Friday, July 12, 2013

Just a warning....

 ...that you may not be hearing from me for quite some time. Why? Because I just scored, in one fell, fortuitous swoop, and after a maddening three-month wait for the library to get them in, volumes three, four and five of George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire."

That's right, close to three thousand pages of dense, violent, fantastical awesomeness just begging to be read in a single, hallucinatory, methamphetamine-and-coffee fueled sitting. OK, so I just made up that part. But I have shoved all my other reading to the side until I've finished them, and I'm not apologizing a bit for it, either. Sometimes you want to ruminate on Deep Thoughts, and sometimes you just want to gorge on popcorn. And these books are some damn fine popcorn.

Like most everyone else, I hadn't read the books until I got hooked earlier this year - quite by accident - on the HBO series "Game of Thrones" (which is based on the books) when we got one of those free, one-week premium channel previews on our television. I was bored one evening flipping channels, stumbled across an episode, started watching it, and freakin' loved it. I then promptly drove to the library, checked out the first two volumes of Martin's "Ice and Fire" saga, and finished them in a blur of several late-night readings.

I then went straightaway back to the library to check out the next three volumes, and was informed to my horror that some dirty, low-down, book-thieving, hyena-humping sonofabitch had stolen the last three volumes, and that I'd have to wait until the library could order replacements to finish my Ice and Fire infatuation.

Damn. Only my steely resolve (and insolvency) kept me from immediately going out and purchasing not only the entire (two more books are planned) five-book series, but the first two seasons of the show as well.

Now, I must admit that I'm not a serious fan of fantasy. In fact, I'm not even a semi-serious fan of fantasy. Casual, at best. I've read all of Tolkien, of course, and C.S. Lewis, and Lloyd Alexander's excellent "Chronicles of Prydain," and some other scattered classics and semi-classics of the genre, and I enjoy it to a point, but I don't wear a genuine reproduction One Ring, I've never used the word "verily" in conversation, I've never wielded a wooden sword to defended m'lady's honor at a Renaissance Fair, and I've never translated the collected writings of Uknor The Brave from the original High Elvish. Because all that shit is just a bit silly.

But I have to say that I am infatuated with Martin's highly imagined, violent, disturbing and disturbed world. If I had to characterize it, I'd say (and I apologize if this analogy has already been made somewhere, but it immediately popped into my head) "Ice and Fire" is what you'd end up with if you took Quentin Tarantino and the ghost of Sam Pekinpah, locked them in a room together, handed them a copy of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and said "here, re-write this damn thing."

Good stuff. Each volume is as long as Joyce's "Ulysses" and only slightly less confusing. And like most things that are bad for you, also highly addictive. If you haven't read them, give them a try. If nothing else, your arms will get a good workout holding them up.

So for now, Good Ser Chad is checking out. I've got foes to slay and wenches to bed before I do the dishes and feed the dogs.  


  1. Game of thrones is like crack. Enjoy the ride but be careful to savor each page, don't read them too fast-when that 5th book ends your going to be hanging for a while until the 6th book is published.
    In that time you are going to get withdrawals and you are probably going to get cranky and irritable. You will most likely alienate yourself from friends and family members as they wonder just what in the hell you are talking about. You will constantly bitch about inaccuracies in the TV series VS the book...
    I am not sure if there are any 12 step programs available for this problem, but I can assure you it won't get better.

  2. I got a graphic novel adaptation to check out what the hype is all about. (Don't have a TV, and the books seemed like a bigger commitment than I was willing to invest.) Liked it. The art being great helped as well. Now I'm tempted to get into the books proper, but it still seems like a big commitment. I think I might be more willing to do that if it came with an accompanying booklet to help try and remember the legion of characters you're introduced to.

  3. I had the same concerns before starting. It is a really complex story but the format makes it highly digestible, even for a guy like me that can barely remember his own name.

  4. I, for one, welcome our new nerd overlords