Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Game of Thrones

I started reading Game of Thrones, the first in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series. I picked it up after having taken my time strolling through The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which was about the life and after-life history of woman whose cancerous cervical cells - "HeLa" - were scraped from her body without her knowledge when she was undergoing radioactive treatment and subsequently became the first to survive in cell culture. Going from a pleasantly-paced nonfiction about a poor black woman's out-of-control tumors to a full-on medieval labyrinth of fantasy where if I blink the main character has probably already died definitely feels like a weird literary swerve.

But Game of Thrones is amazing. Truly, it captures the elements everything a fantasy should - dragons! magic! noble royal families! sexy sexy men! - but what makes it stand out is Martin's fantastic storytelling. I can't remember being this engrossed in a book since high school. In a lot of ways it reminds me of when I first became obsessed with Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, and it brings back all those feelings of excitement and intrigue that remind me that I haven't gone so far into the real world or gotten so caught up with working that I can't enjoy a good ole fantasy story anymore - something that I'd been afraid of when I graduated about a year ago. 

Another fun thing about reading Game of Thrones is talking to others who've read it. Last night at a cross-team dinner, a ThoughtWorker mentioned the series and I may or may not have almost leapt out of my seat out of excitement (my mouth was filled with fajita). It's just one of those books that inevitably lends itself to conversation, especially now that there's a critically-acclaimed HBO series about it as well. I'm only about 300 pages into the first novel - that's another thing I love, how long they are - so I have to earmuff myself a lot but nonetheless, it's a fun softcore cult to be a part of, similar to the Reddit or Arrested Development community.

If you've been hearing a lot about this series, I strongly recommend you pick it up, for your own sake. And a little for mine too, so we can obsess about it together until the end of time. Winter is coming!

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