Reviews with a Mug Brownie: A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

Published April 16, 2013 by Britt

I can’t seem to find a reasonably sized one.

Summary: 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. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hands perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

So here’s a funny story. My friend Avenger Jordan told me she was going to start watching Game of Thrones. She said it’s only two seasons in, only takes a couple weeks, and this was right before Season 3 premiered. So I asked my dad if I could jump on that bandwagon, because I heard there’s a ton of bad stuff in it (gore, sex, alcohol, etc.), and after consulting with my mother, even getting her to watch part of an episode, they said no, not even if I watched it with my dad and he told me not to do that. Even though I truly do know better. They won’t budge on the sex part, simply because they think I’m still in the “Hee hee, penis” stage.

So, normally I’m a decent child. Yeah, sometimes I don’t do my homework, but I don’t do the drugs, the alcohol, the sex. I stay away from that crowd because I have too much self respect for that. And here comes teenage rebellion, Brittany Style: Yeah, I watched it anyway. #Yolo. My punishment was to cook dinner for five nights, and this was after some arguing. But as a consolation prize for not being allowed to watch the show, my dad said I could read the book that’s been sitting on his nightstand unread because he hasn’t been in a “reading mood” and he thought it would be less graphic in word form. Well Dad, it isn’t Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s not terrible, but still there.

HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK IS LONG URRRGGGHHHH. My copy is 807 pages long and it always looked like I had less to read than I truly did, and it infuriated me. The struggle was real. But we went and got a new car (I’ll save that story for a later post…) and knocked out around a hundred pages in one night. Plus, Spring Break. And one day, I finally finished it. And started on the second book. Which is 969 pages. Isn’t that great???

Anyway, back to the actual review of this book. They call it fantasy, but it’s incredibly light fantasy, and the fantasy is used in a good way. There’s dragons, ice zombies, and direwolves. A little bit of magic, but not much. This is more about the politics and war than fantasy, the fantasy part just makes it cooler. They mention giants, but they aren’t prominent. Yet. It’s a pretty cool setting, although, as my friend Sean put it, there are Nation Roleplayers who are better at naming countries than he is. He does better with the last names, although I wonder how many more Starks there are going to be in the world of fiction. Tony Stark, House Stark, all these people. Uggh.

This is told in many different points of view. Each character has their own games to play, their own distinct features. And they’re all incredibly human. There is no valiant hero, as the more obvious good guys each have darker motives as well. The more obvious villains have good motives as well, mostly in the form of survival, and then there are some guys (Re: Joffrey) who are just worthy of being punched repeatedly. Everyone hates Joffrey. I had hoped he’d be more like Malfoy from Harry Potter, and I was wrong. He just got worse, and it’s just… ugggghhh. It’s easy to hate characters, and some you love, and some you’re indifferent towards. I really love Tyrion and Daenarys. But I warn you, George RR Martin is also one of those authors who murders characters you love. Like J.K. Rowling. Or John Green. Or even Suzanne Collins to an extent. There’s one particular character who had so much potential and then he got the ax. Literally. People who have read this book or watched the series know who I’m talking about. I saw a comment once where this person’s mother came in during the last ten minutes of that episode and she’s all “Someone’s going to swoop in and save him. They won’t kill him this early, would they?” WRONG, LADY. WRONG.

The plots remain pretty consistent with each other and overlap nicely despite many points of view. And they’re all going somewhere. I’m just waiting for them to start intersecting. Perhaps I’ll see that as the series continues.

ALSO, the TV Show aged everyone about two or three years. Believe it or not, in the series, wars are being fought by twelve year olds. It’s just like high school. But with beheadings.

Overall, five stars. Very good.

BONUS ROUND: I need to start talking more to my followers. So, my advice is to take this quiz and leave your results in the comments. I’m primarily House Targaryen (DRAGONS, GUYS), but I also received: 56% Stark, 67% Lannister, 75% Baratheon, 54% Tully, 53% Tyrell, 64% Martell, 41% Greyjoy, and 18% Arryn.

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