Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Song of Ice and Fire

This past summer I had the pleasure of watching a mini-series on HBO called "A Game of Thrones".  This mini-series is based upon a series of books written by American author George R.R. Martin and called "A Song of Ice and Fire".  Currently there are 5 books in the series that have been published and another 2 books are planned.

Two months ago I began the herculean task of reading these books.  It is a herculean task because most of the books are in excess of 1000 pages.  These books are extremely captivating so once you actually begin reading them, they have your rapt attention.  Often I will stay up at night until 1AM or 2AM reading as I just can't put the book down.  I am currently on the 3rd book and hope to finish it within the next week or two.

(The contested throne from the Game of Thrones.  All pictures are from HBO.)
"A Song of Ice and Fire" is in the fantasy genre and is based upon a world in a medieval state.  There are castles, knights, princes, kings, and epic battles.  There is also a bit of imagination at play as there are also dragons and undead creatures called the Others.  The world of Ice and Fire is a very challenging place to live due to the fact that the seasons will last for years.  When the story starts the world is in the midst of one of the longest summers that has ever been.  As the story progresses hints of autumn begins to arrive and every knows that the longer the summer - then the winter will be even longer and the entire world will be covered with snow and ice.

The main story line through the first few books is how 3 different families are vying for the control of the "Seven Kingdoms".  There is much treachery, murder and other horrible acts that eventually plunge the world into full-scale war between the three different camps.  Unfortunately for the people who inhabit this world, these wars and conflicts couldn't come at a worst time as winter is coming and the real threat to the world lies in the frozen wastes of the north where the "Others" are gathering their strength to attack the kingdoms of mankind.

These books are a very captivating read and many people have compared them to the "Lord of the Rings" Saga by J. R.R. Tolkien.  Additionally, when you start scratching below the surface of the books there are many lessons and important messages that you can pick from them.  Two of these lessons are represented by the declared bywords of two of the great houses that are battling each other - The Lannisters and The Starks.  The Lannisters are by far the most devious and evil family vying for power.  Their maxim is "a Lannister always pays their debts".  Unfortunately for those who are owed the debts it usually means a grisly ending to their lives.  Given the Lannisters represent evil or the antagonists in the book, you start to look at the meaning of paying your debts.  For me it caused me to think about what it meant to put someone in your debt and having to pay your debt.  I think the saying fits in very well with the overall theme of the fight between a good side and bad side.

For the Stark's their maxim is "Winter is Coming".  This is particularly apropos given the real danger in the story isn't the warring families, it is the common enemy of them all - "The Others".  The other point that this phrase means is that you always must prepare for the future.  Though things can be sunny and bright now, the challenges in the future will always come and you need to prepare for them.

If anyone is looking for a good series of books to read, I highly recommend these books.  However, keep in mind that once you start you are making a fairly substantial time investment to get them all completed.  I hope if anyone does start reading these books on my recommendation that they like them.

I wish I had a lot to write about from my personal life, but there really isn't anything to go into right now.  The holiday and our weekend were very slow as my leg was hurting significantly.  Tomorrow I am supposed to lose the "boot" that I have been wearing for the last month to help stabilize my leg.  I have physical therapy and I will work with my therapists to determine if I can let go of the boot for good.  I won't see my doctor for another week, but her timeline from my last visit had me losing the boot this Monday.

There is a lot on my mind that I wish to write about in the coming days.  Life continues to present me with many unusual and unique challenges.  I have been facing one of these challenges for the better part of a month and I really need to figure out what I wish to do.  Why can't heavy weighty issues resolve themselves?!

Oh well - I should sign off for the night.   I hope everyone has had a great long weekend and is prepared to face work/school/whatever tomorrow.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

1 comment:

Mrfuzzybear said...

Yes, I've been in that same position. staying up well into the morning to see what happens next.

I just wish we wouldn't haven't to suffer through so many cliffhangers.

I've read all of the books so I don't want to spoil anything for you but lets just say the cliffhangers keep on coming.

Also the fourth book a feast for crows will be a little bit of a departure from what you are used to because some of the main characters points of view are saved for the fifth one that just came out 'A Dance With Dragons'