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« In Which We Taste The Blood Of The Dragon »

Queen's Walk


A Dance With Dragons
by George R.R. Martin
1040 pp

A light wind was riffling the waters of the pool below, all around the naked swordsman. It reminded him of how Tysha would riffle his hair during the false spring of their marriage, before he helped his father's guardsmen rape her.

- A Dance With Dragons

Have you ever half-remembered a rape you were involved in fondly when you saw the sight of lapping water? Then A Dance With Dragons is the book for you.

Reviewing HBO's first season of Game of Thrones was tough sledding. I know that I became insufferable in the thrall of the Iron Throne; I know that it was wrong to demand everyone call me "Blood of the Dragon." I considered a lot of tattoos that probably won't be as kewl after GRRM kills off both Arya Stark and CM Punk in the sixth volume of the series, A Meeting with Lawyers. Now that GRRM has received stereo blowjobs from Laura Miller and Rupert Murdoch, he doesn't have to work hard on his writing anymore. It's more of a free association game.

Worse, GRRM just doesn't know how to treat a lady. No amount of Asha Greyjoy sex scenes is likely to alter my view of this matter. Experience the "pleasure" of this "scene" from A Dance With Dragons:

Qarl followed her up to Galbart Glover's bedchamber. "Get out," she told him. "I want to be alone."

"What you want is me." He tried to kiss her.

Asha pushed him away. "Touch me again and I'll-"

"What?" He drew his dagger. "Undress yourself, girl."

"Fuck yourself, you beardless boy."

"I'd sooner fuck you." One quick slash unlaced her jerkin. Asha reached for her axe, but Qarl dropped his knife and caught her wrist, twisting back her arm until the weapon fell from her fingers. He pushed her back onto Glover's bed, kissed her hand, and tore off her tunic to let her breasts spill out. When she tried to knee him in the groin, he twisted away and forced her legs apart with his knees. "I'll have you now."

"Do it," she spat, "and I'll kill you in her sleep."

She was sopping wet when he entered her. "Damn you," she said. "Damn you damn you damn you." He sucked her nipples till she cried out half in pain and half in pleasure. Her cunt became the world. Only his hands mattered, only his mouth, only his arms around her, his cock inside her. He fucked her till she screamed, and then again until she wept, before he finally spent his seed inside her womb.

"I am a woman wed," she reminded him afterward. "You've despoiled me, you beardless boy. My lord husband will cut your balls off and put you in a dress."

Qarl rolled off her. "If he can get out of his chair."

The room was cold. Asha rose from Galbart Glober's bed and took off her torn clothes. The jerkin would need fresh laces, but her tunic was ruined. I never liked it anyway. She tossed it on the flames. The rest she left in a puddle by the bed. Her breasts were sore, and Qarl's seed was trickling down her thigh. She would need to brew some moon tea or risk bringing another kraken into the world.

I forgot to include a trigger warning, but by now you will understand that the source of much of George R.R. Martin's "original material" is actually the pre-marriage work of Tracie "Slut Machine" Egan. Her c-word became the internet.

what kind of wedding dress has pockets, Lynne?

If you really want to scare a woman into an erotic frenzy, try screening Last Tango in Paris the night before your honeymoon. That's how we used to do things before we elected a president who "loves" The Wire and Derrick Rose.

Whenever GRRM writes of a woman's constant need for sex, he is either wishcasting or channeling Valley of the Dolls. His attempt to channel the real thoughts and feelings of a woman is usually directed towards extremely mannish looking faux-women, like Brienne, Catelyn Stark, Penny and Jeyne. As usual, A Dance With Dragons includes a loveless wedding. Even Dany coldly sacrifices her own pleasure for the benefits of having a man around. What kind of lesson is this for our young women?

This fifth volume in the series begins a divergence from Martin's provisional POV-style. Various characters are introduced with ham-fisted chapter titles like "The Arrant Queen" or "The Cumswaddled Infant" or "The Voracious Eunuch." Varys himself manages to put in an appearance late in the work. The rest of the time, who knows? He probably just kicks back with a chardonnay and tickles the place previously occupied by his genitals.

