It’s been a long time since I have read anything that totally sucked you into a world of its own. And it certainly requires a lot of talent and imagination to create an alternate world, people it with unforgettable characters and fill it up with challenges that would make the reader forget the reality. George R. R. Martin’s fantasy adventure saga is just that. (It was so addictive that I thanked God for giving me this book during the holidays.)
Game of Thrones begins auspiciously enough with a mysterious death, when three of the night guards venture into the forest to investigate something strange. Attacked by a mysterious man with a blue sword, a knight dies while his companions flee.
The author slowly introduces important characters, their relationships with each other, past history, present folly and future dreams. Told from points of view of different characters, the story progresses slowly, yet there is no lag anywhere, no urgency or urge to skip pages. Though each of these characters inhabit different locales, the author manages to keep the tempo just right.
Lord Stark also known as Ned, learns that Jon Arran, his co-brother and ‘hand’ of the King is dead. The king who was also his friend, personally arrives to make Ned as the next ‘hand’ and proposes an alliance between the crown prince and Sansa, Ned’s daughter. Left with no choice, Ned agrees to leave his holding at Winterfell and move to King’s Landing, despite his son’s accidental fall.
Far away in the free cities, two siblings Vicerys and Daenerys Targaryen, the rightful heirs to the Iron Throne are destitut,e trying their best to survive and conquer their rightful heritage. Vicerys literally sells his sister Dany to Khal Drogo, a powerful nomad chief, hoping that he would provide him with an army to conquer his land.
In the meanwhile, Ned finds himself surrounded by intrigues, plots and betrayal in the King’s Landing. King Robert, drunk and absent is surrounded by enemies and a hostile queen. Trying to unravel the mystery of Jon Arran’s death, Ned becomes the target of the queen, who wants get rid of him.
The racy pace of the story, will keep you on the edge of the seat, making the book unputdownable. I read somewhere that the plot lines of these series, were based on the war of roses, a tumultuous period of hundred year war in English history. The author does a very commendable job of tracing the history of each family, their heirs, their marriages, alliances and their fates intertwined with that of the iron throne.
The books opens a virtual box of pandora and leaves the readers with many questions that would get hopefully answered in the subsequent books.
Plus Points: Great plot, perfect language, good prose and descriptions
Minus Points: Too much of blood and gore. And the bad news is that it is going to get worse as the story progresses. A word of caution, don’t get attached to any character. The author might bump him off.
Verdict: Addictive, engrossing and gripping. A must-read!