Monday, April 9, 2012

Days 578 to 583 - What it takes to make me cry

I appreciate authors who can make me feel. I think it's a wonderful thing when I find myself falling in love with people who have never existed, or hating someone who entirely consists of words on a page. But, seriously, WHY do so many authors at the moment feel it is their duty to make me sob?

The King of Making Me Miserable at the moment is George RR Martin. I started reading the books because they were, without exception, the best written fantasy I have ever seen. His characters are strong, vibrant... and constantly dying. It is really not a spoiler to say that most of what happens is a series of terrible misfortunes creating wave after wave of unrelenting misery. I started watching the series recently with my husband, who hasn't read the books, and he's had to tell me off for giving unintentional spoilers just by sighing sadly at certain lines. I want to keep reading the books but there's only so much sad I can bear before I start getting desperate for some light, uncomplicated romance that doesn't kick the character's favourite dog (or dire wolf) when they're down.

"There's nothing that says all endings have to be happy ones!"
I know. And I don't expect every book to wrap everything up with a neat little bow. Some things (Hunger Games, I'm looking at you) are too broken for a chirpy "and they lived happily ever after" to be satisfying. But as Malcolm said in Jurassic Park, sometimes people get so caught up in IF they can do something they don't stop to think about whether they should. Yes, you can totally ruin the life of absolutely every sympathetic character in your book. You can make me cry. But do you have to? Is it integral to the plot? Do you have a reason, or are you just showing off how well you can prod my tear ducts?

When I was younger I went and saw the movie AI. It was a dark envisioning of the Pinocchio story staring Haley Joel Osment. I started crying about 5 minutes in and didn't stop until after I left the cinema, but I hated that film with a passion. Because it had made me cry on purpose, just to show it could. It pressed any emotional button it could get it's fingers on just to evoke a response. The whole thing felt cold, clinical. "Let's measure exactly how many tears we can jerk out the audience."

I don't mind if you make me cry. I WANT you to make me cry, and laugh, and love, and despise, and sometimes even despair.
But only as long as you're doing it for the right reasons.
You'd better have a damn good reason, Martin.

Word count - 1,147

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Days 573 to 577 - Hunger Games Blues

I saw the Hunger Games last week and loved the movie so much I immediately bought all three books, which I then loved so much I read them over the course of the weekend.

The first book was very much like the film, and I am really confused as to how they are going to go from the immediate action of the reaping and the Hunger Games to the more political-based intrigue premise of the second book's opening.

And I don't want to put in too many spoilers, but the climax of the third book made me cry for about 30 minutes.

I've read a lot of comments about Katniss, questioning whether she's a strong feminist hero but I think at the end of the day it doesn't matter. Personally I feel she is a strong character. Would I want me daughters to be like her? God no. Given a choice I want my children to be psychologically healthy, thank you very much. But if I have daughters I definitely want them to have the strength of will to face the impossible odd and heart-rending tragedies she does without breaking down. Katniss' charm isn't the way she personifies an entire generation of women, it's the sheer marvel of her tenacity and will to live, no matter how bad life gets.

But now there are no more books left. It's something I will just have to cope with.

My coping will probably involve less animal cruelty than Katniss would use.

Word count - 1,655