You want to know what the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran, Areo Hotah, Ellaria Sand, Darkstar, and the rest will be up to in WINDS OF WINTER? Quite a lot, actually. The sample will give you a taste. For the rest, you will need to wait.
Wait. What? I have to wait?
Uhm. To be honest with you George, I don't care much about the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran, Aero Hotah etc etc are up to. First, the Sand Snakes weren't very interesting to begin with, and now the show has spoiled what they are up to anyway! Two Snakes of Sand have infiltrated King's Landing, no doubt seeking the Mountain that no longer rides that much. Prince Doran? Dead. Areo? Dead. Ellaria Sand? Does this sample chapter even mention her? Or Darkstar?? No.
The only interesting thing here is Arianne Martell, and that's a good thing of course since she's the POV. I really dig her character as portrayed in A Feast for Crows. What can I say, I have an affinity for seductresses.
This chapter moves surprisingly fast for a change, and I do enjoy a closer look at the Stormlands, even if they're basically rain-drenched, wind-lashed forests. Must be weird to step from the arid heat of Dornish desert straight into wet, cold forest. The "plot movement" is simple; Arianne moves toward Jon Connington (and Aegon). They have surprisingly little difficulty doing so (as if the author is rushing Arianne to her destiny) and eventually end up with Haldon Halfmaester. And that's it. Is it just a slice of a chapter or did that move so fast I didn't notice?
And it sounds like Storm's End has been taken. With all the foreshadowing Martin has done on this (on the impregnability of the Baratheon castle) I can only assume tricks have been played or will be played.
Is the chapter as vital, important-seeming and cool as early GOT/ACOK/ASOS chapters? No, but it isn't as ponderous and wearisome as AFFC/ADWD either. That's good! Will I ever warm up to Haldon and all the other new characters that suddenly got dropped into the bubbling cauldron? I am not sure; I don't feel many "new" (AFFC and beyond) characters can compete with the "classic" characters, but that may change once the "new" ones feel properly old.
I also feel the need to get back into A Feast with Dragons because I have honestly forgotten everything about Arianne (except the lush curves, and Darkstar's "Of the night" comment) and her plight. Oh there was Arys Oakheart and she was having fun with him or something.
Still, even a chapter featuring characters not on the show, has been spoiled by the show. Martin, feel free to finish Winds any day now.