First of all, I have two new posts up at my sister sites, namely an indie publishing link round-up at Pegasus Pulp and a post on Gorleben (which has nothing to do with John Norman’s infamous Gor novels, though that would be funny) at ABC Buhlert.
Now I am not the world’s biggest fan of the George R.R. Martin brand of gritty epic fantasy, as I have pointed out several times in these pages, most notably here. And I actually share many of Sady Doyle’s issues regarding the prevalence of rape and violence against women and children (and not just girls either, boys suffer as well) in A Song of Ice and Fire and its imitators, where the violence is usually kicked up another notch or three.
But really, could she have voiced her legitimate concerns any more offensively?
[...] here’s how it goes, when you criticize beloved nerd entertainments: You can try to be nuanced. You can try to be thoughtful. You can lay out your arguments in careful, extravagant, obsessive detail. And at the end of the day, here is what the people in the “fandom” are going to take away: You don’t like my toys? I hate you!
So, get it out of your system now, because, guess what, George R.R. Martin fans? I don’t like your toys. Deal with that. Meditate for a while. Envision a blazing bonfire in a temple, and breathe in its warmth and serenity. Then, imagine me dumping all your comic books and action figures and first-edition hardback Song of Ice and Fire novels INTO the bonfire, and cackling wildly. Because the fact of the matter is, in my ever-masochistic quest to be hip with what is happening in pop culture these days, I read the first four novels in the series. And my conclusions were: Dear God, George R.R. Martin is creepy. Quite possibly the creepiest author I’ve read in QUITE SOME TIME.
Really, why the need to insult all of fandom – which includes many women, many of them feminists – to make her point that she doesn’t like A Song of Ice and Fire for perfectly understandable reasons? Never mind that fandom isn’t a monolith and that the Westeros forum, which is a cesspool of misogyny, is not representative for fandom as a whole.
Finally, I wonder why she read the first four books, if she dislikes the series so much. I never read beyond the first, once I realized that I didn’t enjoy it and that the nastiness would only get worse in the following volumes. For that matter, why did she bother at all, since she clearly dislikes epic fantasy, because according to her “racism and sexism have been built into the genre ever since Tolkien”.
Frankly, I suspect that Sady Doyle mainly wanted to incite some controversy, because identifying as a feminist in the contemporary US apparently isn’t controversial enough. If I remember correctly, she was also the initiator of the #mooreandme campaign a while back.
Here’s something from the department of remakes that should never happen: Ridley Scott is apparently planning to direct a remake of the British Red Riding trilogy, based on the eponymous quartet of crime novels by David Peace. The Red Riding Trilogy consists of three interlinked crime movies about murder and corruption in Yorkshire set in 1974, 1980 and 1983 respectively. The fourth installment of David Peace’s quartet, set in 1977, apparently got lost somewhere during the translation from book to screen, though bits appear in flashback during the 1980 installment.
Now I didn’t particularly care for the Red Riding trilogy, when I watched it earlier this year, which surprised me because it’s exactly the sort of thing that I should have liked: British crime drama, period setting, lots of twists and turns, fabulous actors including Sean Bean, David Morrissey, Daniel Mays, Warren Clarke, Andrew Garfield, Robert Sheehan in what was apparently his acting debut, etc… Really, with an actor line-up like that, who needs a remake, even if everybody speaks with Northern accents, which can be difficult for Americans to understand.
I actually have a long post (and I mean long as in plus 3000 words long) in draft detailing exactly what I didn’t like about it. The short version is, beneath all the arty and serious veneer the story was a collection of hoary clichés that anyone who has ever seen a British crime drama or any crime drama in general has seen a dozen times before, there were several anachronisms including the ferris wheel at Blackpool’s central pier putting in an appearance eight years before it was built, the trilogy was full of random violence and gore to the point that it quickly became predictable (there’s a likable character – he’s toast), women only existed to be stuffed into the proverbial fridge and the overall conclusion to the mystery (or rather mysteries) was rather underwhelming. Evil priest is evil, who’d have guessed. I have no idea whether my issue stem from the books (which I haven’t read) or the films.
However, there was one thing that the trilogy did very well – anachronistic ferris wheels aside – and that was utilizing the Yorkshire setting in all its grimy glory. And what is Ridley Scott planning to do for his remake? He is going to relocate the action to this US.
You see, the Red Riding series is very much linked to its Yorkshire setting, as indicated by the title which refers to a part of Yorkshire. What is more, the three (or four in the novels) installments are all built around the hunt for the so-called Yorkshire Ripper, a serial killer who terrorized the West Riding of Yorkshire in the 1970s. In short, this story cannot be relocated to the US without losing its entire context and impact. Never mind that the Yorkshire Ripper context cannot easily be replaced either by a fictional serial killer or by a US killer.
I’m not a fan of remakes in general, but this is one that really should not happen.