Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

[WARNING: This is definitely not a spoiler-free post.]

Last Friday, I finally finished reading "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin.And two words: awfully long. This is a book that commands attention - and nonetheless, time. But rest assured that every little effort you put into reading this would all be worth it, because you will definitely be transported into a whole new world of war, politics, and relationships as this medieval fantasy unfolds in your very eyes.

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Back in the last Christmas vacation, I made the mistake of watching the HBO TV adaptation of this novel. I was so curious with the series that I instantly downloaded and watched it, despite my usual rule of reading the book  in which it was based first if there is any. But I think that was a pretty lucky mistake I made there. Before I watched the series, I think I would never pick up and buy a book like this. I was a pretty discriminating reader, and medieval fantasy was not really my cup of tea. But all of it changed, because now, I hereby declare that Game of Thrones landed straight in my "favorites" bookshelf as the first medieval fantasy novel to be included there.

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Let me just tell you that this post is not strictly a review of the book per se, but basically more like a comparison and the good (and bad) things I like about the book and series alike. I mean, really, the series was strictly adopted right at the pages of the books. Watching the series, just feels like the chapters of the book coming to life at my very eyes. Of course, I think it helped that the author himself was one of the writers of the series. It was critically acclaimed, and they truly did justice to the awesomeness that Game of Thrones really is.


THE BOOK & THE SERIES
So here is the plot:

"Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. 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. Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid 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 endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: thegame of thrones." [via Goodreads]

This is the first book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. And judging from the first book alone, I guess this is one of the best book series I've ever read. And at some point, I think the hunger Games trilogy couldn't even compare to it (no mater how much I love HG). With a plot that has sooo many twist and turns, interesting band of characters, a world that was almost believable no matter how foreign it may seem, and a fresh way of delivering it.

The book was written in several point of views (POV). Personally, I prefer books written in this format because it allows you to go deep into the a character's mind unlike the conventional 3rd person way of delivering it. And one unique thing about this book is that it is written, in not only one, but to 8 of its major characters with an additional one in the prologue. And this allowed me to understand each of them more, unlike in the TV series.

The story was told in simultaneous fashion - happening in three different places in their world: in the seven kingdoms, in the wall, and in the east. There are so many different characters in here, with the Starks of the North (Winterfell) dominating 6 of the 8 major POV characters. And personally speaking, the POVs I liked the most were Tyrion Lannister's (the highly intelligent dwarf lord of House Lannister), and Jon Snow's (the bastard son of Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell). I enjoyed delving into their minds, Tyrion's mocking sarcasm and how he accepts who he is and what he look like wholly, while using his name to his advantage everytime, plus how Jon handles the shame and pain of being a bastard and how he always felt that he was an outsider all his life. I don't know why I really felt for them, but seriously, they have some serious connection going on, maybe because they're both outsiders in their own world.

John Snow
Tyrion Lannister

One thing that I also love is how Martin made use of brilliant metaphors during the course of the book. Some of the good examples were when they found a wolf dead in the woods with a stag's antler stuck in its throat. I mean, that was just so brilliant (clue, the two were sigil of two of the major houses in the Seven Kingdoms :P). Plus, that time when Jon together with the others found 6 direwolf pups in the wood, exactly the number of Ned Stark's children plus his bastards. They really are meant to have those wolves!

There are deaths, yes. Tons of them. And some I couldn't even bear to make out. Those caught me by a surprise. Plus the surprising plots, that even add fuel to the already fiery battle for the Iron Throne. The layering of the characters were impeccable, some you want to hate so much but you just can't do it completely (i.e. the Queen XP). And some just annoys the heck out of me, that reading their POV feels like I'm just doing it just to get over it (spec. Sansa). One thing about Sansa though, I was surprised to feel my tears building up towards the very end of the book because of her. I can't give away so much details, but no matter how I hate her, her submission to the fact that her world of songs and everything beautiful was just make believe, and the very boy she loved shattered that illusion just pained me. I could've cried as much, but the story was just too fast paced in that part I shoved my emotions away.

I'm not exaggerating when I said that this commands attention and time. The book was long, yes. But luckily, I managed to finish it despite rough schedules. There were so much things I love in that book, that typing it would seem pretty pointless because that's just basically the WHOLE of it. Haha. I mean, I love the book to pieces, and  I won't mind if the series still extends to so many sequels despite it being so long in its own already.

Oh, and yeah, I almost forgot about the series..I'll just put my thoughts into bullets since I'm beginning to get tired typing (XP) -


What I thought about the TV adaptaion:

  • The musical scoring was brilliant.
  • The actors and actresses were flawless. Specially, Peter Dinklage who played Tyrion. He even won a Golden Globe for this role, one proof that he did an extra ordinary job. Plus, he was the only one who was hand picked by the author himself to play that character.
  • The fight scenes, the deaths, the grotesque almost morbid depiction of slaughter were really believable. There were sever racy scenes (there was, I think, so much nudity, but it was required, and it didn't even lessen the artistry in the whole production, but heightened it even.)
  • The script was impeccable.
  • THE WHOLE PRODUCTION WAS EPIC.
  • Aaaaand! I can't wait for Season 2 to start! :))
So that's it, I think that ends my fangirling over this series in words. XP I'm quite excited for the next one. So long, I'm out. ~ R

xxxxx
Game of Thrones 4 pc. Boxed Set

PS. I read A Game of Thrones through PDF. I know. Though I really wanted to read it in flesh, I was short in dough and thus, haven't been able to buy much books lately. I accidentally found an Android app in the market: "A Song of Ice and Fire", and started reading it otherwise. I was such a blessing. Last time, I saw a boxed set of A Song of Ice and Fire series at NBS Recto for, I think, more or less P1000 and decided I would buy it. Haha. My weekly allowance was cut, so I'm making an effort to save for this. Waaah, I really love this. I hope I could buy this as soon as I can. Ayeah, so much ramblings, 'till next time! Ja! :))

4 comments:

  1. why not buy it 1 by 1?
    i also have the pdf for it but i ended up ditching it because it was hard to do so especially for such a thick book like this.. i also had to check the appendix time & time again because i was confused at the first few chapters & characters so being able to see who is related to whom is very helpful.

    book 1 is good no?
    but it gets better & better!

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    1. yep thia, i struggled through 3 books in e-book format! hehe. it was hard, but resisting my urge to read it was harder. in the end, i still had the paperpbacks. i've already read them, but it feels really good to have to touch them in flesh. XD

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  2. Hi,
    I just read you review on Game of Thrones and I can’t help but notice how I much agree with you. I saw the TV series first and I got crazy. Then I ordered the box set from Amazon and I started reading it. I have read the three of them but I will not stop there. Yes, they are big books but as I say on my blog http://between-my-lines.blogspot.gr/ this isn’t a reason not to read the series. I enjoyed too that it is written in a way that permit me to see every character differently and you know how amazed I am with the surprises on that book (since you have read my post and thank you for that. )

    For the TV series I totally agree that the musical scoring is awesome and the scenery and everything is perfect but I am not completely satisfied after the books. I am not saying that it isn’t good but nothing compares with the real story that hides between the lines of George R. R. Martin’s masterpiece.
    A.

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    1. oh my God, i totally forgot to reply to you! :) anyways. i agree with everything you said, the tv series was awesome but nothing compares to the orginial store. it just felt more complete. right?

      thanks for commenting, A! :3

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Thanks for dropping by! I'd love to hear from you -- so don't think twice, just comment below and let's talk! If you're feeling like it, you could also link up and I'll make sure to visit your site if you have one. Much love, ~ R. :)

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