In closing the back cover of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book five, A Dance with Dragons, this past week, I have now “binge read” four series of novels. (Yes, I know A Song of Ice and Fire is not yet a complete series, but work with me here.) Of those, A Song of Ice and Fire has felt the most like a marathon run. If you’re familiar with the books, I’m sure you’ll understand why: the breadth of the lore and world of Westeros (and Esos) and the sheer volume of literature is simply overwhelming. Combine that with the famed emotional turmoil of Martin’s writing, and you have quite the run ahead of you. And yet, there’s some twisted, masochistic element in it because you find yourself drawn in and you can’t help but keep reading.

And while I’m slightly perturbed that I now must wait however long it takes for book six, The Winds of Winter, to be published and find out what happens next (and only the Seven know how long for book seven…), I’m also thankful for a breather. I don’t read series very often, so I consider it quite the feat for over half of my very first 8,000-page year to be technically the same story.

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