[Zagreus] "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

edited June 2001 in General Discussion

Comments

  • edited December 1969
    OK, I spent about ten seconds looking for the Myth Story site, but when I hit an "under construction" page at mythstory.com, I came here. So maybe this is old news ...

    I was reading A Game of Thrones recently, and didn't think much about the "fighting off the animated corpses of your fallen comrades" angle since it wasn't that big a part of the story, but then when the author started calling them "wights" I had to stand up and take notice.

    I checked the copyright: 1996. Myth I came out in 1997, so the dates are a little tight but it might be possible. Anyone know if this is one of the sources of the Myth backstory?

    In any case, I heartily recommend the book -- it's part of a growing genre of what I like to call "realist fantasy": hard-edged political intrigue set inside a make-believe world. Lotsa fun. And the author, George Martin -- that guy has some serious issues to work out. You'll have to read the book to see what I mean.

    Zag
  • edited December 1969
    Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

    I'd guess not, but who knows. The wight thing is an interesting coincidence.

    I would however second the recommendation for the series. It has a few interesting things going for it:

    - Sincerity. No postmodern winky-winky from the author. Absolutely convicting character behavior. A fully fleshed world that doesn't feel like a stereotypical medieval rip or a D&D module.

    - A realist feel that doesn't dwell on "look how realistic I'm being!" I.e. castles are drafty and dirty but he doesn't dwell on that. The lower classes have it hard but he doesn't obssess about that. The story deals with the interesting stuff -- action, and mystical happenings, and the politics of kings; the realism is the setting rather than the foreground.

    - A multi-threaded narrative style that doesn't make you want to skip through the boring threads to get back to the one you like. Pretty much always when a new thread rolls in I'm like "Cool, I've been wondering about what was happening with them!"

    - So far... it's been getting better and richer as it goes. (And the first book was pretty damn good.) If he doesn't finish this up with a bang, or dribbles away into a half-dozen books that need to be edited with a chainsaw, I will be VERY displeased. :-) And surprised.

    As always, YMMV of course. In this case fortunately the first book seems to be a good representative of the rest of the series, so you could nab it from the library or something to test the waters.

    It's hard to rate an unfinished series, but so far this is among the best. I wouldn't put it up there with Gene Wolfe's work (altho I'm sure there are readers that would enjoy it more), and it's hard for me to objectively compare things to LotR, but at the moment I can't think of much other competition it has among fantasy series.

  • edited December 1969
    Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

    From what I have read, there is going to be 5 books total, with the next one (#4) coming out in fall of 2002.

    I also like these books alot, i just wish he would write faster, or that i didn't find the series till he was almost done :P

    Spit



    image
  • edited December 1969
    Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

    I also like these books alot, i just wish he would write faster,
    or that i didn't find the series till he was almost done :P

    While poking around recently I came across a rumor that he suffered serious writer's block while working on #3, which delayed its release. But all indications are that he got back on track. I've ordered #2 from Amazon, and am looking forward to hopping back into that world.

    Zag
  • edited December 1969
    Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

    - Sincerity. No postmodern winky-winky from the author.
    Absolutely convicting character behavior.

    Yes, absolutely. One measure of the book's quality is I almost immediately started thinking of the characters as real people, rather than as plot devices. "Yes, that's exactly the sort of thing that she'd do, the bitch!" He does a very nice job of introducing flaws in his characters that slowly, inexorably lead to bad things happening.

    - A realist feel that doesn't dwell on "look how realistic
    I'm being!" I.e. castles are drafty and dirty but he
    doesn't dwell on that. The lower classes have it hard but he
    doesn't obssess about that. The story deals with the interesting
    stuff -- action, and mystical happenings, and the politics of
    kings; the realism is the setting rather than the foreground.

    Also I'd argue that the realism is in what's understood to be the interesting stuff. I read plenty of half-baked fantasy in my wasted youth in which there was no social complexity at all -- you had good, you had evil, and they fought each other, no questions asked. This book is largely about people trying to decide whether or not to fight one another, and he manages to bring more drama out of their internal and external conflicts than most authors could find in thousands of pages of swordplay.

