchy

    I've read the books three times through. I know exactly what's going to happen. And yet, when I watched this trailer, I got half chub. Brilliant.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Red Ned

    by Dlgothv

    I wouldn't underestimate Melissandre's powers. If fat slovenly Thoros could work some magic on Dondarrion, I'm fairly certain Melissandre can top that. I know characters die often, I just feel we haven't seen the last of Jon.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 7:50 p.m. CST


    by BiggusDickus

    Dude, I know exactly where you're coming from. Read the saga through eight times now (including the three Dunk & Egg tales) and this trailer still got me buzzing. Even though Stannis isn't bald and Melisandre hasn't got red eyes - this will be the TV series of the year. Fucking awesome!

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 7:52 p.m. CST

    My only concern is Jaqen H'Ghar...

    by BiggusDickus

    A man sees..a man knows...

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 7:54 p.m. CST

    Eh? Where's the rest of my comment?

    by BiggusDickus

    I said, the guy playing Jaqen had better be up to scratch. I want goosebumps when Arya realises he knows who she is!

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 9:07 p.m. CST


    by Crow3711 fantasy....will not....succumb

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 10:13 p.m. CST


    by cat_herder

    You don't want to spoil the TV series, so instead you're spoiling the even-better series of books? I don't think you're doing yourself any favors, even though the TV series is right up there with Breaking Bad and Being Human.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Who gets the three dragons (weakly spoilerish and speculative)

    by cat_herder

    It seems to me that the three dragons will correspond to three Targaryans... Dany, a recently-introduced Targaryan descendant, and a character who's been with us from the beginning...

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 10:43 p.m. CST

    thank you

    by themovieweasel

    This is by far the most civilized talkback in a long time. I got the books for christmas but haven't had time to read them, I am hoping to get to them soon. Love the show, can't wait for the new season.

  • Feb. 25, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST

    Brienne is an ugly bitch

    by pishowda

    and that couldn't make me happier

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 1:46 a.m. CST

    about young griff (dance with dragons spoilers)

    by amin

    i believe that young griff is fake. i believe he is actually a blackfyre. the balckfyre are descendants of Daemon Blakfyre a legitimized targaryen bastard. bitersteel who founded the golden company promised to give the throne to a descendant of Daemon Blackfyre and now the golden company follow young griff. the man who killed Daemon Blackfyre , bloodraven is still alive he is the the three eyed crow.

  • I wish everybody had HBO and they made a ridiculous amount more of money so that there was a series of novel length with the quality of HBO's best coming out every week. I wish they'd give the producers of this show an extra ten million an episode and gave them an additional ten episodes. Fuck this series is great. Nothing even comes close. When I see Lord of the Rings now I can't help but roll my eyes at the utter childlike simplicity of it.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 4:17 a.m. CST

    The Bull

    by chavee

    There is another Baratheon who has a claim to the crown.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 6:30 a.m. CST

    Davos Seaworth better not become Davos Horseworth

    by Dr_PepperSpray

    They cut out all the seafaring stuff in season 1, however to cut it out in season 2 would be criminal. <P> The show still looks good though.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Season 3 shoe-horned into Season 2 (Book Spoiler)

    by Dr_PepperSpray

    It seems like they are expanding on Rob's relationship with Jayne, revealed in book 3.. and that isn't exactly a bad thing since Rob is basically absent book 2 though his legend is growing. <P> Book 3 is where the shit really goes down.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 6:52 a.m. CST


    by alan_poon


  • Feb. 26, 2012, 6:55 a.m. CST

    So wrong

    by my job sucks

    I'm a grown up man and I got a chubby on watching that!....So wrong on so many levels, but yet it felt so right.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 7:10 a.m. CST

    Renly and Stannis

    by JorEl214

    I don't remember them ever being face-to-face in the second book. Maybe I'm mistaken though.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 7:57 a.m. CST

    Love this show, but...

    by ScorpioRising

    ...seriously, can they please do more than 10 episodes a season? I'm not wishing for a network-fare of 26, but 12-15 episodes would be great.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 7:59 a.m. CST

    Forget that when are they gonna show Roy Dotrice as Hallyne?

    by obijuanmartinez


  • Feb. 26, 2012, 9:06 a.m. CST

    10 Episodes works for me...

    by Grammaton Cleric

    ...all killer, no filler. Any extra episodes would be devoted to descriptions of colorful doublets, oiled ringmail, boiled leather, and each food ingredient.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 9:17 a.m. CST


    by Crow3711

    You are mistaken. One of my favorite scenes in the book. It's right before the shadow incident

