09-13-2011 11:10 AM
I tried reading this when it first came out in paperback, shortly after it won the World Fantasy Award. Didn't get very far.
For years, everyone seems to have been telling me how awesome this book & series are. Then, there was all the hype preceding and during the TV series, and the NOOK edition was cheap, so I decided to give it another go.
I was starting to get into it after another rocky start. Then (on page 87 of the NOOK edition), GRRM has a character push Bran, a 7-year-old child, out a window. I'm assuming to his death. Or at least serious injury. (I haven't picked it up for a few days since I got through that scene.)
I'm not one to shy away from graphic violence in fiction. This just seems pointless and gratuitous. While not just violence for violence's sake, it seems to serve little purpose other than to prove how "evil" the character is. <insert twirling mustache here>
So, my question to the GRRM fans out there is: if I stick with it, will this violence actually have a point, or is it just there to break up what (to this point) has been a fairly slow-moving, dare I say glacially paced, story of politics? <yawn>
I'm really, really trying to give it a chance, since so many people's whose literary tastes I trust recommend it, but pushing a 7-year-old child out a window just goes over a certain line for me, from entertainment to...well, something else.
Please weigh in on why I should keep giving this a chance.
09-13-2011 01:44 PM
Yes, what happens to Bran is shocking -- and don't assume you know how it turns out -- but it is FAR from being "pointless and gratuitous". In fact, it is absolutely KEY to many of the events that follow.
GRRM is not writing "safe" fantasy. Characters do horrible things to one another. The intrigues & betrayals pile up. Some major characters die when you don't expect it.
But honestly, if you find the politics in this book yawn-inducing, you may as well stop now. It is called "A Game of Thrones" for a reason. Political maneuvering is a primary focus throughout, and traditional fantasy elements are very sparse. You won't find orcs and elves running around Westeros.
09-13-2011 02:11 PM
I don't have a problem with stories involving politics per se, just the pacing on this one so far. I've enjoyed plenty of historical novels (both with and without a fantasy twist), so it's really not the court intrigue that's bugging me.
Neither is it the lack of traditional "fantasy" elements.
It's good to know that this shock is treated as important. I'd be surprised at any writer who didn't do that.
I guess my worry is that, it being early stages, GRRM is having to juggle many characters and setting up numerous plots. This twist seemed so major to me that it kind of pushes the rest of that aside. The rest of the book has to be about who did this and getting justice, not a bunch of political wrangling that eventually comes to a resolution several books later.
I guess where I'm going is that I like surprise and shocks that make you want to keep reading to see how things get resolved and those that make you want to throw the book across the room in frustration for wasting your time.
Just looking for a little reassurance that through all the deaths, dilemmas, and set backs that a certain amount of resolution is achieved and, in the end, it's a satisfying read.
09-13-2011 11:01 PM
Sorry can't help you there,I love books with intrigue, twist and turns and many OMG "I really didn't see that coming" and I have a habit that a book I pick to read I will finish even if I don't like it half way thru it. But I could not pick another Game of Thrones book, just made it to book (3) it was just too much despair,pain, betrayal, dead and suffering for this family, don't get me wrong I love a book with a lot of story, but this series have to many characters to many plots and so dark like not matter what this family did to protect, save,and keep alive at the end they were worst than the book before like there was no hope for them. I believe this is a great series just not for me, and if it was hard for you to get past this part it will get worst from here on, I try but have to let it go.
09-14-2011 01:28 AM
I was shocked at that point when Bran got pushed out of the window. It was so early into the story I was not expecting something like that to happen but everything has great significance to it. I love this series but it's not for everyone if you're willing to give it another try to find out how that plays a part in everything else then I say go for it. Main characters and minor characters die, there are a lot of politics and people betray others. It isn't your typical fantasy book, but I think it's incredibly written, especially for having so many different characters and point of views.
The great thing that having so many different characters and plots is finding out that there aren't as many plots as you originally thought. With all those point of view characters GRRM shows you every side to the story, what one character saw, how another was involved or how this characters life suddenly change because of something. It creates a lot of shocks, and some are bigger than others and a lot of surprises. I am currently half way threw the 5th book right now and in no way did it turn out the way I thought it would. It didn't even go in the general direction, but thats what is so great about this series.
I say it's worthwhile, If it's a little slow I hope it gets better if you give it another try. Just be forwarned that you will come to love some characters and they might die they might not but if it's too hard to get past something like Bran falling and not being able keep going to see the purpose or how important it may be, these may not be the books for you.
09-14-2011 12:26 PM
OK, just got into the next chapter, with Tyrion dressing down his nephew for being such an a**hole.
As long as Tyrion hangs around for awhile, I may be able to tolerate everything else that's going on.
Of course, with all the dire warnings about characters major & minor getting killed off, maybe I won't get too attached.
01-13-2012 09:27 AM
Yeah, don't get too attached. No one is safe in this series.
And people that you hate become people that you like, and vice versa.
But it's worth reading. It's true to the world, people are not nice, and often, the nice people get shat upon. It's how that world works. And it's how medieval politics worked. It makes the world more real. More horrible, sure, but more real as well.
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01-17-2012 04:26 PM
Tyrion is still around. I wouldn't be surprised if he's one of the few survivors at the end of the series. In fact, I wonder if he'll be the lone Lannister....
10-04-2013 09:36 AM
I am just finishing the first book. I have to say that the first half of the first book is all about setting up characters and their relationships, along with the background information you will need to understand the upcoming plots and storylines. I almost set the book down and left it to my donation pile, but I plodded along and am pleased that I did. The series is full of interesting characters and their interrelationships with each other personally and as a clan or family. If you can get through to the actual stories of what is going on, and you like political intrigue, you will be handsomely rewarded.