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For the night is dark and full of terrors.

1 May 2013

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Up until, say, a year ago, I would have told you (if you’d asked) that I didn’t much dig the fantasy genre. I’d tried to get into it when I was a kid and Dungeons & Dragons was huge, but it never really hooked me. If you asked me today, though, I’d have a different answer — there’s definitely stuff I dig now.

The thing that changed my mind was Game of Thrones — the HBO series, not the books (initially). And it wasn’t because of the cool special effects, or the swords, or the dragons and giants popping up every now and again (though all that stuff is cool enough). It’s because, unlike the stuff I read as a kid, Game of Thrones gives a shit about its characters.

When I’d read fantasy novels back in the late 80s and early 90s, I got the feeling that the characters were sort of one-dimensional. Sure, they had different (and often overcomplicated) names, but they might as well have been named Fighter, Mage, Cleric, and Evil Guy. That seemed to be the limit of the thought put into their character development anyway.

Game of Thrones did it differently. They gave their characters backstory, depth, motivation, personality. Sure, I still can’t remember anyone’s name (I call the Peter Dinklage character “Peter Dinklage”), but the characters aren’t stock cut-outs. They’re people. Or giants. Or dragons.

So now that I see fantasy stuff doesn’t all have to be terrible, got any suggestions for stuff I might like? What’s your favorite fantasy story?

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