A Song of Ice and Fire parody
A long time ago I'd have called myself a fan of George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire. For instance, I thoroughly enjoyed A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. I can honestly say that not only did these books help cement my absolute love of low fantasy mediaeval realism, they inspired me to write my own fantasy works.
Unfortunately I was a little less enthusiastic about A Storm of Swords, nor did I particularly enjoy A Feast for Crows. It seemed to me as if Martin was starting to lose his way. The quality of his prose was slipping, and it felt like he just wasn't delivering the story he'd originally set out to write.
When A Dance With Dragons came out, I was reluctant to read it. But I did, mainly because I'd already invested so much time and energy in the rest of the series. I couldn't just walk away, could I? I should have. The most pleasant thing I could say about the book was that it felt like a first draft sorely in need of an editor. It was bloated and boring. Nothing interesting happened. The story went nowhere. I started to hate all the characters I used to love. On finishing it, I was so annoyed that I decided to list all the book's faults. As I did, a story of my own came to life - a parody piece I called A Torrent of Mediocrity.
Part of me feels it's a bad idea to put something this negative out into the world. On the other hand, who gives a fuck? So here it is:
A TORRENT OF MEDIOCRITY
CHAPTER 792 – FORGOTTEN SWIMMERS
Dave was sitting in the food court speaking with yet another minor character that would inevitably become a viewpoint character some four and seventeen thousand pages into the series. "What did you say your name was again?” he asked.
The burly man shovelled sautéed lamprey wings and mixed vegetables seasoned with candied Dothraki peppercorns into his eager mouth, and then washed it down with half a hundred horns of mulled wine. “Bloodfingers,” he said as he helped himself to a one and half a hundredth horn.
“Bloodfingers?” said Dave. How odd. Those hands seem more niello than scarlet. “Are you at all related to Bloodwhiskers? Or Bloodbane of Clan Blood Red Blood?” He shoved his trencher of bees’ dicks and cloves in hot cherry sauce aside with distaste when he saw that it had been heavily garnished with neeps. He misliked the taste of neeps, whatever the fuck they were. I’d sooner shove a bucket of nightsoil up my own arse, then shit it out and eat it.
“Bloodbane’s my fourth cousin, thrice removed, and a man grown. A comely lad too, that one,” said Bloodfingers.
“Leal?” asked Dave.
“Aye,” muttered Bloodfingers as half a cheese wheel and three dozen braised elk livers on a bed of fragrant saffron rice that had been carefully steamed over the course of five moons disappeared down his gullet. “Leal.” He belched loudly.
“Well,” chuckled Dave as the juice of the pear and pomegranate that he held in either hand ran down his chin to mingle with the congealed grease in his beard left over from the six and twenty roasted capons he’d eaten earlier, “leal or not, Clan Blood Red Blood’s siding with Clan Blackshorts and the temperamental lords of the great city of Tryhardia against King’s Landing means little and less.”
“What’s not to understand? The dead Baratheon king’s bastard’s bastard kitchen maid’s nuncle is not the true heir to the Iron Throne,” said Dave. “It is known.”
Bloodfingers shrugged. “Words are wind,” he said carelessly, “and if you ask me as long as the bulk of the action moves away from the viewpoint characters, so much the better. Well, what passes for action in this unwieldly piece of shite, anyway.”
“You are not wrong. Maybe the Dragon Queen acting all indecisive in the east will help settle things.”
“Don’t forget the zombie woman,” said Bloodfingers. “And all those kids from that northern family everyone thinks are dead, but aren’t. Some of them are probably now men grown. Don’t forget about all that.”
Dave stood up, rubbed his belly and then stuffed a handful of dog sausages and five skewered rats into his mouth. “I’m sure we’ll catch up with them several thousand chapters hence after getting to know the colourful back stories, dreams and imaginings of everyone they ever met. What’s your hurry? Anyway, walk with me. I want to find out where whores go.”
“On the nonce?”
