I used to have a life. It involved going outside from time to time, maybe eating a snack or taking a shower. And then I started reading George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, also known as “A Game of Thrones. ” Now I don’t do anything except come home from work, sit down and turn on my Kindle. I cannot put these damn books down. Which is funny because I resisted reading them even after my husband told me how amazing they were. I’m not a fan of fantasy and a series that runs to more than 5,000 pages seemed like a pretty big commitment for something in which I’m not even interested.
So let me try and save you from the same mistake with these five extremely motivational reasons for why you should pick up the first volume in this set NOW.
First, here’s a very basic and poorly written synopsis of what the book is about: the king of the fictional continent of Westeros dies and a wild scramble among the land’s most prominent families to take the throne ensues. At the same time, some seriously weird shit is happening in the north, beyond the Wall that protects the civilized world from its “uncivilized” counterpart.
Why should you be reading this? A few suggestions:
Reason #1: If you’ve ever wanted to go blind, this is a great way to do it.
Did I mention these books are long? If he were alive today, James Joyce would look at these things and immediately feel tired. It is a lot of reading but what makes it all worth it is the story. These books are page turners from the get-go. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve spent, struggling against sleep, because I just have to know what happens next. Sure, the next day I can’t read the instructions on the aspirin bottle — how many pills for blurry vision and headaches? I don’t know. I have blurry vision and a headache.
Reason #2: They’re really good.
Did I mention that these books are really good? Like I said, I’m not a fan of fantasy. I am one of the three heathens in this world who can’t stand Tolkien and who has never finished a single “Lord of the Rings” book. (Hobbits freak me out.) These novels, however, are written almost like historical fiction. Martin does such a great job of making the people, places and situations in his work feel real that when “unreal” things happen, it seems organic. Because each chapter is told from the point of view of an individual character, all of those characters are three-dimensional. There is no right or wrong — everything is gray. Good guys do bad things and bad guys do good things.
Reason #3: When every single view of the HBO series freaks out at some shocking development, you’ll already have worked through your grief with your therapist.
Martin does not pull punches. At all. No one is safe in this book. If you think something bad is going to happen, it will and it’s going to be worse than you thought it would be. I have literally sat in stunned silence for hours after some of the book’s more shocking moments. And then I have to ask my husband, “Did that really happen?” He’ll say yes and will gently pull me off the ceiling. So take it from me, if you’re going to watch the series, it’s going to be better to know what’s coming up so you can maybe take a walk to the kitchen to escape the screams of your unsuspecting viewing partners.
Reason #4: Tyrion
Even if for some unfathomable reason you dislike every other character in this book, you will love the character of Tyrion, a dwarf known as the Imp whose family is among the most powerful in all of Westeros. Constantly shunned, mocked, abused and belittled, he is one of the ballsiest, funniest, bravest characters I’ve ever read. In a series filled with unforgettable characters, he is easily the star. His character is also the main reason you should be watching the HBO series. Peter Dinklage was perfectly cast as Tyrion and plays the role to the hilt without ever going overboard.
Reason #5: Did I mention it was really good?
Now I know I may have misled you in the past, swearing perhaps that the 411th video of Maru, the cat who loves boxes, was the greatest thing ever and you had to watch it now but I’m totally serious with this whole “Game of Thrones” thing. If you would like to give up your free will for a few weeks (or months) and surrender to this incredible series, I promise you will not be sorry. And if you are sorry, I will send you a great video of Maru in apology. I promise.