Book: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Entertaining fantasy novel, but little in it that's unique

George R. R. Martin
A Game of Thrones
Bantam, 1996
ISBN: 0-553-38168-7
694 pages

A Game of Thrones is the first novel in the fantasy series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R. R. Martin. The series is intended to have seven books,. Four have been published so far.

The book is set is a pretty standard fantasy universe and the story is the old noble-savage one. The story pits the Starks, lords of chilly, northern Winterfell (at least the hero isn't Grimm Shado) against the soft, southern Lannisters. Life in the north is hard (and will become harder when winter comes, which it seems it does for years at a stretch). For that reason, northerners have no time for anything but honesty and honor. Soft southerners have plenty of time and energy to lavish on intrigues, duplicity, and haughtiness. There are also some nomads in the story and even they have a sense of honor.

Shortly after the book begins, King Robert arrives at Winterfell for the purpose of asking his old friend and comrade-in-arms Eddard (Ned) Stark to take an important post in the capital, far to the south. Reluctantly, Ned agrees. He's repelled since it seems that there are plots about, but duty calls. We find out pretty quickly that the once-honorable king has also been weakened by soft living.

What follows is not by any means bad. But it's also not especially remarkable. There's little that's new or especially imaginative. There are a few characters that are more interesting than the rest, but they're not on stage very much. The book is good enough that I'll probably read the next in the series but I'm unlikely to complain that Mr Martin is not writing fast enough for me.

Posted: Wed - August 5, 2009 at 03:54 PM   Main   Category: