Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Game of Thrones Was Not Written For Me

It is, once again, the middle of my lunch break at work. As usual, I was reading A Game of Thrones while eating my lunch.

Right before my coworkers came in and distracted me, I read a passage that made it abundantly clear that George R.R. Martin is a horrible writer.

The mark of a good writer is that he (or she -- I'm just gonna use 'he' for brevity) can write clean prose that is still descriptive, while giving each character depth, feeling, and a voice. A character's thoughts, words, and actions need to ring true. They can't just be what the author thinks the character would do, think, or say based on how the author wants the story to unfold. Characters also should not act as mirrors for main characters by saying, thinking, and doing things that only reflect their opinion of the main character rather than something about themselves.

Good writers observe people and read a variety of books. They then sublimate this information into characters who don't act the way the author desires them to act, but in a way that a real person with the characteristics of the character, at the time the character was living would act.

This is why Pride&Prejudice rocks as a piece of literature. All the characters in the book act like real people. They're just as dumb, impetuous, narcissistic, selfish, and stubborn as real people. And while the mores of time during which P&P is set are alien to us now, the way the characters behave is not.

Now back to A Game of Thrones.

George R.R. Martin (GRRM) has written a character with no flaws in Eddard Stark. The man's fucking perfect. He takes care of his bastard son. He takes care of his kids. He is just. He is compassionate. He is fair. He is everything you want in a hero and so much fucking more. He is so fucking fantastic that all his wife wants to do is let him impregnate her.

To wit:
[Eddard Stark] looked somehow smaller and more vulnerable, like the youth she had wed in the sept at Riverrun, fifteen long years gone. Her loins still ached from the urgency of his lovemaking. It was a good ache. She could fill his seed within her. She preyaed it would quicken there. [...] She was not too old. She could give him another son.
 I'll give you a moment to finish your "Ewwwwww!"

All good? Great. Moving on.

Stark's wife is sitting in bed after he's apparently pounded her like nobody's business and what is she thinking? "My husband still looks hot. I'm not old yet. I hope I get preggers again. That way I'll prove to him that I'm worthy. Plus he's so awesome that I just totes want to be preggers by him!"

What does that tell us about these two people? It tells us that Stark is FUCKING ACES! YEAH!


We learn that Stark still looks young, even though he's old. We learn that he can still bring his wife...wait...I was going to say "bring his wife to orgasm", but that's not clear. All we know is that his wife has genital bruising. Let's be generous and say that he can still satisfy his wife (who may have never actually had a good lover, for all we know). Finally, we know that he's such a great guy that his wife hopes that she's not too old for him and can still carry another kid -- a son, specifically.

What do we learn about Stark's wife? We learn that she is a figment of someone's imagination because no woman in the history of humanity has ever thunk these things after sex. Ever.

I could believe that she thought her husband was pretty hot. I could believe that she thought that her 'nads were achy. But that's where it ends. I doubt she'd be thinking, "I hope I'm not too old" or "I hope I get preggers". I'd be more inclined to think that she'd be thinking that that was a pretty good romp, and that she would really like a nice bath and maybe a nap. And why the fuck isn't her husband coming to bed to cuddle?


I'm not renewing the loan on this book. I'm done.


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