Dec 16 2011 2:00pm
A Read of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones, Part 35

A Read of Ice and Fire on Tor.comWelcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 35 of A Game of Thrones, in which I look back on the novel as a whole, and give you my thoughts on my experiences with the Read thus far.

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for A Game of Thrones. As for the comments, The Powers That Be at have very kindly set up a forum thread for spoilery comments. Any spoileriffic discussion of the later books in the series should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

Again, a note on scheduling: After this post, the ASOIAF Read will be on hiatus until January 6, 2012, at which time I will begin my Read of the second book in the series, A Clash of Kings.

And now, the post!

When the lovely folks at first suggested this blog series to me, I was really not entirely sure whether it was going to work. I mean, I know verbosity and I have never exactly been strangers, but even so, I worried, what if I just didn’t have anything to say when I don’t know what’s coming next?

Well, obviously, my fears on that score have turned out to be groundless, but I am pretty sure it is only because I was trying it with this particular series of books that it worked as well as it did. Based on my experiences with A Game of Thrones, I feel safe in saying that one thing Martin will never have any trouble provoking in me is a reaction.

So I think as blogging experiments go, this one was pretty much a success. Which is a great relief.

That said, it’s been a pretty odd experience to read a book this way. As a lifelong habitual speed-reader, I can guarantee you that it has never taken me nine months to read a single novel (hell, it’s rare for it to take me longer than two or three days unless the book is a true monster or I’m especially short on time). Therefore, I found that inevitably my memory of the earlier parts of the book grew ever more hazy the further along I went, to the point where I had to go back and read some of my own early blog posts to refresh my memory, even though I kind of didn’t want to do that.

It’s not really cheating to do so, I guess, but most people reading a book don’t have a record of their own mental commentary to refer back to. Then again, most people don’t read only a couple of chapters a week of a book for nine months, so there’s that.

Now that I’m finished the book, though, it was interesting (and, occasionally, hilarious) to go back and see how my first reactions to various characters squared with what I think of them now, and where I think their stories might be going in the future. Let me share these thoughts with you!

Ned: I love that my first reaction to him was to call him “Inscrutable Lord Guy.” Oddly enough, though, even now I think this is still a surprisingly accurate way to describe him, at least in how he must have appeared to the other characters. His decisions must have seemed positively bizarre, in fact, especially to those characters who are much more of the “they’re more like guidelines” mentality re: honor codes (which is most of them).

To the readers, though, he must stand as a living (well, formerly living) metaphor for what is clearly one of the central themes of this series: the conundrum of possessing honor in an often (or usually, even) honorless world, and the betrayal inherent in the realization that sometimes there is no right decision to be made.

Prediction for his future: None. Sigh. Poor Ned. As tragic characters go, he was one of the best I’ve come across.

Catelyn: It took me a while to actually gain an opinion on her character, but the first real reaction she provoked in me (re: her attitude toward Ned’s adultery in general versus Jon in particular) was highly ambivalent, leaning toward the negative. As of the end of AGOT, I still have my issues with her, but they have largely been subsumed by how impressed I was with her during Robb’s campaign in the latter third of the book. I’m glad that at the moment I am ending with her on a relatively high note, though of course who knows what will happen later.

Regardless of whether my good opinion of her will continue or not, Catelyn is definitely, in my opinion, one of Martin’s most complex and interesting characters, in a book that had no shortage of them to begin with. In a world where it’s still a pleasant surprise when female supporting characters don’t turn out to be one-dimensional, I really, sincerely appreciate that.

Prediction for her future: I… have no idea, really. Part of why Catelyn is awesome as a character is that she could decide to do just about anything. I kind of hope she’ll go smack some sense into her sister, though.

Arya: I pronounced her “a girl after my own heart” the moment I met her, and that only became more true as the book went on. I am very pleased (and a little surprised) that my three favorite characters — Jon, Tyrion, and Arya, natch — have remained so the entire book, and have all only increased their awesome as far as I am concerned.

Prediction for her future: Lady pirate! Okay, fine, she’ll probably go join up with her brother Robb and make him let her fight in the army. At least I hope so.

Sansa: I was going to say that I was really mean and unfair to Sansa in the beginning, considering how heartbreakingly awesome she becomes by the last time we see her in AGOT, but on reflection I don’t really think I was. Unfair, I mean. Sansa really was a stuck-up little prig when we first meet her; it’s just that tragic circumstance forced her to either break, or grow up in an unconscionable hurry. Fortunately she chose the latter, though that’s probably the bleakest use of the word “fortunately” I’ve come across recently.

Prediction for her future: Ugh, I shudder to think. I suppose hoping she can escape from her giant weeping pustule of a fiancé is too much to ask for?

Robb: Ahaha, I originally thought he was going to be a crappy leader! Whoops?

Prediction for his future: Lots and lots and lots of battles. Of course, that’s a gimme, since Catelyn predicted that one for me at the end of the book.

Bran: I said something about him being too young to have much of a character yet when I first met him, and oddly enough I kind of feel like that’s still true, despite what happened to him. His crippled state is obviously going to be the major factor informing how his character develops, and it already has been; I’m just not sure yet where that factor is going to lead him, ultimately.

Prediction for his future: He’s off to see the wizards! Or children of the forest, whatever!

Jon: I liked him immediately, and nothing’s changed about that at all. Although, I find it pretty amusing that I originally opined that him going to join the Night Watch was a terrible idea.

…Although, there’s nothing to say it might not still turn out to be a terrible idea, of course. But it seems to be going Jon’s way so far.

Prediction for his future: Command of the Night Watch, of course. I mean, come on. But first he has a date with a zombie-fied Uncle Ben, I bet — more’s the pity.

Theon: I thought he was a jerk when I first met him, and I think he’s still one now — although now I think his jerkishness level is positively benign compared with some of his competitors.

Prediction for his future: Dicking over Robb in some way, I’ll bet.

Lysa: I “looked forward” to meeting her. I shoulda oughta known bettah. Ugh.

Prediction for her future: Well, she’ll have to be Dealt With in some fashion, that’s for sure. I’m hoping Catelyn can get her to pull her head out and get her to join forces with Robb, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

Daenerys: Huh. On first meeting her, I talked about — well, here’s the quote:

Dany is practically the archetype of a victimized woman here, but generally speaking I’m only going to have a problem with that if that’s all she ever turns out to be. So time will tell, I suppose.

And what time has told, I think, is that with regard to Dany, at least, I have nothing to have a problem with; her last appearance in AGOT is the definition of a character seizing agency for herself and asserting power over those who have previously victimized her. Er, literally, actually. So yay Martin on that score.