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Speaking of Dotrice:

    by bah

    He was so good reading books 1-3, but now I'm on five, and I can't take it. I could probably forgive that he constantly sounds winded -- can't help aging. But all his voice have changed. I can't stand his Dany now. Many didn't like John Lee for AFFC, and I didn't at first, but by the end, I really liked him. His reading of Brienne meeting the Companions was excellent. Now I'd prefer him over Dotrice going forward.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Sooo...LisaB is a Big Close Minded Doucher?

    by Crow3711

    Got it. Now get lost.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 1:06 p.m. CST


    by Dlgothv

    Great theory! Never considered the blackfyres, although I didn't read the Dunk and Egg stories yet, those concerned the Blackfyre Rebellion, correct?

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 1:10 p.m. CST


    by Dlgothv

    You have every right to your opinion. But I will say that A Song of Ice and Fire concerns more with the human troubles and relationships albeit in a fantasy setting, than less with dragons, and fairies, and magic and whatnot. Yes, somewhat fantastical creatures are present, they are hardly a focus unless you consider the Others. Yes magic is present, although it is somewhat obscure and ambient. You may not be able to sway you, but I would say watch the first three episodes of the series, if it still doesn't catch you, no problems...

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 1:35 p.m. CST

    about the blackfyre ( spaculation and book spoilers)

    by amin

    in dunk and eggs it's all about the blackfyre rebellion and brynden rivers an albino with red eyes is hand of the king. Daemon Blackfyre was the bastard son of Aegon the unworthy and he gave to his bastard son the valyrian sword of the Targaryen kings called blackfyre. Daemon's followers called him "the king who bore the sword". the most common theory now is that aegon is the son of illyrion and his late wife ( she was silver haired with purple eyes probably a blackfyre desendant) i think that bloodraven is aware of the scheme and he is watching over the rightful targaryen king: jon snow, he is controlling mormont raven and the raven in th last chapter called jon snow "king". i also believe that tyrion is not buying illyrio and varys story.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 2:05 p.m. CST


    by Red Ned Lynch my experience people who make lists of what they will or will not choose to experience based on elements as superficial as what you have listed are primarily concerned with crafting an image to artificially bolster their self esteem. It's fairly common in adolescence, when we go through the process of trying on various adult faces, but it's a step that is best taken quickly, for a number of reasons, one of the very least of which is that it leads to making embarrassingly sweeping and simplistic pronouncements, such as you have made here. We'll move quickly past the point that by following your list you have not only ruled out works ranging from TH White's The Once and Future King to the delightful satire Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett, works by Shakespeare to Poe and including nearly all the romantics because you probably composed your list of fantasy tropes that got on your nerves without thinking of the widespread use of these terms in literature. I mean, by the strict interpretation of your list, which you seem to insist on, if your words are to be taken at all seriously, you've ruled out reading Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men, perhaps the seminal novel on the American political experience and The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (actually a lot of the work of the magical realists). Let's instead take just one of your proscribed terms: The Order of (Whatever). Well, in our history, just off the top of my head, important historical roles were played by the Orders of the Temple, the Garter, Calatrava, Malta, the Holy Sepulchre, Saint Augustine, Odd Fellows, Golden Fleece, the Rising Sun, the Red Star, the Black Eagle, the Spur, Saint John, the Bath, Knights Hospitallers, Saint Anne, Santiago... ...really, the list could go on forever. Now I'll assume you don't intend people to think you refuse to read well...any of the history of the human race. But you have ruled out most historical fiction and nearly any fictional work, be it mainstream, science fiction, fantasy or (Whatever) that attempt to create a social or historical structure relating to the human experience. And really, by including it on your list (and I could do this same thing with a number of your proscribed terms) you raise the troubling notion that you don't read anything at all, because if you did you'd have known enough not to include them on your list. Now, in the case of Martin's work, you are certainly free to make up your own mind. I've been a fan of his since his early horror days when he wrote novels like The Armageddon Rag (inspired in part by a poem from one of those romantic poets your list eliminates from your reading) and Fevre Dream, which foreshadowed the Steam Punk sub genre. His current series is a work of immense scope and complexity, rooted deep in the War of the Roses (he even named one of the major families the Lannisters, so much like Lancasters) but which has grown well beyond those roots. The books have been nearly universally praised, even garnering comparison from mainstream critics with novels like The Once and Future King (which of course I know you cannot read). But I understand he's used a proscribed name. Glancing through your list I think he's probably used several of your proscribed terms. So I understand your need to avoid the books, and your irresistible compulsion to explain to all who might read this column why you've made the choice you have. I mean, you're a big kid now. You're way too smart for books like these.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 2:46 p.m. CST

    red ned lynch...

    by BiggusDickus

    Excellent and erudite pwning there, my man!

