If you like good writing, you’ll love Martin; but, you’ll detest him in this arena as well. His grammar and diction are impeccable–his syntax superb. Reading `most’ of his writing is a pleasure, but it can also be a tedious journey that mirrors the turmoil of his characters. Appropriate or testing?
An example. Martin might say something like (these are far from exact quotes–actually, I made them up entirely), “There were many knights at the gathering. There was Garl from the Wolfhead Clan with his bronze shield and iron dagger. Then came Smoot of the Hollow Mountain, his hair twisted and…etc. etc.” This list could mention thirty-some names, mostly characters with no role in the plot, just providers of depth in a world not lacking it. Martin goes overboard sometimes in the scope and breadth of the grandeur of his fantastical universe. There are many such lists and most are unnecessary to the n’th degree, aggravating even. I doubt I am the only reader who skips them almost entirely.
I can only imagine Martin’s brilliance at keeping up with it all. The detail is something that makes the series unique and awe-inspiring, but it also clouds the flow of simply enjoying a good read–something all fantasy-lovers share.
The Black Hole
I wonder if Martin dug himself into a hole reminiscent of the writer’s from the TV series Lost. Can he possibly wrap-up the seemingly infinite plot lines he’s created? He’s a master of the craft and genre, so I sure as hell hope so, but with only two books left to go in the series…I have my doubts.
I’m addicted to the `game of thrones’ as it plays out for readers. Like our own world, so many lust for power, but when is it too much to maintain the scope of a good, manageable story? Maybe this simply isn’t Martin’s concern. Maybe he’s ok if we as readers don’t follow it all or don’t want to follow it all. Stephen King, in his book On Writing, used the metaphor of a sculptor for the writer and the writing process. As a writer chips away at his story, the world, character, and plot are revealed. Maybe Martin is just telling it like it is, sharing the world as he discovers it.
But damn-it man…will Daenerys ever make it home? What about this king or that one? Will he take true power? Did you really just kill off Snow? If not, what the heck were you doing to us man?
It’s these very frustrations that make me want to read–as much as I complain. It’s the same reason I loved the pain-inducing finale of King’s Dark Tower series, when Roland comes to find he’s back at the beginning.
But, I’m still worried. I’ll have faith in Martin, for now–I just want to see if he can pull it off.
I don’t regret a word I ready in the five-book series. I will admit I skipped some, and I almost never do this. I savor every word in the genre. But, for many reasons, I found myself skipping across the more boring sections like a stone across a lake, just touching down for a moment to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Then, I’d fall back into the depths of good-story telling, and find myself immersed in an unparalleled adventure.
I highly recommend A Song of Ice and Fire, but be prepared for war. You’ll battle with the effort in the intake, the lengthy diatribes into space, and the long waits between your favorite characters. But it’s worth it. The toil is Martin’s test to the reader. I hope you’re worthy.