A Song of Ice and Fire series
Martin, George R. R.
It’s been a long time since I read any fantasy. Like, proper fantasy. And I gotta say, A Song of Ice and Fire definitely comes under the category of ‘proper fantasy’ – anyone who’s been watching the Game of Thrones series on HBO knows what I’m talking about, however vaguely. Because when it comes to screen adaption, the movies are okay (that’s being generous a lot of the time – usually there’s either too much padding out or too little detail), the television series is better (again, not always, but recently it’s been the case), but the book is best.
Speaking about detail, my word, these books go to town with it. Usually I steer clear of this kind of fantasy book, all the castles and horses and dragons and shit like that gives me hives. It’s mostly because to a lot of authors (and probably, readers, which is why they do it) don’t bother to call a big, f***-off horse you’d ride into battle on a destrier. That’s what it is though, a destrier. Also, all the bits and pieces of the armour – the greaves and gorgets and pauldrons that you just don’t read about in other books. I think that was what sold me on A Song of Ice and Fire, it was a moment of “Aww, George, you had me at hauberk”.
So, okay, we’ve established that there has been some kick ass researching done for this book. Being a library type person, I respect a healthy dose of research. Not only does it lend a tone of realism to a work like this (however lost that realism might be on a general audience), I also feel that it makes the author seem more respectful of the intelligence of their audience. If that seems a little odd, allow me an explanation. Because Martin has decided that he’s going to tell us which particular bits of the armour that they’re wearing are rusting on the knights, and he’s going to use the proper names for bits of castles and also words like prate and corsair without any hint of explanation, that to me speaks of a respect for readers that they either know what those things are already or they will damn well go and look them up if they have a mind to. What’s not to love about that? Hang on, in the next bit, I’m gonna talk a little about what the story is actually about, so don’t read anymore if you’re reading them and aren’t up to Dance yet, or if you’re watching the TV show and just don’t want to know any more. Fair warning – here be spoilers.