Sunday, 4 August 2013

Game of Thrones (a Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin

Description from Goodreads:

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.


I think the first time I heard about A Song of Ice and Fire series was when the TV show adaptation was first aired in 2011. Back then, I didn't watch the show and I wasn't too interested in the book series either. But then last summer, one of my best friends started watching the TV show and glorified the whole thing. "It's so epic and amazing, I bet you would love it too," she said. I usually tend to like the books better than the adaptations, so I thought that maybe I could read the first book and watch the show at the same pace, so I could compare them.

It didn't exactly work out in the end, as I read the whole book and forgot to watch the show after finishing a particular part of the book. I was just so blown away by everything the book had to offer: the world, families, history, legends, characters, plot,  culture, writing, pacing of the story, I just mean everything. Even though same people have complained that how the book has a rather slow start, I think it is quite necessary to have one. When you are handling so epic book series as A Song of Ice and Fire, you need to do proper work when you are introducing the world and the characters. Especially when the world includes numerous cities, islands and continents, thus there are seven noble families each having their own members, servants and friends. You just simply cannot jump into the action part if you want to do decent introduction of them and their hierarchies and cultures.

Even though some people aren't that into the beginning of A Game of Thrones, I was sucked into the world immediately. I just found it so fascinating how different families saw the same things differently due to their upbringing and culture. The Starks, Baratheons, and Lannisters have so different values and ideologies that it naturally creates plenty of interesting characters. One my of my favourite characters right from the beginning has been Tyrion Lannister, the Imp, as some people like to call him. Even though it is described that his appearance emits maliciousness and wickedness, he in fact probably is one of the kindest and most righteous characters in the whole story without being excessively so. He of course is just a human, and has his weaknesses. Just like all the characters.

One another thing about the characters is how Martin has so many incredible, strong, ambitious, but kind female characters. If I remember correctly, almost half of the main characters in fact are women. Even though they all give a feeling of mental (and sometimes physical) strength, they are so very different from each other. I remember watching one of Martin's interviews, and he was asked that how did he come up with so many strong female characters. He began his answer "Well, I've always considered women to be people." I burst out laughing, because that is the best answer you can ever give to that particular question. Thank you, George R.R. Martin!

And how about the language - ugh! It is so amazing. I just want to have a word bath in his writing. His writing is very rich, detailed, graphic and very, very carefully constructed. Martin has said that his writing pace is about 8 pages a day - that is on a good day. In one of his interviews he stated that when he is really on the roll, he might write 25 pages per day, but that has happened only twice during his whole life. Some people might accuse of him being lazy, but I think he is just the type of writer who needs his time to perfect everything he writes. And maybe that's the secret to this success.

According to my standards, a good book is unpredictable. If I can tell already in advance what the main events are, I usually find the book quite boring. However, in A Game of Thrones, or in any A Song of Ice and Fire book for that matter, I never seem to get my guesses right. There is always some sort of twist that makes you question your own logic or opinions of certain characters. Some of the characters like Sansa Stark or Jaime Lannister used to be my least favourites, but with time they became two of my favourites. If that isn't due to great writing, what is?

This post isn't just about A Game of Thrones, but all the books belonging to the series. They are just so magnificent with the epicness, complexity and characters. Just talking about them makes me want to devour the books all over again.


  1. I love A Song of Ice and Fire series, all books are amazing! I adore Martin's writing, his words just suck me in the story. I'm watching the TV series, too, but I don't like it as much as the books (naturally). I noticed they made a lot of changes. I still watch it though, I love the whole story.

    1. I think there has been only one other series that has so completely sucked me in besides A Song of Ice and Fire. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when the series ends. :D A mental breakdown, maybe?

      I really like the adaptation too. I think they have stayed more loyal than I originally, which is pretty awesome. They could have after all done so many things differently, just to make the show more audience friendly. There are just some things that are perfect in the books but don't work in practise in the TV show. :( But I have to second to that the books are better, nothing can beat them! :)

    2. *originally thought. Sorry.


You can't see me, but I'm totally doing my happy dance as I read your comment!