Monday, November 21, 2016

From the Bookshelf: GAME OF THRONES, by George R.R. Martin

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. The book has been around for years, the series has been around for years, millions of people are anxiously waiting for the next book, there's a hit HBO series -- and I'm only reading it NOW for the first time?

Well, I've been busy.

Found an excuse. I'm working on a big sprawling ancient civilization fantasy series, putting everything together, designing different countries and prophecies and maps and such, and I'm trying to think ahead about pitching the whole idea to my agent and to various publishers. I came up with the brilliant idea: It's like Game of Thrones!

Yeah, well, I can't say that, and know what what I've picked up about the books and TV series is true, until I've read at least one book, right? Not honestly. Not without shooting myself in the foot if I'm wrong.

WOW. The copy I got from the library was 700 pages. To get the thing read in time for another book report, some nights I had to read more than 100 pages. But once I got into it, it was enthralling. And grim. And bloody. And sometimes I just wanted to reach through the pages and slap some sense into some people. And slap more than sense into other people. And then the author goes and he KILLS Sean Bean -- sorry, he kills one of the main point-of-view characters, who is played by Sean Bean in the HBO series. Seriously? Please tell me it's a lie, and they put someone else's head on the pike, someone who only looked like Lord Stark, that he's languishing in a dungeon somewhere, and it's all a nasty trick to discourage the rebel forces.

Whew! I don't know when I'll be able to pick up the next book in the series, but I know I gotta. Despite the grimness and the cruelty and the filth and desperation and good people turning utterly nasty for survival and stupid simpering girls who betray their families and woman who have to send their sons into battle and all the wretched politics (I loathe politics) and the scheming and lying and ... yeah, it's addicting.

Have I mentioned what the book/series is about? This fantasy world has years-long seasons. The long summer is ending, winter is coming, and legendary creatures who thrive in the cold are stirring in the north. The heroic king has grown fat and too concerned with his pleasure and comfort, so he turns to his war buddy to support him, because his own family is against him -- in fact, the queen's family has been scheming from the beginning to steal the throne out from underneath him. Well, our hero, Lord Stark, would rather stay in the north, where he knows he can do some good, because he knows winter is coming, but he has to obey the king. His family is splintered, half staying in the north, half going south with the king, and rebels are raised up and psychotics are given too much power and good people trust the wrong people and ... Wow.

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