(Review) Game of Thrones, Book One of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Publication Date: Reprint edition, March 2, 2011.
Publisher: Bantam
Genre: Fantasy fiction, series, Fantasy Fiction Reading Challenge, 2015 Chunkster Reading Challenge.
Pages: 720.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 3 stars for good.

Link @ Amazon: Game of Thrones.
My copy was purchased at Target, 20% discount.

I don't have HBO. However, I've watched a few video clips from YouTube of the series.
I can understand the draw of the series, it's reminiscent of a medieval/monarchy epic type story. There are heroes and villains, children in distress, and dragons. The allure of the story appeals to a wide audience.
There are a couple of things I don't like...

In book one, A Song of Ice and Fire, an introduction to several families are made. By the end of the story the reader begins (a little) to understand how the families tie-in to one another.
The families are:

  • House of Baratheon. King Robert Baratheon, and his wife and children. His wife is Queen Cersei, of the House of Lannister. 
  • House Lannister.
  • House Stark.
  • House Arryn.
  • House Tully.
  • House Tyrell.
  • House Greyjoy.
  • House Martell.
  • House Targaryen.
The Stark family has joined the family of Baratheon. King Robert Baratheon is a long-time friend of Lord Stark. 
The Stark family has several children: Robb, Sansa, Arya, Brandon, and Rickon. Lord Stark has an illegitimate son named Jon Snow. Jon is a thorn in Lady Stark's flesh. 
Several story-lines are given to the Stark family. The Stark children are principal on my mind while reading the book. 
A second family I became attached to is House of Targaryen, a brother and sister named, Prince Viserys, and Princess Daenerys. Their family is an ancient family and with ties to dragons. 
The land is known as the North. "Winter is coming" is a common statement throughout the book. The winter will last decades. The statement is also a prophecy to the bitter hardship coming. 

My Thoughts:
What I loved about the story is the sweeping story-line that held me over 700 pages. 
I found it difficult to lay the book aside. Even though a few themes in the story bothered me I wanted to read the book in its entirety. I don't think, or do not plan to read anymore books in the Game of Thrones series. I have stacks of other books waiting to be read. 
I did not like the incestuous relationships between a few of the characters. It is important to not create children between family relationships that are genetically close. For example, a full-brother and sister should not have children. In ages past, cousins have married and had children, although if this is done too often, inter-marriage and child-bearing between close relatives, the chance of having children with health problems rise. 
A second problem I had with the story-line is "sin." A quote from page 85, "...and they do not understand sin or shame as we do."
  • How do they understand sin? 
  • Is there a book that has taught them? 
  • Who is their god or deity?
  • If they believe in sin, who atones for their sin? 
Maybe future books in the series answer my questions. 

I love the Stark family, but dislike the mother. Her harshness against Jon (who did not have a choice in what family he was begat into) bothers me. Her harshness makes me like Jon all the more. 


  1. Interesting review. I had read a review of the tv show in Huffington Post. They thought the show was too violent. (which must be pretty bad if HP thought so, they're pretty lenient.)
    I also found what you said about sin interesting. You raised some good points. How does one determine sin. If we admit to a moral law, we're conceding the existence of a moral lawgiver. Take care!


Post a Comment