Book Review: A Dance With Dragons



A Dance With Dragons is a fantastical long read with the usual plot twists and turns one expects from George R. R. Martin. I am not going to talk about the plotline or the characters. Most people have a solid grasp of the story either by watching the TV show or reading the book series. There is little to say on the subject that hasn’t already been said. However, I do have a few thoughts about other aspects of the book.

What I like most about Martin’s writing, besides the story itself, is his use of imagery. It is vivid and often makes me chuckle. One of my favorites, for example, is, “Only five feet tall and very hirsute, he dyed his hair and whiskers a mossy green. It made him look like a tree stump in yellow boots” (p. 213). Colorful descriptions like this can be found through the book. It keeps the pages turning. I like to think of it as finding pieces of treasure.

As I traveled through the story, I had an epiphany. Martin has a marvelous vocabulary for women; many new to me. Words such as slattern and harridan are sprinkled throughout the text. With the use of such descriptive words, I can’t help but think Martin adores women. Truly, what isn’t to like? I will keep a tally the next time I read the series.

Then there are the bits of wisdom interjected through the voice of Tyrion Lannister. “There has never been a slave who did not choose to be a slave, the dwarf reflected. Their choice may between bondage and death, but the choice is always there” (p. 953). Or how about this little nugget, “The most insidious thing about bondage was how easy it was to grow accustomed to it” (p. 834). It is not just Tyrion who can spout wisdom profound statements can be found sprinkled throughout the book.

I love coming upon passages that make you pause. The little phrases that make you do an inner WTF. They hint to the reader that things may not be as they seem.  Martin spins his web masterfully. For instance, the followers of R’hllor the Lord of Light declare him to be the one true god. They emphatically deny the existence of other gods. However, there is a mention of the “Other”. “There are no gods but R’hllor and the Other, whose name may not be said” (p. 906). Questions start to fly. Who is this Other? How does he or she come into play? Maybe we will find out the answer soon.

I look forward to the next installment of the series. The masses have cried out for more. They harass Martin mercilessly with their need for instant gratification. However, I would rather Martin take his time creating an amazing book rather than pushing through substandard writing. A reader should always desire quality over quantity. If you have not read the series I encourage you to do so. It is worth it.

My greatly used copy.


Thank you for reading.

J.R. Lowe

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