Thoughts on A Song of Ice and Fire, and a Complete Character List

Okay, I lied about the character list part. I mean, seriously, there are more than 1 million, right? I would crash WordPress.

Many of you scoffed when I began my 2017 reading with the five books so far of George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, beginning, of course, with GAME OF THRONES. This was brought on by binge-watching the HBO series over the holidays. Until then, I staunchly proclaimed to dislike high fantasy despite my love of the LOTR trilogy. I’m happy to report that I completed the five mammoth books in four months and am now in serious withdrawal.

So, which are best, the books or the TV series? They’re quite different, especially in the last couple of seasons when the series plot has moved ahead of the books. But I love the series casting, so it was fun to imagine Tyrion Lannister, for example, as actor Peter Dinklage instead of the more grotesque version as he is described in the books. I thought the casting was mostly extremely good in the series.

You know nothing, Jon Snow.

I will have quotes to carry me forever…or at least until the new series starts on HBO in July.

That said, of COURSE the books are better. There are more details. More nuance. For example, in the series I do not like Daenarys Targaryen whereas in the novels I like her very much. I finally decided it was the actress playing Dani–they want her to be mentally attuned to her dragons so she gets this dumb-blonde stare on her face and it annoys the crap out of me. Sorry. Her hair is lovely.

I thought the twists with Arya Stark in the novels have been really interesting and I’m anxious to see where GRRM goes with it…..assuming I live long enough for him to finish the series. Ditto the bizarre turn of events with Sansa.

As is true of the TV series, my favorite character in the novels is, to my own surprise, Tyrion Lannister. GRRM gives him all the best lines. I drink and I know things. That’s what I do. Eddard Stark broke my heart, but probably it had much to do with the sexiness that is Sean Bean. I love Jon Snow and Arya. I am intrigued with Jaime’s dance between asshole and nobility, and which side will win.

I thought books one, two, three, and the last third of book five were best. Book four and the first two thirds of book five felt too much like a setup for the last two books of the series, assuming I live long enough…oh yeah, I said that already.

So, are you a fan of the TV series and/or the books? Who are your favorite characters?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on A Song of Ice and Fire, and a Complete Character List

  1. I’m afraid to start the series because I don’t want to have to wait forever for the last two books. I haven’t watched the Tv series because I don’t want to know about the characters and plot before I read the books-ha! You did some serious reading to finish the 5 books in 4 months- congrats!

  2. I have not read any of the books or seen the TV series. Not a fan of High or Epic Fantasy.

  3. I’m kind of on the same page as you. Read all the books and watched the series on tv. Love Tyrion Lannister! Who couldn’t like his big escape in the book. Ah Sean Bean what a way to go and far too soon. GRRM’s new book The Winds of Winter is due this year. Fingers crossed.

  4. I have been watching the TV series since the very beginning, and I just LOVE it. I have not read the books yet because G.R.R.M. only writes one every five years – so I’m holding out for the series to be completed. I also don’t read high fantasy, despite being a massive LOTR nerd – so your recommendation means a lot!

    So many favorite characters… Eddard and Catelyn! Arya! Khal Drogo is one sexy biscuit. Samwell and Gilly are adorable. And I hated Jaime so much initially that I’m almost ashamed to admit how much I like him now. But I think my absolute favorite is Brienne of Tarth. She is an unusual woman in that world, and is simultaneously proud of herself and wildly insecure, which I can relate to.

    My not-so-favorite characters are Jon Snow (he’s such a whiny emo boy I just can’t handle it), Dani (agree with you 100%), and Jorah Mormont (the way he pines over Dani makes me want to punch him in the throat).