I finished A Feast for Crows last night. It’s quite a book; slow through much of the first half and picking up in the end. My favorite character doesn’t appear at all, since he’s off in the section of the world that will be handled in the next book. Things happen. We see a lot of Dorne; I liked that a lot.
I’ll touch on some spoilers in the extended entry, but before that: I also have the Guardians of Order A Game of Thrones RPG in hand. (Put it together with The World’s Largest Dungeon and Hero Fifth Edition Revised, which I happen to be able to do at the moment, and you’ve got a hefty chunk of book.) So, campaign:
Three players; one’s a cousin of Ned Stark, one’s a cousin of Tywin Lannister, and one’s a cousin of Mace Tyrell. Possibly once-removed in any of those cases. Also possibly bastards, but if so, recognized. Either gender works. All of them are between the ages of 13 and 16; they’ve all been fostered down to Dorne a year or two before the beginning of A Song of Ice and Fire.
I’d run for a few sessions focusing on childhood concerns, letting the characters develop, letting them bond. Then I’d start running the events leading up to the War of Five Kings, without any particular expectations as to the reactions of the characters. At the start, they’d be fairly fringe. By the time the fourth book rolls around, there are enough dead people so that their place in the lines of succession might be important.
OK, spoilers follow.
This is just bits and pieces, but:
I liked seeing Sansa grow up. I don’t know what she’ll become, but it won’t be useless. Petyr is an influence on her, and she’s damned clever.
Sandor Clegane is the gravedigger — he’s limping, and the septon is very careful about his wording. “The Hound has died,” not “Sandor has died.”
The novice named Pate in the Prologue may or may not be the novice named Pate in the last Samwell chapter. Hey, there’s an awful lot of death and rebirth and false death in this one, isn’t there? In fact…
I was getting to the point where I thought Martin was relying too much on the “he dies but isn’t really dead” trick. Beric Dondarrion, Catelyn Stark, Davos Seaworth, both Cleganes (who did you think Qyburn wanted the big suit of armor for) — but you know, it’s the big theme of the book. Dead people coming back, people not really being dead. Makes one wonder. Martin’s too good a writer for this theme to go unculminated; it’ll either be closed off in A Dance with Dragons or, as is beginning to seem more likely, it’ll end in the seventh book.
Want more now.