The George Martin Effect on Writing

ASOIAF

I am, admittedly, obsessed with Game of Thrones, but who isn’t these days?

Shonda Rhimes, J-Law, Richard Dreyfus, Laurence Fishburne and, well, Obama, tune in for every episode as impatiently as us, ordinary nerds, and make constant public references to the show’s gripping ups and downs.

So, I am wondering – now that everyone is reading them, how will GRRM’s ASOIAF books affect the fantasy genre? Will flicks about wizard boys and vampires give way to epic tales of medieval-like kingdoms and dragons? Will tales of medieval-like kingdoms and dragons become less magical and more political?

I daresay, no, because GRRM’s approach to storytelling, the convoluted plotting, the multiple story-lines cannot be as easily copied as a teen love story between a vampire and a girl with questionable capacity to form sentences.

George Martin’s writing style delights me as a reader and, frankly, overwhelms me as an aspiring writer, because it is so out of my league. Also, how many writers of fantasy books could resist the temptation to bring in a few more wizards in, or unleash the dragons in the first quarter of the first book?

GRRM’s use of fantastic elements is so subdued and ingrained within realistic political intrigues and individual struggles that I sometimes forget it’s not historical fiction I am reading. At a certain point I needed to remind myself that dragons have never existed. Not quite certain about direwolves and shadowcats, though.

So.

GRRM has created an amazing world, complete with mythology, religion and its own languages. But so did Tolkien with the Lord of the Rings and the Middle Earth legendarium. GRRM has brought forward a cultural phenomenon – but one that is hard to be copied. So what potential long-lasting effect can his story have on the fantasy genre?

No brainer. Writers will feel more at ease to kill off major characters. This is GRRM’s signature, move, is it not? Every next shocking episode of the show gives life to yet another hundred memes, joking about it. Don’t pick a favorite, he is gonna kill him off! It is the distinguishable yet easily transcendent tool in ASOIAF.

So for better or for worse I am preparing for a literary massacre. 

Am I jumping to improbable conclusions here? What do you think?

photo credit: guzzphoto via photopin cc

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5 Replies to “The George Martin Effect on Writing”

  1. I think you bring up some good points and I agree with your opinions on Martin’s strengths as a writer. I do know, however, that the lit fic workshops most fiction writers come out of almost universally claim that killing characters is a taboo act that must not be committed. I suppose it’s all in how it’s done and for what reasons, though. Anyway, good post. 🙂

    1. Thank you, I am happy you enjoyed it!
      Exactly! George Martin has the skill to get away with breaking this taboo and make his story better. I am just worried less skillful writers will rush to follow suit for no good reason.

      1. I certainly agree with you on Martin’s skill. I think I’m also concerned about killing off characters becoming the new vogue, and that scares me a little.

    1. HI Sherry,
      I am very happy you liked my blog posts! Will certainly do my best to post new as enjoyable ones soon. I followed you and am looking forward to reading yours!
      Best,
      Didi

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