Tuesday

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

June 6, 2012
What is a fantasy?

 http://georgerrmartin.com/
A fantasy is a ninety year old man who can still get an erection without the benefit of Viagra.  And that ladies and gents is what we have in A Game of Thrones, a book and a dvd I just finished.  Not only can the 90 year old Walder/Waldo/Walter/Whoever of Wasffghtuf still get an erection, he plans on buttering his toaster with some honey from his 15 year old bride (not main character).  EEWWWW.

Yes, my little lambs, I do read other things beside historical romance and I have a few thoughts/opinions I’m going to share with you about A Game of Thrones.  The reason for the initial reading is I started to watch the HBO series and decided that I wanted the little details I knew they had left out…and, so began my journey into a bleak Fantasy land.

Having read romance for years and years, I’m used to all kinds of things, and it takes a lot to surprise me.  However, as much as I was enjoying some of the intricate story lines in this book, there were some things that I found disturbing on a number of different levels.  One of those levels is censorship.  I am against censorship in all things, in all forms, however, if I had a thirteen year old child/young adult who wanted to read this story, I would have to mull it over and hope that my child was well adjusted before ever giving my permission.  There were so many things in this story that I found offensive, who knows what effect those things would have on a younger person.  You know those younger people…their brains are still developing…those hormones are banging into each other.  They are out there seeking, seeking, seeking, and they just might be reading Fantasy books.

Yes, this story is conceived in the Fantasy genre, and in my mind that translates to Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.  Books full of magic, wizards, dragons, loyalty, adventure, creatures, far-away lands, but in this book we also have darkness, bloody intestines, gore, eating hearts, slitting throats, walking dead, raping, pillaging, etc.  And names.  Gordo son of Gramlie.  Fragon son of Fregffudi.  Grumpy son of Hoffenpepper from the village of Lfdusfghghambshire in the North under the shadow of the mountain of Doom.  But none of that is what I object to.  Even though guts may be disgusting and the names may be silly, they are rather commonplace in the world of fiction books/movies.  Even the profusion of the “C” word (male and female) only managed to raise an eyebrow and elicit a sigh before I moved on.

No, what I found disturbing was the attitude toward sex and the smell of quiet racism wafting through the pages.  There is gang-rape, the forced seduction of a thirteen year old girl, the sexual abuse/manipulation of another thirteen year old girl, teenagers with adult brain thinking, and racism that is cunningly hidden beneath Fantasy world words.

What’s that I hear coming down the turnpike?  You say the author was trying to be authentic, he was basing his characters age on historically accurate medieval times.  You know they were married young in those days, by cracky.  Oh, really.  Has anyone really looked at a pedigree chart?  Some people were married young, and some people were not!  This book is being sold as fantasy, not nonfiction!  Why do we need to have realism?  If this were truly historically accurate, we wouldn’t populate the book with dragons and zombies now would we?  I do not understand the need to proliferate an adult fantasy with teenagers being forced into sexual submission by grown men.

Daenerys.  Daenerys happens to be one of my favorite characters in this book, but she is forced to marry the savage “big” brute Drogo.  She does not want the marriage, she does not want to have sex, she is very much afraid.  She says “no” all the time Drogo is disrobing her.  While I was reading this scene, my mind could not erase the fact that this was a thirteen year old girl, saying no.  And, let me tell you this was a graphic scene.  What made it even more disturbing was in the end she placed his fingers inside of her.  Now, this is real fantasy.  Nothing says pedophile more than this scene.  By the way, HBO hired a 25 year old actress to play this part.  I found it interesting that HBO of all people whitewashed this scene by having someone who doesn’t look thirteen playing the character.

Sansa.  Someone give me a gun.  Can anyone say TSTL?  As much as I loathed this character, she also has a number of things to put up with.  In future books, she will have a psychotic fianc√© who wants her to disrobe in front of old men, a slimy older man shoving his tongue down her throat and a sociopath scarred older “Hound” keeping her a prisoner, threatening her, lusting after her while still making friends with her.  Can anyone say Stockholm syndrome?  In A Game of Thrones, she is responsible for her father dishonoring himself right before he’s beheaded.

Drogo.  Another character I liked, even though gang-rape was okey dokey with him and his dark skinned, almond-shaped eyed savage followers.  You know they are savages because they are dark skinned and they will be saved by the whitest of white women ever, Daenerys.  She makes speeches about freeing the slaves, in between eating hearts and birthing dragons, that is.  Only through her will they, the dark skinned, almond-shaped eyed savages, be civilized.

I have to ask.  Is this the way of all Fantasy novels, this obsession with forced underage sex?  It was all very disturbing.  And, for the most part it seemed to be there for the purpose of titillation only; there was usually no reason for the “insert rape here” scene.  Most of the book had a bit of a misogynistic feel about it.

After everything I’d heard about A Game of Thrones, I was very disappointed.  And, I will admit, there were characters in the book I was drawn to: Arya, Jon, Tyrion, Daenerys.  I enjoyed the way the book moved from one point of view to another.  I enjoyed the creation of the different worlds and cultures, though most of them get destroyed.  But, I have to ask.  Where is the balance between good and evil?  This is such a bleak story, no happy endings, no heroes or heroines.  The ones you like get whacked.  You can’t trust anyone, there’s blood and gore all over the place.  Where is this story going?  Is there something I’m supposed to learn from it?  Watch what you do, you may not like the consequences. Never trust a eunuch.  Shouldn’t there be some good moments somewhere along the line?  All the books in this series are quite lengthy, but are all those words going anywhere? 

Even if this book didn’t contain way t-o-o many women being degraded, I would still have to ask, what is the point?  And, is there ever going to be a conclusion?  None of the story lines seem to have an ending.  There is only so much depressing stuff I can read before I quit reading. 

In the end, I liked the HBO series better than the book.  Usually, I prefer the written word to a movie because normally too much is written out or changed. In this case the reworking of A Game of Thrones is a good thing.

Sensuality: None.  However, what passes as sex is graphic.

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