Did you watch “A Game of Thrones” on HBO?
Now I’m as antsy for the 6th book in the series as J.R. Rowling’s were before each new Harry Potter book.
Martin, who has been called the American Tolkien, leads you into a world that feels Medieval but isn’t.
A world of dragons, Wildlings, and dire wolves. A place where strong women and would-be kings scheme and slaughter, and a dwarf prince runs his sword through his father’s gut “to see if it’s true he shits gold.”
Wikipedia notes that “most of the characters are human.” But human, Wildling, or Other, Martin’s characters are as compelling as Dickens’.
There’s Danierys, who rules the kingdom of the Dothraki. Cersei and Jamie, the twins who are also lovers. Jon Snow, the bastard son who becomes Lord of the celibate Night’s Watch.
Tyrion, the dwarf who trusts no one. Bran, the dead boy who shapeshifts into the skin of a wolf.
It’s brutal, bawdy and at times beautiful.
But why, if you spend your days writing serious stuff like your CEO’s speeches, should you read it?
What does fantasy offer serious writers?
The short answer is that fantasy has to feel human. Believable. Just as any writing does if it’s going to work.
Blogger Dana Hunter of En Tequila Es Verdad says that for her, reading fantasy (she calls it “speculative fiction”) is “finding reality through the back door.”
Reading “Doomsday Book,” about a scientist who time travels back to 14th century England, made her understand how it felt to live through the Black Plague the way no history could.
In good fantasy fiction, the characters live. You get inside them; feel what they feel, see what they see. As Hunter puts it, Dark Elf Trilogy made her to feel prejudice by “putting on another skin and seeing it through lavender eyes.”
Good fantasy is real in a way reality isn’t. It reminds you that unless what you write – press releases, web copy, speeches – is about human beings with a story, it won’t feel real to anyone.
What do you think? Do you buy the argument, or think it’s BS?
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