A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) (2024)

J.G. Keely

546 reviews11.1k followers

July 3, 2017

There are plenty of fantasy authors who claim to be doing something different with the genre. Ironically, they often write the most predictable books of all, as evidenced by Goodkind and Paolini. Though I'm not sure why they protest so much--predictability is hardly a death sentence in genre fantasy.

The archetypal story of a hero, a villain, a profound love, and a world to be saved never seems to get old--it's a great story when it's told well. At the best, it's exciting, exotic, and builds to a fulfilling climax. At the worst, it's just a bloodless rehash. Unfortunately, the worst are more common by far.

Perhaps it was this abundance of cliche romances that drove Martin to aim for something different. Unfortunately, you can't just choose to be different, any more than you can choose to be creative. Sure, Moorco*ck's original concept for Elric was to be the anti-Conan, but at some point, he had to push his limits and move beyond difference for difference's sake--and he did.

In similar gesture, Martin rejects the allegorical romance of epic fantasy, which basically means tearing out the guts of the genre: the wonder, the ideals, the heroism, and with them, the moral purpose. Fine, so he took out the rollicking fun and the social message--what did he replace them with?

Like the post-Moore comics of the nineties, fantasy has already borne witness to a backlash against the upright, moral hero--and then a backlash against the grim antihero who succeeded him. Hell, if all Martin wanted was grim and gritty antiheroes in an amoral world, he didn't have to reject the staples of fantasy, he could have gone to its roots: Howard, Leiber, and Anderson.

Like many authors aiming for realism, he forgets 'truth is stranger than fiction'. The real world is full of unbelievable events, coincidences, and odd characters. When authors remove these elements in an attempt to make their world seem real, they make their fiction duller than reality; after all, unexpected details are the heart of verisimilitude. When Chekhov and Peake eschewed the easy thrill of romance, they replaced it with the odd and absurd--moments strange enough to feel true. In comparison, Martin's world is dull and gray. Instead of innovating new, radical elements, he merely removes familiar staples--and any style defined by lack is going to end up feeling thin.

Yet, despite trying inject the book with history and realism, he does not reject the melodramatic characterization of his fantasy forefathers, as evidenced by his brooding bastard antihero protagonist (with pet albino wolf). Apparently to him, 'grim realism' is 'Draco in Leather Pants'. This produces a conflicted tone: a soap opera cast lost in an existentialist film.

There's also lots of sex and misogyny, and 'wall-to-wall rape'--not that books should shy away from sex, or from any uncomfortable, unpleasant reality of life. The problem is when people who are not comfortable with their own sexuality start writing about it, which seems to plague every mainstream fantasy author. Their pen gets away from them, their own hangups start leaking into the scene, until it's not even about the characters anymore, it's just the author cybering about his favorite fetish--and if I cyber with a fat, bearded stranger, I expect to be paid for it.

I know a lot of fans probably get into it more than I do (like night elf hunters humping away in WOW), but reading Goodkind, Jordan, and Martin--it's like seeing a Playboy at your uncle's where all the pages are wrinkled. That's not to say there isn't serviceable pop fantasy sex out there--it's just written by women.

Though I didn't save any choice examples, I did come across this quote from a later book:

"... she wore faded sandsilk pants and woven grass sandals. Her small breasts moved freely beneath a painted Dothraki vest . . ."

Imagine the process: Martin sits, hands hovering over the keys, trying to get inside his character's head:

"Okay, I'm a woman. How do I see and feel the world differently? My cultural role is defined by childbirth. I can be bought and sold in marriage by my own--Oh, hey! I've got tit*! Man, look at those things go. *whooshing mammary sound effects* Okay, time to write."

Where are the descriptions of variously-sized dongs swinging within the confines of absurdly-detailed clothing? There are a set of manboobs (which perhaps Martin has some personal experience with) but not until book five. Even then, it's not the dude being hyperaware of his own--they're just there to gross out a dwarf. Not really a balanced depiction.

If you're familiar with the show (and its parodies on South Park and SNL) this lack of dongs may surprise you. But as Martin himself explained, when asked why there's no gay sex in his books, despite having gay characters, 'they’re not the viewpoint characters'--as if somehow, the viewpoints he chooses to depict are beyond his control. Apparently, he plots as well as your average NaNoWriMo author: sorry none of my characters chose to be gay, nothing I can do about it.

And balance really is the problem here--if you only depict the dark, gritty stuff that you're into, that's not realism, it's just a fetish. If you depict the grimness of war by having every female character threatened with rape, but the same thing never happens to a male character, despite the fact that more men get raped in the military than women, then your 'gritty realism card' definitely gets revoked.

The books are notorious for the sudden, pointless deaths, which some suggest is another sign of realism--but, of course, nothing is pointless in fiction, because everything that shows up on the page is only there because the author put it there. Sure, in real life, people suddenly die before finishing their life's work (fantasy authors do it all the time), but there's a reason we don't tend to tell stories of people who die unexpectedly in the middle of things: they are boring and pointless. They build up for a while then eventually, lead nowhere.

Novelists often write in isolation, so it's easy to forget the rule to which playwrights adhere: your story is always a fiction. Any time you treat it as if it were real, you are working against yourself. The writing that feels the most natural is never effortless, it is carefully and painstakingly constructed to seem that way.

A staple of Creative Writing 101 is to 'listen to how people really talk', which is terrible advice. A transcript of any conversation will be so full of repetition, half-thoughts, and non-specific words ('stuff', 'thing') as to be incomprehensible--especially without the cues of tone and body language. Written communication has its own rules, so making dialogue feel like speech is a trick writers play. It's the same with sudden character deaths: treat them like a history, and your plot will become choppy and hard to follow.

Not that the deaths are truly unpredictable. Like in an action film, they are a plot convenience: kill off a villain, and you don't have to wrap up his arc. You don't have to defeat him psychologically--the finality of his death is the great equalizer. You skip the hard work of demonstrating that the hero was morally right, because he's the only option left.

Likewise, in Martin's book, death ties up loose threads--namely, plot threads. Often, this is the only ending we get to his plot arcs, which makes them rather predictable: any time a character is about to build up enough influence to make things better, or more stable, he will die. Any character who poses a threat to the continuing chaos which drives the action will first be built up, and then killed off.

I found this interview to be a particularly telling example of how Martin thinks of character deaths:

"I killed because everybody thinks he’s the hero ... sure, he’s going to get into trouble, but then he’ll somehow get out of it. The next predictable thing [someone] is going to rise up and avenge his [death] ... So immediately [killing ] became the next thing I had to do.

He's not talking about the characters' motivations, or the ideas they represent, or their role in the story--he isn't laying out a well-structured plot, he's just killing them off for pure shock value.

Yet the only reason we think these characters are important in the first place is because Martin treats them as central heroes, spending time and energy building them. Then it all ends up being a red herring, a cheap twist, the equivalent of a horror movie jump scare. It's like mystery novels in the 70's, after all the good plots had been done, so authors added ghosts or secret twins in the last chapter--it's only surprising because the author has obliterated the story structure.

All plots are made up of arcs that grow and change, building tension and purpose. Normally, when an arc ends, the author must use all his skill to deal with themes and answer questions, providing a satisfying conclusion to a promising idea that his readers watched grow. Or just kill off a character central to the conflict and bury the plot arc with him. Then you don't have to worry about closure, you can just hook your readers by focusing on the mess caused by the previous arc falling apart. Make the reader believe that things might get better, get them to believe in a character, then wave your arms in distraction, point and yell 'look at that terrible thing, over there!', and hope they become so caught up in worrying about the new problem that they forget the old one was never resolved.

