Friday, September 5, 2014

Book Review: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R.R. Martin

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BOOK review
Started on: 26.July.2014
Finished on: 27.August.2014

Title : A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
Author : George R.R. Martin
Publisher : Bantam Books
Pages :  835 pages / 904 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication : 2011
Price : $ 13.84 (www.bookdepository.com/)

Rating: 5/5
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"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."
The story begins in Winterfell, when Lord Eddard Stark (Ned) discovered the fact that King Robert Baratheon's Hand, Jon Arryn, just died. Catelyn Stark, Ned's wife, received a letter from her sister Lysa Arryn regarding the death of her husband. In the letter, she believed that Queen Cersei Lannister and her family poisoned Jon Arryn to death. And so even though Ned was reluctant to accept Robert's offer to become the King's Hand, he finally agreed to go with Robert to King's Landing - hoping to uncover the fact of Jon Arryn's death. However, soon enough Ned was tangled in the game of thrones, played by the high lords of the Seven Kingdoms.

"And when you have it, what then? Some secrets are safer kept hidden. Some secrets are too dangerous to share, even with those you love and trust."
Ned went to King's Landing along with his two daughters, Sansa Stark and Arya Stark. Sansa is then betrothed to Robert's son, Prince Joffrey Baratheon - but then conflict arises when Joffrey fought with Arya, which created uncomfortable tension between the Starks and the Lannisters. And while Ned is doing his job as the King's Hand, he goes around finding clues related with Jon Arryn's death. In King's Landing, Ned is surrounded by many people - and he's not sure whether to trust them or not.

Towards the North, a different set of story is set on The Wall - a huge stone barrier that protected Seven Kingdoms from unknown wilderness. Jon Snow, Eddard Stark's bastard son, have decided to join the Night's Watch - warriors who swore to serve for life on The Wall. He led a difficult life because of his title as a bastard son, but he was then encouraged when he encountered Tyrion Lannister - the Queen's brother who's a dwarf and called The Imp. Strange things have been happening beyond the Wall, and it may soon threatened the lives of the people in the Night's Watch.
"Life is not a song, sweetling," he'd told her. "You may learn that one day to your sorrow." In life, the monsters win,"
While on the Eastern side of Westeros, live the children of Aerys Targaryen, The Mad King, who was overthrown by Robert Baratheon: Viserys Targaryen and Daenerys Targaryen. Viserys made his sister marry Khal Drogo, a powerful warlord of the Dothraki people. Viserys had been planning to use Khal Drogo's army to reclaim the Iron Throne which used to be his father's. However, Robert Baratheon considered them as threats and planned to execute the Targaryens. But at the end, Daenerys was finally aware of the power she possess, with the petrified dragon eggs that she received as a wedding gift.

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A Game of Thrones is such a grand opening to the Song of Ice and Fire series; and indeed there was a LOT of information to take in right from the start. All the people's names, different houses, settings, and trying to figure out where the story is going. But after about a hundred pages, I'm starting to live within the story - because that's how incredible the world building is. As I read through the book, there are more information added in, but I don't think I have much difficulty with that. Honestly speaking, I was spoiled too much already by my brother who already watched 4 seasons of the Game of Thrones TV show. So whenever I was reading, he often asked me things like 'has 'this character' died yet?'. Well, he only asked, but I'm already spoiled because I know that character is going to die. When I'm reading the second book, I'll make sure to stay away from him ㅋㅋ Even though I was spoiled in many ways (because some time ago, my brother made me watch a specific scene in the Game of Thrones TV series, just because he thought it was so cool), I still enjoyed this book nevertheless. Now I know why a lot of people are so obsessed with this series.
 
The book is written in multiple POV: Bran (Brandon Stark), Jon Snow, Eddard Stark, Catelyn Stark, Arya Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Sansa Stark, Dany (Daenerys Targaryen). It is a lot of perspectives, but surprisingly it was really fascinating because each characters has different thoughts - and the voice of the narration are distinctive from one another. These multiple perspectives also made me understand each characters a little bit better, which is awesome.


The story itself sets in three places with different conflicts; the first one is Seven Kingdoms - where King Robert Baratheon sits on the Iron Throne. This one is possibly the main story in this book, because most of the problems happened here - due to the 'game of thrones' they play. The second one is The Wall, that protects the Seven Kingdoms from Northern wilderness. The only one who narrates in this place is Jon Snow, who decided to join the Night's Watch because he's a bastard and he knows he wouldn't deserve anything in Winterfell (castle of House Stark). There are mysterious things happening around The Wall, and I'm really curious to know what's going to happen next. The third one is in Pentos, east of Westeros; narrated by Daenerys Stormborn, a Targaryen who used to rule the Seven Kingdoms before Aerys the Mad King was overthrown. As I've said, most of the story took place in the Seven Kingdoms, and the other two seems like an intro to something bigger in the next book of this series.
"Then Lord Eddard is a man in ten thousand. Most of us are not so strong. What is honor compared to a woman's love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms ... or the memory of a brother's smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy."
I actually won't talk too much about the plot, because there's just too much drama and twists - I'm afraid I'll spoil it to those who have neither read the book or watch the TV series. The world of Game of Thrones is very much like how the real world works - because there's not a single character who's purely good. They're all a mixture of good and evil (well, except some characters that I hate. They're evil.). But that just makes the story more intriguing because I never know what to expect or what's going to happen next. There are so many cruelty and tragedy happening as the story goes. And I've heard that George R.R. Martin likes to kill off characters when you least expect it. Well, the deaths in this book was expected to me because my brother spoiled them. So I'm sure I'll enjoy the shocking twists and deaths more in the second book while keeping distance from my brother (hopefully).

Another important thing that I'll talk about is the abundant amount of characters. Usually, I only mention my favorite characters from a book; but this time I'm also going to mention other characters and talk about how I feel about them (including hatred and annoyance). While I write about these characters, I might mention several scenes from the book - I hope it won't spoil things too much. The characters I mention are listed in no particular order.

  • Tyrion Lannister
So far, Tyrion is my most favorite character in this book. He is known as The Imp, because he was born a dwarf. Despite his physical appearance, he is actually a very smart (tricky) and witty character. What I love most about him is how he's always very straightforward and is always the one who tells the truth - even when it's going to hurt the other person's feelings. I gained interest on this character when he met Jon Snow and then both became friends despite the hatred between their Houses. Tyrion also loves to read - which made me respect him even more, of course. And since Tyrion is also a man with flaws, he relates with people like Jon and Bran; so he encouraged them to be strong in their weakness - although his words might not always be pleasant to hear.
“My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind...and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That's why I read so much Jon Snow."
“Don’t call me Lord Snow.”
The dwarf lifted an eyebrow. “Would you rather be called the Imp? Let them see that their words can cut you and you’ll never be free of the mockery. If they want to give you a name take it make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore.
  • Jon Snow
My next favorite character will be Stark's bastard - Jon Snow. When I read the word 'bastard' in the book, I thought what did this guy do to be called a bastard all the time? But thanks to Kindle and its' built-in dictionary, I now know that bastard can also mean an illegitimate child. Because of that, he was despised by Catelyn Stark - and there was a certain scene when I felt really sad for Jon because of what she said to him :'(( My love for this character grows as I go through the story. I adore his relationship with Arya, his half-sister; I also love his friendship in the Night's Watch - especially how he stood up for Samwell Tarly. Unfortunately, we didn't get much story about Jon since he's at The Wall - but I'm really looking forward to what he's going to do in the Night's Watch :))
  • Arya Stark
This is another character who I'm looking forward to as well in the next installment of A Song of Ice and Fire series. Different from her sister, Sansa, who's very lady-like, Arya is a girl with a desire to master a weapon. She's sweet but also tough at the same time. I'm really sad when she was betrayed by her own sister in a certain scene :( I'm really glad she got to learn some skills with the dancing master, and I'm pretty sure she's going to be awesome!
"Fear cuts deeper than swords, she told herself, to slow the racing of her heart."
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  • Daenerys Targaryen
Another one of my favorites! I like her not because she's a perfectly kind character, but how her character develops greatly along the way. She starts off as this scared little girl, who always feels threatened by her brother Viserys Targaryen. But after she got married to Khal Drogo and became a Khaleesi, her personality started to change and she became a lot more charismatic and brave. And I think that change was also influenced by her knowledge of the 'power' she possess. Daenerys' parts in this book only showed up occasionally, but it's definitely the parts that I'm most excited to read about :)) A Game of Thrones ends on Daenerys' chapter; a grand ending to this book - and I can't wait to see what's she going to do next with all that power :))
"He was no dragon, Dany thought, curiously calm. Fire cannot kill a dragon."
"I am blood of the dragon, she told herself. I am Daenerys Stormborn, Princess of Dragonstone, of the blood and seed of Aegon the Conquerer."
    • Eddard Stark
      Ned (his nickname) is actually not a character whom I love nor hate. But I feel sad for him, that's why I put his name on this list. He's actually a great character, a person who always do honorable things - but that personality can be his true weakness as well. In this book, Ned struggles to uncover the truth - and when he discovered it, Ned gave mercy instead of instant judgment. Well, it may sound praiseworthy; but in the world of Game of Thrones, I would consider such action to be foolish. Even so, I respected this character nonetheless.
      "The High Septon once told me that as we sin, so do we suffer. If that's true, Lord Eddard, tell me ... why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones? Ponder it, if you would, while you wait upon the queen."
      • Joffrey Baratheon
      A character who's just plain annoying - no further description needed. So he deserves to be slapped by Tyrion ㅋㅋㅋ I actually laughed a bit at this scene in the book, because Joffrey is all whiny - saying that he'll tell his Mother about what Tyrion did. But then Tyrion slapped him harder in the face. Thumbs up! ㅋㅋ


