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Showing posts from May, 2014

Critique of A Song of Ice and Fire: Magic

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I've now written about two themes I really enjoy from George R. R. Martin's book series A Song of Ice and Fire—history and religion. Now I'd like to highlight one aspect of the series that I don't enjoy as much—the magic.

Why don't I enjoy the magic of Westeros and its universe? After all, most all "fantasy" books contain some type of magical creatures or magical powers. Well, I think my disappointment with the magic in the books is that it threatens the gritty realism present in the other aspects of the stories, such as the history and religion. In the politics of the game of thrones, everything is ambiguous: There are no clear good guys and bad guys, no clear dichotomy between good and evil. The same holds true for the religions: Which of the religions is right? Are they all fake? Are any of the gods real? Unfortunately, George R. R. Martin's use of magic in the books undermines this enjoyment.