Friday, July 22, 2011

The Most Horrible and Perfect Sentence of A Dance with Dragons

First, a note: No spoilers, I swear. You can read on safely, fellow fans.

Ten days ago was the release date of GRR Martin's A Dance with Dragons, a book for which I, along with many fans, have been waiting a long time. Not that I mind - there's plenty of other books to read in the meantime - but once it was there, I wasn't going to wait another day.

I bought on Tuesday and spent my week doing little else with my free time than read through the thousand-page epic.* I was done Saturday afternoon, and "forced" the book in a friend's hand so I'd have someone to discuss spoilery goodness with.

Not that I'll expand much on the book. By now there's plenty of reviews out there if you're curious. 

See, Martin does grim and brutal super well. He's known for the frequent character deaths and general grittiness of his setting. And among a bloody description of a city's ruins after the war came by (bodies in the water, entire streets burnt down, etc.) was a sentence fragment so perfect  I just had to stop.

Maybe it's just me, but that sentence caught my attention, and that rarely ever happens when I read. And with all the set-up I just did, maybe you'll be disappointed. :P It's still one of the most horrible and perfect sentence I've read in a looong time (hence the title!)

So, here goes. Remember: part of a list of war-related horrors. It wasn't standing alone. And if you're eating anything, put it down.

Children fighting over half-cooked puppies.

And that's it! Tell me, do you remember powerful descriptions that made you stop and pause?

*It's 959 pages of actual text, but with the appendix it goes over 1000. So, I decide that it qualifies!


  1. *grins*

    *forced* is not exactly the word I'd use ;) It was on my desk, all nice and beautiful and heavy and I couldn't help myself but to flip the first page.
    I was doomed :)

    I agree though, G.R.R Martin's settings are just perfectly grim not to spare you and that quote sounds powerful enough to me :)

  2. Okay...that's an image I could have done without, and more reason not to pick the series back up.

  3. It's a very bleak description, but does communicate a certain derelict condition. How low do you have to go to start eating half-cooked puppies. Almost sounds as bad as McCarthy's The Road -- which I loved. :)

    Thanks for no spoilers. I still haven't started book two yet. Soon. TBR pile is teetering.

  4. Back in my academic research days, I had the pleasure of reading a few 400-year-old manuscripts that were created by women. Specifically, they were collections of medical recipes ("receipts") for treating all kinds of things. The most horrifying thing I have ever read came from one of these books. It was a recipe for something called "Oil of Whelps." Yes, oil of puppies.

    The method for extracting the oil is about as gross as your horrible and perfect sentence. I don't remember what it was supposed to cure.

  5. Oh, sad. :( My comment didn't post...

    I'm tempted to agree with Margo; I'm not sure if this is a description I necessarily WANT to get to. Alas, the first book is keeping my interest and I'm separated from the sentence in question by a good 4500 pages. :)