On a lighter note, I just finished Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. When I first laid eyes on it I was not only intimidated by the daunting 800 pages of the first volume, but even more-so by the fact that it is at least a five volume series. I have a lot of exciting books on my “to be read” shelf, and this series would either a long haul through a mediocre book, or would catch fire and dominate my reading for months. Finally, after several strong recommendations from friends, I tackled the first volume.
Game of Thrones is an epic. It’s one of those books where they provide a map and genealogy so you can keep the settings and the myriad of characters straight. And for the first hundred pages or so that is a challenge. The characters enter quickly and all have significance to the plot. Fortunately the familiarization process was fairly quick and painless. By page 200 I was addicted. While it’s not the sort of story that I would normally gravitate towards, the sheer quality of the plot and writing captured me totally. (It’s taking great restraint to not devour the books one after the other, but there are a few other books I’m excited about reading as well. There’s a new Dune book out, which is almost always a treat.)
The story takes place in a medieval like world that could easily be old England. There is a minimum of supernatural, fantasy-like occurrences, at least until the conclusion of the first volume. I believe that dragons will play an important part in future events. But it’s not like Lord of the Rings, with elves and dwarves and walking trees. It is far more down to earth. While it is Tolkien like in it’s scope, it is far more adult, with battles and murders and intrigues and lusty wenches.
I haven’t seen the HBO series, but it is easy to see how it would translate into a great cinema. When I read it, the style encouraged me to picture the events vividly in my mind, although the rendering of description is not tedious.
I feel this is destined to be a classic. I would give the book an A.