Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Song of Ice and Words I Don't Want to See Again

A few weeks ago, I embarked on a journey to read George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. For the most part, I've enjoyed the series (my review of A Game of Thrones is here), but it is loooooooong. In addition, I've found a few phrases and words I never want to see again...although considering I have three books left in the series (A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons), I'm convinced we shall meet again.

Here are my five worst offenders so far:

Ser. Martin tries to set his fantasy world apart from our own medieval history, which is fine by me. After all, this is a fantasy book. So we see a number of names that could "almost" be from the English language (or another real-world language), but have a different spelling. In the series, "sir" doesn't indicate a knight; the word "ser" does. I'm more than half a million words into this series, and I still can't get used to this. I blame my background in Spanish (I studied it in both high school and college); "ser" means "to be," not "a knight."

Something with a "ling" to it. Lordling, wildling, sweetling. Ick. Especially sweetling. They're the equivalent of diminutives or terms of endearment. I don't care for them.

Craven. Meaning "cowardly," this word and its derivatives appear too many times in the series. A quick search through the Kindle shows "craven" appears 27 times in A Clash of Kings and 43 times in A Storm of Swords. When you're reading a book that's so long and detailed, a word like this shouldn't stick out, but it certainly does.

Boiled leather. Not being a master of arms, I don't have a lot of context for this method of armor plating. However, it seems nearly everyone is dressed in "boiled leather" at one time or another.

Corn...corn...corn. Stupid birds. Seriously. SHUT. UP.