The Time Has Come…

June 27, 2013 by Nicci

Paper Dreams is officially relaunching at http://paper–dreams.org. From this point on all updates, reviews, posts, etc. will be on that site. If you’ve enjoyed following Paper Dreams these last 2 1/2 years, I hope you will consider subscribing to the new version of Paper Dreams via e-mail or RSS feed. Those of you who follow via NetworkedBlogs don’t have to re-subscribe! Thanks for everything, I hope you will make the leap with me!

Nicci

Summertime

June 24, 2013 by Nicci

Hi everyone!

I’m incredibly sorry that Paper Dreams has been quite neglected so far this summer. While I have been keeping rather busy, I do tend to have some free time, but lately most of that free time has been spent in the pool (and really, can you blame me?). I also tend to read less in the summer (at least that’s been the case the last few years), so I do not have as many potential reviews. I do have a ton of ideas for the blog that I’m considering as part of the relaunch I’m working on. So I hope you stick with me as I do still have great plans for Paper Dreams. When the site relaunches it will officially be at http://paper–dreams.org and this domain (paperdreams.scarlettmoon.org/wordpress) will cease to be updated. As of now, there isn’t anything new up at paper–dreams.org, but I’m working on transferring over old posts, redesigning, and setting up some new stuff. Feel free to stop over if you’re curious, but don’t be surprised if you see some glitches.

I hope everyone is having as fabulous a summer as I am!
Be back soon,
Nicci

We Interrupt This Blog For…

April 21, 2013 by Nicci

Image from Google

Image from Google

Finals Week // Unplug & Read

Ah, the end of the semester is nigh, and if you know college, you know that this means final exams, papers, and projects galore. Thankfully, this year should not be too insane for me, but I do anticipate having very little time. I am also planning to partially participate in Unplug & Read (more info here) which runs April 29-May 5. My version of participation will include substituting all laptop time for book time (hopefully).

Regular posts *should* resume sometime around May 6th!

 

Character Study: Game of Thrones

April 17, 2013 by Nicci

bookishmusings_13

Game of Thrones is a series (both book and TV) filled with fascinating characters. One of my favorite elements of this series is the way the characters change over time. I greatly admire the way George R.R. Martin is able to make readers change how they feel about these people.

Warning: This post does contain spoilers up to A Feast for Crows!

Characters I Love

daenerys-game-of-thronesDaenerys Stormborn

Dany is the reason I began watching Game of Thrones. I remember watching videos on Youtube, and after seeing Dany rise from the ashes with her dragons, I was fascinated. My respect for Dany has only grown as I read the books and watched the series. Dany begins as a rather obedient, pliable character, but as she grows up and comes into her own as khaleesi, Dany becomes an admirable character. I loved watching her go from a trapped victim at her brother’s hands to a strong leader in her own right. Dany also is not a perfect character. She makes mistakes, including trusting the woman who is – in some ways- responsible for Drogo’s death, but she learns from her mistakes and she does not allow them to make her bitter. Dany has also proven herself to be a clever leader. This is probably best evidenced in A Storm of Swords when Dany faces the slavers and ultimately triumphs repeatedly.

Brienne of Tarth

brienneGoTAh, Brienne. I wasn’t sure about this character when she first appeared in season 2, but after reading A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows, I find her to be one of the most honorable, intriguing, and sympathetic characters of the series. Brienne’s back-story is quite sad. She is very much aware of the fact that she is not “pretty” and this has caused much distress throughout her life. She has been rejected by suitors, and mocked for her appearance. Plus, the fact that she has always seemed to prefer a sword rather than a needle has caused her even more difficulty in life. Brienne was in love with Renley, and his death nearly destroys her. However, she is convinced by Catelyn to escape Renley’s men. Brienne vows to Catelyn that she will deliver Jaime to King’s Landing and safely return Sansa and Arya to their mother. This journey begins a fascinating to new chapter in Brienne’s life as she and Jaime form an unlikely but heartfelt friendship. The bond between the two of them is utterly intriguing, and I think it brings out the best in both characters. Despite men repeatedly telling Brienne to give up her quest to save the Stark daughters, Brienne refuses, and she ends up journeying with Podrick Payne (Tyrion’s former squire) and one of Renley’s former knights. At the end of A Feast for Crows, Brienne’s fate is hanging in the balance, and if she does not survive, I will certainly be heartbroken. Brienne is one of the most original characters of the series.

