“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.” – George RR Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the longest and dense fantasy series which not only gives you the best reading experience but makes you a part of Westeros. Honestly, I have owned this series for a very long time but was constantly intimidated by it and could never muster the courage to read it, until the trailer of the newest season was released.
The story of the first book “A Game of Thrones” revolves around an Iron Throne, on which sits King Robert of House Baratheon wedded to Cersei of House Lannister. The Hand of the King dies of a conspiracy and Eddard of House Stark of Winterfell becomes the new Hand of the King. Eddard along with his daughters decides to accompany his old friend Robert in court to unveil the truth behind Jon Arryn’s death. Meanwhile, in the North, Jon Snow, bastard son of Eddard decides to take the Black. From, the politics of the power holders, to Maester Aemon’s wisdom and Jon transformation to being a “Man of the Night’s Watch”, Castle Black reflects the struggles we experience in our day-to-day lives. While, this is going on the wall, in King’s Landing, Eddard makes the mistake of trusting Littlefinger who offered his help only because he once wished to marry Lady Catelyn, wife of Eddard. He started retracing the activities of the late Hand in his last days. This revealed the involvement of Lord Stannis, younger brother of King Robert along with Jon Arryn. It was Sansa, Eddard elder daughter made him realize that the truth had been in front of him for so long yet he chose to ignore. Joffery was more of a lion than a stag, meaning King Robert had no trueborn heirs.
In the West, Daenerys Targaryen, the last living dragon bears Drogo’s child and convinces him to cross the narrow sea and fight for the Iron Throne for her, the moon of his life. While this was happening in Vaes Dothrak, in King’s Landing, Eddard confronted the Queen and asked to leave King’s Landing with her children to the free cities. But, the twist happened when Robert was killed by a boar making Ned as the Protector of the Realm. However, Littlefinger deceives Ned, and Cersei captures him accusing him of treason when he opposed Joffrey’s claim to the throne. In the North, Robb Stark calls his bannermen and declares war for his father’s freedom. He portrays exceptional war skills and takes Tywin at surprise by capturing his eldest son, Jamie. Meanwhile, King Joffrey portrays himself at par with the Mad King with his immaturity and juvenile ruling. Even after promising mercy for Sansa’s father, he brutally beheads him even though he said exactly what Cersei wanted him to say. In the east, Dany paid the price when she let the maegi treat Drogo resulting in the death of her son and Drogo.
The story ends with Tyrion being appointed as the new Hand of the King while Tywin continues to fight Robb Stark who wants vengeance for his father. Lord Renly and Stannis announce themselves the rightful King and declares their banners for the Iron Throne. Dany rises from the pyre of Drogo, unburnt and brings three dragons in the world.
The author has focussed on every character with utmost importance. He has presented a rich history and diversity of people in the pages such that we can surely relate to most of the characters. Robb teaches us that even a naive but valiant warrior can give a tough time. Catelyn teaches us to be dutiful and knows when words outweigh swords. Arya makes us proud with her wanting to cross all limitations and dream big. Dany shows a progress in her character and teaches us that if we believe in ourselves and the world will believe in us. From Jaime, we learn that love can make us powerful or shallow, it’s our call to make. Cersei portrays the mother figure who protects her children from the odds. Tyrion teaches us we don’t have to be tall to stand tall. Tywin teaches us that power resides where we want it to be. Joffrey makes us believe that power can spoil your senses if you are not prepared to accept the challenges. Drogo teaches us that we deliberately put limitations on us. If we are daring enough, we can even attain the unattainable.
Martin has given his characters a chance to face the difficulties of life, to grow with time, to learn with the experiences and a chance to be what they are meant to be. This is profoundly described in many incidents; for example during Jon’s escape from Castle Black and he realized the importance of life which is beyond any throne made of swords. In other words, we often tend to bury ourselves with trivial matters and in turn overlook the importance of life and more importantly our role in it.