They left the food court, went down a level on the escalator, ambled past myriad shops and then went down another nine dozen escalators. They eventually found themselves on Level S where they rested for a time or two amidst a chattering crowd of women grown and flowered. Those who weren’t naked and oiled wore bed sheets wrapped tightly around their bodies save for their left breasts. Many a dark nipple was clearly visible, and their owners were therefore presumed by everyone to be freely available.
A roving wine merchant from a nearby tavern approached the pair and asked if they would like to try her wares. Bloodfingers declined politely. “My bladder is full to burst,” he said. An accident in my smallclothes in the middle of a busy shopping centre? No thanks.
Dave accepted a sample from a skin of Dornish red. “Thanks wench,” he said. The wine had a full, rich plum nose with elderberry tones and a hint of oak. The first tiny sip made his eyes water and the second saw him stinking drunk. He looked at the wench twice more, but then peered at her as if seeing her for the first time. She was comely enough, with a thick shock of black hair that could only mean that she was one of Robert Baratheon’s millions of bastard children. It also culminated, like every woman’s hair (and nearly every man’s who wasn’t bald), in a widow’s peak. “Hey, I have a question for you,” he slurred.
* * *
It was half a hundred hours later, but Dave’s cheek still felt like it was on fire. It may have had to do with the three and forty slaps he had collected asking after the whereabouts of slatterns, beginning with the wine merchant. He and Bloodfingers were still on foot, barely inching their way past yet more shops as they steadily made their way progressively nearer their ultimate destination, hopefully. They went past a cheese shop, and inside it there was cheese of every kind: there was cheddar, goat cheese, Edam, sliced cheese, horse cheese, Swiss cheese, mozzarella, cream cheese, chicken cheese, cottage cheese, dick cheese, gorgonzola and reduced fat cheese sticks. Opposite stood a bakery, and it specialised in cakes of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, caramel and an assortment of fruit-flavoured sponges, although it was equally well-stocked with all manner of puddings, pies and pastries should one somehow find himself disinclined to purchase the category of dessert that cakes fit into. Between them was a stall selling iced drinks. They had apple juice, orange juice, grape juice, pineapple juice, mixed berry juice, pear juice, guava juice, guava and pear juice, cranberry juice, lychee juice, passionfruit juice, juice of nearly every fruit and flavour.
Dave spied a heraldry shop nearby and pointed out a particular coat of arms that was on display. “Three cunnies couchant on a field vert,” he said. “Which family is that?”
“I don’t know,” admitted Bloodfingers, “but it’s from, like, six and ten generations ago. Do you want me to read the incredibly detailed and lengthy description that comes with it?”
“About as much as I’d want nipples on a breastplate,” said Dave.
They resumed walking, descending half a hundred floors and twice as many escalators. It felt as if the journey went on far longer than was necessary for readers to empathise. In truth, Dave would rather have been riding than walking, but as he had never ridden a horse in his life he needs must walk. As of now he had no horse anyway, just a pair of legs and there was no horse track besides, just a long stretch of polished tiles leading to his destination, possibly. Here and there he saw cracks in the corners of some of the tiles, mayhap a result of age and use. And now that he thought about it for no particular reason, how sure was he that the colour of the tiles on the previous level had been different? But he dared not think about that now. I must concentrate on finding out where whores go. If I look back, I am lost. The Seven only knew when that would happen though.
Six months later, Bloodfingers complained loudly that they were still only slightly over half a league away from where they’d started.
“Wait, what does that sign say?” asked Dave.
Bloodfingers squinted. “It says, ‘The Bearded Clam’.”
“Of course!” shouted Dave in triumph. “A brothel. That’s where whores go!”
“So... mystery solved?” said Bloodfingers.
Suddenly a shadow loomed over them. “Well,” said the shadow. “Well, well, well. Who do I spy here? Why, if it isn’t Robb Stark and Jeyne Westerling’s comely twin teenage daughters who have been mysteriously hidden for years by a glamour that members of my secret order have only just now inadvertently penetrated!”
“OMG,” said Dave and Bloodfingers in unison.