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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. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Tactical Tomato DLP Supporter

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    Can it turn back into a dragon? What the fuck use is a human with the mind of a dragon? Wasn't Gaemon's life tied to the dragon? How the fuck is a human Horcrux better than a dragon Horcrux?
     
  2. KGB

    KGB Unspeakable

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    This has to be some sort of a troll fic.

    The premise was thin but the author managed to hold interest for a dozen or so chapters and than just wut.

    It must be some sort of an experiment in how far he can take this and still have people reading
     
  3. Puzzled

    Puzzled Professor

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    I remain entertained, but I'd hoped for the story to remain a bit more grounded. The parts with the Valyrian gods and steel are excellent, but the interpersonal stuff has grown somewhat out of hand.
     
  4. HolyRomanPeasant

    HolyRomanPeasant Muggle

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    Since I don't have an AH account, I haven't read the story in its entirety yet, but so far I'm rather torn about it.

    The Good
    Dance of Dragons is a nice and underutilized setting; given that other attempts to use it were simply abyssmal, Gaemon's Guide peaked my interest right away. In the context of coming civil war, Gaemon's stakes in the matter felt quite real and his position as Aegon II's younger twin meant that he was very much bound to the sinking ship - deprived of power to act on his own but simultaneously too important to just ditch everything and run without a reprisal. I loved the beginning - when Gaemon twists and turns in desperate attempts to save himself from the frying pan, sucking up to the people he has no love for, risking his life on dangerous ventures to get their approval and assets for the future. Sometimes Gaemon's fear overwhelms him, pushing him into irrationality; sometimes Gaemon's desperate attempts to save himself end up creating more problems than they solve.
    The struggle, the fear, the powerlessness of main character before capricious royal family members - it all was all like a gulp of fresh water between usual SI fairs with no stakes and all the power, trying to build canons and canals. Not that I am opposed to either on principle, but it usually means the protagonist is as safely insulated from any opposition as the narrative - from any tension.

    The Bad
    And then magic plot happened.
    Well, not really - magic plot starts in chapter one in deus ex dreamia fashion. However for around forty chapters, dream-magic plot doesn't really matter or influence the real plot all that much and can be skipped.
    But then magic plot drags you back with vengeance, when protagonist is turned into Wolverine with extra perks for a price. A price of nothing, actually, since so far Gaemon is yet to pay any tangible price for any of the incredible benefits he received. The author tries to present minor drawbacks as the price, but it's really hard to take it seriously.
    Why is deus ex dreamia helping Gaemon and not for example Daemon Targaryen? I don't know.
    Why didn't deus ex dreamia do anything in OTL to save the dragons? Because it's deus ex machina poorly shoehorned into the setting for the purpose of giving power to main character. I don't know.
    That little stunt kneecaped the thing I most appreciated about the story - the struggle of powerless underdog against bad odds.

    A kneecapped story can still shamble on, but a figure of shining steel appears on the horizon to put it out of its misery.

    The Ugly
    With the arrival of Daemon Targaryen it all rolls downhill. You'd think that War for the Stepstones to which Gaemon becomes an active participant would feature more prominently in the story, but no, it's all Gaemon's quest for Valyrian steel and anticipation for marriage. Another POV informs us that Gaemon took to burning Triarchy's supply ships, a minor fact that apparently warrants no further thought whatsoever. You would think that roasting presumably dozens of people alive on a regular basis would spark some kind of reaction from Gaemon, anxiety, fear, exiliration, lust for violence, something, but nope. It's a province of Chapter One Gaemon; Chapter Fifty Gaemon is above such things.

    The spoilers I've seen here don't fill me with confidence about future plot developments.

    Update: I have registered on AH and got to the last chapter.
    The spoilers are true; in fact, spoilers don't even cover the entirety of the madness that happens.
    For me, the highlights include:
    - Gaemon kills a man by himself and tries to emote on the matter. Clearly Gaemon suffers from targeted amnesia since he has spent five years (between 117 and 122 AC) on Stepstones burning Triarchy's transports. You'd think burning people alive for years on regular basis - an activity Gaemon has "taken to" - would inform his reaction to killing other people, but no. This is the part of the plot author continues to disregard completely, which is simply bizarre.
    - The stakes were sentenced to be executed into perpetuity. Daemon turns into a family man who is content with his own little Kingdom. Aegon II is so nice he downright attempts to ingratiate himself to Rhaenyra. Aemond is charming. Rhaenyra is a responsible leader... sort of, but definitely without any cruelty or lack of interest in politics and administration. With everyone so charming it's unclear how a Dance could have happened in the first place. Gaemon tries to handwave it away as butterly flapping, but in truth he has contributed somewhat to the third. Aegon had to essentially grow up without his twin, Aemond even more so. People around Gaemon are just turning nice by themselves for no good reason other than plot convinience.
    - Rhaenyra romance. This plot oscillates between "self-congratulatory wanking" and downright disturbing implications. Rhaenyra marries Laenor in 114 AC when she is 17 and Gaemon is 7. At this point Gaemon proposes a plan to find a Valyrian-looking guy to sire an heir for Rhaenyra, since Laenor is gay. After that Gaemon is sent off to Hightowers and they see each other only sporadically. After Runestone arc in 117 AC Rhaenyra essentially falls out of the plot and remains only as one of the people Gaemon corresponds with, since he is sent even farther away.
    An then in 122 AC, when Gaemon returns from the Stepstones after 5 years of separation, Rhaenyra (who is 25 now) explains to Gaemon (who is 15) that she loves him, wants to have a relationship with him and wants him as father of her children, completely out of the blue in regards to existing narrative.
    Oh, and she wants to include Laena, Gaemon's betrothed, in that relationship and they have both hit off their lesbian relationship already. But this entire situation is so full of pure "WTF?!" this can be safely discarded as minor issue.

