Tag Archives: challenge

#LoveWritingChallenge – POVs

I’m participating in the #LoveWritingChallenge by Katie Kling. For more information see the introduction post.

This weeks theme are Characters and today is all about Point of Views.
To make things easier for myself I will focus on the characters in three of my longer stories:

Though I might add more from other stories.
For stuff about our characters from Warlords feel free to check out our Facebook Page.

Look at it from a different perspective…

From all my stories I believe, I have only two in the first person narration (both German): The secret Life of an Enter-Button and The adventurous Life of Stan the Desert Cactus. Is it telling that both are inanimate „objects“ I lend my voice to? 😀
Usually I write third person narrations with a hint of character thoughts and knowledge. It’s kind of easier that way and I prefer reading books/stories written like that as well. Not sure why I don’t like first person narrations…I just don’t.
POVs are a good way to explore things from different sides as not all characters are there at all times.
As TQW is the story with the most progress I can only talk about that one. Here I chose a couple of characters to tell the story.
With Kurth I can take a look at what’s happening with the lower ranks. With Lihsa I have a look into what the maids are up to. Emry gives me a chance to explore magic and preparation for different events. And so on…
I’m still not entirely sure how I will actually portray the change in POV in the final version, but it sure feels like copying if I do it similar to GRR Martin
As I’m not entirely sure what else I could write here, I’ll simply ask:
What’s your favourite POV?
See you tomorrow, when I tell you a couple of Fun Facts. 🙂
PoiSonPaiNter

#LoveWritingChallenge – Male Characters

I’m participating in the #LoveWritingChallenge by Katie Kling. For more information see the introduction post.

This weeks theme are Characters and today is all about Male Characters.
To make things easier for myself I will focus on the characters in three of my longer stories:

Though I might add more from other stories.
For stuff about our characters from Warlords feel free to check out our Facebook Page.

So let’s take a look at the guys in my stories…

Just like I don’t care much about gender roles with my ladies, are my guys not typical males. Their compassionate and supportive of their ladies/lady friends, some would even be considered as feminine. Though that doesn’t mean they wont mistreat my girls. With male characters it’s easier to explore certain aspects of personalities and the asshole is kind of one of my favourites to write. It’s just so much fun…
Somehow are males still kind of the default gender I use for stories, especially short stories. On occasion I find myself wondering: Would it change the story if I wrote about a woman instead (especially the first chapter of the NBWolf)? Most of the time the character stays male…

Anyway, let’s talk jobs.

As I did with the ladies let’s take a look at what my guys do for a living. Which if I really think about it, isn’t that much…
Though I do have: cook, teacher, programmer, zoo keeper/veterinarian, biologist, accountant, advisor, soldier and painter/graphic designer. Well, and at least one king. 😀
I’m not entirely sure, why I have most of the jobs for the ladies figured out, but the guys either struggle to find a proper job or just don’t really have a description for what they do…

And what about their relationships?

As they mostly are counterparts to the females this answer isn’t much different to the previous one. Though it feels like they are a bit more open about things than the ladies. A lot of them don’t mind one night stands where the ladies would contemplate them a lot more. They flirt, they talk back and they’re usually stronger and taller than the women. But I still wouldn’t change it, because, well, it’s part of who they are…
On the other hand are they not as progressed when it comes to sexual preferences as I only have (two) side characters that are gay. The only lead character with a different orientation is pansexual, which I only realized after learning about it.

Special cases

Well, let’s take a look at some of them that are not the typical male characters. This time two of them are even lead characters.

Andrew (TUO)

Andrew is a vampire-like creature and Michaels older half-brother. He is a gentle person that doesn’t like conflict and deals badly with change and loss and sometimes reacts the way a little child would. This is mostly due to his birth conditions, as his mother was turned while she was pregnant with him. When he loves, he loves with his whole heart and would do anything to make whoever that might be happy.
What I like about him: He was one of the first characters I created for TUO and therefore has a special place in my heart. He’s just this cute little guy that you just want to hug and keep save, even if he can kick your ass if you threaten his family…

Kurth (TQW)

He’s a young boy that aims to become a strong knight to protect the queen. Kurth can be quite naive, but his heart is in the right place, even if his tongue sometimes gets the better of him. He faces a lot of backlash from his peers and superiors, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t give it his best.
What I like about him: He provides a different look on some of the story aspects and he’s this dorky little guy, that’s just fun to write.

