Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Rereading ASOIAF: The Ebb

In rereading A Song of Ice and Fire, I have noticed an interesting overarching structure: the plot has a distinct ebb and flow, especially when it comes to the primary characters and their relative location to one another.

Photo: EW.com

When the series starts, all of the primary characters (with the exception of Daenerys) are at Winterfell. As the series progresses, these characters separate -- some in pairs or groups, others alone -- and undergo their own separate journeys.

So why does this initial gathering matter?

By introducing the primary characters (Jon, Ned, Catelyn, Aria, Sansa, Bran, Tyrion, Cersei, Jaime) at the very beginning of the series, GRRM allows the reader to get a "feel" for who the primary characters are and how they act towards one another. Considering the fact that these primary characters are also the main Point of View characters for the series, GRRM's tactic of introducing all of these important characters together is ingenious.

It is in the first few chapters of A Game of Thrones that the reader can see the tenuous ties holding House Stark together; the tense relationship between Tyrion and his siblings; the . . . handsy . . . relationship between Jaime and Cersei; how Catelyn feels about Jon and Ned's infidelity; and echos from Ned and Robert's pasts (an echoing that could very well factor greatly into the plots of Season 6/The Winds of Winter).

After GRRM shows us who these characters are and how/why we should care about them, he scatters them into the four winds and carries us along for the ride.

What do you think about this tactic?
Does the "ebb" portion of ASOIAF suit the overall story line?

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