A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin 8/10

In the novel of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, the perspective of the story is told through many different people being a third person omniscient.  It is because of this fact that the story can continue so smoothly.  Without the use of a third person omniscient, the reader would have to stick to one person, only finding out what is happening to this figure and being unaware of actions done to characters elsewhere in the kingdom.  A Game of Thrones also contains a plot that I had never read of anywhere else.  A Game of Thrones consists of several different lords and “sers,” all of which work together except the Lannisters.  However, these groups of Lords are connected to the King with the rest of the other lords and so cannot wage war against them.  Taking place in the 1400’s, the setting helps in creating struggles for the characters to overcome.  These struggles include a lack of correct medicine to counteract poisons which does kill off many people in the beginning of the book.  These assassinations are the main problems of the book, yet as the kingdom quarrels over their own problems, larger matters need to be attended to.  During this time, a neighboring kingdom has grown a large army in order to take the thrown, all of which is not realized by the other kingdom.  So far, A Game of Thrones reminds me of only one TV show which is based on this book.  However, the novel also goes well with an older video I had viewed, called Dragon’s Heart.  In Dragon’s Heart, there is a struggle of gaining power between two large groups of people, much like the quarrels of A Game of Thrones.  The people struggle, fighting over a new open seat of power for the kingdom.  Although packed with action and an intense story line, A Game of Thrones is not a suitable novel for a Freshman English class due to the reason that the author, George R. R. Martin continues to portray scenes with overly grotesque detail.

 

By: Edward Kang

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7 responses to “A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin 8/10

  1. “Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin is the first book in the epic fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire”. Set in a mystical world where creatures from the darkest corners of human imagination run rampant through the dark forests; where sprawling stone cities are filled with darkness and corruption; and where ancient wars have left scars so deep they still are visible millennia after. Leading into the novel, the plot seems to have so many different sides that it becomes increasingly difficult to follow. Only after a (maybe too long) introduction to all the characters does the deeper plot begin to be revealed. With so much plotting, and scheming within the kingdom of Winterfell, the various lords, sers, and the King has chosen to ignore an ancient threat from across the wall. A group of people that were forced out of what is now Winterfell are plotting to take back their ancient homeland. Through the unison of two nomadic groups of people, an army is growing and will soon march on Winterfell. At the center of the corruption within Winterfell is the Stark family. They have all gone their separate ways and each one is being put through trials of their own. The main focus of the first portion (about two-hundred pages) of the book so far, it seems, is merely to introduce the characters, and set up said characters for conflict later in the novel.
    One of the tools that George R.R. Martin uses most in this particular novel is startlingly detailed imagery. Martin depicts many scenes of intense violence with shocking accuracy. This style of describing gruesome scenes that still, however, contribute to the plot is very similar to the style of Terry Goodkind’s series “The Sword of Truth”. In the first book of Goodkind’s series, “Wizards First Rule”, there are many instances of extreme violence that are described in scrutinizing detail. What is fascinating about Martin though is his ability to tweak small details in each scene to make it clear who is witnessing the act that he is describing. He makes a clear difference to if a young child sees an act of violence, to if a grown, battle-hardened man sees one. It is this unique ability to step into the shoes of his characters that makes the mere seconds of action that are drawn out over half of a page so captivating.
    Despite the mild lack of plot and many grotesque descriptions of death and decimation I still have really enjoyed, and continue to enjoy reading “A Game of Thrones”. Something about the one-of-a-kind combination of imagery, a darker tone, and dynamic characters makes me devour this book with borderline insanity.

    –Logan Kojiro

  2. A Game of Thrones:
    As the adventures of our multiple protagonists continue to work toward what they believe is right, people across Kingdom’s Reach have reason as to fear what is to come, knowing it is only to result in war. Although they are unsure as to which sides and lords will be involved in this war, the people are as uneasy as ever. The Wall, as they call it WAS a great mass of stone built up high and created with pride and honor, yet now the wall crumbles little by little, the number of men holding this massive “fort” dwindles and more and more of these “god-forsaken” monsters which lie on the other side of this border have become more courageous. War seems inevitable if the current king had not been the chosen usurper from a past harsh king.
    Although this does sound as an action-packed novel, the characters of this seem to act and choose upon what their heart tells them, not their heads. It is because of this that the characters of this story seem realistic, acting out the initial acts of what other men would do in real life. The plot itself is also believable as in the past; kingdoms had crumbled due to other kingdoms taking over. This plot also makes the story just as interesting as we, the readers are able to see “first-hand” what these kings experienced and just might think and consider of doing. New symbols used in the story include the royal family of Winterfell finding a Direwolf dead with the antlers of a stag in its throat. In this, it shows foreshadowing of dispute between the lord of Winterfell as the Direwolf is the emblem of Winterfell whereas the Stag with large antlers is the sign of the king. However, it also shows another sign as the dead Direwolf is found with 5 baby pups which are found alive in the snow, the same amount of children that Lord Stark of Winterfell has. In this, it shows that although Stag (The King) and Direwolf (Lord Stark) will fight and that the Stag (The King) will win, killing Lord Stark, the King will suffer a large price of losing its’ greatest defense. However, the children will be left to live. Surprisingly, it also shows another sign when another of the lord’s children, fathered by Lord Stark, who is not in wedlock with this other woman, finds another baby pup. The pup is driven out of the group as this pup is an albino and therefore different from the rest. Just like this child who finds it. This example of symbolism is very strong as the story does start to show signs of what is analyzed by this connection currently. It represents the fact that although in the face of adversary, this albino pup (the “bastard child”) will fight to survive and will be able to do so whereas the others are struggling to survive even though they group together. Seeing this, it seems there may be a new twist to the story as (bastard) son fights the same adversary as the royal blooded children, yet he will not fight for them, but in his own self-interests.

