Book Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones is the first book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.

Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark of Winterfell is one of the closest friends of King Robert Baratheon, although the friends haven’t seen each other for ten years.  When the king and his retinue visit Winterfell it can only bring with it trouble.  Lord Stark does not care for politics, but it seems that doesn’t matter.  The Hand of the King, Lord Jon Arryn, has recently died, and Robert wants Ned to take his place.  That would mean that he and at least some of his family would have to leave Winterfell to reside in King’s Landing, the seat of the king.  Ned isn’t fond of the Queen, Cersei, or her family, the Lannisters, so agrees to take the position if only to try and keep the king safe.

It quickly becomes clear that Jon Arryn unearthed a secret before he died, although he never managed to divulge what he had learnt.  But this secret, whatever it is, may still be dangerous for the man who replaces him, if he digs too deep.

Further away, across the sea in the east, the exiled son of the king who Robert overthrew, Viserys Targaryen, marries off his younger sister, Daenerys, to a powerful Dothraki chief, Khal Drogo, in exchange for providing him with an army that he can use to reclaim his birthright.

Whilst all this is going on, there is trouble north of the Wall.  The Night’s Watch are at their weakest that they have ever have been.  Under-manned and under-resourced, it is their duty to protect to the land to the south from whatever stirs in the land beyond…

This book is quite literally of epic proportions, and I found it to be a thoroughly captivating read.

One thing that really stood out for me as I read through this vast book was the ease with which the author was able to change the narrator.  Each chapter is told from a different viewpoint from the one before and the one after, in order to give a complete overview of all that is happening.

The world created is vast and rich and complex.  The detail and knowledge of the places and people mentioned needs to be immense in order to create such a believable world, and again, the author manages it easily.  The story flowed from different people and places smoothly, and has set up the story very well for the next instalment.

I can’t wait to get round to reading the next book in the series, A Clash of Kings.

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