When A Dance with Dragons was released, I didn’t write a review of it, in fact, I barely discussed within my community of fellow Fantasy fans. I wrote a piece or two about it, debated a bit with friends, but otherwise, I let one of Fantasy’s most impactful and anticipated releases slip me by. This is odd given that I run a fairly well trafficked Fantasy and Science Fiction publication, A Dribble of Ink, and a lot of my readers were interested in hearing my take on the fifth volume of Martin’s mega-successful A Song of Ice and Fire. But, I let them down, and, a year later, I’ve thought a lot of why I never wrote about the book, never formally reviewed it, despite enjoying it a fair bit more than the average fan seems to have, and it’s all because of expectations. Mine, and those of the fans around the world.
At first, as an entrenched fan, I felt special. Because, you see, I’d discovered Martin years earlier. He was my little secret. But, then it became clear that Martin wasn’t just a fad, wasn’t just a passing ghost of geekdom on the mainstream, he was a real thing. Maybe it was seeing Martin spoofed on Saturday Night Live, or when he was sitting there in the crowd at the Emmys, but finally it clicked with me. He’s not my secret anymore. Hell, he’s not even our secret anymore. Fantasy has a new ringleader, he wears a Greek sailor’s hat, thick glasses, and rides a wave of popularity the likes the genre hasn’t seen since The Lord of the Rings. Continue reading