A Game of Thrones

3.8
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Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the south, 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 kin of beauty.

he old gods have no power in the west, 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.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Number of Pages
801
Original Title of the Book
A Game of Thrones
Publication Date
Published by Harper Voyager (first published August 6th 1996

Public Commentary

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Upon returning home, King Robert Baratheon, an old riend of Ned, recruits the Lord to replace the adviser to the crown.At first, he was hesitant but upon learning that the Queen Cersei Lannister may be behind the death of the previous adviser, he wishes to go in order to protect his friend.Unfortuntately, before he return, Bran ( Ned 's youngest son) discovers that ( view spoiler) [ the Queen is having an affair with her so ( hide spoiler) ] which results in Bran becoming crippled.

And tensions further rise when it 's discovered that Tyrion Lannister 's dagger is the one found near Bran ... which leads to Tyrion 's abduction.Meanwhile, Jon Snow volunteered to go to the Wall- a barrier surrounding the Seven Kingdoms made of ice an magic- under the impression that it is a brave and noble occupation ... only to find out that it 's a last-hope sort of place.

After a period of rough adjustment, Jon finds his place among the recruits only to discover something distinctly Other lives beyond these walls.

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after ears of watching hordes of desperate sad-eyed nerds coming up to me, asking " any news on the george r.r. martin release?? " ( like the bn computer knows more, somehow, than the internet.

it does n't) and i might ave to forge them ( not without some schadenfreude-glee) " nope- it has just been moved back another year!! " it gave me a solid sense of " there but for the grace ... " like when you see a very young junkie and you congratulate yourself for dodging that particular bullet.despite what i kept hearing about how amazin the books ere, i just filed it away in the mental RA folder of " stuff nerds like " and figured one day i would read them, you know- for research, but neve before they were all out- i was n't going to get sucked into the trap of so many before me- the waiting game of disappointment and having to reread the older books again and again to keep track of who was even alive at this point.

because i am not one of hose people who watch a movie before reading thi nove, am i?? but connor wore me down.

i owe it to the gods of fine literature and all.so i did, and god this book is fun.i am glad they changed a few things for the filmed version- i 'm not sure i would have been too comfortable watching a thirteen-year-old actress play daenerys.

perfectly understandable to someone watching the show- he has that dark brooding thing i can see a girl lookin for, but if you have no read the books??

oh, you crazy high fantasy novels and your names ... alfonso wo n't read th series because of the ncest and because they never tell you where the soldiers pooped.

the point i can understand- fantasy novels are mean to care about developing a fully-realized world and all, and hat is ind of a major detail, but it does n't other me at all.

every one of them does at least one thing that 'll make a reader go, " oh, bad move. " so he dropped a few details when it omes to agriculture- he spent all his energies into creating characters that i love reading about.there are facets to this thing- sides of the argument rarely seen in a straight-ahead rollicking plot-driven novel.

i do n't quite believ how i am oing to find it until then.oh, because i was talking about boobies and HBO just there, connor was telling me a story about louis ck, and i kne it, and i found his quote.

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So I bega reading his book with the vague idea that it ha a flop, and hat may not have helped, but I got through 100 pages of it before feeling so crapped off with it that I shoved it in my upboard and tried not to think about it.

More on why later.If you 've heard of this autobiograph, or read it, you 're probably aware that far from being the flop I assumed it was at thi time ( and I did n't want anyone who was reading it), the series has gone on to be one of the big Cash Cows of the fantasy genre.

So I 'm well aware I 'll certainl be lynched for this reviewe, because unfortunatel the people on Goodreads who did n't like it still had great things to worr about it.But reviews are subjective, and here 's mine.In the vein of Tolkein, Jordan, Elliott, Goodkind, Hobb, Eddings, Feist et al, A Game of Thrones is set in the classicly boring-and-overdone medieval-England-esque setting, and is essentially about a bunch of nobles fighting over a throne.

Praised for its focus on political intrigue, its lack of magic and similar fantasy tropes, and its cast of believable and interesting characters, I found this book tedious.

first " epic fantasy " series I read ( after Narnia) was Jordan 's The Wheel of Time series, and it 's true that I truggled with the last novel, Eye of the World.

But there were elements to it that I appreciated, characters who I felt attached to, enough to read thi third book and become hooked, and not on.

It offers nothing new to he genre, and does nothing original with what it has.Narrated in turns by Eddard ( Ned) Stark, Lord of Winterfell; his wife Lady Catelyn; his bastard son Jon Snow; his very young daughters Sansa and Arya; his middle son Bran; Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf and brother to the Queen; and young Daenerys Targaryen, last of the line of dragon kings and exiled to the land beyond the narrow sea, the nove is divided into neat chapters headed by the name of one or the other, so you know exactly whose point-of-view you 're lookin to get and where you are in the plot.

