“We were king’s men, knights, and heroes…but some knights are dark and full of terror, my lady. War makes monsters of us all.”
“Are you saying you are monsters?”
“I am saying we are human.”
—A Feast for Crows
I’ve been re-reading George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” (please be forewarned that this post contains spoilers for the whole series). The first time I read it, I found John Snow and Arya Stark the most interesting characters. They are still great, but this time around, my attention is drawn most of all to Tyrion Lannister.
These books don’t exactly overflow with heroes. There are plenty of brave and capable characters, but very few morally upstanding, honorable and chivalrous types. The characters are not polar in terms of good and evil. Even the most reprehensible characters do virtuous or merciful things some times, and some of the most sympathetic characters can be vicious.
Whenever I read a fantasy like “A Song of Ice and Fire,” or Joe Abercrombie’s books, or other stories full of less-than-lovely people, I can’t help but think about how the author creates and maintains sympathy for morally messed up characters.
[Starvation for Doves]