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The Complexity of A Song of Ice and Fire

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The Game of Thrones was first brought to the public eye by George R.R. Martin when it was first published in 1996. The first novel spawned an entire series titled A Song of Ice and Fire, which Martin is still writing to this day, and a television show on HBO with four full seasons and two more to come. Martin has poured his heart and soul into the novels, and it shows through with the quality of the writing and the depths of the story. There are few who disagree, although some have spoken out against the novels.

The depth of the characters are unmatched. Plenty a book has great layered characters, but no novel can compare to the levels of the main characters in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. In the first novel, we are introduced to a dynamic set of main characters: Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Jaime Lannister, Samwell Tarly, Brienne of Tarth, etc. That’s only to name a few. Over the course of the lengthy thousand-paged novels, we get to see those characters as they take their journeys through Westeros and Essos. Though I do not like some characters, such as Bran Stark and Daenerys Targaryen, I appreciate the author’s subtle nuances in the characters, such as Tyrion’s japes and constant assault for his being a dwarf or Jaime’s troubled state of mind as he tries to discover who he truly is. All of these make for fantastic, complex and incredible characters, all of which have been put into a fantastic and gripping story. As for the story…

The plot itself of A Song of Ice and Fire is full of subtle intricacies and sudden twists that leave the reader baffled, hurt, sometimes confused, but overall entertained. Martin has his way of building up a reader’s hopes and dreams just to crush them with a single page or chapter. A perfect example of the intricacies of the series is the aptly titled “Red Wedding” from the third novel in the series, A Storm of Swords. During this event, two prominent main characters were brutally murdered at a wedding. This was a shocking twist that no reader saw coming, yet the event could have been seen coming if one paid attention to the small details in the earlier writings. Such as, spoiler alert, the burning of Winterfell. It is implied that Greyjoy forces burned the Northern land to the ground, yet there had been something else going on just behind the veil. With those details in mind, the betrayal of the main characters seems less shocking but all the more heartbreaking.

It is understandable why some do not like the series. It is filled with gratuitous violence, graphic sexual sequences and the pace can slow to a snail’s crawl, as well as it being too complex for some to comprehend. The television show based on the novels titled Game of Thrones  has been abhorred by parents for the graphic sex and gory battle sequences, but what else is new? Parents can complain all they like, but all they need to do is restrict their children from watching the show and not try and ruin it for the whole lot of us. As for the pace, even I suffer from that when reading the novels. But they are not for everyone, as Martin himself has stated in multiple interviews. His books are for those who enjoy them and not for anyone else. These novels are not for the casual reader, but for those who want to get invested and lost in a vibrant world with colorful characters with a complex and intricate storyline. Some just cannot handle such things, and should return to reading their tween books like The Fault in Our Stars and The Twilight Saga.

In closing, the (arguably) best quality of A Song of Ice and Fire is how exciting the novels are to read. Who  wouldn’t enjoy Tyrion’s sarcastic demeanor, Eddard Stark’s honorbound ways, Stannis Baratheon’s best claim to the Iron Thrones, Daenerys’ dragons, Jon Snow’s escapades on the Wall, or Jaime’s quest for self-redemption? The novels are gripping, leveled, and full of fantastic imagery as well as characters. For any fan of the fantasy genre or lovers of literature altogether, A Song of Ice and Fire is a necessity to add to your collection.

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The Complexity of A Song of Ice and Fire