The war ends, the game continues.
Dance with Dragons reads like an old friend. The novel focuses on a few key locations; the Wall, Winterfell, and Maureen, giving the story a focus reminiscent of the first two books. Intrigue returns to the forefront, with the powerful working to restore order, only to find themselves beset by elusive enemies. Characters and readers struggle to uncover who’s behind it all, as the story carefully doles out information in precise doses.
The book focuses on three stories; Jon Snow’s efforts to prepare for winter and the oncoming Others, Stannis slow march on Winterfell, while the Boltons struggle with unseen enemies and unruly allies, and in Maureen Daenerys struggles to govern her newly conquered city, while enemies and allies flock around her.
We see young leaders make hard decisions, while other characters struggle to survive, often armed with only their wits. The ever present harsh realities of Westeros continue, but in this installment they serve to further remind audiences of the inner strength of the characters. Whether characters are resisting temptation or resisting despair, they continue to persevere.
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