A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.A GAME OF THRONESLong ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.source: georgerrmartin.com

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) Details

TitleA Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 1st, 2005
PublisherBantam
ISBN-139780553588484
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Epic Fantasy

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) Review

  • J.G. Keely
    January 1, 1970
    There are plenty of fantasy authors who claim to be doing something different with the genre. Ironically, they often write the most predictable books of all, as evidenced by Goodkind and Paolini. Though I'm not sure why they protest so much--predictability is hardly a death sentence in genre fantasy.The archetypal story of a hero, a villain, a profound love, and a world to be saved never seems to get old--it's a great story when it's told well. At the best, it's exciting, exotic, and builds to a There are plenty of fantasy authors who claim to be doing something different with the genre. Ironically, they often write the most predictable books of all, as evidenced by Goodkind and Paolini. Though I'm not sure why they protest so much--predictability is hardly a death sentence in genre fantasy.The archetypal story of a hero, a villain, a profound love, and a world to be saved never seems to get old--it's a great story when it's told well. At the best, it's exciting, exotic, and builds to a fulfilling climax. At the worst, it's just a bloodless rehash. Unfortunately, the worst are more common by far.Perhaps it was this abundance of cliche romances that drove Martin to aim for something different. Unfortunately, you can't just choose to be different, any more than you can choose to be creative. Sure, Moorcock's original concept for Elric was to be the anti-Conan, but at some point, he had to push his limits and move beyond difference for difference's sake--and he did.In similar gesture, Martin rejects the allegorical romance of epic fantasy, which basically means tearing out the guts of the genre: the wonder, the ideals, the heroism, and with them, the moral purpose. Fine, so he took out the rollicking fun and the social message--what did he replace them with?Like the post-Moore comics of the nineties, fantasy has already borne witness to a backlash against the upright, moral hero--and then a backlash against the grim antihero who succeeded him. Hell, if all Martin wanted was grim and gritty antiheroes in an amoral world, he didn't have to reject the staples of fantasy, he could have gone to its roots: Howard, Leiber, and Anderson.Like many authors aiming for realism, he forgets 'truth is stranger than fiction'. The real world is full of unbelievable events, coincidences, and odd characters. When authors remove these elements in an attempt to make their world seem real, they make their fiction duller than reality; after all, unexpected details are the heart of verisimilitude. When Chekhov and Peake eschewed the easy thrill of romance, they replaced it with the odd and absurd--moments strange enough to feel true. In comparison, Martin's world is dull and gray. Instead of innovating new, radical elements, he merely removes familiar staples--and any style defined by lack is going to end up feeling thin.Yet, despite trying inject the book with history and realism, he does not reject the melodramatic characterization of his fantasy forefathers, as evidenced by his brooding bastard antihero protagonist (with pet albino wolf). Apparently to him, 'grim realism' is 'Draco in Leather Pants'. This produces a conflicted tone: a soap opera cast lost in an existentialist film.There's also lots of sex and misogyny, and 'wall-to-wall rape'--not that books should shy away from sex, or from any uncomfortable, unpleasant reality of life. The problem is when people who are not comfortable with their own sexuality start writing about it, which seems to plague every mainstream fantasy author. Their pen gets away from them, their own hangups start leaking into the scene, until it's not even about the characters anymore, it's just the author cybering about his favorite fetish--and if I cyber with a fat, bearded stranger, I expect to be paid for it.I know a lot of fans probably get into it more than I do (like night elf hunters humping away in WOW), but reading Goodkind, Jordan, and Martin--it's like seeing a Playboy at your uncle's where all the pages are wrinkled. That's not to say there isn't serviceable pop fantasy sex out there--it's just written by women.Though I didn't save any choice examples, I did come across this quote from a later book: "... she wore faded sandsilk pants and woven grass sandals. Her small breasts moved freely beneath a painted Dothraki vest . . ." Imagine the process: Martin sits, hands hovering over the keys, trying to get inside his character's head:"Okay, I'm a woman. How do I see and feel the world differently? My cultural role is defined by childbirth. I can be bought and sold in marriage by my own--Oh, hey! I've got tits! Man, look at those things go. *whooshing mammary sound effects* Okay, time to write."Where are the descriptions of variously-sized dongs swinging within the confines of absurdly-detailed clothing? There are a set of manboobs (which perhaps Martin has some personal experience with) but not until book five. Even then, it's not the dude being hyperaware of his own--they're just there to gross out a dwarf. Not really a balanced depiction.If you're familiar with the show (and its parodies on South Park and SNL) this lack of dongs may surprise you. But as Martin himself explained, when asked why there's no gay sex in his books, despite having gay characters, 'they’re not the viewpoint characters'--as if somehow, the viewpoints he chooses to depict are beyond his control. Apparently, he plots as well as your average NaNoWriMo author: sorry none of my characters chose to be gay, nothing I can do about it.And balance really is the problem here--if you only depict the dark, gritty stuff that you're into, that's not realism, it's just a fetish. If you depict the grimness of war by having every female character threatened with rape, but the same thing never happens to a male character, despite the fact that more men get raped in the military than women, then your 'gritty realism card' definitely gets revoked.The books are notorious for the sudden, pointless deaths, which some suggest is another sign of realism--but, of course, nothing is pointless in fiction, because everything that shows up on the page is only there because the author put it there. Sure, in real life, people suddenly die before finishing their life's work (fantasy authors do it all the time), but there's a reason we don't tend to tell stories of people who die unexpectedly in the middle of things: they are boring and pointless. They build up for a while then eventually, lead nowhere.Novelists often write in isolation, so it's easy to forget the rule to which playwrights adhere: your story is always a fiction. Any time you treat it as if it were real, you are working against yourself. The writing that feels the most natural is never effortless, it is carefully and painstakingly constructed to seem that way.A staple of Creative Writing 101 is to 'listen to how people really talk', which is terrible advice. A transcript of any conversation will be so full of repetition, half-thoughts, and non-specific words ('stuff', 'thing') as to be incomprehensible--especially without the cues of tone and body language. Written communication has its own rules, so making dialogue feel like speech is a trick writers play. It's the same with sudden character deaths: treat them like a history, and your plot will become choppy and hard to follow.Not that the deaths are truly unpredictable. Like in an action film, they are a plot convenience: kill off a villain, and you don't have to wrap up his arc. You don't have to defeat him psychologically--the finality of his death is the great equalizer. You skip the hard work of demonstrating that the hero was morally right, because he's the only option left.Likewise, in Martin's book, death ties up loose threads--namely, plot threads. Often, this is the only ending we get to his plot arcs, which makes them rather predictable: any time a character is about to build up enough influence to make things better, or more stable, he will die. Any character who poses a threat to the continuing chaos which drives the action will first be built up, and then killed off.I found this interview to be a particularly telling example of how Martin thinks of character deaths: "I killed (view spoiler)[Ned (hide spoiler)] because everybody thinks he’s the hero ... sure, he’s going to get into trouble, but then he’ll somehow get out of it. The next predictable thing [someone] is going to rise up and avenge his [death] ... So immediately [killing (view spoiler)[Robb (hide spoiler)]] became the next thing I had to do. He's not talking about the characters' motivations, or the ideas they represent, or their role in the story--he isn't laying out a well-structured plot, he's just killing them off for pure shock value.Yet the only reason we think these characters are important in the first place is because Martin treats them as central heroes, spending time and energy building them. Then it all ends up being a red herring, a cheap twist, the equivalent of a horror movie jump scare. It's like mystery novels in the 70's, after all the good plots had been done, so authors added ghosts or secret twins in the last chapter--it's only surprising because the author has obliterated the story structure.All plots are made up of arcs that grow and change, building tension and purpose. Normally, when an arc ends, the author must use all his skill to deal with themes and answer questions, providing a satisfying conclusion to a promising idea that his readers watched grow. Or just kill off a character central to the conflict and bury the plot arc with him. Then you don't have to worry about closure, you can just hook your readers by focusing on the mess caused by the previous arc falling apart. Make the reader believe that things might get better, get them to believe in a character, then wave your arms in distraction, point and yell 'look at that terrible thing, over there!', and hope they become so caught up in worrying about the new problem that they forget the old one was never resolved.Chaining false endings together creates perpetual tension that never requires solution--like in most soap operas--plus, the author never has to do the hard work of finishing what they started. If an author is lucky, they die before reaching the Final Conclusion the readership is clamoring for, and never have to meet the collective expectation which long years of deferral have built up. It's easy to idolize Kurt Cobain, because you never had to see him bald and old and crazy like David Lee Roth.Unlucky authors live to write the Final Book, breaking the spell of unending tension that kept their readers enthralled. Since the plot isn't resolving into a tight, intertwined conclusion (in fact, it's probably spiraling out of control, with ever more characters and scenes), the author must wrap things up conveniently and suddenly, leaving fans confused and upset. Having thrown out the grand romance of fantasy, Martin cannot even end on the dazzling trick of the vaguely-spiritual transgressive Death Event on which the great majority of fantasy books rely for a handy tacked-on climax (actually, he'll probably do it anyways, with dragons--the longer the series goes on, the more it starts to resemble the cliche monomyth that Martin was praised for eschewing in the first place).The drawback is that even if a conclusion gets stuck on at the end, the story fundamentally leads nowhere--it winds back and forth without resolving psychological or tonal arcs. But then, doesn't that sound more like real life? Martin tore out the moralistic heart and magic of fantasy, and in doing so, rejected the notion of grandly realized conclusions. Perhaps we shouldn't compare him to works of romance, but to histories.He asks us to believe in his intrigue, his grimness, and his amoral world of war, power, and death--not the false Europe of Arthur, Robin Hood, and Orlando, but the real Europe of plagues, political struggles, religious wars, witch hunts, and roving companies of soldiery forever ravaging the countryside. Unfortunately, he doesn't compare very well to them, either. His intrigue is not as interesting as Cicero's, Machiavelli's, Enguerrand de Coucy's--or even Sallust's, who was practically writing fiction, anyways. Some might suggest it unfair to compare a piece of fiction to a true history, but these are the same histories that lent Howard, Leiber, and Moorcock their touches of verisimilitude. Martin might have taken a lesson from them and drawn inspiration from further afield: even Tolkien had his Eddas. Despite being fictionalized and dramatized, Martin's take on The War of the Roses is far duller than the original.More than anything, this book felt like a serial melodrama: the hardships of an ensemble cast who we are meant to watch over and sympathize with, being drawn in by emotional appeals (the hope that things will 'get better' in this dark place, 'tragic' deaths), even if these appeals conflict with the supposed realism, and in the end, there is no grander story to unify the whole. This 'grittiness' is just Martin replacing the standard fantasy theme of 'glory' with one of 'hardship', and despite flipping this switch, it's still just an emotional appeal. 'Heroes always win' is just as blandly predictable as 'heroes always lose'.It's been suggested that I didn't read enough of Martin to judge him, but if the first four hundred pages aren't good, I don't expect the next thousand will be different. If you combine the three Del Rey collections of Conan The Barbarian stories, you get 1,263 pages (including introductions, end notes, and variant scripts). If you take Martin's first two books in this series, you get 1,504 pages. Already, less than a third of the way into the series, he's written more than Howard's entire Conan output, and all I can do is ask myself: why does he need that extra length?A few authors use it to their advantage, but for most, it's just sprawling, undifferentiated bloat. Melodrama can be a great way to mint money, as evidenced by the endless 'variations on a theme' of soap operas, pro wrestling, and superhero comics. People get into it, but it's neither revolutionary nor realistic. You also hear the same things from the fans: that it's all carefully planned, all interconnected, all going somewhere. Apparently they didn't learn their lesson from the anticlimactic fizzling out of Twin Peaks, X-Files, Lost, and Battlestar. Then again, you wouldn't keep watching if you didn't think it was going somewhere.Some say 'at least he isn't as bad as all the drivel that gets published in genre fantasy', but saying he's better than dreck is really not very high praise. Others have intimated that I must not like fantasy at all, pointing to my low-star reviews of Martin, Wolfe, Jordan, and Goodkind, but it is precisely because I am passionate about fantasy that I fall heavily on these authors.A lover of fine wines winces the more at a corked bottle of vinegar, a ballet enthusiast's love of dance would not leave him breathless at a high school competition--and likewise, having learned to appreciate epics, histories, knightly ballads, fairy tales, and their modern offspring in fantasy, I find Martin woefully lacking. There's plenty of grim fantasy and intrigue out there, from its roots to the dozens of fantasy authors, both old and modern, whom I list in the link at the end of this reviewThere seems to be a sense that Martin's work is somehow revolutionary, that it represents a 'new direction' for fantasy, but all I see is a reversion. Sure, he's different than Jordan, Goodkind, and their ilk, who simply took the pseudo-medieval high-magic world from Tolkien and the blood-and-guts heroism from Howard. Martin, on the other hand, has more closely followed Tolkien's lead than any other modern high fantasy author--and I don't just mean in terms of racism.Tolkien wanted to make his story real--not 'realistic', using the dramatic techniques of literature--but actually real, by trying to create all the detail of a pretend world behind the story. Over the span of the first twenty years, he released The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, and other works, while in the twenty years after that, he became so obsessed with worldbuilding for its own sake that instead of writing stories, he filled his shed with a bunch of notes (which his son has been trying to make a complete book from ever since).It's the same thing Martin's trying to do: cover a bland story with a litany of details that don't contribute meaningfully to his characters, plot, or tone. So, if Martin is good because he is different, then it stands to reason that he's not very good, because he's not that different. He may seem different if all someone has read is Tolkien and the authors who ape his style, but that's just one small corner of a very expansive genre. Anyone who thinks Tolkien is the 'father of fantasy' doesn't know enough about the genre to judge what 'originality' means.So, if Martin neither an homage nor an original, I'm not sure what's left. In his attempt to set himself apart, he tore out the joyful heart of fantasy, but failed replace it with anything. There is no revolutionary voice here, and there is nothing in Martin's book that has not been done better by other authors.However, there is one thing Martin has done that no other author has been able to do: kill the longrunning High Fantasy series. According to some friends of mine in publishing (and some on-the-nose remarks by Caleb Carr in an NPR interview on his own foray into fantasy), Martin's inability to deliver a book on time, combined with his strained relationship with his publisher means that literary agents are no longer accepting manuscripts for high fantasy series--even from recognized authors. Apparently, Martin is so bad at plot structure that he actually pre-emptively ruined books by other authors. Perhaps it is true what they say about silver linings . . .Though I declined to finish this book, I'll leave you with a caution compiled from various respectable friends of mine who did continue on:"If you need some kind of closure, avoid this series. No arcs will ever be completed, nothing will ever really change. The tagline is 'Winter is Coming'--it's not. As the series goes on, there will be more and more characters and diverging plotlines to keep track of, many of them apparently completely unrelated to each other, even as it increasingly becomes just another cliche, fascist 'chosen one' monomyth, like every other fantasy series out there. If you enjoy a grim, excessively long soap opera with lots of deaths and constant unresolved tension, pick up the series--otherwise, maybe check out the show."My Fantasy Book Suggestions
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  • Shannon (Giraffe Days)
    January 1, 1970
