All I'm going to say is, it's about time!
The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin synopsis is provided by Goodreads:
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
Reference:In all honesty, I first heard about this series from the show. I always see gifs on tumblr and I never hear anything but good things about it. And since it's fantasy, I'm just assuming I'll go for it. I bought the first four books almost a year ago and now am finally starting it. Better late than never!
(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)First word that comes after finishing: :O
Okay, that isn't a word but I don't have a word to describe how utterly breathtaking and awe-inspiring this book is. This book is 807 pages (at least my copy is), and I've never read a book where I wasn't bored at least some point. Every single chapter left me with wanting more with a character since each chapter alternates between different main characters (which there are about 8), however it wasn't annoying because I was torn away from a scene, each chapter left me with just enough but still wanting more. Ambivalent much?
Something I found so quite remarkably beautiful about this book were the characters. I've never read a book where the characters surprised me. What I mean is that whenever I read a book, the characters go under a category: good or bad or unimportant (of course there are the extremes of both sides: Eddard on the side of good and Viserys on the side of pure evil.) Yes sometimes I find a character to be under one category but then at the end the author changes their mind and puts them in another category which sometimes can be predictable (let alone annoying). But in the Game of Thrones I'd have to say that isn't the case. I found myself questioning these characters because they did something many authors strive to do, which is make their characters real. These characters had habits, they had desires, they had pasts, they had quarrels, they had dislikes, they had secrets, they had ulterior motives, they had strength and weakness, they had love and hate, they had minds and hearts, which is what I say readers have, too. Most importantly these characters acted arbitrarily, because I found moments constantly throughout where I tried to be smart and predict what would happen and while not necessarily the opposite would happen, just something I wasn't expecting would.
Of course the hardest part about this book is the names. I wrote down 95% of character names while reading and it filled the front and back of my piece of paper, and more where I could squeeze in some more names. Honestly even now after finishing I don't really know who some of the characters were loyal to-- I'm hoping when I begin watching the show it'll clear up some.
Okay time to discuss my favorite characters. Drumroll please. To those of you who have read the book or seen the show, it won't surprise you when I say Jon Snow, or maybe Arya Stark, or even Tyrion Lannister? Jon or the bastard as he was most frequently referred as in the story wasn't the sob story boy that I would've expected. In fact, he had morals and a stout heart, it's only a shame that he isn't considered a "true" son of Eddard Stark. But it just shows Eddard even greater of a man to take him in, regardless of what the people might think, let alone his wife who he was married to at the time. Jon chose early on to leave off to serve his life at the Wall and for some reason those chapters never bored me, in fact I was eager to read more about him they became my favorites. Arya Stark, the younger daughter of Eddard, is only nine but a badass nonetheless. She's courageous and carries herself with a sort of pride I can't do anything but respect. Her loyalties are to her father, but unless it's in the extremes, she doesn't take no crap from anyone. And may I repeat-- she's only nine! Tyrion Lannister should be the enemy, I wanted to dislike him since he's one of them. The Lannisters, deceivers and egocentric snakes. They think they're the ish because the woman in the family is married to the King Robert Baratheon. Tyrion's doesn't let pretty faces and fake smiles fool him; the voice in the audience head that shouts at the bad character when the good character in the TV never notices. He has the sort of humor many from this generation have and it just made him more of a rounded character. He's led a difficult life since he's a dwarf, constantly being downcast and referred to as the "Imp," but like the strong character he is, he embraces the taunts and uses it as a shield instead of leaving it as a wound.
And what kind of baffles me at first about these characters was that what we'd consider young adults at 17/18, they consider at 12/13. It was difficult to grasp that since when you look at 12/13 year olds all I see are pimply kids with braces, but by the end I began to have the mentality that maybe that is the norm and reality is wrong. (Oh no, look what too much reading does to you.)
What I also found likable in this book is that Martin spoke from both sides of the court so to speak. It ranged from the noble and moral Starks to the sneaky and deceptive Lannisters. And ALSO to the "nation's" enemy: the Targaryens. It was interesting to read because each side calls the other the less honorable side, since they both shed royal blood and it leaves it up to the reader who to side with. While most of the chapters are from the Stark family, Martin does include someone from each side, so it's all questionable in my opinion.
There were so many intense moments. It's such a relief to read a book where all the tension isn't left for the last 50 pages but spread throughout. This ties in with the characters being unpredictable like I mentioned earlier. If not every fifty pages, every one hundred pages for sure, there would be something that happened that redefined the story. I don't remember ever feeling so emotionally invested in what was going to happen to the characters. While I've read many books in the past where I loved the characters, I'd have to say this kind of investment in characters-- let alone their character development-- matches the kind of attachment I get when watching TV shows or movies. It's like I could see everything playing out as I read the pages. Martin described all of the characters actions along with their dialogue so beautifully I could imagine everything as clearly as if I were watching it on TV. I don't want to be modest, he's a master storyteller! I can definitely see Tolkien influence.
While as much as I love this story in regards to character, the establishment of place was rough and difficult. Even with a map in the front, I still couldn't manage where most of the characters were (other than the Wall and Winterfell). Such as where the King lived and where a good half of the story took place. It's one of my arguments against this series compared to Tolkien's Middle-earth, which makes me hesitant to claim it superior. While Tolkien delivered in characters in place, Martin just made the scenes so intriguing, but with a lack of atmosphere (in location).
