Wednesday, 5 September 2012

I like the quiet

Today I'm using the wise words of Xander Harris, mostly in a sort of ironic context. I'm actually a little guilty that I've been so quiet. July was quite the prolific month for me, then August was somewhat swallowed up in an eerie silence. But there's context for that, which naturally I'm going to explain.

The Song of Ice and Fire.

It's hardly unknown that I've been powering through this brilliant series of books since July. Last week I finally came to the end...well, the end so far. Now that I've completed A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast, I have to wait for a while (a good long while, everyone theorises) for The Winds of Winter. But now that chapter that George R.R. Martin read out at the talk in April makes so much sense. So I get to sit here giddily, incurring the wrath of every Ice and Fire geek who wasn't there and is equally champing at the bit waiting for The Winds of Winter to be released. Let it be known, however, that I am just as every bit anxious.

Now the usual tradition after I've finished a book is the Sitting Under the Tree segment, but instead of summing up my feelings for A Feast for Crows or A Dance with Dragons, I'm going to do a huge blab about my feelings on the whole series.

It all started in January, really. For months before my housemate had been raving about the TV show Game of Thrones. I've gone over this story before, but I'm going to briefly recap. My friend Phoenix found out George R.R. Martin was coming to Bath, but found it coincided with Korn playing in Bristol. It turned out that Korn was the day before, but in January she didn't know and I offered to go in her place, get a book signed. At this point I had not read any of the books, I only knew about the TV show. I had, however, bought my housemate the paperback boxset of the first four volumes for her birthday. So in February, after having bought the tickets for the George R.R. Martin event, with my laptop dead, I borrowed A Game of Thrones and took it out in a week. One of my prevailing thoughts was "Frakking Lannisters!" and my overwhelming feeling was that there was only one forgivable Lannister. Tyrion.

Boy was I wrong.

Tyrion Lannister is still, undeniably, one of my favourite characters and quite possibly the best Lannister, but George R.R. Martin is deviously brilliant and managed to make me like Ser Jaime Lannister. He gave me a begrudging respect for Lord Tywin Lannister and made sure I still disliked Queen Cersei Lannister because she is a total nutjob. I love the Starks, especially Arya and her bastard half-brother, Jon Snow. I want Daenerys Targaryen to take the Iron Throne and...

Well, there's a lot of things I want to say, but no spoilers. None at all, no. So now I'm going to try and be vague and general about my feelings on the subject.

It may be surprising to know that the seven paperbacks/five volumes of Song of Ice and Fire are, aside from The Hobbit are the only straight up fantasy books in my book collection. I will (before I have threats hurled at me from various quarters) be rectifying this, but it's going to be slow-going, so be patient. But I've always enjoyed fantasy and Song of Ice and Fire...well, I was hooked from the first second. A Game of Thrones was brilliant, gripping. A Clash of Kings was equally brilliant (and it was the hardback book that I had signed) and A Storm of Swords completely blew my mind. A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons had a lot to live up to and did admirably, but I think A Storm of Swords is still the high point. I'm sure I mentioned it before, but I'll mention it once again. I wish that I had gotten that book signed. Next time. Definitely next time!

Overall though, I loved Song of Ice and Fire. It's brilliant and I can't wait for more. But Song of Ice and Fire hasn't been the only thing that's kept me busy. At the end of August, I was tied up for one brilliant evening watching Brave.

Yes, I have a soft spot for animated films. I have Kung Fu Panda and its sequel in my DVD collection. I intend to add The Incredibles and How to Train Your Dragon at the very least, more likely to follow. Including Brave. It was absolutely brilliant.

So the plot was a tiny bit on the predictable side, but that is a hazard of having watched a whole frak ton of movies and briefly studying film in my first year of university. And being a writer and usually thinking "well, this is what I would do..." resulting in often being right. It's very nice when I'm wrong. Sometimes I'm not, like with Brave, but it was so funny and enjoyable that I forgive it entirely. That and I had the great company of Thief and Oracle for the movie. It was an awesome evening.

Finally, backtracking slightly to Song of Ice and Fire, my fantasy nerve has been repeatedly jumped on. I want more. And not just books or movies. For some reason (mostly because people keep telling me it's amazing), Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is enticing me. That and watching the trailer for the Dawnguard add-on and my affinity for vampires (proper, blood-sucking, bursting-into-flames-in-sunlight vampires). Right now though, I'm going to bide my time, see if this is just a phase that passes or something more. We'll see. And I'll probably have a few people whispering "Get Skyrim" in my ear. That's going to be fun.

For now, this is me being not so quiet and hoping that I stay not being so quiet. 

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