    I really feel the necessity of a bit of personal backstory here, before I start the review. Back in 1996 when this book first came out, and I was about 14 or 16 years old, I saw the hardcover on a sale table for about $5 and couldn't resist a bargain (still can't, though I'm more cautious these days). So I started reading this book with the vague idea that it was a flop, and that may not have helped, but I got through 100 pages of it before feeling so crapped off with it that I shoved it in my c I really feel the necessity of a bit of personal backstory here, before I start the review. Back in 1996 when this book first came out, and I was about 14 or 16 years old, I saw the hardcover on a sale table for about $5 and couldn't resist a bargain (still can't, though I'm more cautious these days). So I started reading this book with the vague idea that it was a flop, and that may not have helped, but I got through 100 pages of it before feeling so crapped off with it that I shoved it in my cupboard and tried not to think about it. Page 108 to be exact. More on why later.If you've heard of this book, or read it, you're probably aware that far from being the flop I assumed it was at the time (and I didn't know anyone who was reading it), the series has gone on to be one of the big Cash Cows of the fantasy genre. Computer games, role-playing games - there's even a board game that looks like Risk. Sooner or later there'll be a movie or something, no doubt (I'm moderately surprised one isn't in the works already). People love this book and this series. So I'm well aware I'll probably be lynched for this review, because even the people on Goodreads who didn't like it still had great things to say about it.But reviews are subjective, and here's mine.In the vein of Tolkein, Jordan, Elliott, Goodkind, Hobb, Eddings, Feist et al, A Game of Thrones is set in the classicly boring-and-overdone medieval-England-esque setting, and is essentially about a bunch of nobles fighting over a throne. Great. Very original. Praised for its focus on political intrigue, its lack of magic and similar fantasy tropes, and its cast of believable and interesting characters, I found the book tedious. The first "epic fantasy" series I read (after Narnia) was Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, and it's true that I struggled with the first book, Eye of the World. But there were elements to it that I liked, characters who I felt attached to, enough to read the second book and become hooked, and so on. I love 1000-page long, fat fantasy books. I love huge casts of characters and have no problem keeping up with them. I've read Jennifer Fallon's Wolfblade trilogy and Second Sons Trilogy, both of which are heavy on political intrigue and very low on magic, and they're supurb. A Game of Thrones is not. It offers nothing new to the genre, and does nothing original with what it has.Narrated in turns by Eddard (Ned) Stark, Lord of Winterfell; his wife Lady Catelyn; his bastard son Jon Snow; his very young daughters Sansa and Arya; his middle son Bran; Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf and brother to the Queen; and young Daenerys Targaryen, last of the line of dragon kings and exiled to the land beyond the narrow sea, the book is divided into neat chapters headed by the name of one or the other, so you know exactly whose point-of-view you're going to get and where you are in the plot. Thanks for holding my hand Martin, but I don't like this technique. The chapter headings, I'm referring to. It encourages me to start wondering about the character before I've even started reading. "CATELYN" the chapter title reads: is she young or old, a peasant, a farmer, a daughter, a mother, nice, mean... I start imagining things and then have to correct it all as the character is revealed during the chapter. There's power in names, and withholding them or putting elements of a character's personality first is often more compelling, and better writing. It also made it harder to get through the book, because at the end of one chapter I'd see the name of the next, think "oh great, him/her again, their story's boring" and put the book down.Let me be perfectly straight: I did not find any of the characters to be particularly interesting; though Jaime Lannister had something about him, you hardly ever saw him. They all pretty much felt like the same character, just in different situations. The differences between them, for example the good-girl Sansa and her tomboy sister Arya, felt forced, superficial and clichéd. Ned is all about honour and duty, but especially honour, with love a more minor consideration, but honestly, could the man be more stupid? Eddard's a moron, and dull, and his only saving grace is that he's nice to his daughters. Let's be clear about something else right here: this world and its people are so sexist and misogynist it's ludicrous. There are many derogatory references to women's tits, metaphors about screwing whores, descriptions of Daenerys getting her nipples pinched by her horrible brother Viserys - not to mention her marriage, at twelve, to a horselord whose men rape women like there's no tomorrow; incest and so on. The first time I tried to read this book, I was offended and disgusted (it didn't help that I'd read Pillars of the Earth not long before; though I did not grow up sexually repressed or prudish or anything like that, I have never found reading descriptions of rape to be all that easy, especially when they're treated so dismissively) - yet oddly my impressions of the characters were much more favourable. I read it now and I just felt contempt.No one character stands out, though Arya has potential. Catelyn is as boring as her husband, and her sister Lysa is, let's face it, mad as a hatter and a sure sign of why women are unfit to rule (a clear message in this medieval-esque patriarchal world). Queen Cercei too. Tyrion, the dwarf, seems on the verge of having charisma but fails, and Daenerys... I want to like someone, but Martin doesn't give his characters any depth. Sure, they're all flawed and a flawed character is a great literary device - the anti-hero, etc. But Martin's characters are walking clichés, even the dwarf. The plot is also pretty weak. I don't need elves and magic and dragons - in fact, I tend to avoid them, especially elves *yawn* - but you've gotta give me something else. A bildungsroman does wonders - yes, let me see the characters on a journey of life rather than a quest, quests are tired. There's no quest in A Game of Thrones, and that's fine with me. But what is there? Jon goes to the Wall that separates the wilderness from the Seven Kingdoms (why is it called the Seven Kingdoms when there's only one kingdom?) and is attacked by an Other, a kind of zombie creature; Ned goes to the capital to take up the role of King's Hand because the King, Robert, likes to spend his time boozing, whoring and hunting; Catelyn follows to tell him someone tried to kill Bran; Ned tries to discover why the previous Hand died... And swords with names, seriously, what's with that? I'm so sick of such blatant phallic symbols and their representations, and the whole creed of honour and duty and gallant knights...What frustrates me most is that this could have been a really interesting story, if only the author had better talent at writing characters - or letting them write themselves. The plot is not the problem, though it's largely uneventful, with no climactic moments because even those are written at the same pace as the rest, with no drammatic flourishes (come on, we all like those, let's be honest). But the characters, *sigh*, their motivations are simplistic, their actions extremely predictable, and while they don't blur one into another neither do any of them stand out. Also, the type of setting seems mostly convenient: with the focus on the nobles and their squabbling, you don't learn much about the lower classes, or what kind of food is grown here, or what kind of industry supports the economy, or anything about the cultures - using the clichéd medieval England setting allows Martin to ignore one of the more fascinating aspects of society and leaves his world shallow, like surface water, without support (using this old and worn Fantasy setting allows an author to get lazy about world-building). The history of the land is also riddled with clichés, and sort of thrown in here and there as if to remind the reader "it is a real place, look, here's what the First Men did!" As for the writing, it's easy to read and calm, though very slow and rather lacking in tone or any interesting stylistic quirks: flat and bland, in other words. There's no atmosphere in this book. There're a few bad lines, like "A storm of rose petals blew across a blood-streaked sky, as blue as the eyes of death" (p.425) - his one concession to drama, it seems, though if you read it again you'll notice it doesn't actually make sense; and a few awkward sentences that leave you scrambling, such as "Catelyn watched her son [Robb Stark] mount up. Olyvar Frey held his horse for him, Lord Walder's son, two years older than Robb, and ten years younger and more anxious." (p.696) I noticed a similar sentence later, and I guess I know what he means but really, it's terrible writing.On the plus side, there were a few things I liked. The direwolves - large ferocious animals as constant companions and protectors: always a winner with me; the intriguing climate, where summer and winter lasts years, decades even, before changing (how does that work? Seriously, what do they eat?); Daenerys' dragon eggs, and the Dothraki, the horse lords - though they were pretty superficial and confined to a rigid list of adjectives - I would have liked to understand their culture better. In many fantasy books my problem is the whole good vs. evil cliché, which generally involves the plot. Here, my problem is that the characters are so black-and-white. They are described, good, that's settled, now what? There's no grey. No character development. They never once surprised me.I honestly don't know if I'll read the next book. The Wheel of Time taught me (at the same age as I first tried reading this book, 16) that the first book in a series can be the weakest, because of the amount of extrapolation and background etc. that goes on. I didn't find that problem here, it was very grounded in the now, which makes me think the next book will be more of the same. I keep coming back to the reasons why I struggled to finish this book: boredom, clichéd and empty characters, not enough balance (as in, there's no love in this book, and if the characters are so realistic why don't they love?), and predictable events. You know what it reminds me of? Marion Zimmer Bradley's equally famous The Mists of Avalon - another book I couldn't finish. If you like Arthurian fantasy, and that kind of style, then this would be a good book for you: the excessively patriarchal culture, the battles, the hint of magic and something glorious lurking around the edges but never coming to the fore, it's all here, neatly packaged. Obviously it works for a lot of people. But to all those people who say that Martin has opened up the genre in new ways, that he is the best writer of the epic fantasy crowd and so on, I have to wonder, have they read anything else? And then I wonder whether it's a matter of which author you read first and grow attached to, and so compare all the others. I don't think I fell into that trap as such, because Jordan's lost the plot, literally, Goodkind's personal politics and propaganda have taken over his story, and the one epic fantasy series that I love above all others - to date - is Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series, which I didn't start reading till I was in uni. But I really wonder, how this story grabbed other people. If it grabbed you, I'd love to hear how and why, because sometimes I feel like I'm too jaded or something, too snobby maybe ....
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    yup.nerds, now i am among you.this is going to be a review where i just prattle on and on about meee meee meee, because let's face it - there are a million reviews of this puppy out there so i don't have to worry about doing a disservice to the book. you'll either read the book or you won't. but you should: it's got direwolves.i wasn't going to read this. after years of watching hordes of desperate sad-eyed nerds coming up to me, asking "any news on the george r.r. martin release??" (like the bn yup.nerds, now i am among you.this is going to be a review where i just prattle on and on about meee meee meee, because let's face it - there are a million reviews of this puppy out there so i don't have to worry about doing a disservice to the book. you'll either read the book or you won't. but you should: it's got direwolves.i wasn't going to read this. after years of watching hordes of desperate sad-eyed nerds coming up to me, asking "any news on the george r.r. martin release??" (like the bn computer knows more, somehow, than the internet. it doesn't) and i would have to tell them (not without some schadenfreude-glee) "nope - it has just been moved back another year!!" it gave me a solid sense of "there but for the grace..." like when you see a very young junkie and you congratulate yourself for dodging that particular bullet.despite what i kept hearing about how awesome the books were, i just filed it away in the mental RA folder of "stuff nerds like" and figured one day i would read them, you know - for research, but not before they were all out - i wasn't going to get sucked into the trap of so many before me - the waiting game of disappointment and having to reread the older books again and again to keep track of who was even alive at this point. "when you play the game of thrones, you play to become frustrated and impatient."i have seen it a hundred times.so when the teevee show came out and people were drooling over how good it was, i paid them no mind. i pushed it two feet past the "someday" pile in my brain. because i am not one of those people who watch a movie before reading the book, am i??but connor wore me down. he really wanted me to see it and he wanted to talk to me about it and his bearded little face was all lit from within with enthusiasm and i just couldn't say no to him.so i did it. i watched the teeveee. on demand - several episodes in a row, pissed off if i started to get too sleepy to make it through another episode.so so good.so now, i had to read it, right? i owe it to the gods of fine literature and all.so i did, and god this book is fun.i am glad they changed a few things for the filmed version - i'm not sure i would have been too comfortable watching a thirteen-year-old actress play daenerys. in the same line of thought - natalie - i know you have not watched the show yet, but your crush on jon snow?? perfectly understandable to someone watching the show - he has that dark brooding thing i can see a girl going for, but if you have only read the books?? girl, your crush is on a fourteen-year-old boy. i have notified the authorities, you perv.in the end, i am glad i watched the show first, if only so that i know how to pronounce the characters' names. oh, you crazy high fantasy novels and your names...alfonso won't read this series because of the incest and because they never tell you where the soldiers pooped. i am not kidding. several people complain that the seasonal imbalance complicates the growing cycle and where is all their food coming from. this point i can understand - fantasy novels are supposed to care about developing a fully-realized world and all, and that is kind of a major detail, but it doesn't bother me at all. i am no connoisseur of fantasy- i am a dilettante at best. so i don't care where people are getting their food - i don't care if the social hierarchy is a realistic one, given the particulars of this realm, i certainly don't care where the soldiers are pooping. nor do i care in any novel where and when the characters poop. i just like this book's quiet intrigues and betrayals. the diplomacy, the lack of hesitation when it is time for a character to be killed off. i love how there aren't any "good guys" or "bad guys," only "effective" and "ineffective" characters. every one of them does at least one thing that'll make a reader go, "oh, bad move." so he dropped a few details when it comes to agriculture - he spent all his energies into creating characters that i love reading about.there are facets to this thing - sides of the argument rarely seen in a straight-ahead rollicking plot-driven novel. and i'm not really sure where the misogyny accusations come from. is it because women can't really ascend to power except through marriage?? because i don't think that was invented for this book - i am pretty sure that has happened, historically, in other places. and if it's the looting and raping, well - that happens in war, too. wait, is it sansa?? yeah, she's kind of a wash. but the girl wants what the girl wants. she's at least more complicated than bella, right? there are plenty of good characters here that aren't weak or power-mad, or just regular-mad... okay - there are a couple. but sheeeeit - all the characters here are pretty bad, on the moral spectrum, right? littlefinger is my very favorite, but i wouldn't want to know him in my real life. i appreciate his devotion, though.so i am super excited about clash of kings, both the book i will read and the show i will watch. swords and boobies and direwolves. i don't even know how i am going to make it until then.oh, because i was talking about boobies and HBO just there, connor was telling me this story about louis ck, and i loved it, and i found this quote. it is relevant!! hbo is nudity-crazy!! but he took care of their lust for flesh:HBO was asking us why there was no nudity on the show, and what they really meant was, Why wasn’t Pamela Adlon, who played my wife, nude? When I hired Pam, I didn’t tell her she was going to be doing anything like that. It wasn’t supposed to be that kind of show. So I said, “You know what, I’ll do it.” And I did that episode, and they were like, “O.K., we have plenty of nudity, thank you.”hbo, thwarted!look, dana, i read one of your books!! and i have just discovered betterbooktitles.com!come to my blog!
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  • MJ Nicholls
    January 1, 1970
    Reader Logic:I HATE this book.I HATE it so much I had to get a new hardback copy to read so I could underline all the parts I HATE about it so much and post them on Goodreads.I HATE it with such a passion I also bought copies for all my friends and family, also in new hardback editions, so they could HATE it along with me.When the TV series came on I was so fuming with rage I watched the entire season twice and bought six copies of the DVD, because I could not believe how much I could HATE somet Reader Logic:I HATE this book.I HATE it so much I had to get a new hardback copy to read so I could underline all the parts I HATE about it so much and post them on Goodreads.I HATE it with such a passion I also bought copies for all my friends and family, also in new hardback editions, so they could HATE it along with me.When the TV series came on I was so fuming with rage I watched the entire season twice and bought six copies of the DVD, because I could not believe how much I could HATE something.I had spent so much time discussing how much I HATE this, with all my friends, who HATE it too and who all bought copies, I decided to get a George RR Martin tattoo on my buttock to show how strong my HATRED for his work is. There was such a collectivity at the time—like everyone uniting in HATING this together—that some of us formed relationships in HATE. I met my wife at a George RR Martin convention and we got married as one of the characters, reciting parts of the book for our vows, and paid GRRM all our life savings to come read from his HORRIBLE book. We HATE this beyond belief. Maybe one day, we’ll read a book we like, and the author can get rich on LOVE.
