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Video Game Adaptation In the Works For A Song of Fire and Ice

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the goons-everywhere-rejoice dept.

Books 183

On Wednesday, French game development studio Cyanide announced that they will be working with George R. R. Martin to bring his popular fantasy series, A Song of Fire and Ice, to the realm of video games. The press release implies that there will be more than one game, and the games will come out for PCs and "next-gen consoles." Apparently an HBO television series is in the works as well, in addition to board and card games related to the books.

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183 comments

Oh god (3, Insightful)

malkir (1031750) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948975)

The only reason they picked this story was for the detailed sex scenes, the books *are* pretty awesome though.

The books suck (4, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950581)

The story is so formulaic. Here's the formula:

1) Create a likable character.
2) Create a hideous character.
3) Have Character #2 rape Character #1.
4) Have multiple other people rape Character #1.
5) Kill Character #1 in an ignoble fashion.
6) Choose a new Character #1. Repeat steps 3-5.

"Murphy's Law of George R.R. Martin":
If you like a character, that character will be maimed, raped, and/or killed in the next book. There are no exceptions.

Re:The books suck (2, Funny)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951047)

You are seeing a statue inside the marble block. The actual plot is that pretty much everyone is getting raped, maimed, or killed.

You mean "A Song of Ice and Fire", right? (4, Funny)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#27948987)

Or is this one of those Chinese knockoffs, like "backstroke of the west" or "Harry potter and the big Funnel"?

Re:You mean "A Song of Ice and Fire", right? (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950743)

At first I thought it was this [youtube.com] movie (soundtrack here [youtube.com] ), and I thought, wow a video game about an 80s ski movie with break dancing. That would be funny in a kitschy sort of way -- I can see it now, EA sports presents Fire and Ice, win races and get your character's hair perm to twice as frizzy, or add some new break dancing moves to your characters repertoire.

I would prefer... (5, Insightful)

Choozy (1260872) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949007)

... if George R.R. Martin would just finish writing the damn series!!!

Re:I would prefer... (4, Insightful)

Swizec (978239) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949015)

... if George R.R. Martin would just finish writing the damn series!!!

and artists would prefer if fans stopped thinking of them as their bitches.

But that's not very likely is it?

Re:I would prefer... (5, Informative)

tritonman (998572) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949315)

Well, he made a promise... At the end of his previous book he said that most of the work for the next book was already finished and he was splitting it into two books. He said that IT WILL BE PUBLISHED NEXT YEAR! This was in 2005. Ok just 4 years later and still nothing, it probably won't come out this year either!

Re:I would prefer... (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949369)

He made this promise or his manager/publisher made this promise? Crucial difference.

Re:I would prefer... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949485)

He made the promise. It's in the foreward or something to Feast for Crows.

Most people would not be pissed if he hadn't been stringing everybody along. It's not "fans think of him as their bitch", it's "he promised to have it out and then sat around jerking off for four years watching football".

Re:I would prefer... (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949505)

it's "he promised to have it out and then sat around jerking off for four years watching football".

Like you wouldn't do that if you had the chance!

Serious though, aside from the sex scenes, the sheer bloodthirstiness of this series makes it a great choice for a gaming series..

Re:I would prefer... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950039)

He made this promise or his manager/publisher made this promise? Crucial difference.

Not when his name's on the book. His name was used to promote the promise. If he doesn't like it, he should work with a publisher who doesn't tell lies in his name. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

Re:I would prefer... (4, Insightful)

jefu (53450) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949745)

I think Martin's fans (and I'm one) have been fairly patient overall. It is a huge (and wonderful) work and certainly requires a lot of time to make it as good as it is. It's not like he came to my house and signed a contract with me to finish at any particular time. On the other hand, starting a series like this does seem to make a kind of promise to the readers that it will (at least eventually) be finished.

Where people lose patience is when it seems that lots of other things (calendars, figurines, tv series, games....) are taking up more of Martin's time than the books, and when those fans care about the books and not about the tchotchkes they (the fans, not the tchotchkes) - however selfishly and unrealistically - feel slighted and cranky.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

Reapy (688651) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950693)

The biggest offence he commited in my mind was writing feast for crows :( Gah. The first 3 books remain my favorate of all time, and this is after having read a ton of other fantasy books. I think he was on the right path, but in that 4 year wait he got big, and probably got leeway from editors, and decided to split the book off into the next 2 books, feast and dance. What a mistake, feast sucked so hard, and to have waited 4 years for it, that bastard.

