Stefan Yates's Reviews > A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
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's review
Jul 30, 2014

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, fantasy, books-that-changed-scifi-fantasy
Read in June, 2011 — I own a copy

As the fantasy genre of today seems to be trending more and more towards the dark and gritty and more based on historical realities, George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones sets the bar on how well this model can work. I have seen criticisms around the web that talk negatively about the brutal depictions of events in the novel, the negative treatment of women and children and the overall dark tones of the novel. To all of these criticisms I say, pick up a history book. Life in the middle-ages was not all sunshine and rainbows. We may like to romanticize medieval times, but the harsh facts are that life was not easy and for most people it basically sucked.

I think that Mr. Martin has crafted a grand epic here that manages to represent a lot of the harsh realities of the historical time-frame that his world is related to while still managing to craft a story that is his own and still contains many of the fantastical elements that lead people to turn to fantasy over historical fiction. His characters are strong and, while the women are treated pretty unfairly, some of them manage to stand out as strong characters in their own right.

A great start to a series that I look forward to continuing soon. I would highly recommend giving it a try unless you're easily upset by graphic violence and gore. If you're looking for fairies, unicorns and rainbows, you won't find them here. Unless the fairies are having their wings plucked, the unicorns are pulling siege equipment and the rainbows are being covered in clouds of despair!
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Quotes Stefan Liked

George R.R. Martin
“... a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Reading Progress

05/26/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Lyndz Nice review!

Stefan Yates Thanks!

The Lit Bitch Great review!! Loved this book :)

Stefan Yates Me too. (Obviously, I guess!) When I finish with my current batch, I will definitely be starting on A Clash of Kings.

Nataliya Great review. This is my favorite book of ASOIAF (the third book is also great, and I still need to read #5). It's a wonderful beginning to the series. Have you seen the HBO series yet?

Stefan Yates I haven't but my Blu-Ray came in the mail from Amazon yesterday!

Nataliya Stefan wrote: "I haven't but my Blu-Ray came in the mail from Amazon yesterday!"

I hope you'll like it! I thought it was really good. I know some book fans had issues with it (there is no way a TV show can be 100% faithful to Mr. Martin's creation) but I thought it was very nicely done. Poor Ned... seeing it happen onscreen is even worse.

Stefan Yates I'm sure that I will like it. It's right in my wheelhouse so-to-speak. I'm not one of those who believes that a movie or TV show has to follow the book exactly (although with an entire season to work with, there should be more latitude to follow the book than in a 2 hour film.) But I don't watch Harry Potter and say "Why did they leave that out?" or "There was no need to change that!" I'm pretty good at judging each upon it's own merit.

Razmatus I dont think the age is such a factor in here, I mean, lots of ppl were complaining about the age of characters and the things they do at those... well, for those; ppl had to mature much quicker than now, they didnt have time to play - rich kids were learning how to rule and do their duty, and lowborn kids had to work tough jobs at pretty early age... women were treated like whelping machines oftentimes, men had to fight in wars they didnt start... and single combats rarely lasted minutes like we see romanticised in movies, death came quick and unexpected even to kings

Stefan Yates I agree. I think that Martin's treatment of the maturity levels of the children, how women were treated and many other factors was spot on to reflect on how life would have been in the middle-ages.

Razmatus and i love how the magic is either rooted in reality or often revealed as alchemy trick, and very rarely true magic abilities

Stefan Yates I do to. Not that I don't also love worlds rich with magic and fantastical creatures, but Martin does have a nice way of handling things in his creation.

Razmatus awesome review btw

Stefan Yates Thanks. Glad you liked it.

Razmatus chiefly cos you managed to be concise where I would be pretty damn wordy LOL ;)

Trevor Denniss Great review!! I agree with you wholeheartedly! I don't generally read fantasy unless it is well-written, well-crafted and has believable and interesting characters (Tolkien,Mervyn Peake)and this has all of these.Looking forward to the next 4/5 books!!

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