Tuesday, April 10, 2012

ASoIaF reread: "A Game of Thrones" and "A Clash of Kings"

Although initially I planned to write a particular post for each of the books, I later changed my mind and combined it to one, simply because I didn't have much to say. I am continuing with my reread, so I will see whether "A Storm of Swords" and "A Feast for Crows" will be put in separate posts. "A Dance with Dragons" surely will be.

I don't plan to write in much detail about these books. Since there is ASoIaF madness going around, anybody who wants to find out what is going on in these books can do it without much hassle. Although, anything less than reading a book will result in only a partial experience. I have watched the first season of TV adaptation, "Game of Thrones", and although it follows the series pretty much correctly, it still cannot incorporate all the little details that make ASoIaF what it is. This is another reason why I won't write a short synopsis: every description would fail in catching a myriad of small details that makes this a series with one of the most complex plots available, with a matching cast of characters. Let's just say that "A Song of Ice and Fire" is a epic fantasy series, set in a very complex quasi-medieval and fantasy world (but one with very sparse use of magic), with a large case of complex and deep characters and without clear distinction between good and evil.

I really don't have much to say about the first book, "A Game of Thrones". It was not really a thrilling experience and I was glad to finish it. This is not a berating - aGoT is still one of best fantasy books I read, belonging to one of three my best series ever (along "The Wheel of Time" and "Malazan Book of the Fallen"). But I have read it at last half a dozen times, although not in last few years. Nevertheless, I pretty much remember everything from it. But more so, last year I read a Leigh Butler's ASoIaF reread on Tor.com, which is pretty detailed and would make me remember details even if I forgot them. And on top of that, I watched the first season of series recently. So you can imagine my lack of enthusiasm...

With "A Clash of Kings", things fared much better. Even though Leigh has gotten into reread of aCoK, she did less than half of it. A TV shows has only recently started showing, so I had a much better reading experience with it. But in the bottom, there is not much difference with these two books. Maybe it can be said that grayness of characters come to fore; also, the fact that you should not make an emotional attachment to characters. But maybe this comes from me knowing what will happen later.

This was the first time I read these books in original language they were written. Martin is quite a good writer, who can go into details deep as he wants (e.g. food) without ever getting boring. I don't know whether I knew this before and forgotten it, or is this the first time I realized it, but chapters in these two books are set strictly in time line. Meaning, events in any chapter happened later than those in chapter before (with one small possible exception toward the end).

Well, this is all I wanted to say about these two books. Now, I am getting onward with "A Storm of Swords".

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