Is it too late to review A Game of Thrones? Was it too late the minute the TV show became one of the biggest things to ever happen to television? Either way, I’m here to give my opinion of the book, not the show and it does differ slightly.

A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin book review
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A Game of Thrones is the epic first book in the even more epic A Song of Ice and Fire series. It focuses on the introduction of the massive expanse of cultures and kingdoms that we are further introduced to later on. We are introduced to the families, storylines and world in which we’ll be flung into in later books too. Epic is the best word I can use to describe this book, as I have done so already. It’s a long book, there are many words, many characters and a lot to indulge our nerdy little brains with.

Plot – 4/5

A Game of Thrones focuses on multiple storylines and characters, however centers mainly on the Stark family, as large and expanding as they are. They’re a stubborn family who has been around for a long time and live in Winterfell.

There are multiple sweeping storylines including Daenarys’ journey from a pawn in a political game to becoming something so much more. There’s also the tale of Cersei and her brother Jaime who get caught having relations with one another when they’re not supposed to so end up nearly killing one of the Starks’ children. There’s a whole lot of drama in this book and a lot of names and families to dig your teeth into.

It would be nearly impossible to summarise the plot in one or two paragraphs so I’ll summarise my views on it instead. As I’ve said multiple times already, there are quite a few stories going on here that are separate from one another. You’ll need to concentrate on the characters names and their families, but if you do, you’ll soon be drawn into each story as they’re wonderfully fascinating. They are also slightly linked, they’re not different timelines or anything.

Characters – 4/5

There is a multitude of characters in A Game of Thrones. There are the good guys, the bad guys, the redeemers, the overachievers, the naughty child, the goody-two-shoes, the moany brat and so on. Martin does a great job of morphing each character into their own role and making them feel all unique. Some characters lose their temper quicker than others, others perform kind acts that others wouldn’t. Props to Martin for writing in so many different personalities and managing to keep track of them all at the same time.

One thing I must admit is that I didn’t particularly have many favourites. I believe my favourite was Tyrion, who I believe would be most people’s if they read this book. He’s some light comic-relief in a book filled with dark and tense moments. He’s a character who we see take a personal journey, show undue kindness and isn’t afraid to tell others when their actions or words are wrong. He’s great. There are other characters in the book you may enjoy, but Tyrion is the stand-out for me.

Summary – 4/5

A Game of Thrones is a book that any fantasy fan feels they must-read. It’s got mythical creatures, swords, multiple families, a king, strange weather, great history and so much more than fantasy fans love. However, it is very political and it does jump around to different characters a lot. If this isn’t your sort of thing, no matter how much you enjoy fantasy novels, this may simply not be your sort of thing – and that’s OK!

Considered one of the greatest fantasy novels (if not the whole series) ever written, one might be pressured into thinking they must consider this one of the best books they’ve ever read. While it is amazing and ticks many of the boxes I like in a fantasy book, it was simply a little slow and a little full-on for me. Maybe in another ten years time, I’ll give it another read and see if I’m ready for it then. But until then it’s a four out of five stars from me. Pick up your copy of A Game of Thrones here.

1 thought on “Book Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

  1. I found the first 3 books in a “little neighborhood library” on the sidewalk yesterday, so I figured “why not” and grabbed them. So far I have read the prologue from the first book, in which there are 3 characters: Gared (in his 50s, 40 years of which serving in the Night’s Watch), Will (caught poaching and drafted 4 years prior to the Night’s Watch), and Ser Waymar Royce, 18 years old lordling heir and commander of this latest ranging in pursuit of some wildlings who are leading them further and further north. Will had just returned from tracking the wildlings 2 miles from their present location, seen they were all dead, and returned to the group. Gared figured they had died from the cold (he himself lost both ears and some fingers and toes from some previous exposure), but Royce asks Will about the Wall; Will says it had been “weeping” meaning it wasn’t possibly cold enough to kill the wildlings. So Royce demands they go to see, remarks that Gared had been “unmanned” by fear of the dark for his insistence on building a fire, and Gared barely holds himself back from murdering Royce then and there. Then Royce and Will go to see the dead wildlings, only now there are none left, just one weapon (a valuable war ax) and Royce instructs Will to climb up a tree to see what he can. Meanwhile some ghostly foe comes and approaches Royce with some kind of magic sword. Will sees more ghosts coming but fears to shout a warning since he is sure to die. Royce and the ghost have a duel, Royce gets hit by the ghostly sword and it cuts him through his mail armor, he charges and hits the ghost sword with all his might, but his own steel sword shatters into a zillion pieces. All the ghosts advance and chop him up and then they all disappear somewhere. Will eventually climbs down and recovers Royce’s broken hilt for evidence, but before he can leave Royce rises up and is towering over him, and strangles him dead, too.

    I have a few issues with this first scene, which are: why is Royce ignoring his more experienced companion’s better advice, and why are his companions daft enough to let Royce out-reason them about the cold, and how can Will climb up a tree and none of the ghosts can see him up there, and how can Royce shatter a steel broadsword at all, he must have superhuman strength to possibly do that, and why does he come back to life and strangle Will out?

    I’m reading this story and already I’m appalled at how sloppily it is written and how uninteresting it is. I think I’m like Gared, I have half a mind to throw these books out and find something better.

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