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.
I started the first book in the Game of Thrones series last year, but I only made it about three quarters of the way through before I needed to sacrifice it for my uni work. When I picked it up again on the weekend, I realised that I couldn’t remember anything that happened and I’d need to start again.
Game of Thrones presents a bleak, melancholic setting in the Seven Kingdoms where being a ‘good’ character doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to stay alive. When you play the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die. A lot of people die. A lot. And George R.R. Martin’s writing style is direct, pace-y (not sure that’s a word), and invites the reader into the story. The book changes point of view between Eddard, Catelyn, Jon, Arya, Sansa, Tyrion, Bran, and Daenerys. Despite the vast number of POV’s, Martin has captured a different, unique voice for all of the characters and you don’t ever feel like there’s a cross over. Martin captures Tyrion’s quick wit and humour, but then uses Daenerys to illustrate naivety and fragility.
I do wonder what will happen with Bran, because after he ‘falls’ from the tower and becomes a cripple, his POV seems to set up what is going to happen to him later in the series. At least you know he’s going to live for a while, because after the shock death at the end of the novel, the reader will want to know that their favourite characters are actually going to make it through the Game of Thrones.
I applaud Martin on the world he’s built and the way in which he reveals information. When _____ (that line is intentional – I don’t want to give away the ending) dies at the end of the novel, Martin doesn’t bog the story down with revealing how each character found out about the death. Catelyn’s POV is set after she’s already found out, so the pace doesn’t slow down and the reader doesn’t have to relive ______’s death. I’ll definitely be picking up the next book in the series, A Clash of Kings, although I’ll wait until I have the time to read it, because if I pause even for a few days, I’ll have to start over again, and the book is too long for me to want to do that.
My Score: 9/10