More from Sam Sykes — on Grimdark, Ned’s Head and Fitz’s Foolishness

sykesHere’s another dose of wisdom from my recent interview with Sam Sykes, explaining why City Stained Red is not Grimdark.

“I got very bored with, for lack of a better term, “Grimdark” books — where the hero just stops trying. They realize this is a crappy world and I’m not happy to be here, so I’m going to be the biggest bastard of all time. That was charming at first, but after a while it was just, ugh…. You’re not struggling against the world, you are trying to become part of it, which is not something I’m interested in writing about.”

He also talked about how George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb were game changers in fantasy literature.

“One of the reasons that “Game of Thrones” was such a hit was because those of us who were raised on “Dragonlance” were caught completely off guard by it. When Ned Stark was executed we were flipping to the end looking for the spell that would revive him, and it never came.


I feel like Robin Hobb and George R.R. Martin started treating fantasy characters like people — with doubts and desires not to do things. And sometimes absolutely doing the wrong thing! It took me a while to appreciate this,  but I spent a lot of the (Farseer) trilogy  screaming at Fitz for not wanting to do the right thing. Only later did I realize that Hobb had a reason for that — he actually didn’t want to! He wanted to believe the best in everyone and the world was not too kind to him for it.”

Sykes is hosting a release party at The Poisoned Pen for The City Stained Red on Saturday, Jan. 31. Look for my full interview with him on Sunday in The Arizona Republic.

The City Stained Red is already available in eBook and will be released in paperback on Jan. 27.

— Michael Senft

About Michael Senft

I am a freelance writer and critic from Phoenix Arizona. I spent 10 years covering music, the arts and pop culture for the “Arizona Republic” before life circumstances took me away from newspaper. But I never lost my joy at writing. Or reading.
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One Response to More from Sam Sykes — on Grimdark, Ned’s Head and Fitz’s Foolishness

  1. Pingback: Sam Sykes asks Arizona Republic Readers to buy his book! | Relentless Reading (And Writing About It!)

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