Prediction for her future: Some hasty lessons in dragon husbandry, for one thing. And also, lots and lots and lots of battles.

Viserys: Possibly the most static character in the book — a pissant little monster from start to finish.

Prediction for his future: None, thank God. Good riddance.

Robert Baratheon: Wow. I called him “dangerously oblivious” on first meeting him, and damn if that wasn’t spot on. Although in his defense (sort of), I don’t know that even a guy ten times as perceptive as Robert would have twigged to what was really going on with Cersei, because it’s so completely outrageous that even now I still can’t believe it.

(Speaking of which, from that same post:

The Lannisters are going to be trouble. This statement has been brought to you by Noshit Sherlock and the letter Duh.

Honey, you had NO IDEA. Whoo boy.)

Anyway, Robert turned out to be just as much a tragic character as Ned, albeit in a rather different way. His theme might be best described as a cautionary tale, of how easy it is to throw away your life and potential and dignity through waste and excess — and how that can ruin so many more lives than just your own. Something to consider.

Prediction for his future: None for him, of course, but his legacy will resonate most unpleasantly for years to come for everyone else.

Jaime Lannister: My first comment on him was:

Ugh, Jaime hasn’t even had a line yet and I’m already predisposed to despise him.

…Yeah, no change on THAT one.

Prediction for his future: Unfortunately, despite the fact that Jaime hardly appeared at all on screen in AGOT (at least compared to most of the other major players), his set-up as a character in this book leads me to believe that my hopes for his summary execution in the next installment are in vain. Besides, someone has to be the main antagonist to the Starks, and Joffrey’s too much of a psycho douchebag to last long at the job, in my opinion. And anyway, it’s not like Martin can let all that “regal/kingly/gilded” foreshadowing on Jaime in AGOT just be left lying around, now can he?

I also reluctantly suspect that pretty soon I am going to be forced to Get To Know Him Better as a character, and that Martin’s going to pull out all this stuff about how despite all the pushing kids off window ledges and so forth, he’s really Not That Bad! Just like he did with Sandor Clegane, dammit. He’s SNEAKY that way.

I plan to sulk about this, just so you know. Grar.

Tyrion: Like Jon, like Arya, I liked him immediately, and everything since then has only strengthened my sympathy for him as a character. And of course, it certainly didn’t hurt that he was the source of about 99% of the occasions that I laughed while reading this book. Never underestimate the power of being good comic relief, especially in this case, where it was often really badly needed.

Prediction for his future: Dude, I really have no clue. He is so perfectly poised between love and hatred for his family, and also between his own curiously strong brand of honor on the one hand, and his talent for unscrupulous, devious scheming on the other, that he could easily tip in any direction at all.

Joffrey: Ugh.


(Yes, I know Joffrey is technically a Baratheon, but whatever. If we’re going strictly by personality, he’s a goddamn Lannister through and through, and you know that’s what he considers himself anyway. Bah.)

…er. Wow. Heh.

Prediction for his future: KILL IT WITH FIRE.

Cersei: I am morally obligated to hate her, and I do, and I am certainly not rooting for her in any way, but at the same time I ended the book with a certain reluctant respect for her ruthless cleverness. Kind of the way you feel about a deadly poisonous snake: you don’t want it anywhere near you and yours, but from a distance it is scarily admirable in its badassedness.

Prediction for her future: The question is, is she ruthless enough to kill her own kid before Joffrey brings them all down?

I… kind of think yes. I don’t know if that’s what she’s going to do, but I do think she is capable of it.



Aaaand there are many more characters I could get into here, obviously, but this covers most of the majors, I think, so we’ll stop here.

For more generalized plot predictions… well. I feel safe in saying there will be some type of Clash. Between Kings. Don’t know where I got that idea!

But, yeah. War is a given (or more war, technically), between the Lannisters and the Starks and the Baratheons and, er, Dany, but the real wild card in the mix is where all this “winter is coming” portent really gets rolling, with the frozen zombies and the wooly mammoths and who knows what all. Which I imagine may be a tad distracting for all parties — you know, as apocalpyti tend to be. They’re funny that way.

And then everyone will pull together and mend their differences and sing Kumbaya and beat the frozen zombies all as one big happy family, right? Right? Hello? Bueller?

…Right, I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. But I am very interested to see what does.

So I guess the only real big question left is: yes, all this, but what did I think of the book as a whole?

Well. The comparison that leaps to my mind, immediately, is my experience watching the television series The Wire. Which is a stunningly complex, poignant, compelling, and incisive show that features, hands down, the best writing I’ve ever come across in the medium. It also happens to be one of the grimmest, most cynical, most depressing television series I’ve ever seen as well. Especially if you give any amount of thought to what the show implies about our chances of throwing off our metaphorical demons and defeating cultural entropy.

I’m not sure I grant the writing of ASOIAF versus the rest of its genre quite the grade I gave The Wire versus the rest of television, but that’s not so much a slur on ASOIAF as it is a compliment to the speculative fiction genre in general (and, by inference, a pointed insult to most television). Otherwise, though, the comparison stands pretty well. AGOT was awesome, no question. But it was also very hard to stomach.

Not just in that it was gritty and dark and cynical, though it is all of those things, of course, but in that it was a very deliberate deconstruction of fantasy and fantasy tropes. That’s actually an understatement; the seeming main “hero” character is executed two-thirds of the way through the book, for crying out loud. Joseph Campbell would be appalled.

I find deconstructivism fascinating intellectually, but viscerally… it grates. As it’s meant to, of course. Tropes are tropes for a reason, after all; there’s a comfort in them, an ease that deconstructivism purposely sets out to undermine — not just to be mean (heh), but for the purposes of making you think about why those tropes are comforting. Or, even, just to make you aware that those elements are tropes in the first place.

Which is great. But there’s no getting around the fact that it makes for a rough reading experience, sometimes. While the series as a whole may not turn out to be one (though who knows, it may), AGOT was, unquestionably in my opinion, a tragedy. Which is kind of an awesomely daring a way to begin an epic fantasy series, but it does also have the effect of making me wary of investing too much in the rest of the characters and the story. While I want very much to know what happens to the characters introduced in AGOT, I can’t deny that I am also kind of dreading finding out as well.

However, it is worth saying that I appreciate tragedies a hell of a lot more now than I did when I was younger, and being able to experience quality storytelling makes up for an awful lot of sad sighs. After all, The Wire may have depressed me, but that didn’t stop me from chewing through all five seasons on DVD in less than two months.

