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The Book Nook: reading Martin's 'Game of Thrones'

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JUNE 04, 2013

The book:

“Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin

Suggested for:

Anyone who hasn’t already started the show or wants more clarity in the plot and characters. Or anyone who likes medieval fantasy stories — complete with duels for honor and dragons.

Clog rating:


As with the majority of movie or TV adaptations of books,  most people have not actually read any of the “Song of Ice and Fire” books by George R. R. Martin that spurned the immensely popular HBO show, “Game of Thrones.” Because of the name of the TV show, the series itself is often referred to as “Game of Thrones,” but this is actually just the name of the first book. Although we’ve already caught up on all of the released episodes, it seemed like beginning to read the books would not only be interesting but might help us sort out the tangled web of families and alliances and the ridiculously large mess of characters across the Seven Kingdoms.

The task of reading any book that breaks 800 pages can seem somewhat daunting if it’s not Harry Potter, but it is that much more difficult when you already know the main points of the plot. It was a struggle to plod through the introduction to each story line, as we’d already seen it played out on our TV screens. However, the fact that each chapter is told from the point of view of a different main character gives each story line more depth and is much more accessible for the reader. If you still find yourself lost among the endless sea of places and characters, there are extremely convenient maps at the beginning of the book and short explanations for each house at the end of the book.

At times it’s difficult to remember where each branch is in its particular story, but the plot remains engaging and exciting. Who wouldn’t want to read about sword fights, brothels, dragon eggs, murder plots and direwolves? Martin does a fantastic job of fully creating the world of Westeros and spares no details about how it operates. His characters have depth and intricacies that are made all the more impressive by the sheer number of them.

If we hadn’t seen the TV show first, the book would have been riveting and fantastical. But we did see the TV show first, so the book took some patience to get through. It’s a worthwhile read — but be prepared to invest a good chunk of time to the story.

Image source: Nomadic Lass under Creative Commons

Contact Mackenzie Bedford at [email protected].

JUNE 19, 2013

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