I think, like almost everyone on earth, my Game of Thrones craze started with the TV show! But I still wanted to read the book because I was told by some people (mostly older members of my family), that the books were much more complete than the show. That’s why last year, I figured that I would read the first book. And it was quite dense, much more comprehensive than I imagined. The novel features a lot more character than the show. And most of the time, I couldn’t keep up. I was trying to figure out who belongs to which family and where the different allegiances lie.
I also read this book because I had to read a book for class. We could choose which and we had to do an oral presentation of it in 5 minutes. It’s unnecessary to say that I failed my presentation. I underestimated the complexity of the story in Game of Thrones. You can’t tell just part of the story. Everything is connected.
A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.
First, the official synopsis of the book:
“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. Amis 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 endeavor to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.”.
For once, I didn’t do my summary because the story is way too complex to describe. At least not without me spoiling it for the two or three people on earth who didn’t watch the show. Or didn’t read the book! :p
This book rekindled my passion for fantasy and made me want to read Lord of the Rings. I loved the fantasy world that George R.R. Martin created in his novel. Mixing pure fantasy like dragons or living dead creatures with medieval elements. I almost felt like this could have been our past.
I also loved that even though the book is told from inside the mind of a character. And that the character that tells the story changes every chapter. We get a much more complete description of Westeros than if the book had been told from the point of view of only one character.
My favorite passages were from the mind of Sansa. Because she is the one that grows the more during the first novel, and we can see her change. Not only her appearance but also inside. In the way, she is telling what is happening to her. Even though at first I thought that she was way too stupid to be able to survive in the world of Game of Thrones!
I would have had many more problems with the plethora of characters featured in Game of Thrones, even though there are even more characters in the book than in the show. It also really helped me picture some of the more abstract scenes.
I also think that this book is bound to become one of the classics of fantasy. Not only because of the story or its popularity but because of the innovative way it depicts female characters in a world ruled by men. It doesn’t just show women as a companion or a pretty thing that men fight for. But they are really strong and independent. Some of them are even more fierce than most of the male characters in the book.
Should you read it?
I would recommend this book to anyone. Whether you watched the show or not because the book and the show are not mutually exclusive, I would say they complete one another. Having seen the show before reading the book, most of the more surprising plot elements were already familiar to me. But most of the time they are presented differently than in the TV show.