George R.R. Martin must be a fascinating guy. Between all the incest and the lack of qualms when it comes to the killing or injuring of well-liked characters, this guy is downright heartless . . . or just really imaginative and true to his vision! I do not recommend reading this book if you are one of those people who expects your favorite characters to eventually find happiness. There is no happiness here.
On the other hand, A Game of Thrones was astoundingly good. The writing style was phenomenal. Even the word choices gave me a feeling of being in a another time or place, in which knights battle to the death in their highly-ornamented suits of armor, while dragons and zombies fight their own battles in other parts of the world. I felt the icy cold of the Wall, the warm cold of home in Winterfell, and the heartless warmth of King's Landing. I think it might be hard not to feel something while reading A Game of Thrones.
I didn't understand the title before I picked up the book, but after having finished the book, I have to admit that the title is perfection. As the book opens, there is at least one conspiracy to take the throne. As the book progresses, it becomes unclear to various characters who has a right to the throne. Various houses and groups rally around leaders, and in the end, there appear to be a number of claims to a number of thrones. It's a marvelous game the players play, a game of thrones!
In most of my reviews, I say something about the characterization of the main character. In A Game of Thrones, there are many main characters, and each one is beautifully characterized. I understand every one's motivations and desires. I know what drives them, and I desperately want them all to achieve their aims.
I almost gave this book four stars. Frankly, Daenerys's apparent partial loss of her sanity (in my opinion) toward the end of the book threw me for quite a loop. The last few Dany chapters were just odd. And unfortunately, they were so close to the end of the book that I didn't have much chance to let go of the bad taste they left in mouth. So I initially planned to give this book four stars. But after taking several minutes to reflect, I felt the need to come back and change this star-rating to five stars, as it should be.
I highly recommend it!