“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”
I'm not one for high fantasy or shifting POVs. Actually I'm not one for historicals either unless they're of a dramatic or harmlessly fun slant. Still, with everyone goo-goo eyeing this series in TV and printed form, I just HAD to read it to catch up with the masses, didn't I? So read it I did, enjoying some things more than I figured before diving in, while a few things met expectations.
First, I'm impressed by how well George R.R. Martin writes. In no way does he take the high road of difficult, head-scratching fantasy with created terminology that aches the head as well as tires the patience. Here is a writer who writes beautifully, not having to cram too many words into a sentence to come across poetical and sublime, but he puts the right amount of emotion into a sentence with the right amount of effort. I can see how he would lead so many through his series with his writing technique alone.
Second, I knew a lot about the first book already since my ex watched the first season on TV and I saw glimpses of it. I knew the major deaths before the occurred - really there's not too many in this one - and I knew about some of the plot points, torment sequences, and affects. Ugh on the 'crowning scene.' What I didn't get from just glimpses of the show was what was actually going on. Who was who, where did they stand, what was their purpose? After reading the book I of course understand much more, while a few wonderings still tremble in the wind for me.
Expectations met as eventually some of the characters points of view started dulling for me. They all started well enough, none bored me from the start. I always liked Ned Stark, he was enjoyable as a person and a father, but the political maneuverings later through his POV were slightly meh-ed. Daenerys stayed fascinating from start to finish, a tense start with sympathy and a bang ending with promise. Bran was impossible not to like, maybe love. Tywin was always a different POV to glimpse into, a likable character that pops up to progress the plot and someone I look forward to seeing in the next book. I started out liking Catelyn well enough but ended up disliking her toward the end and found her POV dull. Arya, who was a wee stereotypical, was a fun character who I'm curious what the author will do with. Despite not staying firmly invested in all the characters viewpoints, Martin does not overdo the head-hopping.
Historical villains can especially come across harsh - I can't see many siding with Joffrey or not wishing for his death sooner rather than later, although perhaps Cersei is even worse. I have to say I understand the point of view of Mirri; being treated kindly by one of the heads of the invading clan would not cause a favorable enough look to forgive the losses.
Fascinating characters stumble through the historical world Martin weaved, the plot a diabolical one that holds surprises, betrayals, tragedy, and motivations for future struggle. Despite all the characters intertwining in plot points, the world seems somehow huge. The length of the book is large, over 800 pages, but it doesn't seem too long with all that occurs and sort of flies by despite some of the less interesting POVs.
Honestly I enjoyed this one more than I figured. I will definitely continue the series and have a feeling it will keep improving.
“And I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.”
“Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.”
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