Book Review: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice 1)

A Game of Thrones

4 open books the girl in the steel corset

Author: George R.R. Martin
Genre: High Fantasy
Published: August 2005 by Bantam. First published on August 6, 1996
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Synopsis: 

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.

Review: 

Whew! I thought the book would never end. Haha.

I started reading The Game of Thrones in June of this year. It was only now that I finally finished it. And I’ll explain why in a bit.

First, a bit of an introduction of how I learned about this. If it wasn’t for a former work colleague who called herself “Khaleesi,” I wouldn’t have known that this high fantasy exists. It’s funny because I thought that was her real name. Another funny thing is that I thought J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was already epic. It turns out I’m wrong. 😀

That was in 2012.

I know. I wondered, too, why it took me that long to get a copy and read it in its entirety. But I’ll tell you why:

It was because of Jon Snow being stabbed by his black brothers on the season finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones!

Haha! Crazy, I know.

I just couldn’t accept that he was going to die. After Ned, Rob, Catelyn, and Drogo being killed off in the previous seasons, I don’t think I can handle it anymore. He’s one of the reasons I’m still watching the show! Oh, the feels.

Anyway, when my friend told me that that the scene wasn’t exactly in the book, I just have to find out. And what better way to dig in for the truth than to start at the very beginning: Song of Fire and Ice book 1.

Now about the book.

It’s a quite a read. Although I’ve read books with more pages than it has, like Gone with the Wind, which I finished in less than a week, reading A Game of Thrones felt really long. Like reeeeaaaallly loooong.

And I guess there three probable explanations as to why I think so.

First, I saw the show before reading it. So, that’s a big no. If you haven’t caught the GoT bug, I suggest you read the books first before you watch the TV show. Otherwise, you’ll spoil the thrill. That’s what happened. Since I already know the majors plots of the story, I no longer have the patience to read.

Second, I was afraid to reach that part when Ned’s head got cut off. I was so disheartened when he was guillotined in the show that witnessing that part vicariously for the second time is like rubbing salt on fresh wounds. I didn’t think I can handle the feels. Haha! And that’s the reason it took me this long to finish the book.

Third, the first half was just so dull and boring. While I was reading the first few chapters, I was, like, when will George finish the describing the scenes? Who are these people that he mentioned, were they in chapter two, chapter three? And What is he talking about?

…. .

I’ve read classic books before and I never had any problems understanding them. For this one, however, I sometimes have to go back the previous paragraphs just to understand his point. The writing style wasn’t bad, though. In fact, I think George R.R. Martin is brilliant and talented. It’s just that there were too many characters mentioned, the plots and sub-plots were intricate, and some jargons weren’t common English terms. It’s like he created a new language just for the book series, and I guess that’s what makes it special.

In the book, George R.R. Martin used the point of views of different characters to the tell the story. There’s the side of Jon, Arya, Sansa, Ned, Catelyn, Daenerys, Tyrion and Bran. And each character has their own story to tell. George did a good job at that because I think it would be really hard to understand the character’s thoughts, feelings and actions if he did otherwise. You’d be really lost if you’re reading such a complicated storyline as if you’re in the bleachers watching the whole thing unfold.

Overall, A Game of Thrones will definitely take you to a completely different world. Although the setting is similar to the medieval era, with their clothes, knights, lords and castles, but it’s nothing like King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It’s also not based on legends. And, it’s definitely not like The Lord of the Rings. Sure, it has its own share of dragons and magic, but you couldn’t really tell that they’re the same. Anyway, I’m not making anymore sense here. Haha.

So yeah, if haven’t seen the TV adaptation, I suggest you start reading the book. It’ll prepare you for the worse that will come. Also, even though the genre is fantasy (high or epic), I think this should be for 18 years old and above due to written scenes depicting violence, nudity and sexual. Parents, this is nothing like Harry Potter, I tell you. 

Lastly, don’t get warmed up on the characters because George R.R. Martin is known for killing off  important people in the book. You don’t want to end up like me in a sob fest when Lord Eddard Stark was killed.

Favorite Quotes: 

A Lannister always pays his debts.

I think I will try and sleep. Wake me if we’re about to die.

Life is not a song, sweetling. You may learn that one day to your sorrow.

A bruise is a lesson … and each lesson makes us better.

The seeing, the true seeing, that is the heart of it.

Just so. Opening your eyes is all that is needing. The heart lies and the head plays tricks with us, but the eyes see true. Look with your eyes. Hear with your ears. Taste with your  mouth. Smell with your nose. Feel with your skin. Then comes the thinking, afterward, and in that way knowing the truth.

Fear cuts deeper than swords.

Swift as a deer. Quiet as a shadow. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Quick as a snake. Calm as still water. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Strong as a bear. Fierce as a wolverine. Fear cuts deeper than swords. The man who fears losing has already lost. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords.

Never do what they expect.

They say wisdom oft comes from the mouths of babes.

You must make that choice yourself, and live with it all the rest of your days.

When soldiers lack discipline, the fault lies with their lord commander.

Fear can fever a man’s mind and give him queer thoughts.

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