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george rr martin
deep emotions
epic fantasy
fairy tale
initial success
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The Art Of George RR Martin
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The Art Of George RR Martin

In the days long past, storytelling was considered to be one of the blessings handed down to the unworthy by the Gods mighty hand. Story told by the skillful storyteller allowed people in those hard days to, at least for the moment, escape reality and experience something hard to come by in those days - senses of joy, justice, or any other deep emotions for which we yearn. And that was priceless. Today we might say that modern age gave us quality of living far better than any time before, but that also means that today is much harder to awaken those emotions. Today authors which are capable of that kind of feat are rare. Allow me to introduce one of them - George RR Martin. And explain all about his Art.

One might say that there is nothing special about writing good epic fantasy, all you have to do is present a band of flawless heroes, give them some quest, spice up everything with some fairy tale creatures, and , after enduring some hardships on the road to completing their quest, give them a well deserved happy end. Right?

WRONG. Nothing can be further from writing good epic fantasy than writing by this postulates. Nobody can deny that JRR Tolkien and his Lord of the rings marked beginning of the planetary popularity for the high and epic fantasy. But it also caste giant shadow, from which authors didn't manage to came out for many years. Every work of epic fantasy written since was firstly compared to Lord of the rings, and hardly any author found courage not to follow path set by this monumental work. That gave birth to many inferior copy's, which put entire genre in the cliche mentioned before.

This trend lasted until late seventies to early eighties, when new generation of writers began to experiment with different approach to the genre. With the initial success of these books, more and more authors began to realize that they must be original and different in their approach if they are to succeed in their work. And at the 1996, a book was published, and an author came out with completely fresh and innovative approach to epic fantasy writing. The book is "A Game of Thrones", and author is George RR Martin.

Events in the book are set in imagined world, completely unique to Martin. Main feature of this world is that summers last for years and winters last for decades. Society is almost identical to medieval Europe: feudal lords that rule large portions of land, great and small houses which count their ancestors since ancient times, walled cities and castles, and of course knights and their jousting tournaments. Everything is familiar and yet different. And there comes in to play the Art of author - balancing on the thin line between what we know and what we might believe.

Although fantasy elements of the book, like "The Others", beings that live only in cold and raise dead to do their orders, are far from believable, human characters are so lifelike and in harmony with our own perception of the world and life we live, that we allow ourselves to believe what they believe, because we recognize many of our own virtues and faults, and want to identify ourselves with them. Introducing real characters, with all the human faults and weaknesses, presented Martin with opportunity to build fantasy world around real characters and possible events, and there are no impossible rescues in this book, if character is below headsman's axe, he loses his head - period, and it doesn't matter if it's one of the main characters. And by sacrificing his heroes to reality of events, he gains credibility for the entire book. This is fresh and very original approach, and not only in fantasy, just think how many heroes in literature outlived any believability that so many miraculous rescues are possible, because their author refused to let them die when the time was right, only to milk some more books and revenue from them.

Why would someone find this "reality" approach so appealing? Isn't it better to simply make heroes inhumanly good and virtuous because, after all, fantasy books are meant to present their readers with stuff that belongs in our imagination. Well yes - and no. Human imagination has been evolving with humanity itself, few millennia back, land behind three hills was terra incognita, few centuries ago world was flat, today we know our world so well that we must look for some other place for our imagination to explore.

And even these horizons are no longer limitless, what Tolkien was able to present as possible characters in the ninety fifties, today are regarded as one-dimensional and utterly unbelievable. And what is author to do? Well he must use one thing magicians have developed since long ago - illusion. Remember the wrong postulates for writing epic fantasy from earlier? Guess what - everything is still there, only the author makes you look the other way! By writing about main characters inner doubts, worries, love problems, and everything else that any good soap opera exploits, he diverts your attention from fantastical beings, magical events and other stuff that actually make epic fantasy books, and which are parading right before your eyes while you are occupied with juicy sex affair in royal family.

That is why my hat goes down before the Art of George RR Martin. Great work mister Martin, you are great author, but much more than that - you are excellent magician. A living proof that everything is possible if you know what you want, and have the courage to reach for it. After everything said in this article, bottom line is that everyone who enjoys good book, will have excellent time reading works of this author. So give yourselves and your imagination one great present, order some of the (if not all) books from this author. When you come home, open the pages, and dive into the Art of George RR Martin.


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