Top Ten Reasons I Love ASoIaF

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is all thanks to Broke and the Bookish!

 We all know I love fantasy. It's my favorite genre by far, and I also read more of it than any other. Last year, I read over 100 fantasy books alone. (And that's not including any paranormal fantasy or urban fantasy. Just pure epic/high/low/grimdark fantasy.) My love of fantasy can be traced back to the Hobbit and Alanna and Ella Enchanted but grew with long-running epics like the Wheel of Time or Malazan Book of the Fallen.

However, there is a favorite, even among my favorites. And it's pretty well-known, though a lot of you just know it by the title of the first book (Game of Thrones) but I like to call it A Song of Ice and Fire.

Yes, your favorite tv show is my all-time favorite book series. This Top Ten Tuesday is about the contents of the books only.  I've read it for over 15 years of my life and it's never wavered from the top spot. Made of five books so far with two more expected, it's a fantasy genre must-read.  Here's a few reasons why the book series is the best.

1. The deft and morally grey characterization

Sandor Clegane, Arya Stark, Jaime Lannister. Just three main characters that GRRM has crafted into vibrant, flawed, realistic beings that we love and hate, cheer on and disparage. However you may think of them individually, you cannot deny they are nuanced, complicated people. 

2. The subtle and not-so-subtle historical inspirations

Be it the War of the Roses, the Hundred Years' War, or the Black Dinner and more, GRRM is an author that looks to history for clues for how to plot his fantasy stories. Seeing the parallels between fiction and fact appeals very much to the history major in me.

3. The dense and detailed worldbuilding

Imagining Westeros is an easy task for anyone that has read the books. GRRM is a wordy man and that's the benefit of crafting this realistic world. With his five books, he has definitely created a viable, envisionable world, even before HBO made their amazing intro.

4. The hidden clues, theories, and conspiracies

If you look closely and if you're detail-oriented and/or prone to rereading, there's an immense amount of foreshadowing and information to be found in the five published books. Noticing even small specific references, like even "Dunk the lunk, thick as a castle wall" is important for several reasons. Once you learn the truth of R+L=J, there's always another theory to find. Southron Ambitions, for one.

5. The fearless storytelling

No matter what you can say about this series, it is unafraid to take risks. It kills off supposed main heroes, it maims people, it takes good people and shows their evil, shows the goodness of even of the worst. Good people die, bad people win. GRRM has said before that no one is safe in his world and it makes for truly unpredictable reading.

6. The nuanced political machinations

I love historical fiction with a good atmosphere of intrigue. A Song of Ice and Fire is 85% intriguing about thrones, heirs, and hairs and 15% dragons and magic for the first 2 books. Even after that, even when the fantasy elements start to loom larger over the story, it remains pivotal and rarely mishandled (the exception: the Kingsmoot plotline ffs let it diiiie).

7. The unexpected plot elements

George, as stated before, starts off with a pretty low fantasy medieval-England-esque story. There's a few prophecies, nothing too fantastical. Then dragons and the dead rising to murder the living. Then we have fire magic and demonbabies and resurrection (not just mindless snowzombies.) Now, time travel. A scifi element in a series that was first low then epic/high fantasy? I did not see it happening but it did and it is.

8. The ambitious scope and writing

I know the style of the novels is not for everyone, but I think GRRM can write well. I know it's dense and detailed method and there's a backstory for EVERYONE and each House has words and there's hints of so much more we don't know about so much. But GRRM keeps it balanced; he keeps all those ambitious plot threads moving (fooor the most part ahem Meereneese knot plotline) and me anxious to see what happens next to whom.

9. The ships

They are small. They are referenced and alluded to more than seen. But the ships that set sail from ASoIaF do not ever sink. Rhaegar and Lyanna are never seen on page, much less a ship explicit on the first read. However, if you're a devotee of reason #4... you can find the real story of the Targaryen prince and the wild Stark girl and it will give you many Feelings. (But don't ship San/San, ok? Just. Don't.)


 photo tumblr_mm1kfvYYUS1ryp6h8o1_500_zps8e90e9b1.gif

Duh. Drogon and Viserion and Rhaegal are v v important to me and to Daenerys. I love the direwolves something fierce (esp you Nymeria, you she-beast) but the dragons are my favorites.

 There's also a time in Westerosi history where there were DRAGON WARS between TARGARYENS. It was called the Dance of Dragons and I want in novel form so bad I CAN TASTE IT.

There are some maaajor issues with the series, that I will not even attempt to deny. My fave is problematic and I know it, and I think the author does too.  I think GRRM is doing his best, as I am while waiting for the forever forthcoming Winds of Winter. If you're on the fence about the books, it's one definitely worth at least a try. The tv show is often excellent, but the books are gold-standard (and canon.) (Long live Grenn.)


  1. "I like to call it A Song of Ice and Fire" hahahah I love this already :D This is a perfect list. I always found it incredible how much you FEEL about characters immediately; 50 pages in to the first book, I was severely loving and hating characters, and two books later I was rethinking everything I knew about them. I love that. And the worldbuilding! It's so sad but I feel like I know Westeros as well as I know England or other countries in Europe LOL. Geographically and culturally speaking. Oy vey. Dragons sort of feeds into this but I love the really subtle fantasy elements, that they haven't been in your face up to this point but that this world is obviously full of magic. I need my ice dragon already!!!! THEORIES AND CLUES, this was one of the earliest ways you and I bonded :D I could read theories for days, I love it so much. Ironically, I don't ship very much in ASOIAF. I think I'm too worried about everyone surviving in the first places haha! R+L is really one of my only ships. Arya and Gendry too. Looooove your list :D

    1. ahahah I am such a pedant about these books. The spelling of the names, the title, the name of the series.. Pedant, thy name is Jessie XD

      YES. From the first chapter of GOT, I was invested. It hooked me with that intro and those characters and I never looked back. OMG I have the succession of Targaryen kings memorized. I don't have the Presidents memorized in order.... ahahahah!

      And yessss!!! Our ASOIAF theories and ideas and clues!! So many fun tweet threads about so many possible scenarios. WE WILL GET OUR ICE DRAGON OR SO HELP ME...!!

      Rhaegar/Lyanna; Oberyn/Ellaria; Arya/Gendry; and Jaime/Brienne, because PAIN.

  2. Hooray! I am in the mentions on the picture!!!

    I want the book to be about Daenerys. I would read the shit out of that.

    1. Of course you are! That was one of my favorite-ever gifts :)


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