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View Full Version : A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, book one of A Song of Ice and Fire



Stick
5th February 07, 10:54 PM
I do not like fantasy books.

I own two sets of The Lord of the Rings- it's complicated and involves international travel- and yet I can never get past the Council of Elrond.

Long ago I read a Shadowrun book. Blegh, the SNES game was better.

Yeah, I don't really like fantasy books at all.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78/tenshirisu/parent-0553897845.gifI love this fantasy book because it isn't a fantasy book. I hope that makes sense. Let me attempt to explain.

I do love historical fiction, the works of James Clavell being particular favorites. A Game of Thrones reads like historical fiction. Sure they aren't any countries we've ever heard of, but it's all written and shaped as though it were once real. After a hundred pages or so, this world where summer can last a decade and winter many times that feels real. It's all politics and intrigue and life, and while some fantastic elements subtly play in the background they rarely surface let alone dominate within the story. While so many fantasy novels reek of Tolkein's influence, dripping with dragons and elves and magical what-have-you, A Game of Thrones bleeds plot and characters and history all over you- for the majority of the book those elves and dragons and magic are little more than the fairy tales told by wet nurses and old people.

The book focuses, with notable exception, on the family Stark of Winterfell in the north. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a particular character wherever he or she may be in the world. While many of these characters begin their tale together, by the end of the book's considerable 807 pages the family, the main characters, are spread across the world and all in very different situations. As these pivotal characters live and die, some background characters rise to prominence in the narration; a character that may have been a footnote a few hundred pages ago may find him or herself the protagonist of later chapters in later books. At the back of A Game of Thrones is fairly in depth appendix listing the major houses and their humorous members, it's worth mentioning hat as of the second book that appendix grows more and more- there are more characters in this tale than I care to count.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78/tenshirisu/aryanymeria.jpgMy favorites would have to be Arya Stark, Jon Snow, and Tyrion Lannister.

Arya, the younger of the Stark daughters is a tomboy. Not really an uncommon sort of character in fantasy and sci-fi to be sure, she hates the knitting and manners and courtly graces that her older, less intelligent- no really, she is bleeding stupid- sister Sansa excels in. Arya climbs trees and walls, catches bugs and critters, and fights with the boys when she can. Her training, her escape, and her quest for revenge- a quest continuing well into the second book (something tells me it will continue for quite some time)- are all handled beautifully.

Jon Snow, Arya's bastard half-brother, does not know his mother, and his father Ned will not speak of her. Unable to inherit or be a real part of the family, Jon goes off and pledges his life to serve on the Night Watch in the far north. The Wall, a 700ft mammoth ice structure, separates the untamed frozen north from the kingdoms in the south, and the Night Watch keeps those beyond the Wall in check. Snow's training and ordeal on the Wall as he replaces his old family of half brothers and sisters with a pack of brothers who are more often than not nothing but criminals serving sentence provide a lot of good reading. Jon's struggle with his lowly lot can get to you a bit, I hope things work out for this bastard.

Tyrion, the Imp, is one tricky little slime ball. A dwarf, he is brother to the queen and what he lacks in looks- he's flipp'n fugly- he makes up for in wits; Tyrion easily has some of the best dialogue in the book. I'm still not sure quite what to think of him even halfway through the second book, but one thing's for certain and that's that he's more cunning by far than the rest of his family- well, except perhaps his father. He is an interesting character whose ultimate fate I couldn't hope to guess at, he could end up being the big hero or go all Darth Vader and fucking kill all the jedi- not that there are any jedi or anything.

I won't go into the magic that does come into play, when it's there it is important and I shouldn't spoil it. I have to say that the magical element expands into the second book, but even greatly expanded and having a dramatic effect on the story, these magical elements are very subtle and well handled. There are no dark portals to Azeroth fueled by dark ether magic conjured by the wind mages of Zeldaros or anything like that, thank god.

As I said I'm well into the second book- 700 of a thousand pages or so- and I've already bought the 3rd book. Something tells me I'll be enjoying Martin's work for a while.

I give A Game of Thrones 5 wise-cracking midgets out of 5!

Steve
5th February 07, 11:02 PM
Nice review, Dai.

I'm just about half way through the sencond book. If you like Arya, Jon and Tyrion in the first book; you'll come to like them more in the second (from what I've seen of them thus far).

I'm sure others that have read the books through will chime in shortly.

Edit: sorry, I see that you are a bit farther than I am on the second book, my bad.

Also, Bran has become very interesting to me...

frumpleswift
5th February 07, 11:09 PM
Why am I the only one who likes Daenerys?

Jaime is cool, but you need to read more to know why.

Also, is this a good place to start the "Who is Jon Snow's Father?" debate?

Stick
5th February 07, 11:22 PM
As good a place as any.

Which Targaryen was it that took Lyanna Stark? Rhaegar? I can't spell those names and I'm not gonna look.... anywho, Jon Snow is Lyanna's kid by him.

At least that's what Jagged told me, he's a little better read in this than I, but I am inclined to agree.


Also, by the end of the first book I wanted to break Joffrey's neck. As far into the second as I am, I still want to snap his neck, but I also want to gut Gregor Clegane aka "The Mountaini that Rides", that dick.

frumpleswift
5th February 07, 11:29 PM
The Lyanna Rhaegar theory seems the most popular at the moment.

There is a guy in our dojo that we have taken to calling the mountain that rides. He is inhumanely large, strong, and not too bright.

Joffrey is an evil fuck and having his neck snapped would be too good for him, however in some ways I hate Lysa Arryn more, and I definitely hate Cersei more than both combined. She is truly an evil cunt.

Question!
5th February 07, 11:43 PM
Excellent review, Dai, like you said the while the magic element is there it is more like a tool wielded by the characters and doesn't become the focus of the series.

Steve
6th February 07, 04:25 AM
Why am I the only one who likes Daenerys?

As of now, you're not the only one that likes Daenerys.

Jagged
6th February 07, 07:14 PM
Fucking great review man. Great to see the perspective of someone who doesnt' normally read fantasy.

My favorite characters are Arya, Jon, and Jamie. I also like Tyrion and Sandor but they are just a small step down.

I like Dany. Sure "I am the blood of the Dragon" gets tiring after awhile but thats my only real complaint.

I won't get into the R+L=J debate because I've been there already. I am a firm supporter of it and have been sense the first book.

AAAhmed46
7th February 07, 01:11 AM
Great review!

Just wait until you get to the THIRD book!


On Dany.....




SPOILERS:

My beef with Dany comes from how deeply she honors Drogo.

Yeah i can understand her attachment since he was her damn husband.

But still, the guy was a dink.

Was miri maz duur so unjustified in her actions? Albeit ruthless they were.

Artful Dentures
7th February 07, 11:03 AM
Why am I the only one who likes Daenerys?

Jaime is cool, but you need to read more to know why.

Also, is this a good place to start the "Who is Jon Snow's Father?" debate?


You mean his mother as we know who the father is

Michael Jon Snow
7th February 07, 11:19 AM
After a carefull reread of the first book, there is reason to suspect that Ned is not actually Jon's father and that Jon's Identity may be important. We hope to find out for sure in book 5.

AAAhmed46
7th February 07, 12:33 PM
Actually....we dont know who his father is.


There are clues that things are not what they seem in the Song of ice and fire.

EDIT: Micheal jon snow beat me to it.

Artful Dentures
7th February 07, 03:37 PM
FACK - I don't remember that

I'll have to sit down and re read these puppies.

It just get's so depressing knowing what's going to happen

AAAhmed46
7th February 07, 06:44 PM
Keep reading all three, clues in all three.

JimmyTheHutt
8th February 07, 03:18 PM
FACK - I don't remember that

I'll have to sit down and re read these puppies.

It just get's so depressing knowing what's going to happen

Look at it this way: every time something bad or depressing happens, it makes the potential conclusion that much more rewarding.

Veritas et Lux!

