vivid gallery

Taisho uchikake. Taisho period (1912-1926), Japan.  The Kimono Gallery.  A vivid and remarkable silk wedding kimono featuring a masterful depiction of a phoenix, paulownia and peony flowers. The patterning technique is yuzen on a smooth, plain-spun high quality silk. The phoenix and the paulownia are intimately associated in Japanese legend – the phoenix will only alight on the branches of this tree. A composite of several animals, the phoenix is a symbol of peace and the rising sun, a bird whose song is particularly musical and auspicious. Because the phoenix is the female counterpart of the male dragon and its varied colored feathers represent the traditional virtues of truthfulness, propriety, righteousness, benevolence and sincerity – it is an auspicious bridal motif. The peony is an auspicious flower, known as the flower of riches and honor and is an emblem of wealth and distinction. It symbolizes prosperity, happiness, and peace. An emblem of love and affection, the peony is often a symbol of feminine beauty.

What is it that has enabled George to captivate readers in so many different fields? What qualities are there about George’s work that ensnares readers, no matter what kind of story he’s telling?

For one thing, George has always been a richly romantic writer. Dry minimalism or the cooly ironic games of postmodernism so beloved by many modern writers and critics are not what you’re going to get when you open something by George R. R. Martin. What you’re going to get instead is a strongly-plotted story driven by emotional conflict and crafted by someone who’s a natural-born storyteller, a story that grabs you on the first page and refuses to let go.

You’re going to get adventure, action, conflict, romance, and lush, vivid human emotion: obsessive, doomed love, stark undying hatred, unquenchable desire, dedication to duty even in the face of death, unexpected veins of rich humor … and something that’s rare even in science fiction and fantasy these days (let alone the mainstream) - a love of adventure for adventure’s sake, a delighting in the strange and colorful, bizarre plants and animals, exotic scenery, strange lands, strange customs, stranger people, backed by the inexhaustible desire to see what’s over the next hill, or waiting on the next world. […]

The most important reason, though, why so many readers are affected so strongly by George’s work, is the people. George has created a gallery of vivid characters - sometimes touching, some¬times grotesque, sometimes touching and grotesque - unmatched by most other writers […]

George cares deeply about all of his people, even the spearcarriers, even the villains - and by caring so deeply, he makes you care for them as well. Once you’ve mastered this magic trick, you don’t really need another. […] And it is the thing that ensures that, no matter what field he chooses to work in, people will read him - and want to read him again.

–Gardner Dozois, Introduction to Dreamsongs, Vol. 1 by George R.R. Martin