Friday, 4 January 2013

'A Song of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones' Review

I came to ‘A Song of Fire and Ice’ late, with books one to five already published and the first two seasons of the television adaptation having aired.  I’d heard nothing but good things about both, with people raving about the quality of the story and the characters.  I have to admit that at first this put me off.  I was worried that the product wouldn’t live up to the hype and I’d be left disappointed.

Eventually I relented and sat down to watch the first episode of the show and was immediately enthralled.  The world, the characters, the mystery.  I needed to know more, I needed to see what happened next.  Over the following two weeks I had watched every episode of the show and had bought the first book.

Going into the book I was pleased to find that everything that had made the show great was a product of the original source material and not something that had been added for television.  Not only that, but I was given so much more to enjoy.

George R. R. Martin is an amazing storyteller that crafts an entire world that feels real and full formed, filled with a cast of characters that are as multifaceted as you or I.  There are no real villains and no real heroes in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, everyone has their own reasons to do what they do, and can justify there actions.

Yes, there are some people who do some down right nasty things in the book, but through the back story that Martin provides we can see how they reached this point, and if not sympathise with them at least understand.

Instead of focusing solely on one character the author spreads the focus on several key figures in the world he created, dedicating a chapter to one of these before moving on to the next.  This allows the reader to see multiple viewpoints and builds us a bigger picture of the world of Westeros. 

We are also given more than one storyline, with events unfolding across the world, some that effect and are effected by others, some that are apparently separate yet will have some small connection to one or more of the other stories.  Just like the multiple character viewpoints this makes Westeros feel like a real world, where many different things are happening.  It also helps to build anticipation for the inevitable meeting of these storylines, where we will get to see these characters clash.

The first volume is a great introduction to the world and the characters, and sets up the stories for the following volumes incredibly well.  For anyone that has watched the television show and is interested in reading the book do so, everything that made you love the show will be even better.  And if you haven’t experienced either start here.  9/10


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