    Oh, and one more crucial bit of realism that's often neglected in sf: bad things happening to good people. This is one author who understands that the good guy doesn't always live to see the end of the story. Knowing that, the drama is all the more heightened since pretty much anything is possible.

    - A multi-threaded narrative style that doesn't make you want to
    skip through the boring threads to get back to the one you like.
    Pretty much always when a new thread rolls in I'm like
    "Cool, I've been wondering about what was happening with
    them!"

    Though when I see a chapter entitled "Sansa," I do tend to groan a bit. Talk about clueless (at least in book #1).

    - So far... it's been getting better and richer as it goes. (And
    the first book was pretty damn good.) If he doesn't finish this
    up with a bang, or dribbles away into a half-dozen books that
    need to be edited with a chainsaw, I will be VERY displeased.

    "Robert Jordan," anyone?

    It's hard to rate an unfinished series, but so far this is among
    the best. I wouldn't put it up there with Gene Wolfe's work
    (altho I'm sure there are readers that would enjoy it more),

    Including me, I'm afraid. I certainly appreciate Wolfe's work, he's an artist. But I can't say that I really enjoy it. I guess I need my surreal and hallucinatory narratives to be a bit ... well, a bit less surreal and hallucinatory.

    Zag
  • edited December 1969
    Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

    Geez, tell me about it. Damn slacker. :-)

  • edited December 1969
    Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

    Also I'd argue that the realism is in what's understood to be
    the interesting stuff. I read plenty of half-baked fantasy in my
    wasted youth in which there was no social complexity at all --
    you had good, you had evil, and they fought each other, no
    questions asked. This book is largely about people trying to
    decide whether or not to fight one another, and he manages to
    bring more drama out of their internal and external conflicts
    than most authors could find in thousands of pages of swordplay.

    True, true. And another sign of his skillz is that even so he has characters you genuinely like and root for, and characters that definitely get on your bad side. He doesn't make everyone so conflicted and ambiguous that you find yourself without any real involvement in them.

    Including me, I'm afraid. I certainly appreciate Wolfe's work,
    he's an artist. But I can't say that I really enjoy it. I guess
    I need my surreal and hallucinatory narratives to be a bit ...
    well, a bit less surreal and hallucinatory.

    Heheh. I wasn't really thinking along those lines -- although now that you mention it the New Sun / Long Sun / Short Sun books (which are what I had in mind) definitely have some surreal stretches. I was thinking more of Wolfe's habit of having things happen that aren't explained until one or two books later, or the narrating character telling you the wrong things (from misunderstanding or just plain lying), or events being mentioned in passing that you eventually realize have great significance, etc. Seems to me like people could react to that poorly, and it's probably not a reaction one can consciously control one way or the other. But if that sort of thing intrigues rather than irritates... Wolfe is maybe the best at it there is.

    The Thrones series on the other hand, while complex, does lay things out for you without any flim-flam.

  • edited December 1969
    Wolfe

    Heheh. I wasn't really thinking along those lines -- although
    now that you mention it the New Sun / Long Sun / Short Sun books
    (which are what I had in mind) definitely have some surreal
    stretches. I was thinking more of Wolfe's habit of having things
    happen that aren't explained until one or two books later, or
    the narrating character telling you the wrong things (from
    misunderstanding or just plain lying), or events being mentioned
    in passing that you eventually realize have great significance,
    etc. Seems to me like people could react to that poorly, and
    it's probably not a reaction one can consciously control one way
    or the other. But if that sort of thing intrigues rather than
    irritates... Wolfe is maybe the best at it there is.

    Wolfe can definitely be obtuse, but as you note, that's one of his charms. He has a real talent for getting things across without exposition. Shadow of the Torturer remains one of my favorite books, and the long sun series is pretty good too.

    I believe that Bloodrain also recommended Martin's stuff. One of these days I'll check it out I suppose.

    Woo.
  • edited December 1969
    [b]Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?[/b]

    [quote]
    I was reading A Game of Thrones recently, and didn't think
    much about the "fighting off the animated corpses of your
    fallen comrades" angle since it wasn't that big a part of
    the story, but then when the author started calling them
    "wights" I had to stand up and take notice.

    I checked the copyright: 1996. Myth I came out in 1997, so the
    dates are a little tight but it might be possible. Anyone know
    if this is one of the sources of the Myth backstory?

