A Song of Ice and Fire re-read
March 4, 2016 9:16 AM - Subscribe

Gauging nterest in getting a re-read (or first time read) of the Song of Ice and Fire books (the basis of the Game of Thrones HBO series) and discussion going here on FanFare.

I have a desire to do a re-read of the ASOIAF series and have a discussion of the books, their themes, the foreshadowing, the theories, etc. Thanks to the dedication of zarq, all of the episodes of the show have been done, and I'm wondering about getting the books done as well.

However, I'm also feeling like there have been some pretty thorough hashing outs of the series here in the "books included" show threads and on the Blue at times, which may have kind of covered what we might discuss. So, I'm putting this out there to gauge interest and see if anyone else might raise their banners in support of the idea.

While for me this would be a re-read, I'm also open to the idea of working on something that would involve new readers of the series, though I'm not sure entirely how well that might work; it might mean having two threads, one for re-reads and ones for new readers, or (depending on how we structure the reading), having to be very careful about spoilers.
posted by nubs (40 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in a constant state of reread of these so I would be willing and able to participate. :)

I don't think I would participate in a new-readers thread, though. So much of the value of this series is the realization that he set something up three books earlier in a really subtle way. I don't know if I could even talk about the book on a basic level without accidentally spoiling something because of the way GRRM's threads are connected.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:27 AM on March 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

That is my worry too, tofu_crouton. At the same time, I don't want to discourage people who might be thinking about taking the plunge from having a place to talk about them if so desired.

I will try to please everyone, and in so doing, dance on rotted ice.
posted by nubs at 9:29 AM on March 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I suspect that most new readers would be coming into this having seen the TV show, yes? At least that's where I am, although I have a very faint recollection of reading book 1 a long long time ago. So I think I'd be open to a "re-read with spoilers for future books" readthrough.

Would this be potentially spoiler-ey for show watchers, or has the show now caught up with the books sufficiently that it's basically immune to book spoilers?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:27 AM on March 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was thinking the other day that the show & books are in a very interesting place wrt each other; while the general statement is that the show is now beyond the books, there are
-storylines that have progressed beyond the books;
-some storylines that haven't been addressed at all to this point;
-others that have been dropped;
-others that appear to be getting addressed this season;
-and some that are so majorly changed that I'm not sure it's possible to say where they are in relation to each other.

So I think a show-watcher coming in for a first read along with those of us doing a re-read is not going to be spoiled on the major events of the books so far, but will be introduced to/"spoiled" on events and theories that haven't happened and may never happen in the show universe. As an example, Martin is now on record as saying a character in the next book will introduce a plot twist that can never happen in show, because that character was killed off on the screen but not yet on the page.

I think if show-only people want to join in the re-read with that understanding, and the knowledge that we are really starting to have what I'm thinking of as the "Page universe" and the "Screen universe" versions, I am good with that.
posted by nubs at 11:43 AM on March 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oh, and while I'm ruminating on it, while I'm thinking primarily about the main series books, we may want to consider and think about what if any role the Dunk & Egg stories, A World of Ice and Fire, The Dance of the Dragons, and any other historical bibs & bobs might play.

Personally, I think they help inform the main series and make things more enjoyable, because some of the otherwise throw-away references of names and places and events have new depth, but they also aren't necessary.
posted by nubs at 11:48 AM on March 4, 2016

I say we steamroll ahead and let the show watchers watch where they tread. I've been thinking about reading the smaller books too, and now you've given me the push to finally buy them!

posted by numaner at 1:40 PM on March 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

OK, then, here's my thoughts based on the early feedback:

We form the ASOIAF Club for the express purpose of a read/re-read of the series, #SpoilersAll.

We start with AGOT and move through the main books, with a decision on if we treat AFFC and ADWD as separate books or if we use the Boiled Leather Combined Reading Order pending when we get there.

Secondary works - Dunk & Egg, WOIAF, etc., can be done as separate works after the main series (or, if we decide, we could sprinkle them in along the way), but points of interest and information from them is always fair game in a discussion, as is information from the show.

Possible thread styles:
1. Open post about each book that people can share in as they read through it;
2. "Chunk" the books into thirds/quarters, and have a discussion on each chunk;
3. Set date for a book post, with the expectation that people will have read whatever they need to for discussion by that date. (i.e., we set a date for AGOT about a month out, and then start a discussion).
4. Others?

