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WIP Gaemon the Dragon-Steel's Guide to Not Dying Horribly by StrangerOrders - T - ASOIAF

Discussion in 'Other Review Board' started by Hopper, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. Hopper

    Hopper Second Year

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Title: Gaemon the Dragon-Steel's Guide to Not Dying Horribly
    Author: StrangerOrders
    Rating: T
    Fandom: A Song of Ice and Fire
    Genre: Self-Insert
    Status: Work in Progress

    Summary (from tvtropes): Gaemon is the non-canon twin brother of Aegon (who became Aegon II), and half brother of Rhaenyra. Apart from his Dragon Dreams regarding the forging of Valyrian Steel, and slowly growing rumours of him being some sort of devil-child at court, his main preoccupation is not being viciously murdered in the incoming (and presumably unpreventable) Dance of Dragons.

    Link (protected):https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...steels-guide-to-not-dying-horribly-si.419657/
    Link (Spacebattles): https://forums.spacebattles.com/thr...guide-to-not-dying-horribly-asoiaf-si.559933/


    Vote: 3.5/5

    Set during the Dance, this SI is a twin of Aegon (the Green claimant).

    The early chapters have rough grammar. Sometimes very cringe worthy. Too many run-on sentences, and a failure to grasp commas. But the grammar does rapidly improve, as the author does.

    Mostly, I give it points for creativity and a willingness to both stick to and change canon. The greatest compliment I can give it is that the characters feel like real characters and not 1d cutouts.. most of the time (other viewpoint chapters are a real disappointment). They react rather than being props, they have their own agendas.

    The plot moves along briskly. Unfortunately, this fic comes with many of the usual downsides of being a reincarnation into a baby. Unnaturally fast development, being a demon child (though the author does try to show this as being negative, and gets sent off to places to be 'fixed'. Out of sight, out of mind). However, no uplifting attempts. Thank god for that.

    Compared to the usual dreck that is a SI, and a Westeros fix-fic, this is refreshing.


    Edit by Minion: added the spacebattle link and corrected the format
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2017
  2. Invictus

    Invictus Heir

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    Interesting story. Nice Characterization, good focus on the Characters, some good points and def nice to see characters that have more than one side on their personalities and react differently depending on the situation, showing the different sides to their personalities. The plot is interesting, the hints at the wider worldbuilding are sparkled enough that huge infodumps are avoided and they are pulling enough. Update rate is fantastic, with hardly a day goin by without one. Also. So. Fucking. Good seeing an author of an ASoIaF fic that actually understands the basics of feudal societies and feudal relations.

    Now the issues. Grammar. His grammar needs so much work. He still barely use commas, he kees writing run over sentences, and still, but not nearly as often as he used to, skip words, leaving phrases missing something in the most awkward ways. There's also the fact that early on he kept either getting the verbal time wrong in the same phrase or switching it for no reason.

    The most annoying, though, was how he kept kept mistaking homonyms (your and you're, bear and bare, among others, even things that make no sense like accept and except). I'm sure 90% of the remaining issues would be solved with a beta. He also needs to separate inner thoughts from the narration.

    He relies heavily on adverbs and adjectives, specially the former, using them again and again to convey a feeling or describe a situation, using them as a crutch instead of doing in-depth description, things that are more subtle and require that the reader connects the dots.

    Rationalization. As mentioned, he does it a lot, specially to explain more thickheaded or bewildering moments because he knows it wasn't or it was it was badly conveyed in the story proper, so he sets himself to explain it to the reader. Bad crutch.


    There's also Gaemon positive reputation with the smallfolk. It's really baffling, one thing is with the servants with whom he maintains constant contact, but with the people of KL? Notoriously superstitious and fickle? Just showing them a dragon shouldn't be that effective. But that's minor stuff, since it barely affects the story and the author goes through pains to at least work on that when needed.

    All in all, don't take all this criticism as me saying this is a bad fic. It's not. It has the most important thing imo in a story, interesting characters and interactions and a gripping plot. I do think it needs some serious work to achieve it's true potential, but it's far from something bad. I really like how you set up the magic system, based on sacrifice and steep bloody prices. That's what Planetos Magic is all about, sacrifice, pain, the price of power. People forget that so easily, it's incredibly galling. Not here. Here magic is something that will never come as easily as breathing.

    I would also give this a 3.5/5 up to 4.
     
  3. Dark Minion

    Dark Minion Bright Henchman Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I added the Spacebattle link. When you post a story, please post a link that's accessable without the need to register.
     
