Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

If there is a higher power, he blessed my world with George R. R. Martin.

SPOILERS. SPOILERS. SPOILERS. DON'T LET ME RUIN THIS BOOK FOR YOU UNLESS YOU'VE READ IT, THEN YOU CAN SHARE MY ENTHUSIASM.

I first learned about Game of Thrones from the HBO series. The series was incredible that I had to read the book. I fear that reading the next book may ruin the next run on HBO but it's a risk I am willing to take.

Each chapter of the novel is written from the POV of a major character. In this novel, we meet Eddard Stark, his wife Catelyn, his daughters Arya and Sansa, a son Bran, Eddard's bastard son, Jon Snow, the Imp Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen. The novel follows the series, or perhaps, the series follows the novel *to a tee* **but** the reader allows us to know every thought that the character has that is only implied or not at all heard in the series.

Martin is a genius. This novel is not simple. And by that I mean there are so many connections. There is even a history to each House (family) that is not necessarily detailed in the novel but the appendix has it outlined. The thought in every aspect of the seven kingdoms, the families that support each kingdom is incredible, to say the least. Absolutely fucking incredible. I enjoyed every scintilla of every page of the 807 pages. I am in love with Martin.

And Eddard Stark, AKA Ned.

Martin has made an honorable character with the integrity that all those reality TV stars claim to have out of Eddard Stark, the Lord of Winterfell, who becomes the Hand of the King. The Hand of the King is like the vice-president. He takes over the rule when the King is away.

The King, Robert Baratheon is Ned's childhood friend, who he fought alongside with to help him take the throne as King. Robert is married to a douche, Cersei, who has three beautiful children by...her twin brother, the Kingslayer, Jaime. The King does not know this and those that figure it out, end up getting killed or maimed.

Including the honorable Ned Stark. I never read any novel (at least that I can recall) in which a main character, one that is as likeable as Ned Stark, get killed during the book. I knew I was coming to it based on the series because when it happened in the series, I was so shocked. But it is a necessary death that sets the stage for what the series entails. At least that is what I tell myself because, god dammit, the shit that happens by the bad folk is pissing me off and I'm ready for vengeance NOW.

But I must bide my time since I know of four more books I have to read.

And now, for standout lines from the book that I jotted down for this very moment.
Tyrion Lannister, the Imp because he is a dwarf, is the brother of the douche bag and her incestuous lover, Cersei and Jaime Lannister. They are the richest House among the seven kingdoms with the reputation for being brave fighters. He is, in the book and of course, in the HBO series, one of the most unique, funny, wry and witty characters I have seen in a long while. He is not a moral man but compared to the rest of his family? It's as honorable as they come.

During a conversation with Jon Snow, the young bastard son of Eddard, Tyrion calls him Lord Snow. First: anyone with the last name "Snow" is known to be a bastard. It's like the scarlet letter: they are labeled for life as not being a true blood of the House.

So Jon tells Tyrion not to call him Lord Snow and Tyrion replies:
Would you rather be called the Imp? Let them see that their words can cut you, and you'll never be free of their mockery. if they want to give you a name, take it, make it your own. Then they can't hurt you with it anymore.

Jon and Tyrion, along with Bran Stark, would have an odd bond between them. Tyrion will have "affection" for them but we'll see where the next run takes this since Tyrion's nephew, the horrific Joffrey (Cersei & Jamie's child; but known to be the King's) has Eddard (Jon and Bran's father) beheaded.

Upon the death of a new young Knight, Ser Hugh, during a tournament, where during a joust he is killed. The elite bodyguard to the King tells Eddard that Ser Hugh was not ready for knighthood; he was too young. To this, Eddard says:
None of us is ever ready.
For knighthood? [bodyguard]
For death.
Tyrion (the Imp) is captured by Catelyn Stark after she finds out his dagger was the dagger used in an attempted murder of her young seven year old son, Bran (he witnessed Cersei with her brother doing the nasty; the brother threw him off a tower where young Bran almost died but recovered with paralysis in his legs; the brother tried to kill him again during his recovery). During a "trial" at Catelyn's sister's House (House Arryn), the Imp has the option to fight for his freedom. He asks for someone _taller_ to fight for him and a sellsword (a fighter who sells his fighting to anyone who will pay well) by the name of Bronn volunteers and wins. They end up leaving together and "hanging out". During one conversation, the Imp tells Bronn:
I've no doubt you'd betray me as quick as you did Lady stark, if you saw a profit in it. If the day ever comes when you're tempted to sell me out, remember this, Bronn -- I'll match their price, whatever it is. I _like_ living.
Arya is the spunky nine-year-old daughter of Eddard; the very opposite of 11-year-old Sansa. She has learned to fight with a sword by her half brother, Jon Snow. She tells her dad that she wants to be a knight one day and her dad tells her that for her, her journey in life is to marry a nice prince and bear him sons. She tells him she doesn't want that.

To appease her wild ways, Eddard hires a 'dance' tutor for her. Syrio Farel is a master fencer and teaches Arya how to move when fencing; the "dance". Syrio is another fascinating character. I think of Inigo Montoya as Syrio.

So Syrio dances with Arya: left, low, high, left, high, low, left. She gets hit with his wooden sword and he says "You're dead now". She screams at him 'you lied. you said left but you went right!' And Inigo, um, I mean Syrio says to her:
Opening your eyes is all that is needing. The heart lies and the head plays tricks with us, but the eyes see true. Look with your eyes. Hear with your ears. Taste with your mouth. Smell with your nose. Feel with your skin. Then comes the thinking, afterward, and in that way knowing the truth.
 And lastly, Lord Walder...an old, old, dirty old man who happens to be in castle with a bridge that needs crossing by Lord Robb Stark, the 15 year old son of Eddard. Lady Stark (Catelyn) approaches Lord Walder to ask, as he is a bannerman to her father's House, to allow her son Lord Robb, and his army, to cross the bridge to fight the Lannisters. She is not getting very far with the curmudgeon but discovers that Lord Walder has more disdain for Tywin Lannister (father to the Imp and the lover twins), a rich, reputable leader in wars:
Lord Tywin the proud and splendid, Warden of the West, Hand of the King, oh, what a great man _that_ one is, him and is gold this and gold that and lions here and lions there. I'll wager you, he eats too many beans, he breaks wind just like me, but you'll never hear _him_ admit it, oh, no. What's he got to be so puffed up about anyway?
In the end, he allows Lord Robb and his army to pass through, giving him men from his own army to fight the Lannisters.  There is a war. And who wins will be determined in the next book...?

If you know, don't tell me. I want to find out for myself.

2 comments:

  1. i'm so glad you love it!! i love it too - it's my favorite series by far.

    i won't give anything away, but i will tell you to think back on the book and see if you can think on the clues that are given about who Jon Snow's mother is. There is a very popular theory (not proven at all) about it, and all the clues are there in book 1.

    have fun! i'll be looking forward to your reaction to the next book.

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  2. I just finished book 5 (A Dance with Dragons) last month... the journey has only just begun! I had a feeling you would love the series.

    'When you play a game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground.'

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