Tag Archives: George R. R. Martin

Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones

This is a review of “Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones” by Bryan Cogman, preface by George R. R. Martin, foreward by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

This was a gift to me from my fiancĂ© for Valentine’s Day. Does that give you an indication of my (or indeed our) geekiness? But if you look closely, you will find that there are hearts on the cover…

This is a great book, especially for fans of the HBO show Game of Thrones, and the A Song of Ice and Fire books alike. Within, there is information and pictures detailing how the sets were formed and designed, character vignettes, clothing designs (and influences for the costumes), actor’s perspectives and little tidbits about how certain scenes were set up and filmed. It was a great read, and the pictures were fantastic. I loved reading about the transitions from artist’s realisations to actual television sets. There were entire sections devoted to different locales/families. I really enjoyed GRRM’s preface.

I would highly recommend giving this a miss if you’ve never watched Season 1 of Game of Thrones or read “A Game of Thrones“. There are also some teasers and set spoilers for Season 2 of the HBO series if you’ve not watched that yet.

And if you’ve never read or watched any of GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire masterpiece, what the hell are you doing?! Get to it!

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A Dance With Dragons

This is a review of “A Dance With Dragons” by George R. R. Martin. It is the fifth book in A Song of Ice and Fire.

This book runs chronologically beside “A Feast For Crows“. It shows the viewpoints of characters in different geographical locales to “A Feast For Crows

SPOILER ALERT:
If you watch the show “Game of Thrones” and do not want to know anything about what the future holds for characters, then I suggest you hold off reading this review. The same goes if you are reading the novels. I would suggest reading this review after reading books one, two, three-1, three-2 and four.

Tyrion Lannister has escaped Westeros and King’s Landing, we’re he stands guilty of the murder of his father Tywin Lannister and accused of murdering his nephew King Joffrey Baratheon. He has sailed across the Narrow Sea and landed in Pentos, where he is the guest of the immensely fat Master Illyrio, friend to Varys the Spider and Queen Daenerys. Tyrion is not sure that he wants to go on living, but Illyrio has other plans for him.

Daenerys remains in the city of Meereen in Slaver’s Bay. A faction of angry Meereenese, unhappy with her rule and abolishment of slavery have been styling themselves as The Sons of the Harpy and have been murdering her soldiers and associates. This is not her only problem. Her dragons are growing ever larger, and so too are their appetites.

Jon Snow is the newly elected 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He has found it to be a lonely and challenging position. He finds it to be extremely hard to accommodate King Stannis (without his help The Wall would have fallen to The Wildlings) without taking part in the matters of which The Night’s Watch should not. Melisandre, the red priestess has also been rather cryptic, warning Jon of unseen dangers to come.

Bran is still travelling with Hodor, Meera and Jojen following their mysterious guide. Bran wants to learn how to master his gift, but to do so he has to journey deep into the woods north of The Wall, and it’s not safe.

There are many more chapters from other characters, but I think I will leave those to be unfurled by you on your own.

My Thoughts:
I liked this book, it was great to find out the other side of the story of “A Feast for Crows”. I did find that it was not as fast-paced as some of the other novels in the series, and it took me a little longer to get through. My favourite book in the series would have to be Book 3 (both 3:1 and 3:2). I am looking forward to reading “The Winds of Winter” when it is released.

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A Feast For Crows

This is a review of “A Feast For Crows” by George R. R. Martin.
It is the fourth book in A Song of Ice and Fire.

This book chronologically follows the events of “A Storm of Swords: 2 Blood and Gold“. This book focuses on a specific set of characters and only certain locations in the Realm.

SPOILER ALERT:
I would highly recommend not reading this review if you watch Game of Thrones and you don’t want to know what’s coming. I would also recommend not reading this review if you are wanting to read the books chronologically with no surprises. This review should ideally be read after you have read books one, two and three-1/three-2.

On the Iron Isles, a King must be chosen after the death of Balon Greyjoy. Aeron Damphair, priest of the Drowned God and brother to Balon, has called for a kingsmoot. A meeting where the people of The Iron Isles will decide who will lead them.

Down in Dorne, the bastard daughters of Oberon Martell call for vengeance. They wish to hunt down their father’s murderer and declare war on the Iron Throne. Will their uncle Prince Doran Martell of Dorne aid them?

Cersei Lannister is Queen Regent. Her second son Tommen is the King of Westeros. Her father Tywin Lannister is Hand of the King.
Or rather he was.
Cersei is woken in the dark of the night to be told of her Father’s death. And not only has her father been murdered-and in an unsavory manner at that- but her brother Tyrion has escaped imprisonment…

Brienne of Tarth is looking for Sansa Stark. She is hoping to find the girl and keep her safe; for the sake of Sansa’s dead mother, Lady Catelyn Stark, and for the sake of Jaime, who wishes to keep his promise to Lady Stark.

Samwell Tarly is being sent away from The Wall. He is to travel to Oldtown to become a Maestar. He is scared and doesn’t want to go. Leaving with him will be Gilly, the wildling girl, her newborn babe and Maestar Aemon.

Arya Stark, having spoken the words bestowed upon her by Jaqen H’ghar, is on her way to Braavos. She doesn’t really have a plan, but she is hoping to find Jaqen there.

Ser Jaime Lannister is adjusting to life without a hand. He is always busy with the duties of being Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Although being short one hand has its difficulties, it has woken Jaime up in a sense. He sees his sister in a whole new light…and she doesn’t look all that good.

While reading this book (and I am sure nearly everyone did this, and GRRM does address this at the end of the novel with a note to readers) I was like erm … this is great and everything and I have liked seeing chapters from new characters, and I liked that some old characters have been given a voice, but WHERE IS EVERYONE ELSE?

I am also very glad that I didn’t have to wait years and years for “A Dance With Dragons” (the next book in the series) like other fans would have. As GRRM has told us, the two books (4 and 5) run in tandem with one another. This also makes me excited/anxious about Seasons 4 and 5 of Game of Thrones.

Well I’m off to boogie with some Dragons…

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A Storm of Swords: 2 Blood and Gold

This is a review of “A Storm of Swords: 2 Blood and Gold” by George R.R. Martin. It is part 2 of the third book in A Song of Ice and Fire.

This book directly follows A Storm of Swords-1: Steel and Snow.

If you are a Game of Thrones fan and don’t want to know anything that will spoil the show I am letting you know now, there are SPOILERS AHEAD! I would suggest reading this review only if you have already read “A Game of Thrones“, “A Clash of Kings” and “A Storm of Swords: 1 Steel and Snow“.

Daenerys Targaryen has conquered the city of Astapor and has won herself an army of Unsullied. She freed the slaves of Astapor and has earnt herself a following. They are a ragtag lot, but she cannot bear to turn them away. She gave them back their right to choose and they chose to follow her. How can she then command them to choose differently? She sets out to free the remaining cities of Slaver’s Bay. But will this only increase the amount of mouths she has to feed?

Arya Stark is stuck with Lord Beric Dondarrion and his band of outlaws. They intend to ransom her to her mother Lady Catelyn Stark. Gendry decides to pledge allegiance to the outlaws, leaving Arya feeling quite friendless. And she is sick of waiting. She just wants to see her mother and brother. And she wants to see them now. But will her impatience get her into a bigger mess?

Jaime Lannister is back on his way to King’s Landing after being captured and injured by the Bloody Mummers/Brave Companions. His injuries are giving him fevered dreams. He cannot ignore them and so returns to Harrenhall for Brienne of Tarth, whom he has left behind.

Catelyn Stark is accompanying her brother Lord Edmure Tully and her son King Robb Stark to see Robb make his apologies to Lord Walder Frey and to see Edmure wed to Lord Frey’s daughter Roslin. Catelyn can only hope that her son does not offend Lord Frey further. They need his allegiance and they need access to The Crossing.

Samwell Tarly is still trying to make his way back to Castle Black after the horrible night at Craster’s Keep. With him he has Craster’s daughter Gilly and her infant son. But the night is full of terrors (lol) and wights and The Others…

Jon is on the run after escaping The Wildlings. He has been shot in the leg with an arrow and his wound is bad. He manages to make it back to Mole’s Town where he warns the villagers of the impending influx of Wildlings. From there he continues on to Castle Black where he is less than certain of a warm welcome. But he is a Brother of the Night’s Watch and he has a duty.

Tyrion Lannister is still unhappily wed to Sansa Stark. Neither are looking forward to King Joffery’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell. Joffrey is becoming more and more dangerous and outspoken as the days pass, and he loves neither Sansa or Tyrion.

Lord Davos Seaworth, is now King’s Hand to Stannis. King Stannis remains under the sway of Priestess Melisandre. And her intentions seem to be getting darker for all she purports to be a supporter of the Lord of Light. Davos has decided to learn to read, as King’s Hand, he believes he should possess that skill. But learning to read means being able to read troubling letters…

I liked this book. How could you not like this series? But it was very hard to read in some parts. In fact in some parts I had to shut the book and say “I don’t like this book!” to my partner. But all in all I DID like it. Sometimes it is good to read a book that challenges you and your expectations of what should happen in a book. I am looking forward to reading the next novel.

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A Storm of Swords: 1 Steel and Snow

This is a review of “A Storm of Swords: 1 Steel and Snow” by George R. R. Martin. It is part one of the third novel in A Song of Fire and Ice.

The story picks up at the close of “A Clash of Kings“.

