Game of Nice and Fire: Time for a New Sansa Chapter!

Oh my god, you guys, there’s a new Song of Ice and Fire scene out! Which means that I have to work out my sick obsession for midgrade fantasy writing all over it. This time it’s a Alayne viewpoint scene, which is… oh man. I like the Sansa/Alayne character. Maybe I’m the only one, but I do I like that she’s not overpowered (Arya) or a dimbulb (Arianne) or a once-interesting character turned into a boring evil-queen stereotype (Cersei–why did the Cersei viewpoint have to happen at all? Why?) There are still some cool things that can happen with Sansa/Alayne, as long as the character is allowed to grow. Which… well, it’s George R.R. Martin. So yeah.

Warning: There are a lot of Petyr Baelish-related digressions up ahead. If you can’t handle the Baelish and his smoove moves, you might want to skip this one. Continue reading →

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Having Thoughts on Arianne

Somebody very important has gone missing! Specifically, it’s Arianne Martell. She’s missing from the Game of Thrones season 5 casting list, and people are angry. Some of the complaints are because Arianne is a strong female character.

Reaaaaally? Is it possible that George R.R. Martin really created a strong female character?

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Like, a real one? Or one who can twist her butt in line with her boobs? Cause that doesn’t count. Continue reading →

Is George R.R. Martin Telling a Rape Joke, Because Come On

Hey, the new season of Game of Thrones is coming out! I like the Game of Thrones tv show, it’s like the books but some of the stupid taken out! And with pretty things to look at instead of endless poorly done descriptive prose! All hail the televisual format!

So let’s celebrate with a new chapter from the inferior source material! Guess what, Arya is almost all grown up and that means lots and lots of rape! Seriously, from stage rape to kid rape to prostitute rape, this one has all the rape scenarios. If you like your sex without consent or adults, this is one for you. Continue reading →

George R.R. Martin Hates Puppies and Kittens, Loves Disembowellings

Found this article on the “feminist” nature of Game of Thrones through chiusse’s succinct takedown. I’m not even sure how to define feminism anymore, but I think I understand Daniel Mendelsohn’s definition of feminism, which is “hey, there’s a chick with a sword in this!” All righty then, I think beautiful women with swords are hot, too, but I’m not sure how they relate to any sort of movement or ideal.

However, reading Mendelsohn’s piece reminds me of an issue I have with Martin’s books that goes beyond gender —that is, how goddamn lonely and painful his world is. According to Mendelsohn, Martin’s characters have “human dilemmas,” whatever that means, but all those problems end badly, usually in violence. There aren’t any decent ways to connect with other human beings or even with something abstract, like an ideal. Westeros is basically Thomas Hobbes’s state of nature, where any sort of bond between people is weak and easily broken in self-interest, only with added misanthropy. Continue reading →

the arya problem

In my last post, I went on and on about Sansa from Song of Ice and Fire. Now I have to turn to the other sister. People love the character of Arya. I know why—it’s the fantasy of being a stone-cold killer, with nothing that you have to care for but revenge. This would suck in real life, but in fantasy it’s an awesome story arc.

Arya’s storyline really kicks off when after her father’s death, she’s disguised as a boy and taken by one of her father’s allies on the journey to the Wall, the big old Alcatraz of the snowy North. It’s made very clear that Arya has to maintain her gender disguise, or otherwise Bad Things Will Happen. Since she succeeds, she’s protected. Continue reading →

the physics of rape in the grimdark universe

Have been reading Requires Only That You Hate’s response to Nerine Dorman’s review of Prince of Thorns. Dorman’s review argues that the rape scenes in Prince of Thorns are OK because “Um. Hello. This is WAR.” Dorman’s review sparked my response, because it’s pick-and-choose realism (pick-and-choose realism that’s all for more rape in books, which is even more ridiculous). Not that rape doesn’t happen during war, but that in these books rape—a tool of physical terror—suddenly “turns off” when confronted by our special protagonist. A group of hardened rapist mercenaries wouldn’t submit to the personal leadership of a thirteen-year-old boy due to his charisma or intelligence or shininess or whatever. They’d probably just rape him, too, and go off on their merry way. (“But that would be gay!” Guess what, in total war, sexual taboos tend to go by the wayside. All of them. Get used to reality, weakling.)

But the post also got me thinking—so how does rape work in the grimdark universe? I’ve come up with four ways. You may have more! Continue reading →