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Messages - Rostum

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Yes you did.. All will be revealed at breakfast. Congratulations on winning the ARCCopy of the Skull Throne.

Great evening got loads of books signed and met some really nice people . very glad I attended. Now I am going to read the vagrant.


Writers' Corner / Re: Fight Scenes...
« on: April 10, 2015, 06:14:08 PM »
Yora I feel has nailed it. A while bak. When someone is likely to die you don't fight unless there is much to gain or much to lose. If you have to fight you want to make sure you have the advantage of numbers and ground and you don't want to get drawn into a fight if you are likely to hang for it.
However if someone tries to unsheath a sword at close quartets sticking a knife in them before it's half drawn may be your best option.
Fighting two (or more) is never something you look to do and if you have to do so you break out of that situation and don't get back into it.

Fighting in lines or shield walls works because the whole is greater than the parts.
 You don't look to kill anyone you look to stay alive and keep the men at you're shoulder unharmed eventually if all goes well there is less of them than you and then you work their flanks until you can encircle them, if they are silly enough to let you. I suspect that usually one side took enough hurt to withdraw as no one is looking to die.

I have no real idea what a fight to the death is like. I do have 20+ years steel weapons combat, mostly reenactment and would like to think that gives me a little insight  into how you get out of a fight and live to tell the tale.

Just had food at the nights templar as its just across the water from the hotel.. My journey was only 12 minutes though. I am staring at a stack of everything J.Abercrombie wrote thinking if everyone else has done the same the poor guy will not be able to lift a pint after the signing.
Now I shall go downstairs and drink coffee.

General Discussion / Re: Need help with dead meat
« on: April 10, 2015, 08:13:19 AM »


But then I also studied organic agricultural practices and worked in remote little organic farms and killed some chickens, pigs, ect. Got confirmation of just how well smoking and other techniques of non-cold related treatment work.
But I guess Ayla's brethren were like inuits still are, used to eat meat that would sicken many of us weaker beings...

The one thing that I could add, which is more generalist, but could be useful in a post-apocalyptic world setting, is that I lived for many years without a fridge. Vegetables don't need to get in the fridge. Eggs are actually never meant to be refrigerated. And butter is kept out of the fridge for very long periods of time if kept under water.
I used to have a beautiful pot designed just for it, but you can make up your own by placing your butter flat and neat on the bottom of a small bowl, and capsizing this into a bigger bowl full of water, so that all your butter is in contact with fresh water and in the dark. By changing water every day or every two days at worst, and eating your butter regularly, you can keep this going for weeks.

Not had much joy with smoking meat or cheese  unless it was in a smokehouse or smoke box. Everything racked over a fire smoked the outside but not through the meat. I may have missed something though.
You can make a powerless fridge by putting a clay pot with a lid inside a larger clay pot and topping up the larger pot with water. Evaporation of the water causes the smaller pot to cool (actually it's loss of heat from the smaller pot causes the evaporation but you get less doubters putting it that way round). So long as you keep the water topped up it continues to work and maintains a pretty stable temperature.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: The real history of ASOIAF
« on: April 09, 2015, 04:38:12 PM »
This looks to me as though someone has slotted in anyone or anything vaguely fitting the mould through history for comparison. They may be spot on or not. A lot of work and an interesting read but I think only Martin could say whether or not that is the case.

Another BBC page here These books may or may not have been an influence of ASOIAF or the article may be constructed to give that impression .
A quote from GRRM on the re-translation of The Accursed Kings.

"The Accursed Kings has it all," writes Martin, in an introduction to a recently reissued translation. "Believe me, the Starks and the Lannisters have nothing on the Capets and Plantagenets. It is the original game of thrones."

Interesting but very USA centric (30% of the worlds economy after all) Shipping is perhaps less of an issue for Amazon as their growth is in downloads. Social media is facebook full stop and like all social media the value is only there while it is percieved. No real assets no product except it's users and no long term future as people tire of being an ad target for products they become less able afford.

