A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
5 November, 2009
The last few years have been really great in the fantasy genre for me, what with my discovery of Scott Lynch, Steven Erikson and now George R.R. Martin. I was expecting my attempt to read A Game of Thrones to be a slow one, mainly because I tried reading it earlier in the year and didn’t get very far. I think my mind was on other things plus I had just finished reading Erikson’s amazingly rich Gardens of the Moon, and sometimes this happens. And did I mention that it’s a whopping 900 pages of a doorstopper?
But I’d read so many great things about his series, A Song of Ice and Fire of which A Game of Thrones is the first book, and heard about all the fans waiting patiently (and some not so patiently) for his latest installment which is apparently a few years late (give the guy a break people, creativity cannot be turned on like a tap!)
A Game of Thrones is set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, populated by a host of characters from the naive to the ruthless, the good and upright to the cruel and evil, and all are engaged in a tapestry of violence from trying to keep the peace and doing the right thing to grabbing power with a vengeance. The world is that of high fantasy, medieval in its day to day detail, but the beauty and strength of Martin’s story is in his characters. This is a human story filled with longing, fear, love and lust. There is revenge, there is honour and there is betrayal. There is family, normal and twisted, there is humour and there is a sense of the bittersweet and inevitable.
In A Game of Thrones we meet the Starks and Tullys, who rule the North and the Wall which keeps out the unknown and the cold, the Baratheons, who rule the Seven Kingdoms married to the Lannisters who are beautiful and hungry for power, and finally the Targaryans, the last of the Dragon Kings, of which only a crazed prince and his beautiful sister survive.
This is a robust and complex book, but once you start reading, I guarantee that you will be hooked. Like me, you will learn to care about each character, shy away from the evil and cruel, cheer the weak and cornered and pray that those who need love find it. I developed a soft spot for the direwolf cubs who belong to each of the Stark children and guard them with their lives. I want one too!
I can’t wait to read the next in the series, A Clash of Kings, and am eagerly awaiting the HBO pilot episode of A Game of Thrones
But in the meantime, I’m reading The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan on my Sony e-book.