And it’s worth hoping, I hope, that at least some of the characters of A Song of Ice and Fire will eventually find something approaching a happy ending. We’ll see how that hope holds up as I continue along.

And thus ends my Read of A Game of Thrones! I hope you have enjoyed it. I wish you all a very lovely holiday season in whatever form you choose to celebrate it, and don’t forget to come back on January 6th when I start the next book, A Clash of Kings. See you next year!

Marcus W
1. toryx
I wish I had the kind of patience or self-control to stop during a read of a book I'm particularly enjoying to note down my thoughts the way that you do in the Read. I'm not a speed reader (on purpose - where I grew up, books were few and far between and reading them fast just meant I was stuck without for even longer periods of time) so I guess I have the time but not the motivation.

I think it'd be really interesting to do that though, and re-experience those thoughts in the future. That'd make for a fun journaling project, at least. Maybe someday when I'm old and have little else to do.

Edit for spelling.
Rob Munnelly
2. RobMRobM
Leigh - very nice. You would not be surprised to hear that the most common critics' comparison of the HBO show GoT to other TV shows is to the Wire. Nice catch on that.

P.s. Tommy Carcetti plays one of the significant characters. Feel free to guess which one.
Jeff R.
3. Jeff R.
Thanks for all the posts. And, as much as I'm looking forward to your take on Clash, I still sort of wish we got 'The Hedge Knight' here, in publication order (even if only to keep the spoiler rules consistent with the historical publication orders if for no other reason...)
Marcus W
4. toryx
RobM @ 2:

I have to admit that as much as I love ASoIAF and as much as I appreciate and celebrate the tv show, I don't think it's anywhere near as good as The Wire. The Wire was phenomenol in so many ways that AGoT is kind of missing out on. IMHO.

As it happens, I watched AGoT before I saw The Wire and it took me about three episodes to figure out who Tommy Carcetti was. Holy cow, was I impressed. But I'm pretty sure that Leigh doesn't want to know who is playing who in the series so I'm not going to discuss that any further.
Rob Munnelly
5. RobMRobM
@5. Agreed on the desire not to spoil Leigh on that - I was just being a tease. And I haven't seen the Wire myself - although I watched most of Season 1 ep 1 on demand last week - I was pointing out that critics keep making the comparison between the shows.

Leigh - not a spoiler but, as expected, this post should be bookmarked referred back to at later dates for entertainment purposes. Couple of doozies in here.

I really liked AGOT, and liked it even more once I had a chance to view the superstructure that got built on top of the groundwork laid by GRRM. Martin has a real gift for vibrant, memorable characters, both in the large and small parts. On to ACOK.
Jeff R.
6. Syllabus
I have the same sort of ambivalence to the ASOIAF series that I have towards the later seasons of House. In the beginning, the show had heart and a semblance of decency. Now, though the characters and cast are still fascinating, it's all about who can be the most cynical, amoral, backstabbing bitch/bastard of them all. Oh, and any sort of good behaviour or altruism is, by defenition, a mental defect or disease and is never, ever rewarded. Though both of these works fascinate me, I feel a strong need to emulate Pontius Pilate after watching/reading them.
7. Ryamano
Is telling tragedies in fantasy really a deconstruction of the fantasy genre? There's lot of tragedy in Lord of the Rings, for example (sorry for the spoilers, but Boromir dies and the story with the rest of his family, his brother Faramir and his father Denethor, is not all sunshines and puppies and, in the last case, doesn't end well either). Maybe always ending on an upbeat note became a fantasy trope due to Tolkien's imitators (with the TVTropes "amusement park version" of the story).

I don't know why attachment to the character depends so much on the character living. I like characters due to their complexity and their story, not due to "cheering for them". I find that too much simplistic. If the character dies in the middle of the book, so what? As long as he had a good arc, as long as his life could be made into a song or a tragic tale, then it's good, because it's interesting.
David Goodhart
8. Davyd
It is really interesting coming at this Read having read the entire series, as apposed to WOT, which I just read for the first time this year, and stumbled across the Re-Read half way through TEOTW. (My but is has been strange finishing TGS and all of TOM without Leigh and the commenters' insight.) It's hard for me, as someone who doesn't mind spoilers, to comment on a lot of these posts, considering this is a first time read through. But it is VERY entertaining to see the comments and thoughts of people following this read for their first time, because I remember getting caught up on the same lines of thought my first time through. AGOT remains one of my favorite fantasy books, for all the reasons mentioned above. ACOK is my favorite in the series, so I'm excited for that, and for the twists and turns that come with it. Thanks for this Read, Leigh! Hope you have a happy holiday!

PS- Will be in NOLA for New Years! Good times!
Jeff R.
9. Megaduck
"And then everyone will pull together and mend their differences and sing Kumbaya and beat the frozen zombies all as one big happy family, right? Right? Hello? Bueller?"

One of the things I like about aSoIaF is that it starts the story early.

In a lot of fantasy the hero would find out about the army of DOOM approching, rush to the capital to find help, and then get entangled with all the backstabbery politics. Meanwhile the readers are wondering why these idiots are fighting each other rather then the DOOM that will kill them all.

In aSoIaF we know exactly why the people are not going to work together. Does anyone think that Jeoffry will decide to suddenly start working with Renly, or Robb decide to have Sansa marry Jeoffry and meakly bend the knee? Even WITH the armies of winter poised just above the wall and ready to come south to kill anything that breathes?
j p
10. sps49
I don't think I'll read the series any more. There's too many characters I wanted to do well that haven't, and the cutesy tap dancing around spoilers indicates it will continue the rest of the series.

The result is that I'm not invested in the series anymore. I don't enjoy reading it. I don't care what happens in the rest of the books.

I'm not saying the story isn't well crafted, just that it's not for me.
Jeff R.
11. dogshouse
Looking back from the end of "A Dance with Dragons," its just dizzying to think of all that's happened. I can barely recall my mindset at the end of the first book (and I read them all in the last year), so it's great to have Leigh's "unspoiled" thoughts to refer to. Its going to be fun to read the posts on the next few books, to say the least. Enjoy your holidays, let your forehead heal, and get some padding for the desk. You're going to need it.
Juan Avila
12. Cumadrin
I don't have the energy to tap dance around spoilers myself right now. I just want to say I can't wait to read your posts on the remainder of the series. Your predictions about the forthcoming plot have been the most entertaining things I've read in some time. Both the spot-on and the 'Oh Leigh, you're gonna be so wrong and it's gonna be SO funny!' predictions.
The Lannisters are going to be trouble. This statement has been brought to you by Noshit Sherlock and the letter Duh.
I don't think I laughed harder at any time this year than when I first read that comment a few weeks ago.

