- Beer: Pine Trail
- Style: Pale Ale
- Brewery: Big Drop Brewing Company
- Strength: 0.5%
First thing I noticed about this one was how strong the hoppy and bitter taste was. That’s a proper beery flavour, which I don’t think I’ve really experienced much in AF beers. It still suffers a little from wateriness but that’s a minimal concern here because of the fullness of the flavour. Very impressed.
- Book: Dragonbone Chair
- Series: Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn
- Author: Tad Williams
- Current Publisher: Hodder Books
Published in 1988, 2 years before the first WoT book and 8 years before GoT, The Dragonbone Chair for me really marks the beginning of the post Tolkien age of fantasy. Like WoT would later, it incorporates many of the same tropes which by the time it was written had started to feel stale. A relatively isolated protagonist is thrust into world-changing events beyond his understanding and, with the help of a gradually assembled fellowship of companions and must fulfil the terms of a quest before the Dark Lord (Ineluki the Storm King) lays waste to the world of men.
Where it really broke the mold though was in its delving into the political machinations of various factions in the world of OstenArd , and GRRM heavily cites the series as a major influence on Song Of Ice And Fire. Its a world on the brink of civil war. Elf-like races butting up against human nations, and a succession crisis after the death of the High-King of all Osten Ard.
It is in the midst of this political turmoil that Simon, a simple castle scullion, finds himself compelled to find three legendary swords. Only when they are united can the races of man hope to defeat the Storm King.
I remember finding these books fascinating when I first read them, but be warned they are not an easy read. There is a deep complexity to them which can translate into them feeling like a slog if you aren’t in the right mood. Perhaps a travel read rather than a beach read would be a good way to put it. Somewhere you can really take the time to appreciate what is going on.