Tag Archives: George R. R. Martin

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.

Office Update, Beards, and Fantasy

Video update here! In fact, I have two videos for you. First of all, an update to the office. It’s ready for me to use and I should be using it tomorrow. Take a look.

Second, the theme of beards continues, and I talk a bit about beards, fantasy, and authors with beards.

Mine is getting shaved off tomorrow. What do you think? Who has the better beard, Patrick Rothfuss or George R. R. Martin? Discuss in the comments below.

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!

Book Review – A Storm of Swords

astormofswordsA Storm of Swords

Author: George R. R. Martin

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #3

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2000

Review Copy: Paperback bought new

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Goodreads Description

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces maneuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others–a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords…


A Storm of Swords is the third installment in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series.  It continues the war in Westeros and the battle over who is king.  In this book, we see some big changes.  Huge changes.  You know how sequels are usually not as good as the original?  Well, I think this one exceeds not only the first book, but also the second.  What a ride!

As with the previous two books, each chapter is simply titled with the point-of-view character’s name.  This time, those characters are Arya, Sansa, Bran, Tyrion, Catelyn, Jon, Daenerys, Davos, and two newcomers, Jaime Lannister and Samwell.  We no longer follow Theon.  I found that the most compelling storylines were of Arya, Jon, Daenerys, and Jaime.  Sansa’s getting a bit smarter, but still a bit annoying.  Bran has a major story going on, and while it’s interesting, I felt it didn’t have as much impact as others.  Tyrion’s still my favourite Lannister, but he’s lost his touch a bit.  Catelyn is still Catelyn, a character I don’t particularly like.  Davos was never that interesting to me.  Samwell has a good story, but it’s not at the top.  Now, Jaime’s story, I really enjoyed that.  Not only did I enjoy his point of view, I’ve come to actually like him as a character.  Loving his sarcastic sense of humour.  Arya is a very good character, and I’m enjoying how her development is going.  There are things going on with her that are quite interesting, I have suspicions about something that will happen, but I’m not quite sure yet.  Jon is going on to bigger things, and he’s had quite an up and down story.  I’m very interested in seeing where it goes.  Daenerys is still on the other side of the sea, but things are changing a lot for her, as well.  We’re seeing the development of a leader.  We also see that not everything is as it seems with her and those with her.  I’m really enjoying some other non-POV characters, such as Sandor Clegane, Peter Baelish, and a very mysterious cold handed person from beyond the wall.  I have suspicions about him, but I’ll wait to see what happens.

The world continues to be great to explore, and we’re seeing more of it, including Daenerys’s exploits.  The number of cultures is astounding.  I can easily visualise everything that’s going on, and I feel like I’m going along in a medieval world that is somewhat dark and dreary at times.  It all feels damp.  Of course, it rained a lot.

The story has always been extremely good.  The intricate linking between the individual stories is incredibly well-done.  This book had a bit of a downside, though.  The middle was a bit slow-going, but it really picked up toward the end.  And what an end it is.  Chapter after chapter had me shocked and amazed.  So many unbelievable things happened that I was wondering what was next.  By the end, this is what I was thinking: What the?  Mr. Martin, you’ve made this reader very happy and very excited about reading the next book.  Never have my thoughts and emotions been manipulated by a book as much as this one.  Bravo.

So, I can’t give this lower than a score of 5 out of 5 stars.  It deserves it.  Best one so far.  Wow.

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








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?

Book Review – A Clash of Kings

aclashofkingsA Clash of Kings is the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin.  The story picks up right where A Game of Thrones left off, and it continues in the same fashion.  That is, lots of death, violence, sex, and plot twists.

The first book established the explosive situation that we’re in the middle of now with this book.  The format is the same, each chapter following a different character, and we see what’s happening from their point of view.  We now have Davos, who follows Stannis Baratheon, and Theon Greyjoy, who was a secondary character in the first book.  From these points of view, we see everything that happens in this massive war that is now taking place.  It’s a very complex story, and we don’t always see everything that’s happening.  There are many surprises, including deaths that we don’t expect.  That’s one thing I’ve learned from reading these books, don’t expect everyone to live.  War is nasty, and the heroes may be the ones to die.

At this point, I’m finding that the most interesting characters to me are Tyrion, Daenerys, and Arya.  Tyrion is a master at manipulating people.  He is fascinating.  He’s not all bad, though.  He does have a heart, and he seems to legitimately prefer a more peaceful solution to everything, but not everything goes his way.  Daenerys is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, after her father was deposed by Robert Baratheon.  She’s young, but she has dragons on her side.  She’s driven by her birthright, and she believes that’s most important.  She wants what she believes is rightfully hers.  Despite her young age, she’s more mature than you’d expect.  Arya is the youngest Stark daughter, and I think one of the best fighters.  She has a lot of drive, and she certainly doesn’t give up.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how she does in the next book.  I’m not so fond of either Baratheon brother, who both claim the crown, but especially Stannis.  I also don’t particularly like Catelyn Stark or Sansa Stark.  I definitely don’t like Theon, but I do like Jon Snow.  His story is going to be very interesting in the next book, I believe.

The setting is vividly pictured in my mind thanks to Martin’s ability to describe the scenes.  I get the image of a war-torn land filled with fires, burnt forests, and lots of death.  It’s dark, and that’s the way it should be.  The political maneuvering, betrayal, and blackmailing make this very unpredictable and anything could blow up at any time.  I’m loving it.  Unlike traditional fantasy, this series doesn’t use much magic, though it’s starting to show up now.  Also, the dragons are coming back.  This is getting very interesting.

I would give it 5 out of 5 stars.  Amazing storytelling, believable three dimensional characters, incredible world building, and surprises everywhere.  Highly recommended to anyone who doesn’t mind a lot of violence, sex, and death in their fantasy.

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.