Wednesday, May 04, 2011

File under "Sadly Predictable" or "Where Will It All End"

Those watching HBO's Game of Thrones may not be surprised to learn that its widespread conflicts have spilled over into real life.

I'm not sure I would have watched this even if had HBO at home. Years ago JJV enthusiastically recommended the series to me (warning #1). I got about 100 pages in and encountered a [SPOILER REDACTED] event which indicated to me the high likelihood of the narrative never actually concluding. If I want that, I read history; the little fiction I read should have a beginning, middle and end, or in the case of The Lord of the Rings, a series of endings.

When the TV series began I read a piece about George R.R. Martin in The New Yorker chronicling the long wait for the next installment (A Song of Procrastination) endured, with a surprising degree of bad grace, by his cliffhung fans. It did not take a close reading to confirm my suspicion that Martin has lost control of his creation, which now lumbers about the countryside threatening (probably figuratively) to throw children down wells. No wonder the peasants have cleaned out the torch and pitchfork sections at Home Depot.

I feel kind of bad for Martin. He wants to finish what he has begun but He Just Can't. Maybe he should wrap it with a snowglobe shot or by having Eddard Stark wake up next to Suzanne Pleshette. It sure worked for this post.


Anonymous said...

The thing is, we all know how it's going to end. He just has to take us there. He'll do it beautifully, if he ever does it......

J. said...

Wow, you just saved me months or years of agony, Dave. Thank you. (I had Game of Thrones on my reading list, but will now cross it off. I have enough cliffhangers right now.)

Anonymous said...

But if you skip it, you'll never discover the joy that is Tyrion Lannister.

jjv said...

Also there is a girl who falls down a well. A friend of Cersei Lannister whose death confirms a terrible prophecy. (See Feast for Crows).

You are wrong. This series rewards both reading and rereading. Jaime Lannister; Tyrion Lannister;John Snow;the great characters go on and on!

Dave S. said...

Actually it was the sudden failure of a (to that moment) major character to "go on and on" that indicated to me that there was no arc to the narrative.* That and, more convincingly, the thousands of pages of the (uncompleted) series stretching out before me.

I had no real problem with the quality of the writing -- I've read better, I've read worse -- but I will repeat my point that if I want to pick up a work with no actual end or plot arc I will proceed to the Nonfiction shelf.

There is no greater confirmation of my rightness, meanwhile, than JJV telling me I am wrong.

*I do not have a problem per se with major characters dying in a work of fiction, but I felt I was the victim of a bait and switch by Martin and suspected more such lay ahead.