‘African Game of Thrones’: Booker Prize winner Marlon James writing racially-diverse fantasy series

"I realised how sick and tired I was of arguing about whether there should be a black hobbit in Lord of the Rings" — 2015 Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James

James is not the only one who has often wondered about the racial diversity (or lack thereof) in major fantasy book series.

Be it in the books or in the onscreen adaptations, very few pieces of literature have protagonists belonging to different races. Be it the epic fantasy Lord of the Rings or the more recent Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, most popular fantasy-based fiction tends to be derived from European myth and have European (read: white) characters.

Marlon James with his Booker Prize. AP

Marlon James with his Booker Prize. AP

But this might soon change. This year, a Jamaican author won the Man Booker Prize for the first time and now Marlon James is set to push the envelope further by working on a fantasy series he has described as 'an African Game of Thrones," in an interview with Man of the World

Vulture quotes the author's interview where James says he plans to 'geek the f**k out' and create his own fantasy series, kicking off with a book called Black Leopard, Red Wolf. 

"One hundred pages describing a village? Hell yeah. A big appendix on magic techniques? Of course I’m gonna do it. Two hundred pages on a mysterious dwarf race that lives underground? F**k yes," he is quoted as saying.

The Jamaican author has also added that he will use African mythology as the basis for his series, which he says can beat European legend for insane royalty and violence. "African folklore is just as rich, and just as perverse as that s**t. We have witches, we have demons, we have goblins, and mad kings. We have stories of royal succession that would put Wolf Hall to shame. We beat the Tudors two times over," Bustle quotes him.

Well, going by that description, James's next venture sounds like a tantalising mix of Lord of the Rings (for the giant appendices)and Game of Thrones (for it's gore and violence) And judging by his Booker prize-winning book, A Brief History of Seven Killings, James is one author capable of pulling off such a risqué series.

The book is a re-telling of the attempted assassination of musician Bob Marley set in James' birthplace of Kingston. The 686-page crime tale traces the rise of the drug trade on the Caribbean island and contains a chapter written in Jamaican patois. It is based on real events, it recounts how Marley and his entourage were attacked just before a concert in December 1976, referring to the reggae superstar as "The Singer" throughout

We cannot wait to see what James churns out next.


Updated Date: Dec 15, 2015 15:21 PM

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