Book Reviews

Book Review (Re-edit): A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin (1996). Book 1 in the Game of Thrones Series.

The novel, A Song of Ice and Fire, begins with an encounter with supernatural beings; this may give a false impression as to what will come. As the story begins to unfold, the theme moves strongly into the area of political intrigue and this forthcoming war that will happen as a result. The fantasy element, while always there plays only a minor role in the majority of the rest of the book. A game of Thrones is not your usual fare, it is hard-hitting and bad things do happen to good people. Two families take centre stage in a battle for Throne; the Starks and the Lannister’s. The Stark family living in the cold hard north, Winterfell is the seat of their domain. We are, using chapters headlined with the family names introduced to the Stark family. Once we have familiarised ourselves with the Stark’s King Robert and his family visit them at Winterfell. King Robert is married to a Lannister, Queen Cersei. The King’s main reason for visiting is for Eddard Stark the honour of becoming his Hand (most trusted advisor). Eddard unhappily accepts and he must move to Kings Landing in the South.
Eddard Starks’s young son Bran is injured during the King’s visit, whilst this is originally thought to be an accident that occurred when he was climbing it becomes apparent that the Lannister’s played a part in this tragedy.

In an interesting sub-plot Jon-Snow, Eddard’s bastard son, joins the “Black” or the “Night’s Watch”, a company of men whose role is to guard a huge Hall of Ice in the far North. He is accompanied there by Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf. Although they do not become friends they end up with a grudging respect for each other. Once Jon has pledged himself to the “black” he must forsake friends, family, marriage and children and his whole life will be spent in the protection of Land. With Eddard now in place as the King’s Hand, tensions rise between himself and the Lannister’s. Then, as the Lannister are drawn into a battle for the throne.

It’s not until the end that the fantasy element once again returns and we left looking forward to the second instalment. With the promise of Dragons and deepening plots the first novel, A Song of Ice and Fire, authored by George R, R, Martin is a fantastic beginning to an amazing series. I have to admit I have enjoyed it immensely, and I have given it a rating of 9.5/10.


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