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III Huge, expanding story lines. I tend to like some sort of focus but every corner you turn in this series can end up leading you down a seemingly endless rabbit hole of minor noble houses, their retainers, local squabbles, history etc.

For many people, indeed for a decent chunk of a whole generation of fantasy authors, George RR Martin's A Game of Thrones was a step change in the genre. For me and a lot of other authors Martin's work opened our eyes to what felt like a whole different world of what fantasy writing could be, and we've run out into those new territories eager to try to copy not the style or substance, but the quality.

In my youth when we entered a fantasy land we were expected to suspending our belief about magic and alternate worlds, but not only that. They didn't feel like actual regular humans, bound by the same fears, worries, ambitions, aches and pains as you and I - they felt more like actors in roles, cogs in a plot engine, icons and ciphers. They were too good, or too evil.

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Fantasy had its conventions and we played within them, reader and author exercised a mutual understanding regarding the rules - rather like ancient Greek theatre, or a musical where for no reason the cast can break from the story into a rousing song. Of course I exaggerate. And this isn't to say that authors didn't weave fascinating and compelling stories within those conventions.

The fantasy of the 70s and 80s kept me very happy and some of it was written by writers of surpassing genius. Even so The step I'm talking about may be entirely artificial or demonstrable fact. It may be that in the 90's when I was reading very little fantasy the genre moved smoothly into what it is now. It may be that GRRM is talked of as a step change by so many simply because his success meant that A Game of Thrones was the first book that fantasy exiles actually picked up after their absence, and thus they saw in it a 'sudden' significant difference Either way, what he did was to present us with real people.

I'm not talking about the 'gritty realism' that is of late so hotly debated in some quarters of the interwebs - I'm just talking about the strength of his characterisation, the creation of real people with everyday weaknesses, wants, ambitions, set in a world that feels like it has a genuine past that matters to them, both on the grand and small scales.

What he did drew many people back into the genre, as readers and as writers. His work was both a challenge and an invitation. He showed what fantasy could be. Real people who didn't carry a particular flaw around like an attribute rolled up in a role-playing game, but who were complex, capable of both good and evil, victims of circumstance, heroes of the moment. Heroes in gleaming mail could suffer from corns without it being a joke. I don't write anything like George RR Martin.

I don't lay claim to any significant portion of his talent. But I do count myself as one of his many inheritors in this game you can inherit without requiring the other person to stop writing! And what I inherited was the desire if not the ability to put it all on the page. Fantasy no longer feels like an acquired taste, a club where you have to learn the conventions, the forms, what the masks mean, what the short hand is for And I love it.

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There is no middle ground. So in one weekend I finally finished the book I picked up and put down about ten years ago, and watched the final episode of the TV series I have loved for eight years. How odd that the book ended up better than I expected, and the TV show, um Warning: I will be talking about the depiction of rape in this review.

I think I was more ready to commit this time around. I'd already watched the "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. I'd already watched the show and become invested in the characters, so reading pages about them didn't seem so unattractive. I think it's quite well-written, especially the dialogue, which is where Martin shines.

It's also just entertaining for the most part. The bloody vicious backstabbing kind of entertainment that, apparently, I do like. It's also an amazing feat of world building. I was blown away by the amount of thought and detail that has gone into this-- and it's just the first book. Martin has considered details that would never have even crossed my mind - little sayings, folktales and quirks particular to the people of certain regions or certain houses - but it all serves to make a very rich and complex world that is all the more believable for it. He has created a whole new universe from scratch, one with thousands of years of history, and many different peoples and cultures.

It's breathtaking, honestly. Unfortunately, it's not all good. Saying nothing of the show's finale, there are many strong and smart women in this series with fantastic story arcs, and yet the book and show cannot shake some of its misogyny. Tatiana covered this well. I got further than I remembered. It was that moment during Dany and Drogo's wedding when a woman is raped.

It wasn't the rape in itself. Though of course I find rape deeply disturbing, I also know that it has been a horrible but true reality in many wars and societies. Showing that it happens does not seem unrealistic. What I found truly awful about this one scene, though, was the way the woman was barely described as a person.