Amir (NBWolf)

Amir is a kind person burdened with a cruel fate. He is the lone survivor of his village, where he used to be a respected biologist (plant research), now he is nothing more than a refugee trying to find his footing again. It’s hard for him to adapt, especially with his condition as a newly turned Werwolf without any control.
What I like about him: Like Rasha am I still exploring what makes him, him and the more I do, the worse I feel about what will happen to him…

Boys, boys, boys

Just like my ladies, do I let the boys tell me what they like and who they are. Somehow it’s easier for me to write them. I’m somehow less worried about writing clichés in their cases, but I also prefer exploring things with them. It’s a bit strange and I’m not sure why that is…
Anyway, see you tomorrow when I’ll talk about Point of Views (POVs)
PoiSonPaiNter
P.S. This is my 400th post. o.O

#LoveWritingChallenge – Quotes

I’m participating in the #LoveWritingChallenge by Katie Kling. For more information see the introduction post.

This weeks theme are Characters and today is all about Character Quotes.
To make things easier for myself I will focus on the characters in three of my longer stories:

Though I might add more from other stories.
For stuff about our characters from Warlords feel free to check out our Facebook Page.

Say something nice!

Well, this is tricky…mostly because I haven’t written most of the stuff in those three stories and partly because I don’t remember quotes…and some of my favourite quotes are already covered on Facebook with Warlords…but let’s see what I can come up with…and you’ll get a sneak peek through it. 🙂

From TQW:

This one is a spoiler, but not really. Read at your own risk. 😉

As a disbelieving realisation: „The wizard shagged the queen“

I’m not entirely sure why I like this one, but I guess it’s mostly the picture in my head of the boy sitting down when this dawns on him. As I said: Not really a spoiler as this doesn’t tell you when it happened and who it is really about. 😉
And a tiny bit longer (though shortened) scene:

„And what are you learning today?“ [He] asked.
„I drew a bird!“ She told him proudly.
„Well, then let’s take a look at your bird“, [he] declared with a wide smile.
She pulled a parchment with a mazy scribble closer so [he] could see it. „There look“, she proudly presented it to him and [he] raised his eyebrow. With a exaggeratedly confused frown he looked first at the drawing then at his daughter. „A bird you say?“
„YEAH!“ She protested and explained the different parts of the line clutter: „That’s the beak, those are the wings and these are the feet!“
„Daughter, if this is a bird, then I will have to take you collecting herbs again, so you can see a real one“, he taunted her jokingly.
[later]
„Papa look! My horse is finished!“ [She] called out to him and held out another parchment.
„Your horse looks like a bird“, [he] commented with a wide grin and earned the expected indignant „PAPA!“

Of course I’m not telling you who is who here either. 😉

From the NBWolf:

An (unedited) excerpt from the upcoming chapter Water Moon:

„I don’t like this, [XY]“, her girlfriend told her over the phone while she was getting ready.
„Don’t worry Sweetie, I’ll be fine“, she assured her for the umpteenth time.
„But…you don’t know if someone will see you-“
„Honey, we’ve been through this: It’s the middle of the week and I’ve got work tomorrow, I can’t come home to change with the pack“
„I’m just worried“
„I know. I don’t like it either, but I’ll be fine“
„Have you eaten?“
„Yes“
„Enough?“
„More than enough, I’d be surprised if I don’t sink into the lake like the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood“
„[XY]!“
„I’m just kidding! Relax!“

I just like their interaction and if you paid attention so far, you can guess whom it’s about. 😉
I always try to make dialogues and interactions realistic and I think this is a nice example of it.
Well, let’s round this up with a quote that made a couple of people laugh when they read my short story for the Bücherstadtkurier Advent Calendar

The Crib:

“And The Doctor, Superman and DARTH VADER are the Three Wise Men?”
“Yup. They always say one of them is black.”
For a moment Harry quarrelled with himself, then he corrected: “Black: yes; Mass Murderer: No.“

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little look at different stories of mine. There are many more stories – especially my short stories – that I could look through for quotes, but as I don’t even know where to look it would take quite some time…
So, if you remember any quote from one of my other works: Feel free to add them in the comments!
See you tomorrow, when I’ll talk about my Male Characters.
PoiSonPaiNter

#LoveWritingChallenge – Naming Characters

I’m participating in the #LoveWritingChallenge by Katie Kling. For more information see the introduction post.