But really, he's only a bastard cause the first 3 were so fantastic and I want mooore :(

Re:I would prefer... (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949775)

They are our bitches. Without readership they make no money. End of story.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949867)

They are our bitches. Without readership they make no money. End of story.

You need to start perusing some real art, this pop culture crap seems to be rotting your brain away.

Re:I would prefer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27950421)

This is a debate I've had with a few of my friends. George RR Martin has started a wonderful series. Since then, he has spent time on card games, board games, video games, a children's book, a TV adaptation, several anthologies, and more conventions than you can shake a stick at.

Does he have the right to do all of this? Of course. But it really does seem to me to be bad form. I mean, it seems to me that the relationship between writer and reader is a bit of a two way street. He is selling his material and that also makes me a customer. If you publish stories with no ending with the strong implication that you will in fact write an ending at some point, it doesn't seem unreasonable for fans to expect you to actually follow through.

As far as the artist claim is concerned. This is a commercial product and again, to me that implies some commitment on the author's part to deliver a finished product. If this is pure art, then I would take the position that art is meant to be viewed and admired however possible, Pirate Bay style for myself. I do not believe this is a work of pure art. I believe that Martin has every right to be paid for his work. But don't act like he doesn't owe the fans anything. His work is by design unfinished and he should make a better effort to finish it.

Re:I would prefer... (4, Informative)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950383)

You may want to read Neil Gaiman's comments on the issue [neilgaiman.com] , as it seems the grandparent poster has.

Although I think that R. K. Milholland's take on a similar issue [superstupor.com] is right on target too.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

m1k3y121 (1039338) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950831)

thank you for linking that...i was going to have to after reading all the QQ going on here...jesus, let the man do his thing.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

MarkLR (236125) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950955)

From Gaiman's posting:

>George R. R. Martin is not working for you.

Yes, but the publisher basically is. Unless they start publishing books 1-4 with a warning label, "This series is unfinished, and may never be completed" any new readers have right to complain.

Re:I would prefer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949803)

Hardly thinking of the man as our bitch - As much as he has invested time and effort into creating the series, I have invested time and effort myself in a series and enjoy the complexities that he has woven into it. Basically, don't make a promise to deliver more and then hold off for close to four years - and release a whole bunch of other material instead.

He has me hooked, keep it coming.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

kakrofoon (1406043) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949941)

Like any other performer, they become our bitches when they enter the limelight. You don't want to deal with fans, don't generate a fan-base.

Re:I would prefer... (5, Funny)

Kranerian (1427183) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949081)

How do you think us Wheel of Time fans feel?

Re:I would prefer... (2, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949241)

"How do you think us Wheel of Time fans feel?"

After book 6 or 7, I didn't think there was any fans left.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

m1k3y121 (1039338) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950923)

^^ agreed. I tried, I did, but after book 5 when the series still didnt look like it was going anywhere, as much as I may have liked some of the character ideas and such, I had to put it down.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951291)

Hey, 6 was good, and 9 was awesome. 7 was forgettable. 8 & 10 do not exist. I heard 11 was excellent, but I'm going to wait for Sanderson to finish the series.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949107)

As long as he doesn't DIE before finishing it... I'm still wary of getting into another huge fantasy series, thanks R.J.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949881)

It's a selling point, we've all seen/read about supporting characters, main characters and everyone else dying.

But when did you last read something where even the author dies before the grand climax?

Re:I would prefer... (2, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950059)

But when did you last read something where even the author dies before the grand climax?

I don't know, but Atlas Shrugged was clearly an attempt to kill the reader.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949123)

... if George R.R. Martin would just finish writing the damn series!!!

Are you sure you'd be happy with it if it came prematurely? Mostly Harmless comes to mind. Summary: Random chaotic shit, and everyone dies at the end.

Re:I would prefer... (2, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949531)

... if George R.R. Martin would just finish writing the damn series!!!

Are you sure you'd be happy with it if it came prematurely? Mostly Harmless comes to mind. Summary: Random chaotic shit, and everyone dies at the end.

HEY! Spoiler-tags motherfucker! ;)

Re:I would prefer... (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949891)

Summary: Random chaotic shit

I think that's the summary for the entire series.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950407)

I think that's the summary for the entire series.

That would be random chaotic funny and entertaining shit.

