I, sadly, have watched the shows before reading the books…but, I am kind of happy that I went against this unwritten code of mine.
There are a lot of names to remember. Like really, a lot. The show helped in a way of giving me faces with names so I can remember the relations between families and people and who did what. So, there is a benefit in watching the show before reading the books.
Martin is a brilliant writer. He writes in the mind of children, boy and girl alike, and of adults, of all kinds of backgrounds. It doesn’t sound like a grown man’s writing, which is a compliment (side note: it does when an actual grown man is the narrator of the chapter).
There is SO MUCH going on in this world. There is incest, slavery, betrayal, murder… There are barbarians, smug-royals, smothering-parents, bastards…
This isn’t something that I would recommend to anyone under the age of 18.
I say this because there is, as I said, incest, nudity, graphic violence and sexually detailed parts. You can tell that a man wrote it because he doesn’t go into the details that a woman would go into; which, in turn, I actually like. The fact that he doesn’t have to go into a three sentence description for something that could have gotten the message in two to three words is something I can appreciate.
You have a few narrators:
Bran: A young boy of the Stark family who gets injured due to something he saw
Catelyn: The wife of Lord Eddard Stark who hates her husband’s bastard and loves her family. She was born into the family Tully.
Daenerys: Sister to Viserys Targaryen and daughter of the deceased “mad-king” who is sold to the barbarian’s “ruler” named Khal Drogo.
Eddard: Lord Stark of Winterfell and Hand and friend of King Robert.
Jon: The bastard son of Eddard Stark who swears loyalty to the brotherhood of The Wall.
Arya: daughter of Lord Stark and more tomboy than girlie girl.
Tyrion: dwarf-son of the Lord Lannister and, despite his physical deformities, is witty and probably one of the smartest people in all the land.
Sansa: daughter of Lord Stark, girlie girl, and madly in love with King Robert’s blonde (and cruel) son Prince Joffrey.
As you can tell, we concentrate a lot on the Stark family.
The story starts with Catelyn getting a letter that her sister believes the Lannister family killed her husband, who was the Hand of the King.
With Eddard (Ned) now deemed the new Hand of King Robert, he investigates on why the Lannister family would want him dead. THEN SOMEONE DOES SOMETHING TERRIBLE TO HIS SON BRAN AND THEY ALL BELIEVE THE LANNISTER FAMILY DID IT.
Basically, the whole Lannister Family equals the devil.
Catelyn captures Tyrion, other people are captured, and then… WAR.
There is a lot of killing.
Then there is Daenerys, who doesn’t interact with everyone else ever in this book.
Her brother, Viserys, believes he is the last dragon and uses this as an excuse to treat everyone like dirt and to never grow out of that awful temperament. He sells his only sister to the Dothraki “leader” (I put quotes around things because there whole leadership is just not something I am getting into and I am paraphrasing) so they can provide him with an army to take back the seven kingdoms from the Usurper, King Robert (aka the friend of Ned’s that I was talking about up there).
There are so many plots going on in this book that you don’t get bored. There are so many different narrators with different voices. You don’t like everyone either. I mean, personally, I don’t like Catelyn AT ALL. I LOVE Tyrion and Daenerys.
The writing in this book is tremendous and I recommend it for people over the age of 18 if you are ready to tackle a book over 700 pages. It isn’t something you can get done in a day kids.
If you are a potential writer, I would recommend this book to learn from. There are techniques in this book that are worth understanding and implementing in your own writing and you can learn how to make people’s voices differ from the last.
I love this book. I can’t wait to read the rest of them sitting on my shelf.