Thursday, November 12, 2015

Boo/hiss

Give the man a mirror!
My oh my, the days fly by, and A Song of Ice and Fire is all but forgotten in the rampant lead-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I haven't been this excited for a geek product since A Feast for Crows' publication date was announced. I've gone from cautiously optimistic to overhyped with the release of two teasers, one trailer, one Japanese trailer, and various behind-the-scenes footage. Perhaps not a good thing, considering how badly burnt I was on the prequel trilogy, but so far everything I've seen looks pretty awesome. The only crux is the plot and character types which - minor spoiler - feel a bit too recycled from the original trilogy. Where the prequels went too far off the charts like Anakin's midichlorian count, the sequels seem to hew too close. Ah well, 32 days and I'll be sinking back in the chair, tears in my eyes, ready to witness this piece of ... yeah, it's just a movie, but for me Star Wars is a little more than just that. It's perhaps the closest I can come to a kind of spirituality, in spite of all the silly things. Perhaps because I've loved it since I was a child, and it never let go; kind of like how many people can't get let go of certain notions and beliefs that have been there since childhood. Star Wars isn't really an "adult" tale like A Song of Ice and Fire - it's suitable for most ages, but there's a certain resonating mythmaking in the original trilogy combined with spectacular designs that will always push this franchise to the top of my love list, even if it lies dormant. A Song of Ice and Fire then, the first three books, is the closest any other franchise has come to sniff at that first spot on the love list, but the author isn't making it any easy to continue to live the fantasy, eh?

That being said, I guess it's been so long since I have visited George's blog, I better take a look to update myself on the progress of that next book whatever it was called.

"More Hugo Thoughts."
A great short story full of more thoughts, at 737 words, this post contains approximately 0% useful information for a fan of Martin's saga.

"Suicide Girls."
A nice reminder that there's some kind of weird movie playing in Martin's private cinema. This is of course extremely useful for the 99.99% of his readers living elsewhere in the world. Update info: 0%.

"Signed Books."
Why the hell would I want a signed book from this man? Spend those two words and two letters on The Winds of Winter instead, Mr. Can someone ask him to sign a copy of book six?

"Maybe you CAN go home again..."
Wow, that sounds like a piece of poignant dialogue from the upcoming book, but who knows? This post is all about Martin not writing on the book, so I couldn't care less.

"Back to Evanston"
Right. Fuck.

"Hugo Thoughts"
The exciting prequel to More Hugo Thoughts, this short story at 729 words is as useful as a dead mouse found in a used diaper.

"Sunday Bloody Sunday"
Ooooh, betrayal and murder and bloodshed? Or is that just another sports commentary written by someone who is better off writing about comic books and toy knights?

"Books for Brains"
I realize you had fun there, Mr. Martin, I really do.

"Three Cheers for Snod"
First reading it as "snot" I wondered what this was going to be about. The post is as interesting as reading Star Trek fan fiction written with Egyptian hieroglyphs. Upside down. While being molested by an angry ferret.

And on and on it goes. Yes, there have been a lot of Not a Posts, and not one of them has any relevance to A Song of Ice and Fire. Why can't the man at least try to give his fans a post, just once in a while? It's not like it was his other work that made him the stinking rich celebrity he is today.

Sigh.

Aw, what the hell. TA-TAAAAAAA! ta-ta-ta-TAAAAA-TAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

*********************************************************************************

I still don't know when I'll continue with my re-read of A Feast with Dragons. As I've said, motivation is low, partially because of the insanity of waiting so long for a new book, and partially because those two last books drag on and on and dance with drag ons, they are so boring I'm not sure I can handle the pain of it all, despite my initial positive attitude going in, the goal being to better appreciate the work.

Right now, though, I have a hopefully awesome weekend ahead, when my old gaming group from the late 90s/early 00s is coming together for a weekend of nostalgia featuring weird-shaped dice, character sheets and all the other geek stuff used in roleplaying games. Swords shall be drawn, and spells will surely be cast, and cold drinks will most likely feature heavily and I'm so excited I can barely hide it. Two days without responsibility - what a luxury!




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Blog dead?

While I'm not exactly posting mass amounts of geek stuff these days, I am intent on getting on with my re-read of A Feast with Dragons. It's just been a fantastically busy fall so far, and I've had to set my priorities straight. Keeping this blog alive came pretty far down the list, unfortunately, but I hope to soon be back and rolling.
In fact, I've started the next re-read post many weeks ago, and added a paragraph inbetween everything else during the last month or so, so I am kind of getting there, but slowly. Just like a certain author, except an update!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

bwooragahha

A Game of Thrones: The Coloring Book.
(nerd)RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Insanity prevails.
This world.
Is it even real?
I'm *this* close to giving up on the man and his works.
I can't deal with it anymore.
The long, looooong, loooooooooooooooooooooooong third wait.
And he manages to defecate a post about a fricking COLORING BOOK FOR ADULTS.

How about just publishing a book of blank pages.
The Winds of Winter: The COLORING BOOK FOR ADULTS.

I've had it with this [expletive deleted]
I'll be enjoying the hype-ride of Star Wars instead.
And lovingly lose myself in RPG books.

You had me at "We should start back", urged Gared, (paraphrasing here!!) but you're losing me right now.

I'm thinking it will be a miracle if we ever see Winds in print.
Damn it.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Week in Geek

Yeah, things have definitely been quiet on the re-read front. My apologies for that. It's a busy time of the year - and I've been geeking out on other stuff. I've had ups and downs with A Song of Ice and Fire before, but right now I'm just not as passionate about it anymore. My interest in Game of Thrones waned to nothing during season five. No news or updates or anything regarding The Winds of Winter. It's like the franchise died a little and only book six can revive it. A bit like Jon Snow, then. Whoooops spoiler for a four year old book.

So what has been occupying my geek mind? Well, there was the second headstart for Sword Coast Legends, a Dungeons & Dragons video game that I had high hopes for. Long story short, I asked for a refund.

I've been tinkering a lot with my own setting, having a blast making maps and making up lore. It began with a small corner of the world, and now I've moved on to other continents. Absurdly geeky, but something about doing stuff like this is, I don't know, I just get totally engrossed.

As for reading, I'm still busy with Django Wexler's The Thousand Names, and it is still very good, but I've also been reading Star Wars: Journey to The Force Awakens: Aftermath, by Chuck Windig, as well as my latest acquisitions in my mad attempt at collecting everything Forgotten Realms, a big pile of sourcebooks that technically should see me through many years of entertainment.
And of course I've spent way too much time browsing forums related to my geek passions, but I barely bother to check out Ice & Fire sites these days.

Just for kicks - you never know - I'm going to check Martin's blog now, in the vain hope....

...oh. Game of Thrones, numerous Emmys.
Well that's great and should've come earlier, now HBO will think that season five was somehow good. And Martin of course will be full of it and do another round of exhausting interviews with the same tired questions and yes the Emmys basically means The Winds of Winter just got postponed a little more. Grrreat!

Oh well.

Coming up: Re-reading A Feast with Dragons

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

[Re-read] Jon I - Notice Something. Stop. Notice Something. Stop. Talk. Stop. Move. Notice Something.


