Thursday, February 21, 2013

Vouched Book! A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin
Book #1 of A Song of Ice and Fire series
Publication: January 1st 2003 by Bantam
Genre: Adventure; Epic Fantasy

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Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

A Game of Thrones was an interesting and page-turning start to a great series. You are introduced early on to Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell, the head of the Stark family and beloved friend of King Robert. Eddard, referred to as Ned throughout the entire novel, is a simple man of uncompromising values and morals. He protects his family first, everyone else comes second. That promise is tested when his King makes him The Hand, which basically makes Ned ruler of the country while King Robert does whatever he wants, other than be a king.

Other stories are told in the novel, primarily that of Daenarys Targaryen,a princess of the recently assasinated royal family, deposed by Robert and his allies. Her story makes you want to murder her brother, Viserys, who trades his sister for a warlord's help in getting his throne back. She is a meek character at first, but as she grows to love her husband and his people, she becomes the dragon her brother pretends to be.

Another point of view that I liked in the novel was that of Jon Snow, Ned's bastard son. He is looked down upon by Ned's wife Catelyn, but loved by the rest of the Stark family, especially by Ned's youngest daughter Arya, who is a bit of a trouble maker. He takes the black, which basically means he becomes a soldier for the King but can never father children of his own, nor can he even make love to a woman. You see him struggle at first, but then his father's blood comes out and he becomes a leader and mentor to the other boys that have joined the Night's Watch.

The characters you come to hate are easy: The Lannisters. The queen does anything she can to protect her dark secret that nearly claims the life of one Stark child. Her brother, called Kingslayer for his fatal attack against the old King, is keen with a blade and doesn't care what he has to do to protect his family. Then there is the other Lannister, Tyrion. Born a dwarf in a highborn family, you come to like him, no matter what he does. He gives hope to some and makes mice out of others.

All in all, I really like A Game of Thrones as well as the rest of the series. It's interesting and keeps you intrigued to the very end and makes you want to read more.