My Rating: 5 Stars
Series Title: A Song of Ice and Fire
Number in Series: Book #1
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Narrator: Roy Dotrice
Length: 34 Hours (Yes you read that right 34)
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy,
Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.
A GAME OF THRONES
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
This book review has been a long time coming. I started watching Game of Thrones when it first came out years ago. I watched the first episode back in 2011 I think but with life-changing events of my own, television took a back seat and so did most of my hobbies. Needless to say, I believe I only watched that one episode. I never even tried to stream them. Big mistake. Because now that I’ve started the books, I’m kicking myself.
Last year I commented on a GoT review written by DPM Speaks and he encouraged me to read and review it so I tried. Did you read that? I “tried”. I couldn’t get past the wolf pups being given to the children. I was pathetic, I just couldn’t get into it, as bad as I wanted to immerse myself in this story I couldn’t keep track of the characters, what they were doing, or even what family they were in. With disappointment, I put the book down….for a minute.
In 2019 alone, I read 156 books. In December I picked up Game of Thrones again to give it another try and I loved it! I feel that all the reading I’ve done over that year has helped me focus, and pay attention while expanding my mind. I know that may sound false or fake, but trust me, this isn’t the only book that I have been able to pick up on the second try and breeze through later.
I still have not watched the series and at some point, maybe in 2020 I’ll be able to see it and finally see who played Eddard, Arya, Catelyn, Brand, Jon Snow, Ned and the lot. I haven’t seen one single episode past the first one and have no clue about anything or just can’t remember what I did see. Let’s see if I can read all the books before I watch the series.
That being said, Let’s get into this review.
The book was written in the voice of its time. And in this time period, women were not regarded highly at all, it’s just a fact. I have read lots of reviews trashing this book as being misogynist and sexist, and you know what, if you don’t like it, then don’t read books that predate political correctness. During this time period, children were not treasured like they are today, but that was history. Lots of people thought the book “The Help by Kathryn Stockett” was racist, or they didn’t like the “tone” or made them uncomfortable. Honestly, that was the time period the story takes place in, and that’s what the book was about, hello!
This book, like I said, takes place in medieval times when kings sat on thrones, knights guarded the castle and the common folk knew their place. It seems there are only two seasons, harsh winter and summer and they each last for years. We follow several families in royalty and servitude. With them, we experience their troubles, defeats, ties to each other, and triumphs as well as their endings.
Upstanding King Eddard Stark and his family live peacefully in Winterfell. Ned finds a dead direwolf with 6 orphaned cubs, one being an albino. He allows his 6 children to keep and raise the cubs including his bastard son Jon Snow. Do you see any similarities? (That’s because this is foreshadowing.) An old friend King Robert Baratheon visits King Stark and drafts him to be the advisor to the crown. Stark is reluctant and after he agrees, he and his entire family walk into a kingdom of lies, betrayal, incest, jealousy, and murder. When Stark discovers the truth about Robert’s family (that not even Robert himself knows) it places the entire Stark family in danger that Stark sees no way out of. With one Stark daughter to be betrothed to the Prince who means to kill him, a bastard son sent away to be a Knight, another daughter who has to flee for her life or face death, the baby boy who may not survive a crippling fall at the hands of an adult (the things I do for love) and his queen who is left to keep the kingdom running herself (which was rarely done by a woman back then) King Stark is stuck between a rock and hard place. All because he wanted to help a friend, King Robert.
Viserys and his sister Daenerys Targaryen are the last of their family and Viserys has betrothed his 14-year-old sister to the leader of a nomadic tribe of brutes. I’m not kidding they are horrible. The tribe are called the Dothraki and the men only cut their hair if they have been defeated. They do not conquer kingdoms when they go to war, instead, they pillage and plunder destroying everything in their path. The men enslave the women and line up to rape them, making the men watch and killing the children. When they are done, for as long as it takes, then everyone is killed. We see that the leader who is to marry Daenerys is named, Kahl Drogo and has very long braids which means he has never been defeated. After some time, after they have been wed and Daenerys begins to truly accept her role of wife to the leader she begins to speak their language and take on their customs and rituals truly becoming a Dothraki. Jorah even tells her she is finally beginning to talk like a queen. Her response is “Not a Queen. A Kahleesi.” Which is the Dothraki equivalent and shows true assimilation. Throughout book one Daenerys repeats the phrase “I am a dragon’s daughter” as though she is trying to convince herself, but we see her bathing in water that is way too hot for humans. This again is foreshadowing because fire cannot kill the dragon, and we see proof of that by the end of this book. Although Daenerys becomes pregnant and is enjoying her new life she isn’t without trials, and tests, encountering schemers, traitors, and liars which only leads to great misery at such a tender age.
There is so much in this book (34 hours of audio) that I can’t possibly fit it all in and I can’t wait to continue the new year with book #2 A Clash of Kings. I do hope you will stay tuned. Roy Dotrice did a superb job narrating. He is superb in his timing, and the feelings and emotions he adds to the voices and there are so many. He makes them all sound so authentic and each one seems one of a kind.
Did you see the series? Have you read the books? Who is your most loved character and your most hated? Is there more than one? Two? Three? Is there anyone you love to hate? Who could be a character on their own in a stand-alone book and why? Leave me a comment in the section below. Also, check out