I begin this review with a disclaimer: I understand that there are many of you out there who like these books. Some have given them a very high praise as fantasy fiction. However, I cannot endorse this with my own opinion.
As a summer lasting nine years begins to come to a close events are stirring across the world. With the death of the King’s Hand, Lord Eddard Stark is called to fulfill the role. Reluctantly he takes the position and heads south into a realm of political intrigue and secret purposes. Lord Stark will find his loyalty, his honor, and his courage tested as he faces those who desire to have the king replaced. While there, strange things are happening in his northern home. Across the wall that serves as the northern border for the Seven Kingdoms strange forces are brewing that could threaten the inhabitants of the Seven Kingdoms. Yet even more powers are amassing across the sea as the last heirs of the dethroned Targaryen family make plans to take back their family’s honor. All these forces will come together in an epic conflict as everyone battles for the Iron Throne.
The story line is highly creative, well constructed, and masterfully executed. The political intrigue that George R. R. Martin creates is near flawless with a multitude of players all vying for power. Keeping track of them all is no small feat. However, even with it’s many attributes, my reason for not giving this book high marks is due to the highly gratuitous nature of the book.
Please don’t hate me; I know some of you think these books are great. In most aspects I would agree that they are good, but in my opinion the gratuitous sex, violence, and language takes away from the story. I found much of the detail that Martin gave to be needless and purposefully used to stimulate a reaction from the audience. As for me, it succeeded in making me greatly uncomfortable. From what I gathered in reading the book I believe Martin was attempting to capture the horrific and dark nature that can exists in mankind. Such a goal would have been admirable except that Martin spread the dark and horrible a little too strong. The result: the lens which provided a glimpse at the darkness within human nature was blurred by detailed sex, violence, and rape.
Before I began reading I was aware that there was such content, but I didn’t know to what degree. When a friend recommended it to me I thought I would give it a try, but I now know the series just isn’t for me.