Well, a thing has happened in the world today. (Lots of things, really). But I’m not here to talk about that (yet). Right now, we’re going to discuss the MOST POPULAR SUBJECT EVER: A Game of Thrones.
Until this week, I’d never read any of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. However, because I’m a bit of a brat, I know what’s gone on in most of the books. How, you ask? Well, the TV show, of course. But I’ve never actually seen a full episode of the show, either. I simply follow it by reading recaps each week – whoops. I’m not big into blood and gore, but I love fantasy and loathe not being aware of what over 50% of people are talking about regularly. Plus, with all of the Buzzfeed articles on the show, how am I supposed to do my procrastinating if I don’t know what it is? So for the past couple of years I’ve followed the recaps. But let’s be real, they give you the big stuff, not the little details. I needed to really understand what all the hype was about. And I was especially spurred by Lizzy’s decision to say that the show was better than the series. I just needed to know what was up.
I had Wednesday off because of last week’s work schedule – a lovely week that ended with a 20-hour work day between Friday and Saturday morning – and decided that since it was a little too chilly to go in the pool, I’d go to Barnes & Noble. While there, I just decided on a whim that it was time. I was going to pick up the first book and read it. If I liked out it started, I’d buy it.
And now it’s Friday, and the book is finished. So now, it’s time for a review.
*******NOTE: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS ABOUT THE BOOK (AND THEREFORE THE SHOW) IN THIS REVIEW. PLEASE STOP READING IF YOU’D LIKE TO NOT KNOW*******
REVIEW: A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin
Plot: Well, basically, everything goes to shit once King Robert Baratheon visits the Stark family at their home in Winterfell. Once things go to shit, people try to make it less shitty. This involves fighting, lying, scheming, and killing. On another continent, Baratheon is considered the Usurper by the Targaryens, who try to gain an army to take back their family throne.
Most Memorable Line(s): “Winter is coming.”
-I finally understand it now! I love that there are summers and winters but that they last for years or decades each. So clever.
What I liked: So, you’ve got to hand it to Martin. He has this whole “world building” thing down pat. It’s honestly incredible, and I’d love to see his notes on how he keeps everything straight! He did a great job, overall, making me interested in and caring for these characters (save a couple). He really does wonderfully to create characters who you either want to see succeed or fail. In this book, there’s no question that you love the Starks and Daenarys and dislike Cersei and Joffery. I know he doesn’t always keep the emphasis the same way, but I thought it was good to have that starting out. Honestly, I loved all of the Stark points of view except Catelyn (which I go into later) and yes, I include Jon in that group. Bran, while frustrating, so clearly showed his age that I didn’t hate his stupidity so much. I love the way Martin both showed and clearly explained things to his readers as well. Ned and Cersei’s talk was one of my favorite scenes in the book. The whole world also felt real to me – though there were the elements that still made it fantasy, like the direwolves, the long seasons, and the allusion to magic. I’ll be excited to see where that all goes.
What I didn’t like: So, the ages thing. I know Martin has said in interviews that the show probably got the ages more right than the books, and I have to agree. Rickon only being 3 but having such a capable vocabulary and walk really felt unreal to me. Bran seemed older than 7 as well, though still young. Honestly, I don’t like that Sansa was the only character outside of Bran who felt childish to me. Obviously Martin means to imply that Sansa’s girly dreams are naive, but I feel like he made her so bratty for no reason. She grows even throughout this book, but I wish she would’ve felt older to me than Arya – who we’re obviously supposed to love and admire for her willingness to break the rules. I also just… couldn’t care about Catelyn’s points of view except to see what happened to Robb. She just felt so contrived, so uncaring? Which is odd because most of her scenes are about how much she cares about her family. And, last, I thought it was odd that Ned’s death was so… quick. Obviously he can’t be the one to narrate that scene, but I’d have liked to have a longer bit of Arya and Sansa there, or at least a scene of him making the decision to “confess.” I would’ve preferred for his death to be closer to the actual end of the novel, because if I’m being honest some of the battle scenes afterward just felt meh to me.
Grade:7/10… Overall, I really enjoyed this book, as evidenced by the fact it took me only 2 days to read. While I won’t be sprinting out the door to get the next one, I definitely plan to keep reading the series.