Place your bets: Game of Thrones vs. Lord of the Rings

Game of Thrones TV show Jaime LannisterMTV Geek interviewed A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin about who would win in a fight: the characters from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or his own Game of Thrones series.

You can watch his responses in the video here. Just beware of spoilers, unless you’ve read A Storm of Swords/Film says you’re home free if you skip from 00:14 to 00:36.

Below are the matchups. The final count is 3-7 in favor of Tolkien. Do you agree with Martin’s assessments, or do you think he’s giving the heroes and villains of LotR too much credit? Can you think of any other good pairings?

The Lord of the Rings movie AragornAragon vs. Jaime Lannister
Smaug vs. Balerion
Saruman vs. Melisandre
Wargs vs. Direwolves
Ice vs. Glamdring
Frodo vs. Tyrion
Nazgûl vs. White Walkers
Cave Troll vs. Mag the Mighty
Gimli vs. The Mountain
Ned Stark vs. Boromir

A crown for everyone: a review of A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings by Stephen Youll

OK, this one took me forever to read, and not because it’s shy of 1000 pages. Life happens.

Since this is a sequel, I’m going to discuss A Clash of Kings a little differently, so yes — SPOILERS will abound.

Click through for the review, or read my thoughts on A Game of Thrones.

Continue reading “A crown for everyone: a review of A Clash of Kings”

Less song, more George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin has a lot of monkeys on his back.

You can hardly blame the guy. He does have a shitload to do and people keep yelling at him.

But you’re a readaholic. You want that sixth book now, dammit.

So do comedy team Paul and Storm, who urge the author of A Song of Ice and Fire to “write and write faster” in their “Write Like the Wind” music video.

Maybe what Martin needs is gentle goading. Then again, for every second he’s listening to you whine or watching your video appeals, he could be writing.

Shame on you.

Winter is coming: a review of A Game of Thrones

How small the difference between victory and defeat, between life and death.

Not all books muster up to the hype surrounding them. The Night Circus was one such example—a beautiful debut, but unpolished in many ways. George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, the first entry in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, meets its praise full-on.

To be frank, I didn’t know what to expect from A Game of Thrones. I knew Martin had developed a reputation as a merciless writer, so I avoided reviews as usual to keep spoilers and impressions at bay. I also understood the HBO series was popular, but fantasy shows aren’t always made of the best stuff.

Reading the first book was an interesting experience because my boyfriend was starting a different fantasy series at the same time. Every complaint he had about the unrealistic writing, and every silly sentence I would see overloaded with Great Things in Capital Letters and Goofy Names, were refreshingly absent in Martin’s book. Where the other series lacked believable character motivations, A Game of Thrones gave me them in excess. These characters are so clearly positioned in opposition to one another, or conversely in alliance, that betrayals and back-stabbings are the only natural courses to take.

The first chapter perfectly demonstrates Martin’s skill as a fantasy writer: He knows how to use the world and, more importantly, the environment at hand. He crafts descriptions that feel authentic to the characters’ surroundings, and through them gives credibility to events. The whispered things that dwell outside the Wall are fit for the trees and cold and dark that they call home.

Martin also has a talent for bringing importance to every chapter, and he never fails to remind us of the misogynistic, war-hardened land and its brutal politics. That’s where the book takes its title from, after all: the different ruling classes and their endless games.

A Game of Thrones is a grounded, convincing tale because Martin introduces fantastic elements little by little, rather than all at once. There’s no magical prophecies or chosen ones, but there is a direwolf with a stag antler pierced through its body—an evil omen if one ever existed.

The writing never grows dull, although the middle does bend under its own weight as the author leads us toward the final act. He doesn’t make the mistake of focusing too heavily on the ending, so as to sacrifice story, but he could have cut a couple hundred pages.

The book itself bridges the divide between adult and children’s fantasy, focusing on explicit scenes of sex and violence in one chapter and the squabbles and pride of youth in another, and its presence in both worlds makes it all the more interesting.

Martin, a careful and wise writer who tends to characters as closely as plot, writes the beginnings of a tale not meant for the weak of heart. Characters suffer. You’ll dread the consequences … much like those tangled up in the war themselves.