Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - Book review

The song of Ice and Fire series has long been on my reading list. I actually read "A Game of Thrones" for the first time when I was about 15. It's like...10 years ago!.. I feel old now... I never got past the first book on my first attempt because the library never had the the rest of the series available (Three of the books had been published at that point I think)and so I gave it up. After HBO started sending the TV-show I got motivated to start reading it again though, and my goal is to finish all five books this year.

If you don't have a relationship with A song of Ice and Fire you can check out what wikipedia has to say about it, it's like a small crash course into the worlds of George R. R. Martin.

Heres a link!

Moving on to the book review itself!

A game of Thrones is a spectacular book full of intrigue, politics, violence and sex. I love it!
It's gritty and every single character feels real and interesting to me whether I like them or not. They have personalities with flaws, agendas, a strong sense of honor and duty or a complete lack of it. There is little in the ways of magic, but I think that's good because not every fantasy book needs to be "High Fantasy". I would rather term this book, and series for that matter as "Epic Fantasy" just because it is such a grand tale spanning over so many continents and points of view.

Something I quite enjoy is the fact that Martin actually writes female characters really well. There are plenty of them and they all have different personalities and motivations. Sansa is a romantic dreamer who believes in true love and valiant knights, but who comes face to face with the realization that the real world is not at all like the legends of old. Arya is a true tomboy who refuses to consent to becoming a noble lords wife and spend her life raising children. She wants to fight like a man and be free to make her own way in the world. Cersei is a calculating bitch who has no issues with plotting against, hurting or even killing anyone if it will get her what she wants.She might have been a very different person had Robert Baratheon treated her better and not been lost in the loss of his one true love (Eddard Starks dead sister).  Her one redeeming quality is her love for her children, but even that will not give her my sympathy. Daenerys starts out as a meek child who does what she is told to do by her brother Viserys and ends up being a fierce Khaleesi and mother of dragons at the end of the book as the troubles she meets makes her grow stronger.These are just a few of the female characters that inhabit Martin's world but they are all memorable and strong in their own ways. Few writers has such a good grasp on writing female characters in my opinion.

This, for your enjoyment is a picture I drew of Arya Stark earlier this year. This at least is how I envision her when she is not covered in dirt and sweat or blood.
(c) Anita Olsen Støbakk

I am however not a "I'm gonna burn my bra feminist" and have not forgotten the brilliant male characters of Westeros. They are as varied and as kind and cruel as the female characters. Among my favorites you will Find Eddard Stark, Tyrion Lannister, The Hound, The Spider and Ser Jorah the Andal. All of them very different but likable in their own way. (at least they are likable in my opinion).
I think I actually cried the first time I read about the execution of Eddard Stark, and I still felt a little heartbroken when reading about it this time around even though I knew it would happen. I feel a warmth in my heart when I read about Ser Jorah's loyalty and dedication to Daenerys, and I think a little part of me wants The Hound to rescue Sansa from Kings Landing. I love Tyrions brain and his sense of humor. And the spider, well he is the spider. I don't know where I have him, but I think I see some good in him.

(c) Anita Olsen Støbakk

Over all I can't recommend this book enough. Sure it's a big book and if you are not a fast or experienced reader you might have some trouble with it. That however should not stop you from reading it!

Read it! It's an order from the pirate captain!

Cheers Mateys!
Anita, the literary pirate.

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