#2 A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

22 Nov

A Song of Ice & Fire – Book 1 of 7

A Game of Thrones - Front Cover

A Game of Thrones – Front Cover

Goodreads rating: 4.42 (286,190 ratings)

My rating: 9/10

Why it’s on the list: Because it’s AWESOME, that’s why… No, it’s on there because I wanted to read the books before watching the TV show. I like to visualise the characters and the settings without the influence of a TV show.

First published: August 6th, 1996 by Bantan Spectra

Genre: Fantasy/Epic

Where do I begin? A Game of Thrones is set in a fantasy world, where seasons can last years, and there are continuing feuds between the Noble Houses of Westeros (family dynasties) – of which there are 9, the guards on The Wall in the North called the Night’s Watch who protect the seven kingdoms from the mystery and terror further North, and the Free City of Pentos in the East. Winterfell, in the North, is where it begins, and throughout the book it switches from different perspectives of different characters. I was as confused as I’m sure you are. Thankfully, in the edition of the book I had, there were maps in the opening pages, and in the back pages were summaries of all the Noble Houses, as well as the sub-houses, and who was who in each.

The North & The South

The North & The South

The Land Beyond the Wall & The Land in the East

The Land Beyond the Wall & The Land in the Eas

Houses Appendix

Houses Appendix

Each chapter is from the perspective of a different character. There are 8 characters whose point of view we get to see, the majority of them part of the Stark family, who rule the North and are based in Winterfell. I found this the best (and only plausible) way that this book could have been written. With the sheer amount of Lords, Ladies, Kings, Queen, Knights (or Sers as they’re called), servants, Maesters and children, it’s hard enough as is to keep up with who’s who and who hates/loves who, that the separation makes it much easier.

A Game of Thrones is such an epic book, that there is no simple way to explain the story without giving too much away, or confusing you into not wanting to read it, but the main themes in it are betrayal, power, family, class systems, coming of age, justice, & gender. Women’s roles in this world are medieval to me, although when I was writing this, I realised that there are plenty of similar goings on in the 21st Century. Girls are betrothed to men they don’t know, baby girls are seen as a disability – boys are the desired child, and so on. However, Catelyn Stark, and her daughter Arya, defy these traditional roles – of course, making them (particularly Arya ) my favourite characters (as you can see by her prominence in the quotes I chose below!). Well, apart from the direwolves, which in my mind are THE CUTEST THINGS EVER!

I will warn you though, there are some disturbing moments in the book, especially some passages involving rape. However, I believe these parts are necessary in the story to give you a sense of a woman’s worth in some of the lands, particularly those to the East.

Notable quotes

“I’m Arya Stark of Winterfell, and if you lay a hand on me my lord father will have both your heads on spikes. If you don’t believe me, fetch Jory Cassel or Vayon Poole from the Tower of the Hand.” She put her hands on her hips. “Now are you going to open the gate, or do you need a clout on the ear to help your hearing?”Arya Stark

“My words lied. My eyes and my arm shouted out the truth, but you were not seeing.”Syrio, Arya Stark’s Sword Teacher

“The Night’s Watch is a sworn brotherhood. We have no families. None of us will ever father sons. Our wife is duty. Our mistress is honor.”Benjen Stark

“Your crimes will be washed away, your debts forgiven. So too you must wash away your former loyalties, put aside your grudges, forget old wrongs and old loves alike. Here you begin anew.”Lord Commander Mormont

“My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind… and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”Tyrion Lannister

If she choked on the blood or retched up the flesh, the omens were less favorable; the child might be stillborn, or come forth weak, deformed, or female. – Passage from Daenerys’ chapter

Past reviews

“an absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal.” – Phyllis Eisenstein, Chicago Sun-Times

Bits & pieces

  • Took Martin 5 years to write A Game of Thrones
  • The series ideas began when Martin was a child, and involved a Turtle kingdom, with Lords, Kings & Knights.


12 Responses to “#2 A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin”

  1. meg November 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Love Game of Thrones! I am onto Book 3, part two. Book 3 part one took me a while to get through – but I have heard this is one the more tiresome of the books to get through.

    • hms1990 November 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

      Thanks for reading! I’ve heard book 2 is fantastic, but haven’t heard much else about the later books. Do you also watch the series?

      • meg November 23, 2012 at 8:46 am #

        Yeah I have – but I am reading the book before I watch the season it relates to. It is probably one of the best book to TV/movie transition I’ve seen – very true to the story.

  2. kittylove November 26, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    I haven’t read the books or seen the tv show, but I think I’ll add this to my holiday reading. I love fantasy series, my all time favourite are the books by David Eddings!

    • hms1990 November 26, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

      If you love fantasy, you should DEFINITELY read these. I’d highly recommend reading the books before watching the show aswell

      • kittylove November 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

        I will definitely get these onto my e-reader to read on my flight next week!

      • hms1990 November 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

        Ooh where are you going?

  3. The Book Haven June 16, 2013 at 4:42 am #

    I’m about to read A Game of Thrones. Just curious to know how would you rate it against The Lord of the Rings?

    • hms1990 June 16, 2013 at 7:27 am #

      I actually haven’t read Lord of the Rings but from what I know, they’re very different styles of story


  1. Stories Sitting on the Shelf | books are the best - March 23, 2013

    […] A Clash of Kings – George R R Martin: Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. Read my review of the first ‘A Song of Ice & Fire’ novel here.  […]

  2. Teaser Tuesday | books are the best - April 9, 2013

    […] I’m up to page 254, and am loving it so far. But not quite as much as I loved the first one, A Game of Thrones. My teaser is from page […]

  3. #21 A Clash of Kings – George R R Martin | books are the best - May 5, 2013

    […] it’s on the list: I finished the first book last year, and want to continue the series and finish this book before I watch Season 2 of the TV […]

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