Though it contains a prologue, A Game of Thrones acts almost as a prologue to George R.R. Martin's entire A Song of Ice and Fire saga.
Don't let the initial hints of fantastic monsters, ancient orders, and heroic nobility fool you, this series is all about the hard realities of a medieval world. On the continent of Westeros, there are Seven Kingdoms and one King that sits The Iron Throne presiding over all. These kingdoms are woven together by a collection of families, some old and proud, others new and ambitious. They all want the same things: Power, glory, respect, love. And they will destroy each other to get theirs. Yet the actions of this dangerous game they play puts everyone in the balance, even as forgotten forces grow stronger in distant lands.
The narrative takes the form of varying points of view, showing the myriad sides of the overall story. This book, more than the others, has a classical fantasy feel. This is due to many of our main characters being members of House Stark, who have very idealistic notions about life. Martin breaks us of these misconceptions almost as brutally as he breaks his characters, slowly peeling the layers and revealing a Crapsaccharine World
. All of them, regardless of personalities and principles, are confronted with the same themes of helplessness in the face of adversity and choosing between good or evil.
- Daenerys Targaryen is a hell of a dynamic female character who surprises you in ways you don't expect.
- The Starks are wonderfully realized characters who you feel for, especially Ned, Arya, Bran, and Robb. Catelyn and Sansa can be a chore, but are given enough depth to still be believable and sympathetic.
- Tyrion Lannister is probably one of the wittiest fictional characters you'll encounter. Few dull moments with him.
- GRRM's attention to detail is pretty staggering and only gets better.
- SO MANY JUICY MYSTERIES!
- Sansa is portrayed as both The Ditz and Hyper Aware... Okay.
- Jon Snow's chapters can feel a little too coming-of-agey, though still cool.
- The Hound.
The life that Martin breathes into this story and the amount of intrigue that he presents makes it an exciting journey that sparks an immediate desire to pick up the second book.