Christine Marie Vinciquarra writes for Bleeding Cool:
I’m getting a healthy dose of Game of Thrones discussion today, with my second panel being How a Game of Thrones Changed Fantasy…or Did It? I was thrilled to find out that David Peterson, who taught me (and a bunch of other people) Dothraki earlier today, was moderating this panel of six fantasy authors, Patrick Rothfuss (The Slow Regard of Silent Things,) Seth Fishman (The Well’s End,) Cinda Williams Chima (The Sorcerer Heir,) Gail Z. Martin (War of Shadows,) Garth Nix (Clariel,) and Robin Hobb (Fool’s Assassin.)
Apparently there are people that say there was no fantasy before George R. R. Martin, but when that was mentioned to this crowd, everyone pretty much burst into laughter. The reality is the spectrum of fantasy writers is quite large, and has been for a very long time. At that point, I wasn’t really sure where the discussion was going to go, but that was kind of naive of me. It wouldn’t be a panel about Game of Thrones if we weren’t talking about killing off characters.
When asked about publishing books in the fantasy genre, Patrick Rothfuss said, “a lot more people are dying in manuscripts.” After that, the killing characters discussion took off. Cinda Williams Chima spoke about her experience with fan reactions after she killed off a character in her series. She wasn’t sure how she should handle fans opinions. She continued to tell us how she recently went to a panel about killing characters. George R. R. Martin and Tad Williams were there and she asked their opinion. Tad Williams answer was “I tell them to shut up or I’ll kill some more.”
Robin Hobb chimed in and explained that she doesn’t feel like she kills the characters. She doesn’t plan it ahead of time. It happens when it needs to happen. Garth Nix added to her opinion by saying, “It’s not killing the characters, you do what’s necessary for the narrative. Sometimes that means characters will die.”I sat there thinking that it is kind of silly for readers to think that every character in every novel they read is going to live. That would be boring. I personally think that writers that kill characters have more courage, but maybe that’s just me.
After that, Peterson led the discussion to a new direction and asked how the authors feel about their readers demanding more books. A lot of the fans can sometimes get aggressive, and downright nasty with their demands. Patrick Rothfuss had a lot to say about the topic. He explained how difficult this topic can be to discuss because he doesn’t like to hurt peoples feelings. He then joked about fans behavior by saying, “I know that in some ways this comes from a place of love, but so does stalking. Neither one are good behaviors. It’s like you being upset that Neil Gaiman won’t return your phone call…it’s not reasonable behavior.” Cinda Williams Chima added that, “one of the hardest things to do is go back and write a sequel with tons of readers voices echoing in your ear. It’s important to remember that your name is on the book.” The panel agreed that they are only human, and sometimes, personal life gets in the way, or the production of the actual book slows things down. They urged us to remember that they are just like us.
All in all it was a decent explanation about how George R. R. Martin has affected the world of fantasy writing and for the most part the panel of authors seemed very thankful for what he has done. Robin Hobb said, “The biggest thing for me is that it has brought fantasy into the mainstream society. It’s okay to read this stuff now. Fantasy is the mainstream now.” That is something that definitely makes me happy. I think that we will continue to see more and more growth from this genre as time progresses.
Christine Marie Vinciquarra is a writer and bibliomaniac with a love for all things creative. Some of her favorite things include: Batgirl, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Saga, Game of Thrones (the books and the show), Johnny Depp, and all things Disney. She spends her weekends feeding her competitive side while she plays tabletop and/or video games with her husband and friends. She is currently working on a series of young adult fantasy novels. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @AWritersWay or on her blog writerchristinemarie.wordpress.com.