It's time to check out another A Feast with Dragons chapter! As you may have noticed during my re-read of Brienne I it was mostly an annoying experience as I felt the chapter was slow, plodding, with little coloration and little development of, well, anything. Unfortunately (perhaps) the next chapter up in the suggested reading order is Jon I from A Dance with Dragons, which I seem to recall wasn't exactly an edge-of-your-seat chapter, either. Hopefully, it will bring some character development, or a new look at stuff, or, you know, whatever. Join me and together we shall re-read Jon's first chapter in nine or so years (at the time) as father and son. Heavy spoilers for everything A Song of Ice and Fire, including, but not limited to, Jon Snow's last chapter in A Dance with Dragons! You have been warned. Also, bewbs. Maybe. And I know I should try and be a bit quicker with this re-read to get that feeling of a more cohesive narrative, which is the whole point of mixing together the chapters of these two novels - however, I have a hard enough time as it is getting a post done once or twice a fortnight, so please bear with me.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September Omsider

September Omsider is a song (by Norwegian black metallers Taake, which I love to listen to from time to time), meaning something like "September, At Last". I've been saying 'september omsider' all day because it's a month I've been excited about for some time, as it promises a number of entertainment products I have been anxiously awaiting (there goes my tirade from yesterday about the capitalistic industry).


Monday, August 31, 2015

The Week in Geek

Summer decided to arrive precisely on the day I went back to work, and the sun continues to glare accusingly at me through the office window. I'm not complaining - the world is so full of wrong these days that being forced to stay inside becomes...nothing. 

To avoid worrying overly much about things I can do little about, I have, of course, a bunch of other worlds to escape into. I've almost finished Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, currently fighting my way through the excellent Durlag's Tower (originally part of the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion). The game is almost twenty years old, but has lost none of its charm. I simply love it. GOG released eleven even older Forgotten Realms video games and so I am looking forward to explore, for the first time in the case of many of these titles, games that look so old that I have trouble understanding what I'm actually supposed to see. Weird how fast computer graphics have developed in twenty plus years. Not even sure I'll be able to play through these titles - except the three classic Eye of the Beholder games which I find are still tolerable. Barely.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

[Re-read] Brienne I, "Of Mad Mice and Cardboard Men"

Why haven't I been hired to do Martin's covers yet??
It's been a really long time since I last dipped my nose into the combined re-read of A Feast of Crows and A Dance with Dragons, which I have elected to call A Feast with Dragons, for simplicity's sake. Partially due to other commitments, partially due to me losing a little interest - an interest that I suspect won't flare up again until the actual imminent release of The Winds of Winter. I also believe the lackluster fifth season of Game of Thrones somewhat diminished my otherwise passionate obsession over Martin's work. And yet, at least for the first three books, it remains my favorite work of fiction. I've also decided to stop following news on the sixth season of Game of Thrones, to try and keep the experience of reading book six as pure as possible. I felt that season five already spoiled more than enough for me.

I do admit, however, that re-reading books four and five (so far) is proving to be a better experience than I expected. I was confused about Feast during the first read, at times feeling that I was reading someone else's work (and I still have my suspicions), and Dance I disliked outright. But years of reading fan theories and analyses of the text has shown me that there's more to these books than what I caught at first read, thus the enhanced experience now. Martin sure slips a lot of detail and between-the-lines stuff in his last two books, and he's still a master at juggling a cast of thousands and all that...it just seems that the editor has less of a say in the matter now that Martin is a superstar (kind of).

ANYway, it's time for A Feast with Dragons, the eighth chapter in the re-read, which is Brienne I, from A Feast for Crows. Join me in a trip ten years back in time, when the world eagerly accepted the fourth book, finally getting to read the continuing adventures of...Brienne?!

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Week in Geek

I'm complaining about George being slow and I can't even find the time to do a re-read post. I know. Siiick buurn.
I did have the time to write an article for Tower of the Hand, though, about Green Ronin's A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying Game. Go check it out! It even features my beloved dice bag.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

George R.R. Martin: Signs of Life!

Martin's So A Blog has not been updated yet in August 2015, but fortunately the man behind the arguably greatest fantasy series ever has returned to his computer to once again tell his loyal devotees how progress on The Winds of Winter is coming along.

We are only one day back from the east coast, having even finished unpacking yet, and yet Spokane and worldcon are only a week away.

Well, great - one week to continue work on The Winds of Winter. A whole week! Yay and chirp chirp.

Sometimes all this does leave me feeling rather ragged.

Oh. That's not good for your motivation, though. Perhaps a few days of rest first. Let's try to keep four days for Winds, at least. Surely some progress would be desirable.

It was a great trip, though.

Hey, that's good! Maybe it revitalized the old batteries, let's say five days of writing, then. Five solid days could get an author a lot of pages under the belt. 


My nephew Jeffrey and his lady Kristin got married in Bayonne

Very interesting! Congratulations. Also, I read that as "Joffrey". It's funny 'cause it's a character from your story but which your fans seem to think more about than you.

I enjoyed delightful meals at wonderful restaurants with editors and publishers from Random House, from Tor, and from Simon & Schuster.

A gentler soul than me would take this as a hint that Great Stuff is forthcoming. I on the other hand only see Martin's obsession with food.

I also went on a pizza crawl of Manhattan and Brooklyn with X-Ray and Raya. Nothing beats New York City pizza... well, unless it's New Jersey pizza, and maybe New Haven's.

There you go.

And we visited the training camp of the New York Jets,

I just love the irony of Martin showing off his love for baseball and not understanding how his fans can be so infatuated with his story (and want to see it to its conclusion). Also, more time no Winds.

And then of course there was Staten Island, and the showdown between the SI Direwolves and the Lannister Renegades.

Of course!

All in all, a great trip.

If only there wasn't so much work awaiting me when I came home...

Sorry, but BOO fucking HOO. What's wrong with this man? He's earning, what, 15 000 000$ a year and he has to complain about it on his blog. Man, I have never experienced a less grateful, less arrogant author than Martin. It's such a shame he has to be the one behind A Game of Thrones et al. I wish Erikson could have Martin's success instead. POOR Georgyboy aww has work to do. What a fucking slap to the face of his readership who patiently monitor his blog for any - any - breadcrumb of a newsbit on The Winds of Winter. And that so many fans just take it up the tailpipe - it's beyond my comprehension. It has nothing to with entitlement or any of the other tired excuses. It has everything to do with the author's lack of communication and crude manners online. Sigh. This literally makes me un-want to read anything from his hand / WordStar.

Monday, August 10, 2015

[Review] Azure Bonds

Summer is once more at an end, and from today it's back to ye olde regular schedule - which means I'll be diving back into A Feast with Dragons pretty soon, refocusing this blog toward George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. It's been a dreadfully slow season for Westeros, though, with barely anything news-worthy happening. Sure, there's a Game of Thrones casting announcement here and / or there, and the world is of course anxiously awaiting yet another re-release of Martin's The Hedge Knight-tales...and there's this "story-telling video game" series that's going on (though it doesn't really make much waves, does it?)...as always, the radio silence is interpreted by many fans as a 'silence before the storm', the storm being, of course, the announcement of The Winds of Winter. Martin himself is busy flying these new-fangled aeromachines, though, so progress is not being made for the time being and nobody has a clue how far he's actually come, because Martin has become wary of saying anything about it on his blog, because...I don't know, because people ask about it? Fortunately he's become so popular that now journalists can ask him the same question instead. From bad PR-stunts to no PR-stunts. I don't know, I liked it more when Martin occasionally fed us a cryptic "update" on A Dance with Dragons. At least we had something to talk about. With nothing to keep my unhealthy passion for Ice & Fire warm, summer's precious few moments of geekery have instead been devoted to other franchises and fantasy-related pastimes, as noted in previous posts, with the Forgotten Realms turning out to be the place I've spent the most time in, with the occassional foray into the Star Wars-galaxy, mainly to check out news on The Force Awakens (129 days to go!) - and, when in a more creative mood, I've spent time in my home-brew world, the one I eventually want to write stories in (and occasionally do, though it's been almost half a year since I last wrote a story from start to finish).

Thursday, July 30, 2015

[Review] The Red Knight

Wow, this holiday is just flying by, and while I haven't had time to continue my re-read of A Feast with Dragons, I did finally - finally - manage to finish up Miles Cameron's The Red Knight. It seems that "Miles Cameron" is but one of several pen names belonging to author Christian Cameron, and that The Red Knight isn't nowhere near being his debut novel - which surprised me when I found out, because by all accounts this novel feels like an author's somewhat stumbling first book, a little gem of a story that could have needed some heavier editorial management. At the same time, The Red Knight in several ways is the novel I've read post-A Song of Ice and Fire that comes closest in capturing some of the magic George R.R. Martin has kept in his bottle all by himself. Following Martin's success there has of course been a whole slew of fantasy slanting toward a grittier style with more subdued magic, but The Red Knight somehow hews closer to Westeros in feel even though it has a veritable (and literal) onslaught of fantastic creatures that perhaps would feel more at home in Steven Erikson's The Malazan Book of the Fallen or even J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Siege of Dragonspear

Wow, as if there wasn't enough great news already, Beamdog (makers of the Enhanced Editions of the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale classics) have announced Siege of Dragonspear, a tale set between the two Baldur's Gate games.
It's like someone has been scrying my dreams of late and decided to make them come true.
Well, of course, it remains to be seen if Beamdog can deliver the same quality as Bioware did back in the day, but still - that's two Forgotten Realms CRPGs on the horizon.
While I still have to experience an actually worthwhile A Song of Ice and Fire-based game (the fan-made Crusader Kings II mod coming the closest), I certainly don't mind fun high fantasy adventures in the Realms. I fricking love those Infinity Engine games. Yihaw!

Just to make sure I'm not actually dreaming I'll head over to George's blog and see if The Winds of Winter has been announced; if it has, I will know I'm dreaming.

..

I'm awake.
And the sun is shining and the air is hot, so it's time to go do something with that garden that threatens ever so slightly to turn into unchecked wilderness.

Come winter, there will be so much geekery to be had, I might not even miss The Winds of Winter.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Week in Geek

Right, I've been away for a while and offline, too. Always exciting to get back online and see what news there is about the geek stuff that excites me - though I have long ago stopped hoping to come back to some real news from Mr. George R.R. Martin. And, of course, there's nothing new to report. I guess I'll just have to sit here twiddling my thumbs in hot anticipation of the collected Hedge Knight stories.

Fortunately, there's been a lot of great new stuff for me personally to come back to that doesn't involve The Winds of Winter. The new footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as shown at San Diego Comic Con, practically had me flip out and shed a tear. After months of not following news on that film (I keep telling myself it's just a film and that while it will most likely eclipse the prequel trilogy in every possible way it won't satisfy as a continuation of the classic tale told between 1977 and 1983 - it has to be more than a film to do that) but at any rate my interest is vigorously renewed and refreshed and now I'm wasting time reading Star Wars fora again. Dammit. I just can't imagine how I will go through life in the weeks before the premiere, and how I shall be able to control myself in the face of an onslaught of merchandise that I want to buy, but know I must not buy as I have a family to take care of. The new, enormous TIE Fighter from Hasbro alone is a month's food consumption, dammit.

Other great news was the leak of the opening track from my favorite band My Dying Bride's forthcoming album, Feel the Misery (quite an apt title, though the song itself was remarkably upbeat for the band). At more than nine minutes, I still managed to listen to it four times today (that's an hour, lol) while doing ye regular household chores, and I love it. The band can pretty much do anything and I'll probably come around to it, and often it takes some time for me to fully appreciate their dark art, but this time I was sold instantly, even before the song was finished. That's a good sign for the rest of the album to come, and will most likely be the highlight of the year for me when it comes to music. A distant, but still incredibly exciting, second will be the new double album from genre heroes and old geezers Iron Maiden - exciting because I, for some reason, believe this to be their best album post Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988) and exciting because it most likely means a new tour and I do love me some Iron Maiden live. The year has seen a number of great metal albums already, like Paradise Lost's surprisingly heavy The Plague Within (my current track of the year resides on this one, "Beneath Broken Earth", what a crushing piece!) and a number of lesser known bands' productions, but it is My Dying Bride's Feel the Misery that is the number one music event for me this year, and the deluxe edition, regular edition and T-shirt are firmly pre-ordered.

As for fantasy, I've played around with the Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition core books, and had a ton of fun with it. The Dungeon Master's Guide contains so much goodness (regardless of whether you actually like the rules), it's a joy to read. I'm also still furiously reading everything I come across related to the Forgotten Realms - the lore is so rich and detailed and deep it's quite stunning actually. Which in turn inspired me to install Evernote and begin noting down ideas for lore for my own world. Over the last few weeks using Evernote I've worked more on my setting than I've done for a long time. I found the software to be very useful for this sort of super-geeky thing. The best part being that I could jot down stuff on my phone whenever I felt like it, and then let it sync to the PC later for easy copying into my actual Scrivener project. What I'm building, in essence, is a world book similar in style perhaps to The World of Ice and Fire, though I believe I've already surpassed it in number of words (unedited, I have to add). One of these days I need to stop adding stuff and either publish it somehow, or write stories based on the material. At any rate, it's getting a bit unwieldy at 450 000 words.

Unfortunately there's little to no time these days to write short stories and flash fiction. It's been many moons since I last entered in one of SFFWorld's competitions, and this annoys me. I've been obsessing so much over tabletop role-playing and Pillars of Eternity...sigh.

I'm still reading The Red Knight (Miles Cameron); I'm about halfway through another Realms novel, Curse of the Azure Bonds; I'm reading a hundred different Realms sourcebooks at once, you know, flipping here and there but not reading anything from cover to cover..and I have three new books on my shelf in that category as well, the three 5th Edition adventures Hoard of the Dragon Queen, The Rise of Tiamat and Princes of the Apocalypse, yeah I can't complain - I have more books to read than time to actually read them. Which is better than the opposite.

Well, with too much on my plate it is time for a vow. I'm going to finish The Red Knight, first and foremost, sooner rather than later, making room for The Liar's Key and that Django Wexler novel I bought long ago. I'm going back into my A Feast with Dragons re-read, and I want to finish Pillars of Eternity to clean up video game time for the up-coming Sword Coast Legends, I want to work more on my setting, I want to do short stories and flash fiction again...so something's gotta go. Wasting time on various Internet fora must go first, I guess ... call it a first-world problem, I just wish (again) that the days had more hours in them.

Right! There's still daylight. I need to go read something. Fill my mind with the wonders of fantasy. And please, George, for all the things I'm passionate about, please give us an update. A proper update. Something that gives us a sense of the progress you have (hopefully) made. The Winds of Winter looms above all.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

GRRM's editor has sent him an email!

Much to my surprise, my editor Anne Groell sent me an email while I was over in Europe (Germany, Sweden, Aland) to let me know that the

...people clamor for The Winds of Winter. Just sayin'.

Oh...she wrote something else. Ka-darn.

Back from the first of several holiday detours, I find the Internet largely unchanged in terms of A Song of Ice and Fire news. 

I've been offline mostly, playing me some Pillars of Eternity and reading fantasy lore whenever time permitted. 

Soon off again, I can't see a chance to read any A Feast with Dragons this week, either. I don't want to lose steam (I'd rather build more steam) but that's how it is. Summer and all. And so much goodness on the horizon in terms of geekery. Yummy. I almost feel like an author traveling the world and leaving my work back home, just reveling in geekity.

Wonder how far away we are from The Announcement? 

