1. The POV format sometimes has it's flaws. Scenes like Littlefinger and Varys talking to each other alone are simply impossible

  2. The amount of incest. If there is a possibility, George will put it in the story, or imply it could happen (like with Gendry and that girl at the brothel that was Roberts bastard too)

  3. along with this, how incest basically has no ill effects. on the contrary, incest seems to be a positive. the valyrians—and targaryens, by extension—traditionally have married brother to sister, and they are rewarded with magic and dragons. the marriage of two siblings, aerys and rhaella, was necessary to bring about the prophesied savior of the world.

  4. The most obvious one for me are the character ages. I almost always add a couple years to the younger cast. Imagining Dany as 13 during her "romance" with Drogo just feels icky.

  5. The thing is, unlike the rest of his grossly underaged characters, Daenerys being thirteen/fourteen during her "romance" and pregnancy is clearly what Martin intended. Otherwise "it was her fourteenth nameday" wouldn't be a chapter-ending Wham Line.

  6. My headcanon is that everyone is a couple years older than the number of their age, because they wait a couple years before naming the baby like in olden times. That’s why they call it nameday instead of birthday. Probably not true but makes the books more fun imo.

  7. I'm surprised no one has brought this up, but GRRM has said he regrets having the characters so young (for me it was 9 year old Arya saying she was almost a woman...what?). He had intended a five year jump but abandoned the idea later in the series. I also think he thought it was especially 'old-timey' to have characters pushed into adult roles at a young age, but a 15 year old Robb being a genius battle commander was a little silly to me. Just because they entered the adult world at a young age doesnt mean they were good at it. They were still mentally and physically preteens and adolescents.

  8. Dany being of age does not make it any less of a rape. She has zero agency in avoiding the marriage and actually giving consent since it is a forced marriage. Rape does not end at the age of majority.

  9. For a series that has gotten alot of (well deserved) credit for surprising main character deaths and subverting expectations of traditional fantasy tropes… there are a ton of “miraculous” survivals and fake deaths.

  10. The idea that these houses have existed for tens of thousands of years, and we see many such houses extinguished or at extreme risk in just a handful of years. There should be hundreds of dead houses, and it doesn’t make any sense for certain families to rule for how long they do

  11. Yeah the absolutely bizarre level of mercy that let so many houses survive so many losing wars had me really scratching my head in F&B. Martin really wrote himself into a corner by having basically all his noble houses be ancient.

  12. There is an excuse to it. It's implied that when houses have no male heirs a female heir or a male relative will inherit and take the family name.

  13. To be fair (toooo beeeee faaaiirrr) I think the people of westeros are playing it fast and loose with how long things have actually been around

  14. There are theories that the history of Westeros isn’t actually fully accurate. I believe Sam has a line about he thinks the number of lord commanders of the nights watch is actually lower than the given number. So it’s possible this houses have only existed for a couple thousand years as opposed to 8-10 thousand.

  15. Any society staying relatively stagnant for that period of time is ridiculous. There should be dramatic technological and social changes over that span of years.

  16. Background female characters boobing breastily down the stairs clutching their buxom flat chests to hide their dark/brown/wide/small/pink nipples

  17. I'm so glad i read the series before i read this comment because this would be an instant NO for me and this series means so much to me. But overall, in spite of the insane attractiveness of its female characters, they are well rounded and interesting people.

  18. In hindsight, I don't think "gardening" was a good way to write a complex multi volume fantasy novel and have it come together coherently.

  19. To go with the gardening analogy: you gotta trim your plants once in a while or the garden gets out of hand.

  20. Yep. The "gardening" approach only works if you have a certain amount of discipline as a writer. Otherwise you'll end up getting bored and frustrated of only tending to the same flowers and be tempted to abandon them to go off and plant new ones instead, and then before you notice you'll find yourself knee-deep in the weeds.

  21. Yeah at some point GRRM forgot how to kill his darlings properly and left a few too many in, then a few more, then a few more…

  22. Easy to say when you know that the next book has been in the works for over a decade now but that same gardening is what brought us five fantastic books with twists and turns that feel natural but also not like the only possible outcome.

