Review 187. George R.R. Martin – A game of thrones.

985873Title: A game of thrones.
Author: George R.R Martin.
Pages: 811.
Published: May 28th 2002 (first published September 1996)
Publisher: Bantam Books.
Sort: Part one of ‘A song of ice and fire’
Long 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 endeavours to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
Rating:

My first thoughts after finishing this book: I FINALLY did it.  I think I’ve read one of the most popular fantasy book and I’m happy that I read it. This book is huge, but it never felt like reading 811 pages. It was a quick and interesting read that makes me hungry for more.

I absolutely LOVE the TV show and after watching the three seasons in a very short time, I couldn’t ignore the books any longer. Credits to the TV show so far, they follow the storyline perfectly and I even liked the change they made. They adjusted the ages, because a fourteen year old girl having sex with an adult on TV would be weird. I think I even prefer the older characters and I keep these actors in mind when I read the books.

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”

I’m  not going into details, because that would be so much work. This book has a truly wonderful, complex world-building with many developed characters. It was easy to keep track of them though. There are some main characters (don’t get too attached though, that doesn’t mean a thing) and many secondary characters. They have distinct voices and important roles in the story and that makes this such a masterpiece. I was happy with the summary at the end, about all the families and their members. It was fun to read.

Every chapter tells the story from another POV, like Eddard Stark (Ned) or Tyrion Lannister (one of my favorite characters). It was fascinating to see how everyone feels and thinks in certain situations. There was one POV I disliked though, because I just can’t stand Sansa. There is something about this stupid girl that annoys me and I must admit that I scanned her pages.

One of the things I admire is the fact that every character has it’s strong points and flaws. Nobody is a 100% good or evil and that makes it realistic. I also love the setting and the hints of fantasy, like all the talk of ‘the Others’ or in the TV show ‘white walkers’ and dragons. I can’t wait to see more of this.

Keep in mind that you need to like politics. This book isn’t a hard-core fantasy book, because it’s all about intrigues and betrayal. One family conspiring against the other, with the Lannisters on top of the list. If you follow my blog longer, you know that I like historical fiction especially in The Tudor era – this book reminds me of it. Everyone is trying to gain more power and money, and they will do everything to get it. It’s after all The Game of Thrones and you either win or die.

”Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

If you are interested in a short summary of this book:
There are basically three main lines in this story. One is about Ned Stark who becomes the new Hand of the King after Jon Arryn’s death. The king is one of his friends, Robert Baratheon who is married to Cersei Lannister. They have three children together, but Ned discovers a huge secret and when he tries to tell the truth, he is captured for treason. One of his sons Robb leads an army to free his father. The second one is about Ned Stark’s bastard Jon Snow. He decides that it’s time for him to do something with his life and he joins the Night Watch at the Wall. This Wall protects the seven Kingdoms, also Westeros, from the evil that lurks outside it, especially when Wildlings are gathered together as an army by one man called Mance. The last one is about Danaerys Stormborn, the last Targaeryen with her brother Vicerys. He marries her off to Khal Drogo in order to use his army to cross the sea and capture his thrown, which is currently hold by Ursurper Robert. Robert killed their father, who was called ‘the mad king.’

39 comments

  1. Game of Thrones is definitely one my bucket list of books I need to read!! I love how complex the world and story is and how the characters are fleshed out so realistically that no single one of them is good or evil. You've definitely motivated me to get this as soon as possible!

    Fantastic review Mel :D

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  2. So glad you loved it :D I love the show so so so much, but I must admit that I'm a bit scared of the books, lol. But I do own them all and I hope to read them soon :) Amazing review Mel. <3

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    1. The books are intimidating yes, but you'll love them! :)

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  3. I've been DYING to read this series - though not the TV shows because I've heard people say it's basically porn on TV. T_T But I love the sound of this! Complex world building is a major plus, as well as the realistic characters. I can see why so many people would be a fan of this series. Hopefully I'll get the chance to read this soon. Thanks for such a lovely review, Mel!

    P.S. LOVE that first quote.

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    1. Really? There are some sex scenes, but nothing too surprising for me :p I thought the politics were well-done and I love the cast!

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  4. Ik heb van de serie maar 1 aflevering half gezien en ik vond het toen niet zo. Vandaar dat ik de boeken ook nog niet gelezen heb, maar misschien moet ik toch eens een gokje wagen als ik je recensie zo lees!

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    1. Ik denk dat je gewoon even moet wennen. De eerste aflevering was voor mij een 'oké', maar snel daarna werd het zo goed! :)

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  5. The thing is: it's so good, but it's not remotely a self contained book. Amazing as it is, it's a 700 page prologue.

    But the world, the character motivations... so amazing.

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    1. You've got a point, but in that case, it's the best written prologue I've ever read :p

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    2. I read it recently, too. It was wonderful... but no closure. haha... I just couldn't believe it.

      It was certainly awesome though.

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  6. Congrats on tackling the book!!! I too love the television show, and have been meaning to read this one for years - especially given the encouragement of my brother - but the 800+ pages is so intimidating o.O.

    I heard that the TV show starts to diverge from the books after the first book. The change you mention sounds very appropriate though. Also, my favorite character on the show is Tyrion :).

