BOOKS: A Song of Ice and Fire

A friend of mine suggested the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Has anyone read them? I’ve heard they are very well written and imaginative, but also dark and gloomy, to depict a sense of realism in dark times. I’m just looking for any reviews by like-minded folk. Thanks!

I don’t know how to approach a fair review of these books since I stopped reading them…

What I can say is that each book is absolutely enthralling, a real page-turner, and the plot is very well-conceived; it can get quite complex, at times, but that’s all the more why they are so enthralling. It’s a shame that it’s taking George R.R. Martin so long to write each successive book. He’s not young, nor looking particularly healthy, and I suspect he’ll be dead before the series is actually finished - though I could be wrong, but he’s taking upwards of 4-6 years to complete each installment, and there’s two more installments (after the fifth, which is expected to be released this year).

The reason why I stopped reading is because, like I said, I suspect he’ll be dead before the series is finished and, well, it seems like such a waste of time to read something that has no resolution. Secondly, each book has its moments where it is quite explicitly erotic, and this proved to be too much for me, as well.

Oh! I hadn’t heard about his health. I just looked him up, it appears he’s only 60, is he ill?

Well, no. However, most of the pictures I’ve seen of him, though…it’s hard to judge. I would just hate for this to be another Robert Jordan incident, tragic as that was!

I'm reading George R R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and am now on the second book. I was wondering if anyone else is reading these. My favorite characters are Arya Stark and Jon Snow.

That’s one of my favorite series of books and I’m eagerly awaiting A Dance with Dragons. I just hope Martin doesn’t pull a Robert Jordan and die before he finishes the series.

Oh ya, I loved the first one. :D I want to read the other ones, but I want GRRM to get on track first, so I'll probably wait until Dance with Dragons comes out and read reviews to see if the plot is going somewhere! It would be a pity if he didn't finish it. I love Jon Snow and Danny and Tirion. Jon doesn't have the most interesting scenes but I sympathize with him the most, so he's my favorite character. :)

I've been curious about Martin. Is he Catholic friendly? I have a Game of Thrones on my bookshelf, uncracked.

His writing isn’t anti church or anything like that. In fact, it’s very neutral as far as any religious topics go. The series definitely has some pretty explicit “adult” moments in them, however.

Well, they do have a polytheistic culture in the books. And there's a "house" that uses incest to keep its line "pure".

any of the "Houses" monotheistic? Is the incestual hose seen as perverted?

[quote="robbmiller, post:11, topic:158260"]
any of the "Houses" monotheistic? Is the incestual hose seen as perverted?

[/quote]

There are actually two religions portrayed (at least as of the second book), one monotheistic and one polytheistic. Most of the characters, even the "bad guys", seem to have at least one redeeming quality, but as far as the incestual house they are portrayed as the scheming, backstabbing type, so the incest in the book is not appluaded by any means. While the story and characters are beautifully crafted and extremely realistic (they seem to walk right off the page, every character is very deep), be forewarned that this is not a childrens book, and some may be offended at the graphic nature of the scenes discribed. Due to the graphic sexual and violent scenes I would give this an L rating using the usccb movie ratings. I personally give it two thumbs up, but some may not want to read the "R rated" imagery in the book.

[quote="dreilly1982, post:12, topic:158260"]
There are actually two religions portrayed (at least as of the second book), one monotheistic and one polytheistic. Most of the characters, even the "bad guys", seem to have at least one redeeming quality, but as far as the incestual house they are portrayed as the scheming, backstabbing type, so the incest in the book is not appluaded by any means. While the story and characters are beautifully crafted and extremely realistic (they seem to walk right off the page, every character is very deep), be forewarned that this is not a childrens book, and some may be offended at the graphic nature of the scenes discribed. Due to the graphic sexual and violent scenes I would give this an L rating using the usccb movie ratings. I personally give it two thumbs up, but some may not want to read the "R rated" imagery in the book.

[/quote]

This is pretty accurate. The book describes a couple of different religious traditions used by the various nations, but doesn't "preach" anything to the reader. It just states that these people believe one thing and this other group believes something else. There are conflicts between different characters as to which tradition is correct, but none of it comes off as putting down any real world religion.

Agreed. Great book series, though I’m holding off on #4 since #5’s been in the works for well over two years already.

I’m a LOR affectionado, that, and the Narnia Chronicles are the two series I’ve truly enjoyed. Had a blast with the Twilight series and the Sookie Stackhouse ones as well, but those are more fluff than drama.

The Song of Ice and Fire unfolds visually from the get-go. Character development progresses steadily and yet you’re drawn to care about each of them from the start. The plots and reveals are such that you can almost see where one ‘episode’ would end and the next begin, it flows that well. I’ve had to go back to books 1 and 2 to pay more attention to the supporting characters because by book 3 the game board has changed such that I didn’t appreciate the twists as much as I could have had I been able to remember what role those characters played earlier on.

Don’t know if anyone noted it yet, but HBO is releasing the TV Series in Spring 2011. :smiley: hbo.com/index.html#/game-of-thrones

I just finished after five months of read, A Game of Thrones. It really held my interest.
I watched part of an episode of the HBO series. It was ineresting too, but alas I was on the phone and didn't hear much.

I've read all of them except for the newest one. They're awesome. I didn't like the show except for Ned.

How was the show different from the books? I’m thinking of getting the dvd or blu ray or renting them when it comes out in march next year.

I have the first four, but not the fifth.

It wasn't that I thought the show was different from the books, I just didn't particularly like the casting, the sets, the direction, the cinematography, the gratuitous sex and violence....it was just a cheap show on many different levels in my opinion.

[quote="Oren, post:18, topic:158260"]
It wasn't that I thought the show was different from the books, I just didn't particularly like the casting, the sets, the direction, the cinematography, the gratuitous sex and violence....it was just a cheap show on many different levels in my opinion.

[/quote]

I've read through the series twice and there is plenty of gratuitous sex and violence in the books as well. The HBO series did add a few sex scenes, but overall I think it was quite faithful to the books.

There were a few character names changed in the show; for example, Robert Arryn appears in the HBO series as Robin because the producers thought having two Roberts (King Robert and little Robert) would be too confusing to viewers.

In my opinion King Robert came off as more likeable in the books than on the TV series. Opposite of that, Queen Cersei seemed more human on HBO.

Another rather large change was aging the Stark children. They were each made a few years older on HBO.

[quote="Oren, post:16, topic:158260"]
I've read all of them except for the newest one. They're awesome. I didn't like the show except for Ned.

[/quote]

The newest book was much better than A Feast For Crows but not as good as the first three IMO.

I agree, Ned was extremely well cast, although Sean Bean is considerably older than Ned was in the books (50 vs 35ish).

It is my hope that GRRM actually finishes the series. He has 3 books left, is a slow writer, and is not getting any younger...

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