Tag: Song of Ice & Fire

5 Days to Dragon*Con: The Malazan Book of the Fallen

 

I’ve been into sci-fi and fantasy series since middle school, when I read all the Pern books and lots of the Ender books and all those other series, but I started hitting the heavy fantasy (Tolkien withstanding) in the later 2000s, when I picked up A Song of Ice and Fire one summer.  After finishing that series I realized that I had a Wheel of Time sized hole in my fantasy cannon, so I spent about a year reading through that and learning about how Nynaeve likes to tug her braid and how Elayne likes to smooth her skirts and, really, is that series going to be done anytime soon?

I picked up these long, epic fantasy series because I was pretty unhappy with my job situation at the time, and if I don’t do something useful I go into a huge, existential funk.  These series enabled me to escape into a fantasy world that I could live comfortably in for months at a time–I hated finishing the series, and saying goodbye to the books, their worlds, and the characters within them was fairly distressing.  So, I was always on the look out for the next unbelievably long epic fantasy series in which to invest.

And then several friends of mine told me to pick up the Malazan books, and I’ve been living in them ever since.   Since November of 2010 I have been working my way through Steven Erikson and Ian Esslemont‘s Malazan series, starting with Erikson’s incredible Malazan Book of the Fallen and branching off into Esslemont’s parallel stories from the Malazan world (Yes I have taken breaks to read other things, such as The Hunger Games Trilogy, Tina Fey‘s memoir, and a few autobiographies of women who were raised in and then escaped the scary Satmar Orthodox Jewish enclave in Brooklyn, but mostly it has been all Malazan all the time!).

Malazan Book of the Fallen
Malazan Book of the Fallen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The main core of the Malazan books is Erikson’s ten volume Malazan Book of the Fallen.   I can’t really summarize it for you–telling you too much information would give the incredible scope and breadth of the series away.  It is nominally about soldiers and their brotherhood, it is about trust and friendship, it is about gods who walk around as men and it is about alien beings from other planets who may or may not be gods.  It is about how one can become a god, if mere mortals believe strongly enough.  It is about magic, nominally, but also how that magic can be corrupted, or how that magic corrupts.  It is about broken things.  It is some of the most devastating, beautiful fiction I have ever read.

Erikson, like George R.R. Martin, isn’t afraid to kill his darlings.  People die, good people die, and that is no fun.  Erikson also trusts his readers, which I love.   Mid-series, I think it is book four or five, Erikson jumps us to an entirely new continent with an entirely new race of people and just trusts us to pick up his thread and go along with what he is doing.  And, because we trust him, we do, and it is great, and we are rewarded for our patience.

Erikson, Steven - Reaper's Gale (2009 PB)
Erikson, Steven – Reaper’s Gale (2009 PB) (Photo credit: sdobie)

The Malazan books are a dense read–there is a reason why it took me forever to get through the core ten.  Erikson’s prose is quite good, and you can see that he has fun with language.  I’m also a fan of Erikson because of his discipline–he produced one book a year for ten years until the series was done. None of this playing with our hearts (like certain authors we know and love).

Ian Esslemont’s writing isn’t as good as Erikson’s, but his stories are solid, and they expand upon the world.  It isn’t necessary to read his books to understand the core story of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, but they do supplement some character backstory and general world history, and it is nice to be able to fall into Esslemont’s books when you are done reading the Erikson novels.  I’m currently on Esslemont’s most recently published book–I’m happy to report that his writing has gotten much better and I am thoroughly enjoying the book (one of Esslemont’s books, The Return of the Crimson Guard, was so torturous to get through, oi).  However, this is the last published Malazan book, eeee!!!  When I finish this I’m going to have to wait awhile until Erikson or Esslemont produce something new–lucky for me, those plans are in the works!

In the meantime, I plan on starting The Kingkiller Chroncle.  And you should totally get a start on the Malazan books!

 

21 Days to Dragon*Con: Game of Thrones (Part 2)

 

THREE WEEKS!  This is pretty much how I’m feeling right now, what about you?