Form over function is the message and thats not surprising as the guy makes his money maximising profits for multinationals.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: 4-Word Reviews
« on: April 08, 2015, 06:33:48 PM »
A review was written for the 1990 film Memphis Belle which just stated "They get back" Superb spoiler for a lacklustre film. I wish I could find who penned it.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Magical animals
« on: April 07, 2015, 08:58:32 PM »
Page 2 and no mention of Smaug? I liked him anyway, vain and believing himself invincible.

General Discussion / Re: "The Triumph of Fantasy Fiction?"
« on: April 05, 2015, 04:35:21 PM »
What kind of list is that? I read one of the top 10, have heard the names of two more and have no idea of the other seven. I can't remember having seen their books in bookshops and I'm usually good at things like that.

Sorry for clarification The list is the most popular Authors by sales worldwide on Amazon. It is updated hourly.
So when say Winds of Winter is released George will probably move up to the number one spot and drift back down when equally well known authours have books released. There will always be SFF authors in the top 10 or 20. People need to escape into tales that take them to other worlds.
Remember that over half the worlds population live in India and China (although I know nothing of Amazons of Amazons sales penetration in Asia) so it is a straw guide to whats selling if not whats being read.

The point being John Mullens assertion that SFF could become mainstream is incorrect. It always was and only the pidgeon holing of books into lots of different catogories would have caused someone who hadn't a clue not to understand that, say the Harry potter and discworld books were good examples of fantasy from best selling authors whether they were labled as young adult or comedy or not.

General Discussion / Re: "The Triumph of Fantasy Fiction?"
« on: April 05, 2015, 03:07:43 PM »
Typical fluff piece not aimed at anyone who actually reads SFF. I got as far as "finally taken it's place in the literary mainstream" before thinking Pratchett was always very proud of being the most shoplifted author in the UK. I am so glad Guardian readers will finally hear his name along with those of all those other unknowns who always seem to have a SSF book in the top ten bestsellers.

Can anyone spot a genre author in Amazons current authour popularity list.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Do you read like a writer?
« on: April 05, 2015, 02:33:18 PM »
@Rostum - I don't doubt Daenerys' age isn't accidental, but you can't compare this to Romeo and Juliet. Their motivations were based on love, not sex or building families, and Daenerys' marriage isn't in any way the same as that of Sansa and Joffrey's--which was done absolutely right. At anyrate, I don't want to derail this thread so I'll add my further thoughts in spoilers. Read if you care and by all means point out where I'm wrong, but I'm not looking to get into a rage war. I'm just looking for advice on where I'm going wrong with my analysis.

Firstly No risk of a rage war with me over anything said here. I am forthright in my views but am on no mission to convince anyone I am right and am more likely to be interested in a well made arguement than enraged by it.

GMMR has been quite forthright about Daenerys age in interviews. I believe he was showing the character as young, alone and surrounded by those who would manipulate her for their own ends. The interesting part of the storyline is how she overcomes this.

I believe I did compare R&J to GOT but only in the sense that they both feature child brides and that the context is correct for the stories being told.
Romeo and Juliet's motivation was childish folly and a desire to rebel against their families wishes and obligations. At the start of the play Romeo is madly in love with Rosaline (J's cousin)who we hear no more about as soon as he claps eyes on Juliet and had he lived I suspect he would have fallen for someone else the following week. if anything Shakespeare is showing us that young fickle and foolish and that his characters are in love with the idea of being in love.

Spoiler for Hiden:
As I understand it, child marriages were to unite wealthy families/countries in a bond of peace. I don't think people in medieval times were marrying their children at early teens and throwing them out the door to raise a family together. Though we may be more technologically advanced we're still the same creatures. This was a ritual, not a way of life. Yep they pretty much were life expectancy was lower and death was often sudden. Girls were often married shortly after their periods started and the dowry given by the brides family is to support their daughter in the event her husband died. The husbands family was supposed to invest this money to ensure it did. It was not unusual for a girl to be a mother several times over and a widow before she was 20

