This week, I thought it would be wonderful to go back and review not just a book, but a well known and sought after series. Yes, this week, we will review the epic fantasy series, “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin.
Mr. Martin is a renowned journalist, a bestselling author and a screenwriter. He was recently named as one of the 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine. Apart from authoring this series, he has also published numerous short stories.
“A Song of Ice and Fire” is the epic tale of war and retribution. With numerous characters of every hue, Mr. Martin’s tale mainly focuses on three major plots: the dynastic war between aristocratic families to seize power and the Iron Throne, the threat of invasion of the super-humans- the Others, and the attempts of the exiled king’s daughter, Queen Daenerys Targaryen, to win back the throne that once belonged to her family. The story unfolds in exactly that fashion, that is to say, in three parts where we follow the major plots simultaneously. Rather ingenious, if you ask me!
What is more commendable is how Mr. Martin juxtaposes the lives of the people affects by war with the lives of those who wage wars. He critiques war but employs a unique method all the same. Readers, tread cautiously. Mr. Martin’s characters’ struggle to survive the game they are playing for the throne is eerily similar to the game our current day politicians and political parties play. Quite interesting, I must say.
The narration is carried out by different characters from their points of view, oftentimes unreliable, biased and skewed, which confronts the reader. The reader is faced with the overwhelming inability to judge a character because of this style of narration. That special bond some people form with the characters of a novel is simply impossible. While it is frustrating, it is also mildly amusing to see how these characters come alive! Even the most seemingly flat character has been crafted with utmost care. The characters just come alive. Their mannerisms, language and actions all goes to show how rounded they are. There is psychologically depth of the characters which has been achieved. Needless to say, Mr. Martin has earned the praise you has received by both the critics and the his readers!
The series was initially meant to be a trilogy, it pans out over eight books; five of which have already been released while the sixth one is underway. The titles of the volumes, including the one that is underway, according to chronological order are as follows: A Game of Thrones (1996), A Clash of Kings (1998), A Storm of Swords (2000), A Feast for Crows (2005), A Dance with Dragons (2011), and The Winds of Winter (forthcoming).
Though initially published without much acclaim, the series has gained immense popularity and recognition through the years. More than over twenty-four million copies of the books were sold in North America alone as of September 2013, and it has been translated into thirty languages!
Thought it has received much criticism for its portrayal of women and religion, even critics cannot deny the skill of storytelling that the author employs. Vivid descriptions, eloquent language, a plot so compelling, and characters of depth, all adds to the beauty of this series. It has been so popular that the television channel HBO now airs a series titled A Game of Thrones.
Fair warning though, this book is not meant for the weak hearted. The profanities, the sexual and moral ambiguity of characters, the violence, and the gristly details make for an interesting read for certain. Whether it’s pleasant or not is a debatable topic. Needless to say, this series is meant for mature and adult readers.
A boxed set of the first five, published volumes is available on Flipkart for just ₹1,999. However, Amazon sells it at roughly the same price. I strongly support the notion that the money is definitely well spent!
Written by Trishima Reddy