The Game of Thrones:
Book One of A Song Of Ice And Fire
A copy of this book was lent to me, by my dentist’s nurse, quite a few months ago. She was highly recommending it, but I had my doubts. Having been brought up quite firmly on Tolkien and his Fellowship of the Ring, which I had first read back in the 60s and have been reading approximately every two years ever since, I wasn’t sure George Martin could hack it.
However, there’s one thing I have learnt over the past 6+ decades of reading and that is not to judge to quickly, and to have a go at reading everything. So I took it down a few weeks ago and began.
I am so pleased I gave it a go, it was a marvellous read. And George Martin can certainly hack it, an amazing book. At 700+ pages it is not a quick read, even for me, but I neglected all to read it, maybe not in one sitting but within three days had it neatly tucked into my very being.
It’s a grand tale full of sweeping landscapes and events. This is old-fashioned tale in the dealing of honour versus dishonour, but not a romantic one, honour often fails and dishonour often triumphs. One feels it should have golden knights on snowy white steeds, well plenty of so called knights but their steeds are not snowy white, nor are they golden. This is warfare as I have always suspected those olden days would have produced, nasty, brutish and cruel. The moral and ethical dilemmas dealt with within its pages are superbly managed. The stories of treachery and vengeance are nicely balanced with friendships and love.
Every character is very well drawn, from the children to the elderly. Varying landscapes of this world, from the biting cold to the burning heat are believable. The world building that has gone on behind the scenes here is spot on. As in Tolkien’s epic there are many characters to come to grips with, complicated life histories. Again as in Tolkien there are humans and other creatures, from dragons to soul sucking beings. There are old gods, who are greedy and vengeful.
It is not a story for the fainthearted, the death toll is enormous, and the pages drip with dreadful deeds. There is no one who is safe; children are sacrificed, tormented as easily as adults.
A sweeping grandiose beginning to what I hope is an amazing series. I have the second lined up and look forward to it. If it finishes as it begins it will deserve a place next Tolkien on my bookshelf.