Monday, September 9, 2013

Blog blues

You may have noticed I haven't been around much lately, and I apologize to all my wonderful blogging buddies.

Unfortunately, other life events are getting in the way and I am just not making the time that I should for my blog. This isn't fair to those of you who read it and to the bloggers I normally visit, so I am taking a much needed break from the blogging life.

All the best to you, my friends. Keep geeking it up while I'm away.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Game of Thrones Roundup - Chapters 59-end

Here we are at the end!! It's been a lot of fun reading A Game of Thrones with blogger buddies Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, Ria from Bibliotropic, and Heather from Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between.

Heather: All the chapters have been told from the point of view of particular characters, and the story has gone back and forth along their journeys. Why do you think only these characters have been chosen? What does it say about them over the others? - See more at: http://www.mithrilwisdom.com/2013/09/asoiaf-book-club-game-of-thrones.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+mithrilwisdom+%28Mithril+Wisdom+fantasy+reviews+and+geek+culture%29#sthash.zV0yDSZc.dpuf
Heather: All the chapters have been told from the point of view of particular characters, and the story has gone back and forth along their journeys. Why do you think only these characters have been chosen? What does it say about them over the others?

Well for one thing, I think if he widened the spread of characters more it would just be too many. Martin tells mostly from the main players' perspectives for obvious reasons, but I loved how he told some of the story from the eyes of the children. He did such a good job of showing their naivete and at the same time bringing a new perspective to the plot through their eyes.

Ria: Mirri's about-face: expected and in -character, or did it feel to you like it came out of left field?

I was actually expecting it. Dany is far too trusting, and she was bound to fall at some point because of that. Despite her heart, not everyone is going to fall at her feet in adoration.

Jamie: Do you think there's any room for growth with Sansa? Will she ever find a backbone or do you think she'll remain a frightened, weak willed pup?

I agree with Jamie; she deserves a slap. She's just pathetic most of the time. I think she's got courage in her somewhere though, and she's young. Her Stark blood has time to show itself yet!

Allison: Do you think Jaime and Cersei have developed as characters at all throughout the story?

I am wondering if the Lannisters' roles will change in the next books. Will they remain the "villains," or will they join forces with the other houses? I feel like their characters didn't move much in this book but maybe they will later in the series.

Final Thoughts
I enjoyed this epic fantasy a lot. Watching my favourite characters progress was the best part, and I look forward to reading the rest.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Game of Thrones Roundup - Chapters 44-58

Extremely late, but here I am for post number 4 in the ASOIAF Book Club with Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, Ria from Bibliotropic, and Heather from Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between! We are reading Game of Thrones together in 10 weeks.

Ria: What do you think of the chapters from Bran's perspective? Do they more like filler material, a means to see what's going on where other main characters can't be, or do you think there's going to be something more important that he'll take a central role in? - See more at: http://www.mithrilwisdom.com/2013/08/game-of-thrones-chapters-44-58.html#sthash.tym5PgGp.dpuf
Ria: What do you think of the chapters from Bran's perspective? Do they more like filler material, a means to see what's going on where other main characters can't be, or do you think there's going to be something more important that he'll take a central role in?

I have a suspicion that Bran is going to become very important, perhaps gain the gift of prophecy or something, and I think these chapters are leading up to whatever it is.

Allison: Why do you think so much emphasis is put on Dany's dragon eggs in the story so far?

I think they are to remind us that she is the last dragon, but I also think they will have a significant role in the future. Yes, I am waiting for them to hatch.

Jamie: Why do you think Jon Snow goes to such great lengths to protect and help out Sam Tarly?

I think Jon wishes he had a friend like that to protect him when he was younger. His friendship with Sam is sweet!

Heather: Do you think Ser Jorah Mormont is helping Daenerys as part of a new life for himself, or rather he sees her as his ticket back to his homeland?

I wonder about Mormont's agenda; I am unsure what it is. I feel like he wants to get back at Ned at some point, and maybe sees Daenerys as his ticket to do that. I wonder if he is also falling in love with her. We'll see...

Final Thoughts:
Almost to the end of the book, and still so many unresolved things. It was satisfying seeing Viserys get his comeuppance, that's for sure.
Ria: What do you think of the chapters from Bran's perspective? Do they more like filler material, a means to see what's going on where other main characters can't be, or do you think there's going to be something more important that he'll take a central role in? - See more at: http://www.mithrilwisdom.com/2013/08/game-of-thrones-chapters-44-58.html#sthash.tym5PgGp.dpuf
Ria: What do you think of the chapters from Bran's perspective? Do they more like filler material, a means to see what's going on where other main characters can't be, or do you think there's going to be something more important that he'll take a central role in? - See more at: http://www.mithrilwisdom.com/2013/08/game-of-thrones-chapters-44-58.html#sthash.tym5PgGp.dpuf
Ria: What do you think of the chapters from Bran's perspective? Do they more like filler material, a means to see what's going on where other main characters can't be, or do you think there's going to be something more important that he'll take a central role in? - See more at: http://www.mithrilwisdom.com/2013/08/game-of-thrones-chapters-44-58.html#sthash.tym5PgGp.dpuf

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Game of Thrones Roundup - Chapters 29-43

This is post number 3 in the ASOIAF Book Club with Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, Ria from Bibliotropic, and Heather from Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between! We are reading Game of Thrones together in 10 weeks.

Here are our questions this week:

Heather: What do you think of Catelyn Stark's sudden capture of Tyrion Lannister and her trek to see her crazy sister? Was it a mother's reaction seeking revenge, or a strong woman trying to do her best for the Realm?

I actually felt at the time I was reading it that Catelyn was reacting out of fear. Tyrion Lannister, in her mind, tried to murder her son and initiated the traumatic attack on herself, and I think she is actually afraid of him. This in conjunction with her anger and grief at what was done to Bran, I believe, caused her rash reaction. She has shown that she is capable of hating someone irrationally before (Jon Snow), and this seems to be happening here with Tyrion as well.

Ria: It seems that the author uses a good deal of archetypes as a base for his characters. Do you feel that this weakens the story when characters are models bordering on stereotypes, or does the large cast with a diverse number of archetypes balance that out?

Martin does seem to use archetypes, but I also think that he likes to do surprising things with these characters that break them out of their molds. For example, dwarfs in fantasy are known to bring humour to the story; Tyrion Lannister does this, yes, but he also says some of the most thought-provoking things in the novel and brings so much more to the story.

Jamie: Danaerys has grown quite bold since she was sold off to Khal Drogo, to the point where she has much less of a problem swinging for Viserys 'douchebag of the year' Targaryen. Do you think her development is down to her becoming stronger, the fact that she has a child to protect or is she getting comfortable in the safety of the khalasar?

Dany's story has actually been one of my favourite character development arcs so far. I think she is getting stronger because she feels like she finally belongs with a people in combination with her growing up and realizing she doesn't have to do everything Viserys says anymore. I loved the parts where she finally stood up to Viserys!

Allison: So far, I am generally pro-Stark and anti-Lannister, but in the case of Catelyn vs. Tyrion I am torn. Who do you feel allied with in their situation?

I'm leaning towards Tyrion, but I really do feel for Catelyn and applaud her for outwitting him! I am impressed that she was able to outsmart him, I really am. Though I think her decision to take him captive was stupid and based on irrational feelings.

Final Thoughts:

There aren't really any boring parts to this book yet, and I appreciate that. The action, interesting story, and character development just keep coming. I actually started watching the TV show this week because my brother had it; I watched up to the parts I've read. They have done a good job of keeping to the book so far, and I love the actors chosen for the parts!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

IWSG: Killer Openings

Firstly, I would like to apologize, and apologize in advance, for my busyness, for not posting regularly or visiting my buddies' blogs. I've been moving to a new place, looking for a second job, and working through various other life issues. I may need to take a blog break soon (but hopefully not for too long and definitely not until after I'm done the Game of Thrones read-along!).

Now, down to business. I want to talk about killer openings in novels. And when I say killer openings, I don't mean awesome beginnings, I mean the kind that will kill your novel because readers will stop right there and move on to something better.

Here's a top 10 list I've compiled from some writers' and literary agents' opinions (combined with my own). Some of these are general and some specific to sci-fi or fantasy.

1. The dream
Starting with a dream is not shocking any more. It's been done and people expect it. If you're going to try to toy with my mind, do it in another way, I beg of you!!

2. The backstory
There's nothing that will make me shut a book faster than the info dump. I want to be thrown into the action, not have the world explained to me.

3. The looking in a mirror
There has to be a more creative way to explain what your main character looks like.

4. The dialogue
Too many people talking at the beginning just gets confusing, and it can be boring if I'm not invested in them (which I'm not, because I just met them).

5. The getting sucked into a portal
Narnia did it, and it was neat. Do it in a new way and I'll be impressed.

6. The gathering herbs in a forest
I remember a literary agent I'm familiar with complaining about how sick she was of reading fantasy stories that start this way. Don't. Just don't.

7. The educating
This a no-no particularly in YA and MG, but I'd argue for adult too. I don't want to be aware that I'm being taught something... I want to read a good story! Take me straight to the action.

8. The battle scene
This is a problem because, once again, I am not invested in the characters yet and I don't know what's at stake. Why should I be interested?

9. The distant, third person narrator
In fantasy, often the Boy or the Old Man. I also dislike the narrator we first meet disappearing after a chapter or two to be replaced by the main character. Just start me out with the main character!

10. The prologue
Vastly debated among amateurs and professionals alike, I am definitely on the con-prologue side. I've never read a book that had a prologue and couldn't be started at Chapter 1 without missing ANYTHING important.

And there you have my list. What do you think is important to avoid and important to get right in a first chapter?

Monday, July 29, 2013

The one you've all been waiting for

Here it is, folks. The end of my top TV theme countdown.

For the past Mondays, I've been sharing my top favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 1, my favourite, and it's the theme song from:

Game of Thrones


The fact that I am currently enjoying the novel held no sway on my choice; I made my top 10 list before I started reading Game of Thrones. I've never seen the show either, so I really love this song purely for its instrumental goodness. I love the rich sound of the cello.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Game of Thrones Roundup - Chapters 15-28

This is the second post for the A Song of Ice and Fire Book Club, where Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, Ria from Bibliotropic, Heather from Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between, and I are reading Game of Thrones in ten weeks, and asking each other questions as we go.

Jamie: Littlefinger and Varys banter really well with one another; I love their back and forth as they try to outdo one another. Who do you prefer and why?
We don't know much about Varys yet, but from what we do know I prefer Littlefinger. Even though Littlefinger is creepy, I kind of like him. He is witty and clever, and has made his own path for himself. I like that he helped out the Starks, though I wonder how strong his allegiance is. I guess we'll find out!

Heather: Arya and Sansa are clearly very different personalities with very different views on the world, despite coming from the same origins. Which do you identify with the most? Do you think the chasm building between them is becoming too great to be bridged, despite their father’s efforts to keep them closer?
I don't identify with Sansa very well. She is a princess, in more ways than one. I absolutely love Arya; she is one of my favourites. I like that she is brave and smart, and loves adventure. I think the two can bridge the chasm that's come between, though. They are different, but I think they will come to see that they need each other.

Allison: Ned Stark seems to be a pretty honourable guy so far–he obviously cares about his family and duty is important to him. I liked the part where he gives Arya back Needle and arranges for her to have lessons. However, I can’t bring myself to like him, because I have this foreboding feeling that he is going to do something terrible and make me hate him. What do you think of Ned so far?
I sort of answered my own question in my question! I like him so far, but I am hesitant to become attached because I feel like winter is coming with him yet. I do love the idea of him being played by Sean Bean in the movie, and look forward to seeing that!

Ria: What do you think of the situation involving how Jon turned enemies into allies on the Wall? Effective strategy, or overused Saturday-morning-cartoon plot device?
Some might get tired of the turning-enemies-to-allies plot device, but I love it. Jon has constantly been thinking about his self and his own problems so far (and who can blame him), but now he's learning to think about others too. I think he's got the heart to be a big encouragement and inspiration to these other boys, and the ability to make some life-changing friendships.

Final Thoughts:
I am enjoying the multiple points of view in Game of Thrones. And despite my efforts to not get attached, I already have found favourites in Arya, Jon, and Tyrion.