Befuddled mind, groggy eyes, croaky voice and sore feet – all symptomatic of a hectic and sleep deprived week. And I can’t even complain, after all it’s self inflicted. I always knew I was addicted but I didn’t realise how bad it would get if left unchecked.
As I completed reading my target number of books for 2018 well in time, I decided to push it and try squeezing in another book before the clock chimed and ushered in the new year. The clock struck 12 and a la Cinderella my life also transformed, of course in a different way. 2019 kick started with a pulsating energy like never before.
Just like that, out of the blue, I landed the near perfect job. I was to teach a class of precocious six year olds. Both exciting and terrifying. Once back home, I metamorphosis into the soccer mom, which required me to be everywhere, doing everything, at the very same time. Phew! tall order. And then I had the Starks and Lannisters screaming for my attention. For the uninitiated, these are the families from Game of Thrones. I started reading the first book towards the end of the December and since then have been only with them.
If my reading addiction was bad, then Game of Thrones made it worse. I lived in Winterhall, I walked the expanse of the Wall, I cowered in the passages of Red Keep, cried when Ned Stark suffered, felt the pain and helplessness of Catelyn when she held the broken Bran in her arms. I mean I was there! Game of Thrones, GoT in short, has been there for some time now but I never got around to reading it, or even watching it. I mean, I’m not much for watching any series on Netflix or anywhere else for that matter. But once I started reading it was unstoppable.
I’ve read most of the recent series – Harry Potter (but of course), the Narnia series, Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games, you name it. GoT is similar yet amazingly different from them all. It does have a unique and typical setting which is characteristic of each of the series. Yet its USP is the storyline which is refreshingly new.
The palace intrigues, changing standards of morality, bloody and gory political conditions, fluid social settings (some situations are downright blasphemous), and of course most impressive descriptions of the landscapes are beyond compare. I mean I could feel the chill creeping into my bones when reading about the cold. Or feel intimidated in the wilderness beyond the Wall. The words had the magic to transport the reader beyond the pages and into the story.
The joy of reading gets amplified if you can enjoy the flow of the language, the way the author uses his tools to give shape to his ideas. And George R. R. Martin has used his weapons well. One can feel the power of the words. The descriptions are so clear and detailed that you don’t need HBO to show you what’s it like. The arid landscapes that the Dothraki ride through can leave you feeling parched. The cold, grey surroundings of Winterfell can make you both love and hate the place at the same time. How could something so beautiful be so cruel, is what I kept asking myself. It’s as if each of the places has a character of its own, something so distinct that it becomes a part of its identity.
The same goes with the each of the characters. Close your eyes and you can see them clearly, standing right there in the same room with you. You will hate the Lannisters as much as you want to be strong like Catelyn; you will love and pity Robert while you admire and yet feel bad for Eddard. I mean, the words formed such strong bonds of familiarity that it gave me goosebumps. That’s another reason why I refuse to see even the images from the series, though that’s near impossible what with the series being so popular and the advertisements popping up every now and then. I don’t want my imagination to get corrupted by them. I don’t need to see Peter Dinklage to imagine Tyrion Lannister or Sean Bean to know how Ned Stark looked. I have always felt that the adaptations never do justice to the real thing. And I’m sure its true this time too.
Anyways I want to finish the series. It’s my resolution for this year. Of course along with many more books. But this series has to be completed. Will keep you posted on the progress. And in the meantime I hope I’ve been able to pique the interest of those who haven’t read it and now would want to. But a word of caution to those beginners – be prepared to trudge through the week with minimum sleep. It’s going to be an unstoppable roller coaster ride. Enjoy!