Re:I would prefer... (5, Insightful)

jurgenaut (910416) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949325)

I would prefer it if he decided to start the main story.
So far, all the books written have served only to introduce us to the setting, with a vague hint of "winter is coming". We cannot actually say whether the winter is the main plot line or not.
It's like a soap opera. There's nothing happening, except characters acting and reacting. No one is accelerating the main plot (because we dont know which plot that is).
Tolkien said very early on, "here's a ring, the story will concern its destruction". David Eddings - evil god does bad things, here's a story about his demise.
And when we read those books, we form expectations about what is going to happen, and we start to trust the author when that happens. That's an important connection between author and reader.
Song of ice and fire, well, anything can happen. Hell, the bad guy in book X is the good guy in book X+2. I respect Martin because he can pull it off.
I do, however, not trust him to take sufficient care of the characters I enjoy the most - he's proven he has no qualms about killing them off (or leaving them out entirely from a book), then resurrecting them and making them evil. And then the 3 year cliffhangers...

Re:I would prefer... (2, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949789)

Dude, the story is the characters. It really is a fantasy based soap opera where all the excitement is the interaction between characters and you wondering whether your favorite will die on the next page or not.

If you really want a main plot, Daenerys (sp?) is going to come overseas with a huge army and then confront The Song of Ice and Fire (aka a main character in the books that I won't spoil), and either they fall in love or kill each other, or both. Everything else is just more reasons for more character interaction, in my opinion.

Re:I would prefer... (2, Interesting)

Tim12s (209786) | more than 4 years ago | (#27951151)

It is a fantastic retelling of "War of the Roses". England, 1455. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wars_of_the_Roses [wikipedia.org]

Like any biography or true story there is usually no single grand ending because it is based on historic events that is based upon the rise and fall of many different characters. Each character has a story and we are taken through this by the author.

Re:I would prefer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27950213)

I do, however, not trust him to take sufficient care of the characters I enjoy the most - he's proven he has no qualms about killing them off (or leaving them out entirely from a book), then resurrecting them and making them evil.

Hell that's why I like Martin and not the other crappy fantasy writers.
He isn't the kind of author who falls in love with his characters and makes sure they always stay out of trouble.
In those books, there is no fucking "unseen hand" protecting the heroes (or recurrent vilains). *Anything* can happen to them. If they make a mistake, or just are at the wrong place at the wrong time, they die. That's it, the end. No reloading, no divine intervention.

Re:I would prefer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27950511)

I partially agree with you, however I would say that the first two books very much pushed the story quickly and with a lot of action. That's what got me hooked on the series. Then the story started slowing down while he's focused on bouncing around to every character ever mentioned in the series and glazing over action sections by describing them in the past tense after they had happened.

He's pulling the same thing Jordan did starting with the Wheel of Times 6th book (can't remember the name). That's when I stopped reading Wheel of Time.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950927)

I do, however, not trust him to take sufficient care of the characters I enjoy the most - he's proven he has no qualms about killing them off (or leaving them out entirely from a book), then resurrecting them and making them evil.

I however trust him to kill off major characters or have them react very badly to the overwhelming hardships they've suffered. Part of the charm of that is there are no scenes where you feel absolutely certain the character you're reading about is going to survive. Keeps it genuinely suspenseful.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950449)

Last I heard the next book is coming out in 2010. The last "official" release date was while I was in basic training this last fall. Needless to say, I was very disappointed when I graduated and found out I would NOT in fact be reading it any time soon. This next book HAS to be good; most of the best characters were left out in the last book, so now it's time for their stories again.

Re:I would prefer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27950485)

Just stop buying the books until he completes it. Seriously. The only reason he can sit around and watch football for 5 years is because slobbering fans will buy the next installment no matter when he puts it out.
I too stopped Wheel of Time at book 7 promising myself I wouldnt read anymore until he completed. A decision Im most pleased with.

Re:I would prefer... (1)

ageoffri (723674) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950853)

No doubt. I see this as yet another side project that will further delay the books. I haven't even read the last one yet, even though I bought it the first week it was out.

*sigh* (4, Insightful)

Sibko (1036168) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949023)

I sure don't have high hopes for this one. At least the tv-series has a small chance of getting the characters and drama right. [Assuming the networks don't decide to remove the incest and childkilling, and so on.] But I highly doubt videogame developers are going to focus on anything but violence, violence, violence with this. Doing anything else is going to require some thought, effort, and risk-taking as the primary draw of ASOIAF has much more to do with character interactions and political intrigue than straight up and up killing things.

