Monday, May 14, 2012
A Game of Thrones (a Song of Ice and Fire: book 1) by George R.R Martin
"In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes of 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. 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" G
First impressions: when I first came across this book. I thought the title interesting and beautiful. A Game of Thrones, a Song of Ice and Fire saga. Even the titles of the following books, a Clash of Kings, a Storm of Swords,a Feast for Crows. You get what I'm getting at. Pretty words. when I read about what it was about that made it seem a bit uninteresting. Five families ,seven kingdoms. Didn't think that would be a good read. BUT I WAS WRONG. This book is more than who sits on the Iron Throne. It's about family, brotherhood, loyalty, honor,love, betrayal and there are wolves and dragons!! knights and adventure. It's more than pretty words. I've been blown away by this magnificent work of fantasy . I haven't felt like this since Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
There are a number of people narrating. We jump from one person to another, this is how the story is told. It's mainly told from members of House Stark,but beside them we have Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryn. This is a good thing because then we get to know what's happening in different locations in the Seven kingdoms and experience it from the (many) protagonist's view point.
Some of my favorite characters:
Eddard Stark: he's the lord of House Stark. What I liked about him is that he's honorable and knows the difference between right and wrong and will always (try) do the right thing. Sadly that's what he was trying to do and he ended up with his head on pike!
Robert Baratheon: the King of the Seven kingdoms. Although he's a horrid king, you still feel for the man. He was once a fierce warrior and now he's a fat King sitting on this awfully uncomfortable chair. On numerable occasions in the book Robert tells Eddard how much he hates being a king and wants to run away. He dies aswell. and ruins everything!!
Arya Stark: I love her. She's a tomboy . She wants to be a knight. It's a great dream to have in a medieval world being a girl and all. She's one of the many strong female leads and I love reading her chapters.
Sansa Stark : Arya's sister , What a blind fool. She's 11 and is betrothed to the new King Joffrey Baratheon(what kind of name is that anyways, 'Joffrey"?). At the end she does get some sense and sees Joffrey for what he is. I'm really looking forward to reading more of her chapters in the other books. Her interactions with Sandor are interesting to read to aswell.
Then we have: Jon Snow : bastard son of Eddard Stark. Jon has issues with being a bastard but by the end Jon accepts who he is and has found a place for himself. There's also Sam Tarly: A Black Brother to Jon, Sam's a coward but he finds a strange kind of bravery by the end. Sam grows a lot aswell. Then we have Tyrion Lannister( the imp): you will love this guy, he's a dwarf, but is he really? another character had described him as a giant in disguise(I'm thinking maybe he is). Tryion is cunning, his mind is as sharp as a blade. I like him but I don't know who's side his one.
As you can see the characters are wonderful and (in my opinion) well developed and dynamic. Each one is their own person, has their own struggles to overcome. It's wonderful reading.
The book itself is well written ,easy to understand. The words and phrases are amazing. The different Houses and their words and sigils and histories are fantastic, brilliant and rich. House Stark is by far my favorite (also the main narrators). Their words are Winter is Coming. All the other Houses have their own words. Lannisters: Hear us roar (sigil: lion), Baratheons: Ours is the fury (sigil: crowned stag), Targaryns: Fire and blood (sigil; three headed dragon). As you can see the Starks are different from the other houses. They don't boast of their strengths, their words are one of warning. The Stark sigil is that of a Direwolf. Which are really big wolves(I love wolves).
"Here and now, you ought to see it when it blooms,all dark red flowers from horizon to horizon,like a sea of blood. Come the dry season,and the world turns the color of bronze . And this is only Hranna,child. There are hundred kinds of grass out there, grasses as yellow as lemon and as dark as indigo, blue grasses and orange grasses and grasses like rainbows. Down the shadow lands beyond Asshai, they say there are oceans of ghost grass,taller than man on horseback with stalks as pale as milkglass, it murders all other grass and glows in the dark with the spirits of the damned. the Dotharaki claim that someday ghost grass will cover the entire world,and then all life will end'<- Grass, he's talking about grass!! and yet I'm hanging on every word!
Although it has a medieval kind of feel to it. There's also scary atmosphere while everybodies fighting to sit on the Irone Throne there's a threat in the north they all ignore. A threat of dead men who walk (whitewalkers) while more and more Rangers go missing bringing back the numbers of men guarding the wall. The wall that keeps the walkers out and the realm save. but for how long?
A lot happens in this book. Eddard goes south to serve as the new hand of the kind. He takes his two daughters with him, Arya and Sansa. He should never have gone south! Eddard investigates the murder of he's friend Jon Arryn (former hand of the king) and discovers that the Queens children are not The kings. Then like I said Roberth dies and ruins everything. Now there's war . While Roberth's brothers plot to take the Irone Throne ,Eddard's son Robb is leading his bannermen from the north to avenge his father. Arya is being taken North by a Ranger . While Daenery's is also planning to take the Irone Throne from across the narrow sea with dragons.
There are more characters involved than just those who narrate. It's not easy telling who's good or who's bad. It seems everybody has their own agenda. Only Varys(one of the kings Councillors) seems to have a seemingly good agenda. He serves no one but the realm and everything he does is to keep the peace in the realm (so he claims) . The people don't really care who sits on the Irone Throne as long as they're left alone, to grow old, work and watch their children grow. There's also a really simple thing to this book.
Robb's 14 and is leading an army to avenge his father. 14! in his chapters or his mother's we forget he's 14 but then the author reminds us. We're always reminded . Even in Daenerys chapters who's also very young, 13 when she's wed(sold) to Drogo by her brother to gain an army. Arya who's 9,Sansa who's 11 (who's to wed Joffrey). Jon Snow also 14, Joffrey 12. All children.
I am desperately looking forward to reading a Clash of Kings. A Game of Thrones leaves me wanting more and with questions. Who's Jon's mother? Why was Jon Arryn going to send his son to Dragonstone? who really sent the assassin for Bran?Is Benjen Stark alive? I need more of Westeros.
<- The true King of Westeros. Now if only he would stop killing my favorite characters and leave the people BE!!!!
Author George R.R Martin was asked if he had a resolution or ending to the seemingly endless conflict. He replied that the end would be a cloud of dust or snow being driven by the wind across a vast graveyard full of tombstones.
Me:Why can't we just follow the butterflies?
I've only ever read Lord of the Rings to which I can compare this to. So if you're a fan of LTR then try this book. It's Amazing! I'm telling you you have to read it. You must. It's "phantastic"
Winter is coming
*Sorry if this is more a rant than a review.I had to get it out