A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin (1996)


First, I must say I was introduced to Westeros by the hugely popular eponymous HBO series and hated it. It was too much for me, but my husband loved it. So I decided to try reading it instead, and I can finally see what the fuss is about. Book 1 focuses on the festering of a war in the 7 realms (formerly the 7 Kingdoms), with the noble houses, the exiled children of the Dragon king, the horse people, and the Wall protecting the realms from the north. The end of a Long Summer is at hand, and in the words of the Starks, Winter is Coming. The book changes points of view each chapter, and the cast of characters is enormous. In the TV show, I found it hard to keep track of the characters, but in the book I found it much clearer. I found myself rooting for certain characters, like Danaerys Stormborn, of the House Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark, Jon Snow, even poor Sansa Stark. Martin’s fantasy universe is so intricate, and finely wrought that the reader feels that they have truly entered a world of magic and dragons. Where I feel that the story lagged was in the fact that by switching so often between characters, quite often Martin would re-use sentences and descriptors more often than was necessary. For instance, reference to Tyrion’s “stunted legs” and “waddle”; or Arya’s wish for Jon to “muss her hair and call her Little Sister”. Overall, fantasy fans and even those who do not enjoy the show will be engrossed. (694 pages)

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