Sunday, December 9, 2012

Guilty Pleasure: A Game of Thrones (the book)

Hello, I'm back!  I hope you didn't miss me too much during my hiatus.  While I did not get much writing done, I did do a lot of reading - 835 pages worth in one book alone.  Let me tell you about this behemoth, known as A Game of Thrones in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin.

(Note: video, screenshots, and music of A Game of Thrones from HBO, all rights and such are theirs.  Please don't eat me.)

Checkouts: Not owned by the charter school library
Typical reader: Fantasy aficionados who are not daunted by reading a paper brick; fans of the show on HBO
Source: Birthday present

Synopsis: ... You want me to summarize a book that's more than 800 pages?  A lot happens!  The main plot involves the Stark family of the north, as their lord Eddard is invited south by his old friend, King Robert Baratheon, to be the Hand of the King; political intrigue and dark family secrets abound.  Meanwhile, his illegitimate son, Jon Snow, goes north to the Wall to nobly protect the Seven Kingdoms from whatever lies in the frozen wastelands beyond.  Finally, an exiled, deposed princess struggles to find her place in the world.

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars

I believe I've mentioned before that I really enjoy fantasy, but it's a turnoff that so many adult fantasy novels are massive tomes.  Several of my friends rave about this series, though, and with them I've watched the first two seasons of A Game of Thrones on HBO.  The show, which is very good (though very adult), swayed me to read what it was all about.

Kudos to everyone that made the first season of A Game of Thrones happen.  It followed the book very well, giving superb visualizations to the text.  Some scenes are even on Youtube, and worth revisiting from time to time, like Tyrion the Imp smacking his nephew, Prince Joffrey.  (The video below loops the slapping, because it's just that satisfying.)

What could the show have done better, to be more accurate?  It needed more dire wolves and less prostitutes.  While there is certainly sex in the book, the show added plenty more, of many varieties, to meet a sort of cleavage quota or something.
In the book, Tyrion liked to read.
In the show, Tyrion liked bed sport.
To focus on the novel itself, this masterfully crafted brick of a book is told from multiple third-person-limited vantage points to paint the wide world and intricate plots from the eyes of those involved.  Many of the Stark household are focused on, as well as Tyrion the Imp, brother-in-law to the king, and Daenerys Targaryen, the last descendant of the former ruling house.  Fall in love with them or revile them, these main characters and the dozens of supporting cast are well-rounded, deep, flawed, and utterly exquisite.

Do you like complex plots, with plenty of intertwining stories and facets?  This is an excellent book for these reasons.  A myriad of events, dealings, scandals, mysteries, magic, schemes, and dreams occur.  If you like a well-described world, it can be found here.

I could go on and on about this book, but maybe I'll just dance about it instead.


  1. Oh my gosh, that slap loop is VERY satisfying. Tyrion is my favorite character too. I have yet to do the HBO series. But I'm very excited to start.

  2. Would the Song of Ice and Fire series be appropriate for a high school library?

    1. Good question. Based on the sexual content, especially in any chapter focusing on Theon Greyjoy (and Dany Targaryen, during her marriage to Khal Drogo), I would say probably not. On the other hand, plenty of teen books have sex, too. It's the librarian's call, based on what she knows of her students' maturity (and interest in heavy fantasy reading), and of her students' parents' demeanor.