Chaining false endings together creates perpetual tension that never requires solution--like in most soap operas--plus, the author never has to do the hard work of finishing what they started. If an author is lucky, they die before reaching the Final Conclusion the readership is clamoring for, and never have to meet the collective expectation which long years of deferral have built up. It's easy to idolize Kurt Cobain, because you never had to see him bald and old and crazy like David Lee Roth.

Unlucky authors live to write the Final Book, breaking the spell of unending tension that kept their readers enthralled. Since the plot isn't resolving into a tight, intertwined conclusion (in fact, it's probably spiraling out of control, with ever more characters and scenes), the author must wrap things up conveniently and suddenly, leaving fans confused and upset. Having thrown out the grand romance of fantasy, Martin cannot even end on the dazzling trick of the vaguely-spiritual transgressive Death Event on which the great majority of fantasy books rely for a handy tacked-on climax (actually, he'll probably do it anyways, with dragons--the longer the series goes on, the more it starts to resemble the cliche monomyth that Martin was praised for eschewing in the first place).

The drawback is that even if a conclusion gets stuck on at the end, the story fundamentally leads nowhere--it winds back and forth without resolving psychological or tonal arcs. But then, doesn't that sound more like real life? Martin tore out the moralistic heart and magic of fantasy, and in doing so, rejected the notion of grandly realized conclusions. Perhaps we shouldn't compare him to works of romance, but to histories.

He asks us to believe in his intrigue, his grimness, and his amoral world of war, power, and death--not the false Europe of Arthur, Robin Hood, and Orlando, but the real Europe of plagues, political struggles, religious wars, witch hunts, and roving companies of soldiery forever ravaging the countryside. Unfortunately, he doesn't compare very well to them, either. His intrigue is not as interesting as Cicero's, Machiavelli's, Enguerrand de Coucy's--or even Sallust's, who was practically writing fiction, anyways. Some might suggest it unfair to compare a piece of fiction to a true history, but these are the same histories that lent Howard, Leiber, and Moorco*ck their touches of verisimilitude. Martin might have taken a lesson from them and drawn inspiration from further afield: even Tolkien had his Eddas. Despite being fictionalized and dramatized, Martin's take on The War of the Roses is far duller than the original.

More than anything, this book felt like a serial melodrama: the hardships of an ensemble cast who we are meant to watch over and sympathize with, being drawn in by emotional appeals (the hope that things will 'get better' in this dark place, 'tragic' deaths), even if these appeals conflict with the supposed realism, and in the end, there is no grander story to unify the whole. This 'grittiness' is just Martin replacing the standard fantasy theme of 'glory' with one of 'hardship', and despite flipping this switch, it's still just an emotional appeal. 'Heroes always win' is just as blandly predictable as 'heroes always lose'.

It's been suggested that I didn't read enough of Martin to judge him, but if the first four hundred pages aren't good, I don't expect the next thousand will be different. If you combine the three Del Rey collections of Conan The Barbarian stories, you get 1,263 pages (including introductions, end notes, and variant scripts). If you take Martin's first two books in this series, you get 1,504 pages. Already, less than a third of the way into the series, he's written more than Howard's entire Conan output, and all I can do is ask myself: why does he need that extra length?

A few authors use it to their advantage, but for most, it's just sprawling, undifferentiated bloat. Melodrama can be a great way to mint money, as evidenced by the endless 'variations on a theme' of soap operas, pro wrestling, and superhero comics. People get into it, but it's neither revolutionary nor realistic. You also hear the same things from the fans: that it's all carefully planned, all interconnected, all going somewhere. Apparently they didn't learn their lesson from the anticlimactic fizzling out of Twin Peaks, X-Files, Lost, and Battlestar. Then again, you wouldn't keep watching if you didn't think it was going somewhere.

Some say 'at least he isn't as bad as all the drivel that gets published in genre fantasy', but saying he's better than dreck is really not very high praise. Others have intimated that I must not like fantasy at all, pointing to my low-star reviews of Martin, Wolfe, Jordan, and Goodkind, but it is precisely because I am passionate about fantasy that I fall heavily on these authors.

A lover of fine wines winces the more at a corked bottle of vinegar, a ballet enthusiast's love of dance would not leave him breathless at a high school competition--and likewise, having learned to appreciate epics, histories, knightly ballads, fairy tales, and their modern offspring in fantasy, I find Martin woefully lacking. There's plenty of grim fantasy and intrigue out there, from its roots to the dozens of fantasy authors, both old and modern, whom I list in the link at the end of this review

There seems to be a sense that Martin's work is somehow revolutionary, that it represents a 'new direction' for fantasy, but all I see is a reversion. Sure, he's different than Jordan, Goodkind, and their ilk, who simply took the pseudo-medieval high-magic world from Tolkien and the blood-and-guts heroism from Howard. Martin, on the other hand, has more closely followed Tolkien's lead than any other modern high fantasy author--and I don't just mean in terms of racism.

Tolkien wanted to make his story real--not 'realistic', using the dramatic techniques of literature--but actually real, by trying to create all the detail of a pretend world behind the story. Over the span of the first twenty years, he released The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, and other works, while in the twenty years after that, he became so obsessed with worldbuilding for its own sake that instead of writing stories, he filled his shed with a bunch of notes (which his son has been trying to make a complete book from ever since).

It's the same thing Martin's trying to do: cover a bland story with a litany of details that don't contribute meaningfully to his characters, plot, or tone. So, if Martin is good because he is different, then it stands to reason that he's not very good, because he's not that different. He may seem different if all someone has read is Tolkien and the authors who ape his style, but that's just one small corner of a very expansive genre. Anyone who thinks Tolkien is the 'father of fantasy' doesn't know enough about the genre to judge what 'originality' means.

So, if Martin neither an homage nor an original, I'm not sure what's left. In his attempt to set himself apart, he tore out the joyful heart of fantasy, but failed replace it with anything. There is no revolutionary voice here, and there is nothing in Martin's book that has not been done better by other authors.

However, there is one thing Martin has done that no other author has been able to do: kill the longrunning High Fantasy series. According to some friends of mine in publishing (and some on-the-nose remarks by Caleb Carr in an NPR interview on his own foray into fantasy), Martin's inability to deliver a book on time, combined with his strained relationship with his publisher means that literary agents are no longer accepting manuscripts for high fantasy series--even from recognized authors. Apparently, Martin is so bad at plot structure that he actually pre-emptively ruined books by other authors. Perhaps it is true what they say about silver linings . . .

Though I declined to finish this book, I'll leave you with a caution compiled from various respectable friends of mine who did continue on:

"If you need some kind of closure, avoid this series. No arcs will ever be completed, nothing will ever really change. The tagline is 'Winter is Coming'--it's not. As the series goes on, there will be more and more characters and diverging plotlines to keep track of, many of them apparently completely unrelated to each other, even as it increasingly becomes just another cliche, fascist 'chosen one' monomyth, like every other fantasy series out there. If you enjoy a grim, excessively long soap opera with lots of deaths and constant unresolved tension, pick up the series--otherwise, maybe check out the show."

My Fantasy Book Suggestions

    fantasy reviewed


1,216 reviews2,347 followers

May 25, 2008

I really feel the necessity of a bit of personal backstory here, before I start the review. Back in 1996 when this book first came out, and I was about 14 or 16 years old, I saw the hardcover on a sale table for about $5 and couldn't resist a bargain (still can't, though I'm more cautious these days). So I started reading this book with the vague idea that it was a flop, and that may not have helped, but I got through 100 pages of it before feeling so crapped off with it that I shoved it in my cupboard and tried not to think about it. Page 108 to be exact. More on why later.

