Category Archives: Literature

The Winds of Winter: 12 Major Plot Points Preview


Warning: Massive Spoilers on events past the third HBO series of Game of Thrones & Minor The Winds of Winter spoilers!

George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is widely accepted as a landmark of modern Fantasy fiction. In the realms of Westeros and Essos nothing is romanticized, nothing is predictable and absolutely no one is safe. Martin repeatedly dispenses with the cliches that riddle cheap fantasy fiction throughout A Song of Ice and Fire to form refreshing plot lines, and emotionally involving characters that have an unfortunate tendency to be killed off.

The principal part of my enjoyment of the Fantasy Series stems from the copious foreshadowing that has sparked an almost endless number of theories from the reader community. Chances are that like myself, once you’d finished A Dance with Dragons (ADWD) you spent a good few hours over at the A Song of Ice and Fire subreddit, and the forums dumbfounded by all the highly probable fan theories you had completely missed.

Through combining these fan theories and The Winds of Winter (un)released sample chapters, I have culminated a list of 12 major events and plot developments you can expect to unfold in The Winds of Winter by the time of its inevitable Winter 2014/2015 release.

12. A Clash between Aeron Damphair and Euron Greyjoy


Aeron Damphair – who premiered as a minor POV character in A Feast For Crows (AFFC) – has been officially confirmed by George Martin as a returning POV character in The Winds of Winter (TWOW). In light of Aeron’s recent threat to raise the commoners of the Iron Islands against the newly elected King Euron (who seemed completely unfazed by the notion) it can only be assumed that through Aeron’s POV, the reader will be provided a detailed insight into the revolutionary activity set to occur on the Iron Islands.

On the face of it, Aeron’s Casus Belli for revolutionary action against Euron Crow’s Eye revolves solely around his opponents ‘ungodly’ status; after all Euron’s kingship does offend the Iron Island’s only true rule: ‘No godless man may sit the Seastone Chair.’ However if you subscribe to the theory that Aeron was repeatedly molested by his older brother Euron when they were younger, Aeron’s motivations for instigating civil war appear all too personal; note that stories rarely end well for those with an unhealthy thirst for revenge in A Song of Ice and Fire – just look at where Robb Stark ended up.

I can’t imagine the Seastone Chair changing hands (or asses) by the end of TWOW, but I don’t expect mere talk of revolution either. You should expect there to be one of two minor sackings, and perhaps even a couple of big battles on the Iron Islands when you finally clasp your hands around the hilt of The Winds of Winter.

11. Davos in Skagos

Davos mu fucking seaworth

At the mid-point of A Dance With Dragons (ADWD) we happened upon the fate of Davos as he was charged by “Lord Too-Fat” Wyman Manderly with the retrieval of Rickon on the Skagos Isles – a place ‘where men break fast upon human flesh instead’ – in exchange for the lord’s treasonous loyalty to Stannis. The Skagosi are a terrifying band who swore their unwavering loyalty and vassalage to the Starks of Winterfell after their failed revolt 100 years prior to A Game of Thrones. During this revolt they somehow managed to knock off the Lord of Winterfell and hundreds of his troops despite harshly unfavored odds. Additionally, the Skagosi name is synonymous with cannibalism and otherwise savage traditions to boot; our Onion Knight is going to end up in a trough if the Skagosi lore is more than mere legends.

Now you’re probably asking yourself: If Davos does survive on Skagos long enough to gain an audience with Rickon, what could possibly ensue? Sadly nothing concrete is available with there being a distinct lack of a Davos TWOW preview chapter, but with George Martin expressing an interest in giving Osha a more significant role in the last two books, due to Natalia Tena’s superb performances in the HBO series, I have an inkling that she will be the one to swing Rickon around to trusting Davos.

Rickon and Shaggydog’s previously aggressive and distrusting temperaments will have come to a simmer under the guidance of the oddly reasonable Osha, and although it’s unlikely, the Skagosi may have taught the boy a thing or two about self control, leadership and the extent of his warging powers.

10. Aegon VI Seizes Storm’s End


Aegon Targaryen, who was initially under the guise of ‘Young Griff’, managed to ascertain the sizable legion of the Golden Company and a strong foothold in the Stormlands having used the sum of his force that reached Westeros to besiege the forts Crows Nest, Rain House, Greenstone and Griffin’s Roost, all during his introduction in ADWD. Aegon VI wisely capitalized on the power gains presented by the lingering devastation from the War of the Five Kings, but you can’t deny that this early triumph has puffed up the boy’s ego enormously.

“The perfect prince but still half a boy for all that, with little and less experience of the world and all its woes.” – Tyrion Lannister on Aegon VI

According to extensive fan notes from George Martin’s reading of TWOW’s Arianne II chapter at Worldcon, Connington and Aegon successfully captured the Baratheon seat of Storm’s End without any reported injury to Aegon, who took it upon himself to lead his forces into battle. Unfortunately solid details on how they captured the notoriously impenetrable fortress are absent, however that hasn’t stopped fans speculating. I’m convinced by the theory that suggests Connington & Co betrayed the misplaced trust of the Baratheon banner men within, who will have granted them easy access inside the fort following their swift removal of the unsuspecting Tyrell retinue who were camped outside.

Aegon is bound to become increasingly cocksure and self entitled following this ‘grand’ victory, inevitably mistaking his good fortune for great leadership skill and military strength. George R.R Martin has an expressed passion for punishing arrogant characters, nonetheless I’m betting on Aegon being an anomaly to the trend in an effort to withhold the series’ total unpredictability.

Read My Full Article HERE at The Artifice


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Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars (released January 10th 2012) is author John Green’s fifth addition to his acclaimed line of young adult novels; much like his previous works young love is a major theme in The Fault in Our Stars, this time around the love is shared between two young Cancer survivors. Seventeen year old, lung cancer sort-of-survivor Hazel Grace is the novels narrative voice, detailing how living with Cancer sculpted her personality as it dealt out some of the worst, and surprisingly best experiences of her life time such as when she bumps into the one legged charmer Augustus Waters at a Cancer kid support group. Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed John Green’s previous works I was hesitant to believe this would be of a similar quality, because as Hazel Grace so delicately puts it ‘Cancer books suck.’ While this isn’t always the case, it is safe to say a fair amount of Cancer books do fall into this terribly sucky category due to their corny predictability and somewhat unrealistic representations of cancer sufferers; would The Fault in Our Stars add to the pile of literary casualties or strive through the clichés it so frequently mocked?

Warning: Spoilers Throughout!


The Fault in Our Stars unmistakably achieves the latter. Hazel-Grace’s tale dispenses with the sappy emotional baiting and misrepresentation to accommodate for harsh realities, accurate representations and above all a love story that feels refreshingly alive. I quickly found myself getting emotionally invested into the lives of the novel’s sublime characters, and much to my surprise it wasn’t just the polar opposites of happiness and sadness that were drawn from their stories. On Hazel and Augustus’s long awaited first meeting with their favourite author, the belligerently pretentious alcoholic Peter Van Houten, I found myself positively infuriated by his callous behavior to a point where I actually felt the fist clenching tension I can only imagine Augustus’s character would have felt. Green also managed to set aside the space for some unexpected, yet welcome humor that did a brilliant job of not only providing entertainment but also humanizing Hazel, Augustus and Isaac’s characters through their often witty and self-mocking line deliveries. However on a few occasions the intended comedy felt  frankly cringe worthy, for instance when Isaac describes Augustus as ‘The Mayor of Cancervania’ in his eulogy I felt the emotional weight was torn out of the eulogies latter parts.

Another related criticism I would make of  The Fault in Our Stars is that Augustus Waters death had next to no emotional impact on me because I feel it was simply too easily anticipated. The short, sharp plot pacing in the chapters before Augustus kicked the bucket were clearly intended to build a sort of ‘surely he wont die’ tension in the reader’s head, but it had a totally reverse effect on me that ended up making the supposedly tear jerking and sudden death of Augustus nothing more than a wholly disappointing and anti climactic experience.  Thankfully the chapters proceeding Gus’s death were incredibly satisfying to read, providing the two greatest highlights of the novel including Hazel’s bad-ass ‘go fuck yourself’ speech to the pest Van Houten as he fails to redeem himself, and the contents of Augustus’s final letter to the author.

It is this passionate final letter that reveals John Green’s challenging opinions on how we perceive the idea of being successful and whether or not leaving a grand legacy is a wholly negative and selfish thing to do. Through the clever metaphor of a scar, Augustus criticizes his own selfish ambition to leave behind a world of people that would miss him for the sake of his reputation after his death and praises Hazel’s determination to leave behind as small a scar on the world as she possibly can, finally going on to say ‘you have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.’ John Green demonstrates for a fifth time his thoroughly outstanding ability to inspire readers into contemplating the veracity of their base ideals.

