A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
“When you play a game of thrones you win or you die.”
Wow what a novel!!! I bought my paperback copy of this book years ago, just before the series aired for the first time. I always intended to read it, but in about seven years my reading tastes veered away from fantasy and swayed into romance for a good six years. Now I’m back! And I finally read this darn book. And it only took me four and a half days! That’s a miracle in itself.
Anyways, I apologize in advance because my review might be a bit of a comparison to the tv series, but as I watched those first my brain cannot help but compare. I will say first off, their adaptation of the book, at least for the first season, is completely spot on. I also want to note, I feel if I hadn’t watched the show I might have given up on this book because there were some slow bits that if I didn’t know added up to something else later, I would have been sitting there reading and cursing the author for extraneous details (that turned out to be important).
All that being said, A Game of Thrones takes place in a land where some global phenomenon changes the seasons, making them last longer than usual. They are coming out of a nine year summer, hence everyone saying “Winter is coming” all the time. Lord Eddard Stark is approached by the King, a friend from the past, to become is right hand man or officially The Hand of the King. Despite being wary, Ned takes it mostly from the urging of his wife, and gets sucked into a world of deceit and murder.
“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
Based on my knowledge of the show (and yes I am all caught up), I saw hints that Martin dropped in this book that came true soooooooooooooooo much later in the series. So bravo to a brilliantly thought out plot. The beginning of the book was a tad slow, with a middle I devoured rapidly, and then around 600 pages in it slowed down again. There were so many character names thrown around I found myself googling who they were and once seeing the actors who played them, I understood what was happening. I also saw lots of DNF reviews around pages 600 or so and I totally understand where those readers come from, that was a slow 100 pages in the book.
My least favorite POV chapters were Eddard, Catelyn and Bran. They fell a bit flat for me which is sad, but I still like them as characters. My favorite POV’s were Tyrion, Jon and Arya. Basically the characters I love most on the show. Tyrion I absolutely adore and know why the readers love him, knowing his inner thoughts and how friggin smart he is, I just wanted to hug him all the time. I felt a bit more for Sansa when reading from her perspective, she truly was a young girl who believed the best in the wrong people and paid for it. A horrible life lesson, but one that was going to happen no matter what.
Anyways, I am very glad I finally sat my butt down and read this book, from what most readers have told me they only get better in books 2 and 3, so I look forward to reading those. I am going to take a break before charging on, but that doesn’t really matter because I am sure I could take years to read these books and Winds of Winter will still have not been released. Maybe Brandon Sanderson could finish the series? KIDDING. Kind of.
“Fear cuts deeper than swords.”