The book begins with a map, so automatically we're off to a good start.
After finishing the book I immediately bought the first season of HBO's awesome adaptation and watched it in two nights. And guess what? The show starts with a map as well! I love it. Because in this story knowing your geography is everything.
Beyond all the drama, swords, dragons and mead, my favorite aspect of the story is a theme it shares with The Hobbit: the idea that we all have different talents, roles and purposes, and none is any greater than the other. Although the ones playing the game of thrones, fighting and spilling blood for meaningless titles, continuously fail to see this. It's a world of kings trying to fit square pegs in round holes. And the square pegs fighting back.
I had some initial revulsion to the misogyny on display in the story. Not so much in the way the story was presented or the attitude of George R.R. Martin, but in the actual world he created. It's a fantasy world, but comes with all the sexism of medieval times intact. Nearly every page manages to fit in some comment about brothels, rape, forced marriages and domestic abuse. No seriously, this book was 864 pages, and I bet if I went back I could find at least 864 mentions of whores.
But, does that make the book sexist?
I'm still trying to figure this one out. I feel I need to read more of the series to get the entire picture. I mentioned that it doesn't feel it's being presented in a sexist way, because exactly half of the chapters are written from the point of view of women characters. And very different women characters at that, each playing very different and extremely important roles. But unfortunately they all get to face their own experiences of sexual discrimination. Because you can't be a woman character in anything ever without that very special experience. It builds character!!! (if you're a lazy writer!!!)
But still. At least they're there and have voices. Let me finish the series and maybe I'll write more on this aspect later.
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