Oddly for someone who has launched a game of Thrones site a couple of weeks ago. I have just completed my first reading of the novel ‘A Game of Thrones’ By George RR Martin last night.
Without a doubt I am still a little perplexed, I definitely enjoyed it, I definitely want read the next book and I can see what all the fuss with ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series is about.
However there is still something that stops me truly loving the series. This something which I cannot fully articulate yet, but the one negative which I can articulate is that after 800 odd pages of reading I don’t want to be left on a cliff hanger. I feel we should have completed a story arc, and I do not feel that was the case.
For those of you that haven’t read the book, ‘A Game of Thrones’ is the first in George RR Martins ‘A Song of Ice and Fire Series of Novels’ set in a low fantasy world which mythic beasts and magic are things of myth and legend if they ever existed at all, man rules and has tamed the known world. And real men pay little heed to tales of ‘the others’, giants and magic.
The majority of the action takes place in a Kingdom which has political machinations which make the Borgias look positively tame. The crown is held by one of 7 houses who struggle with each other and eternally for power and influence.
The major characters are actually very well written, Tryion Lannister , Ned Stark, Jon Snow and Ayra Stark to my mind are the best developed in this book, but I can see plenty of ability and scope for further development of other characters later in the series.
However we do have assimilate a large number of characters in a very short amount of time, and the Stark children are a little young for what we are expected to believe they are capable of.
The plot moves with pace and the style of writing different chapter from a different characters point of view takes a little getting used to, though it keep things spinning and the increases tempo of the book.
This is also a fantasy novel which focuses much more on plots, characters and storyline, than detailed and epic portrayal of battle. The battle scenes though not wholly skipped over are cleverly written round, or touched on without becoming the central set pieces of the books.
Georges lack of attachment to major characters and his willingness to sacrifice them to the story, or for a plot twist actually make the books refreshing and means that we cannot predict which way the plot will turn. If a major character is at deaths door its very possible they will die, this is a dark world.
One gripe which I touched on earlier is the age of the major characters of the book who are the Stark Children aged 3 to 15. Novels with characters this age are usually targeted at readers of that age, and this is very much not the case in this instance, due to subject matter of the books. (sorry you can call me a prude but my kids wont be reading this till they are 14+).
So we have what is very much an adult fantasy book where the main characters are children, of similar ages to the Children in the Narnia books. I would prefer to of seen either the children being of an older age when the series was started, or have the story arc take longer and see the Children grow into robust believable Hero’s(and villians) within the story.
The other gripe is for the most part we have 3 independent stories which are not brought together within this novel, the main story, Dany’s story and Jon Snow’s story. As I said at the outset after 800 pages of reading I want to see a complete story arc, not of read the introduction to the other books within the series.
However this gripe actually speaks volumes of how the books have grabbed me, I cannot wait for book two and I will be making best use of amazons free fast delivery at the moment.
All in all nand gripes aside ‘A Game of Thrones’ a great book, which I am really looking forward to bith the rest of the series of books and the small screen adaptation of in the near future.