George R.R. Martin
Author of 5-book epic, A song of Ice and Fire, George R.R Martin was named in Time’s 2011 list of 100 most influential people in the world. It isn’t difficult to see why since his fantasy series has taken the literary world by storm, his books selling in the millions.
The first book was recently made into the HBO series Game of Thrones and follows the characters of Westeros – a fantasy world set in medieval times. Martin’s depiction of this harsh continent his characters inhabit is unbelievably detailed and matched only by the well-rounded characters the author skilfully pens to ensure the reader’s emotional investment.
Plot of Game of Thrones
Winter is coming are the wise words of the Starks, an ancient family that governs the north of the unified kingdoms of Westeros. Eddard Stark is head of the Starks after his brother’s death and he’s helped his friend Robert Baratheon to the Iron Throne where he rules uncertainly with few friends and many enemies around him.
After the death of Jon Arryn, the King’s Hand, the king decides he needs his closest friend and ally and invites Eddard to take up the post of the hand, left by Arryn. Eddard reluctantly accepts his new position and soon discovers the dangers that go along with the occupation of the Iron Throne, as he unearths plots to undermine the king that soon endanger not only Robert but Eddard’s own family.
Characters In Game of Thrones
EDDARD STARK is Warden of the North and Lord of Winterfell. Descended from the First Men the Starks have ruled the North from Winterfell, their capital and stronghold, for thousands of years. Eddard, known to his closest friends as Ned, helped King Robert Baratheon ascend his throne, when, together with Jon Arryn, they wrestled the kingdom from Aerys II, killing Aerys’ heir, the crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen, in the process. The banner of the Starks is a grey direwolf on an ice-white field and their words are Winter is coming. Eddard is married to Lady Catelyn of the house of Tully and they have 5 children.
KING ROBERT BARATHEON won the throne after defeating Aerys II of the House of Targaryen. Robert went to war to avenge Eddard Stark’s sister Lyanna who was raped by Aerys’ heir, crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Robert, once a great warrior and hunter, has now grown fat and is disinterested with the affairs of his kingdom, even surprising his best friend, the stoic Eddard Stark, with his insouciance. Robert has 2 brothers, Stannis and Renly, and is married to Queen Cersei of the Lannisters. He has 3 children from Cersei (and many illegitimates scattered around his kingdom) including his heir, 12-year-old Prince Joffrey. The banner of the Baratheons is a crowned stag and their words are Ours is the Fury.
JON ARRYN is friend to both Eddard Stark and King Robert. He helped them take Robert’s throne from the Targaryens. For his role Robert rewarded him with the most prestigious position in his court: that of the king’s Hand. Apart from being the Hand, the king’s most trusted adviser, Jon has lands of his own. He is Lord of the Eyrie and is Warden of the East (just as his friend Eddard is Warden of the North.) He is married to Lady Lysa of the Tullys. Lysa is Lady Catelyn’s sister. When Jon dies under mysterious circumstances, King Robert names Eddard successor to the position of the Hand of the King, and Jon’s sickly 6-year-old son Robert Arryn inherits his father’s position as Warden of the East.
THE LANNISTERS are a very powerful and ambitious family. Queen Cersei is from this family and has 2 brothers: Ser Jaime Lannister, also called Kingslayer, and Tyrion Lannister who is also called the Imp, as he’s a dwarf. Their father is Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, and is Warden of the West. The Lannisters are a proud family and often marry brother to sister to keep their line pure. Their banner is a golden lion upon a crimson field and their words are Hear Me Roar!
THE TULLYS have never reigned as kings but are still a very influential and powerful family with daughters married to powerful lords: Lady Catelyn is married to Eddard Stark, Warden of the North, and Lady Lysa is married to Jon Arryn, Warden of the East. The Tullys’ stronghold is in Riverrun and their dominion spans the riverlands whose lords have pledged fealty to Catelyn’s father Hoster Tully, Lord of Riverrun.
THE TYRELLS are stewards of the Kings of the Reach and hold the south. Mace Tyrell is the Warden of the South and is married to Lady Alerie of House Hightower of Oldtown. Their youngest son is Ser Loras, Knight of Flowers, an ostentatious youth who hopes to make a name for himself in the King’s Tournament. The Tyrell banner is a golden rose on a grass-green field and their words are Growing Strong.
THE TARGARYENS are an ancient family and have the blood of the dragon. Aegon the Dragon’s ancestors resettled on Dragonstone, a rocky island in the narrow sea, after escaping from their original home the Dome of Valyria.
From Dragonstone Aegon set sail to conquer the Seven Kingdoms, eventually uniting the fragmented lands into one domain and ruling on the Iron Throne from the capital King’s Landing. Aerys II is a descendant from Aegon and is killed by Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer, during the Sack of King’s Landing. His heir, Prince Rhaegar, is slain by Robert who then ascends the Iron Throne.
Prince Rhaegar has 4 children, 2 of whom are killed, along with his wife, Princess Elia, during the sacking of King’s Landing. But 2 children survive and escape Robert’s fury: Prince Viserys and his sister Princess Daenerys. The Targaryen banner is a three-headed dragon, the 3 heads representing Aegon and his sisters, 2 of whom he married, according to Targaryen custom. The Targaryen words are Fire and Blood.
The Game of Thrones television series is now available on Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom.
Game of Thrones is the first of the series. The other books in A Song of Ice and Fire are: A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast of Crows, and A Dance with Dragons.