My name’s Adam Feldman, and this blog hosts my essays on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. Contact me at feldman10 ‘ at ‘ live ‘ dot ‘ com.
When I first finished A Dance With Dragons, I felt confused and dissatisfied by the book. It infamously built up to two major battles and ended right before them. More importantly, the big plot game-changers I expected didn’t happen — Dany hadn’t left for Westeros, she didn’t meet Tyrion, and nothing at all happened with the Others. So what was the point? Did Martin spend 6+ years writing a 1000 page “filler” book?
After a reread (or several), and much productive discussion on various forums, I now firmly believe that ADWD is the smartest, most complex, and most thought-provoking book in the series. It is very carefully constructed, yet quite subtle and therefore rewarding of rereads, close analysis, and an effort to engage. In particular, Dany and Jon’s ADWD plotlines are the best and most interesting political material and character development in the entire series. Their choices are far more morally challenging and interesting to ponder than any dilemmas faced by ruling characters in earlier books. They are among Martin’s greatest achievements.