  4. BlueHelix

    BlueHelix Muggle

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    To be completely fair about things, StrangerOrders literally made the SpaceBattles thread a mere three hours before this thread was made. But noted.

    Anyhow, I've been reading it for a while, and I've got to say, it's fairly good. I've barely ever seen any Dance of Dragons fanfics, much less SIs, and the whole politicking and suchlike is expressed fairly decently in the story.

    The whole expansion upon magic and the high fantasy revealed in A World of Ice and Fire is done tastefully, while not totally overwhelming the less supernatural parts of ASOIAF.

    After Stranger got a beta, it's taken a large upswing in grammatical and spelling quality, though the diction could still use some work.

    I'd give it a 3.5/5, and possibly a 4 to a 4.5 if the rest of the story keeps going the way it's going in quality.
     
  5. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros.

    Joined:
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    Philippines
    From a technical perspective, it needs a lot of work. He outright misses words or uses the wrong ones in phrases that it takes away from the enjoyment of the story. Almost every chapter I come across a phrase that's just painfully wrong and I have to figure out what he's trying to say (without success sometimes). He seems to delight in run-on sentences.

    And then there's the internal thoughts and narration melding into one rambling thought stream. The adverb/adjective use is apparent and he's an all tell, no show kind of writer.

    However, all faults aside it's still a good story. Gaemon is interesting, even if his humor falls flat to me sometimes, and the politics of Westeros are handled better than most fics. Another big upside is finally an SI with genuine self-survival as his primary goal. Tons of other SI stories say that they do so and so for survival, but are really just poorly disguised, masturbatory society/tech-uplift word vomits.

    This one doesn't do that.

    Another big thing is that magic requires sacrifice. A lot of stories treat magic like something that can be done for shit and giggles, failing to realize that things don't work that way in Planetos. Power demands sacrifice.

    A refreshing change of pace from other SI fics, and the fact that despite it's flaws I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter is enough for a 3.5/5, rounded up to 4.

    Edit: After discovering there were more chapters on the Alternate History forums, I decided to read that and update my review.

    The technical issues I spoke of earlier in this review never really go away. The grammar and spelling, while lessened, is still annoying present.

    It also does get a bit wanky at times as
    MC somehow lands two hot women that are both older than him - one of which is his sister. He becomes this uber swordmaster on top of being the only person in Westeros that can forge Valyrian Steel
    . Normally, I'd say it's pure self-congratulatory wanking, but I'm surprised that it came across as smoothly as it did. It's not amazing, mind you, and the idea of wanking off your SI/MC this much is grating, it's just done better than any of the other ASOIF SI fics I've read to date (which I'd venture is most of them that have ever gone beyond ten chapters before dying).

    It's a fic I'm really of two minds about. While I find the character development (its strong points) enthralling to follow, the MC is painfully oblivious at times that I would call the author a complete virgin, if not for the fact that the fic is self-aware of how oblivious the MC is to the sexual advances he receives.

    What I'm trying to get at is that it's a story that's YMMV, and it's strong points have diminishing marginal returns to them. We're nowhere close to finishing the story as of Chapter 64, and given how the MC has extended his lifespan to a few centuries (assuming he doesn't get wtfstomped by an eldritch entity), I'd say if it was played out to it's full extent we could be seeing over 300 Chapters before all is said and done.

    I feel it will in all likelihood go to shit before this ends.

    It's one of the stories I feel that would be better off discontinued sooner rather than later before it ruins itself so horrifically that it colors the entire story as bad.

    Final Rating remains the same at 3.5/5 rounded up.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
  6. Celestin

    Celestin Half-Blood Prince

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    I enjoy this fic enough to actually make myself AH account.

    It's nothing special, but it has more than few things going for it. The competent main character. A rarely used time period with more than three dragons around and characters like the Sea Snake around. A quite nice expansion of the Valyrian lore.

    No instant industrial revolution is a plus too.

    The writing could use some more work, but with an update rate of a chapter a day I can't really complain about it.

    As for recent successes of the main character including his love life. It all had enough build up to feel somehow earned instead of just handed out. He needs a proper challenge soon enough for it to not start feeling like everything is going too easy for him. Though I really could do without all potential emotional drama that is probably going to happen sooner than later as the result of his recent actions.
     
  7. Hashasheen

    Hashasheen Totally Sirius

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    Oh, I disliked this heavily. It was too fluffy for my tastes. I'd actually say Rhaegar the Terrible is a much better SI story (definitely better than Leech Lord) though I'm unsure if it's available anywhere but AH.com.
     
