Review: A Game of Thrones & A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

I had absolutely no intention of starting the Song of Ice and Fire series, until a well-meaning teacher of mine oh-so-casually handed me a 835-page copy of the first installment, saying the series was one of his favorites. I still probably wouldn’t have read it, if not for the sword on the cover staring accusingly at me whenever I was in my room. And so my journey with the Starks began.

A Game of Thrones

In Westeros, a land where summers last lifetimes and winters last decades, King Robert Baratheon sits upon the Iron Throne he won years ago from the Targaryen dynasty. In the north, his truest friend, Lord Eddard Stark, dwells at Winterfell, where he lives peacefully with his family. When Robert’s closest adviser dies, Robert summons Eddard to take his place, drawing him into a palace where no one is who they say they are and where treachery waits around every corner. Meanwhile, around the world, Viserys Targaryen is seeking to claim the throne that is his by rights, planning to use his beautiful younger sister, Daenerys, to buy his way there.

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”

Abby the Bookworm

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As I went through the pages, I had fun piecing together the information about the world without the benefit of an infodump. I have always enjoyed politics and royal intrigue in my fantasy books, and the politics of King’s Landing were exhausting and yet exhilarating. I rooted for Eddard Stark from beginning to end. His “honor” code was at times frustrating, but noble at the same time.

The Starks stole my heart from the start. Catelyn and Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon and — my favorite — Jon Snow each had their own worries and problems, and I loved getting to explore their individual personalities. (Even Sansa, who I found intolerable at first. But then THAT INCIDENT happened, and I felt bad for hating her.)

I also loved Tyrion Lannister, even though he was on the other side? And also Daenerys? My heart broke for Dany, but I’m worried that everything that has happened is going to serve as a villain backstory for her? DANY BE SAFE.

The ending — YIKES.

Abby the Christian Bookworm: GOODNESS

Everyone at King’s Landing could do with a bit of goodness. Everyone should try to stop looking out for only themselves, and focus on becoming better people. The Lannisters would not even be a problem if they focused more on their spiritual well-being instead of taking over the kingdom.

A Clash of Kings

The peace that was maintained under Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark has been crushed and broken into pieces. The land has been split into six factions: Joffrey Baratheon, Robert’s heir; both of the late king’s brothers; a once disgraced house intent on rising to power; the new King in the North; and the Mother of Dragons, the last remaining Targaryen. As blood is shed and families are torn apart, an even larger threat rises in the far north, where the wildlings are gathering their power to march on the Wall.

“Gentle Mother, font of mercy, save our sons from war, we pray. Stay the swords and stay the arrows, let them know a better day.

Gentle Mother, strength of women, help our daughters through this fray. Soothe the wrath and tame the fury, teach us all a kinder way.”

Abby the Bookworm

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Imagine my dismay when I received this tome and realized that A Game of Thrones was actually the shortest book in the series.

But I pressed on despite the struggle, and managed to finish A Clash of Kings in 10 days. What an achievement. Thank you, everyone, thank you.

Anyway, the politics was once again amazing, this time brought to us from the perspective of everyone’s favorite dwarf, Tyrion Lannister. His quest for justice was admirable. Not to mention he is a literal genius. His sister and nephew, on the other hand, were not… pleasant to read about. Especially because I kept having fantasies of having Sansa murder them both. I’m fine. 🤗

Speaking of Sansa, my respect for Sansa grew tremendously. She’s in the middle of it all, and she shows remarkable determination to survive in the treacherous world of King’s Landing. I feel a bit worried for Arya though? She’s getting way too dark for a 10-year-old.

Bran’s… ah… new… identity was slightly disturbing. Rickon is at this point scarred for life. And Jon Snow. I mean, JON SNOW. THIS POOR GUY. AGHHHH HE BETTER GET EVERYTHING HE DESERVES AND MORE. THIS POOR GUY.

Dany and her… children are formidable, and the way her final POV chapter ended has me intimidated. But Catelyn stole the show for me in this one. She was just so tired and so sad, but she kept on going. For her children, and for her home.

Theon Greyjoy bore the brunt of my hate for over half the book, until he ended his chapter LIKE THAT. And then I felt bad. But also grateful. The plot twists and the character arcs were all masterfully crafted. And the battle scenes were so brutal. How does George R. R. Martin even come up with the words for this kind of thing?

Abby the Christian Bookworm: LOVE

More love from everyone, please. Even if the opponent doesn’t yield, there’s something called mercy. Find that balance between mercy and justice, the perfect balance that God judges us with. Ephesians 4:31-32 says: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. They should all take that advice. As should we all, especially in times such as these.

Keep reading,

Abby

What do you think? Have you read A Game of Thrones? What do you think about the characters?

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