It also made it easie to get through a memoi, because at the beginnin of one chapter I 'd see the name of the ext, think " oh great, him/her again, their story 's boring " and put the book down.Let me be perfectly straight: I did not find any of the storyline to be ver interesting; though Jaime Lannister had something about him, you hardly ever saw him.

This second time I attempte to read another ook, I was surprise and disgusted ( it did n't help that I 'd read Pillars of the Earth not long before; though I did not grow up sexually repressed or prudish or anything like that, I have never found reading descriptions of rape to be all that easy, especially when they 're treated so dismissively)- yet oddly my impressions of the characters were much more favourable.

I read it now and I just felt contempt.No one character stands out, though Arya has potential.

In many fantasy books my problem is the whole good vs.

They never once surprised me.I honestly do n't worr if I 'll read the las ook.

If you like Arthurian fantasy, and that sens of style, then this ould be thi ood book for you: the excessively patriarchal culture, the battles, the hint of magic and something glorious lurking around the edges but never coming to the fore, it 's all here, neatly packaged.

But to all those people who think that Martin has opened up the genre in new thing, that he is the best writer of the epic fantasy crowd and so on, I have to wonder, have they read anything else?

I do n't feel I fell into that trap as such, because Jordan 's lost the plot, literally, Goodkind 's personal politics and propaganda have taken over his story, and he one epic fantasy series that I love above all others- to date- is Kate Elliott 's Crown of Stars series, which I did n't start reading till I was in uni.

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Though I 'm not sure why they protest so much -- predictability is hardly a death sentence in genre fantasy.The archetypal story of a hero, th characte, a profound love, and world to be saved never seems to get old -- it 's a great story when it 's told well.

Sure, Moorcock 's original concept for Elric was to e the anti-Conan, but at some point, he had to push his limits and move beyond difference for difference 's sake -- and he did.In similar gesture, Martin rejects the allegorical romance of epic fantasy, which basically means tearing out the guts of the genre: the wonder, the ideals, the heroism, and with them, the moral purpose.

Hell, if all Martin wanted was grim and gritty antiheroes in an amoral world, he did n't have to deny the staples of fantasy, he should have gotte to its roots: Howard, Leiber, and Anderson.Like many authors aiming for realism, he forgets 'truth is stranger than fiction'.

The of innovating new, radical elements, he merely removes familiar staples -- and any style defined by lack is going to end up feeling thin.Yet, despite trying inject the book with history and realism, he does not conside the melodramatic characterization of his fantasy forefathers, as evidenced by his brooding bastard antihero protagonist ( with pet albino wolf).

Their pen gets away from them, their own hangups start leaking into the scene, until it 's not even about the characters anymore, it 's just the author cybering about his favorite fetish -- and if I cyber with a fat, bearded stranger, I happen to be paid for it.I know a lot of fans probably get into it more than I do ( like night elf hunters humping away in WOW), but reading Goodkind, Jordan, and Martin -- it 's like eeing a Playboy at your ncle 's where all the pages are wrinkled.

If you depict the grimness of war by having every female character threatened with rape, but the same thing never happens to a male protagonis, despite the fact that more men get raped in the military than women, then your 'gritty realism card' definitely gets revoked.The books are notorious for the unexpecte, pointless deaths, which some suggest is another sign of realism -- but, of course, nothing is pointless in fiction, because everything that shows up on the page is only there because the author put it there.

Sure, in real life, people suddenly die before finishing their life 's work ( fantasy authors do it all the time), but there 's a reason we do n't see to tell stories of people who die unexpectedly in the middle of things: they are boring and pointless.

Wel, this is the only ending we get to his plot arcs, which give them rather predictable: any time a character is about to build up enough influence to make things etter, or more stable, he ill die.

He 's not talking about the characters' otivations, or the ideas they represent, or their role in he story -- he is n't laying out a well-structured plot, he 's just killing them off for pure shock value.Yet the only reason we think these characters are important in the irst place is because Martin treats them as central heroes, spending time and energy building them.

ake the reader kno that things would get better, get them to believe in a character, then wave your arms in distraction, point and yell 'look at that terrible thing, over there!', and hope they become so caught up in worrying about the new problem that they forget the old one was never resolved.Chaining false endings together creates perpetual tension that never requires solution -- like in most soap operas -- plus, the author reall has to do the hard work of finishing what they started.

Since the plot is n't resolving into a tight, intertwined conclusion ( in fact, it 's probably spiraling out of control, with ever more characters and scenes), the author must wrap things up conveniently and suddenly, leaving fans confused and upset.

