The fact that I’m a Game of Thrones fan will probably come as a surprise to anyone who knows anything about me, or the series. For those who don’t: basically there’s a bewildering cast of characters fighting for power, which involves lots of chopping each other up (and having quite a bit of sex in between murdering people). Being notoriously squeamish, I spend a good proportion of each episode looking at the wall, the ceiling, the floor, my hands – anywhere but the screen, much to the amusement of anyone watching with me. (Of course, this doesn’t help with the sound effects of agonised screaming and spurting blood.)
So why, you may ask, do I keep putting myself through this?
If GoT were just a TV series I probably wouldn’t be interested – mostly because it’s on Sky, which I don’t have, and because let’s face it, it’s not exactly my cup of tea. But before the TV show, there were books. And before I read the books, there was a friend who read the books, and then told me to read the books. So I started book 1 – and that was it. I was hooked.
I won’t even try to summarise the plot. There’s way too much going on, too many characters and locations to even get into. How George R. R. Martin keeps track of them all is a mystery to me, I don’t even want to know what his house looks like.
The main appeal for me is in the characters. Each chapter reveals the action from a different character’s point of view, meaning we get to see what’s going on in every corner of the Seven Kingdoms, and explore what’s going on in each character’s mind. Some of them are good, some are completely evil, and a third group, even after seven books, still fall in the ‘who knows’ category. By far my favourite, both in print and on screen, is Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf who more than makes up for his lack of physical stature with a larger than life personality and wit. Maybe I just like his sense of humour, but I think he’s brilliant, and the book that he didn’t appear in was definitely the hardest to get through.
A couple of words of warning if you decide to give GoT a try (besides the spurting blood, agonised screams etc – see above):
1. Martin has an unsettling habit of killing off your favourite characters, often in horrifically violent ways. This means you can’t get too attached to anyone, or you’ll be as traumatised as I was when he killed … oh, better not.
2. Don’t start reading/watching when you have something else important to do, because you may find it hard to concentrate on anything else until you’re done. This is especially true of the books (actually called A Song of Ice and Fire; Game of Thrones is the title of the first book), of which there are currently seven, with more on the way (assuming the author, who’s no spring chicken, lasts that long).
Enjoy! Oh, and no spoilers in the comments please, I might know what’s coming next but not everyone does 😉