Spoiler warning: for TV followers of Game Of Thrones I mention events from the first quarter of A Dance With Dragons so come back in... oh, three years and it should make sense).
Over the weekend I started my second attempt to read A Dance With Dragons. When it first came out I bought the hardback and got about halfway through before giving up. I'm not entirely certain why I gave up when I did (though I remember being a bit bored with some of the Danearys chapters) but I think it might have had something to do with the weight of the book.
You see I get a lot of my reading done at work during my lunch break. Anyone who bought the hardback of A Dance With Dragons will understand why I might have got tired taking it to work every day. To use a favourite phrase of my father the thing is “bastard heavy”.
So those are my main memories of the book: heaviness and a major storyline that I found dull even when it asked me to imagine Emilia Clarke naked.
The second time around I'm glad to say that neither of these impressions seem all that accurate. The Dany chapters are a little slow compared to her storylines in previous books but this time I'm actually enjoying watching her learn statecraft whilst Barristan Selmy scowls in the background and Zaro Xhoan Daxos (he's the richest man in Qarth) exhibits previously disguised homosexuality.
Meera and Jojen Reed are also a lot less annoying now I have their television counterparts to imagine. I don't know why I took again the Reeds the moment they were introduced in the books, it's just one of those irrational things, but the TV versions made me like them.
As to the weight problem I decided to splash out a little and get myself the Kindle edition of the book, which might seem wasteful but the hardback seems to have gone walkabout (probably leant it to someone) and I am determined to read it since my friends and co-workers keep having to pause and censure themselves when they start talking about the series. I probably know more of the plot from the moments when they couldn't stop themselves in time than from actually getting halfway through the bloody thing first time around.
That said I do like that this is a series that I can enjoy as a social experience like with Harry Potter back in the day.