A Dance with Dragons

This is book five of the whole Game of Thrones thing (actually, I should say “the Song of Ice and Fire” thing, for the purists). I had to keep reminding myself that this book has the same time frame as book four. The space-time continuum was hard to keep track of at times because the same stories from book four are viewed through the eyes of the other half of the characters.

That’s fine, being confused is part of the deal with these books. I have a friend who’s read them twice and he says the insights gained upon a second reading are worth it. I’m not ready to go there. I feel like enough of a dork upon the first reading.

That’s also fine. It feels like I’m refreshingly out of the mainstream from sports-loving and food-loving America. I mean, if you’re not watching Top Chef or the NFL, how do you have a conversation with someone? I can make off-the-cuff remarks about the Lannisters or say “winter is coming” in a deep, somber voice, but I’ll just get blank stares unless someone in the vicinity has HBO. It’s much easier to bond with other humans if I have a take on Cutler or am ready to talk about a gourmet burger from a trendy joint.

So there’s my little attack of insecurity for the day. Thanks.

The story is so huge and complicated that I’ve had no choice but to become comfortable being somewhat in the dark with certain story lines and plot elements. I have another friend with whom I occasionally discuss it with and I’m surprised at how much I actually do retain, but while I’m in the throws of it I often feel lost. Despite that, and despite the boredom that set in during the last book, nothing will dampen my enthusiasm for the next book.

This is a guilty pleasure that has no equal in my life right now. It has filled some gap that I haven’t completely identified. But I need to sit tight because it could be a long haul before the next book. Here’s how George R.R. Martin has published this gargantuan work.

  1. A Gime of Thrones – 1996, 704 pages
  2. A Clash of Kings – 1999, 768 pages
  3. A Storm of Swords – 2000, 992 pages
  4. A Feast for Crows – 2005, 753 pages
  5. A Dance with Dragons – 2011, 1056 pages

Based on that spread, it could be years before book six, but I bet the Cubs will still suck, for what it’s worth. Sports references make me feel better about myself.