    [/quote]
    Unlikely. As you note, the timing would be a bit tight. More importantly, "wight" is an archaic English word meaning a living creature or a human being. It also has a connotation of a supernatural being, which probably accounts for its use by Tolkien for his barrow-wights and Martin for the creatures raised from the dead by the Others. I'd be more inclined to think Tolkien was a source for the Myth critter's name.

    [quote]
    In any case, I heartily recommend the book -- it's part of a
    growing genre of what I like to call "realist
    fantasy": hard-edged political intrigue set inside a
    make-believe world. Lotsa fun. And the author, George Martin --
    that guy has some serious issues to work out. You'll have to
    read the book to see what I mean.

    [/quote]
    Here's an excerpt from an interview available at Martin's website (www.georgerrmartin.com):
    NG: Three more volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire wait to be written. What shape do you expect them to take, and are their titles finalized as yet?

    GRRM: Yes, three more volumes remain. The series could almost be considered as two linked trilogies, although I tend to think of it more as one long story. The next book, A Dance With Dragons, will focus on the return of Daenerys Targaryen to Westeros, and the conflicts that creates. After that comes The Winds of Winter. I have been calling the final volume A Time For Wolves, but I am not happy with that title and will probably change it if I can come up with one that I like better.
    There is a whole Song of Ice and Fire webring out there for those who are interested. I haven't looked at much of it, because I don't have the time. But yes, as rojay noted in an earlier message, I have been flogging this series for a while now. I have to go back and reread the first three books one of these days, probably as soon as A Storm of Swords comes out in paperback.
  • edited December 1969
    Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

    6 books!!! I thought it was five. At this rate, it will be finished by 2006 or so. ugh.

    Why can't anyone write a normal trilogy these days :P

    Spit



    image
  • edited December 1969
    Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

    6 books!!! I thought it was five. At this rate, it will be
    finished by 2006 or so. ugh.

    Why can't anyone write a normal trilogy these days :P

    Martin did. He's finished with one and is about to start another one. As I understand it, there will be a considerable time gap between the end of the first trilogy and the beginning of the next. Yes, they are linked, but it's not like some people who set out to write a trilogy and aren't finished eight books later. *cough*Jordan*cough*
  • edited December 1969
    Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

    Hails!

    He may call the first 3 a trilogy, but as far as i am concerned....there wasn't a single finished thread in those books (except for all the poeple that died:). trilogy shmilogy :P

    Spit

    ps

    I really can't see how he can go too far in the future...there was stuff happening right then....I'll be pissed if he just glazes over them as history.


    image
  • edited December 1969
    Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

    Hails!

    He may call the first 3 a trilogy, but as far as i am
    concerned....there wasn't a single finished thread in those
    books (except for all the poeple that died:). trilogy shmilogy
    :P

    Nah. A war ended, a king was on the throne. That wraps the big things up. 8-)

    I really can't see how he can go too far in the future...there
    was stuff happening right then....I'll be pissed if he just
    glazes over them as history.

    I don't think he'll jump too far forward, but I also don't think he's starting Book 4 the day after the end of Book 3.
  • edited December 1969
    In Jordan's defense...

    Wheel of Time was never intended to be a trilogy, but that's all his publisher would commit to at first, as Jordan was a relativly unknown writer. So the first book was setup to be a volume 1 of 3. Once the series took off, they were willing to let Jordan write more volumes, for obvious reasons ;)

    That said, the series is definatly dragging. The latest volume gave me some hope that things will heat up again with the next one, but as things stand the series has definatly taking a downward turn.

    -Mori
  • edited December 1969
    Re: "Game of Thrones" as Myth inspiration?

    OK, I spent about ten seconds looking for the Myth Story site,
    but when I hit an "under construction" page at
    mythstory.com, I came here. So maybe this is old news ...

    I was reading A Game of Thrones recently, and didn't think
    much about the "fighting off the animated corpses of your
    fallen comrades" angle since it wasn't that big a part of
    the story, but then when the author started calling them
    "wights" I had to stand up and take notice.

    I checked the copyright: 1996. Myth I came out in 1997, so the
    dates are a little tight but it might be possible. Anyone know
    if this is one of the sources of the Myth backstory?

