Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Feast for Crows

As I was getting towards the end of A Feast for Crows, George R.R. Martin’s fourth book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire, it occurred to me that the next book in the series would have to run concurrent to the fourth and focus back on the key characters from the first three which were completely absent from the narrative in A Feast for Crows. At the start of Martin’s third book in the series, A Storm of Swords, he included a disclaimer that some of the early chapters of the book would chronologically concurrent to the closing chapters of the second book, A Clash of Kings. Given that, it would make sense (though be far larger an endeavor) for the entirety of the fourth and fifth books to overlap. After all, a significant number of the main surviving characters from the first three books – Jon Snow, Bran Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion Lannister – do not have any chapters told from their perspective in A Feast for Crows.

While I was somewhat pleased with my theory of how things would unfold in the next book, I was surprised that Martin laid out his plan in the post-script pretty much to a tee from what I had thought would happen. Martin writes about why he decided to separate the two volumes by characters and not chronology:

The more I thought about that, however, the more I felt that the readers would be better served by a book that told all the story for half the characters, rather than half the story for all the characters. So that’s the route I chose to take.

I think this makes sense, though it was really hard to go through an entire novel with primarily new character perspectives, with no return to the ones who I’d been following for three full books already. That just means I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons. Unfortunately it is now over four years overdue. After plowing through the four published books in a bit over a month, I’m looking forward to the completion of the series. I’m just not sure how many years I’ll have to wait for the opportunity to read the end of Martin’s story.


Bold Choices

“Bold choices take you where you’re supposed to be.”

This is a really great, creative ad that happens to be for Jim Beam. I’m not sure that it works unless you buy that Jim Beam is, in fact, a bold choice. I like it better as an ad for how you should live your life than an ad for bourbon.

I Love Dodge’s Zombie Snowpocalypse Ad

I can’t say how I love this ad. The score is a classic dramatic zombie movie theme and the imagery of people raiding stores in a panic for supplies is also emblematic of the zombie genre. Also, as someone who lives in a city where people panic whenever there is a snowstorm (Washington, DC), I appreciate Dodge’s needling of people who clear out the supermarket shelves of all milk, bread, and canned goods when there’s snow.


A couple months ago I was approached by a friend of a friend who was starting a new online men’s magazine called PRZ Man. The concept is that unlike many men’s magazines that are targeted towards guys who are already pretty stylish or fit or socially savvy, PRZ Man would seek to appeal to all guys. From food to style to relationships and cars, the idea was to provide approachable content. I was asked to be their in-house cocktail columnist. My first post at PRZ Man, “My Martini Isn’t Blocking Your Shot,” is now online.

I don’t have a set posting frequency, but I’ll hopefully have a post up every week or two. I’ll also be doing occasional podcasts. Check out the column and the rest of PRZ Man – they’ve been live for a couple weeks and have a ton of content up already.

More on ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’

I want to add a quick thought about George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. As the amount of magic increases in his world, notably in the third book, A Storm of Swords, so does the extent to which the moral rules of his universe become flexible and more likely to be broken. The first book, A Game of Thrones, is essentially devoid of magic. Though the world used to have dragons and wizards, these are long gone from the lives of Martin’s characters, with the exception of a couple brief appearances of zombie-like Others. Martin’s world was at first a brutal and violent one, devoid of romantic influence of standard fantasy elements.

But as the story has progressed, so too has the magic. In magic, Martin has found a device that allows some of the cruelty of the world to be mitigated, some of the negative worn off by magical turns. I’m not sure that it rises to the level of deus ex machina, as Martin has build these magical themes into the very beginnings of the story and only now, in his third book, are they starting to dramatically influence the plot. The magic is actually adding a really great dimension to the books, as to this point it remains subtle, but will clearly be a larger factor in how major characters and forces collide.

The sole irony for me is that what made A Game of Thrones so incredible – its rigid moral universe, free of deus ex machina to benefit its heroes – is slipping away through the evolution of Martin’s story, primarily through the addition of magic, which is to say, fantasy. I’m not sure how much I’m complaining, though I’m certainly very watchful of Martin’s consistency following Adam Serwer’s great post on the coming HBO series.


OK, nevermind. I just read the chapters on Edmure Tully’s wedding in A Storm of Swords. Martin’s world remains as cruel as ever; magic has not tempered it.