So this time two years ago I was posting the teaser trailer for HBO’s Game of Thrones.   Now, two seasons of that show have already passed, how insane is that?  I’m costuming as a screen-accurate Melisandre, and there’s a whole Game of Thrones costume group on Facebook, and now everyone all of a sudden knows what this amazing series is!  I remember my first Dragon*Con only seeing ONE book version Ned Stark and that was it!  And now there are Daenarys swarming the Marriott Atrium!  Which is great!

Another thing that happened during the last two years was the release of the fifth book in the series, A Dance with Dragons–although I feel like the book had a disappointing lack of dragons for a book titled A Dance with Dragons.  While I think the television series is a masterful example of a proper book-to-video translation, I’m pretty much a book purist at heart.  This is really the series that got me into epic fantasy, and lord knows I have spent several years of my life reading other epic fantasy series while awaiting future volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire.  Yes, I know George R.R. Martin is not my bitch, but I would love it if we didn’t have to wait half a decade for a new book!

While we’re waiting, let us watch some wonderful Game of Thrones video memes!

Like ten minutes of Tyrion slapping Joffrey:

Or this great trailer for Bronn and Tyrion’s buddy comedy, One and Half Man (whatever did happen with that jack ass and that honeycomb in the brothel?)

For double nerd cred, we have Jaime and Ned’s sword battle, re-done with lightsabers:

And for cuteness factor, we have Maisie Williams (Arya), Sophie Turner (Sansa), and Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran) singing the opening of the show:

And, of course, Ned Stark’s “Winter is coming” has itself become a quickmeme.  Oh, the internets.

I’m sure there are many more mega fun videos out there–I saw a great Lego opening of the show once BUT I CAN’T FIND IT.  Does anyone know where it went?  Also, the “Good to Be a Lannister” song, of course.   If you have any fun videos or memes that I missed, please share them!  Also, go watch the show and/or read the books if you haven’t!  They are the best!   And just in case I haven’t mentioned it yet, this blog and pictures of me are the first things that pop up on Google when you search “Melisandre costume.”  I feel like I am winning the internet!

 

44 Days to Dragon*Con: My Nerdy Childhood, My Nerdy Parents

This past weekend I made a quick trip to Sarasota to visit my parents.  I don’t get back to my hometown nearly enough–much of this is because I tend to see my parents at other places, like family weddings or the High Holidays.  However, there’s nothing like visiting your childhood home and sleeping in your old bedroom.  Also, hanging out with my parents is super fun: we eat at lots of fun places and we take morning walks on the beach, and then sometimes I say something like “my flat iron is dying!” and then my mother says “I have this flat iron I don’t use because I have a WAY BETTER ONE do you want mine?!”  and then I take her flat iron and it is way better than my old flat iron was, even before my cat chewed on the wiring and compromised the heat transfer to the plates.  ANYWAYS.

Part of the reason I love going home is the chance to see all my old childhood stuff through my adult (“adult,” heh) eyes.  Even though my room has been converted to a guest room, a lot of my old paraphernalia, books, tchokes, and decorations are still lying about.  And, looking through these items, one can see that I’ve been on the road to nerd-dom FOREVER.  Behold:

That’s a corner of my bookshelf:  Anne Rice‘s Queen of the DamnedRobert Heinlein‘s Stranger in a Strange Land (I totally never finished that book, guys), The Subtle Knife which is the second book in Phillip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials Trilogy,  a couple Tolkien books, and Anne McCaffrey‘s Dragonflight and Dragonquest (told you I read those books a lot as a kid).  Also, The Agony and the Ecstasy , and on top, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (not nerdy, per se, but a great book nonetheless!)   Consider all the possibilities in that mini-snap-shot of my bookshelf, and then consider this one:

A Star Wars art book, some sci-fi fantasy art books, and Crisis on Infinite Earth (My Dad gave me that one).

And then this, I mean, come on:

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is also a great book, y’all should read it.

We’ll now move from the bookshelf to the walls.  I dabbled in painting as a kid (I wasn’t very good at it).  Here are a few examples:

So those are some fairies in an enchanted forest (I know.  I was like, fourteen guys).  And then this is the best one, truly, it is:

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