It'll probably end up similar to the three hack n' slash Lord of the Rings games on the Xbox - Gameplay might be fun, but you could remove the setting entirely and not make a difference. Personally, I think the best style for this game would be something more akin to King of Dragon Pass. [a-sharp.com]

Re:*sigh* (2, Informative)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949089)

tfa:

"Development on a game for PC and "next-gen consoles" has begun, and George R. R. Martin will help out"

so maybe wont be so bad after all eh? I guess as long as Mr Martin has some say so , or rather put Cyanide lets him.

Re:*sigh* (2, Funny)

ThisIsForReal (897233) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949299)

That means it's being developed for the Playstation 4 and the Xbox 720, and perhaps the Wii 2.0, unless by "next generation" they mean the devices that came out 3-4 years ago.

Re:*sigh* (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949545)

[Assuming the networks don't decide to remove the incest and childkilling, and so on.]

They will, I'm sure :P

But I highly doubt videogame developers are going to focus on anything but violence, violence, violence with this.

Could be an RTS... The Game of Thrones board came was pretty good (at least before they came out with the Clash of Kings expansion with the imba-as-hell Unique House Orders...)

What sort of game is it going to be? (3, Interesting)

Daedra (119144) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949035)

Cyanide studio (http://www.cyanide-studio.com/) has previously published mostly sports games, although they currently got a Blood Bowl esque RTS -game in develoment along with a cartoonty MMO called "Dungeon Party".

I'm personally bit wary of this SoI&F game they've announced, as their track record of games doesn't really fit in too well with what I'd hope from a SoI&F game. I think something like A Sharp's King of Dragon Pass could well enhance the Soi&F exprience far better.

Still, I guess Cyanide has displayed ability to jump genres with their new productions, so pretty much anything is possible from the SoI&F game?

Subgames? (3, Funny)

mcnazar (1231382) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949071)

Will there be sub-games/mini-games for the following:

* Braid pulling.
* Adjusting ones dress.
* Complex embroidery design? Maybe have a web portal where other players can design complex dresses. Dress design will be rated by the length and detail of descriptions (minimum description 3000 words or one chapter). MMO even?

Excellent franchise to choose as both the TV series and games can produce multitudes of series/upgrades with no conclusion to plot or story.

A Tip for anyone contemplating reading the whole series. After book three, skip every twenty pages.

Noo!!! (1)

mcnazar (1231382) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949083)

Oh Frak! Wrong series!

Re:Noo!!! (1, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949119)

I still lol'd. And I'd modify your tip to "after book three, skip every 20 pages or so, after book 5 skip to book 8 (was that the one where they, um, without spoilers I can say 'did the very important thing at the evil place which fixed something important'?) and then to book 11.

Re:Noo!!! (2, Funny)

mcnazar (1231382) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949257)

Book 8?.. Hmm... not sure. Was that the one where 800 pages were dedicated to progressing the story 20 minutes? You know... where they nuked the ...very bad.. place? Then did book nine move the story along another 10 minutes?

Thankfully its all a blur.

Re:Noo!!! (2, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949313)

Nope, book 9 was back to petticoats and stamping one's tiny delicate feet. I hear that book 11 actually has some plotline. (I stopped reading after I bought book 10, took a 4-hour flight to a conference and an 8-hour flight back, tyvm jetstream, and still couldn't get more than a couple of hundred pages into it.

Re:Noo!!! (1)

mcnazar (1231382) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949383)

Book 11 was not bad (if you read every 10nth page). The story does start moving along (an old character comes back for example).

Plot didn't move along enough though. Considering that the 12th book was to be the final, it had to be over 2000 pages long to conclude the story.

Song Of Fire ... (4, Funny)

ghillo (635201) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949095)

It is Duke Nukem Forever among the fantasy cycles.
If you don't count The Wheel of Time, but that's quite different story.

Re:Song Of Fire ... (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949135)

Is it now? Or is it "the hero discovers his inner strength and struggles against the great evil, aided by his three wise women and his two trusty companions"?

Re:Song Of Fire ... (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950499)

Is it now? Or is it "the hero discovers his inner strength and struggles against the great evil, aided by his three wise women and his two trusty companions"?

It might be, if only we could figure out who the hero is. Let me know...

