Title: A Song of Ice and Fire (Book Series)
Author: George R.R Martin
Genres: High-fantasy, world-building, action, adventure, epic fantasy
“What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms . . . or the memory of a brother’s smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.”
Unless you have been living under a rock, or on Mars, you would have heard about George R.R Martin’s award-winning high fantasy series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ – a series which has gained international recognition from the adaptation of the series under the title ‘Game of Thrones’ – the name of the first book. From this, Martin has been dubbed ‘The American Tolkien’ by many of his fans, and critics, and has become one of the staples in the fantasy genre of today’s youth.
And truthfully, I can very happily live with this comparison.
Like most readers of the series, I sat down one summer and just blitzed through them all, eagerly devouring the next one with the same gusto as the last, and developing true feelings over each individual. Martin, like Tolkien, has created an entire world; equipped with highly believable political and religious debates, and threaded with enough fantastical aspects that, if you cut it with a long sword, knights, dragons and warriors would pour from the wound instead of blood.
Set within the imaginary worlds of Westeros and Essos, the saga focuses on the political strife of powerful and corrupt ancestral houses, who run different kingdoms, and their battle to win the ‘game of thrones’ – a battle which will put the rightful and true leader on the throne of the entire country. The struggle to win the ‘game of thrones’ is heaped with warring factions, backstabbings, war and graphic depictions of violence. In each family, there is intrigue, sabotage and murder, and along with the mythical creatures that Martin has created, he really sets the bar for high-fantasy.
To me, it’s definitely one of those series that you just have to sit down and devour, and you will become immersed in this intricate world. It is not only the world-building that I applaud (honestly, it’s on the same level of Tolkien, Pratchett and Rowling in its intricacy and structure), but the characters are each so brilliantly imagined. Each one has tales to tell, and developed multi-layered personalities, which as Goodreads states makes the ‘characters that you love, hate to love, or love to hate.’ But what I adore about these books is that Martin has not left any one character under-developed. He has given each character the same level of attention, and he never gives up with story arcs, and does not leave anything unfinished. And this is the same from the biggest and most prominant story arcs – which focuses on the four main houses – the Starks, the Baratheons, the Lannisters and the Targaryens – to the smallest, yet equally crucial characters of Gendry and Hot Pie.
As I said before, the main story arcs focuses on the four ancestral houses, each which comes with family strength, loyalty torn between the safety of their loved ones and the country, and the ultimate drive towards power.Through the series, the depiction of each family changes dramatically, and as the characters grow up and develop through the series, so does the reader’s ideas on them.
Each book goes further in the pain of trying to win the ‘game of thrones’, and through new characters being introduced, red herrings being thrown in, cliffhangers so well done it makes you squirm, Martin leaves the reader hooked after every chapter.
However, these books aren’t for the fainthearted. Despite being good, the series is very high-fantasy, and I would not recommend it to any younger readers, under the age of thirteen. And this is purely due to the amount of descriptive scenes of sex, murder and bloody battles. I wouldn’t recommend to younger readers who aren’t used to such descriptive scenes of sex and murder, as well as for the squeamish.
But all in all, Martin has written a series that has not only gripped fantasy readers, but through the Emmy-award winning series from HBO, it has introduced families and individuals into the world of high-fantasy that hasn’t really happened since the Lord of the Rings came out. From my watching, the series has been a fantastic adaptation of the series, and the casting on the characters has been done very well. The production values are excellent too.
Now, A Song of Ice and Fire has not finished yet – as we speak, readers are eagerly waiting for the release of the next book in the series, titled ‘The Winds of Winter’. But with a publication date estimated between 2015-2018, any readers will have plenty of chance to catch up and read the saga so far.
So, if you, as a reader, ever enjoyed:
- J.R.R Tolkein’s ‘The Hobbit’ or ‘The Lord of the Rings’
- Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’
- Christopher Paolini’s ‘Inheritance Series’
- Patrick Rothfuss’ ‘The Kingkiller Chronicle’
Then, I’m sure you’ll love this!
Preview for the first series of ‘Game of Thrones’.
George R.R Martin’s website – Click Here
Note – have begun the transferal of all my old blogposts on my now-defunct blog onto this one. This blog will house everything I’ve published before, but in a sleeker and more professional way.
Thank you for reading this review.
Please comment, share this around etc.