In spite of my rather severe case of nerdiness, I have neither read nor watched Game of Thrones. Shocking, right? I refuse to do so because, before I could embark on the series, several friends told me beloved characters die in droves. Die. In. Droves.
Nope. Nopity nope nopers.
I refuse to consume media in which main characters die. I hate stories that don’t have some kind of happily-ever-after. I eschew media that allow any kind of harm to befall an animal. I also try to avoid any media, from movies to music to novels, that include any of my deal breakers: rape, harming an animal, rampant and unchallenged -isms, and really, really bad writing.
On the topics of books, you wouldn’t think it’d be difficult to find some that don’t kill main characters or end poorly, that don’t include graphic or gratuitous rape scenes and animal abuse, and that aren’t horribly racist or sexist. You’d think.
Let me give you a brief example. I just stopped reading book three of a long, enormously well-reviewed, and smartly written series. Sure, the series was relentlessly androcentric, and yes, while many women were kick-ass, their power lay carefully couched in reassuring, nonthreatening, sexualized terms. Still, I persevered. Because good writing. But at the end of the third book, when the main character offered up a goddess for a lifetime of brutal rape by ice giants in order to secure his victory, I’d decidedly had enough.
But fear not, my friends, for I have a potential solution. I have decided we need some kind of rating system for novels. Nothing quite as simple as the G, PG, R cinematic system. I want to have a more detailed system that provides information on what I imagine are common deal breakers. Some of my rating suggestions are below.
Okay, obviously many of these are slightly tongue-in-cheek, but I’m quite serious about some. Am I missing anything, folks? Well, I mean, of course I am. But what would you like to see as a warning or incentive on the cover of a book?
You know, this system would greatly benefit my pocketbook, since I wouldn’t bother buying some of the books, and would likewise help me preserve my precious spare time for books that don’t enrage and disgust me halfway through. All we need to do is, you know, get everyone else on board and institute it.