Tag Archives: George R.R. Martin

The Most Awesome Thing, Today

This is probably the most awesome thing I have ever seen, today.

A fan made a screenshot of a “Game of Thrones” fighting game. It breaks my heart that it isn’t real.

Oh intertrons, why do you hurt me?

Most awesome thing, today.

Source

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Some People Don’t Get Game of Thrones

New York Times wrote another piece sweepingly snubbing Game of Thrones. Last time it was called “boy-fiction” and raised an uproar from the legion of fans – most of which were of the lady variety. This time it is more informed and articulate, but ultimately misses something important. I think this oversight is generally what lies beneath the sweaty keyboard pounding when fans take to defending their interests.

After I read the article I wrote a long blog that basically amounted to “YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT I LIKE, YOU’RE A DOO-DOO HEAD!”, but when I hovered over the Publish button I recanted. I think there is something going on that is larger than what I think critics and the arbiters of taste realize; it is something as old and old itself. Perhaps I am late to the party on this, but I just realized it.

There is a shift going on in societies’ taste, genre is becoming accepted and mainstream. The old and stodgy snubbing of the fantastic is becoming dated, like a geriatric wildebeest falling behind the rest of the pack, waiting to be picked off by a hungry lion. If GoT did indeed only appeal to the small D & D audience and the fans of the books, I don’t think it would have been as successful as it is.

If we look at the top twenty highest grossing movies of all time, excluding “Titanic” and “The Passion of the Christ”, the other movies are steeped in fantasy and science fiction. If we go back in time and adjust for inflation we see less movies with strong fantastic elements dominating the top twenty. So what has changed? I can’t help but notice a trend between the super hero movies and the revamping of classic fairy tales.

I think as time progresses we will see fewer reviews of this nature; dismissing and brushing off shows/movies based on heritage of appeal and unconventional means of story telling. I understand that it is easier to dismiss something out of hand because of unfamiliarity, say that it should get with the program because this is how these things work, but everything changes and sometimes . I’m predicting in a couple of years people will look back on Game of Thrones and remark on how different and ground breaking it was, and the people raising that banner will be the same people who scoffed at it.

Despite having a lot names to follow and killing off the “main character”, there is still a sense of something. It feels big, nasty and oddly cold. This sense of wonder is what I think drives at the heart of the show, and ultimately drives the audience. We love a good underdog story, we love when good conquers all, but perhaps we want to see the more visceral side of humanity. Maybe we want to know how much hell a character went through so when they finally find heaven we can equally share in their moment. Whether or not GoT will deliver that feeling, book or show, is yet to be determined but for now the ride is entertaining. Until the conclusion of this epic story, I can’t forget that winter is coming.

 

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A Dance of Dragons

I finished this child sized book earlier this week. I’ve debated on whether to post my thoughts on it or not, but given how much I love George R.R. Martin’s work I thought I would go ahead. So here goes.

The book was long, really long. With the breadth of his books, If you can say one thing about Mr. Martin, you can say he can develop his characters in such a twisted and interesting fashion few others really achieve. I don’t know if this is a golden jacket club, secretive among writers, but I do notice few others can make me care/hate the characters in their books like Martin can. This reason alone is just half of why I love his work, the other half would be the harmony between the character’s plights and the overall construction of the story. I feel the elements are perfectly harmonized and add a level of  ‘something for everybody’ vibe. The kudzu fever of fan growth between word of mouth and the success of the HBO show A Game of Thrones is a testament to that.

This book is good, I want to start out and make it clear. It is better than most. However compared to his previous works, this book left me feeling empty relative to the gigantic series of ‘WTF OMG THAT IS AWESOME’ moments I had in the first three books. Much and more is happening throughout the world of Westeros and we get a front seat observation bubble through the roller coaster, I do me all of it. Sometimes the level of detail of the snippets into the POV character’s world felt unneeded and filler. Tyrion’s admiration of the dragon’s road was a little outside of character and need of the story, I felt. The addition of the one Jamie and the two Cercei chapters seemed out-of-place as well. The prologue just confused me, I have no understanding of the relevance of it at all.

The background weaving of the different POV chapters is master class. When chapters start to bleed together and actions happen that affect several important characters, we get to see the different sides of the story in such a unique and refreshing light that it never felt recycled. This is a staple in Martin’s work that really makes me a fan boy. Along with the ‘I know something bad is going to happen’ moments as things are being built up. Perhaps that is what the goal of Martin’s vision is. Get all the chess pieces in place for the next two books, where there will be many a face punches for the reader. If that is the case, then sally forth sir.

