Sunday, 21 July 2013

A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE REVIEW

Hurry up, Fatty.

Yeah yeah, I haven't done any reviews for fucking years but because the 6,000 or so pages of George RR Martin's 'Song of Ice and Fire' (commonly known as Game of Thrones) took over my life for a few weeks I felt compelled to address it in this (now empty) forum. To get through 6000 pages I must've liked it. The start of that sentence infers the end of it. It's not like I was paid to read it. I lost sleep, obsessively checked things on Wiki so I was sure I had things right, had strong opinions on what happened and what should happen, and I became attached to characters that I loved, and loved to hate. So why do I feel so annoyed? Here's why.

* "Truth be told". If one more character said 'truth be told' just one more time I was going to hurt something. There's options. "To be honest..." is one such example. Even if he halved his usage of "truth be told" by giving equal weight to the just as banal "to be honest" it would have been a more enjoyable read. And you can't suggest it was just Westerosi idiom, because Free Cities and Wildling characters also said it. And yes, I argue I used the right word then when I called it idiom, because neither 'truth' (necessarily) nor 'telling' was at play. Also, saying 'idiom' makes me sound smarter than if I said 'figure of speech'. Fuck you. It's been a while since I've expressed myself with words. I have a baby, and I watch 'Giggle & Hoot' every day of my life.

* Did not give one flying fuck of a shit about anything that happened to Daenerys or anyone Daenerys met or where she went after Book One. Didn't care. I vagued out. By Book Five she was in some place called Meereen, and I forgot how she got there, and everyone's name had a 'Zh' in it, and there were sell-sword companies that were politically manoeuvring in and around her and I kept forgetting which was which and couldn't work out who I was supposed to be supporting. I wanted her and her dragons to just fuck off, and leave Westeros alone to have a good old fashioned war betwixt Lannisters, Starks, Greyjoys, Baratheons and young Griff (no spoilers here people), and some Others just for the lark of it. Daenerys and her fucking stupid dragons smell of deux ex machina. And she's a brat. "I want my kingdom!" And running around the desert begging strangers for armies like a junkie begs for heroin on Smith Street. She's as bad as her brother, despite the characters insisting she's not. But at least I hated her brother - that gave him dimension. Daenerys is a zero. Every time I ended a chapter I became excited about the next chapter... would it be Tyrion? Davos? Theon? Arya? Will Ramsay Bolton make an appearance? Like a kid on Christmas Day I would be overwhelmed with hope and happiness, then I'd see the name 'Daenerys' and my heart would sink. They'd start like this: "Seven Ejaculating Cows stormed into the palace wearing golden tassals above their shining armour.  Each were branded with the mark of the Zhodshxschena. Zhodrea no Fzho was breaking his fast. Truth be told, he was expecting them earlier..." and I'd think, "Who are the ejaculating cows again? Are they good guys or bad guys? Which one was Zhodrea no Fzho again? Oh fuck it, I'm going to bed..."

Both of you, FUCK OFF.

* I love books about power, sex, death, love and religion. Every book should be about those things. But no, writers insist on peddling introspective crap about ageing, or family, or longing, or duty, or 'passivity' (yes, you, David Foster Wallace - lucky I wasn't writing reviews when I read Infinte Jest because you would have been fucked. Up. (I'm sorry you're dead though - 'A Supposedly Fun Thing...' was brilliant)) or worse:  'feelings'. So finally I get a popular 6000 page epic on the very themes I demand in a book, but it's written by a guy who says 'truth be told' all the time, and he's making us wait an eternity for the next book (hurry the fuck up!) and his (arguably) main character is so boring I wish she came to life so I could have her killed. Some people were trying to kill her. Quarthians. Or Yunka'ianese. Or Ejaculating Cows. I can't remember, it was confusing, but I do remember thinking, "Oh please do it."

* I wish someone else wrote it.

** ***

But what the fuck. I loved it. I hated to love it, but I loved it. A-minus.

14 comments:

Cath said...

A very welcome back to the world of the living.. how is the babe? I am awaiting your reviews on children's books and television - I have a minefield of opinions on shows... eg Angelina Ballerina can go FUCK HERSELF, but I will take Peppa Pig home and cuddle her and her snorting family.

I digress - short children's attention span and all that.... I have not read the books, but have been watching the shows. I believe the show is VERY faithful to the book. Have you dared venture there? I don't mind Dragon girl, but frankly, the best character for my money is Arya. Gutsy, principled and good fun. The word that readily comes to mind when I think of the series is Bloodbath. My biggest issue is that I can't watch it with the kids around.

Perseus said...

Hey old friend!

Peppa Pig is okay, but my favourite is In The Night Garden, especially when they go for a ride in the Pinky Ponk. As much as it is a show for kids, it's also a kind of psychadelic gothic horror, which keeps me enthralled. The one that I hate is the animated one that has real faces. There's a scarecrow in it that has pain in his eyes. I don't like it, or him.

