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    (in no particular order:) books, comics, CRPGs, history, archaeology ... have I mentioned books?

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  1. Yes, a really nice one, reminds me of one of my favourite pictures of her, young and with her hair burned down: https://awoiaf.westeros.org/images/b/b4/Pojypojy_LionPelt.jpg I like pojypojy, they also have some not as common motives: https://www.deviantart.com/pojypojy https://www.deviantart.com/pojypojy/art/ADWD-SPOILER-good-company-253912679 https://www.deviantart.com/pojypojy/art/ADWD-SPOILER-old-friends-260230147 https://www.deviantart.com/pojypojy/art/ADWD-SPOILER-R-W-253912211 Another artist I like very much is Mustamirri: https://www.deviantart.com/mustamirri https://www.deviantart.com/mustamirri/art/In-Qarth-433540884 https://www.deviantart.com/mustamirri/art/After-performance-503650703 Responsible of my favourite Theon-sketch: http://algesiras.free.fr/pages/hig_home.html algesiras.free.fr/images/highgarden/algesiras_theon.jpg Sandor: algesiras.free.fr/images/highgarden/algesiras_4dogs.jpg I also like their take on Jaime: algesiras.free.fr/images/highgarden/algesiras_maindor.jpg But this is my favourite concerning Jaime: https://www.deviantart.com/dubugomdori/art/Song-of-Ice-and-Fire-Jaime-129772100
  2. and Well, with: What utter horseshit. First of all, there is no specific height WoT is elevated to, because there is no rating or ranking body. Some people view it as being of higher quality than others, and that is literally true of every piece of literature out there. What's really confusing is why people who haven't read the books care. If you read a few pages and didn't like it, move on. But the idea that anyone can gatekeep and decide where any piece of work "belongs" and then can go around saying anyone who doesn't agree is dumb is just repugnant. How odiously self-centered do you have to be that it isn't enough to say "I don't like it, here's why". Instead you need to say "this is "objectively" trash, and anyone who likes it has something wrong with them"? you addressed me, and as you have imputed things on me I have not said, I answered. Have you perhaps, just perhaps, been reading LV's replies? I have, and you might have realised from my posts that my point of view on this subject is different (as on many others). No, I was not aware, as I don't read every thread on this forums. Edit: By the by, thanks for the tip concerning Arcane, it's entertaining.
  3. Excuse me, but first: I did not say I don't like it, or did not find it entertaining. In fact, I made no statement about whether - and if, how long ago - I read WoT, nor how far I have come. And you have not asked, you just presume. Second, like I said before, nothing is wrong with anyone just because they like or even love a specific piece of art. Third: Of course there are objective criteria for the quality of a work, they are a bit more blurry for art than they are for science or handicrafts but they exist. For literature there would be criteria like style and tone and their proper application, world building and logic, narrative coherence (or an artful lack of it ), characters description, their interactions and developments, if there is something like a story or plot, than it should at least follow it's own logic, etc. pp. Just to name a few. As as I said before, pulp/genre literature can of course be objectively good - and often is. It's just that subjective emotions (like/don't like) toward a work just as often have little to do with it's objective qualities - and don't have to. Fourth and last, because you asked why people care: I don't, really. But, as have been said before by others, @Lord Varys made a thread specifically for describing his experience with WoT without disturbing the fan-threads here. This is actually very civil, if you ask me. Some people (like me) enjoy lurking here and accompanying him on his journey through the books, some agree with him on one occasion but disagree on others, some drop in from time to time, others have posted just once. And of course, this being a critical thread, the chance for people sticking around being critical toward the work in one or more aspects is more likely. So, why do you care? If you would make a venting thread about one of my favourite authors or one of their works, I would look into it, see if some of your points are valid and maybe, just maybe, I would try to convince you otherwise with one or two responses. But after a few tries I would simply stop.
