Game of Thrones Book Review

Spoiler Free: 1:15
Spoilers: 9:22
Final Thoughts: 19:53

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Comments

C-H Williams says:

Wow. Thank you for this. I’ve watched GoT on TV and it’s gruesome but it’s not as rapey in the TV series! (Plus the actress playing Daenerys (spelling?!) is in her twenties.. I think they aged up the cast a lot …I’m definitely not gonna be able to read this series so I really appreciate the heads up!

mike rigby says:

I think the brutality & rape is a necessary evil in this book — if only to highlight how different medieval life was from the world we know today. Sometimes art needs to cross a line if only to hammer-home this harsh reality & in the case of Dany I think the graphic writing of her relationship with Drogo is to show how she eventually takes control & tames his savagery using her intellect. It also facilitates her subtle change from being a meek, exiled princess to the hardened queen of dragons. Lord of the rings; although a beautiful story is very ‘good vs evil’ whereas Game of thrones is more cunning and realistic. It’s loosely based on the Wars of the Roses: the Plantagenet in-fight for the throne of England between the houses of Lancaster & York (Lannister & Stark) and Since I’m a Lancastrian myself we are more than aware of the terrible battles and misdeeds which took place between these two counties (though thankfully these days the battlefield is only on the cricket pitch) I also found it refreshing to read a book where the white knights are wicked, kings are drunken womanisers, yet the grotesques & broken are heroic. That said, I really enjoyed your review & totally agree that George R R Martin does have a habit of drawing-out some of his descriptions…especially where trees are concerned.

Jacob Sailor says:

Everyone I know seems like to love Drogo so it’s very nice to finally to hear someone else say that he sucks.

Books With Whitney says:

Hope you feel better soon! Also, how’s the narrator for the audiobook? I don’t think I could actually read the entire physical book but I’d be tempted with the audiobook lol

Pressed Between the Pages says:

Thank you—I’m glad I’m not the only one who hates Drogo. He’s horrible and I don’t understand how anyone can view that relationship as a “love story” ( and done people do view it that way.) I love Dany , but her POV in this book is REALLY hard to read. Once Drogo is gone, Dany gets a lot more agency and becomes much more fun to follow as a character. And don’t worry—John stays good. I hate the rape scenes in this book too ; I think I blocked a lot of that out after reading the book, because it doesn’t stand out in my mind when I think back on this book, but I know it was there and was terrible to read. I’ve been thinking about Re reading this book to get back into the flow of the series, but if I do, I know I’ll be fast forwarding through a good chunk of it. ( it’s a 33 hour audiobook though, so a little fast forwarding isn’t so bad).

diaur says:

Ah I do absolutely LOVE your videos!!! You’re so articulate and I love hearing your thoughts- this one was especially such a treat, because I’m a bit of an ASOIAF / GoT nerd (but I do struggle with GRRM’s writing style too), and it was soooo interesting hearing your thoughts coming into this with pretty much no information (except for someone saying Jon Snow sucks haha)
I’m glad you decided to continue with the series, I hope you make a dedicated video for each book, because I’d like to think there are more people out there like me who loves these stories and really enjoys a genuinely fresh perspective! Thanks for making your videos!!!

Jordan Bishop says:

I’m going to put this first foreseeing backlash to what I’m going to to put. 13 is way too young to be having sex, a child is not mature enough to understand the emotional impacts and they should wait until they are more mature to consider taking this step and by no means anyone older taking advantage should justify their actions. As stated though GRRM was representing a medieval stance on the story and this age was normal for marriage and even younger if the girl in question had reached womanhood (got her period). Though we consider this age too young now (in most societies, calling out USA state marriage laws!) women were taught to grow up and be women and go into the marriage bed young. Though Dany is too young for our time to marry, back in the time that GRRM wanted to draw from it was normal to marry and ultimately consummate. I find the Dany and Drogo situation less “brutal rape” but more that after days of riding she was bruised and hurting and with Drogo wanting the kind of sex he wanted just too rough for her soars. Nowadays we’d expect a partner to pick up on this and be kind but often women were taught it was a painful act but was expected in marriage so just be ready for it, it’s your duty so this wasn’t seen as wrong. The marriage consummation felt set this as the tone by Drogo ASKING “no?” waiting for her to say no to him and he would’ve waited. To me, he appeared to entice her to be intimate rather than force her and she agreed from his touch (again not ok for 13 year old but going with the time). She wanted to please her husband as this was what was expected at the time and in all honesty I got a sense that from his touch she felt comfortable and went willingly. I don’t feel he forced her into an act but more she put up with pain from her side to please her husband. Now we could get into more complicated issues about how women don’t object and this is still rape and this is very valid and I support women coming forward for this. It just came across very differently to me in the book than TV show as they definitely showed it as rape in the show in order to give Dany more character development from victim to hero

LivingEidolon says:

Gotta be honest, I’ve never bounced so hard off of a book. I have no idea why. But man could I not stand it!
Finished the whole thing, tho.

