I am not the world’s greatest fan of fantasy. That is not to say I dismiss all fantasy without a second-thought, but a fantasy setting does not intrigue me as much as a science-fiction setting does.
My disenchantment with fantasy settings stems from how magic can be used as a general purpose escape-clause, without thought for consequences. One notable exception to this is Robin Hobb’s trilogies set in the Six Duchies, found in her Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies (sadly the Live Ship Traders does not hold the same allure).
Within the Six Duchies we find the Skill (telepathic communication with people) and the Wit (communication and bonding with animals). These abilities are not without cost, draining the user of vitality through prolonged use, as well as becoming an addictive habit.
Along with this more logical approach to magic, Robin Hobb takes a more grounded approach to her characters and plotting. This is not the classic hero tale or dragon quest (although dragons do appear), but an espionage thriller with brutal political manoeuvrings.
And thus we come to Game of Thrones. Whilst I have never read the books by George R. R. Martin, I have recently begun watching the TV series, and I can see why it has garnered such an ardent following.
Game of Thrones is renowned for its excellent acting, complex narrative, fantastic use of colour and attention to detail. Unfortunately this attention to detail means that this is not the best series for me to watch whilst having dinner with Caelia. Within the first fifteen minutes we saw a mass grave, multiple beheadings, animal carcasses and a several undead things.
That is not to say that Robin Hobb’s novels are any less graphic: the main character of Fitz is mentally, physically and even psychically tortured throughout the events in the books. However, neither do we read Robin Hobb whilst having dinner, which is our prime DVD-watching time.
So, whilst I do enjoy the series (despite the incredible amount of boobage leaning dangerously close to gratuitous), I will only be watching Game of Thrones when Mayhem and Chaos are in bed, and Caelia has gone out for the night.