Suffering from a Game of Thrones hangover after that shocking season 7 finale? Theorizing about the final season too bitter a salve when the wait might be well over a year? Looking for something with knights and magic and dragons and bloody, bloody battles that draws as deeply from the well of history as Game of Thrones? Look no further than The Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron.
Why? Because it is, in my mind, the best ongoing fantasy period right now. And, yes, I am including A Song of Ice and Fire in that estimation. That not enough for you? You can read my reviews of the first, second, third, and fourth books. There is no interminable wait for the series to conclude here—the fifth and final book is out on October 31 of this year.
Not sold yet? Continue beyond the jump to see why I think Games of Thrones fans, in particular, will like The Traitor Son Cycle (and why they might not).
Now that we’ve had a little time to process Sunday’s season finale, it is time to start pining for the final season! There are a lot of questions to answer in just six episodes. If you’re invested in the politics of Game of Thrones, and if you really believe Dany when she says she is going to break the wheel, then one of the most important questions is who Dany marries. I’m not talking about romance. I’m talking about the kind of political marriage Dany admitted was necessary when she left Daario in Meereen.
I am less concerned with what makes the most sense for the show’s narrative, or what I want to happen, although I will make mention of those. My main concern is what makes the most sense politically within the world of the show. The model I’m thinking of is Henry VII’s marriage to Elizabeth of York, reuniting the Lancaster and York houses to (mostly) end the Wars of the Roses.
I am going to focus on what I see as the three leading candidates (sorry, brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin).
Spoilers for the show to follow. And for the books. And for the Wars of the Roses.
Here is what I had to say last week about the season finale:
It looks like next episode will revolve around the summit between the three sovereigns (four, I guess, if anyone bothered to invite Euron). I hope Bran or Sam+Gilly are on hand to vouch for Jon’s true parentage and undercut Cersei’s blood and soil spiel next week—Jon doesn’t just have the strongest claim to the throne, he has also lived his entire life in Westeros. I imagine something will go down. Weddings aren’t the only bloody affairs in Westeros.
I convinced my wife to watch with me for the finale, and she whinged about my laptop screen, and, hell, it is the season finale. So I put the laptop away. Given that, this post will be a bit different. Instead of a separate recap and reaction, I will do both together.
I also have a Game of Thrones post planned for tomorrow (you can find it here).
Keep dry during Hurricane Spoilers.
I didn’t get to watch this episode live and had to wait until Wednesday to watch it. But I guess it was worth a few days delay to see a full solar eclipse. Now let’s go beyond the Wall!
A total eclipse of the spoilers.
“What is this?” I imagine you saying. “What is Throne of the Bastards doing in the Summer of Conan? I read the blurb and no mention of Conan is to be found.” Throne of the Bastards isn’t openly a Conan pastiche, sure. But it is only about two letters away.
If you simply must read about Conan today, check out my post from last week on the Robert Jordan Conan pastiches.
This is Shrewbury’s fourth Rogan book. In Brian Keene’s first, and the only other one I’ve read, an aged Rogan learns that the son he abdicated his throne to has been deposed while on a journey to fabled lands across the western sea. But it is only after the events of that book—you can read my review here—that Rogan is able to return. If this sounds like Keene and Shrewbury are effectively writing an unauthorized sequel to Conan of the Isles…pretty much.
The result is more interesting than entertaining.
The Dragon Awards, associated with massive multi-media con DragonCon, are in their second year. Unlike the Nebulas, which limit voting to SFWA members, and the Hugos, which limit voting to WorldCon members, the Dragon Awards open voting to anyone interested. There are definite limitations to this approach, but given that the Nebulas and the Hugos already exist, it makes sense to take such a markedly different approach to voting.
It especially makes sense given that one of the rejoinders to criticism of the insularity of the Hugos—despite the fact that they are effectively open to anyone willing to pay $40—was “go create your own award.” Disgruntled Hugos voters were happy to see just that happen. So have we come to a happy conclusion to the political fights over the Hugos? No.
[Update: The Dragon Awards website now says that registration to vote is open through midnight Eastern time on Friday, September 1st and voting will be open through midnight Eastern time on Saturday, September 2nd.]
Tor asked Robert Jordan to write Conan novels on the basis of a book he sold several times but never published titled Warriors of the Altaii. In explaining why Warriors of the Altaii was never published, Jordan’s editor and widow Harriet McDougal compared it to the Gor books. Jordan also published seven Conan novels in three years, edited several Conan novels, put together a chronology of Conan stories, then went on to publish over fifteen years twelve Wheel of Time novels averaging over 800 pages each. He was a little busy to rewrite Warriors of the Altaii is what I’m saying.
Harriet described Warriors of Altaii as “muscular fantasy.” Considering Robert E. Howard’s Conan tales, the (non-Conan) sword and sorcery of L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter that I’ve read, and the Tor Conan pastiches, I think it fair to say they represent three distinct sub-genres: weird fiction, sword and sorcery, and muscular fantasy.