When you Play the Game of Thrones…

A Game of Thrones is the first book inGeorge R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire series.  There are currently 4 books in the series, with a 5th, A Dance with Dragons, coming out in a few months.

A Game of Thrones, which was recently turned into a mini-series by HBO, is an epic tale of honor, duty, and betrayal, told from the perspectives of 8 different characters; Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, Eddard Stark, his wife, Catelyn Tully and their children,AryaSansaBran, and Eddard’s bastard son, Jon Snow.  Outside the Stark Family, the story also follows the lives of two major characters, Tyrion Lannister, of the wealthy and powerful House of Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen, daughter of the dethroned, and murdered,King Aerys II Targaryen.

The events in A Game of Thrones take place a few years after the war wherein mad King Aerys II was deposed and murdered by one of his trusted guards. Eddard Stark was one of the key figures in the epic battle which heralded a new age and a new king, Eddard’s beloved friend, Robert Baratheon.

With the old mad King dead and a new King crowned, hope runs high among the people of the Seven Kingdoms. Though Robert Baratheon tries to uphold his duties as the new ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, he soon gives in to excessive drinking and whoring to the dismay of his council.  At the sudden death of his most trusted advisor, King Robert seeks the help and guidance of his long-time friend, Eddard Stark of Winterfell, and proclaims him the new Hand of the King.

However, darkness looms just over the horizon, as exiled descendants of King Aerys II, and heir to the Iron Throne plot to kill King Robert and re-claim the kingdom that is rightfully theirs.

Closer to home, dangers also  lurk in every corner, as Eddard Stark and members of his family discover secrets no one was ever meant to learn, and get caught up in a web of lies, deceit and betrayal.

The HBO mini-series has been pretty faithful to the novel, keeping with the sequence of events, and even using the same dialogue.  The 10-part mini-series seems to be finishing off the entire 1st book, with the second season in 2012 hopefully following the plot of the 2nd book in the series, A Clash of Kings.

Though intimidating at first because of its length, the short chapters in A Game of Thrones, told from the perspective of different characters make it a fast and quite interesting read.

After reading this first book in the series, I can’t help but feel that A Game of Thrones is just an introductory book, a prelude of things to come, setting the stage for the main events of the series, which might take place in the second book,  A Clash of Kings, or in the 3rd book, A Storm of Swords. 

As Queen Cersei Lannister so aptly put it:  ”When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”

Let the games begin…

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