Dear Gina Bellafante, I Must Explain that Winter is Coming and this is Not Good

Since you are extremely ignorant about the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, and about fantasy in general yet felt the need to review a TV series that you already knew you wouldn’t like, I thought I’d give you a little background so if you continued watching something you knew you already hated you wouldn’t seem like a complete fool.

1. Though some of the names are definite English type names, this world is not Earth. When some place is not Earth it will be different from places that are Earth. This is because not every place can be like Earth. A Song of Wind and Fire does not take place on Earth unless we find out later that it does. (This has happened before with other writers because writers are tricky people and they think stuff like that is funny.) The seasons are out of whack and have been out of whack for a very long time and as a result, human society has adapted to it and has made it a part of their lives/worldview/whatever.

2. The current king deposed the previous king; this was not a society-changing revolution, this was business as usual. The Stark family is allied with the current king. The Lannister family is also allied with the current king via marriage. (They are kind of freaky, as is at least one of the surviving members of the previous royal family.) As a result of this being mostly, “business as usual” freaky possibly inbred nobility will continue to be freaky and inbred. And winter is coming.

3. Martin sets up various ideas and then knocks them back down. He sets up background and tells us there’s something more going on behind the scenes. People make stupid mistakes because they do not actually have a clue of what’s going on and sometimes they are just not smart enough. We’re told that there are Inherently Bad People on the other side of a wall. We know that seasons can be measured in decades, and we don’t know why because this series is full of unreliable narrators who don’t really know either. And winter is coming.

4. There is magic and wizardry but it’s very subtle and low-key. We don’t get mage duels here we get people having weird dreams that are actually shamanic journeys . We get fossilized dragon eggs that are actually not fossilized. Are you getting the idea here that winter is coming and this is not good?

5. The people of Westeros have a Thing about bastardy that is so extreme that illegitimate children are assigned specific surnames. Jon Snow has more issues about this than most because his father’s wife is kind of horribly mean to him. Also, winter is coming.

6. One of the overarching themes of the series is ignorance versus knowledge and how too much of either can get you killed. Many characters progress from ignorant and in danger to knowledgeable and in even more danger. Some characters end up dead because they know too much, some of them end up dead because they knew too little. No one in the series is ever aware of the moment that they know too much or too little until it is too late and they end up dead, sometimes in horrible ways. Did I mention that winter is coming? And we don’t really know why the seasons are out of whack. (Or at least I don’t, I read the first book, skipped ahead to A Feast for Crows then skimmed through A Storm of Swords and A Clash of Kings.)

7. So, we have political unrest, a deposed heir who wants the throne back. He is quite willing to sell his sister into a political marriage to do this. And winter is coming.

8. Also, winter is coming. This would be a very bad thing. A possibly even worse thing is that there are strange entities known only as Others who wander around doing unknowable and unthinkable things and animating corpses. They appear to be made of ice and evil .We have no idea of what’s up with that either, but it’s kind of disturbing.

Hoping this clears a few things up for you,

Rena

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