Zinnia Rose's Reviews > A Song of Ice and Fire

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
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Nov 28, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
I own a copy


And so on.

This series is so many things, all at once. Ultimately, it is brilliant, and if you haven't already you need to get your hands on some copies and delve right in. Right now.

Be aware... this is NOT a series for those that like the light and fluffy. There's some heavy stuff in this; sex, violence, rape, incest, murder, mystery, political intrigue. There's a bit of everything in here, something for everyone, I think. Everyone mature enough to read it, of course, it ain't for the young'uns! Obviously.

I saw the first couple of episodes from the Game of Thrones TV series before I read the first book, but I had heard about the series a few years before that. I now regret not purchasing it the moment I heard about it because it is so AMAZING! I wish I'd read more about it when I discovered it (I knew next to nothing of it other than it was an epic fantasy novel) rather than merely chucking it on my already extensive 'to read' list. I didn't buy into it right away because I read 'The fantasy series has been praised for its realism where magic is subdued in favor of battles and political intrigue' on Wikipedia, and that was pretty much the full extent of my knowledge when it came to ASOIAF. Due to my massive Harry Potter obsession and my love for all things magical and whimsical because of that, and the apparent lack of magic in ASOIAF, I didn't think I'd be a huge fan of this series. I couldn't have been more wrong! In fact the realism gripped me right away and as it turns out, is something I really enjoyed most about the series. I love the way fantasy is so intertwined with reality. I was hooked on the political intrigue like you wouldn't believe, I wanted to unravel all the knots, I wanted to know everything there was to know, and I got completely wrapped up in it. It will suck you in. You have been warned!

I just finished reading A Dance With Dragons (so shocked and awed at the ending, so excited for the next one!), so I thought I should talk a bit about why I love the series so much. I'm not going to delve into each separate book, I'm going to talk about it as a series. There's so many great things about the series but I'm only going to list a few things that I personally love about it. I could probably go on forever otherwise.

It's gritty, it's thrilling, it's beautiful, it's scary. I've heard a lot of people saying that this is a fantasy series that even those that do not like fantasy will enjoy, and I can see why this is said. Yeah, it is a fantasy series, but it is heavily grounded in reality.

First and foremost, there is a character to suit everyone in this series. There are so many characters and each one has a different personality, a different story. It explores how hard it is to actually rule over a kingdom, and the fact that a kind, compassionate man is not all it takes to be a good ruler. Sometimes a just, firm hand is required, as is intellect and a certain amount of cunning.

The chapters alternate between character viewpoints (one chapter will be Daenerys, one will be Eddard, etc) and I find in some novels this can get confusing and disjointed and extremely hard to follow. I didn't find that at all here. It is all perfectly envisioned, intricately interwoven, and beautifully written; it flows smoothly and and instead of dreading it as I thought I might, I found myself looking forward to the switches of character perspectives. In later books as more characters got to tell their tales and we got to explore different sides of the same coin, I found myself falling in love with characters I previously thought I couldn't stand, and I found the characters I hated as thrilling and captivating to read about as those I'd been cheering on the whole way.

I also really liked that it is often morally ambiguous; right and wrong is not always clear, and the characters all have different interpretations of what exactly right and wrong is. I loved that about it.

I find that, more often than not these fantasy novels contain the standard good VS evil thing. Bad guy VS good guy. But in this everyone, from knights to maesters to queens and kings, they're all playing the game, and they're all playing to win - and we all know that when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die, there is no middle ground. ;) And like I said above, there are so many characters in this series, but while they are all so different from each other not one of them is wholly good or wholly evil. The world is full of shades of grey, and people aren't black and white; people are multidimensional. There's more to a person than what you see, and what they let on, and you get to explore that a lot in these books. There is light and dark in all of us, and there is light and dark in all of Martin's characters, and that's something I really loved.

I also find that George R.R. Martin is one hundred percent committed to his story, and he is certainly not afraid to kill off characters if he deems it necessary! There are so many twists and turns, you never know what's going to happen next, you never know what is looming around the next bend, you never know what a character might do, and you're on the edge of your seat, yearning to find out. There's always something going on, there's not a boring moment to be found in these books, and there are a lot of sub-plots going on around the main plot. I soon figured out that, favourite or not, no character in this series is safe. It isn't one of those books where you can think, 'he's the main character, he's got to be in the next one, he can't die.' Oh, no! I made that mistake...and soon figured out that, whether the character be honourable and noble or selfish and cruel, they can die just the same, and they die in equally terrible, gruesome, horrible ways no matter what their disposition. We're all human in the end. It was refreshing and tremendously exciting, not knowing, the uncertainty of whether or not my favourites would live.

On top of all this, everything in the series from the characters to the land is vividly imagined and well-realised, George R.R. Martin's writing immensely detailed and descriptive. I find myself getting lost in the world, drawn so far in that I could smell the flowers and taste the food and feel the chill of winter settling in.

The White Walkers are completely and utterly terrifying too, I must say. I cannot wait to find out more about them in future books!


Favourite characters: Arya Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Samwell Tarly, Brienne of Tarth, Jaime Lannister and Jon Snow.

At first I wasn't all that fond of Catelyn Stark but she grew on me over time as I read more about her. I really enjoyed reading about Varys the Spider. What I like about Cersei is that she wants to be free of the limitations, shackles if you will, that her womanhood places on her, and she always felt that she herself was more suited to being a warrior than her brother was. I like her fire. But she is not a good ruler or a good mother.

I support the Wildlings too, and saying that I found Tormund Giantsbane hilarious, plus I really liked Mance Rayder and Val. Oh, and Dolorous Edd of the Night's Watch too.

READ THE BOOKS. You simply must.
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message 1: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen I read the first book 'Game of Thrones' and i cant wait to read the rest! I watched the mini series on HBO and found it hard to follow at times. The book fleshed out the characters and helped you understand what caused them to act as they did as events in their lives unfolded....for instance i had a better understanding of what happened and why to the youngest son at the begining of the story. Can't wait to read next book,i just dont know if i should read the book or watch HBO first!!!

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