Wednesday, February 24, 2021

I am stopping the grimdark Monarchies of God by Paul Kearney

Well, that was unfortunate yet not quite unexpected. Time to do that which I have only done twice before: quit a Fantasy series and consign it to the literal recycle bin.
Yes, I am stopping Monarchies of God by Paul Kearney, the series I began two days ago, as sadly my suspicions were more than borne out. After GRRM, I can smell the grimdark and this more than well-written Fantasy rewrite of the effects of Fall of Constantinople combined in dark union with the Spanish Inquisition and Christopher Columbus' 'discovery' of America reeks of that cynicism which I so utterly despise and is so aptly named the Treason of the Intellectuals.

Good riddance. (And yes, I am literally going to toss this filth into the recycle bin.)

I can hear you saying, "Ian, by your own admission you started to book two days ago. How can you say such things, make such strong accusations, so quickly?" My answer: research. Those two days prompted me to Google whether Monarchies of God is classified as grimdark, for I was uncertain seeing as it came out before A Song of Ice and Fire essentially created and lionized the sub-genre. 

What did I find? Well, the Wikipedia page dedicated to it says "the series is noteworthy for its ruthlessness in dispatching major characters...[and] has also been criticized for its pessimism." Ring a Westerosi bell? Beyond this, many Fantasy websites and Reddit users classify it as a lighter form of GRRM while still unquestionably grimdark. Yet the last straw was an interview of Paul Kearney, namely a specific question asked and the author's answer:

Question: "Another observation is that there’s very strong melancholy in your protagonists – Hawkwood, Corfe, Rol. They are often forlorn and sad if determined. What is the reason behind that? Is there some part of Paul in the books’ heroes?"
Kearney's answer: "Possibly. I do not believe that mankind is basically good with a few bad apples in the barrel. I believe that mankind is intrinsically weak and selfish and will happily indulge evil, provided it does not interfere with everyday life. Some shining exceptions exist, but they are by definition not the rule. So for those who have some experience of the world outside their comfortable little box, this is a given. Life is hard. It makes you pay. You must struggle merely to survive. I guess that attitude bleeds into my characters."
An answer/belief which is, like the grimdark it spawns, the complete and utter antithesis of the Spirit of Tolkien in addition to being an almost dictionary definition of the Treason of the Intellectuals. By rights all who espouse such cynical tomfoolery should feel the full force of my contempt so hard as to frost their windows.

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