The Outlaw Life

running, reading, blogging, loving

What I Spent Over a Year of My Life Doing

So, I don’t know how many of you know this, but there is this thing out there and it’s called Game of Thrones. And it’s this big, sci-fi-y deal and there is a TV show and Peter Dinklage and about a million pages in the first five (of an eventual seven) books. I started with the first volume, Game of Thrones, in January of 2012, shortly after I graduated college and before I got my first ‘real’ job – which, coincidentally, I only kept for a few months – and here I was, all fine and dandy and thinking “I love Sean Bean! I like fantasy. What could really happen here”. Little did I know that Sean Bean wouldn’t be around long, and that, like, 4908 pages (yes, that’s an exact count, given Goodreads pages numbers) later I’d be just wrapping up the series.

I’ve been working on what to say about this whole Herculean reading experience, and have drafted Song of Ice and Fire posts three or four times, but I’m never sure what to say. The plot summary is daunting. The characters are daunting. I don’t even want to think about attempting a scholarly analysis of these books (although I definitely think that these books would benefit from some scholarly conversation on women, power, loyalty, and family, to name a few), so here I am. I just finished up Dance with Dragons, the fifth, so I’m kind of out of stall time to write about what I spent a year of my life doing reading. Having exhausted my other options, I shall simply have to default to my funny GIF raving – let’s begin, shall we?

nights watch

Oh, George R.R. Martin. Let me just start with the list of thoughts that first come to mind when I try to encapsulate the awestriking literary clusterfuck that is Song of Ice and Fire: Sansa Stark is a twit. Poor Reek. WHY is there so much raping? I mean, I get it – psuedo-quasi English-esque monarchy epic in which there is a constant war happening tends to lend itself to lots of rape-age. I don’t approve of it, but I get it. But this book? If it’s not a whore, it’s a rape, and 99% of all the wives in this book end up either dead or are totally vapid! It’s a little frustrating. Moving on from that…this man knows how to craft a twist. I mean, you’ve got to be to fill this many pages with a plot that keeps them turning. There where times when I just wanted to be like DAMN IT, MAN, CAN’T YOU JUST STOP KILLING ALL THE PEOPLE!

oh-the-huge-manatee

(side note: that’s basically my favorite picture EVER, mostly because it’s applicable in all situations anywhere ever). Let’s chat a bit about the characters, now that the mind-dump portion of the post is over. With these books, all the characters fall in to either one of two camps: ermaghadILOVEYOU or ewwwwwwwwwwwwwcreepdickbastard. There are those that may be somewhat fair to middling (basically the only two people I’m thinking of here are Stannis and Melisandre, for whom I have nothing but ‘meh’ fellings), but for the most part it’s either love them (Tyrion, Daenerys, Jon Snow, Davos, Jorah Mormont, Cersei Lannister in a kind of fucked up way, Bran Stark, Varys) or hate them (the rest of the Lannisters, Arya, Sansa, Littlefinger, Samwell Tarly, the Tyrell’s, and Sandor Clegane). Of course, there are like a bajillion minor and side characters, most of whom I tend to skim over, but, for the most part, the characters that Martin has created are easy to love, enjoyable to hate, and when they surprise us, it’s not always for the better.

outside bra

As much as I mock, and although there truly is much that is mockable about this series, I do think that there is something to be said for books that are good enough to keep a reader interested, engaged, and to keep the material fresh enough that the reader is kept coming back for all five – and, when they’re out – seven books. George didn’t quite ace this every time (see the ENTIRETY of book four, A Feast for Crows, which was THE most painful reading experience I’ve, like, ever had. EVER.), but for the most part I think he did a really good job. And, it has to be said, I don’t think that the TV show is all that bad. In fact, it’s pretty much the shit.

tumblr_mb0sxsXxto1qjsk0wo6_r1_250As I said before, I love Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister the most out of all the things I’ve already said I love in this post. I mean, I think that not only is he a dashingly handsome man (my husband, as a matter of fact, agrees) but his acting chops, especially his comedic timing, has really taken the show to a new level, and kept me on the lookout for Tyrion’s chapters throughout the whole of the novel. Of course, Emilia Clarke does an AMAZING job as the hottie-with-dragons Daenerys Targaryen (did I mention how totally lady-boner-ific Emilia Clarke is?!) and the rest of the cast just fills out so well that, to be honest, its kind of more fun to watch the show than to read the books. Kind of. But just a little.

I’ve written almost 1,000 words of my own about these books, with narry a plot summary in sight. Which is fine by me. At the end of the day, these are those tomes of rather amazing fantasy, in which there is much pillaging, pirating, raping, political intrigue, spurned lovers, revenge gone wrong, revenge gone right, and all kinds of secrets hidden behind smiles and shadows on the wall and things that were dead that come back to life – and things that were alive are suddenly dead. It kept me on my toes for over a year (minus the few dark months of Feast for Crows) and in the end, so far all I have to say to Mr. Martin is:

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Rating: Overall, hell yeah!

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