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Winter is Coming.

In a land where summer can last for years, and winter for a lifetime; the warm summer winds draw their final breaths. As winter begins to crawl nearer, plots, tragedy, betrayals, and terror take reign over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and The Others begin to stir-up an army of the undead beyond the Wall in the north ó a magic barrier spanning 300 miles, and over 700 feet high.

King Robert BaratheonĎs (the first of his dynasty) hold on the throne is a tenuous one; being known mainly as a drunkard and for his regular visits to brothels, and his poor administration skills have led forces to move against him and to try to claim the throne for themselves. Turning to his best friend, Robert bestows the honor of being the Kingís hand to Lord Eddard Stark; Warden of the North. With treachery afoot and tensions rising between the Starks and the Lannisters, his life, and the lives of his family, his friends and his king are at stake and thrown into turmoil.

The Targaryen children, Daenerys and her brother Viserys are the only two remaining heirs of the old dynasty. Living in exile; Daenerys gets married off to a Dothraki Khal in hopes of getting an army to invade Westeros and reclaim the Iron Throne, bringing down The Usurper ó Robert Baratheon ó so that they may reclaim their crown.

George R. R. MartinĎs Game of Thrones, book one of a Song of Ice and Fireis an engaging read, filled with unexpected plot-twists, political intrigue, war and love. Martin has written it so brilliantly and vividly that it quickly pulls you in to the world and doesnít let go. However, the prologue can be a bit misleading, as it can make it seem like the fantasy elements will be more prevalent. Fantastical elements play a minor role, and takes a back-seat to the political intrigue and focus on the forthcoming wars. The series does contain matters such as incest, rape, and violence; the kind of things that may cause readers to shy away from the books. However, they do help the story keep its integrity and play vital roles in the development of the book.

Martinís pacing was well done, as in most epic fantasy novels (I use this term loosely, as itís actually low-fantasy; Ďepicí here is just used in regards to size) there were a few moments that seemed extraneous and that dragged on a bit; but overall it was well done and itís easy to overlook those few moments.

Martin is also quite talented for doing the unexpected, and has absolutely no problem with finding a succulent head, sticking it on a nice sharpened pike and displaying it for the world; no matter how loved that character may have been or perhaps how long people expected them to be around for.

This book has undoubtedly been reviewed to death; but I figured it was about time for me to chip in my two cents.  Also, the show? Go watch it. It hasnít been completely butchered! (Though, do expect to see lots of cleavage, sexual content and whatnot ó but then again, itís HBO, when donít you get that?)

Written by: Rebecca Lovatt

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