A Song of Ice and F*** YOU

Vox Day has been going on for a couple of years now about the fact that the quality of George R. R. Martin's writing in his A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series has been in decline ever since he released A Storm of Swords. Having read all of Martin's books in the series thus far, I agree completely. The third book in the series was truly amazing, a landmark high fantasy novel that despite its moral nihilism and bloody butchery is still one of the greatest examples of fantasy writing you will ever read.

Then the fourth book came along and, oh dear, what a tedious turd of a book that was. Turgid, overly long, needlessly complicated, and largely forgettable, the book was an 800-page unpleasant log laid down a clearly artistically constipated author. Incredibly, its successor was even worse- and it got that way by taking all of the horrible mistakes of the fourth book, and squaring and cubing them.

Thing is, though, that there is a creative window for every author in which he hits his peak and produces some of his greatest work. Vox has also pointed that out repeatedly- essentially, authors tend to achieve their greatest artistic and commercial success sometime between their late thirties and early fifties. That is certainly true of George R. R. Martin, because A Storm of Swords was released in 2000- when the author was about 50. 

All of this means that he doesn't exactly have much time to undo the damage he's caused- and apparently he knows it too.

At least that's how I interpret his recent comments to a fan who had the audacity, the bare-faced cheek, to ask him whether he was in any danger of pulling a Robert Jordan and dying on us before his bloated, overly complicated, morally pointless series finally wraps up, well... he sort of lost it:
There has been plenty of speculation about 'Game of Thrones' author George R. R. Martin's health from fans -- as in, is he healthy enough to finish writing the best-selling book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, on which the TV show is based, or will he die first? 
For the man who holds no characters sacred, he had a very succinct message for his fans: flipping them the bird and a simple 'f--k you.'

The hostile gesture went down during an interview with Swiss daily newspaper, Tages-Anzeiger when asked about the fans' concerns. 
"Well, I find that question, you know, pretty offensive frankly, when people start to speculate about my death and my health. So f--k you to those people," he said.
That'll show the fans! Such rudeness on their part! What chutzpah! What gall How dare they... ask a perfectly legitimate question, actually.

Count me among those who really, really hopes that the next novel, The Winds of Winter, is actually better than its predecessor- I do NOT want to have to read through another 1,100-page doorstopper of a book that essentially boils down to "The Bachelorette Goes to Westeros- with Dragonssssss!!!"

Unfortunately, that is probably what is going to happen. After all, Martin has basically killed off all of his most interesting characters, or maimed them horribly, or banished them:
  • Eddard Stark- dead
  • Jon Snow- stabbed, probably dead, could be the heir to the throne or some such cryptic nonsense
  • Cersei Lannister- publicly humiliated and exiled, apparently
  • Tyrion Lannister- exiled
  • Jaime Lannister- crippled
  • Daenerys Targaryen- queen of Mereen, giant feminist pain-in-the-ass, lost in the wilderness and very sick after munching on some wild berries, now riding the back of a dragon or something
  • Mance Rayder- pretty sure he's dead, I've forgotten by now
  • Aeron Greyjoy- might as well be dead
  • Asha Greyjoy- who knows, who cares
  • Arya Stark- no clue
  • A whole bunch of other supporting characters that no one really gives half a toss about, yet still somehow warranted their own PoV chapters in the last 2 books
My wig, but those two books are tedious- and even the first three were slogs, though very readable slogs at that. If we have to endure yet another absurdly overblown high fantasy "epic" of epic epicness that also epically* fails to deliver, then all I can say is that Martin really should just pretend to cark it**, and let some younger writer in his prime kill off all of these stupid supporting characters- along with most of the whiny, irritating, emasculated and/or girrrrrrl-power main ones- and get back to rounding out the story in such a way that there is, in fact, an ending.

Actually, I think Vox Day was proposing to do precisely that (albeit with tongue planted quite firmly in cheek) not too long ago. Anyone else think that it might not be a bad idea to have Vox finish the series? I'm all for it.

*Not a real word
**Australian vernacular with a variety of meanings, such as: Kick the bucket. Buy the farm. Croak. Shuffle off this mortal coil. Meet the Big Fella Upstairs. That sort of thing.

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