Game of Thrones is back for its fifth season on HBO and there is no better way to kick it off than a review of the first A Song of Fire and Ice novel. For those who aren’t familiar with the series, A Song of Fire and Ice is a book series written by George R.R. Martin. There are numerous plot lines going on at once in the first novel; I will try to explain them in brief without giving away too much of the story line.
For those who do not want to know anything about the story line before starting the TV series or reading the first novel, do not read between this and the next bold statement.
There are seven kingdoms in Westeros and hundreds of noble houses. The first novel centers around three of those houses: Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen. The chapters in the novel go from viewpoint to viewpoint of different main characters: Eddard “Ned” Stark, Catelyn Stark, Sansa Stark, Bran Stark, Arya Stark, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen.
Before the events in the Game of Thrones, Aerys II Targaryen better known as “The Mad King” ruled the seven kingdoms. He had killed Brandon Stark (Ned’s Brother) and Rickard Stark (Ned’s Father). On top of that, Rhaegar Targaryen (son of The Mad King) kidnapped Lyanna Stark who was betrothed to Robert Baratheon (Current king as the events of the Game of Thrones begins). This kidnapping starts a war; Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark take up arms against the Aerys II Targaryen to get Lyanna back and avenge Ned’s family.
The prologue starts one of the first plot lines that the reader will notice; there are extremely dangerous creatures other than wildlings beyond the wall. For those who do not know what the wall is, it’s a massive fortification built to protect those south from wildlings and animals beyond it.
The second plot line the reader will notice is the rivalry between the Starks and the Lannisters. The Starks are a very noble and honorable house where the Lannisters are a prideful and rich house that will do whatever deemed necessary to win.
The third plot line deals with the remaining Targaryens (Viserys and his sister Daenerys) trying to reclaim the throne. They had to flee for their lives when the throne was being taken and are trying to build an army in order to take it back.
No More Spoilers after this point
Viewpoint switching is a very effect method. It helps the reader understand what the different characters are thinking and helps the reader connect to the characters more. It also immerses the reader into the novel, making him or her not want to put the novel down.
The novel goes into a lot more detail than the TV show does helping the reader to understand Westeros and the emotions of each individual character more. Each character is able to show more emotion in the novel because George R.R. Martin does not have a constraint on the amount of pages he can write where the TV show has a limit on the amount of minutes per show.
Bran is one character that really stands out when it comes to understanding his background and feelings more. He doesn’t get as much coverage in the TV show as the book gives him. The novel is able to paint Bran in a different light and really helps the reader connect to him.
Game of Thrones is a must read for any fan of the TV series. Even if you aren’t a book fan, you will find yourself immersed in the history of Westeros in order to find out more background of each character and see what happens next.
Positives: Viewpoint switching really helps the reading connect to each character on a deeper level than the TV show can, A lot of background information, Very well written fantasy novel, George R.R. Martin is able to create a world that immerses the reader and makes him or her not want to put the novel down, Shorter chapters can make a person feel a sense of accomplishment after completing one.
Negatives: Not as much history about the war and history of Westeros and one would like
To date, this is one of the best novels written. The Game of Thrones is very detailed and immerses the readers into the novel. It is a story that people will not want to stop reading and learning about and is a must read for everyone.
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