Sunday, January 2, 2011

#ASoIaF Re-Read: The recap of A Game of Thrones

The first book in this series has been re-read and almost completely recapped. Should this continue with A Clash of Kings? I think another re-read would need some tweaking for format and length. For example, when I started this project, I had no idea that A Game of Thrones had 70+ chapters! (You can find links to all the chapters at the handy-dandy master index.) That's a lot of chapters. A Clash of Kings has even more. So... some tweaking is in order, if anything further is to happen.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, here is the final post for Book 1 in the series, serving up a recap of major characters, followed by a word or two about cover art.

Recaps are restricted to point-of-view (POV) characters, since they're the ones we know most. The others we can only speculate about.

Eddard (Ned)

The honorable one. He was set up to be the best man in the kingdom, but he was undermined by his political weakness. He looked like a major player right up to the moment Ser Ilyn lopped off his head. Losing him was a shock. The nature of his death affects the political landscape heavily.

The scared one. The most neurotic character in the book, Catelyn worries that other people have it in for her family. She wastes a lot of time suspecting the wrong people. She's hardly alone in that regard, but Catelyn's judgement isn't always sound. Readers have little love for her so far.

The gifted one. Seems like he'd be a good fit for the role of Young Hero Appearing In This Novel, and then he gets banished to the extreme north of the seven kingdoms, almost as far away from the political action as possible. Bummer, right? Not so fast. Jon faces all kinds of challenges in the Night's Watch, and he handles them with relatively little difficulty. He has the dark, brooding thing down to perfection--his next joke might be his first--but it's serious business being in a harsh place where you have to watch your back and you've spent your whole life as an inferior. Who wouldn't be moody if they had to go through that?

The surprising one. Maybe it's because expectations for him are unfairly lowered (no pun intended), but Tyrion surprises people wherever he goes with his intelligence. The Starks, Arryns, and even his own Lannisters are all guilty of underestimating the Imp. Yet he's gone from being the overlooked Lannister in the beginning, to the next Hand of the King. Even if you consider that office cursed (and it is cursed), Tyrion's had a remarkable ride though this first book, and he merits his appointment. And he's good for a laugh. Look at the other POV characters; without Tyrion, A Game of Thrones would almost be a laugh-free zone. This blogger appreciates a bit of humour.

The quiet one. He got the first POV chapter, and survived two murder attempts. Clearly, Bran serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things. His dreams and possible direwolf-connection hint at that. So far he's been one of the less exciting characters, but at least we learn about history from his POV. By the end of A Game of Thrones, it doesn't matter much if Bran ever remembers seeing Jaime and Cersei together. His revelations would likely be discredited, and what will the truth do? Ned is dead, and the kingdom is being torn apart. The only thing that might stick would be Jaime's attempted murder, but Jaime's gotten away with more serious murder before. Nothing significant would change.

The feisty one. Her tomboy act gets her into trouble from time to time, but it's part of her charm. She displays a temper and attitude unlike any of her other siblings. She also kicks ass--literally. Her studies with Syrio Forel gave her a grounding in the attack skills needed by duelists and assassins. We'll see how she uses those skills as she tries to elude Lannister forces. Readers expect big things from this girl. She has potential, but can she survive on her own?

The delusional one. She acts like a stuck-up princess for a while. Her fights with Arya don't gain her any sympathy from readers. Yet she shows her mettle once the Stark family is in trouble. Armed with only her schooling and manners, Sansa has to try and survive alone amongst her enemies. She has potential, but can she survive as a virtual prisoner in King's Landing?

The wild card. One of the more polarizing figures in the series, based on my non-scientific polling of readers. (Disagree? Let me know.) I started off skipping her chapters to get back to whatever was going on in Westeros. I've since learned to appreciate her. She certainly gets things done; in A Game of Thrones alone she's been sold into marriage, become a respected khaleesi, avoided assassination, witnessed her brother's death and demise, carried a child to term, lost the child, lost her husband, performed blood magic, and become a mother to dragons. That's a healthy resume. When she gets around to claiming the Iron Throne, the Seven Kingdoms had better be ready for her.


My copy of the book has the golden lion design. I prefer the dragon cover, but the lion (direwolf?) cover has a good design, and allows for a unified approach, and you'll notice if you look at the subsequent books. It isn't a painted cover, and I'd like to know if people prefer that or not. Because when you have painted covers, you can have results like...

1) The original, illustrated cover. As illustrated fantasy covers go, it isn't bad. I think it's supposed to depict Jon (looking a bit too old), Ghost (looking a bit stiff and not at all frightening), and Winterfell (looking a bit like it's burning... and that doesn't happen... yet). Inaccurate, but not terrible.

2) The French cover, depicting what looks like a portion of Castle Black, and the Wall. Very imposing. I like it a lot.

Does anyone else have a preferred cover treatment? Are there other covers out there that should be represented here? Please let me know.


That about sums up everything for the novel A Game of Thrones. Thank you for reading along. Please come back for future updates.

Happy reading!


Lana said...

Not to be pedantic, but I'm pretty sure that's actually supposed to be a the Starks' heraldic direwolf, not a lion on the cover.

I also just wanted to say that I've enjoyed this recap and would love to see further posts on A Clash of Kings!

Errant Knave said...

You know, I never even considered that it was a direwolf. That makes a whole lot more sense, when you consider that there was only one Lannister POV. I assumed it was a lion because it clearly looks like it was modeled on the lion insignias used by British nobility. Thanks for pointing that out. And thanks for reading the posts! I hope to have more series-related entries on the way soon.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...