Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fantasy from the real world- Thoughts on "The Game of Thrones"

I recently read through George R. R. Martins series, "The Game of Thrones". The first and the third book are really good reads. Feel free to skip through the fourth and fifth until you find it interesting--the story develops slowly in them.

Martins books depict war and its struggles with realism that is unsavory. There are multiple rapes, and other abuses of power. The book series; title "The Game of Thrones" points out that power is something that is sought for its own sake, without real meaning. In the books, the most contemptible people are those who are weak or irrational. Tywin Lannister, for all his grim butchery of people and his own son's heart, is still to be admired for his strength and logic. Indeed, his death is caused because he overlooked things.

Cersei is despised in the end not because of her incest or her regicide, but because of her paranoia and ineptitude with people management. 

The most despised characters are those that are emotional and physically weak, like Lisa Arryn and her son.

Ultimately, we are given a world where dragons and magic are possible, but also where the strong take advantage of the weak, and there is little hope for justice. In fact, the definition of justice is the big fish eat the little ones.

This raises the question about fantasy. Is fantasy just an opportunity to add some cool things to the way of our world, swords, dragons, and the law of might? Or is fantasy a chance to re-envision our world not just in its creatures and physical possibility, but also in its social values? Most theorists agree that Karl Marx's belief that history inevitably would end in communism is just fantasy. Yet it had much more value, as it sought to re-envision our world as a better place, than Martin's hopeless fantasy.

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