So I have been informed, to my total shock, that there exists in this world other epic fantasy serieseses besides the Wheel of Time.
No, for reals. Who’d’ve thunk it?
Okay, so I might be exaggerating a little. (Try to contain your amazement.) But honestly, sometimes it feels like I’m not exaggerating at all, seeing as I have been head-down in recapping the Wheel of Time series since, oh, only 2009 or so (holy crap), and before that was head-down in updating the Wheel of Time FAQ since about, uh, 2001 or so (holy CRAP).
This makes me sound much more one-track-minded than I actually am, I swear, but there is a kernel of truth to that perception as well. Because though of course I have read (and still do read) many, many other wonderful science fiction books, and even other SF book series (and even books that aren’t SF!), the truth is that other than the Wheel of Time itself, I have tended to avoid getting into the kind of big, meaty, doorstopper, cast-of-thousands, multi-volume epic fantasy series that WOT is more or less the archetype of. Especially those that are, ahem, as yet unfinished.
But this is a shame, actually, because as a result I think I might have seriously missed out on some of the fantastical epic awesomeness out there. Certainly this is what I’ve been told.
Which brings us to (drumroll please) Leigh Butler’s Next Big Blog Project. DUN!
Yeah, that’s what.
No, I am not kidding. Apparently I am even more a glutton for punishment than was previously suspected.
I sense that you may have questions at this juncture. Well, fortunately I have some previous experience Answering Questions, even those that are less Frequent than others, and so I will magnanimously deign to presume what your questions are, and answer them even before you can ask them. Because I’m giving like that. So here we go!
Q: Are you nuts?
Q: So you’re going to be doing the same thing with George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (henceforth abbreviated ASOIAF) that you’re doing with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series? Recapping and commentary by chapter?
A: Yes, in terms of format. However, there will be some differences. The most significant one being that I have never actually read ASOIAF before. And, I won’t be reading it through before I start the blog series, either.
So this won’t be an ASOIAF Reread, so much as it will be a Read.
Obviously, therefore, this is going to have a big effect on the kind of commentary I’ll be doing, because unlike with the Wheel of Time, I’ll have no idea what’s coming next.
Q: But surely you know generally what happens in the series, right? I mean, it’s been around almost as long as WOT has!
Q: Oh, come on.
A: Technically, that wasn’t a question.
A: That wasn’t one either. Ow! Okay! Jeez.
Seriously though, believe it or not I have managed to almost completely avoid spoilers for ASOIAF in all the time the series has been around. This is mainly because I went out of my way to do so; I have a long history of metaphorically (and sometimes literally) sticking my fingers in my ears and going LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU whenever it was brought up.
This, of course, is because I always intended to read the series; I just wanted to wait until the whole thing was finished before I read it, and I didn’t want to spoil myself beforehand.
And people say Fate has no sense of humor.
Q: But if you have no idea what’s going to happen in the story… is that even going to work?
A: I have no idea. This is very much an experiment, on my part and on the part of the good people at Tor.com who asked me to do it. They seem to have some notion, though, that I am capable of blathering at length about anything under any circumstances. I can’t imagine why.
I’m sure that if nothing else, doing it this way will afford me multiple opportunities to embarrass myself spectacularly. And who doesn’t love watching that?
Q: …Okay, I’m cautiously intrigued. When is this blog series going to start?
A: Current plans are, barring disaster, to have the first official ASOIAF post go up next Friday, March 18.
Q: March 18? But wait—you’re still not finished the Wheel of Time Re-read! You’re not abandoning that for this, are you? ARE YOU?
A: Whoa, hey, enhance your calm, imaginary stand-in questioner person! Nobody’s abandoning anything, okay? Find your happy place. Deep breaths. There you go.
No worries, you guys, really. Of course the Wheel of Time Re-read blog continues—just with a modified schedule. Instead of the current two WOT posts a week, I’ll be alternating between the two series, one of each a week. So, at least to start, I’ll be posting a new WOT Re-read post each Tuesday and a new ASOIAF post each Friday, starting next week, as I said.
Q: But wait, isn’t that going to be confusing for you?
A: Hey, man, I am totally capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. I think.
Again, like I said, this is an experiment. We’ll see how it goes.
Q: But wait—
A: You sure do say that a lot.
Q: Bite me. As I was saying, what about comments?
A: Well, of course everyone who wishes to will be more than welcome to comment. I hope that they do; a large part of what makes the Wheel of Time Re-read so much fun is the high volume of reader participation. It would be awesome to see that replicated on this blog series as well.
Q: Yeah, but it’s a pretty fair bet that many of your potential readers will have read all of the currently published books in ASOIAF already. What if we want to talk about stuff that you haven’t gotten to yet? How will you avoid spoilers?
A: Ah, yes, well, this was the subject of some debate. In the end, we concluded that it probably wasn’t fair to ask commenters to avoid any spoilers whatsoever just for my sake, mostly because it would inhibit discussion, which of course is generally the point of commenting on things in the first place. Unfortunately, though, that means I won’t be able to read the comments myself until after it’s all over, which kind of sucks. I don’t often participate in the comments on the WOT Re-read for lack of time, but I always read (and enjoy) them.
One possible way around this would be for commenters to white-text spoilery comments, so that they are only visible when highlighted. This is a little cumbersome, I know, but if we could all be on our honor and stick to the practice, it would make the comments “safe” not only for me to read, but also for those readers who might be choosing to follow the blog as first-time readers themselves.
Comments upon the commenting policy, heh, are welcome. This post is your chance to tell me what you think, and I’ll have made a final decision on how spoilers are going to work in the introduction to the first post.
(Oh, and if you put spoilers for the series in the comments to this post, you are officially an Asshole, and you will bring the wrath of Moderation upon you. Don’t be an asshole, okay?)
Q: You like to curse a lot, don’t you?
A: Yes. It can be safely said that I curse a whole fucking lot. I also blaspheme, mock, ridicule, flagrantly weird language, and occasionally I even squee. I am also inordinately fond of examining controversial, uncomfortable, and sometimes disturbing subject matter in detail as it pertains to the text at hand. If any of this is not to your taste, take heed now.
Any other questions?
Q: Do you know that HBO is premiering an adaptation of the series on April 17?
A: Yes, I am aware. It looks pretty cool from what little I’ve seen.
Q: Do you plan to watch it?
A: Eventually, absolutely. As it airs… probably not. I’d like to, but without knowing how (or whether) the events of the show will outpace or differ from that of the original series, I’d rather wait and avoid the possibility of confusion and/or spoilers.
Q: Fair enough. And… well, I can’t think of any more questions.
I kid, I kid! So let’s throw it to real people, eh? Any other questions you may have that my imaginary stand-in questioner person didn’t cover, feel free to ask in the comments and I will do my best to answer.
So there you have it, kids: a new reading and commentary series by moi, reading George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, starting Friday March 18th, right here on Tor.com. Pretty spiffy, eh?
I think it’s going to be good times, and I hope to see you all there. Until then, mwah!
Leigh Butler is a writer, blogger, and rampant opinionator, who likes to (a) make up words and (b) mock herself for doing so. She conducts the Wheel of Time Re-read series on Tor.com, which is currently chewing through New Spring. She resides in New York City at this particular moment, but there’s really no knowing where she’ll end up next.