Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ex Libris (Retro): George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones

Really, this book's old. But I had to do an article on George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, the first book of A Song of Fire and Ice series, for Metakritiko. (It's in preparation for the upcoming TV series in HBO, which a partner article takes up here.)

As I put it here:

What’s more, Martin depicted a world that wasn’t as clear-cut: good and evil were replaced with amoral characters willing to sacrifice themselves while heroic legends would do anything—even genocide—to win. In these worlds, there was no black or white, only shades of gray.

Even the New Wave of the ‘70s which made great changes in the science fiction and fantasy genres did not go as far. For his part, fantasy grandmaster Michael Moorcock only developed a view of a chaotic/neutral/ordered universe to replace Tolkien’s good/evil duality.

Instead, Martin’s fantasy world mirrors today’s reality of its ambiguity and uncertainty. Succeeding authors after Martin soon followed with characters that would fit in today’s world perfectly in making moral choices.

Choice words, I know. Am I slamming Moorcock here? More like noting a progression or evolution of the fantasy genre.

What do you think?

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