  23. Well, I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who rereads the series for the first time that the story is ridiculously rigged against the Starks. The way they lose WInterfell, as you point out, is the most “contrived” moment of them all.

  24. Martin loves fucking over starks to make things difficult...he claims to be a Gardner but he clearly had an idea of making robb life difficult ill never forgive him for that.

  25. Agreed. It makes no sense. And the lack of sense is underscored by having the accusation offered by Tyrion while he is drunk, sleep deprived, angry, jealous and getting most of the facts wrong.

  26. It's the worst reveal in the books. I think the explanation isn't horrible and I could see Joffrey doing that, but to build up this big mystery and have that pay off? It was bad and shows that Martin hadn't thought that far ahead. Littlefinger would have made a lot more

  27. Can I add that I feel that sometimes GRRM overuse “death by childbirth”? Giving birth in the middle ages was dangerous, but the mortality rate was still around 1.5%(and according to Martin, it should be even lower in Westeros) and I feel like we lost some opportunities for influential female characters because they were killed by default.

  28. I have seen a theory that the major deaths by childbirth i.e. Dany, Tyrion and Jon are somehow connected with the various prophecies and the three heads of the dragon.

  29. I get the sense that that is because Martin was far more interested in Scotland’s or Vikings/ Norse history than the mongolian history but everything gets a mention in his world

  30. With the not historically accurate child-marriages and the naively young ages of our main characters mentioned - one of the things I miss the most in these books is religion having a consistent and believable presence. There’s far too many pseudo atheists in these books in the light of how religion is supposed to be according to the world building, and then when GRRM needs religion for plot purposes he plays it up. But realistically there’s soooo much potential for religious motivations to play a part in the story, and it should have been more present from early on - throughout all the viewpoint characters pov and the plot. There’s no way the equivalent of the Vatican would not have considerably bigger influence and ambitions than what has been displayed in the books. (And omg just imagine all the juicy plot we could have if we had a character for example being a politically savvy septon, truly religious but also cunning!).

  31. Especially because of magic being real! How is R'hllor not massively more popular when his priests literally bring people back from the dead?!

  32. People of southern Westeros are simply much less religious than their medieval counterparts, in which this life was secondary to the afterlife. While the 7 is aestheically like Catholicism, it doesn't demand nearly as much of the follower, and I think that's fine. Secular rulers were always pushing up against Popes, and the new followers with dragons were able to subjugate and eventually dearm the church. Westerosi more like the Greeks and Romans who turn to their gods when they need them.

  33. The scope and scale of the story is too large. It’s probably nearly impossible to settle or finish every story arc. Storylines need to be combined before anything.

  34. I am no expert, but love delving into history. I find it weird how many girls in A Song of Ice and Fire get married off pretty young and/or get pregnant ASAP. Here are some examples:

  35. Or, tinfoil hat, maybe the maesters know exactly what’s up but intentionally don’t intervene to limit the size of the noble families somewhat.

  36. by extension, people in asoiaf reach puberty and menarche (first period) much earlier compared to their real-world medieval counterparts. the average age of menarche was 14 at that time, so realistically some of the pregnancies in the asoiaf world shouldn’t have even been possible. sansa gets her first period at 12! but stress can cause early puberty, and by extension menarche, so that instance may be more believable. i rather doubt george knows that bit of info, tho

  37. The "realism" getting thrown out the window anytime the 11-16yo heroes are on screen and can fight or lead or politicize or generally be better than the adults with decades of experience.

  38. It's surprising just how poorly-written the ironborn are when coming from an author like GRRM. You could sum them up as a poor man's caricature of Norsemen without knowing that "Vikings" was more like a summer job when they weren't farming back home in Scandinavia. We're presented with the (admittedly rad) idea of Cthulhu-worshiping Norsemen who are so bat-shit insane/devoted to their beliefs that they wear steel plate while at sea because they don't care about drowning, it's a great way to die to them but in truth, they leave a lot to be desired. The Iron Islands themselves make no geographical sense because it's a collection of wind-swept and shit-stained rocks with few trees. Where do they get all the fucking lumber, because I've heard it took about a hundred or so oak trees to build a longship back when the Scandinavians were doing it. Also, how the fuck did Balon construct a war-ready fleet and then another one about a decade later after getting smashed into the ground? Why has no one annexed the land in the past? Why hasn't someone wiped the ironborn out once and for all? Can anyone make sense of this shit? Find out next time on Dragonball Z Kai.