Re:Song Of Fire ... (1)

Daedra (119144) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949139)

I don't really understand what would make you compare SoI&F with (now cancelled, RIP!) DNF.

GRRM has been publishing SoI&F books on very steady intervals (a Game of Thrones '96, a Clash of Kings '98, a Storm of Swords '00 and a Feast for Crows '05), with the new book being announced to come out this year.

The only similiary I could think of is that people have very high expectations of SoI&F, something I think DNF also had 'till the turn of the millenium or so.

In any case, SoI&F is no unicorn we fantasy book nerds chase after, it's quite real and not vaporware.

Re:Song Of Fire ... (1)

ghillo (635201) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949337)

"My last formal update on A DANCE WITH DRAGONS was dated February 15, 2007" R.R. Martin I think the cycle will not be finished.

Re:Song Of Fire ... (1)

Drathos (1092) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950473)

...with the new book being announced to come out this year.

No it hasn't.

Martin has made promises the last couple of years that he would focus and get it finished, but has instead published 4 books in the Wild Card series and edited/coauthored several other works. The last formal update on his site was another "I'll get it done this year" dated January 2008. Informally, he's stated on LiveJournal several times that he's hoping to complete various chapters "soon."

Re:Song Of Fire ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949177)

Well, Wheel of Time is probably in complete limbo for some people now since there'll always be those militant fans who won't accept the final book.

Now, for some things I'd understand, ie the new Hitchhiker's book. But for Wheel of Time I'd say hey, it's gonna be like how the Simirillian is a Tolkien book.

Is it good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949161)

Can someone tell me if this "A Song of Fire and Ice" is any good and worth a read? Is it worth an entire media blitz?

Re:Is it good? (2, Informative)

beerbear (1289124) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949237)

A Song of Ice and Fire is, in my opinion, the best fantasy story out there. Makes Tolkien look like a confused old fairy tale uncle. Realistic characters, lots of greys (as in bad guys act bad for a good reason and the other way around), no hesitation to kill off main characters/heroes, etc. While you wait for the next book, I suggest 'The First Law' series by Joe Abercrombie.

Re:Is it good? (4, Informative)

Corbets (169101) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949333)

A Song of Ice and Fire is, in my opinion, the best fantasy story out there. Makes Tolkien look like a confused old fairy tale uncle.

Realistic characters, lots of greys (as in bad guys act bad for a good reason and the other way around), no hesitation to kill off main characters/heroes, etc.

I'd rate it as the second best, actually, behind Stephen Erikson's Tales from the Malazan Book of the Fallen. However, they are two incredibly different styles, and while I think Erikson has the edge in execution, both of these guys are highly talented authors. Very hard to make a fair comparison between such radically different styles, I guess.

Re:Is it good? (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949811)

I'm liking the Malazan book of the fallen, but I'm not sure I'd rank it higher. For me, there's a bit too much of just dropping in new settings/locations/people with seemingly no real reason for them to exist.
Matter of taste I guess. I'm certainly enjoying it a lot, but I wasn't quite as much on the edge of my seat for Toll the Hounds as I was for Dance of Dragons.

Re:Is it good? (1)

beerbear (1289124) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950075)

Same thing here.
I still don't know how I managed to read the complete first book. It just seems too random - and by that I don't mean 'the plot' (there isn't much of it), I mean *everything*. Names of persons and places, for example.

Re:Is it good? (2, Insightful)

Selanit (192811) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949905)

Allow me to dissent.

"A Game of Thrones" suffers from an excess of underdeveloped characters. I counted 10-12 major characters, plus dozens of supporting cast. Daenerys, the exiled dragon princess, seemed interesting, as did Arya, the waterdancer-in-training. However, I finished the book without really caring about any of them.

In some ways, the whole book felt like nothing more than background for plot lines that won't be developed until well into the second or third novels. For example, the very first chapter introduces the the undead ghouls who are evidently gathering to invade from the North, but they're barely mentioned for the rest of the book's 800 pages, appearing only briefly in the Jon Snow arc. Likewise, the extended story of Daenerys' marriage into the Dothraki tribes seems like wind-up for an invasion from the south by the dispossessed heir, evidently for one of the later books. Though the Daenerys plot struck me as the most interesting part of the book, it really had little or nothing to do with the main plot. With so very many characters to track, there was little time to develop a rapport with any of them.