IIRC Clash of Kings is my favorite installment as well. I await your first peek into that bag of fun eagerly.
Rob Munnelly
13. RobMRobM is the counterpart wrap up paragraph from the Blog of Ice and Fire, which we have enjoyed all through Leigh's re-read. This has LOLs all over da place. Really well done. Rob


Game of Thrones Disney Awards The anti-Martin universe has to be the world of Disney movies. There are very clearly drawn good and bad guys. There's no rape, murder, incest, or blood. The main character always lives and there's always a happy ending. So what better way to summarize this book than through a Disney-inspired award show?

The "Pinocchio" Award for Most Incompetent Liar Eddard Stark. He could not be more horrible at playing the Game of Thrones. Eddard is that guy who throws rock forty times in a row. Could you imagine him playing poker? "Cersei, I am going to bluff you next hand."

The "Sebastian-Iago" Award for Annoying Talkative Animal Mormont's raven. Seriously, shut up. We get it, you repeat what people say.

The "Fantasia" Award for Trippy Sequence Bran's crow dream. This kid would make a killing selling that weed. Plus there's no way cops would pat down a cripple.

The "Dumbo" Award for Useful Facial Deformity The Hound's burned face. Nobody fucks with him.

The "Bambi" Award for Most Traumatic Childhood Bran Stark, by a mile. He witnesses an execution, watches incest, gets pushed out a window, becomes crippled, is held hostage by criminals, parts with everyone in his family, gives up on his childhood dreams to become a knight, and has creepy crow nightmares.

The "Cinderella" Award for Clock Striking Midnight Sansa, when she realized life isn't a song. Imagine Cinderella retold in King's Landing. Joffrey meets his dream girl at the tournament ball. After charming her, he has the Kingsguard beat her. When she escapes at midnight, he searches the entire village for the girl with a black eye.

The "Alice in Wonderland" Award for Overwhelmed Character Eddard Stark. It's exactly like the Alice story, only if Alice was actually beheaded at the end.

The "Peter Pan" Award for Never Growing Up Rickon Stark. He's already four years old and can't even swordfight yet. However, he can speak with dead relatives, predict the future, and hangs out in underground crypts.

The "Snow White" Dwarf Sex Award Obviously Tyrion. He's horny all the time. For a 1930's movie, Snow White would make quite a porn film. A pure, innocent virgin lives with seven male dwarves -- you can't make up a more kinky scenario. Walt Disney was a closet pervert, and I'm convinced Martin is too. Top three names if Tyrion was a dwarf in Snow White? (1) Ugly, (2) Wealthy, (3) Horny.

The "Winnie the Pooh" Award for Jolly Stupid Fat Guy King Robert Baratheon. The guy completely mails it in for his reign, even failing to realize his kids look nothing like him.

The "Little Mermaid" Award for Lack of Walking Ability Bran. He's crippled. Also Othor. Disney should remake the movie and instead call it The Little Finger, an inspiring tale of a commoner who dreams of climbing the treacherous King's Landing social ladder to woo the woman he loves by creepily stalking her daughter.

The "Beauty and the Beast" Award for Deviant Sexual Fetish Cersei and Jaime. Twincest is the best put your sister to the test. I wonder what Cersei would think if she saw her kids doing what she and Jaime did.

The "Jafar" Deceptive Wizard Award Three way tie. First, Mirri Maz Duur for tricking Dany into letting her kill Drogo and Dany's son. Second, Varys for his seemingly magical (but really child labor powered) all-knowing capabilities. And last but not least, Littlefinger for his cunning manipulation of the City Watch, Eddard, and young Catelyn's panties.

The "Magic Carpet" Award for Craziest Escape Arya channeling Barry Sanders and using Jedi mind tricks to escape the Lannisters. If the category was "craziest failed escape," it would go to Mycah, who would have to give a two-part acceptance speech. Rimshot.

The "Jasmine" Award for Hottest Princess Tie, Cersei and Daenerys. I guess they both are technically queens, but I doubt anyone would care. Oh, and Maege Mormont. The senility makes it that much hotter.

The "Mufasa" Award for Parental Death Eddard Stark. His son Robb just can't wait to be king.

The "Rafiki" Award for Weird Talking Old Master Syrio Forel. I really hope he survived Ser Marilyn's attack, but knowing the brutality of Martin's universe, Arya will probably have to ID his severed head.

The "Pumbaa" Award for Best Wild Boar John Wilkes Boar. Also known as the wild boar who snuck up behind Robert and gored his fat ass.

The "Pocahontas" Award for Worst Racial Stereotype The Black Brothers. Because they are only comprised of bastards, rapists, murderers, and thieves.

The "Quasimoto" Award for Likable Yet Ugly Guy Tyrion Lannister. He is so very awesome yet so very ugly. One day, he will find his Esmeralda, and hopefully she isn't a whore that his dad paid for.

The "Mulan" Award for Transgendered Individual Two-way tie. Arya, for being so unlike her sister that everyone mistakes her for a boy. And Loras, for being so, so gay.

The "Genghis Khan" Award for Top 10 Biggest Badasses 10. Arya 9. Robb 8. Bronn 7. Littlefinger 6. Tywin 5. Direwolves 4. Syrio 3. Greatjon 2. Drogo 1. GREGOR

The "Happily Ever After" Award for Top 5 Happy Moments 5. Jaime gets captured 4. Robb wins over the Greatjon 3. Jon gives Arya "Needle" 2. King in the North! 1. Dragons sing
14. jerec84
This feature has been the highlight of my Saturday morning (here in Australia) and I look forward to January 6 (or 7 for me)
Jeff R.
15. Carolyn H
Great wrap-up, Leigh. Your take on the characters has always been just about perfect!

Where you and I differ (and this came as no surprise after some of your reactions during the read) is that I love this series because it mashes up the basic fantasy genre. Don't get me wrong. I love good fantasy. I loved WOT (especially the early volumes). I read more fantasy than anything else. And that said, sometimes I wished fantasy felt a bit more real than most do. I know that sounds weird, wanting fantasy to be "real." I guess what I wanted is for the worlds to make sense, for the characters to behave like real people, for the main character to be somone other than the poor shepherd boy who is really the world's most awesome wizard.

I love the creativity of the magic and wizards and elves that is typical of fantasy, but I also wanted the rest of the story and the characters to feel like you and me, only with dragons and intelligent wolves or scary monsters. For me Martin does that. His world, his characters feel real to me. Their lives feel real, their concerns feel real AND there are dragons. Now that's cool!

