A Song of Fire and Ice: Game of Thrones

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Game of Thrones is the first installment out of the seven of the series of The Song of Fire and Ice written by George RR Martin. Yes, everyone seems to recognize this book with the television series. The first series which HBO aired of Game of Thrones was based on this very book.  Every season is based on one book.  But then again the book is extremely different and has more twists and turns than the television.

The book is basically set up in the ‘mythical land of Westros’. Westros is divided into Seven main parts and the King which sits on the Throne is called the kind of the Seven Kingdoms. The throne on which the king sits is called the ‘Iron Throne’ as it is made up of swords and is extremely cold to sit on, at least that’s what the characters in the book say.

It begins with a Prologue in which the incident takes place beyond the wall. The wall is a huge wall which protects the seven kingdoms from the wildlings and the other dark creatures which lie north of the wall. The wall is made up of stone, snow and magic.

The seven kingdoms lie south of the wall. In the prologue itself, the darkest and the most dangerous creatures of the North makes its appearance called the wights also called the others. The wall has a sworn brotherhood known as the Black Brothers or the men of the Night’s watch. These men swear an oath to protect the wall with their lives and to leave their old lives behind and take no children or wives. The wall is said to have protected the kingdom for thousands of years. In the prologue when the others make their appearance there are three other characters which face the wights in the forest, out of those three only one survives, who desserts the wall and goes south. The nearest to the Wall is Winterfell where he is captured and sentenced to death, as every deserter is. Ned Stark, The Lord of Winterfell, announces the sentence and swings the sword. On the way back to their castle, they find 6 direwolf pups. The direwolves are the sigil of the house of Stark. So, it is believed that the Old Gods have destined it for Ned Stark’s children. Five of them were of the same litter and one of a different litter. One for each of his children but the one completely different was meant for his bastard son Jon Snow. South of the wall, the king which holds the iron throne lives in King’s Landing which is the capital city of Westros. For thousands of years Targaryen’s have held that seat. The Westros was conquered by Ameon Targaryen who came to Westroes with his dragons and the whole kingdom the knelt in front of him. But there was a lot of incest in their family. The tradition of the Targaryen’s was to wed their own brothers and sisters.  Because of the incest insanity spread into their later generations.

The last Targaryen was over thrown by the Robert Baratheon and last King of the line of Targaryens was killed by Jamie Lannister, also known as the Kingslayer throughout the series. The story basically revolves around the four houses of Stark, Baratheon, Lannnisters and Targaryens which want to gain control over the Westros and sit on the Iron Throne. The Game of Thrones begins after the death of King Robert Baratheon. Robert was married to Cersei Lannister with whom he had three children, which were actually by him but by Cersie’s own brother Jamie.

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Before the death of Robert, he goes over to Winterfell to invite his best friend Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark, the Warden of the North and Lord of Winterfell. They both were wards in the court of Jon Arryn of the Vale. After the death of Jon, Robert invites Eddard to be the hand of the king, which is considered to be the second highest position in the court after the king himself as he has the right to take decision in the name of the King. Ned, has 6 children out of which 5 from his wife Catelyn who was a daughter to Lord Tully. Ned has a bastard born named ‘Jon Snow’ who is the same age as his other son Robb Stark. When Robert arrives in Winterfell, Ned’s brother Benjen also arrives from the Wall in order to receive the King. Jon, as he is a bastard born is treated differently and is kept out of all the affairs. The previous hand of the King was murdered, and Catelyn’s sister Lysa was married to him. Lysa sends a message to Cat saying that her husband had been murdered, which makes Ned accept the offer and move to King’s Landing in order to find the truth.

 

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Meanwhile in the east the two surviving Targaryen’s Visery’s and Daenerys  have grown up and Viserys decides to sell his sister in marriage to Khal Drogo of the Dothrakis in order to be able to get his men and attack Westros and regain their kingdom. The book takes a lot of twists and turns and leaves one wondering about what happened and why that happened. A must read for all the fantasy lovers. George RR Martin is indeed a very good writer and its better to read the book first and then watch the television series.

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