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When I was in 4th-5th grade, there was
a little book series that grabbed my attention right from the beginning... it is
called Lord of the Rings. Lord of the Rings was one of those series that always left
me craving more. It was addicting, enjoyable, and exciting throughout and when
I finished the books... I didn't know where to go next. Lord of the Rings made me
feel like the fantasy genre was epic and that every book in a series left you
craving for more. But boy was I wrong.
My next fantasy series was Inheritance...
Hopefully you could understand the shame I tried to show in
that last sentence. Eragon was alright but I hated Eldest and Brisingr. I didn't even bother
with the fourth book because the series was so unappealing to me. While LOTR had some
interesting philosophical questions and themes plus action, Inheritance
was like fantasy genre Leap Frog. While back then I didn't read for the themes, Inheritance never gave me anything exciting; it was just bland. Lord of the Rings had me staying up all night (against my parent's wishes) instead of going to bed. I read LOTR under a flashlight instead of playing Pokemon late at night (well sometimes I put in Pokemon Silver).
From then on it seemed that I would never find a fantasy
series I could put in my favorites along with Lord of the Rings.
I think the problem is how most fantasy novels borrowed
heavily from the Lord of the Rings lore. Since LOTR is widely considered the
pinnacle of fantasy, most writers essentially copy and paste that storyline
with new enemy names. Even fantasy films leave most of us desiring more. The
fantasy films (aside from LOTR) place gore and action in the forefront instead
of plot and character development. It's disappointing because the genre I so
wanted to love, just kept giving me re-hashes of the Lord of the Rings
But last year I finally found the one series that give that
same sense of amazement that Land LOTR gave me when I was much younger.
A Song of Ice and Fire.
One of the things that intrigued me about the series was
that it didn't really follow the LOTR storyline that other novels followed; it was instead all about
conspiracy, politics and the game of thrones. Having point of view character
was refreshing instead of following the story of one hero. The only other book
I've enjoyed that had POV chapters was Catch 22.
Another aspect that I love about ASOIAF is how all the
characters are flawed. There are no morally sound, "perfect" characters in the
series; everyone has their own agenda and carries their own burdens. Even Ned
Stark, the "good guy", has his own flaws. No one is perfect in the
series. There are no just knights in the series, there are really no "perfect"
rulers; this aspect makes the series feel real.
Speaking of the series feeling real; the fact that George RR
Martin is fine with killing off major characters keeps the series feeling
realistic. There is no Jack Bauer character who can survive 27 nuclear
holocausts; there is a chance for anyone to be killed off. Some are unexpected,
some are heartbreaking, and others you celebrate. You never know what to expect when you're
reading this series as even POV characters have the possibility of being killed
off. It's a marvelous thing how Martin can create engaging characters, kill
them off, and then create more exciting characters.
The final aspect of the book series that I love is the
intellectual part of the book. What I mean by "intellectual" is how Martin
handles the philosophical questions and themes in the story. Is there more to
the meaning of "winter is coming" than just a drop of temperature in the world
of Westeros? How does Martin handle the contrast between fire and ice within
the series; what is fire and ice used for in the series? Or you could look at
the theme of power in the series.
"There are two sorts of people. The players
and the pieces."
This quote by Littlefinger sums up the game of thrones and how
everyone fights for power; while I don't want to spoil everything, no one can
be trusted and everyone has their own philosophies for power. The final theme
in ASOIAF that intrigues me is the role of women. It is interesting to see the
contrast of whores and wives, who are dominated by men compared to the likes of
Daenerys, Catelyn Stark and Brienne.
There is just so much rich content in both the books and the
TV series, that is just at some points overwhelming. To say this series is
addicting is an understatement. Every chapter leaves me longing for more and
some events make me need to collect my thoughts to understand what just
happened. No series has had me this engrossed since... Lord of the Rings.
Is it better than Lord of the Rings? I personally don't
think so. While the series is excellent I feel that Martin has way too many POV
characters at this point and the flow of the chapters has weakened because of
it. It is still great, but I fear two things; that the series will become
clustered and that Martin won't finish the series. Martin is old, doesn't look
the healthiest, and takes a very long time to write each book.
To say that ASOIAF revitalized my fantasy genre passion is
an understatement. While there are others I'm just starting to read like
Robert Jordan, Martin was the first author to make me addicted since Lord of
So... do you enjoy ASOIAF or the TV series?
Well that's it. So I'll end this blog with a final word: