“Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin

“Game of Thrones” by George R. R. MartinA Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #1
Published: 2011 by Random House
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 835
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Before I get to the point, I’d like to apologize for not posting much this week.  My little sister is visiting me, so we’ve been going out and doing stuff during pretty much every spare moment that I have.

Also, I’d like to have a moment of silence for Borders.  May you rest in peace, even though I’m still mad at you for driving a lot of independent bookstores out of business before your demise, thereby drastically reducing the number of actual physical bookstores.  Also, I’ll miss having you to fill the role of “convenient bookstore along my commute.”  So it goes.

Now… back to “Game of Thrones.”  I’ll start out very generally, then add a spoiler alert before I give too much away.  Martin is one of the better writers of epic fantasy.  That’s not to say he’s a perfect writer, but at the same time, I didn’t need to go find my red pen, so it’s all good.  My biggest qualm with his writing style is that he switches between point of view characters rather often, leaving each one at a cliffhanger.  Rather than generating suspense, it made it very easy for me to put the book down and forget about it for a while, because it’s not as if I was going to find out what happened to Character X in the next fifty pages anyway.

The novel opens with the Stark family receiving a visit from the King and Queen, who ask Ned Stark to come to the southern part of the kingdom to deal with various plots.  Oh, other pet peeve in the book.  Deliberately misspelling the world “southern” as “southron” makes it seem like you’re trying too hard.

Even so, I greatly enjoyed the book.  It doesn’t end, so when I finished it yesterday, I had to immediately go out and buy the second book.  I’m invested in the characters, and am definitely going to finish the series.  George Martin, write faster!  I really enjoyed that magic wasn’t featured too much in the first book, allowing Martin time to develop his characters before introducing a lot of traditional fantasy elements.  I like it for the same reason why I enjoyed Dune’s lack of conspicuous description of technology–conspicuous description of magic rather than timely introduction thereof can and does kill many fantasy novels.

The one thing about the show that I liked better is that the kids are a little older than in the book.  I think that it makes more sense to have them older, especially when we get into Dany’s story.  I pretended that they were older while I was reading, because I don’t want to read sex scenes involving 13-year-olds unless the person writing them is Nabokov.

 

************SPOILERS START HERE*************

Don’t get too attached to any main characters.  I made that mistake.  Today, I not only mourn for Borders, but also the great Khal Drogo.  His presence shall be greatly missed.

Was anyone else a bit weirded out by the dragons nursing at Dany’s tits?  I certainly was.

I feel really bad for Sansa, even though I didn’t like her at all in the first half of the book.  Yeah, she’s a total airhead, but nobody deserves Joffrey.

I despise Catelyn Stark.  I get that she’s supposed to be a strong female character, but I refuse to forgive her for treating Jon the way she did.  A child is not responsible for the sins of the father, and holding grudges against Jon was just cruel.

*************END SPOILERS****************

 

Why is “Game of Thrones” suddenly so popular?  I’m sure that the HBO series has a lot to do with it, but timing is also important.  While my generation was growing up, we had Harry Potter, which was widely read and talked about.  Now that Potter’s over, “Game of Thrones” has filled that niche in a much more adult manner.

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7 comments

  1. I hope you two are having fun! And I was sad when the Borders here closed. It was a love hate relationship for me as well. I missed little bookstores. Also I worked at a Borders and I questioned a lot of their decisions. Especially since they spent so much time building up their DVD department when DVD sales were falling and ebooks were increasing, which they didn’t have a plan for. However it is always sad to see a bookstore close.

    Enjoy spending time with your sister!

  2. I really dislike the POV switching…so much so that I stopped after the first book. I think I’m just going to wait till the whole series is over and read the summary of what happens to each character. I hope Arya makes it through all the books.

    1. I hope so too. She’s awesome. I’m a bit worried about the fact that her direwolf ran away, because what happens to the wolves seems to be symbolic of what happens to the characters.

  3. I had some issues with the POV-switching as well. When I finished a Jon Snow chapter, I’d be disappointed I didn’t get to jump right back into his story. I am impressed by how easily Martin juggles his characters, though. Even his writing style differs from one to the next, I thought most noticeably with Sansa.

  4. oooh, I’m so glad you wrote about this. I’ve been pondering whether to read George R. R. Martin for a few months now, not sure whether I’d like it (based on the back cover blurb). I may just give it a try…