New Read: A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones

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.

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30 thoughts on “New Read: A Game of Thrones

  1. I agree that its size whispers to you that you might get stuck in it for awhile, but once you’re into the story, the pages turn very quickly. I had had the book on my TBR for more than ten years, and it was wanting to watch the series that finally got me reading it: good thing, as I’m enjoying both. Glad you are too!

  2. Ah, you got through the behemoth! 800 pages…whew! I shy away from long ones because I’m also afraid that they’ll drag–not every book needs to be that long! Good to hear that wasn’t your experience here. 🙂

    1. Cheryl like you I often shy away from books this long too. ‘Behemoth’ is a great word to describe this book but fortunately it didn’t drag. I may have to build up some courage though as the next book A Clash of Kings is even longer 😛

  3. I read this a few years ago when I was doing a genre study at work and we had to read a fantasy novel (I’m not that much of a fantasy fan). I was surprised that I really enjoyed it and loved the characters. I’ve been watching the TV series, also, but I am a bit squeamish about the sex and violence. I close my eyes a lot!

    1. Anbolyn I am similar to you about the TV show. I can often find myself uncomfortable at the level of violence and sexual content. Yet I didn’t have any problems with reading the book. I think perhaps watching something violent or sexual is more shocking than reading about it?

    1. Hello Michael, thank you for stopping by and commenting 🙂 Always lovely to hear from a new face. I’m glad to hear you’ve enjoyed this series makes me even more excited to read on.

  4. Glad you enjoyed it! My husband nagged me for over a year to read these books but I kept putting him off because of their size. But as you say, they are long because they need to be and so they don’t drag. I’m gutted I’ll be finishing book 5 soon, I have a feeling it’ll be a long wait for the next one…
    Enjoy the TV show and the rest of the series 🙂

    1. Thank you Sam 🙂 I really did enjoy this book and I have been enjoying the TV show so I am looking forward to more from this series. Similarly my friend has finished the published books from this series and is daunted by the long wait to the next one to be wrote. Will just have to take comfort from the TV show for now and hope your wait won’t be too long!

  5. I haven’t watched the TV programme or read the books, but they have been cropping up on my radar a lot recently so I am tempted. I’m glad to see you enjoyed it; a positive review boosts it up my to be read queue!

  6. I absolutely adored these books when I read them years ago – before the fourth book even came out. 🙂 The first three are simply fantastic and I actually should read them again soon. I’ve been watching the TV show too and it’s started to annoy me that I no longer remember what’s going to happen, and I’d always rather read the book first. So glad you enjoyed this!

    1. Thank you Meghan. It’s nice to hear from someone who has read this series. I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the series. Unlike you rather like watching the TV show and being surprised by what happens. I wonder if my opinion will change if I manage to catch-up and perhaps over-take the show.

  7. This book is amazing. I loved it – it is an immense undertaking though for sure! When I was reading it I would sit down and be absorbed for hours and seemed to have covered very few pages! It’s mammoth yet incredibly enjoyable.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Lynn I had a very similar experience to you with this book. It is so detailed that you get lost in it but when you return to the real world you find you’ve read far less pages than you thought you had. Your quote “It’s mammoth yet incredibly enjoyable” is spot on 😀

  8. I just couldn’t get into the TV show. I read the novels and thought they were so fast paced and amazingly written, but I felt the TV show just dragged on and on and on. I’ll probably go back and try and watch it again in the future, but I didn’t make it past episode 4 or 5.

    1. Geoff I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t get into the TV show, I found myself instantly hooked but then I hadn’t read the books beforehand like you had. I’m glad to hear you really enjoyed these books and hope you have a better second chance experience with the show.

  9. After reading your post I do think I would like to give this series a go! However, I expect I will wait till I have finished all of LOTR first, as there is such a thing as too much fantasy at once! 🙂

    1. Adam there is no such thing as too much fantasy for me however you may be right that there may be such thing as too much epic fantasy at once! Tolkien and Martin both have very detailed books so you could easily get all the details muddled up. I hope you enjoy A Game of Thrones when you get round to it 🙂

  10. I’ve had this book in my bookshelf about a year now, I think, and haven’t gotten around to it yet. I haven’t seen the series either, because I want to read to book first so I’m kind of stuck for now. I’ve heard lots of people comparing him to Tolkien, is it similar? I’m probably picking it up soon anyway. Great review!

    1. Hello Amanda, thank you for stopping by and commenting 🙂 Always lovely to hear from a new face. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. Like you my original copy of A Game of Thrones sat on my bookshelf for well over a year, however I did start watching the TV show right away. This book was similar to Tolkien in the sense of the epic nature of the story and world setting but I would say Martin’s writing style is quite different. I hope you enjoy it when you get round to it.

  11. I tried to read this when the series first started. I enjoyed the TV series so much that I never finished the book. Now watching series 3 and wishing I had of persevered with the books. But don’t want to go back to the start.

    1. Jane I had a similar experience to you. I bought a copy of A Game of Thrones when the first season came out but the length put me off and so it lingered on my bookshelf for well over a year. My father bought me the full set (to date) for Christmas which is what eventually prompted me to start reading them. I understand what you mean about going back to the start but I found I enjoyed the recap.

  12. Long because it needs to be is what you hope for. I didn’t know the premise previous to this, and it does indeed sound jam-packed. I can’t help but think of Stardust – The Wall – though of course they are very different. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    1. Thank you Charlie. I can see why The Wall made you think of Stardust but you’re also right the two walls are very different!! I sadly didn’t enjoy the novel Stardust that much but fortunately loved this one 😛

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