A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I started reading this for the same reason that many other people read this book for—I liked the show. I’m not much of a fantasy reader, but not because I dislike the genre. It’s hardly my least favorite genre to read in. I’m just more of a science fiction woman than a fantasy woman. You can blame that on a healthy, if not obsessive, love of comics and cyberpunk.
This book isn’t one that I would call high fantasy. There aren’t many elves, magic, and all that. There are hints of magic and fantastic elements of course. But mostly, this book is written about men and women who find themselves in precarious situations because they’re humans making human mistakes and not because of some magical interference, which I appreciated.
There also doesn’t seem to be any real “heroes” in this book. Oh, there are characters I love, and characters that I hate. But they’re all multifaceted and have flaws as if they were real people. They make mistakes. They doubt themselves, and sometimes, their decisions ultimately lead to a bad end. No one is completely white or completely black—even the characters that many despise.
Take Cersei, a woman who many people dislike as a character. Think about how she asked Ned if he loved his children and if he’d be willing to do anything for them. When he says he would, she basically tells him what makes her any different. She would do the same thing for her own. Sure, her means were messed up, but the logic behind it is not.
There are no pillar of virtues who can do no wrong and show that being honorable and virtuous is what will win over the bad guys in the end. Things like loyalty and honor don’t protect the characters from the evils of men. While Ned isn’t a complete pillar of virtue, he’s probably the most honorable character in the book to a fault, and we see where that got him.
And it’s things like that that made me like the book. It shows depth of character. No one is always what they seem, and don’t think that being a so-called “good” character means that nothing bad will ever to them.
The book made it a lot easier for me to keep up with characters than the show, and maybe this is because it was fleshed out and since I had an idea of who the characters were because of the show, the details presented in the book made it easier for me to make connections and remember them. And this book was written in an engaging, relaxed way that made it easy to follow along and get into.
Now, I will admit that I started getting twitchy toward the end and felt as if some POVs could’ve been omitted because it just started to get plain redundant, but over all I enjoyed the book.
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