Are people really this bad? Probably. But why are we celebrating it? Why are we putting that out there as a tale of fantasy when it’s really more a tale of sad reality?
It’s turning into an interesting conversation.
I’m reading through the series again and still assembling the reasons why I love it. I keep hearing from people who are on the first go round and who want to drop off after this or that turn of events. I understand them. I really do. There are many discouraging, frustrating things about the series.
I still love it, though. But more and more I find myself struggling to put the “why” into words. The places are sweepingly envisioned. The people are multidimensional. Even tertiary characters have high and low points. (Not all of them. I mean the Tickler is just wicked. Period.) But there’s so much going on. When we watched this Sunday’s Game Of Thrones: A Naked Interpretation Of Surface Events In The Book…Or Not Always In The Book I told my husband that one of my favourite things about it all is seeing how one small decision unfolds in myriad ways. It’s like watching sparks travel along a course.
When I watched Sesame Street as a kid one of my favourite bits was the thing where the ball slid through the gizmo and set off chain reactions. I think it was a counting video. (Thank you, Internet.) To me the books are like a grown up version of that.
But I can see how if what you want is Good Triumphing Over Evil and Happy Endings this series is not for you. Mike Duran has written several articles about how literature must have a transcendent meaning in order to be worthwhile, and must reflect the Divine conquering evil in order to qualify as great literature. We disagree on this point, and A Song Of Ice And Fire is my number one go-to example. This is a book that understands people, the grand tragedy of life and the sad comedy woven through that tragedy. There’s nothing of the Divine in it, unless you count the multiple gods in multiple countries, all of whom have their own followers with their own interpretations on events.
When I as a Christian read a book like this it stands to me as great literature because it uses the magic of words to take me to a place enough different from my own to explore the truths of this world. And the truths of this world are not always happy. But I have a happy ending within my own life, in my own heart. I have the hope of that, and having that hope inside me makes the unpacking of literary Pandora’s boxes an interesting enterprise in its own right.