Year in Review: Further reflections on ‘Thrones’

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By Willem Weinstein

There has been quite a bit of grumbling over George R. R. Martin’s series of epic fantasy books, A Song of Ice and Fire, especially regarding the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones.

There is an HBO Series recently produced based on the book, as well as several video games and a few graphic novels. But this seems quite an exaggerated response over a few fantasy books, granted well-written books. So, I was curious as to why people thought the response was necessary.

Therefore, I thought it necessary to further review the first book in the series, Game of Thrones.

The first thing I noticed, before I even started reading, was that this book is nightmarishly long. Long enough that it could give the Harry Potter series a run for its money in the amount of man hours lost while reading.

The second thing I noticed, and this time after reading, was that this book is maddeningly depressing. Nearly all characters that are written as good, and even some that just happen to smile at one point, get murdered or executed in overly barbaric, brutal ways.

The moral of this story, it appears, is that nice people die horribly.

Now, consider the plot. After spending a good week sporadically reading, I have concluded that I still don’t really know what happened.

Sure, I can sort of understand the main plot of the story, it takes place fifteen years after a great rebellion that upset the rule of the tyrannical former rulers and replaced them with the rebels, as these things tend to go.

In present time though, the king is fat, everyone in the court is corrupt and plotting against everyone else, and there is a good deal of complicated court intrigue, as these things tend to go.

The way this plot is presented is through a broken narrative that switches from different points a view every chapter, which is nice as it gives the reader multiple perspectives over the story. But it does create a jumble of plots that become confusing.

And yet, despite all of these thoughts, I still highly recommend Game of Thrones because it is incredibly immersive.

When a book an leave me convinced that my neighbors are plotting against me and I should strike before they can, I count it as a good read.

To summarize, court intrigue, everyone is out to get you, don’t bet on the nice guys, and winter is coming.

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