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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Game of Thrones, Prologue/Chapter 1


Basel Gill

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Well, such as it is. I finally finished off The Fires of Heaven and began AGOT tonight. I could have read farther, but I wanted to get my thoughts down while they are still fresh in my mind.

 

"We should start back," Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them. "The wildlings are dead." Not a bad first line, but not a great one either.

 

I found Ser Waymar Royce to be an arrogant bastard if there ever was one. He doesn't know everything, but thinks he does just because he holds the authority at the moment. I've worked with jerks like this. I wasn't sorry to see him killed so early. Will I found much more likable, and was hoping he would become an important POV character down the road. His death disappointed me. I don't know what to think of these "Others". Westeros seems to have its own version of a zombie plague. First they killed Royce, and then he becomes one of them and kills Will. I don't recall ever hearing of this epic series as being a zombie saga.

 

Then I began the first actual chapter. Except these chapters aren't numbered. No big deal, unless you're blogging your reading experience, in which case it would make things easier to organize by number. I'm guessing the man being executed is Gared from the prologue. I'm a bit lost as to what would have made him desert after 40 years of loyal service. If he saw the Others, or saw the bodies of Royce and Will, he should have been scared enough to get back to civilization as soon as he could. If that sort of thing is creeping around the woods, I wouldn't want to stay. And when he was being put to death, he seemed to still be himself (as in not bitten by the Others zombie plague).

 

I liked the direwolf pups. I have a feeling they will become prominent pets. Although the mention of direwolves put me in mind of this. I'm betting it will be running through my head all day tomorrow.

 

A couple of nitpicks that annoyed me: Chapter 1 (Bran 1) mentions several times that it is summertime, albeit the beginning of the end of summer. So why is there snow all over the place? If this land is meant to be based on England, or at least northern Europe. While I've never been to that part of the world, I'm guessing there aren't waist-high snow drifts in late summer. I think in a world where summer lasts for ten years or so, the transition to wintertime would be a lot slower than in our world. And shouldn't a ten-year summer mean a ten-year autumn before winter sets in?

 

Secondly, I found it really hard to believe that a season would last several "years" from the characters' POV. Bran specifically thinks that it is the ninth year of summer and the seventh year of his life. Why does a year as we know it exist in this world at all? Humans in real life conceived a year to be the period when the seasons had made a full cycle. What we think of as one year has no reason to have been devised in Westeros, since it is only a small fraction of a single season. If anything, what they think of as one year should be equal to 40-50 Earth years.

 

Just my $0.02.

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Wow, I never thought of the calendar years that way... good observation :) I'm sure someone on the internet would have an answer for you, but it's not coming from me, haha. The thing with the years is, you never know how long a season is going to last. Commonly they're around two-three years a pop; this summer is especially long.

 

As far as the first 'nitpick', Westeros is culturally based on old England, but geographically it's not very similar. It is its own continent in its own right, so has the varying climes you'd expect from something that long! I'm not sure how the map in Game of Thrones is, but one that I like/ think is a good representation spatially is from HBO, http://winter-is-coming.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/x2-images-1.png

So, you know, the snow is only at the Wall/Winterfell. Pretty far north. Other places in the kingdom are more temperate, there's even a desert down south!

 

The zombie plague stays in the background for most of the series... you will, of course, RAFO more later :)

 

Hope you enjoy the series! In my experience, the book can take a while to get going, but the second half is a really good read.

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The seasons seem to play a major role in the greater conflict. Years are measured by a solar year (or so it seems, I would guess), as in, they can still measure one full rotation around the sun. Seasons are independent of that. They're supernatural. As seasons are of unreliable length (as you'll soon see), measuring any sort of year from them just wouldn't work. As for why there's snow in summer, that's just how far north they are.

 

You'll see more as it goes. I LOVE ASoIaF. I hope you will, too. It's a bit more mature than WoT, by that I mean that if WoT was considered PG-13, then ASoIaF would be R. I don't mean that as any knock on WoT, mind you, so please don't take it that way.

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Agitel: That's pretty much what someone on Westeros said about the seasons, as well. I've been posting the same thoughts on their first-read subforum for AGoT. It's just a bit different since they don't have member blogs over there.

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I believe the long seasons are something unnatural and relatively new to this world. Long ago, back when they decided how long a year is, the seasons all fit into one year... then something happened, maybe a collision with an asteroid or some mysterious magic that changed the planets orbit...

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