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 2:53 p.m. CST

    red ned lynch

    by amin

    you're right! martin's works is not without flaws but a song of ice and fire is more an alternative historical saga than fantasy per se.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 3:08 p.m. CST

    This series, plus the books...

    by jackofhearts29

    Are fast proving themselves to be the utmost of the fantasy genre by far. I loved the first four books but the HBO treatment has been almost unbearably good, and in a way that enhances the stories, which is rare for cinematic adaptations. Usually they just sap the strength of a story. By the end of the series, Martin may have topped Tolkien in artistic accomplishment.

  • I fully understand your aversion to the things you listed. I don't care for D&D lit either. But while Song of Ice and Fire has some names like that, there is little to no "Find the Sword of Whatever to slay the King of Something and restore peace"

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 3:53 p.m. CST


    by Red Ned Lynch've never read The Once and Future King. How do I know? Because the book is essentially a reaction to the World War, written by a man who used the story of Arthur only as a framework on which to hang musings about the nature of man. Merlin showing Wart how the ants and swans are different, what the meaning or borders are. The philosophy of the Threshers used to brilliantly deconstruct the underpinnings of fascism. One of my favorite exchanges, near the end of the book, where Lancelot and Arthur are talking about the meaning of chivalry. Lancelot explains to Arthur that he was the worst of the table. Arthur exclaims that Lancelot was the greatest, that he followed to the letter the rule of chivalry. And Lancelot tells Arthur that the best men do not need a code of laws to govern their behavior. That the best men know right and wrong without rules and codes, and trust in their own nature to do what is right. That laws are made to protect society from the worst and he had to follow the rule of chivalry so obsessively because he did not possess those traits. Those and dozens more. Magical caves and dragons? You've never even read a synopsis of this book. This is what I was talking about.

  • Despite the presence of magic, the world feels remarkably real, and it has some very, very dark things to say about the human condition. I can't think of a horror or torture that characters haven't inflicted on each other in the series. No good deed goes unpunished here. One of the previews for this season contains a profound speech about the nature of power. It's straight from the books and a central theme. Other major themes are identity (who you are and who others believe you are) and rumor (what can you believe? How did you hear it?) And if irony is central to good literature, boy, this has it in spades.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 4:01 p.m. CST

    And lisb...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...I understand you're too cool for everything. I mean historical fiction. That's crap, like Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Award winning Killer Angels. And history that mentions an order of religously inspired knights who, by holding the islands of Rhodes and Malta against the Turkish onslaught of the late 14th and early 15th century helped save Christendom. Why only people who love elves would want to know that! And yes, it is deliciously funny that you rule out enormous chunks of history as only being interesting to people who like elves and then say history is more interesting than historical fiction. How could you possibly know? Your words suggest you know nothing about either.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 4:14 p.m. CST

    The Order of Santiago...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...was dispensed to those who had performed yoeman duty during the Reconquista, named in honor of Saint James the Greater under whose banners the Moors were first pushed from some of their holdings on the Iberian peninsula. Anyone interested in the history of the struggles between Islam and Christianity would be well served by understanding the world of Moorish Spain. The wealth of cultural understanding is invaluable to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of a conflict that is still present today. And it's just a single example. But you'll never know those things. You have your list.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 4:20 p.m. CST


    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...I have read about the Wars of the Roses. That's how I know what Martin was doing. I've read about Europe during the twentieth century, too, which is how I know what The Once and Future King is about. Which is how I was able to take so much from the book. That's why you do that. It works in the other direction, too, if you have any intellectual curiosity. My love of history began when as a very small child I saw the movie Khartoum. It inspired me to read about Chinese Gordon and the Mahdi and reading about them led me to the next thing and the next and the next. I guess I was just trying to find the elves.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Remember, red ned lynch , this is AICN

    by jim

    where there are certain people who are convinced one can't have diverse tastes. If you like one thing, that's all you can like as you must believe everything else is garbage. Me, I prefer to discover things on my own and not let prejudice or "judging a book by its cover" keep me from finding something entertaining.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 4:21 p.m. CST

    @lisab: Welcome back GenderBlender

    by jim

    Or was it Genderbender? I can't recall which was the "real" one and which was the imitation troll.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 4:24 p.m. CST

