Call For Comments: The Lord of the Game of the Throne and the Ring and Things.

From Wayne: Wow, there’s a lot of fantasy on TV these days!

Given my addiction to comics I wasn’t completely oblivious to fantasy as a genre. I’m sure I read something with knights and dragons in it when I was a kid. I started playing Dungeons and Dragons around tenth grade, but was oblivious to a lot of the source material beyond a general familiarity. But, like a lot of people, Lord of the Rings was really the first major fantasy series I read. I had seen the Rankin-Bass animated Hobbit on TV in 1977, but I’m not sure if I even knew it was based on a book at the the time.

One of my high school teachers turned me onto the Tolkien books – thanks, Mr. Hunter! – and from there I dug in and read tons of fantasy. A lot of it was really good, and a lot of it… meh. But while I wasn’t exclusive, it was really my go-to genre for a long time.

But somewhere along the line I started losing interest. Too many swords and too much sorcery. Like any genre, the tropes can get stale.

Sometime in the early 2000s I discovered George R.R. Martin and the Game of Thrones series of books. The first three of them were out at the time. This coincided with the release of the Lord of the Rings movies. I kind of fell in love with the genre again. These were massive tomes, with incredibly complex world-building and an enormous cast of complex characters. A few friends and I would discuss them and try to figure out the mysteries and the connections from the labyrinth of clues.

Book four finally came out and I was, like many, underwhelmed. Martin had split up the narrative and completely left out several of the characters whose stories I was most interested in. I anticipated the next book, hoping to finally catch up with these characters, so I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Five years? At least. My memory of this is dim now. I had lost the thread of the narrative by this time. The characters I wanted to read were there, but Martin also began introducing a whole raft of new characters and plots that I just couldn’t care less about. Tell me the story you started before introducing new one? Is this what took so long?

I’ve spent about a third of my life waiting for these books. I’m kind of done. Which is a long way of saying I haven’t watched the new House of the Dragon series on HBO Max. I just can’t summon up the energy. But there’s a new Lord of the Ring series as well, which I will probably give a chance at some point.

Readers were told there would be two more books in the series. Based on the records in my Amazon account I purchased A Dance With Dragons, the last book of the series that has appeared, on July 5, 2011. That was a long-ass time ago. We’ve had an entire television series since then, that answered the questions and solved the mysteries – although probably in different ways than the books will.

We want to talk about Fantasy as a genre, and why it’s such a thing right now, and maybe more specifically, why these two properties appear to be evergreen. Is it just the sexy elves, or is there more to it than that?

3 Comments and 1 Webmention for “Call For Comments: The Lord of the Game of the Throne and the Ring and Things.”

  1. “The beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid!” After four decades plus of being a fantasy reader I am pretty spent. But I still come to the call. Because a lot of us were here when it was not cool. We owe it to the genre that shaped us.

  2. Like you, I simply haven’t been able to muster any interest in HOTD. And, from what I have heard, it doesn’t seem like I’m missing much.

    As for the Rings of Power series, I have been watching it. The racist backlash was predictable, and I have ignored that idiocy — but the fact is that the series has a *lot* of problems. They have substantially altered Galadriel’s character, to the extent that she is barely recognisable. The series’ Galadriel is impetuous, impatient, and unsubtle. Not at all the wise queen that she was by this time.

    They have also massively compressed the timeline of the Second Age, squeezing everything from about the 1500s SA to the end of the age (a period of nearly 2000 years in the original canon timeline) into a much shorter span of time. This has the effect that Tar-Miriel, (Ar-)Pharazôn, Elendil, and Isildur (and, we may assume, the Fall of Númenor) are now contemporary with the period when the Ring is forged. It also implies that they are going to confabulate the War of the Elves and Sauron with the War of the Last Alliance.

    If you’re getting the idea that I don’t like that, you’re right. I can understand why they want to avoid lengthy timeskips, but it makes a mess of the timeline.

    They have also introduced some absolutely nonsensical non-canon generic fantasy material (involving mithril), which was completely superfluous and clumsy.

    This doesn’t mean that the series is a total loss. For instance, the chemistry between Elrond, Durin, and Durin’s wife Disa (a new character, but well-written and well-acted) is a high point of the series, and I enjoy every scene with them.

    Overall, I have given up on watching the series as Tolkien adaptation. It simply deviates too much from the source material. If you ignore the Tolkien conection and watch it as a generic fantasy series, however, it is passable. The production values are high, and the acting and plot is no worse than most D&D game nights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *