A Song of Ice and Fire – In Defense of A Fantasy World

Eventually someone read George RR Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" and didn't like it because the characters speak foul language, plot lines haven't come to an end and a lot of characters died. In defense to what may be termed as the best fantasy since Tolkien and Robert Jordan, the books in the Song of Ice and Fire saga do speak foul language, plot lines are still half-way through since only four of five books have been released, and yes a lot of characters died because this is what a gritty, shade of gray fantasy series should portray and it's ironic that people complain about it.

It is true that many characters died in the published books by far but there are a few things to consider first. Rob Stark never had a chapter of his own and Eddard Stark's death propelled the war into what it has become in the second book. As for all the other Stark members, Arya, Sansa, Bran and Jon are still alive. Catelyn Stark even returned as a war-torn rogue and Jon has developed into the Commander of the Night's Watch. The series doesn't really pick any single character as the main character to follow but the Starks are the people most readers cheer on. Another thing to note is that in the real world, real heroes don't usually die in a heroic manner. Soldiers usually step on land mines, president's die of cancer and singers die of sexually-transmitted diseases. Seeing a character in Westeros suddenly fall of a bridge and break his neck seems more realistic than to have him only the survivor in a skirmish and have him burned alive for the crowd when there's a war going on.

The cast in the series do speak a lot of foul language and commit foul deeds and this is because Martin grounded his work on a more realistic take than Tolkien's high fantasy world where language is a basis of its conception. It does feel more gratifying to actually read the words a knight would say while taking a blow to the shoulder than to hear him utter words of golden holiness as if nothing happened. Rape, murder, incest, betrayal; these are all happening in the real world by everyday people, even celebrities and the people we look up to so seeing fantasy characters do it in a country ravaged by war shouldn't be so striking. In fact, having a war across the land but have no murders, no rape, no hunger and despair is actually quite the opposite of realism.

The plot isn't finished because the series isn't finished. Some people complain that the plot isn't moving forward but let's consider what has occurred so far. The War of Five Kings ended with Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy and Renly Baratheon all dead and Stannis defeated. Danaerys is working on her way to become the queen she dreams to be, her traitors have been revealed and the truth of her being all laid out. Bran is on his way to fulfill his goal by seeing the three-eyed crow, Jon is now Lord Commander and Tyrion murdered his father. Stannis is working to end the threat of the Others and every player is coming closer and closer to the middle of the plot to unite Westeros in war or salvation.

A Song of Ice and Fire is a series deep in gray and no one knows what it is going to happen. It is the darkest, most realistic fantasy series so far and while some people complain it still stands to be the shining trophy of the genre.

Source by Edward Hardesty

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