Once in a very long while you stumble across an author that astounds you, and from that point on, you spend your days searching for those spare moments when you can sneak away and return to turning page after page. You become obsessed, and want only to soak up every word, every turn of phrase, every character that jumps at you from each chapter.
You basically can’t keep your nose out of their books.
Through the years there have been a number of writers that have captivated my imagination in such a way: Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cave, Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander Series, and Joanne Harris and Chocolat to name but a few from my collection. All of these writers produced characters that spoke to me in such a way, that in the end, I found it almost impossible to forget them. Inadvertently I found myself quoting them, forgetting for a moment that they were the smoke and mirrors of the imagination and not close friends I chatted with recently.
This year I have fallen hard for George R. R. Martin and his Game of Thrones series. Horses, knights, love and honour, oh these stories definitely had me right from the beginning! Once the dragons made an appearance, and stretched their wings across the years of their absence, Martin became my magician of the literary world.
I am in awe, and admittedly oh so jealous, at the apparent ease with which he presents each of his many characters throughout every book in the series. He brings the people of his kingdom to life as they walk across each page, and he makes me care for them almost immediately. At times, his people do not stay for very long, your moment with them is brief, a mere chapter or less, and perhaps that strengthens your attachment, for in the end, you wish for more.
Here is an example of my first and only meeting with the old man Maester Cressen featured in Book two The Clash of Kings:
“You are too ill and too confused to be of use to me, old man.” It sounded so like Lord Stannis’s voice, but it could not be, it could not be. “Pylos will counsel me henceforth. Already he works with the ravens, since you can no longer climb to the rookery. I will not have you kill yourself in my service.”
Maester Cressen blinked. Stannis, my lord, my sad sullen boy, son I never had, you must not do this, don’t you know how I have cared for you, lived for you, loved you despite all? Yes, loved you, better than Robert even, or Renly, for you were the one unloved, the one who needed me most. Yet all he said was, “As you command, my lord, but…but I am hungry. Might not I have a place at your table?” At your side, I belong at your side…
I felt the insults laid upon Cressen, I felt his hurt…all this within only a few pages of words magically composed and laid before me.
I continue to be impressed.
I must keep in mind that this craft of writing is an ongoing process, and as Michelangelo stated, “I am still learning.”
Check out Cooper…he too was totally engrossed in the angst of the first series! It was the call of the direwolves that drew my puppy to the screen and there he stayed!