    I'm not a huge fan of politics, but if it's anything like the show, they should be bearable. One day... one day...

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    1. Thanks! I was quite proud. I think you'll love the books too. I can't wait to see the differences then. I'm now reading part two.

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  7. EPP! I have been meaning to read this series for so long! Great to hear that it was enjoyable :D

    Great review, hon! <33

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  8. I felt the same way about Sansa at first, though I think watching the TV series has since made her a little more easier to understand. Tyrion Lannister is one of my favorite characters too. :) This book actually left me a little exhausted (the font was tiny and the book was HUGE), but I'm definitely looking forward to following the rest of the series. Great review, Mel!

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    1. Sansa was okay in the TV show. She makes such stupid mistakes and choices, arg!

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  9. I get all crazy excited whenever I see someone review GoT. WELCOME TO WESTEROS! Hahaa. I love the world -building and politics! Martin is an excellent writer!

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  10. Despite the fact that Game of Thrones is one of my favorite TV shows ever, I've only read the first book. I did like it, though the parts with Dany (who is actually my favorite character) kind of made me cringe, especially when she was with Drogo, because in my head I kept hearing, "SHE'S FOURTEEN! SHE'S FOURTEEN!". But I did like it a lot.

    And YAY for Tyrion <3 He seems to be everyone's favorite (so not surprising ;D).

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    1. Yes, the ages are a discussion point. That's where the TV made a great chance.

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  11. Ooh dude I love this show but I could never get into the books. I found it all SOOO slow and boring for my taste. It didn't help that the characters I actually found interesting were the ones with the least chapters in the book. It was all about the boring wife haha. Sansa was actually one of my favorites! *hides* >.< It seems to have a lot of fans though and I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

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    1. I guess you really have to like the politics :) Haha, that's funny.

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  12. Yes, I love that the characters are both good and bad and so realistic and deep. The world-building is crazy good, there's so much culture and identity even with a huge cast of characters. I'm glad you liked it! I can't wait to see your thoughts on the rest of the books!

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    1. I agree, he is spot on with his world-building and characters.

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  13. Sansa was pretty annoying in the first book, from what I remember. I've read up to book 4, but I've been having a break from it as they're quite hefty books - although I know I'll have forgotten so much of the detail when I get around to book 5 now! Love the world building, and I'm a big fan of the maps and the family trees in the actual books themselves... :D

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  14. So glad you liked it!
    Sansa annoyed me too, for like 2 books she's soooo stupid and silly and annoying and omfg I wanted to strangle her, but she comes around ans I think she is one of the characters that develops most in the series. ;)
    I hope you'll read on because it only get better!

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    1. So, one more book to go with Sansa-annoyance. I'm happy to hear that she develops a bit.

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  15. These books are so amazing! And yeah, you should pretty much not get attached to ANYONE because Martin excells at killing his darlings...
    I also liked that they changed the ages for the TV series, cause that would have been weird otherwise! And now I can safely swoon over Jon and Gendry :)

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    1. Haha, yes, it's quite disturbing if you swoon after a 13-year-old boy in a book :p

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  16. GREAT review, Mel! I have this on audio from the library at the moment, actually, and have been meaning so start it, but I'm worried about the gore content because I really dislike that. (you can see why I don't watch the show!) I'm sure I'll get to it soon, though, and I hope I like it as much as you did!

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    1. I wasn't bother by the gore content and I think it works fine. There isn't too much, so I hope you'll enjoy it soon! :)

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  17. I recently finished this book too (I've been a HUGE fan of the show) and it really feels like such an accomplishment, doesn't it?

    Like you, Tyrion was one of my favourite narrators as well as Jon Snow and Dani. I'm not a big fan of Sansa either, although, I think the book allowed me to sympathise with her more so than the show, probably because we get to hear her inner thoughts while reading. Not to mention, the world building is so intricate and rich and complex, I love it!

    I'm definitely eager to see what the rest of the series has in store for us. I was a political science majour in uni so the war/politics featured in the story is really fascinating. I'm eager to see how playing the game of thrones works out for everyone in th end.

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    1. Seeing Sansa's inner thoughts made it a bit easier to connect with her, I agree :) And I can't wait to see how it's all going to end.

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  18. This is one of those books that I can't believe I still haven't read. I'm holding off on the TV show too because I'd like to read the books first! Congrats for tackling and finishing this one and I'm pumped you enjoyed it so much! I love historical fiction, fantasy and political intrigue, I'm just worried because I read there was a lot of rape and incest in these books and that sounds like it could be rough to say the least o.O but I WILL bite the bullet and read them eventually cause like you said: they're too popular and well-loved to ignore :) I loved reading your review, you made me even more eager to get started^^

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    1. I think the TV show might be even better, especially because of the adjusted ages :) and the actors are phenomenal! Hmm, there is some incest yes, but the rape wasn't overly there. I think it fits the book and I never felt disgusted.

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  19. I have this on my TBR pile too, after watching Seasons 1 to 3! LOL at "main characters (don’t get too attached though, that doesn’t mean a thing)". I'm thinking of reading it just so I don't need to wait so long to find out what happens next.

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    1. That's one of the reasons I started this book too. I hope you enjoy the others as well :)

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