Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Clash of Kings

Sometimes people ask me why I hate on chick flicks and mushy literature so much; it's probably because my favorite things in the world are clever, powerful stories with clever, powerful characters (not often found in the aforementioned media).

Or maybe there's just so much garbage out there that finding someone who actually has the ability to craft both words and ideas into something really spectacular literally causes me to ripple in amazement. I'm a pretty easy film audience (in a year of doing proper reviews, I've given only two sub-par ratings that I remember) but books are harder. Writing is a hard thing, and you can tell every time if someone knows what they're doing or have been lucky enough to, well, get lucky. I'll go with skill over luck every time (BIG, BAD SPOILERS AHEAD. BEWARE):

Men were crawling from the river, men burned and bleeding, coughing up water, staggering, most dying. He led his troop among them, delivering quicker, cleaner deaths to those strong enough to stand. The war shrank to the size of his eye slit. Knights twice his size fled from him, or stood and died. They seemed little things, and fearful. "Lannister!" he shouted, slaying. His arm was red to the elbow, glistening in the light off the river. When his horse reared again, he shook his axe at the stars and heard them call out, "Halfman! Halfman!" Tyrion felt drunk.

The battle fever. He had never thought to experience it himself. Jaime had told him of it often enough. How time seemed to blur and slow and even stop, how the past and future vanished until there was nothing but the instant, how fear fled, and thought fled, and even your body. "You don't feel your wounds then, or the ache in your back from the weight of the armor, or the sweat running down into your eyes. You stop feeling, you stop thinking, you stop being you, there is only the next fight, the foe, this man and then the next, and the next, and the next, and you know they are afraid and tired, but you're not, you're alive and death is all around you but their swords move so slowly, you can dance through them laughing." Battle fever. I am half a man and drunk with slaughter, let them kill me if they can!

They tried.

See that? The guy that wrote it knows what he's doing.