Home > Writing > George R.R. Martin farts in your general direction

George R.R. Martin farts in your general direction

I’m currently trying to wean myself off Game of Thrones with the methadone of The Tudors. Man, was that a dizzying sprint. I started reading the very first book in May. Since, I read all four available books, watched the entirety of the HBO series and then read the fifth book in just a weekend. Devoured it, more like.

There are many good things to say Game of Thrones (and many, many fine mashups to be had in Tumblosphere) but as I’m still digesting, I had one short item of note from Dances with Dragons that I wanted to point out to the Internets.

Somewhere in that fog of a weekend I happened upon a funny and familiar phrase: “fart in your general direction.” Now you and I both know where that comes from:

I don’t presume to know whether that phrase was a rare and gentle wink from Martin to his readers (an audience that most certainly knows where that comes from) or whether it was one of those phrases that just kind of slips through a writer’s fingers to his keyboard and into his manuscript, passed over in all later edits.

I do find its use fascinating though. Fantasy writing, and certainly in the Tolkein-esque ring Martin seems to be boxing in, is ageless. It is not tied to its time. Yet, this little slip of a phrase places this book. This is a book written by someone who watched (and probably several times) Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Whether or not this is intentional it leads me to wonder: Could there be a post-modern fantasy? Could you write that book, brimming with clever references and asides, without subverting all the laws that make a fantasy book a fantasy book?

Anyone else find any little telltale phrases in your respective devouring of Dances with Dragons? (I also noticed “shubbery”, but that’s perhaps excusable.)

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  1. July 20, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I feel like that’s part of what Piers Anthony does (or did, I haven’t read these books in years) in his Xanth series. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanth He loves puns in that series, and frequently those puns mean nothing in-world but mean quite a bit to the reader. Which, for me, made me look all the harder for a sense of whether the pun was a key to a puzzle or joke. If I remember correctly, it was generally a little of A and B.

    And with that… NERDS!

  2. Stefani Waters
    July 21, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I googled “George R.R. Martin” and “fart in your general direction” right away after reading that line, just to see if anyone else noticed. I get the feeling it was unintentional usage of an enjoyed phrase, perhaps Martin himself will comment on it at some point.

  3. Stefani Waters
    July 21, 2011 at 8:31 am

    That said, had it come from a less talented writer in a series I’d just begun reading, I’d have been annoyed. In this case, I found it an acceptable use of the phrase.

  4. Abby
    August 6, 2011 at 10:13 am
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