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A Game of Thrones

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are amassing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a take of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no man-made metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne, and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win the deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

A Song of Ice and Fire – in which A Game of Thrones is the first book – doesn’t have chapters so much as it has characters. It has so many different characters that it can be confusing at times, but one might say that A Game of Thrones is comprised of vignettes featuring Jon Snow, Bran Stark, Eddard (aka Ned) Stark, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, Catelyn Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen.

It takes awhile to get to the meat of the story, but this book very much sets up future books in the series. George R.R. Martin does take his time describing things, but he doesn’t waste words. As long as they might be at times, the descriptions are necessary to contextualize the story.

With quite a few cliffhangers, it’s an easy book to get sucked into. And it doesn’t let go.