The Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Sometimes somethings come to you unbidden. They steal upon you with the finesse of a cat and surprise you; they wipe the frown off your brow and break your face into a smile.

I had been hankering after The Song of Ice and Fire for more than a year. Actually, since I watched Game of Thrones on TV. I’d look it up whenever I’d visit a book shop, but I could never bring myself to buy it. A set of seven books, each splitting at the seams with about a thousand pages, can make you worry. Will you be able to read them all? Will you like the author’s writing style? Will the story be engaging enough? It’s one thing to sit through an hour-long episode and another to plod through an unending ocean of words. Before you’ve read an author, you never know whether his words are tiny angels that will take you in a world that you won’t want to leave, or little black devils that will plunge you into the depths of reading hell. I had never read anything by George R. R. Martin, so I had no idea what kind of little guys his words were.

Now you must be wondering why I didn’t buy just one book at first and then went for the others? That would be the practical thing to do. Unfortunately, I am not practical. I haven’t made a single practical decision in my life. I am impulsive and emotional. One of the zillion impractical impulses that drive my life is buying books that aren’t just great to read but that also look beautiful. I also like books from an author to look like they belong to him. So unless I’ve already fallen for a specific writer’s work, and I must buy their books as soon as they hit the stalls, I enjoy getting sets. They give me a sense of security and continuity. I know that after finishing one book, I’ll have the next one waiting!

Now George Martin’s books tell one long story, they look mysterious and attractive, and I couldn’t say if I’d be hooked or be saddled – and so the plan of getting the books went into limbo, but the secret yearning didn’t fade away.

Three days ago, I received an unexpected gift. Wrapped in red, it stood on my desk. I suddenly knew what a groom in an Indian arranged marriage feels when he first sees his bride – a package wrapped in red, a bundle of surprises, but first he must lift the veil.

I picked it up, expecting it to be lighter than it was, and immediately knew that it had books inside. All those words, they weigh a lot. For the last whole month, I hadn’t mentioned my craving for GRRM’s books – not once! And yet, there they were! Looking awesome, fantastical, mysterious, rich, and inviting!

Here’s a picture of my treasure:

Song of Ice and Fire - the set of 7 Books - Game of thrones by George R. R. Martin.

Ready to forget myself!

The books in the picture aren’t in sequence. Here’s the order in which you must read the series “A Song of Ice and Fire”:

  1. A Game of Thrones
  2. A Clash of Kings
  3. A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow
  4. A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold
  5. A Feast for Crows
  6. A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust
  7. A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast

I’m already at page 359 of A Game of Thrones, and this is just the beginning of my journey into Westeros and Essos.

I am also reminded of the only Game of Thrones character that I’ve ever sketched – Peter Dinklage in the role of the unforgettable Tyrion Lannister – the only Lannister who stands tall (I speak from what I know of him through the first 359 pages.)

Caricature, Cartoon, Pencil Portrait of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) - Game of Thrones

Knowledge and Cunning are my most lethal weapons!

 

 

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13 comments on “The Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

  1. Pingback: Read some, draw some, write some, but blog none? Ho hum! | Shafali's Caricatures, Portraits, and Cartoons

  2. My friends were all reading the books around the same time as the TV series started. It took me a while to get into the TV series, and I ummed and ahhed about reading the books, but bought the first one to take away on holiday with me. And was hooked. I bought the next, and then the next, and now I have them all so far…
    They’re a romance, in the original sense of the word: a modern version of the sorts of tales medieval and Renaissance folks loved.

    • And I am now stuck in Dance with Dragons – I don’t understand most of the new characters and their motives! The GRRM of the first three books was a storyteller – now he’s become a describer (if there’s a word like that!)

      • Yes! A lot of fiction has what I call an hourglass (or a figure 8) shape. It starts wide, with a bunch of diverse characters. The characters are drawn together and entangled, and the scope of the story narrows. Then, as the story moves to resolution, the characters rearrange themselves, spread out, and go their ways.

        Whereas with A Feast for Crows and A Dance of Dragons, GRRM has done the exact opposite – he seems to have split the story in two lines and moved into a lozenge shape.

        It’s a while since I read the latter, and can’t remember much about it, but I felt that he’d packed too much extraneous material in there, and could perhaps have saved it for a companion book. I also thought that he would have to work very hard at pulling all his characters together again.

        But then I decided, why regard A Song of Ice and Fire as as a novel? Think of it more as a modern version of a medieval/Renaissance romance. Structurally, they were all over the place, and keeping up with who’s doing what can be pretty difficult for the modern reader.

  3. LOL! I have the book Game of Thrones on my desk since 2008 (before the TV show) – got it at Forbidden Planet in London (staff pick)… Haven’t started it yet even though one editor told me my writing reminded her of Mr Martin’s… But those 1000 pages are daunting!!!!! You are very brave, my friend… 😘

  4. I am glad to know about the gift you received. Now, your year long yearning is going to be satiated. And your analogy of the wrap with an Indian bride wrapped in red saree is beautiful. But, I do not know anything about Game of Thrones or the author. So, I wonder why it is “Song of Ice and Fire”.

    • The series could’ve been called the Song of Ice and Fire for many reasons, but the one that’s most apparent is that the series tells the stories of battles and wars fought for the Iron throne – battles between reason and passion, calculated cunning and impulsive righteousness, and of course…there’s a lot of ice and dragon-fire in it too 🙂

    • I expect it to be a great experience. I’m just midway with the first book, but I love everything about it, except that it’s too “cold” to be read in winters, but who knows my numb fingers might actually be assisting the book in establishing a suspension of disbelief 🙂

      The whole aesthetic experience. You are right. That’s exactly what I too look for when I buy books and I hate it when the cover-treatment or the sizes of the books in a set don’t match 😦

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