What I read: Last week I finished The Game of Thrones. WOW! I think it would be silly to do a review seeing as social media is saturated with the television show and you’d have to live under a rock to be unfamiliar with the premise of this epic, high fantasy novel. I did want to note some elements of the novel that truly made me love every word.
- World-Building: The novel reminded me of many of my favorite novels that are lengthy, complex, and embody its own created mythology, language, and culture. In the tradition of Lord of the Rings and The Mists of Avalon, George R R Martin has created a vast world with different cultures, religions, and values clashing. More than battles, death, and intrigue, this book also explores relationships in this culture (romantic, parental, etc…) and there are lengthy passages describing the geography, food, and dwellings. I was able to immerse myself in Westeros and fully appreciate the complexity of this vast world.
- Historical Novel?: While the land and people of The Game of Thrones is fiction, the conflict very much reminded me of The Wars of the Roses or a similar medieval event of historic proportion. Some readers may be shocked by the violence and betrayal, but if you’re a fan of historical fiction this isn’t so much shocking as it adds to the realism of the work. I know the work is fantasy (duh) but because the dress, customs, and culture mimic the Middle Ages the violence simply underscores the historical fiction feel of the piece (please see the death of George Plantagenet if you need an example of a bizarre execution).
- Complex Characters: I love the duality of the characters. While some characters are downright evil (Joffrey, anyone?) others are simply troubles (King Robert), too honorable for their own good (Ned), too insecure and ignorant (Lysa), etc… Every character — good or bad — makes mistake. I think it is most heartbreaking when mistakes are made by people trying to do the right thing, but with disastrous consequences (*waves to all of the Starks*).
I am eagerly anticipating the next book — A Clash of Kings — but I am doing my best to wait until July.
What I’m reading: I’m a little over half-way done with Charlotte Brontë’s The Professor. WOW. I don’t quit know what to say about this book. I’m enjoying it, but I cannot help but compare it to Jane Eyre and Villette. The novel follows a young Englishman, William Crimsworth, as he becomes a professor in Belgium. He is really sort of dick. I’ve had pages of him describing every girl and woman at a school he is teaching at and he sounds like a creeper. Oh yeah, hair color, build, brown, eye, their intellect is also sooooo clearly displayed on the feminine brow and of course their form. He’ll describe a fifteen year old and then follow up with the fact that she was a “fully formed woman.” Okay, dude. Checking out the ladies, viewing them as dumb cattle, and then remarking on which ones are or are not “full formed” is gross. I don’t care if you’re a fictional Victorian man, you’re creepy. For example check out this gem I posted on Instagram earlier this week: