There is a subset of fantasy literature called Big Fat Fantasy (BFF).  Or door-stoppers … because they look like this.

My first foray into BFF territory was Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.  I really enjoyed that series until Jordan created way too many plot, sub-plot, sub-sub-plot, and sub-sub-sub plot threads.  I gave up on that series in 2000.   I was, however, aware of George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire series.  Around the time I broke up with the Wheel of Time,  I noticed that Martin’s third ASoIaF book, A Storm of Swords, was still in hardback.  It had been released within a year of the previous volume’s (A Clash of Kings) paperback.

“He’s making great progress!” I thought.  “The next book will probably be out next year!”

Well, not quite.  In fact, not by a long shot.  A lot of ink has been spilled on this topic – including inside The New Yorker (!) – so I won’t whine and complain how long it took Book 4 (A Feast for Crows) and Book 5 (A Dance With Dragons) to come out.  I’m just glad they did.

Since the Game of Thrones series (based on Martin’s novels) came out on HBO this spring, I began a re-read of the series.   I read every evening and in any free moment I could snatch.

And then I finished A Dance With Dragons this past weekend.

I love the characters, setting, and plot of the series.  I find myself thinking about  characters, plot points, and the mysteries raised throughout the novels.  It’s truly an immersive experience.  But that goes both ways, because the series frustrates me, too.  Martin caught a slight case of Jordan-itis and created too many sub-plots in the last two novels.   But Martin is such a skillful writer that you still care about the characters even when you’re frustrated with them.  So he has done his job well.

Book 6 (The Winds of Winter) will come out (eventually), but it doesn’t help my “withdrawal” right now.

So I’m currently reading contemporary novels  like Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell, because I miss hanging out in Martin’s world, and no other fantasy setting will do.

Do you ever finish a book (or a series of books) and then feel kinda blue when you’re done?

7 thoughts on “Post-Dragon Blues”

  1. I felt blue when I finished Mists Of Avalon… I wanted to retreat back into that world. I totally understand why you miss the characters in the book. They have been your companions for so long and you hear their voices in your mind!

  2. I know exactly how you feel — I almost always miss every book I read after it's done, even if I didn't like it too much while I was reading it. In fact, there are times that I'm fairly unenthusiastic about a book while I'm reading it, but then when I'm done I'm left wanting more. I wonder if it's because the way it ended or was written just wasn't satisfying? What a great question and pondering!

  3. Julia … that's interesting, and I've not usually had that exact experience with books, but that happens with me and films sometimes (like Fight Club). I'll bet that you may not be interested in the writing, maybe?
    Thanks for your comment, though, and your e-mails earlier, 🙂

    Mom … yes I remember Mists of Avalon well! And very well said about how they've been companions for so long. That happens with me, too.

  4. Happens to me any time I finish a series I particularly enjoy. For me this usually means detective series. My Dad got me into John D. MacDonald and Richard S. Prather, and having devoured all of their novels, I miss Travis McGee and Shell Scott, because there was something really comfortable, fun, and laugh-out-loud funny about those guys. I know when I've finished RBP's last Spenser novel, Sixkill, I'm going to feel the same way. Probably moreso, because Prather and MacDonald were both long dead when I started reading their work, but I expected Parker to keep going for some time yet…

  5. Hey bro, thanks so much for weighing in. And you introduce a new wrinkle into the discussion … authors who are no longer with us. When you reach the end of a series, that's all we can expect, and that can be saddening. I expect I'll feel that way when William Gibson passes on.

  6. I get this all the time, especially with a novel that takes me through many different stages of a character's life. One thing I notice though is that I experience withdrawal from TV series characters in a much more intense fashion (I know, blasphemy!). I went through this when I rewatched Buffy (there were so many seasons, how could I not?!) and am about to go through it again as I near the end of Friday Night Lights. I think the more time we spend with characters, the more we get attached to them.

    Which I guess brings me back to what we were talking about the other day in my blog's comments…I should read more novel series 🙂

    1. Hi Natalia! I'm with you on the t.v. series deal. I had the same reaction with Buffy, which was made kinda worse by how lame Season 7 was. It is definitely easy to get attached to characters, especially as you see them grow.

      Novel series have a lot going for them, I agree … I think the downside is when the author is out of his/her depth or gets bored. Then it definitely shows on the page!

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