Not many authors have pulled that off. Another among my favorites is pretty much anything written by G.Gavriel Kay. A fair number of authors come reasonably close to giving me what I like in fantasy. But Kay and Martin stand at the top of my list.
Kevin Maroney
16. womzilla
I haven't read past A Game of Thrones, so no spoilers from me, but:

RobMRobM @ 6:
You would not be surprised to hear that the most common critics' comparison of the HBO show GoT to other TV shows is to the Wire.

As the current (second) season demonstrates, the closer analogy is to Boardwalk Empire, which really might as well be called A Game of Booze.
David Scotton
17. Kaxon
I enjoyed this post a lot, I hope you do one of these at the end of each book so we can see how your opinions of the characters change.

I second the suggestion to cover The Hedge Knight before A Clash of Kings. The Dunk and Egg stories provide some background that's pretty relevant later, so I think reading in publication order is the way to go.
someone else
18. Naraoia
Ryamano @7
I don't know why attachment to the character depends so much on the character living. I like characters due to their complexity and their story, not due to "cheering for them". I find that too much simplistic. If the character dies in the middle of the book, so what? As long as he had a good arc, as long as his life could be made into a song or a tragic tale, then it's good, because it's interesting.
Of course it's "good" on an intellectual satisfaction level, but if a character I've grown attached to dies, it still feels genuinely awful. In a story where the guy you kind of thought was the hero dies in the first book, attachment is quite an emotional risk.

Then again, maybe I just take my fiction far too seriously. >_>
Don Barkauskas
19. bad_platypus
RobMRobM @ 13:
I wonder what Cersei would think if she saw her kids doing what she and Jaime did.
Incest... the game the whole family can play!

(One of the many disturbing things about this comment is the fact I stole that line from a high school teacher of mine.)
David Goldfarb
20. David_Goldfarb
One point about Ned that I think needs to be made (and I'm surprised womzilla didn't, since I got it from him) is that really, he is just as blinded by his notions of honor as Sansa is by her stories of knights and ladies. He's got the big-male-lord version and she's got the little-girl-princess version, but they're pretty much the same thing.

Some of your character predictions had me going "yep", some had me laughing at how right they were, and some of them got a "nope". (With luck that's vague enough not to constitute any sort of spoiler.)

The plural of "apocalypse" happens to be the same in both English and Latin/Greek: "apocalypses". Not "apocalypti"....
Tricia Irish
21. Tektonica
AGOT was, unquestionably in my opinion, a tragedy. Which is kind of an awesomely daring a way to begin an epic fantasy series, but it does also have the effect of making me wary of investing too much in the rest of the characters and the story. While I want very much to know what happens to the characters introduced in AGOT, I can’t deny that I am also kind of dreading finding out as well.

That pretty much analyzes my reaction to AGoT. I became afraid to invest emotionally in the characters, because I don't trust GRRM to take care of them/me. Great writing, but I find I keep these books at arms length, so I don't get upset. *shrug*

RobM: Thanks so much for reposting the Blog of Ice and Fire here. It's been good fun to read. I hope they continue to blog about the rest of the books too.

Leigh: Thanks so much. Great "read". You are indeed insightful. And funny. And obviously were a bona fied tomgirl too....since Arya is your doppleganger. Have a great holiday break!
someone else
22. Naraoia
David_Goldfarb @20
The plural of "apocalypse" happens to be the same in both English and Latin/Greek: "apocalypses". Not "apocalypti"....
Grammar nazis of the world unite :D

I almost pointed that out. Then I thought I didn't want to sound like an asshole. I think I'm becoming a grammar chicken.
Some of your character predictions had me going "yep", some had me laughing at how right they were, and some of them got a "nope".
That, and Joffrey's description as Sansa's "giant weeping pustule of a fiancé" absolutely cracked me up.

Leigh's Funny is clearly at its best when she's annoyed. Fingers crossed that GRRM keeps her annoyed XD
Jeff R.
23. Mike Tempest
I have been reading this blog for the past few weeks - something not so easy to do for me. I haven't read the comments however, because I don't have the patience to do so, I guess I should, and my eyes won't let me, as I said. So I don't know if what I want to say has been said before, but even if it has been, here it is.

Or even if it's that important, the way it seemed to me when I stumbled on it one day. I have been reading the Ice and Fire series for a while now - waited, like everyone else, for the fifth book to come out - and that's when it struck me. It may be important, or it may be stupid, I don't know. But I found that George - that is to say Mr. Martin - does not kill his POV characters when they're in POV mode, but when someone else is on the mic, if I can put it that way. I got fooled quite a few times, when one POV character ended his/her chapter by going blank, and I thought "that's it for that one" and then, several chapters later, I found them again. It happens even in AGOT when we think Bran is dead - and we all thought that at that point - and then, he isn't. And when Ned is executed, it happens during Arya's time on stage. So I guess it's something to watch out for in the future. I hope this doesn't count as a spoiler.

Also, the prologues and epilogues POVs end up dead, so... go figure. :)

Thanks for the attention and I hope I don't screw this up.
someone else
24. Naraoia
Mike Tempest: I think that *is* veering into spoiler territory ;)

After all, Leigh has only read one prologue, and she hasn't seen most of the chapters you allude to.
Matthew Hunter
25. matthew1215
Mike@23: Definitely too spoilery, someone please white it out for him since he's red.

Naraoia@22 re Leigh's Funny: I don't think it's a spoiler to suggest that GRRM will probably not have any trouble keeping Leigh annoyed.
Rob Munnelly
26. RobMRobM
Tek - bad news. The blog gets pretty far into Clash and then stops dead. The blogger did his work during law school and then stopped when he got a full time job. Wimp. Talented, though. He has some great entries coming up.
Erik Amundsen
27. Bigerich
Leigh, I was re-reading your Wheel of Time Re-Read some time ago and came upon this, in Part 24 of the The Fires of Heaven Re-read:
I’m trying desperately to remember what my initial reaction to Mat, Asmodean, and Aviendha’s “deaths” in this chapter was. As in, did I believe they were for real, or had I twigged by this point to the distinct dearth of important character deaths in WOT? I really can’t remember. I think I was reading this part so fast that I don’t know that their “deaths” actually really registered. I’m pretty sure that for Mat, at least, I was like “uh uh, no way”, but that may be hindsight talking. It’s not like anyone’s last name is “Stark” here, after all. Ba dum dum. That said, it was still shocking, viewed through Rand’s perspective.
Would you care to explain, please?
Jeff R.
28. Helen_Joan
I remember what it felt like to have all my fantasy tropes bowled over. I thought that I had the story pegged - especially when Ned was told that if he "confessed" then he would be sent to the Wall. I could picture it - Ned, of royal north heritage, would get to the wall, take over when Mormont dies, manage to get all his connections in the North country to pay attention to the goings on in the north and manage to save the day. Was a bit confused about what Dany's part was going to be - maybe find some missing piece of the puzzle lost "down south" and come rushing up at the last minute to save the day!