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  • Kogiopsis
    January 1, 1970
    EDIT: 14 Dec. 2012. I no longer get notifications for the comments. Feel free to duke it out with each other; just don't expect me to respond.WARNING: If you enjoyed this book, even a little bit, you may not want to read this review. It will probably make you angry. Heaven knows that the book made me furious, and I intend to turn every bit of that wrath back on it.Instead, I suggest you read karen's review, Brigid's review, Joyzi's review, or any other of the gushing four and five-star reviews h EDIT: 14 Dec. 2012. I no longer get notifications for the comments. Feel free to duke it out with each other; just don't expect me to respond.WARNING: If you enjoyed this book, even a little bit, you may not want to read this review. It will probably make you angry. Heaven knows that the book made me furious, and I intend to turn every bit of that wrath back on it.Instead, I suggest you read karen's review, Brigid's review, Joyzi's review, or any other of the gushing four and five-star reviews here. If video reviews are more your style, I suggest Melina Pendulum's vlog about this book.Realistically, I know a lot of you are not going to listen, which is why the edit is here. At least it will slow you down a little.EDIT: adding one more thing because, despite the warning and the redirect links I kindly provided, I have indeed gotten the kind of sexist bullshit comments I anticipated. Before you launch into the usual defense, therefore, I give you this:"Alternatively, some fans may find it tempting to argue “Well this media is a realistic portrayal of societies like X, Y, Z”. But when you say that sexism and racism and heterosexism and cissexism have to be in the narrative or the story won’t be realistic, what you are saying is that we humans literally cannot recognise ourselves without systemic prejudice, nor can we connect to characters who are not unrepentant bigots. Um, yikes. YIKES, you guys.And even if you think that’s true (which scares the hell out of me), I don’t see you arguing for an accurate portrayal of everything in your fiction all the time. For example, most people seem fine without accurate portrayal of what personal hygiene was really like in 1300 CE in their medieval fantasy media. (Newsflash: realistically, Robb Stark and Jon Snow rarely bathed or brushed their teeth or hair). In real life, people have to go to the bathroom. In movies and books, they don’t show that very much, because it’s boring and gross. Well, guess what: bigotry is also boring and gross. But everyone is just dying to keep that in the script."Source.Here's the scoop on this review. For a book that I hate, I usually write a lot. After suffering for several hundred pages, I have pleeeenty of things to say. I've never hated a book that was quite as long as this one quite as much as I do, so I've had to alter my review so that I can say everything I want to without going over the character limit.The first part is an unorganized rant. I marked pages with particularly annoying quotes on them; for these rants, I broke the book into segments of 100 pages and wrote up quotes and responses for each segment into separate blog posts. These are all linked below.The second part will be a more organized rant masquerading as a review. MAKE NO MISTAKE: THIS IS A 'HATER' REVIEW. IF ANYTHING WAS GOING TO CAUSE ME TO SPONTANEOUSLY DEVELOP THE ABILITY TO BREATHE FIRE, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THIS BOOK.Part 1:Pages 1-100Pages 101-200Pages 201-300Pages 301-400Pages 401-500Pages 501-600Pages 601-700Pages 701-807Part 2:There are books I don't like.There are books I loathe.And then...there's this book, which did its level best to drive me to drinking.and I don't even like alcohol.I wanted to like this. I wanted it to be as excellent as so many people insist it is. There are some books that I went into expecting them to be horrible, but this isn't one of them. Oh, my hopes were high here - it was recommended by a plethora of great authors, including the guys of Writing Excuses, who I absolutely love. Reviewers who I greatly respect rated it four and five stars and wrote at length about how awesome it was. Other people praised the book as "the greatest achievement of the fantasy genre so far" and Martin as "the greatest fantasy writer of all time".It's those last two that are most important, I think, because I love the fantasy genre - always have, and hopefully always will. Fantasy is what got me into reading (well, Harry Potter, specifically) and it's been one of my mainstays for as long as I can remember. I bought this book in large part because it was so often touted as, if not always the greatest achievement of the genre, one of the major works of fantasy published in our time. Having recently read several works by Brandon Sanderson, all of which were innovative, highly readable, and deeply philosophical, I was excited to see what Martin (by all reports an even better writer than Sanderson) could do. I expected my mind to be blown, repeatedly, and to be faced with the challenge of writing a review for a book so staggeringly brilliant that I could hardly think straight after finishing it.That is far, far, far from what I got.First of all, this book is definitely not what I think of when I hear the word 'fantasy'. It's certainly far from my definition of 'high fantasy'. Now, I realize that my definition of 'high fantasy', which includes pervasive magic, unusual creatures, and a setting that is vividly far from the real world, is not the definition you'll find if you look the term up online. I also don't care. Seeing as the critical definition appears to characterize high fantasy solely by the fact that it doesn't take place on our Earth, and as this definition is written as if high fantasy and sword-and-sorcery are mutually exclusive, I'm inclined to conclude that whoever wrote said definition is pretty damn stupid and carry on with my own outlines of what makes fantasy high, low, urban, epic, or any other subcategory or combination thereof.That said - this book? High fantasy? Not as far as I'm concerned. It is, to say the least, distinctly lacking in the requisite elements of the fantastic.Is it possible that Martin is going for a 'the magic comes back' subplot over the course of the series? Definitely. Do I give two shits about the rest of the series? NOPE.This book comes off as a pathetic attempt at fantasy by someone who doesn't really care about the genre, or doesn't know much about it. It mostly struck me more as an alternate universe War of the Roses fanfiction, with some hints of magic thrown in in a halfassed attempt to give it a place on the genre fiction shelves of bookstores. You can explain to me over and over how Martin intended to make his world 'gritty' and 'realistic' and I will tell you over and over that that shouldn't matter: that it is possible to have a fantasy which is gritty, realistic, and also utterly fantastical. It's even possible to do it without losing the particular areas where Martin seemed to be trying for gritty realism: since he chose to make all of his characters of the nobility anyhow, he wouldn't have had to worry about overglorifying the lives of the peasantry, as one might with a more economically diverse cast.Now, I'm willing to give Martin the benefit of the doubt a little bit on the possibility of the 'magic comes back' thing, because there did seem to be elements here that could become fantastical if fully explained later. The problem, of course, is that they're tossed out without background, let alone proper explanation, and so feel jarring and out of place - not a coherent part of the world, but bits tossed in to be linked together later. Right now... all they managed to do was trip me up, throw me ass-over-teakettle out of the story, and leave me blinking at the page in confusion and not a little bit of frustration.(And yeah, maybe part of why I'm so sore about this is that, like I said, I started this book not long after reading some Sanderson, and Sanderson is basically the king of seamless, fantastical, elegant worldbuilding, so pretty much anyone looks bad in comparison, but still.)If I had to assign this book to a genre, I'd call it 'low fantasy', because as far as I'm concerned it was running too low on the qualities that make fantasy what it is. It's about as much fantasy as fanfiction that translates characters to the modern day is - namely, basically mundane with a miniscule twist.The characters of this book also stand out... and not in a good way.There are a lot of them - eight POVs and plenty more on the side - and not a single one of them is likeable. They all had the potential to be, which makes it worse. Bran, the Stark boy who learns too much and is crippled as a result, could have an interesting arc if it weren't so slow and drawn-out. The hints of genuine pathos-inducing story are definitely there. They're also present in the chapters focused on Catelyn, who is the closest Martin gets to a truly nuanced character. Ned Stark, Catelyn's husband, is supposed to be the noble one - too bad his 'nobility' comes off as stupidity instead. Jon Snow, Ned's bastard child, is a truly stereotypical fantasy character: the super special 'outcast' who is nonetheless generally loved except by those the narration makes a point to show as bigoted and cruel, who never really has to work either for physical skills or personal growth, and who gets gifted by the narrative with an absurd number of SUPER UNIQUE TRAPPINGS, including an albino wolf (really, Martin, REALLY? Are you secretly a fourteen year-old girl writing horrendous anime fanfic or something? Answer: no, and the comparison is insulting to fourteen year-old girls.) and a bastard sword that was a family heirloom of a noble house not his own. Arya is by far the most entertaining of the Starks, but only because she fulfills all sorts of rebellious-noble-girl-learns-to-fight tropes that I'm quite fond of. Sansa's chapters made me set the book down for days on end; she is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most insipid, annoying, airheaded character I have ever read and she has not a single whisper of a redeeming quality. Tyrion Lannister is what Jon Snow could have become without the heapings of Gary Stu in his youth: a bitter middle-aged man with father issues who turns to sex and crudity as his only defense; somewhat akin to Catelyn, he had the potential to be interesting and nuanced if his behavior hadn't been played dead straight.And there's one more: Daenerys Targaryen. Oh, Dany, Dany, Dany. I could write a dissertation on Dany and everything that went wrong with her story - but I don't have that kind of time.For those of you not familiar with this most epic of George R.R. Martin's characterization and plot failures, here is a summary:(oh and spoilers, but I honestly can't be bothered to tag it.)When we first meet her, Dany is thirteen years ond and about to be sold (effectively) into marriage with Khal Drogo, a warlord of the Dothraki people, by her abusive and not-a-little-bit-crazy brother, Viserys. Viserys has convinced himself that Drogo will help him take back 'his' kingdom - this being the Seven Kingdoms where the rest of the book takes place - hence the whole 'selling his sister to be raped by married to someone he obviously sees as a barbarian' thing. The marriage occurs, and then the wedding night in truly squicky half-detail. There then follows a long journey across the plains to a Dothraki city, during which Dany is raped (and no, I will not call it anything else) by Drogo. By her fourteenth birthday she is pregnant. When they arrive in the Dothraki city, Viserys makes such an ass of himself that Drogo kills him by pouring molten gold over his head in the middle of a feasting hall. Robert, the current king of the Seven Kingdoms who the Targaryens see as a usurper, sends assassins to kill Dany - naturally, they fail - and Drogo gets so angry at this that he decides to commit all his people to attacking the Seven Kingdoms in retribution. They leave the Dothraki city (at this point Dany is heavily pregnant) and go out to wreak havoc across the countryside on their way to conquest. In one such battle Drogo is wounded; because he refuses to care for the wound properly, it gets infected. When it is clear that he is going to die, Dany appeals to an old woman to perform forbidden magic to save him; the rest of Drogo's people do not approve and try to cast Dany out. End result: Dany loses her child to create a Drogo-zombie, which she then smothers. When his body is placed on the traditional pyre, she adds in three supposedly dead dragon eggs (given to her as wedding gifts and which any fool could see hundreds of pages off were bound to hatch) and, surprise surprise, they hatch.To which my primary objections are:1. The blinding obviousness of the ending2. The fact that this single plotline - this single POV among eight - is so far distant from and so barely related to the others 3. The fact that Dany being raped is never treated as what it is, and that the relationship between her and Drogo is portrayed as love. The first two are self-explanatory; the third, of course, is the big thorny problem. Now, I can sort of understand the perspective which argues that Dany is taking control of her sexuality - she comes to enjoy sex and even to initiate and control it at times. However, SHE IS AT NO POINT OLDER THAN FOURTEEN. There's a reason that such a concept as an 'age of consent' exists - there is an age at which teenagers are genuinely immature and probably shouldn't be making life-changing decisions like, say, things that could get them pregnant. Now, I understand that in the medieval times like those that this book is based on, girls were getting married and having children a lot earlier, and that people in general were more mature at an early age. However, Dany shows none of that maturity until after she's been with Drogo for weeks - if not months. When she's married to him, she is if anything unusually innocent for her age. It's a little hard for me to accept the idea that she's taking control of her sexuality when she's so young and clueless that her first sexual experience is a choice only inasmuch as she chooses not to fight back. Not fighting back, by the way, doesn't mean it's not rape, particularly in the situation that Dany is in (vastly younger than Drogo, vastly weaker, browbeaten by her abusive brother and told over and over that her obligation is to do whatever her husband wants). Nor are her later sexual experiences ones of choice; in fact, it is explicitly stated that even when she had horrible saddle sores and could barely walk, she was expected to be available for sex and treated as such. If anything, her eventual enjoyment of it seems more like a psychological block put up as a survival tactic than genuine pleasure in the act or love for Drogo.Yet, despite the fact that this situation is obviously, beyond a shadow of a doubt, rape, it's never addressed in-text. If anything, it's portrayed as a positive experience for Dany, one that makes her stronger and enables her to stand up for herself. Stupid me; I thought that the cancerous expansion of rape-as-love was limited to abusive jackass love interests in YA paranormal romances; clearly, I was wrong. It's everywhere, people. We are all completely fucking doomed.Which brings me to one of the other major frustrations I had with this book: the sex. Ummm... what to say? I thought reading some of the V'lane bits of Darkfever while sitting next to my mother on the plane was uncomfortable; to my utter shock, that was nothing compared to reading the sex scenes of this book alone. No worry about someone looking over my shoulder and reading about MacKayla Lane getting hot and bothered - and yet even more awkward. Why? Well, as one reviewer put it (and I wish I could remember who to give them credit), they're written kind of as if they're these tremendous mythic events. I cringe at the very thought of quoting them, but to give you a little idea of what they're like... (worst romance sex scenes you've ever read) - (bizarre flowerly euphemisms) + (gratuitous use of the word 'manhood')*(general strange reverence for penises above and beyond the norm) + (incidences of incest) = Game of Thrones sex scene.In general: AWKWARD.(Just to be sure you feel my pain.)This book felt male-oriented in a way that is so painfully forced that it made me distinctly uncomfortable. I don't mean that women can't enjoy it - obviously, as all the reviews I linked back at the top demonstrate, they can and they do. I mean that the book itself felt as if it were written for the most stereotypical male audience imaginable. As Tatiana described it, it reads like a soap opera for men. Because MEN want lots of violence, sex, swearing by female genitalia, and paper-thin motivations, right? Which is exactly what Martin dishes up.and so is the book he's produced.I thought at around the halfway point that I'd finish the book and be able to watch the HBO show to get the rest of the series without suffering through more awkwardly described sex scenes (not to mention the rest of it). By the time I finished, though, I had developed such a virulent hatred for this book, its author, and everything related to either of the above that I start grinding my teeth just reading praise for it. Watching the show would be vastly to my detriment - mostly because neither my hand nor my bank account would do well after I put my fist through the screen of my laptop.In conclusion/summary:Oh, and to the diehard defenders of this series, like those who were plaguing Keely's review, who like to tell people who disagree with them that GRRM is the greatest writer of ALL TIME and that the female characters presented herein are feminist (or, to use an exact quote, that "GRRM has written some of the most independent, self-reliant heroines ever to grace the fantasy genre. It's more than half the reason he's so beloved. His female characters disdain male attention, are always smarter, faster, deadlier, and braver than any of their male counterparts. Kinda like feminists with swords" which is complete and utter bullshit), I have only one thing to say:THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT.
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  • Mark Lawrence
    January 1, 1970
    I rated this in 2010. In 2017 it's time I actually use my words.Here's my long overdue review of A Game of Thrones. I was looking at the current reviews. Here you have a book with a ridiculously high average rating, vast sales, and … the most liked reviews are three 1*s and an unrated comedy piece. Do we love to hate *that* much? Apparently we do. Not only is knocking down easier than building, it’s also more fun to watch. Well, sadly all I have to offer here is a less exciting set of praise for I rated this in 2010. In 2017 it's time I actually use my words.Here's my long overdue review of A Game of Thrones. I was looking at the current reviews. Here you have a book with a ridiculously high average rating, vast sales, and … the most liked reviews are three 1*s and an unrated comedy piece. Do we love to hate *that* much? Apparently we do. Not only is knocking down easier than building, it’s also more fun to watch. Well, sadly all I have to offer here is a less exciting set of praise for the genius and importance of this book.The first bit of genius is that on paper GRRM writes in not only the opposite manner to me but in a manner I profess to dislike. Wait … I like how he writes on paper … you know what I mean.Things he does that should annoy me:I) Lengthy descriptions of … everything, especially food, clothing, and architecture. Normally I hate wading through that stuff to get at the story. Somehow GRRM does it in a way I like.II) Large numbers of point of view characters. I normally find this makes each of them rather shallow and stereotyped. GRRM is magnificent with characters and brings even the throw away non-point of view ones to life.III) Huge, expanding story lines. I tend to like some sort of focus but every corner you turn in this series can end up leading you down a seemingly endless rabbit hole of minor noble houses, their retainers, local squabbles, history etc. And this has irked me at points, especially in the later books, but it’s also kind of marvellous and makes everything feel really real, and also deep-rooted in a Tolkienesque way.I maintain that not only is Game of Thrones a brilliant read, it’s also an important one for the genre. It’s meaningful to talk about post-GRRM fantasy. For many people, indeed for a decent chunk of a whole generation of fantasy authors, George RR Martin's A Game of Thrones was a step change in the genre.For me and a lot of other authors Martin's work opened our eyes to what felt like a whole different world of what fantasy writing could be, and we've run out into those new territories eager to try to copy not the style or substance, but the quality.In my youth when we entered a fantasy land we were expected to suspending our belief about magic and alternate worlds, but not only that. We were expected to enter a sort of mythic / fairy tale world where people weren't quite... real. They didn't feel like actual regular humans, bound by the same fears, worries, ambitions, aches and pains as you and I - they felt more like actors in roles, cogs in a plot engine, icons and ciphers. They were too good, or too evil.Fantasy had its conventions and we played within them, reader and author exercised a mutual understanding regarding the rules - rather like ancient Greek theatre, or a musical where for no reason the cast can break from the story into a rousing song.Of course I exaggerate. And this isn't to say that authors didn't weave fascinating and compelling stories within those conventions. The fantasy of the 70s and 80s kept me very happy and some of it was written by writers of surpassing genius. Even so... it was quite definitely 'apart' from the books that really touched me or showed me new things about 'what it's all about' - works of literary fiction, and miles distant from what 99% of the public was reading.The step I'm talking about may be entirely artificial or demonstrable fact. It may be that in the 90's when I was reading very little fantasy the genre moved smoothly into what it is now. It may be that GRRM is talked of as a step change by so many simply because his success meant that A Game of Thrones was the first book that fantasy exiles actually picked up after their absence, and thus they saw in it a 'sudden' significant difference ... or it may be that he really did raise the bar in one swift move.Either way, what he did was to present us with real people. I'm not talking about the 'gritty realism' that is of late so hotly debated in some quarters of the interwebs - I'm just talking about the strength of his characterisation, the creation of real people with everyday weaknesses, wants, ambitions, set in a world that feels like it has a genuine past that matters to them, both on the grand and small scales.What he did drew many people back into the genre, as readers and as writers. His work was both a challenge and an invitation. He showed what fantasy could be. Real people who didn't carry a particular flaw around like an attribute rolled up in a role-playing game, but who were complex, capable of both good and evil, victims of circumstance, heroes of the moment. Heroes in gleaming mail could suffer from corns without it being a joke. That's a big part of his secret - EVERYONE IS HUMAN - get behind their eyes and nobody is perfect, nobody is worthless.I don't write anything like George RR Martin. I don't lay claim to any significant portion of his talent. But I do count myself as one of his many inheritors (in this game you can inherit without requiring the other person to stop writing!). And what I inherited was the desire (if not the ability) to put it all on the page. Fantasy no longer feels like an acquired taste, a club where you have to learn the conventions, the forms, what the masks mean, what the short hand is for... fantasy feels real. And I love it.Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes....
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  • StoryTellerShannon
    January 1, 1970
    First off, I'm a heavy duty fan of GRRM. I've read over a 100 different fantasy authors in my time. Took about 5 years off from the genre b/c I felt it was all getting too formulaic and cliched. So, when I came back to fantasy I read the usual: Goodkind, Jordan, etc. and then someone told me about GRRM and man, that was the kicker! Here are the reasons to choose GRRM. I've also listed the reasons not to choose him to make it fair b/c I know their are certain personalities who won't like this ser First off, I'm a heavy duty fan of GRRM. I've read over a 100 different fantasy authors in my time. Took about 5 years off from the genre b/c I felt it was all getting too formulaic and cliched. So, when I came back to fantasy I read the usual: Goodkind, Jordan, etc. and then someone told me about GRRM and man, that was the kicker! Here are the reasons to choose GRRM. I've also listed the reasons not to choose him to make it fair b/c I know their are certain personalities who won't like this series:WHY TO READ GRRM(1) YOU ARE TIRED OF FORMULAIC FANTASY: good lad beats the dark lord against impossible odds; boy is the epitome of good; he and all his friends never die even though they go through great dangers . . . the good and noble king; the beautiful princess who falls in love with the commoner boy even though their stations are drastically different . . . you get the idea. After reading this over and over, it gets old. (2) YOU ARE TIRED OF ALL THE HEROES STAYING ALIVE EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE UNDER CONSTANT DANGER: this gets even worse where the author kills a main hero off but that person comes back later in the story. Or, a hero does die but magic brings him back. This sometimes carries to minor characters where even they may not die, but most fantasy authors like to kill them off to show that some risked the adventure and perished.(3) YOU ARE A MEDIEVAL HISTORY BUFF: this story was influenced by the WARS OF THE ROSES and THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR. (4) YOU LOVE SERIOUS INTRIGUE WITHOUT STUPID OPPONENTS: lots of layering; lots of intrigue; lots of clever players in the game of thrones. Unlike other fantasy novels, one side, usually the villain, is stupid or not too bright. (5) YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BIASED OPINIONS AND DIFFERENT TRUTHS: GRRM has set this up where each chapter has the title of one character and the whole chapter is through their viewpoint. Interesting tidbit is that you get their perception of events or truths. But, if you pay attention, someone else will mention a different angle of truth in the story that we rarely see in other novels. Lastly and most importantly, GRRM doesn't try to tell us which person is right in their perception. He purposelly leaves it vague so that we are kept guessing. (6) LEGENDS: some of the most interesting characters are those who are long gone or dead. We never get the entire story but only bits and pieces; something that other fantasy authors could learn from to heighten suspense. Additionally, b/c the points of views are not congruent, we sometimes get different opinions. (7) WORDPLAY: if you're big on metaphors and description, GRRM is your guy. Almost flawless flow. “What is honor compared to a woman's love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms . . . or the memory of a brother's smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.” “Why is it that when one man builds a wall, the next man immediately needs to know what's on the other side?” “You are your mother's trueborn son of Lannister.""Am I?" the dwarf replied, sardonic. "Do tell my lord father. My mother died birthing me, and he's never been sure.""I don't even know who my mother was," Jon said. "Some woman, no doubt. Most of them are." He favored Jon with a rueful grin. "Remember this, boy. All dwarfs may be bastards, yet not all bastards need be dwarfs."And with that he turned and sauntered back into the feast, whistling a tune. When he opened the door, the light from within threw his shadow clear across the yard, and for just a moment Tyrion Lannister stood tall as a king.” “Oh, my sweet summer child," Old Nan said quietly, "what do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods” (8) LOTS OF CONFLICT: all types, too; not just fighting but between characters through threats and intrigue.(9) MULTILAYERED PLOTTING; SUB PLOTS GALORE: each character has their own separate storyline; especially as the story continues and everyone gets scattered. This is one of the reasons why each novel is between 700-900 pages.(10) SUPERLATIVE VARIED CHARACTERS: not the typical archetypes that we are used to in most fantasy; some are gritty; few are totally evil or good; GRRM does a great job of changing our opinions of characters as the series progress. This is especially true of Jaime in book three. (11) REALISTIC MEDIEVAL DIALOGUE: not to the point that we can't understand it but well done.(12) HEAPS OF SYMBOLISM AND PROPHECY: if you're big on that. (13) EXCELLENT MYSTERIES: very hard to figure out the culprits; GRRM must have read a lot of mystery novels.(14) RICHLY TEXTURED FEMALE CHARACTERS: best male author on female characters I have read; realistic on how women think, too. (15) LOW MAGIC WORLD: magic is low key; not over the top so heroes can't get out of jams with it. REASONS TO NOT READ GRRM(1) YOU LIKE YOUR MAIN CHARACTERS: GRRM does a good job of creating more likable characters after a few die. But, if that isn't your style, you shouldn't be reading it. He kills off several, not just one, so be warned. (2) DO NOT CARE FOR GRITTY GRAY CHARACTERS: if you like more white and gray characters, this may unsettle you. I suggest Feist or Goodkind or Dragonlance if you want a more straight forward story with strong archetypes. (3) MULTIPLE POINTS OF VIEWS TURN YOU OFF: if you prefer that the POVS only go to a few characters, this might be confusing for you. (4) SWEARING, SEX: there's a lot of it in this book just as there is in real life. (5) YOU DEMAND CLOSURE AT THE END OF EVERY BOOK: this isn't the case for all stories in the series. Some are still going on; some have been resolved; others have been created and are moving on. (6) IF YOU WANT A TARGET OR SOMEONE TO BLAME: this can be done to some extent but not as much. This is b/c he doesn't try to make anyone necessarily good or evil. (7) ARCHETYPES: some readers like archetypal characters because it's comfortable; we like the good young hero (sort of like Pug in Feist's THE RIFTWAR SAGA); it's familiar and we sometimes like to pretend we're this upcoming, great hero. You wont' get much of this in GRRM with the exception of one or two characters. (8) LENGTH: you don't want to get into a long fantasy epic series. In that case, look for shorters works as this is biiig. (9) PATRIARCHY: men are most of the main characters with lots of power (one female exception). STORY/PLOTTING: A minus; CHARACTER/DIALOGUE: A minus to A; LEGENDS/WORLD BUILDING: A plus; FANTASY FOCUSES: A; OVERALL GRADE: A; WHEN READ LAST: 2009 (5 readings) (revised review April 2012; more pics added August 2013)
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  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    I tried reading this a long time ago and gave up very quickly. I know many love it but I think from the start I knew it wasn't for me. Looooong fantasy series never have been, for some reason. HOWEVER, I have to confess that the TV series is such a guilty pleasure of mine. And, even though I will never return to this series, can we all just take a minute to admit that how I spent my weekend is kinda cool...And a sneaky bonus for Torchwood fans!Just so you know, all the cool people totally close I tried reading this a long time ago and gave up very quickly. I know many love it but I think from the start I knew it wasn't for me. Looooong fantasy series never have been, for some reason. HOWEVER, I have to confess that the TV series is such a guilty pleasure of mine. And, even though I will never return to this series, can we all just take a minute to admit that how I spent my weekend is kinda cool...And a sneaky bonus for Torchwood fans!Just so you know, all the cool people totally close their eyes during at least one photo #truefact
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  • Mohammed Arabey
    January 1, 1970
    عندما تلعب صراع العروش..فأنت إما تكسب، وإما تموت هذا أساس اﻷغنية ،أغنية الجليد والنار، وأنشودتها اﻷولي 'لعبة العروش' الملحميةحيث عرش الملك محاط بخيانة ومؤامرات،وبينما يلعب الحكّام لعبة عروشهم لا يدفع إلا الشرفاء الثمنوبأنشغال السادة بلعبتهم تزحف اﻷخطار مهددة عالمهم..خطر الغرباء يزحفون من أرض الجليد بالشمال، وخطرعودة التنانين ونيرانهم من الشرق..ولتبدأ أغنية الجليد والنارهو عالم كامل بناه المؤلف العبقري جورج آر آر مارتن وأبتكر له تاريخه ومعتقداته، جغرافيته وأساطيره..سادته وملوكه، والعرش الحديديسلس عندما تلعب صراع العروش..فأنت إما تكسب، وإما تموت هذا أساس اﻷغنية ،أغنية الجليد والنار، وأنشودتها اﻷولي 'لعبة العروش' الملحميةحيث عرش الملك محاط بخيانة ومؤامرات،وبينما يلعب الحكّام لعبة عروشهم لا يدفع إلا الشرفاء الثمنوبأنشغال السادة بلعبتهم تزحف اﻷخطار مهددة عالمهم..خطر الغرباء يزحفون من أرض الجليد بالشمال، وخطرعودة التنانين ونيرانهم من الشرق..ولتبدأ أغنية الجليد والنارهو عالم كامل بناه المؤلف العبقري جورج آر آر مارتن وأبتكر له تاريخه ومعتقداته، جغرافيته وأساطيره..سادته وملوكه، والعرش الحديديسلسلة روايات، أغنيات عن الظلم البشري والعدل..عن الصراعات علي الحكم والسلطة..الأستخدام الخاطئ للقوة والدينعن اغنيات بها الشجاعة والفروسية .. عن اغنيات الحب الحالمة الرومانسيةاغنيات الرعب ونيران التنانين ..و أغنيات الشتاء القارص الطويلكل فصل يروي من وجهة نظر لشخصيات مختلفة تماما, لهم عيوبهم ولكن لهم أكثر من بُعد ,شاءت الأقدار أن يفرق بينهم ويجمعهم لعبة العروشلن تقرأ من وجهة نظر ملوك وسادة وحكام أو ابطال خارقي للطبيعة .. بل شخصيات بشرية طبيعية تماما وقريبة من القلبأب وصديق مخلص يخشي علي عائلته وصديقه الملك من لعبة العروش القذرةأم وزوجة تحاول تحذير زوجها من خطر قرب لعبة العروش من عائلتهفتي صغير تسبب قربه من احد اسرار لعبة العروش في اعاقه طيله حياتهفتاة مراهقة حالمة تعشق اغاني الحب الرومانسية جاهلة بان لاوجود لها بلعبة العروشاختها الأصغر التي تعشق المبارزة والمغامرة,لا تعلم ان سيفها الصغير "الأبرة" لايقوي علي لعبة العروشأبن غير شرعي لعائلة كبري..يشعر بانه منبوذ ولقبه وصمة عار فيبتعد عنهم بالرغم من انتماءه الشديد لهم, ليواجه مخاطر اكبر من لعبة العروشقزم قبيح من عائلة ثرية مشتهية سلطة ..لكن مابداخله من ذكاء وشرف يفوق مابهم ,ويقحمه ابيه في لعبة العروش برغم من خطرها علي قزم مثلهفتاة مقهورة الحيلة, يبيعها اخيها لقائد همجي من اجل تكوين جيش ليلعب لعبة العروشألم أقل لك انهم شخصيات طبيعية ومثيرة بحق؟قد تكون خيالية تماما ولكن بعض أحداثها تتشابه مع العصور القديمة أو العصور الوسطي وسياستها، ربما تجد فيها من السياسات الحالية، ربما تراها في صراعات العائلات الكبري وحتي العاديةأعترف المؤلف نفسه بأستلهامه بعض الأحداث من وقائع تاريخية .. وملحمات أسطورية أخري سابقة كبناء عالم ضخم كما فعل تولكين .. ولهذا جائت النتيجة النهائية ملحمة متميزة .. مثيرة ولها أبعاد وعمق وفكرة قوية فريدةستشعر أنها كأدب الرحلات , تتجول في خريطتها بين الشمال والجنوب والشرق والغرب..مع ثقافات وعادات وأماكن مختلفة حتي تحفظ خريطتها"ربما أجلت دائما قراءتها لترددي من فكرة دخول عالم ضخم له خرائطه كهذا ولكن صدقني الأمر يستحق , وستجد بنهاية الكتاب الأول أنك حفظت خريطة ذلك العالم كظهر يدك"لغة ليست صعبة , لكن تقلق إذا ما واجهتك صعوبات في البداية ,بعد ذلك ستجد إنك أعتدت مصطلحاتهاأبتكر أيضا لها المؤلف مصطلحات مختلفة لتجعلك تشعر أنك تركت عالمك تماما وصرت في عالم أخر..عالم أغنية الجليد والنار--------------------ولكنها في نفس الوقت رواية مرهقة ، تروي من خلال وجهة نظر 8 شخصيات مختلفة تماما وكل فصل خاص بشخصية له طرازه وأسلوبه الخاص حتي أحيانا تشعر أنها ليست تروي من نفس المؤلف، حروب مرهقة وصراعات غير شريفة.. غموض وألغاز ...قصص حب حالمة...وروابط أسرية ترهقها الحروب والمؤامراتقد تكون هذه الشخصيات كلها مثيرة وعميقة دراميا..ولكن مازال هناك شخصيات مثيرة أخري ولكن ليس لها فصول خاصة..وستعشقها بالرغم من قسوتها وقبل أن نبدأ بتقييم الأحداث مع الشخصيات الثمانية الرئيسية سويا -لتقليل مساحة الريفيو - أليكم مقال كيف تستمتع بقراءة الروايةسأكتفي بذكر نبذة بسيطة "!!!" عن خيوط وأحداث القصة فقط لمن لم يتابعها من قبل لتكون أساس الريفيوهات التاليةفرواية كتلك من الضخامة التي من الصعب ذكر نبذة عن كل خيوطها في ريفيو واحد بحق** الأحـــــداث و الشخصــيات **~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~تستقبل عائلة ستارك من مدينة وينترفال بشمال الممالك السبع ,الملك روبرت والذي جاء وأسرته لزيارة لورد إيدارد ستارك لورد وينترفال كي يعينه كمساعد "يد" الملك بدلا من المساعد الذي توفي مؤخرايتردد إيدارد ستارك في قبول التكليف, خاصا وأنه لا يود ترك أرض الشمال ,فأسرته العريقة من أهم سادة الشمال..ويتطيرون من الإنتقال للجنوبولكن زوجته كاتلين ستارك يصلها رسالة من أختها تشك في أن زوجها , مساعد الملك السابق قد تم إغتياله ولكن من قام بقتله؟ لذلك يقبل أن يذهب...ليفك غموض قاتل صديقه القديم وزوج أخته ,المساعد السابق, وأيضا ليحمي صديقه الأخر الملك روبرت لأن معني إغتيال مساعده أن هناك مؤامرة تحدث في أراضي الملك ضد الملك روبرت تهدف أكيد لإنتزاع العرش منه إيدارد 'نيد' ستارك ------------------هو كما وصفه المؤلف مؤخرا الشخصية اﻷهم ليس بالجزء اﻷول فحسب وإنما السلسلة تقريبا كلها، بالرغم حتي من عدم تواجده في اﻷجزاء اللاحقة..ولكنه هو وزوجاته وأبناءه وحتي ذئابهم من أهم شخصيات الروايةفي 'لعبة العروش' الجزء المروي عن ند ستارك هو الجزء 'البوليسي' بالرواية "اﻷغنية" حيث سيضطر نيد ستارك ترك الشمال و مدينته وينترفيل بناء علي نصيحة زوجته ليقبل منصب يد الملك ليعرف سر مقتل جون آرين ، زوج أختها و يد الملك السابق له...ويبدأ تحقيقاته في بلاط الملك من خلال مجموعة من الشخصيات التي في مجلس الحكم ، شخصيات معقدة ومثيرة وغامضة في نفس الوقت ، فلا يعرف نيد ستارك من معه ومن ضده في ففي بلاط الملك تنسج المؤامرات والتحالفات السرية والخيانة ولكن في طريقه للسر سيجد نفسه مشاركا رغما عنه في لعبة العروش...وكما قال له لورد الهمسات, العنكبوت, فاريس أحد مستشاري الملك “الكاهن اﻷعلي قال لي ذات مرة أنه كما نخطئ ، نعاني. إذا كان هذا حقيقي ، لورد إيدارد، قل لي ..لماذا دائما اﻷبرياء هم أكثر من يعاني عندما تلعبوا أنتم إيها السادة الكبار لعبة العروش خاصتكم؟The High Septon once told me that as we sin, so do we suffer. If that’s true, Lord Eddard, tell me…why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?" فعلا اﻷبرياء هم من يعاني...ففي لعبة العروش، لعبة السياسة النجسة، للأسف من يلعب بشرف لا يمهله الخبثاءفهل سيكتشف ستارك السر ؟ أم سيعاني هو وأسرته؟----------براندون "بران" ستاركولكن أبن إدارد ستارك الصغير بران عرف السر وراء إغتيال مساعد الملك السابق ..بالصدفة رأي سيرسي الملكة في وضع مخل مع أخيها,حارس الملك مع أنه ذابح الملك السابق المجنون جيمي لانستر والإثنان من عائلة لانستر ,أغني مدينة بالسبع ممالك وللأسف يدفع بران ستارك الثمن قاسيا بشهادته لتلك الواقعة قبل أن يتمكن من الإبلاغ عنها...فلم يعرف أبيه لورد ستارك خطورة ماهو مقدم عليهفكيف ستكون حياة بران ابن إيدارد ستارك ذو السبع سنوات بعد ذلك الحادث الذي سيغير حياته، ربما يكون الجزء المقدم من وجهة نظره ليس طويلا ولكن من خلاله سنتعرف بعض من تاريخ الممالك السبع بالأخص الشمال وأساطيره.. هذا غير ما سيحدث في وينترفيل من بعد رحيل أبيه لمهمته ، وأمه من بعده لتبحث عن سر من حاول إغتياله ----------كاتلين ستارككاتلين ستارك زوجة نيد تضطر لترك وينترفيل لتبلغ زوجها الذي ذهب لبلاط الملك جنوبا عن محاولة إغتيال بران ، وهناك يستقبلها أحد مستشاري الملك 'لورد باليش' 'ليتيلفينجر' والذي كان بينهما ماض حيث تربيا سويا وشغف هو بها حبا، ويخبرها لورد باليش أن المسئول عن محاولة الإغتيال هو تايرون لانيستر او 'القزم' ، أخو الملكة سيرسي، فتحذر كاتلين زوجها قبل أن تتركه لتعود إلي وينترفيل...ولكنها في طريق تقابل تايرون بالصدفة لتنقلب اﻷحداث رأسا علي عقبجزء كاتلين جزء صعب دراميا وأيضا ثري بالأحداث المثيرة لترحالها لأكثر من مكان وفي ظل صراعات كبري فهي الزوجة التي بالرغم من أختلاف أصلها عن زوجها إلا أنها صارت مثله ، قوية وصلبة، وهي اﻷم التي تحاول الثأر لأبنها الصغير، وتقف بجوار أبنها اﻷكبر وتسانده وفي نفس الوقت يتقطع قلبها لبعدها عن بنتيهاوكما نجح المؤلف في وصف كل مشاعر كاتلين المتعددة ، فتجده أيضا يميل للأسهاب في وصف كل الطرق وقلاع وحتي الملابس -وهذا ليس في جزئها فحسب بل في كل الرواية- ولهذا كان جزئها جزء شاق بحق، لوصف رحلتها الصعبة في طرق مختلفة تربط بين شمال المملكة وجنوبها وشرقها وغربها -بلا مبالغة -يكفي أن أبلغك أن هناك10 صفحات وصف طريق صاعد لقلعة فوق جبل حتي تدرك كم هذا الجزء شاق ولكنها لم تكن وحدها في هذا الطريق... بل كان معها المتهم في محاولة أغتيال أبنها، تايرون----------تايرون لانسترتايرون لانيستر هو الشخصية الثرية نسبا ودراميا في تلك الرواية...شخصية حكيمة وهذا يظهر منذ البداية , بالرغم من أنه "قزم" او كما يسخر منه البعض, العفريتصار شخصيتي المفضلة وربما أغلب من يقرأ الرواية سيتيقن أنه شخصية المؤلف المفضلة أيضارحلته أيضا ربطت بين شمال وجنوب وشرق وغرب السبع ممالك، من رحلة لحائط الشمال للحرس اﻷسود كزائر، لقلعة اﻵيري كأسير...ثم كمحارب في...دعنا لانحرق اﻷحداث هناهو القزم ، الذي لم يكن وسيما كأخيه ذابح الملك 'جيمي لانيستر' ولا يحظي بحب أخته الملكة سيرسي ولا أبيه تايون لانسترولكن علي اﻷقل كان أسره سببا كافيا لقلب اﻷحداث في المملكة كلهاقد يكون قزما ولكنه من أذكي شخصيات الرواية وأكثرهم حكمة، وأكثرهم حنكة ودهاء وربما أيضا يشترك مع آل ستارك في الشرف بعكس آل لانسترعاشق للكتب والقراءة ، وربما يبدو في المسلسل كشهواني ولكنه في الكتاب علي اﻷقل أكثر أحتراما واﻷهم، أخلاصا برغم خداع اﻷخرين لهتتميز رحلته مثل كاتلين بالتنوع، اﻷرهاق..بل والحرب بالرغم من عدم خبرته أطلاقا بالمعارك..فهل سينجو من ويلات لعبة العروش؟---------------ونعود ﻵل ستارك سانسا ستاركسانسا ستارك أبنة ستارك الحالمة ذات اﻷثني عشر عاما، تعشق اﻷغاني الحالمة عن شجاعة الفرسان وقصص الحب...تتمني أن تكون حياتها كهذه اﻷغاني، عندما يجري الأتفاق بين الملك روبرت وأبيها ستارك علي قدوم اﻷخير لأراضي الملك وهي برفقته وأختها اﻷصغر ، يجري الاتفاق ايضا علي زواجها من ابنه اﻷكبر جوفري باراثيون عندما تبلغ سن الزواجومن وقتها تزداد أحلامها بالزواج من اﻷمير جوفري الوسيم -الذي يشبه عائلة أمه آل لانستر أكثر من أبيه- ويزداد شغفها بتحقيق أغنيتها الحالمة...ولكن هل تعتقد أن أحلام اﻷبرياء دائما تسير مسارها وقت لعبة العروش؟أعجبني جدا أسلوب المؤلف في الجزء من وجهة نظر سانسا... تشعر كأن المؤلف تغير وتحول لمؤلفة روايات مراهقة فالوصف هنا حالم يليق بفتاة مراهقة تتعلم لكي تكون 'ليدي' وأميرة مستقبلاولكنها سرعان ما تتعلم أن الحياة ليست كاﻷغنيات ... خاصا عندما يبدأ السادة في صراع عروشهم----------------آريا ستاركالجزء اﻷلطف والأجمل ، هي أبنة ستارك الصغري ،عكس اختها الكبري سانسا تماما, فهي ليست ليدي رقيقة تهتم بتعلم الأتيكيت والخياطة , وأنما تهتم جدا بألعاب السيوف والمبارزات واللعب بالسهام بالرغم من معارضة أمها دائما لأسلوبهالكنها تنتقل مع أبيها إلي الجنوب مع أختها سانسا ,حيث يوافق وقتها أبيها علي تعلمها المبارزة بالسيف الذي أهداها أياه أخيها الغير شرعي "جون سنو" قبل أن يذهب لحائط الشمال ولكن ماذا قد يفيد فتاة لم تتجاوز السابعة حتي وإن كانت ماهرة في المبارزة بسيفها "الأبرة" في صراع العروش بسيوفه العملاقة ؟خاصة بتحديها لجوفري براثيون , وكشفها لحقيقته كجبان ومستبد أمام أختها سانساهل سيجعل هذا آريا في خطر وسط لعبة العروش؟--------------جــون سنــوفي الشمال يوجد جدار ضخم...حائط الشمال هكذا يطلقون عليه, بطول أراضي الشمال كلها ويحمي الممالك السبع مما وراء الجدار, من أرض الجليد حيث يعيش قبائل غير متحضرة "بربرية" تحت رعاية ما يسمي ب"ملك ماوراء الجدار" وهم قبائل همجية من وقت لأخر تهجم علي بعض قري الشمال إذا ما تسللوا من خلف الجدار ولكن هناك الكثير من الغرائب وراء الجدار في تلك الأرض الجليدية..نوع من الموتي الأحياء..يظن البعض أنها مجرد أسطورة ولكن في بداية هذا الجزء الأول من أنشودة الجليد والنار يبدو أن الموتي الأحياء أمرا حقيقيا..وخطر يهدد الممالك السبعوهنا يأتي دور الحرس الليلي والذين يحموا الممالك من الهمج ..أو من أي خطر من خلف الجداروفي بداية الأحداث ينضم جون سنو الأبن الغير شرعي الوحيد لأيدارد ستارك للحرس الليلي "الغربان السود" ولينضم مع عمه بينجامين ستارك والذي من فرقة الجوالين بالحرس الليلييشعر جون سنو أنه سيفتقد وينترفيل ,مدينة أسرته في الشمال, ولكن بقرار ذهاب والده ستارك للجنوب سيشعر أنه ليس مرحبا به خاصا مع عدم قبول زوجته "كاتلين" لأبن زوجها غير الشرعي وأيضا هو دائما يشعر أنه ليس ستارك كاملا..فهل سيشعر بذلك عندما يقسم قسم الأخوية مع الحرس الليلي؟المعضلة هنا أنه عندما يذهب عمه للبحث وراء الجدار حول حقيقة الموتي الأحياء "الأخرون" وهروب بعض الهمج من الأراضي خلف الجدار وغزوهم للمدن الشمالية فأنه لايعود بعد فترة..مما يزيد من القلق عما قد يأتي من خلف الجدار..وأرض الجليد جزء جون سنو من الأجزاء التي بها دراما جيدة جدا أيضا لصراعه النفسي كأبن غير شرعي لأحد كبار "لوردات" الشمال ومكانه في الأسرة بين أخوته و أبتعاده عنهم لينضم لحرس الشمالهو من عثر علي ذئاب الشمال الوليدة وجعل لورد ستارك يحتفظ بها لكل أبن من أبناءه الشرعيون ذئبا وأحتفظ هو أيضا بذئب مختلف عن أخوته وكأنه يميزه كأبن غير شرعيالذئاب تلك أيضا لها دور قوي بالأحداث لكل أبناء ستارك وحتي جون سنوهذا غير ما سيواجهه من غرائب في الجدار في ظل الخطر الذي يواجهه الشمال من أرض الجليدجزء ثري أيضا بالمشاعر عن الأخوة والصداقة-----------كل هذه الشخصيات تشترك أحيانا في فصل أو أثنان عدا الشخصية الأخيرةوإلي الشخصية الأخيرة البعيدة عن تلك الشخصيات المتشابكة .. وإن كان لها تأثير نوعا ما في سير الأحداث بالنسبة لنيد ستارك----------دانيريس "داني" تارجيريانفي الشرق ,الدول الشرقية , تتابع د دانيريس تارجاريان وأخيها فيساري رحلتهم البطيئة في محاولة جمع جيشا للعودة والجلوس علي عرش الممالك السبعفقد تم نفيهم منذ صغرهم للقارة الشرقية والمدن السبع الحرة بعد مقتل الملك المجنون , فهم أخر ورثة أسرة تارجاريان, ورثة العرش الحديدي الأصلي ,ملوك السبع ممالك منذ قرون .. وأخر أسرة أصحاب التنانينويصل الأمر بأخيها أن يبيعها كزوجة لزعيم قبيلة الدوراثكي ,قبيلة من ممتطي الجياد ,همجية فقط كي يمنحه جيشا ليعود وجلس علي عرش الملكبينما داني تشعر أن أخيها الأناني القاسي لا يصلح لإعتلاء العرش..ولكنهم أخر خلفاء الملك الغازي..والعرش حقهم الشرعيونتابع رحلتهم بين مدن الشرق بينما حلمهما للعودة لبلادهم ووطنهم لأستعادة كرسي العرش الذي أغتصبه منهم روبرت بارثيونولكن مالا يعرفانه هو أن روبرت بارثيون له جاسوس وسطهم...قد لايتردد في أي لحظة لقتلهما بناء علي أوامره, فكل الغدر متاح عندما يلعب الملوك صراع عروشهممن فتاة لم تبلغ الخامسة عشر ,خاضعة لأخيها العصبي المجنون, الفخور بدماء التنانين التي تجري بدمائهم إلي زوجة زعيم قبيلة همجية كبري..تتطور شخصية دانيريس تارجاريان تطورات مكتوبة بطريقة وجو مختلف تماما عن جو باقي الشخصياترحلة لمدن وحكايات غريبة مختلفة عن الفصول السابقة وعالم وثقافة ومعتقدات جديدةألم أقل لك أن الرواية تشبه أدب الرحلاتوهذا الجزء الثري يكفي أن أخبرك أن المؤلف قام بأستخراجه من الرواية وجعله كرواية قصيرة منفصلة بعنوان "دماء التنين" وحازت علي جائزة أفضل رواية قصيرة عام 1997 قد يعيب هذا الجزء , وأيضا بعض الأجزاء السابقة بعض الأجزاء الجنسية الصريحة ولكنها أقل بمراحل عما في المسلسلتطور شخصية دانيريس في الرواية يوضح أكثر كيف سيكون دورها لاحقا في الأحداثوبالرغم من أنها فتاة صغيرة ولكنها تتعلم الكثير عن الحياة...ولعبة العروش قالت داني " مهما يكن, مازالت عامة الشعب ينتظرونه. الماجيستر إيليروس يقول أنهم يحيكون رايات التنين ويصلّون لفيساري أن يعود من البحر الضيق ليحررهم""عامة الشعب يصلّون للمطر, أطفال أصحاء, وصيف لاينتهي," قال لها سير جوراه . "بالنسبة لهم لا يهتمون عندما يلعب السادة الكبار صراع عروشهم, طالما يتركونهم في سلام , هم لايهتمون أبدا" Dany rode close beside him. “Still,” she said, “the common people are waiting for him. Magister Illyrio says they are sewing dragon banners and praying for Viserys to return from across the narrow sea to free them.” “The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends,” Ser Jorah told her. “It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace.” He gave a shrug. “They never are.” إليس هذا حقيقيا؟كما قلت هي رواية سياسية, درامية, أجتماعية ورومانسيةهي أدب رحلات..أدب سياسي..تاريخي وجغرافي وإن كانت جغرافيا وتاريخ من عالم أخر, موازي..ولكن ستجد المشاعر نفسها في عالمنا, والأحداث السياسية أيضا نفسهاإليس هذا هو جوهر أي رواية ؟ولكن كما قلت هذه ليست رواية..بل أغنية..أغنية الجليد والناروهذا كان أول نشيد بها, صراع العروش "عندما تلعب لعبة العروش, أنت إما تكسب وإما تموت. لايوجد حل وسط"Cersei insisted. “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” وإلي النشيد الثانيمحمد العربيمن 7 مارس 2015إلي 24 مارس 2015"قد يكون وقت قراءة طويل, اللغة صعبة في البداية لكن بمجرد أنتهاءك من نصف الرواية ستجد الأمر أسهل بكثيرولا تنس مقال كيف تستمتع بقراءة الرواية
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  • Bookdragon Sean
    January 1, 1970
    Okay so I read it again. I didn’t quite get chance to last year, so I squeezed it in right at the start of this one. Plus, it gives me chance to share this review once more and tell my personal reading journey to any followers I might have picked up since 2015.Original ReviewA Game of Thrones changed my life. I know that may sound sad, but it’s true. Prior to reading it I had no interest in books whatsoever. I was on course to be a forensic psychologist; however, I began reading this wonderful s Okay so I read it again. I didn’t quite get chance to last year, so I squeezed it in right at the start of this one. Plus, it gives me chance to share this review once more and tell my personal reading journey to any followers I might have picked up since 2015.Original ReviewA Game of Thrones changed my life. I know that may sound sad, but it’s true. Prior to reading it I had no interest in books whatsoever. I was on course to be a forensic psychologist; however, I began reading this wonderful series. Suffice to say, it threw me of course ever so slightly: I am now studying a degree in English Literature. One day I'd like to teach it. A Game of Thrones kindled a fire within me that erupted into a love of books. I began to read other novels across the genres. It was slow at first, but I’d always come back to this series, which I read through its entirety at alarming speed, several times. I then went onto other fantasy novels and historical fiction, which distracted me from my degree work. I found myself reading Tolkien and Ken Follet when I should have been doing my degree prep. I then went onto classic authors such as Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson. Books became my life. I now spend countless hours reading literature of all varieties from Austen to Shakespeare, from Phillip Pullman to Sherlock Holmes. Reading for me provides a sense of escapism you just can’t achieve with other mediums because just for a moment you step into another world. Indeed, I find myself immersed in the plots, sympathising with characters and becoming engrossed in book after book. And to top it all I’m studying a degree where I get to read more wonderful authors I would never have discovered on my own. A Game of Thrones is not the best fantasy novel that has been written nor is it my all time favourite novel or series, but, it will always be something special to me because it was the first book that turned me into a reader; thus, I'll read it once a year, every year, to honour it.
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    And thus I'm back to the beginning and hating and loving people all over again! And the dumbass King ruins it all by having a wicked witch for a wife, but if not then it would just be some other wickedness to get the party started. There are so many characters I love in these books and the wolves of course. And all who kill wolves can have their head on a pike! "He must have crawled away away from the others," Jon said. "Or been driven away," their father said, looking at the sixth pup. His fur And thus I'm back to the beginning and hating and loving people all over again! And the dumbass King ruins it all by having a wicked witch for a wife, but if not then it would just be some other wickedness to get the party started. There are so many characters I love in these books and the wolves of course. And all who kill wolves can have their head on a pike! "He must have crawled away away from the others," Jon said. "Or been driven away," their father said, looking at the sixth pup. His fur was white, where the rest of the litter was grey. His eyes were as red as the blood of the ragged man who had died that morning. Bran thought it curious that this pup alone would have opened his eyes while the others were still blind. "An albino," Theon Greyjoy said with wry amusement. "This one will die faster than the others." Jon Snow gave his father's ward a long chilling look. "I think not, Greyjoy," he said. "This one belongs to me." So suck it Greyjoy! You get what's coming to you later on 😄And oh how I love Tyrian ❤️ "Boy," a voice called out to him. Jon turned. Tyrion Lannister was sitting on the ledge above the door to the Great Hall, looking for all the world like a gargoyle. The dwarf grinned down at him. "Is that a wolf?""A direwolf," Jon said. "His name is Ghost." He stared up at the little man, his disappointment suddenly forgotten. "What are you doing up there? Why aren't you at the feast?""Too hot, too noisy, and I drunk too much wine," the dwarf told him. "I learned long ago that it is considered rude to vomit on your brother. Might I have a closer look at your wolf?"Jon hesitated, then nodded slowly. "Can you climb down, or shall I bring a ladder?""Oh, bleed that," the little man said. He pushed himself off the ledge into empty air. Jon gasped, then watched with awe as Tyrion Lannister spun around in a tight ball, landed lightly on his hands, then vaulted backward onto his legs, And he does this: "One word," Tyrion said, "and I will hit you again.""I'm going to tell Mother!" Joffery exclaimed. Tyrion hit him again. Now both cheeks flamed Oh if he only killed him off right then. And his mother for that matter but I digress. All the sadness that came and a bit of revenge to come later on In other parts of the world. I love Dany and Khal Drogo so much. Once again, love nothing in these books! And the Mother of Dragons. to be continued. . . Mel 🖤🐺🖤Old ReviewI love the book and the shows. I still have the other books to read. The only thing I don't like is the killing of the wolves and horses and the rapes, but we know those things are going to happen. And I will not like anyone again on the shows or in the books because every time I do they get killed! So, I'm just going to pretend I can't stand them all :) I love the book and the characters. I hope to see some good revenge in some of the other books and I hope some certain lady takes most all of them out. I'm not saying any names in case I jinx it :)
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  • Jesse
    January 1, 1970
    I know no one reading this knows me much (well some of you may) but I DON'T reread books. I usually read a book once and its quite well locked into my brain. As much as I've enjoyed many books I've read, they just don't require a second read for me. I read them, now its time to move on. "A Game of Thrones" is different. I loved this book and its characters so much, and crave the world and narrative so much that I couldn't wait for Martin to get the newest installment out. So I started rereading I know no one reading this knows me much (well some of you may) but I DON'T reread books. I usually read a book once and its quite well locked into my brain. As much as I've enjoyed many books I've read, they just don't require a second read for me. I read them, now its time to move on. "A Game of Thrones" is different. I loved this book and its characters so much, and crave the world and narrative so much that I couldn't wait for Martin to get the newest installment out. So I started rereading the first book I've ever reread.Let me just say that I didn't find ANY of the characters boring. Even the characters that I would find an anoying personality type, are deeply engrosing in this tale. And those types of characters number just 2 for me in this book. There are so many characters, with such a broad range of personalities that there is someone to match everyones likes. Yet even the characters I initially found myself repulsed by, grow and change and are just as fascinating as those that I admire and empathize with. Normally I dislike when an author has too many characters and jumps from character to character from one chapter to the next, not so in this book. Martin's ability to tell a story and hook you on it, is so great that I started to look forward to these jumps to different characters. With this many characters you really are provided with a great narrow and broad picture of the currents of this world and narrative. Its like watching individual storms all over the globe, all adding up to the global weather system.Which leads me to my next point, his pacing. I've read my share of epic fantasy series. In particular Martin's two major contemporaries/rivals for the top spot of the epic fantasy genre: Terry Goodkind and Robert Jordan. Both these authors have good parts, and bad parts to their books. There are momments in their books where I stop and think, "That was the coolest thing (event) I've ever read". Yet there are way more parts in both author's works where I was thinking "when are we going to get to the next awsome and exciting event? Why are we still walking/riding/working/...etc(you get my drift)". I came to expect this in any book, particularly epic fantasy. I just thought that when a book/series gets as long as these tomes, you end up having to spread some borring filler in there because one imagination can only do so much exciting work. Martin broke that mold for me. I kept waiting for a momment where part of my mind would start, metaphorically, tapping its foot in bordom thinking, "are we there yet?". It never happened. Each chapter would grab me, and by the time the chapter ended I was groaning at having to leave behind this story thread because I was wrapped up in its narrative path. Then I'm instantly swept up by the events of the next chapters story thread.Finally there is the commitment by the author to this narrative. Many stories have jeopardy but you kind of know that in the end, the main character can't die, there are more books to come. Don't ever count on that in "A Game of Thrones". Everyone of the characters is fair game, and people/characters will die in horrible and tragic ways. In this book and in subsequent ones in the series, I literally threw down the book and got up in shock. Sometimes even shouting out to no one at all, "Oh my GODS!, he killed !". It gives me confidence in Martin and his own level of commitment to telling me the best and most real story possible, complete with unfair and tragic events happening to good AND bad people (though in the case of the bad people I suppose it would be "fair and happy" when negative things happen to them..lol). Ok, thats it, I can't believe how much I wrote here. Hope this gets some folks to read this book. Cause once you read the first, you'll be hooked.03/22/2009: I just finished re-reading this book, and have to say it was even better the second time around. I caught subtleties to the plot that I never caught before, particularly about Jon Snow, Lyanna Stark, and Eddard Stark. I also found it interesting how much more the tension in the book was increased for me because I knew certain great momments were coming in the book, and the tension that created for me was most enjoyable. This is quite possibly THE best first book in a fantasy series I've ever read. I can't wait to re-read book #2 now, if only I had more time to read!
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  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    I have finally done it! I have joined in on the fun that is A Game of Thrones. It is 2018 and I managed to make it all the way here without reading a page or watching a minute of the show. Now, it is the nature of the internet to keep me from being completely in the dark on this one, but I think I did a pretty good job of avoiding hearing or seeing too much about it. Is this a great fantasy book? It really is quite good. The plot and the characters are well thought out. Comparing it to other fan I have finally done it! I have joined in on the fun that is A Game of Thrones. It is 2018 and I managed to make it all the way here without reading a page or watching a minute of the show. Now, it is the nature of the internet to keep me from being completely in the dark on this one, but I think I did a pretty good job of avoiding hearing or seeing too much about it. Is this a great fantasy book? It really is quite good. The plot and the characters are well thought out. Comparing it to other fantasy books I have read, it is right up there or better.Yeah, but since this has been taking the world by storm it must have blown your socks off!? Um, no, not really. It was good, but not, "OMG THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!" good.How about mainstream interest? So many people say they are not fantasy fans but they love this series. This has to be 95% because of the show. This book is SOOOOOOO fantasy, if it wasn't already popular I would never recommend it to anyone except a diehard fantasy fan. In fact, it isn't even really "fun" fantasy - it is dark with lots of politics and plotting. Some of my Goodreads friends said that historical fiction fans get a kick out of it, too, and it is loosely based on the War of the Roses.Do I want to watch the show now? Yeah, I think I will check it out.Sex and violence? I have seen some people wary of this book because of sex and violence. Internet spoilers, SNL skits, etc. sure do make it sound pretty vicious and risque. However, compared to other fantasy novels, it is pretty normal. In fact, the depiction of sex is pretty tame. Violence is maybe a little more intense, but nothing that made me feel the book was too extremely brutal. Perhaps these things get amped up in future books?EVERONE DIES! One thing that seemed to leak through the internet and my friends talking about the book was to not get too attached to a character because they will probably die. So far, only one death was kind of shocking to me. I expect the death count and the shock value to go up as the books progress.I think that covers the main points. - I liked it, but wasn't completely blown away. - I have no idea how HBO managed to get a bunch of non-fantasy fans into this. - I cannot wait to check out the next one to see what happens!
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  • mark monday
    January 1, 1970
    there are about a billion reviews of this one so i doubt i have anything to add. the only thing i feel truly compelled to say is TYRION THE DWARF IS AWESOME! my God, i haven't read a character who is so different and so enjoyable in years. many-layered and consistently surprising, hero & antihero, generous & spiteful in equal amounts, as capable of high-handed miscalculation as he is of clever deduction, brave & loyal & vindictive... just overall a superb creation. Tyrion, you ar there are about a billion reviews of this one so i doubt i have anything to add. the only thing i feel truly compelled to say is TYRION THE DWARF IS AWESOME! my God, i haven't read a character who is so different and so enjoyable in years. many-layered and consistently surprising, hero & antihero, generous & spiteful in equal amounts, as capable of high-handed miscalculation as he is of clever deduction, brave & loyal & vindictive... just overall a superb creation. Tyrion, you are the tops! and now you're going to be played by the studliest dwarf actor in the business. GO, TYRION, GO!the novel itself is fast-paced and fun, featuring lavish and completely enjoyable world-building, a narrative that is widescreen in scope but often intimate is scale, some nifty twists, and strong & vivid characterizations. this is not a novel with much idiosyncratic "style" but there is a very literary feel to it nonetheless. it is complex but straightforward, nuanced, carefully planned writing, in the classic historical-novel mode... but made grand & epic by the range of fascinating (and overlapping) multiple perspectives. the action scenes are sparse but very well-rendered; the magic is likewise rare but that rarity make each appearance even more fascinating. although it is all rather archetypal and familiar, it is still never less than pleasing. ___when thinking on it again, a few months after first reading it, everything just seems perfectly accomplished, even meaningful. DING DING DING!! you & your sequel just won 1 more star, congratulations amazing novel!
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  • Martha
    January 1, 1970
    I am on page 470, and although it pains me to put a book down unfinished, it is simply time for me to quit.A Song of Ice and Fire is the Grey's Anatomy of fantasy. It isn't perfect in the beginning (it's pretty flawed, actually), but you think "That's okay, the premise is good! It will improve!" And then before you know it, everyone is having everyone else's baby and murdering their mother (who is also their sister, and a schizophrenic) and traveling around on horseback setting things on fire fo I am on page 470, and although it pains me to put a book down unfinished, it is simply time for me to quit.A Song of Ice and Fire is the Grey's Anatomy of fantasy. It isn't perfect in the beginning (it's pretty flawed, actually), but you think "That's okay, the premise is good! It will improve!" And then before you know it, everyone is having everyone else's baby and murdering their mother (who is also their sister, and a schizophrenic) and traveling around on horseback setting things on fire for no apparent reason.The characterization is painfully, painfully flat. I'm tempted to go through the text and count the number of times Jon Snow is referred to as a bastard. I get it! His mother is not his father's wife! He is a bastard! Please, god, can we move on now? No, we can't move on; here on page 470, AGAIN, Jon points out in dialogue that he is a bastard. (Cue self-inflicted eye-stabbing.) The kicker: Jon Snow is probably the deepest character in the book.And exactly like Grey's Anatomy, there comes a moment (often when a character married to two people at once and pregnant with some other dude's baby decides to throw herself off a bridge, and then survives, but is left in a coma that can only be cured by the medicine her dead best friend left in her nightstand) when you just can't take one more bit of drama just for the sake of it. (Plus, I totally cheated and looked up what happens in the sequels, and the plot only gets more convoluted and depressing.)So yeah, thanks so much to all you guys who rated this FIVE STARS. I would like to know what you've been smoking, because it apparently gives you the power to turn crap into gold.
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  • Whitney Atkinson
    January 1, 1970
    WE MADE IT!!!! WE HAVE EMERGED VICTORIOUS!!!! this book was exhausting and knowing that all the other books are bigger terrifies me but the writing and world building in this book is so vivid and even though I chose favorite characters quickly, the ones that I thought less interesting still had very important story lines and every character has a distinct, well-written personality. Basically I am in love with Daenerys, and I also adore Jon and Arya and Sansa, and even Tyrion. Reading this makes WE MADE IT!!!! WE HAVE EMERGED VICTORIOUS!!!! this book was exhausting and knowing that all the other books are bigger terrifies me but the writing and world building in this book is so vivid and even though I chose favorite characters quickly, the ones that I thought less interesting still had very important story lines and every character has a distinct, well-written personality. Basically I am in love with Daenerys, and I also adore Jon and Arya and Sansa, and even Tyrion. Reading this makes me super interested in the TV show and i've heard so many people telling me to watch it that as soon as I have the time (which might not be for a while lol) I will definitely be looking into that! At this point i'm too exhausted to even consider reading the sequels; i'm giving myself a break after reading this hahaha. geez louise it's a commitment, but it was worth it. Also sidenote- the audiobook is great. I'd say I listened 3/4th of this. You can find the entire series on audiobook on Scribd.com, which I have a promo code for ;) "WhittyNovelsOnScribd" at www.scribd.com/promo gets you two free months!!
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  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    The things we love destroy us every time. George R.R. Martin has ruined my life! Yet, like a moth to a flame I kept coming back. I have no sense of self preservation. There is not much I could add here that hasn't already been said. I'm a woman of simple needs. My wishlist for Santa George R.R. Martin:(view spoiler)[ -Jon Snow survives-Arya survives-Tyrion survives-Jaime survives-Shireen survives-the remaining direwolves survive-the R+L=J theory is confirmed (hide spoiler)]I don't care who The things we love destroy us every time. George R.R. Martin has ruined my life! Yet, like a moth to a flame I kept coming back. I have no sense of self preservation. There is not much I could add here that hasn't already been said. I'm a woman of simple needs. My wishlist for Santa George R.R. Martin:(view spoiler)[ -Jon Snow survives-Arya survives-Tyrion survives-Jaime survives-Shireen survives-the remaining direwolves survive-the R+L=J theory is confirmed (hide spoiler)]I don't care who will sit the Iron Throne at the end (as long as it's not Daenerys and her never ending list of names and titles). That's my two cents. Here are some memes for you to enjoy. When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. Valar Morghulis.
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  • J.L. Sutton
    January 1, 1970
    Even for someone who has watched the HBO series, George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is an engaging and enjoyable read! The strength of Martin’s writing shines through in these pages. Each chapter is well-crafted. You know exactly how to picture the setting and you feel the desires and discontent of each chapter’s (POV) character. Watching how Martin develops characters, with all their flaws, keeps the story going as much or than the ‘game of thrones.’ If you’re looking for new information in t Even for someone who has watched the HBO series, George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is an engaging and enjoyable read! The strength of Martin’s writing shines through in these pages. Each chapter is well-crafted. You know exactly how to picture the setting and you feel the desires and discontent of each chapter’s (POV) character. Watching how Martin develops characters, with all their flaws, keeps the story going as much or than the ‘game of thrones.’ If you’re looking for new information in the book; however, you’re not likely to discover much. Definitely nothing that one could really classify as a surprise. In fact, it distracted me (for a while) that the two were so remarkably similar (scenes, dialogue, action all seemed to match). When there was a small conflict with the series, I found myself noting the difference. This often had to do with the age of the characters (they are younger in the book) or the description of a few of the characters such as Tyrion. In the end, however, I was swept up in this epic story! I liked the pace produced by the shifting perspectives. The one drawback to this approach (for me) came at the end. It somehow didn’t feel like I’d finished anything. The last chapter was a good one, but because there are so many perspectives and everything is still in motion, (despite the deaths) you don’t feel that anything has really ended. In fact this is true; the ending of book 1 is really just the beginning of Martin’s epic. 4.5 stars!
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  • Riley
    January 1, 1970
    So glad I reread this! I loved it even more this time and it just reaffirmed that this is my favorite series
  • Etnik
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review and more about this book on my blog!GEORGE R.R. MARTIN,YOU FREAKING GENIUS!To be honest,I never thought I would read this,not because it is something I don't like(it is something I most like),but it is so huge.But now I thank the gods and the kings for making me read this.I can't explain how much I admire this book.It has been a part of my geeky life and I am proud for that.I am a fan,an ultimate true fan!These are some things you get from reading this book:Girl on g You can find the full review and more about this book on my blog!GEORGE R.R. MARTIN,YOU FREAKING GENIUS!To be honest,I never thought I would read this,not because it is something I don't like(it is something I most like),but it is so huge.But now I thank the gods and the kings for making me read this.I can't explain how much I admire this book.It has been a part of my geeky life and I am proud for that.I am a fan,an ultimate true fan!These are some things you get from reading this book:Girl on girlSmart talks and tacticsTyrion Lannisterthe freaking hot Daenerys TargaryenDragonsBloodOkay so now I'll list things I like from the book:Daenerys TargaryenDaenerys TargaryenDaenerys TargaryenDaenerys TargaryenDaenerys TargaryenDaenerys TargaryenDaenerys TargaryenDaenerys TargaryenDaenerys TargaryenAnd things I didn't like:Theon Greyjoy and the bitch(Joffrey Lannister)everything else was perfect:)Okay so now I'll talk about the perfection of them all Daenerys Targaryen.She is not only my favorite character of all,but after I started watching the show,and she had a face,and boy what a face,I am truly deeply in love(and I got to see her naked).God bless the show.Daenerys is the mother of dragons and you will know what I am talking about in the end of the book,which for me was one of the best endings I have ever read.This world is so complex and there are so many characters,yet it is so thrilling and fun to read.And I love the idea of not having safe characters.In every page you turn,your favorite character can die.I highly recommend this book,this is clearly one of the best works I have read of the last century.And this goes to Mr.Martin Please kill Joffrey:)
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  • Candace
    January 1, 1970
    This book was raw, gritty, barbaric and downright crass at times...and I loved every damn minute! This was an ancient, epic adventure that consumed my thoughts. In fact, I just spent $100 to download seasons 1-5 of the HBO series after finishing this audiobook because I loved it so much.I'm still trying to wrap my mind around everything that took place and who everyone is. This book had an extremely robust cast of characters and a complex, multifaceted storyline. Don't get too attached to anyone This book was raw, gritty, barbaric and downright crass at times...and I loved every damn minute! This was an ancient, epic adventure that consumed my thoughts. In fact, I just spent $100 to download seasons 1-5 of the HBO series after finishing this audiobook because I loved it so much.I'm still trying to wrap my mind around everything that took place and who everyone is. This book had an extremely robust cast of characters and a complex, multifaceted storyline. Don't get too attached to anyone either, as Martin has no qualms about killing off a few characters, even those that seem critical. I've lost a couple of my favorite guys already, and this is only the first book. On the upside, some got what they had coming and I couldn't have been happier.As much as I loved the story, if I had it to do over, I wouldn't have listened to the Audible version. Now that I have though, and I've managed to get everything straight in my head, I'll probably continue in that format. The narration was fabulous, but the story was simply too complex for me to keep up with in that format for the first book. I tend to listen while doing other things that require some of my attention, like driving or housework. This is not a book that you can do that with. I had to back up the story several times because I'd get lost or have trouble remembering who somebody was. That is the only reason that I gave this book a 4-star and not a 5-star rating. It might have rated higher if I'd read the Kindle version. It was just too hard to keep everything straight at times. So many people and so many stories being told. I needed a cheat sheet to keep things straight. I don't want to spoil anything, because I think these stories need to be experienced firsthand. I'm completely hooked on this series now. I'm on to the next one, ASAP.
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  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    How is one supposed to review a book like this?! HOW. I ASK THAT. THE ONLY THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A GAME OF THRONES:a) It's truly incredible.b) It's really really big.c) The story is no where NEAR completed, dangit, I need book 2 asap.d) There are truckloads of winning adorable characters.e) But even the villains are human (sometimes) and have sorrowful backstories.f) Although ^^ that saying ^^ there are several people I would like TO DIE. Of course, they survived.g) It made me angry and How is one supposed to review a book like this?! HOW. I ASK THAT. THE ONLY THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A GAME OF THRONES:a) It's truly incredible.b) It's really really big.c) The story is no where NEAR completed, dangit, I need book 2 asap.d) There are truckloads of winning adorable characters.e) But even the villains are human (sometimes) and have sorrowful backstories.f) Although ^^ that saying ^^ there are several people I would like TO DIE. Of course, they survived.g) It made me angry and sad and happy and excited and horrified and disgusted and terrified.h) Basically I felt ALL OF THE THINGS.i) GO READ IT.j) Why are you still here?k) It's really really worth reading, okay?l) but the audio is the best way to attempt it if, like me, you're terrified if big thick heavy fantasy books.m) I possibly have a small crush on Jon Snow. I'm sure it'll pass. WHEN HE DIES. (HAHAHA. no. But he's so awesome I guess he'll die soon.)n) Yes it's violent and there's sex but neither is as graphic as I expected from its infamous reputation. o) The Starks have favourites amongst their children and it sucks. p) Does anyone even care about Arya Stark and where she is?q) Everyone is like "Oh yeah there's another sister, but idek what happened to her. Maybe she'll show up?"r) Which is unfair. I like Arya.s) And, honestly, Cersei is awful, but I kind of don't hate her yet. She's driven. She has psycho children. She's seriously messed up. But she's very smart and cunning. t) Lots of people died. u) Sometimes it made me sad. Sometimes happy. I'm psychotic like that, but seriously, this book is more psychotic. v) Eddard Stark is an idiot.w) I kind of like Tyrion.x) Everyone's names are awful but hard to pronounce.y) I LIKE DRAGONS.z) I've run out of letters, so this is all I'm going to say, but seriously, I enjoyed it a LOT, but I'm probably giving it 5-stars because I spent 2+ months listening to the audio and that is an EFFORT and deserves commending. Or cake. Just give me cake. Also comfort because I'm not a happy poppet right now. THE ENDING HURT.I totally get why people love these books and hate the author. It's ALL RATHER INCREDIBLE AND MARVELLOUS.
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  • Kai
    January 1, 1970
    “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”This took me quite a while. First because I already knew what happened from the show, second because I guess you just cannot rush through this book that fast, and third because I dreaded all the horrible things and painful deaths that were going to happen.Sometimes I wish I could forget everything I knew about a book/show and just start anew. Maybe I would have read this novel faster if I hadn't known everyt “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”This took me quite a while. First because I already knew what happened from the show, second because I guess you just cannot rush through this book that fast, and third because I dreaded all the horrible things and painful deaths that were going to happen.Sometimes I wish I could forget everything I knew about a book/show and just start anew. Maybe I would have read this novel faster if I hadn't known everything already? Because A Game of Thrones is very close to the first season of the show, only with more detail.So GRRM is a great storyteller, but also a cruel one. You just never know what is going to happen next and you really fear for all the characters you love. This whole series is just so big. And awesome. And I really don't know where this is all going to go and how it will end but well...Hoping for many dead Lannisters.POVs from most to least liked:Daenerys TargaryenNed StarkTyrion LannisterArya StarkJon SnowCatelyn StarkBran StarkSansa StarkFind more of my books on Instagram
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  • Allen
    January 1, 1970
    A friend and I were talking about Tolkien one night after a sesh of Call of Cthulhu and he came at me with the insane standpoint that George RR Martin's breed of fantasy is superior, though indebted to, Prof. Tolkien. I immediately informed my friend that he was once again proving the ineptitude of his intellect. Tolkien is the father of modern fantasy and the ultimate writer within the genre. This is not opinion but fact. That said I was intrigued and promised said friend to look into this infi A friend and I were talking about Tolkien one night after a sesh of Call of Cthulhu and he came at me with the insane standpoint that George RR Martin's breed of fantasy is superior, though indebted to, Prof. Tolkien. I immediately informed my friend that he was once again proving the ineptitude of his intellect. Tolkien is the father of modern fantasy and the ultimate writer within the genre. This is not opinion but fact. That said I was intrigued and promised said friend to look into this infidel that he was willing to prop up above the Professor. And well, I am fucking hooked. I recently started book four in the series and then after about 100 pages put it down because I new that after I voraciously devoured yet another volume in the series (to my surprise I read the first three volumes in about three months. with each volume being in the neighborhood of 800 pages this was quite a feat for little ole slow readin me.) I would have nothing to follow it up with. That prospect is unbearable. So I will continue reading book four when Ii find out that book five is near published. I hope that Martin doesn't journey off to the great beyond previous to finishing the series. Odin forbid that another door is left open for Kevin J. Anderson to step in and finish a series for someone. Seriously, does that guy not have original ideas?Anywho, I think the best description I gave of this book to a friend was "equal parts LOTR and DUNE with a heavy dose of Penthouse letters. Seriously. Lines about glistening wet members and quivering quim. Well maybe not the quim. But isn't quim an amazing word?Because Martin wrote for television (new Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast among others) the books have this nice episodic feel. Each chapter is driven by a different character. Really great plot twists. He loves killing off the characters that you love and forcing you to love the characters that you hate. If you have any even cursory interest in the fantasy genre read these books. He may not be Tolkien, but the hobbit looking mother fucker is damn close. Quim.
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  • Regan
    January 1, 1970
    HOLY HELL. I really can't review this, the story is way to complicated to even begin to do that.
  • Natalie Monroe
    January 1, 1970
    EDIT 14/4/2015: And now my fourth watch reread had ended. Still as good as I remembered and I can finally see the depth of foreshadowing GRRM put in. Also, R+L=J for sure. A Guide to Reading A Game of Thrones:Step 1: Find a comfortable place with lots of lightThis is a hefty book, ladies and gentlemen. Standing at 835 pages, it will take you more than a few hours to tear through. So get your bathroom breaks in, have a cool drink and a platter of cookies by your side and bar your doors in case of EDIT 14/4/2015: And now my fourth watch reread had ended. Still as good as I remembered and I can finally see the depth of foreshadowing GRRM put in. Also, R+L=J for sure. A Guide to Reading A Game of Thrones:Step 1: Find a comfortable place with lots of lightThis is a hefty book, ladies and gentlemen. Standing at 835 pages, it will take you more than a few hours to tear through. So get your bathroom breaks in, have a cool drink and a platter of cookies by your side and bar your doors in case of unwelcome distractions.Step 2: Resist the urge to give up in the middle of the prologueIt's tedious, I know. Things only start getting interesting after the Starks find the direwolves, which thankfully, is in the very next chapter. But unlike certain prologues *cough*Twilight*cough*, this one plays a purpose.Step 3: Don't panic at the enormous array of charactersDon't try to commit everyone's name to memory. Seriously, don't. All those titles...It has little use (all men must die) and will only trip up your enjoyment of the book. Go at your own pace and soon, they will all feel like old friends.Step 4: Let go of all grand morals and social conventionsThis is no fancy world of noble knights and swooning princesses. This is a startling realistic fantasy land of rape, misogyny, incest, murder and above all, political scheming. And you will sympathize with them. Or at the very least, understand them.Warning Step 5: Do not get attached to any of the charactersI believe that line speaks for itself.Step 6 (because you will most certainly not obey step 5): Save your tears. There are six books to goStep 7: Rinse and repeat for A Clash of Kings
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  • Dan Schwent
    January 1, 1970
    When the King comes to Winterfell, Ned Stark soon finds himself given the post of Hand to the King by King Robert. All is not well in Winterfell, however. Stark's son is gravely injured and signs point to the King's wife's family, the Lannisters. Stark will soon find out that when you play the Game of Thrones, you either win or die...Okay, so it's way more complicated than that but it's hard to write a teaser for an 800+ page kitten squisher like this.I was bound and determined not to read the S When the King comes to Winterfell, Ned Stark soon finds himself given the post of Hand to the King by King Robert. All is not well in Winterfell, however. Stark's son is gravely injured and signs point to the King's wife's family, the Lannisters. Stark will soon find out that when you play the Game of Thrones, you either win or die...Okay, so it's way more complicated than that but it's hard to write a teaser for an 800+ page kitten squisher like this.I was bound and determined not to read the Song of Ice and Fire for a variety of reasons.1. I am not a huge fan of today's fantasy novels, never-ending doorstop fantasy series in particular.2. The series is not yet finished and I don't want to be Dark Towered into waiting years between books or having Martin pull a Robert Jordan and die without completing it.3. Hype. Anytime someone tells me I have to read something, I almost always dig my feet in and resist. One of these days, I'll stop being stubborn when people recommend me books. Sure, most of them read probably 20% as much as I read in a year but there are reasons why certain books sell thousands and thousands of copies. So after my girlfriend and I blazed through the first season of Game of Thrones in a weekend, I figured it was time to cave in and give it a try. My fears were unfounded. The Game of Thrones took over my life while I was reading it. Even after watching the first season of the TV series, I couldn't be bothered with things like cleaning house and eating properly. I was captivated by the tale of the Lannisters, the Starks, the Targaryens, and the rest.I read an interview with George R.R. Martin where he mentioned liking historical fiction but hating knowing the ending before he started. Game of Thrones feels way more like historical fiction than it does fantasy. While there are magical elements, they don't dominate the story. The story is the battle for the throne of the seven kingdoms and intrigue behind the scenes by various factions. It feels way more like Pillars of the Earth than it does epic fantasy.For me, the main strengths of the Game of Thrones are the characters and GRRM's willingness to do horrible things to them. While fantasy is usually about good vs. evil, nothing is so black and white in the Game of Thrones. King Robert is a man with a drinking and whoring problem. Ned Stark fathered a child out of wedlock. The Lannisters are a bunch of well-meaning scumbags. Jon Snow looks down upon his companions because of his noble upbringing.As for GRRM's willingness to do horrible things to his characters? Don't get too attached to anyone. There were several shocking deaths in Game of Thrones and I'm told it gets worse from here on out. I can't wait for someone to settle Joffrey Lannister's hash!For me, one of the marks of a good book is if it makes me want to rush out and write something similar. It happened with the Dark Tower, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Elric, Hyperion, Amber, and now this. Speaking of Amber, Martin thanks Roger Zelazny in the acknowledgments. I already knew he and Zelazny were close. Now I'm wondering if the machinations in Game of Thrones were in any way inspired by the ones of the family in Amber.Differences between the book and the first season of the show are pretty minor. One thing that really stood out was that a lot of the characters were younger in the book. Also, there weren't so many women being taken roughly from behind in Martin's text. Other than that, it was mostly chronology and a few minor scenes that were missing.That's about all I can say since I don't want to give too much away. This book is a monstrous tome but it didn't feel like it. There's always something going on and everyone better watch their backs. After all, Winter is Coming...
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  • Tom
    January 1, 1970
    I want to give A game of Thrones five stars, but alas, I cannot. It is a fantastic epic tale with engaging heroes, and nasty villains that one would enjoy to slap silly. I found myself emotionally invested in the fate of the Stark family. Unfortunately, the book contains some glaring problems.First, Martin throws sex into the book willy-nilly. It's like a horny twelve year old got his typewriter and went to town. It would be one thing if the sex were provocative and, well sexy, but unfortunately I want to give A game of Thrones five stars, but alas, I cannot. It is a fantastic epic tale with engaging heroes, and nasty villains that one would enjoy to slap silly. I found myself emotionally invested in the fate of the Stark family. Unfortunately, the book contains some glaring problems.First, Martin throws sex into the book willy-nilly. It's like a horny twelve year old got his typewriter and went to town. It would be one thing if the sex were provocative and, well sexy, but unfortunately, the hanky panky is plain distracting-- "We break from this epic and incredibly intriguing battle with massive plot ramifications to bring you an update: A dwarf is having sex with a wench. On-site reporter George Martin will give us a play by play and then return you to what you actually care about." This kind of distraction takes place routinely from page one and never lets up. I like epic, but the book is a little too sprawling. It has about ten plot threads. Most of the threads are masterfully woven and merit five star ratings, but some of the tributaries never connect to the main plot during the 800 pages of book 1. For example, about every five chapters, the plot moves to a different continent and compares the sexual exploits of a princess and her warlord lover to riding horses. I'm halfway through book two, and the horse-mounting Princess has yet to join the plot in any meaningful way despite the fact that several hundred pages have been devoted to her. I know she will invade the seven kingdoms one day, but for now, her thread is nothing but another distraction. I must temper these critisicms by adding that the series does have redeeming value, and I am still forging through the second book. Sure, I roll my eyes every time Martin's pen drifts down a pornographic tangent, but the meat of the book is legitimately entertaining. It's so entertaining that I considered giving it 5 stars, yet so distracted that I considered awarding it only 3.
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  • Hazel
    January 1, 1970
    I'm somewhat disappointed by this. I found it fun and entertaining for the first couple of hundred pages. It was interesting and engaging, and I could see why it's being filmed. But as the book progressed my enjoyment waned. It may be mostly me.First, I've come to fantasy from science fiction, and expect writers to be logical and consistent in their world-building. I love Martin's idea of a climate where winter can last for years and summer can last for years, but he doesn't seem to have thought I'm somewhat disappointed by this. I found it fun and entertaining for the first couple of hundred pages. It was interesting and engaging, and I could see why it's being filmed. But as the book progressed my enjoyment waned. It may be mostly me.First, I've come to fantasy from science fiction, and expect writers to be logical and consistent in their world-building. I love Martin's idea of a climate where winter can last for years and summer can last for years, but he doesn't seem to have thought it through or developed it at all. What does it mean for a medieval agricultural and economic system? what happens to trade if there's no harvest? Does he mention granaries, or stockpiling of foodstuffs? If so, I must have missed it. Then, perhaps I'm not really a fantasy lover, because the more fantastic elements don't sit well. I don't mind a little magic or supernatural phenomena. I should like dragons, shouldn't I? But that whole plot thread was rather dull and hackneyed; and then veered off into the bizarre. Symbolic stones that are actually long-dormant eggs, ok. Newly hatched dragons that suckle their human 'mother'? That was a bridge too far. Even in fantasy, there must be some internal logic. And then there were the characters. Did the bad guys have to be cartoon villains? Incestuous, maniacal; rapists and sexual abusers? Aren't venality, duplicity and murderous ambition evil enough characteristics?And the good guys; why is nobility wedded to stupidity? Why would a senior politician in possession of information about treason reveal his hand to the traitor and then share his escape plans with a misguided child? Can one not have both integrity and intelligence?By the time I got halfway through I realised Martin was unlikely to significantly advance the story in one volume- another feature of fantasy novels nowadays. So different plot threads were started, but none of those dozens of characters could be well-developed. A pity; some of them were promising. I liked the dwarf, the climbing (and falling) child, the wayward tomboy and, of course, the bastard. And the wolves! :-) I'm not all prudish, but I didn't like the sex either. It's all bad sex. Pain and humiliation are inflicted on somebody, usually a woman or girl. Or else it's illicit and dishonourable and distasteful. None of it seemed to me to advance the plot, or illuminate the characters in any way. It felt like Martin was updating Tolkien, so, there had to be sex. I admit fetishistic is too strong a word, but it was always forced and unnatural. Perhaps its violence and misogyny are due just to the medieval culture? Hmmmn.Overall, I'm dissatisfied.
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  • James Trevino
    January 1, 1970
    By now everyone heard of Game of Thrones. HBO did a wonderful job at adapting the mammoth books George R.R. Martin wrote, yet I feel that, in many regards, the books still hold the upper hand over the TV show.The story takes place in Westeros, where noble families fight for the Iron Throne from where the Seven Kingdoms are ruled. The book follows multiple viewpoints, as the dynastic fight grows fiercer and intrigues and subplots are sown into a great epic.I heard a lot of people comparing Martin By now everyone heard of Game of Thrones. HBO did a wonderful job at adapting the mammoth books George R.R. Martin wrote, yet I feel that, in many regards, the books still hold the upper hand over the TV show.The story takes place in Westeros, where noble families fight for the Iron Throne from where the Seven Kingdoms are ruled. The book follows multiple viewpoints, as the dynastic fight grows fiercer and intrigues and subplots are sown into a great epic.I heard a lot of people comparing Martin’s work to Tolkien’s, but in truth I don’t find them alike. At all. A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is dark, grim and less fantastic in nature. The religious allegories are much more in your face, with Daenerys, the savior, only beginning her story in this book. And while Middle-Earth has much more of a fairy tale feel to it, ASOIAF feels very realistic. Both are great works of fiction, don’t get me wrong. But in very different ways.Game of Thrones has been known for dividing its fans because of greatly constructed characters. I for one am a huge Dany fan (WOOP WOOP, mother of dragons, the one with a name so long no one can remember it). But, at the same time, I found Cersei equally of an interesting character, even though her role is not as prevalent in this book.Most of the story is told from the Stark family POV. They are everything you want in a “main character”: brave, bold and with a high moral code. Looking at it this way, Martin didn’t change the formula that much. Where he shines though is in world building and plot twists. Let’s not forget that GOT is renowned for its ‘no one is safe’ approach. And that is probably why it works so well.Now, I said that the books are better in many ways than the TV show. And that is because of the richness of details. Those little things that make a book great, like bits of history and character traits and small verbal squabbles. So for anyone who thinks seeing the show is enough I say: try the books. I can guarantee you will get sucked in after less than 50 pages. And if not, you can forget that the recommendation came from me. As a little side note, I also hear a lot of people comparing ASOIAF with Robert Jordan’s WHEEL OF TIME, which is a fantasy series I always wanted to delve into. If anyone reading this has tried it, is it really worth it? I feel it is a titanic work to read that series and I don’t want to have to go through a few 1000+ pages books to get the taste of it.And yep, 9/10 for this.
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