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Week in Geek

Dat cover. Doth no justice to story.
This week there's been precious little A Song of Ice and Fire-related geekery on me, and I haven't really felt that something was missing last Sunday either. Game of Thrones season five just kind of came and went, didn't it, without that much of an impact on the geek-senses.

2015 is still shaping up to be a pretty good year for me, as there's stuff coming out that I count among my favoritest entertainment - my favoritest band My Dying Bride release a new album in September, as do the kings of melodic galloping heavy metal that really is a bit samey Iron Maiden; there's finally coming a new computer game set in the Forgotten Realms, Sword Coast Legends, (blind pre-order is in) and of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is less than half a year away. The only thing missing is, of course, The Winds of Winter. Even an announcement would be enough to make 2015 my perfect entertainment year. I better go check mr. Martin's blog in case he's announced it and I haven't been paying attention..
...




He's editing Wild Cards.

Sigh.

Oh well. I still have The Red Knight to get through - right now, at 70%, it is really good (except for the incredibly many typos - this must be the least edited fantasy novel I ever read), I have bought the new Mark Lawrence novel (The Liar's Key, sequel to Prince of Fools), and the to-read pile beyond those two just keeps on growing faster than I can read. Well, I could of course read more, but I also need some time for Pillars of Eternity, which I'm still playing and it really, really is a fantastic game and story; I love it a long time. There's an expansion coming out too, but I gather I still have much to explore and experience. And, of course, I always spend some time tinkering with my homebrew tabletop RPG campaign world, or read bits and pieces of realmslore in sourcebooks and online, and other assorted geeky stuff. And I've been teaching a relative the art of Magic: The Gathering of all things. And listened to a lot of music, always. And I'm writing a module for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, now that I think about it.

I'll be reading me some A Feast with Dragons during the summer, but I can't promise I'll be very active (not that I ever was) on the blog in the coming weeks, Hopefully come fall we will know when to expect The Winds of Winter and the passion for Ice and Fire rekindles in a blaze that makes me furiously re-read books four and five in preparation of the oncoming winter.

Have a fantastic and pain-free summer, and may we soon be reading that book we're all so anxious about!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Now what?

Well, here we are.

Game of Thrones is over. Season five is done. We've come to a point where book readers and show viewers are almost on equal footing in terms of not knowing what's going to happen next. And still not a a slight, chilly breeze to foreshadow The Winds of Winter.

In hindsight, I am left with the feeling that season five was a less coherent, less consistent, and less interesting season than the previous four, even though it brought some exciting revelations even for a fellow who's been into this saga for fifteen years. I will probably do a re-watch binge sometime, and hopefully it will be easier to just enjoy the season for what it is. Am I interested in season six? I'm curious, but no longer excited as I was through seasons one and three.

The best thing about Game of Thrones right now is that I appreciate A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons a little more; even though I find the books much weaker than the first three novels in the saga, they are still a lot better than the show.

I'll be reading the first Brienne chapter of Feast later this week (unless real life gets in the way proper) - maybe tomorrow - and of course put up a post on it.

Meanwhile I'd like to thank you for reading my musings and announce that, while it has been postponed again, Waiting for Winter: Re-reading A Clash of Kings Part II is still definitely going to come out as an ebook. I'm not the one who decides when and how it gets published, but at least I haven't reached George R.R. Martin levels yet.

The Long Wait continues.. but boy will it feel good once we have The Winds of Winter in our hands, eh?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Game of Thrones 5.10, "Mother's Mercy"

Yeah I broke down an hour after writing my previous post. Now I have seen it. 
Here are my full-of-spoilers for everything under the Dornish sun, unedited thoughts as I watched Game of Thrones definitely pass Martin's novels in all storylines but Sansa's and Jon's. 

The Week in Geek

So the last episode of the season is already out, but I have not watched it - because I am not sure I want to watch it. I saw the "Last on..."- bit which showed a certain character long lost (well, two actually, if you want to be precise about it) and I can't decide whether I want HBO to spoil it for me, or if it's better to drop it and wait for The Winds of Winter. I will probably cave in sometimes during the day, I'm so very weak.
So while I ponder the ramifications of watching the finale of season five, I might as well do a breakdown of the week that was in my little geek bubble.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Winds of Winter almost done?

Oh...

Life is impossibly busy right now. I am wrestling with the Son of Kong (that is, working on THE WINDS OF WINTER), trying to wrap up a final round of edits and revisions on the twenty-third Wild Cards book (HIGH STAKES), developing three new series concepts for HBO and Cinemax, hiring writers and directors for three short low-budget films I am hoping to produce based on some classic SF short stories (more on that in the months to come), making my way through the Hugo Packet to prepare to vote, looking forward to opening JURASSIC WORLD at the Cocteay and to hosting a ten-author special event for the release of Steve Stirling's new "Emberverse" anthology, THE CHANGE. In a week's time, we'll be flying off to Europe for long-planned appearances in Germany (Hamburg) and Sweden (Stockholm), en route to Archipelacon on the island of Aland, where I am to be the Guest of Honor...
¨
At least he mentioned The Winds of Winter first. 
Meanwhile, over at Tower of the Hand, people are guessing how next week's final (final already!!) episode of the season will end. A nice thread to read.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Game of Thrones 5.9, "The Dance of Dragons"

The actually most impressive warriors of the setting.
After finishing up my re-read post on Daenerys I (ADWD 3) I couldn't help it. Just had to watch the latest Game of Thrones episode, bedtime be damned. I'm regretting it now, after only five hours of sleep, but I'll just have to suffer through the day and remember that there are worse fates. Which of course brings us to (heavy spoilers after the break!) ...heavy spoilers and some speculation to boot.
And wondering how the Sons of the Harpy can be so good at what they're doing, considering they're random citizens. It's got to be the masks.

[Re-read] Daenerys I (ADWD 3) - War for the Yawn

No, really. How do all these days just fly by, with me not being able to even read one chapter from A Feast with Dragons? And how come there's already a new, ninth episode of Game of Thrones Season V available? Well, I can only blame myself for not being able to keep up with the world of Westeros - I've been indulging myself with my own stuff, spending what little free time I've had tinkering with my role-playing game world. But today! Before watching episode nine, and before reading any online commentaries for that episode, I am going to try and cram in a chapter re-read. It's been a while. One good thing can come from this slow-down, though - I might still be blogging A Feast with Dragons when The Winds of Winter is announced, or even published. Once the announcement hits, I'm certain to speed up, because I do want to get through this combined re-read of books four and five just to feel ready for book six. It's been quiet on the Not a Blog-front for a while, which I take as a sign for Martin actually working on the book (until he announces he's been editing some anthology, of course), so maybe I should get my pace up - set a goal of one chapter a week, at least. For this week, at any rate, I have arrived at Daenerys' first chapter in A Dance with Dragons, the seventh of the combined re-read A Feast with Dragons. I'm already convinced that combining the two novels makes for a better read; while I'm only on the seventh overall, it already feels as if the story flows better. To my surprise, I found Tyrion's previous chapter to be better on a re-read, too, if a bit slow, so it seems as if I'm slowly turning around - at least a little - on my initially pretty negative view on these books. Let's go!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

[Musings] Game of Thrones 5.8 "Hardhome"

