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Apr. 16th, 2011 (UTC)

I am female, a bonafide "literary" book aficionado, and a shrieky Martin fangirl. YES, IT'S TRUE -- ALL THREE AT ONCE. The NYT review, as well as the one run by Slate, disgusts me. Just adding my voice to the deafening chorus of female indignation.

(I've actually been thinking quite a bit about the representation of female characters in ASoIaF lately. Most of the female fans I know don't take issue with the presentation of female characters in the series, but one reader I know does make the point that some of the earlier characters seem very type-cast: you have the mama grizzly; the evil, beautiful queen, literally named after a sorceress in a Homer epic who seduces men and turns them to swine; the runtish tomboy; the spoiled, bratty princess; and so on. The question is, are these harmful, stereotypical portrayals, adhering as they do to certain feminine archetypes? Harmful, in the sense that it flattens out the possibility of a range of women personalities, reducing womankind to a handful of rote roles? And my answer, after thinking about it for all of 1.2 nanoseconds, has got to be a resounding no. Unlike books by certain other scifi/fantasy authors who I will, cough, politely refrain from naming, George's portrayal of these women characters invites us to sympathize with them on an unusually deep level. They are too readily humanized by the narrative to be "only" the protective mother, the rebellious tomboy, the conniving b*tch. Even Cersei, who is arguably one of the most straightforwardedly evil characters in the series, becomes more dimensional when her motivations re: her children are taken into account. Put simply, we are too deep into these characters; how can they then be objectified, or made to prance around in metal bikinis to satisfy the fanboys, in a light-hearted, haha-dancing-girls-bursting-from-a-cake, manner? It ain't gonna happen, if George has the respect for these characters that he seems to have.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that the NYT reviewer is dead wrong. Dead, dead wrong.)

You are my hero, George. You keep on writing your awesome girl characters, I'll keep on reading.

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George R.R. Martin
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