“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strenght. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it and it will never be used to hurt you.” ~Tyrion Lannister
‘A game of thrones’ tells the story of a land, where summer can last decades and winter a lifetime, of the Starks, an honorous family made harsh by the cold lands they live in, and of a world where kings and queens man their forts to protect their land. Or so they should. But trouble is brewing.
George Martin chose quite a daring point of view for this book, for it is written from eight different perspectives, but the main story is about Eddard Stark, Hand of the king and lord of Winterfell. When his son is victim of a most curious accident, and the king dies soon after, Eddard is determined to find out what is going on. You follow the story-line not only through his eyes, but through the eyes of many, which is, for those of us who have a hard time concentrating, rather annoying. So if you are not too good a reader: don’t read this book.
However, if you keep reading and get accustomed to the different story-lines, it gives you an elaborate insight of the world created by George Martin. You’ll vary between the problems Eddard Stark is having while trying to rule the lands, his little daughter who is training to become a knight, his bastard son who is struggling with his identity, and so on.
But in over 800 pages, the author does not really succeed to give you the idea you really know the characters. You favour them, you want them to live, but none of them have a certain dept in their personality. You don’t get to know how they think of certain matters, how they see the world or what it would be they’re longing for.
Except for one character, the imp Tyrion Lannister. He seems to be the only one who has ideals, who gives the world a thought and who speaks his mind about the things that happen around him, which makes him the most interesting person in the book. He is a smart, cunning, thoughtful, and therefore admirable man, with an almost painfully realistic view of how the world is and how the world looks at him; disapprovingly. He is not like all the other men in the book, with a fierce horse and a sharp sword, yet he is stronger than each and every one of them.
“My brother has his sword, king Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind. And a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That’s why I read, Jon snow.”
“Let them see that their words can cut you and you will never be free of mockery. If they want to give you a name, take it, make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore.”
But unlike the characters, who lack depth, George Martin’s created world is filled, without question, perfectly. With words, sweet as honey, he perfectly describes towers, rising up high above the clouds, an enormous wall made out of ice, a dark forest where the softest rustle makes your blood run cold, or the wolfs howling in the depth of night.
“The eastern sky was rose and gold as the sun broke over the Vale of Arryn. Catelyn Stark watched the light spread, her hands resting on the delicate carved stone of the balustrade outside her window. Below her the world turned from black to indigo to green as dawn crept across fields and forests. Pale white mists rose off Alyssa’s Tears, where the ghost waters plunged over the shoulder of the mountain to begin their long tumble down the face of the Giant’s Lance. Catelyn could feel the faint touch of spray on her face, and knew that war was coming soon.”
The beautiful writing style, combined with George Martin’s never-ending imagination results in a Tolkien-like book. He is called a worthy follower of Tolkien, and although I don’t think he matches Tolkien’s geniality, he sure comes close. So if you have some spare time to fill, you should read this.
If you are not in for such a long book, watching the series is a great alternative. It leaves the awesomeness of the book completely intact, but has a bit more action in it. One way or another, ‘A game of thrones’ is definitely a must for everyone.