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BLACK BEAUTY

We don't know what her name was, what she looked like, what her reaction was, or what her fate was. This woman being raped was so throwaway, with the focus of the scene being the Dothraki who were raping her and fighting over her. The only thing that kept me reading this time was knowing that there are so many amazing female characters in this series who are treated with empathy and - for the most part - respect by the author.

It seemed like a very odd decision to have year olds leading wars and revolutions. This would be a good series if you're a fan of gory historical fiction. You know the kind with bloody battles, political upheaval, and despicable people? It's like that, but with dragons. Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube View all 42 comments. Sep 01, MJ Nicholls marked it as getting-even.

We HATE this beyond belief. Oct 30, Miranda Reads rated it it was amazing Shelves: audiobook , chesuggested-reads-fall Okay - I am SO incredibly late to this party but hey, I made it! And the hype was real! Winter is coming. Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark lives with his family in a world where the seasons are thrown completely off - summers last decades, and winters are equally long. His five children, plus his bastard son Jon Snow are on the way back to their home, Winterfell, when they stumble upon and subsequently adopt six direwolf pups the symbol of the Starks , with the albino runt going to John.

When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. Upon returning home, King Robert Baratheon, an old friend of Ned, recruits the Lord to replace the adviser to the crown.


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At first, he was hesitant but upon learning that the Queen Cersei Lannister may be behind the death of the previous adviser, he decides to go in order to protect his friend. Unfortuntately, before he goes, Bran Ned's youngest son discovers that view spoiler [ the Queen is having an affair with her brother hide spoiler ] which results in Bran becoming crippled. Ned must leave his grievously injured son and travel with Sansa and Arya Ned's daughters to the King's Landing Meanwhile, tensions increase between the Starks and the Lannisters, especially between Joffrey, the crown prince, and the Stark children mount.

And tensions further rise when it's discovered that Tyrion Lannister's dagger is the one found near Bran Meanwhile, Jon Snow volunteered to go to the Wall - a barrier surrounding the Seven Kingdoms made of ice an magic - under the impression that it is a brave and noble occupation. Nothing burns like the cold. After a period of rough adjustment, Jon finds his place among the recruits only to discover something distinctly Other lives beyond these walls.

Fear cuts deeper than swords. Across the way, there is revenge on the air. Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen are the last living Targaryens - the old ruling family before King Robert Baratheon overthrew their father, murdered their family and banished them to poverty. Viserys is dead set on getting his kingdom back, and soon betrothed Daenerys , his thirteen-year-old sister, to Khal Drogo, a nomadic warlord with the promise of an army in exchange and three petrified dragon eggs for Daenerys.

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Daenerys is terrified at first, but soon embraces her role as Queen of the nomadic tribes, even finding the courage to stand up to her brother. When Khal Drogo is injuried, Daenerys is forced to make the ultimate decision And, I finally get the hype but gosh dang, this one was a challenge to follow at times.

The plot jumped place to place to place, weaving together such an amazing world in such an exciting way Even then, I was absolutely hooked by the complexity of both the characters themselves and the intricate politics that accompanied them I loved the plot of Daenerys - the way she overcame her situation and ultimately ruled the clan was absolutely enthralling. She was a small part of the overall plot, but I'm so excited to see where her character goes. The politics, at times, became too much but every time I would get the least bit bored the plot would pick up and there'd be an absolute insane twist.

Such a good one - so excited for the next! Fabulous tone and pacing, good use of emotion. Blog Instagram Twitter View all 69 comments. I tried reading this a long time ago and gave up very quickly.

Playing to Win

I know many love it but I think from the start I knew it wasn't for me. Looooong fantasy series never have been, for some reason. And, even though I will never return to this series, can we all just take a minute to admit that how I spent my weekend is kinda cool And a sneaky bonus for Torchwood fans! Just so you know, all the cool people totally close I tried reading this a long time ago and gave up very quickly. Just so you know, all the cool people totally close their eyes during at least one photo truefact View all 76 comments.

Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell English Quaker ()

Shelves: owned , fantasy-scifi , my-very-best-reads , books-reviewed , the-sweeping-epic , reading-it-again. I've read over a different fantasy authors in my time. So, when I came back to fantasy I read the usual: Goodkind, Jordan, etc.