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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

3 Comments

  1. Aylwin
    July 25, 2016 @ 10:08 am

    hit in the head with an axe

    Hammer

    [slinks shamefacedly away to hide in the cellar]

    Reply

  2. Aylwin
    July 25, 2016 @ 11:53 am

    Obviously it has big drawbacks, but overall I quite like the deferment of the climax, for a couple of reasons.

    One is that it gives the Night’s Watch a kind of momentary token victory. I am fond of the way the story plays the romanticism of the Watch, determinedly deconstructing it from the start and throughout as an inept, brutal, misguided, run-down, squalid shadow of a former self that was pretty dubious in the first place, and yet insisting on a kind of stubborn nobility glinting under all that grime. I would not be surprised if Pratchett’s Night Watch, in its original Guards! Guards! incarnation, were one of Martin’s influences there (along with Tolkien’s Rangers of the North, the Romans on Hadrian’s Wall, the Military Orders, the Foreign Legion…). Allowing them a symbolic, and suitably tenuous and equivocal, El Alamein moment of actually winning something for once before they get eclipsed by larger forces feels right and proper. Echoed on an individual scale by Allister Thorne getting his “This is not on you, McNulty” episode of not being a complete arse.

    The other one, probably more idiosyncratic, is that it softens one instance of the larger story’s relentless fealty to the fantasy genre’s Pelennor Fields Law of military history: that all important battles or sieges are decided by the sudden arrival of reinforcements for a side hitherto facing certain defeat, who turn up unexpected even by their friends and fall on the enemy from behind like a thunderbolt. Something that has pretty much never happened in human history, but which in fantasy fiction occurs nine times out of ten, and is common enough in genre fiction more generally.

    In Tolkien it has a significant thematic resonance as part of a larger pattern of symbolic representations of grace, but in general it’s just a sensationalist storytelling device. And an effective one, obviously, or people wouldn’t keep doing it, but after endless repetitions it does start to drag a bit, so blurring the outlines a bit is welcome. I suppose another big part of that device’s ancestry is the immortalised-in-a-figure-of-speech tradition of The Cavalry turning up in Westerns, which makes it kind of apposite given the Westernish tendencies of goings-on around and beyond the Wall, but still.

    Reply

  3. Chris Michael Bradshaw
    July 27, 2016 @ 2:42 pm

    You think Adam Driver would have done Jon Snow well? I mean I automatically associate pretty mc frowny face with the role but I could really see him pull it off.

    Reply

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