Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

The book is dark, and full of terrors.

I was hesitant to even talk about his book series and the HBO show, it's so big, so much to cover. And let's be honest, it's been covered about a billion times by other people.

I would like to talk about something a bit different than the plots and stabbings in GRRM's work, I'd like to talk about the writing process and GRRM's overall goal when writing this work.

First of all, the process. Did you know that George RR Martin does not outline his works ahead of time? He doesn't. He'd get bored if he did that, the writing work would get dull and the story would suffer. I really like that take on the writing process.

What I don't understand is how you keep everything straight when writing something as voluminous and complex as A Song of Ice and Fire.

Oh, never mind, there are huge wiki's online to help him. I wonder if he reads them? I bet he does.

That's not to say ol' Georgie didn't have a plan.  Not only did he have a general idea of the big characters and where they were going, he also had a thematic plan. He set out to write complex characters with real motivations.

Characters aren't evil, it's just their selfishness outweighs their empathy. Or they are perceived as evil but actually have pure motivations. This is not so unique any more though, just off hand the characters of The Punisher, Judge Dredd and Dirty Harry are all stone killers but the term 'evil' doesn't fit them. It's all about motivations, greater good, how far are they willing to go, that sort of thing.

I think Martin is striving to bring that same sense of complexity to epic fantasy. He's said as much. He's succeeding.

What's more unique is that he's upending the classic story expectation that good guys get the happy ending and bad guys get the bad ending. Everyone gets what's coming to them in the end, and so all is right in the world. GRRM dumped that totally on it's head during the first book, and he continues to do so in each succeeding book.

I love that. He's stuck to it, despite some criticism once the show has come out, horrible terrible things can be in store for innocents and do gooders. Or good things happen. You never know, and that makes for an astounding tale. The show sometimes takes the story even further, diverging from the source material, but I'll not spoil those moments for you.

I recommend these books to any epic fantasy fan. They can be dense and slow at times, so you might have to speed read through certain sections, but overall the big events in the book are truly awesome. I recommend the show to everyone. It's the best show ever made, in my opinion. Do we need to use the phrase 'in my opinion' any more? This is obviously my opinion. No panel of judges got together and declared it the greatest of all time, in case there was any confusion.

I issue a warning though. If you want a nice happy show where the good guys are good and have good things happen and the bad guys get their just desserts, then you need to avoid this show and this book series. You'll know at the end of the first season of the show and by the end of the first book if it's for you. Please take note, the first book/season is just the tip of the ice berg. The story is dark, and full of terrors.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hell Comes to Frogtown w/My Friend Melon Knee

Starring Rowdy Roddy Piper's Wiener
So I just got off the phone with an old friend and I talked about my little website where I yammer about movies and books and what not. I've been busy writing my own stuff so haven't been reading much or going to the movies, so I figured I'd do an old review of a movie I watched with my friend Melonknee.

I don't think that's how you spell her name but hey, if you are my friend you get a nickname.

The year was 2009 or 2010. Memories fade for us old dudes. Melon had just flew in from the Mid West to the rainy city of Portland. We met through a mutual friend and ended up watching this movie. It's really not the sort of movie you should watch with a girl you just met. Allow me to explain...

The world building, or set up, for the movie is that Rowdy Roddy Piper (character name irrelevant) is a rogue running around the post apocalyptic desert. He has one very valuable asset. His wiener. It's the radiation, you see, it has messed up everyone's junk, and Piper has the only working pipe around. He's left a string of babies in his wake, that's how they track him.

From there he goes on a great big mission to Frogtown to save some virgins or something. The hilarity is dialed up to 11 the whole time, that's for sure.

I recommend this movie for people that can overlook a ton of flaws in movies and just laugh at the cheese. They Live, another Piper movie, is similar in tone so if you like that one you'll like this one. I wouldn't recommend you see this one the first time you meet someone, I think Melonknee spent the whole movie dinking around in the kitchen or chatting people up. But me? I was riveted to the screen.