    @lisab I'm sorry

    by SantiagoAndDunbar

    that you have bright orange pubes. It's not the end of the world. Shave it or dye it, there is treatment. Gingivitis is a common disease, but the suffering can end.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 4:41 p.m. CST

    big jim...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...yeah, but here's the thing. Maybe lisab is just a troll. In which case I'm wasting my time, but it's only a minute here or there when I'm trying to think about what to write next on the thing I'm doing. Almost like a palette cleanser. But this may be someone who is just young. And I grew up with a lot of young people who closed off their minds from nearly everything because they were afraid it wasn't cool or would make them a nerd or geek. And they grew up dumb, not because they didn't possess the intelligence to do better but because they closed themselves off so thoroughly from so much of the world. And if that's the case maybe I can write something that will make this particular person think a little bit about what they're doing. Yeah I know. Probably not. But the cost is almost nothing, and you know, it's kind of fun thinking about the stuff I'm writing about anyway.

  • you'd think your list would have a few more books that are less than 40 years old. No historical fiction, no science fiction, no historical fiction. I do notice your list included Slaughterhouse-Five, Brave New World, and A Clockwork Orange, all decidedly science fiction. 1984 arguably as well. I wonder if Satanic Verses is the only Rushdie you'll deign to read. Or why you have no problem with talking pigs in Animal Farm. Then you have A Farewell to Arms and I, Claudius, which contradicts your historical fiction. Damn, girl, do you have a clue what you like and don't, or do you just say you hate whatever someone mentions?

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 4:50 p.m. CST

    So, lisab, I have to ask...

    by Cartagia

    Where was that massive ratings drop that GoT was supposed to have?

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 4:52 p.m. CST


    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...I understand. You didn't understand The Once and Future King. Because of that you didn't get what the book was about, you just remember caves and stuff. Maybe you actually only watched Camelot, or maybe Excalibur. Some catchy tunes in Camelot. And maybe you did try to read The Killer Angels. I love Shaara's work, though I wasn't so crazy about the book his son finished. But I suspect you only tried to watch the movie on that one, too. But hell, what does that Pulitzer committee know. Those suckers all really just want to see Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. You know you're not making yourself look better, here, right? I mean you wanted to start by trying to make yourself look superior to everyone here and now you're saying you're bored by Pulitzer Prize winning books and didn't understand what The Once and Future King was about (you actually thought that exchange between Arthur and Lancelot was ABOUT

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 5:17 p.m. CST

    red ned lynch, I've enjoyed reading your posts

    by jim

    so thanks for that.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 5:21 p.m. CST

    re: "It's a contradictory term, like jumbo shrimp. "

    by jim

    Jumbo Shrimp isn't contradictory. They are shrimp that are bigger than average.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 6:10 p.m. CST

    Oh lisab...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...sorry, I'm flipping back and forth between working on something and observing you so I didn't see your little list of Penguin Classics. Sadly enough I have read most of the books on the list, though honesty compels me to admit that I would never read on my own another novel written by Forster, Ford or Joyce. The Good Soldier (can't remember if it's the Ford on the list you got off the internet) is absolutely dismal, and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by Joyce is, in my opinion, one of the most overrated novels in the history of the english language. I'd by happy, though, to argue point by point the merits of any of the three of them with you, as back in my college days I had to read more than enough of all three. Why, I won't even judge you as an intellectual weakling if you enjoy them. I particularly love Fitzgerald, though I like his short fiction more than his novels. He's out of favor now because thematically his works hearken back so strongly to an earlier ethic. But damn, he wrote prose like poetry. I reread him constantly, not for the stories or the characters but just for the rhythm of his language. Ah, who am I kidding? One of his short stories, A Diamond as Big as the Ritz, is a horror story. I must have read everything he wrote just to get to that one. I do recommend it, though. Surprised, given what I'd already posted that you would even include cats like Huxley, Vonnegut, James, Conrad, Burgess or Bellow on your list. Or Robert Penn Warren, especially considering I'd already referenced him, but I get that you just pulled this list off some site. That's okay. Like I said, this kind of stuff is fun for me. Interesting story about the Orwell stuff. The summer after I went to fifth grade my father made me stand at the foot of his bed and read all of Orwell's work out loud. Even the essays. My father was closer to sixty than fifty when I was born. He'd been in Europe during World War II and seen...too much, I guess. He mae me read them and Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich that summer. That damned Shirer book is longer than the Bible. Told me I had to read them because what happened in Germany could happen here, too. Told me how lucky I was we had a British name. In retrospect I don't know how lucky we were; the name came from a fort in Oklahoma and my dad's people were Cherokee. As for Cain, Hammett and Chandler...well yeah, I like books about guys on the hunt for all kinds of things, not just elves. But this was a big giveaway that the list wasn't yours. Nothing from James Ellroy or Cormac McCarthy? Please. So anyway, you want to talk about any of the books on that list? Sounds like fun.

  • You have a lot of opinions on modern sci-fi, fantasy, and fiction in general, but you seem to dismiss it out-of-hand. I'm betting you wouldn't touch ENDER'S GAME and SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD with a ten foot pole. It would be to your great loss, as they are as you say, studies of the human condition with a SF backdrop. Well, no, that's not quite accurate. They use SF to explore it in a way that standard fiction cannot, by providing an outside perspective of humanity. As I said above, GoT explores the human condition quite a bit, and it's a filthy place. But all that aside, I don't believe every last piece of entertainment has to be about the human condition. That's why it's called "entertainment". Maybe someday someone will write a great novel about why humans desire entertainment that isn't all about how miserable it is to be human.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Thank you, Big Jim...

    by Red Ned Lynch know, I went through k-12 during the seventies through mid eighties which means one, I'm old as dirt and two I grew up having to absolutely hide just what a geek I was. It was a much less friendly landscape back then even than it is now. I'm lucky now to have a wife who is in some ways a bigger nerd than I am and in all ways about seven times as smart, kids who tolerate me pretty well and friends who are fond of the same kind of stuff I am. But you know I found this site pretty close to when it started (and been here, off and on, with the same screen name all those small accomplishment for this place) and what I love most is reading the talkbacks. I guess that's not in any way unique but there is a delightful enthusiasm (and delightful hatreds) here that almost never fail to make me feel like a kid. Anyway, thanks again.

  • If you'd kept reading you would have discovered "Wildlings" is a disparaging term used to describe a segment of the population. The "Wildlings" despise the name more than you do.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 6:57 p.m. CST

    And yet...

    by Red Ned Lynch read Clockwork Orange? First paragraph has Alex and his droogs trying to make up their rassoodocks, if memory serves. And if you're a real fan of say Hammett, and you looked the list over carefully, how do you not add Blood Meridian or the Big Nowhere or No Country or The Black Dahlia? I know that as someone who has read the Glass Key maybe seven or eight times if I saw a list like the one you put up there is no way I put it anywhere without adding at least something by Ellroy or McCarthy to it. That's how you do, when you love a genre. If you haven't figured it out by now I'm not trying to be mean to you. I am trying to move you off this: Harry Turtledove writes dumb books about aliens and army men so historical fiction is doody! Now Harry Turtledove happens to be an author I haven't read, so if he's good I apologize to his fans. Hell, if he's bad I apologize to his fans. One of my most prized possessions is a paperback novel by William J Johnstone called the Devil's Kiss. I have read it many times over the years, and bought it at least three times. The last time I needed it replaced my wife got it for me on Ebay and had to pay twenty dollars for it. Why? It is the worst novel I have ever read. I believe it may be the worst novel ever written. God bless him. And here's the thing. Harry Turtledove is not the only writer of historical fiction. The vast majority of writers of historical fiction do not in fact insert aliens, ghosts or Godzilla into their work. And you do this over and over again, and in really mean and spiteful ways. You know, even if you think something is crap...not just not to your taste, and really I believe you have a very difficult time differentiating those two things...but absolute crap...why would you feel a compulsion to go out of your way to interject yourself in a discussion of that thing. And this isn't a case where you thought a book or movie was going to be really good and you were terribly disappointed. Because then I can understand entering a discussion about it, to express your feelings. This is something in a genre you have pointed out with great wraith that you despise. About books you have pointed out you have not read. So explain to me exactly why you are doing it. I'm genuinely curious.

  • Feb. 26, 2012, 7:02 p.m. CST

    Great wrath, even.

    by Red Ned Lynch

    Although if you're doing it with great wraith you're halfway to the start of a fantasy novel!