  8. Puzzled

    Puzzled Professor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
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    476
    I like this a lot, however the author really needs to go back over for a grammar check. The plot is entertaining, and the SI's assumptions about canon leading to mishaps is a nice divergence from the perfection often seen.

    4/5, partly because a chapter a day makes up for numerous sins and partly because it's fun.
     
  9. invinoveri

    invinoveri Third Year

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2012
    Messages:
    80
    I enjoyed this. Couple of the characters are really well done. But the last two chapters kind of jumped the shark for me,
    his two women are magic now and they're going to be together forever.. lame.

    Also The Dance of the Dragons as a setting is very fun.

    Edit -- One more thing, I don't like the constant bat this or whatever meme that shows up. I get it you're a nerd lets move on.

    Edit#2 -- I've no idea about what is going on with these spoiler tags..

    Edit#3 -- Another thing, I appreciate that Gaemon went full Targ.

    Edit#4 -- I fixed the spoiler tags I think.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  10. Banta

    Banta The Chosen One DLP Supporter

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    The bat thing has something to do with the Alternate History forum, but hell if I know exactly what.

    Regarding Rhaenyra and Laena:

    Yes they get to be with Gaemon forever, but it has come at a cost. See here and here for details.
     
  11. Hashasheen

    Hashasheen Totally Sirius

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    Alien Space Bats or ASB. Basically their term for when something happens which wouldn't or couldn't historically or realistically. The Spacebattles/Sufficient Velocity version is "Random Omnipotent Being" or ROB.
     
  12. Donimo

    Donimo Slug Club Member

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    This fic has good world building and interesting characters. All of which is ruined by the awful protagonist.

    If the author went back and re-wrote this fic without the Self-Insert it would be so much better, plus give opportunity to give everything a thorough edit that is desperately needed. An OC Targ kid who has dreams of Gaema and her apprenticeship but without the future knowledge bullshit fixes so many of the problems with this story all on its own. There could then be a focus on recreating the Valyrian orders and communing with the Gods, creating the Valyrian steel, and all the things about this that are actually good.

    The only thing that is keeping me reading this is the daily updates. At some point I'm probably going to miss a few days and never bother to catch up.
     
  13. Cxjenious

    Cxjenious Supreme Mugwump

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    I lost interest after all the immortal order/manage a trois stuff, even with all the "consequences and setbacks". It was already hammy and cheesy, but now? Bleh.
     
  14. Alkaraz

    Alkaraz First Year

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    It's an entertaining story, but does seem to jump shark. While the author does a reasonable job of making the protagonist reasonable, several things have started creeping up that have really wounded the grittiness I feel the setting requires.

    Gaemon becoming immortal took a lot of potential tension in the story out. His whole thing is to survive, and becoming immortal literally just ruins any sort of drama Daemon or any other mortal obstacle can bring. It's too much.

    Meanwhile, him hooking up with Laena and Rhaenyra was also a bit much, but I could handle it. Them ALSO becoming immortal, in addition to some of the things the author has said will happen just fuck the story completely for me.

    2.5 rounded up to a 3/5, but only because it's still kinda fun. Guilty pleasure material.
     
  15. invinoveri

    invinoveri Third Year

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    Laena and Rhaenyra were far more interesting characters before they decided to fall in love with Gaemon. Laena his betrothed out having an affair and children with his murderous Uncle (who turns out a to be a swell guy), that is good stuff, the author could have done something with that. Rhaenyra, heir apparent, eventually having a child by Gaemon out of wedlock, amazing! I want to see what happens. But now the characters have hit a dead end.
     
  16. Alkaraz

    Alkaraz First Year

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    The latest chapter killed the story for me. Unfortunate, but not unexpected.

    Gaemon's dragon turned into a human. Ugh.
     
  17. Hopper

    Hopper Second Year

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    In 45 chapters, it was decent and fun. Then it all went bad. Even an update a day cannot stop me from reconsidering this. I concur. This last chapter killed the story.

    It all started going wrong when other POV chapters turned into SI fellation. That should have been a warning sign. Ugh. Mea Culpa for getting too excited earlier.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  18. Invictus

    Invictus Heir

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    Laena was ways bland. Rhaenyra got rekted and became a satellite love interest. The last chapter was beyond retarded.
     
  19. Donimo

    Donimo Slug Club Member

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    Did the SI bang his dragon?
     
  20. pbluekan

    pbluekan Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    Don't think so. I read a little bit of the thread, and everyone was calling for it and the author piped up that his story wasn't going to turn into an "anime waifu fest" or some shit. It has already gone past that point of absurdity, IMO.