Wednesday, 31 July 2013

MPOV: A Song of Ice and Fire

Plot summary from Wikipedia
The story of A Song of Ice and Fire takes place in a fictional world where seasons may last for years. Centuries before the events of the first novel (see backstory), the Seven Kingdoms on the continent Westeros were united under several generations of the Targaryen dynasty, who wielded the power of fire-breathing dragons until their apparent extinction. The last Targaryen king was killed in a rebellion of feudal lords led by a young Robert Baratheon some fourteen years before the events of the first novel. The books' present follows various viewpoint characters spread across different lands as winter approaches.

The main story chronicles a power struggle for the Iron Throne of Westeros after King Robert's death in the first book, A Game of Thrones. King Robert's son Joffrey immediately claims the throne with the support of his mother's powerful, immensely wealthy Lannister family. When Lord Eddard Stark, King Robert's "Hand" (chief advisor) finds out Joffrey and his siblings were not sired by Robert, Eddard is executed for treason and Robert's brothers Stannis and Renly individually laid claim to the throne. Meanwhile, several regions of Westeros seek to return to self-rule: Eddard Stark's eldest son Robb is proclaimed King in the North, while Balon Greyjoy re-establishes an independent Kingdom in his region, the Iron Islands. This so-called War of the Five Kings is in full progress by the middle of the second book, A Clash of Kings, with more people gradually joining the struggle for power. In the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, Joffrey's younger brother Tommen holds the Iron Throne, with his mother and later his uncle serving as his regents as the winter snow arrives.

The second story takes place on the northern border of Westeros, where an enormous, eight-thousand-year-old wall of ice defends Westeros from the Others, creatures believed to be mythical at the start of the series. The Wall's sentinels, the Sworn Brotherhood of the Night's Watch, are spending most of their time dealing with the human wildlings living beyond the Wall when the first Others appear in A Game of Thrones. The Night's Watch story is told primarily through the eyes of Jon Snow, supposed bastard son of Eddard Stark, as he rises through the ranks of the Watch and learns the true nature of the threat from the north. With the third volume, A Storm of Swords, this story becomes entangled with the civil war to the south when Stannis moves to the Wall to protect the realm from the threat of invasion and simultaneously win the favor of the northern strongholds.

The third story is set on a huge eastern continent named Essos and follows the adventures of Daenerys Targaryen, the last known scion of House Targaryen. Her story is isolated from the others until more POV characters join her in A Dance with Dragons. Living in exile on Essos, Daenerys' adventures show her growing ability as she rises from a pauper sold into an arranged marriage to a powerful and canny ruler. Her rise is aided by the birth of three dragons from fossilized dragon eggs given to her as wedding gifts. With a three-headed dragon as her family's coat of arms, these creatures are of symbolic value to her before they grow big enough to be of tactical use for her goal of reclaiming the Iron Throne.

Sorry for the spoiler above but Wikipedia has actually summarized the books well. 

I have started on the first book, A Game of Thrones, with insistence from colleagues who are fanatics of this series. Unfortunately, after reaching page 272, I have fully given up on the book which explains the unusual rating below. I've even jumped to the last chapter, considered as finishing it i.e. closure in my book. For starters, I find it long-winded, slow and too lengthy. I felt that a trilogy would have been sufficient instead of lengthen it to 7. Maybe I can’t see what’s in the author’s overall picture but I totally had enough. Mind you, I do enjoy medieval's but this is just not my cup of tea. Anyway, as impatient as I was and thanks to Wikipedia (Plot summary for each book published), I've ‘read’ until book 5, A Dance with Dragons, roughly knowing how the story has been so far. Definitely much better than reading the whole book! Sorry GOT fandoms!

Never thought of watching the TV series version either as I understood it’s violent and gory maxed for the weak-hearted me! So will definitely skip this but I was surprised the series is short! I mean it’s only 10 episodes per season which made more sense than lengthening the book to 7! Well, this is just my point of view so George, no offense; perhaps my imagination is not as far-fetched and epic enough. I do wonder though when he will finally finish the last book. 2020 perhaps?

Rating: unfinished
Author: George R.R. Martin
Category: medieval, epic fantasy

Series: 1 – A Game of Thrones (1996), 2 - A Clash of Kings (1998), 3 - A Storm of Swords (2000), 4 - A Feast for Crows (2005), 5 - A Dance with Dragons (2011), 6 - The Winds of Winter, 7 – A Dream of Spring

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