My Most Hated Phrases From A Song of Ice and Fire


So I’ve been gone for awhile.  Supersorry.  I’ve been busy doing reading (a lot of reading) and other types of writing.  There’s been lots of good work on other fronts to the detriment of this blog.  I’m hoping to fix that in the next week.  My plan is try to push out a post of some kind a day from here until Saturday and I really want to keep to that.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last two months catching up on George R.R. Martin’s fantastic  Song of Ice and Fire series.  As good as the HBO series is… the books are better.  More in-depth backgrounds on many of the characters, much more complex plotting, and… a ton more repetitious dialogue.  I’ve already let it known that I much prefer Martin’s plotting to his actual writing, but… The last couple of books really push it with a steady repetition of overly-familiar dialogue.  Here are a few of my favorites (spoilers abound).

“Wherever whores go.”

Lord Tywin tells his son this when Tyrion asks him where his first wife, Tysha, went.  And he remembers his father’s final words, as well as his father’s death, constantly.  I get it, it was a big moment for Tyrion as a character… and the when Tyrion asks the first people in Pentos where whores go, I chuckled…  But more on!

“She’s been fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon Boy for all I know.”

These are some of Tyrion’s last words to Jamie as he makes his escape from prison, right before he slays Lord Twin.  This quote comes up several times in most of the subsequent chapters from Jamie’s perspective.

I get it George… he’s changing and doubting his dirty, dirty love for his sister.  A bit more subtlety would be wonderful…

“You know nothing Jon Snow.”

Speaking of subtlety…  Ygritte says this to Jon… well, pretty much all the time.  Well and good.  By the end of Storm of Swords it becomes almost endearing.  But after Ygritte is killed in the Battle of Castle Black, near the end of the book… Jon thinks it to himself.  All the time.

He’s so sad.

Now, when two others of the Free People tell him, “You know nothing” it works for me.  But in the other twenty or so times he thinks it… ugh.

“Many and much” and its evil twin “Little and less.”

These phrases seemed to start popping up more often in Storm of Swords, but it seemed like they were everywhere in A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons. Everywhere.  Just about every character uses it and uses it and uses it.

Now, I know Martin’s attempting to channel a certain common language among the people in his wonderful world of Westeros… But surely there’s gotta be some other way to phrase this.  Please, George… anything!

There’s also a late Jon chapter, where the phrase “On and on the wildlings came…” to start a paragraph twice in as many pages.  That bugged me more than anything because both paragraphs are flush left and it seemed really really obvious… but I blame the editor for that error.

Now that I’m done bitchin’ about some really minor things… I love the series.  It starts off in Game of Thrones as an extremely compelling politically charged fantasy series.  But as soon as the first novel closes, you know shit’s about to get crazy because dragons are back.  And from there?

Really intricate plotting, a biting wit, and the only book in a long time that I’ve thrown down and cursed at because of the plot.  Seriously, I was sitting down for the Red Wedding chapter and I just stopped reading and walked away because I didn’t want to chuck the book across the room.

See you in 24 hours!

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