Playing the Game of Thrones
“Oh, my sweet summer child,” Old Nan said quietly, “what do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods.”
I am obsessed.
Dear George R.R. Martin and your Song of Ice and Fire,
You are the adult-oriented fix for my Harry Potter withdrawals. As Tyrion Lannister says, “A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge,” and working in script writing services, I need all the help I can get. Meanwhile here I sit twisting a prayer wheel in reverence to the Faith of the Seven that you will not die before you finish the final book in the series, “A Dream of Spring.” Thankfully it seems we will finally move past that foreboding phrase, “Winter is coming.”
“Old stories are like old friends, [Old Nan] used to say. You have to visit them from time to time.” At present, forlorn fanatics of Team Arya, Team Tyrion or, heavens to Betsy, Team Cersei can get their fix of A Song of Ice and Fire even if you’ve read all the books and are spot-on with the TV series. Branching out into cookbooks and graphic novels, there will plenty of ASoIaF cud to chew on until Book 7 comes to be.
The Hedge Knight (The Tales of Dunk and Egg #1)
This comic book, ahem, graphic novel was written by George R.R. Martin himself. Long before he was busy renovating his local theater or avoiding the deadly threats of fans due to the Red Wedding, Martin was breathing new life into the Hedge Knight, Ser Duncan the Tall. Not too shabby, the graphic novel was the 1999 Locus Award Nominee for Best Novella, as well as the World Fantasy Award Nominee for Best Novella.
Not written by Martin, although he did write the foreword, this cookbook is by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer. If you, like myself, spent the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series salivating over the lemon cakes and honeyfingers, or rather the pork pies and warm wine, this book will satisfy your hunger pangs. Eat yourself through Westeros with recipes that begin with quotes from the pages in which the foods were eaten. Interestingly enough, most, if not all, of the recipes can be recreated and savored from your own kitchen thanks to the medieval-modern mash-up of the ingredients and techniques.
A part of the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series by Henry Jacoby, this book strikes directly into the heart of the themes and social culture of the world of Westeros. Topics addressed include:
- Cultural relativism with Dany aka Daenerys Targaryen
- Biomedical ethics with Khal Drogo and Bran Stark
- Evil and injustice with Cersei
- Game Theory and the Lannisterss modus operandi
- Fatalism as noted through “Winter is coming”
Here is a perfect example of how a writer can spur creativity. First off, this book doesn’t have good, or bad, reviews on Goodreads; it’s just a mediocre ensemble of essays related to sociological aspects of characters from the series. As a sociologist myself, I can already think of how this approach could be used to write many other books based on the philosophies of fantasy worlds and their inhabitants, such as the Harry Potter and Twilight series.
“The things I do for love.”
What this teaches us as writers is that if you are obsessed with a book or series, such as the “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making,” The Hunger Games or the Lunar Chronicles, instead of sitting around twiddling your thumbs for the next big adventure, write a creative spin-off of your own. Who knows? By playing around with the stories of your favorite, and typically highly profitable, author you will be able to cure your creative conundrums while making a buck or two in the process. After all, “Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”Just don’t ruin it like “Scarlett” did for “Gone with the Wind.”
*All quotes are taken from books in A Song of Ice and Fire series
Miranda B is the modern day Arya slinging sharp words as her Needle everywhere she goes from across the Midwestern Plains to Western Europe. Other than writing about her favorite fantasy series, Miranda produces web content, blog posts, and print for her local newspaper as the Loquacious Librarian. Of course, there’s a fiction work, or a dozen, brewing in her cauldron of creativity.