- I’m trying to fit ASOIAF into a grand narrative landscape, one that implies intentionality and purpose from Martin. He gives us several clues, methinks…
- The first clue is his observation that he tries not to recreate the War of the Rings but instead the War of the Roses. He thus rejects or at least tweeks with the world of fantasy, arguing clearly that he wants to ground his work in historical reality. And then he adds dragons. And he is also a science fiction and horror writer, so he’s comfortable crossing genres.
- That grounding offers several problems, then, the first of which are our expectations. There have been many fantasy series that attempted to explode generic conventions, but this one goes about as far as possible, starting with the death of all characters who we might find redeeming, and the way that the books won’t let us enjoy even Joffrey’s death.
- The neat narrative wrap-up that we might expect, with the hero bringing the boon and then leaving us, might not happen. For all I know GRRM’s inability to wrap up the novels might be an intentional poke at us reminding us not to need narrative resolutions.
- From a continued craft perspective, the multiplicity of threads, huge number of point of view characters, and the limited narrative vision are probably all comments on GRRM’s part as well, as are all the feints and what feel like deliberate bits of misinformation. This series almost has to be re-read – I realized in my first read-through that by the time I got to DwD I had no idea what was happening up north (I completely missed what Manderly, for instance was doing), and the Young Griff storyline made little sense. I’m still not sure that I understand the Moqorro narrative still…
- At this point, I’m attributing way too much credit to Martin, methinks. And then I don’t think so, because he is without a doubt creating an incredibly complex world.