The hints and allusions are endless. Nuggets of information we want to believe or have theorized are dangled our in front of us to make us believe that Martin is going to zig, when in fact his zags. Then just when we think he is going to zig (because he just zagged), he zags again and throws us for a loop. Perhaps something is going on under the table that I, as the reader, won’t pick up on or notice until the next book. Given Martin’s knack for football tackling the reader when they aren’t looking, I wouldn’t put it past him. This is another reason I love Martin’s work, I never know what is going to happen.

The epic last chapter of Jon left me with my mouth open, and the last two chapters of Dany made me want to fist pump. Then the epilogue made me go, “Dammmn!” as a few things from the other books clicked in place. This book wasn’t without its rewards. Tyrion’s wit and humor is unchanging, but his maturity is showing. Jon’s need to be a leader first and a friend second is ripe with understanding. Evolution of the characters as their situation changes is, I feel, the name of the game with this book.

The only thing about this book that keeps me from placing it with the first three in terms of awesomeness, is the lack of revelations and HARD plot twists. There are some little ones and two big ones, but not what I would expect from having read the first three. Maybe Martin is leading us into a false sense of understanding or maybe the story has just plateaued until the cathartic release  of the last books. Who knows aside from the man himself?

The book is good and the craftsmanship that Martin has achieved is rivaled by few others. If you are a fan of fantasy, realism, visceral fantasy, knights, dragons, sex, gore, and awesomeness then you should really check out this series.

 

 

Now I look forward to the next big book being released next week. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. I am very excited!

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Hello…. I’m still alive.

Where I’ve been? I’ve moved (far away and it was in heat), changing around my life a little (learning that I’m wrong about almost everything, at least that is what my fiancée tells me), restructuring priorities (deciding what matters the most in my life), and doing this ‘growing-up’ thing people talk about from time to time (self-explanatory, but I still laugh at dick and fart jokes). I haven’t really had time to do any writing, so I have creative blue balls. So when I do unleash the juices of my imagination, it will be like a tide of dirty, violent, and eloquent lyrical fury…… haha. Little joke there.

So I am reading A Dance of Dragons. I am about half way through and a few interesting things have happened, don’t worry I won’t spoil, at least until I’m done with the book. The beginning was a little slow, but it has picked up. Things are building up and I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop and shit to get real.

Other than that, not much else has gone on. I’ve decided that I’ll post up novelette when I get it completely edited. It is more indicative of how I write and what I’m interested in writing than the other samples I have posted.

Now I move on to finding food and figuring out what I can do with the rest of my night and if I’m going to work or working at home tomorrow.

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Interview with Joe Abercrombie and George R.R. Martin.

Somebody leaked these online much to Joe’s dismay. It doesn’t seem to have bothered GRRM much, but with a series on HBO and a pending book that will most likely sell the pants off him, not much would bother me in his shoes either. These are two of my favorite authors in the same room. Watch and enjoy.

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Architect versus Gardener

I just spent about five hours total putting all the novel/short story ideas I have rattling around in my head into a coherent readable format. As I was pounding the keyboard and feeling the slight warmth of my laptop flow over my nethers, I realized a gross misconception about myself, I’m not a gardener. For those who don’t know what I am referring to, let me summarize. George R.R. Martin said that word monkeys can be categorized as two types of writers, or at least a mixture. One being an architect, this wordsmith plans out the plot, world, characters, etc, making a frame of a story then filling it in. The other type is a gardener who puts his ideas in fertile soil and watches them grow naturally and discovers things first hand much as a reader would. Most people are some combination of the two, leaning one way or the other. Do you know which you are?

I have always thought of myself as a gardener. A lot of times I will listlessly make words dance on my computer screen and push myself to create something new and interesting. In doing so I have discovered that I have created a means to jig around the abominable non-existent writer’s block monster and force myself to hone skills and ideas in ways that only pulpy creative juices can make you see Jesus in your toast. Perhaps that is the definition of insanity, but I like to call it my creative process. Back on track, I am organizing all of my ideas, putting them in order, highlighting overall main and sub plot points, coloring in tidbits of world-building detail, and what have you when I realize that I already have each story idea planned out in annoying detail. As I smite my ideas with bulleted text and bold font I slowly realize that I am more of an architect than a gardener. It blew my mind. It is like discovering you are color blind or that Santa Clause doesn’t exist.   What started out as a quick notepad so I don’t lose any ideas to the void of time, turned into a mini bibliography of great detail from the future, I hope……

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Critics, Reviewers, Haters, and the Fans..

