Really: I want to hate #GoT for being way the fuck off book.
AND YET? I’m okay with it.
Maybe because I bounced SO HARD off ASoIaF so many times. I tried to get past chapter 3 of AGoT for years. (Mine’s a 3rd printing paperback copy, so... 96/97?)
I fucking HATED Viserys.
Like throwing the book hated. I didn’t finally manage it until... I’m gonna bet late 2014, when HBONow became an option. The 4 hour investment was worth it, and also by then, I knew he was going to die.
GoT gave me enough of a roadmap (and some fixfic) that I could power through the parts I hated. This is probably a good thing, over all, because having written (and actually finished) an epic fantasy cycle, I think I might have gotten discouraged if I hadn’t bounced.
(I needed 18 years to write mine.)
This stuff is hard, and it’s really easy to write yourself into a corner. It gets even easier to write into a corner when you’re overdue, and your editor is mostly concerned with sending it to press with minimal typos because YOU’RE OVERDUE.
Your editor has to eat, too, after all, and publishing houses run on tight budgets, because the other imprints insist on giving outsized advances to politicians & pundits who write books that are relevant for oh, 1 election cycle, while the midlist keeps the lights on.
(Who, me? Skeptical of how romance, fantasy & SF are treated? Tired of hearing old white dudes, who have spent their lives writing nothing more complex than their masturbation fodder, pretend they know how to write genre? Gee, whatever gave you that impression?)
(I truly do hate the Iron Islands contracture and the Dorne slaughter. Those stories are incredibly badly served and they deserve a strong reading. Also, to be retconned someday.)
I want to hate Sansa in Winterfell with TortureMcTorture, and I can think of half a dozen ways to do it better, but OTOH, I now want the Queens of the North: Yara/Asha, Lyanna & Sansa. A generation of the three of them... breaks patriarchy in the north.
Because that’s what keeps me coming back: this is a world. Visually & narratively. It helps that it’s populated by people who didn’t make CHARISMA their dump stat, and they all do seem to genuinely care about what they’re doing. But it’s the worldbuilding that brings me back.
Separate art forms. It’s like cover versions: Trent Reznor gave Johnny Cash moral rights to Hurt, because JC’s version is that good. Jimi Hendrix’s Watchtower beats Dylan’s. (Actually, I’d say EVERY Dylan cover beats Dylan, but I hate his voice, so YMMV.)
There’s an audio side to this, too. Roy Dotrice was a fine reader, but was not good at women’s voices, and whoever directed him chose to use querulous crone voices for young women. It sounds misogynist, like he was making fun of the female characters.
Now, with a new reader needed for Winds of Winter, would be a good time to invest a lot of money in at least a 2 reader (male & female voices) or Focal Character read, for the whole series. (Or get really fancy & go full cast.)
Marshall McCluhan was making a point: The medium at very minimum strongly affects the message, and often makes the message. (And also the medium, in the sense of culture medium, like you use to grow bacteria in the lab. GoT resonates when we’re enduring King Joffrey the Septuagenarian.)
I know, from the literature crit side, why I should absolutely despise this end stage soap opera. I know there are problems. And I know some of them are getting wound up in too-neat packages. And I’m not being handwavey. I’m still okay with alterations to the story form to fit the medium.