George RR Martin
Game of Thrones
This book has been my touchstone, while trying to create my own novel. The skill that Martin possesses in creating distinct and multiple points of view, is something that I am desperately trying to master. My novel in progress involves twelve different points of view, and I have been deconstructing Game of Thrones as best as I can
I find the book version of Daenerys particularly fascinating, not that she isn’t a wonderfully drawn character in the television show, but like always, there is more exploration in a novel, than is possible for even episodic television to master.
Martin is someone that it is definitely easy to respect, not because of the sales that he’s achieved, although I would love to gain even a fraction of his critical acclaim, sales and popularity one day, but because he refuses to take the lazy way out. His main characters are all multi dimensional, possessing positive and negative qualities, even Cersei, the Queen, who possesses many dark secrets, including a deeper affection for her brother than is considered to be normal, has the positive quality of maternal love and pride for her elder son. It seems to be Martin’s intention to show that it is our choices, rather than any characteristic you are born with, that defines who you are.
In my opinion the female characters are the more compelling, I found myself rereading the sections about Sansa, Arya and Daenerys, more than the others. The strength running through their chapters, albeit strength in very different ways is enthralling. Arya is obviously the very antithesis of her sister in many ways, but the way that they have been raised, by Ned and Catelyn, gives them the self confidence to follow their own path.
The four of them are all outsiders, even within the magical world of Westeros, set apart in various ways. Arya is distinct because of the fact that she wants to do stereotypical male things, and can do them better than some of her male counterparts, besting at least two of them.
Sansa is the stereotypical girly girl whose primary desire seems to be marriage, but she possesses the inner grit to survive in a court run by the people responsible for her grief, indicating that she has the same core strength as her sister.
I have to confess that I did, and do feel the most empathy with Tyrion, as well as a deep admiration. I adore the way that Peter Dinklage portrays him in the television show, but that portrayal wouldn’t be half as interesting, if Martin had not invested so many different layers and facets into the character at conception.
Tyrion’s physical stature, allied with the family that he comes from means that he is relatively famous. His deformities, the fact that he is a dwarf, and the fact that their mother passed away while bringing him into the world, isolates him from all members of his immediate family apart from his brother. Tyrion compensates for the loneliness inherent in being separate from his family, by honing his intellectual gifts by reading extensively, and doesn’t let his perceived shortcomings hold him back in other areas of his life either.
I admire the fact that Martin is able to create interesting paths for so many unusual characters, and make us as readers care about the vast majority of them. If you are one of the people that has not yet discovered the multi layered world of Westeros, despite the many novels and the five series of the television show which are all out there, then I would urge you to correct that as soon as you can.