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A Game of Thrones book club discussion open posted 01 October 2004 in Book ClubA Game of Thrones book club discussion open by Alric, Auditor

On a few of the points...

As a student of English history, I found Martin's use of the history of The War of Roses as a model. It allows Martin to get a firmer grasp on the grit and nature of a political struggle such as this. Toward this end, I think that Martin has made some brilliant decisions. Of all fantasy books out in recent years, Martin's has one of the best balances of political intrigue matched with moments of brute physicality. I enjoyed that.

The fantasy aspects of this book... Well, I can understand why people would say that there was a lack, something missing to make this story and actual fantasy. However, the stark and fantastical prologue pretty much fixes the ultimate "other" sense in the reader's mind. That opening always stalked the back of my mind no matter how gritty and "real" the bulk of the action turned out to be. Martin is writting stories within a much larger story. Winter is coming, and there will be nothing mundane about this coming winter.

Characters... I think the characterization in this book is the best out of the three. Let me break that into a few directions. The character that stands out most to me in the first book is Eddard Stark. He is both dynamic and solid. He is a man of action torn between his sense of friendship, his sense of duty and his love for his wife and family. He is quite excellently rendered. Also, the Imp comes alive as the book goes along.

Now, I think the characterization in this book is the best because I think Marin forces his hand too much in later books, especially in some aspects with the Imp (battle prowess in the battle with the chains) and mostly with Arya. He is trying so hard to make us believe that she is a bad-ass character that it reeks of false effort. She is not consistent with what she does, thinks and accomplishes. As such, I tend to lose interest in Arya as the series progresses.

The nature of the writing is strong in this book. The gritty focus on details and straight forward approach to telling the story wasn't over done in this book. In fact, it provided a great deal of the energy. It gets a bit overdone in the next two books, but that is a different issue.

All in all, it is one of the best first books in a fantasy series that I've read in a long time. It helps that Martin was very much a vetern writer when he started this novel. It showed. view post


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