So I follow George R.R. Martin’s blog and have come across an old argument brought to the forefront. If you know much about the publishing industry or trying to break into the business, then you probably know, a significant part of non-fantasy and non-science fiction readers emphatically look down their noses at the two genres. By some strange twist of perverted logic, the concept of  a book taking place in a magical land or even a speculated universe is less than readable and considered ‘trash’. This fascinates me to no end. Some how the two more popular flavors of books are less than worthy of society and an affront on the arts. I cannot wrap my head around how this is even possible. Because Martin’s books, which are heavily influenced by War of the Roses and medieval society, have sex and in-your-face violence in a fantasy setting, this somehow makes them base. I call shenanigans because one of the hardest books, in terms of sexual content, I have ever had to read was Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and literature. It seems to the ‘defenders of all that is art’ that using realistic elements in fantasy and science fiction makes them sub-par when using them in other genres call for praise.

I recently went to a Patrick Rothfuss signing and he said it best: People act like just because a story is in a fantasy setting or has magic, it isn’t literature. What doesn’t make sense is some of our most loved literature has magic, say such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

To sum up my feelings; people who think fantasy and science fiction are only low-class fun are a bunch of snobbish elitist idiots. Just because a story has dragons in it, doesn’t mean it is less representative of conflict and basic reflections of the human condition. Then again it is easier to pick apart art or creative outlets that one doesn’t understand than it is to rub two brain cells together and think. Click on my poetry page to see what I’m talking about.

What brought this on was a recent review of GRRM’s adaptation of A Game of Thrones into a HBO series. You can read the review here from The New York Times. Calling his work ‘boy-fiction’ just really shows the lack of understanding and the curve of ignorance that still stains the genre.

How much does a potential consumer need to listen to a reviewer? With hundreds of forums covering all the different platforms of entertainment, why do we still listen to the reviewers? People vote with their wallets and usually aren’t afraid to voice their opinions, internet anonymity leaves the door wide open for brutal honesty. Why listen to reviewers when the consumers offer the best overall information? A good article on this subject found here.

If anything, fans have the last say. Fans are what drive entertainment medium’s success.

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Books I’m excited about and Insanity

There are a few books that I look forward to with particular nerdom. The biggest, for me, this year being A Dance of Dragons. This is the next installment of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series. If you haven’t read this series, I strongly suggest you run out and get it. If you have been following the saga then you know this book contains all of our favorite characters. This is slated for release on July 12.

The next book that will give me a nerd-rection that can be seen from outer space is the next chapter in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Ghost Story. After everything that happened in the last book, Changes, I cannot wait to get back into Harry’s world. I wonder what little curveballs Mr. Butcher has thrown us in this one. It comes out July 26 this year. Here is a synopsis of the book in Jim’s own words.

I loved Brandon Sanderon’s Mistborn trilogy and eagerly await the next book set in the same world, albeit a few hundred years later in a ‘steam punk’ type setting. The next book called The Alloy of Law is set to release November 8, 2011.

One of the things that I ponder about is insanity. I have looked for solid books capturing the decent into the mouth of madness and have found there to be a lacking. My scouring and relentless questioning of bookstores and personnel have turned up only one book so far, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenburg. Don’t get me wrong, I have found books about being crazy, but never about the process. I am intrigued in what happens to a person’s awareness as they slip into the depths of their own mania.

In two of my stories I have attempted to write about the foundation of a man’s sanity slowly cracking and fading away. It has proven to be extremely difficult and tedious, which is perhaps why I can find so little on the subject. One aspect of the subject I have discovered is that as one slides into insanity, they do not realize they are losing their marbles. To an outside observer it might be obvious, but to the person it could be irrationally rationalized.

Outsider: Why are you rubbing peanut butter on the remote?

Insane Person: To make it easier to find.

To the insane person, this is perfectly sensible and the person asking is an idiot. I vaguely think of it like a person with OCD explaining their rituals.

My question is, how did that person get there? Was it death of a thousand paper cuts, little by little every day they lost it or one day they woke up and decided it made sense to rub peanut butter on the remote? Giving a character a reason to crack is easy, explaining the process of how they dissolve their rationality and swim in lunacy is another.

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