Book Report: A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire, book 1)

You know when someone says, “You are your mother’s daughter” it means that you and your mother are similar in some way? It makes sense because your mother raised you, you carry half her genes so maybe you look a lot alike… My question is, can you become your husband’s wife? Because I think my nerdy-ness level has gone up substantially since we’ve been married. Sure, I’ve always liked Star Wars and Lord of the Rings… but did I look up fan theories and explore fan sites and join tumblr? No! I just sat back and enjoyed them for what they were. Watched some DVD special features.
I digress…
The point is, as much as I would not recommend that anyone start watching the show because it is terrible, it is awful, people do horrible things and everyone dies – the point is, that Brett and I recently both started and caught up on the TV show, and until the next season comes out, I’m putting worry about my favorite characters out of my mind by reading the books. Here is my book report/review for A Game of Thrones.
Title, author, copyright date, and genre?

A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin (is that his real name, or is he copying off of another fantasy author who wrote too much backstory?); 2005; Fantasy

Summarize the book without giving away the ending.
As if you don’t already know, the kingdom of Westeros holds many “houses” with many different allegiances. The king of the realm comes to visit his oldest friend, Eddard Stark, lord of Winterfell, to ask a request. I can’t say anything else without giving away spoilers, except: Winter is coming.
What did you think of the main character?
There are many main characters whose point-of-view tells the story, but Ned Stark is on the cover, so I’ll talk about him.
He is very honorable, arguably to a fault. He puts honesty and integrity above his better judgement. But he puts a high value on the truth, and so do I, so it leads him to discover secrets that are dangerous to know.
Which character could you relate to best?
Ned’s oldest daughter, Sansa. I think I’d rather be Arya, because she’s cooler, and in some ways I am more Arya. But as I read from Sansa’s point of view, I started to understand her more than I did watching the show, and now I love her. She just wants everything to be pretty, she thinks the best of everyone, and struggles to deal with the disappointment of finding out that real life is not like the songs. Pretty relative, am I right?
Were there any other especially interesting characters?
Tyrion Lannister is one of the most interesting characters, in my opinion. He’s always the smartest person in the room (by far), yet very few people value him. He’s also one of the most morally correct characters, even though he doesn’t seem like it and no one thinks him so.
From whose point of view is the story told?
The points of view change every chapter. In this book, we see the story from the POV of Ned Stark, Catelyn Stark (his wife), Jon Snow (his son by another woman), Sansa Stark, Bran Stark (his middle son), Arya Stark (his youngest daughter), Tyrion Lannister (brother-in-law of the king), and Daenerys Targaryen (the daughter of the former king).
Were the characters and their problems believable?
If you believe in their fantasy, medieval world, yes. It’s part of what makes the book so good. Martin kind of goes all-out, and describes things “the way they are”… in the fantasy world.
How did the main character change during the novel?
Well, they were ALIVE. Just kidding. Fake spoiler. Some, Arya in particular, become very hardened after certain events happen to them, like leaving the comfort of their home to live somewhere new.
What was the book’s central question, and how was it answered?
The big umbrella question is: What will become of Westeros? Within that question: Who will rule? What will happen to certain characters? Other significant questions revolve around whether characters are who they say they are. As for answers, we shall see…
Did you learn something new from the book?
A lot of medieval terms that I have no use for.
Was the book different from what you expected?
I already watched the show, and was actually surprised by how closely the book followed it. I hear they deviate more as the story continues.
Was location important to the story?
So important that many maps with tiny writing are included! Nerd status!
Was the time period important to the story?
It’s a fake world, so no.
What alternative title would you choose for this book?
Don’t Get Attached
Share a quote or two from the book.
“Winter is coming.”
If you’re not into GoT, you’re probably sick of hearing that, but it’s really all that needs to be said.
Share a favorite scene from the book.
A really eerie scene at the beginning of the book is very symbolic for the rest of the book (and, I suspect, the series). The Stark house symbol is the direwolf (basically a wolf but huge and menacing), and while traveling through the woods, Ned Stark and his sons find a dead direwolf and her litter of pups. The cause of the wolf’s death is an antler through the neck. Ned decides to kill the puppies because they have no mother to raise them, and will starve otherwise, and they’re too dangerous to bring back to the castle. Jon Snow, however, stops him, pointing out that there are five pups – three boys and two girls – same as the Stark children. He says it’s a sign that the Starks are meant to have them. Ned concedes. As they start to leave, another pup hows, and Jon goes to find it. It’s completely white and a boy, and Ned give it to Jon to keep.
 
What did you like most about the book?
It’s just so very interesting. Martin creates a world with a lot of adventure, secrets, gore, murderous plots, and… normal humanity. The characters have hard lives, and you just want to see them through the other side (and by that I mean a happy ending, not their death… but don’t get attached). I like getting to read from the POV of so many different characters, because unlike other books where I’ve seen this attempted, Martin is able to keep the voice of all his characters. One of the very best parts is that Martin writes such strong, multi-dimensional, interesting female characters. Each one has many layers, and they’re not all the same! I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read from a woman’s point of view that felt like I was reading the same character in a ton of different settings.
What did you like least?
It’s, uhh…. graphic. And the Night Watch stuff is boring. Sorry, Jon, I know lots of people love you.
Did you like the way the book ended?
No!!!!
What do you think will be your lasting impression of this book?
Because it’s a series, all the books will start meshing together in my mind, but one thing I’ll always remember that struck me initially in this first book is how strong all the characters’ POVs are.
What did you think of the cover
I read a re-publication after the show came out, which shows Ned Stark sitting on the Iron Throne. I thought it was… I dunno, a book cover.
Would you recommend this book? How would you rate it?
I would! Out of five: ****1/2
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