I want to talk about the ending. I didn't have an opinion for it because I just assumed it was going to be good like everything that I'd read to that point. It was about 50 pages from the end when I began to get concerned, afraid that it was going make me not find the book as enjoyable as I thought. Thank the Lord that didn't happen! It was cleverly arranged to show that this journey is no where near done. I'm just glad I didn't read this the year it came out, because then I would've been very discontent. As my good friend Inigo Montoya once said, "I hate wait." And with a book as marvelous as this, I definitely wouldn't want to wait a year+ for the next part in this saga.
A petty argument against this book is honestly the lack of fantastical creatures. Other than the mention of dragons every hundred pages or so, there are no dragons actually present. This is indeed more a "game of thrones," intense action-packed drama of rivaling families claim for power and right to ascension.
I give this book 5/5 stars. If you don't mind a lot of gore, sex, incest, and the occasional swear word-- I'd highly recommend!
"Why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?"
-Varys, George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones
-Varys, George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones
Next To Read:
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)There could arguably be about twenty things I want to talk about. But I'll try to limit it to a few since it's early in the AM anyways. Let's start with the first intense moment in the book. Bran's fall. Up till that point, I had grown fond of the boy and much like anyone who liked him, prayed that he ended up surviving. Yes! And when Martin revealed that he would, I wanted to just jump up and down. It sucked that he couldn't remember the whole watching Cersei and Jaime get it on and reveal it to everyone, I guess then it wouldn't be a game of thrones.
When Viseyrs dies I didn't quite catch it. I mean I read it and I was confused with the whole pouring hot metal atop his head. I didn't know if that meant he had died until I reread that scene about 3x. (Man I'm slow...) I blame it on getting distracted by food, I was half reading. Anyways, I much like anyone who's against abusing women-- never mind that it's your flesh and blood, we all were pretty okay with him dying.
And continuing on with Dany, anyone else think every time they saw whose chapter it was, they automatically thought, someone's having sex in this chapter! Just me? Or maybe, did anyone else get the hints that Dany and Ser Jorah Mormont might hook up, if not during the story by the end of it? I mean, I respect she eventually grew to love Khal Drogo, but it wasn't the innocent kind of love, but forced love. I can't wait to see how their relationship develops in A Clash of Kings. Oh! And the ending with the awaking of the dragons. I really saw how they symbolized her young, innocent past behind with the death of her husband to the beginning of some badassery with these firebreathers. I assumed dragons would come since all the gifs I saw on tumblr, so I'm glad they came at the end. It's a perfect start for the next book.
I knew Eddard Stark was going to die. I've heard from people that Martin likes to crush people's feels... not in those words exactly, but that he was no friend to keeping characters that readers would grow to love. Also, there's the whole gif on tumblr where you see his character from the TV show begin beheaded-- but other than that. When reading that scene, I was expecting to tear (because also the actor who portrays him in the show also played Boromir in the LotR trilogy and coincidently dies too), but it was so subtle I had to reread that page to make sure I understood that he had in fact been killed. I know this might sound really condescending, but do you understand why he said what he said. The last time we were with him, Varys basically warned him he had to leave his honor and morals aside him and plead guilty to save the lives of his daughters (though only one was truly under the hand of Joffrey and Cersei). I imagined that scene with Eddard being ridiculed by the public, wishing with all his heart to just have one last glance at his daughters before he betrayed his honor which is the most important thing to him, second only to his love for his family, trying to keep a strong and steady voice as he spoke lies, moments before his imminent death. Eddard Stark may have done things that he wasn't proud of, but at the end of the day he was more of a man with the true love he had for his family than one who hid behind their pride and their title and their honor (*cough* *cough* Joffrey and Jaime *cough* *cough*). Oh gosh why??? Why did he have to be the one to die?!?!! I'm okay-- I'm okay.
When Jon left near the end of the book to go aid his brother Robb against the armies of Lannister and he was nearly caught by his Night Watch brothers, I figured they were going to ride with him. But nope-- they just took him back. Darn! There goes me predicting what was going to happen and be utterly wrong... Haha, and it won't be the last time I wager. ^^
When Tyrion was captured and held hostage by Catelyn Stark, and then she took her to Lysa Arryn-- ugh that woman would make me denounce her as family, was one of the most anxious reading chapters. I wanted to see how he fared and I'm glad that he was able to escape from the wrath of Lysa and baby Robert. Ugh, I really didn't like them. I hope they get something coming to them in the near future, if not in the next book I hope by the third.
About ten pages from the end, when Robb, Catelyn, Theon, and many others are in a meeting and one guy-- I forget who-- speaks out and says what I'd been thinking for some time, why not rule themselves with a new king? With the old nice king dead, instead of having to rule under any of the tyrannical rulers, Renly and Stannis and definitely Joffrey. This was another one of those moments at the end that just made the book be brought up to a whole other level.
And of course, the secret that gives all the controversy to the book! How Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen are not really Robert's kids but their mother Cersei's brother's. Yay incest... (that's sarcasm!!) I couldn't really grab the appearances of any of the characters, except Tyrion, so I couldn't just find that moment of epiphany where I made the connection, but I did catch the revelation and was very surprised! I didn't really catch how Eddard even learned the truth, it was just one chapter he revealed it. I only wish that he didn't go to Cersei first but Robert... Especially since he was very close to him.
Until Next Time,