Date: 2017-01-17 07:09 pm (UTC)
cloudsinvenice: woman resting her head on her hand, thinking (Default)
I'm starting to really notice different layers of intended realism in fantasy novels, and to be interested in the choices authors make, and why. When I first read The Dark is Rising (just the novel), Will's lack of agency and the lack of psychological realism bothered me - it felt like stuff just happened to him and we didn't get a strong sense of how he would change as a person due to these experiences. Now I'm reading the whole series for the first time, and my sense of it is that it's meant to be understood on a mythic, archetypal level; we're not meant to even expect great psychological depth. I appreciate the books more as a result.

I think that what goes wrong with ASOIAF is that, unlike TDIR, where everything in the books falls into line with this mythic sense of events, GRRM combines a very earthy, everyday approach to some stuff (I enjoy that this includes injuries and disability; also armed combat) with a mythic approach to other things. Sometimes this works, because even when the subjects are things like magic and dragons which are impossible in our world, there are hints that we could give them scientific explanations if we just had enough info - the Maesters in the Citadel sound as though they approach things in this way, and the facts we're told about the dragons make them clearly biological beings rather than supernatural entities. We can assume there are reasons that they died out - perhaps hereditary problems were emphasised by selective breeding.

But as you point out, the seasonal phenomena doesn't carry the implications of a worked-out system, or, strangely, have the cultural impact you'd expect. There's a lot of linguistic traces ("You sweet summer child!"), because GRRM seems to enjoy playing with names and words and inventing colloquialisms, but planetary mechanics don't seem to have ever been on his agenda, and I think that makes more sense when you think of the winter/summer thing (and spring and autumn really don't figure much, so far) as having been conceived to have mythic weight ("Winter is Coming"), and a mythic resonance with the powers of the Others vs. the dragons. But yes, I want the poetry! I want to know what people like me, who love autumn, feel about its apparent brevity! I want to know how all this plays into industry and manufacturing - one of the few hints we get is that the winters in the north have led previous generations at Winterfell to develop central heating...
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