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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How George R. R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones" Changed My Life

In a private message conversation on Young Writers Online, I descended into madness as the ending of A Game of Thrones sunk in.  What follows is the very insane conversation that I had with a friend.  The message was titled "Dlajdq24y89qu98yq2389yuadslajsblas bkn3kjgnkjajdsfalsdjflkasdjlkajlkaglasdlkgjalksgj." I have inserted a space so it can fit...

Warning:  lots of foul language.  (Do not read beyond this point if you do not want spoilers; I pretty much ruin the ending of the book in my rants).

The message begins (after the fold):

Shaun:  They killed him. They fucking killed him. Chopped his head off and that stupid Sansa made it happen. That fucking stupid awful Sansa. 
But he's dead. They killed him, and I'm losing my fucking mind right now. They killed HIM. Eddard Stark. He's an amazing man, and they lopped his head off. An honest, honorable man...and he's dead. And Jaime Lannister better be next. Better be more than next. Dead next. And all the other Lannisters to. Joffrey especially. I hope Arya guts him through his groin. 
WHY? WHY???????????????????????????????? Why Eddard? Why not Sansa? Or, I dunno, the whole fucking lot of the Lannisters...WHY? 
Carraka: Yeah, I was waiting for this. Imagine my amused smile every time you told me Ned was your favorite character. No, actually, don't, because I wasn't smiling. I mean, every time I take those character quizzes, they tell me I'm most similar to Ned. And so I start comparing myself to him, and I look at all the decisions he made that, while honorable, were not necessarily that smart, and suddenly I wonder exactly how much I'm screwing myself over by making important decisions such as choosing not to use SparkNotes.

-croons- It's okay ... there are reasons to continue reading, though I cannot say what they are ... it's okay ...

-sniffle- -hugs Sansa- Poor girl, her father is dead. 

Shaun:  Fuck Sansa. I hope she dies... 
Carraka:   You are so cruel! Maybe it's because I was once Sansa's age. And Sansa's gender. I really do not understand Sansa-hate. 
Shaun:   Because she's a naive moron who got her father killed. That's why I hate her. She's so blind by her silly childish romantic bullshit that she gets people around her killed. If she were my sister, I wouldn't even bother trying to save her. I'd let her get beheaded while storming King's Landing and Casterly Rock with an army of White Walkers and slay the whole of the Lannisters. Every last one of them. And I'd decorate the Red Keep with the hair of every Lannister in the lot, with the exception of Lancel, who I would immediately take under my wing and treat with great respect. 
Death to Sansa and the Lannisters! DEATH! 
Carraka: Wait, what? I know Lancel is cute and all, but why is he getting an exception? While we're at it, I'll name Lancel's father, Kevan, as a Lannister who should also be spared. And Myrcella and Tommen 
Shaun:   Because Lancel gets beat on by everyone and treated like garbage, and he's so young and innocent. That's why. I don't trust any of Cersei's children, though. All of them are rotten to the core. Infested with Lannister pride and wickedness. They should be tossed into the see to drown along with their mother and the Kingslayer and all of fair hair who bear the Lannister strain in their blood. Except Lancel. 
Carraka:   Gods, Shaun. You're like Robert with the Targaryens. 
Shaun:   Aye, but I'm not drunk and I'm not fool enough to surround myself with scheming Lannisters with their gold and their lion helms and their smug smiles. And I'm not fool enough to run a Kingdom without honor. But like Robert, I would avenge the greatest of men with the greatest of violence in order to purify the Kingdom of its golden infestation and bring righteousness to the Seven Kingdoms, with Robb Stark and his mother, Catelyn, commanding the North, and the Iron Hand of the new King smashing those in the South who oppose the honorable new order. 
Long live King Shaun! Long live King Shaun! 
Carraka:   Yeah, you're reminding me that now that my summer is about to begin, I should be writing the next SBS round (in which people deal with your death).

Also, like Ned, I would remind you that Myrcella and Tommen are only children, and it would be dishonorable to kill them. In fact, it would be ... Lannister-like! You will become what you hate! 
Shaun:   Then I will wait until they are adults and slay them each in their turn. If it must come to that to retain my honor, then so be it. But they will pay for what they did to Eddard of the House Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North... 
You see what George R. R. Martin has done to me? Please don't have me committed...

In all seriousness, though, I think this say something about how much I enjoyed A Game of Thrones.  For me to get that upset about a character's death and the characters responsible suggests that GRRM is doing something right.  Then again, maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that I'm not a genocidal maniac...

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  1. I had the same reaction brother. Eddard Stark dying opened up my mind at what a story can and should be. God I loved A Game of Thrones.

  2. Did you pace around your house thinking of great ways to kill people that don't exist? I may have been foaming at the mouth...

  3. That was a lovely conversation, Shaun. I hope we can have more of them, and someday on equal ground.

    So since this article is about how GRRM changed your life, I feel I should talk about how he changed mine.

    Aside from permanently skewing my view of incest (I was too young and pliant when I first read the books), yes, I'll have to agree with Adam. In some ways I feel fortunate that I was exposed to his work before almost any other fantasy written for adults, although that's also unfortunate because it means I've been able to truly enjoy very few other works in the genre. And now I use my spare time to write GRRM ripoffs instead of Tolkien ripoffs, so maybe that's a step towards finding my own voice.

    As for Ned, I don't think I reacted as violently. I don't believe I developed strong feelings for the series until the third or fourth book. But it's so long ago. I can hardly remember.

  4. Carr: We will certainly have many more conversations like this. Many and many and many.