Wednesday, December 05, 2012

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (1)

Despite hearing people rave both about the A Song of Ice and Fire books and the television show based on them,1 I really had no interest in reading A Game of Thrones until recently. First, I was introduced to A Game of Thrones: The Board Game2 at our Monday-night gaming group. Everyone in attendance that night had read A Game of Thrones except Russell and I, which make me feel irresponsible for some reason. Then, for a secret santa swap, I was assigned someone who adores both the books and the series. So I simply had to read A Game of Thrones so I didn't completely botch the A Song of Ice and Fire-themed package I decided that this person needed.

I finished A Game of Thrones tonight after a fit of monogamous reading. Actually I listened to the (e)audiobook narrated by Roy Dotrice, who with the exception of an occasional slip-up on the names3 did a nice job. I read A Game of Thrones quickly not because I found it particularly suspenseful (and researching for my swap package yielded at least two spoilers). My dedicated reading was primarily due to the fact that I hated having two giant fantasy novels in progress at the same time.4

I'm not dying to read the next book, but neither am I resistant to continuing along with the series. The thing I liked most about the novel was that it was told from a number of different points of view. I found the story as a whole fairly compelling, but much of that had to do with wanting to get back to one character or other to find out how they were faring.

Apparently the series is inspired by the Wars of the Roses. The reference seems apt, but honestly I don't know enough about those 15th century battles of succession to say how closely the novel(s) follow actual events. A Game of Thrones (and I assume the series as a whole) is heavy on violence and bloodshed, which is understandable even if not welcome. I do admire the fact that Martin has no qualms about killing off significant characters.
  1. Not everyone raved, but the ravers outnumbered those less enthusiastic.
  2. For what it's worth I really did not like the game (and I have no desire to play it again). This strategic free-for-all type of game is not my cup of tea and I found the iconography on the action tokens extremely confusing. As House Baratheon I started out in position of power. I still had the Iron Throne at the end of the game, but I didn't play well by any stretch.
  3. Calling "Joffrey" "Jeffrey" and pronouncing Lady Stark's name as "Caitlin."
  4. Russell has me reading Lord of the Rings and it is going to take me forever to finish. And, yes, I'm counting it as three separate books in my tally for the year.

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