by George R. R. Martin
I don’t poke my nose into fantasy literature very often but, when I do, it’s generally a positive experience. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books are enchanting, and T. H. White’s The Once and Future King gobsmacked me with its brilliant take on the legend of King Arthur.
George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones isn’t quite in the same league as Potter and King, but I admire Martin’s ambition. Creating a huge cast of characters and detailed description (too detailed at times; must we learn the name, lineage, and attire of every knight, peasant, and maiden in the story?), Martin unveils “Westeros,” a mythical land bearing a strong resemblance to medieval England, and one in which warring clans battle for control of its Seven Kingdoms. It’s a (mostly) believable world, but it never really captivated me the way the Potter series did, and it lacks the charm of The Once and Future King. It is not, however, short on graphic sex and violence.
Thrones is a long book, the first in a planned series of seven volumes. This might be one of those rare instances where you are better off watching the TV version on HBO, rather than investing weeks, or months, of your life on this massive written opus.
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