If you've heard of this book, or read it, you're probably aware that far from being the flop I assumed it was at the time (and I didn't know anyone who was reading it), the series has gone on to be one of the big Cash Cows of the fantasy genre. Computer games, role-playing games - there's even a board game that looks like Risk. Sooner or later there'll be a movie or something, no doubt (I'm moderately surprised one isn't in the works already). People love this book and this series. So I'm well aware I'll probably be lynched for this review, because even the people on Goodreads who didn't like it still had great things to say about it.

But reviews are subjective, and here's mine.

In the vein of Tolkein, Jordan, Elliott, Goodkind, Hobb, Eddings, Feist et al, A Game of Thrones is set in the classicly boring-and-overdone medieval-England-esque setting, and is essentially about a bunch of nobles fighting over a throne. Great. Very original. Praised for its focus on political intrigue, its lack of magic and similar fantasy tropes, and its cast of believable and interesting characters, I found the book tedious. The first "epic fantasy" series I read (after Narnia) was Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, and it's true that I struggled with the first book, Eye of the World. But there were elements to it that I liked, characters who I felt attached to, enough to read the second book and become hooked, and so on. I love 1000-page long, fat fantasy books. I love huge casts of characters and have no problem keeping up with them. I've read Jennifer Fallon's Wolfblade trilogy and Second Sons Trilogy, both of which are heavy on political intrigue and very low on magic, and they're supurb. A Game of Thrones is not. It offers nothing new to the genre, and does nothing original with what it has.

Narrated in turns by Eddard (Ned) Stark, Lord of Winterfell; his wife Lady Catelyn; his bastard son Jon Snow; his very young daughters Sansa and Arya; his middle son Bran; Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf and brother to the Queen; and young Daenerys Targaryen, last of the line of dragon kings and exiled to the land beyond the narrow sea, the book is divided into neat chapters headed by the name of one or the other, so you know exactly whose point-of-view you're going to get and where you are in the plot. Thanks for holding my hand Martin, but I don't like this technique. The chapter headings, I'm referring to. It encourages me to start wondering about the character before I've even started reading. "CATELYN" the chapter title reads: is she young or old, a peasant, a farmer, a daughter, a mother, nice, mean... I start imagining things and then have to correct it all as the character is revealed during the chapter. There's power in names, and withholding them or putting elements of a character's personality first is often more compelling, and better writing. It also made it harder to get through the book, because at the end of one chapter I'd see the name of the next, think "oh great, him/her again, their story's boring" and put the book down.

Let me be perfectly straight: I did not find any of the characters to be particularly interesting; though Jaime Lannister had something about him, you hardly ever saw him. They all pretty much felt like the same character, just in different situations. The differences between them, for example the good-girl Sansa and her tomboy sister Arya, felt forced, superficial and clichéd. Ned is all about honour and duty, but especially honour, with love a more minor consideration, but honestly, could the man be more stupid? Eddard's a moron, and dull, and his only saving grace is that he's nice to his daughters. Let's be clear about something else right here: this world and its people are so sexist and misogynist it's ludicrous. There are many derogatory references to women's tit*, metaphors about screwing whor*s, descriptions of Daenerys getting her nipples pinched by her horrible brother Viserys - not to mention her marriage, at twelve, to a horselord whose men rape women like there's no tomorrow; incest and so on. The first time I tried to read this book, I was offended and disgusted (it didn't help that I'd read Pillars of the Earth not long before; though I did not grow up sexually repressed or prudish or anything like that, I have never found reading descriptions of rape to be all that easy, especially when they're treated so dismissively) - yet oddly my impressions of the characters were much more favourable. I read it now and I just felt contempt.

No one character stands out, though Arya has potential. Catelyn is as boring as her husband, and her sister Lysa is, let's face it, mad as a hatter and a sure sign of why women are unfit to rule (a clear message in this medieval-esque patriarchal world). Queen Cercei too. Tyrion, the dwarf, seems on the verge of having charisma but fails, and Daenerys... I want to like someone, but Martin doesn't give his characters any depth. Sure, they're all flawed and a flawed character is a great literary device - the anti-hero, etc. But Martin's characters are walking clichés, even the dwarf.

The plot is also pretty weak. I don't need elves and magic and dragons - in fact, I tend to avoid them, especially elves *yawn* - but you've gotta give me something else. A bildungsroman does wonders - yes, let me see the characters on a journey of life rather than a quest, quests are tired. There's no quest in A Game of Thrones, and that's fine with me. But what is there? Jon goes to the Wall that separates the wilderness from the Seven Kingdoms (why is it called the Seven Kingdoms when there's only one kingdom?) and is attacked by an Other, a kind of zombie creature; Ned goes to the capital to take up the role of King's Hand because the King, Robert, likes to spend his time boozing, whoring and hunting; Catelyn follows to tell him someone tried to kill Bran; Ned tries to discover why the previous Hand died... And swords with names, seriously, what's with that? I'm so sick of such blatant phallic symbols and their representations, and the whole creed of honour and duty and gallant knights...

What frustrates me most is that this could have been a really interesting story, if only the author had better talent at writing characters - or letting them write themselves. The plot is not the problem, though it's largely uneventful, with no climactic moments because even those are written at the same pace as the rest, with no drammatic flourishes (come on, we all like those, let's be honest). But the characters, *sigh*, their motivations are simplistic, their actions extremely predictable, and while they don't blur one into another neither do any of them stand out. Also, the type of setting seems mostly convenient: with the focus on the nobles and their squabbling, you don't learn much about the lower classes, or what kind of food is grown here, or what kind of industry supports the economy, or anything about the cultures - using the clichéd medieval England setting allows Martin to ignore one of the more fascinating aspects of society and leaves his world shallow, like surface water, without support (using this old and worn Fantasy setting allows an author to get lazy about world-building). The history of the land is also riddled with clichés, and sort of thrown in here and there as if to remind the reader "it is a real place, look, here's what the First Men did!"

As for the writing, it's easy to read and calm, though very slow and rather lacking in tone or any interesting stylistic quirks: flat and bland, in other words. There's no atmosphere in this book. There're a few bad lines, like "A storm of rose petals blew across a blood-streaked sky, as blue as the eyes of death" (p.425) - his one concession to drama, it seems, though if you read it again you'll notice it doesn't actually make sense; and a few awkward sentences that leave you scrambling, such as "Catelyn watched her son [Robb Stark] mount up. Olyvar Frey held his horse for him, Lord Walder's son, two years older than Robb, and ten years younger and more anxious." (p.696) I noticed a similar sentence later, and I guess I know what he means but really, it's terrible writing.

On the plus side, there were a few things I liked. The direwolves - large ferocious animals as constant companions and protectors: always a winner with me; the intriguing climate, where summer and winter lasts years, decades even, before changing (how does that work? Seriously, what do they eat?); Daenerys' dragon eggs, and the Dothraki, the horse lords - though they were pretty superficial and confined to a rigid list of adjectives - I would have liked to understand their culture better. In many fantasy books my problem is the whole good vs. evil cliché, which generally involves the plot. Here, my problem is that the characters are so black-and-white. They are described, good, that's settled, now what? There's no grey. No character development. They never once surprised me.