This weeks theme are Characters and today is all about How to find the names.
To make things easier for myself I will focus on the characters in three of my longer stories:

Though I might add more from other stories.
For stuff about our characters from Warlords feel free to check out our Facebook Page.

What’s in a name?

I’m horrible at naming people and cities and countries and have I mentioned characters?
I have either no idea what I should call someone or I keep ending up with the same names…
I already talked a bit about this when I mentioned my usage of Georg(e) and Richard, but that’s only part of the problem…
For most of my stories I go through real life names I have in my mind and then either use them as such (TUO/NBWolf) or change them to fit the story (TQW). I know I could use baby name pages and I sometimes do that, when I have a specific meaning in mind, but that’s rather rare.
Sometimes I try to use names that actually serve a purpose or have some kind of „hidden“ meaning, sometimes I just come across a name that fits the character and keep it that way – or change it if it doesn’t. Though I usually do the meaning part with surnames, at least, if I give people a surname. 😀
In TUO most of my surnames are references to movies and such: There is a family called „van Saken“ originating from „The Fosaken„, another is called „Carfax“ like the abbey where Dracula comes to live in London, another „Verlaine“, which was the name of Bela B.’s character in the German Zombie movie „Garden of Love“ and so on…
For TQW I not only added the rule „royals (or those working for the royal households or those wanting to be as grant as them) add H’s to names“ (e.g. that’s why she’s called Lihsa and not Lisa), but I also pretty much used my Mums family tree as inspiration for the names of a certain family, including her actual name. On the other hand did I make an unsubtle reference to Merlin and Athur by naming the main wizard character Emry and Aturo respectively (For those who don’t know this: Merlin was sometimes called Merlin Emrys and Arturo is the Spanish version of Arthur), not to mention that Sarah isn’t just a princess in name…
By the way: Rasha is an anagram of Sarah, because Nina is an anagram of Anni and I wanted to name those two after two girls by the same name, I know in real life. 😉
So, yeah, my names aren’t really original, but well, so far no one complained about them. 😀
See you tomorrow, when I talk about Quotes from my Characters.
PoiSonPaiNter

#LoveWritingChallenge – Female Characters

As I told you yesterday am I participating in the #LoveWritingChallenge by Katie Kling. For more information see the previous post.

This weeks theme are Characters and today is all about Female Characters.
To make things easier for myself I will focus on the ladies (and characters) in three of my longer stories:

Though I might add more from other stories.
For stuff about our characters from Warlords feel free to check out our Facebook Page.

So let’s take a look at the ladies in my stories…

In general am I not a fan of the Damsel in Distress so most of my ladies are strong and independent, but usually also compassionate about something and sometimes girly.
I’m fairly certain that I only have one girl that is obsessed with her male counterpart, but I still portray this as very unhealthy, at least I would if I had written any of it…
And when I think about it, do I have quite a lot of ladies in my stories, especially in leading roles…Michael’s family alone has about ten important female characters…interesting…
Though I still don’t always manage to pass the Bechdel test, as sometimes those ladies‘ main focus of discussion in a scene is a guy in trouble or at least one of their male family members…

Anyway, let’s talk jobs.

I’m fairy certain that housewife is a non existent job in any of my stories. I have pretty much everything from (kinder garden) teacher, maids, barkeepers/-owners and housekeeper over journalists, psychiatrist, doctors, corporate consultant, lawyers (to-be) up to matriarch and queen.
Usually I try to fit the job to the character and not the other way round, but sometimes it has to be the latter way (if you write about a queen, then you have to make someone queen 😉 ).

And what about their relationships?

I’m not entirely sure any of my ladies have what is generally considered a normal relationship…
Sure some of them got married and stuff, but the circumstances are a bit different.
In TUO I created the concept of the True Mate, which is basically the only partner a (wer)wolf can mate with and expect to conceive a (healthy) child, so some of the couples there are created through that concept, others defy it.
Thinking about it also made me realize that the love-arc in both TQW and TUO follow a similar pattern: Two people fall in love, but stuff and logical reasoning keeps them apart. It’s not innovative, but it fits the characters. They want to be together, but they also know that it’s not a good idea. And I think that’s also a pretty important point: Don’t force a relationship if it might end badly and you already have a bad feeling about it.
Talking about relationships means talking about sexual preferences and I have to admit that those have changed quite a bit over the years. When I first started working on TUO every character was straight, simply because I was forteen and I didn’t really know it any better.
Now I do and my characters come to a headcount of at least two bi, four lesbian (+ three side characters), one ace (and a transgender side character).  It’s not much, but through this they no longer feel like something is missing and they’re not themselves. It just makes so much sense for them…

