26 January 2012

Post 473: A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. ISBN: 9780553897852 (eBook).

You guys, my blogging schedule is all sorts of messed up. I was working on a post for Holding Our Worlds Together when I realized that I need to post that in February and not January because the publisher asked me to hold review until publication date. D'oh. And so I'm not quite finished with this book, but since it's a big long epically epic ...epic, I am going to be pretty general anyway... or at last try to. So, warning, if you are overly sensitive about anything even remotely spoilery, I will be talking about things that happened in the previous book in as generic terms as possible.

So at the beginning of the book there is lots of discussion about this big red comet that has appeared in the sky and what it means. At this point the realms has dissolved into chaos for... reasons I can't tell you, but let's just say that a situation has arisen in which Who Is The Leader has been thrown into question. So all of these potential leaders see this comet and say to themselves, "Oh look, it's a sign." Which is bad pretty much anytime your leader relies on signs and whatnots to tell them what to do.

Now, I'm not totally against taking signs into consideration. Certainly it's no worse than flipping a coin to determine what you're going to do if it's between two more or less equal choices. But uprooting an entire people and dragging them across a continent or picking a fight with another country because God Told You To really only works out in the Bible (or similar texts), and that still usually only works well for the people in power.

Fighting wars has always been at the discretion of people with money power money. Someone with money who really wants to take advantage of a certain kind of market will create that market, and nothing is more certain than needing a whole shitload of stuff to go hurt other people in other places. That's why people with money and/or power who believe in signs on top of wanting to manipulate the market/other people/anything are so scary. Not only are they willing to do whatever is necessary to carry out the perceived will of the wind switching directions, but they are actually capable of doing so and fucking the rest of us in the process.

I have always found the idea of god communicating through signs to be somewhat questionable to begin with. Signs are easily interpreted in a variety of different ways by many different people (such as Martin's red comet for instance). If we have a few too many such people in high positions relying on signs who also have influence, they could very well bring about the end of the world just by proclaiming that they see the signs for it. But it seems to me that if god were truly to communicate through signs, at the very least he would want us to interpret them in the way that would be best for everyone and not our own benefit. Which raises the question of the usefulness of signs to begin with.

You know what, you don't need a link to a review, because there are so damned many of them. So far I like the series and would recommend it to most everyone.
LibsNote: Library copy via Overdrive Media.
So, uh, I totally wrote this at 11:15PM the night before, it's probably going live unedited. I apologize in advance.

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