A Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire and Ice

Everybody else in the world has posted their review, so I wanted to post a quick review of A Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire and Ice: Book One by George RR Martin.

The HBO series “Game of Thrones” has thrown a lot of light on the A Song of Fire and Ice book series by George R.R. Martin. I’m one of those people who saw the first few episodes and ran right out to buy A Game of Thrones, the first book in the Fire & Ice series.

Purists who were reading before television put its spin on these stories likely would complain, but I bought the hardback edition with Sean Bean on the cover, sitting on a throne in his persona as Eddard “Ned” Stark. Since anyone interested in Sean Bean already knows what he looks like, I’ll show you one of the original book covers.

A Game of Thrones - Fire and Ice - George R.R. MartinIf I had it to do over again, I’d probably buy a more traditional version. I now know about the deluxe “George R.R. Martin Song Of Ice and Fire Hardcover Box Set” that I’d like to add to my collection. This box set features the first four novels in the series: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy the writing at the time, so I didn’t buy the deluxe set.

I recommend anyone who enjoys fantasy stories, historical realism, or political intrigue to give A Game of Thrones a try, whether it’s the tv version or the literature. Reading the first book (and subsequent novels), I can say that amateur historians are going to find stark parallels between real world empires and kingdoms and the fictional kingdoms of Westeros and its neighboring realms. George R.R. Martin has read history and it animates his imagination, though he has enough creativity that this is a fresh, dynamic story.

Let me warn those who like heroic triumph and happy endings that A Game of Thrones makes no promises. One of the noted features of a George RR Martin world is that it doesn’t have sacred cows. Anything can happen at anytime, which keeps the reader on his or her toes at all time. That kind of tension makes for interesting reading.

I’ve read other reviewers charge the story of the Stark and Lannister and Targaryen families to be rancid. I’d say there’s some truth to that, but if you like gritty fantasy stories with realistic portrayals of characters playing for the highest stakes, then rancid can be good. Understand what you’re getting into, if you’re easily upset or want a pat story–not that there’s anything wrong with that.

George R.R. Martin is a master of characterization and a master of dialogue, so if you prefer high levels of either in your popular fiction, you should enjoy A Game of Thrones. These are long books, but I enjoy the first book of A Song of Fire and Ice that I went out and bought the later books. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to review those in the comings weeks and months.


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