Special cases

Okay, let’s take a closer look at some of my ladies, all of which are minor lead characters, without giving too much away. I’d talk more about all of them, but then I wont be able to finish the post any time soon…

Rita Desmond (TUO)

Rita is a pure blooded Werwolf and therefore quite peculiar. She would do anything to preserve her race and is therefore not just a well trained doctor and genetics/racial history specialist, but also an executioner. She is also the head of a multi-species (different Therianthropes) asylum for strays.
One of her biggest flaws is that she loves what she is and gets pretty violent towards anyone calling her „human“ and she also looks down on them as the lesser race.
What I like about her: She is one of my few female asshole characters and it’s fun to write her badass side, but also her vulnerability.

Lihsa (TQW)

Lihsa is one of the queens maids and deeply loyal to her. Originating from a small village she came to the castle to become a member of the staff and over the years even became the right hand to the head cook (also female). She can be spunky, but also melancholy, challenging and thought provoking, but most of all: She knows what she wants. It’s not always easy for her to manage her (love) life in the castle, but she gains a certain wisdom from it that even makes the queen admire her for it.
What I like about her: That even though she always receives the bad end of something, she doesn’t lose hope and is strong enough to give something up that is important to her.

Rasha (NBWolf)

Like much of the story in general was Rasha not planned, but writing more about her makes me quite like her. She is one of the few human characters in the story and cares deeply for her wolf friends and lover. Yet at the same time is she a fierce protector of the law and striving to become a lawyer. She has a certain light headedness about her and manages to lighten the mood in almost every situation. Her big heart lets new people in easily and she accepts them as they are and wants to be accepted like that as well. Which isn’t really easy as human fiancée of a wolf, who doesn’t want to turn her(, yet).
What I like about her: Her optimistic personality that I’m still exploring. 😀

Girls, girls, girls

When creating my girls I don’t think about breaking gender roles, I pretty much let them tell me who they are. Sometimes they surprise (e.g. when I discovered that one of them liked girls, when I had already planned for her to get a boyfriend), sometimes it’s a transition of exploring different topics and seeing what fits for the character or how they would react to it.
It’s important to have a variety of characters in a story, just as we have in life.
Life is colourful and fiction should follow its example.
See you tomorrow, when I talk about finding names for my characters…
PoiSonPaiNter

#LoveWritingChallenge

Soo…instead of more Filler posts, I’ve decided to participate in this writing challenge by Katie Kling and her friend Kristin that will last during the month of May. Leave your thanks for this over at DarkFairy’s, who wrote about it first. 😉

What’s the challenge about?

#LoveWritingChallenge is a Social-Media-Parade for Authors.
Katie and Katrin want to share their love for writing and want to know about other peoples projects. That’s why they came up with this cross-media challenge to help people discover new books and get to know new authors.
For this they thought up theme weeks. Each week will be a new theme with seven sub-theme, starting on 1st May.

How can you participate?

Pick one or more themes of the challenge and simply write a post about it, create a picture, make a video or do whatever you like for your Blog or Social Media account. What exactly you’ll be talking about is up to you. You don’t have to write something for each daily theme, you might even make a collection post or something just for the weeks theme. They don’t want to have a strict set of rules.
If you write a blog post, link it to the main post and/or leave a comment there.
If you post something on Instagram, tag @thewritingcat or @katie_kling_autorin.
If you post on Facebook you can tag @autorinkatiekling.
Additionally use the Hashtag #LoveWritingChallenge.
This way they know about the participations and Katie can sum them up in post at the end of the week.

Week One

Die ersten Themen

The first themes

Conclusion

Well, this is what you can expect the following weeks.
Let’s see if I’ll make it through it. 😉
PoiSonPaiNter

Reader, reader, pumpkin-eater

A couple of days ago Aleshanee shared a post on Twitter by Mikka from Mikka liest (Mikka reads) about what it means to be well-read, in addition DarkFairy posted another review that made me look through her reading challenges and all of this made me think (again).
With my affinity to procrastinate I’d like to dwell a bit on these thoughts instead of what I actually should be writing…

Am I well-read?

