Monday, March 16, 2009
Above: George R.R. Martin (the R.R. stands for "Really Rad").
Alright, Nerds. Time to man up. Are you fuckers tuned into George R.R. Martin's EPIC fucking fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire yet or not? If so, I bid thee good morrow, sir, and offer a hearty welcome to the realm of Westeros and its neighbor to the East, Essos. If not, I call False Nerd on thee and cast thee out forthwith.
Well, maybe not. "Casting one out" is a little harsh. But if you do consider yourself any kind of sci-fi/fantasy book-nerd, Martin's novels are ABSOLUTE required reading, whether you've got time to sit through 4,500 pages of medieval battle and intrigue or not.
Here's the deal: In the realm of Westeros, where seasons last for decades, the long, prosperous Summer is finally coming to an end, and the inhabitants of this savage, fantastic land are looking ahead to a dark, brutal Winter. The Iron Throne of the King has been left vacant through a series of foul misdeeds, and several families, including the valiant Starks, the foul Lannisters, the Greyjoys, and the Tyrells, all claim it as their own, sparking a continent-wide war throughout The Seven Kingdoms. In addition, Daenerys Targaryen, a 13-year-old sorceress in the neighboring realm of Essos, has begun to gather an army (including the last three dragons in the world), deciding that the Throne is her birthright. Then you've got the "Night's Watch", guardians of the Northern lands led by the bastard Jon Snow, understaffed and trying to defend the land from a growing legion of barbaric "wildlings" and a group of powerful, mysterious beings known only as "The Others". FUCK.
The books of A Song of Ice and Fire (1996's A Game of Thrones, 1998's A Clash of Kings, 2000's A Storm of Swords, and 2005's A Feast For Crows), paint a huge, sweeping picture, as detailed as Tolkien's Middle-Earth but fraught with graphic violence, sex, and an undercurrent of harsh survivalism. This is a modern classic still unfolding, told from at least 25 different points of view (so far) and chock full of backstabbing, unresolved plot lines and teeth-grinding cliffhangers. Part of what makes Martin such an engaging author is that he never pulls punches, portraying the brutal world of Westeros with unflinching grittiness and sometimes killing off main characters when you least expect it.
The sweetest part is that the fifth book (of a projected seven), A Dance With Dragons, is due for release later this year, finally ending the four-year wait us fans have suffered through. Call me a nerd, but if Ice and Fire was a movie series, I would be one of those dorks camped out in front of the theatre 3 days in advance, dressed up like a LARPer and drooling in anticipation.
And speaking of adaptations, HBO has reportedly picked up the rights to the story and are in developmental stages of production as we speak. Although I'm usually the first guy to call bullshit on any sort of film or TV adaptation of a literary work I enjoy, I have to admit the fact that it's HBO gives me a little hope (see The Sopranos, Flight of the Conchords, Extras, Deadwood, Ali G, Six Feet Under, etc. etc. etc.)
So buckle down, book-nerds, and check this fucking shit out. I'm pretty sure you can find these books on some website called Amazon or something.
Above: Fan art of George R.R. Martin in Ice and Fire garb (please note the Jets belt buckle). For one of many online galleries of Ice and Fire fan art, click here.