Of all the books on my 2017 Reading Challenge list, Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin was, to be honest, the one I was looking forward to the least. I don’t think there was any particular reason for this, except maybe the massive popularity the series has gained since the HBO series was launched. Though, oddly enough, it was this popularity that drew me to the book in the first place.
Curiosity ultimately won out, and I picked up the book. I opened the book and was consumed by it. The story and characters sucked me in almost immediately.
Game of Thrones is a vast, sweeping saga of human conflict. Martin conveys with brutal honesty what man (or woman!) is capable of doing to others in pursuit of personal gain and power. On the surface, this book tells of the conflict between two great families in the world which Martin has created, the Starks and the Lannisters. There are a lot of other families, of course, all with their own agendas, connections and loyalties. Loyalties that change and are never quite what you expect.
Martin writes each chapter from the viewpoint of a different character, allowing the reader to be a part of the story from a variety of angles. The characters are vibrant and real, and I couldn’t help but be drawn in to each of their stories. Before I was very far into the book, I was deeply invested in the individuals telling the story, to the point that I felt angry when they did, betrayed when someone betrayed them, and afraid of the same things they feared.
Underneath all the plotting and intrigue, there is a hint of something sinister waiting in the shadows. Martin sets it up in the prologue and barely mentions it again except in little hints until the end of the book. Leaving me intrigued, but not frustrated.
Perhaps the biggest reason I’ve avoided picking up this series, is that I feared being pulled into another massive fantasy series that as of now, remains unfinished. I recently spent an entire year reading through Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, having started it years ago before it was complete. Just last year I finally started the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. It too, remains incomplete. It is so HARD to wait for the next book!
It is too late for me now. I’ve read book one of the Song of Ice and Fire, and I’m hooked. I now have books two and three waiting for me on my bookshelf. I will continue reading the series. My hope is that by the time I get through the five books currently published, the next book will be complete. There are seven books planned in the series, and with five or six years between books, it could be a long wait!
If you love epic fantasy and you’ve been wondering at all about reading this series, I highly recommend it. I think it will even be worth the wait.