Please don’t read this review if you have not read “A Game of Thrones” but intend to read it, or watch the HBO series Game of Thrones without it being spoiled for you. This goes for “A Clash of Kings” also. SPOILERS AHEAD!

I loved a lot about this first Part of Book 3. One thing I really liked was getting to read from the perspective of Jaime Lannister. Jaime has been freed by Catelyn Stark and is under the care of Brienne of Tarth, a female knight (previously pledged to Renly Baratheon but now to Catelyn Stark) and his own cousin Ser Cleos. They are headed for Kings Landing, Jaime is to be exchanged for Arya and Sansa, Catelyn Stark’s daughters.

Catelyn Stark finds herself placed under a kind of house arrest for her part in Jaime’s escape. She anxiously awaits her judgement from her son Robb, King in the North. But Robb has done something reckless too…

Arya Stark is on the run, having escaped from the Bloody Mummers (and Roose Bolton) at Harrenhal. She is accompanied by Hot Pie and Gendry, but she is becoming convinced that maybe they are more of a hindrance than anything…

Tyrion Lannister is fresh out of his sickbed after being injured during the battle with Stannis Baratheon. He finds that his father Lord Tywin remains at King’s Landing and has taken over all duties as Hand of the King. Not only has he taken Tyrion’s position but he has threatened to hang any whore he finds cavorting with Tyrion.

Ser Davos Seaworth, King Stannis’ loyal onion knight did not die in the battle at King’s Landing. He survived drowning and lies weak awaiting death. But he is rescued, and taken back to King Stannis, who is under the sway of Melisandre more than ever. Can Davos reach Stannis?

Sansa Stark is still at King’s Landing, very much alone in the den of (Lannister) lions. She has been put aside as Joffrey’s betrothed for Margaery Tyrell, sister to Ser Loras Tyrell and recent widow to Renly Baratheon. Sansa is giddy with delight after having escaped the horrid fate of being wed to Joffrey. But Margaery has invited Sansa to dine with her. Sansa is suspicious, but can hardly refuse…

Jon Snow, following the last orders given to him by his fellow brother of the Night’s Watch Qhorin Halfhand has yielded to the wildlings and has infiltrated the Wildling camp. He is taken to meet The King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder. Can he successfully convince them that he is no longer a brother of the Night’s Watch?

Daenerys Targaryen has her ships.
She has her dragons and she is headed back to her friend Illyrio in Pentos. But Ser Jorah Mormont reminds her that if she is to head for Westeros, she will be at a better advantage if she masses her own army. So Dany listens and changes course. For Slaver’s Bay…

Bran Stark is separated from his brother Rickon. This way, if they are taken, they will not be taken together. Bran is with Meera and Jojen, children of Lord Stark’s bannerman, Lord Howland Reed and Hodor, the gentle (but gigantic) simpleton of Winterfell. He is headed for safety and is in search for answers about his warg dreams.

Samwell Tarly is another new perspective in A Song of Ice and Fire. He lets us know what is happening with the Night’s Watch while Jon is with the Wildlings.

I really enjoyed “A Storm of Swords: 1 Steel and Snow”. I loved the new character perspectives, and I loved hearing more about characters who
appeared in books one and two as more sideline characters. This book was more fast paced and action packed than book two, and I read it rather quickly. A great read!

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A Clash of Kings

This is a review of “A Clash of Kings” by George R. R. Martin. It is the second book in the Song of Ice and Fire and is the sequel to “A Game of Thrones“. Season two of HBO’s Game of Thrones is based on this novel.

And what a novel! First of all, this book was so long, I thought it would never end. But even better, I didn’t want it to end. I am so glad there are so many books left in the series for me to devour.

I must say: reading the novel and watching the beginning of Season 2 of Game of Thrones simultaneously was a little difficult to do. But I couldn’t pass up either! While this second season has deviated from the novel somewhat, I don’t have any problems with the changes (unlike the cringe inducing changes that occur in the Harry Potter movies) and they actually improved on the continuity of events.

The novel begins roughly where the first novel ended. We are introduced to new characters (in particular Stannis Baratheon and his followers), and characters who we already know are fleshed out (Theon Greyjoy for one).

SPOILERS: if you are an avid Game of Thrones viewer, I would suggest that perhaps this review is not for you. I do not want to inadvertently reveal something as yet unbeknownst to you. Same goes if you want to watch the first season of the show or read the first novel but never have. I would highly recommend averting your eyes, and leaving this review for a later date.

The book begins by describing events surrounding Stannis Baratheon, the true and “rightful” heir to the Iron Throne. Under the sway of the mysterious and somewhat sinister Red Priestess Melisandre of Asshai, Stannis appears to be a hard hearted and somewhat unlikable candidate for Kingship.

But never fear! As the the title suggests, there are plenty of Kings to choose from in this novel.

Renly Baratheon is not content to sit idly by and let his older brother Stannis take over the throne. While he agrees with Stannis and the late Eddard Stark on the illegitimacy of Prince Joffrey’s claim to the throne, he believes that he should be King and not Stannis.

After the death of his father, Robb Stark decides to march for King’s Landing. After gathering his forces in the North, his followers dub him The King in the North. Outraged by the death of his father, and fearful for his sisters safety, he wants nothing more than to defeat King Joffrey.

Joffrey and his mother, Queen Regent Cersei declare all of these “Kings” to be treasonous traitors. They hold Sansa Stark as a hostage to ensure compliance from Robb and Catelyn Stark. Unfortunately Joffrey had already beheaded their most valuable hostage in the last novel, and Arya Stark has disappeared from court and from Kings Landing.

Arya Stark, disguised as a boy, has been taken by Yoren, a Brother of The Nights Watch. Yoren intends to take her home to Winterfell. But war breaks out between the forces of the many Kings and the road to The Wall becomes a perilous place.

Jon Snow, the Stark bastard is at Castle Black on The Wall. Lord Commander Mormont of the Nights Watch decides that a large scale ranging north of the wall is in order after a man rose from the dead and tried to kill him. He gathers a large force of Brothers of the Nights Watch, and ranges north of the wall in an effort to learn more. He hopes to speak to The Wildlings, the free and lawless folk who dwell north of the wall, but each village they pass through while ranging is empty and void of people. News reaches their ears that Mance Rayder the so-called “King Beyond the Wall” is gathering all of The Wildlings…

Across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen is lost in the desert, thirsty, and trying to care for her newborn dragons. She wants nothing more than to travel by sea to claim her Iron Throne, but doesn’t really have the slightest inkling of how to go about it. Deserted by her Khalasar after the death of her husband Khal Drogo, she is left with only her blood riders and a few followers. Their numbers are dwindling due to thirst and extreme heat exhaustion; but Dany refuses to give up. She will sit upon The Iron Throne if it’s the last thing she’ll ever do.

So many details, so many new characters and plot lines to follow, but all of it comes together and pans out beautifully. The villains in this novel are truly vicious.

I really enjoyed this book!

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A Game of Thrones

This is a review of “A Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin. It is the first novel in A Song of Ice and Fire. It is also the inspiration for the awesome tv series “Game of Thrones” which airs on HBO.

Well I know I’ve made out like Lord Walder Frey and arrived late to the action. But I am glad that I arrived at all! I kept putting off watching the series because I wanted to read the books first. But in the end I gave in to the hype and watched Season 1 before reading any of the books. And I LOVED it. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

This book was awesome. It was just as good as, and even better than the tv series. I don’t know if any review will ever do it justice. It is a book that has to be read and enjoyed. Filled with a myriad of well drawn characters and complex plot lines, it truly is a masterpiece in fantasy fiction.

Lord Eddard Stark rules Winterfell. His territory lies in the far north… well as far north as you can get south of The Wall. At Winterfell it is always cold. And that’s in summer. But as every Stark knows, winter is coming.

Strange happenings have been occurring north of The Wall, a towering barricade that protects the people from, well, from things that come from the North. White walkers (fanciful stories, or something much more sinister?), direwolves, wildlings… The north is dangerous ok? And the Brothers in Black, the Men of The Knight’s Watch need more men. They are thinly scattered across the vast expanse of The Wall and they know they cannot possibly take on a serious threat if one does emerge from the wilderness of the north…

Lord Eddard Stark is quite comfortable where is. He has his family, he has his duty and he has Winterfell. But when his old friend King Robert Baratheon pays him a visit, he knows he’s not going to like what the King has to say. King Robert requests that Lord Stark (Ned to his buddies) come back with him to court at King’s Landing to be the Hand of the King. Ned really would rather not, but cannot think of an honorable way to say no. So off Ned goes with his two daughters in tow to Kings Landing.

Tyrion Lannister is known as the imp. He is a dwarf (not the mining kind, just the short kind). He is brother to the Queen, Cersei, and her twin brother Jaime, Knight of the Kingsguard. He will always put his family first, even if he doesn’t like them very much. Tyrion has a knack of always being present at the wrong time…

Daenerys Targaryen is a Princess. Living in hiding with her older brother Viserys, they are the last known heirs to the lost throne. Their father King Aerys (The Mad King and last of the Dragon Kings) was murdered by The Kingslayer Ser Jaime Lannister. His throne was taken up by Robert Baratheon. The rest of their family was slaughtered, including the heir to the throne, their elder brother Rhaegor. Viserys will stop at nothing to get “his throne” back. He will even trade his sister to the savage Dothraki for an army…

An absolutely awesome book, even having read it after seeing Season 1 of Game of Thrones (thus I knew what was going to happen). Anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre will love this book and this series.

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