WARNING: Potential spoilers ahead, depending on how sensitive you are about these kinds of things.
With his epic saga about the battle for control of a throne, George R.R. Martin has become the undisputed king of fantasy writing in our time. The “Song of Ice and Fire” offers up a richly imagined, painstakingly detailed world that sprawls across geographies and narratives, and Martin winds stories together that are multiple parts Shakespeare, Tolkien, Arthurian legend, Dungeons and Dragons, late-night Cinemax, and gritty realism. There are true ethical quandaries, palace intrigues, love stories, complex political dramas, and disputes between established religions. There are also zombies and dragons and warlocks.
Most readers who picked up book one have proceeded to read all five volumes, whipping through the story in 700-900 page installments and itching for more. Some can fill the void by perusing Game of Thrones blogs and watching the ongoing HBO adaptation of the books. Others go so far as to read the official Game of Thrones cookbook, use Game of Thrones wedding invitations, and drink Game of Thrones beer.
As with any truly effective fantasy epic, the devotions are strong and feelings run high. And those who have made it to the end of the fifth book, as I recently did, tend to share a similar sentiment toward George R.R. Martin and his stories, which is typically something along the lines of the following:
Screw you man. Screw. You.
If I wanted to spend years exploring a world where I can’t remember anyone’s names and all the cool people die, THEN I WOULD PAY ATTENTION TO REAL LIFE.
For chrissake, the last seven-book series that people loved like this was all about THE BOY WHO LIVED.
The genre you’re writing is called Fantasy. Get with the program.
Please hurry with the next book.