Sunday, August 14, 2011

Guest Blogger: Holjo @ Pedantic Phooka Book Reviews: 'A Game of Thrones'

Pedantic Phooka Book Reviews

I'm starting a new feature today!
Once a month, I will be welcoming a guest blogger
to A Night's Dream of Books.
Guests will be posting reviews, interviews, giveaways,
or anything else related to books!

My very first guest is...

Please join me in welcoming her,
and do visit her blog as soon as you can,
so you can enjoy all the goodies she has to offer,
including her very insightful, detailed reviews!

I'm especially interested in this review,
because I'm planning to read
the book sometime this year, hopefully...

Title: A Game of Thrones
Author: George R.R. Martin
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire #1
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Category: Fantasy, Dragons
Purchase: Amazon

I’ve been admittedly slow in reading this book, but only because I have been watching the TV series on HBO at the same time and I didn’t want one to get too far ahead of the other.  The season finale was last night on HBO, so I finished the book tonight and am ready to write.  I am absolutely in love with BOTH the book and the HBO series.  They are both masterpieces in their own right.  With this in mind, I will write my review first, followed by a few brief notes regarding some of the differences between the two formats. 

Robert Baratheon has been King of the realm for 15 years.  Although once a fierce warrior, the King has, by all accounts, let himself go.  The Kingdom is badly in debt and poorly run, yet Robert chooses to spend his time womanizing, drinking, and eating rather than ruling.  Robert’s right hand man, known as the Hand of the King, has recently died under suspicious circumstances.  With very few people he trusts enough to replace the fallen Hand, Robert journeys to the northern part of his Kingdom, to House Stark at Winterfell, to assign the duty to his closest friend, Eddard Stark.

Eddard (Ned) Stark is an honorable man and has been serving King Robert dutifully since Robert won the throne.  He and his wife Catelyn have five children together (Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon) as well as Ned’s bastard son Jon Snow.  When Robert arrives in Winterfell to request Ned’s appointment as Hand of the King, Ned is hesitant to accept a position that will break up his family.  But ultimately, the decision is made that Ned will travel back to King’s Landing, along with his two daughters, and resume the post.

Robert’s wife Cercei Lannister is not especially happy with Robert’s selection.  Cercei has a few secrets that she would like to keep hidden, and she would certainly prefer to have one of her inner circle members in the position of the Hand rather than Ned.  Cercei comes from a powerful family as well.  Her twin brother, Ser Jaime, is known as the king slayer.  He was responsible for the murder of the previous king (Aerys Targaryen, known as the mad king) which resulted in Robert taking the throne.   Cercei’s younger brother, Tyrion, does not possess such lofty titles as his siblings, but he is by far the most intelligent and well-educated of the family.  Tyrion is an imp, and has some very unique views of the world thanks to his lot in life. 

Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, the two surviving members of House Targaryen are coming of age.  Viserys and his sister Daenerys have been in exile since their family was murdered.  In the distant past, the Targaryen family ruled with the protection of dragons, but none have been seen in a thousand years because hunters have supposedly killed them all.  Viserys has grown tired of being at the mercy of others, and he has become obsessively determined to take back the Iron Throne at King’s Landing at the first opportunity.  In order to gain an army, Viserys sells Daenerys in marriage to a Dothraki horselord named Khal Drogo who promises to win him the throne.  Although Daenerys is originally terrified of the Khal, she eventually develops a loving relationship with him.  They grow to respect each other as well.  

Although these are the primary players in this first book of the series, there are 9 houses (primary bloodlines) in all.  There are characters from each of the houses who are vying for more power in one way or the other.  Many would like to claim the throne.  Many have secrets to keep.  Many are scheming.  Many deals are made.  There is a new political enemy for every friend a character makes.  I’ve barely touched on the plot in this summary, but I think I’d have to write 2-3 pages in order to do it justice.  This book is an investment of time and energy to keep everything straight, but trust me, it is absolutely worth it.

As I mentioned earlier, the HBO series is fantastic as well.  It was NOT done in the way of the True Blood series in which there are very few similarities between the book and the show.  Game of Thrones on HBO is probably one of the best adaptations of book to film that I’ve ever seen.  There are some differences between the two, but in my opinion, the differences are minor and do nothing to change the story.  As an example, there are several characters who look different in the show than they are described in the book.  It really didn’t bother me at all.  I was really more concerned with the actors being able to portray the characters the way they were described, and I felt they were mostly on the money in that regard.  There were also a few scenes (Daenerys’s wedding night for example) where the show exaggerated the circumstances a little bit, likely for visual impact, but that didn’t bother me either.  In the grand scheme of things, I felt that the show was truly the living version of the book.  And lastly, the tv series has all of the kids being a couple years older in the beginning of the series than they are in the book.  This part was necessary because the actors can’t age on demand and need to be able to keep up with their characters over time.  Honestly, I didn’t even notice the difference.

If you are a fan of fantasy books like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, this series will be right up your alley.  I absolutely loved it and cannot say that enough.  I HIGHLY recommend this book and I’m very much looking forward to continuing the series.

Holjo's Rating:

Here's some information about Holjo and her blog:

About Me/Contact

I am your average book lover who REALLY wants to talk about the books I read.  Reviewing books has become as much a part of the reading process to me as the reading itself.  I can’t quite make myself move on to the next book until I’ve said something about the one I just finished.   

Thus, my blog is born.

If you are curious as to where the title came from:  Pedantic means ostentatious in one’s learning, which is a humorous poke at myself for needing to write a blog.  A Phooka (also Puca) is a Fae Shapeshifter from Celtic Folklore.  While it can take any form, it is most commonly known to be a large black horse with shining eyes.  A Phooka intends no real harm, but it does like to tease, manipulate and take humans for wild rides.  The Phooka in my title is a nod to my Scottish heritage as well as to my love of reading about the Fae World.  I have yet to discover a novel with Phooka as a character, but I’m still holding out hope of finding one!

I’m very new to this blogging world, so I’ll be learning as I go.  I welcome any suggestions or ideas you may have for making this site better. 

Thank you for Reading! 

Contact me at


  1. Hi Maria,
    Thank you for hosting me as your first guest blogger! I hope your readers will enjoy my review of Game of Thrones.

    I wanted to mention that there has been several years (3-5 yrs) between the release of each book in thise series. So be prepared for long waits! That part is tough.

    Have a great week!

    Holjo @ Pedantic Phooka

  2. Hi, Holjo!

    You're very welcome! I sure hope my readers will enjoy your review, too -- I know I did!!

    Yes, I know...when I went to Goodreads to put these books in my "to read" bookshelf, I found out that Martin has taken a long time to publish each book in this series. But he's got 5 books out so far, so I can get started on those. I figure that, by the time I've finished book #5, he will have published #6, and maybe even #7!! Lol.

    You have a great week, too! Thanks for the comment!! : )


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