  4. To continue some discussions from the previous post @fionwe1987: And I'm not saying you are not allowed to like or even love a work that is, objectively, not very well written or even outright bad - on the contrary. Subjectively most if not all of us have pieces of popular culture we enjoy very much, or even are emotionally attached to, which are objectively bad. That's totally okay! What I, and I think - please correct me, if I'm wrong - @Arakan are talking about (and what I think - again, please correct me, if I presume wrong - is driving @Lord Varys into fundamental opposition here), are works of art which are elevated by their adult fandom and publishers into heights (up to a point then the author starts to ever so slightly believes this themselves) where they don't belong. @Arakan made a very good example with the Star Trek books: I know a handful of people who are into Star Trek, one of them even has every book she could get her hands on. Not one of them would claim it anything other than pulp. Another example would be a good friend of mine who loves Star Wars and military sci-fi - upon asking him for a recommendation to read, he - knowing me - named two military sci-fi (of the hundreds he read) I could try. Fans of the very German phenomenon of Perry Rhodan are another example: They discuss the series all day with each other (it's serious business, just like Star Trek or Star War ), but of course it is pulp, they would never claim otherwise. One just has to realise, that there's no need to search for excuses to like something that is pulp or even outright bad - it's okay, it's ones subjective taste in this specific category (That's why one can even love Kafka and Star Trek books at the same time!). Of course, there are also works of pulp which are objectively good (say: coherent character description and development, logical world building, good storytelling, discuss philosophical questions etc.pp.) - but are still pulp. And there are also of course works which are unjustly not recognized as "true" literature because they are genre. But these would be other discussions. To answer @Lord Varys's question from the last thread, as spoiler-free as possible: And now to mine „guilty pleasure“: I used to play MMORPGs (I no longer have the time for this hobby, nor was I still willing to bang my head bloody on my desk because of lazy, shallow or outright horrible storytelling with most of my online-friends retired), and am still following the stories and lore of some of them. So the game in question is not WoW (no, don’t let my start on this one, I’m going straight into facepalm only thinking of it…), but Final Fantasy XIV: Yes, some of the quest-lines are good; yes, some of the characters are (still) great and complex (or even got more layers to their personality) and there are nuanced and beautiful dialogues full of different possible meaning. And of course the developers most likely did not wanted the main message to be interpreted strictly that way… ...But because they simply ignored the implications and consequences of a lot of dialogues and events, combined with the fact that there are no counter arguments made, AND put insult to injury by throwing not only another time travel into it, but also altering the rules of it between two expansions completely (yes, sci-fi-fans might roll their eyes at this and simply turn away), if one does try to apply logic to the plot, it boils down into callow anthropocentrism and accusing one culture for the splitter in their eyes, while ignoring the beam in the eye of the world the player comes from. It's basically like saying our world would be better than Banks' Culture, because we don't have Special Circumstances. On top with "every almost perfect culture in the universe is doomed to fail so it's better to keep waging wars, pillage, murder and rape". All this while committing the first and most severe sin of storytelling: Telling not showing. Now to somehow get back on topic, using games as another example: It's just a MMO, so I normally don't measure it with the gems of the genre (TS:Torment, Witcher 3 etc.pp.), but I do think even MMOs (or fantasy pulp literature) have to keep some integrity and logic in their story and their characters, and whoever writes the scripts should be aware of how their story can and will be interpreted, especially because/if they are not really interested in discussing the philosophical consequences, but only use them as spice.* And now people start telling me, that this was the best story-telling they have ever experienced in any fiction, so I beg to differ and start comparing it to the works they think it can be compared with. And it fails the test. And this is how threads like this come into existence. So... rant over; at least this time we did not end up discussing ancient warfare and Byzantine ship design... *And here FF XIV is more guilty than WoW, as the latter at least tries to discuss different points of view, but fails utterly because of severe bad writing and rule-of-cool, while the first pretends to be deeper but regularly glosses over the questions it raises.
  5. First, sorry @Lord Varys for disturbing your - for lack of a better word - "Selbstkasteiung" again, but I have to reply to some posts here: On the contrary, it's elitist to argue that one can not expect anything better from entertaining literature, because you not only cultivating anti-intellectualism here, but also are implying that a) interesting thoughts aren't entertaining and b) - and that's driving me up the wall, sorry - that normal people are too dumb to enjoy and understand philosophical concepts, so they should be happy if someone fools them with crumbs No, exactly this spicing up is the problem here, counter examples: GRRM isn't spicing anything up, he uses topoi to show something (or hint at something, but it's not even necessary to recognize the topoi used) and ponders on philosophical questions in ASoIaF. Peter S. Beagle did not spice anything up in The Last Unicorn, but was able to present philosophical questions in a manner anybody could think them with him. Michael Ende did not spice anything up in his works, but created worlds for children and adults to enjoy full of philosophical questions. Terry Pratchett and Walter Moers also don't have to spice their tales up with philosophical concepts, they simple discuss them. And because @Arakan just decided to give The Witcher a try in another thread: Sapkowski also doesn't spice his work up, but uses fragments of mythology and fairy tales for his story, but he knows what he is doing and also doesn't use philosophy and ethics as mere decorum. All this have something in common: They tell stories with - more or less - realistic characters in a - more or less - realistic constructed world, who have to deal with different viewpoints, agendas etc. So in such works there is no need for "spicing something up" as the philosophical concepts unfold naturally. Second, I have to thank @Lord Varys. Your torture (combined with the new main story line of a certain RPG... No I got it, really: sugar-coated crapsack worlds are so much better than almost-utopian-societies... Arrgh!) got me back to Iain Banks: I'm rereading The Culture again.
  6. Yes, of course. They also have their fair share of cowardice (which, combined with the Dylan-stunt, has cost them both Roth and Oz) and unfortunately also like to "subvert expectations" (that's why we did not get the most suitable candidate this year, also not the second or third best - because everybody was expecting Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, so it had to be someone almost nobody was seriously considering... *sigh*). Beside: We really don't know, whether they really never had considered Borges, Lem, Clarke, Adwood, Silverberg, Tiptree, Gibson etc.pp. for the prize (inconsistency in quality is no criterion for exclusion, as the prize can be given for just one work), it's just they have only one prize per year, while the numbers of suitable authors are a lot higher. But please don't start to exaggerate pulp-authors into heights there they will suffocate. I know the list above by @The hairy bear was meant to be funny, but it really isn't (for me anymore), as too many genre-fans really do believe their favourite authors belonging there (and I had that discussion a few times too often). I leave this here, because it still does sum up that problem quite nicely: https://web.archive.org/web/20130805135731/http://www.revolutionsf.com/article.php?id=953 P.S. And while we are at it (comparing GRRM with "giants"), it really would be nice if he had the work ethic of the Magician...
  7. Actually, quite a few laureates also wrote Fantastique (in the sense of the metagenre), but not only, then doing so tending more toward surrealism, allegories/parables - but of course not pulp, that's not what the prize is for (I think hope they learned their lesson about trying to be popular and giving the prize to Bob Dylan, this was really a dark day. If they wanted to give the prize to a singer/songwriter just to show that a lot of popular song lyrics are indeed Lyric poetry,they should have given it to Leonard Cohen or one of the other - compared to Dylan - far superior songwriters). Out of my head I would like to add to your list: Olga Tokarczuk, Josè Saramago, Elias Canetti, also at least partly any author writing magical realism. Depending how wide or narrow one does define Fantastique, you could find such elements in the oeuvre of almost every laureate. But you are of course right insofar that the committee really doesn't like giving the prize to genre-authors: They never ever had considered giving it to even the most intellectual, elaborated and philosophical of SciFi-authors, why should they give it to an unfinished pulp-fantasy-series, even although it really is quite a good read.
  8. Thank you very much for you thoughtful posting. Unfortunately, I'm afraid my answer will not be much shorter, but much less thoughtful. Actually, AFfC and ADwD became my favourite books in the series, too. And for the same reasons. I really liked the travelogues in both books, the world building and the atmosphere Martin managed to capture in them: In AFfC we not only get to see the horrors of war in the Riverlands, but also imho it was the first time Martin succeeded in showing just how big the Riverlands alone are (yes, Arya was walking the Riverlands too, and also we have Brienne's and Jaime's journey to King's Landing, but in both cases the faster pacing made the distances appear smaller somehow, imho). I also like how Martin captured the melancholy in Jaime's POVs in both books, which is also present in Brienne's POVs in AFfC, of course, but for me always tinted with a frustrated stubbornness to not yield to the circumstances and the world as such (no, I don't find Brienne a boring POV at all). And I must confess, I also have a soft spot for their travelling companions - sure, I liked Podrick and Septon Meribald, but Martin also managed to picture the slow changes in Ser Hyle quite well, without wording them too much, and even Ser Ilyn became more understandable. On the other hand seeing Essos though Tyrion's (and also Quentyn's) eyes is awe-inspiring. I really liked how Marin captured the difference in viewpoint between a native (Daenerys) wandering Essos compared to someone from "backwater"-Westeros. The world-building was also good in Dany's chapters, but the tone is different, I don't know if he really was going for it, but Martin succeeded in making Tyrion's POV (and Quentyn's miserable lamenting) on his journey sound very much alien and amazed, while even in Meereen Dany is more like a Roman would be in old Babylon: "strange people, strange customs, they are all nuts, but big city, old culture, just like home, adapt". And yes, Jaime's POV in Dance is the best chapter in the whole book, and pretty heartbreaking, but I don't think his story is at an end. Yes, I'm quite sure he will die in the end, but I think he will do so appeasing the ghosts that haunt him. I think (and have stated it here on multiple occasion^^) he really is the frog prince from the fairy tale, he is even treated as such: the princess he dares to approach with impertinent demands throws him at the wall. Because that's how the story goes originally, the frog is not kissed into a prince, it takes the princess to show him boundaries and put an end to his demands for the spell to be broken. But instead of turning into a prince, Quentyn stays a frog. Yes, I want to add that it is really well made how they also contrast each other: Dany is much too lenient toward people who resent her and are clearly working against her, while being surrounded by allies whom she essentially forbids to help her, just to keep a rotten peace. While Jon has send his friend away, and is too harsh toward people who are not primary his enemies and could be swayed to his side, if he would work for it. And - again a contrast against the two - the third dragon (true or false doesn't matter in this moment) we see is "groomed to rule", but never had to even think about which of two bad options he would choose, and how this would feel (we see in Jon's and Dany's POV: everything comes with a price) - but looses his temper over a game of chess. I always liked Barristan, and, too, don't find him boring or bland. And his storyline is indeed necessary: Imho he and the other great knight (Jaime, Brienne, Loras, maybe Sandor) do have a stroyline on their own (together): the storyline about how stories about knight and ladies are born, how a real and - sometimes very much - flawed person is turned into a song. So, I hope Arstan will stay with us much longer, maybe he will even be there in the end, finishing Jaime's page in the White Book (it surely would fit into the bitter-sweet ending). At least I have the feeling they have to meet again.
  9. I think it's the other way around: The bits I have read in English and compared to the other two languages felt less horrifying and dreadful. Hum... can't recall one either (Medea, too, doesn't qualify), there must be some, but I simply can't remember right now.
  10. I, too, have to confess I still have to finish the thing, the first time I managed to read just about ~130 pages, now - some attempts later - I am half way through, let's see if I manage it this time. To my defence I always start at the beginning... It is really the most horrible brilliant book I have ever read, bonus points for getting his historical facts right, all of them (except of the protagonist's non-existence of course). Did you read it in English? Because I have looked the book up whether it was even translated into English before posting it, and frankly I find the translation to lacking in intonation compared to the French original or the German translation.