  • Just stop, you pretentious fool.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 12:11 a.m. CST

    Does Joffrey get poisoned to death this season or next one?

    by Dancingforever

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 12:38 a.m. CST

    The Crystal Cave ...

    by berserkrl

    isn't great literature or anything, sure. But it's one of the first Arthurian-inspired fantasies that actually tried to place Arthur in the historical context of the Dark Ages (and actual research on same) rather than the high-medieval age-of-chivalry world popularised by 14th-century romances and Hollywood movies and Prince Valiant comics. That's not an amazing thing to do now, but it was in 1970 when it was written, so I think the book deserves props for that. Oh, and there are no literal dragons in the book, so your memory may be misserving you.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 3:49 a.m. CST

    Lisab, you should stop. Seriously. You are making a fool of yourself.

    by stuart pearson

    Anyway, I can't help wondering why - if you are so anti fantastical and historical fiction and so unwlling to consume it - are you even visiting a website that is largely devoted to those genres, and why are you even reading a thread devoted to a work that combines the best elements of both. I can't help thinking that you are a bit pretentious and like a lot of moderately intelligent adolescents you are desperately trying to demonstrate how clever, sophisticated, well educated and worldly wise you are. Unfortunately you are having exactly the opposite effect. You are just showing how intellectually immature you are. So stop. Please. For your own sake. You are making a fool of yourself

  • That's the beauty of the book - it's about the corrupting power of power.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 8:52 a.m. CST

    @lisab, I don't know why I'm doing this but...

    by Sithtastic

    I was exasperated reading your posts, mostly because I found myself reading much of the attitudes I held as an English major in college. My younger brother tried to get me to read A Song of Ice and Fire back then (in a more simple time we refer to as "the 90s") and in my typical pseudo-academic fashion, I dismissed him. I spent my time reading the classics and lit crit. I had no time for dragons and such. When I heard the shows were being adapted I wanted to see what the fuss was (as everyone seemed in a tizzy). Well, having read some of the source material and even read Holinshed, himself a propagandist historian that inspired Shakespeare, I started to have a greater appreciation for what Martin was doing. This said, while I understand your apprehension to the fantasy genre (having shared it), your outright dismisal confounds me. Martin once described reading historical based fiction as "boring" because one knew what was going to happen. While I don't agree with this, part of the joy of reading his work is his characters are rooted in historical archetypes that any well-read fan of literature can immediately identify and enjoy. Martin demonstrates his love of this by using the War of the Roses as his template. Ned brought this up and you completely dismissed him, out of hand. If you actually read the books, you'll find the entire first book, A Game of Thrones, is itself a gigantic middle finger to the tropes and cliches of fantasy until its final page. You realize you've just read hundreds of pages of realpolitik in a medieval world, the entire time expecting something different than political machinations, but still completely engrossed. In short, it's worth it because Martin takes something familiar and makes it surprising. I don't know if I've wasted my breath here, but given the fetishization of some outright subpar work in the Western canon today (*cough* Aphra Behn *cough*) can we not at least give Martin the benefit of the doubt? I will even concede that books 4 and 5 are not his strongest work, but the first three should at least be worth your time.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Regarding slur words

    by bah

    I can't think of a single slur word that is inherently ugly. Seriously, take the worst we have, the N word. There's nothing wrong with the word itself. It's kind of bouncy. Many slurs are just abbreviations ('jap') or words that have legitimate meaning when not applied to a person (the Spanish 'negro', just about any slur for gays). It's the history and use that makes it ugly. It's the fact that someone said, "I don't like these people, and I'm going to call them this". The first time someone used the word, there wasn't something ugly about it.

  • I love irony.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 9:20 a.m. CST

    This show is on a whole nother level!

    by Wcwlkr

    April 1st can't get here fast enough. I can't wait for this show.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 10:52 a.m. CST

    redned redemption

    by harry belafonte

    That was a wild ride... reading through the talkbalk.. I have read most of the "penguin classics", lots of biographies for some reason, historical fiction, sci-fi, religious texts, self-help book, poetry, pretty much all over the place. I have been stuck in the fantasy genre for about a year (I'd rather not list all the damn series I've read, it's pathetic). I am finishing up grad school and my extracurricular reading time has been limited to things i don't need to think about; basically watching tv by reading 20 Drizzt Do'Urden novels as I cannot afford cable. Finishing up soon and I appreciated your posts. Any suggestions for a read to pull me out of this funk? I suppose this goes to anyone who might see this, I'd appreciate your suggestions. Aside from Lisa B, who seems to have become pretty jaded since The Cosby Show.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 11:55 a.m. CST

    by mike

    It looks like they possibly might be adding elements in from the 3rd book. Sure hope they don't, but I know books and t.v. shows don't translate. I can't wait to see Tryion as the hand of the king!

