Game of Thrones

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” (A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin)

Game of Thrones CoverIn my experience, many people, mostly women, have a strange prejudice against fantasy and sci-fi. Here is my advice to you: buy a cheap fantasy novel (preferably a good one) and keep it in the bottom of your purse/car for however long it takes. It may be a year, but at some point you will find yourself stuck with nothing to do, and the grubby paperback will shine like a beacon of hope in your bored, desperate mind. Then perhaps you’ll give it a fair chance and see fantasy for what it really is: a life saver.

The Game of Thrones would be a pretty good choice for your last attempt to enjoy fantasy; the names are generally monosyllabic, the map small, and the plot is written with an eye for visuals. That being said, you will probably never enjoy high fantasy if you only like fast-paced reads. Martin, like Tolkien, etc, engages in world building by hinting at millennia of history and populating his books with slews of characters and different perspectives. Where Game of Thrones differs from other high fantasy series is in how Martin crafts his females. Instead of being bristly, hair-obsessed plot-stoppers, (like in other well-loved fantasy series) his women grow to be empowered bearers of dragons. Which is much more interesting to read about, no matter your gender.

Recommended Action: BuyBorrowTBR – Avoid
Length: 864
Ending: cliff hanger – no getting around it, this is an unfinished series.

Further Reading: If you do decide to like this, there is a whole world of high fantasy for you to dig into. However, the way Martin writes his female characters makes me want to recommend actual female-oriented fantasy, and for that you should look no further than N. K. Jemisin, author of the Inheritance trilogy and Dreamblood trilogy.

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6 thoughts on “Game of Thrones

  1. There are two great problems with this series, though. The author has practically admitted that he does not know how to finish it, and the work is terribly depressing. But, I will admit to enjoying three volumes of the series,

    • I have heard that the pace slows down as the series progresses, and to be honest – I don’t plan on reading anymore myself until he does finish it. I also appreciate a certain amount of ‘depressing’ in fantasy – it makes it seem more real and believable. As much as I love the good vs. evil optimism of LOTR, how likely is it that all those hobbits would have survived? George R. R. Martin would have killed them off in the first book for the sake of realism, and it would have been sad, but perhaps more interesting?

      • Interestingly, one of my friends finds LOTR dark and grim–even saying that it’s very depressing. But, I think that the characters exude enough cheer and courage to offset the darkness of the circumstances.

        Perhaps if the hobbits were killed off it would be more interesting, but Tolkien would have said it would be less realistic. I’m reading it for the fourth time, and starting to pick up on the Catholic themes more. Having a hobbit as the hero is reminiscent of the story of David and Goliath or St. Francis. Apparently, once St. Francis complained to God that he was too sinful and dumb to start a religious order, but God responded that He chose such a sinful and foolish person for the job so that everyone might know that the work was His; thereby giving more glory to God than man.

        So, I think that Tolkien would have said that in killing off the lowly, weak hobbits instead of of the strong, valiant Boromir it would have been more realistic but less true. But, with such a paradox, I might be channeling Chesterton more than Tolkien!

      • That makes a lot of sense to me, the distinction between true and realistic in Tolkien. And, I must admit, I was being a bit flippant when I said that killing of the Hobbits would be more interesting – LOTR would not be the uplifting work it is without them.

  2. Pingback: Blood Song | Book Lion

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