Friday, October 16, 2015

Musings of a Literate Snob, Episode 2: Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Welcome back to my musings, where I review and discuss one of the books I am reading for my non-romance reading friends and family.  GoT was one of my New Years' Resolutions for 2015. I have so many friends that have either read the books or watched the show that I have been wanting to start these for a while.  But the series and its length was a bit daunting for me given that its not my typical genre.  So I wanted to do the first book this year - I actually started it back in February, but then lost interest until I picked it up again this month.

One thing that is very hard when you put off a popular series like this - is that you have to avoid spoilers.  I have done very well at dodging spoilers for the last few years... and just now when I have just finished the first book, one of my friends dropped a huge spoiler for the series on me.  WHY WHY WHY?!?! I could have killed this person who shall remain nameless (you know who you are!).

Have you read GoT - or are you watching the series - or both?  Let's discuss!

A Game of Thrones 
by George R.R. Martin
Series:  A Song of Ice and Fire #1
Pub. Date:  Dec. 9, 2003
Publisher:  Random House Audio
Narrator:  Roy Dotrice
Length:  33 hrs 50 min
Format:  Audiobook
Source:  Overdrive

My Rating:  

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

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

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

I know I'm late to the game on this one, but its pretty far out of my typical genre so I kept putting it off. I waffled back and forth whether to give this one 3 stars or 4 stars - and I am still somewhat undecided. It's so doom and gloom! And everyone dies! I would finally settle on who my favorite character was only for them to get beheaded or smothered or something equally tragic. Now that I have finished the first book, I am watching the first season (thank you for on-demand HBO).

The story is very well written, which is why I decided on the 4 star review. I cannot fault George R. R. Martin for any of that. His imagination is a thing to behold, and he must have a very devious mind because the court intrigue is truly a web of dark and twisty deception.

As for the characters, I think my favorite is Daenerys Stormborn. Though I hate to even voice it because now I fear she will be killed off in some future book. But for being a girl of only 13/14, she has a strength of character that I admire. Plus, dragons! I love dragons!

Then you compare Daenerys with Sansa Stark - who is older but a true stupid naive brat. I could not stand Sansa. I kept hoping she would throw herself off a parapet. She was spineless and more worried about her bratty Prince Joffrey than her own family and doing what was right. I don't know how she is the daughter of Eddard because he was an honorable and sensible man, and she could not be more opposite.

I also really liked Jon Snow and Arya Stark. Jon Snow, the bastard of Eddard, truly got the shaft and was treated horribly because he was a bastard. I am really curious about his mother. But I think we will see great things from Jon Snow and Ghost (his direwolf)... or he could be the next to lose his head, who knows. As for Arya, she is a girl after my own tomboy heart. I would have liked to see a bit more from her POV in the story, particularly after the big betrayal and drama.

The Lannisters all suck - but they are supposed to. Truly cruel, devious and dark individuals rife with betrayal, lies, incest, self-importance and the grandiose delusions of a syphilitic mind. I can't wait to see them get what is coming to them. Joffrey, Jamie and Circe are the worst. Tyrian, the imp, is not as bad, but I can't say that he is one of my favorites. I actually like him better in the show than in the book.

I initially wanted to read the book for two reasons... one, several of my coworkers have read it and it would give me something to talk to them about. And two, I wanted to watch the show because, hello, Jason Momoa! Well, those who have read the book can imagine how ticked off I am about that. I won't say any more to avoid spoilers, but GAH! I didn't think I would pick up the second book, but I want to see the dragons. Maybe Martin will put out another book by the time I get done with the series.

***Update:  I have watched Season 1 of the show now. It does stay pretty true to the books, but I am definitely glad I read the story first. I feel like I am much more in tune with the show and characters. 

View all my reviews

A Song of Ice and Fire Series