Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review: "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin

 How on earth to you write a synopsis for such a novel without giving anything away?  I'll do my best--

In this faraway land of Lords and Ladies, of Knights, Kings and Queens, when dragons are not a too distant memory and seasons last for years, we find the Iron Throne.  King Robert sits upon the Iron Throne, ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.  He asks Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell to come and be his second-in-command as he finds few trustworthy people in his court.  He is right not to trust them - his wife, Queen Cersei is a Lannister, a ruthless family who controls many with their wealth and wants to rule the Kingdoms.  The Lannister's have bought many friends, but they have many enemies as well...  The last of the Targaryens, the family who lost the Throne to Robert in battle, are plotting their own return to power.  And in the background, winter is coming.  The long cold season is creeping down from the north, complete with its own set of horrors beyond the cold and the people fighting for the throne are not paying attention.

See, all that and I'm only scraping the surface!  These different and separate drives for power are almost like a multi-player game of chess; incredibly cunning though intensely brutal.  I have, of course, become obsessed with the HBO series based upon these books, but haven't rewatched the previous seasons.  I was surprised at how closely Season One follows this book, but I will say that the book allows for greater character depth which I loved.  I was afraid that I would just start replaying the show in my head while I was reading... but that didn't quite happen.  I did picture most of the adults as the actors - I see now how they really fit their parts.  But the Stark children - including Jon Snow - I see completely differently in the book.  I really see how young they are.  And while I should not have been surprised, I still was a little shocked when I think about the degree to which HBO sexualized this story and the characters.  I mean, I get it - it is HBO and sex sells and all that, but they really took some liberties.  But the basis is there - the reasons why I love this story.  The female characters are strong and intelligent, there are shocking twists to keep you on your toes, and you have to respect all the players - because even the "bad guys" have some good to them.

This did take me about a month to read, and I'm glad for that.  This isn't something to rush through because you might miss something!  But if I hadn't been also keeping up with school work and all, I probably could've read this in about half the time.  I'm going to remember that as I work my way through the rest of the series.  I did read the edition pictured above even though I normally avoid TV or Movie tie-in covers, but it is an oversized paperback.  There is no way I would be patient enough for the small font on the smaller mass market paperbacks!  I'll look for more this size as I read on for sure.  Also, I wanted to quickly mention that the text goes 674 pages - the rest is an appendix featuring the family trees and history of the main characters in the book which is really helpful (especially at the beginning!)

A Game of Thrones 
by George R.R. Martin
Bantam Books,  2011.  First published 1996.
694 pages
Series:  A Song of Ice and Fire #1
Source:  Purchased New



4 comments: said...

You think this one was hard to review wait until you get to the last few books! :)

Christine said...

I've been dying to start this series since getting hooked on the HBO show. I rarely watch before reading, but for the longest time I didn't think I would like the books, so I went ahead and started watching with my husband not really expecting to like it, but I was SO wrong. Now if only I could find the time for these chunksters :) I might have to read them like you did for this one and take my time with it.

Susan said...

One of these days, I'll have to tackle this, but it is so daunting!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I just read this one in December and I loved it.

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