Genre: Fantasy/Epic Fantasy
Number of Pages: 837
Publication Date: August 4, 1997
Rating: out of 5
Story Perspective: Alternating Third-Person
Themes: Honor, Pride, Fealty, Family, Betrayal, Choices, Love, Growth
Winter is coming…
An epic fantasy during an ancient time where messages are sent by ravens, where the ruling of a kingdom has many obstacles, and where there is a bigger and more evil force out there…beyond the wall…
Love, love, love this series! I’ve read this particular book three times, while the others in the series once. My goal is to re-read all in the series and once again fall in love with Martin’s epic world. I’m one of those who didn’t start reading the series until the show premiered, but I still consider myself a big fan of the books first, then the TV adaptation.
I’m sure I won’t write anything that hasn’t been said before on the wonderfully crafted world Martin has created, but I hope my appreciation for this series is shown.
Martin has such a precise way of introducing his characters and letting his readers learn who can be trusted and who cannot. For instance, Ned Stark and his family are probably the most trustworthy and honorable family in Westeros. While the Lannisters and their minions are probably the most untrustworthy. The author’s delicate way of weaving in each character’s dimensions really spoke to me. I was able to not only care about the people in this read, but could feel their happiness, betrayal, fear, anguish, and triumph throughout.
What I love about the plot in this world is how different it is compared to typical fantasies. Not only do we open with the sinister and mysterious Others in the beginning, but the lives of protagonists and significant characters are not necessarily protected. The story line is written with smooth elegance and in a way that keeps the readers invested throughout. The only time where my eyes sort of glazed over was during the action sequences and strategy planning scenes, lol. This is not a fault of course on the author, this is just my preference. However, neither of these scenes deterred from my overall enjoyment.
There are a plethora of themes sprinkled throughout A Game of Thrones: good versus evil, loyalty, honor, betrayal, coming-of-age, trustworthiness, commitment, and so much more. I really appreciate a read that incorporates multiple themes within its pages. With these themes and with all its subtle secrets, Martin really makes the reader think and question so much.
I could go on and on about how I loved re-reading this book, but what you just need to know is this is my second favorite series, right after Harry Potter 🙂
While re-reading, there were a few things that stuck out to me that I would like to mention.
- During my first read, I didn’t quite see the foreshadowing of Ned Stark’s demise by the Baratheon line when the direwolves’ pups were found. The mother direwolf was found with an antler in her throat presumably causing her death. Direwolf = Stark’s sigil; Stag = Baratheon’s sigil
- Really appreciated the connection between the direwolf pups with their specific child. There a sense of magic within these beautiful creatures and their connection is much more than a loyal dog to his/her owner/pet parent.
- Old Nan’s tales brought to my attention that the Others of the past rode on Giant Ice Spiders. Wonder if they’ll ever make an appearance in future books?…That is if Mr. Martin gets around to finishing them. I do hope he does…
- Rickon is such a young character here and gets pushed aside a lot, but his wild ways are easily visible as the story progressed here. I mean him and Shaggydog just hang out in the crypts? Who’s watching this four-year-old?
- Also, I don’t think I realized how early Bran begins his journey with the three-eyed raven. His first vision happens when he is still comatose in A Game of Thrones.
- It was so frustrating to read Sansa’s perspective toward the beginning/middle of the book. It wasn’t until her father was executed that she began to see the true colors of the Lannisters. I did, though, sympathize with Sansa when she finally realized her “prince” was no prince at all. Very different from Arya, but definitely an essential character.
- Arya was and still is one of my favorite characters. Her quick wit and ability to recognize danger amazes me. Also, her ability to live off the streets when hiding from the Lannisters, especially being a high-born lady, was just so impressive. Both her natural instincts and some of Syrio’s teachings really kicked in.
- Speaking of Syrio – is he officially dead? Most likely, but a small part of me hopes he isn’t. Such an amazing character!
- In listening to a podcast (Davos’ Fingers), I was helped in making a possible small connection – Rhaegar’s daughter, Rhaenys, had a black cat that she named and pretended to be the dragon, Balerion. I believe due to its color and the torn ear, there is talk that this cat could be the same one that Arya was unable to catch in King’s Landing upon Syrio’s request.
- Tyrion…such an awesome character. One of my favorite parts? Him slapping Joffrey in the face in Winterfell when the “prince” was being obnoxious and didn’t want to visit with the Starks upon hearing of Bran’s fall. I hope being made Hand means he’ll get to slap the little punk more, lol.
- R + L = J I did not actually understand this theory for a while, but after analyzing some of this book and just theory talk in general, I could see the little snippets that Martin leaves.
- Which brings to mind – is Jon a Targaryen? It seems to be so, but if so, why was his hand so brutally burned when he killed his first wight? Daenerys survived a raging fire that encompassed her whole body. Was it a special fire that she went through? Is it because Jon is only half Targaryen while Daenerys is full Targaryen? Did it have to do with the dragons being present?
- The Hound, Sandor Clegane, actually shows a bit of humanity and care in this read. Firstly, though drunken and threatens her life, he did tell Sansa how he received his burned face. Secondly, when Sansa was thinking of pushing Joffrey off the ledge near the spiked heads, Sandor interrupts her thoughts and prevents that from happening. If Sansa did push Joffrey to his death, I’m sure she would also die immediately, so in a weird way he sort of saved her life.
- Oh, Ned. We’ll miss you so much. It’s too bad that you were killed off so quickly. Why didn’t you just leave for Winterfell when you had the chance?
- Daenerys…what can I say? I’m so impressed with her maturity and adaptability to the Dothraki culture and of course…the birth of her dragons! Somehow she instinctively knew what to do to give birth her baby dragons. What an awesome way to end the first book of such a great series.
Wow, that’s a lot of thinking and I love it!
Thank you, George R.R. Martin!