Thursday, 31 May 2012

Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin



I didn't want to get sucked into it. I really didn't. I did, however, kind of want to watch the show and decided that, the weekend after I finished work experience, I would have myself a nice marathon of HBO's Game of Thrones

Did I mention I was doing work experience at HarperCollins? And that on my last day, I discovered the employee store?

So, of course, the day before I had planned a marathon of Game of Thrones, I came out with all the books in paperback (which I had gotten for an astounding pound fifty.) Which meant, of course, I was going to have to read them first. 

If you have absolutely no idea what Game of Thrones is about, don't worry: I really didn't either. It's not high fantasy and it's not just blood and gore. It's really, at its heart, a historical novel that just doesn't happen to be based on real history. 

At the beginning of the novel, we join the Starks, a lord and his family that live up on their estate at Winterfell, keeping control of the North. However, the king, an old friend of Ned Stark from when they were young, journeys up to meet him and ask him to be his new Hand (sort of like a chief advisor/vice president), due to the unfortunate sudden death of his old Hand, another friend of theirs from youth. Reluctantly, Stark agrees and sets in motion this epically complicated and intricate tale about different warring families. 

Those of you that have heard it's basically the War of the Roses? Well, the two main houses are Stark and Lannister so you decide. :)

One thing I found very surprising about this novel was how quickly it read. Don't get me wrong; it's a monster at 780 or so pages. However, each chapter is no more than tennish pages and is told in varying points of view. The first chapter is told by Bran, the seven year old son of Ned Stark, only to get views from different members of his family (although, now that I think of it, not from Robb), various people of other houses and other characters that don't seem to be involved at all but we know they will become important later (I'm looking at you, Dany.) So, as you are reading through, you may find yourself flipping ahead, wondering when you're going to get to Arya again or catch up with Jon. Or that may just be me.

Another surprising thing, and I will say this right now so you don't find yourself trapped like I am, is that this whole first 750 page book? Is just the set up. It ends and that's when you know that things are really going to start happening. And it took 750 pages to get there. Can you imagine how long and epic this series is going to be? What I'm saying is, be careful. This series is a time investment.

However, it is surprisingly wonderful. I tore through the first book in a week or so. I'm halfway through book two at the moment. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it and am really looking forward to reading more. If you think fantasy or medieval nonsense isn't your thing, give it a try. You may be surprised.

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