The other day, I bought Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, Game of Thrones by GRR Martin and Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I had been roaming Sector 17 – The shopping complex, Sector 15 – The second hand book stop and other sectors searching for the three books. The trilogy holds different meaning to different people, but I was more inclined to buy Eragon, story written by a 15 year old teenager, not a guy, nor an old fart, but a teenager.
Eragon felt like a bitch slap across the face. A fifteen year old had more guts than any of us. He wrote a story at just fifteen. Even Hemmingway had to be drunk enough to get something creative out of him, and remember – he was sad depressed fuck who committed suicide. But Paolini at fifteen wrote a novel. What’s more, he got it self-published and even spent a year travelling the vast lands of United States promoting it. I am scared shitless on the thought of living in an unknown city, but here he is.
What encouraged me to look for Eragon was how Paolini managed to get all the elements of Quest Plot straight. Quest, journey, romance, adventure, you name it. It is important to note that he had read many other works of fiction before he went onto write his own, which can be accredited to his success. Among other reasons, the outstanding one to buy Eragon was that this was the only book I knew that had a boy on a quest that grows through ethical and moral development, all that in the midst of fantasy and fiction. I later learnt that I should have opted for The Wheels of Time series, but four still feels a reasonable start to me.
Tolkien is the father of fantasy. Buying Lord of the Rings was more like paying tribute. There is no better story teller than Tolkien. The great complexities of his world leave me amazed. More than envy, I respect the time and effort Tolkien must have put to make perhaps the best art there ever will exist. Tolkien stands as a lighthouse, guiding and telling me that there is greatness to be achieved.
Martin has redefined the genre. His characters are deep and interesting. Although his stories lack the journey, per say, but it’s always involving to go through the turns that his characters experiences. Martin proves the point that fantasy is not dead, not even in this day and age. However, I do feel that he marks the end of contemporary fantasy fiction.
For two days, the bed sheet caressed the plastic cover of the books as they lay on the bed, extracting all the pessimistic feelings out of me. I wouldn’t disagree that the excitement of finally having something substantial, something more than a piece of binary collection, didn’t incite inappropriate thoughts towards the books. I wanted to do so many things to them because of the legacy they brought to my room, to my collection of books, to my life. As I keep the trilogy in the book cabinet, I find myself telling the other books to show respect, and learn something from these great books who have withstood time and tide to bring great stories to people. I probably won’t open them for a very long time. Their symbolic value is greater to me at this point in time.