Night gathers, and now my re-read begins. It shall not end until the last page.
posted by nubs at 10:25 PM on March 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm on boardish.
posted by drezdn at 7:38 PM on March 6, 2016

I do think we should give warning well in advance about what books will be discussed on what days... using the book club feature I guess? They're pretty long tomes.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:07 AM on March 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm a pretty slow reader :(, but I'll try to keep up. Like I think it took me 2 months just to finish AGOT because I wasn't used to the writing style and I kept flipping back and forth to the maps to get a sense of scale for reference.
posted by numaner at 6:28 AM on March 7, 2016

I like the thread styles laid out. And information from other media is fine, I don't care to get spoiled for the show since I don't watch it, and I've perused the wikis enough that I have probably spoiled myself for other stuff too.
posted by numaner at 6:32 AM on March 7, 2016

I do think we should give warning well in advance about what books will be discussed on what days... using the book club feature I guess? They're pretty long tomes.

I'm a pretty slow reader :(, but I'll try to keep up. Like I think it took me 2 months just to finish AGOT

Yeah, the length and relative density (depending on how much tinfoil we are going to wear) are why I'm thinking about a "chunking" approach, so we can have discussions with a bit of frequency without needing to get through the whole book in a given time period. I'm a pretty fast reader normally, but ASOIAF has been teaching me about slowness and digging for detail; there are lots of "oh, hey" moments where you suddenly realize that a connection between events and people that was set up 3 books previously, etc.

So I'll set up a proper Club at some point today and send cortex a note about getting permission to do book posts, and then set a time & size for the first chunk of AGOT. Any thoughts on that are welcome.
posted by nubs at 7:59 AM on March 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

OK, Club created, and I've backtagged this thread, which will now serve as our organizational thread.

I want to make sure I keep repeating the point that this will be #SpoilersAll so as not to have anyone come to the discussions and be surprised. For the threads are dark, and full of spoilers.
posted by nubs at 8:39 AM on March 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


/been waiting for this forever
posted by ZeroAmbition at 11:40 AM on March 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

OK, so I spent a bit of time mulling over how to approach this. I'm generally in favour of chunking this up, it's just a question of how large/how small to chunk. Given that we are going with an approach of SpoilersAll, however, maybe this doesn't make any sense, but here's how I'm thinking about things:

AGOT has 72 chapters, plus the prologue, so 73. Other re-reads I have seen appear to have taken 1-3 chapters at time, and gone with weekly discussion; I'm thinking about going a little bigger and more spaced out.

So, for example:

Part the First: Prologue - Catelyn IV
Part the II: Jon III - Daenerys IV
The Third Part: Bran V - Daenerys VI
The Final Quarter: Catelyn VIII - Daenerys X

Then I can see two ways of approaching the threads. 1. We open a thread, and people can post in it as they read through that section, with reactions, thoughts, notes, criticisms, and tinfoil. 2. We have set dates for each thread going up (say, every 3 weeks?), with the expectation that people have read through the section prior to that date.

Alternatively, we can just open up a Whole Book thread with approach 1, or we can go with smaller chunks and more frequent discussions.

I realize I should probably just seize the Iron Throne and run things as I see fit, but I would value some advice and ideas on which direction people would prefer.
posted by nubs at 8:25 AM on March 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I like that chunking. Should be enough time for me to read.
posted by numaner at 12:07 PM on March 8, 2016

I got my copy from the library, and it's a big book. So yeah: chunks.

Approach (1) seems better for an all-spoilers-allowed reread; allows jump-in-and-discuss for those who want it, while those who want to read the chunk first then discuss can still choose to stay out until they've finished reading.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:52 PM on March 8, 2016

I tend to agree with you We had a deal, Kyle, so I'll post the thread for the first chunk in the next day or so, and people can jump in as they go, and then maybe in 2-3 weeks I'll open the next one, depending on demand and activity.

We we learn as we go!
posted by nubs at 1:00 PM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've been meaning to read them again; I know I missed a lot the first time through. I have a serious love-hate relationship with the books, but I might as well get it over with. [sigh]
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:36 PM on March 8, 2016

I'm definitely up for this.
posted by AdamCSnider at 10:02 PM on March 8, 2016

OK, so I'm going to take some advice from another Book club thread, which is basically to get going with shit because that's more fun than talking about when we might get going with shit.

So I'll try to post this evening/tomorrow.
posted by nubs at 2:18 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Cool. I finally read them all last Summer/Fall, so they're still fairly fresh in my mind. I'm not up for rereading AGOT right now, but I'll probably jump in for the later books when y'all get there.

Looking ahead, I have a suggestion for reading AFFC and ADWD: read them concurrently as Martin originally intended. Here is a guide to reading the chapters in chronological order:

A new reader–friendly combined reading order for A Feast for Crows & A Dance with Dragons

I know a lot of people didn't like those books as much, but I did enjoy them for the most part and I think it's partly because I read them together. I'm up for doing it either way, though, since I've already done them this way I would be fine reading them one after the other to experience them the way most readers did when they came out. It's something to consider, anyway.
posted by homunculus at 1:06 PM on March 10, 2016

Yeah, I think the combined reading order is the way to go with those two.

Anyways, the first thread is up and going, with the expectation that we can comment in it as we read through, not that we have read through. So feel free to jump in!
posted by nubs at 7:17 PM on March 10, 2016

You're a genius. In.
posted by corb at 9:28 PM on March 10, 2016

I'm in!
posted by domo at 9:01 AM on March 11, 2016

OK, I'm in. I like the thinking behind the 'reader friendly' combined order too, so I'm happy to give that a whirl.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:08 PM on March 16, 2016

OK, should we be looking for the second thread on AGOT? I'm feeling like people are ready to move on.
posted by nubs at 8:30 AM on March 17, 2016

Yeah, comments seem to have died down.

I got slowed down by the Dark Tower reread. I'm caught up on the reading for the current thread, but probably will go back, re-read a few chapters in light of the discussion, and maybe jump back into the thread. But hey, it's not like it's going to close.

(It is odd reading the two series in parallel: they're both very richly-described worlds, but very differently constructed and very different in the approach they take to building tension and dread.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:27 PM on March 17, 2016

I'm in the same boat, We had a deal, Kyle, and I'm starting to wonder how quick I'll have dreams that mash up events from ASOIAF and The Dark Tower. Roland showing up at the Tower of Joy, perhaps (whoops! Wrong Tower!), or Jon fending off lobstrosities at the Wall (dead things in the water), perhaps Eddie and Tyrion hanging out somewhere.

I will throw the next thread up later tonight/tomorrow, then, and we shall march on. To a certain extent, it feels like the book/saga is finally just getting going at the end of this first section.
posted by nubs at 12:34 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Part II is up; as always, feel free to post as you are reading through (I've done nothing more than a quick skim at this point). And because the threads always stay open, feel free to comment in Part I too if needed.

I'm going to suggest about 10 days between chunks, which would put Part III for March 28?
posted by nubs at 8:57 AM on March 18, 2016

Part III
posted by nubs at 6:59 PM on March 28, 2016

Yikes; I gotta get reading.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:45 PM on March 28, 2016

No pressure! I had the 28th down as the potential date for it, and seeing as we have one or two readers already in that section, I figured I might as well. The great thing is that these threads don't close and people can make their observations as they go.
posted by nubs at 9:29 AM on March 29, 2016

OK, Part IV is up, which brings us to the end of book 1.

We seem to have lost a lot of readers along the way, so I'm wondering if we're better just posting a thread for A Clash of Kings as a whole, and letting the discussion flow as people move through the book?
posted by nubs at 10:04 AM on April 12, 2016

I'm still reading but am a long way behind the current threads.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:56 AM on April 12, 2016

I actually really like the granularity, but like others, am slow. Please keep it as is!
posted by corb at 12:02 PM on April 12, 2016

OK, well then I will leave things to sit for a bit; the whole book is up so we will get there! And it isn't like there are any time limits on anything.
posted by nubs at 12:14 PM on April 12, 2016

Secondary works - Dunk & Egg, WOIAF, etc., can be done as separate works after the main series (or, if we decide, we could sprinkle them in along the way)

It's a long way off, but I recommend reading the Dunk & Egg novellas, or at least The Mystery Knight, before ADWD (or AFFC/ADWD if we combine them) since it's relevant to a certain character reveal.
posted by homunculus at 5:38 PM on July 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I've gotten into summertime laziness and I will be getting book 2 going next week when I'm back somewhere civilized with a reliable internet connection.
posted by nubs at 6:40 PM on July 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

A Clash of Kings, finally. I have been such a sweet summer child.

Trying this as one thread for the whole book as it might make it easier (i.e., I'll be less prone to forget to put up another chunk). Feel free to dive in no matter where you are in the book; it's a re-read!
posted by nubs at 8:27 AM on August 15, 2016

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