Right. Right. I'm not even interested in the eighth episode of Game of Thrones, even though last week saw me being more positive. It's not really the show, though - it's just that there's so much stuff going on that I haven't had the opportunity to watch it.
Been trying to catch up with some of the books I'm reading, been tinkering a lot with my own stuff, been reading through the new, fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, which I happen to think is by far the best version of the game produced. The books, while pricey, are of a very high standard, except for the horridly bad covers (sadly). I've always loved reading RPG books, particularly setting books, I like kind of immersing myself into a setting this way, and often I find some idea or concept that I can drag out, rebuild and use for my own stories or games. As I've mentioned before I really like reading non-fiction Forgotten Realms books, they are brimming with material. A lot of it too silly for my tastes, but there is also a lot of evocative material that gives me that good nostalgia feeling. Which is why I keep turning to Realms novels, hoping against hope that there are some actually good stories there, stories that paint the picture that the sourcebooks suggest. Last time it was R.A. Salvatore's The Companions, which I was not able to finish because it was so bad (and this book has sold in the millions, I can't get over that). The last week I've been reading an anthology of novels called Realms of Valor. It is as if the editors said to the authors, "Read all these books on writing, and don't follow any suggestions." That's how bad it is. While the stories vary in quality, the best is only barely managing to climb to the lowest tier on my fantasy novel ranking list. The worst is so bad it feels like pages are missing because the author is all over the place, lol. I better finish The Red Knight, a book that for the first half was a very promising title, but which is kind of slowing down to a point that I must force myself to open it before going to bed. Anyway, enough chit-chat, time for episode eight of Game of Thrones. "Hardhome." Oh. Jon Snow and stuff. Right. Not promising a lengthy review, just a few thoughts. A new re-read post should be forthcoming this week as well, given time and opportunity.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

[Impressions] Game of Thrones 5.7, "The Gift"

Wow, I mean wow. I didn't expect Sansa's plight to be that big a topic after watching the previous episode, but it was - and still is. You can read different opinions on the matter - including mine (though I admit I just repeat what I've said here) over at Tower of the Hand (part one) and Watchers on the Wall (part two), a lengthy discussion about - mostly - that final scene of last week's episode. And what do you know, I just realized another week and a day has passed. For the first time (probably) I haven't really been excited for a new episode. This is not because of last week, however - it's because I am genuinely less interested in this season. I think the episodes so far have some good stuff, but compared to the previous seasons, even the second (which I didn't really enjoy the first time, but which grew on me on a re-binge watch), Season Five is rather disappointing. But so were the books the season is based on, I hear myself say; but it's not even that. I do think that taking the major developments from Feast and Dance and trim down the excess bloat would make for a good season five, but somehow I feel that they have botched it this time - and I can't properly articulate why I feel this way. There's a feeling that this isn't as well-written, well-acted and well-produced as previous seasons - perhaps especially Jaime & Bronn's Adventures in Dorne, but there's a lot to be desired in other story lines as well. Oh well. I guess it's time to settle down and watch the seventh episode (already!) and see if things start to pick up; we're moving into endgame for the season, and that should provide some drama. I admit a mild curiosity as to where they are going with the Dorne story, as well as fully expecting Loras to die. Maybe not in this episode, but probably in this season. And, of course, I'm wondering if we will see Sansa Stark take control of her destiny or if she's...hey, wait a minute - is George R.R. Martin actually writing a story where Sansa fails to become a player of the game of thrones? Is that why we see Sansa not taking charge and rather bend over for Ramsay's pink mast? I can't really believe that; the books are pretty clear about setting her up to be a player - the thought just occurred to me as I was writing this, is all. Right! Let's check out "The Gift", a title which can mean a number of things - the lands south of the Wall but north of Winterfell (will we see the wildlings move south in this episode?), the Faceless Men's "gift" of mercy, and, uh, perhaps someone receives a gift in the mail. Perhaps that box with that old fellow inside that Varys was preparing for shipment finally arrives somewhere. Maybe we are gifted with a rare appearance from Balon Greyjoy, or Edmure Tully, or Thoros of Myr. Or maybe the episode will focus on someone's talents - gifts. It can in so many directions! But it probably won't.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

[Re-read] Tyrion I: Wine, whores and song



Come to the Dark Side...we have mushrooms.
Right, so wow, I went onto the great interwebs last night after watching episode six, and there sure was a storm blowing - that last scene with Ramsay, Theon, and Sansa sure sparked a controversy, and I can totally understand why. It is a disturbing scene, perhaps extra so because this happens to a character we like, and who has seen nothing but setbacks since the beginning of the story. Remember when she was sitting in front of a mirror and her mother was combing her hair, and she was dreaming of becoming the queen and all that? Sansa is like the embodiment of that age-old expression, "Shit happens".




Monday, May 18, 2015

[Impressions] Game of Thrones 5.6, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"

Holy defecation, I know I sound like the needle skipping but come on, how fast do these weeks fly by? I was sure to have done at least two re-read chapters this week and here I am, with another episode of Game of Thrones instead.
Life is meaningful and has way too few hours a day. Oh well.
Things are looking up in terms of finding some writing time in the coming weeks, so there's that. And I really need to tune down the time I've spent gaming the last weeks. I usually play videogames in short bursts, a couple of weeks where I'm hopelessly addicted and then *pop* I lose interest for a long period. I'm still playing Pillars of Eternity, though my gametime is down to less than an hour a week; it's still bloody brilliant, but I kind of lost the story somewhere and want to start fresh, so it's been languishing.

More time has been spent playing actual tabletop RPGs over the Internet, using a nice free utility called Roll20, which I highly recommend to anyone who would like to bring back some of those glory days rolling dice until the hour of the wolf (or whatever) in a slightly different way. Beware, though. It eats time. So, yeah. Not much reading. The Red Knight...I read a little every night, but I've also added a short story anthology to the schedule so I read one short too before the eyelids fall down. But I really need to pick up speed with my A Feast with Dragons re-read, especially with Game of Thrones altering my perception of certain events and characters at a pace never before seen in the world of Westeros (certainly not seen in Santa Fe). Without further ado, a quick look at the sixth episode of the season, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken". I have a feeling this episode will feature House Martell. Or, if they're being ironic, Theon Greyjoy, Heh.
I haven't actually seen the episode yet, as I am going to stream it and try to pop down some thoughts simultaneously so I can clear the rest of the evening for, well, some reading and perhaps if I'm fast enough something geeky to fill that ever-emptying cup of nerdity. Haven't seen or read any reviews or comments either. I am curious...


Monday, May 11, 2015

[Review] Game of Thrones 5.5: "Kill the Boy"

(Prepare for book and show spoilers and speculation inside!)

One thing's for sure, Game of Thrones weeks fly by with a blinding speed. Barely having found the time to digest episode four, and episode five has already aired; we're already halfway through the fifth season and it still feels as if it was yesterday that HBO announced the series, and perhaps the day before that the first rumors appeared that Martin's work might possibly become a TV series. To top it off, the show has moved into territory as unknown for us hardcore readers as for the viewers of the show, which makes the experience of watching this season both exciting and mind-boggling. It's a good thing, probably, that Martin hasn't revealed how close the continued story-lines (Sansa's primarily) are to plot developments in The Winds of Winter, but I certainly hope the show diverges as much as it feels divergent. I mean, where's Jeyne Poole? Harry the Heir? Sansa's story is not even similar to her arc in the books anymore. The good thing about that is that the books will remain the books and a must-read even after seeing the show. And now, without further ado, episode five, season five.
I haven't seen or read anything about this episode, so I'm coming in completely unbiased (except that I'm a book fan first, of course).

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Hymn for Spring

From Tower of the Hand:

Tower of the Hand: A Hymn for Spring, our second essay book, is officially on sale now at Amazon for $7.99. The ebook contains eleven original essays about A Song of Ice and Fire, written by Tower of the Hand contributors and our frequent collaborators. Editor Marc Kleinhenz worked very hard, through good times and bad, to assemble this collection of essays, and we're all very proud of the end result. If you enjoy the essays we offer here on Tower of the Hand, we're sure you'll appreciateA Hymn for Spring just as well. We're also sure that you'll want to discuss the essays in detail, so be sure to let us know what you think in the dedicated threads below. Thanks, and enjoy!

