Of Lords, Blood, and Sword: A Game of Thrones Book Review
George R. R. Martin's book entitled A Game of Thrones has made a big splash, especially when its HBO TV series adaptation first aired.
The first book of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, Game of Thrones, paints the physical and political landscape of Westeros. There are three main storylines in the first published book. These three storylines are what push the entire series' plot forward.
Game of Thrones Plot
Royal conspiracies have been brewing in Westeros. And the Starks of Winterfell are bound to get dragged into the eye of the storm. The Lord of Winterfell, Ned Stark, upon the request of the current King of the Iron Throne, Robert Baratheon, left Winterfell to travel to King's Landing. Going together with his two daughters, he journeyed south to be the King's Hand.
Upon their entourage's arrival to the King's Landing, Ned realized that he's in for a far more difficult mission than just being the King's advisor. Acting on his growing suspicions on the circumstances around the previous King's Hand's death, Ned subsequently uncovers the truth that involves the parentage of the King's children. Before he can expose the secret though, the Queen has already led the King to his death – which ultimately resulted to Ned's beheading.
As for the fate of the two Stark daughters left behind in King's Landing, Arya, the younger one of the two, escaped with the help of her fencing tutor. Sansa, the older one of the two, was retained in the castle. Sansa has to fulfill her betrothal to Prince Joffrey, now named the new King of the Iron Throne.
Ned's widow, Catelyn, together with their oldest son, Robb, rallied the North's vassal houses to obtain justice for the recently fallen Lord of Winterfell. Because of several traitors within their ranks, the two died together with the army they've painstakingly managed to raise.
ON THE WALL
Now, let's focus on Jon Snow, the Lord of Winterfell's bastard son. Together with Jon's appearance is the introduction of the Wall and the Night's Watch. Jon, as a member of the Night's Watch, fought off the denizens beyond the Wall.
After learning of his father's execution, Jon decided to join Robb but was persuaded to stay in the Watch. There, Jon continued his duties as he faced off against the “wildlings” and awaited for the arrival of the “Others”.
ACROSS THE SEA
In a continent away from Westeros, one character developed into a formidable force. The children of the overthrown Mad King attempted to return to Westeros with the help of the Dothrakis. To do that, the older son, Viserys, betrothed his younger sister, Daenerys to the Dothraki's warlord, Drogo.
What initially started as a marriage to gain the Dothraki's army eventually turned into a happy marriage as newly wedded husband and wife fell in love with each other. However, things turned for the worse as Drogo got injured. The subsequent course of events led to his death and Daenerys' awakening as the Mother of Dragons.
A READER'S VERDICT
The story is worth reading because of the ingenious political schemes that leave the readers awestruck. There's also the element of unpredictability in this novel. You won't know who will die and who will be saved.
The characters are notable, especially when talking about their development throughout the novel. There are the ultimate evils, such as Cersei Lannister and Ramsay Bolton, with twisted personalities that make you want to kill them yourself. There are also two-faced evils, such as Petyr Baelish, with loyalty you'll have a hard time guessing. This book certainly has an abundance of characters you will both love and hate.
While many characters are introduced at first, most of them don't appear until several chapters or one book later. As there are multiple characters, it is inevitable that the story is told in multiple points of view. For those who are not used to reading stories that frequently change POVs, Game of Thrones may seem to be confusing and convoluted. However, rest assured that George R. R. Martin does his best to let the readers readily identify with the narrator.
Lastly, the novel is quite lengthy. It has subplots and fillers that may seem irrelevant to the entire plot. If you skip several chapters of the book just to get to the main point of the plot, you might end up missing some vital characters who, minor as they may, hold crucial information that can bring down a villain or resolve complicated issues.
Since the whole series is still ongoing, we can't discount the possibility that these seemingly extraneous plotlines may be a foreshadowing of later developments. Be assured that the more you read, the more you will be drawn to the world of Westeros.
For now, if you don't want to go through the torture of reading filler text, it may be better to check the TV series adaptation. Of course, if you want to be amazed with how intricate the schemes are in Game of Thrones, then reading the book is a better choice.
The ending of the book may not precisely give closure to the storyline. However, it is enough to give way to the second book. It keeps the excitement and makes you want to read the next book immediately.
© 2018 Kate Roux