George R. R. Martin – A Game of Thrones

Published: Bantam, August 1996

WINTER IS COMING

A Game of Thrones

Plot Overview

The great realm of Westeros is divided into seven smaller sub-kingdoms, each ruled by its own lord, who in turn are ruled by King Robert, who resides in King’s Landing. When the Hand of the King, Lord Arryn, dies suddenly, Robert takes his family and a host of guards and attendants to make the trek north to Winterfell, home of the king’s closest friend, Lord Ned Stark. Ned is very hesitant to take the position, as he has no desire to involve himself in the political games of the kingdom. However, when Ned’s wife Catelyn receives a letter from her sister Lysa, Lord Arryn’s widow, explaining that she believes her husband was murdered by the Lannisters, Ned has a change of heart. Cersei Lannister is unhappily married to his dear friend, King Robert. When the safety of his friend and the potential outbreak of war becomes a threat, Catelyn convinces him that he must accept Robert’s offer to save the Stark family, King Robert’s life and the fate of Westeros.

Upon arriving in King’s Landing, Ned begins to do some research into Lord Arryn’s death. One clue after another brings him to yet another mystery, as he slowly unveils the truth. John Arryn was most certainly murdered, but for what purpose? The answer suddenly reveals itself in the most unexpected way and Ned must decide what he is to do with the knowledge he’s gained – to tell the King would mean hurting his pride and watching the outcome of his wrath; to keep the secret would be damaging to his own honor and loyalty to his friend. The last thing Ned Stark wanted when King Robert’s host entered his castle was to be involved in politics; now he is the keeper of a secret that could rip the kingdoms apart with war.

Across the narrow sea the last living descendants of Aerys Targaryen, the former ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, are on a quest to take back what is theirs. Prince Viserys has forced his sister, Princess Daenerys (Dany), into an arranged marriage with Khal Drogo, leader of a large Dothraki clan. In return, Drogo has promised an army to Viserys, with which the ambitious prince intends to take back the realm stolen from them in the war upon their father. King Aerys had gone mad and was doing terrible things when the lords of the seven kingdoms rose up against him, killing him and installing Robert Baratheon on the throne. Viserys will do anything to sit upon the throne in King’s Landing

Meanwhile, Ned Stark’s bastard son John Snow is fighting is own battles. Upon his father’s departure from Winterfell, John decided to join the Night’s Watch – a group of men skilled in battle, who protect the realm from things on the other side of the Wall. The Wall is located at the northern most part of the kingdoms, separating Westeros from the Haunted Forest, a land of ice, snow and wild things. The realm has spent the last 9 years reveling in an unusually long summer. But summer cannot last forever and strange, dark things are beginning stir beyond the wall.

Winter is coming.

Review

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