Yep - I avoided it for a couple of years but Andromeda insisted. I said "I'm not watching dragon shows" but then she said, "It has boobs!" and so I thought, "Well, I'll give it a go". I watched Series One, then went and bought the books. Only after I read the books did I take the show up again. Yes, it is quite close to the books (the only big difference was Robb's wife in the book was not that girl in the show, and in the books, she was not at the Red Wedding anyway - also, she wasn't pregnant).

I have another baby due in January because we couldn't be bothered packing down the cot.

How's your family?

Perseus said...

Oh, also, I tried the Jasper Fforde book 'The Big Over Easy' on your recommendation. Sorry. Hated it.

Cath said...

Do you ever log in to Gmail anymore? I could happily do with distracting conversation there during the daytime.... I am glad the brood is growing. Cot packing is a nightmare, so is culling baby clothes and toys - so best to keep producing children instead.

My two girls are gorgeous, delightful and perfect. Precocious, full of attitude and cheeky as well.

My eldest is a big fan of Maisy, but Subtle thinks she is an uppity mouse cause she can do anything. I personally think that that is positive role modelling.

I agree with the real face/animation combination - Dirt Girl I believe. Creepy. We also love Octonauts - sadly I have learnt things.... A big favourite here is also Little Charley Bear. Recently I did a Roy Morgan survey over a week of our television viewing habits - ABC for Kids was the only entry.

I haven't been reading much lately - did read some back to back Christopher Moore novels, which are just purely good fun and for a tired brain, very relaxing.

Cath said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alex said...

Hey Pers, saw mention of this review over at melba's and popped in for a look. I've been watching the show and wondering whether or not the book series was worth picking up. Maybe I'll wait until it's finished. Hopefully Martin doesn't die before then.

Is Dragon girl worse in the book than the show, or do you hate them both? I don't mind her, although I fear the ultimate climax is going to be some ridiculously overblown dragon v zombie thing. Peter Dinklage has been kind of stealing the show so far, in my opinion.

Also, Cath, have you seen Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom? It looks to me like it was done by the Peppa Pig people and is funny enough that I watch it even when I don't have kids around.

Perseus said...

Hey Alex, good to her from you.
The book series is definitely worth picking up. As much as I love the show, there's more depth in the books (as is the the nature of books).
Dragon girl is bearable in the TV show because she gets her tits out, she's hot, and the TV writers / producers, for reasons that are obvious, do away with the complex political machinations she gets involved with in the books. I actually like her in the show, but in the books, when I'm stuck with her boring thoughts, and the hundreds of new characters she meets (that I can't keep atop of), she's insufferable.

And yep, Dinklage is amazingly good in the show. Tyrion is everyone's favourite, though in the books, I find myself equally engaged by the whole Jaime / Brienne relationship. That's been a highlight of the books.

Perseus said...

Hear from you.

Alex said...

I was most pleased to see Jamie Kingslayer lose his sword hand. It means something a bit different is going to have to be done with the character. And, like his siblings, he's no doubt going to be facing an unwanted marriage, at some point that's probably ancient history for those reading the books.

How far is the show behind, by the way?

Also, have you seen Yarramundi Kids on NITV? The Dirt Girl faces may be off-putting but those puppets are fucking horrifying.

Perseus said...

Aside from the chucking of Bran out the window, Jaime, oddly, is the most moral character in the story. I doubt he'll get married - as a Kingsguard he's not allowed.

The TV show is about three seasons behind the books, maybe four. If you have the time I heartily recommend reading them.

I'll check out Yarramundi... I need some new shows. Baby Norsename is already getting sick of the same shows over and over.

Cath said...

Funny Pers... My kids love the same shows OVER AND OVER. Is this indicative of their tolerance level for shit? Alex, I will keep an eye out for Little Kingdom. Willing to try most things these days, just so that I don't poke my eyes out.

To my great shame, my eldest starting mentioning "ballerina", and standing in one of the standard positions the other day. This led to her wanting to find a frou-frou-ish dress and wearing that out. In public. That damn Angelina rat is going to be the end of me. Thankfully, given the choice of the world for her next birthday cake, she has chosen a train. So. Proud.

squib said...

I'm taking Robinson Crusoe to Spain and since I'm flying Ryanair that will be half my luggage allowance. I think it will have too much God. I haven't gone anywhere near this Game of Thrones business. You're not exactly selling it to me here. I conned Mr Squib into taking Little Squib to see Smurfs II thusly, 'Hey, Papa is taking you to see Smurfs II on Saturday.'

Perseus said...

Lewd Bob read Robinson Crusoe and said it was a mind fuck. Or was it Gulliver's Travels? One of 'em was a mind fuck. I haven't read Robinson Crusoe but I saw Castaway starring Tom Hanks. Same thing, right?

As for GoT... just watch the TV show if you can. It might be good for Mr Squib to recover from Smurfs II.

squib said...

I reckon it must have been Gulliver. Crusoe is very straight forward but get this, Crusoe is a slave trader. He also kills kittens. AND he makes a collapsing umbrella from sticks. I didn't like him