George R R Martin’s series of books had a cult following, even before the HBO series Game of Thrones started to take over the world of television as we know it. A tad over dramtic maybe, but it certainly feels that way when the show is on, particularly given the minute dissections of every cast member’s Instagram posts. However, while the novels are compulsive, they have become a little static and bloated. Here are some ways to fix the biggest problems with A Song of Ice and Fire in the future novels.
1) Far more comprehensive editing
Martin’s writing pace is an obvious problem – I don’t know of any author, big or small who is expected to write a book a year by their publishers – however, as this is a constant gripe for fans of the novels, I have focused on some of the other issues with the writing of the novels. Martin’s novels have to be split into two volumes for one reason alone – the prose is far to bloated. Put simply, it feels like Martin’s editor needs to take a red pen to all of his future novels, separating some of his wonderful descriptions from the language which can often be over the top and frustrating to read. It seems as though for the most part Martin has let his writing run away from him, and instead of separating the great from the mediocre, he has left everything in. Which makes his five year writing stints even more incomprehensible.
2) Leave new characters for spin-offs
Part of the richness of Martin’s world is the variety of characters that he encourages you to care for. However, there has to be a point where adding characters, and adding more sub plots to keep track of, comes at the detriment of the rest of the story, and I think A Dance with Dragons was where it happened. Martin’s character building is interesting, but he needs to refocus on several plot lines, rather than adding more and more. If Martin has more ideas about the characters in this world then he needs to confine them to short stories, novellas and side novels. I refuse to believe that every single character he includes in the novels are going to have a massive impact on the final story arc of the novel, and they would be far better in a side novel.
3) Bring Daenerys to Westeros
Daenerys’s quest to rid Essos of slavery has been one of my favourite part of A Song of Ice and Fire, but even I admit that she has been stalling for far too long. It feels like Martin has stalled her off the mainland purely so that the rest of her potential rivals for the throne can be got rid of by someone else, so that she only has to face one rival when she does make her bid for the throne. This feels like a waste of her charisma and leader ship skills, particularly since you know as soon as she leaves Essos things will regress. Daenerys needs to be in Westeros to revitalize what is quickly becoming a pretty boring civil war where most of the competitors are dead.
4) Winter needs to come
For several books now we’ve been told that ‘Winter is coming’ in the most ominous and vague ways possible. Now we know that winter coming is the invasion of the White Walkers, it needs to happen straight away. I would have preferred the last book to finish with a full on White Walker assault on the wall, but as this is a way to fix the series, I’ll have to settle for it as the opening of the next book. This would add a well needed element of real danger to the civil war – whoever wins needs to do so quickly to unite the country against the Walkers. Currently The Wall and The North are far too divorced from Kings Landing, and a White Walker invasion would be exactly what is needed to shake up all of the characters.
5) Remove Bran Stark
This is an issue of personal taste, and while I’m sure Bran’s storyline will have great impact in the future, frankly at this point I am so bored of his character. Every time I see a chapter with his name above it I inwardly groan. I don’t care that he has had to deal with hardship. At this point all of the characters have. I’m fed up of his moping, and dreary storyline. We all know that he’s a warg, and will be influential in the war against the White Walkers – but can’t he do his training (and some growing up as well) off-screen for the foreseeable future please?
Maybe Martin has spent the last four years looking at how to improve his writing, and all of these things are on his list, but I somehow doubt it.
The Winds of Winter is awaiting a release date, but is expected in early 2016.