You guys, Sady Doyle breaks the news that horrible and politically retrograde things happen to people in A Song of Ice and Fire, including -- and often especially -- women. Maybe you thought that was kind of the point, that Westeros and Essos are bleak places where misery reigns and nobility has gone the way of the dragons. I was unaware that enjoying ASOIAF entailed granting my assent to all this rampant and seemingly immutable injustice, but Doyle puts me on notice that to consider her argument unpersuasive is to whine about all my broken toys:
[H]ere’s how it goes, when you criticize beloved nerd entertainments: You can try to be nuanced. You can try to be thoughtful. You can lay out your arguments in careful, extravagant, obsessive detail. And at the end of the day, here is what the people in the “fandom” are going to take away: You don’t like my toys? I hate you!
Um, OK. Personally, I kind of hate fantasy, and that's one of the reasons I love ASOIAF -- George R.R. Martin really likes to break people's toys. (It's also one of the reasons that A Dance With Dragons is maddening: as Adam Serwer masterfully observes, it's the most conventional "fantasy" of all the books.) I'm hardly invested in the sanctities of the genre, or even in the sanctities of ASOIAF, but don't go writing shit about how a failure to assent to your argument is a character flaw of mine.
E.D. Kain writes a more text-based critique. I don't see the point. If someone doesn't think that it's desirable for art to depict ugliness, the argument's at a standstill.
But Asha Greyjoy is still my role model.