Posted in Fiction

Vacation reading or “Winter is coming.”

Having just returned home from Orlando, Florida,  I thought I would post a little about the reading I did on vacation.  I started George R. R. Martin’s novel A Game of Thrones.  At page 300, I’m finding it entertaining and a little difficult to keep track of all the families, who’s married to whom, whose brother is king of where and whose sister is queen of here.  I’ve read other novels that involve large numbers of characters (e. g. War and Peace)  and I’ve found that stressing out over how everyone fits into the story is detrimental to the enjoyment of the story.  Kicking back and not worrying about it usually results in everyone falling into place.


If anyone asks (and nobody has, at this point) how this novel compares to the fantasy series by that other author with the same middle initials, I will warn them that I am very, very biased towards that other author and his series.

But I am enjoying A Game of Thrones and if I would compare it to another novel, it would be more like Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth.  Not knowing which characters to trust makes me want to continue reading to see what happens.  I think 300 pages is only a drop in the bucket for this sweeping saga.  And I have yet to watch any of the HBO series.

So far, I’m assuming that the Stark family are the good guys.  Eddard and Catelyn, while not really grabbing my attention, have some potential as honorable characters.  I’ve taken more of a liking to Jon, Bran and Arya.  I am wondering whether the division between Arya and Sansa will heal or drive them further apart.  And assuming the Lannisters are the bad guys, I have to hand it to Tyrion for making me like him.  Daenerys’ storyline is a little on the creepy side, but I’ll give it a chance.

If I had to pick my favorite characters at page 300, they would be Ghost, Summer, Grey Wind, Lady, Nymeria and Shaggy Dog.  A story with wolves can’t help but be good.

11 thoughts on “Vacation reading or “Winter is coming.”

    1. Ben,
      So far, entertaining is how I would describe the book. It’s NOT The Lord of the Rings! There is so much more depth to TLOTR. If you enjoyed Pillars of the Earth, there’s the potential you would find this as entertaining. Lots of medieval sword fighting. Lots of mystery and intrigue. The “adult” aspects of Pillars of the Earth are definitely in A Game of Thrones. It’s set with some sort of pagan religion in the background that’s not explained in detail and that only some of the characters adhere to. I’ll post more as I finish it.

  1. My best friend loves this series, but I have yet to start it. I think I’ll wait until he finishes the whole series, and by then, my kids will be old enough I might have time to read them! And I don’t expect them to match LOTR in any way, shape, or form — how could they?

    I was tempted to watch the first season of the show, cuz… Sean Bean!!! But that same best friend watched it and warned me it is far, far more graphic than the books, and said while she thinks I’d dig the books, I’d be too uncomfortable watching the show. So I’ll stick to the books. (But… Sean Bean!!!)

    1. I don’t have a huge interest in watching the series, but it would be fun to see how some of the characters are portrayed. I guess “fun” is the word I would use to describe the book so far. At the beginning of the book there are some graphic parts that I would say border on gratuitous – but it seems to have toned down a little (I’m on page 453, now).

      1. I also meant to say that I know what you mean about books with huge “casts.” Sometimes I keep a piece of paper and pen with me and jot down who everyone is and how they’re related — that worked really well for Dr. Zhivago for me, because everyone had 14 nicknames. But other times, like you, I just let the names slide over me and figure everything will make sense eventually.

      2. Yes, I understand! Especially with Russian authors – none of the nicknames or “familiar” names are necessarily well-known to me.

  2. For what it’s worth, I’ve read the first three books. I’d read the first two when I got interested in the HBO series, which enhanced my enjoyment of it. Having watched the series really helped keep the multitude of characters straight when I read the third book. There are many differences between the series and the books, but most are not significant (they do seem to be increasing as the series progresses, though) and don’t detract. The series, not surprisingly, ups the age of some characters (e.g., Sansa and Daenerys) so that we won’t be as creeped out.

    Also for what it’s worth, I’ve purchased the fourth book, so I guess I’m committed to at least one more. 🙂

    Picking the direwolves as your favorite characters is great! Aside from them, I’d go with Daenerys, Arya, and Tyrion. Those three are also some of the more brilliantly portrayed in the HBO series.

    1. I’m on page 620, now, and Tyrion is definitely the scene stealer. I have a feeling he would be that way in the filmed version, too. Right now, I do plan on reading more, but it probably won’t be right away. Daenerys has become more interesting, but I still find that to be the storyline that I’m least interested in. But I have a feeling her story will intersect with the others at some point.

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