Summer Reading: A Game of Thrones

Stark

Post Season One, the first novel in the series proves to be just as engrossing

HBO’s Game of Thrones wrapped up towards the end of June. I was completely enamored and engrossed in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire long before then though. As the final episode came to a stunning conclusion, I was left with a harsh and brutal truth; it would be an entire year before I could get another fix. It was in that moment that the thought came to me, that perhaps I should turn my attention to the show’s source material, George R.R. Martin’s novels.

As the season was airing, I noticed much of the praise aimed at the show focused on how faithfully it had been adapted. Having read the first novel in the series, I can certainly see why fans were so pleased. And more crucially, why so many were skeptical of whether such a monstrous and complex piece of writing could be ever transformed into a coherent live action drama.

A Game of Thrones is an incredibly dense book. It expects you to pay attention. Reading it like so, with full concentration is really only way one can appreciate Martin’s gratuitously detailed writing. I mean, there’s paragraphs dedicated to simply describing the meal a character is eating or the set of armor he’s wearing. Perhaps it’s even too detailed. But I suppose this meticulous wording of even the most seemingly minor occurrences, all come together together in helping to form the overall universe. Which is really one of the novel’s biggest strengths. The world in which the story takes place in is startlingly well realised. It is a fairly typical fantasy setting but the novel doesn’t dwell on it. The fantasy aspects are merely a backdrop for some of the most fascinating characters, and indeed, character interaction I’ve seen in a long time. In many ways, it is a study of human psychology and what it means to be ‘family’. There is no such thing as a simple character in A Game of Thrones (except maybe for Hodor).

When I finished reading A Game of Thrones, I was left with the same conundrum I had faced when the series finished airing. I eventually came to the conclusion that the media that introduced me to the world, would take priority. Make no mistake though, A Game of Thrones is absorbing in a way that few other novels are. I hate using the world but it truly is…epic

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