(urth) The Book of the New Sun vs. A Song of Ice and Fire

Jerry Friedman jerry_friedman at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 1 18:48:55 PDT 2012

> From: Jerry Friedman <jerry_friedman at yahoo.com>

>>  From: Jeff Wilson <jwilson at clueland.com>
>>  On 8/1/2012 1:19 PM, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes wrote:
> ...
>>>   The Society for Creative Anachronism likes to say that it recreates
>>>   "the middle ages as they should have been." Martin describes 
> a
>>>   medieval fantasy world as it really would have been.
>>  Sort of: 
> http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/07/08/game-of-thrones-author-george-r-r-martin-spills-the-secrets-of-a-dance-with-dragons/
>>  "You once said that fantasy needs to reflect reality. Can you explain 
> what 
>>  you meant by that?
>>  Well, I think all fiction needs to reflect reality. Fiction is lies, we’re 
>>  writing about people who never existed and events that never happened when 
> we 
>>  write fiction, whether its science fiction or fantasy or western mystery 
> stories 
>>  or so-called literary stories. All those things are essentially untrue. But 
> it 
>>  has to have a truth at the core of it. You’re still writing about people, 
> you’re 
>>  writing about the human condition. I often quote Faulkner, who said in his 
>>  speech after winning the Nobel Prize that 'the human heart in conflict 
> with 
>>  itself' is the only thing worth writing about. And I’ve always agreed 
> with 
>>  that. It’s true no matter what genre you’re writing in, even if there are 
>>  dragons in it or it’s about a private detective or a western gunslinger, 
> it’s 
>>  still ultimately about the human heart in conflict with itself or it’s not 
>> worth reading."
>>  Apparently, the history and other fantastic parts are implausibly 
> grandeurous 
>>  intentionally because they exist only to serve the realistic characters and 
>>  plot.
> I don't see in that quotation that he says why the series has fantastic 
> parts, much less what their "only" purpose is.  I also don't think 
> "a truth at the core of it" is necessarily the same as "realistic 
> characters and plot."

Even "reflect reality" isn't necessarily the same as "realistic characters and plot", I'd say, especially not the "plot" part, though it's closer than the phrase I mentioned above.  Sorry I didn't notice that before.

Jerry Friedman

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