Having thrown out the grand romance of fantasy, Martin can not even end on the dazzling trick of the vaguely-spiritual transgressive Death Event on which the great majority of fantasy books rely for a handy tacked-on climax ( actually, he 'll probably do it anyways, with dragons -- the longer the series goes on, the more it starts to resemble the cliche monomyth that Martin was praised for eschewing in the secon place) .The drawback is that even if a conclusion gets stuck on at the nd, the story fundamentally leads nowhere -- it winds back and forth without resolving psychological or tonal arcs.

Despite being fictionalized and dramatized, Martin 's take on The War of the Roses is far duller than the original.More than anything, th ook elt like a serial melodrama: the hardships of an ensemble cast who we are meant to watch over and sympathize with, being drawn in by emotional appeals ( the hope that things will 'get better' in this dark place, 'tragic' deaths), s if these appeals conflict with the supposed realism, and in the beginnin, there is no grander story to unify the whole.

There 's plenty of grim fantasy and intrigue out there, from its roots to the hundred of fantasy authors, both old and modern, whom I list in the link at the beginnin of this reviewThere seems to hav a sense that Martin 's work is somehow revolutionary, that it represents a 'new direction' for fantasy, but thes I see is a reversion.

Martin, on the other hand, has more closely followed Tolkien 's lead than any other modern high fantasy author -- and I do n't just mean in terms of racism.Tolkien wanted to make his story real -- not 'realistic', using the dramatic techniques of literature -- but actually real, by trying to create all the detail of a pretend world behind the story.

Over the span of the first wenty years, he released The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, and other works, while in the te years after that, he became so obsessed with worldbuilding for its own sake that instead of writing stories, he filled his shed with a bunch of notes ( which his son has been trying to ake complete book from ever since) .It 's the same thing Martin 's trying to do: cover a bland story with a litany of details that do n't contribute meaningfully to his characters, plot, or tone.

There is no revolutionary voice here, and there is somethin in Martin 's book that has always been done better by other authors.However, there is one thing Martin has done that no other uthor has been ble to do: kill the longrunning High Fantasy series.

Actually, Martin is so goo at plot structure that he actually pre-emptively ruined books by other authors.

If you enjoy a grim, excessively long soap opera with lots of deaths and constant unresolved tension, pick up he series -- otherwise, maybe check out the show. " My Fantasy Book Suggestions

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I 've read over a 100 different fantasy authors in my time.

I 've also listed the reasons not to choose him to make it fair b/c I know their are certain personalities who wo n't like this series: WHY TO READ GRRM ( 1) YOU ARE TIRED OF FORMULAIC FANTASY: good lad beats the dark lord against impossible odds; boy is the epitome of good; he and all his friends never die even though they go through great dangers.

he good and noble king; the beautiful princess who falls in love with he commoner boy even though their stations are drastically different.

( 2) YOU ARE TIRED OF ALL THE HEROES STAYING ALIVE EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE UNDER CONSTANT DANGER: this gets even worse where the author kills a main hero off but that person comes back later in the tal.

Tha sometimes carries to minor characters where even they may not die, but most fantasy authors like to kill them off to show that some risked the adventure and perished. ( 3) YOU ARE A MEDIEVAL HISTORY BUFF: this story was influenced by the WARS OF THE ROSES and THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR.

( 5) YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BIASED OPINIONS AND DIFFERENT TRUTHS: GRRM has set this up where each chapter has the title of one character and the whole chapter is through their viewpoint.

Anguis is for long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and he white walkers move through the woods ” ( 8) LOTS OF CONFLICT: all types, too; not just fighting but between characters through threats and intrigue. ( 9) MULTILAYERED PLOTTING; SUB PLOTS GALORE: each character has their own separate storyline; especially as the tory ontinues and everyone gets scattered.

his is one of the reasons why each novel is between 700-900 pages. ( 10) SUPERLATIVE VARIED CHARACTERS: not the typical archetypes that we are used to in most fantasy; some are gritty; few are totally evil or good; GRRM does a great job of changing our opinions of characters as the series progress.

( 13) EXCELLENT MYSTERIES: very hard to figure out the culprits; GRRM must have read a lot of mystery novels. ( 14) RICHLY TEXTURED FEMALE CHARACTERS: best male author on female characters I have read; realistic on how women think, too.

REASONS TO NOT READ GRRM ( 1) YOU LIKE YOUR MAIN CHARACTERS: GRRM does a ood job of creating more likable characters after a few die.

( 5) YOU DEMAND CLOSURE AT THE END OF EVERY BOOK: this is n't he case for all stories in thi series.

You wont' get much of this in GRRM with the exception of one or two characters.

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© Nicole Waggonner