f you think dragons are big, you haven’t seen anything yet. This monster is 959 pages, and it’s the fifth of the Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones series. So If you haven’t started this, you’ve got some reading ahead. And yes, overall, I’d say the journey has been worth it.
So for those who arn’t involved, The Game of Thrones is a massive story about hundreds of people in a fantasy world seemingly cursed to be stuck in its medieval period for, like, forever. Think of that – no scientific advances, no gunpowder or cars or modern medical advances. Just hundreds and hundreds of years/pages of people killing each other with swords. And hell, there used to be dragons and thankfully they somehow managed to kill all these monsters, that was, until Daenerys Targaryen brought them back.
So this world grinds on like a game of perpetual Risk, never ending and never seeming to resolve. Pretenders for the throne pop up, made their bids, and fail. Characters live and die (and the ones that die, in literary convention, simply shouldn’t have died). Armies are formed, march, occupy and are destroyed. Fleets sail and sink (Martin lovvveesss sinking fleets. I’d sooner ride a dragon than sail on a ship, what with all the sudden storms and sudden pirates and such).
But don’t take this as breezy dismissal. The story is compelling, I have favorites and haterites, some live, some die, but I find myself going page to page, needing to know what outstanding world-wracking change is going to happen next. And, boy, did things change in this book (it ends with a main character seemingly dying – I can’t confirm it of course, but man, that four knife thrusts, one in the belly? Gotta be dead…). So yes, the story is good enough to force me to carry this brick in my bike bag and read it on the train – this ain’t just some small paperback. You could build a house with it.
And I’ll say this; it’s book five and I finally see where I think it’s heading, what with Daenerys and her dragons and suitors and power-seekers. Everyone seems to be drifting over to that side of the map. But if she’s going to take the Iron Throne from Richie Rich Lannister, she’s going to have to somehow drag her three unpredictable dragons, her eunuch army, and all her hangers-on across the entire known world (including one of those sink-happy seas). This aught to be good.
So now I’m stuck in this monster, relying on short stories and guest reviewers to keep this blog going while I spend weeks on its latest.
I trust George R.R. Martin to kill off characters. But I really have to trust that he’ll someday end this epic.