    In any case, I heartily recommend the book -- it's part of a
    growing genre of what I like to call "realist
    fantasy": hard-edged political intrigue set inside a
    make-believe world. Lotsa fun. And the author, George Martin --
    that guy has some serious issues to work out. You'll have to
    read the book to see what I mean.

    Zag

    My understanding is that in addition to traditional fantasy Bungie also pulled from Glen Cook's Black Company series, one that does indeed follow the "realist fantasy" feel. If you haven't read the series I heartily recommend it, an interesting ending to it with the last book, almost begs the question if Cook was inspired somehow by Myth. To note while the whole series is very enjoyable, the first part before the books of the south have a better feel though that may just be because that is what I read first.

    I'm currently entrenched in Inversions, but I'll be sure to look up Martin after I finish it (c=

    -Cunbelin

  • edited December 1969
    Thank you all....

    I ordered a copy of Game of Thrones after reading about it here... I got so engrossed that one night I forgot to eat. It's been absolutely gripping reading. I find that I'm very plot-driven when I read, but I'm also a stickler for quality writing... This series so far (I finished the second book last night) is a winner in all respects. I sheepishly placed an order for the third in the series a few minutes ago.... one of the first times I've bought a hardcover pulp novel.

    I haven't enjoyed reading like this since the Cryptonomicon...

    Thanks to my plaid buddies for steering me in the right direction!

    (p.s., to the cook fans, I also ordered Black Company. Nobody's had good things to say about Robert Jordan so far, but I have plenty of good stuff to read for a while, I feel.)
  • edited December 1969
    Yeah, those are definatly engrosing...

    Unfortunatly, I can't manage to get a copy of the first book in hardcover. I had a chance to buy one back when I first picked up the series, but passed, figuring I could get it off the bargain rack eventually.

    Heh, bad move. It's almost impossible to find one now. The local bookstore finaly got a used copy in a few weeks ago, but they consider it a rare book and want $140 for it.

    -Mori
  • edited December 1969
    hehe - I'm reading it too

    I only bought the first book the other day, but it sucks you in right from the get go! I'm only at around page 130, but I'm sure looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Thanks again.

    Darklord

  • edited December 1969
    [b]A new suggestion...[/b]

    I'm about 3/4 done with Metaplanetary by Tony Daniel. It's a sweeping novel of civil war in the solar system set in the far future, and it's loaded with fascinating (and smart) concepts too numerous to list, with a large emphasis on what it means to be human in a world of exceptionally advanced computing, communications and nanotechnology. Daniel has created a world in which I would like to live (absent the raging warfare), which is always one thing (though certainly not the only thing, or even a necessary thing) I enjoy in a book.
  • edited December 1969
    Re: A new suggestion...

    Is this from the author of _Warpath_? If so, and if you read that one too, how do the books compare?


    Click Here, Dammit!
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Thank you all....

    You might also try Tim Powers. Last Call is a good book, and there are a couple of, well, not sequels so much as follow ups: Earthquake Weather and Expiration Date. He deals with archtypes, these three books focus on the Tarot, and Greek/Roman/Egyptian gods, though in a modern setting, and only indirectly. Hard to explain I suppose. In any event, I enjoyed 'em.

    Woo.
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Thank you all....

    There be several other Powers books too... I think _The Anubis Gates_ is my favorite one of his. More up-front outlandish than his later books. I like pretty much everything Powers has written though, with the possible exception of _The Drawing of the Dark_ (not bad, but I really wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to anyone) and the rare couple of books he wrote before that (forgot their titles, haven't read them, heard they aren't that good).

  • edited December 1969
    [b]Re: A new suggestion...[/b]

    [quote]
    Is this from the author of _Warpath_? If so, and if you read
    that one too, how do the books compare?

    [/quote]
    Not familiar with Warpath, but the guy has a couple of other books out.

