Though I 'm not sure why they protest so much -- predictability is hardly a death sentence in genre fantasy.The archetypal story of a hero, th characte, a profound love, and world to be saved never seems to get old -- it 's a great story when it 's told well.
Sure, Moorcock 's original concept for Elric was to e the anti-Conan, but at some point, he had to push his limits and move beyond difference for difference 's sake -- and he did.In similar gesture, Martin rejects the allegorical romance of epic fantasy, which basically means tearing out the guts of the genre: the wonder, the ideals, the heroism, and with them, the moral purpose.
Hell, if all Martin wanted was grim and gritty antiheroes in an amoral world, he did n't have to deny the staples of fantasy, he should have gotte to its roots: Howard, Leiber, and Anderson.Like many authors aiming for realism, he forgets 'truth is stranger than fiction'.
The of innovating new, radical elements, he merely removes familiar staples -- and any style defined by lack is going to end up feeling thin.Yet, despite trying inject the book with history and realism, he does not conside the melodramatic characterization of his fantasy forefathers, as evidenced by his brooding bastard antihero protagonist ( with pet albino wolf).
Their pen gets away from them, their own hangups start leaking into the scene, until it 's not even about the characters anymore, it 's just the author cybering about his favorite fetish -- and if I cyber with a fat, bearded stranger, I happen to be paid for it.I know a lot of fans probably get into it more than I do ( like night elf hunters humping away in WOW), but reading Goodkind, Jordan, and Martin -- it 's like eeing a Playboy at your ncle 's where all the pages are wrinkled.
If you depict the grimness of war by having every female character threatened with rape, but the same thing never happens to a male protagonis, despite the fact that more men get raped in the military than women, then your 'gritty realism card' definitely gets revoked.The books are notorious for the unexpecte, pointless deaths, which some suggest is another sign of realism -- but, of course, nothing is pointless in fiction, because everything that shows up on the page is only there because the author put it there.
Sure, in real life, people suddenly die before finishing their life 's work ( fantasy authors do it all the time), but there 's a reason we do n't see to tell stories of people who die unexpectedly in the middle of things: they are boring and pointless.
Wel, this is the only ending we get to his plot arcs, which give them rather predictable: any time a character is about to build up enough influence to make things etter, or more stable, he ill die.
He 's not talking about the characters' otivations, or the ideas they represent, or their role in he story -- he is n't laying out a well-structured plot, he 's just killing them off for pure shock value.Yet the only reason we think these characters are important in the irst place is because Martin treats them as central heroes, spending time and energy building them.
ake the reader kno that things would get better, get them to believe in a character, then wave your arms in distraction, point and yell 'look at that terrible thing, over there!', and hope they become so caught up in worrying about the new problem that they forget the old one was never resolved.Chaining false endings together creates perpetual tension that never requires solution -- like in most soap operas -- plus, the author reall has to do the hard work of finishing what they started.
Since the plot is n't resolving into a tight, intertwined conclusion ( in fact, it 's probably spiraling out of control, with ever more characters and scenes), the author must wrap things up conveniently and suddenly, leaving fans confused and upset.
Having thrown out the grand romance of fantasy, Martin can not even end on the dazzling trick of the vaguely-spiritual transgressive Death Event on which the great majority of fantasy books rely for a handy tacked-on climax ( actually, he 'll probably do it anyways, with dragons -- the longer the series goes on, the more it starts to resemble the cliche monomyth that Martin was praised for eschewing in the secon place) .The drawback is that even if a conclusion gets stuck on at the nd, the story fundamentally leads nowhere -- it winds back and forth without resolving psychological or tonal arcs.
Despite being fictionalized and dramatized, Martin 's take on The War of the Roses is far duller than the original.More than anything, th ook elt like a serial melodrama: the hardships of an ensemble cast who we are meant to watch over and sympathize with, being drawn in by emotional appeals ( the hope that things will 'get better' in this dark place, 'tragic' deaths), s if these appeals conflict with the supposed realism, and in the beginnin, there is no grander story to unify the whole.
There 's plenty of grim fantasy and intrigue out there, from its roots to the hundred of fantasy authors, both old and modern, whom I list in the link at the beginnin of this reviewThere seems to hav a sense that Martin 's work is somehow revolutionary, that it represents a 'new direction' for fantasy, but thes I see is a reversion.
Martin, on the other hand, has more closely followed Tolkien 's lead than any other modern high fantasy author -- and I do n't just mean in terms of racism.Tolkien wanted to make his story real -- not 'realistic', using the dramatic techniques of literature -- but actually real, by trying to create all the detail of a pretend world behind the story.
Over the span of the first wenty years, he released The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, and other works, while in the te years after that, he became so obsessed with worldbuilding for its own sake that instead of writing stories, he filled his shed with a bunch of notes ( which his son has been trying to ake complete book from ever since) .It 's the same thing Martin 's trying to do: cover a bland story with a litany of details that do n't contribute meaningfully to his characters, plot, or tone.
There is no revolutionary voice here, and there is somethin in Martin 's book that has always been done better by other authors.However, there is one thing Martin has done that no other uthor has been ble to do: kill the longrunning High Fantasy series.
Actually, Martin is so goo at plot structure that he actually pre-emptively ruined books by other authors.
If you enjoy a grim, excessively long soap opera with lots of deaths and constant unresolved tension, pick up he series -- otherwise, maybe check out the show. " My Fantasy Book Suggestions