A GAME OF THRONES

Written by George RR Martin. Click here to be directed to the previous article about the series and waiting for the next instalment.

Most of the time, the writing is stark, (no pun intended) harsh, without pity and even cruel. Yet for all that it is not without a certain beauty. Martin is a talented writer of many voices who is also lyrical and haunting in turns. Those times, all the more obvious for their jarring juxtaposition from the dominant narrative of the book, like Maester Luwin reciting legends to the Stark children or Mormont talking to Daenerys about the past, they’re almost unbearably poignant because you know they are merely a small respite in the larger storm of the story.

“Winter is coming.” This Stark family motto is imbued with a sinister air you can almost feel the first time (and every time) you read them even though you don’t yet know they mean more than a changing of the seasons. It’s a talent of Martin’s to turn the innocuous into the truly terrible. Need another example? If I were to say to you the words gold, scarlet and lion what would you think of? My first thoughts are of triumph, bravery, sacrifice, Gryffindor and Harry Potter – sidenote, Gryffindor passes spellcheck! – In short, I think of good and honourable things. But those same symbols, the scarlet and gold and the lion are the symbols of House Lannister. And no one can say that they are anything but conniving, incestuous, disgusting, honourless, cunning and downright evil people.

After reading the book, my general feeling was one of a light depression and that being one of the good guys was akin to painting a target on your back. Even so, I closed this book and immediately picked up the next one: A Clash of Kings so stay tuned for that review, coming soon.

Now, for those of you have read the books but for whom it has been a while, I thought I would provide a highlight of some of the more important bits of the plot as well as a summary of where the main characters were at the end of the book. If you have not read the book, be warned…SPOILERS AHEAD!

Plot Highlights

Before the story even begins, the combined might of the North, the Baratheons and Lannisters (not to mention the countless bannermen) defeat the Targaryens, who are now all dead or fled. Also, Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and boyhood friend of King Robert Baratheon, is coming south to King’s Landing to take the place of Hand of the King, which was left empty by the death of Jon Arryn, who incidentally fostered Eddard and Robert in their youth.

Robert has fathered many children out of wedlock, and his trueborn children (Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen), those birthed by his Queen (Cersei Lannister) are not his at all. They are the product of incest between Cersei and her twin, Jaime Lannister. This is the secret that killed Jon Arryn. A secret that would lead eventually to the downfall of Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon both. For the sake of their secret relationship, Jaime also attempts to murder Brandon Stark who found the two together. Bran survived the attack but will forever be without the use of his legs.

While Robert is away hunting, Lord Stark tells Cersei that he has discovered her secret. Before he can impart this knowledge to Robert and oust the Lannisters from power, Robert returns from his hunt having been gored by a boar. He never rises from his bed. With a Lannister squire was there more than mere wine in the wine skins? Thanks to his fool of a daughter, Stark is taken prisoner and Joffrey Lannister now takes the throne.

Robb Stark, not yet 16 succeeds his father as Lord Stark of Winterfell. I was mature for my age at 15, but wow, the burdens he takes on would have been too great for me, that’s for damn sure. Robb is now ruling Winterfell, and has called the banners and will soon be leading an army.

There’s some back and forth on the battlefield, each side has done some winning and some losing. When the dust settles, there are way too many kings, the bad guys appear to have the upper hand and I can hardly wait to see what happens next.

So where are they now?

THE STARKS

Eddard/Ned – beheaded by his own sword on the order of King Joffrey

Catelyn – awaiting the future at Riverrun

Robb – newly declared “King in the North”

Bran – at Winterfell

Sansa – captive of the Queen at King’s Landing

Arya – free for now

Rickon – at Winterfell

THE BARATHEONS

Robert – dead of a combination of treachery (suspected) and boar

Renly – declared himself Robert’s heir and therefore king; is amassing an army with the help of his new wife’s kin

Stannis – declared himself Robert’s heir and therefore king; sitting on his ass in Dragonstone, plotting

THE LANNISTERS

Cersei – sitting pretty on the Small council, ruling through her son

Jaime – captive of Robb Stark

Tyrion – on his way to King’s Landing to take charge of Joffrey (on Lord Tywin’s orders)

Lord Tywin – in the field, beaten but not defeated

THE TARGARYENS

Viserys – killed by his molten crown

Daenerys – widowed khaleesi of a defunct khalasar, mother of three dragons (the first in hundreds of years)

EVERYBODY ELSE

Jon Snow – on the Wall

Khal Drogo – killed by his child bride (it was a mercy killing)

Theon Greyjoy – at Robb Stark’s side

Lyssa Arryn – safe at the Eyrie

Robert Arryn – safe at the Eyrie

It’s a long one, but that’s my 2¢ for today.

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~ by leslies2cents on April 28, 2011.

One Response to “A GAME OF THRONES”

  1. test blasts are fun…

    I saw this really great post today….

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