I don't get why Drogo is even getting married. Is there any sign the Dothraki tribe believes in marriage through all their rape and pillaging--not to mention ceremonies where they do blood sports for the right to mate? And if so, why has Drogo--alpha male of alpha males that he is--not got a string of wives already?Possibly because he wants a legitimate heir and the chance to aquire his wifes contested lands. That would be the medieval reasoning. I have no idea on the Dothraki customs

Surely Daenerys is but a piece of white meat tribute to him? As a writer analysing plot, all I see is a sham of a marriage which exists only to make what happens to her tolerable in most peoples eyes. Exactly the same reason she's consenting to sex on their honeymoon night, because the violent rape that should have happened were she and Drogo true to their characters--him the vicious barbarian who's hardly a stranger to unconsented sex--and she the girl who's lived a life of seclusion under her brother's thumb and has no experience with people, let alone boys--would surely have a large portion of the readership putting the book down.I do not believe Genghis Khan would have raped Borte or of his wives, many of whom were the daughters of his allies. And woe betide any who harmed any of his Khanate. Being tribal is making a distinction between what and whom matter to you and everything else. Being a barbarian is a state of mind. According to the Japanese everyone else a Barbarian which leaves a lot of diverse cultures not following the true path.

Funnily enough, the very next scene 200 pages later has him banging her doggy style in the tent every night, despite the fact it's causing her pain due to her snow white buttocks being riddled with bright red saddle sores. Can he not see this? Where's the loving husband who asked for her permission for sex gone? Yet by the end of that chapter she's getting tips from her handmaidens on how to best please him so that he calls her name in his orgasm... because she wants to get pregnant.So he takes his wife without any thought for her comfort or enjoyment or consideration for saddle sores an ailment the Dothraki probably wouldn't comprehend

You know, I've read lots of stories of teenage pregnancies, but have yet to see one where it happened because the girl decided she wanted to give birth and raise a child. I doubt very much that was different in medieval times. Who exactly taught Daenerys how babies were made? Her loving brother? Again, to me this feels like a dumb consent added just to make her pregnancy tolerable, because if she'd ended up so accidentally from all those rapings--sorry, marital relations--most readers would be outraged. As a writer, what I'm learning here is that I should create graphic scenes that will shock my readers so long as I bullshit them off as being something my characters want. The purpose of marriage is to procreate. The heart of all religions is you perform this ritual of marriage to procreate within the rules of the church and in return we support your heir. Daenerys may not have been in a position to refuse sex as are an enormous number of women right now in the real world within marraige. Even now the first duty of a Queen is to ensure the succession, strange word it's where success comes from. It goes with the job it's not a lifestyle choice. You are writing a lot of words from a 21st centuary earth perspective and not immersing yourself in the time and place GRRM is making for you. If it offends your sensibilities read something else

Going further still, she never actually has the baby because she suffers, in every sense of the term, a miscarriage. And all this is done so her breasts are loaded with milk for a pair of dragons to suckle on. Dragons: definition - giant snake. Mythical they may be, but surely they're still reptiles--it's why they lay external eggs--and reptiles don't suckle. Is this why people frown on public breast-feeding? Because the moment a milky mammary's pulled out every creature in the neighbourhood is going to try and latch on for a feast? I get this is done only to give the sense that she's their mother, but surely there's a ton of better ways you could do this.
Correct Mammals produce milk and the really odd ones like the duck billed platypus lays eggs, but aside from that milk has a really good mix of fat and protien and antibodies to make babies grow. Can you nurture a mythical creature on human breastmilk...YUP in GRRm's world you can.

Being a wannabe writer I break this plot down as: 13 year old girl is sold as a sex slave, forced to engage in intercourse against her wishes, gets pregnant, and then has a miscarriage just so dragons can appear to be her children. And she never deals with any of these serious themes she's put through. This being one of the greatest fantasy's of the modern age, is this the sort of stuff I'm to aspire to recreate as a budding fantasty writer? Is this really what the fantasy target audience really wants? Because it feels off to me. So if GOT doesn't work for you thats fine do your own thing

Morals aside, as someone who aims for believable characters in my own writing I find it shocking that Daenerys can even stand by the end of her tale, especially when you plug in a traumatic euthanasia scene as well. I don't get how after all she's been through, her primary motivation is making  bid for a throne she knows nothing about other than how it was her brother's ambition to take--an ambition which was the root cause of all the suffering she's endured--a brother who she's already outright rejected when she turned her back on him to let him die.So GRRM fails at supsension of disbelief for you if half way through all her trauma Daenerys said "I have had enough now" what would change in the story? she has no control of most of what befell her.

