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

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