George R. R. Martin has created a world where there are many different clans and kingdoms, many different strings, an entire island, an entire history and all these strings seem to some together. He honestly seems to know what every string does and where it has come from and where it is going.
I am someone who is very impressed by the creation of worlds. Perhaps it is because I am a writer and I struggle with settle something somewhere that is not concrete to me and therefore find it pretty much impossible to build worlds. I had this discussion with someone at University and they implied world building isn’t impressive and I’m afraid me and him are going to have to agree to disagree. In my head, Westeros is as clear and real as Middle Earth and Hogwarts and as clear and real as Dartmoor or London and I will never not find that impressive.
Rather than talking through the novel, I’m going to just talk about some characters that I particularly liked or disliked. I’ve read a number of books since finishing Game of Thrones and I am currently reading Clash of Kings, so I don’t want to spend too long on remembering exactly what happened in what order. Instead let’s talk about the characters, because when you get passed the structure of the world the characters are the entire backbone and body of Game of Thrones.
When I finished the book I was a sure and certain House Stark supporter. I have nothing against the Targaryen- though perhaps a lot against Viserys personally – and I had a rather strong disliking for the Lannisters (but for a particularly small exception). The Starks were the characters that most resonated with me. They were the first to truly be introduced and they were they had the strongest impact on me.
Jon Snow – who I am counting as a Stark, you can fight me on this – is one of my favourite characters, though not my top character. He is relatable in his strife as he doesn’t quick fit in with the family due to being a bastard. His relationship with Tyrion, once he is on the wall, is one that I admire and truly enjoyed reading.
Bran Stark. I was heartbroken when Bran fell and so so relieved to find that he wasn’t actually dead. I was furious at Jamie and I’m still not entirely sure I have forgiven him. Bran is such a young and innocent being and he has that same insistence of being older than all young children have. “I am almost a man grown” darling boy, you are 7.
Caitlyn Stark. I love her. I truly love her. Although she is not my top favourite character (I wonder if you have guessed who might be) I adore her. Her dedication to Ned and their children is commendable. She is not perfect and her treatment of Jon shows that. My heart broke for Jon when Caitlyn said it should’ve been him that got crippled rather than Bran. But I liked this because no one is 100% good and it’s always good to see the darker side.
Arya Stark. I know someone who’s daughter is named Arrya after this girl and I completely understand why. Arya was a wonderful character. A strong young girl who isn’t interested in her needlework. The juxtaposition of her and Sansa was so beautifully written. I only hope the two of them are able to make some sort of amends later on in the series. They seem to be complete opposites but I can’t help but think they must be more alike than they seem.
Sansa and Robb Stark. I am putting these two together because they are the Starks I found myself less interested in. Sansa bored me with her instant dedication to Joffrey and her love of all things prim and proper and Robb I didn’t particularly have an opinion of one way or the other. (This is changing, regarding both of them, as I read A Clash Of Kings).
Ned Stark. Someone accidentally let it slip to me that Ned gets beheaded before I had got there in the book. They are watching the show and didn’t know what happened when in the book so they just let that slip. My heart broke at the knowledge it would happen and at knowing that the shock of it was gone for me. However, my heart broke again when I actually read it. It was a perfect scene. I said I’m not a particular fan of gore and that’s a big reason why I love this scene but also because what Martin did was so clever. He manipulated the scene so we didn’t see some great Kingly/Queen Regent-ly action of strength and punishment but rather we saw Arya. We saw a young girl in an impossible position forced to see her father die. It made the scene much more human and much more heartbreaking.
That’s all that I have to say for the Starks and the party of Winterfell, so I will bring myself to the Lannisters and Baratheons.
Robert Baratheon wasn’t much of interest for me. He seemed a rather useless king and a rather blind man. The only thing I particularly liked about him was his relationship with Ned. Although Ned was a lot more levelheaded and a lot smarter than Robert, their friendship which was as strong as brothers was a beautiful thing to read and they seemed to balance themselves out with it.
Jamie Lannister. Prick pushed my baby Bran off a roof. Not sure I’m ever going to get over that. However, that aside Jamie is a very addictive character. He’s the kingslayer, he’s the big hero that claimed the Iron Throne for Robert. He is a handsome man who fights as one of the best. I’m fascinated by him and I’m sure I’ll grow to love him – if I could momentarily forget about Bran’s injuries.
Cersei Lannister. The cold hearted bitch. What’s not to love. Well, I mean everything. The way she treats Sansa for the most part. Cersei is a character I adore for being a character. She is well rounded and strong, but, as is realistic, she has her weaknesses – Jamie and her children namely. As a person, I don’t particularly like her but I have to stand up and say I appreciate her.
Joffrey Baratheon (although Lannister would be a more apt name would it not?). Wow, I did not expect to hate this little bastard as much as I do. I knew from the internet that Joffrey was not a likeable character, but I didn’t realise just how much I would dislike him. Starting with his treatment of Ayra and continuing to his treatment of Sansa and his killing of Ned Stark. Wow, I hate this boy.
Tyrion Lannister. Did I mention, maybe once or twice, that there is a character I love most? A top favourite? Well, here he is. Tyrion Lannister is a delight of a character. He’s got a snarky, sarcastic dry sense of humour. He’s just perfect. The things he comes out with. One particular I’m loving is when he is with his father and the father says something about Jamie and Tyrion goes “It’s just one of the differences between us, you may have noticed, he’s also a bit taller than me.” He’s just savage and I love him.
Daenerys Targaryen. Khaleesi. Mother of Dragons. What I didn’t expect is how young Dany is. However, I loved her, she seemed a lot older than her 14 years and her relationship with Khal Drogo was interesting, to say the least.
All in all, I completely adored Game of Thrones and I’m so glad I gave it a chance. At some point when I’ve finished it, I will write about A Clash of Kings as well