I honestly don't know if I'll read the next book. The Wheel of Time taught me (at the same age as I first tried reading this book, 16) that the first book in a series can be the weakest, because of the amount of extrapolation and background etc. that goes on. I didn't find that problem here, it was very grounded in the now, which makes me think the next book will be more of the same. I keep coming back to the reasons why I struggled to finish this book: boredom, clichéd and empty characters, not enough balance (as in, there's no love in this book, and if the characters are so realistic why don't they love?), and predictable events. You know what it reminds me of? Marion Zimmer Bradley's equally famous The Mists of Avalon - another book I couldn't finish. If you like Arthurian fantasy, and that kind of style, then this would be a good book for you: the excessively patriarchal culture, the battles, the hint of magic and something glorious lurking around the edges but never coming to the fore, it's all here, neatly packaged. Obviously it works for a lot of people.

But to all those people who say that Martin has opened up the genre in new ways, that he is the best writer of the epic fantasy crowd and so on, I have to wonder, have they read anything else? And then I wonder whether it's a matter of which author you read first and grow attached to, and so compare all the others. I don't think I fell into that trap as such, because Jordan's lost the plot, literally, Goodkind's personal politics and propaganda have taken over his story, and the one epic fantasy series that I love above all others - to date - is Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars series, which I didn't start reading till I was in uni. But I really wonder, how this story grabbed other people. If it grabbed you, I'd love to hear how and why, because sometimes I feel like I'm too jaded or something, too snobby maybe ....

    2008 fantasy not-worth-it


777 reviews1,582 followers

July 13, 2019

Ten years and five hundred comments later and men still think I care if they disagree with me.

WARNING: If you enjoyed this book, even a little bit, you may not want to read this review. It will probably make you angry. Heaven knows that the book made me furious, and I intend to turn every bit of that wrath back on it.
Instead, I suggest you read karen's review, Brigid's review, Joyzi's review, or any other of the gushing four and five-star reviews here. If video reviews are more your style, I suggest Melina Pendulum's vlog about this book.
Realistically, I know a lot of you are not going to listen, which is why the edit is here. At least it will slow you down a little.

EDIT: adding one more thing because, despite the warning and the redirect links I kindly provided, I have indeed gotten the kind of sexist bullsh*t comments I anticipated. Before you launch into the usual defense, therefore, I give you this:

"Alternatively, some fans may find it tempting to argue “Well this media is a realistic portrayal of societies like X, Y, Z”. But when you say that sexism and racism and heterosexism and cissexism have to be in the narrative or the story won’t be realistic, what you are saying is that we humans literally cannot recognise ourselves without systemic prejudice, nor can we connect to characters who are not unrepentant bigots. Um, yikes. YIKES, you guys.
And even if you think that’s true (which scares the hell out of me), I don’t see you arguing for an accurate portrayal of everything in your fiction all the time. For example, most people seem fine without accurate portrayal of what personal hygiene was really like in 1300 CE in their medieval fantasy media. (Newsflash: realistically, Robb Stark and Jon Snow rarely bathed or brushed their teeth or hair). In real life, people have to go to the bathroom. In movies and books, they don’t show that very much, because it’s boring and gross. Well, guess what: bigotry is also boring and gross. But everyone is just dying to keep that in the script."


Here's the scoop on this review. For a book that I hate, I usually write a lot. After suffering for several hundred pages, I have pleeeenty of things to say. I've never hated a book that was quite as long as this one quite as much as I do, so I've had to alter my review so that I can say everything I want to without going over the character limit.
The first part is an unorganized rant. I marked pages with particularly annoying quotes on them; for these rants, I broke the book into segments of 100 pages and wrote up quotes and responses for each segment into separate blog posts. These are all linked below.

Part 1:
Pages 1-100
Pages 101-200
Pages 201-300
Pages 301-400
Pages 401-500
Pages 501-600
Pages 601-700
Pages 701-807

Part 2:
There are books I don't like.
There are books I loathe.

And then...
there's this book, which did its level best to drive me to drinking.
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) (4)
and I don't even like alcohol.

I wanted to like this. I wanted it to be as excellent as so many people insist it is. There are some books that I went into expecting them to be horrible, but this isn't one of them. Oh, my hopes were high here - it was recommended by a plethora of great authors, including the guys of Writing Excuses, who I absolutely love. Reviewers who I greatly respect rated it four and five stars and wrote at length about how awesome it was. Other people praised the book as "the greatest achievement of the fantasy genre so far" and Martin as "the greatest fantasy writer of all time".

It's those last two that are most important, I think, because I love the fantasy genre - always have, and hopefully always will. Fantasy is what got me into reading (well, Harry Potter, specifically) and it's been one of my mainstays for as long as I can remember. I bought this book in large part because it was so often touted as, if not always the greatest achievement of the genre, one of the major works of fantasy published in our time. Having recently read several works by Brandon Sanderson, all of which were innovative, highly readable, and deeply philosophical, I was excited to see what Martin (by all reports an even better writer than Sanderson) could do. I expected my mind to be blown, repeatedly, and to be faced with the challenge of writing a review for a book so staggeringly brilliant that I could hardly think straight after finishing it.

That is far, far, far from what I got.

First of all, this book is definitely not what I think of when I hear the word 'fantasy'. It's certainly far from my definition of 'high fantasy'. Now, I realize that my definition of 'high fantasy', which includes pervasive magic, unusual creatures, and a setting that is vividly far from the real world, is not the definition you'll find if you look the term up online. I also don't care. Seeing as the critical definition appears to characterize high fantasy solely by the fact that it doesn't take place on our Earth, and as this definition is written as if high fantasy and sword-and-sorcery are mutually exclusive, I'm inclined to conclude that whoever wrote said definition is pretty damn stupid and carry on with my own outlines of what makes fantasy high, low, urban, epic, or any other subcategory or combination thereof.
That said - this book? High fantasy? Not as far as I'm concerned. It is, to say the least, distinctly lacking in the requisite elements of the fantastic.
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Is it possible that Martin is going for a 'the magic comes back' subplot over the course of the series? Definitely. Do I give two sh*ts about the rest of the series? NOPE.
This book comes off as a pathetic attempt at fantasy by someone who doesn't really care about the genre, or doesn't know much about it. It mostly struck me more as an alternate universe War of the Roses fanfiction, with some hints of magic thrown in in a halfassed attempt to give it a place on the genre fiction shelves of bookstores. You can explain to me over and over how Martin intended to make his world 'gritty' and 'realistic' and I will tell you over and over that that shouldn't matter: that it is possible to have a fantasy which is gritty, realistic, and also utterly fantastical. It's even possible to do it without losing the particular areas where Martin seemed to be trying for gritty realism: since he chose to make all of his characters of the nobility anyhow, he wouldn't have had to worry about overglorifying the lives of the peasantry, as one might with a more economically diverse cast.
Now, I'm willing to give Martin the benefit of the doubt a little bit on the possibility of the 'magic comes back' thing, because there did seem to be elements here that could become fantastical if fully explained later. The problem, of course, is that they're tossed out without background, let alone proper explanation, and so feel jarring and out of place - not a coherent part of the world, but bits tossed in to be linked together later. Right now... all they managed to do was trip me up, throw me ass-over-teakettle out of the story, and leave me blinking at the page in confusion and not a little bit of frustration.
(And yeah, maybe part of why I'm so sore about this is that, like I said, I started this book not long after reading some Sanderson, and Sanderson is basically the king of seamless, fantastical, elegant worldbuilding, so pretty much anyone looks bad in comparison, but still.)
If I had to assign this book to a genre, I'd call it 'low fantasy', because as far as I'm concerned it was running too low on the qualities that make fantasy what it is. It's about as much fantasy as fanfiction that translates characters to the modern day is - namely, basically mundane with a miniscule twist.

