And Now I’m in Another Anthology! What’s Up with all the Freaks and Misfits in A GAME OF THRONES?

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I’d been contributing to a lot of anthologies. The latest is being released this week. It’s called Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and it’s a whole bunch of interesting new essays about almost every aspect of the books (and also the HBO TV series): Does the fact that it’s fantasy bias people’s view of it? Is the series’ portrayal of violence against women exploitative?

My essay, “A Different Kind of Other,” is about all the “freaks and misfits” in the series: by my count, seven of the fourteen point-of-view characters break major social or gender norms, and plenty of secondary characters do too. Some characters are gay, some are disabled, some cross-dress, and one is a dwarf (a real dwarf, not a “fantasy” one). And in pushing these characters front and center, and by making them so three-dimensional and sympathetic, George R. R. Martin is breaking a few norms himself.

Basically, he’s bringing a 21st century sensibility into the genre of fantasy, which until the last 20 years, has focused almost exclusively on straight, white, able-bodied, and conventionally-gendered men. (If you weren’t all of these things, you tended to be either the love interest, the comic relief, or one of the villains.)

And, I argue, it’s exactly this “modern” sensibility that makes the books feel so fresh and original.

Anyway, the publisher, SmartPopBooks, is celebrating the official release of Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire this week, so check out their website, enter giveaways to win your own copy of Beyond the Wall, and check out a free essay from the anthology: http://www.smartpopbooks.com/an-event-of-ice-and-fire/.

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