We’ve already gone through The Fall and Orphan Black (Both terrific). We got a year’s worth of eyeball-rolling exercises from Da Vinci’s Demonz (All Starz series should end in Z). We watched as much Hannibal as we could stand, then we started wishing Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal would eat the Will Graham character (tormented genius: baduy). Why are there so many serial killer shows on TV right now, is everyone finally sick of vampires and zombies? Fortunately for our pop culture consumption there are the final episodes of Breaking Bad later in the year, and the new episodes of Arrested Development.
Then we remembered the Lymond Chronicles, the historical adventure series by Dorothy Dunnett. Our friends have been after us to read the damn books for—eek!—20 years. We picked up the first volume but were too distracted to sink into its dense prose.
But now that we have ripped through A Song of Ice and Fire, we’re ready. Dunnett may have been an influence on Martin—the title of the first Lymond book, published in 1961, is The Game of Kings. At lunch we were telling Tina that one of our favorite Thrones characters spent a year in chains, taunting his captors; she pointed out that Dunnett’s hero Francis Crawford of Lymond was a galley slave for two years. Lymond is Scottish; Winterfell seems to be Scotland, and the Red Wedding is based on an actual event in Scottish history. (We’re reading a book on the Venetian empire—their sigil was a lion, their colors were red and gold, and they paid their debts. They certainly collected.)
Another thing the two authors have in common: the anxious fandom. Dorothy Dunnett’s readers worried about her health and whether she would get around to finishing the books. They were more polite than GRRM fans, though, and it was the pre-Internet era.
This weekend we’re starting on the Lymond Chronicles. You can buy the books online, or scour the bargain book bins.
How could we possibly pass up a book with the line:
“Drama entered, mincing like a cat.”
And when we’re finished with the six books in the Lymond Chronicles, The House of Niccolo!
Visit the Dorothy Dunnett Society.