    By: Edward Kang

  3. A Game of Thrones-Part 2:

    After we have gotten to know the characters well in the first section of the book, we finally can see some action. As the plot begins to thicken, the main conflicts are revealed: the inner conflicts (Treachery and deceit within the kingdoms), and the outer conflict (the Dothraki army amassing). As Edward mentioned, Martin effectively uses symbolism to both develop characters, and insert an element of foreshadowing. One example of symbolism is the oncoming of winter. The coming of winter represents the oncoming danger that the kingdom is in. This suggests (foreshadows) the eventual onslaught of the Dothraki horse-army on the kingdoms. Another example of symbolism is the bard that Catelyn Stark meets, who symbolizes innocence and how innocence is so often dragged into unwanted conflicts. While Catelyn seeks to condemn Tyrion for attempting to kill her son, she encounters an unucky bard named Marillion. In the events that follow their meeting, Marillion is irrevocably bound to Catelyn as she takes Tyrion prisoner; and as a result, he is almost killed several times. This shows how an innocent person can be dragged into trouble although they have done nothing wrong. Perhaps the best connection would be to one who witnesses a murder and is now a target of the killer; he has done nothing wrong, other than be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now he is violently separated from his old life.
    One thing that I thought was interesting, was that the rulers seemed so stupid. When counseling about what to do about the possibility of a Dothraki invasion, all the rulers did was argue like children. I will say that the men arguing did make the book more “flavorful”, but all being considered, it still cracked the realism of the story. Yes, there is magic and magical creatures, but they are presented in a way that is very realistic. Grown, wizened kings bickering about the fate of their kingdom? That set me off a little bit. Although, when observing their behavior, it is a possibility that they are meant to appear child-like. Perhaps Martin means to convey that through years of safety, the empire has become lazy. The more subtle touches, like the excessive festivals, and the “fat” king, are enough to hint at this. I, however, feel the straight-up arguing was unnecessary. Overall, I find the plot is somewhat weak and Martin attempts to cover this up with extensive, and extremely detailed, imagery. The book is still an enjoyable read, but there is just too much going on and not enough correlation yet to have comparable “depth” to other great novels.

    –Logan Kojiro

  4. A Game of Thrones:
    As time has passed, the King of all serving lords has died, yet the once faithful serving lords are all taking a crack at the throne. All hope that a leader would emerge from them. However, the King’s Hand (Right-hand Man) has now been kicked from his position and now stands trial for treason. At the same time, overseas, the head Khal, Khal Drogo is injured and finds himself weak. Without him, Dany cannot be protected from king forces following her. Finally, banner men all gather to various lords and prepare for battle to give the throne to the righteous king and leader.
    Reading the book, A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin, it is a struggle yet a necessity to read the story in the perspective of many characters. This third person omniscient enables readers to understand what is happening from the eyes of different characters who may be across the world from each other or on opposing sides. This helps the reader to understand both sides of conflicts easier and choose which side they support. However, this attribute to the story is also, at times, confusing to the readers because they cannot predict when the view of the reader will change to another character. This also makes the novel frustrating because of the fact that readers are unable to hang onto one single character for the sufficient amount of time to form a complete feeling toward this character. However, the plot line remains solid and very captivating for the reader to enjoy.
    By: Edward Kang

  5. As Edward mentioned, reading A Game of Thrones is a challenge. I am, however finally growing more accustomed to the more “global” approach that George R.R. Martin has taken. In telling the story this way, covering and stressing details is every character’s life, he has not told the story of one man, but of the whole land. Most stories illustrate the trials of a single character or a single group. This book is fascinating because the story is not of a person, but rather it tells the story of the realm. The story tells of interactions and changes, rather than singular actions. Each event is not important, but the way each event leads to another is critical. I believe that the particular setting of this story lends itself to being told well by this style of writing. Each individual’s story may be somewhat monotonous, but only when strung together does the story gain depth and magnitude. This being said, the story is still difficult to follow. With so much going on, keeping up is a difficult task.
    One way this story connects to earlier stories we have read is the gossip between kings. I think this gossip is very similar to the gossip between the ladies of Cold Sassy. In both books the gossip drives the plot is is the means by which the characters take action. In Cold Sassy, gossip provides motivation for the actions taken against the grandfather for marrying miss love. In A Game of Thrones, these rumors cause all the lords to fight and bicker among themselves, which provided the meat for the plot. As the final chapters of this book come to a close, I find myself feeling somewhat like I did when I read Dune: hoping for a moment. In Dune, there is much political drama and many characters. I found myself waiting for a distinct moment that tied it all together, which did eventually come. Hopefully there will be a scene at the end that will bring together all the elements in one neat bow-tie.