    The bad news about Metaplanetary -- it turns out to be the first of a series. You know that sinking feeling as you get wrapped up in a book and then you realize you're about 3/4 or so through it and there seems to be no way that all the plotlines and subplots are going to be resolved by the end? I had that, and sure enough, the book ended with something like (estimating) six or seven major plotlines unresolved. On the one hand, that's a good thing -- the book was damned enjoyable and I look forward to more of the same. On the other hand, it's a bummer because it's a new book, so now I have to wait until the next one is published. Plus, I wonder what ever happened to the days when an author could get all of his ideas and characters into one book.
  • edited December 1969
    [b]Re: Thank you all....[/b]

    [quote]
    There be several other Powers books too... I think _The Anubis
    Gates_ is my favorite one of his. More up-front outlandish than
    his later books. I like pretty much everything Powers has
    written though, with the possible exception of _The Drawing of
    the Dark_ (not bad, but I really wouldn't go out of my way to
    recommend it to anyone) and the rare couple of books he wrote
    before that (forgot their titles, haven't read them, heard they
    aren't that good).

    [/quote]
    Yes, The Anubis Gates is my favorite. The Last Call-Earthquake Weather-Expiration Date series got a bit muddled for me, possibly because of the time between reading them. I was never able to get into The Drawing of the Dark or The Stress of Her Regard.

    If you like Powers, though, especially the Last Call stuff, you should try reading Jonathan Carroll. He has these amazing dark fantasy stories that start out with ordinary (if somewhat intellectual) people leading ordinary lives and turn into something completely different. It's very hard to describe. He also has characters that overlap from one to another, so you will occasionally see a familiar name. The books do not have to be read in any particular order, but I would recommend starting with what I believe is the first, The Land of Laughs.
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Thank you all....

    Yes, The Anubis Gates is my favorite. The Last Call -
    Earthquake Weather - Expiration Date series got a bit muddled
    for me, possibly because of the time between reading them. I was
    never able to get into The Drawing of the Dark or The Stress
    of Her Regard .

    I liked the Drawing of the Dark for what it was, a one-off piece of spec. fiction. Nothing terribly substantial, but still pretty good. I've not seen the Stress of Her Regard, but I'll be looking for it.

    If you like Powers, though, especially the Last Call stuff,
    you should try reading Jonathan Carroll. He has these amazing
    dark fantasy stories that start out with ordinary (if somewhat
    intellectual) people leading ordinary lives and turn into
    something completely different. It's very hard to describe. He
    also has characters that overlap from one to another, so you
    will occasionally see a familiar name. The books do not have to
    be read in any particular order, but I would recommend starting
    with what I believe is the first, The Land of Laughs .

    I'll look for that as well, thanks.
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Thank you all....

    Hails,

    While I love the Anubis gates, I personally thought the Stress of her Regard is his best work. You might also look for On Stranger Tides and Dinner at Devients Palace. Both of those are pretty good also.

    Spit



    image
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Thank you all....

    Hails,

    While I love the Anubis gates, I personally thought the Stress
    of her Regard is his best work. You might also look for On
    Stranger Tides and Dinner at Devients Palace. Both of those are
    pretty good also.

    I actually recall seeing Dinner at Deviant's Palace in stores some time ago. It's out of print now, as are the Stress of Her Regard, and On Stranger Tides. I'm going to look in a few used bookstores (which is an end in itself for me ;) and failing that, try some web-dealers.

    Woo!
  • edited December 1969
    Re: Thank you all....

    I actually recall seeing Dinner at Deviant's Palace in stores
    some time ago. It's out of print now, as are the Stress of Her
    Regard, and On Stranger Tides. I'm going to look in a few used
    bookstores (which is an end in itself for me ;) and failing
    that, try some web-dealers.

    Don't they have libraries in N'Awlins? You should ask around, and if nobody can point to a library, ask them if there are any lie-berries in the area.

    8-)
  • edited December 1969
    Heavens!

    But don't Libraries get upset when you don't return the books?

    IT'S ALL ABOUT THE POSSESSIONS YOU COMMIE!

    Woo!

    Note: it's funny because it's in all-caps.
  • edited December 1969
    [b]TOTALLY off this thread, but YOU MUST READ...[/b]

    Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

    In fact, it's probably even better in audio book form. I've heard him read some of his essays on NPR and his deadpan delivery makes them even funnier. He's been described as a cross between Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde -- a fairly accurate assessment.

    Me Talk Pretty One Day is hilarious. You WILL laugh out loud reading this book.

    ...ken

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