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george rr martin
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George RR Martin Characters - Why Are They So Lifelike?
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George RR Martin Characters - Why Are they so Lifelike?

Have read many books by now, and can say that one thing that decides which book will I like is how much can I identify with characters in it. Sometimes deciding thing is some feature in characters which I can recognize and identify with, sometimes it's simply lovability of character, or maybe compassion for situation in which events put character in. None of those is the case with characters written by George RR Martin, and yet I can identify with them more than with any other, why is that?

As with many questions in life, answer to this one is not simple. What many authors of epic fantasy lack is going down to the life of the common man that inhabit their worlds. Bulk of the action in their books are in throne rooms of castles, dungeons and other places fit for heroes brave and bold.

It is not so for George RR Martin, his heroes go to taverns that offer lousy food, have to take the piss in the forest, and hate (and avoid as much as possible) wearing plate mails because of it's discomfortable. That is something I can appreciate after reading ton of books in which main hero literally removes his armor only when he sleeps! It's simply common sense. If you think about it everyone is trying to avoid doing things which discomfort them.

Beside applying common sense, another thing I like in Martin's characters is dirty talk. Plain old swearing. We all do it, but for the sake of being politically correct, you always have to apologize for it, and I don't see why. Shouting aloud one good curse is much better when relieving stress than to keep it all inside.

And finally there is sex. It just don't go to my head how can a grown man see a beautiful woman, and not react. Off course I don't mean that one should immediately throw himself on her. But if one is son of the Lord, has pile of cash, and is ugly as horses ass, isn't it more believable that he will pay whores for the sex, than to spend his days dreaming of some impossible love because he is too moral to satisfy his needs?

So what is making George RR Martin's characters so lifelike is actually simple honesty. When we look in the mirror, there is actually two persons in the reflection. One we would like to be, and the one we are. Everyone likes to think that he is handsome,smart, brave..., but that is not true for most of us. When reading fantasy books, people like to fantasize that they are among heroes of the realm. Doing so is much easier when you realize that heroes you are among are actually just as flawed as yourself. Believe me, it's much easier to admit to yourself who you are, than trying to fulfill the role of someone you are not. And characters of the books of George RR Martin will not look from above on you, they are just as humanlike as any of us.


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