By: George R.R. Martin
Review By: Alex Frank
A tale of knights, gallantry, deception, murder, rivalry, trust, family, and honor, George R.R. Martin’s debut novel in his series A Song of Ice and Fire leaves no want for action or drama. Fast paced right from the get-go, the short chapters rotate between the perspectives of 8 characters.
Will (prologue): Man of the Night’s Watch on a hunt
Eddard Stark- the man we are introduced to in the first chapter and anxiously follow throughout the novel (lovingly called Ned)
Bran Stark- Ned’s second son of 8 years who dreams of being a knight
Sansa Stark- Ned’s oldest daughter with a high level of grace and beauty
Arya Stark- Ned’s youngest daughter who really just want to “stick em with the pointy end” of a sword
Catelyn Stark-Ned’s devoted and loving wife with a strong will and an honor as firm as her husband’s. Family, duty, honor.
Tyrion Lannister- youngest son of the wealthy House Lannister; quick of wit and tongue
Jon Snow-Bastard son of Ned Stark
Daenerys Targaryen- Young princess of the old House Targaryen, and outcast of all of the continent of Westeros; travels with her brother in the hopes his crown being returned to him
I would tell you more, but I can’t without spoiling anything. As Martin rotates between characters’ perspectives through the use of relatively short chapters, pieces of the narrative begin to fit together.
The rotation of characters and altering of perspectives means there is never truly a main character. Some could argue Ned’s perspective is the main lead of the story because 6 of the other perspectives come from his own family, but, honestly, each character makes a niches in the reader’s mind and heart without Ned’s input.
The reader is able to feel what each character feels and see what each character thinks. These rotating perspectives that Martin so perfectly crafts means each character has a depth and particular insight that gives a unique flare to each chapter. The depth of each character is unlike other books usually written from one perspective or with a very shallow explanation of secondary characters. Here, all of the characters used to explain the story are main characters.
The short length of each chapter also means a character will explain all of the important issues going on with himself or herself. No sentence is a waste of the reader’s time. Martin expertly wrote each word with a purpose that helps keep the story flowing with a captivating and engrossing plot line.
While this novel of 801 pages (Kindle Version) has turned into a fan favorite (especially after the production of the HBO TV series)—it becomes prevalent fairly early on that death and graphic sexual scenes are common in this novel. Martin also shows no restraint in creating unfortunate circumstances leaving the reader feeling like they just got an uppercut to the face.
(By the way, the book is far less sexual and more about the story than the show)
The only advice I can offer to my readers is this, if you read this book (and you should), guard your heart wisely.
Ps. I will allow an end comment by my friend Liz for this novel because she loves Georgie (affectionate name of hers for George R.R. Martin). Also because she begged me too. Liz’s words of advice for this book, “Just don’t have a heart. You won’t by the third book anyway.”
Overall rating: 4.5