|Photo courtesy Helen Sloan/HBO|
SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Although George R.R. Martin creates fantastically lush and detailed realms in his immense "A Song of Fire and Ice" series, a sprawling medieval epic set in the fictitious world of Westeros, the stories do not shy away from the gritty realities of life and death. Far more than sword and sorcery, "A Song of Fire and Ice" exposes readers to the complex, deadly geopolitics associated with empire building and conquest. But now Martin wants to bring his message of life, hard times, death and war to a younger audience. He announced on Tuesday plans to create a series of children's books that promises to "treat kids like the tough, intelligent beings they are and not lie to them about how the world really works." He has tentatively titled the new franchise "Everyone You Care About Will Die...Horribly...Butchered Before Your Sad Helpless Little Eyes."
Fans of the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones" are still coming to grips with the tragic, excessively brutal and now infamous "Red Wedding" massacre that erupted toward the close of Sunday's episode. Since its airing, distraught fans have inundated the Internet with outpourings of grief, rage, vitriol and profanity laden screeds to George R.R. Martin, author of the original novels on which the cable series is based.
"I try to make the readers feel they've lived the events of the book. Just as you grieve if a friend is killed, you should grieve if a fictional character is killed," Martin told the press in response. And Martin, no shrinking violet as a writer, unflinchingly immerses his readers in a grim, realistic medieval world of violence and uncertain mortality.
Martin reminded agitated and heartsick HBO viewers that his fantasy epic, like real life, is not a tidy meritocracy where longevity is concerned. He also asked them to apologize to their nerdy friends who were equally upset 13 years ago when they read of the slaughter in the novels and were derided for their depression.
Now, in a decision regarded as "horrifically bad timing" and "inappropriate" by critics, Martin says he will be reworking popular but "misguided children's fables" with his own severe touch to eradicate the "lies and deception of every BS happy ending." In doing so, he hopes to prepare children for the lives "they're likely to have...not the ones we tell them they should have."
"In real life, our heroes don't make it out alive simply because they're the 'good guys' or because they're popular," Martin explained. "Lincoln was assassinated. Kennedy was assassinated. John Lennon was assassinated. Paul McCartney was killed by a drunk driver, although they found a double to replace him. Dick Cheney died during a botched session of autoerotic asphyxiation, but again, they found a double. In fiction, a lesser author may have spared these great men for the sake of the readers' happy ending. But that's cheating the audience -- depriving them of the full spectrum of sensations and emotions flowing through a perfectly envisioned universe. I will never insult the intelligence of my readers or pander to those who need the happy endings and escapism. People die. People you love and depend on will die. Sometimes, raped and gutted and slaughtered right in front of your eyes."
In recent years, high-profile deaths have become a mainstay on lauded dramas like "Mad Men" and "Boardwalk Empire." But "Game of Thrones" owns the genre of killing off main characters. In Season 1, the series protagonist, Lord Eddard Stark, was beheaded in front of his two daughters. Later, his head was placed on a pike that his eldest daughter was forced to look upon.
But even "Game of Thrones" diehards were stunned by the spectacularly violent and graphic demise of three (five if you count the unborn and pets) major characters.
Again Martin tells fans, "S**t happens. If the show has a moral, that's a big part of it."
"As author of the series, the creator of the world and the people who dwell within it, I'm God...albeit a wrathful, Old Testament one. It's a s**t world I've created, full of horrors and brutality and hardship. These characters are lucky to have gotten out of it. And that's my message to kids."
He describes his new series as Grimm's Fairy Tales, "a whole lot grimmer."
"We live in a time where terrorists take out thousands of people with suicide bombs and planes, where our benevolent government tortures people, where we excuse rape but kill doctors who perform abortions, where children in the wealthiest nations starve or are sold into sexual slavery," he said. "It can't be ignored and covered up with Disney movies. I intend to right decades of irresponsible messaging by teaching kids how to face the inevitable reality that the people they love most will die. That they too will meet sticky ends."
And how do people die in the real world, according to Martin?
2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.