    So to recap - 17 year old Rhaenyra (who was by no means a nun in canon) is so impressed with her 7 year old brother that she decides to presumably abandon opposite sex completely for the next eight years until she is 25. She decides to disregard enormous political and personal pressure to have an heir of her own. She even casts off Breakbones, an adult nobleman who was her lover in canon since at least her marriage to Laenor, for the sake of her... 7 year old brother? Whom she barely meets for nearly a decade afterwards?
    Whut?
    I'm not sure what I find more disturbing - that good old Maegor with Tits is turned into a hardcore pedophile gunning for her 7-year-old brother or that SI is so damn impressive he can just charm her into waiting for 8 years and disregarding everything and everyone just for the chance to get into bed with him. Without even trying or even being aware of it.
    Or that it all happens completely out of the blue, without any set up in text.
    - the story ends with Gaemon's dragon turning into a fully functional human. Because of course it does. Ugh.

    Conclusion
    This is the most impressive case of a story moving from "Damn, that's good!" to "What, in the name of all that is holy, am I even reading?" in my memory.
    Take it for what it is.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  5. pbluekan

    pbluekan Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    On a different note, apparently that was the ending and now there's going to be a sequel.

    What the fuck was the plot of the first "book" that had ended and necessitated the move to a sequel? Was it the weddings?
     
  6. Cxjenious

    Cxjenious Supreme Mugwump

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    It was never "damn, that's good." More like "one squirt away from complete shit." That was several squirts ago. It's definitely shit now. I stopped reading a while back.
     
  7. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Tactical Tomato DLP Supporter

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    The sequel is up. If nothing else, the fic has done well in repeatedly making me roll my eyes without making me head straight for the red x.
     
  8. pbluekan

    pbluekan Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    That first post had enough blatant spelling and grammatical mistakes to make me wonder if he even used spell check. It wasn't even homonyms, just poor spelling.
     
  9. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Tactical Tomato DLP Supporter

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    Yeah, spelling is not a strength. The word 'nat' came up and it was out of the blue enough that it took me a moment to realise they meant 'gnat'.
     
  10. HolyRomanPeasant

    HolyRomanPeasant Muggle

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    It was 500 pages limit.
    The plot of the first book, named "Guide to Not Dying Horribly", was about Gaemon ending up in the middle of future catastrophy without any means to disengage. Half way into the plot, Gaemon finds deus ex machina solution to the problem, then flails around with no clear purpose of his own for another half of the book as stuff - ability to make Valyrian steel, everybody suddenly playing along, Daemon becoming a benevolent non-entity in the plot which was supposed to be about Gaemon squiring under him, Rhaenyra going hardcore pedo cradle robber, notoriously martially untalented Gaemon becoming a good fighter - just happens to him.

    Funny how Gaemon actually loses agency as he gains gifts from the heavens. Before Gaemon becomes Wolverine, he makes decisions of importance and risk - decisions like playing cute baby brother to Rhaenyra, trying his luck with the dragon, securing his aunt from the Vale.
    After that - not so much. What few decisions Gaemon does make are either devoid of any risk by default or the author just removes the risk manually.
    Illicit relationship with notoriously possessive royal heiress (who flat out orders a murder of competition in canon)? Don't sweat it. Murderous uncle who got cards mixed up twice by Gaemon? Nah, he's cool. Noble Houses becoming incensed over being passed over with Valyrian Steel? Not gonna happen.
    Even his sister gets touched by this heavenly grace. Black support collapsing because Rhaenyra fails to produce an heir for a decade, with nobility flocking to Green banner since the Greens are obviously the future? As if.
    I got an honest chuckle out of "survival is a priority" tag.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
  11. Rhaegar I

    Rhaegar I Unspeakable

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    Personally, I think it went from "Fic I genuinely enjoy" to "Guilty Pleasure" a while back.