  11. Oh, and there is of course Jonathan Littell's novel The Kindly Ones
  12. Hm, don't really know, or better worded: yes, but because it seems like another of his literature-projects he was not overly found of, and therefore stopped working on. Personally, if I had to choose, I would have liked Claudius' history of the Augustinian epoch to survive (all of his works, in fact). I think he wasn't so much concerned with where on the hierarchy he stood (but please not princeps), but with being in a position of responsibility in a field he was good at and did not have to deal with too many people. Yes, now I have. Good read, and funny (as much as World War I can be funny). He describes the trench-war quite well, essentially giving a very short version of that Olaf Jessen does for Verdun in his "Verdun 1916: Urschlacht des Jahrhunderts". This one is unfortunately not available in English (as far as I know), but it is a very good and dense read, with a focus on the military field, the soldiers and their commanders (so lots of dubious protagonists, but also some heroes or at least decent people). By the by Jessen does not believe Falkenhayn, arguing (based on quite convincing source material) that Falkenhayn never intended Verdun to be a place to "bleed out" the French army, and just claimed this to defeat himself later, because he really was aiming for ending the static warfare and get the warline moving again, but failed. Of course you can, the quote is a bon mot. (but there is still some truth in it)
  13. No, he seems more like a nerd, with - as little as we know - a fine sense of sardonic self-irony ... I sometimes doubt anyone of that bunch really wanted the job, not even Augustus himself. Not like Alexander or Caesar or Marcus Antonius wanted to be at least something like a king. But there were no other options left, no quick and stable at least. As for Tiberius: As I have already said a number of times (I think even here on the forums ), he would have happily seen his brother Drusus become princeps, while working in his shade as general and administrator - and of course remaining married to his Vipsania. Many reasons for all this: the reminiscence of "the republic", so everybody who fought against the Ancien Régime or the English styled themselves after the res publica or the Athenian democracy (that's why we have so many noms de guerre of Roman or Ancient Greek origin - a friend of mine just wrote his thesis on the genesis of the US-American Constitution and the discussions accompanying it); and of course Napoleon himself did his own Octavian-like res-publica-restituta-stunt, and was quite fascinated by Caesar and Alexander in his youth. Caeser and Alexander had very good PR.* *There's of course much more to what a portrait - especially, but not only an antique one - says by using specific gestures, hair-style, mimic, age and accessories, so when someone re-uses prominent parts of others portraits, they of course hope you will connect them with the original, but that would go much too far, so I will end with another book full of nuthead-, idiot- and even really vile protagonists, another non fiction, this time about the Great War, and it's even available in English: Jörn Leonhard, Pandora's Box (yes, imho the best book on the First World War, and if you only want to read one book about it, take the Leonhard).
  14. The most interesting thing for me about historical fiction is, that in my opinion the characters loose a lot of their human complexity. Which is interesting and may show us the limitations of fiction in itself, as any historian writing biographies tends to be cautious and leaving gaps, painting just in broad strokes. Which leaves the character just a sketch, making their contradictions even more interesting to the reader? Or is it just the historian speaking? Here I would recommend Patrice Gueniffey, Bonaparte. Although I must confess, I don't know if it was published in English. No, it's not a fictional book, but yes, the author is very much in love with his subject. A professor of mine once said, that there are two kinds of ancient historians (as in: historians dealing with ancient history, not Greek or Roman historians): Whose who like Caesar and Alexander, and whose who prefer Augustus. The latter tend to value Pompeius more.
  15. As I said earlier, I don't think GRRM (or anyone) should care too much about trying to avoid "problematic" scenes or plots, because this will not stop the anti-social-media-horde to complain in the least. No matter what will happen in TWoW and ADoS, both sides will complain loudly and jarringly (is this the right word?) - a lot of them without even reading the books.
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