Beyond the Wall [electronic resource] : Exploring George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, from A Game of Thrones to A Dance with Dragons. by James Lowder (editor).
Winter has come.
A Game of Thrones – you’ve read the books, you’ve seen the series, and you don’t want the experience to end. Stay in the conversation with “Beyond the Wall” a book of essays exploring George R. R. Martin‘s series A Song of Ice and Fire, available only as an electronic resource though Overdrive on our catalogue .
This collection of critical essays from various authors examines the series’ influences from various perspectives. While it is fairly academic in scope it is not too intimidating for the non-academic reader and makes some very interesting observations.
Not all of the essays will appeal to everyone, but there is pretty much something to suit most tastes. I, for example, skipped the one on graphic novels but loved the feminist perspective in Men and Monsters by Alyssa Rosenberg. I also really enjoyed Andrew Zimmerman Jones’s theories on the role of the Stark children’s dire wolves in Of Direwolves and Gods by Andrew Zimmerman Jones.
I’ve often pondered on the paradox of why I enjoy fantasy books and movies when at heart I abhor gratuitous physical and sexual brutality, and some of this was explained in the Alyssa Rosenberg essay. What really resonated with me though were Martins’s own words quoted in the text from his brief essay “On Fantasy“:
We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.
I’m an over-thinker so I thoroughly enjoyed (most of) this collection. I found it easy to dip in and out of and ponder at my leisure. It cleared up some the confusion I had with various aspects of the plot and gave me much food for thought.
Anyway, it may keep your interest until your copy of season 7 arrives, on the catalogue now!
The full list of contents is as follows
- Foreword: Stories for the Nights to Come by R.A. Salvatore.
- Introduction: In Praise of Living History by James Lowder.
- The Palace of Love, the Palace of Sorrow by Linda Antonsson, Elio M. Garcia. Looking at vestiges of the the Romantic movement of the 19th century which GRRM has identified himself with in the past.
- Men and Monsters by Alyssa Rosenberg.
- Same Song in a Different Key by Daniel Abraham.
- An Unreliable World by Adam Whitehead. Looking at reliability (or lack of it) of history in the novels.
- Back to the Egg by Gary Westfahl.
- Art Imitates War by Myke Cole.
- The Brutal Cost of Redemption in Westeros by Susan Vaught.
- Of Direwolves and Gods by Andrew Zimmerman Jones.
- A Sword Without a Hilt by Jesse Scoble.
- Petyr Baelish and the Mask of Sanity by Matt Staggs.
- A Different Kind of Other by Brent Hartinger.
- Power and Feminism in Westeros by Caroline Spector.
- Collecting Ice and Fire in the Age of Nook and Kindle by John Jos. Miller.
- Beyond the Ghetto by Ned Vizzini.