Does the world have to make sense all of the time? Well, in the case of the world most of us live in everyday, we can be fairly certain that gravity will work today and tomorrow and that putting gasoline into your gas tank will make it go when you turn the key. Or press the button. You see, in this world technology moves forward, making complex tasks simpler.
Things become more complex and less helpful when you leave our world—this one, where dragons don’t burn down villages—dropped cigarettes do. Authors of fantasy fiction construct these other worlds mentioned here. However, it would be a mistake to think of this coterie of visionary women and men as mere writers telling a story. These authors are world builders, demi-gods with a keyboard, and wielders of forces both dark and light.
Pardon me. It’s easy to get carried away with thoughts and memories of other worlds one has travelled in beloved fantasy series. Many fans were seduced into a lifetime of faithfulness to the genre by C.S. Lewis’ Narnia or Tolkien’s wonderful meanders across the textured landscapes of Middle Earth and Mercedes Lackey’s Velgarth and Valdemar.
Though the worlds created in these stories are vastly different, they share an inherent logic. Lackey’s Companions may speak telepathically to their Herald’s, but the Companions look and behave like horses and frequently graze and nibble the grass. It’s fantasy that makes sense. Logical behaviors allow readers accept the author’s weaving of magic and logic. However, some authors don’t thoughtfully weave magic and science, which introduces George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones continent of Westeros, and the bloody, mysterious, feudal and sometimes futile land called the Seven Kingdoms. My faith in fantasy fiction failed after reading four and one-half novels in this series. The logic of this world doesn’t make sense.
How can a world that is at least 6,000 years old not have developed the steam engine or even gunpowder? Martin has placed the pursuit of science in the hands of the Meister’s. But none have yet to acquire the knowledge to produce anything to ease the lives of common people or even make war deadlier. Surely the lords of Westeros would support the development of instruments of destruction, but no, that logic fails.
I can accept Daenerys Targaryen’s ability to survive a burning pyre unscathed while giving life to her dragon progeny. I simply can’t make peace with a fantasy world that defies the common sense of the world I inhabit. I think I would rather stay home.