I haven´t found an image that I liked for this book. Sorry, my ten-fingered reader
Título: La espada en sí / Antes de que sean ahorcados / Última disputa de reyes
Autor: Joe Abercrombie
Title: The Blade Itself / Before They Are Hanged /
Como en todo buen libro, los personajes están bien construidos. Y, además, el autor se toma la molestia de insuflar variedad lingüística a los personajes. Así, tienen diferentes registros, expresiones; como "back to the mud" (de vuelta al lodo), como eufemismo de morir, e incluso latiguillos, cómo el "Why do I do this?" (¿Por qué hago esto?) de Glokta.
As in every great book, the characters are all well constructed. Furthermore, the author takes the trouble to create linguistic variety in the novel's world. Thus, there are different registers, idioms, such as "back to the mud" as an euphemism for dying, and catchphrases, such as Glokta's "Why do I do this"
Me gustaría profundizar más en este personaje, pero no lo puedo hacer muy bien sin revelar la trama, por lo que tan solo diré que Glokta es un personaje magnífico, que nos interesa tanto a los lectores como a los escritores. La saga en sí ya es excelente, pero dentro de ella, Glokta luce.
I'd love to explore Glokta more deeply, but I can't do that well without revealing the plot, so I'll just say that as a character he is superb, and it is of great interest to both writers and experienced readers (because you can't pigeon-hole him easily, because you can't pigeon-hole him at all). While the saga is by itself great, Glokta shines.
Otro factor que hace diferente a esta saga son las fuerzas profundas. Sí, las fuerzas profundas, es decir, las tensiones que definen las distintas relaciones entre grupos y sociedades de un mundo. Y, el autor crea un mundo en el que las acciones de las masas tienen muy poca relevancia. En el antiguo debate entre el poder de las masas y la relevancia de los individuos excepcionales, esta saga se posiciona claramente a favor de los últimos. En el mundo real el debate está lejos de resolverse, pero da que pensar.
Another factor that makes this book different are deep forces1. Yes, deep forces; tensions that define relationships between different societies and within them. And, the author builds a world in which masses have very little relevance. In the never-ending debate between the power of the people and the relevance of exceptional individuals, the author clearly positions himself in favour of the latter. In the real world this debate is far from finished, but the way the author builds the world makes you think.
Aditionally, the author also invites us to ponder about to what extent is evil relative. Thoughout the novel, you sympathise with killers while they kill and torture, and every character, protagonist or antagonist, believes he is a hero. Again, this makes you think.
Tenía además escrito dos párrafos acerca de cómo había una clara oposición entre los distintos personajes en función de su lugar ficticio de origen, pero aunque sonaba muy bonito no los voy a publicar, porque no hay solo dos culturas, hay muchas más, y dentro de ellas, muchas variaciones. No obstante, es cierto que hay un choque cultural, que se ejemplifica perfectamente en una sola frase:
Estos malditos comedores de ensalada con sus palabras grandes y sus finas espadillasI had two more paragraphs about how there was a clear opposition in the characters depending on their ficticious homeland, but, though the theory sounded beautiful and well thought, I'm not going to publish them because in this novel there are more than two cultures, many more, and many variations. However, it is true that some characters suffer a cultural shock, which is exemplified in this one sentenced:
This damn salad-eaters with their big words and their thin little swordsComo pensamiento final, nadie se espera a la Inquisición Española (nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition), y menos aún en un libro como este. Pero, está. Una prueba más de que Monty Python es genial.
As a final thought, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, especially in a novel such as this one. But there it is. One more proof that Monty Python is amazing.
Por si a alguien le interesa, estos dos párrafos son los que me animaron a leer el libro (enlace).
If anybody is interested, this are the two paragraphs that made me want to read this series. Written by Feifei Wang (link):
...There're better ways to imply it. I remember reading the First Law series by Joe Abercrombie, one of the main character Sand dan Glokta was captured and tortured for 3 years by the enemy. But the book never goes into detail on how he was tortured. We get to see his flashback on what he used to be, a dashing handsome swordsman, and what he was right now, a cripple who can only eat porridge. We get to see his many health problems as the result of torture, we get to see him dealing with his captives with cruelty because he had suffered much worse for much longer, we get to see his lack of humanity on the surface, and yet deep down he was probably one of the most honorable man who remain most of the humanity precisely because he had suffered, he knew what was like to lost all dignity and hope.
I think it is much effective to write about senseless violence (torture, bullying, rape) this way than GRRM did with Ramsey Snow and Reek. Reek's chapters were some of the most difficult part of the book and I often question the rationale behind writing out such graphic torture especially against women in GRRM's book. When Joe Abercrombie wrote Sand Dan Glokta and his suffering, it is always about the character, not about actual violent. It is about how his experience in enemy camp had fundamentally changed him as a person. While GRRM write about violence and sex, sometimes it feels like he write it just for the sake of shocking the reader, for the sake of creating sensation.1Not to be confused with Depp forces