I may have mentioned it before, but if I didn’t, my boss for the summer GAVE me the George R. R. Martin books. Literally just handed them to me and said, “Here you go. Do what you want with them.”
Best boss ever.
Now I’m nearly done with the first book (Game of Thrones) which is, without a doubt, one of the best things I’ve read in a long time.
The chapters are told from the viewpoints of several members of the Stark family, with the added viewpoints of Dany Tangaryen (I might have misspelled that) and Tyrion Lannister. This is useful because Martin really gives a very believable viewing of the various characters and their experiences. News travels by raven, and so word can get to people very slowly. Dany doesn’t know the king is dead, just that he is trying to kill her and her child. The king doesn’t know that her brother is dead by the time he’s on his own deathbed. News travels slow enough that people can find things out late, or be surprised by them, which opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities which Martin takes full advantage of.
The other thing that this allows us to do is develop sympathies with the highly-developed myriad of characters, you know, before he kills them all off. Some of us prefer the Starks, some of us prefer the Lannisters, or one of the other many houses littered throughout the series. Personally, I’m a mix of Stark and Tully, leaning toward the Tully side, so I like to think of myself as Catelyn Stark. I’m also rather fond of Arya.
The characters are so developed, even the ones who are fairly recognizable as tropes and stereotypes. Arya Stark- spirited tomboy. Eddard Start – the ‘honorable man’. King Robert – Henry VIII with less spine. Sansa Stark – naive girly-girl. Joffrey Baratheon (cough LANNISTER cough) – sissy, whiny, spoiled brat. Not all of the characters are types, and most change and adapt to the circumstances they encounter, but really, isn’t that just like real people? Just when you think you’ve figured us out, there’s another layer! Something happens and we behave out of our tropes!
Truly good characters like this are hard to come by. Robert Jordan has them. I feel like Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games has them. However, and you can feel free to disagree, I feel like for modern literature, that’s all I’ve come across that has truly pulled this off. Martin’s characters are a delicious find for any character connoisseur, and I highly recommend them. And the rest of the books, but particularly the characters.
So check it out! Read, share your thoughts! What other fabulous characters have you encountered in your own readings?