Tag Archives: A Game of Thrones

Evolving Characters of A Game of Thrones

Looking back at the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire, which of course is known as A Game of Thrones, I have to say that my opinion of characters has changed over the books. I’ve read the first three books so far, and I have developed different favourites by the time the third book ended.

Looking at the Starks, I haven’t really changed my opinion about anyone. However, I still strongly like Anya Stark and Jon Snow. I never really liked Robb Stark, and my least favourite of the kids was and still is Sansa. My opinion of Catelyn fluctuated between like and dislike, but ended up with mild dislike.

The Lannisters have been an interesting group. Joffrey Barratheon has always been a little ass, and I never liked him. Never liked Cersei. But Jaime and Tyrion have changed. In the beginning, I really liked Tyrion, but my like for him has faded a bit. At first, I hated Jaime. He was one of my most disliked characters. However, I actually like him now.

A lot can change over George R. R. Martin’s books. Earlier today, I posted a video review of A Game of Thrones, looking at how my opinion has changed or not changed about the book.

Has your opinion of the characters changed? Let me know in the comments below without giving me any spoilers.

Adult Colouring Books

An interesting new trend these days is colouring books for adults. There are so many different kinds, though most tend to be more artistic and abstract. However, I’ve seen one with Canadian scenery, and a few about different movies.

And then I saw this: The Official A Game of Thrones Coloring Book.

Am I strange as a thirty-nine year old man for wanting this book? It’s A Game of Thrones!

Fantasy Novel Settings Based on the Real World

A lot of fantasy authors are influenced by real history and locations. Some come out and say that they are a part of Earth’s lost history, and some are Earth’s future. And it seems like many are based on the European Middle Ages.

Lord of the Rings is based on Europe, and I think Tolkien admitted that. I believe it’s supposed to be Europe, but long before recorded history.

A Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones) is also based on Europe, but not actually in Europe, but a fictional world. In fact, the entire war is inspired by the War of the Roses.

Shannara is quite different, though. It’s based in a world that had gone through an apocalypse. I’m not exactly sure of the precise location, but it is North America.

What are some other Earth-based fantasy novels and series?

Living in a Fantasy World

Have you ever read a fantasy novel and thought to yourself, “I’d love to live there!”  I have, but I think most fantasy worlds would be terrible to live in.

Westeros

The main continent of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin is the hot topic these days with the Game of Thrones TV series being very popular.  But is it a good place to live or even visit?  This is pretty obvious. It’s a war zone.  Everywhere you go is unsafe.  People are getting killed all the time, and there doesn’t seem to be any single place you can live in peace.  Would I want to live there?  Not a chance.  Would I like to visit?  Maybe in peacetime.

The Four Lands

This is the main setting for Terry Brooks’ Shannara series of novels.  It’s a pretty standard fantasy world with elves, dwarves, and magic.  It seems quite fantastic.  I’d love to visit the Ellcrys in Arborlon, the city of Kern, and run around in Leah.  Shady Vale is a nice, peaceful place.  But would I want to live there?  Probably not.  Throughout the novels, some pretty bad things happen, and pretty much no one is safe during those times.  Visit, yes.  Live, no.

Pern

Okay, so Anne McCaffrey’s Pern is technically a science fiction world, but with the lack of technology due to low resources and the abundance of dragons, it’s very fantasy-like.  So, I will include this world.  Some of the engineering feats seem incredibly fascinating to me.  The Holds are built into mountains, and I’d love to explore around them.  The Weyrs are incredibly interesting.  I’d also love to see them.  I want to see the dragons, too.  This would be an amazing place to visit.  But would I want to live there?  Actually, yes.  I know life can be difficult, especially during threadfall, but the society there is fascinating to me.  I’d get into some kind of Crafthall and study, hopefully becoming a Master.  Living in a Weyr could be interesting, too.

So, there we have it.  Westeros is no on both living and visiting.  Awful place, even though I can’t seem to stop reading it.  The Four Lands are a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.  Pern would be a very interesting place to live and visit.

How about you?  What is a fantasy world you’d love to live in?  How about one you’d never want to visit?  Or one you’d like to visit, but not live?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

My Favourite Author Is Better than Your Favourite Author

I was surprised when I saw this article.  I had no idea this was going on.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, because fans can be very aggressive online and bash anyone who disagrees with them.  I can understand a little bit, because I’m a sports fan, and I’m a very loyal fan of the Edmonton Oilers.  However, books are a different kind of thing.