The characters of this book also stand out... and not in a good way.
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There are a lot of them - eight POVs and plenty more on the side - and not a single one of them is likeable. They all had the potential to be, which makes it worse. Bran, the Stark boy who learns too much and is crippled as a result, could have an interesting arc if it weren't so slow and drawn-out. The hints of genuine pathos-inducing story are definitely there. They're also present in the chapters focused on Catelyn, who is the closest Martin gets to a truly nuanced character. Ned Stark, Catelyn's husband, is supposed to be the noble one - too bad his 'nobility' comes off as stupidity instead. Jon Snow, Ned's bastard child, is a truly stereotypical fantasy character: the super special 'outcast' who is nonetheless generally loved except by those the narration makes a point to show as bigoted and cruel, who never really has to work either for physical skills or personal growth, and who gets gifted by the narrative with an absurd number of SUPER UNIQUE TRAPPINGS, including an albino wolf (really, Martin, REALLY? Are you secretly a fourteen year-old girl writing horrendous anime fanfic or something? Answer: no, and the comparison is insulting to fourteen year-old girls.) and a bastard sword that was a family heirloom of a noble house not his own. Arya is by far the most entertaining of the Starks, but only because she fulfills all sorts of rebellious-noble-girl-learns-to-fight tropes that I'm quite fond of. Sansa's chapters made me set the book down for days on end; she is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most insipid, annoying, airheaded character I have ever read and she has not a single whisper of a redeeming quality. Tyrion Lannister is what Jon Snow could have become without the heapings of Gary Stu in his youth: a bitter middle-aged man with father issues who turns to sex and crudity as his only defense; somewhat akin to Catelyn, he had the potential to be interesting and nuanced if his behavior hadn't been played dead straight.

And there's one more: Daenerys Targaryen. Oh, Dany, Dany, Dany. I could write a dissertation on Dany and everything that went wrong with her story - but I don't have that kind of time.
For those of you not familiar with this most epic of George R.R. Martin's characterization and plot failures, here is a summary:
(oh and spoilers, but I honestly can't be bothered to tag it.)
When we first meet her, Dany is thirteen years ond and about to be sold (effectively) into marriage with Khal Drogo, a warlord of the Dothraki people, by her abusive and not-a-little-bit-crazy brother, Viserys. Viserys has convinced himself that Drogo will help him take back 'his' kingdom - this being the Seven Kingdoms where the rest of the book takes place - hence the whole 'selling his sister to be

raped by married to someone he obviously sees as a barbarian' thing. The marriage occurs, and then the wedding night in truly squicky half-detail. There then follows a long journey across the plains to a Dothraki city, during which Dany is raped (and no, I will not call it anything else) by Drogo. By her fourteenth birthday she is pregnant. When they arrive in the Dothraki city, Viserys makes such an ass of himself that Drogo kills him by pouring molten gold over his head in the middle of a feasting hall. Robert, the current king of the Seven Kingdoms who the Targaryens see as a usurper, sends assassins to kill Dany - naturally, they fail - and Drogo gets so angry at this that he decides to commit all his people to attacking the Seven Kingdoms in retribution. They leave the Dothraki city (at this point Dany is heavily pregnant) and go out to wreak havoc across the countryside on their way to conquest. In one such battle Drogo is wounded; because he refuses to care for the wound properly, it gets infected. When it is clear that he is going to die, Dany appeals to an old woman to perform forbidden magic to save him; the rest of Drogo's people do not approve and try to cast Dany out. End result: Dany loses her child to create a Drogo-zombie, which she then smothers. When his body is placed on the traditional pyre, she adds in three supposedly dead dragon eggs (given to her as wedding gifts and which any fool could see hundreds of pages off were bound to hatch) and, surprise surprise, they hatch.

To which my primary objections are:
1. The blinding obviousness of the ending
2. The fact that this single plotline - this single POV among eight - is so far distant from and so barely related to the others
3. The fact that Dany being raped is never treated as what it is, and that the relationship between her and Drogo is portrayed as love.
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The first two are self-explanatory; the third, of course, is the big thorny problem. Now, I can sort of understand the perspective which argues that Dany is taking control of her sexuality - she comes to enjoy sex and even to initiate and control it at times. However, SHE IS AT NO POINT OLDER THAN FOURTEEN. There's a reason that such a concept as an 'age of consent' exists - there is an age at which teenagers are genuinely immature and probably shouldn't be making life-changing decisions like, say, things that could get them pregnant. Now, I understand that in the medieval times like those that this book is based on, girls were getting married and having children a lot earlier, and that people in general were more mature at an early age. However, Dany shows none of that maturity until after she's been with Drogo for weeks - if not months. When she's married to him, she is if anything unusually innocent for her age. It's a little hard for me to accept the idea that she's taking control of her sexuality when she's so young and clueless that her first sexual experience is a choice only inasmuch as she chooses not to fight back. Not fighting back, by the way, doesn't mean it's not rape, particularly in the situation that Dany is in (vastly younger than Drogo, vastly weaker, browbeaten by her abusive brother and told over and over that her obligation is to do whatever her husband wants). Nor are her later sexual experiences ones of choice; in fact, it is explicitly stated that even when she had horrible saddle sores and could barely walk, she was expected to be available for sex and treated as such. If anything, her eventual enjoyment of it seems more like a psychological block put up as a survival tactic than genuine pleasure in the act or love for Drogo.
Yet, despite the fact that this situation is obviously, beyond a shadow of a doubt, rape, it's never addressed in-text. If anything, it's portrayed as a positive experience for Dany, one that makes her stronger and enables her to stand up for herself.
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Stupid me; I thought that the cancerous expansion of rape-as-love was limited to abusive jackass love interests in YA paranormal romances; clearly, I was wrong. It's everywhere, people. We are all completely f*cking doomed.

Which brings me to one of the other major frustrations I had with this book: the sex.
Ummm... what to say? I thought reading some of the V'lane bits of Darkfever while sitting next to my mother on the plane was uncomfortable; to my utter shock, that was nothing compared to reading the sex scenes of this book alone. No worry about someone looking over my shoulder and reading about MacKayla Lane getting hot and bothered - and yet even more awkward. Why? Well, as one reviewer put it (and I wish I could remember who to give them credit), they're written kind of as if they're these tremendous mythic events. I cringe at the very thought of quoting them, but to give you a little idea of what they're like... (worst romance sex scenes you've ever read) - (bizarre flowerly euphemisms) + (gratuitous use of the word 'manhood')*(general strange reverence for penises above and beyond the norm) + (incidences of incest) = Game of Thrones sex scene.
In general: AWKWARD.
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(Just to be sure you feel my pain.)

This book felt male-oriented in a way that is so painfully forced that it made me distinctly uncomfortable. I don't mean that women can't enjoy it - obviously, as all the reviews I linked back at the top demonstrate, they can and they do. I mean that the book itself felt as if it were written for the most stereotypical male audience imaginable. As Tatiana described it, it reads like a soap opera for men. Because MEN want lots of violence, sex, swearing by female genitalia, and paper-thin motivations, right? Which is exactly what Martin dishes up.
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and so is the book he's produced.

I thought at around the halfway point that I'd finish the book and be able to watch the HBO show to get the rest of the series without suffering through more awkwardly described sex scenes (not to mention the rest of it). By the time I finished, though, I had developed such a virulent hatred for this book, its author, and everything related to either of the above that I start grinding my teeth just reading praise for it. Watching the show would be vastly to my detriment - mostly because neither my hand nor my bank account would do well after I put my fist through the screen of my laptop.

In conclusion/summary:
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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) (12)
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) (13)
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Oh, and to the diehard defenders of this series, like those who were plaguing Keely's review, who like to tell people who disagree with them that GRRM is the greatest writer of ALL TIME and that the female characters presented herein are feminist (or, to use an exact quote, that "GRRM has written some of the most independent, self-reliant heroines ever to grace the fantasy genre. It's more than half the reason he's so beloved. His female characters disdain male attention, are always smarter, faster, deadlier, and braver than any of their male counterparts. Kinda like feminists with swords" which is complete and utter bullsh*t), I have only one thing to say:
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    blech-ugh-blech incoherent-anger inconsistent-characterization

Ahmad Sharabiani

9,564 reviews149 followers

September 12, 2021

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1), George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones is the first novel in A Song of Ice and Fire, a series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin. It was first published on August 1, 1996.

The novel won the 1997 Locus Award and was nominated for both the 1997 Nebula Award and the 1997 World Fantasy Award. In January 2011 the novel became a New York Times Bestseller and reached #1 on the list in July 2011.

At the beginning of the story, Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark executes a deserter from the Night's Watch, who has betrayed his vows and fled from the Wall. On the way back, his children adopt six direwolf pups, the animal of his sigil.

There are three male and two female direwolf pups, as well as an albino runt, which aligns with his three trueborn sons, two trueborn daughters, and one bastard son.

That night, Ned receives word of the death of his mentor, Lord Jon Arryn, the principal advisor to Ned's childhood friend, King Robert Baratheon.

During his own visit to Ned's castle of Winterfell, Robert recruits Ned to replace Arryn as the King's Hand. Ned is reluctant, but agrees to go when he learns that Arryn's widow Lysa believes Queen Cersei Lannister and her family poisoned Arryn. Shortly thereafter, Ned's son Bran inadvertently discovers Cersei having sex with her twin brother Jaime Lannister, who throws Bran from the tower to conceal their affair. ...