Sansa Stark

sansaGoTSansa is another reason I began to watch Game of Thrones. Watching her reaction to Ned’s death broke my heart, and, although I despised Sansa when I began watching season 1 and in the beginning of the first book, I have come to greatly respect her as a character. I was quite furious when I saw Sansa listed as one of the “Least Empowered Women” on this list. That may have been true at the start of the series, but I disagree with its truth as the series goes on. After Ned’s death, Sansa is forced to grow up, and she does so. Sansa proves adept at keeping herself alive, despite remaining as a virtual prisoner in King’s Landing. However, she is not completely compliant as evidenced by this moment. Sansa also proves to be intelligent and a capable leader. I have no doubt if Arya had been in Sansa’s place, she would certainly have provoked Joffrey to kill her. Sansa may not be as physically tough and capable as Arya, but she has her own form of quiet strength. I will admit that some of Sansa’s actions as “Alayne” disappointed me, but I still love Sansa and I have great hopes for her future.

Jaime Lannister

jaimeGoTI struggle with this one….a lot. This is the man who threw Bran out a window. He ambushed Ned and his men in King’s Landing. He has not been known to be a good guy. I mean he loves Cersei, who is kind of evil and just a little bit insane and his sister. So how can I love him?! Well, it has to do with the journey he takes with Brienne. The way she changes him and in some ways inspires him. Ultimately, I think it has to do with the loss of his hand, and how that forces him to become a different man. And I truly believe he has changed from the man he was when he threw Bran out the window. Jaime has begun to care about people beyond Cersei. This is the man who jumped in a bear pit without a sword hand to rescue Brienne, and the man who does everything in his power to keep the vow he made to Catelyn Stark. In Jaime, Martin has created a brilliant character, and I’m falling in love with him.

Honorable Mentions 
Osha (more the TV version)
Ygritte
Sam
Margaery

Characters I Like

Arya Stark arya_GoT

Arya was a character  I loved in the beginning of the series, and I still like her. However, I am not a huge fan of her storyline from A Clash of Kings and onward. While it is often interesting, I find myself having a hard time becoming engaged in her story. I admire her determination though, and if you’re looking for the definition of a survivor, look no further.

Tyrion Lannistertyrion_GoT

Before I read A Storm of Swords, Tyrion would certainly have been placed upon my “Characters I Love” list. However, I still have not been able to reconcile myself to the actions he takes at the end of that book. I understand why he does what he does, but I do admit that it does make me think somewhat less of him. Although, I do think Tywin’s death is certainly necessary to move the plot forward, and I could probably forgive him of that. I struggle with him murdering Shae as I do not think we have ever been shown that she was completely guilty. Shae’s actions were not good, but I do not believe that she deserved to die.

Honorable Mentions 
Robb Stark
Jorah Mormont
Jon Snow
Jaqen

Characters I Despise

Lysa (Tully) Arryn

lysa_GoTAch. I despise her so, so much. I know she has a sad background, but sympathy for that will only get her so far. I even tried to reason that she is just rather crazy and driven mad by her grief, but I still cannot agree with her actions. Lysa could definitely be diagnosed for something. She is extremely paranoid, although there is some justification for that, and she is exceedingly overprotective of her son. Then there is, of course, her obsession with Petyr Baelish. I think Lysa’s actions are understandable, but ultimately, unforgivable. She refuses to support Riverrun and Winterfell, which could have completely changed the course of the war. Also, there is her attempt to murder Sansa out of jealousy. Yes, I will admit I will not miss her.

Cersei (Lannister) Baratheon

cerseiGoTCersei is not a perfect fit as a character I despise. I certainly despise most of the actions Cersei takes, but I also find her to be absolutely fascinating. Cersei and Lysa actually have a few things in common. The biggest reason is certainly the way both women make poor decisions in the name of protecting their children. Also, Cersei, like Lysa, suffers from extreme paranoia. Cersei’s paranoia is rooted in her fear of Tyrion, which is ironic. I hate many of the things Cersei does. She is a schemer, a liar, a murderer, and a manipulator. I abhor the way she threatens Tommen into submission, but Cersei often amuses me. She repeatedly considers herself to be a lioness and Tywin’s best heir. However, her attempts to rule and to gain and keep power have consistently proven to be follies. For example, when she tries to destroy Margaery’s reputation, Cersei begins her own downfall.

Honorable Mentions
Stannis
Edmund Tully

Characters I Abhor

 

Petyr BaelishpetyrGoT

I hate him. Hate. Hate. Hate. Petyr Baelish is a deplorable human being. He is a conniver, a manipulator, and a murderer. He played a crucial role in Ned’s downfall. He seduces Lysa and later murders her. He also has a creepy relationship with Sansa (probably because she reminds him of her mother who he was “in love with”). Supposedly, Petyr’s motivated by his love for Catelyn Stark. However, I do not believe he ever truly loved  Catelyn. If he had loved her he would have wanted her to be happy, and nothing he does ever works towards that idea. Petyr is a bitter man trapped by his jealousy and the grudge he has held because of Catelyn’s rejection.

