It was with some trepidation that I picked up my kindle and started reading the first installment in R.R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones. For one, the sheer number of pages (831-not counting the many Appendices of course) had me thinking, do I really want to start this. What finally did it for me was watching the first episode of HBO’s adaptation and I couldn’t wait to see be with these characters again.
I would have assumed that everyone watched season 1 and 2 of the installments of the books on HBO, but just to be sure, before I give any spoilers I will give ample warning, so you can skip ahead it you so desire.
sooo…I’m gonna try to make this as short as possible, with as little spoilers as I possibly can.
The HBO series left out a lot of history and background information about the ruling houses simple because there was no way all of that information could have possibly fit into 12 episodes of 90 minutes. The series though was well written and gave viewers snippets here and there of how the houses came into power and how they mostly hate each other as they do.
Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark is honour and duty embodied, Best friends with the King Robert Baratheon, father to 6 children(including his bastard son, Jon Snow) and Lord of Winterfell. This is a book with plenty people, so I will try to make this as simple as possible for the non-fans to keep up. The book is narrated in the third person from the perspective of 8 main characters and some minor characters here and there. The books follow three storylines in three different locations; In the seven Kingdoms, On the wall and in the Far East across the narrow sea. Martin’s Characters all have important roles which sometimes make reading the book kind of overwhelming yet you become so intrigued with them that you will want to stick with it anyways.
LORD OF WINTERFELL
Ned Stark will be a likeable character to most because of his great sense of duty and his fairness to all. Ned became Lord of Winterfell when his Brother Brandon and Father was murdered by the then King Aery Targaryen. His best friend became King, Robert Baratheon and life goes on very well. Ned rule the north on the premise of duty and honour while Robert ruled Kings landing with whoring and drinking as much alcohol as his rotund figure would allow him. The story really picked up when Robert and his queen, Cersei (nee: Lannister) and his children, Joffery, Mycella and Tommen visits the Starks in the north at Wnterfell. Without giving too much away, someone got crippled, a possible act of treason was found out and the grand consensus was for Ned stark to leave with the King to investigate these matters. At Kings Landing dutiful Ned found himself in political manoeuvres and power games that he is not familiar with, all destination leading to the Iron throne and who is going to be sitting on it. In the midst of him finding out and revealing the truth to the King an unexpected event happens which set the tone for what will be happening in the next installment of the next six books to come.
PRINCESS DAENERYS TARGARYEN/ DROGO
Meanwhile over in the far east Viserys Targaryen and his baby sister Daenerys are a far way from home after narrowly escaping from Westeros with their lives after the annihilation of the Targaryens during Roberts rebellion.
Viserys is a douche and Daenerys is as gentle as a dove. Viserys plots and schemes and go as far as to sell his sister on his quest to return to Westeros to claim the iron throne that is ‘rightfully his’. Enter Khal Drogo in all his sexiness. On her wedding day to Khal Drogo, Daenerys was given three petrified dragon eggs as she sets off with her husband and his Dothraki horse warriors. She grew up during this journey and gain the respect of the warriors and her husband even more so when she became pregnant with “the stallion who will mount the world”, a child who is prophesied to unite and rule the Dothraki and will lead them to conquer the entire world. without giving too much away, some stuff happened and remember those Dragon eggs she got as a wedding gift, well lets just say she is now and hereafter will be known as the Mother of Dragons.
CAN WE TALK ABOUT KHAL DROGO NOW?
Well, this stallion of a man is just as Martin described; Strong, fierce warrior who never lost a battle. Though the Dothraki plunder, rape and burn villages and are considered as savages by most, Martin allows the reader to form their own opinion of Drogo and was able to bring out his humanity with the help of his Queen. When they are together he is transformed into a gentle loving being. His love, there was no parallel for his passion for her and his unborn child. Therefore when the very life was sucked from him Daenerys had no choise but to let him go. question is, will he ever return?
When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, when the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves, when your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before. Mirri Maz Duur.
JON SNOW ON THE WALL
Ned stark Bastard, Jon Snow left Winterfell and journeyed to the wall because let’s be honest, Catelyn hates his guts and he would never be accepted as a Stark. The men of the wall, Crows so named because of the colour of their coats sole purpose is to protect the realm from what lies beyond the wall. From the glimpses of the ‘whitewalkers’ we can admit that some pretty scary stuff does exist beyond the safety of the wall. So, Jon agreed to become a member of the Night watch, that means, no wearing of coloured clothing ever again, no having of sex, ever, no communicating with family (as a matter a fact, the nights watch is your only family). so when events came to a boil and the Starks find themselves in a lot of pickle, as much as Jon would like to dash to the rescue like a gallant knight. He could not.
Not sure what to make of Jon snow just yet. so far he is a likeable chap since he is the underdog now. He is eager to prove himself and readers can identify with this youthful exuberance. A hint of ambition is noticeable though and one can only wonder, with current events in Kings Landing, if this young chap will be joining that Game in race for the Iron Throne eventually.
What I really like about this book is how Martin allows the reader to form their own opinion about every character. No character is treated more special than any with any regards. Even the Beloved mother of Dragons experienced lost in a great magnitude. Martin allows you to grow so close to a character and then , boom, just like, they are no more.
Once you become accustomed to the heavy narratives and in some instances chapters of lesser characters (they will become important later) then this is a book that you can thoroughly enjoy.