Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Annotation Project: A Game of Thrones

Permission to treat this book as hostile?  Like Festivus, these annotations turn into a bit of an airing of grievances, even though there’s a lot to like about this book and this series.  I’ll get into my history with the series next time.  You can download these notes as a Word file here.  As always, apologies that this series doesn’t work very well on phones. 


Sam Zucca said...

That was very well thought out, I haven't read the books in a while, but even then the conservative themes flew right by me. As for the language, this might help you out: https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/04/03/the-language-of-game-of-thrones/. I'm not sure about all of the names, but at least Stark and Lannister come from the houses York and Lancaster, and 'Ser' and 'Maester' are both Middle English.

Jesse Baruffi said...

Martin doesn't come across as conservative in the modern American style of the term, at least in blog posts and other writings. I wonder if it's something inherent to the fantasy genre that tends to drive stories in that direction.

Matt Bird said...

Sam-- I did wonder. It seems Martin is using Middle English just in little bits to create a feeling of another world.

Jesse, I'm actually not surprised to find out he's not a right-winger. Martin has created a world in which compassion is always punished and ultimately pointless, but is that because he genuinely dislikes compassion (in the way that Ayn Rand does), or simply because he's a basically compassionate person, writing for compassionate readers, who wishes to torture himself and his readers for what he sees as their own and his own weakness? I eventually gave up on both the TV series and books series because I said "I'm just not masochistic enough to let him torture me anymore." I think maybe the ultimate masochist may be Martin himself, and he's written this miserable (but beautifully-written) series to punish himself.

McL said...

Does this tie into the story writing convention of "think of the worst thing to do to your character, and then do it" to create drama? And while he does punish a lot of characters for being compassionate, he does reward characters for a sense of humour, and an ability to adapt to situations, which are not conservative traits. Think of how Tyrion is one of the most beloved. He's lost things, but it looks now like he's in a good position of backing the right side, from a position of power and dignity. Aria isn't funny, but she's adapted. Varis is funny and adapts to changes well. Maybe Martin is showing not that compassion and youth are folly, but that they are up against a strong foe? One which has high costs?

Matt Bird said...

Good points, all.

metas said...

Man I would kill to get annotation like this in podcast form. I would listen to it 100 times over on a loop.
Unrelated Question: Is there a social humiliation event in Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit?
Would love to see some annotation of those books ;)