The landscape and cultures are, for the most part, stock. One glance at the map in the front will have any mildly educated person thinking "Oh, they're England and Scotland divided by Hadrian's Wall." The Dothraki are clearly based on the Mongols, only slightly more hedonistic; whereas the culture of the Seven Kingdoms is stock High Middle Ages.

In short, the material was handled poorly, with little imagination, and at much greater length than it needed. The book could have benefited greatly from the tender attentions of a stern editor.

I went on to read two or three more books in the series (checked out from the library) and finally gave up in disgust when he put an explanatory note at the end of a volume saying that he'd wound up splitting the book in two because there were so very many characters to follow. I take that as a sign of poor discipline. If the book has grown too far beyond its bounds, the correct response is to murder your darlings [sfwa.org] .

I was disappointed. Some of his other work I've enjoyed very much, particularly "Tuf Voyaging" and (to a lesser extent) "Windhaven", and I'm a major fantasy fan, so I was expecting it to be enjoyable, and it wasn't. Bummer.

Re:Is it good? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950491)

A Song of Ice and Fire is, in my opinion, the best fantasy story out there. Makes Tolkien look like a confused old fairy tale uncle. Realistic characters, lots of greys (as in bad guys act bad for a good reason and the other way around), no hesitation to kill off main characters/heroes, etc. While you wait for the next book, I suggest 'The First Law' series by Joe Abercrombie.

Well... that's your opinion... mine is that it HAD THE POTENTIAL to be one of the best fantasy epics ever. The first half of the first book really wowed me... but as the series dragged on it became more and more obvious that Martin had no idea where he was going. Given how good that first bit was I was very miffed to slog through the last volume and put it aside with relief not looking forward to the next installment at all... "Missed it by THAT much."

Re:Is it good? (1)

beerbear (1289124) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950661)

Actually, I kinda fear that you may be right, but I'm too much of a sissy to admit it to myself. :)
Not another 'Otherland', pleeeeeaaaaassseee.

Re:Is it good? (4, Informative)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949323)

Yes, it is that good. The writing is only fair, but the characterisation, plotting, and world-building are absolutely outstanding. The best fantasy series I have ever read, and I'm including LOTR. It's epic.

You get war, intrigue, politics, a giant wall of ice hundreds of metres high, torture, incest, dire wolves, eunuchs, castles, tournaments, rape, duels, slavery, dragons, fratricide, patricide... all the good stuff :)

Re:Is it good? (4, Interesting)

jurgenaut (910416) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949435)

While I do agree on the characterization part, I cannot agree with you about the plot, because there is none yet.

A bunch of subplots centered in a confused mishmash and a vague promise that "winter is coming".
We don't even know what that means, except that the wildlings are supposed to invade from the north. Only - the wildlings were killed off in the last book.

I see everyone begging Mr. Martin to please finish the series - but how would it be finished? There's no end condition.

Re:Is it good? (1)

ratinox (582104) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949715)

My own opinion is that the plot concerns an attempt by the last scion of a disenfranchised house to regain past glories, the return to the world of a wonder (or horror, depending upon your perspective!) that many thought long since passed, and the arrival of an inexorable evil from time immemorial - and what happens when the three collide. That's just me though. YMMV.

Re:Is it good? (3, Insightful)

Dyslexicon (639846) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949777)

How it's going to finish is really straight-forward.

When the seven kingdoms have sufficiently weakened themselves via in-fighting, the Others will overwhelm the wall. Danerys lands on the shores of the seven kingdoms with her dragons. Jon Snow, who is clearly the prince-who-was-promised, joins forces with her to fight off the Others fulfilling the title of the series.

Re:Is it good? (1)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949829)

While I do agree on the characterization part, I cannot agree with you about the plot, because there is none yet.

A bunch of subplots centered in a confused mishmash

True to some degree, but each subplot is well constructed. There have been hints that all the strands of the story are part of an overarching plot, though Martin has been slow getting there (particularly in the last book). I don't mind the delay, however, because the journey is so enjoyable.

a vague promise that "winter is coming".

We don't even know what that means, except that the wildlings are supposed to invade from the north. Only - the wildlings were killed off in the last book.

The Others are presumably the "big bad" of the series.

Re:Is it good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949535)

You had me at incest.

Re:Is it good? (0, Troll)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950521)

war, intrigue, politics, a giant wall of ice hundreds of metres high, torture, incest, dire wolves, eunuchs, castles, tournaments, rape, duels, slavery, dragons, fratricide, patricide... all the good stuff

I don't understand what last year's Democratic National Convention has to do with it. Please keep politics out of these discussions, OK? Thanks.