And what about Viserys? This is a man who is willing to throw his only remaining family member--let alone future wife were he to follow in his family traditions--to wolves for an army that, even someone with zero military sense can see, doesn't have a chance in hell of accomplishing his goals. He lived in this keep till he was nine, right? He knows it has a fleet of battleships in its port--the battleships we were shown from Catelyn. How does he think an army of cavalry can hope to challenge them? And even if they did, what then? Are they just going to sit on his doorstep protecting him from the very people who rejected his families rule by murdering them? Where are the people who raised these children after their mother died in childbirth? Why are they happy to see this power-blinded boy commit suicide and also doom his sister in the process? As far as I can tell this goes unanswered.Viserys is an arrogent sadistic fool who has no concept of what he is doing. Right up to the point he is stupid enough to get himself killed. I rather like the character. He is desperate enough to trade away his sister for an army. Which is more than he had before living on charity and his name. Write your charactors as you want them but faults maketh the man

Then there's the other side. Right from the get-go we have the scene where Bran catches Cersei and Jaime in their incest. For the record I have no problem with incest, I actually find it an interesting theme, but seeing this scene here is like reading a murder mystery where you're shown the murderer commit the deed in the opening chapter. Knowing Jaime pushed Bran sucks all the suspense out of the first half of the book, because we're not putting the pieces together ourselves but observing Catelyn muddle through to learn what we already know. And why does it even happen?Again GRRM wrote it the way he chose, turning it into a murder mystery was not his intention, but it sets Bran in his story very nicely

This is an official meeting where the King is uniting his family with another wealthy noble's, and Jaime's tagged along for the ride--the heir to the second most powerful family in the country. Here we have three factions with three sets of guards, each of which must know that should something happen to any one of these powerful people then shit will hit the fan. So how does Cersei and Jaime manage to sneak off into a deserted tower for a shag without anyone noticing? I can get them slipping away for a brief discussion, but sex? These are supposedly the smart characters in the story. They must know that if their secret is found out they stand to lose everything. The stupid thing is that this is a plot twist that's only relevant 600 odd pages later, so why not learn it then in a natural fashion as the climax it should be?Never had an illicit quickie then? A deserted tower sound a lot handier than a bathroom  or broom cupboard

And what about Catelyn. When we should have been getting introduced to King's Landing from the eyes of Eddard Stark of which it was about to become his prison, instead we're witnessing it from his wife who, quite frankly, has no purpose being down there. She's immediately picked up by her former admirer, who just so happens to be the one in a billion people who owned the dagger used in an assassination attempt on her comatosed son's life--an attempt that, as a devoted mother, she risked her own life in order to prevent. Yet after learning the dagger was in possession of one who's currently still in her country on some unexplained tourist trip to a border outpost that even the soldiers who work there don't want be, she's content to sit in a whorehouse before pleading her case to stay by her husband's side... What? Where's the mother gone?

Even the whorehouse falls apart for me. The dramatic scene of Eddard carefully treading across a near invisible cliff path because Littlefinger needs to keep it a secret. Isn't this a country where the King was mourning the loss of times when he could ride around drinking and whoring, a country where everyone knows one of it's lords has a bastard child that his wife is raising. Are the people really going to care that a man who is little more than a businessman owns a brothel? Do they not drink in this place? Won't the citizenry wonder why wealthy entrepreneurs are floating up dead on their docks with their pants around their ankles? This is what I analyse as a writer when looking at scenes for believability so that suspension of disbelief isn't broken.

