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Re: Song of Ice and Fire

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  • Katie Glick
    On 6 Mar 2005 14:18:16 -0000, mythsoc@yahoogroups.com ... I think A Song of Ice and Fire can be seen as mytheopeic. There are certainly forces at work beyond
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 6, 2005
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      On 6 Mar 2005 14:18:16 -0000, mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

      > I'm not at all sure that _A Song of Ice and Fire_ isn't mythopoeic. I think a
      > great deal of its appeal comes from the contrast between the internecine
      > feudal politics that dominate the plot in the foreground and the vast, mysterious
      > metaphysical threat that is looming larger and larger in the background,
      > ignored by most of the main characters, whose conflicts are actually making it less
      > and less likely that the global threat can be contained at all.

      I think "A Song of Ice and Fire" can be seen as mytheopeic. There are
      certainly forces at work beyond just the humans who are battling and
      jostling for position, but as the stories are playing out, it seems to
      me that there is a battle going on not just between the people, but
      between the gods as well. In the story, there is a Christian-like
      religion that has taken over most of the land but there are several
      lingering pagan traditions and as the conflict grows more complex,
      these different powers seem to be putting their hand in and a world
      that seems fairly mundane for a fantasy world in the beginning
      suddenly sees stranger and stranger things start to happen.

      Of course, I don't tend to think of fantasy as "mytheopeic" or
      "non-mytheopeic" as a general response. I generally think of works,
      and whether I like them or not, in terms of their depths as both a
      world and a story. I like George R.R. Martin because not only does the
      world he has created feel as deep and real as Middle Earth ever did to
      me, but also because the story has depth and it feels real to me, like
      it's gong somewhere I can enjoy.

      In comparison, Robert Jordan has created a world that is just as
      large, and I believe he put just as much research and effort into, but
      it doesn't feel real to me. With Tolkien and Martin you feel more like
      they've stumbled on an existing world, with history that goes back
      eons, and legends and songs and stories and layers upon layers of the
      generations of peoples that have lived there. With Jordan you never
      get beyond the feeling that he made this world up. For one thing,
      although there are detailed and varied cultures, everyone speaks the
      same language and seems to hold the same system of belief. Evil and
      good are fairly black and white. Either you're good and working toward
      the "light" or you are bad which necessarily means you are receiving
      your orders directly from the bad guys, and just carrying out the
      master plan as passed down through the ranks. The overall effect comes
      out very flat and cartoonish despite that fact a lot of work and care
      obviously went into the creation of this world.

      Moreover, the story itself is interminable and when I've tried to read
      it, I just don't feel like the journey is worth it, because it feels
      like the story is heading to an inevitable conclusion and the journey
      itself is not compelling enough to take just to get to a known
      destination. Whereas, with Tolkien, you pretty well know how the story
      is going to end. At least, I never had any doubt in my mind that the
      ring was going to end up in that mountain at the end of the books.
      But, the journey is what counts and the journey is what you read the
      story for. And you know all along as you read it, that it's going to
      be worth it the whole way through to the end.

      That's generally how I judge fantasy--because it necessarily involves
      things that are impossible or just simply don't exist in the world we
      actually live in--is how authentic it feels despite that fact. If
      someone can write about elves, dragons, magic, etc., and yet still
      have it feel completely real to me, then it's successful. If I believe
      that I could be reading about a place that exists somewhere, or did
      exist once or will exist someday, then to me, it's good. If I am
      reading and never reach the point where I believe that this place
      could be real somewhere, and the people could be real and the story
      could really happen, then it's failed.

      And Lizzie, as far as wanting to read "A Song of Ice and Fire" -- they
      are excellent books, but if you are wary of a long series you may want
      to hold off, because it is not finished yet and and although the
      author has stated that the series will total six books, he has also
      stated that it might not be possible. Right now only three books have
      been released, with a fourth on its way this year. At the rate it's
      going, there is no telling how long it will take to actually finish
      the series.

      -kt

      -kt
    • karlstar2
      I m no expert here, but I believe the series is called The Song of Ice and Fire because it is a mythic clash between two elemental forces. There are
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 7, 2005
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        I'm no expert here, but I believe the series is called "The Song of
        Ice and Fire" because it is a mythic clash between two elemental
        forces. There are constant references to the creatures that live
        beyond the great wall to the North, and what the land was like in the
        far past. Even the Stark family words 'Winter is Coming' remind
        people of those days. We haven't seen a lot of mythic references to
        the Fire side, but I think they'll come.

        The books certainly don't have the same ability of Tolkien to remind
        people of some dim past of our world, but they certainly are
        interesting!
      • alexeik@aol.com
        In a message dated 3/7/5 6:30:04 PM, you wrote:
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 7, 2005
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          In a message dated 3/7/5 6:30:04 PM, you wrote:

          <<I'm no expert here, but I believe the series is called "The Song of

          Ice and Fire" because it is a mythic clash between two elemental

          forces. There are constant references to the creatures that live

          beyond the great wall to the North, and what the land was like in the

          far past. Even the Stark family words 'Winter is Coming' remind

          people of those days. We haven't seen a lot of mythic references to

          the Fire side, but I think they'll come.

          >>

          The "fire" side, I believe, is represented by the dragons who have been
          awakened into the service of Daenerys (the princess who is the last survivor of the
          old Imperial house). I don't pretend to know what Martin has in mind for his
          characters, but I have a hunch that the conflict between Ice and Fire will
          wind up as a marriage of the two, in the persons of Jon Snow and Daenerys.
          Alexei
        • Berni Phillips
          From: karlstar2 ... Remember that the princess with the dragons is pretty fiery, living in desert country and all. She and her
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 7, 2005
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            From: "karlstar2" <jalaubacker@...>
            >
            > I'm no expert here, but I believe the series is called "The Song of
            > Ice and Fire" because it is a mythic clash between two elemental
            > forces. There are constant references to the creatures that live
            > beyond the great wall to the North, and what the land was like in the
            > far past. Even the Stark family words 'Winter is Coming' remind
            > people of those days. We haven't seen a lot of mythic references to
            > the Fire side, but I think they'll come.

            Remember that the princess with the dragons is pretty fiery, living in
            desert country and all. She and her supporters will undoubtedly make up the
            Fire side in subsequent books.

            Is Martin still planning on a total of 6 books in the series?

            Berni
          • dianejoy@earthlink.net
            Different kind of past, different kind of world. ---djb ... From: karlstar2 jalaubacker@mindspring.com Date: Mon, 07 Mar 2005 18:04:31 -0000 To:
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 8, 2005
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              Different kind of past, different kind of world. ---djb

              Original Message:
              -----------------
              From: karlstar2 jalaubacker@...
              Date: Mon, 07 Mar 2005 18:04:31 -0000
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Song of Ice and Fire




              I'm no expert here, but I believe the series is called "The Song of
              Ice and Fire" because it is a mythic clash between two elemental
              forces. There are constant references to the creatures that live
              beyond the great wall to the North, and what the land was like in the
              far past. Even the Stark family words 'Winter is Coming' remind
              people of those days. We haven't seen a lot of mythic references to
              the Fire side, but I think they'll come.

              The books certainly don't have the same ability of Tolkien to remind
              people of some dim past of our world, but they certainly are
              interesting!






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