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A Game of Thrones

By Joe carriere
On August 24, 2011

Despite the overwhelming success of the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the Inheritance series, the fantasy genre is often seen as a genre for nerds, children and nerdy children in which every book delivers some tired rehashing of magic, elves, dragons and haunted forests.

However, there are more and more good books being published within this genre—well-plotted series with vivid, complicated characters and creative accounts of magic and adventure.

George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is one of these fantastic (pun intended) series, a projected seven-novel epic that begins with A Game of Thrones.

A Game of Thrones is a big book set in a big world made up of two continents. It follows three main storylines: the first involves the maneuvers of several noble characters in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros as a war begins for the Iron Throne of the Kingdoms, and members of the Stark family—the main characters of the novel—dig into the secrets and scandals of their rivals. The second follows Jon Snow, the bastard of the Stark family, as he joins the Night's Watch on the Wall, a massive, 700-foot-tall barrier of ice which protects the Seven Kingdoms from the wilds of the north. The third follows Daenerys Targaryen, the daughter of a deposed king, as she travels the eastern continent of Essos to find a way to return to her homeland and win back her father's throne.

Since the scope of the story in A Game of Thrones is so wide, there is a large cast of characters. It is a richly vivid cast, as Martin depicts each character's motivations, actions and reactions with such care and attention that they truly begin to seem real. From the sardonic yet endearing dwarf Tyrion Lannister, to his conniving, power-hungry sister Queen Cersei, to the upright, honorable Eddard Stark and even the minor characters who show up in few scenes, there is someone to love, someone to hate and someone to agonize over for every reader, for making an exciting fiction in which readers are involved, intrigued and invested.

The world in A Game of Thrones is vast as well; a captivating, sprawling world that is fun to explore and fascinating to learn about. The stories of the many wonderful characters are only made better by the magnificently imagined world that Martin has created for them to live, love and fight in.

Many readers have only recently come to know and love A Game of Thrones, thanks to the success of the HBO adaptation of the novel, but the book was actually published over fifteen years ago. Nevertheless, now is as good a time as any to pick up this fun, beautifully written novel and experience an epic that will one day stand as a classic not only of the fantasy genre, but of all popular fiction.


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