Martin's most well-known character, that of the plotting halfman, is relegated to performing vaudeville for the Meereenese elite. Much of A Dance With Dragons takes place in the city which lies not very far away from the Valyrian environmental collapse. There is nothing worse than political writing dressed up to be something else.

the crown of Meereen

Are you honing in on the central metaphor yet? Martin's descriptions of the destroyed Meereen/New Orleans are disturbingly fresh. I view them largely as a personal criticism of myself. Liberals write all the novels. If someone tells you they wrote a novel, ask them if it's about a spy during World War II. If not, they undoubtedly voted for Barack Obama.

I did some counting of how many times GRRM used what I refer to as "key words" designed to objectify his female readers. Here were my tallies, which I have inscribed on a stone tablet I plan to cherish as a keepsake:

rape: 163

raping: 76

'You know nothing, Jon Snow's: 14

jape: 1,341

Mystical reminiscences of the time before the present: 103

Snacks: alarmingly few, except at the Wall where it's always fucking bacon and eggs. You have to carboload at the Wall because what else is there to do really?

oblique references to The Mad King Aerys: 54

crossbow: 17

grotesque yet moving reflections on Jamie Lannister's hand-wound: 3

sky cells: 0

Jon Snow, the central bastard-born protagonist of A Song of Ice and Fire, reveals little more about his mysterious origins. His actions, however, consist of behaving like a Machiavellian Harvard-educated undergraduate. He presumably acquired this wisdom from the cold as he waited out the decade between books he appeared in.

Listen, you have to make your mistakes in public service. This is a message not afforded Snow, whose idea to populate the Wall with wildlings is politically unfeasible according to those educated in the old ways. As for himself, he favors a shinier set of new gods and sometimes samples the wisdom of the Lord of Light, a futile replacement for true faith.

Areo Hotah

I have begun planning the Targaryen-Jon Snow wedding. He'll be wearing all white, like his dog. So will she. Samwell Tarly will be the best man, because he isn't around for more than a couple pages of A Dance With Dragons, as we get what basically amounts to a flashback where Jon sends him to be educated as a maester. Besides Tarly and the magnificent Dornish bodyguard Areo Hotah, every other person in the narrative is an attractive individual between the ages of 18-35.

I hate Davos Seaworth with every fibre of my being. It's great that you know how to read, but almost everyone can read, even George Stephanopoulus. He sounds out the words.

On the whole, A Dance With Dragons shows a lot more care than the rushed and incomplete A Feast for Crows. Many will grow impatient waiting for the two concluding volumes in A Song Of Ice And Fire. Dry those tears. Anticipating the future is ten times more entertaining than reading about a guy named Qarl penetrating an ironborn woman. The mystery and excitement of A Dance With Dragons comes in the moments when the characters aren't having unprotected sex with one another. A dragon descends from the heavens, and ascends. We want to imagine where he went, we don't want to really know.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find his Game of Thrones reviews here.

"Here Comes The Rain Again" - The Watson Twins (mp3)

"Angelene" - The Watson Twins (mp3)

"Ain't No Sunshine" - The Watson Twins (mp3)

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Reader Comments (3)

Glad you tallied the over-used bits you did, particularly "jape." And "rape." (Now we know what the RRs stand for in his name.)

A few more:
"Where do whores go?" (from Tyrion) at least a million times.
"in his cups." ditto
"break your fast" ditto

July 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

thanks, Bryan. Those are great ones. I wanted to cut Tyrion. I mean, Jesus, you can't go without a prostitute for fifteen fucking minutes?

"in his cups" is the most ludicrous phrase in all of modern fantasty

July 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDick C.
I am interested to seek your post while i get to your blog! Thanks for sharing these articles :)
March 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterZeshan Bilal

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