  6. A Game of Thrones:
    (9/10)

    As time continues, Khal Drogo is unable to recover from his wounds and dies. Also, the placement of the Iron Throne, held by the past King, is now held by a boy not much older than ten years old. The King’s Hand is used as an example for the boy to show how firm of a ruler he is. The boy then proceeds to execute the past King’s Hand in public with false charges of treason to the boy’s rule. Following shortly, the successor of Winterfell (which is Robb, son of the King’s Hand), starts and successfully raises a very large host of soldiers and sellswords. He then goes to join with other allied hosts and moves forward to make a stand, to take over the kingdom. However, before doing so, he must go to save a key castle for the war which is soon to be besieged. Arriving there, Robb’s host is able to overwhelm a host of Lannister and the battle is very successful with many men to ransom over.
    Greed takes people to insane limits and beyond. This greed is what started the war. Lords and bannermen all rise to take a shot at taking this throne. The greed of the characters all play into their character as they all base their actions on the basis of wanting more power or following one who wants more power. However, during all of this, the soldiers at the wall, The Nightwatch, continue to become weaker and consistenly mentions that “Winter is Coming.” As they say this, they don’t mean that the actual winter season is arriving. They mean what lies beyond the wall is coming. Winter symbolizes the death because as winter comes around every year, plants and animals begin their long suffering and frozen death. George R. R. Martin uses this Winter connection to show the reader of the danger of what lies beyond the wall. He hints to the fact that a greater mass of death and soldiers, brigades, and wildlings/wild men will strike soon after the conflict for the Iron Throne. By striking then and there, death will be a great number to behold. It will devastate the land and the all the people who live on it. While reading this book, I learned from myself that the smaller parts, minor random details are always hints or parts of hints for what is to come, good or bad. To ignore these small details is to ignore the plot and to ignore the plot is to ignore the story completely and the reason one would read this. In the beginning of the story, I did not truly enjoy this novel and sometimes despised it. I felt that the details of the story were too gruesome to behold, yet as I read on, I feel that my opinion for this story has grown and so has my respect for this novel. This novel brings to life some of the very gruesome aspects of medieval times and addresses them with no censorship, showing exactly what would happen. It is because of this, that I believe that “A Game Of Thrones” deserves a 9/10.

    By: Edward Kang

  7. A Game of Thrones
    –By George RR Martin
    8/10*

    Getting through this novel was a challenge, but it was worth it. Through the first section I often felt that the story was extremely monotonous and even boring at times. But as I struggled through I began to see the novel as how it was meant to be seen: as a beautifully complex tale of the land woven together by a host of characters and locations. I truly admire Martin’s ability to put together such a complex and engrossing novel. *Although rewarding when one reaches the end, I would not recommend this book to anyone who is not willing to put a significant amount of time and effort into the novel.
    The device that Martin used that stood out to me the most was his uses of foreshadowing. As Edward mentioned, all small details are important to the entirety of the plot; if one is to fully appreciate the novel, they must pay attention to every detail, however insignificant it may seem. When looking back, I am fascinated by how much of the novel I could have predicted, had I been paying attention to subtle hints left by the author. Another aspect commonly used by martin is irony. A good example of this is the phrase “winter is coming”. As Edward said, this is less a nod to the season of winter as it is to the metaphorical “winter” that would fall after hostile forces invade. What I find ironic and somewhat humorous is that although winter is cold, the danger to the kingdom arises from fire (the dragon hatch-lings and Daenerys). Although this is a somewhat subtle example, there are much more prominent use of irony. In the scene where Drogo executes Viserys by pouring molten gold over his head. He then claims that he now has the golden crown he always wanted. Although this is somewhat gruesome, I still found a slight smirk on my face as this character met his demise.
    Through the boundless world of A Game of Thrones, I can see that although this book is radically different from other books we have read this year, one thing it has in common is a “coming of age” vibe from the younger characters. This book uses the younger characters to show how hardships and struggles are essential to maturing, and finding one’s own identity. As readers, we get to see the children learn who they are by finding their own unique way to overcome challenges. As in the case of John Snow, he better discovers himself as a leader while training to be a member of the Night’s Watch. By finding the other kids strengths and bringing them out, he stumbles upon his own strength. Within himself he realizes a natural leader, and had the other kids already been competent he would never have had the opportunity to better himself. Thus teaching the lesson that hardships bring us closer to ourselves, and to others.
    Overall, I found this book a somewhat stressful read at times. There were many points where I was forced to re-read sections because I had to get a further grasp of what happened. But through these trials, I feel that I have become a more observant reader; keyed in to the importance of smaller details. I would not recommend this book to be read on a deadline, as I did, but rather to be read at one’s own leisure. I think that I would have enjoyed the book much more if I did not feel so rushed to finish it. Although, reading several books at once, with two on deadlines, may be a little too much. Once again, George Martin’s book, A Game of Thrones receives a rating of 8/10.

    –Logan Kojiro

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