A Song of Ice and Fire: The Books That Were Promised

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A Quick Review of a Long Series: ASOIF

This is a spoiler-free review of A Song of Ice and Fire, and it is also a brief comparison of ASOIF vs. the GOT TV show.

The GRR Martin epic fantasy series, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” has been compared most often to Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Of course, most of today’s readers were not alive to suffer the torment as Tolkien wrote his epic series out in stages that lasted from 1937 until 1949. Also, that only did take 12 years, and readers are still eagerly awaiting the last two books in this series (the books that were promised), and it’s been 19 years since the first publication of Game of Thrones.

The main complaint in this review is that there is no copy of The Winds of Winter or A Dream of Spring to read yet. However, nobody can fault the author for neglecting to create a complex fantasy that inspires almost obsessive devotion from fans. That’s a lot of responsibility, and all readers are hopeful that the completed masterpiece will be worth the wait. It might make one wonder if ASOIF will be quite as special to future generations who could just read all of the books.

Find A Song of Ice and Fire Books

Game of Thrones on TV vs. ASOIF Books

The book became quite popular, but it never would have been quite as popular as it currently is without the Game of Thrones TV show on HBO. At least, the show airs every year, even if for only 10 episodes. The biggest problem with that is that the TV show has caught up and even passed the book on some story threads.

Also, the two stories run parallel, but they are not identical. People who have died, for example, in the show are still alive and waging the game of thrones in the books. Others who came back from the dead in the books, are still considered dead on HBO. In a way, this is a courtesy for book readers because they can still expect surprises even if the show passes the books. Meanwhile, many of the “unsullied,” or TV show watchers, have never read the books and may not ever intend to.

What Makes ASOIF That Good?

Few readers doubt that GRR Martin has created a world and populated it with characters that are all so engaging that readers care about what happens to them. In some cases, readers may care that they live or even hope that they die, but they care.

Also, Martin has subverted some tropes of fantasy and even story telling. Good guys die, and that’s even true of guys and gals that readers think are the main characters. As some fade or outright get their heads chopped off, other minor characters become more important. In this way, the world is realistic. In real life, good guys don’t always win and very often, greedy and even crazy people come out on top.

Of course, almost everybody in this series is neither entirely good nor entirely bad. Of course, some are more sympathetic than others. However, characters that might be hated in the beginning may become more sympathetic later, or they may just become more sympathetic when their actions are viewed through a different point of view.

Part of the reason that Martin can pull this off so well is because of the third-person, limited point of view that he employs. Each chapter is written from the point of view of a character, so the reader only knows what that character knows. From one character’s perspective, another character might have committed an awful act. However, when viewed from that character’s point of view, the act may have been somewhat justified.

Is the TV Show or Book Series Better?

It’s hard to say if ASOIF is better than GOT. Of course, a lot of readers will say that. It’s just that no TV show or movie can hope to match the scope of details that a novel can offer. If somebody had to choose one, the books might win. However, most fans both read the books, watch the show, and find other ways to hang onto GRR Martin’s every word.



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  1. easefeeds says:

    Wow, yeah.. we need another ASOIF book! I remember waiting for the next Harry Potter book with my kids. Of course, that usually only took a year each. 🙂

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