  39. I can accept a lot of things about the Ironborn, but the lack of wood for the ships is insane. At a minimum there should be some mention of them stealing lumber on raids (not that it would work in that manner, but at least there would be an effort).

  40. The Ironborn existing after their Rebellion doesn't make much sense either, or at least you can make a strong argument they should've been annihilated and their rocks turned into a penal colony or something

  41. Well, tbf, this isn't the modern world. Peasants die early due to war, famine, etc and many lords and ladies quickly fall to illness. That, and the fact that they are all pushed to mature quickly because of the common deaths. I think it's still a bit young, but Jon being 17 isn't too crazy considering he was raised to among lords and has been forced into maturing beyond the average Junior/Senior

  42. I still just really don’t believe that everyone, especially someone like Ned, would hate Jaime for ending the reign of a madman who was burning people for fun.

  43. That's only part of the reason he hates Jaime. He stood by while Aerys tortured Ned's father and brother to death. He knew what happend to Elia and her children and that Tywin had to give permission. And Jaime would have been in charge of their protection. On every score, in Ned's eyes Jaime failed. And then he finds him smug and coy on the Iron Throne.

  44. Brienne and Jaime have an argument about this at some point, Jaime points out that Aerys was a murderous tyrant who deserved to die and Brienne points out that he was still the anointed King and Jaime had sworn a sacred oath to defend the King and the Royal Family. In the eyes of a conservative lord like Ned killing Aerys was justified, but it wasn't a Kingsguards place to do it. Robert is considered a hero for overthrowing the Mad King, Aerys tried to have him killed and he rebelled to defend himself and his friends. Far as anyone else knows Jaime had no reason to kill Aerys other than to save his own skin or made his dad happy.

  45. I always like show!Ned’s line to Jaime on this matter: “You served him well when serving was safe.”

  46. Well Jaime didn’t need to kill Aerys, he could have just arrested him, like how Barristan arrests Hizdahr. There’s also the fact that Jaime was sitting on the throne like he was king now. And also Jaime didn’t protect the children from being murdered by his Dad. That being said, Ned def judged him too harshly.

  47. I don't know if a lot of people knew what his motivation actually was. The timing of it would have made it seem like he was just being opportunistic/serving his father.

  48. Most of my criticism has to do with poor World Building tbh. For all the talk that ASOIAF is a super realistic grounded "Medieval World with fantasy" I think the world feels kinda a bit unrealistic and small, Westeros is way to centralized when it comes to culture, there should in reality be a huge difference between the various kingdoms simply based on their location and environment alone, not to mention there is like a mini ice age every few years. There should be different religious practices beyond "there are the seven, drowned god and the old gods", like where are my Orthodox Faith of the 7 vs Evangelical Fot7 conflicts? Where are all the saints and relics? Also the houses are way to small and there is just no way in hell that they survived for thousands of years and there are way to few cadet branches. There are too few marriage alliances cross Kingdoms in Westeros imo. Also how does everyone on Westeros speak the same language? Westeros is larger then Europe and we have like a billion languages in our small corner of the world. There are like 126 languages spoken in Tanzania for example, how can everyone, especially Wildlings, speak the same language?

  49. I think GRRM just made Westeros as big as it is for a sense of grandeur but if you just imagine it a lot smaller it makes more sense. I don't mind houses being cut off or religions being simplified for the storyline.

  50. I understand this completely but I also don’t want anymore worldbuilding if it’s not crucial to the plot at this point and believe it’s bogging down the books a bit

  51. Absurd seasons in ASOIAF were presented as mystery of the world, and while I don't mind explanation for that, I don't necessirely think it needs one, as it adds bizzarnes to the world

  52. Can you elaborate on your second point? I mean, this is an invented world so they can be more like Victorian women without breaking realism but I'm curious what you mean.

