NY Times writer, Ginia Bellafante, wrote this rather asinine and careless judgement on one of my favorite books and the new TV series, Game of Thrones.
The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise. While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.
It’s quite obvious this reviewer has never read the books. If she did, she would have understood how George R. R. Martin treats the female characters in the series. He portrayed them with respect and his female characters are multi-faceted. Many of the major characters are female and many are characterized as stronger, smarter or clever than their male counterparts. Most importantly, these female characters are deeply integral to the core of the story.
Ms. Bellafante might have found out by now that there are many women out there who read and like fantasy and its cousin science fiction from all the hate mails and internet backlash she got after this review. Since Ms. Bellafante claims to not know a single woman who reads or enjoys reading Game of Thrones or The Hobbit or any of the glorious fantasy novels, she needs to meet more women – ones who are comfortable with chick lit and fantasy equally or even ones who prefer The Wheel of Time over Bridget Jone’s Diaries. Women who don’t have an issue with books in which there’s too much fighting or the primary character is not female or the story line isn’t about shopping. To put it plainly, women who enjoy being called geeks or nerds and women who are very comfortable with themselves. Yes, nerd pride!
George R. R. Martin is one of the most brilliant writers alive today and he didn’t write his story and then add some shiny sprinkles (illicit sex scenes) to get female audience to make his books into the top selling lists. HBO stayed pretty true to the story lines and actually it probably has less sex than the books judging from what I saw in the first episode. It’s also bizarre to suggest that HBO can attract more women by showing scenes of incest, rape and a midget surrounded by naked women. Last I checked, most of internet porn is being consumed by men.
I am not surprised there may be a few TV writers clueless enough to write reviews like that. I am just surprised that a publication like NY Times employs editors who let their writer post such a ludicrous piece go up on their site. Also if you are going to write a spectacularly uninformed negative review of a very popular entity (book, author – it really doesn’t matter since really great writers see themselves as one with their books), you should at least learn to write well enough that readers will go away thinking you might just have a point.
You can write scathing reviews that are worth reading if you are a good writer. Read Dwight Garner’s review of The 4 -Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. That’s how you write a negative review, full of mockery and insults, that’s worthy of reading. Ms. Bellafante can learn a thing or two from Dwight Garner even if she insists to keep her absurd ‘personal opinion’ that women just don’t want to read fantasy novels.
But please, whatever you do, don’t write a review of Malcolm Gladwell’s next book that goes along the lines of “Women don’t read non-fiction. I don’t know a single woman who enjoys non-fiction. Malcolm Gladwell added fashion and sex topics to throw a bone to the other half of population”.
-A Woman who reads books regardless of whatever aisle they were shelved on.