G.O.T. How a Wrongheaded Author Captured Your Attention Jun 4, 2014 6:59:54 GMT
Post by Jack Loomes on Jun 4, 2014 6:59:54 GMT
I don't watch Game of Thrones. Why not? Because it is bad history, it is bad story telling, and it is art of a low order. George R.R. Martin is no great sage or master story teller in my view, rather he is sad little man using the world to deal with his fear of life. I will briefly review some of the many reasons why I have never been a fan of G.O.T. and I hope that in the process readers might feel exhorted to seek out higher forms of art.
Human beings are capable of writing Sonatas, great novels and poetic hymns of great skill and art. On the opposite end of the scale, human beings invented the noose and the guillotine. I would argue that the writings of George R.R. Martin fall into the latter category.
Let's look at the name George writes under first of all. Using his middle initials in emulation of a truly great author and better man than himself - J. R. R. Tolkein. Tolkein was a master of languages, a treasurer of things long lost, a great and beneficent shaman of Western Culture. George R. R. on the other hand consistently takes the low road on all things, and the public, as they once lapped up the slaughter of unarmed criminals in the Colosseum lap G.O.T. up like salivating dogs.
No decries George, I am merely emulating the tracts of history!*
Well this writer (Bill Blake) is a graduate of historical literature and undertook numerous tertiary level history courses and I can assure you that George does not emulate history but rather his own sick and sad fears, in much the same way the world was made to deal with the fears of another sad little man, sheltered hyper religious Baptist Wes Craven. When a human being is so riddled with fear he knows not where to turn, sometimes he projects it onto the world as a kind of self therapy, rather than manning up and dealing with his fears healthily.
History books are not riddled with rape and vivid descriptions of cowardly murders, rather these matters are related dispassionately when and if they exist, because historians are not as wrong headed a George is. Moreover they were not the plot devices of history George insists they were. Take for instance the treachery of Nitocris or Constantine. Instances like these are exceptions, not the rule. Human beings are capable of great and beautiful creativity, and depravity of the G.O.T. level is not invariable. In fact, if human beings were all as sick as George believes they are, it is unlikely that complex society, with its inherent requirements of peaceable cooperation could ever exist.
Let us look at George's choice of names, for instance Lannister. Lannister is a poor mispelling of a Latin word which means Gladiator owner (Lanista). To a former student of the Latin language of the Romans hearing this name oft repeated is cringe worthy in the extreme. It is comparable to someone repeatedly mispronouncing your name. Compare this to the sophisticated and accomplished nomenclature of the world of Tolkein: Aragorn, Gimili, Arathorn and so on. Names that roll off the tongue because so much more thought and development went into creating them. Then let's go back to George - who from here on in I will refer to as Sea Captain in honour of his hat, who names a character Tyrion. Tyrian is an actual word, again, bastardised poorly by Sea Captain. Tyrian is a dye from the ancient world that was obtained from the Murex snail, a brilliant purple dye who became more bright from exposure to the sun, who was a favourite of the Byzantines and earlier Cleopatra. Tyrion does not fit the world of Sea Captain because the world of Sea Captain does not consistently use Roman or Classical World terminology, Tyrion sits aside first names of the likes of Eddard from much later periods of history in the disjointed world of Sea Captain. I believe Sea Captain thumbed through what he refers to as "...good history books..."+ and stole names from the index, without properly understanding the sense of the languages he was sodomizing.
So what we are left with in G.O.T. or A Song of Fire and Ice, is a mish mash of poorly chosen names from all through history with no continuity. It is the proverbial nails on the blackboard to a historian.
Reach higher people. Human beings are capable of better things than the low art of Sea Captain. Reach for actual history books - take for example The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain as a starter, this is a better use of your time, money and mind. George R.R. Martin is no great artist. Sea Captain is caterer to the worst parts of human nature.