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March 1, 2011
The kingdom of the royal Stark family faces its ultimate challenge in the onset of a generation-long winter, the poisonous plots of the rival Lannisters, the emergence of the Neverborn demons and the arrival of barbarian hordes. Reissue. TV tie-in.
Now that season 6 of the Game Of Thrones TV series is over, I feel it is the right time to write about the novels where the series was based on. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin is the first book of the A song of Ice and Fire series, a planned 7 novel fantasy of which 5 books have already been published. If you love the TV series, you will love the books more as you will understand the complexities behind the characters a lot better. I normally don’t read fantasy novels. Before reading this one, the only fantasy genre that I ever read was The Lord Of The Rings series and The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.
A Song of Ice and Fire is set in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos. The writing style used is from the point of view (POV) of the characters in the series. Being the first book, Martin introduces the plot lines of the noble houses of Westeros (Baratheon, Lannister, Stark), the Wall and the Targaryens.
In the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, Eddard “Ned” Stark is the Lord of Winterfell and the Warden of the North. King Robert Baratheon travels to Winterfell to recruit Ned Stark to be his Hand (Chief Adviser). Ned Stark reluctantly accepts the position and travels to King’s Landing with his two daughters, Sansa and Arya, leaving the rest of the family in Winterfell. We are also introduced to the Lannisters, and learn about the incestuous relationship between twins Jamie and Cersei (King Robert’s wife) and their dwarf brother, Tyrion. While working as Hand, Ned discovers that the children of King Robert are not his. Being an honest man, Ned is torn between his duties and learns the political intrigues that go with his job. When King Robert dies from an accident, court intrigues and manipulations got Ned to be executed for treason.
We are also introduced to the Wall, an ancient barrier of stone, ice, and magic, hundreds of feet high and hundreds of miles long, shielding the Seven Kingdoms from the Northern wilderness. Ned’s bastard son, Jon Snow, decides to join the Night Watch, an order of warriors sworn to serve for life. The main job of the men of the Night Watch is to protect the Seven Kingdoms from the Wildlings and the Others, a hostile race of superhumans (also zombie-like).
Over at the east in the continent of Essos, we are introduced to Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen, the children of the king deposed by Robert. Viserys bethrots Daenerys to Khal Drogo, leader of the Dothraki, a nomadic band of warriors. Viserys plans to use the Dothraki army to reclaim the throne in Westeros. Drogo doesn’t show interest in conquering Westeros and Daenerys, who is starting to embrace the role of a queen, refuses Viserys demands. When Viserys publicly threatened Daenerys, Drogo executes him. When an assassin tried to poison Daenerys, this angers Drogo and promises Daenerys that he will conquer Westeros for her. Drogo gets wounded in a raid, and Daenerys recruits a healer to save him. Daenerys had to give up her unborn child to save Drogo, who survives but is in a vegetative state. Daenerys smothers Drogo with a pillow and joins him in the funeral pyre. She comes out of the fire unhurt with 3 newly hatched dragons. The Dothraki and Jorah Mormont swear allegiance to her when they saw this.
If you love the TV series, you will love the book more as the character development has more detail. Even though this is a fantasy novel, the characters remain human which makes it more endearing to the reader. So go ahead and grab the book and start reading. It will be one more year when season 7 of the TV series starts and when that time comes, we are very familiar now to the plotlines.