This should definitely be worth the money for the Ice & Fire-fan who feels like staying with the setting while its master works on the next book. No, I'm not in it (just to say that I have no motive for posting this other than as a news item).

It does allow me, however, to say that my own book, long-delayed but finished years ago, Waiting for Winter: Re-reading A CLASH OF KINGS (Part II) will be out in the foreseeable future as well, and then its time to turn in the third book collecting my observations on A Storm of Swords.



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

[Review] Game of Thrones 5.4, "Sons of the Harpy"

So...dashing. And. according to a friend, if you squint I kinda look like him. So...dashing.
So what's up in the world of Ice & Fire, because I don't have a clue (maybe George has written another short story on his blog about awards). I'm way too excited about the Vanity Fair photoshoot revealing tantalizing glimpses of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I'm all giddy. Well, as giddy as you can get when you've reached the venerable age of forty (dammit). In fact, I completely forgot it's a new week, and thus a new episode of Game of Thrones. I've seen it now, though, because I did obviously not completely forget, so here is my opinion on the fourth episode of a season that so far, doesn't tug at my heart strings all too much - and certainly not the way the image of X-Wing fighter pilot Poe Dameron, in a posture reminiscent of glorified WW2 propaganda posters, almost makes me want to shed a tear of joy. But now: Harpies, not starfighter pilots!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

[Re-read] "Hear me Buzz"


All right, definitely time for a new chapter of my re-read of both books four and five in George R.R. Martin's obsession-inducing saga. I have combined them in the order suggested over at Boiled Leather which means that chapter five for me is the first Cersei Lannister-chapter. And boy does seeing that "Cersei" heading bring back memories of the first time I ate this door-stopper of a book.
[Be ye wary of spoilers; spoilers galore, from all over the saga.]

Monday, April 27, 2015

Game of Thrones 5.3, "High Sparrow"

Right, I'm a bit strapped for time again these days, hence the lack of a new re-read post, but it is coming like winter.. perhaps a bit sooner than that. Anyway, we're in the third week already of Game of Thrones' fifth season. I reviewed the two previous episodes scene by scene, this time around - again, because of that time factor - I'm just going to try and do this quickly so that I may read the next chapter of A Feast with Dragons, which, according to my calculations, will be another chapter from the fourth novel in the series, and will be the first POV featuring none other than Cersei Lannister herself. But before that, the High Sparrow. Speaking of Cersei, the fifth season is kind of Cersei's season isn't it? Seems that Lena Headey's getting the best story material to work with, and she's doing such a great job with it too. All right, Episode 5.3 right after the clicky thingy below.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

[Review] GoT 5.2, "The House of Black and White"

A more honest title would be "The Door of Black and White"
Right, the weeks fly by and we already have the second episode of Game of Thrones, season five to watch. After the rather solid first episode (with Mance Rayder as the, literally speaking, beacon of the episode), I was excited for the next one, entitled "The House of Black and White". This title suggests, of course, that we'll get back to Arya Stark and see her arrive at the titular house in Braavos. The name of the house, incidentally, tells me that in a setting where everyone's more or less a shade of grey, "black and white" stands out as a stark contrast. My first impressions of the episode, however, was that it was a step down from the first - I'll try to explain why (unless this second viewing that I am now commencing makes me more enthusiastic about it). Spoilers all the way, both book and show. Valar Mustwatchthis.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

[Review] Game of Thrones 5.1, "The Wars to Come"

Make way for the fifth season. Plz.
All right, Game of Thrones is back y’all (in case you hadn’t noticed). I have been going back and forth for the longest time on whether to watch the show or not (as a fan of the books). In the end, I could not resist the urge, and “The Wars to Come” has been watched, digested, and found…pretty okay for a first episode of the season, with a couple of strong scenes, and a whole lot of good scenes, and little that felt awkward or wrong.
Even some of the choices made that deviate from the books were solid. Naturally, spoilers abound.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

[Re-read] Captain Wheelchair Returns!

JEEBUS. Martin has given us another novella! Love the irony: A blog post about hate speech with his most hateful-looking icon attached. Ka-ching. Anyway. I'm back to finish up "The Captain of the Guards", a chapter early in A Feast with Dragons, my combined re-read of the two last books in the series that are actually published.

Where's the white hair? Or, uhm, any hair?
In an effort to rival Martin's more inspired creations like Captain Cosmos I have changed Areo's name to Captain Wheelchair, which is more fitting than "of the Guards" anyway because I don't think I've ever seen him actually dealing with guards. A new hero for a new age. And now we are going to see what other exciting adventures Areo experiences in his chapter. I can't stop imagining how much more interesting it would be to be inside Myrcella's head in this chapter; there's so much more material to work with in terms of characterization. Does she miss her mother? Has she heard the rumors about who her true father is, and how does she feel about it? Does she grieve Robert Baratheon? How is she dealing with life as a political hostage (that's not far off the mark, am I right?) in a kingdom that is radically different from King's Landing? Instead we get this big fellow from Norvos whose personality doesn't really leap off the page to grab you by the {insert your favorite body part}. Oh well. I can deal with it. Just feel like a missed opportunity. "But Myrcella is in Sunspear!" you might say, but I don't see how difficult it would be to have Myrcella present at the Water Gardens, if Martin was dead set on having the first part of the chapter take place here. Right. Back to the chapter.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

[Re-read] The Captain of the Gardens


Once more I apologize for drifting away (hope this post makes up for the long time since the previous re-read!). As I've mentioned before, I'm the kind of person who gets totally focused and obsessed with something in bursts. Not too long ago all I did in my spare time was to follow the development of the next Star Wars film. This was followed by a long period where I was totally back into music, and now, the last couple of weeks I've been totally back into role-playing, perhaps spurred by the still-breathtakingly-great Pillars of Eternity CRPG. While my fascination with Pillars has cooled off a bit (due to a super-irritating bug that makes 32-bit users like myself crash 85% of the time when transitioning between areas of the world), I've dived headlong into my old pen-and-paper rulebooks and sourcebooks to flesh out the coming sessions of the live game I use to run, and having a lot of fun with it. This means that when I realized just now that tomorrow is the season premiere of Game of Thrones, I was quite surprised. I've had so much fun doing other things that I haven't given the fifth season much thought at all, or Ice & Fire in general - but I'm sure Martin's Not A Blog is positively brimming with fun little updates on his progress on The Winds of Winter, nothing too revealing, just little cute posts that shows Martin cares about his fans, and which allow fans to show they care about his story. I better go check before I delve into "The Captain of the Guards" (which I think would be more appropriately titled if Areo Hotah was captain of the gardens - unless this chapters shows me Areo captainin' it over the guards, which I don't remember him doing at any time in the story; an even more appropriate title would perhaps be "Bodyguard of the Gout Lord"...anyway). I'm happy to have you along on this re-read, so let's get cracking.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Twist to Come?

I've noticed Martin's comments about realizing he can pull off a shocking twist for a character.
I've read many suggestions both at the Tower and Censoros.
Here's my call: The twist is that Sweetrobin is Littlefinger's son by Lysa.
This should work in relation to Martin's comments about the twist involving three or four characters (Sansa, Sweetrobin, Littlefinger & Lysa) and to be something "organically from the writing" (in fact, organically gets a double meaning!)
Now if George is a brave boy and does indeed fight THE WINDS OF WINTER into being published next year we'll see if there's a shocking twist for us all to enjoy. HOWEVER Martin also stated that the twist. *can't* exist in the show due to said character receiving a twist can't receive it in the show (so either the show version is dead, or has a different storyline). And this irks me as I really like the idea of Littlefinger being Sweetrobin's dad.

