This post was written by correspondent Robert Sunshine and edited by me.~missemmamm
A Song of Ice and Fire
by George R. R. Martin
published by Bantam
release date: October 29, 2013
Books as of this day and age really don’t get talked about nearly as much as they used to. You don’t see them advertised on the television an maybe every once in a while you’ll see a bestseller on the shelf of your local grocery store. With modern technology booming like World War 2 veterans returning from duty, you seem to be drowned in too much television, video games, movies, and porn…oh, so much porn. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are some pretty damn good books out there. They aren’t nearly as talked about as their flashy movie counterparts.
Now between work and sleep, I don’t really have enough time to crack open a book next to a crackling fire with a corn cob pipe. I get my books in when I can, usually when I work. Believe me, it’s not easy to start a fire in a call center without somebody getting all uppity. So, after bargain shopping at a local supermarket chain in search of some visual entertainment, I stumbled upon George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”.
I had already watched “Game of Thrones” religiously. I’ve always wanted to read the series and here it was wrapped up in a tiny little package. Thousands of pages that inspire the imagination and take you on an adventure into a captivating world of magic, murder, incest, and dragons. So, you know, fun for the whole family.
The books themselves are told from the perspectives of several characters, each with their own unique personalities, situations, and world views. This shows the emotional struggle of the men and women who have their stories unravel in front of you, their triumphs and their defeat. Depicted is the harshness of their world, filled with war, poverty, and disease. All of that hardens those who are able to survive, while killing those too weak to do so. This is a series that is not short on blood and dismemberment, but it is more than that.
The story is filled with so much story, lore, and fine details that you fell like you are there. It’s easy to imagine laughing with the brothers in black and dining with the lords and ladies, while sinking your teeth into crackling pig smothered with honey and spices. You actually feel these characters, an emotional attachment that doesn’t come too often from a book.
Another thing I would like to talk about are the combat strategies placed throughout the books. Believe me when I say that there are a lot of fucking battles in this story, and why wouldn’t there be? Seeing these battles rage in your mind, hearing the clash of steel and bone, flesh and fire, is enough to get a rise out of anybody. It makes your heart beat just a little faster or maybe, makes you lean a little more forward in suspense. That is what makes a good fucking book, the suspense-the wanting to know what happens on the next page. These battles are nothing short of brilliant. From single combat to epic wars, it’s like the author just sat there playing the world’s most bloody game of chess with himself.
Now don’t get me wrong. There is a lot of sitting, a lot of talking, and a lot of well…not doing much. The story itself drags out. There are scenes where you just want to skim through a page or two to see where it starts to get juicy. I’m not saying that is a bad thing. The only reason the slow pace is there is so you can soak it all in. The details put into the world, as I mentioned earlier are there. He wants you to be there, to be in that character’s head, to know their surroundings, and to immerse yourself. When those juicy little tidbits do come up, when the tale goes to a bloody twist or turn, it makes you feel that rush of excitement so much more!!!
I mentioned earlier that I had watched the series before reading the books. This gives me a different kind of perspective than someone who would have read the books first. I do see all of the small and big changes in the storyline and character’s plot line. Plus the new episodes themselves are going in almost a completely different direction than the books. This isn’t really a bad thing. I’d love to see the books play out in the story, shot for shot and word for word, but there is a completely different process when it comes to filming.
First think about what the average reader enjoys in a story and then think of how a person who doesn’t read a lot of books, but is more of a connoisseur of television enjoys a show. Those two people have a marginally different idea of what entertainment is. Producers have to work with that without making anyone too pissed off. All of us know that is going to be nearly impossible.
I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone about this story. It would be wrong to spoil even the smallest detail to someone who has never watched the series, but still plans to.
If you’ve ever considered watching the show or reading the books, then I would recommend them in a heartbeat. George R.R. Martin has mixed in a beautiful world of long seasons, a variety of cultures, good food, and a story that will leave you wanting for more. So sit back, open up a bottle of wine, and immerse yourself in one of the best stories of its generation.
You can buy the 5 book set of A Song of Ice and Fire here on Amazon. (Note: This is a referral link.)
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