So – after nearly two months of reading off and on, I finally reached the end of George R.R. Martin’s big fat fantasy novel, “Game of Thrones.” I enjoyed it, though it probably won’t make any best-books lists I may write, and I do plan to read on in the ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series… but not until I’ve caught up with a few other series, like Harry Potter, Harry Dresden, (huh, how about that!) and Discworld.
A few of the things I particularly liked:
- The characters are well portrayed and engaging, though, because I was warned about the author’s propensity for gut-wrenching twists, I found that I was avoiding attaching too closely with any one character, for fear of being put through the wringer as they’re tortured or grieving when they’re killed – or both.
- There’s something very refreshing and fun about a fantasy world where the majority of the characters are – uncooth, vulgar, earthy, and carnal. A lot of the high fantasy I’ve read takes the opposite tack, and it somehow seems more realistic to be in a gritty world where the characters swear freely, at least based on the situation: Lord Ned Stark will go profanity for profanity with his good friend the King, but is always more delicate with his lady wife, Catelyn, and she is lady-like in most situations… unless she really gets pissed off.
- Some of the surprise twists are pulled off really well, especially when the author takes a situation in a way that is fairly natural based on the characters, but violates the usual tropes of storytelling and good triumphing in the end, so that you’re left reeling and trying to figure out how this defeat will affect the wider-canvas story being told.
Have you read any of ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ or watched the ‘Game of Thrones’ series on television? What do you think? Please, no spoilers!