As for Catelyn's journey back, she bumps into would-be assassin Tirion in an inn. She's undercover because she doesn't want to be recognised. He's there because he rejected an offer to stay at Winterfell so he could find a hooker. So which is it? Has Tirion travelled for days to discover a lady of the night, or has Catelyn stopped a mere hour from her keep despite not wanting to be seen by her people? Yet this gaping plot hole could have easily been avoided had Tirion just accepted Robb's offer and been put up in a bed near to Bran's room, only for a travel weary Catelyn to return home and bump into him. The sort of emotional explosion in that scene is surely a literary goldmine to explore.

So yea, this is what I see when reading books now. Trying to write has ruined the experience for sure. But maybe I'm just reading it all wrong. I am the amateur here after all. So if someone could take the time to help show me where that is I'd really, really appreciate it.
I really am sorry you take no enjoyment from Game of Thrones which I found a rollercoaster of a book. I look forward to seeing the characters and worlds you create. The joy of Ice and Fire was for me the flawed characters and no good guys approach it is a nasty place to live and die and the books are bleak. Reading the later one is hard going but I eagerly await Winds of Winter.

General Discussion / Re: Need help with dead meat
« on: April 04, 2015, 07:39:48 PM »
Just an aside disposal of what cant be used is going to require digging a really deep hole to keep things sanitary.
Bury a 100lbs of offal in a shallow grave and the area will be thick with flies and foxes and the like will dig it up again.

General Discussion / Re: Need help with dead meat
« on: April 04, 2015, 07:16:27 PM »
I have never butchered a cow so I asked a colleague who used to be a slaughter man for some pointers. By choice you transport your cow to where you want to kill it as they are very heavy, up to 1500lbs for dairy cattle and 1800lbs for a bull. Not possible in this case. As with any animal you want to raise it up by the back legs to Grollick it. You cut the throat to bleed it out and slot from the throat to the anus to remove the internal organs stomachs and what have you. The blood and all organs can be used as can the skin, tallow, hooves, tendons, brains and bones. A quarter to a third of the animals weight will not be meat.
Raising up a cow becomes a lot easier with a crane, off road forklift, JCB or tractor and chain.
Getting the blood out of any beastie quickly is imperative in preserving the meat. The organs will rot quicker than the meat but blood is key. Get that out as soon as possible or you lose the lot.
Next you skin and scrape the layer of tallow from the meat, both useful.
If the unmaking is outdoors one possible idea would be to remove the lungs, heart and least useful offal and use that to keep the flies off the carcass. You would move this a hundred feet away to an undisturbed area and let the flies feast, This will not be wholly effective, but will help and is often done by hunters in hot countries to prevent meat getting flyblown as they are breaking down a kill.

Chainsaws used to be used to quarter a beef carcass up to the CJD scare when new regulations meant the spine had to be left intact. No more power tools used, a cleaver is used to cut away both sides of the spine and to cut the halves to quarters. You are messing with a 500lb slab of meat here hanging from 15 foot to the ground, you need a means of working from the top to the bottom and need to be sure the back leg is not going to break free and crush you under a lot of beef and bone.

At this point the quarters would be frozen or refrigerated for 50+ days if this was a commercial process. I have not eaten beef off the cow as it were but hanging improves flavour and tenderizes the meat which off a dairy animal won't be great to start with.

On a 15th centuary site I once had to show 4 vegans how to unmake a deer. They were happy to do everything required in taking it apart, just were not prepared to eat it.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Do you read like a writer?
« on: April 04, 2015, 06:21:40 PM »
This is the sort of stuff I pick up when I read modern works and--at risk of insulting half the people here--I could go into essays of what's wrong with Game of Thrones. "It's gritty and real" I hear people say--no it's not. "It has great characterisation"--no it hasn't. When I start picking the plot apart I realise it's held together by dental floss. I would even argue that the Daenerys arc, even if accidental, is as close to literary paedophilia as you could get. Yet there's no denying that it's a huge success--a terrific success even.

There is nothing accidental about Daenerys age in the books at all. For legal reasons Daenerys age was changed in the HBO series. Our laws are not consistant across media in the UK. Perhaps looking at even a fantasy medieval setting from a twenty first centuary viewpoint does not serve. What are your views on Romeo and Juliet?

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