      There are actually more characters in this book, but it would take forever for me to mention each and every one of them. So I'll talk about them when they get more important in the next books of this series. As you can see from how much I want to talk about this book, you'll surely know how much I feel attached to the series now. I also feel attached to the characters at an emotional level. At some point, the story may seem to drag a little bit, but every single part/scene gives more depth to the plot and characters. After I finished reading the book until the very last page (yes, I even read the appendix that talks about each Houses and the bloodlines), I kind of missed the Game of Thrones world, along with my favorite characters - because I've been (sort of) living in it for a month. And now I am well prepared to start watching the 1st season of the Game of Thrones TV series. I'm pretty sure it's going to be epic :))))


      by.stefaniesugia♥ .
       

      7 comments:

      1. High five! You are not alone. I am so obsessed with these series, have just finished reading the 5th book a few weeks ago. I even has the TV series theme song as a ringtone hahaha. Trust me you'll love Jon even more in book 5th. Maybe it has something to do that he's older, and wiser and more charismatic.

        I also love Cersei, despite of her wickedness, maybe because I am a mother, I can relate with her. No matter how crazy she is, I just cannot hate her.

        That's why I love GoT, the storyline is realistic and the characters are 100% human :)

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        Replies
        1. I'm still not sure how I feel about Cersei; I guess we'll see in the next book ;))
          Can't wait to start watching the series as well ;D

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      2. Widih. Sebulan bacanya. Ngeri.. Haha.
        Mau nunggu terjemahan, tapi kayaknya nggak ada tanda2 seri ini bakalan diterjemahin. Pasti bakalan banyak sensor juga. *sudah nonton tv series*

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        Replies
        1. hahhaha iyaa sebulann, tapi itu agak lelet sih bacanya xD
          padahal di bukunya ngga banyak adegan yg perlu di sensor sih, dan ngga terlalu detail jg adegannya

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        2. Oh, nggak se-vulgar di serial tv ya? Kalau di serial tv banyak banget adegan buka-bukaan. Aku pernah nonton interview dengan para cast serial tsb, salah satunya si pemeran Arya. Dia ditanyain, kurang lebih gini: "Kalau di rumah nonton GoT bareng keluarga? Kan banyak adegan buka-bukaan tuh? Orang tua ngijinin nonton nggak?" Dia jawab: "Kami sekeluarga menontonnya bersama-sama, tapi kalau ada adegan buka-bukaan, aku pura-pura menoleh ke arah lain." LOL. *eh malah ngebahas serial tv*

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        3. iyaahh ngga vulgar2 amat bukunya xD wkwkkwkw aku malah belom nonton serialnya, tp katanya sih hampir persis kayak bukunya :D

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      3. nggak ada jojeon reed(2)? :^ eh pemeran pembantu ya kalo dia?

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