Mikka’s points about what it means to be well-read can be basically summed up to:

You’re well read if you read more than one book from all kind of genres – even outside your comfort zone – in differing difficulty.

I agree with her sentiment (and hope the summary is correct) and enjoyed her reasoning leading to this, but what does that mean for me?
I don’t want to make my own definition, I’d like to try using the main points of the statement to try figuring out if I would consider myself to be well-read.

#1 Diversity

The majority of books I read are in the fantasy genre, but thanks to school and different interests I also picked up a few classics and non-fiction books, but that still doesn’t make it that widely spread, even if a few of them differ greatly from my usual reads.
Though, that doesn’t mean that I don’t know things about books/topics/stuff I only have on my to-read list or just heard/read about in reviews/articles.
In addition do I read all kinds of (web)comics, manga, short stories(, fanfictions, etc.) ranging from fantasy up to slice of life stuff, so there is a bit more variation there.

#2 Quantity

Okay, this point is probably the one that bugs me the most. With readers like Aleshanee and Mikka, who read between 100-200 books a year or Evanesca, DarkFairy and SaJaehwa, who manage 30-80 books a year, you have quite some competition.
That is, if you view reading as a competition.
Which it technically isn’t, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel like it.
When I look through my statistics on Goodreads it’s apparent that my reading habits aren’t really that regular. There are years where I haven’t read anything or just a few measly books and then there are years where the book count rises above 20. In total I seemingly haven’t even managed to read as much books in my entirely life as Aleshanee does in a year.
I do consider myself a fast reader, I manage to finish a ~200 pages book in about a week, only by reading on the bus (~1h total) and I think I manage 60 pages per hour on average, but there are times when I either don’t have the time to read (car-commute) or I just don’t feel like it – which is kind of my main reason for not reading – or I’m using the bus to draft stories instead.
Though this does also mean that keeping up with challenges isn’t really my thing. I started two in 2014 (BiblioSmile’s Summer Book Challenge 2014 and DarkFairy’s Alphabet Reading Challenge), that I still haven’t finished as I keep putting other books between actually reading the ones on those lists…I’m just no good with schedules. 😉
It feels frustrating, when I compare my reading list to others‘, but when I think about the (web)comics, manga, short stories(, fanfictions, etc.) I also read – that I don’t have on my Goodreads list – it evens out a little, but it still doesn’t feel the same. Why not?

#3 Difficulty

Because one could argue about the challenge they pose and if you could even count (web)comics and manga as „books“, as they are „just“ stories with pictures.
Though things like The Sandman are quite difficult to read…
Some of the other books weren’t easy either, but being the stubborn person I am I powered through even if it was exhausting at times. I also don’t shy away from longer reads if I feel like reading the book, I just sometimes don’t feel like starting them, but that’s mostly because of the topic.
I also don’t mind just reading YA or not so challenging stuff, though I stay away from the entirely lovey-dovey stuff as I just can’t stand it… I already make fun of the stuff I linked above (not challenging-link), no need to give my jokes more fuel…
I kind of also increase the difficulty by reading books in English – recently I even read something in Russian! 😀 *proud* – which has me not just read, but learn new words/phrases in the process.
So at least my difficulty is differing, I guess.

Conclusion

Apart from the fact that I chose a ridiculous title* and spread the same alliterations throughout it, do I feel a bit more comfortable with just reading about 20 books a year.
And looking at all the stuff I wrote above: I do believe I’m well-read.
Even if I’m not actually reading that much. 😉
What do you think about this? Do you consider yourself well-read?
PoiSonPaiNter
P.S. If anyone needs help with the German posts, just let me know.
* I blame that entirely on Halloween approaching and me thinking about travelling to Ireland again… anyone interested in accompanying me? 😉

Joanne K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Today you get a review for one of my childhood favourites for BiblioSmiles Summer Book Challenge. Especially as today I am at the Harry Potter Exhibition in Cologne with Unmei.

What is it about?

4 of 5 stars


The young orphan Harry Potter leads a normal life with the Dursleys: his aunt Petunia, his uncle Vernon and cousin Dudley. That is until a strange letter arrives that is accurately addressed at Harry, regardless of where he currently is.
On his eleventh birthday Rubeus Hagrid finally hands him the letter telling Harry that he is, in fact, a wizard. Confronted with the truth about his parents and himself, he soon learns about his fame as The Boy Who Lived and sets off to his first school year in the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. There, for the first time, he gains friends (Ron Weasley, Hermoine Granger)- and foes (Draco Malfoy, Severus Snape) alike – and together they uncover a secret hidden within the school.

The reading experience

When I was about the same age as Harry and the others I read this book several times, I do believe at least seven times. Re-reading it after all these years I looked a bit different at the writing itself though.
I still knew what happened in each chapter by simply reading the title, still I didn’t remember the exact words that were used. This kept the whole thing exciting and still captivating whenever it was interesting.
The writing style did, however, feel like it was indeed intended for young people. It didn’t bother me much though (it was a nice and welcome change from the complexity of A Game of Thrones). I do believe the later books are written a bit differently, but as a series continues, so does an author improve and I wouldn’t be surprised if there really is a change. Like always I can only make my assumptions from the German versions of the book(s).

The characters

I grew up with Harry, Ron, Hermoine (though the latter was spelled Hermine) and Neville and have lived through their trials. Even after all this time I think Harry can be quite a brat sometimes, just as Ron can be quite idiotic, Neville was always quite underrated and Hermoine was – and still is – my hero.
As I have mentioned before am I not a fan of „you/I-have-to-do-this-because-you’re/I’m-the-main-character“- story lines and each book pretty much follows the same principle. The highlight is when the others get involved. Here they are still getting to know each other and the exploring-together part is quite left out and instead we see them butt heads. I never liked it when the boys talked down Hermoine or rid themselves of Neville. I like(d) those two and wanted to see more of them. Ron’s sometimes unwanted stupidity still made him likeable.
When I first read the book I think I was as shocked by the twist at the end, as the characters themselves, but when I re-read it with that knowledge, I saw the hints that are already there and that’s what keeps a story interesting.
Some characters feel like stereotypes, many are named, but not explored, but still, no two characters are the same – well, maybe with the exception of the Weasley-twins. 😀 I never understood why anyone would badmouth the Weasley’s, they are an awesome family…
Regardless of that am I just time and again surprised how soon Muggle-born or Halfbloods forget the technological advantages of their home. Sure Computers weren’t nearly as good back in the early 90s as they are nowadays and many things couldn’t be found with the help of the Internet, but still it’s weird that the Magical community does not show any kind of interest in it…

General Opinion

I don’t know what I can say here.
I really liked the book when I grew up, I desperately waited for my letter for Hogwarts and I still enjoy exploring the world after all these years.
The book might not be a masterpiece – some story lines jump quite a bit, some things could have been covered more, stereotypical characters – but it is one of those books that I will probably always enjoy reading. It makes you want to join this magical world, just like Harry – without the whole Boy Who Lived baggage though – who was allowed to part from a mundane life and experience all that.
Every kid should have the chance to read this book while growing up.

Stuff I’d like to add

If some of the things above sounded familiar than that’s because I mentioned some of it already in these Reading Together: #6 and #7
PoiSonPaiNter
© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner

George R.R. Martin: A Game of Thrones

After so many people have told me to try it and I got more and more curious about it, I finally decided to read it as part of BiblioSmiles Summer Book Challenge 2014 as the book someone else picked for me. And you now get the review as fifth part of this Book-Week.

What is it about?

4 of 5 stars


Life in the North, in Winterfell, is harsh, cold and simple, but when Eddard Stark and his kin are visited by the King of the Seven Kingdoms everything changes.
Ned becomes Hand of the King (most important advisor) and he is to accompany him to Kings Landing, the seat of the king. Taking his daughters Arya and Sansa with him he strives to uncover the truth about his predecessors death; leaving behind his wife Catelyn and their son’s Robb, Rickon and Bran, with the latter heavily injured after a fall from a high tower.
Ned’s bastard son Jon Snow uses his father’s departure and leaves with his uncle to join the Night’s Watch, a fading brotherhood that guards an ice Wall at the northern border of the realm. He is accompanied by the Queens dwarf brother Tyrion Lannister, who simply wants to see the wall for himself, but unlike Jon returns to re-join his family again, when he is accused for a crime and taken prisoner.
Meanwhile across the Narrow Sea the last descendants of the house Targaryen join with the Dothraki (horse riding warriors) to regain their rightful place on the Iron Throne.

