Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Maybe Not

The current buzz author in the fantasy world -- thanks to his ever-expanding Song of Ice and Fire series and the HBO television show Game of Thrones which is based on it -- is George R. R. Martin. In a recent Rolling Stone magazine interview, Martin pointed out places where he differs from the genre's most prominent name, J. R. R. Tolkien, and where he believes his work differs from Tolkien's dominating Lord of the Rings.

A lot of people go along with Martin. They see his Song novels, which are replete with rape, incest, slaughter of innocents, betrayal and other things you can see or read about in the news seven days a week and twice on Sunday, as an "adult" version of the less bleak, more traditional tale-spinning of Tolkien. My description may clue you in as to where I am on this matter.

Mere Orthodoxy's Jake Meador thinks that Martin's take on Tolkien is less than fully reflective, as he outlines here. Meador suggests that Martin does not seem to really take seriously some of the perspective that Tolkien's experiences and beliefs might provide for interpreting his work. I'd agree -- whatever else Martin says about Tolkien and aside from the fact that his own fantasy epic is terminally ill with bestseller's bloat -- the reading of Tolkien as attributed to him in the RS interview is not particularly careful. But he's had a lot of typing to do, so it's understandable.

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