Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club
Amy's short summary:
George R.R. Martin - A Game of Thrones
This is a gritty, epic fantasy.
The Starks of Winterfell are pulled into the politics of the Seven Kingdoms. It's thirteen years after a civil war deposed the Targaryen Dynasty from the Iron Throne, and after years of summer, winter is coming.
King Robert Baratheon, who was once strong in battle, is proving to be a poor ruler. Queen Cersei and her family, the Lannisters, are grabbing what power they can. Lord Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died suddenly and mysteriously. Lord Eddard Stark is asked personally by his old friend King Robert to become the new Hand. Reluctantly he accepts the position and takes part of his family south to King's Landing.
Meanwhile across the sea, the head of the Old Targaryen Dynasty, Viserys, sells his sister Daenerys into marriage to Khal Drogo, a Dothraki horse lord, for armies to reconquer the Seven Kingdoms.
This book is told from multiple points of view: Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark, his wife Catelyn, and their son Bran, their daughters Sansa and Arya, Eddard's bastard son Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys.summary written by
Blood of the Dragon
Winner - 1997 Hugo Award for Best Novella
Asimov's Science Fiction magazine July 1996 issue featured this novella length excerpt, basically the chapters about Daenerys, from A Game of Thrones
Illustration by Darryl Elliot
10 Wow! Don't miss it
8-9 Highly recommended
5-6 Mild recommendation
3-4 Take your chances
1-2 Below average; skip it
0 Get out the flamethrower!
U Unfinishable or unreadable
- Skipped or no rating given
George R.R. Martin - A Game of Thrones
Whether it's science fiction, horror, or fantasy, Martin is one of the most skilled writers around. His style is easy to read, yet he always finds an interesting way to say things. In an early scene, for example, instead of telling us that Jon feels sorry for himself because he's a bastard, Martin shows Jon thinking how lucky he is to be a bastard so he can sit with the lowborn at a banquet and get drunk, which he only wants to do because deep down he's feeling sorry for himself.
The characterization in this novel is solid throughout. All of Eddard Stark's children are nicely developed and sympathetic in different ways (even Sansa, for all her faults). The villains are delightfully despicable, except for Tyrion, who is the most likable villain you're ever likely to meet.
My major criticism with the book is probably unfair, since it's a complaint I can (and do) make about most "fat fantasy" novels: It just takes much too long to advance the story. It's clear from the outset that there will be three main story lines in Martin's series: (1) the supernatural Others will descend on the Seven Kingdoms from the North; (2) there will be a clash of cultures when the nomadic Dothraki attack from across the sea; and (3) there will be internal battles among the existing nobility for the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. For all its length, this volume barely advances story lines (1) and (2) at all. (While we're at it, these two story lines again hardly move at all in A Clash of Kings, the second lengthy entry in this series.) Only story line (3) has anything happen, but it's the least interesting of the three. Why should we really care who is king? Robert Baratheon certainly leaves a lot to be desired as a ruler. If anything, we can expect that the scheming Lannisters will do a better job of running the kingdom - they could hardly do worse! Most of the Lannisters' machinations in trying to seize control are rather predictable anyway.
Having said all that, I read through this book compulsively, I tore through the second book when it came out, and I fully expect to follow Martin through however many volumes he devotes to this series. (Supposedly it's to be six, but will anyone be surprised if it expands further?) Not only is the characterization very strong, but Martin's dialogue is terrific and he writes action scenes well. Several times I've caught myself pulling the book off my shelf to reread scenes like the rousing Battle of the Whispering Woods. So I've got a lot of nerve complaining, eh?What do you think? Your comments are welcome. Please send them to
(Aaron has also written reviews for the next two books - see links below)
A Storm of Swords (2000)
- Book Three of A Song of Ice and Fire
2001 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel
2001 Hugo Award Nominee
2001 Nebula Award Nominee
Asimov's Science Fiction magazine December 2000 issue featured this novella length excerpt of Dany's story from A Storm of Swords. My page for "Path of the Dragon" shows the nice artwork featured with this story.
For UK paperback publication A Storm of Swords was split into two books, Steel and Snow and Blood and Gold.
A Feast for Crows (2005)
- Book Four of A Song of Ice and Fire
A Feast for Crows, the fourth book in the series, was released on November 8, 2005. It went to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It was a pleasure to see George R.R. Martin talk and sign books at the Tattered Cover Book Store in downtown Denver.
This epic series, A Song of Ice and Fire, will
A Dance with Dragons (5th book)
The Winds of Winter (6th book)
A Dream of Spring (7th book)
A Game of Thrones CCG (Collectible Card Game)
For more information go to my AGOT CCG site
Shown at left is a A Game of Thrones Westeros Stark starter deck
© 2002-2004 George R. R. Martin © 2002-2004 FFG Fantasy Flight Games
Dragon® Magazine - May 2003 - Issue 307
Dragon, a Dungeons & Dragons gaming magazine, has a George R.R. Martin exclusive in the May 2003 issue. It features tips for running a campaign in the world of Westeros, a George R.R. Martin interview, and a Westeros poster map.
On the cover Donato Giancola shows us the beauty of the red priestess Melisandre from A Song of Ice and Fire