I have a confession to make. I had never heard of George RR Martin, or his A Song of Ice and Fire book series, before the television series Game of Thrones sucked me into its vortex. The characters and storyline quickly made it one of my most favourite TV shows of all time, and, being someone who buys an awful lot of books without the time to read them due to some crazy compulsion (at last count, 294 books unread in my bookshelves), I have had the books sitting in my shelves untouched since the TV series began. I admit, the sheer length of them put me off a bit. It looked like quite a commitment.
Last November, I attended Supanova where the day was unofficially devoted to Game of Thrones regarding the panels I attended. I got a book signed by Mr Martin, and listened to him read a couple of chapters of the new book he is currently working on. ‘Maybe it’s time I read these books’, I thought. And so, I decided to make them my bedtime reading, so that I could still get through other books during my daily commute.
As mentioned, the sheer length of each of the books had previously put me off, but when I opened the first in the series (aptly titled A Game of Thrones) I was pleased to confirm what others had told me; the book is, despite its length, actually easy to read because each chapter is written from a different character’s point of view. This is one of the best narrative choices I think the author has made. The change in point of view keeps the plot moving, keeps the reader interested, and allows the insertion of several different sub-plots without causing confusion. Because I am rather pathetic and love keeping lists of useless things, I made a list of how many chapters are narrated by each of the characters. Behold!
My GoT ‘look who’s talking’ list
- Bran: 7 chapters
- Catelyn: 11 chapters
- Daenerys: 10 chapters
- Eddard: 14 chapters
- Jon: 9 chapters
- Arya: 5 chapters
- Tyrion: 9 chapters
- Sansa: 6 chapters
Isn’t that an interesting piece of useless trivia? It doesn’t actually mean much except to tell you, who may not have seen the TV show or read the books, whose stories are central to this part of the series.
It is also extremely rare that I will watch the movie (or as in this case, TV show) before reading the books, but in this instance I think neither one is better than the other. Both are fantastic in their own way, and I can appreciate why people who have read the books hate waiting so many years for the next one to be released. George RR Martin is a wonderful storyteller. I recommend you go out, read these books, and catch up on the TV series, pronto!
A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin: 4 out of 5 stars!