Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Guest Book Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (@GRRMspeaking)

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin
Publication Date: August 6, 1996 (First published)
Published: Bantam Spectra
Reviewer: Ryan (Mr. Keira)

My Rating:

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
As Warden of the north, 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 thing of beauty.
The old gods have no power in the south, 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.

As a fan of the Game of Thrones series on HBO I have wanted to read the book series that spawned one of the greatest shows to ever come from premium cable, so after a lot of procrastination I finally picked up the first book and gave it a go. A whopping 867 pages later and the first book of the series had me hooked to the book as much as the television series. The best part of all is that the book didn’t ruin my view on the television series like most books do with their TV adaptations.

The book reads almost identical to what you see on TV in that it jumps from character to character with each chapter. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing, as one minute you will be enthralled in one character’s story only to be shot to another character’s story in the next chapter. It keeps things fresh, yet, at the same time whenever the book returns to a character you find yourself trying to remember where that character’s storyline was at last time you visited them. It works decently on TV, but in a book that spans so many pages it can be almost a hundred pages before you get back to a specific character which makes A Game of Thrones a bit of a rough read at times.

There are also a few subtle differences between the show and the book, as is usually the case when books get made into movies or television series. Fortunately for fans of the TV show and the books not too much is different between the two and when you read the books you quickly understand why some changes were made for the screen adaptation. Things like the age of some characters for example. Most of the characters like Robb Stark, Jon Snow, and Daenerys Targaryen are MUCH younger in the book than they were in the show, but for very good reasons. You can’t exactly have 14 year old kids killing people, getting married, and having sexual relations on television because in modern society these are things that are not socially acceptable. Yet, in the books that is exactly the age you first meet these characters. I guess in George RR Martin’s universe you grow up fast and live hard as you will quickly find out in the book. Outside of the obvious age differences in the characters they also are described to be much different than their television counterparts. Last, but certainly not least, there are a few minor story details that are different and sometimes more descriptive in the books than they are on the big screen. The outcome is the same, but those that like a good read will appreciate the extra detail in the book.

In the end I loved every single page of the first book in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and look forward to reading the rest even if it takes me the next year to do so (seriously these books are damn long!). If you’re a fan of the series, or just curious about what all the “hoopla” is about, I highly recommend giving this a read. So buy it, curl up on your couch, wrapped in your favorite parka, and read because “winter is coming”!

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