Thursday, May 26, 2005

Another R.R.

From George R.R. Martin, who happens to be the screenwriter of the Beauty and the Beast TV Series (making him the Hans Christian Anderson of the 21st century), comescame A Game of Thrones. It is heart-rending but undeniably absorbing and involving. It is involving because you get to know the characters really well; heart-reading because they hurt so much as they play their parts in Martin's cruel game.

The book is set in a world about 15just 10 years after a war that ended the reign of the Dragon-riding Targaryen family where the younger generation is young enough to look forward to the next, but the older are still suffering from the wounds the previous war, some plotting and others mourning. It is summer, but winter is coming and with it the unnatural forces of the land that had been only the stuff of old wives tales are gaining strength. Those plotting are themselves pawns in a strange and sinister conflict.

Each chapter is named after its protagonist and after each, I was tempted to jump the next one similarly named. Here's a hint: don't get too attached to the characters. Eddard Stark is the Lord of the North, who fought with King Robert to avenge the murders of their loved ones by the then reigning king. His honor is both his greatest strength and greatest weakness. His wife Catelyn of House Tully is a proud, but a loyal wife and loving mother to all her children, but not of Eddard's bastard son. Ned's kids find a litter of wolves left by a direwolf who choked to death on a broken antler, which is astonishing because they haven't been sighted in generations. Events draw the Starks from their northern stronghold beginning with the sudden death of the King's Hand, followed by a visit from the King himself. While Ned is honorable and strong, can he and his family survive the Game of Thrones, especially after the last round cost him almost all of his kin?

Fantasy elements in Martin's 700 page prologue are forebodingly played down by the characters who supposedly know better with the dragons extinct and spells and magic the stuff of old wives tales. By the end of A Game of Thrones, however, it's clear that it was all part of the plot. Of course, it's just the first book that I've gotten through and I've read 10 of Jordan's. This is on par with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time in terms of the seriousness, but I still think Robert Jordan's work is more sophisticated and in some scenes less for the eyes of children. However, most of the principle characters are fairly young lordlings who are forced to grow up quickly as they inherit the burdens and intrigues of their houses. I heartily recommend the book. less

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SOURCE: Christmas present from cousin, thanks Kathae for [the] R.R. observation.

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