Jimmy The Hutt

Jagged
8th February 07, 10:03 PM
FACK - I don't remember that

I'll have to sit down and re read these puppies.

It just get's so depressing knowing what's going to happen

Yeah there are little clues all over the place. The Tower of Joy scene is one of the biggest. He finds Lyanna on a bed with lots of blood, and she makes him promise her something. So we think she might have died in child birth. And made Ned promise to keep the child safe and raise it as his own. It's one of the only things I can think of that could make Ned forsake his Honor. It's also why he will allow no one to speak of Jons mother. The truth is just to dangerous as Robert would have Jon killed.

AAAhmed46
9th February 07, 04:15 AM
Highlight to read..............

Here is something that puzzles me:

It seems that Jon Snow and Dany have a safety net.

Everyone else, no matter how cool seems to have the risk they can die. They all have a sense of mortality.

But Jon Snow, and Dany...and even Tyrion(though what happens to him later is sad) have a type of pillow underneath them. You can feel just how vital they are to the main plot, so you KNOW they will be safe.

Liffguard
10th February 07, 10:24 AM
Highlight to read:

I dunno man. Ned and Robb both seemed pretty essential to the story and look at twhat happened to them.

AAAhmed46
10th February 07, 03:34 PM
Highlight to read:



It's not just essential, it seems that martin loves these charecters too much to be finished with them, you can almost ''feel'' how attached he is. I mean jon snow....in the third book, ducks under death or horrible fate a bunch of times. Dany gets in trouble, the dragons go 'toasty' and show up and save the day. Tyrion gets really lucky or uses his wits. While other charecters would get maimed or something.....
Though i get the feeling, Jon Snow is going to face some hard times, especially by reading the previews, does one get that impression.

AAAhmed46
10th February 07, 03:35 PM
Highlight to read:



It's not just essential, it seems that martin loves these charecters too much to be finished with them, you can almost ''feel'' how attached he is. I mean jon snow....in the third book, ducks under death or horrible fate a bunch of times. Dany gets in trouble, the dragons go 'toasty' and show up and save the day. Tyrion gets really lucky or uses his wits. While other charecters would get maimed or something.....
Though i get the feeling, Jon Snow is going to face some hard times, especially by reading the previews, does one get that impression.

Liffguard
11th February 07, 05:08 PM
Highlight to read:

It wouldn't surprise me if he's establishing these characters as the "permanent" ones so that we get an even greater shock if they're bumped off. And in all fairness, Tyrion isn't dead but he is missing half of his face and isn't in what you'd call an enviable position.

AAAhmed46
12th February 07, 11:30 PM
Highlight to read:

Seriously, that seen with Tywin was freaking awsome. But i now wish it were longer....really like he really saw something scary in Tyrion before he shit gold.

Liffguard
14th February 07, 04:38 PM
Yeah, Tywin's death was awesome. Ranks with the Red Wedding, Battle of the Blackwater and the Mountain vs. the Red Viper as one of the best scenes in the series

Whoo! I can do spoilers now.

AAAhmed46
15th February 07, 01:30 AM
I still cant do spoilers. Where the hell is it on my options?



Highlight to read:

Feast isn't as good as the other three, but hell Genna lannister is freaking awsome for a fat chick.

Stick
15th February 07, 03:28 PM
Here's a hint Ahmed.

you shouldn't need a visible "spoiler" tag option in order to do it

Just write [ spoiler ] what ever you want to spoil and then [ / spoiler ] ya know, but without spaces

AAAhmed46
22nd February 07, 03:16 AM
Here's a hint Ahmed.

you shouldn't need a visible "spoiler" tag option in order to do it

Just write [ spoiler ] what ever you want to spoil and then [ / spoiler ] ya know, but without spaces

I cant find that damn button. Sounds sad i know, but which one is it?

Steve
22nd February 07, 03:46 AM
There is no button.

Seriously, just type:


[ spoiler ] what ever you want to spoil and then [ / spoiler ] ya know, but without spaces

click the quote button