Martin's books do not have a plot. They don't have a protagonist. They don't have an antagonist. They are a collection of chapters with each one a differing point-of-view. We go from Sansa to Arya to Theon to Bran to Daenerys to Jon to Tirrion and then rinse/repeat. My epiphany came in a chapter called Arya where the most exciting thing that happened in forty pages was her going off into the woods to urinate (yes he describes the urination) and a wolf appears and then just as quickly disappears with no follow-up. Huh? These characters are eating, drinking, having sex, plotting, strutting, killing, looking at their damaged hands, burying the dead, mourning, slapping people for insulting them, and you name it. Yes...these books are simply about the lives of other people in a fantasy setting. They are about all the things that you and I would do only in a make-believe world.
It's kinda like The Sims only with text. And in many places...just as boring. I spent forty pages reading about some lame tournament held by King Joffrey while his little 8-year-old brother jousted with a man made of straw. Yes...really...a frickin' man made of straw.
I feel as captivated by these tales as I do watching an episode of "Extreme Couponing" or "The Desperate Housewives of Beverly Hills" or "The Jersey Shore". Yes...I seriously did just compare George R.R. Martin to "The Jersey Shore".
Why am I so captivated by these books? It really has me wondering if my life is that banal...that boring...that the lives of these fictional characters are so much more interesting than my own. It'd be different if there was a plot...then I'd have an excuse. I could tell you..."oh this 1500 page book of George R.R. Martins is about this..." and then launch into some huge profound plot akin to destroying the one ring. But oh no...I could tell you what Tirrion ate for his breakfast and his lunch, what he wore, when he went to the bathroom...oh I could tell you how agonizing it was for Sansa to find the right dress to please Joffrey and how much Joffrey likes beating her.
What a strange way to write. It's just wierd and somehow so "soap operish" that it taps into this strange node in my brain that I have to watch it unfold on the pages. I talk to my friend James about the books and we're like gossiping hens "oh I can't believe this happened and blah blah"... Like really...are there millions of men out there that are just like me that are captivated by the gossip generated by the lives within these books? I guess so. Afterall, Mr. Martin has sold millions.
It makes me lament though at the state of the modern novel. No plot, five novels in one (yes you could rip the chapters out regarding each character and have your own book with only one-point-of-view and one storyline) and simply a tale about lives...people going to the bathroom, changing boots, laying with women, men, sisters, and brothers...eating plums, getting sick, lusting, loving and dying. Ay carajo.
When I write a review for Goodreads I fully intend to give this five stars. I couldn't put it down. And because of that I wonder what the hell is wrong with me?