Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

A Song of Ice and Fire is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American novelist and screenwriter George R. R. Martin. Martin began the first volume of the series, A Game of Thrones, in 1991. He published it in 1996. Martin gradually extended his originally intended trilogy to seven volumes, the fifth of which, A Dance with Dragons, took him five years to write before its publication in 2011. Martin's work on his sixth, The Winds of Winter, is still underway.

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

The main story chronicles a power struggle for the Iron Throne of Westeros after King Robert's death in the first book, A Game of Thrones. King Robert's son Joffrey immediately claims the throne with the support of his mother's powerful, immensely wealthy Lannister family. When Lord Eddard Stark, King Robert's "Hand" (chief advisor) finds out that Joffrey and his siblings were not fathered by Robert but are the offspring of incest between siblings Jaime Lannister and Cersei Lannister, Eddard is executed for treason and Robert's brothers Stannis and Renly individually lay claim to the throne. Meanwhile, several regions of Westeros seek to return to self-rule: Eddard Stark's eldest son Robb is proclaimed King in the North, while Balon Greyjoy re-establishes an independent Kingdom in his region, the Iron Islands. This so-called War of the Five Kings is in full progress by the middle of the second book, A Clash of Kings, with more people gradually joining the struggle for power. In the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, Joffrey's younger brother Tommen holds the Iron Throne, with his mother and later his uncle serving as his regents as the winter snow arrives.

Martin defied the conventions of the high fantasy genre by drawing upon such historical events as the Wars of the Roses. He drew particular inspiration from the French historical novel series The Accursed Kings, set in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and later wrote the introduction to the English translation of the series, saying: "The Accursed Kingsh as it all. Believe me, the Starks and the Lannisters have nothing on the Carpets and Plantagenets. It is the original game of thrones". A Song of Ice and Fire received favorable critique for its diverse portrayal of women and religion, and praise for favoring realism over magic in its battles and political intrigue. While the first novel contains hardly any magic at all, the prominence of magic grows in the later volumes. The assortment of disparate, subjective, and not always accurate points of view confronts the reader with a variety of perspectives on each of the other characters from one chapter to the next. The reader may not safely presume that a favorite prominent character will prevail, or even survive. Violence, sexuality and moral ambiguity frequently arise among a set of over a thousand named characters.

The story of A Song of Ice and Fire takes place on the fictional continents Westeros and Essos, with a history of thousands of years. The point of view of each chapter in the story is a limited perspective of an assortment of characters that grows from nine, in the first, to thirty-one by the fifth novel. Three predominant stories interweave: a dynastic war among several families for control of Westeros; the rising threat of the dormant cold supernatural Others dwelling beyond an immense wall of ice on Westeros' northern border; and the ambition of Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled daughter of a king murdered in a civil war shortly before her birth, to return to Westeros with her fire-breathing dragons and take the iron throne which she believes to be hers by right.

List of All Books in the Series (Download Available)

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