A Song of Ice and Fire Series – A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms – By George R. R. Martin

Jared,

I loved reading your review of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. I even placed a hold on it at the library…….I realize now that could have been a bad idea, but I won’t know until I read the book. Either way, I should get it sometime next week and I can add it to my huge “to read” pile (current count is 12).

My newest literary conquest is a prequel in the Game of Thrones universe, but let me give you the break down first.

A Knight of the Seven KingdomsTitle: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire
Author: George R. R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Adult
ROTS Setting: UU, Medieval, Dragons, No Higher Magic
Synopsis: This prequel takes place 100 years before the events in Game of Thrones and is a compilation of 3 novellas. Join Dunk and Egg, a hedge knight and his squire, as they travel the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Part 1 introduces the characters and sets a bleak stage. Part 2 will test both knight and squire in very different ways. Part 3 will climatically bring the the duo into the that eternal quest for the Iron Throne.
Recommendation:  An interesting perspective to the series. Although this book was much tamer than those in the main series, I still feel compelled to only recommend this book to adult readers. Cause, you’ll fall in love with it and want to read the others too.

There are dragons in the universe, but there aren’t currently any alive during this book. (Who doesn’t love a series with dragons? Am I right?) Also there is magic, but it’s very mysterious and ethereal. There is also usually a degree of uncertainty if something is actual magic or just illusion. I personally feel there isn’t any higher magic (wizards, spells, mages, ect) but that there is magic in the universe.

So let me get this out of the way, I was surprised at how little nudity and gore were described in the book. For a Game of Thrones book it is very tame in comparison. Then again there are a lot fewer pages too. The violence/gore was descriptive and served to enhance the story as opposed to violence for the sake of violence. However, there was only a single instance of nudity described, but there were 2 illustrations.

It is a brutal world, with brutal laws, culture, and mentality. I think that is the appeal. How do good people survive in such a brutal society? What is a “good” person? It asks questions of society and human behavior while simply giving you the results without ever actually answering the question. You, the reader, have to surmise your own answers. All I can say is that I really like the Game of Thrones universe, which should probably be A Song of Ice and Fire universe but the former is more recognizable as the TV series is a prominent cultural phenomenon. However, this isn’t a review of the TV series but of this tiny slice of the literary universe.

I honestly don’t know if you would even be willing to even get involved in this series. It’s not for everyone and each individual has their own tolerances for violence/gore and nudity. You’ll have to let me know, Jared, if GoT is too much for you and I’ll either avoid writing reviews for them or structure them differently.

Anyway, Dunk is an interesting character. He’s a newly minted hedge knight at the beginning of the book. A hedge knight is a knight who has sworn all the same oaths and is still equal in rank to all other knights, but does not have permanent service with a lord or king. They usually travel looking to be hired temporarily by lords or landed knights (knights who “own” or manage land). Tournaments are usually hot spots for hedge knights where they have the potential to build a name for themselves and thereby find service with a lord, temporarily or permanent. Dunk is knighted on the deathbed of his master who was also a hedge knight. His training wasn’t all that great, but he doesn’t really understand that. However, Dunk is determined to make it as a knight so he enters a winner-takes-all tournament. Or more accurately the loser gives up his armor, arms, and horse to the winner with the possibility of ransoming them back.

I can’t really go beyond that point without spoilers, but as a character Dunk is engaging and almost even likable.

Egg on the other hand is a young boy and as such is looking for adventure. When Dunk passes through Egg sees an opportunity for adventure and attempts to convince the knight to take him on as a squire. He is eventually successful but that is the least of either of their worries when events begin to spiral out of their control that will affect the course of history and set the stage for the Game of Thrones.

And that’s just the first part/novella.

I’ll leave it there. Again, let me know if GoT isn’t your cup of tea. I completely understand. Now I get to pick another book from my stack…..I’m thinking Rangers Apprentice Book 11 as there is only one left after that and I really want to finish the series.

Keep it real,

Robert


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A Song of Ice and Fire Series – A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms – By George R. R. Martin

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