Let’s Talk Books: A Game of Thrones

Given that this book was first published when I was only 2 years old, perhaps the fact I’m so late to this particular classic can be excused. But if you count from the launch of HBO series in 2011, when the popularity of it really began to take off, I’m still amazingly late to join this particular train. And yes, this commentary will be spoiler-free…

Thinking I would ‘try’ A Game of Thrones was a bit like offering a finger to an open-mouthed alligator. It took my arm, my chest, and a respectable chunk of my heart. It has taken me months to get to the end of only the first of five books currently available (out of an ultimately expected seven), and as someone who hasn’t been commited to any form of long reads essentially since the first half of my teens, it’s been a delight. I won’t lie; knowing that there were many other people with whom I could share the experience at the other end was definitely a motivator – and it’s one that this book deserves.

Daredevil Crocodile Handlers Put On A Show

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Let’s break down some of the things that make it intimidatingly huge. Although it took me months, I have been a very erratic and piecemeal reader, not to mention I read an entire other book in the middle of it (which took under a third of the time). And whilst the overall scope of the book is huge – with maps and appendixed family lineages to prove it – the experience itself is one of many interwoven smaller scenes, with several different characters having their own piece. The chapter length makes it ideal to dip in and out of this epic without feeling like you’re breaking immersion too badly. If you feel like you are tiring of a certain character (not that you will) – just keep on to the end of the chapter and the next chapter will bring a fresh perspective, something books of a one-viewpoint style cannot offer. The con of course being if you’re getting really into a character you might have to wait a little while before you get to hear from them again (Daenerys…).

When I think back to other fantasy series I have read there are two particular differences that stand out which I enjoy about A Game of Thrones. Firstly, I recall a lot of young adult or teenage protagonists with whom you had to spend the entire book. More specifically, characters that were in their own way newcomers to the story they were entering. Perhaps this is because I read them at a younger age and I am missing out on adult fantasy fiction, but I really love the mix of ages and perspectives in A Game of Thrones. Second, and possibly linked to the first point, I like how little fantasy there is in the book. No, bear with me here. The world doesn’t feel alien or mystical, it feels historical. It’s not layered in magic and reams of mythical beasts, legends, and invented organisations. The supernatural that’s in there is like just the right amount of spice; it’s almost unexpected, and therefore feels all the more novel for where it is included. And that means you don’t need to explore the what or how so much – your brain doesn’t have to struggle with extra exposition. It’s simply easier to get into, and doesn’t need to lean heavily on an introductory character to get the basics of the world into your head (not to say those stories that do aren’t worth it by the end).

The characters are great fun. From children to adults there are a broad range of personalities, ages and backgrounds packed into the protagonists alone, and every character you meet only enriches the tale. It seems impossible to keep track of everyone – luckily you don’t need to; everyone important is memorable enough. Character arcs are mostly limited but perfectly effective; you’re more interested in what they do than who they are. It’s easy to be invested in how they’ll react to others and changes of circumstance. For me the weakest link character-wise was the youngest, a boy called Bran, but the little I gained from his small amount of chapters was refreshing between the move of greater pieces, and is almost certainly setting him up for a greater role further down in the series.


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The only remaining question, then… Do I continue with this series? Well, I think I’d definitely need to clear a few other things off the list to make space first. But the second book calls to me from a distance and, like Daenerys would say, if I look back I am lost…


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