A Game of Thrones, by George R R Martin
Posted December 10, 2010on:
With all the HBO stuff floating around all over the interwebs, I figured it was time I started my own little Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones post series!
I’ve been trying to write a review for George R R Martin’s A Game of Thrones for about two hours now. I keep writing a paragraph, and deleting it. Should I focus on the wonderful characters? The fully realized world and it’s subtle yet increasingly frightening magic system? The ambitious families who will do anything to gain the throne during a power vacuum? The dethroned princess who vows to return as queen and take the throne that is rightfully hers? Children with questionable parentage?
There’s a lot going on, and I don’t know where to start.
So I’ll start here: If you have never read George R R Martin’s A Game of Thrones, you owe it to yourself to go to the library right now and get a copy. Yes, I understand it looks daunting, but the dialogue flows, the plot moves right along, it might not be all action all the time, but there isn’t a slow moment here.
Oh, you don’t read fantasy? Not into dragons and magic and Kings and Queens and Knights? Yeah, I wasn’t either. Game of Thrones was my gateway drug to epic fantasy, and it will be yours too.
it’s been 15 years since Eddard Stark helped his best friend Robert take the throne of Westeros. Since then, Eddard has raised his children in the isolated but idyllic northernmost realm of the Kingdom, and Robert has been saddled with an overly ambitious wife and the troubles that come with “being in charge”.
When Eddard is called to court to become the new Hand of the King, he learns a truth that could tear the kingdom apart and becomes embroiled in a political nightmare where he is nothing more than a pawn. His oldest daughter goes from being betrothed to the prince to being held hostage. One of his sons is nearly murdered to protect a royal secret. Summer is ending for the Stark family.
Meanwhile, across the sea are Daenarys and Viserys Targaryen, children of the murdered and dethroned mad King Aerys II. Older brother Viserys marries his little sister off to Khal Drogo, a Dothraki warlord. Viserys plans to use Drogo’s army of horsemen to take back Westeros, but Drogo and Daenarys have other plans.
And everyone has secrets they will take to their grave.
Epic and sprawling, A Game of Thrones covers two continents, multiple families, and how far people will go to protect their families. Points of view change in each chapter, but thanks to Martin’s accessible writing style and fully developed characters, you always know who is going with who. I’ve read A Game of Thrones a few times, and so far it is my favorite in the series. It’s mostly set-up, world building and character development, and not too heavy on the action and bloody fighting that comes later. and the foreshadowing and hint dropping? I can not get enough of that stuff!
It always shocks me that all books of A Song of Ice and Fire are kept in my local library’s “teen” section. In the first 100 pages or so, we get a beheading, incest, murder, corruption, and a child being thrown out of a window. Good stuff, right?
I would tell you more about the plot. . . but then this blog post would run 10 pages, and nobody wants that!
Currently the internet is ablaze with frustration with Martin for not having finished the 5th book in the series yet and excitement for the Game of Thrones HBO miniseries, and I’ve joined in on the both the frustration and the excitement. But no amount of frustration will keep me from saying Game of Thrones is a game changer.
and attention gamers! There is a Game of Thrones boardgame! Take over the kingdom! slaughter your neighbor! avoid the wildlings, if you can!