A Feast For Crows by George R R Martin
I just knew this book would get my brain in a swirl and I was so right. There were sections I loved and sections I groaned my way through. This book is full of journeys, physical and metaphorical. Sam’s sea voyage to Braavos and beyond, Brienne’s fruitless search for Sansa, Myrcella’s trek across the Dornish desert, Arya’s ‘journey’ within the temple at Braavos.
I loved all the extra detail about Samwell’s journey to Oldtown with Maester Aemon which the TV series only skirts over. I equally loved seeing John Snow grow from a young boy consumed by uncertainty into a youthful though excellent Lord Commander of the Nights Watch. I worried for the decisions I knew this new responsibility would impose on him. But I needn’t have feared. John Snow, having seen his father’s style of command, knows that every good leader must make hard choices and he makes them despite his youth.
I confess I was a little irritated by Samwell’s constant fears but am aware that for a lot of people this is a reality of life. I suppose I keep hoping that despite his ever present anxieties he will prove to be one of John Snow’s best assets. I found Brienne’s search for Sansa equally annoying and felt as though Martin was wasting time getting to the point. Uncertainty is a keyword in Brienne’s existence and Martin hammers this point across. I can’t help feeling there could have been a better way to achieve this aim. At the end of the book I was still disgruntled about how Brienne is led to where Martin needs her to be.
The section of journeying I most enjoyed was that of Arya’s experiences in the temple. When I watched the TV series I remember feeling dissatisfied by the disjointed aspect of these segments and wanting more information on events. The chapters in the book have fulfilled my need to know more as they spend enough time delving into Arya’s thought process. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel this is an area which film will always find difficult to replicate.
However, there are many new characters introduced into the mix in A Feast For Crows. This expansion of the plot into territories readers are not acquainted with has its down side. It took me a long while to place new characters in context with what I already feel I know well. To some degree I felt like there were too many new characters and I wasn’t entirely sure if they really needed to be a part of the story. Some sections detailing family history in order to clarify the rights of heirs I also found quite tedious. I understand the need for the clarification but just found it wearisome.