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 11:56 a.m. CST

    by mike

    Dragons are not significant until the 3rd book.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 12:06 p.m. CST

    LisaB must be an English major

    by kidicarus

    or some other equally worthless Liberal Arts degree

  • What do they call them? Would you have preferred if Martin had called them Hippies, or Communists? Treehuggers? How about "IceHoles"? Can you come up with a better name or slur for them? What name would you give a group of people who aren't beholden to the recognized ruler of the land and live outside its laws in an area that is deemed too wild and inhospitable by the majority of the population? Martin uses terms like "Wildling" because it is relatable. Easy enough to figure out it refers to someone who lives in the wild. As Bah said, words are not inherently ugly; it's how they are used that makes them offensive. Had you spent your whole life being looked down upon by assholes who made fun of where and how you grew up by calling you "Wildling", you'd find the term very fitting. No, it's not a name you'd find in real life, but that's because we don't live in a medieval society. Again I ask, if "Wildling" is so unacceptable to you, what would you call them?

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 12:34 p.m. CST


    by Red Ned Lynch

    I hope nothing I wrote above gave you the idea I was an expert on fantasy literature. Especially high fantasy. I suspect there are a lot of people around here who could give you a much more fully informed opinion on the best of the genre than I can. In spite of what Lisab may have liked to believe I don’t really read much in the genre. The difference of opinion we were having was related more to her notion that the genre was somehow inherently inferior, which I believe was far more an expression of willful ignorance than taste. That said, I guess I can pitch some old school stuff slightly outside the usual suspects, but I suspect you’ve already read most of them: The Gormenghast books. These are dense. The language is off-putting. But it has an extraordinary power to it and one of the best antagonists you’ll ever read. I must stress however that it is not the easiest read and is lacking almost all the sigil elements of mainstream high fantasy. The Fionavar Tapestry. These books contain all the trappings of high fantasy. The trilogy’s basically an homage to Tolkien, written by one of his first generation admirers. It’s not great literature but its story of college kids pulled into a high fantasy settings and with a few surprises along the way I really enjoyed it. Dark, though. Not Game of Thrones dark, but yeah, kinda’ dark. A Winter’s Tale. I just love this book. It’s really an urban fantasy I suppose, set in an indeterminate early twentieth century landscape, but it’s gentle and sweet and really pretty magical. The Little Prince. Yeah, I might not have so much high fantasy to put on this list but this is so much more than a children’s book. ‘What is essential is invisible’. It’s just all kinds of good. The Last Unicorn, too, for that matter. The King in Yellow. Which is dark fantasy, a subject I’m a little more conversant on. I’ve never read a collection of short fiction that did what Chambers attempted in this book. It’s old and fairly far outside the scope of what you asked about, but if you haven’t read it I think it’s certainly worth reading. A lot of Zelazny, and you can go with Nine Princes in Amber of Jack of Shadows or whatever you like, if you haven’t read them. As I’ve gotten older I’ve lost my taste for these a little but when I first read them I really liked them. Hyperion. And okay, the Hyperion books are science fiction but damn I can’t even tell you how much I love them. Oh, and wandering into science fiction I really like the works of China Mieville (who crosses genre lines) and Neal Stephenson. I especially love his Diamond Age. And another more urban than high fantasy I really liked was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. This is exactly the kind of book LisaB was railing against in a couple of her screeds. It offers a Renaissance Europe where magic works. It’s sort of wonderful. Susanna Clarke is something else. And there’s Acacia, which straddles a lot of lines. It’s one of those books you should read. I feel sort of bad that I didn’t quite love it because almost everyone else seems to. Oh here’s a straight fantasy pulp series I love. The Black Company. It’s this blend of military fiction and high fantasy that is just marvelous. It most certainly ain’t art but it is a lot of fun. The same author did a series that was a mashup of noir with fantasy. I didn’t like that so much, but noir is probably my favorite kind of fiction so I’m probably too priggish about it. High fantasy. You’ve probably read Feist, but if you haven’t he’s worth giving a go. Robin Hobb, too, probably. I tried Tad Williams but really didn’t like him. Not crazy about Terry Brooks, either. I remember the Thomas Covenant books as being good but I haven’t gone back to them in awhile and I’m not sure I’d like them now. And hopefully I won’t get killed for this but I couldn’t make it through the first Wheel of Time book, even though my oldest daughter absolutely loves the series. Anyway, if I think of anything else I’ll be sure to post but I’d be more interested in hearing what someone else (someone who really knows the current high fantasy landscape) has to say.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 12:50 p.m. CST


    by Red Ned Lynch and I are enemies now.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Oh wait!

