Four years back, while strolling on a literature forum website, I got a comment from a considerably-intelligent fellow member quoting “Winter is coming”. Initial googling told me that asoiaf is nothing but a common fantasy fiction with a lot of violence, rape, incest and more violence to top it up(see, google can be wrong sometimes. ), so I never picked it up for a read then. Recently I got hooked on to Game of Thrones HBO series. The advantage of seeing GOT all four seasons and then reading the book is GOT takes away all your gasps and shrills. GOT kind of prepares you for asoiaf. I can not believe I finished off all the released books in this series. #Iamsimplyawesome.
Initially I thought I would do a complete review after reading the first five books. But the book is so enormous that, reviewing is impossible. asoiaf is a completely different from whatever I have read so far. A epic of such enormity can not be compared with any other works of fantasy. I am not even attempting to do a review. Completely blown away by this series.. Straight 5 out of 5 from me. Let me scribble something about the series instead of a review. (Spoilers ahead)
Every main character in the book is unique. When I say that, I meant the main POV characters which is close to 30 in number. As R R martin clearly says in his interviews, this is no black-and-white story. There will be at least a moment in the story where you sympathize with even the cruelest of the baddies. The language is not exceptional but the story lines are colossal and intriguing with many thought provoking scenes. RR martin weaves it together to create magic. You never know when a storyline can collide with the other and trick a gullible reader like me.
Jaime Lannister – I hated him the most during Game of Thrones, and Clash of kings but eventually by the end of Feast for crows, he became my favorite. He comes into play with his famous words “The things I do for love” and we instantly hate him from that moment. And Now RR martin has me in his lap, hee-hawing for more Jaime- the golden Lannister chapters. A scorned love and a lost hand, that’s what it takes to turn him into Jaime the just. I really loved the way RR martin describes his love for grey characters every now and then. He has been true to his word. Everyone gets to express his mind and we are convinced too. Jaime’s character goes through many twists and turns. The moment when he speaks to Brianne about how he earned the title ‘Kingslayer’ opens a new window to an event which is mentioned by many with different connotations. When you see the event through Ned’s eyes, Jaime comes across as a greedy-oathbreaker who was found sitting on the iron throne after the murder of the mad king. But when he explains it to Brianne in one of the rare moments, all you can see is a person who torn between his father’s life or his duties. Everyone is justified in their actions and believes. Yesterday, I heard someone say, there are three versions of any event – mine, yours and the truth. So true!
Tyrion Lannister – During the trial for Regicide, I nearly thought Tyrion may not be as bright as they claimed to be. It is one of the characters which impressed me the least in the initial 3 books. What the hell! Apart from a foul mouth, the dwarf does not display much of intelligence. It was more of a play of coin and luck than his brain. May be post exile he has developed some gray matter and started impressing the readers I believe. May be the end of Tywin is the start of Tyrion. Hopefully he find out where the whores go and pays his debts in due time! Its one of the interesting threads which I look forward to in the book.
Arya Stark\Sansa Stark – I feel these characters the two sides of the coin. Both loves Lemon cakes and that ends their similarity. Yet there is an underlying thread which connects their characters, Opposite is the word. They are just opposite to each other. But eventually, once they learn to play the game of thrones, they tend to be the same….One has more courage than sense and the other has more dreams than sense. Waiting for the day when this she-wolfs meet again. I am even trying to bake a lemon cake these days!
Jon Snow – I have kept the best for the last. Who says there are no white characters? He is as white as snow and as straight as you can get in asoiaf. Its easy to like him unlike Jaime. You love him from the first book to the 5th one. And hope RR keeps him in the wall forever. I have been reading about all this theories about how R and L combo gonna be Jon’s parents and the major twist blah blah. Unless, RR puts it in a dramatic way, I think Jon should stay as Ned’s bastard. I liked the chemistry of Jon and Ned in GOT and I carried it all the way to asoiaf. I want the Father-Son duo to stay as they are. Well, fans proposes and RR disposes. I am kind of clinging on that. I think even I could do a fangirling act for this character…Please don’t kill him, please!
The story has innumerous parallels to talk about and a variety of characters to impress you. I read somewhere that Dance with the dragons has a character list of 63 pages and sometimes even RRM does not remember whether he killed his character already or not. It’s a task for his editors to keep a list of dead characters. Here I am reading the final chapters of Dance with dragons. My nails are almost gone. But bad enough author has left at least 10 cliffhangers in Dance with the dragons so long live RR Martin.