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Saturday, 30 July 2011

A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin, Reviewed.


A Game of Thrones, fantasy in the style of swords and dragons, transcends the genre on a number of levels. Imaginative use of the conventions allows aficionados to appreciate the set pieces, whilst giving rein to a wider range of events than is commonly the case in such works. The cast of characters is extensive and the names link well with the feel of the novel: that feel is mediaeval, without being specific to any country’s history.
This is a tale of knights, jousting, battles, tourneys, sword play and courtly honour in all its variety. But the many ‘Houses’ of power and influence that drive the various story themes of intrigue, plotting, ambition and duty, are each representative of the major characteristic of their ‘heads’. So, the Starks are as much driven by duty as the Lannisters are impelled by ambition.
Behind and beneath the layers of story that pit knight against knight, King against usurper, is a greater and very much older power. As petulant youth defies wise maje, the power game proceeds, teaching lessons to those with the humility to learn.
This book is the first in a series and cleverly ends by bringing several climaxes together, whilst introducing an element that lets the reader know there is much more to come. The denouement, whilst inevitable, comes at a pace that takes away the breath. I look forward to the sequels.
I read this novel on holiday in Crete, on my Kindle. The one missing element that would have made the read more interesting and rendered the plot easier to follow, was a map of the fantasy world. I can only hope that Amazon get their act together and make the publishing and viewing of such maps easy in the near future.
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