    by Red Ned Lynch

    Mike Resnick. Santiago. The Soothsayer books. The Widowmaker books (though not quite so much). All of his stuff about the inner frontier, though all the rest of his work is great too. Now, this is sort of science fiction I suppose, though nowhere near hard sci-fi. And the trappings are far more American old west and tall tales than anything else. But these books are genre gold. I would happily go home tonight and reread Santiago, which is an examination of how myths are born and take on a life of their own. Yes. These books.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Although now that you mention it, Big Jim...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...when kids were going on little crime sprees a few years back is was referred to as wilding. And a great number of slurs (limeys, frogs, beaners) came from easily observed habits of those the names were applied to. So, good point. Truth is, though, I don't care for those kind of naming conventions in fantasy either. I do understand the purpose behind them: The writer, having to create an entire world for his/her characters to inhabit and immerse the reader within it, uses descriptive names (bloodworm or marrow bird) in order to communicate to the reader some essential aspect of the thing without having to plunge into a paragraph or more of exposition that slows down the narrative and pulls the reader out of the world. It's the craftsmanship part of writing and most writers who use those shortcuts understand they're making a trade-off. But someone hanging their decision not to read a book on something like that makes about as much sense as refusing your lambchops because restaurants are always putting parsley on them and you can't even eat that. I'm sick of seeing parsley too; I am also capable of moving it to the side of the plate and enjoying my meal.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 1:20 p.m. CST

    a fantasy book worth reading

    by amin

    joe abercrombie the first law, i'haven't finished yet but it's just really awesome, a very visual style of writing, action packed and cool characters.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 4:13 p.m. CST

    RE:red ned lynch

    by kidicarus

    No need to be offended, I hold a slightly less useless degree (B.A. History).

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 8:31 p.m. CST

    To Kill a Mocking Bird?

    by Colin62

    Only white people like that book.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 8:54 p.m. CST

    Characters stories being moved up

    by Joe Magilton

    It seems to me that certain characters stories will be moved forward to the 3rd book. Like, the ranging that started at the end of the first season doesnt occur until the 3rd book if I remember correctly. I would think that some people's stories may be slowed down and others speeded up. Like, Jon Smow is one of the most popular characters from Season 1 and if he was hardly in the second season, I think there would be a lot of (non book) fans that would be griping. Its not like they are making the series just for us who have read the books. At the same time, I'm sure there will be some characters that we all love that will be omitted or minimized (for me, that would be Bronn). I also could see the producers doing the 3rd book over the course of two seasons. There definitely is enough information in there. I can very easily see this series going on for a while, especially since the story has not yet come to a conclusion. Its not like they can run through the 5 books in 5 seasons and then take 3 years off (Sopranos anyone?) while GRRM finishes the story. Just my $.01

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 9:51 p.m. CST

    The ranging spans books 2 and 3

    by bah

    Being vague to avoid spoiling, book two introduces Craster and ends with Jon and Halfhand. Book three opens with the three horn blasts, after which the survivors return to the Wall. What we're seeing in this preview is Robb's romance with Jayne, which is not directly depicted in the book. I don't remember if the books reveal it in 2 or 3, but we don't learn of it until after.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 9:53 p.m. CST

    If memory serves

    by Joe Magilton

    Robb and Jeyne isn't hinted at in the books. Its more of a "Hey Mom, guess what I was up to while you were away!"

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 10 p.m. CST

    Right, that's what I mean

    by bah

    We don't know about it until it's already happened. The show is apparently showing it. Probably with Westerling nudity.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 10:22 p.m. CST

    I'm all for

    by Joe Magilton

    some Westerling nudity, as well as copious amounts of Maregery Tyrell nudity. That girl is gorgeous.

  • Feb. 27, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST

    jane lynch

    by harry belafonte

    Red Ned- Thank you very much for your effort. I was asking for recommendations outside of fantasy, alas I will now fall into some of those you suggested. Santiago looks interesting.. ordered it immediately. Hadn't heard of Hyperion either. @Tailspin- Abercrombie is the danks. Thank you both! I was really pumped to check back in on this post and have responses. I hadn't "talkbacked" before. P.S. I am not as lonely as these posts make me seem, haha, just don't have many friends as nerdy as we all are.

  • Feb. 28, 2012, 8:15 a.m. CST

    Harry and Kidicarus...

    by Red Ned Lynch

    ...Mr. Belafonte, you're welome. I hope you like them. I sure did. And your name had me tallying bananas for almost an hour. Kidicarus, one day I will learn not to try deadpan humor on-line. It never works. Your statement was (sadly) accurate and absolutely no offense was taken.