Mass Market Paperback, 835 pages
Published August 16th 2005 by Spectra (first published August 1st 1996)
ISBN 0553588486 (ISBN13: 9780553588484)
Edition Language: English
The Blurb (www.goodreads.com)
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective wall. To the south, the King's powers are failing, and his enemies are emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the King's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but also the kingdom itself. A heroic fantasy of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and evildoers who come together in a time of grim omens.
The Song of Ice and Fire series has been around for awhile. Anything you want to know about the plot, or theories about the characters, or conspiracy theories about parentage, or even what dragons are good for, is available elsewhere. With Game of Thrones on HBO, and the release of the latest book, A Dance with Dragons, I really just wanted to read through the books and refresh my memory. So here are some of my thoughts and impressions on my second read through of this series.
By the end of Game of Thrones, I have some very strong opinions about a few characters. First, Catelyn. I don't like her. I know that mothers are supposed to protect their kids. It's that whole mother bear (or better in this case, wolf) mentality. But every single one of her decisions strikes me as wrong-headed and arrogant. She uses her position as the Lady Stark to get what she wants, from her flight to King's Landing, to the capture of Tyrion Lannister, to trying to take control of her son's army. And especially her treatment of Jon Snow. The kid is, what, 14? And she's still trying to convince her husband to turn him out? I try to get what she's about, but I just can't.
And I feel terribly for Jon Snow. His siblings love him (except for Sansa, who I hate), but his Catelyn treats him like trash and constantly berates him for his very existence. So he joins a legendary band of brothers charged with the protection of the realm, only to find out his legendary band of brothers are actually jerks, and no one likes them or takes them seriously. And The Imp is the one to break the news to him. Poor kid. He just can't seem to get a break.
Which brings me to the other children. The daughters, Arya and Sansa. I love Arya. She's got fire, and she's smart, even for a little kid. Sansa, on the other hand, is a simpering idiot. I can't stand her. She is supposed to be older and more mature than Arya, but her entire existence is consumed with daydreams of chivalrous knights and gallant princes and being a princess. Ugh! And then there's the boys. Theon, while not a Stark, is raised by Starks and is still no one I would want my kids hanging out with. Bran is a cute kid, and I feel for him, but he's not in the book enough to get attached. Robb, though. Robb, I like. He's young, but has honor, and wants to do the right thing. And I love the symbolism of the wolf pups.
I hate most of the Lannisters, but I love Tyrion. It's amazing how someone who is despised from birth can grow up having some sense of honor about him. He's manipulative and lascivious, and kind of a jerk, but I still like him.
Most of the story takes place in The Seven Kingdoms, except for the story of Dany, who is 13 years old. I know that back in the day, girls got married as soon as they were capable of getting pregnant. But I can't get passed the wig-factor of a guy who wants to marry a 13 year old girl. Ew. But Dany is at least interesting. Her brother is a crazy piece of crap that deserved his molten crown of gold (kudos to HBO on filming that scene, by the way), but she's cool.
And now, on to Clash of Kings!