It’s been too long since I’ve done a book blog, hasn’t it? Well, no longer – because I’m currently obsessed with a series, and I need to talk about it.
That series is George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series – or as you might know it, the inspiration for HBO’s new hit series Game of Thrones. Martin started publishing them in 1996 after five years of planning and writing, and there are currently five volumes with two more planned, per Wikipedia. Though Martin was a successful writer for several different media, including other fiction and television, before these books, they’re probably his most famous work. He worked primarily in television for a long time, but after frustration, decided to try his hand at a fantasy epic a la J.R.R. Tolkien. And basically, we know how that story is playing out.
Because I’m a television nerd, I watched the first season of Game of Thrones earlier this year, even though I don’t consider fantasy to be “my genre.” However, I was hooked – from the great casting to intriguing plots to beautiful cinematography, it’s a great show. And because there’s always more to a fantasy novel than an adaptation can convey, I knew I needed to read the books.
So I picked up the first book, A Game of Thrones, and immediately dove in. Though the reveals weren’t quite as shocking as they could have been because I’d already seen the entirety of the plot in the first season of the show, it was still engrossing. You know that look people get when they’re near the end of a good book and they obviously don’t want to do anything else? That was me for the entire novel, all 800-something pages of it. There’s no way I could describe the plot in any detail here just because it is so vast, but you should know that it kept my attention the entire way. It was truly fascinating. Yes, there are problematic things in them, as there always are, but I still think they’re worth reading and talking about – because yes, you need to know someone else reading them because you will want to talk about it.
Right now, I’m on the second book, A Clash of Kings, and it’s just as great as the first, though I’ve been warned that “you aren’t even prepared for what’s about to happen.” That sentiment apparently continues into the third book, A Storm of Swords, but I don’t know much beyond that.
Since I don’t really have time to sit down and read in my spare time, I’ve made it a rule that I’m only reading while on public transportation for commuting. While that’s still a fair chunk of time, it’s made it so that I have to pace myself and it forces me to remember the plot rather than rush through it. Since there are about a million things to remember in a fantasy epic like this one, taking my time on it allows me to keep all of the families and factions straight in my head (especially since I’m not used to doing that).
I definitely recommend reading these books, even if you don’t consider yourself a fantasy person. I know I certainly didn’t, but I am firmly obsessed with these books. If you’re a Lord of the Rings person, try these – you’ve already got the reading stamina, right? If you’re unsure, watch the show first. It came out on DVD yesterday and is one of the best adaptations of a novel that I’ve ever seen, in every way. The casting is pretty much flawless, and having these faces in mind has made it easier to imagine everything happening in the books. However, one of the better parts of reading the book first is being able to tell who the secondary characters are and understanding some of the underlying plots that make more sense now that I have a more thorough knowledge of what’s going on.
Here’s the trailer for season one, if your interest is piqued:
And in case you’re where I am, here’s the trailer for season two, which airs on April 1st on HBO. This is the second trailer that uses Florence + The Machine’s song “Seven Devils,” which really could not be more perfect for the story.