A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R. R. Martin: Book Review

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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. -Goodreads

My Review

My Rating: 5/5

SPOILER FREE

This is one of the greatest first books in a fantasy series. The writing style is not to everyone’s taste, but I found it accessible and the language was beautiful. I could see and hear and smell the world of Westeros around me.

It is rare in fantasy that the magic system takes such a backseat. This is a story about people, rather than magic. Yes, there are some fantastical elements – some hinted at and the odd thing blatant – but it’s Martin’s characters that make this book the great epic that it is.

There are quite a few points of view, all of which are exciting to follow. Ned is too honourable for such a corrupt world. Cat is fierce and fights well with her mind against the odds. Bran, oh Bran, you poor thing. Jon Snow’s story is a little slow, but his character growth will be interesting. Tyrion is a favourite, of course. Arya and Sansa are opposites in every way – Sansa may be a pain in the ass, but there’s a reason for that. Arya is so much fun to read! Her story is going to get so cool soon, I’m sure. And finally, Daenerys is a great character full of potential – it’s great to see another side of the world; I think Martin has balanced this out well.

In summary, this is an incredible read and I think it’s the only book these days that I would happily reread – I haven’t felt like that since rereading Harry Potter over and over again as a kid!


(Possible) SPOILER SECTION

To kill of a main character like that was brave, but it worked! Ned was a favourite, but Martin did a great job of making it so that we knew he had done everything he could. A man like Eddard Stark could not live for long in a world as hostile and corrupt as Westeros – it just doesn’t fit in with the rules.

The squabbling sisters, Arya and Sansa, seems to be more of an introduction to their characters and a set up for them having their own, main plotlines further into the series. Now that they are splitting off, I’m excited to see what will happen with Arya and Sansa is going to have a hell of a time at Kings Landing.

Cat is going to want revenge for that. If she responded to Bran’s “accident” by abducting a Lannister, what will she do now Geoffrey had Ned executed? This also leaves Robb, a young man – a boy – at the head of the Stark family, so he’s got big boots to fill well before his time.

Tyrion is so much fun to follow! I can’t wait to see more of his wit in the next book. He’s going to get stuck into the politics and shake things up a bit.

Daenerys has her dragons! They’re only babies, so I’m sure we’re going to see more of her struggling for now. She has a lot to get done before she can fight for the Iron Throne.

(review written after reading all books currently out)

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