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GRRM's "A Song of Ice and Fire" Spoiler Free

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Philip Overby, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

  2. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    Bear with me--I'll get somewhere with this in a moment.

    When I heard about Madoka Magica, the people who gushed over it made me want nothing to do with it. They kept talking about how dark and depressing it was, and I wasn't really interested in dark and depressing. Then I encountered a fan who discussed it not as "dark", but as a great show, so I watched it and loved it.

    I hear ASoIaF fans talk all the time about how it's dark and gritty and everyone gets raped and dies. I've never been sold on a series on the grounds that everyone gets raped and dies. But there has to be something beyond surface darkness that draws people to this series. Would anyone care to make the case for why I should read it?
  3. Kit

    Kit Maester

    I wouldn't say "everyone gets raped and dies"... there's definitely a good deal of hardship and conflict, and people die- there are wars and political intrigue and some brutal environments. It's not a quilting bee. I don't find it excessively dark. Some people just don't expect any main characters to die when they read a story, and everything to work out Happily Ever After, and they just can't handle it.

    The characterization is sublime. I also like that there are many layers in the story- the casual reader can enjoy it just getting to know interesting people, but there are plenty of deeper questions and issues for the fanatics who can quote every word to discuss.

    The many storylines ensure that everyone will find someone to root for.

    I also like that there are is moral complexity. Characters that I can't decide if I like them or hate them, situations where I'm not sure what I would have done in that place.
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  4. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    I would agree with Kit. The characterization is what makes the series, not the grittiness or any other surface reason. People LOVE these characters, and I think that's sole reason enough to enjoy the series. A lot of people put it down before a lot of really great stuff happens. Usually people who read A Game of Thrones all the way through will get hooked.

    The moral complexity, as Kit says, is also worth reading for. There are really times that I hate a character in one scene and love them in the next. Their decisions are "human" (which is often something the actors who portray the characters in the TV show say, which is true) and therefore may cause readers to think, "Wow, what would I have done in that situation?"

    So, yeah, don't read it because "people get raped and die." That's not what it's about. I love it, but others may not for whatever reason. If you're an overly sensitive reader, then it may bug you. But if you let go of that, you can enjoy it for what it is: a great story with great characters.
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  5. Sheriff Woody

    Sheriff Woody Troubadour

    The characters are incredibly well-drawn, plain and simple.

    The story is full of conflict, internal and external, and it's never certain what will happen next. Some situations are hinted at or foreshadowed, and you start to envision how it will play out, and it never plays out as you would expect, which keeps the story constantly engaging.

    And it's just written very well overall.

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