    Before then, it was doing pretty darn well. A unique setting, some great characters, and the main character so absolutely petrified of getting killed he doesn't have time to suddenly modernize Westeros. I was really looking forward to seeing what he'd do in his extremely awkward situation.

    And then he became immortal. In and of itself, it defeats the purpose of being so afraid of dying if he can survive literal stabs to the heart. But for him to be able to make valyrian steel and not really have any serious prices to pay from the Valyrian gods he got said immortality and valyrian steel-making gifts from, it was more than a little grating. It didn't help it reminded me way too much of Robb Returns, another fic with an interesting premise that started to lose me the moment very explicit and very unnecessary magic stuff that blatantly favored the main characters/side showed up.

    Not long afterwards, he enters his ménage à trois with Laena and Rhaenyra. For ages, the former was established to have complex feelings towards Gaemon and herself, while the latter very obviously wanted Gaemon to at the least father her children. These things colliding once Gaemon was old enough to actually marry and father children could have been pretty interesting. But instead, they all immediately fall in love with each other, in a manner that I charitably characterize as young lust that I pray will eventually have some amount of jealousy and fallout. The fact the two women also become immortal, with their dragons "disappearing" not seriously causing any consequences, doesn't make me optimistic about that happening.

    I'm still going to stick with the story, if only because there aren't exactly a lot of good ASOIAF stories out there (and it's still somehow better and truer to ASOIAF than GOT). But this latest update, of Clearsky turning into a human for some reason, doesn't inspire confidence the story will improve.
     
  12. Mutton

    Mutton Auror

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    This was never more than a shitty SI and y'all should feel ashamed
     
  13. Raybomber

    Raybomber Squib

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    To be honest, I wish the author had used this board instead especially the WIP portion. The immortality function is what killed it from being a great story for me. Although, I need to give props to the author is on Gaemon's sworn shield, Ser Eberman; I loved the interactions between the both of them before all the magic juju.
     
  14. Spanks

    Spanks Minister of Magic

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    The last 2 pages of the new AH thread have been dedicated to bashing this site. Apparently you guys made the author depressed or something and that's why he hasn't updated in a few days. Pretty sure there was also a subtle jab at @Cxjenious too on page 15 for not updating Black Prince. Which is fair, Black Prince needs at least 10 new chapters!
     
  15. Cxjenious

    Cxjenious Supreme Mugwump

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    Not our fault his fic is trash. I mean, it's ok for a complete amateur, but we're all amateurs, so... Yeah. But yeah, BP does need an update.
     
  16. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Tactical Tomato DLP Supporter

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    I'm trying to find the increasingly hurtful criticism that drove the author into the depths of depression and curtailed his attempts at writing, but I'm just not seeing it. Must be my edgelord soul blinding me.

    More seriously, Jesus Fucking Christ. I'd been ignoring the non story posts in the thread, but fuck me. Is everything that isn't adoration of a fic slapped down? I shudder to think what my writing would be like if I'd gotten into AH instead of DLP.

    This is actually making me a little mad. Do people not understand that criticism leads to improvement?
     
  17. Donimo

    Donimo Slug Club Member

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    AH isn't for story telling, its primarily a world building forum. As the name Alternate History implies. Not that this is an excuse for being so opposed to critique. People praise what they read because it encourages the author to write more, instead of offering criticism that would make the author write better. And fuck anyone who does otherwise.
     
  18. Blundo

    Blundo First Year

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    Started off alright enough for an SI (I know relativism is a trap, but still). The lack of canals, gunpowder, printing presses, airplanes, etc. (introduced without any unforseen negative consequences for the SI of course) was a pleasant change from the unfortunate norm.

    Things began to go downhill quickly, and from what I'm reading here about events after I dropped it (2 older women wanting to bang a magical little boy and each other, dragon transforming into cute girl, etc.) it has pretty much become an anime.
     
  19. Celestin

    Celestin Half-Blood Prince

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    Maybe it's just me, but I always find it funny when the people attacking DLP are using a language that I would expect to find on this forum if it was what they claim it to be.

    Anyway, I stopped reading it after immortality started to become a basic commodity. Dragon girls I can't comment about because that depends on its execution, but it's not something that would give me a motivation to start reading this fic again at the moment.

    That said, I really liked the first part of it and I may finish it one day, especially if it manages to have an actual ending.
     
  20. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros.

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    No they do not. "If you're not sucking my dick, I don't need your feedback," is the best way I can describe the vast majority of AH (alongside SV/SB/FF.net).

    Edit: read the rest of the chapters, or as much as I could stomach and it's pretty much gone as expected. New rating of 2/5.