A good installment as usual. I hesitate to start the fourth book though, since many complained about how thick the storyline is and how bad the book suffers from being cut into two halfs. But no hurry, right. It's gonna be so long long long until the series ends.
Anyway, coming back to this third. Of course I like it. Reasons? Pretty much the same as for the last two books: the breadth of the world and the interesting angles of this crowd of characters. Tyrion stays as my favorite. Others who are supposed to great "protagonists" are ok but not so half as fun.
Martin seems to enjoy shocking readers a lot with his plot. So far this twisting things has been acceptable for me and I admit that I easily succumb to sweet (and bitter) surprises. Again he loves to kill as many people as possible. But isn't it a bit too lightly-handled? I mean, not many will be left to be killed in the last book, right? Well, maybe he will introduce a bunch more in the next ones, though, but I doubt it. That would work, but less effectively. New characters requires building new backgrounds, myths, etc. whatever, and too much will make the world even messier. Messiness is ok, and Ice and Fire
is famous (or infamous?) for this very characteristic. But going over some extent, too disorganized state will destroy the fabric of that world itself.
Besides these twists, little has made real progress since most are driven by "shock" from the twist rather than the slow development of actions and plans. Or well, there are plans but they are never shown to the main characters who happen to have POVs. Now after finishing the book I wonder exactly how long in time the book actually is. Anyway, we all know things will progress very slowly and even prolong (maybe there's gonna be more than 7 books after all). Martin is also not a strong writer of battles and military tactics. Game of thrones is a game of wits, coys, follies, yes. But I demand some blood on battlefields! (Uh oh, kinda bloodthirsty, aren't I)