Tuesday, October 27, 2015

mini book review: the game of thrones

Lest you think I only read high-brow literature and popular nonfiction in my spare time, I did also spend a good portion of my summer listening to the audiobooks of A Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin (technically, the series is called "The Song of Ice and Fire"). I started into this series by watching a couple episodes of the TV series, but those were too racy for me. The books are not as graphic. They were addicting, however! I found myself making up excuses to do dishes or laundry so I could listen to my audiobook. Luckily, a bunch of people at my library are also interested in this series, so I had to wait on a waitlist for weeks between each book, so I couldn't just binge my way through them (though I suppose it would have had a positive effect on my housework). The book is set in a different world where each season lasts many of our years. It's a medieval society with knights and horses and dragons, battles, love, intrigue, jealousy, a bit of magic and religion, and much familial drama.

I'm not sure what it is about this series that is likable. Just because a character is likable doesn't mean they'll survive (if you know anything about Game of Thrones I'm sure this isn't news to you — I heard about the end of the first book on NPR one day!). Usually I like sci-fi and fantasy because it lets the author and reader explore moral and ethical questions that aren't really possible to explore in normal life. But I can't say that these books have any shining moral truths to present, except, perhaps, that we don't always get what we deserve. It's an intriguing look at the "game of thrones," as in, the intrigue one has to participate in if one happens to be born into a noble family, or wants to participate in the life of lords and ladies. This is not a situation most of us find ourselves in nowadays, but I suppose the politics and attempts to get ahead are just as real, though far less bloody, at least here in the US.

I was excited to read the fifth book because I thought that would be the end of the series and there would be some kind of closure, but by the time I got half way through the book and realized none of these story lines were drawing to a close, and in fact new storylines were opening all the time, I looked it up and realized that the author is still working on the next book. Agh! I think book companies should do what Netflix and other video streaming places have been doing lately, and release a whole series at once so we can binge on it all at one time. None of this delayed gratification thing!

Seriously, though, I probably will keep reading it, as it's a good story. It definitely keeps my interest and entertains. The characters are unique. They're not exactly realistic or well-rounded, they're kind of like mythical foils without a lot of character depth, but they're interesting and you never quite know what they're going to do.

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