Author(s): Alexander Smith, Miles Schneiderman, John Jasmin, Amin Javadi, Mimi Hoshut, Douglas Cohen, Stefan Sasse, Marc N. Kleinhenz
Genre: fantasy, short stories
Published: October 2012
For the past seven years, we at ToweroftheHand.com have prided ourselves on being a premiere source of “A Song of Ice and Fire” analysis, information, and speculation. There has been nearly a metric ton of essays, forum posts, and encyclopedia entries logged at the site to date, all designed to give the hardest of the core fan the most rewarding experience possible while reading George R.R. Martin's seminal novels.
And now we’re taking all those years of mastery and applying them to an ebook.
“Tower of the Hand: A Flight of Sorrows” takes five of the site's most prolific authors - including its two founders - and draws out their best, most in-depth work yet. Unlike other “Ice and Fire” compendiums, the focus of these essays is on the narrative, character, and thematic elements of the story itself, as opposed to the literary aspects surrounding the books.
Even better, the TOTH editors are joined by some of their good friends, who just so happen to be leading voices in the “Game of Thrones” community: A Podcast of Ice and Fire co-hosts Amin Javadi and Mimi Hoshut, WinterIsComing.net founder Phil Bicking, and “A Feast of Ice and Fire” co-author Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, along with noted fantasy editor and author Douglas Cohen.
Altogether, the book’s eight authors (and two special guests) cover a wide gamut of subjects and perspectives, from the most obvious to the most subtle, challenging readers to look at the novels they love so much in entirely new - and more enriching - ways.
Reviewed by Danielle.
A Flight of Sorrows collects eight essays based on George R.R. Martin's ASoIaF series, written by the superfans at Tower of the Hand. TotH is my favorite ASoIaF fanpage, and I've thoroughly exhausted their archives, so I was very excited to see new theories with information up through A Dance With Dragons. Unfortunately, while most of the actual essays were well thought out and introduced some new discussion topics, the overall book felt stretched and more interested in selling me podcasts and cookbooks than whether Dany is the Stallion Who Mounts the World.
I will say Under The Bleeding Star was one of the best fan essays I’ve read. It took a much discussed topic, prophecy, and really examined it from a new perspective. I would say that chapter alone made the book worth reading. Likewise, Daggers In The Dark was well researched and added new depths to the ADWD Jon Snow debate. These two essays started the book off on a very high note and I was eager to continue on.
Unfortunately, I really didn’t like Every Case is Different, Every Case is Alike and You Win or You Sit on the Bench and I had to skip The Telltale Knight as I haven’t finished the Dunk and Egg tales yet. That really dragged my enjoyment down, especially when I was then confronted with the afterword written about the Feast of Ice and Fire cookbook, (which I own and is phenomenal, but is not thought provoking theories,) and the appendices on the Tower of the Hand website and the Podcast of Ice and Fire.
Overall, there just wasn’t enough content to pull a whole book out of. Two excellent essays, three good essays, two poor essays, and one I can’t grade are padded out with a lot of filler. I just don’t think it’s necessary to have an intro, foreword, afterword, and two appendices in a single, slim volume. For the die hard fan of ASoIaF, there are things to like here while waiting for The Winds of Winter, but I recommend ghostlovesinger's After the Feast series on Tower of the Hand first. There’s more quality and it’s free.