Jump to content

Lady Barbrey

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


Recent Profile Visitors

2,361 profile views

Lady Barbrey's Achievements

Council Member

Council Member (8/8)

  1. Good topic, Corvo the Crow. For myself, I saw the series as mainly fantasy, so I never expected it to adhere too closely to medieval real-world conventions. I did notice the languages, of course, but was able to sweep that one away as author expediency, no need to dwell. For me, the world-building is superior in its depth of textural story, legend, myth. These are what I enjoy most about it along with complex characters. That said, I do think world-building in fantasy has its own types of rules, and messing around with them is jarring at minimum. It also leads to reader anxiety that the author won’t follow through on story threads because they’re being made up on the fly. I can’t remember a good fantasy novel where distances were established to be so vast, but some people seem to traverse them so much quicker than others, arriving someplace as if by magic. No, I can’t remember details or distances now, but I remember being constantly jarred while reading. I also think points about the economies of various cities/locations are well-taken, because I was also jarred by Slaver Bay, Dothraki, Ironborn, even Northern (taking into account Long Nights) societies where the places didn’t seem like they could support the populace. And what about those populations! Honestly they’ve been so devastated by war, disease, etc., I keep wondering if anyone will be left by the time winter arrives. But those are just numbers - math that jars. For me, I don’t like it when the magic in fantasy doesn’t follow logic. There are rules and limitations. Some fantasy doesn’t do this, but you’re set up for that if so at the beginning. I think ASOIAF set up magic up as logical from the beginning, another physical force like gravity, but it keeps making exceptions, like Faceless Men, for instance. Maybe this will all come out in the wash. I thought so for the first books. But I’m not sure anymore that there will be an overall explanation that will make sense of what seem unique exceptions.
  2. Is Empire of Grass worth reading? I was not keen on Witchwood - would much prefer not to have seen my kitchen boy grown up, weary and bickering with Miri no matter how realistic that might be. The two young ones had potential. But when I put Witchwood down I was not sure I would pick the sequel up, and I was a huge fan of the original series. But I just never know with Williams. My favorite book of his has the unlikely name of War of the Flowers and I almost put it down during the first third. I wasn't keen on the characters in Otherland at first either, but came to see the series as a work of genius. And Dragonbone Chair has stayed in my top ten through forty years of SFF reading. That said I disliked the brother-sister fantasy one, and the angel one. So Tad is a bit hit or miss for me. Does Simon play a big role in Empire of Grass? Did anyone else dislike his reintroduction but he's growing on you? I just don't know if I want to cringe my way through another book with my formerly beloved character!
  3. Septon Meribald and Dog might be a nod to Alfred (appearance is very similar to the Septon's Plus He's bald!) and Dog from the Death Gate Cycle. Brienne's journey through the Riverlands is very like an allegorical journey to or through Hell/Hades; who better to accompany her to Death's Gate than Alfred, Dog, (and through Dog, Haplo)? This is pretty tenuous as I just thought of it and haven't read the Death Gate Cycle for 30 years, or Feast for a few years for that matter. But I will tag @sweetsunray because of the hell connection, and @Curled Finger because s/he was interested in Septon Meribald! Since I'm talking about the Death Gate Cycle, I'd like to recommend it for reading to fantasy lovers. It's largely overlooked nowadays, possibly because Weiss and Hickman have a bit of a rep as hacks re Dragonlance, but I think this series should be a classic, one of the most inventive things I've read in fantasy. It would surprise me not at all if GRRM was paying homage to bald Alfred and Dog via Meribald and Dog.
  4. I do see Heart of Darkness as an inspiration. I was also reminded of Herman Melville's The Confidance Man, a steamboat journey on the Mississippi wherein all the passengers are wearing masks. I read it too long ago to make any certain comparisons, but the fact that no one on Martin's boat is who they say they are provides a rather striking comparison. Martin's own novel, Fevre Dreams, is another river journey part Stoker, part Twain.
  5. Sometimes the similarities to Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn are so close I feel a bit uncomfortable.  They go beyond plunging into common source material.  George really does owe so much of the fantasy elements in ASOIAF  to Williams.  I know he has said so himself, but I do think if I were Williams I'd have raised more than one eyebrow. The Land of Osten Ard is a place where a mysterious magical winter reigns for three years and threatens to reign forever, an icy prince of faery sends false prophecies to steer the protagonists to their doom, and allow an icy people to return from the dead, a surplus of hidden swords and identities, a secret prince, a people almost identical to the crannogmen, dwarves, direwolves and dragons, northmen and norns, a castle housekeeper called Rachel the Dragon, mother of dragons - I read the books at least 25 years ago but when reading ASOIAF I felt like Memory Thorn was shouting at me from its pages.   If Simon at the end had not allowed love to rule his choice instead of righteous anger and justice, the land of Osten Ard would have been doomed.  So it occurred to me to wonder what if Simon had not made the decision at the end that he did.  What would have been the result?   The result would have been the Long Night, a winter and darkness meant to last forever, geograpical catastrophes centered around Asua, or the Hayholt, and invasion by the the exiled deadened terrible fay and their ice cold norn cousins. I thought about this for a bit.  I had wondered why Moat Cailin was named as it was - Moat "girl".  I thought about Asua and its Green Angel Tower, and what might be left of it after Ineluki returned, and why not a fallen angel statue with its wings clipped that looked to those who knew no better like a girl. Swamped lands all around it, never recovered from the Long Night.     Who was this Last Hero, I wondered?  Because this implied that there had been other heroes before him trying to end the Long Night.  Could the First Hero have been Simon Snowlock-who failed?   Perhaps my imagination has run away with me but what an homage this would be to Mr Williams if George really did springboard from Memory Sorrow with a "what if?".  Although there are a few similarities, the present day politics of Westeros and Essos owe very little to Memory, Sorrow, Thorn.  Song firmly rejects the Christian-like ending of Memory Sorrow and presents a bleaker world picture with very very little love and honour to go around.  The tone is completely dissimilar.  But I think the foundations of its fantastical and mythical history are firmly rooted in Williams' trilogy and not just because of shared source material.
  • Create New...