Tag: Fantasy

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review appears Sunday. Sometimes more good books arrive than I can use for that column. Since it would be a shame not to share, here is a […]

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I see from television advertisements that the sci-fi/fantasy (it’s not clear yet which way it will go) ‘Under the Dome’ is returning to Australian TV screens next month for a second season. As seems to be so often the case, an intriguing premise for a TV show has been turned to mush by plotlines that strain […]

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The Knightly Ideal

 

Knight1-500x330Some time ago, in a discussion about books on a different forum, I mentioned that one thing I didn’t care for in George R. R. Martin’s works was the denigration of the concept of knighthood. For this comment, I got a severe dressing down from all his fans. His books were well researched; his portrayal of knights is far more accurate than the idealized images we see in Romanticism. (Also included were, if I recall, a few comments about my poor character based on my criticisms of great fantasy literature. It wasn’t made on Ricochet, you see.) However, I remain undaunted. For the most part, it’s not the portrayal of actual knights that caused me to be troubled, but rather the view of knights as expressed in the “more worldly” of Martin’s characters: a view that the ideal of knighthood is a lustrous fiction with no basis in reality. Martin presents the ideal of chivalry as false and even deadly. Holding fast to honor can get one killed and make one an object of ridicule. Having no honor can certainly be deadly as well, but there appears to be no merit in restraining oneself. If either path leads to the same destination, why take the difficult one?

Here we find postmodern progressive nihilism. The perfect is the enemy of the good. If we cannot meet an impossible standard, we should abandon that standard — even if we have no alternative save dissipation. Those who try and fail short are examples of the ideal’s failure.

I look to another great author of fantasy fiction, however: Gene Wolfe. I like how he explores this concept in his work, The Wizard Knight. In the first part, The Knight, the protagonist meets Sir Ravd. Sir Ravd is an honorable knight. It is in witnessing Sir Ravd’s deeds and integrity that the protagonist becomes inspired to take up arms and become a knight as well. The knight instructs our hero,”It is honor, Able. A knight is a man who lives honorably and dies honorably, because he cares more for his honor than for his life.”

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So today you needn’t worry about spoilers, television and literature fans. Yea, even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of plot threads, I fear no spoilers. I’ve only seen the first two seasons of Game of Thrones, and I’ve only read the first four books of A Song of Ice and Fire. […]

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Apparently, the “working poor” is exemplified by a 36-year-old white male with a bachelors in economics and a masters in education … who can afford to vacation in Paris, apparently: So, why can’t this guy “make ends meet”?  Take a wild guess who he blames: Preview Open

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Brandon Sanderson has a reputation. He writes about rules based magic. There are two ways an author can write magic, one is full of mystery and wonder and the other gives the spells concrete rules. The magic Gandalf does in the Lord of the Rings is the first type. We’re not quite sure what he […]

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