Characters: Brandon Stark, Catelyn Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Eddard Stark, Jon Snow, Theon Greyjoy, Robb Stark, Arya Stark, Jaime Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Joffrey Baratheon, Tywin Lannister, Stannis Baratheon, Melisandre, Davos Seaworth, Lysa Arryn, Petyr Baelish, Sansa Stark, Varys, Hodor, Brienne of Tarth, Jorah Mormont, Rickon Stark, Rhaego, Gendry, Edric Storm, Lord High Captain Ser Imry Florent, Selyse Baratheon, Shireen Baratheon, Margaery Tyrell, Mace Tyrell, Ser Garlan Tyrell, Myrcella Baratheon, R'hllor, Hoster Tully, Ser Brynden Tully, Jeor Mormont, Maester Cressen, Maester Pylos, PatchFace, Lord Steffon Baratheon, Cassana Baratheon, Aerys Targaryen II, Ser Harbert, Lord Gulian Swann, Ser Cortnay Penrose, Lord Selwyn the Evenstar, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, Bryce Caron, Paxter Redwyne, Ardrian Celtigar, Monford Velaryon, Duram Bar Emmon, Salladhor Saan, Guncer Sunglass, Willem Darry, Robert Arryn, Ser Axell Florent, Syrio Forel, Lommy Greenhands, Hot Pie, Praed, Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge, Reysen, Cutjack, Woth, Gerren, Urreg, Ser Ilyn Payne, Ser Arys Oakheart, Ser Boros Blount, Ser Meryn Trant, Ser Mandon Moore, Ser Preston Greenfield, Ser Gregor Clegane, Lord Gyles Rosby, Tanda Stokeworth, Lollys Stokeworth, Falyse Stokeworth, Jalabhar Xho, Ermesande Hayford, Tyrek Lannister, Ser Hobber Redwyne, Ser Horas Redwyne, Ser Balon Swann, Morros Slynt, Janos Slynt, Lothor Brune, Dontos Hollard, Ser Aron Santagar, Old Nan, Septa Mordane, Lord Bronn, Timett son of Timett, Shagga son of Dolf, Chella daughter of Cheyk, Tysha, Vardis Egen, Ser Barristan Selmy, Lancel Lannister, Captain Vylarr, Grey Wind, Nymeria, Shaggydog, Walder Frey, Little Walder Frey, Ser Stevron Frey, Black Walder Frey, Ser Emmon Frey, Red Walder Frey, Walder Rivers, White Walda, Ser Aenys Frey, Ser Rodrik Cassel, Beth Cassel, Farlen, Turnip, Maester Luwin, Septon Chayle, Hayhead, Mikken, Alebelly, Joseth, Shyra Errol, Tomard, TomToo, Jory Cassel, Qhorin Halfhand, Pypar, Todder, Othor, Ser Endrew Tarth, Conwy, Ser Alliser Thorne, Donal Noye, Thoren Smallwood, Jaremy Rykker, Waymar Royce, Ser Arnell, Dywen, Olyvar Frey, Ser Robin Ryger, Ser Cleos Frey, Genna Frey, Ser Edmure Tully, Lord Rickard Karstark, Willem Lannister, Tion Frey, Maester Vyman, Marq Piper, Karyl Vance, Jonos Bracken, Jason Mallister, Patrek Mallister, Greatjon Umber, Tytos Blackwood, Ser Desmond Grell, Burton Crakehall, Ser Amory Lorch, Ser Stafford Lannister, Daven Lannister, Allar Deem, Ser Jacelyn Bywater, Tobho Mott, Allard Seaworth, Dale Seaworth, Maric Seaworth, Matthos Seaworth, Devan Seaworth, Marya Seaworth, Septon Barre, Hubard Rambton, Yohn Royce, Balon Greyjoy, Alannys Greyjoy, Euron Greyjoy, Aeron Greyjoy, Rodrik Greyjoy, Maron Greyjoy, Lord Sawane, Goodbrother of Great Wyk, Sylas Sourmouth, Dagmer Cleftjaw, Maester Qalen, Maester Wendamyr, Rakharo, Aggo, Ko Jhogo, Doreah, Jhiqui, Rhaegal, Viserion, Drogon, Khal Pono, Mirri Maz Duur, Khal Jhaqo, Magister Illyrio, Lynesse Hightower, Lord Leyton Hightower, Gerold Hightower, Tregar Ormollen, Ryman Frey, Hosteen Frey, Pyat Pree, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Quaithe of the Shadow, Bedwyck, Eddison Tollett, Jarman Buckwell, Ser Mallador Locke, Sheila Whent, Jeyne Poole, Maester Frenken, Podrick Payne, Ironbelly, Master Salloreon, Chataya, Alayaya, Wyman Manderly, Poxy Tym, Halys Hornwood, Daryn Hornwood, Larence Snow, Ser Wendel Manderly, Wylis Manderly, Roose Bolton, Domeric Bolton, Ramsay Snow, Reek, Mors Crowfood, Hother Umber, Robett Glover, Leobald Tallhart, Beren Tallhart, Benfred Tallhart, Ser Helman Tallhart, Howland Reed, Cley Cerwyn, Doran Martell, Trystane Martell, Elia of Dorne, Rhaenys Targaryen, Aegon Targaryen, Hallyne the Pyromancer, Meera Reed, Jojen Reed, Hallis Mollen, Jon Umber, Colen of Greenpools, Lord Estermont, Lord Mathis Rowan, Lady Oakheart, Lord Randyll Tarly, Lucas Blackwood, Ser Perwyn Frey, Jon Fossoway, Guyard Morrigen, Tanton Fossoway, Craster, Mance Rayder, Gared, Lark the Sisterman, Brown Bernarr, Sigrin the Shipwright, Otter Gimpknee, Rymolf Stormdrunk, Donnel Locke, Maester Colemon, The Tickler, Polliver, Dunsen, Mycah, Goodwife Amabel, Goodwife Harra, Weese, Quhuru Mo, Kevan Lannister, Alyn Stackspear, Whitesmile Wat, Lord Lefford, Ser Dunaver, Jodge, Harys Swyft, Maester Tothmure, Lord Vargo Hoat, Lord Lydden, Joss Stilwood, Eggon, Tobbot, Robar Royce, SER ROBERT BRAX, Lymond Vikary, Lord Jast, Martyn Lannister, Ser Parmen Crane, Emmon Cuy, Ser Gawen Wylde, Edwyn Frey, Petyr Frey, Aegon Frey, Stygg, Werlag, Urzen, Black Lorren, Gevin Harlaw, Lord Botley, Todric, Andrik the Unsmiling, Lord Drumm of Old Wyk, Qarl the Maid, Ser Addam Marbrand, Ser Lyonel Baratheon, Tuffleberry, Martyn Rivers, Rymund the Rhymer, Utherydes Wayn, Enger, Long Lew, Poul Pernford, Brandon the Shipwright, Mathos Mallarawan, Wendello Qar Deeth, Egon Emeros the Exquisite, Ser Osmund Kettleblack, Osney Kettleblack, Osfryd Kettleblack, Tygett Lannister, Alester Florent of Brightwater, Lord Meadows, Rattleshirt, Harma the Dogshead, Alfyn Crowkiller, Rickard Stark, The Weeping Man, Symon Silver Tongue, Ashara Dayne, Flement Brax, Pinkeye, Ser Cadwyn, Ben Blackthumb, Shagwell the Fool, Squint, Gariss, Gynir Rednose, Gelmarr the Grim, Squire Dalbridge, Stonesnake, Ygritte, Ethan Glover, Jeffory Mallister, Kyle Royce, Elbert Arryn, Porther, Hullen, Harridan, Ser Arneld, Strong Belwas, Arstan Whitebeard, Walton Steelshanks, Septon Utt, Qyburn, Faithful Ursywck, Elmar Frey, Ser Jared Frey, Harys Haigh, Ronel Rivers, Lord Crakehall, Philip Foote, Josmyn Peckledon, Willit, Dykk Harlaw, Endehar, Red Rolfe, Ulf the Ill, Harrag Sheepstealer, Kenned the Whale, Maester Ballabar, Ragwyle, Arthur Dayne, Dolorous Edd, Robin Flint, Lord Velaryon, Alysanne, Prince Rhaegar, Maester Aemon, King Harren, Hal Mollen, Fat Tom, Maekar Targaryens, Moon Boy, Bael the Bard, Ser Harys Swyft, Lord Rossart, Elenei, Durran Godsgrief, Azor Ahai, Lord Caswell, Chiswyck, Lord of Light, Lord Cerwyn, Lord Hornwood, Ser Mark Mullendore, Lord Celtigar, Ser Errol, Prince Tommen, Myraham, Lord Varner, King Daeron, Lady Lyanna, Lord Caron, Esgred, High Septon, Lady Selyse, Robert I Baratheon, Big Walder Frey, Donella Hornwood, SER ROBERT BRAX, Lymond Vikary, Lord Jast, Martyn Lannister, Ser Parmen Crane, Emmon Cuy, Ser Gawen Wylde, Edwyn Frey, Petyr Frey, Aegon Frey, Stygg, Werlag, Urzen, Black Lorren, Gevin Harlaw, Lord Botley, Todric, Andrik the Unsmiling, Lord Drumm of Old Wyk, Qarl the Maid, Ser Addam Marbrand, Ser Lyonel Baratheon, Tuffleberry, Martyn Rivers, Rymund the Rhymer, Utherydes Wayn, Enger, Long Lew, Poul Pernford, Brandon the Shipwright, Mathos Mallarawan, Wendello Qar Deeth, Egon Emeros the Exquisite, Ser Osmund Kettleblack, Osney Kettleblack, Osfryd Kettleblack, Tygett Lannister, Alester Florent of Brightwater, Lord Meadows, Rattleshirt, Harma the Dogshead, Alfyn Crowkiller, Rickard Stark, The Weeping Man, Symon Silver Tongue, Ashara Dayne, Flement Brax, Pinkeye, Ser Cadwyn, Ben Blackthumb, Shagwell the Fool, Squint, Gariss, Gynir Rednose, Gelmarr the Grim, Squire Dalbridge, Stonesnake, Ygritte, Ethan Glover, Jeffory Mallister, Kyle Royce, Elbert Arryn, Porther, Hullen, Harridan, Ser Arneld, Strong Belwas, Arstan Whitebeard, Walton Steelshanks, Septon Utt, Qyburn, Faithful Ursywck, Elmar Frey, Ser Jared Frey, Harys Haigh, Ronel Rivers, Lord Crakehall, Philip Foote, Josmyn Peckledon, Willit, Dykk Harlaw, Endehar, Red Rolfe, Ulf the Ill, Harrag Sheepstealer, Kenned the Whale, Maester Ballabar, Ragwyle, Arthur Dayne, Dolorous Edd, Robin Flint, Lord Velaryon, Alysanne, Prince Rhaegar, Maester Aemon, King Harren, Hal Mollen, Fat Tom, Maekar Targaryens, Moon Boy, Bael the Bard, Ser Harys Swyft, Lord Rossart, Elenei, Durran Godsgrief, Azor Ahai, Lord Caswell, Chiswyck, Lord of Light, Lord Cerwyn, Lord Hornwood, Ser Mark Mullendore, Lord Celtigar, Ser Errol, Prince Tommen, Myraham, Lord Varner, King Daeron, Lady Lyanna, Lord Caron, Esgred, High Septon, Lady Selyse, Ottyn Wythers, SER ROBERT BRAX, Lymond Vikary, Lord Jast, Martyn Lannister, Ser Parmen Crane, Emmon Cuy, Ser Gawen Wylde, Edwyn Frey, Petyr Frey, Aegon Frey, Stygg, Werlag, Urzen, Black Lorren, Gevin Harlaw, Lord Botley, Todric, Andrik the Unsmiling, Lord Drumm of Old Wyk, Qarl the Maid, Ser Addam Marbrand, Ser Lyonel Baratheon, Tuffleberry, Martyn Rivers, Rymund the Rhymer, Utherydes Wayn, Enger, Long Lew, Poul Pernford, Brandon the Shipwright, Mathos Mallarawan, Egon Emeros the Exquisite, Ser Osmund Kettleblack, Osney Kettleblack, Osfryd Kettleblack, Tygett Lannister, Alester Florent of Brightwater, Lord Meadows, Rattleshirt, Harma the Dogshead, Alfyn Crowkiller, Rickard Stark, The Weeping Man, Symon Silver Tongue, Ashara Dayne, Flement Brax, Pinkeye, Ser Cadwyn, Ben Blackthumb, Shagwell the Fool, Squint, Gariss, Gynir Rednose, Gelmarr the Grim, Squire Dalbridge, Stonesnake, Ygritte, Ethan Glover, Jeffory Mallister, Kyle Royce, Elbert Arryn, Porther, Hullen, Harridan, Ser Arneld, Strong Belwas, Arstan Whitebeard, Walton Steelshanks, Septon Utt, Qyburn, Faithful Ursywck, Elmar Frey, Ser Jared Frey, Harys Haigh, Ronel Rivers, Lord Crakehall, Philip Foote, Josmyn Peckledon, Willit, Dykk Harlaw, Endehar, Red Rolfe, Ulf the Ill, Harrag Sheepstealer, Kenned the Whale, Maester Ballabar, Ragwyle, Arthur Dayne, Dolorous Edd, Robin Flint, Lord Velaryon, Alysanne, Prince Rhaegar, Maester Aemon, King Harren, Hal Mollen, Fat Tom, Maekar Targaryens, Moon Boy, Bael the Bard, Ser Harys Swyft, Lord Rossart, Elenei, Durran Godsgrief, Azor Ahai, Lord Caswell, Chiswyck, Lord of Light, Lord Cerwyn, Lord Hornwood, Ser Mark Mullendore, Lord Celtigar, Ser Errol, Prince Tommen, Myraham, Lord Varner, King Daeron, Lady Lyanna, Lord Caron, Esgred, High Septon, Lady Selyse, Samwell Tarly, Asha Greyjoy, Sandor Clegane, Oswell Kettleback, Tommen Baratheon

