If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Came up, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the context of Game of Thrones. Martin’s ability to make characters that do frankly reprehensible things into people you actually start to like is unlike pretty much anything I’ve ever seen (although, you know, suggestions for similar writers to check out is welcome).
It actually got to the point where I was deeply uncomfortable with someone’s pointing out exactly how objectionable the behaviour of one of my favourite characters was. That’s fairly unusual for me, although probably it has to do with the fact that people who commit murders aren’t usually portrayed as sympathetic characters. It’s not as if I am in a position to stand back and say “well, usually I have no problem with the criticism of characters I like which do bad things, but something about the way GRRM writes them makes it different.”
(Note that I said “people who commit murders” instead of “murderers”. On the one hand, this illustrates how much focus gets put on other aspects of the character. On the other, I picked those words, and they are words that minimize the murders in question.)
I’m putting off being annoyed at something. I mean, possibly I won’t have reason to be annoyed, but I might, and the possibility is sort of trying to squinch up my spine. It’s annoying, and between watching The Newsroom and pausing it to discuss Game of Thrones and getting the occasional news squib from the real world (mostly cheerful) I think I am mostly overcoming it. Which is nice.