The reading experience

I read this book in English and somehow expected it to be more complicated, but I understood it quite well. (Except that in my mind „after a fortnight“ was on the day after tomorrow and not in two weeks…)
With relatively short chapters it was nicely split and I could read at least one during a bus trip.
At first I thought – as many have warned me about this – it would be confusing to read about all these different characters, from all these different angles, but it wasn’t. As written before did I think the book would be written in I-perspective from each character that got a chapter, but I soon learned it wasn’t that easy.
While it is a partly omniscient narrator and it doesn’t feel like a complete personal narrator either, does it mainly focus on what the current character knows and experiences, yet it is no I-perspective, as the character is still referred to in the third person.
It is an interesting perspective to say the least.
For reference‘ sake was the focus of this book on: Eddard, Catelyn, Bran, Arya, Sansa, Jon, Daenarys Targayen and Tyrion.
As I said before was I quite captivated by the story and barely wanted to put the book away and I probably would have finished the book far sooner if I had given into that urge.
The only thing that bugged me about the reading was that there were barely any – if at all – paragraphs and a chapter was a complete block of writing and all this with a rather small font.

The characters

Martin is praised for his portrayal of strong female characters (read actual women) and I agree with this. His cast is that varied that you have all kind of different personalities and amongst them those highly praised strong women, but his men are just as diverse. I really enjoy the portrayal of the characters in the book so far, especially Arya and Daenarys. I really liked how Ned handled the whole thing with Needle (or generally interacted with his family) and I grinned while Dany gave her brother a piece of her mind upon their arrival in Vaes Dothrak (Home of the Horselords).
On the other hand was I just as shocked as Catelyn when she met her sister again. Sansa though is a different leaf altogether. As much as I didn’t like the slapping she got towards the end of the book, as much would I have liked to do it myself a couple of times earlier… I really hope it’s true and she’ll finally grow as a character with the next book.
As for the men, I don’t know what to make of Tyrion.
He’s an interesting character, with good advise and clever lines, but he still seems a bit too superior to me at times. Even with his physical restraints he can do a lot of things with seemingly little effort (- and just to be on the save side: This is not intended to be a pun.). Of course his pain is mentioned, but it still feels a bit too much like “look at this character, he is an imp, but look how awesome he is”. Kind of like one of those imba-characters in games or role plays. I still enjoy the scenes he’s in though.
Jon on the other hand is one of those characters that I don’t want to like, due to a possible death, but still do. It’s great how he changed from lordling to tutor and protector of his Black Brothers.
The others have so far had only little screen time and I don’t really know what to say for them. Some of them surprised me with their actions (the Hound/Sandor Clegane), others were pretty constant in their doings (most Lannisters), again others leave me pretty confused (Tyrion, Varys) and then there are those that are nice to have around in a scene (Bronn, Samwell Tarly, Ser Jorah Mormont).
I know I should not get too attached to the characters, but I already have a couple of favourites. With my luck in these kind of things will pretty much all of them die…
A side note for all interested in translations: From what I read so far are some names very strange and sometimes literally translated. The Lannisters e.g. became the Lennisters, Jon Snow is Jon Schnee (German word for snow) and Theon Greyjoy is Theon Graufreud (grau means grey and freud is an abbreviated form of Freude/joy), Kings Landing is Kings Mouth (Königsmund) and probably some other things as well…

General Opinion

I did not expect to like the book as much as I did, but it became the highlight of the books I read last year. I’m really curious how this story will continue and if those characters that I now know will even make it the the currently last book.
For everyone still considering if starting with this series is worth it, let me tell you: It is.
It is incredibly written, very interesting and captivating and has such a refreshing variety of characters that all those pages the book has are sooner behind you than you think.
I also noticed that the characters have a different view on peoples ages, but when I read Sansa‘s comment on how old someone was, who was closing in on twenty two I certainly had to take a moment to let this sink…
Sure she is eleven and a brat (if you haven’t noticed already, she’s also my least favourite of the Stark-bunch), but people can’t have high life expectancies if mid-thirties are considered close to death and mid-twenties regarded as old, but it does fit the context.

