Sunday, October 06, 2013

Song of Ice and Fire

“Winter is coming!” states the motto of the Stark family which rouses the imaginations of readers. There are many series of epic fantasy books written by excellent authors that bring readers imaginative epic stories of fantastic worlds. Author George R.R. Martin has created such a series with his “Song of Ice and Fire” books, giving readers the grand, gritty story of Westeros, its feuding families and people. These fantasy novels are detailed, full of many interesting memorable characters and follow epic themes with a twist.

George R.R. Martin has been a part of the Fantasy genre since the 1970s. He has won several awards for his short fiction including the World Fantasy Award. Part of his career he spent in Hollywood writing for different TV series, especially “Beauty and the Beast.” His writing spans short stories to several novels including some Science Fiction. Recently, he has placed his footing solidly in Epic Fantasy with the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. Mr. Martin is a talented writer, creating realistic characters and a complex world against a backdrop of war and intrigue.

_A Game of Thrones_ is the first book of the series that sets off the struggle of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The story begins by focusing on the struggle between two prominent families, Stark and Lannister, as they vie to control or protect the Iron Throne. Eddard Stark is the head of his family. They are pulled into the political conflicts with the Lannisters when King Robert asks him to be his adviser. This puts Stark’s wife and children into danger. The Lannisters covet the Iron Throne for power, which throws the seven kingdoms in civil war. In addition, the story becomes more complicated with an exiled princess from overseas, a harsh climate facing a long winter of years duration and a supernatural threat from the north. Chapters alternate from the various characters’ viewpoints in this huge, complex book that sets everything in motion.

The second book is _A Clash of Kings_. In this book, the story deepens further. Politics grow violent with four claimants to the throne. There are battles and threats from the north. Mr. Martin keeps the vivid story going by keeping his characters realistic and motivated by shades of gray. Some of his characters die like in a real war. The book sustains a compelling pace because of the author’s ability to keep it free of cliches.

In the third book,  _A Storm of Swords_, the story continues with more battles and intricate proceedings. There are four claimants left fighting for the Iron Throne. Robb Stark as King of the North continues to press for his revenge on the Lannisters while trying to rescue his captive sisters. Daenerys continues her rise across the ocean. War tears the land apart as the supernatural threat from the north increases. Surprise twists change the path of the story to where readers never suspected. It ends with a cliffhanger to keep you desperate for the next installment. This book improves on the other two unlike other books in  series by other writers.

_ Feast for Crows_ the next book brings a pause in the war. Many claimants for throne are dead or defeated. Cersei rules as regent for her youngest son. The Stark children are scattered everywhere still wanting vengeance. Daenerys continues to grow in power as she learns to rule a diverse group of people and train her dragons, though she is mostly offstage in this book. This novel follows other characters and leads to a cliffhanger ending. (This book and the next were originally one book but split in half.)

The most recent book in the series published was _A Dance with Dragons_. This book goes back to tell the events of what happened to the main characters of Jon Snow, Daenerys, Tyrion and others, describing their trials. Jon continues to deal with his being part of the Night Watch. Daenerys conquers new realms and still struggles with learning to rule as a future queen. Tyrion finds himself in exile, dealing with dangerous new circumstances for him. Mr. Martin leaves readers wanting more.

George R.R. Martin is a strong Fantasy author that tells complex stories, creates vivid, memorable characters and a powerful world. He uses historical research and a love of writing to bring the “Song of Ice and Fire” series to life. Projected for a total of six books, readers will have to wait for the next one with desperate anticipation. Coupled together with the excellent TV series, waiting for the next book is lessened a little. Until then, spend sometime with the books and TV series. For further information about Mr. Martin, check out his home page at:

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