As Warden of the North, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the King’s Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must… and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.
The old Gods have no power in the South, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Thone.
With all the hype from the TV series, I had obviously heard about this book, and finally decided to pick it up when it was recommended to me. I have only just discovered the fantasy genre, mainly reading books aimed at young adults, so I was unsure what to expect. I had heard it was a bit slow at the start, but I didn’t find that as you were learning about the different characters and about their relationships with each other. There are many twists and turns in this book which makes it exciting and hard to put down.
There are three main storylines in this book. The first is the story about “The Game of Thones” which is the nickname for the power struggle between four high powered families who want to either influence or take the throne for themselves.
The second storyline crosses over slightly with the first, as it follows the Night Watch. A brotherhood where their members are sworn in and have to cut ties completely to their existing families. They are not allowed wives or to father children. Their life is now with the Night Watch until they die. Their duty is to protect the Kingdom, which a huge wall separates the Kingdom from the wilds and the many different creatures that roam the wilds.
The third storyline is about a brother and sister who are the last of the Dragonstones after a previous King killed their family to take the throne, thirteen years previously. The brother and sister fled and lived their lives in the Free Cities. The sister marries into the Dothraki and the story follows their progression through the Free Cities. This storyline does not cross over with the other two.
It was a great book, and when reading it, it didn’t feel too long (even at over 800 pages). I think this helped by the short chapters, and from the many different characters points of view it is told from. It is a bit gory at times and a few adult themes, but this did not overshadow the concept of the book at all. I am very excited to read the next in the series.