Sunday, March 25, 2012

OMG! An Excerpt from The Winds of Winter!

Oh my! Regular readers of this log will know that I am a big fan of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, the inspiration for HBO's Game of Thrones miniseries (which starts airing its second season on April 1st!).

Anyway, Martin has published an excerpt (for free!) of one of the chapters from the sixth book in the series, which is titled The Winds of Winter. The format of Martin's books is that each chapter has a character name as the title and generally tells the story from the perspective of the named character. There are now dozens of named characters and Martin has been ruthless (and notorious) for having horrendous, brutal and sometimes fatal events befall his characters, causing readers to constantly be on edge when reading, because you never know when a favorite or beloved character may be dispatched.

Anyway, the title of the free exerpted chapter is Theon, who is Theon Greyjoy, one of the most despicable and  defiled characters in the series. He is widely hated because everyone believes he is responsible for the deaths of the two youngest Stark children. The Stark family are the ostensible heroes of the series, with the Lannister family being the villains, but this is far too simplistic a characterization of the nuanced nature of the two families. (For example, Peter Dinklage has won an Emmy playing Tyrion Lannister, who is one of the most popular characters in the series, even though he is presumably "on the wrong side.")

Here is a little taste of the chapter:
   The king's voice was choked with anger.  "You are a worse pirate than Salladhor Saan."      
Theon Greyjoy opened his eyes.  His shoulders were on fire and he could not move his hands.  For half a heartbeat he feared he was back in his old cell under the Dreadfort, that the jumble of memories inside his head was no more than the residue of some fever dream. I was asleep, he realized.  That, or passed out from the pain.  When he tried to move, he swung from side to side, his back scraping against stone.  He was hanging from a wall inside a tower, his wrists chained to a pair of rusted iron rings.  
      The air reeked of burning peat.  The floor was hard-packed dirt.  Wooden steps spiraled up inside the walls to the roof.  He saw no windows.  The tower was dank, dark, and comfortless, its only furnishings a high-backed chair and a scarred table resting on three trestles.  No privy was in evidence, though Theon saw a champerpot in one shadowed alcove.  The only light came from the candles on the table.  His feet dangled six feet off the floor.     
"My brother's debts," the king was muttering.  "Joffrey's too, though that baseborn abomination was no kin to me."  Theon twisted in his chains.  He knew that voice. Stannis.        
Theon Greyjoy chortled.  A stab of pain went up his arms, from his shoulders to his wrists.  All he had done, all he had suffered, Moat Cailin and Barrowton and Winterfell, Abel and his washerwomen, Crowfood and his Umbers, the trek through the snows, all of it had only served to exchange one tormentor for another. 
You really deserve it to yourself to read the entire thing. Sadly, it may take another 4 or 5 years before the entire finished version of the book is released. The 4th book (A Feast for Crows) was released in 2005, while the 5th book (A Dance with Dragons) was released in July 2011.

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