Author: George R. R. Martin
Published: August 6, 1996
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #1
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars
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“When you play a game of thrones you win or you die.”My Thoughts
―George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
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. (Goodreads)
Some time ago, there was girl named Courtney who decided to take a chance and buy the first season of Game of Thrones without having watched a single episode. From that day on, her life would never be the same. But seriously, it wasn't the same and it has changed for the better. After discovering this extraordinary tv series, I knew I had to read the books. Finally, I have started this popular series, and, so far, I have no regrets.
I know A Game of Thrones may be intimidating in size, but, trust me, it's worth it. From the very start, I was hooked. There's never a dull moment, and it's not long before all hell breaks loose. Before you know it, George R. R. Martin has taken you completely unawares and all the characters you hold dear could be a page away from death. I'd like to say it was nail-bitingly suspenseful, but having already seen the tv show, there were no surprises for me. But for someone who has never seen the show, this book may be quite a shocker.
Even though I knew what this book contained plot wise, there were still some scenes that were unbearably raw and emotional. Rape, pillaging, murder, incest...A Game of Thrones has it all! The whole gruesome package that could leave you staring at the page open-mouthed not fully processing what you just read. In some books, the main characters are held sacred while the secondary characters are dispensable. Not so in A Game of Thrones. George R. R. Martin throws all caution to the wind, basically saying screw it, this is my book and I'll do what I like. And, I'll be damned, but I actually respect his heartlessness! He's willing to risk pissing off readers, and yet somehow it works. The vulnerability of every single character actually makes for a more convincing read. Though I am terrified about what will happen after I've passed the point the show has reached.
In A Game of Thrones, we witness the unfolding battle for the Iron Throne through the eyes of several main characters. Usually, I prefer reading a book from a single point of view, but I can't imagine how George R. R. Martin could have done it differently. By flipping from one character to the next, Martin is able to fully develop his world without sacrificing any character development. Yes, I ended up preferring the voices of certain characters more than others. Interestingly enough, I found that the opinions I had formed while watching the show remained unchanged after reading the book. In fact, my tv watching experiences may have influenced my reading of the book because I could not help imagining the actors as I read. Bran's and Jon's parts tended to bore me as they do in the show, and Daenerys and Arya were still my favorites. Catelyn annoyed me while at the same time I admired her and sympathized with her plight. I found Sansa detestable, but I liked her a little more as the story progressed. Tyrion's chapters were amusing as always, and I found them rather enjoyable. Eddard's parts were fascinating and offered a wealth of knowledge and political intrigue. Each character brought something new to the table, and I enjoyed slowly peeling away their complex layers to take a peek at their true identities.
A Game of Thrones is rich with history and storytelling. Slowly, the book unwinds its backstories with old folktales and battle stories. Each new tale contained hidden truths and deeper meanings just waiting to be revealed. As I learned more of the history, I became greedy for more knowledge, and I couldn't help reading on to discover the remaining fragments of the tale. Of course, Martin will drag out some mysteries for who knows how long. You devilish fiend! How do you play me so and keep me coming back to read more? When it comes to world building, Martin leaves nothing to be desired, and I cannot wait to read on and find out more.
After reading A Game of Thrones, I honestly couldn't tell you whether I like the tv series or the book more. They're both amazing for so many reasons that I simply couldn't decide. If you haven't watched the show or read any of the books, I strongly urge you to do so. Discovering this fantasy world is a rewarding experience filled with adventure, heartache and wonder, and I've only just begun.