“‘Let me give you some counsel, bastard,’ Lannister said. ‘Never forget who you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.'”
“A Game of Thrones: Book One of a Song of Fire and Ice” by George R. R. Martin
It should really be of no surprise that my own fantasy works have been singing so much lately when one considers the excellent reading material I’ve been scouring through to inspire me. It’s also a shame that I seem to have put off getting into George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series until just now; this is what epic fantasy is made of and it’s absolutely brilliant. My roommate has sped ahead of me onto the next audio book, and she’s even already ordered the HBO series on DVD. Me, for now, I’m just content to sit here and glow about the book and everything that it has been doing for me and my own writing.
Spanning throughout several lands across the world, A Game of Thrones is justly titled, as several factions and many players cross the board in a bid for power. In the south, the Lannisters are taking steps to secure the throne; in the far reaches of a barbarian land, the last remaining Targaryens seek strength with brutal nomads. And to the north, in Winterfell, the Starks are caught somewhere in between, thrown into the political games around them not entirely by choice, while, beyond the Wall, something else far greater than the battles fought by men stirs…
A Game of Thrones is exceptionally well-paced for a big heavy fantasy epic; Martin does a wonderful job of making clear, concise characters, rarely muddling us up with too many details, though never sparing us on the rich depth involved in his world. Even his battle scenes are swift, not weighted down with too many details, and you can bet he’s not wasting time on lengthly passages about riding (*cough*Tolkein*cough*Jordan) The story plays out from the perspectives of a handful of main players, from Lord Eddard Stark, his wife, and four of his children, to Daenerys Targaryen, bartered to barbarian by her brother though her own strength builds in her experience, to Tyrion Lannister, dwarfish brother to the twins working their machinations to take over the throne. Each narrative is vibrant with the personality of the character, giving us so many rich perspectives on the situations that have you vying a little bit for every side. While your find yourself with very clear loyalties, they’re often complex, as the real world may be. Part of you wants to root for one faction, while another part of you sympathized with the other, and another part still is cheering for the third element to the game. I love that, in my reading, there is no clear bad guy; even the good guys make bad moves. No one is completely villainized, and those who may seem to be on a pedestal are really just standing on crumbling rubble.
Okay, okay. A good way into the book, I finally did agree with my roommate that Prince Joffrey is completely terrible. But I maintain that he’s the only one. (Yes, those of you familiar, I even have a soft spot for Viserys; bitch is crazy, but I love that crazy is a completely natural response to the position he’s in and his obsessions taking over him).
I cannot express enough how much this book has rekindled in me my love for fantasy. Growing up, it was the DragonLance books and the Wheel of Time that capture my imagination and inspired me to want to write my own fantasy worlds, too. A Game of Thrones is awakening that spark again, and if I can make my Aryneth series as rich, as engaging, as spectacular as A Song of Fire and Ice by even a fraction, I will be happy.
Even better, this works toward my second book in the Tea & Books Challenge, too!
Books read: 8/100.
Glad you enjoyed this one! Khal Drogo was my favorite character, lol. He was the man.
I’ve only read the first two books in the series, although I’ve had book three on my TBR pile for a while.
Ohhh, yes, Khal Drogo was a total BAMF. I adored his relationship with Dany, and the end of that first book totally made me wibble a little. But I can’t say he’s my favorite. That title belongs to Tyrion.
Tyrion is pretty awesome. He’s also the only Lannister that I actually like. 😀
I only recently got with these as well, after watching the HBO show (they did an excellent job). I then read the first book which was a little bit of a trawl after just seeing the show. I’ve now read the second book which is also very good. Not to give any spoilers but Tyrion still gets most of the best dialogue. I’m planning to read book three soon (I like to read a fiction, a non-fiction, then something else e.g. biography, in a cycle).
I’m excited to check out the series when it gets here; I’ve heard great things! And, really, it’s no surprise Tyrion still gets the best lines; he’ is, in my opinion, one of the best characters!
I imagine Tyrion was the most fun of the characters to write and depending on George’s character, possibly the easiest. I’m now debating whether to read the third book soon (the second finishes with many open stories, much like the first does), or wait until I’ve watched the second season on HBO.
You ought to have a category or menu option which links to your 100 book project so it is easy to get to your posting of each book.
[…] L.S. Engler A writer. Writing. About writing. HomeAbout.Featured Story. ← The 100 Books Project: A Game of Thrones. […]
Just something to keep in mind, shapeshifting doesn’t have to be an animal, could be an element (earth, air, fire, water, spirit, angel, a ghost that shapeshifts), could be a piece of furniture, it could even be a tree, bush, flower, cloud. It could have many different story lines, the possibilities are truly endless. Allow your imagination room to grow. Tap into your teen years and think of one incident, either yours or someone else’s, then think about how it could have been different if you or they could have shapeshifted; how would the story have turned out differently? Let your imagination run wild. I hope to read another of your stories soon.
I feel like I’ve had my head under a rock. In my local coffee shop there was a count down to the start of the 2nd series but I had no idea what they were talking about. And everyone was talking about it.
So I’m going to get the DVD’s and I’m going to catch up.
I haven’t read the books, but the HBO series had me addicted to the story, of wanting — no yearning — to know what was going to happen next. Maybe I’ll have to pick up the books instead of waiting around for the next season…