Liv Watney says:

Thanks for talking about the issues you had with the violence in the story. I didn’t know about this and wanted to read the series. I wouldn’t be able to read this. So thanks for saving my mental health from such an influence.

Amalia Davis says:

I am really interested to see how your favourite list and your hit list changes as you read through the series! I know that personally my lists changed hugely throughout the series.

Diana Palenzuela says:

First, quick one: *’A’ game of thrones.

Everything he writes has a reason behind it. When you start picking up on the imagery (the crows, the moon, the eyes in the starts, dreams…) you’ll love it!

I think it helps to know some of the overarching themes that Martin writes about as well, makes the scenes all the more compelling even when not much is happening: history repeats itself, the human heart in conflict with itself, people are not 100 % good or bad, war does not lead anywhere, peasant’s lives don’t change when someone new gets to the throne, and plans that are laid out usually not come to fruition, opinions and memories of characters are not 100 % error proofed.

Agreed with others that you might very well change your opinion on characters. I went from liking or not liking characters to kinda liking most of them and disliking sone aspects of them.

Brittany Rees says:

I agree with you on the brutality! I understand the author wanting to be accurate to his world. But for me, Martin’s defense for such graphic sexual violence is flimsy. To say his hands are tied and his characters must be sexually assaulted because that’s the world is kind of a lame excuse. He created the world. He could have easily created a world where women weren’t second class citizens at best, and at worst literal objects to be bought and sold.

To blame it on medieval times is also kind of bogus considering Martin again chose the time period to base it on. Even still, while child brides among nobility was normal and so you can assume rape was as well, there isn’t really a precedent for Dany’s arc of falling in love with her rapist. Most noble women had full lives away from their husbands with their own lovers, and sex with a spouse was essentially a business transaction.

I also don’t know if it’s in the first book, but a precedent is set early on that it’s normal for men to cheat while women take care of the family. Again, not really a historical precedent for this. In a loveless Noble marriage, both women and men typically took other lovers and the time spouses spent together was pretty minimal. Again, you have different cultures and specific rulers where this dynamic is different. But loving and accepting your rapist, cheating husband wasn’t the norm. It was the exception. If it happened at all.

Martin also hardcore deviates from the legacy left by the medieval times frequently (besides just for the dragons and magic. He also creates cultures and sub-societies that there isn’t a historical precedent for) meaning his decision to depict brutal rape scenes is entirely a personal one. And it’s gross.

Francesco Babilonia says:

Hi! I loved your video.
I didn’t considere the description of rape scenes as unnecesary, because those scenes matter in order to understand how Dany is and how she’ll be in future books. For the same reason, the death of Lady was irrelevant to be told by Eddard; it’s more like a symbol of Sansa being the less Stark of the Starks.
I recommend you to read A Clash of Kings without reading the chapters of Dany, and then reading all of them together.

Books With Alyssa J says:

great, thorough review merphy!

Jackie Reads and Writes says:

Dropped everything I was doing to watch this video. I’m so glad you haven’t been spoiled! And who said Jon Snow sucks? That person definitely is in the minority opinion, so feel free to like Jon Snow. He and Arya are my favorite characters.

Kristin MomentsOfSanctuary says:

The world created and complex, interesting story is amazing but there are no “good” characters the best is Jon Snow and those who say he sucks must not want any goodness at all. I told my boyfriend I am rooting for the white walkers to wipe them all out and be done with it – ha ha!

Omar Abdelkader says:

0:40 DID SHE JUST SAY TV WASN’T ENTERTAINING??

D. Bergkvist says:

Who, as a first time reader with no prior knowledge of the story, did you conclude is Jon Snow’s mother? (The reason I ask is that there is a well-known theory on the matter, and people who arguing against this theory are saying it is too obvious).

Btw, Jon Snow’s supposed parentage is part of the reason some people think he is a boring and cliche character that they don’t like.

James Rogers says:

