My Thoughts on A Game of Thrones

image from Wikipedia

 George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones is considered a classic in the epic fantasy genre, but I never read it until now. I shied away from it not because it was a rather large book (over 600 pages) or because it’s complicated (there are 8 different POV characters, lots of intrigue and politics and past historical events that shape the present and future). I love that sort of thing.    

Mainly I didn’t want to read it because it was part of an unfinished series. I hate investing a great deal of time and emotion in a series and not knowing the ending. I had that experience with The Wheel of Time series and didn’t particularly like it. (And that, my friends, is a different post.) I didn’t want to start another never-ending series. However, it was a recommended read for a writing course I took (Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel) and I was curious.  So, I read it.    


And I really enjoyed it.   

I’m not going to write a synopsis, since the novel was first published 14 years ago and you can read that anywhere. I will, though, explain what I liked and disliked about it.  ** SPOILERS **  

First of all, let me get a dislike out of the way. Thrones has, for the most part, a typical medieval setting. Lately, I’ve gotten pretty bored with this. However, there were at least enough differences to make it interesting: the unusual seasons (though that reminded me again of Jordan), The Wall, and The Eyrie has to be one of the more inaccessible and interesting castles in fantasy. But the nomadic Dothraki with their horse culture and “city” of Vaes Dothrak, made up for the rest of it.   

The pace of Thrones is brisk, despite its size, and I didn’t feel that it bogged down at all. With several different POV characters, it certainly never got boring.  

Characterization is superb. Each POV character has a unique voice and personality. I felt that, for the most part, the actions and thoughts were true to each character.   

I like surprises when I read. I often play a game with myself to see if I can guess what will happen at crisis points in a novel and I get disappointed in the author when I can anticipate exactly what will happen. While there was the usual palace-type intrigue and Eddard in over his head and Daenerys as the virgin sacrifice to her brother’s ambition that I expected, I was pleasantly surprised quite a few times reading Thrones. When Bran was pushed out of the window. The particular punishment for Arya’s behavior and the gruesome end to Arya’s friend, the butcher’s boy. Catelyn’s accusation and it’s aftermath when Tyrion recognized her in the tavern. I didn’t expect Joffrey to be quite so erratic and order Eddard’s death (though that fits with his character once I thought about it) or that his mother would be unable to control him. Once Daenerys’ brother was killed, I didn’t expect much that happened to her, certainly not what happened to Khal Drogo. And, therefore, I didn’t see the end coming, either. Plenty of foreshadowing regarding those dragon eggs and I still missed it!   

Overall, I enjoyed The Game of Thrones.  But, I don’t feel the need to run right out and get the second in the series. Not yet, anyway. If I knew the series had an end, well, maybe I would.  

What are your thoughts regarding The Game of Thrones?


8 comments on “My Thoughts on A Game of Thrones

  1. Diane says:

    I am glad you liked it.
    No, I did not like it at all. I only picked one character and read from his POV for the length of the novel. Even then, I had to bribe myself with ice cream and other sweets to even focus my eyes on the print.
    It is one of the many reasons I decided to write; to create books I wanted to read.


  2. ekcarmel says:

    No one book is for everybody and this one certainly caused controversy in Holly’s course. Kudos to you for even getting through that much when you detested the book! I still remember in college having to read *Little Dorritt* by Dickens. Oh, but I hated that book! I think I read a third of the way through and then read the last couple of chapters.


  3. amkuska says:

    I will hold off until there is an end in the series. I just can’t bring myself to commit until I know the outcome is at least acceptable. -.-


  4. Kerryn says:

    I’ve read them all to date and have given up hope of the next one coming out. If it does I’ll read it. The characterisation is fantastic and I really enjoyed them. However, I am one of those disillusioned from the Wheel of Time but I’m too stubborn to stop reading them!


  5. ekcarmel says:

    I’ve heard they are all quite good. That’s what is so maddening! Since there *is* an end in sight for Wheel of Time, I’ll finish that one, but it just might take me a while…


  6. Tammy McLeod says:

    I have not even heard of this but it sounds like something my older boys might enjoy. Would you consider it YA or too gruesome?


  7. ekcarmel says:

    Personally, it’s something I would have read as a teenager. Having said that, it’s not marketed as YA. The word that comes to my mind is “gritty”. It depicts medieval-type life told from male and female points of view, old and young, but most of the more mature moments, regarding sex or death, are implied rather than overt and your own imagination fills in the details.


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