I spent last week fighting a raging case of Rather Be Reading Syndrome -- in which nothing hit the spot because I would have rather been reading Stephen King or George R. R. Martin. It happens.
So I gave in. I returned to the Seven Kingdoms to find out what happens next for Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Daenerys Targaryen and all of the rest of the gazillion characters in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Yes, I've been watching the show and I swore I was going to read book two before season two aired. But I didn't. I'm reading it now. Because I'm dying to know!!!
The Night's Watch, with Jon Snow in tow, has set off north of the wall while Rob Stark, the newly proclaimed King of the North, begins his trek towards King's Landing with the ultimate goal of defeating the Lannisters. Meanwhile, the Baratheon brothers have both claimed their brother's throne as their own, splitting the kingdom further. Friends have become enemies as the families of the land must choose which side to support. And in the East, Daenerys Targaryen continues with her plan to reclaim the throne herself.
There's probably no way around spoilers. If you've not read any of the series or at least watched the first season, I'd hate to ruin the surprises. I think it's going to be harder and harder to be vague with descriptions the further in I get.
And if you happen to be watching the show and have read the books, you'll understand when I say I love them both! There are small changes in the show. Characters and campaigns are combined to streamline the story into one season. To be honest, most of it makes perfect sense to me. I think it's a great testament to the writers on the show that they're able to remain so true to the original. And even though I'm caught up and know what's coming next, I'm still dying to go on to the next episode every Sunday night.
The scope of the story is pretty spectacular. The worldbuiling alone is amazing. The Seven Kingdoms have a long and intricate history, which we see more of in the book than we do in the tv show. And of course the characters make all the difference. Each one is layered and rich in a way that makes them real. Good guys have the potential to do very bad things. Bad guys somewhat have the potential to do good things. Some of the characters walk a fine line, making me wonder just what Martin has planned for them in the end.
This is a massive series. Epic as any epic can be and set to be a total of seven books, five of which are out now. So if I was to zoom through the next three books, I'd be stuck waiting a while to find out what ultimately happens. And if there's one thing I've learned from this series so far, the tide can turn in unexpected ways at any time.
If you're planning to start -- and I highly recommend you do -- set aside a BIG chunk of time. A weekend with nothing planned but reading, a three day weekend or a vacation would be even better! And stock up, you'll want to be prepared to move onto the next book when you finish :)