There is no use mincing words. When it comes to fantasy, some of us like it rough. Recently, we have seen an emergence in the more gritty types of fantasy. The most prominent in the mainstream, and the focus for the sake of this article, is George R. R. Martinâ€™s Game of Thrones. As one of HBOâ€™s new golden boys of cable, what we have enjoyed viewing on television has for the most part been accurately pulled from Martinâ€™s A song of Ice and Fire saga. Beginning with Game of Thrones, we plunge into Martinâ€™s Westeros, where we are introduced to numerous characters. The token black and white aspects of the hero and villain are replaced by characters whose actions are continuously shaded in hues of grey. Nobles use profanity, murder, conspire, and partake of wenching. Hmmmâ€¦not unlike the historical figures we have idolized throughout the centuries. And there, my beloved readers, is part of the appeal for this genre. Itâ€™s more than just fantasyâ€¦itâ€™s an edge that at times reflects our darkest natures and mirrors our colorful past. And yes, we enjoy seeing victims run through. In a world inundated with video games, where you can destroy civilizations and shoot cops, Iâ€™m afraid the violent streak in fantasy is here to stayâ€¦for better or for worse.
In my opinion, what makes a saga such as A song of Ice and Fire work is balance. It has his violent moments, but they are skillfully sewn within the proper context of the story. Once againâ€¦BALANCE being the key attribute â€“ a discipline I have tried to implement within my upcoming novel, Shadows of Kings. But my personal appeal for the darker side of fantasy does not in any way discount the work of writers who refrain from using vulgarity or excessive violence. After all, the Father of contemporary fantasy, J.R.R Tolkien, kept it at armâ€™s length when he wrote the Lord of the Rings. And speaking of Middle-Earth, that brings me to the introduction of my guest. And who better to speak in Tolkienâ€™s absence, then one of his living relatives who also writes fantasy? Fellow viewers and subscribers, Iâ€™m pleased to introduce J.R.R. Tolkienâ€™s great-great niece, Robin Lovejoy Tolkien â€“ Author of Banshee in the Well.
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