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Monthly Archives: July 2011

sleep, like heat, rises.
but while heat hangs heavy
about my head,
sleep soars higher.

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That isn’t 100% accurate. I finished Game of Thrones and have moved on to Clash of Kings.

I don’t think I can offer any entirely original praise for Martin’s series, but I’m sure I can rehash what millions of people have already discovered they love about it.

This is fantasy post-fantasy. Westeros is a world where the “elves” are long-extinct, enchanted swords are no longer made, and even any concrete magic is absent. There are supernatural elements to these books—and, as a spoiler-free new reader, I don’t know if the standard fantasy tropes will come more into play in later books—but they take a backseat to the complex political machinations that provide the backbone for these stories.

And I love it.

I’ve read plenty of fantasy novels, and I have every intention of doing so again. A Song of Fire & Ice is refreshing because, where genre novels all too often rely on the fantastic or absurd to bolster paper-thin plots, Martin writes historical war fiction that just happens to take place in a fantasy world.

The characters, divided by various factions and rivalries, are fully-realized and well-written, playing with your loyalties as a reader. Evil characters, even when totally unsympathetic, are interesting and and possessed of clear motivations never as simple as they originally seem.

Martin writes a world of gray morality, and I’ve never been so happy to read in monochrome.

my knowledge of you is chemical and,
as such things are wont to do,
deteriorates.

only the newest memories—
hungry, furious, opaque
—remain.
as the disease devoured you,
they swallow whole the images
(fragmented, scorched)
i have left.

There is a dial.

There is a dial on the box.

There is a dial on the box with three settings.

There is a dial on the box with three settings and the first will make you a king.

There is a dial on the box with three settings and the first will make you a king but the second will set the swords of the nation against you, serpentine strings of wheels—iron and molded bronze—primed to grind furrows across your back.

There is a dial on the box with three settings and the first will make you a king but the second will set the swords of the nation against you, serpentine strings of wheels—iron and molded bronze—primed to grind furrows across your back; when the pain crawls under your skin to rest there like sheets of metal and fire, the third setting will take it away.

There is a dial.