kanyesuschrist-deactivated20130 asked: What are some criticisms you have about George R R Martin's writing (from word choice/sentence structure to stuff like character growth/plot holes)? I'm also curious about whether you think oes GRRM tries too hard to challenge the fantasy formula. Aaand what do you think about reading the series backward? I think you mentioned this somewhere, actually, but yeah. Do you think that would help analyse character development as well as plot? (Sorry if you already answered similar questions :p)
For all its strengths, the POV structure of the series has its drawbacks. Individual plotlines can only be advanced through the few POV characters who are either present in the relevant location or have reason to be informed of developments there after they occur. This means that anytime Martin wants to move things along at the Wall, or in the riverlands, he must needs cut to Jon and Catelyn, and then write a chapter’s worth of material for them even if all he really wants/needs to do is deliver a single piece of information or show a single event. I mentioned those two characters because I think they do an awful lot of wheel-spinning in Dance and Clash/Storm respectively, where you read them thinking basically the same five or six things over and over from chapter to chapter until you reach the last couple of pages and whatever it is that Martin wrote the chapter in order to have happen finally happens.
Though I’m mostly resistant to the common complaint that he overuses his invented idioms and pet terms and catchphrases, that certainly was something I noticed during my Feast/Dance re-read, particularly in the hastily edited Dance. (Not that anyone involved in the editing of that book did anything less than their best, mind you, and I know there were a lot of anyones involved — just that given the tremendous volume of words and the tremendous deadline pressure things were bound to slip through the cracks). Niello nipples on a breastplate words are wind, you know the drill. The one that struck me most this time: Both Asha and Daenerys conclude particularly zesty bouts of lovemaking by losing track of whether the dudes were inside them or they inside the dudes. I get it, and it’s a hot image, but it’s tough to imagine two people thinking about it in exactly those terms. (Granted, these are the two sexual relationships most likely to involve the ladies actually being inside the dudes from time to time, but still.)
I’m not nuts about the shifting chapter titles for certain POVs in Feast/Dance, a device that was inconsistently and unenlighteningly applied, but that’s going to get its own Feastdance post, so stay tuned.
I can’t imagine what reading a book backwards would do for you. On a word-by-word basis, reading things backwards is a copy editor’s trick precisely because it breaks down narrative flow, enabling the brain to focus on individual words regardless of context; that’s the last thing you’d want on a chapter-by-chapter basis as it would have the opposite of the intended effect you describe.