7 05 2013

complete with hot tub in the middle of a densely crowded war zone IS becoming a bit of a cliche, not just in fantasy but in historical fiction as well. 

The last one I read was in The Religion, set during the Turkish siege of Malta, where the hero wasn’t only a formidable warrior, military genius, master spy and sexual dynamo, he also possessed the engineering expertise to build a functional love jacuzzi and keep it secret from the starving wounded filthy multitudes crammed into the city blocks surrounding it, even while having frequent wild sex with the most mindbogglingly beautiful woman in the city.

The Religion WAS a fine book, by the way. It’s one of the few I’ve enjoyed enough to hang onto the paperback even after moving. Yes, the hero does seem dangerously close to being a Mary Sue from my description, but there’s a good reason why he’s so capable. In addition, he also has a fatal flaw that sneaks up on him in a way that makes him pay. Dearly.

As for Game of Thrones — a recent episode of which inspired the whole “love hideaway” post — whoever wrote the screenplay adapting it to HBO did incredible work. George R.R. Martin’s strategic choices about GoT — following so many characters, so many of whom are flat or predictable — involved putting the story itself at terrible risk. But he possessed the extraordinary skill to make it work, beautifully. Even the flat, predictable characters, besides moving the plot along, make the dynamic characters (and the world itself!) more vivid, and more endearing. He understands that 40 or 50 characters can’t ALL be wonderful and fascinating — not if the desired object is a realistic, gritty world. 

It’s almost like cheating, how Martin took so many daring risks and pulled it off. It’s like walking a tightrope wasn’t enough, he needed to ride a unicycle across it. In heavy winds. At a 45-degree angle. Upwards. And on and on!

And the way this epic doorstopper is being adapted to such a highly entertaining TV series — well, that’s just wrong. It feels like it almost shouldn’t be possible! 

Imagine if it were YOU in John Snow’s place, in the middle of a long-awaited consummation with your new love. Do you really think you’d have the place to yourself? Or would you be lost in a crowd of sweaty barbarians stacked like cordwood?