Dammit, George R.R. Martin, how the hell did that happen? How on earth did you take a character I despised, and, without changing any of the things that I despised, add enough layers and complexity to make me like him? Is that nice? Is that fair?
By the time I finished A Storm of Swords, I liked Jaime Lannister. There, I said it. Not as much as Tyrion, mind you, but there it is. And I'm really annoyed about it!
This points, however, to something I've said in the previous two reviews I've done for these books, and it isn't any less true as time goes by - the characters George R.R. Martin writes are complex. None are completely good. None are completely evil. And with Jaime, without having changed anything he'd done before, without forgiving him for any of it, Martin layered enough complexity, added enough detail to make me sneakily like him.
I do have to say, though, for the first half of the book, I was getting a little impatient. It felt like we were in a holding pattern, particularly with Arya (and I'll discuss that in more detail in a minute.) I should have known to be careful what I was wishing for, I guess, because then things started to happen with a vengeance. The whole world was thrown up in the air.
These books make me feel like I have vertigo. There's no firm ground to stand on, no part of the world that is stable. Everything could be, and often is, turned ass-over-teakettle at any moment. I imagine some people might not like that, might feel irritated by the constant flux. I love it. And find it exhausting. And exhilarating.
Checking back in with my three favourite characters:
Arya. I was having real issues with her storyline until about halfway through the book, as it seemed to be repeating the same story from A Clash of Kings, and not really adding anything new to it. How many times can she almost make it to some safe haven before someone else captures her, or some new obstacle is placed in her way? It's a good story, but it went on for too long. And with too much of the same emotion. That string was strummed out.
Of course, then the world went in the crapper again, and that problem was solved!
Dany. Not tons happening with her in this one, although we do continue the theme of Dany trying to do the right thing and mostly failing. Over and over again. I enjoyed the brief glimpses we got of her, but there weren't many.
And, of course, Tyrion. Oh, Tyrion. Your story makes me so happy and sad and angry and sympathetic and indignant. Still one of the best characters ever. And now I like your brother too. What the hell?
Cersei, however, is still completely awful. Even though I understand her motivations, I don't like her any more than I ever did.
I read this book as part of an attempt to read all the Hugo Nominees