What tea would you pair with your favourite books?
It’s National Tea Day in the UK and I wanted to do something to celebrate. I first wanted to write this post years ago when I worked in a tearoom. I was part of a group aiming to help their social media presence and I thought a book/tea pairing post would be great. Obviously, I never wrote it but it’s been on my mind ever since. So, why not write it now? I admit, writing this post has taught me that I know less about tea than I first thought but never mind. I think I did okay.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been rewatching the whole of the Game of Thrones TV adaptation. Until season 7 and 8, it was a great reminder of how good a show it was. It’s weird to think now, that it was once one of the greatest shows ever created. It also got me wishing that George RR Martin was ready to release the next instalment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I can’t even remember how long ago it was that I read A Dance With Dragons. When the new book eventually comes out, I’m not going to be able to remember a damn thing that happened. Not that I’m complaining. I’d rather he take his time and do it right. If the last two seasons of the show taught us anything, it’s that it isn’t a series you can rush. I’ve often thought about going back and rereading the fifth book but it always seemed like a silly thing to do. My TBR is too big and The Winds of Winter won’t be out for ages anyway. This week I decided to get my George RR Martin fix elsewhere. I’ve tried and failed to read some of his non-ASOIAF books in the past but I just couldn’t get on board with them. So, this time I went for a related book. It’s not actually part of the same world but it’s in the right area.
So, you may have noticed that this isn’t a book review. And that’s only partly because I haven’t quite finished Machines Like Me yet. I say partly because I’m trying to convince myself that I haven’t been rubbish at reading this week. That’s not the reason. The real reason is that I needed to talk about this week’s episode of Game of Thrones. Or, more specifically, the reaction to it. Cause this season has divided opinion quite dramatically. And the last few episodes have left a particularly sour taste in people’s mouths. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve found the final series of Game of Thrones to be disappointing. The writing has gone downhill and the storylines are being rushed to fit into the shorter episode run. The focus has been on spectacle instead of the story. Character development has gone out of the window in favour of more CGI dragons. Now, it should go without saying but spoiler warning guys.
So, once again I’m having to put off my book review until Friday. At this rate, I might as well just do two bookish posts a week. Especially now I have weekends off. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. It means I can do at least one review a week (if I can keep up) and a random post. Of course, it would also mean me coming up with an extra post idea a week and that’s not always worked out well for me. I’ve never been the kind of person who wanted to write content for contents sake. Despite what I might be being told at work. But that’s another rant for another day. Instead, I’m filling my Wednesday night post with a subject that’s close to my heart. A topic that I’ve been getting quite passionate about with a friend of mine. A friend who really wasn’t ready for how much I cared about it. I’ve ranted about this television show before and I will again. That’s the joy of finding something you actually give a shit about. You’ll always find something to be annoyed about and something to absolutely adore. I’m not the kind of person who believes that anything is flawless. That doesn’t sound like much fun to me. I enjoy conflict and feeling conflicted about something I love is the ideal situation. Really, what I’m saying is, I just love debating and arguing about things.
Dear George RR Martin,
First and foremost, I have a confession to make: I didn’t start reading your A Song of Ice and Fire series until after I’d seen the TV show. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing but I think I’ve been too afraid to say it out loud before. You know what some bookish people are like. To be fair though, I was only 8 when the first book came out. If the publishing industry didn’t give a shut about fantasy at that time then why would you expect me to be? I was probably too occupied by whatever 8 year-old me was bothered about. Probably my dog or Dawson’s Creek or something.
So I was in my 20s by the time I read your books but, from that moment, I adored them. You were like Tolkien and JK Rowling had a child who grew up to write awesome books. Combining the epic fantasy setting of Tolkien with the hard-hearted attitude to character death of Rowling. Plus a bit of uncomfortable sex scenes for good measure. And we all know I love a creepy book sex scene. Especially if it involves a dwarf whose nose got cut off in battle.
As the years went by your books got harder to read but not because they’re bad. You’ve just put so much into them. There are so many additional characters and subplots that it’s difficult to keep track. And that book that focused on the South despite all the good shit happening in the North? Not the best. However, I’m not really writing this letter because your books changed my life. Don’t get me wrong, I adore them and would call it my favourite series. But I’m writing this to you, George RR, because you get a lot of shit these days. It’s been… a while since the 5th book was released. And, you may have noticed, people are getting frustrated. Very frustrated.
I bet you look back to the pre-HBO times and just think “remember when I only had a few loyal fans who were willing to wait years between books?” Not anymore. The TV crowd, people like me, are more impatient. They’ve never has to wait for your books. So this is hell. And they’re taking it out on you. I say “fuck them”. Readers like to think they own books but we just loan them from the writer. We share them and take what we need from them. But these books are yours. I’d rather read a book you’re proud to publish than a book you’ve rushed to meet a deadline. Yes, maybe you did put too much into the story. Maybe you’re finding it too difficult to tie up all of the loose ends. But the loose ends are the reason we love the books. So take the necessary months and years it’ll take to finish.
Because these books are like no other. You’ve introduced to some of my most loved characters and have made me feel a cavalcade of emotions. I read the Red Wedding scene and literally threw the book across the room I was so upset. I’m always terrified you’ll kill off someone I love. Like Brienne. I swear, if she meets a grisly end I’ll find you. Liam Neeson style. She’s perfect. She speaks to me in a way no other female character ever has. We’ve shared so many experiences. Shared so many feelings. I need her to survive. Just like I need your books. But I need them to be finished. So finish them and take as much time as you need.
A true man does what he will, not what he must.