Re:Is it good? (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 4 years ago | (#27949801)

It is, provided you can accept that it's not finished, and might never be.
The writing style is superb - it's done a chapter at a time, from the point of view of a different character, and he's not shy about switching from protagonist to enemy, and exploring their motivations and reasoning.
There's some truly awe inspiring character development that has you ... well, not really _liking_ the 'bad guy(s)' but empathising with them - understanding quite why they did something atrocious, that had you initially hating them for it. There's an excellent cast of well developed characters, and ... not really any of them stand out as 'clearly the protagonist'.
Also it's quite brutal and harsh at times - 'key' characters die for reasons that are pointless or unfortunate. I can think of a few cases where that death gets turned around, and you see why someone did, but the motivation isn't 'because he was bad really' and much more tending to 'because sometimes good men have to die for the good of the kingdom'.
Oh, and it's quite low fantasy - there's not really much magic in there, and what little there is a source of mystery and unease, rather than the wizard lobbing fireballs around that you'd get in some 'high' fantasy settings.
In short, I'd say it ranks right near the top of the 'modern fantasy' rankings, and it's _certainly_ worth picking up the first book - A Game of Thrones - and see if you like it - if you do, you'll probably like the rest, but the writing style does make it a little difficult to 'get into'.

Re:Is it good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27951213)

not really _liking_ the 'bad guy(s)' but empathising with them - understanding quite why they did something atrocious, that had you initially hating them for it.

Many of them, sure. But others (Joffrey) are such contemptible little pigheaded pampered entitled useless stupid shitheads whose only excuse is that they were born into royalty with a really fucking awful mother (and Tommen didn't turn out that way) that I laughed when he SPOILERED and read his SPOILER scene over and over again. Masturbating. Not really.

I really fucking hate Joffrey.

Re:Is it good? (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950011)

I decided to give it a try while waiting for the next Malazan Book of Fallen (which i highly recommend) to be released and I have to say its definately kept my interest, I'm currently on Book 3. I would compare it to the first 3 or 4 books (pre over wordy and characters turning annoying) of WoT as far as story/character development and action. Could do without the softporn, I can do a lot better for free on the internet, but its really pretty sparse. If I haven't read through the series by time the next Malazan book comes out I'll have to make a decision which to do next. They are both two of my favorites.

Re:Is it good? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950811)

Can someone tell me if this "A Song of Fire and Ice" is any good and worth a read? Is it worth an entire media blitz?

My advice it to read, and enjoy, the first volume. Then pretend that the author died and let your imagination fill in the cracks.

Re:Is it good? (1)

Evelas (1531407) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950967)

Definitely don't read it if you actually plan to like any of the characters. Anyone you actually like will either be killed or ignored for several books. The plot is fairly obvious if you think about it, but it's largely ignored. Almost all of the books are from the point of view of characters you don't care about, and the 'believably evil' characters are mostly annoying, especially when entire chunks of the book are dedicated to them, and then they somehow magically redeem themselves. However, if you do care about what kind of dresses Sansa is wearing, or how her last cup of tea was, there's plenty of that.

It's A Song of Ice and Fire (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949163)

Correction: The series is actually called "A Song of Ice and Fire", not "A Song of Fire and Ice".

i can see it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27949711)

... the installer will look great but take ages. But to ease the pain, nice comments and a small videos can be seen during the installation.

Then you start the game and it will tell you "this great game will continue in the 2010 edition".

done.

I'm not keeping any high hopes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27950235)

Though most book to video game adaptations don't end up being very good, I hope this one is. Looking forward to the HBO series though. It could be great if the right casting is done.

The Official RPG (2, Informative)

XenoBrain (719411) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950251)

No links to the offical RPG? Is this Slashdot or what?! http://greenronin.com/sifrp/ [greenronin.com] It's Good Stuff(tm). It's almost brand-new too. I wonder if Green Ronin knew that other license talks were underway, because once we get videogames and miniseries, the value of that license is going to shoot through the roof.

Cyanide? Really? (1)

Drone69 (1517261) | more than 4 years ago | (#27950637)

I would have been excited if it was BioWare or CD Projekt taking on the developer role. I would have been even more excited if it was Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series being turned into an RPG (as opposed to the FPS of the same name releasedback 1999).
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