I can totally understand the sentiment of “moving on” to other things. In a way, I’ve also moved on, I’m not as active on GoT/ASOIAF sites than I used to be. There are so many other things, books, films etc. in life.
However, when (if) TWOW gets published, I’m sure I’ll first gobble it in a day or three, just to see what happens, then reread more slowly with thought and then spend a looong time analysing it, and the previous books in the light of new info in TWOW. Also online with the fan community. It’s a hobby, no weirder than many other hobbies people have. I understand it isn’t for everyone, fair enough.
Some people read a book once and are happy and move on. I do that with a lot of books (and TV shows), but there are some books (and even TV shows) that I return to, sometimes several times. Sometimes it’s just “comfort reading”, rereading something because it’s familiar and unchallenging, I just want to relax.
Sometimes rereading a book, you notice things you never did on the first (or second, or third etc.) read, maybe because you yourself have changed in the intervening time, so you read a book with new eyes.
For instance, when I was younger, I loved reading Agatha Christie’s detective stories (preferrably in English, not my native tongue) but nowadays the casual classism and racism and xenophobia and antisemitism render them almost unreadable to me. However, I’m still grateful to Agatha Christie for teaching me a lot about English culture – some of it still relevant today. And of course English language and vocabulary – I used words my English teachers in school didn’t know 😀
Sometimes rereading is a revelation. You notice things that you didn’t pick up the first time around. Hints and forshadowing. GRRM’s ASOIAF falls into this category. The books can be read straight through as a great fantasy adventure story but a reread brings out more layers and nuances – and you see the blatant forshadowing for the Red Wedding, for instance. So, to my mind, it’s worth a reread. It’s not about the WHAT but the WHY. (I think the show floundered a bit on that in the last two seasons.)
GRRM doesn’t write high literary fiction, he writes popular fiction and does it well. He writes about exiting, intriguing things, often stopping short to leave fans guessing and speculating. But if fans read carefully, his text is peppered with forshadowing and all kinds of allusions.
A lot of people pan AFFC’s eight Brienne chapters as booooring, but I really like them. They flesh out Brienne as a character, not just the “wench” seen through Jaime’s eyes and POV. And they’re so atmospheric, all the descriptions of the surroundings, the nature. The pinewoods, the tidal flats. And Nible Dick! Spare a thought for Nimble Dick! Just a fairly good ordinary guy, and Brienne recognises this in the end, with regret. It’s all about her trust issues.
Brienne’s chapters also give us: a first-hand account of Randyl Tarly and the kind of man he is; the celebrated “Broken men speech” by Septon Meribald; lots of information and hints about what’s going on in the Riverlands; first proper encounter with Lady Stoneheart and the Brotherhood without Banners and what they’ve become.
So, really boring chapters. 😉
That said, I do think GRRM is meandering a bit too much. As a writer, he says he’s a gardener, not an architect. So he plants seeds and sees how they grow and go. And grow, and go… So… there’s no focus. Except, hopefully, the ultimate end point. With maybe no clear idea as to how to get there. D&D had to work from bullet points instead of full books to land the show. I think they did a fairly good job. Could’ve been better if things weren’t so rushed.
As to A Dream of Spring , the mythical concluding book of the series… I’m not very hopeful. Say, TWOW comes out next year, 2021. Then give it 10 years to get ADOS, so it’s 2031. But can GRRM conclude his sprawling story in just two books? It seems to me more like three or four books’ worth of material to go through and tie up all the storylines he’s started. Will he *live* long enough to do it? I hope he does but I’m not really holding my breath.
I first saw season 3 of the show, then sought out the books and binge-read the five. It was somewhere through book 3 that it clicked: Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. What I was reading in the moment was nothing related to that. But subtle forshadowing from book 1 and book 2 had apparently implanted in my brain, worked their way from the subconscious to the conscious. I sought an online community to impart this surprising “wisdom”, and promptly found out I wasn’t alone, he he. 😀
But at least I came up with RLJ on my own, not from online stuff. The way GRRM intended.
Sorry for long post but I’m just so passionate about books and reading (and ASOIAF and GoT).