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Mar 6, 2018 10:53 PM
[Author's Note: This is purely for resources so that I can have something to reference when making my points on isekai and world-building in general. All credits go to Steffan Sasse for the wonderful essays.]

A considerable number of people seem to think that an author's ability to write made-up names for as many cities and towns as possible is the end-all be-all on worldbuilding. No. Even a child can create made-up names. It's about as simple as creating a make-believe map. Any non-braindead person can do that in an afternoon.

The hardest thing to do in world-building is to integrate the characters with their unique setting, their own mythos, and their own history so fully that you cannot discuss any one aspect without the others. To make it so that the setting is not just the stage the story occurs in, but an actual organic interacting element of the story so deeply intertwined with everything else.

To illustrate further, here is a sampling of great essays by Steffan Sasse (Tower of the Hand) discussing the world of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga in great detail:

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The History of the Night’s Watch

The History of the Night’s Watch is a great essay analysis on the enigma of how the Watch slowly deteriorated. It is an essay that relies on meticulous attention to detail and is predicated on one important overlooked function of the Watch: a way out for a king or lord in a losing war, a function shattered by Aegon’s conquest and unification of Westeros. It’s never explicitly stated or even hinted why the Watch is a shadow of its former glory, and yet somebody figured it out, a testament to the strength of the narrative and world Martin wove.

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A Westerosi Study in Feudalism

The Concept of Honor in Westeros

Both essays are a fantastic read on the concepts themselves, the culture inspired and on how intricately they are woven into the narrative, the setting, and the characters in a way that greatly expands the World of Ice and Fire.

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The Castles of Westeros

The Castles of Westeros is a great example of how the setting is so intricately woven into the story. The essay is an exploration of the many many interactions between geography, engineering, society, and political power. The castles aren't just castles for the sake of having castles because it's expected of a fantasy story. They are there for a purpose and they shaped and continuously shape the culture and politics of their region.

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The Prevented Stark

And finally, The Prevented Stark is a character study/psychological profile that is deeply rooted in his upbringing, in the cultures deeply explored in the regions involved in shaping him, and in the politics and events of the saga.

Peace out!
Posted by Eanki | Mar 6, 2018 10:53 PM | Add a comment