Editor’s choice: An Analysis of Ice and Fire

Adam Vlach

I’m writing to talk about my favorite song. I’m confident most everyone has heard of it. It’s called “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

But to many, it’s simply known as “Game of Thrones.”

My first run in with fantasy was in the late ‘90s, when my mom would read me “Harry Potter” before bed. But I truly fell in love with the genre after I saw the first movie in “The Lord of the Rings” series in theaters.

From then, at 9 years old, I loved being able to “step away” and experience for a while the impossible become possible, whether it was from watching movies or reading.

I completely devoted all of my free time not only to “The Lord of the Rings,” but anything and everything written by the author, J.R.R. Tolkien. I explored the incredibly expansive universe he created. In middle school I learned to speak simple phrases in Elvish (an actually fully developed language). From age 11, when I first finished the book series, through my sophomore year in high school, I read “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy once a year, and watched the movies five times as many.

I was enamored with Tolkien’s world; Tolkien, who is referred to as “the father of high fantasy.” So for me to say that I believe someone now rivals his work is a big testament on my part. And as you can guess by now, it’s not J.K. Rowling (“Harry Potter” is incredibly entertaining, a page-turner, but, ironically despite being about wizards and witches, not “magical,” as far as literature goes).

George R. R. Martin’s series “A Song of Ice and Fire” is the pinnacle of fantasy. It is shockingly captivating. In the (highly debated) words of Time magazine, “This is as good a time as any to proclaim him the American Tolkien.” I know a lot of people who watch “Game of Thrones” but don’t read, but decided to pick up the first book and are now hooked. Why?

The first of the five books, titled “A Game of Thrones,” released at this point (two more to come) starts with a masterpiece of a prologue. If anything, just take 15 to 20 minutes to read the prologue at Barnes & Noble, and if you don’t like it, put it back on the shelf.

There are a few different factors that make “A Song of Ice and Fire” stand out above the rest, but the first one I would like to address is one I think is one of the most important. Not because it’s the most interesting, but because it allows the books to be appealing to multiple audiences.

The way the books are written, starting in the prologue, is phenomenal. J.K. Rowling (“Harry Potter”) is very easy to read and is classified as children’s books, but that bores some who want more intellectual stimulation. J.R.R. Tolkien (“The Lord of the Rings”) is much more intricate and delivers advanced writing. I’ve often been told, though, and I can understand why, he goes too in depth into details and descriptions. George R. R. Martin has somehow struck the perfect balance between Rowling’s “easy reading” and Tolkien’s level of meticulousness that makes the story seem as real as can be, yet not hard or tiring to read.

I have yet to meet someone who did not like “A Game of Thrones” (the book). I’ve met people who did not like “The Lord of the Rings”, because it was too dry and was difficult to read, and I’ve met those who did not like “Harry Potter,” because it was too cliché or too mainstream.

But “A Song of Ice and Fire” is neither, I can guarantee that (well, it’s mainstream now in the sense its show adaptation is the biggest hit on HBO, but the unique genre it falls under is not mainstream).

I have much more to say on the topic, but I want those who don’t read to understand what I am saying when I do post, so this is my pitch.

Whether you watch the show or not, whether you’re a reader or not, go to a book store, spend 15 minutes reading the prologue of “A Game of Thrones,” and then decide.

I wouldn’t have spent my time writing this if I didn’t think getting at least one person to read the series would make one more happier person in the world.

But hurry and go read, because winter is coming.

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