“Swords & Mutton”

While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.

Well done to the New York Times, and most particularly to Ginia Bellafante, who have between them managed to insult and – not to put too fine a point on it, anger – lots and lots of ladies with their review of the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones.

A review is, of course, an opinion – and everyone is entitled to one. However, there’s a line between a genuine and honest opinion, and emptying the scorn-bucket:

If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort. If you are nearly anyone else, you will hunger for HBO to get back to the business of languages for which we already have a dictionary.

Thank goodness, then, for the fantastic response to this review posted on the Geek with Curves site – a response which manages to be entirely fair at the same time as being beautifully snarky when I would have exploded into violently pink femrage. And, for extra added bonus points, it manages to create a whole new genre: sword ‘n’mutton.

The series is hardly “boy fiction.” Where does this phrase come from?  Is it automatically for boys because there are swords and mutton?

So, NYT. You want to tell us we can’t like epics? You seriously want to say that women don’t care about fantasy – or the stories the genre gives authors scope to tell? That we’re only interested in this sort of thing if there’s a bit of shagging in it? Really?

Put it this way- in which woman’s company would you rather pass a few spare hours: one who’s read, followed, inwardly digested and understood the sprawl of stories like Lord of the Rings or A Song of Fire & Ice… or one whose favourite film was “Sex & the City 2“?

Thought so.

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4 comments

  1. What the fark!! Just how out of touch can one person be? Once upon a time [when I had more free time] I wouldn’t entertain a book unless there was at least 4 successive parts. One book, if its a good book, just plain isn’t enough 😀

    1. It’s a very odd review, isn’t it? Entirely partial, and less of a review (which, granted, is by its nature a matter of opinion) than an attempt to make the widest possible assumptions!

    1. The responses are probably the best bit: I’ve seen some remarkably clear and erudite blog posts… and some which, errr, aren’t.

      Bottom line is, of course, that a lot of women who *do* read fantasy (especially at the high / epic end of the scale) resented the implication they were only going to watch an adaptation like this for teh sex. In which case they’d be better served watching something like Lady Chatterley’s Lover…. which also stars Sean Bean.

      Wait! I’m spotting a pattern here…. 😉

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