Friday, February 8, 2013

A Clash of Kings

Between watching and rereading The Hobbit, playing Skyrim, and reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I'm feeling the urgent need to purchase a longsword and some chainmail.

After reading A Clash of Kings I'm officially hooked, and subscribed to HBO just to watch Game of Thrones (third season premiering in March!). Speaking of the series, has any other television show been more beautifully shot and well-cast? It's blowing me away. The screenwriting isn't exactly subtle (if I hear one more person ominously say "the dragons are all gone..."), but is still loads better than what's in the majority of feature-length films these days.

A serious hats off to George R.R. Martin for creating so many damn characters, cities, and mythologies, and being able to keep them all straight while writing. No seriously, there's a reason the book starts with two maps and ends with a FORTY PAGE LIST OF CHARACTERS. Good lord.

My favorite aspect of the series thus far is that all of the chapters come from the point of view of characters that are in some way powerless or disenfranchised. The social hierarchy for whatever reason has deemed them unfit, and they must fight to survive. That doesn't always mean they're sympathetic or likeable -- after all, Theon Greyjoy is one of them (I wanted so bad to just skip his chapters).

However, I'm still cringing at every mention of rape. It's always thrown in so casually, on every other page. Because apparently in Westeros rape is on par with stubbing one's toe. It's mentioned a lot in Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy as well, but that's because it ties directly into the story. Here it's just happening because it can. Call it a realistic portrayal of the consequences of warfare all you want -- last time I checked this was a fantasy story with fucking dragons in it. The author can make it however he pleases.

But for every sexually violent or misogynistic act there's an awesome female character to make up for it. Arya, Brienne, Osha, Catelyn, Daenyrs, Sansa, Cersei...they're all three-dimensional and well-written. A fantasy series that passes the Bechdel test with flying colors! Something that even the Harry Potter series had difficulty with.

Whatever. I'm hooked. See you in April when I emerge from my winter cave, my eyes bleeding, mumbling about my crush on Samwell Tarly.


As are mine, Samwell. As are mine.

1040 pages
2,226 / 20,000 page goal

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