Which leaves... too many options: Jaime and Bronn are doing different things. A whole host of book characters don't even exist on the show. Lady Stoneheart, Jhalabar Xho... maybe the twist is that Lady Stoneheart isn't undead after all, just having a really bad case of the flu. HOWEVER HOWEVER, the comment *could* potentially include Season 5 (if George knows the general outline of the episodes) and as such.. Sansa and Littlefinger are leaving the Vale, while the newly released teaser chapter shows them firmly entrenched in the Vale. Weak, yes, and merely speculation, indeed. We can only wait some more and see.

Fortunately there's PILLARS OF ETERNITY, oh my it is such a splendid adventure, and I can't imagine anything else but it becoming my new favorite interactive fantasy, bumping venerable BALDUR'S GATE to the second spot. And then, of course, there's STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, with a remarkably quiet period right now soon to be shattered into a frenzied hype, most likely. And, of course, one page at a time, probably even slower than George writing, I'm getting through THE RED KNIGHT, with Django Wexler's THE THOUSAND NAMES up next in the queue. I'm considering simply giving up on Brandon Sanderson's THE WAY OF KINGS, as I did R.A. Salvatore's THE COMPANIONS. While the latter is just horribly written tripe, the former just utterly fails to grab me, well written and lore-soaked though it is.

Oh, Sansa Stark. I really have no clue where your story is headed. I have suspicions, but they kind of don't match just two more books in the series.

Friday, April 3, 2015

What

I know, I know, I'm slow these days. Rest assured, the next re-read post is forthcoming, but the Easter holiday has thrown some delightful wrenches in my plans. The biggest time-stealer is Obsidian Entertainment's Pillars of Eternity, a game that feels made especially for me, in the sense that it is everything I love when it comes to computer games. A great story, with fantastic atmosphere, lots of things to do and read and figure out, all in an exciting fantasy setting. It is, at least now after 11 hours of logged gametime, quite possible that Pillars will end up on the very top spot of my favorite computer games of all time, bypassing even Baldur's Gate. So as you can imagine, with a game that so strongly tugs at my geek sensibilities, it is hard not to play.

That being said, I've also been away for a while, and currently I'm attending a big music festival, which is a punishing ordeal for a family man - but extremely enjoyable at the same time. I even met my favorite band, quite by accident (except for the fact they will do a show tonight), last night, which was icing on a metal cake. Good times, good times.

Minor spoilers for the new The Winds of Winter chapter after the break.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Lure of the Otherworld

I'm SO ready to explore these darkened streets.
I'm being even slower than usual on the blog these days, mostly because real life has so many demands on my time. And I'll tell you this, that getting one child means getting one child, but getting a second means getting at least ten. That's how it feels, anyway. Though I have to admit that I have found time for a few guilty pleasures over the last couple of weeks - I've played two tabletop RPG sessions using the Roll20 application - a brilliant substitution for a table when players live six-nine hours' drives apart and can only meet a couple of times a year, and I've fired up that old favorite computer RPG of mine, Baldur's Gate, the Enhanced Edition. I found myself suddenly immersed into the adventure again, and it's great fun seeing characters and locations from my favorite game again. 

Now, I believe the main reason I went back to Gate is because 2015 is really shaping up to be the Year of the Classic CRPG, and replaying that classic adventure is kind of like preparing for the fun to come; I normally don't play that much games, but a good CRPG can have me hooked from beginning to end. Tomorrow is the release date for Pillars of Eternity, virtually a sequel to the Gate games in terms of gameplay and style, so I am really excited about it. It is preloading right now into Steam, so it's ready for takeoff. Everything about it seems geared toward my tastes, so I can't help but feel this game can't disappoint (except for the fact that it may not run properly on my low-end computer, which would be typical, eh). However, the year will present even more old school nostalgia, with games like Tides of Numenara (which can count as a sequel to Planescape: Torment, another classic), Seven Dragon Saga (which promises to revive the glory of the old "Gold Box Games"), Serpent in the Staglands, Ultima Ascendant (a spiritual successor to Ultima Underworld), Dungeons of Aledorn and even more games of this kind - the more complex, deeper games that evoke the tabletop experience. And of course there will be a slew of more modern RPGs that I won't be able to run on this machine, so I will have to be content with Let's Play-videos on Youtube, like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and (especially, perhaps) Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which is a must-buy for anyone interested in the "medieval" in George R.R. Martin's medieval fantasy works. 

In short, there will be a lot of interactive entertainment to manage in an already busy schedule. Most likely, I won't be able to run through all this stuff, but Pillars is a given - it just calls to me, and I must heed the call to adventure. And I'll be grumpy every time I have to save and exit because I need to come back to the real world. The good thing? When having fun in a simulated fantasy environment, it works like therapy. It makes the Long Wait just that little shorter. 

As for the reading of fantasy literature, I've been kind of slow with that as well. I'm about 150 pages or so into The Red Knight, and it's a strange book - sometimes it reaches Ice & Fire-levels of fun, and sometimes it goes to the other end of the scale, I guess where R.A. Salvatore and Terry Goodkind hang out. I'll post a review when done. The reading is slow because I have a physical copy of the novel (how things have changed!) - on the Kindle I'm currently re-reading Erikson's Deadhouse Gates, and - like Gardens of the Moon before it - it is at least thrice as entertaining on a re-read. Fantastic piece of work. So much detail. So much caringly crafted otherworld. Mm. 

Which means I've been low on Martinesque adventures, but I do plan to get to the "Captain of the Guards" on my A Feast with Dragons re-read sooner rather than later. Aero Hotah awaits! HO-TAH! What, just a couple of weeks until season five, you say? 
I have decided to boycott Game of Thrones! Me no want to be spoiled. And it has been confirmed that it will spoil. Boo!

Oh, and R.I.P. Terry Pratchett and A.J. Pero :-(

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Will the winds blow in the fall?

George R.R.'s latest so-a-blog post is quite interesting, and of course it has sent hype and speculation sky high (per usual). Yes, it sounds as if he believes he can finish Winds this year. Yes, in 2005 he wrote that we'd be reading Dance "next year".

What I really liked though, was the following post - and for once, Martin responded in a nice manner (not the usually grumpy answers he sometimes hurt people's feelings with):



You're talented, rich, famous, doing what you love ... turn that frown upside down, mister

****

You have a valid point.

Most people would kill to have problems like mine.

George R.R. Martin admitted someone had a valid point! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

[Ice & Fire] Astronomy and mythology

While I am still banned from Westeros (which is why I call it Censoros) for questioning George R.R. Martin's dedication (yeah I'm over it now, no worries) - that's ten years in exile, I feel like Ser Jorah Mormont - I do browse the forums over there once in a while, because though it's a pretty sterile place, there are some bright minds there that produce some great theories.

A fellow who names himself Lucifer means Lightbringer has made two threads with more to come that I find both thought-provoking, interesting, and which I find myself agreeing with (mostly). Both threads are pretty good reads, if you ask me, so good that I want to promote them right here. I've been feeling that there's a connection between the setting's astronomy, history, and mythology myself, but haven't been able to put it forth so eloquently as LmL does in his threads. So if you're suffering from Long Wait Abstinence, you could do worse than check out The Astronomy Behind the Legends of Planetos and Astronomy of Planetos II: The Bloodstone Compendium. I've been interested in mythology and the origins of religions for a long time, and can confirm that everything stated about Lucifer, the Morningstar, is correct. I remember when reading A Feast for Crows and suddenly there was a character mentioned named "Lucifer". It so took me out of the story, but now I know there was a reason behind the choice of name. Which makes it a bit more palatable. Although it is still jarring. As jarring as reading The Winds of Winter and finding something like

Jon Snow woke up. It felt as if his face was frozen; his breath plumed above his eyes, making him realize he was lying. Rising, he saw that he was in some kind of ice cave, but it felt more like a tomb. He opened the door, and there he saw people staring at him, looking surprised.
"He is Risen!" they hollered. "He has returned! Jesus Christ!"

