George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones

I am not a fantasy reader. The only fantasy novels I have ever read are THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which I only read because of the movies (although I did read THE HOBBIT when I was younger). I was drawn to the book and series because of the HBO series. I will watch almost anything HBO produces. Plus one of my favourite authors, David Benioff (THE CITY OF THIEVES), is the writer of the series.

I was immediately sucked into the television series. This is not a fantasy epic full of wizards or orcs (there is a dwarf but he’s not a mythological one and there are references to dragons that are now extinct). As the title suggests it is about the politics of who controls the throne to the Seven Kingdoms. It is much more medieval in scope and in this way it is much more similar to HBO’s ROME than it is to THE LORD OF THE RINGS. There are many twists and turns with the bad blood between the feuding families coming to the fore. Underpinning all this is something sinister and, I hate to say it, possibly supernatural.

The world in which A GAME OF THRONES takes place is divided into seven kingdoms (all though there are more than that) and is separated into four power bases: north, south, east and west. At the far end of the northern kingdom is what is known as The Wall, a monolithic ice wall that stretches kilometres from east coast to west coast as well as hundreds of metres into the sky. No one can remember what exactly it is meant to keep out and the old stories have now taken on the guise of fairy tales that scare children and not much else. But after almost 12 years of summer, winter approaches and something is stirring beyond The Wall.

I was originally recommended A GAME OF THRONES after reading one of my favourite books of last year, THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin. I added the book to my pile but the connection between the two books escaped me. However there are many similarities between The Wall and the second half of THE PASSAGE. Just like I implored people not to judge THE PASSAGE against other vampire novels, don’t judge A GAME OF THRONES against your preconceptions of fantasy novels because otherwise you will miss out on a truly epic reading experience.

I am completely addicted (and possibly little obsessed – there is a leather-bound edition of the book out in August!)  now with this series, both the books and the TV series. I originally tried to keep my reading of the books in time with the TV series but it was just too damn addictive to do that. I have made sure I’m now stocked up on the rest of the series and I’m pretty sure that by the time the second series airs on HBO I will have read all the books, including the new book due out in July, A DANCE OF DRAGONS. I may even start checking out a bit more in the fantasy genre…


4 thoughts on “George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones

  1. Ah, you make me want to reread the books, and I have no time! I have heard the audiobooks recommended, so perhaps I’ll revisit them that way.

    Also, I just read City of Thieves, and had no idea Benioff wrote for the TV show. Thanks for the heads up!

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    1. I loved City of Thieves. He also wrote the novel and screenplay for 25th Hour which was a Spike Lee film starring Edward Norton and he did the screenplay for The Kite Runner. I won’t mention Troy…

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