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Old 10-19-2011, 07:12 PM   #224
Kroms
Moose fell on my head
 
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 697
So, let's revive this thread.

I recently finished reading the first five A Song of Ice and Fire books. I'm looking forward to reading the sixth, whenever it comes out.

You may have seen the first season of the HBO adaptation, Game of Thrones. While that's good, it loses so much of what makes the books so great. The small character moments, the backstory (which is just as good as the current plot), all the secondary characters you get to grow attached to.

The series is a large, sprawling story about a political struggle in a fantasy kingdom - but don't let that put you off. I'm not a big fan of fantasy, but these books aren't what you'd expect. No orcs or elves or anything like that. The writer seems to dispense with unnecessary tropes, and to quote him: "I've always agreed with William Faulkner—he said that the human heart in conflict with itself is the only thing worth writing about. I've always taken that as my guiding principle, and the rest is just set dressing. I mean, you can have a dragon, you can have a science fiction story set on a distant planet with aliens and starships, you can have a western about a gunslinger, or a mystery novel about a private eye, or even literary fiction—and ultimately you're still writing about the human heart in conflict with itself."

The books adhere to that.

One thing I greatly admire about the series is how fascinating it lets background characters become. Because of the way chapters are structured - told from different viewpoints (a chapter from Eddard's POV, another from Bran's, then back to Eddard, etc) - you get different perspectives on certain characters that change how you perceive things over time. Most characters are painted in shades of grey, even the ones that are seemingly one-dimensional at first. There are only two purely "good" or "evil" characters in the series, and you could make a case for one them being the way he is. (The other, as far as I can tell, is an insane sadist. Future books will tell.)

There are subtleties. A throwaway line in book 2 because a foreshadowing of events in book 3. A joke in book 3 hints at darker motives in book 5. It's great.

This review from an Amazon user sums up the series rather well.

For the interested, the books in the series are: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords (which should be taught in schools for how it so beautifully weaves character development with plot and a fast pace), A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons.

What about you? What books have you been reading?

Last edited by Kroms; 11-03-2011 at 02:39 PM.
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