Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
A Storm of Swords, Part 2 – Blood and Gold: George R.R.Martin, November 10—30, 2015
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
Blood and Gold is the blockbuster second half of the Storm of Swords instalment; a stunning piece of the Song of Ice and Fire.
Without a doubt, the events are (once again) game changing. Martin’s choice of narrators are spot on, allowing for truly gut-wrenching sequences. The strength of Ice and Fire is that the figureheads of each faction are main characters, so every twist carries both a personal and constitutional implication. You can’t help mourning a sudden death without also fearing for the House that’s left behind.
As the political interplay comes into sharper focus, the characters caught up come into their own. The Tyrion/Sansa sequences (of Lannister and Stark respectively) are truly compelling. More than ever, Tyrion shows himself to be a genuinely good guy. He seems to be hankering after ‘lead character’ status, but that did Ned Stark no good. Sansa, for her part, comes across much more sympathetically than in the TV series. In fact, you really feel for her.
The Red and so-called Purple Wedding sequences are outstanding. It is virtually impossible to comment on them without spoiling, but suffice to say that Martin executes them perfectly, building atmospherically to incredible payoff.
Perhaps the strength of the Wedding sequences is also the downfall of the book, because they occur – surprisingly – somewhere in the middle. It makes the remainder of the book something of an anti-climax. That’s not to say that it’s boring. The ramifications are enormous and the unfolding after-effects are important, but the composition makes the flow a little uneasy.