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Archive for the tag “Game of Thrones”

Sequel: The Sequel (ad nauseam).

We are a country that loves its sequels. We just can’t let a story go. If a sequel doesn’t make sense, we have prequels. Reboots. Trilogies that somehow turn into 5 movies. TV adaptations and spin-offs. It never ends!

In the book world, sequels are series. And I’m starting to notice a trend…

Just as a TV series really should end around season 5, a book series has to have some end point. I recently finished book 2 of “Outlander” and am DAUNTED, even though I love series, at the prospect of reading 7 more 900+ page books. When is it logical for the story to end?

There are those series that consume your entire life. “Game of Thrones” is one of them. I read Book 4 last month and I’m not sure George R.R. Martin has an end game, though there should be. “Harry Potter”, for example, was well-plotted. Each novel felt like the characters advanced to a next level, and part of this is due J.K. Rowling’s brilliant foresight and planning to have the books follow Harry and co. by age and education level. By the time they are ready to leave Hogwarts the books are done.

Diana Gabaldon could have easily written the “Outlander” series as a great trilogy, rather than drag it out for 8+ books. You end up following the characters lives as closely as your own. I don’t need that. Endings are painful, but necessary. Stories are meant to live on in your imagination. I want a book that will stay with me and take a part of me with it when I reach “The End”. Why give away a novel’s power by feeding the story beyond any logical expectations?

Sue Grafton backed herself into a corner when she started writing her alphabet series. I believe we are up to “X” in the series, and as I’ve ready each book faithfully from letter A until now (some of them more than once) I get a sense that she’s exhausted. She’s been writing these mysteries for the better part of 30 years. Her main character Kinsey gets nearly killed in every single book. What a life! At some point, maybe around “K” or “M”, we stopped believing that Kinsey’s life had any realistic trajectory moving forward. By all accounts she should be dead (or under witness protection).

I will admit the books are fun- as are most books in a series- but I get lost in overall arc of the storyline. I begin to feel manipulated that the books keep coming and the story gets stretched beyond limits because there’s money to be made. Did Diana really anticipate a full 8+ series storyline when she first typed out the original “Outlander” novel? Or did someone tell her she needs to write more in the series because fans and publishers demand it?

I’m reminded of obsessed fan Annie Wilkes and writer Paul Sheldon from “Misery”. What will happen once Diana finishes “Outlander”? Will millions of us fans revolt, lock her up in a basement somewhere, and demand she bring Claire and Jamie back to life? J.K. Rowling let go, much to the dismay of a bazillion kids and adults alike, but she hasn’t been stoned.

In praise of the trilogy, I say, and here’s to logical endings. What are some of your favorite trilogies? (Books, tv miniseries will count, films)

 

 

Frolicking in historical fiction and fantasy.

Outlander          The White Queen        GOT

 

Sometimes I amaze myself. I don’t know why, but this past month I started reading three books at the same time- one on audio, one at lunch, and another at night- that are complete epics. All three- “Outlander”, “The White Queen”, and Game of Thrones book 3 “A Storm of Swords”- take place in the past and all of them have fantastical and magical elements.

You might think I’ve keeled over in pure exhaustion, but I’m rather inspired.

I love historical fiction. It’s fast becoming my new favorite go-to genre. Mysteries used to my coveted and favorite reads, but now that I’ve branched out into the world of fantasy, I’m happy when I can find a book or two that combines all elements. I’m relatively a newbie to fantasy. Sci-fi and fantasy just were never my genres of choice when it came to pleasure reading. But after reading Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Name of the Wind” for a book club meeting, I came to have a new appreciation for fantasy. And Game of Thrones is so character heavy and mind-boggling at times, but I absolutely love the series.

Also interesting (to me, anyway) is that the above books are also on TV. I only just begun the Outlander series on Starz, but I saw the mini-series The White Queen before I read the book, and I watched all three seasons of GOT before I picked up the first book. With these dense and historically meandering books, I’ve found it actually helps to watch the shows first. This is profound, in that it’s not something you will usually hear me say.  I don’t think it’s cheating, really, to watch the shows in tandem or before reading the novels. Think of the show as a companion piece and handy visual guide to the books!

Side bar: I know Game of Thrones is not necessarily “historical fiction”, as Westeros and environs are pure fantasy. But the books feel as though they are set in the middle ages, sort of on a parallel universe as ours.

I can’t say why, exactly, I’m in love with historical fiction. I know several people who can’t stand this genre, for whatever reason. But I get so excited when history comes alive. I like to revel in what life was like all those years ago. In the case of “The White Queen”, I am always delighted when a new story about the Tudor era debuts. Reading about history in texts and documents never quite captures the true spirit of a person ,and who is to say, after 500 years, that what we are reading is even really true? But stories have so much leeway to create a character, and in the context of factual events I feel like I’m right there.

“Outlander” knocked my socks off. It’s not the type of book that will appeal to everyone, though. For one thing, it’s a time travel novel. That right there can immediately turn people away. It has all of the trappings of being a romance novel, but it’s not a romance either. As for fantasy, well it’s not so heavy on that, but it dives just a twinge into fantasy-like situations (I won’t give away any spoilers here). And this is a dark book. When I say dark, I mean DARK. Rape, torture, spousal and child abuse are all fair game here and author Gabaldon doesn’t shy away from any of it. Really, “Outlander” is a sweeping epic set in 18th century Scotland. With men in kilts. And some pretty explicit sex scenes. Think the TV show Game of Thrones set in the Highlands and you are all set.

Anyone second guessing historical fiction now?

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