And then Ned died. Man, the situation beyond the wall just got that much more dire. I was afraid for this world. But it also made me realize that I was "getting" the fantasy genre - I was able to see the foreshadowing and start "knowing" where the book was going. The tropes, as Leigh has taught me about. The fantasy genre has become more complex and impressive with this series - it stopped being as predictable as a harlequin romance. And I appreciate it.

Thanks, Martin, for getting me beyond the predictable to the inscrutable.
Jeff R.
29. tayyab85
Leigh i loved reading your posts to cjeck your first reactions and compare tem with one i had. some of your prediction makes me wnna salute your genius and grasp over our fantasy tropes and some makes wanna say na na na......... its martin baby don't try to predict. but guess that is what i love about this story that like life there is no surity of end. i will not put it beyond him to show that a major character dies in random exchange of arrows een before the real war began ( thats one of the things i have kept dreading about while reading this serie). and thats why i love this series. nothing and no one is safe.

ps:- sorry for typos and lack of capitals
Jeff R.
30. Megaduck
I can understand how people don't like having their favorite charecters killed. If your reading it for light entertainment it makes you feel bad and is just icky.

At the same time, that is why I like aSoIaF. When one of the charecters is in danger your hanging on the edge of your seat because no one is safe, there is no expectation that they're going to get out of it. I like the tension in the series, though part of the reason I like it is that there are so many charecters I like in this series we can lose one or two and there is still people I am reading the story for.
Rob Munnelly
31. RobMRobM
@27 - there was a longtime running joke, known to ASOIF readers and non-readers alike, that anytime anyone asked GRRM why Book 5 (Dance with Dragons) was taking so long to complete he killed a Stark. Not hard for Leigh to have been aware of the trials and tributions of the Stark family from that joke.

Mo -
32. Astus
Thanks for doing this, Leigh! It has been an awesome ride. I was pleased to see AGoT receive a little tlc like that of our beloved WoT. Can't wait for you to dissect Clash though it'd be unbearable for me personally to only go through two chapters a week, haha.

At the end of AGoT I did agree with pretty much all your conclusions on the characters for the most part. What struck me most was Lysa though, funnily enough. I figured "Well, Cat's now gonna go meet up with her sister and well, it's her sister so she should be as badass but maybe moreso now that she's essentially the ruler of a domain and has a bone to pick with the Lannisters!"
And then she's there just casually breastfeeding her 7 year old son. Hyuck.

@13 - lmao! Love it. Thanks for reposting.
I think Alice getting beheaded would have made for a swell ending. :D
Jeff R.
33. lampwick
"Joseph Campbell would be appalled" could stand as a summary for the entire series. Well done!
Cameron Tucker
34. Loialson
@10 sps49

I reacted really similarly after I finished AGoT. I was...emotionally drained, morally numb, and I just didn't care enough about the characters anymore to continue. It wasn't a pleasant experience. So I decided this series wasn't for me. I still wanted a bit of closure re: characters I did like (Arya, Bran, Jon), so I went to Wikipedia for plot summaries.... In respect to spoilers I'll just say I felt the same about the future books as this one. Unfortunately.

I sincerely hope all who do love and appreciate this series continue to do so though, as GRRM is a master-crafter at what he does, but I feel about the series as a whole the way Leigh mentioned feeling about Cersei. Impressive from a distance, but dangerous up close.
Jeff R.
35. The SmilingKnight
Ive already said it after the last post but i guess i can do it again.

I really liked this read and your comments. It made me remember what i saw in these books... so long, long ago.
And its quite fun reading your guesses how things will go in the future.
Very, very much.

Sure, a few are not "funny" literally, like knowing how Eddard will end and seeing your guesses about him, before you came to his death, but its... engaging, to put it in a different way.

Still, the rest is pretty funny. You had two just up here again.
I hate it so much that i cant say which ones and in which way ... its soooo annoying!

But it regularly gives me quite a few deep guwafs and chuckles.

I hate it and i like it, which makes you one of the very rare persons to whom i would extend a promise of being cordially ascorted to a nice dinner and entertaining evening any time you come close to the Kingswood and my own mery brotherhood.
Letting the same one go alive next day included!

Which is nothing extended to any of the recent Westeros general fandom, or mr George R.R Knot himself.

Looking forward to new seasion.
Heave nice hollidays ms Leigh.
Jonathan Levy
36. JonathanLevy
After all, The Wire may have depressed me, but that didn’t stop me from chewing through all five seasons on DVD in less than two months.
So that's why we went down to 2 chapters per post in the WoT re-read a few months ago! :)

27. Bigerich
It’s not like anyone’s last name is “Stark” here, after all

Hehehe. Nice catch. If anyone else cares, I've double-checked and confirmed Bigerich's quote.

31. RobMRobM

Nice try.

Put all the people in the world who have made a comment like that ("he kills a Stark") because they read the book in room A. Put all the people in the world who made a comment like that about a book they hadn't read simply because they heard other people make it in room B. What do you think their relative sizes would be? A hundred to one? A thousand to one?

Also, I invite you to go through your own posts over the last year and make a list of the references to other books which you have made. Put the references to books you've read in column A. Put the references to books you haven't read, but have heard of in column B. What do you think their relative sizes would be? I know what they'll be if I go over my own posts.

I love Leigh's posts and both her re-reads, and I think she has been very careful to speak no word that is not true, but I also think this ASOIAF read is not quite the unexplored territory which it's been presented as being. You can almost imagine the conversation:

White Tower: We want you do to a GRRM re-read as well.
Aes Sedai: I can't, I only read the first book, and that was like 5 years ago and I don't remember anything.
White Tower: Ok, we'll present it as a first-time read them. People will love it, they'll flock to our site and buy our books and make us rich.
Aes Sedai: But it's not quite a first-time read, is it?
White Tower: Don't worry, our marketing department will handle it. People will flock to our site and make us rich.
Aes Sedai: As long as you promise not to lie in my name.
Aes Sedai: Of course not! Our marketing department will handle it. People will flock to our site and make us rich.


White Tower: Everything is ready, please make your first post on your first-time ever read of GRRM.
Aes Sedai: But I told you I'd already read it once in the past.
White Tower: Well, we've already made a public statement, we can't retract it now or we'll look foolish. Besides, who's going to notice? Don't worry, people will flock to our website and make us rich.

To be clear, I have no inside knowledge and everything I wrote is mere supposition. I am also quite happy not to receive any explanations from anyone. Advertisers stretch the truth a thousand ways, and TOR is a business enterprise, after all. I say, let it be.
Rob Munnelly
37. RobMRobM
Jonathan - agree strongly with your overall "let it be" point but the whole hoo haw over the six years it took GRRM to write ADWD was one of the best known trials and tribulations in the history of the SFF community (viz, the blogosphere explosion following Gaiman's GRRM is Not Your Bitch article) and well known to virtually every regular visitor to this site. The Stark joke was featured in this discussion, both at (a search pulls out a couple of references) and elsewhere in the literature. Unique, well publicized issue and a unique well publicized joke IMO.

P.s. Love the Aes Sedai analogy, though. LOL.

EDIT - I googled "kills a Stark" - 11,700 hits.
Jonathan Levy
38. JonathanLevy
37. RobMRobM

I understand where you're coming from, and of course it's possible that Fearless Leader was making a reference to a book she had not read. But from a mathematical perspective, if the apriori probability that you read the book is 50% (reasonable for a randomly-chosen poster on and you make a comment which puts you in a group of which 99% have read the book, that's a strong indication that you've read the book.

Here's an analogy: Suppose you had never read any other post of mine, except for the Aes Sedai reference in my previous comment. Would you be willing to bet $5 that I'd read TEOTW based on that comment? I think you would.

But for someone who advised leaving the topic alone, I'm blabbing far too much. Time to follow my own advice! :)

EDIT: And of those 11,700 hits, do you think you could find 117 by people who had not read the book?
Jeff R.
39. SKM
@38 --I have only read the first book, and that only a few weeks ago. But I was very well aware of the "kills a Stark" joke during the ADWD hiatus, because (a) many of my friends were already fans of the series and (b) it, like "Not Your Bitch," was all over the nerdosphere. Since Leigh blogs for a nerd site, it strikes me as more unrealistic that she wouldn't have heard of the joke -- even without having read the series -- than that she would. I don't really see a problem there.
Jonathan Levy
40. JonathanLevy
Edited to remove my comment, as I have already twice said I would drop the subject.
Juan Avila
41. Cumadrin

*picks up adorable little creature with eye-numbingly cute puppy dog eyes*

Hey, I think you dropped this poor li'l topic here, dude.

Sky Thibedeau
42. SkylarkThibedeau
GOT would be better compared to Battlestar Galactica 2003. Both are dark and grim and people are the same sorry humans and near humans they are in our World. In the end like BSG 03 and Lost, I believe no one will be satiesfied in the way ASOFAI ends (if it ever does!!!)
Jeff R.
43. Wortmauer
Bigerich@27, RobMRobM@31, JonathanLevy@36: This keeps coming up. I don't imagine Leigh was trying to deceive anyone on this, but a lot of people managed to get the impression she hasn't read AGOT before. To be fair, the opening blurb does kind of imply this. But for the record — she has. No need to speculate how she knew enough to joke about Starks not always having what Robin Hobb calls a magic umbrella (i.e., one that shields main characters from death or other serious harm).

I personally think Leigh should've been a bit clearer on this, since a lot of people got this idea she hadn't read it before. But it's a moot point now, one way or another, as we've reached the end of the one book she was re-reading. The rest of the series is presumably a first-time read.
Jonathan Levy
44. JonathanLevy
41. Cumadrin

Careful, he bites, and occasionally foams at the mouth :)
Jeff R.
45. hohmeisw
I am with you on the deconstruction of fantasy tropes. Right up until his head rolled across the floor, I expected SOMEONE to swoop in and rescue Ned. Then he and Robb could have awesome adventures stomping the Lannisters. That is not going to happen, and I have pinned my hopes on someone else, as of book 4. And if Martin deals with that person, in the same way he did Ned, then I give up. He will always surprise me in terrible ways.
Rob Munnelly
46. RobMRobM
@43 Not listening, not listening. La la la la (hands over ears). Let it be.

@44 Yes, he occasionally does.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
47. tnh
Wortmauer @43, we've had words about this before. Why are you harping on it again? To repeat an old point of mine, if Leigh were not an honest reader and writer, we'd all have noticed it long ago.

So: do you have anything new to say on the subject? And if so, is it relevant to this discussion? If not, I suggest you drop it.
Jeff R.
48. Wortmauer

tnh@47: I know I've mentioned it before, but the subject keeps coming up. I was answering a FAQ, then, if you will. Trying to replace hinted accusations (@27) and speculations (@36) with cold facts. As opposed to, you know, frequently answering something that isn't frequently asked. (What I would call "harping on" something.)

I stand by the opinion that, because the facts were so frequently misunderstood, they should have been stated more unambiguously in the blurbs. You guys evidently disagree, and that's fine. Just don't be surprised, then, that this kept popping back up every few weeks.

To answer your last question: no, I don't have anything new to add, beyond answering the original question. And as I mentioned already, I suspect the subject will drop itself naturally, once we get past book 1.
(Almost there!)
Jeff R.
49. ryamano
Something that ASOIAF does is tell stories before they are normally told usually.

Normally a story about getting revenge for your father's death would have the father's death at the beginning or before the story started. Normally it'd also be told through the POV of the son. But in AGOT, we see the story from the POV of the father and he dies 2/3 of the book. A good thing this does is that we're very attached to the father, he's not just a "father archetype", he's Eddard Stark, a guy we saw a lot of and thought would survive forever (as we all think our parents will do). That makes his death so much more a shock, it makes it resonate much more, makes us feel like Catelyn or Robb.

Also, to me ASOIAF is a story about a frozen zombie apocalypse that's about to happen (just read the prologue and the legends Old Nan tells) and how humanity was so stupid to bicker with each other before it happened. The reasons people have for bickering before this apocalypse seem much more real and justifiable, from my POV, than those in other series. In Wheel of Time, for example, even after the savior of the world fullfills some prophecies that make him be seen as the savior to everyone else, people still oppose him (like the lords of Tear). Why are they doing that? Don't they realize that the world is going to end unless you help that guy fullfill his destiny? Everyone knows that, it's common knowledge and can't be denied after a certain point in the series. In ASOIAF though, we understand why Robb will never help Joffrey or seek his help. We're talking about a guy who killed his father and beats his sister (and, for all he knows, killed his other sister). It makes more sense for me at least.

I'm waiting for Leigh to see other stories that would be subverted in the next books. It'd be interesting if she reads until book 5 at least.
Jeff R.
50. Tyrion Lannister
51. birgit
AGoT read posting statistics

- different spellings of usernames are counted separately
- punctuation is counted as words

top 54 posters by number of comments (10 comments or more)
username;comments;words;average words per comment
1: RobMRobM;213;46557;218.0
2: toryx;77;11425;148.0
3: Wortmauer;62;29875;481.0
4: Aegnor;51;4952;97.0
5: tnh;46;8348;181.0
6: Juliet_Kestrel;43;10647;247.0
7: subwoofer;38;10766;283.0
8: Tektonica;36;5647;156.0
9: Randalator;34;4634;136.0
10: anthonypero;33;3353;101.0
11: Naraoia;31;5417;174.0
12: carolynh;30;4902;163.0
13: fanganga;28;4187;149.0
14: Isilel;24;8798;366.0
15: Bergmaniac;24;4631;192.0
16: SkylarkThibedeau;23;1592;69.0
17: shalter;22;1638;74.0
18: sofrina;18;2838;157.0
19: pro_star;18;1561;86.0
20: Lsana;17;2578;151.0
21: Megaduck;16;4681;292.0
22: tonka;15;2275;151.0
23: Alisonwonderland;15;3237;215.0
24: Peter1742;15;1842;122.0
25: womzilla;15;2200;146.0
26: lakesidey;14;2351;167.0
27: leighdb;14;991;70.0
28: mike shupp;14;3660;261.0
29: oraymw;14;2120;151.0
30: benpmoldovan;14;1513;108.0
31: HArai;14;970;69.0
32: birgit;14;1658;118.0
33: billiam;13;1797;138.0
34: decarillion;13;1489;114.0
35: Joel Prophet;13;1799;138.0
36: ryamano;13;3927;302.0
37: JoeNotCharles;13;1665;128.0
38: welltemperedwriter;13;1960;150.0
39: Tenesmus;12;879;73.0
40: matthew1215;12;2873;239.0
41: pike747;12;3202;266.0
42: dsolo;12;1655;137.0
43: MickeyDee;12;2645;220.0
44: Fiddler;11;2390;217.0
45: Hirgon;11;2497;227.0
46: Reader;11;5599;509.0
47: Wetlandernw;11;2519;229.0
48: KatoCrossesTheCourtyard;11;1476;134.0
49: nancym;11;1077;97.0
50: EvilClosetMonkey;10;2511;251.0
51: Fredweena;10;817;81.0
52: Patrick C;10;895;89.0
53: JFKingsmill16;10;575;57.0
54: Dragonara;10;647;64.0

top 50 posters by number of words
username;words;comments;average words per comment
1: RobMRobM;46557;213;218.0
2: Wortmauer;29875;62;481.0
3: toryx;11425;77;148.0
4: subwoofer;10766;38;283.0
5: Juliet_Kestrel;10647;43;247.0
6: Isilel;8798;24;366.0
7: tnh;8348;46;181.0
8: Tektonica;5647;36;156.0
9: Reader;5599;11;509.0
10: Naraoia;5417;31;174.0
11: Aegnor;4952;51;97.0
12: carolynh;4902;30;163.0
13: Megaduck;4681;16;292.0
14: Randalator;4634;34;136.0
15: Bergmaniac;4631;24;192.0
16: fanganga;4187;28;149.0
17: ryamano;3927;13;302.0
18: Trooth;3672;9;408.0
19: mike shupp;3660;14;261.0
20: anthonypero;3353;33;101.0
21: Alisonwonderland;3237;15;215.0
22: pike747;3202;12;266.0
23: matthew1215;2873;12;239.0
24: sofrina;2838;18;157.0
25: joev;2661;9;295.0
26: MickeyDee;2645;12;220.0
27: Lsana;2578;17;151.0
28: Wetlandernw;2519;11;229.0
29: EvilClosetMonkey;2511;10;251.0
30: Hirgon;2497;11;227.0
31: Fiddler;2390;11;217.0
32: lakesidey;2351;14;167.0
33: tonka;2275;15;151.0
34: womzilla;2200;15;146.0
35: EmpressMaude;2135;4;533.0
36: oraymw;2120;14;151.0
37: Steve L;2109;8;263.0
38: Wolfmage;2102;7;300.0
39: The SmilingKnight;2023;9;224.0
40: welltemperedwriter;1960;13;150.0
41: JonathanLevy;1959;8;244.0
42: thewindrose;1941;9;215.0
43: TastyCrunchyDragonTreat;1881;5;376.0
44: Peter1742;1842;15;122.0
45: Joel Prophet;1799;13;138.0
46: billiam;1797;13;138.0
47: Gentleman Farmer;1731;5;346.0
48: JoeNotCharles;1665;13;128.0
49: birgit;1658;14;118.0
50: dsolo;1655;12;137.0

There were 623 different usernames; 320 appeared only once.
Rob Munnelly
52. RobMRobM
Birgit - thanks so much. Great idea to do this as well as in WoT land. I'm so proud.

Marcus W
53. toryx
I really didn't think I commented all that often. Bizarre and a little frightening.
Jeff R.
54. Wortmauer
Yeah, thanks, Birgit!

I wonder if I would have overtaken RobMRobM in word count if we didn't count all the Blog of Ice and Fire reposts. (Which, it must be said, were also full of ripostes.) They weren't that long, but there were a lot of 'em. I posted the excerpt one week, but Rob did most other weeks.
Rob Munnelly
55. RobMRobM
@54. Likely, yes. I've done lots of WoT posts (I'm in the top half dozen) but I tend to be on the lower side on Birgit's average word count metrics.
Steven Halter
56. stevenhalter
Birgit@51:That's pretty cool. What did you use to compile this?
Michael Maxwell
57. pike747
I did this because of you but couldn't manage the pace. Your blog was effective.
I purchased A Game of Thrones to follow along because the library was out of it. They did have the rest of the series proper which I finished before the release of A Dance with Dragons they got that and I read it too. Also caught the HBO series. You are a marketing guru
The meme continued into Skyrim where I attempted to befriend dragons and was largely unsuccessful. There is a location there known as Fort AMOL.
So now I see that is approaching 20 percent of the second draft and can hardly wait! To all of you the difficulty waiting is to read and find out and kick the ideas around with everyone.
The blog of Ice and Fire excerpts were pretty cool and this Disney one was awesome!
Michael Maxwell
58. pike747
A little surprised at my standing in the.... err standings I had to drop out early because it was too hard not to spoil
Thanks Birgit

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