13 July 2013

ASOIAF Book Club - A Game of Thrones Chapters 1-14

House Mithril Game of Thrones sigil
The first installment of the A Game of Thrones group read covers off Chapters 1-14. Take a look at the ASOIAF Book Club page to see all the participants in the book club and say hi!

Here are the questions from the book club:

Jamie: In the few chapters that we've seen already, Tyrion is amazing. His snark and wit mark him out as one of my favourites. Do you think his role is more the comic relief or a juxtaposition for the cruelty of his sibling Lannisters (opposites in appearance as well as personality)?

Since it was me that asked this question, I'm leaning towards the juxtaposition angle. Even though he still has Lannister traits, Tyrion couldn't be more different from Jaime and Cersei, in looks or in personality. His comic appearance means that you underestimate him at first, but he's got a sharp tongue and an even sharper mind.

Heather: Have you already seen the television series before reading the books? If yes, has it influenced how you read them?

I've watched all of seasons 1-3 of the HBO series, and I think it had enriched my reading experience for having done so. I'm getting the actors portraying the characters as I read the book, but that's not a bad thing since they're so well portrayed in the show. It's easier for me to imagine Winterfell and The Wall because I've seen it.

What I'm getting out of the books now I've watched the series is a much more realised backstory and history to Westeros and the myths and folklore that goes along with it. We get bits of it in the show, but it's good to dive into the culture of Martin's stories headfirst.

Allison: What do you think the names chosen for the direwolves say about the children's personalities? (and for a silly bonus question, share what you would name yours (come on, I know you've thought about it :P)

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. MartinGiven the significance of the scene with the direwolf and the stag, there's going to be signifiance in the direwolf pups and the names given to them.

Grey Wind sounds like a noble, almost regal kind of name; the kind of name befitting the pet of the heir to Winterfell - apt for Robb Stark. Ghost was the runt of the litter, just like Jon Snow, and so was an outcast, so Jon finds an affinity with him. The name seems to be in line with Jon's perceived fate - he doesn't belong anywhere so he's to take the Black and fade away, just like a ghost.

Sansa dreams of being a princess more than anything, so her pet's name is Lady to go with her aspirations. Arya wants something else for her destiny and so names her wolf after the warrior queen Nymeria.

Rickon is still a toddler, so names it Shaggydog because that's how little kids think. I’ll be interested to see what Bran names his and why (I can’t remember from the show).

If I had a direwolf, I’d want to give it a mythological name, so it’d be something like Hephaestus (blacksmith to the gods of Olympus) or Romulus (mythological founder of Rome who was raised by wolves)

Ria: "[...] a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." What do you think about the veracity of Tyrion's line there, especially in a world that seems to prize physical strength more highly than intelligence.

In Tyrion’s case, he’s absolutely right. He can’t win a battle through strength or agility, and so he wins his battles through cunning and wit. Knowing how his role changes from watching the series, his words become more apt as time goes by. Winning a battle through swinging a sword it one thing, but if you’re running a kingdom or an empire you need to be able to play the great players in power. Tyrion is more able to do so because he’s so intelligent.


First thoughts on the book


I'm really enjoying it so far! I'm loving the little things that the show has done different from the book, so things still seem fresh as I read them too. From the opening scene beyond The Wall and the going on in Winterfell, Martin has completely hooked me in. Only reading a chapter a day is tough - I want to devour the entire thing.

Want to join in the book club? There's still time! Leave a comment or send me an email at mithrilwisdom[at]gmail[dot]com and I'll send you more info on joining in.

About the author
Jamie Gibbs is the overlord of Mithril Wisdom as well as a terminal geek and great lover of sandwiches.You can follow him on his Google+ or Twitter profiles for a daily dose of fanboy rants.

18 comments:

  1. I'm really glad that we're all doing this readalong together. I'm having fun seeing the answers that people are giving, too; I think that may be the best part about book clubs! Thanks for setting this up, and I look forward to more to come!

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    1. Me too! I was surprised when others said that they wanted to read along with the series with me, and I'm glad for it. It's much more fun to think about and answer questions about what you're reading than just ploughing through it and putting it back on the shelf afterwards.

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  2. Not reading along, but you make me want to! Another series that is on my list to read. Especially if there is snark involved.

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    1. With Tyrion, there's snark aplenty! If you get the time, I highly recommend it - it's epic fantasy, but more palatable than Lord of the Rings, in my opinion.

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  3. I'm actually really enjoying coming to the series without any preconceived notions from watching the TV show, but I'm glad you are enjoying it having watched it first! Good direwolf names :)

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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    1. Thanks Allison :) I'm a little sad that I saw the show first since I know all the twists and turns, so I know not to get attached to certain characters ;) It hasn't detracted from the reading experience though.

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  4. I've read through book 4 (waiting for 5 to come out in paperback) and Tyrion is definitely one of my favorite characters. I love his wit and the person playing him on the show is fabulous - actually, everyone on the show is fabulous (I'm up to episode 4 season 3 and loving it). Glad you're enjoying the book :)

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    1. I'm hoping to do a series re-watch at the end of GoT to refresh myself on the show aswell as the books too :)

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  5. I have three of the books, but haven't started reading them yet. Soon, I hope.

    With a complex book like this, I think watching the movies would solidify some segments and places, give my mind a clear image. Like when I read LOTR; it was a great series, I enjoyed it very much, but when the animated The Hobbit came out, I saw Bobbits and Gandolf more clearly. I re-read the trilogy after seeing the movie, and the book had even more appeal. It is rare for movies to totally capture the essence of characters and plot that started in books, the LOTR creators did well (once they released the extended version) and it sounds like GoT is doing the same.

    ......dhole

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    1. The way I treat the book now is as if its an extended edition of the TV show - I know the bare bones of the plot through the show, but the book is now giving me so much backstory and history of Westeros it's keeping things fresh and interesting for me :)

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  6. I'm really enjoying this book club Jamie, thanks so much for setting it up. I'm with you, it's hard to read a chapter a day, particularly when one is a bit shorter than the others. I'm holding back though, and savouring the read more.

    I find the book a good compliment to the TV show, but in some ways I wish I'd left them until I'd read them all. Looking forward to the next bout of questions!

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    1. I know what you mean - as much as I'm enjoying the book as an expanded version of the TV show, I wish I'd hit the books before the show had aired. Nevermind; we'll be caught up with book 4 before season 4 starts :)

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  7. I'm glad you're enjoying the books. I've read them all twice and at the pace Martin writes, I'll probably read them all at least once more before the next one is published.

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    1. That's good going! I don't think I could read them that often, but this readthrough is pretty awesome :)

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  8. I find that rereading the series only makes it better each time. After each book comes out I reread all the previous books, so I've now read the first book five times.

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    1. That's dedication! I don't know if I'll do that for Dance of Dragons once my book 1-4 catch up is complete, though.

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  9. I'm kind of reading along, in the sense that I'm reading ahead because that's the only way I can keep up!! And as much as I like Tyrion and Arya, I like Jamie more than I thought.

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    1. Gah; sorry Josh, your comment about wanting to join the readalong got filtered into my spam comments for some reason :S I'll send you an email if you'd still like to join the book club :)

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Thanks for commenting! Feel free to ask any questions you like here; I'll do my best to respond to every comment here.

Super bonus points for creativity and snark, but anything spammy of offensive will be removed (I'm looking at you!)

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