A Song of Ice and Fire
In the early 90’s, an award-winning author and scriptwriter named George R. R. Martin had a vision “where some wolf pups are discovered being born with a dead mother in the snow”. Around 50 pages into his manuscript, he realized he had a novel in the making. In 1994, he envisioned the story as part of a trilogy: A Game of Thrones, A Dance with Dragons, and The Winds of Winter. By the year 2000, he had released 3 books, namely, A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords and was planning to wrap up the series with 3 more books. He has since released A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, with 2 other novels in the works.
Such is the giant that is otherwise known as A Song of Ice and Fire which, amidst a growing international fan base, have also given birth to a board game, card game, role playing game, art books, HBO series and A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks.
A Song of Ice and Fire books fall under fantasy fiction. Martin’s style, however, takes it to a level high above other genre fiction of its time. Rather than to focus on the elements of fantasy, he dives deep into the human nature, showing the best and the worst, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the perverse. He tells the tale from the perspectives of all the main characters, gaining sympathy even for those who the reader reviled just a few chapters past. He further draws readers in with his penchant for unpredictability and the books have become quite famous for killing off main characters. There is no one that Martin will not sacrifice for the sake of the story.
The depth of the characters and the history of the world are such that it would be near impossible to summarize each and every one of A Song of Ice and Fire books that have been released thus far. For those who wish to take a peek into Martin’s gritty world, here is the story at its basest form. There is a kingdom called Westeros, which is a medieval type world with a bit of magic and dragons – though the last of the dragons supposedly died out 150 years ago. In Westeros, there are several families contending for control of the Iron Throne. While these royal families plot, murder, and conspire their way to the throne, they are oblivious to a greater threat in the north where a mysterious beings called The Others are lurking dangerously on the other side of a great Wall, waiting to strike. At the same time, a long lost princess – who is also a claimant to the Iron Throne – is travelling through the continent and she has just discovered that the dragons are not quite dead after all.
This crude summary does no justice to the richness of Martin’s prose. To witness his great talent, one has to sit down and immerse himself in one of his books. However, a word of caution for those who are considering picking up A Song of Ice and Fire books – while there is no doubt of Martin’s talent, there is the lingering question of whether or not he will be able to finish the series. The 5 books took a total of 15 years to write, with 2 more being written, and the possibility of an eighth book dangling in the air. A Song of Ice and Fire may very well be the greatest epic fantasy of our time – but only if George R. R. Martin can finish it!