Final Thoughts: Despite the issues of what I feel to be poor plot pacing and snippets of questionable humor, The Fault in Our Stars is an involving and thought provoking roller coaster of a novel that will have any reader thoroughly engrossed in the superb story it has to tell with its encapsulating realism and endearing characters. If you have any thoughts on The Fault in Our Stars feel free to leave them in the comment section below!

Grade: B

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Review: Cloud Atlas (Novel)


“Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell is a novel that can’t really be assigned to any one genre class, rather it is a collection of interlinked shorter tales with varying genres, from Historical Fiction to Autobiography Cloud Atlas changes it up as it goes a long. The novels chapter structure seems to be subject to a lot of critical scrutiny, the structure for those who haven’t read the book splits five of the stories in half on opposite sides of the book with a sixth story as a pinnacle point in the middle which, to illustrate looks like this 1-2-3-4-5-6-5-4-3-2-1. Honestly can’t say I have read a book with such a structure before “Cloud Atlas” and although it felt a tad gimmicky initially I warmed to the structure after a couple of chapters and still think it is quite a clever technique that does work, just about.

Spoilers from here

Structure aside, Cloud Atlas showcases David Mitchells’ talents as a true wordsmith. Mitchells’ prose for one is just astounding, his ability to write from the perspective of a modern day elderly publisher then so flawlessly transitioning to an emotionless clone while still creating two totally different and convincing characters is a testament to his brilliant use of language. The attention to detail that went into each characters’ language is what made it so easy for me to immerse myself in their individual stories; Sonmi-451 calling pictures ‘Nikon’s’, Zachary’s almost completely broken speech and Autua’s ‘Missa Ewing!’ have to be amongst the best examples of that attention to detail.

Mitchell somehow managed to make every short story within the grander tale feel just as unique and interesting as the last, by the time I hit the second half of the book I was reading the thing for hours at a time because I was just so anxious to discover what was to befall the characters, that being said I wasn’t entirely impartial to each story. “The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish” chapters provided a much needed lighthearted and hysterical take on the big issue parallels covered in the other chapters through the eyes of the perfect anti-hero Timothy Cavendish, in spite of all the humor one of the best quotes in the book was found there ‘it is attitude not years, that condemns one to the ranks of the Undead.’ Robert Frobishers’ Letters from Zeldelghem were a close runner up for me, the only chapters that felt a bit ‘pulpy’ were ‘The First Mystery of Luisa Rey” sections, I’m not sure if Mitchell was intending to make it a bit of a pulpy read so that Cavendish could comment on it later or if was just by happenstance; for an ‘Airport Thriller’ The Luisa Rey mystery still made for a thrilling read which is good enough.

“Cloud Atlas” explored some very interesting themes, the best and most prominent of which being the repetition of mistakes made by humanity throughout time. Forced containment is the most explored of these mistakes in my mind: The enslavement of blacks in the Ewing journal right through to Cavendish with his leper like treatment in the elderly home ‘Aurora house’ and of course the future enslavement of fabricant clones in the Sonmi-451 chapters being the biggest portrayals of this. In Ewing’s final chapter and the last of the books chapters, we see Adam Ewing’s resolve to join the abolitionists on his return to San Francisco. When his father expresses his disapproval saying in the end his influence will count for no more than ‘one drop in a limitless ocean’ Ewing replies ‘ Yet what is an ocean but a multitude of drops.’ This is Mitchell out right stating that for good change to occur people need to stand for their beliefs and not just concern their selves with the size of their individual influence.

‘Selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction.’

“Cloud Atlas” was a tremendous read even in spite of an unconventional structure. The themes run very deep, the characters are flawless as is Mitchells’ shining use of language, couldn’t recommend this book more too the persevering reader.

Grade: B+

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Blog Update: Literature Page Added, Content to Follow Soon!


Recently I have gradually been getting further into reading fiction and have decided that I want to make the odd blog post reviewing, comparing and analyzing the books I have read. If you’re interested in what books I read you can check my goodreads profile to get an idea of what literature based content will be posted in the months to come. The first literature related post will likely be a comparison of inspiring book  “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell and the movie adaptation. Leave any recommendations you have in the comment section below and suggestions for book related content you would like to see!


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