18:40 On the subject of Daenerys and Drogo – Martin is very good at twisting my thoughts emotions around with this relationship. I do not feel the hatred you fell toward Drogo, nor do I believe Daenerys experiences Stockholm syndrome with him. I think Drogo is as close as a Dothraki can get to a good person. His and Daenerys’ wedding night could have been a much more horrible scene; Drogo could have brutalized Daenerys with abandon. But he does not. Instead, I saw – and Daenerys sees- that Drogo is not at all the man she thought he was. He is not interested in torturing her; he waits for her consent that night. After that, we get indications that Drogo could make Daenerys’ life Hell if he wanted to, even more than it already might be. He might, if he chose, share Dany with his bloodriders; but he does not. He might beat her whenever he wishes; but he does not. And as the story progresses, I think he and Dany actually fall in love, especially once she begins to assert herself, both sexually and in force of character. Other men might have hated and disallowed her personal confidence, and the non-traditional (to the Dothraki) sex she brings to their bed eventually; Drogo adores it, and I think he begins to love her for it.
But Martin does not make anything easy. There is the obvious issue of Dany’s age. 13 is so young, and Martin made me wonder if 13 is only so young to us today, and about what sexual maturity means in his world, ours today, and ours in the past. Eventually I did what I strive to do, and accepted the rules of the world, which was that a girl becomes a woman at menarche, and is considered sexually ready at that point. But then there are those difficult chapters concerning the first few weeks of Dany and Diego’s wedding, where it is clear Drogo is hurting Dany during sex. I was forced to ask myself “Is Drogo deliberately hurting Dany?” I don’t know ultimately, but I don’t think so; it wouldn’t make sense for Drogo, who was so tender with Dany on their wedding night, to be deliberately torturing her. So I was once again forced to try to consider the premise of the world. I concluded that it, in Martin’s world, it is likely an accepted fact that the first weeks of sexual activity in marriage are, by nature, painful for the wife, as evidenced by Jorah’s comment to Dany that “It’ll get easier.” He knew what she was going through; I inferred that it was an accepted fact. So I accepted the rules of the world, concluded that Drogo did not think he was raping Daenerys, and moved on.
Martin pulled a sly trick on me. I ended up being okay with, and supporting, a 13-year-old’s relationship with a 30-year-old man. I realized this at one point, but I still couldn’t condemn Drogo. I don’t think he was an evil man. I think I think the things he did to Dany were wrong. But, for me, that’s what makes their love so powerful. In spite of the terrible circumstances by which they came together, in spite of the pain Drogo caused Dany to feel, they were able to find love. And I think that’s part of what I find powerful in the love between men and women throughout history: in spite of all the terrible things we’ve done to each other, and continue to do, love is still possible between us. Love conquers all.

Merphy Napier says:

Hey guys, I posted a writing update video earlier but I actually got sick and wasn’t able to get all the info ready in time. I was supposed to switch out the videos but I’ve been so sick that I couldn’t get it done in time. So sorry for the confusion! I’ll have the writing update video up on Thursday and it’ll actually have the links this time. I’m so sorry for the confusion!

theloue says:

This is a really good review, Merphy!

Tess Gorden says:

I’m glad you called out the amount of descriptive detail to the many rape scenes in the book (and just generally really enjoyed how you addressed it). This is an issue I’ve started to have with some fantasy stories (even ones I’ve loved) as I’ve become a more conscious reader. And while I agree that it can be an important part of the story, I think there are more than is truly necessary, so much that I almost expected to find rape scenes if I picked up certain types of books, and that’s not an expectation I want to have when picking up a book.

Brianna K. Wealder says:

The characters in these books are so well written and their character arcs are totally worth all the struggle with the writing style and harsh scenes. I do think though, that a warning is in order. Without spoiling anything; Every book 1 ups the previous one with the brutality. At one point, a certain character is introduced and the chapters with this character are the very thing that keep me from re-reading/re-watching the serie. They made me literally sick to my stomach. Do they ruin the serie? Absolutely not! The experience only grows more enjoyable as you get to know all the characters and see them grow, in my opinion. But because I wish I had been warned beforehand, I am writing this message now. 🙂 Just throwing it out there. Keep on reading and enjoy, sweet summer child. ;P Haha.

Sunzu49 says:

My God, that copy looks so used and battered up. Makes me wonder how the copies at my libraries are like.

Juliana Mendes says:

His writing sounds awful. I have no interest in ever trying to watch the series either. Honestly I have a hard time understanding why a man enjoys writing so much about rape of young girls and women. It’s wrong, and there are better ways to make a point without beating the reader in the head with pages and pages of graphic violence, unless he enjoys it… Clearly a little too much…

Doodles says:

Your critiques near the final thoughts section are fine, but when you say “it hampers my enjoyment” I immediately have to ask from what perspective you experienced those scenes. Because I did NOT “enjoy” those scenes but I thought that in order to construct the cruelty and disgusting nature of that plotline, you had to confront that (although the point of 214 rapes really made me step back because I did not think the number was that high). In the same vein, when your husband asks why you would want to read something like that, people don’t WANT to read scenes of gangrape or tortute but we want to experience powerful narratives that may disturb or disgust us that possess those things. I think the ability to disturb or shock an audience is a skill in it of itself although the downside is that it’s more insulting if such heavy subject matter is used cheaply.

Examples for me would include Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow or Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian of books that made me feel physically ill. Now, that’s definitely an unappealing sell but I would also give high praise for them because it’s also demonstrative of their skill that they can produce such an effect. There are plenty of times we can see examples of rape being handled badly and times they are done as tastefully as can be. I feel like Martin has a purpose to it even if the numbers are a little ridiculous.

I hope this didn’t come across as overly critical, it was just meant for discussion. Heck, it wouldn’t have bothered me if you had come out saying you hated everything about it because it wouldn’t hamper my personal feelings on it. I just wanted to voice the thoughts above. Have a nice day!

Samte Pal says:

Should I tell her about the red wedding.

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