  53. 1). The fight between The Mountain and Oberyn. How the hell can a wooden spear stop the blows of a steel sword? to be more exact, the blows of a monstrously strong man using a monstrously large sword. It does not make any sense. 2) How did Ned know the origin of Cersei's children? Ok, that the kids are not Robert's is clear, but how did he get the Kingslayer into the equation? Cersei could have had blonde children with anyone else in the world. What is her argument? That Jaime and Cersei were left alone when the rest of the court went hunting? Anyway, the story is so amazing that you can skip those little details.

  54. The fighting between knights is generally a bit iffy, and it isn’t helped by the fact GRRM describes armies and knights in armour ranging from Normans in 1066 to Agincourt.

  55. Arya constantly wargs into nymeria and literally drags Catelyns dead body out of the water to be revived. Nymeria is also leading a pack of wolves that are 100+ I think in the river lands which is definitely being set up for something.

  56. Can I root for the Others to smack some sense into all the players in the game, though? I always rooted for them.

  57. Hill's Alive youtube channel just recently released a video essay where she expressed the idea that GRRM purposefully made the characters younger than 16 so there wouldn't be people arguing that 'it was a different time back then'.

  58. 1- Martin is making things much more difficult for the starks right away for no reason....no stark except robb ever thought fleets were a good idea? Why aren't any of ned kids cup bearers? Why haven't he set up betrothal for them at the start of the series? Where are the cousins of Starks? So your telling me this great house has only 5 members? Rodrik cassel losing all of his braincells and leaving WF with 5 soldiers? Yeah sure geroge..the entire sybell spicer plotline also sucked.

  59. hmmm. Neds action to inform Stannis, had they been successful would have had Stannis's fleet arrive sooner to the Capital I think. but i guess that idn't actively thinking of a fleet so bad take is suppose.

  60. No, this one is understandable. When the story is told by POVs, they need to be characters who are knowledgeable about the wider situation (so GRRM can tell the story outside of the POVs current perspective), or have power themselves.

  61. How GRRM thoroughly lost track and control of the story in Feast/Dance by adding so much fat and filler, so many meandering side plots, so many superfluous POVs and poorly realized characters, so many pointless travelogues, so many unresolved storylines and cliffhangers.

  62. I see your point about Targs and Ned Stark in the first book as well can count as a subversion of this. But for the future books we are still rooting for the Starks because they are better people than the Lannisters and that they should be in power, however do people deserve that kind of power just because they align with our views? Who’s to say that the heir born from the Starks will be a good person in the future? I’m touching upon this point because GRRM talked about Aragorn’s tax policy, that he may not be a good king just because he is a good person, but Aragorn I would say was more qualified for the power than the Starks in his story by sheer experience alone. There aren’t many characters who are actually fighting against the status quo/not having ambitions about protecting their bloodline and focus more on actually helping the people under their rule. The wars are more fueled by personal vendettas rather than ideology. Does it make sense? Maybe Bran will be king in a different way to go against that. Idk if I could make sense.

  63. Martin is under the strange impression that reading a stack of historical fiction and a bit of pop history makes him an expert on history who doesn't need to do any research. The Dothraki are the best example of Martin faceplanting because of this but Westeros is mostly Hollywood Feudalism instead of historical feudalism. This wouldn't necessarily be a problem, you don't need a PhD in Medieval history to write fantasy...except Martin has convinced himself that his Hollywood Fuedalism is "how things really were" which causes problems, especially as Martin often really gets into the reeds to worldbuilding instead of keeping things vague and general which makes him only having a pretty fuzzy idea of history more noticeable.

  64. Major character deaths in book 3. After the red wedding the story is stuck in limbo (with some notable exceptions). I think he should have let robb live to in part continue the conflict or do a time skip so we can visit the next act of the story. Additionally killing tywin removed a villian who was connected (through bad blood) to all the other main houses.

  65. Oh, plenty. The ridiculously long human history, for one. For example, House Stark has ruled for 8000 years, and the North is still not any more advanced than other younger realms in the South. The world of ASOIAF still roughly takes place in the equivalent of the mid to late Middle Age of our world. What have these humans been doing that they haven't even invented gun powder or steam machines in all those millennia?

