1st Edition

George R.R. Martin and the Fantasy Form

ISBN 9781032093482
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
230 Pages

USD $48.95

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Book Description

Using the frameworks of literary theory relevant to modern fantasy, Dr. Joseph Young undertakes a compelling examination of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and his employment of the structural demands and thematic aptitudes of his chosen genre. Examining Martin’s approaches to his obligations and licenses as a fantasist, Young persuasively argues that the power of A Song of Ice and Fire derives not from Martin’s abandonment of genre convention, as is sometimes asserted, but from his ability to employ those conventions in ways that further, rather than constrain, his authorial program.

Written in clear and accessible prose, George R. R. Martin and the Fantasy Form is a timely work which encourages a reassessment of Martin and his approach to his most famous novels. This is an important work for both students and critics of Martin’s work and argues for a reading of A Song of Ice and Fire as a wide-ranging example of what modern fantasy can accomplish when employed with an eye to its capabilities and purpose.

Table of Contents




Chapter 1: The American Pratchett? – Muck and Modality

Chapter 2: "Enough about Whores" – Sex and Characterisation

Chapter 3: "Look with Your Eyes" – Immersion and Thinning

Chapter 4: "Dead Men Come Hunting" – Intrusion and Recovery

Chapter 5: "Remember that You were Brothers" – Superstition and Cohesion

Chapter 6: "But Here You Are" – Magic and Healing




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Dr. Joseph Rex Young lives and works in Dunedin, New Zealand, where he pursues his research interests in Gothic literature, neo-Romanticism, and the intellectual history and structure of modern fantasy narrative. He has taught at universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, and New Zealand. This is his first monograph.


"Young deftly explains the sophisticated literary techniques underpinning Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, showing George R.R. Martin to be a master craftsman of the fantasy epic. George R.R. Martin and the Fantasy Form is a pioneering work of Martin criticism."

Kris Swank, Signum University and Pima Community College

"Dr. Young’s treatment of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire through the perspectives of most of the important theories of fantasy of the past thirty years makes it a critical book for the student of Martin and, indeed, for the student of fantasy literature."

Susan Johnston, Department of English, University of Regina