Stuff I’d like to add

I made the mistake of watching most of the episodes directly after I’ve read the portrayed chapters and they aren’t really as according to book as I’d have liked.
There are several things that bugged me quite a bit while watching, but I think the worst was that the females got toned down and males got their lines.
As a writer myself, I would also be quite interested in learning how Martin decides to end his characters (does he create them to be killed or does he decide it along the way?). Does anyone happen to know an interview where he talked about this?
Some of the stuff above was by the way already used/mentioned in these Reading Together: #2, #3 and #4 and in a comment over at Geekritiques Review of the book, just so you know, why it may sound familiar. 😉
On a side note: I think it’s funny how his name shortens to GRR…maybe that was the reason why the first family he introduces have their Direwolves… 😀
On a completely different note: I’m on my way to Cologne to visit the  Harry Potter Exhibition with Unmei tomorrow.
PoiSonPaiNter
© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit

Back in October I spent a weekend with Anice in Berlin. As I knew she’d be sleeping in and I would wake up early I had brought two books with me: A Graveyard for Lunatics that I was close to finishing and Earthsea for when I finished. But Anice had a book with her as well: The Hobbit, so when we showed each other what the other had brought we decided to switch books. I got the Hobbit and she the Earthsea book. So thus I was able to read one of the fantasy classics for the first time.

What is it about?

4 of 5 stars


The Hobbit Bilbo Beutlin leads a quiet life in his Hobbit hole until twelve dwarves knock at his door one after the other and occupy his living room, eat all his food and drink all his beverages.
The sorcerer Gandalf has let them there to turn Bilbo into the thieve they needed to reclaim the Lonely Mountain as home of the dwarves and crown Thorin Oakenshield as King under the Mountain.
But before they even reach their destination they have to travel through Middle Earth and face foes and friends alike, not to mention Smaug the dragon who is guarding the dwarven gold and cast out the dwarves in the first place.

The reading experience

Before I started reading I expected the writing style to be completely different. It was a translated version, but I still didn’t think it would have been written like a children’s tale, as the narrator explained things quite easily. It was a nice surprise though.
Besides the Fairytale-like narration the book was also filled with sketches. You could see the dwarves, Gollum, trolls and of course Smaug, who looks a bit different than in the movie adaptation. 😀 Additionally, some of the books characters also fell into song on one or the other occasion.
It was a nice and fluent read and even in German you could see Tolkiens love for language.

The characters

Bilbo was a quite interesting character. A no-one that grows with his tasks and experiences, who is smart enough to know what is the right thing to do.
The dwarves on the other hand were kind of walking on the thin line between like and dislike, while swaying from one direction to the other. Whenever Bilbo did something good they praised him and called him their best friend, but if he, however, had a strange idea or did something that seemed wrong at first they talked him down and even insulted him. I have no idea how Bilbo managed to stay as calm as he did when they were like that and even how he could stay.
Most prominent with this behaviour was Thorin, whom I didn’t like for most parts of the story. His opinion and moods were ever changing and he was basically just an ass. Still, the finale caught me off guard and I didn’t like what happened to him.
The dwarves I sympathised most with were incidentally also the once that treated the Hobbit best: Balin, Bombur, Kili and Fili. Balin the eldest and most reasonable, Bombur, with his good nature and a heart that seemed to be about the same size as his appetite and the youngest brothers that were still less stubborn than the other dwarves. Needless to say I again questioned my luck with character-choices at the end of the book…
The side character were also quite interesting even though they had very little screen time. Still, an enjoyable contrast to the stubborn dwarves. Though „you-thought-I’d-be-accompanying-you-all-the-way?“-Gandalf,  didn’t really earn many sympathy points from me either.

General Opinion

I liked reading this book. There are some things that didn’t go well with me (annoying Thorin, some conclusions and characterizations,..), but they don’t really matter as the bigger picture leaves you quite content in the end.
The story was fun, exciting, interesting, sad and all those things that I can’t name. The end could have been a bit longer, as it felt a bit rushed, but every journey comes to an end at some point.
It’s really a story I wouldn’t mind reading again one day and I’m not sure if I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t read it sooner or if it is all right that I can now appreciate it more.

Stuff I’d like to add

As I said before is the spelling dwarves based on Tolkiens writing and I still think that is pretty cool.
By now I’ve also seen the movies, which I didn’t want to see before reading the books, but I don’t know if and when I’ll be writing a review about them.
PoiSonPaiNter
© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner