About a week ago, a friend linked to a New Yorker article about George RR Martin and all of the “fans” who vilify him for the delays of A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in his “Song of Ice and Fire” saga. While I read all of the previous books in this series and was aware of the increasing discontent with how long the new book was taking, I had no idea things were this bad.
|Like a picture of Bigfoot|
For those who are unfamiliar, “A Song of Ice and Fire” is a series of fantasy novels set in a low-magic, medieval world. It had drawn a lot of attention for both the intricacies of its politics, and the fact that Martin is unafraid of killing off characters, even beloved main characters. A Feast for Crows, the fourth book in the series – which had also been long delayed – came out in 2005, but only contained story about half the characters and the world. Dragons was meant to be the companion to that, detailing the adventures of the other people and places concurrent to Crows. Over the last several years, fans have gone from eager, to impatient, to angry.
As I read the article, I kept looking for a reason why people feel this way. Why they feel entitled to this book to such a great degree that some angrily and publicly begrudge any time Martin spends on any other pursuit.
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I recently re-read Stephen King’s Dark Tower Saga because, clearly, I have too much time on my hands (see also: starting this blog). Also, Stephen King was one of my favorite authors through high school and college (although I haven’t read his stuff as voraciously since he “retired”), and the Dark Tower was my first introduction to his work. So, it’s always held a special place in my heart and, for the first time since finishing the last book back in 2004, I really wanted to revisit that world.
In any case, even as I was starting the series, I kept thinking about something King does near the ending. And I started musing about how it compared to other devices in other media.