George R.R. Martin: Fantasy Without Whimsy


For the second time in as many months, I took on a novel with two things I despise-- a map and an appendix-- but George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones was so highly recommended by everyone who read it that I had to give it a shot, and unlike Dune, which I couldn't quite finish, I read all 676 pages of Martin's first volume of his epic Song of Fire and Ice series (and even referred to the map and the appendix several times!) and though I felt a bit childish at the start . . . I'm forty-one years old and usually reading books like this, not sword and sorcery stories . . . I very well may read the next volume (A Clash of Kings) and I will definitely check out the big-budget HBO series inspired by the first book; I will admit that I started the book trying to find reasons to hate it, but the form drew me in: short, exciting and strategic chapters, each told from a different character's point of view,  following Elmore Leonard's philosophy of "leaving out all the parts that people skip," with the pacing of a J.K. Rowling book, but sophisticated and very adult content (thus the need for the appendix) and far more entertaining and action-packed than the slow paced but similar Tolkien books and with one other extremely important improvement: no elves (I hate elves and anything else that smacks of whimsy, and a A Game of Thrones is definitely the least whimsical of fantasy novels).

7 comments:

Melanie said...

Help me out the Ethan. He just finished Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. Can he read this or is it "too adult" content? He's 11.

Dave said...

way too adult-- i think the c-- word is used once, and there's twin incest and extreme violence. i heard the hbo show is like "rome" in its tone.

how about "the book of three" by lloyd alexander?

Dave said...

or the piers anthony "xanth" books.

rob said...

there's a bad three-letter c-word? cod?

also, i call bullshit on your anti-whimsy stance. a certain lizard crawling out of a man's skin agrees with me.

Dave said...

that's not whimsical-- it's bad-ass.

Melanie said...

Thanks Dave. I'll check out the other series for him.

But now I have a book to read. You had me at twin incest.

rob said...

if it were an elf crawling out of the skin it would be badass.

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