Katie Stew

A rich, simmering blend of my favorite things

A Game of Thrones


Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones”. “A Game of Thrones” is an epic fantasy novel and the first in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series that spans four published novels with three more planned. And I have to say, I’m excited. I also learned after I finished the book that HBO has already been working on a series based off of “A Game of Thrones” that will premier in April of this year.

Again, excited.

Like I said, the book is an epic fantasy novel. But, don’t let that scare you off. It is a fantasy novel in that it is set in an imaginary location, but isn’t as full of sorcerers and imaginary creatures as most fantasy novels are. In fact, the setting is very medieval. Lots of knights and jousting and battles. Though, there are a few supernatural forces running around. But mostly, it is a story of human nature and what people are willing to do and sacrifice for things like power, love, and honor.

The book has a ton of characters and the narrative switches to different characters from chapter to chapter. Generally speaking, the book focuses on the Stark family. They are a noble family and the lords of Winterfell, one of the northern holds in the Seven Kingdoms. They are drawn into the drama of the Southern lands when Lord Eddard Stark, the head of the Starks,  is asked to be the right hand of the king, Robert Baraethon, who resides in the south. The king is married to one of the Lannister family, a conniving, power hungry family who will do anything to control the Iron Throne. One of the narrative characters is Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf brother of the queen. He is a great character and gives some balance in the Stark/Lannister dramas.

There is also a side story about Daenerys Targaryen, the last of the Dragonlords, the royal family who were nearly wiped out by King Robert when he took the throne. She and her brother are in an Eastern land trying to create a force that will be able to regain the throne for their family. The chapters containing their story are really interesting and were compiled into a novella entitled “Blood of the Dragon”, which won the Hugo prize for Best Novella in 1997.

It is said in the book, that in the game of thrones, you win or you die. And in this book, the author does not shy away from killing main characters, bad guys, and heroes. Fate is both lovely and cruel. And I think it is nice in a book when things aren’t always clear as to who is good and who is bad. It is more interesting when everyone can be both good and bad and the good guys don’t always win.

This was a gripping novel and I quite enjoyed it. It will fill that fantasy void that has been left in my life now that I’m all caught up on the “Wheel of Time” series. This series is more drama and less magic than the other, and I think it is more accessible.

I would recommend checking out this series and am eager to read more and also check out the new series on HBO this spring.


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