Wow! Game of Thrones. It’s difficult to know where to begin, isn’t it? How long has the TV series been running? some years I believe, last I heard, they were getting ready to produce the eighth series.
It took me quite awhile to actually pick this book up. The TV series sounded complicated enough when I heard friends discussing it, let alone the book. One of my friends saw it on my to-read list and bought me the first two books, so I lost the excuse of not having the book as a reason to put it off any longer. I needed to find the old Gryffindor in me despite now being a Ravenclaw and find the courage to actually read this book and I am glad I did.
I decided it would be one of my reading prompts for the pop sugar challenge this year. As the first book is named A Song of Ice and Fire I decided it would fit well with the following prompt.
A book with a weather element in the title
Although, it didn’t strike me until the end why it was called that! Like, the last sentence!
So before I started reading this book, I prepared myself for a whole lot of complicated. Especially the houses and each of their roles. And to my surprise, it was less complicated than I imagined. I mean, it was complicated, but not as complicated as I believed it would be.
Now, I’ll be honest. I half-read, half-listened to this book. Some of the words were not sounding right in my head so it helped to have the audiobook pronounce the words I was struggling with. But often, I sat on the settee, headphones in, listening to the book as I followed along on the page. But I enjoyed it.
Berg enjoyed it I think more for the phrase: “Winter is Coming”. He is a Polar Bear after all, (Don’t tell him the crown is upside down!). I may not be able to cover everything, it is a long book after all, but I will read the second one soon, so perhaps I’ll write another review on this series.
Is it a game of The Sims? Where summer can last a lifetime! No, it’s a Game of Thrones and the long summer is coming to an end. Winter is coming and so is the battle for the Iron Throne.
In this world, boys are forced to become men before their time. But who will win this war for the throne?
Plot and Narrative
The second you open the book, you are thrown into a world resembling the medieval era. The kingdom split into houses and these houses rule their own area.
I feel that George R. R. Martain’s choice to use the third person omniscient. He didn’t rely on the first person to show the emotions and thoughts of each character – and the book would not have worked in the first person anyway. Instead, he only gives the odd sentence into what the characters are thinking and this works well with the action that they are doing, which could conflict with what they are actually doing. In some way, I feel this adds to build the realism of the characters.
The conflict seemed real and there was more than one to keep you on your toes. The story is told with alternating narratives, following various characters on their journey. This often meant that each chapter ended on a cliff-hanger and you had to wait until you got to the character’s next chapter to find out what happened, discovering that time has continued to move on from the last time you saw them,
Near the beginning of the book, there is an event that kept me glued to it until I got to the character’s next chapter. I needed to know what happened! I just had to! Already, I began feeling attached to the characters, falling in love with Bran and his empathy for the dire wolf pups! And Jon trying to be a good, big brother.
Then as it moved on, I learned about the other characters, appreciated some of them more, rooted them on! Willing for them to win and that is exactly what a book is supposed to do.
The detail in the book is excellent, preventing any unnecessary exposition – or exposition that does not add to the story in some way.
This world comes to life because of the imagery George R. R. Martin uses. I could see Bran’s reaction to the Dire Wolves pups. His wide eyes preying his father will let him take them home. This is probably my favourite scene in the book. This or Daenerys last scene in the book. No spoilers!
I can see Bran climbing on the rooftops, the fun, the freedom he feels as he climbs higher and higher. He became my favourite character from the start. So full of life, mischief and hope.
This, all just in Winterfell. Then the story moves to Kings Landing and other places in the world. I used the map that comes with the book to see how far they have travelled, to see what they see. The whole book felt as if I was a part of the story. A character that did not speak, but watched, unnoticed by the other characters.
I loved the dire wolves, I think I have two favourites out of the litter. I also enjoyed the Children of the Forest and found them interesting. I think one of Martin’s skills is the ability to include these creatures into the world, adding more conflict but not overwhelming the story.
I cannot talk about all the characters in depth. we will be here for a book’s length if I even attempted to do that! So I have decided to talk about a few of my favourite characters.
As already said, Bran is one of my favourite characters and was from the start. I think he is meant to catch your attention on page one after the event that happens to him within the first few chapters, so if that was the intention, it certainly worked for me. Though I think Arya, Jon and Daenerys are fighting for his place.
I love Arya Stark. Along with her brother, Jon, she takes after her father while her other siblings take after their mother, Catelyn who was once a Tully before her marriage to Eddard Stark. I think I like Arya because she doesn’t want to be a lady and she is not a ‘typical lady’ in nature. I guess, she is what I hope I would have been if I lived in her world. She wants to learn how to defend herself and use a sword, so she does, but with it, people stop calling her a girl and begin calling her ‘boy’ which seems as if it annoys her- as it would myself.
This creates and adds conflict between her sister, Sansa but builds a bond with her brother Jon, who is also an outsider in the family. Not going to say why here, but I wonder how he managed to cope living with the Starks for such a long time.
I find him quite interesting and feel that his story is going to develop greatly in the next few books – in other words, I have a hunch that he is much more important than the other characters see him as.
I also like Daenerys though I am not sure why. Maybe because of the ending of the book. I loved her final scene.
Overall, the characters are well rounded, visual and all of them have their good, bad and definitely their grey areas. Each of them has their own goal to achieve and also their own complication that they have to overcome. However, they do not always use logic and reason to achieve what they want and they have to pay the consequences of their actions.
I know I haven’t talked about the houses or many of the other characters yet, but I am still trying to work them out in this complicated series.
The only issue I have with the book, which is more a personal issue than a fault with the writing, is that if I did not have the audiobook accompanying me, I would have found it hard to read the whole book just because I would be spending my time contemplating whether the pronunciation in my head was correct or not (which the audiobook tells me that most of the time, it wasn’t). It also took me awhile to realise Eddard and Ned were one of the same people but these are very small things, nothing to impact on the enjoyment of the book. But these are more a personal issue I guess, so if you want to have a go pronouncing some of these names or if you’re one of these people who doesn’t care whether the way your head says it is correct, then I would recommend this book. I enjoyed it and the names have not put me off the second book so…
I am looking forward to starting the second book, I am not sure whether I am going to need the audiobook with The Clash of the Clans as I now know most of the pronunciations but let’s see.
Before I go, I took a Zoo quiz to see which house I would fit into. I got what you probably can tell is my favourite house.
Obviously, the quiz isn’t ‘official’ so if anyone has a link that is official that places you in one of the houses, please share it in comments. Would love to see if the Starks is the house that I belong in. What house do you belong in? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading.
Would you like to guest post on Little Sea Bear? Please feel free to contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. And please join Berg’s Book Club. You could influence what I review in the next coming weeks.
Saturday, I will have a post on a recent cinema trip with a friend. Stay tuned.