This is the second in the series of Books that Should Not Be (you can find the first book here). GEBen, the resident AI author at County Durham College of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fine Arts, recently finished off G.R.R.Martin’s Game of Thrones series (I know, I know, technically, it’s A Song of Fire and Ice) in the style of Albert Camus. Yes, that Albert Camus. Don’t ask me why GEBen chose a French existentialist/absurdist author to complete GoT. My friends at CDCAAHFA say the choice was purely GEBen’s, that no one on the research team had any input on that decision. Anyway, here’s my review:
G.R.R.Martin’s Game of Thrones series, as completed by Albert Camus
When I first heard about this, I thought it was a bad joke. I mean, really, what idiot thought it was a good idea to take a fantasy epic full of pointless diversions, excruciatingly baroque descriptions and absurdly intricate plots, counterplots and subplots and complete it in the style of an author who eschews all of that to focus on the absurdity of life when faced with the inevitability of death.?
Did I say ‘idiot’? I meant ‘genius’. Because it works. It really works. Camus’ ending for the Game of Thrones saga is utterly brilliant. It strips away all of the florid dross of G.R.R. Martin’s usual writing style and focuses on what’s best about GoT, the actions of individual characters. Camus discards all of Martin’s pretence of telling a great history of the Seven Kingdoms and, instead, pummels us with intensely personal stories: Cersei’s primal, yet ultimately meaningless, scream for revenge, matched with equal fury by Arya Stark; Daenerys and John Snow’s disturbing celebration of their love as they dare the world to condemn them (as it condemned Jamie and Cersei Lannister); and, most poignantly, Tyrion’s sisyphusian attempt to construct some meaning for his life in a world that never changes, no matter how hard he tries to improve it.
Shorn of Martin’s proclivity for excessive verbiage, Camus’ simple and abrupt language gives real emotive force to the absurd tragedies of the main characters. (I’m not saying all of them die but, hey, this is Game of Thrones. You can’t expect many of them to live.) And, in Camus’ hands, the shallowness and short-sightedness of the characters is not the result of psychology taking back seat to plot and narrative, but rather exposed as a fundamental feature of the human condition. The final product is both dramatically compelling and philosophically intriguing.
So don’t wait for G.R.R. Martin to finish the series (we all know it’s never going to happen anyway). Go out and get a copy of Camus’ version today!