Review: A Game of Thrones

This post will include my review of the book A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. It is the first volume of A Song of Ice and Fire series, released in August 1996.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.

In the game of thones you win or you die.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it as 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, a vengeance-mad boy has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities beyond the sea. Heir of the mad Dragon King deposed by Robert, he claims the Iron Throne.

Right from the outset let it be said that I cannot believe that it has taken me nearly 16 years to get around to reading this book. Not only that I had to come to it only because I watched the HBO TV series and thought how did I miss this? Put simply I must be guilty of some kind of fantasy blindness. My theory is that the R. R. in the author’s name put me off. It perhaps made me think he was some kind of Tolkien wannabe and that the books would be rubbish.

Well I was very wrong. Based on this first book I am planning to change my name to Goran R. R. Zidar and see if that can’t launch me into the fantasy hall of fame.

I mean wow!

Anyone who isn’t interested in reading another few paragraphs of shameless gushing should probably stop reading now because what follows will be nothing short of abject praise.

The characters were fabulous. In fact I can’t think of one that didn’t leave me with a sense of knowing them – though I will concede that this could be the result of seeing the excellent TV series before reading the books. Of the POV characters, Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Catelyn Stark were especially well done and all of them different from each other which is is impressive. The remaining POV characters of Eddard, Brann, Arya, and Sansa were equally well handled and the non-POV characters all had a distinct personality which added depth to the story.

Speaking of which the world felt old. It felt like it was overflowing with history from the First Men to the Dothraki and the Children of the Forest before them it was a world steeped in lore and was very well realised in the book.

I know that nobody is going to make a decision to read this based on my review the book has been out for over a decade and has won critical acclaim from numerous sources but I do want to add my voice to the thousands who feel that this particular book is a high watermark for the genre.

After such an amazing beginning I can only hope the rest of the series can live up to the expectations this book has created. And if anyone who is reading this has read what has been released of the whole series I ask that you please don’t dampen my enthusiasm… if it gets worse I’d like to learn that on my own. 🙂


4 thoughts on “Review: A Game of Thrones”

    1. Thanks. The show is very well made, typical of HBO’s standards. I was a bit wary of reading the books after seeing the TV show (I normally prefer to read things first) but I never felt the urge to skip anything because I knew what was coming. That said I am holding off watching Season Two until after I have finished book 2 🙂

  1. I picked up a copy but I’ve put off reading it. I used to be a fantasy junky but have now steered to the loved up side of town. Plus the TV show has been fulfilling all of my needs so why push for perfection? But ok, you’ve reeled me in. Once my husband agrees to hand it back over I’ll give it a go. And you know you should change your name to Goran R. R. Zidar. There is simply no good excuse not to.

    1. Hehe… Hopefully you aren’t disappointed. 😉 Now that I’ve finished book 1 I am rewatching the show and find that I enjoyed it more.

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