A Game of Thrones is an fantasy novel in which George R. R. Martin weaves an epic tale filled with kings, queens, lords, heirs, friends, love, war, and of course deceit.
The people the north and the south have been experiencing a long summer for many years. Some of the children have never experienced winter, but they will soon, because winter is coming.
Here is a blurb from the back cover: “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.”
A Game of Thrones is a large novel, the paperback has 835 pages including the appendix, which provides an explanation of each House and characters. With the large number of characters, the appendix comes in handy for anyone who has a hard time remembering who’s who.
There are some who despise prologues, as they are often unnecessary. The details in the prologue could have been easily woven into the story, however, it did help to set the intense, creepy, scary, “winter is coming”, mood. I immediately fell in love with Martin’s descriptions.
Chapter 1 starts from Bran Stark’s point of view, who is only 7 years old. We learn about many other characters, such as Mance Rayder (King beyond the wall), Jon Snow, Robb, Lord Eddard Stark, and Theon Greyjoy. Jon is 14 years old, slender, with dark hair and dark eyes, while his half-brother Robb is the complete opposite with a more muscular build, blue eyes, and red hair.
“Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”, Bran asked his father.
“That is the only time a man can be brave”, answered Lord Stark.
My favourite character is Daenerys Stormborn. When the story begins she is only 13 years old. A stunning young lady with silvergold hair, and purple eyes. Her father was the King, killed by the Kingslayer, and her mother died giving birth to Dany, which her brother Viserys uses as fuel to torment and abuse Dany.
King Aerys Targaryen, Dany’s father, is responsible for the deaths of Lord Eddard Stark’s brother Brandon, and sister Lyanna. That is just one example of the tangle web of complicated relationships in A Game of Thrones.
Some of my favourite quotes & passages:
“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness”. ~ Tyrion Lannister
“At evenfall, as the sun sets and we face the gathering night, you shall take your vows. From that moment, you will be a Sworn Brother of the Night’s Watch. Your crimes will be washed away, your debts forgiven. So too you must wash away your former loyalties, put aside your grudges, forget old wrongs and old loves alike. Here you begin anew.
A man of the Night’s Watch lives his life for the realm. Not for a king, nor a lord, nor the honor of this house, neither for gold nor glory nor a woman’s love, but for the realm, and all the people in it. A man of the Night’s Watch takes no wife and fathers no sons. Our wife is duty. Our mistress is honor. And you are the only sons we shall ever know.”
I found most of the book suspenseful. There is a lot of dialogue which helps to move the story forward, and the details are just enough to make you feel submersed within this fantasy world, and yet not too much detail so that you feel bored or labored.
If you enjoy epic fantasy stories you’ll love A Game of Thrones. As a fan of The Wheel of Time series, and The Sword of Truth series, I finished reading A Game of Thrones yesterday, and have already started reading the second novel of the series, A Clash of Kings.