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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Look at Books: George R. R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones"

Posted by Nathaniel at 4:02 PM
Books and LiteratureI just finished reading George R. R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones" this weekend, and I've got the desire to talk about it.

Warning! The potential for spoilers is highly probable!

This is a story unlike any I've ever read previously. Martin's ability to subtly blend a true-to-life tale of deceit and betrayal with very soft-spoken magical and fantasy elements in one medieval world is unmatched. You get the story of a throne, and those who do and do NOT wish to sit upon it. It's a tale cleverly told, and very realistic in its construction. This isn't sword and sorcery fantasy. This is kings and wars and deception and greed and sex and murder and innocence and death. It's at once beautiful and horrifying in its portrayal of royal families and their allegience to their masters.

I had read in forums from experts that claimed you can't become attached to any character in George R. R. Martin's books. And this is true. The characters you believe infallible are not, and the one you believe to be the hero may end up being the martyr. This isn't done to "keep things interesting" or some such nonsense. The story actually comes to these points honestly and it feels natural as opposed to forced for some sort of "shock factor".

You can tell this is the first book of a series because the groundwork is being laid. Whispers of a force of soldiers coming from the north, with ice in their veins and a thirst for the destruction of all humans. Dragons being reborn under the watchful eye of the last of the line of Targaryens. From the story being told right now, you feel at the end of 'A Game of Thrones' that Robb Stark will soon be fighting a battle on three fronts. The Lannisters in front of him, the Others coming down from the north, and the Dothraki soon to be cutting across the sea, the power of dragons in their midst.

The most important aspect of this story is not so much how well it's told, but how interested it makes you in reading more. I have to read the next book. I have no choice. I must know what happens to House Stark. I must know how Daenerys endears her new dragons to her. I must know what the Starks do with Jaime Lannister. I must know. I have no choice.

Winter is coming...


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