Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In 2003, my 17-year-old son was going off to a week of camp, and he urged me to start reading a series of fantasy books he loved. The next one is coming out soon, he said, you should read these so we can both read the new one and talk about it! Soon I was deep in a world of wights and direwolves and vaguely medieval men and women living in a feudal system and a complex religious landscape and even dragons. I came to love the Stark family, fiercely, and to grieve at the ways life tore them apart.

We had to wait four more years for the fourth book, and it has been another four year wait for the fifth book, due to be published this summer. Given that my brain is now even more full of oldness, this seemed like the right time to re-read the books, which fortunately are available on Kindle, as I would no longer be able to lift the actual books. I pelted through the first book. The point-of-view chapters are very short compared to those in the second book which made it easy to pick up and put down and also to keep reading, knowing I would soon be at the end of another one. I remembered the book fairly well, probably better than the later books in the series, but what’s most fun is being able to verify that certain things were indeed foreshadowing.

I’m trying not to pay attention, much, to the Internet chatter shared with me by my now 20-year-old (who, for instance, is Jon Snow’s real mother?), who was also reading the books for the first time 8 years ago. He started them before I did. I probably wouldn’t have put that much sex into the hands of a 12-year-old boy on purpose. Actually, I definitely wouldn’t have, but it was his 17-year-old brother who started it. He now says it was confusing and weird for him, but I guess it was no worse than the chapter of “The Godfather” I read on the school bus at that age, or the copy of “Rosemary’s Baby” I sneaked into the bathroom. I did read one Internet review that suggested Martin should leave the sex out of it, and maybe that’s a good point. It’s not his best element. But it’s part of life and these novels with their broadly-described universe wouldn’t be fully human without it.

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5 thoughts on “Game of Thrones”

  1. We watched the first installment of the HBO show (free comp HBO for a few months) and I found it more violent/sexually graphic than I want to watch. But I commented to Ken that I would like to *read* those books. And so I shall. They sound like a lovely summer read. Those elements that I was troubled by in the TV show are the reasons why I prefer reading. I have a fine imagination, you know; I don't need it illustrated for me. (Watching something that I need to turn away from…not so much fun). Maybe I'm a weenie. But that's my story & I'm sticking to it.

  2. I'm not good with the graphic violence either, and honestly, when those scenes happen in the books, I "look away" by closing my mind up just a little. I'm brilliant at it.

  3. My cousin & I are both fantasy readers, and both of us get very frustrated when we start to read a series and have to wait so long for the next book that we've forgotten what happened before. The worst offender, of course, was Jordan's Wheel of Time series, which, in fact, never did end (indeed, nothing of any consequence happened in the last 3 or 4 books). I refuse to read the final books now that his son (or somebody) is attempting to bring it to a conclusion. My cousin now has a rule that he won't even start reading a series until after it's completed.George R.R. Martin's been way too frustrating with completing this series as well, but it's a riveting bunch of books. What amazes me about this one is that no one appears to be safe in it. It's very unpleasant. But I love reading it anyway.

  4. Sam, my son and I were talking about our hopes for the end of the series, and I asked the question, "What's the one thing you really need to have happen to be satisfied?" My answer was for Arya and Nymeria to be reunited, preferably victorious over everyone and everything, though I can't imagine that exactly. Who are you rooting for?

  5. My 30 yr old son has been urging me to read this series since he first read it — this is one of his favorite genres. I have DVR'd all the episodes of the show but haven't watched them yet. I guess I'll have to break down and start reading. Right now though, I'm 2/3 of the way through the Bernard Cornwell's first book of the Grail Quest series, (The Archer's Tale). I prefer my adventure to be more historically accurate! And this is a good story, although it probably isn't as terrific as his Richard Sharpe series.

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