Joffrey BaratheonjoffreyGoT

If there is a more despicable character than Petyr Baelish it is Joffrey. Joffrey is mindlessly cruel and only gains pleasure from the pain of other people. Joffrey is a horrible character before becoming king (sending the assassin after Bran, for example), but once he becomes king, the power certainly goes to his head. Joffrey thrives on suffering which is evidenced by his treatment not only of Sansa, but of anyone who annoys him, disappoints him, or perhaps just sees him on a bad day. Joffrey, had he lived, would certainly have followed in the mad king’s footsteps.

Honorable Mentions
Melisandre
Gregor Clegane
The Freys

Warning: This post does contain spoilers up to A Feast for Crows!

Game of Thrones is filled with marvelous and horrendous characters, and I could probably have written dozens of posts discussing the amazing cast Martin has created. Because I want people to continue to visit this blog, however, I decided to try to keep my ranting and fangirling short. 

Review: Clash of Kings

April 12, 2013 by Nicci

clashofkingsTitle: Clash of Kings

Series: Game of Thrones/A Song of Fire & Ice #2

Author: George R.R. Martin

Read via: Purchased

Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. 

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

The second season of Game of Thrones was, in my opinion, fabulous. I thought it built nicely on the first season, and I loved all of the character development. I knew going in that A Clash of Kings and season 2 of Game of Thrones had many more differences than book 1 and season 1. I must agree that the changes were definitely more pronounced when comparing this book to season 2, but I also found A Clash of Kings to be even more engaging than the first book.

Most of the characters that I loved (and hated) in book 1 return in A Clash of Kings. The loss of Ned (Eddard Stark) is deeply felt, and his loss has caused ripples throughout the land. Those who are most affected by his death are definitely his children. Sansa remains trapped in King’s Landing without any allies, and develops a strange but oddly interesting relationship with the Hound. However, she continually suffers physical and emotional abuse at the orders and hands of Joffrey. I know many people consider Sansa to be a weak, female character, but I think this book truly shows otherwise. To remain in such a hostile environment and manage to keep her life is truly remarkable. With the help of Yoren (a man of the Night’s Watch), Arya manages to escape King’s Landing after her father’s execution. Thus begins a long and twisting journey for Arya, and also allows her to form some fantastic new relationships. The bond between her, Gendry, and Hot Pie is both heartwarming and hilarious, but I must say I was most intrigued by the relationship between her and Jaqen H’ghar. However, I think my fascination with Jaqen stems from the actor who plays him in the series (who did a brilliant job!). Daenerys’ story in the book was slightly disappointing compared to her story in season 2. I do understand both plots, but I just love how kick a** Dany is with the Qartheen leaders on the TV series. Catelyn continues to be a compelling character, and her journey also introduces us to Brienne of Tarth. Brienne is an incredibly sympathetic character, but at the same time, she is exceedingly strong.

Of all the male characters, I think Jon and Tyrion had the most interesting tales to tell in this book. Though I must admit that my enjoyment of Jon’s storyline is at least partially driven by the introduction of Ygritte. She consistently challenges both Jon himself and his beliefs. Plus, as Jon travels beyond the wall, the stakes for everyone in the series rise. Winter is coming, and it has a bite. While Jon faces physical trials in the North, Tyrion must deal with the deathly dance also known as courtly intrigue. Tyrion is truly a brilliant Hand. He has no problem standing up to both Cersei and Joffrey, which is something that is desperately needed. Plus, Tyrion thrives on playing the game of thrones, and he is unarguably one of the smartest, most cunning leaders King’s Landing has had in a time. Stannis, Robb, Bran, and Theon all have stories of their own to tell as well, but I must admit theirs were not the best for me.

The plot of A Clash of Kings is intricate and contains even more action than its predecessor. The nation is at war, and this, of course, leads to many battles. The highlight is certainly the Battle of Blackwater Bay. This battle is not only a brilliant example of Tyrion’s great skill as a strategist, but it also proves a game-changer in many ways. In the North, the most chilling “battle” is Theon’s capture of Winterfell, and the subsequent destruction of the Stark’s home. My heart broke as I read of the deaths of the people of Winterfell.

Overall, A Clash of Kings was a heartbreaking, incredibly fascinating read. It builds upon the set up from the first book, but it also introduces many new characters while also reminding readers that no one is safe in this world. I was very impressed with A Clash of Kings, and I would highly recommend this series. After reading this book, I am even more in love with this series and its characters.

Cover: 3.5
Plot: 4
Writing: 4
Personally: 4

Overall: 3.8 out of 5