Patience, it’s not one of my virtues. Daily I ensure I do not give in to my need for instant gratification. I have even reached the point where I have to budget my finances or I will run out of money days into a month. So, I am sure you can appreciate that while this is not the last George R. R. Martin book I will read, it feels a lot like the end.
With so many theories floating through my mind, all which need answers, it is hard to sit back and wait for The Wind’s of Winter, the sequel to A Dance with Dragons. However, genius cannot be rushed, so wait I must. Due to these theories I am issuing a Spoiler Alert. Usually I try to gloss over major plot details, revealing enough to get you interested without ruining your own experience. However, in this case I cannot guarantee I will able to contain myself; if you have not read the book or do not wish to be spoiled read on carefully.
A Dance with Dragons picks up where A Storm of Swords left off and runs simultaneously with events in A Feast for Crows. The War of the Five Kings seems to be winding down. In the North, King Stannis Baratheon has installed himself at the Wall and vowed to win the support of the northmen to continue his struggle to claim the Iron Throne, although this is complicated by the fact that much of the west coast is under occupation by the ironborn. On the Wall itself Jon Snow has been elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, but has enemies both in the Watch and beyond the Wall to watch for. Tyrion Lannister has been taken by ship across the Narrow Sea to Pentos, but his eventual goals are unknown even to him. In the far east, Daenerys Targaryen has conquered the city of Meereen, but has decided to stay and rule the city, honing her skills of leadership which will be needed when she travels on to Westeros. But Daenerys’ presence is now known to many in Westeros, and from the Iron Islands and Dorne, from Oldtown and the Free Cities, emissaries are on their way to find her and use her cause for their own ends…Synopsis from A Wiki of Ice and Fire at Westerors.org
I purchased A Dance of Dragons in December while I finished A Feast For Crows. I know what you are thinking, ‘but you aren’t patient, why haven’t you read this already?’. Why? I overdosed on fantasy; having read the previous books in near succession I needed some realism in my reading life. Having read the previous books in around three months; I needed a gap to settle my thoughts and accept I wouldn’t have a new book for a considerable time. This is worse than my wait for Harry Potter, and that felt like a lifetime.
A Dance with Dragons was well worth the wait. Should the laws of the Universe alter, giving me the oportunity to crawl into this world of dragons and magic, I would decline. Not because Martin’s world isn’t utterly awesome, women just don’t tend to fare well; I am no Arya Stark or Daenerys Targaryen. I have a weak constitution and I don’t shut up; I’d be married off before you could say ‘mummers farce’.
It is hard to talk about this book without wanting to ramble on about the whole series, however, I felt that A Dance with Dragons was the beginning of the end. In this book secrets are revealed, and many plot points are on the way to resolution. Where Feast of Crows felt like a Lannister book, until Cercies incarceration, A Dance with Dragons felt like a Targaryen one. I’ve gone slightly batty with theories; trying not to reveal to much, a Dragon has three heads and I believe we have now met all three. The first two have been in the series since the beginning, and we’ve just discovered Aegon.
More than anything this book has made me excited for the next, I want Daenerys to ride into Westeros with her dragons, maybe raiding some relics from old Valyria along the way; dragonglass, perhaps? Once she has claimed Westeros she can then go to the wall, utilising her Dragons to defeat the Others. I would like to see some more Children of the Forest helping Bran, Jojen, Meera and Hodor on their journey. In fact, I want so much that should I not get it I know Martin will keep me so hooked I won’t care.
NB: Dracarys is High Valyrian for frozen fire (literal translation) or dragonfire (Westerosi translation) – it is one of the only things able to kill the Others. Yup, I just Nerd-translated a made up language; jISaHbe’Klingon for I don’t care according to Frontier Fleet.