A Game of Thrones
By George R. R. Martin. I had an exam yesterday (which went well, thanks for asking..), and after the exam I decided that I just wanted to take time off and read something I didn’t have to read; something I actually wanted to read because I assumed the reading experience would be enjoyable. A friend recommended this (book) series and I’ve also been made aware that there’s a tv-series I may want to give a try.
I’ve read half of the book (400 pages) by now and I expect to finish it sometime tomorrow. I also have procured A Clash of Kings, the next book in the series, and if I’m not disappointed during the last half of this book I’ll move on to read that as well sometime soon.
It’s a very good read so far but/and that’s mainly due to the storyline and the imaginary world Martin has created for us; the greatest problem I have with the book is the fact that there are a lot of people to keep track of and that it’s not always easy to figure out right away which ones are ‘important enough’ for you to need to need to remember them and who they are and what their uncle did in that war a long time ago. But that said, this is not a major problem, and the stuff is interesting even though you can’t always quite remember just who this particular guy is; the major characters reappear again and again so you gradually familiarize yourself with the characters even though they’re sometimes a bit hard to keep track of. I find it hard to illustrate the page-turner aspect of this book with quotes, but below I’ve added a few quotes from the first half anyway:
“Daenerys said nothing. She had always assumed that she would wed Viserys when she came of age. For centuries the Targaryens had married brother to sister, since Aegon the Conqueror had taken his sisters to bride. The line must be kept pure, Viserys had told her a thousand times […] yet now Viserys schemed to sell her to a stranger, a barbarian. […] “Are you sure tha Khal Drogo likes his women this young?” [Daenerys is 13] “She has had her blood. She is old enough for the khal,” Illyrio told him, not for the first time. […] “We go home with an army, sweet sister. With Khal Drogo’s army, that is how we go home. And if you must wed him and bed him for that, you will.” He smiled at her. “I’d let his whole khalasar fuck you if need be, sweet sister, all forty thousand men, and their horses too if that was what it took to get my army.”” [these last words were said by Viserys, the older brother of Daenerys – from what I’ve read so far, he seems like a very nice guy…]
[Her son (7 years old) lies paralyzed in a bed nearby, unconscious. The (‘bastard’) son of her husband, who has lived with the family all his life and been considered a brother by this woman’s young children, visits in order to say goodbye as he’s leaving the castle very soon, in all likelihood for the rest of his life. The last thing the woman says to him before he leaves:] “”It should have been you,” she told him.” [As in, she’d wish he was the one who’d broken his back and lay unconscious in that bed. And I still believe she’s actually supposed to be one of the sympathetic characters in this story, though as you can probably gather these things are complicated too…]
“Sansa did not really know Joffrey yet, but she was already in love with him. He was all she ever dreamt her prince should be, tall and handsome and strong, with hair like gold. She treasured every chance to spend time with him, few as they were. […] All she wanted was for things to be nice and pretty, the way they were in the songs. Why couldn’t Arya [her sister] be sweet and delicate and kind, like Princess Myrcella? She would have liked a sister like that.”
“As the others took their accustomed seats, it struck Eddard Stark forcefully that he did not belong here, in this room, with these men. He remembered what Robert had told him in the crypts below Winterfell. I am surrounded by flatterers and fools, the king had insisted. Ned looked down the council table and wondered which were the flatterers and which were the fools. He thought he knew already.”
“”Your sister sits beside the king. Your brother is a great knight, and your father the most powerful lord in the Seven Kingdoms. Speak to them for us. Tell them of our need here. You have seen for yourself, my lord. The Night’s Watch is dying. Our strength is less than a thousand now. Six hundred here, two hundred in the Shadow Tower, even fewer at Eastwatch, and a scant third of those fighting men. The Wall is a hundred leagues long. Think on that. Should an attack come, I have three men to defend each mile of wall.” […] He was in deadly earnest, Tyrion realized. He felt faintly embarrased for the old man. Lord Mormont had spent a good part of his life on the Wall, and he needed to believe if those years were to have any meaning. “I promise, the king will hear of your need,” Tyrion said gravely, “and I will speak to my father and my brother Jaime as well.” And he would. Tyrion Lannister was as good as his word. He left the rest unsaid; that King Robert would ignore him, Lord Tywin would ask if he had taken leave of his senses, and Jaime would only laugh.”
“”the common people are waiting for him. Magister Illyrio says they are sewing dragon banners and praying for Viserys to return from across the narrow sea to free them.” “The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends,” Ser Jorah told her. “It is no matter to them if the high lords play the game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace.” He gave a shrug. “They never are.”
“”Is there a man in your service that you trust utterly and completely?””Yes,” said Ned.
“In that case, I have a delightful palace in Valyria that I would dearly love to sell you,” Littlefinger said with a mocking smile. “The wise answer was no, my lord, but be that as it may. […]
“Lord Petyr,” Ned called after him. “I … am grateful for your help. Perhaps I was wrong to distrust you.”
Littlefinger fingered his small beard. “You are slow to learn, Lord Eddard. Distrusting me was the wisest thing you’ve done since you climbed down off your horse.”
“I will not keep you long, my lord. There are things you must know. You are the King’s Hand, and the king is a fool.” […] “Your friend, I know, yet a fool nonetheless … and doomed, unless you save him. Today was a near thing. They had hoped to kill him during the melee.”
For a moment, Ned was speechless with shock. “Who?”
Varys sipped his wine. “If I truly need to tell you that, you are a bigger fool than Robert and I am on the wrong side.”
“Varys will quietly let it be known that we’ll make a lord of whoever does in the Targaryen girl.”
Ned was disgusted. “So now we grant titles to assasins?”
Littlefinger shrugged. “Titles are cheap. The Faceless Men are expensive. If truth be told, I did the Targaryen girl more good than you with all your talk of honor. Let some sellsword drunk on visions of lordship try to kill her. Likely he’ll make a botch of it, and afterward the Dothraki will be on their guard. If we’d sent a Faceless Man after her, she’d be as good as buried.”
Ned frowned. “You sit in council and talk of ugly women and steel kisses, and now you expect me to believe that you tried to protect the girl? How big a fool do you take me for?”
“Well, quite an enormous one, actually,” said Littlefinger, laughing.
“Do you always find murder so amusing, Lord Baelish?”
“It’s not murder I find amusing, Lord Stark, it’s you. You rule like a man dancing on rotten ice.”