the New York Times in an appriasal of GoT and the genre in general:
“In this way, fantasy as a genre seems to have an almost unfair advantage at allegorically chronicling our age. Elsewhere, the crudeness and savagery of modern life are artfully encoded in the palm-sweating desperation of the meth-dealing dad in “Breaking Bad,” the terse detachment of the pill-popping mom in “Nurse Jackie” or the quiet machinations of the enigmatic assassin in “Dexter.” But that brand of darkness has so thoroughly become the default syntax of cable dramas that even these sensational figures can’t quite jar us out of our somnambulant state. We apparently require gigantic walls of ice, supernatural wolf puppies, gory jousts, dragon eggs and a nomadic warrior who looks like Dave Navarro after heavy steroid use. Maybe it takes the grand scale of sybaritic kings and imaginary kingdoms to do justice to the perversions and the nihilism of post-empire America.”
Far be it from the likes of me to turn away such appluse. Most fantasy geeks my age first turned onto to back back in the Dark Ages of not many years past, where its was still regarded as an outcast thing, suitable only for those two inept to pursue the more socially acceptable pursuits of sex, drugs and what remains of rock ‘n roll. After all, if something isn’t degrading and deemed ‘rebellious’ or ‘transgressive’ with a dash o social commentary thrown in, its deemed unworthy by the cultyural elites who run this country(9or at least like to think they do…)
Which makes all this sudden love and affection from the upper echelons very worrying. In the old days fantasy was a ghetto, basically. It was a fairly large one, and nto withotu it own prejudices, but a gehtoo the just the same, ignored for the most part and despised when noiced. The flipside of course, was that those within its walls could make up their own rules. In that little world they weren’t the outsiders but the insiders, and could create to their hearts content. Being ignored has its advantages – if no one cares what you do, then you can do whatever you want.
Times change. What was inside is now outside. The world peeked over the walls long ago, liked what it saw, broke down the gates and installed a highway. The cultural movers and shakers are claiming the beloved genre for its own…bringing alogn their neuroses, fetishes and preconceptions. Gawd help us all the day Fantasy becomes Literary.
In some ways, this is a good thing. It’s certainly about time fantasy got a modicum of respect. On the other hand, one can’t help but feel that something is being lost, that the things that made this genre are being appropriated and diluyted to the point of invisibility, never to be regained. The old days are passing. For better or worse, it belongs to the world now.