Several people had raved to me about a new fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, and I’d been looking for a good read. I opened the hefty paperback copy of A Game of Thrones and stared at a complex map with a host of names. Would the effort be worthwhile? Within a few chapters my doubts vanished. The hunk of paper pulp in my hands was the work of a brilliant craftsman.
Fully human characters, medieval details alternately delicious and ghastly, an intricately interwoven plot–this series has it all (through the second book, at least, and today I dashed out of my cave for the third). George R. R. Martin doesn’t spare noble or appealing characters, making every cliffhanger all the more intense. But once I resigned myself to the prospect of loss, I felt safe slipping into his richly crafted and tightly consistent world.
And to my delight, I found the doppelganger of one of my own characters: the raven belonging to Jeor Mormont, the grizzled Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. A typical exchange occurs in A Clash of Kings, when the black bird hops on the Lord Commander’s shoulder and repeats “Old, old, old!” until his master swats him away. Does this creature remind you of anyone in Drawn to Disaster?
This happy coincidence makes me feel really smart, even while swimming in humility at the greatness of GRRM’s writing. Most importantly, I feel blessed to live in a world where an ingot of literary gold can be got for $7.99 plus tax.