  66. Good point about the houses ruling for so long, for reference 8000 years ago the real world was at the final stages of Stone Age lol, and there was only about a few million humans. That’s very long.

  67. Ned coming to the incest conclusion. It’s such a huge jump in logic. Why can’t it just be some other blonde guy?

  68. How many blond men would have easy access to the queen? Considering how closely she's guarded it was either one of the Kingsguard or someone working together with the Kingsguard. And Jaime is the most likely suspect.

  69. Bro its been five years since my last re-read I think nostalgia has already started deleting every bad memory connected to this series

  70. The arbitrary use of magic. Renlys death was kind of weak writing imo. Also the fact that stannis just cant do that magic anymore...how convenient for joffrey.

  71. Languages. You're telling me a landmass roughly the size of South America, with civilization supposedly going back 8000 years, and multiple waves of invasions, basically only has one language? And no regional mutations/ dialects? With the old world having like another 2-3 languages?

  72. I feel like the show really had a chance to do this. And while they did a bit, it should have been a bit more pronounced.

  73. The worldbuilding leaves a lot to be desired, especially on the eastern side of the Narrow Sea. Though there's some lackluster stuff in Westeros too.

  74. Since when is reality harmful? Presenting the Dothraki as pitiless raiders with no redeeming values is far more true to the real life Mongols (rather than the romanticized image that is popular today).

  75. I think mine is the unhealthy obsession the fandom has with just these books. I think George Martin himself would tell people to branch out and read more books from different genres. If you like ASOIF you will like a lot more than just fantasy sci fi and you will like more than just these books.

  76. For me, it's not anything plot related, but rather the overly long and detailed descriptions of every goddamn dish that every last person looks at or eats, as well as the exhaustingly long descriptions of every last damn item of clothing that everyone is wearing. I feel like a full third of the text could be cut out of each book by simply abbreviating those few things.

  77. A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons were slow and just really filler. And GRRM should hand over finishing of the book series to younger writers.

  78. The riddles are sometimes too hard. I’m pretty smart but I don’t think I should need a whole internet fandom to decipher some of these things. I often feel like I don’t understand the books at all if I’m not getting it.

  79. Every character except Jaime one time in the riverlands constantly thinks to themselves that LF and Varys are playing them false and are untrustworthy. Despite this, they continually place their trust in them, and are surprised when they’re betrayed.

  80. Yeah the ages are weird, like I know it’s medieval but a 13yo conquering a continent like Daenerys or Robb never made sense to me

  81. People being other people or pretending to be someone they're not is a bit overused. Hence the hundreds of secret Targaryens. Also prophecy as a plot device, there's occasionally too much of that

  82. The deterministic nature of the story. The good guys are inherently good because of some ancient prophecy or sacred bloodline. The families carry down the same trait generation to generation with the Starks being noble, the Lannisters being conniving, and the Baratheons being head strong.

  83. the ridiculous amount of sexual violence, justified by the author with "the middle ages had a lot of sexual violence". The middle ages had fuckton of farming too George, just because something happened in a setting doesnt mean that it should be included every other page.

  84. Most of the books are set during wartime, so it's not surprising that there's lots of sexual violence.

  85. Mine is related to the bloodlines thing, but not exactly the same. GRRM understands Mendelian genetics to a point, but he doesn't seem to get the dynamics of it. That, "black of hair... black of hair..." bit is extremely unlikely. For every generation, the probability that they get a gene from their ancestor is halved.

  86. I'm pretty sure GRRM claimed that genetics not necessarily works the same the way as in real word, Valyrian and Stark houses have just stronger genes

  87. The books should have been a long time finished and I do not think him working on it for so long will make them any better. If anything the longer he works on them the worse they will get.