A Game of Thrones

vs.gardensofthemoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

In one corner, we have the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the series that spawned the Game of Thrones TV series.  He is George R. R. Martin.  In the other corner, we have the author of Malazan Book of the Fallen, a Canadian author who goes by the name of Steven Erikson.  They’re both authors of epic fantasy that have very similar themes.  They’re both violent, militaristic, epic war fantasies.  They’re both incredibly long.  They’re both gritty and dark.  But there’s one big difference.  A Song of Ice and Fire isn’t finished yet.

I have read the first two books of A Song of Ice and Fire, and am currently reading the third.  I’ve read only the first Malazan book.  Although they’re similar in theme, they are totally different in atmosphere.  I find myself getting immersed into both worlds very easily.  I also find myself getting confused with characters if I’ve left the series for too long between books.  I’ve forgotten most of the character names for Malazan, and there are many.  They both have huge casts of characters.  They’re both pretty amazing series.

But the fans seem to be at war with each other.  They seem to think the authors are competing against each other, as well.  But according to that article, it’s far from true.  Erikson and Martin have talked to each other several times and are rather surprised about their fans’ behaviour.  I’d have to say I am, too.  In the world of epic fantasy literature, there’s room to enjoy both series.  You don’t have to insult others because they like a different book than you.  Since I like both, I can’t understand this feeling.  I’ve read books I don’t like, but I don’t declare war on the people who do like them.  Honestly, it’s not worth it.

So, if you are one of these crazy fans, I have one thing to say:  They’re just books.  Just enjoy them.  Your personal tastes are just that, personal.  You don’t have to get upset if someone has their own personal tastes.

Personally, I really enjoy Gardens of the Thrones by Steven R. R. Martin.

Winter is Coming…in Summer

Well, there goes summer.  Back to Westeros I go.

I’ve been feeling a lot of anticipation recently.  I’m nearly finished reading Moving Pictures, and my next book is A Storm of Swords.  Back to the world of Westeros and the coming winter.  It was just pure luck that we had a storm coming through today, so I had to take the opportunity to make this brief video.

It’s not often that I feel such a great amount of anticipation for a book.  I’m really looking forward to this.

What are you looking forward to reading this summer?

When Your Favourite Character Dies

Ever read a novel and the worst imaginable thing happens, your favourite character dies?  I’ve done that several times.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin is very well-known for doing this.  Now as a very popular TV series, named after the first novel, Game of Thrones is showing an expanded audience what it’s like to have many of your favourite characters kick the bucket.

You go through several stages.  Disbelief and shock, unable to accept that it happened.  You think that somehow they’ll come back.  You feel resentful of the author for killing the characters.  Finally, you accept that it happened and continue on.

Is it good for the book?  I think it creates a lot of drama.  For a series like A Song of Ice and Fire, it creates a feeling that anything can happen.  You have to accept that anyone can die.  Very few do it like Martin does.

I’ve read some others where not many die, but my favourite character dies.  That comes as more of a shock than the deaths in Westeros.

But what do you think?  How do you take the deaths of your favourite characters?  Please don’t post spoilers.

How Much Violence Is too Much in Fiction?

A recent discussion on a Facebook group I’m a member of asked a similar question to this.  I saw a variety of answers.

The typical answers said that as long as it contributes to the story, any amount is fine.  Other people said that they didn’t like violence and avoided it like the plague.  They couldn’t bare to read it.

Novels like A Game of Thrones shows an incredible amount of violent and graphic violence and deaths.  Is it necessary?  Well, considering that the world is similar to the medieval world, and that was a violent time with wars involving swords and gruesome deaths, it’s completely justified.  War is not pretty.  It’s very graphic.

I’m currently reading Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind, and while it started off like a typical fantasy story, it soon proved to have an incredibly sadistic antagonist.  Some of the things he does is sickening.  Is it necessary?  I think so.  It shows how insane he is and what he’s willing to do to win.

Those are only two examples.  My opinion is that violence is often quite justified.  That includes extreme violence.  It doesn’t turn me away from a novel, unless it’s completely out of place and makes no sense.

What do you think?  Do you have a problem with violence in novels, or are you fine with it?  Please leave a comment.

Book Review – A Game of Thrones

A Game of ThronesA Game of Thrones” is a medieval fantasy book that has the world talking lately.  It’s the first in the “A Song of Fire and Ice” series by George R. R. Martin, and has recently been adapted for TV.  As I always read the book before I see the movie or TV series, now was a good time to get this started.

The version I’m reviewing appears to be a special alternate cover, and while it is paperback, it’s the size of a hardcover book.  Not so easy to carry around, and it seemed that the pages took much longer to read than a normal book.  But anyway, that’s just the version I’d bought.

When you think of fantasy novels, you usually think of a naive, inexperienced farm boy going on a heroic quest for self discovery and to defeat evil.  Well, there’s none of that here.  Dragons and magic are a part of this story, but they’re quite minor in this book.  What’s important here is politics.  There’s plenty of it!  The main characters are all high society, lords, ladies, kings, queens, and highly respected knights.  No one is entirely good and no one is entirely bad.  Everyone is in a grey area.  In other words, they are human.  There are a lot of characters to hate, as there’s a lot of despicable behaviour, and some of them you just want dead.  There are characters you root for, but they have flaws, just like regular people.

The book is told from a third person point of view, centered on many of the main characters.  Each chapter has a different point of view character, and the narration is told in such a way that you can feel their personalities in the words.  I felt like I could get to know the characters better that way.  In some ways, I could sympathise with most of them, but others I just didn’t like as people.  But the characters that are supposed to be the bad guys have a certain amount of good in them.  The focus is mostly on the Stark family, including Lord Eddard Stark, his wife Catelyn, and children Bran, Sansa, Arya, and Jon.  The main antagonists are the Lannister family, though we only follow the imp, Tyrion.  We get to view the actions of the other Lannisters through the eyes of Tyrion and the Starks.  There’s one other main character, Daenerys, the daughter of the previous King.  I can’t say whether she’s a protagonist or antagonist in this series, though.  It’s not completely apparent.  Through these people, we get to see what their world and circumstances are like.

Fantasy usually has a central hero.  This does not.  It’s an ensemble cast, and none of them is a hero.  The story doesn’t show heroic deeds, but it does show incredible tragedy, and a lot of it.  For those of you who like tragic stories, this is a great one for you.  But there are some major victories to be had.  There is a lot of death, rape, injustice, and treachery.  It’s dark.  The deaths are often gruesome.  There’s also sex, but it’s not graphically described. It’s depicted as just a fact of life.  And it seems like death must always be accepted, since it seems to touch everyone’s lives.

I came into this book knowing that it’s popular, and that many people thoroughly enjoyed it.  So, my expectations were set quite high.  I wasn’t sure whether to expect a typical heroic fantasy or something completely different.  The story was not predictable.  I was surprised often, which is a very good thing.  I wanted to read more and more with what little time I had.  I was more than satisfied.  This book has made a new fan.  It was quite excellent, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves this kind of story.  It exceeded my expectations.

5/5 stars.  Outstanding.

Read the book first!

Several years ago, back when I was in high school, I readJurassic Park by Michael Crichton.  I was enthralled.  It was great science fiction, had a good deal of science, and was intelligent.  I enjoyed the book very much.  I later watched the movie when it came out.  While I was impressed by the special effects, and I really enjoyed seeing the dinosaurs, I felt that the story was lacking.  The story was a bit different than the book, and wasn’t nearly as intelligent.  The movie was almost all action and special effects.  It didn’t satisfy the story lover in me.

After that, I was determined to read the book before I watched the movie.  I read Lord of the Rings a year before the movies came out.  I read the Harry Potter books before I watched any of the movies.  In both cases, I enjoyed the experience of seeing a familiar story unfold on the big screen (or on DVD), but I felt that the book was better.  However,Lord of the Rings was extremely well done as an adaptation of a novel.

At the moment, I’m reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.  There’s a TV series based on his novels out right now, and I haven’t touched it at all.  I won’t watch it until after I’ve read the books.  I just feel that I can gain so much more by reading the book before seeing the movie.  I can imagine what the world is like first, then see how they made it look in the TV series or movie.  If I watch it first, then read the book, my imagination doesn’t work very hard.  I just picture the actors and the scenes that I remember from TV or the movie.  I want to use my imagination.  Therefore, I will read the book first.

How about you? What do you prefer to do?  Book first or TV series/movie first?