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A Game of Thrones
by George R. R. Martin

First in A Song of Ice and Fire series

Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, is asked by King Robert Baratheon to become the Hand of the King, the most powerful office in the kingdom of Westeros. Intrigue brews at the court in King’s Landing; Lord Stark is determined not only to protect his family and his king, but to uncover the cause of the mysterious death of his predecessor in office. Opposing him is the powerful Lannister family, headed by Robert’s queen, Cersei. Stark’s son, Robb, becomes the new Lord of Winterfell while his bastard son, Jon Snow, is sent off to join the Night’s Watch, an organization of soldiers who defend the borders of Winterfell against the wildlings. Meanwhile, across the sea, Viserys Targaryen marries his thirteen-year-old sister Daenerys to the leader of the Dothraki, feared nomadic horse warriors. As she adapts to life with her new husband, finally freed from her brother’s cruel taunts and beatings, Daenerys grows into a strong woman equal to the warrior she married. The narrative jumps between the POVs of nine different characters, enabling the reader to see major events from multiple perspective and draw his or her own conclusions about who is in the right.

This book wasn’t quite what I expected. Since I knew it was fantasy, I was expecting dragons and magic spells and all the usual accoutrements of high fantasy novels. That’s not what I found here. Modeled somewhat on England’s War of the Roses, A Game of Thrones is rich with political intrigue and gritty medieval detail. There’s little in the way of magic, and only the briefest glimpses of dragons, but plenty of torture, murder, sex, and lengthy, overwrought descriptions of food, fabric and furs.

I wonder if I would have enjoyed this story more if A Game of Thrones wasn’t hyped up all over the place as one of the standards of Geek Culture. The TV show has been so popular that I wanted to like this novel, and went into the reading with high expectations. Alas, as previously admitted I didn’t enjoy the book. I found it boring. Martin hasn’t got a particularly wide range of describing things, so the same phrases appear over and over and over. I think an editor could have cut this book down by a hundred pages just by snipping repetitive bits out.

After an early scene, in which one of Stark’s children falls from a tower and ends up permanently paralyzed – I figured he’d end up healed by the end of the book - the story becomes increasingly predictable. It became clear early on that one of the main characters would be executed, but his death was constantly delayed and dragged out so much that when it finally arrived, I no longer cared. And I had rather liked that character!

I still haven’t decided whether I will continue to read this series. I think I’ll watch the first season of the HBO TV series and see how I feel about the story after that.

3 out of 5 stars

To read more about A Game of Thrones, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Hetalia: Axis Powers Vol. 1 by Hidekaz Himaruya
2011: Fashionista Piranha will be on hiatus for a while…
2010: Museum & Children’s Books
2009: Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard
2008: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Aug. 28th, 2013 02:10 am (UTC)
5 Things: TV Shows
User k00kaburra referenced to your post from 5 Things: TV Shows saying: [...] want to begin it until I'd read the book, and I finally finished A Game of Thrones in July [...]
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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