  88. I think GRRM can subvert this trope in a way that doesn’t make it narratively unsatisfying nor thematically questionable. Starks and Targaryens can have magical properties in their genetic bloodlines, but just as good men don’t necessarily make good rulers, the presence of magic in one’s bloodline doesn’t have to mean that one would be a good ruler, or even the “rightful” ruler. In fact, I imagine this is a point GRRM will make with the Starks and Targaryens: the Starks may end up as good rulers irregardless of their magical connection, while Daenerys burning King’s Landing in the books, despite her magical bloodline, will probably dispel the notion of her being a good ruler for Westeros.

  89. I think King Bran could be a subversion as he doesn’t seem to have any ambitions about his superior bloodline needing to rule Westeros. Curious to see how that will play out. Depending on his power it could go similar to a character in Dune I don’t wanna spoil.

  90. Just finished reading A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, love it. It is so lovely to show the contrast of the POV of a character who is a smallfolk versus that of the big guns like in the main series. Dunk in his first ten pages worries more about coin than 95% of the POVs not named Ned Stark (which is sort of ludicrous because they are in a war) and it’s usually over things like sleeping at an inn or buying a suit of armour etc. does a lot to immerse you into this world set in a hyper religious feudalistic martial society.

  91. Hard, hard disagree about the agnosticism aspect. People are, plain and simple, not that simple. There were certainly, I put my hand into fire for that, people who doubted religious beliefs or were even atheists. Even in the very Bible you see mentions of that.

  92. My two are 1) character ages 2) the Lannisters are a bit too lucky, which mostly comes from GRRM not wanting Robb to lose in battle

  93. Err...the incest stuff. I get that the Targeryans have their reasons but cmon. Saying it's taboo is putting it lightly.

  94. George has written books before this and has made a point out of Plato's Republic, which he has read and/or internalized seperately. He is definitely aware, but, in my opinion we the readers should be able to cope and find the POV's heart the only real point (of view) to this storytelling.

  95. Way too many women dying in childbirth. Leaving aside the dubious historical accuracy of it, from a character perspective so many women are not given names, or personalities, or any function other than giving birth to the important characters then dying. I'd love to see a richer story with these mothers and other female characters actually having opinions and influencing events.

  96. The only thing I can say that I seriously dislike is the fact that Martin has basically just copied the real world. Westeros is one thing, but making the far east "Yi Ti" and literally just copy pastaing the sort of east asian architecture and dynastic tendencies is a little too much for me.

  97. Daenerys being protective over her predatory husband and at that age. I think the way it affected her should have been written more negative. Personal opinion.

  98. I think he structured things those specific ways is because magic is just another ability just like physical strength or mental ability and there are plenty of examples of nobility that don’t have one or more of those things. He doesn’t place value judgements on the having or not having of any of them, that’s just your internal bias (which is fine, it’s just a thing, no judgment) showing itself. Sam is a good man but he’s a weak coward. The Mountain is very strong and a good wartime leader but he’s a horrible person. The House of Black and White is one of the most magically powerful things in the world and it’s services are available to people of all income levels regardless of the morality of taking a contract. House Tyrell has no magic and has a bit of a doof at its head because of paternalism, misogyny, and primogeniture but the house/lands are relatively good and is a key part of how the world works and keeps people alive during winter.

  99. The story and characters are excessively large. george is dragging out events in the latter books (and i say this as someone who loves them) and sometimes i feel like he doesn’t really know where certain characters are going.

  100. I've never thought it made sense how the Targaryens/the Iron Throne as an institution in general survived for ~150 years after the death of the last dragons.

  101. I agree with a lot of the points (especially on ages of the characters, I've upscaled them by about 2-3 years in my mind based on different sorts of logic such as longer years) but my major criticism would be world-building around the political use of marriages.

  102. The ages may be unrealistic for strength in combat, but definitely not for marriages and being considered an adult at 16 by society. That’s pretty normal for medieval feudal societies, as is girls marrying in their early teens. I think the point being made with the magical dynasties with special power in their bloodlines is in part that these people are still human and their rule is always corrupted by their human weaknesses.

  103. George obsession with the targs. Like we get it they they are you love child but it takes place in the 7 kingdoms the are house that need fleshing out.

  104. Personally, I'm annoyed by the reputation (or infamy) the Lannisters have at the beggining of the story.

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