A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R. R. Martin [Review] #ReadThemAllThon

August 22, 2016     Michelle     Book Reviews, Dragons, Other, Read-A-Thons

A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R. R. Martin [Review] #ReadThemAllThonA Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Narrator: Roy Dotrice
Published by Bantam on January 1st 1970
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 835
Format: Audiobook
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Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

It’s official — I have finally decided to read A Game of Thrones. It only took … oh, about 7 years from when it was first recommended to me. And, you know, watching the entire TV show.

That’s right — I’ve admitted it. I watched the show before I read the book. Truthfully, I took one look at how massive the books in the series were and consciously decided to watch the show first. Because otherwise, I would end up waiting 6+ years to watch the show 😉

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Also, this will earn me the Thunder Badge in #ReadThemAllThon. Check out my announcement post and the sign-up page for details.

game of thrones - show was better

I like the show more than the book.

GASP!

I know.

Yes, my friends, the book didn’t steal my heart away.

Honestly, I just didn’t feel a connection with the characters. And it is SLOW. You can definitely tell that everything is moving in a direction, and that’s good. But good lord it takes a long time to develop. Unfortunately, it took a long time to feel invested in any of the characters too. If I hadn’t watched the show first, I honestly don’t think I would have finished the book. I just would have lost interest.

game of thrones - pov helped

There were a few things I liked better in the book.

I definitely did enjoy getting a bit more depth in the character’s thoughts in the book. There were some things in the show that I didn’t entirely understand until I rewatched season 1 after having seen some later events. Those things made more sense having the character’s thoughts behind them when they initially happened.

The plots around Bran & Daenerys particularly felt more fleshed out in the book. Bran’s plotline is so ethereal at this point, that I can understand why it approached the way it was in the show, but it’s clear now that there’s so much more to it. And Daenerys … Well, getting her perspective right off the bat made me really appreciate her more quickly. I think the show did a decent job of showing her development, but the book did a better job. She’s the only character I liked more in the book.

game of thrones - stupidity is annoying

The characters felt young and stupid.

The most remarkable thing about reading A Game of Thrones, to me, was just how incredibly young everyone was. John & Robb are fourteen. Sansa is eleven. They’re itty bitty!

Ned and Sansa actually pissed me off reading the book. I mean, how incredibly naive do you have to be? Yeah, I felt that way in the show too, but somehow having everything laid out in the book made it worse. I think it was because I actually knew what Ned was thinking. Things like “The woman was still here, even after three days. What was she thinking?” I wanted to be like NED, YOU WANKER; SHE’S NOT AN IDIOT LIKE YOU. I couldn’t tell if he was genuinely oblivious of any potential for crazy machinations (in which case complete stupidity because GAH you’re predecessor died) or if he was entirely convinced that a woman and a child couldn’t possibly be up to no good (in which case arrogant pigheaded stupidity because GAH you’re predecessor died).

Sansa at least was young enough to be excused for her lack of awareness. She was after all, only eleven.

I’m not even going to take the time to list the other stupid. It’s not worth it. Suffice to say that I spent a decent amount of time mentally yelling at characters for doing stupid things.

I like my characters to have a bit of common sense.

game of thrones - to continue

Will I continue reading the series?

I have no idea. I haven’t quite decided yet. I did like getting to hear the thoughts behind the deeds. And I’d be curious to see more behind Tyrion’s thoughts in some of the later books.

But in all honesty, I’m not sure I’ll have the patience for them. We shall see.

Rating Report
Characters
World-Building
Plot
Pacing
Writing Style
Overall:
  • Nice review! I think a lot of people like the show better- I know I seem to judge the show by how close they stick to the books and if you’re a show watcher first maybe you don’t have that preconception hanging over it. I think one of my favorite parts of the book is getting people’s thoughts, like you said. Especially Ned’s. And I agree, I definitely think more to Daenerys in the book than the show.

    You’re right though, a lot of stupid decisions get made! lol I was sorry about Ned but he was very naive. When Renly offered to help him take the keep I was like “say yes you idiot” ha ha. And of course he said no. Dumb. Sansa too, although at least she has the excuse she is young. Anyway if you do continue there is quite a bit of Tyrion in the second book, if I recall. I think it’s better than the first one. Darker maybe? We see more of people like Stannis and Melisandre and stuff.

    • I think it was the blatant stupidity that made me get so frustrated with the book. I liked the book well enough (obviously; I still rated it fairly highly), but there was just more of what I DIDN’T like and less of what I did than the show.

      I probably will try the second one at some point, but this is definitely not a series I’ll be doing back-to-back (especially since it’s not finished yet anyway!)

  • Nice review! 🙂
    Personally I have always liked the books better, but that’s possibly because I read them before I watched the show, so that was my entrance into it and my introduction to the characters.
    I definitely agree though that the characters do make some pretty stupid decisions! The thing that sets everything off on the path it does is Ned being stupid enough to actually go to Kings Landing. Plus I do always forget just how young the characters are meant to be in the books!

    • Yeah I couldn’t believe how young they all were! I did like the book just fine, but I felt like it really made the stupid stand out that much more. It bothered me enough with the show, but it was just so much worse in the book. Now that Ned’s gone, I might handle the books a bit better; we’ll see. I’m sure I’ll eventually get around to the second one, but I’ll take my sweet time getting there 🙂