I was gifted with a full set (to-date) of the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin for Christmas. I picked up the first instalment A Game of Thrones in March thinking it would be a great read leading up to the release of season 3 of the TV adaptation Game of Thrones on the 1st April. I finished the book just after this date!
A Game of Thrones starts the action in the Seven Kingdoms with the death of Lord Jon Arryn the Hand of the King. King Robert turns to his childhood friend Lord Eddard Stark to become his new Hand. Reluctantly Ned (Eddard) agrees and moves south to the capital King’s Landing to start a new life of political schemes, intrigue, and flattery that the royal court is rife with. It is not long before Ned discovers a secret that threatens The Iron Thrown and the lives of those he loves. Meanwhile in the North beyond The Wall winter is returning and with it an ancient evil. While across the sea in the East the last descendants of the Targaryen Dragon Lords are making plans to retake The Iron Throne. As you can see there is a lot going on in A Game of Thrones I needed my wits about me to keep up with it all. On the other hand though I can’t say this was a dull read. There was always something going on and I was eager to read on to find out more!
Alongside all the action and adventure of A Game of Thrones there is a whole host of interesting characters to get to know too! I couldn’t possibly discuss them all here so instead I will just focus in on my favourites. Lord Eddard Stark better known as Ned is a good, loyal, kind, and honourable man, possibly too honourable. Arya Stark is the youngest daughter of Ned and makes the journey to King’s Landing with him. Arya is spunky and intelligent I loved hearing about all the scrapes she manages to get herself into. Jon Snow is the illegitimate son of Ned who is sent to The Wall to join the Brothers of the Night’s Watch. Jon starts out rather naïve and bitter but I loved watching his progression during his training to become a great warrior but also a loyal friend. Tyrion Lannister is the youngest of King Robert’s brothers-in-law. Tyrion is a dwarf who receives much abuse and prejudice against him for it even from his own family, however Tyrion is very intelligent and witty! Daenarys Targaryen is the sister to Viserys Targaryen the heir to The Iron Throne. While I disliked Viserys I found Daenarys appealing as she is young, beautiful, and poorly used by her brother but through the book she begins to find her own strength.
While I have watched the television series, George R R Martin and the book A Game of Thrones are new to me. I have been contemplating reading this book since the first season of the television show came out but if I’m honest the sheer length of the book put me off. At nearly 800 pages this is a long book! I could have read two possibly three books in the time it took to read this one book. My real fear though was that the story would be slow and would drag which fortunately turned out to be an unfounded fear. A Game of Thrones is long because it needs to be long. It is jam-packed with action, adventure, intrigue, love, war, hardships, lies, secrets, and shocks! Martin’s writing is detailed and compelling, and his choice to break the book up into bite-size chapters which focus on different characters was a great idea. As a reader I found myself completely immersed in the Seven Kingdoms as I got to explore different cities, castles, and lands from the view-point of the different characters.
A Game of Thrones is an excellent example of epic/high fantasy. I highly recommend to those who enjoy fantasy and for some reason haven’t already read this! This book does contain sexual and violent content so recommended for adults only. Now I have season 3 of the Game of Thrones television show to watch I may leave starting the second instalment of this series A Clash of Kings until that has finished.
Have you read A Game of Thrones? Are you watching the television show?
I’m counting A Game of Thrones as Fantasy for Once Upon a Time VII hosted by Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings.