Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #1
Published by Bantam Press on August 6th, 1996
Genres: Adult, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, High Fantasy
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.
I think like everyone else, I was seriously daunted by the size of A Game Of Thrones, in spite of how much I wanted to read it. So yeah, for some I “did it in the wrong order” – I watched the TV series before I read the book. But you know what? I don’t care. I love the series and I love the book and reading it after being exposed to the elaborate world was definitely the right order for me.
Like you would expect from most high fantasies, A Game of Thrones‘s strength is in the world building. This world is just incredibly thorough and deep. I absolutely adore every single inch of it. There’s just so much history and thought put into this. And my fear there would be that it would read too slowly and get too info-dumpy. It definitely does not. There is constantly something interesting happening in the story. Every hint about how the world pieces together intrigued me. I was completely enchanted.
But there’s a lot of action as well, and that keeps the story moving. In almost 800 pages, I cannot say for a single moment that I was bored or that the story felt too slow. The writing is also incredibly fluid, so once you get into it, it’s not hard at all to keep reading.
Most will probably know that this is the series with a gazillion characters. I absolutely love that though. Even though the story switches perspectives all the time, that doesn’t get cumbersome – it just paints a full picture. Some perspectives I like more than others, but those that know the series would know why – there’s so many hateful characters anyway. But the different perspectives are really distinct and my love for my favorites was reinforced here: Arya, Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon. While Daenerys maybe sparked a little less than she did in the TV series for me, Jon was a thousand times better. And particularly his bond with Arya was just so beautiful. I honestly want to cry knowing that they will probably never see each other again. WAHHHHHHH. To the club of Sansa fanatics: I still don’t get it – but I’m still trying to keep an open mind.
As far as the characters went, it was so much easier that I knew the TV series. The names can get confusing, and from my position of knowledge it felt like it was a re-read – I could see links between characters that become significant later. That again shows how much planning and crafting was put into this series. That really blows me away. George R.R. Martin is an incredible storytelling.
While the story thus was no surprise to me, I loved the way it was told. The first season of the TV series is pretty much identical to the book. But I love it nonetheless. You clearly see influences of historical fiction. Particularly the political intrigue totally draws me in. Then, of course, there’s the dramatic plot twists and shocking gore. It’s a book with something for everyone. Seriously.