Know what I mean? Some names just don't belong in a fantasy novel meant to transport you to another world. For someone not familiar with Christianity reading about a character named Lucifer might not be a problem, of course. And there are many other common names from our world, like Jon, or the many Pates and Dicks. But some names of course have a little more baggage, so to speak. So let's hope we don't meet a Ser Afold Hitler or something like that.

Anyway, it sure is an interesting topic, and there's just so much to think about. I'm looking forward to more from this user. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

[Re-read] The one prophet accepted in his own land, apparently



Boo.
Time to delve into another chapter of the combined epicality that is A Feast with Dragons. I've been through the two prologues, so now it's time to get back to the main story lines proper. Wait. What? "The Prophet"? Is that, like, another prologue? Why do chapters all of a sudden have titles after three fat novels of not having them? It breaks the rhythm?! 

Those were, approximately, my thoughts upon finishing the prologue in A Feast for Crows and then seeing the title of the first chapter. And I still find it jarring, not just the added titles but also the fact that Martin suddenly throws in a small host of minor characters as POVs. Time still has to tell whether this change will, in the end, show to be a wise decision. As of 2015 I am still not entirely sure I needed all these Ironborn chapters, for example - we could've had a chapter in which one of the main characters learns that "there has been a kingsmoot out on the Iron Islands, and one of Theon's uncles won." 

Still, here we are, and Martin thought it was best to give us more insight into both the Iron Islands and Dorne (though we still don't have "eyes" in the Westerlands and the Reach...and the Stormlands, though we've visited those); is he kind of making the reader look "through a tree" as it were? Will we end up realizing that all these titled minor POV chapters is what Bran has been seeing through the Heart Trees network? That would be a neat way to kind of make these chapters more...eligible, for lack of a better word. No, I don't buy into the idea myself, but...I feel that it could help tie these seemingly loose additions better into the narrative by way of Bran Stark.

Anyway, time to get into the psyche of a certain Aeron Damphair. For the reading order I'm using for this re-read, check it out here. Check out the two prologues here: Varamyr and Pate.

Monday, March 9, 2015

New Trailer

This is my new favorite Dany image. Love it.
My apologies for the current slowdown on this blog. Life's been a bit tough these last couple of weeks, leading to very little time for reading and other geekery. I'll be doing another chapter of A Feast with Dragons this week, but I'm not sure when I'll get it done. Meanwhile, there's a whole new Game of Thrones Season Five trailer out; which is the only bit of exciting news I suppose regarding A Song of Ice and Fire since...the previous trailer. Yup, Not A Blog is still not concerned with any update or info whatsoever on Winds - the only thing I've gleaned is that the next Wild Cards book apparently is more important to Mr. Martin than Winds. 


Quoth Mr. Martin:
But not I am home again, facing the usual mountain of mail and email, and of course the monkeys on my back... those noisiest of them being HIGH STAKES, volume twenty-three in the Wild Cards series, and of course the Son of Kong, THE WINDS OF WINTER.


All right, all right, he mentions that they are both important. Still. And it has become "Son of Kong" to boot, as if reminding us of the Long Wait for Kong is a good marketing decision. Some things just never seem to change...and now! The trailer. Haven't watched it myself, yet.



Thursday, February 26, 2015

[Reread] Prologue II - For the Night is Damp and the Cobbles will be Slippery


Right, so I am doing this reread thing where I read A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons as one volume, using Boiled Leather's suggested reading order of chapters. So I began with the prologue of the fifth book, and now it's time for the prologue of the fourth book. I'm confused already. But this should all be good, chronologically speaking. As I mentioned in the previous reread-post, I thought it worked better to go from A Storm of Swords to Varamyr's POV, because it gave a sense of continuity since Varamyr's a character we already knew a little about (though I had him confused with Orell for a while there, embarrassingly enough).
Right. So there I was, back in 2005, Lady Slynt was barely pregnant with our first child, and, well, my whole life was quite different but for my obsession with A Song of Ice and Fire (okay, and a lot of other nerdy stuff). For five years I had been looking forward to the next book in the saga, so anxious to read more of this story that so took hold of my imagination. To ease the pain of that first Long Wait, I spent a good deal of time playing the collectible card game - here's an article I wrote about it, published at Tower of the Hand back in August. It kept us sane while we waited, and there were hints on some of the cards, too, of what was to come. And then, finally, finally, and to my great joy a week early, came A Feast for Crows. I immediately delved into it, opening to the prologue. Martin had pulled that trick before, of course; the prologue of A Clash of Kings featured nothing but new characters at a new location. And that is what we got here, as well. With Feast, however, this became more dissonant or jarring because, I guess, we had been waiting so long for the continuation of the saga, and once it came we were thrown right into a new set of characters in a new location (of course I was aware of Oldtown, but this was the first time in town, so to speak). I got over this quickly, though; but what was more problematic was that it didn't feel like A Song of Ice and Fire. That's a long time ago now, though, so let's see how I feel about this prologue this time around, ten years after it was first published. Ten years. Can you believe it?! (One good thing about me not being too interested in re-reading it - it still feels like a pretty new book. Ten years dammit.) THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. NOT SO MUCH BLOOD. THIS TIME.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

[Review] The Wurms of Blearmouth

Tyranny comes in many guises, and tyrants thrive in palaces and one-room hovels, in back alleys and playgrounds. Tyrants abound on the verges of civilization, where disorder frays the rule of civil conduct and propriety surrenders to brutal imposition. Millions are made to kneel and yet more millions die horrible deaths in a welter of suffering and misery.

But leave all that behind and plunge into escapist fantasy of the most irrelevant kind...

When I first delved into Steven Erikson's The Malazan Book of the Fallen (around the time I began this blog, back in 2009), it was such a great experience to know that I had a lot of Malazan-stuff ahead of me (ten fat novels from Erikson, Ian C. Esslemont's additional books, and a number of novellas) - an overflowing of fantasy goodness, compared to the one or two books a decade from Mr. Martin. Even when I had finished The Crippled God, the tenth book of the main cycle, Malazan-books were published at such a frequent rate that for a long time I had something new to read that I was really looking forward to - until after Forge of Darkness, the first of Erikson's new prequel trilogy. Suddenly, the waits became longer. Not Martin-long in any sense, but still, after indulging in so much Malazan goodness for so long, I suddenly had the feeling that the well was finally dry. However, there was one novella that had eluded me, which I finally bought as a Christmas present for myself, which was The Wurms of Blearmouth, latest tale featuring Erikson's trio Bauchelain, Korbal Broach, and Emancipor Reese (Mancy). 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

[Review] The World of Ice & Fire

To my own astonishment, I actually managed to read through this entire massive volume of lore, and finished it last night. Astonishment because the book is quite long, and I expected to take much longer than I did, and astonished because, frankly, most of this splendid-looking work is written in such a boring manner that it occasionally hurt to read, and I was just blazing through the material to get through it, rather than enjoying it. It was quite obvious, in my opinion, what pieces were written by Martin himself, and what was written by his two partners in crime, which unfortunately seems to be most of the book.

Hit that nifty "Read more" button below to, well, read some more.