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز ششم ماه آوریل سال 2015میلادی، بار دوم در سال 2016میلادی

کتاب یک در سه جلد منتشر شده؛ بازی تاج و تخت - کتاب یک (جلد 1، از 3) از سری نغمه آتش و یخ؛ بازی تاج و تخت - کتاب یک (جلد 2، از 3) از سری نغمه آتش و یخ ؛ بازی تاج و تخت - کتاب یک (جلد 3، از 3) از سری نغمه (آوای) آتش و یخ؛ نویسنده: جورج آروآر مارتین؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

استارک‌ها بر سرزمین زمستانی حکم می‌رانند، جایی که خلق و خوی مردمانش، همچون طبیعت، سرد و خشک است؛ صداقت و درستکاری پیشه آن‌هاست «بازی تاج و تخت»، داستان جوانمردی، و درستکاری همین مردان است، آن‌جا که چشمان تنگبین دشمنان، زیر نظرشان دارند و ...؛

سری آوای یخ و آتش، سه داستان در یک داستان است

داستان نخست و اصلی، نبرد بر سر تخت آهنین است، که در «وستروس»، و در سرزمین پادشاهان رخ می‌دهد؛ پس از مرگ شاه «رابرت باراتئون»، پسرش «جوفری»، با حمایت مادرش ملکه «سرسی»، بر تخت می‌نشیند، اما «ادارد استارک» که دوست، وزیر، و مشاور اول پادشاه است، درمی‌یابد که او و خواهر و برادرش، فرزندان راستین «رابرت» نیستند و ...؛

داستان دوم در شمال «وستروس» رخ می‌دهد، جاییکه دیواری بسیار بزرگ و کهن، از یخ، قلمرو انسان‌ها را، از موجودات «از ما بهتران»، جدا می‌کند، و برادران سوگند یاد کرده ی «نایت واچ»، تمام عمر خود را، صرف مراقبت، و محافظت از آن می‌کنند و ...؛

داستان سوم هم در آن سوی دریا، از ماجراهای «دنریز تارگارین»، آخرین بازمانده ی خاندان بزرگ «تارگارین»، که پادشاهان پیشین «وستروس» بوده‌ اند، حکایت دارد و ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 01/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 20/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) (2024)


Why is Got book 6 taking so long? ›

The Winds of Winter delay is due to George R.R. Martin's various projects, including writing for Game of Thrones & other books. Martin has admitted to struggling with writing the long-awaited book, which is expected to be the longest in the series.

Can a 15 year old read A Song of Ice and Fire? ›


It is sensational. However, it is not for children. Beyond the extreme depictions of language, violence, sex, and nudity, it is also extremely dense and would challenge even some of the more proficient readers.

Is A Song of Ice and Fire 18+? ›

I started reading the series when I was 16. The MPAA prohibits anyone under the age of 17 from purchasing R rated movie tickets, but this has more to do with appeasing controlling parents than determining emotional maturity. If it were a movie A Song of Ice and Fire would have either an R or an NC-17 rating.

How close is the Got Show to the books? ›

Game of Thrones closely follows the storyline of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels, but there are still some differences between the books and the TV series, especially in the later seasons: Game of Thrones: Season 1. Game of Thrones: Season 2. Game of Thrones: Season 3.

How old is Daenerys in book 6? ›

How old is Daenerys in the books? Daenerys is 13 at the start of the series, turns 14 during A Game of Thrones, 15 at some point during A Clash of Kings, and is now 16 by the end of A Dance With Dragons.

Is Game of Thrones book 6 ever coming out? ›

The Winds of Winter is the forthcoming sixth novel in the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by American writer George R. R. Martin. The novel is expected to be over 1,500 pages in length.

Is there swearing in A Song of Ice and Fire? ›

Language. Think of a swear word, and it's probably used in A Song of Fire and Ice at some point, from "damn" and "bastard" to "c--t" and "f--k."

Are the got books spicy? ›

Yes and no. There are violence and sexual themes all over the place in the books, but they are not as graphic, and yet more graphic at the same time in the show.

Why is A Song of Ice and Fire so popular? ›

Its histories stretch back millenium, and every detail put into the universe adds to the overall story in ways readers can't understand from a first read. The mythology in A Song of Ice and Fire is insane. Every story beat, every description, and every character fits into its own world mythology.

What happened to Jon Snow in the books? ›

While Game of Thrones doesn't make a convincing case for his demise, the original A Song of Ice and Fire books offer another take. George R.R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons follows Jon's journey as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch and the many questionable choices that lead to his death at the hands of his own men.

What happened to Daenerys Targaryen in the books? ›

Jon attempts to reason with Daenerys, but when she continues to assert her actions are necessary to establish a good world, a conflicted Jon fatally stabs her and Daenerys dies in his arms as he weeps. Drogon arrives and melts the Iron Throne before leaving Westeros with Daenerys's body, grieving.

What happened to the Jon Snow spinoff? ›

The Jon Snow Game of Thrones spinoff series is no longer in development at HBO, with Kit Harington citing the inability to find the right story. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms prequel is still in development.

Why has it taken so long for The Winds of Winter? ›

In his Penguin Random House Q&A, Martin suggested part of what's been taking so long is his frequent rewriting. He found himself "re-reading some chapters that I'd written earlier, and I didn't like them well enough, so I kind of ripped them apart and rewrote them."

Why hasn't Winds of Winter been released? ›

Martin confirms that The Winds of Winter is 75% complete, but his writing pace indicates it may still take another three or four years before it gets released. The Winds of Winter is not the final book in the series, as Martin still has to write A Dream of Spring, which is expected to be the same length.

What is the longest book in the Game of Thrones series? ›

'A Dance with Dragons', the fifth book in George R.R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series, is the lengthiest of the five currently released books, with a word count of almost 415 thousand, spanning over one thousand pages.

How long have we been waiting for The Winds of Winter? ›

For dedicated Westeros fans, that's nothing. Readers of George RR Martin's fantasy novels have been waiting a staggering 14 years for him to finish The Winds of Winter - and there's still no end in sight.

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