Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sonnet Rant: My Problem with Epic Fantasy

Uneasy is the head that wears the crown,
Uneasy is the ass that sits the throne.
This foolishness, in wisdom, we cast down;
Heredity and leadership unsewn
The one, now, from the other. This is just.
It's right that ev'rybody has a chance
To rise to where he will. So I distrust
This love of kings and nobles; the romance,
The glamor. We look backwards and we feel
A wholly false nostalgia -- and some seek
To drag us back to those dark days! It's real.
Who'd be our feudal lords again just speak
In clouded terms. Remember: kings are jerks.
Beneath each politician's smile one lurks.


  1. But still, The Game of Thrones is fun and illuminates a good bit of the human condition (I speak of the books, not having seen the TV version.), and the lives of peasants are, on the main, short, brutish, and dull, with hardly a jewel or dagger to be found.

  2. Excellent. Now apply the same thought process to superheroes. They wear royal, courtly colours and outfit — literally their dress is of a kind that has never been seen in ordinary lifestyle except in the courts of kings, and whatnot. They even wear capes. They impose extrajudicial sentences on people. Their a cult of personality — their judgement is better than law. How is this different from Charlemagne? Not different at all, I think. Same shit — different century. Superman rules by divine right, but it doesn't feel like rule, because he's a benevolent dictator. We have been here, before. 8)

  3. And my dear Paul has put his finger on why I'm not much of a fan of superheroes, either. While it can, as Walter observed, be illuminating to use aristocrat/peasant or superhero/groundling dichotomies as lenses through which to observe the human condition, too often authors insist that the lenses are what's interesting and next thing we know we have 100 pages of court hierarchy or the rules of magic or woe-is-me soliloquies delivered by those poor, poor ubermenschen.

    At least George R.R. Martin gives us the satisfaction of watching them get mown down or permanently maimed once in a while 8)

  4. Kate- I'm so happy to see new sonnets here! I watched The Kings Speech just last night. Uneasy is right! ;)

  5. I often wonder about this -- in Canada we often take royalty for granted (except when they visit the country, in which case we treat them like movie stars), but for the most part don't obsess over it. But I've noticed how ingrained kings and queens seem to be in U.S. traditions, eg. having a king and queen of the prom, or of the annual festival, or queen of the beauty pageant, etc. Not sure where that comes from


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