I evidently had torture on the brain when I wrote this piece, probably because after about a decade or so of procrastinating, I’m finally getting around to reading Joe Abercrombie’s grimdark fantasy classic, The Blade Itself. I have no idea why it took so long for me to get around to it, but I’m glad I finally started anyway. It’s got the grit that I appreciate in a good fantasy novel, alongside a surprisingly nuanced worldview which the genre so often lacks, and a “hard man” protagonist who’s really just afraid all the time and wants to be left alone. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones, if Game of Thrones hadn’t been written by a 70 year old teenager who’s never been introduced to the concept of editing. If you want more out of your fantasy than fluffy escapism, Abercrombie is one author I’d highly recommend.

↓ Transcript
A dim room. From behind a burly man in simple medieval garb as he stands facing a firepit.
Caption: No one ever spoke to me as a child.

The man pulls a glowing piece of metal from the fire and inspects it with professional pride.
Caption: But since I got a new job

The glowing piece of metal comes in from the side of frame, uncomfortably close to the face of someone lying down, forehead strapped to a bench. Their eyes are wide and they’re talking a million miles a minute.
Caption: everyone wants to talk to me.