Previously, I posted a review of A Game of Thrones, the first book in “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin. Last night, I finished reading the second book A Clash of Kings and cannot wait to get my hands on the third book A Storm of Swords.
First of all, I have to say that Martin’s proclivity for killing off main characters, often suddenly, keeps you on your toes. You find yourself rarely committing yourself to a character precisely because every time you do, that character dies within a chapter. It is rather unsettling because in most fiction, the good guys always survive.
With that being said, my favorite character in this book is Arya, a ten year old girl who is basically beaten up constantly and becomes one tough, cold-hearted chick. Every night, she ‘prays’ the names of those she plans to kill, and unknowingly saves the life of a professional assassin who promises to kill three for her. After he pays his debt to her, he gives her a coin and tells her that whenever she is ready to join him and learn the assassin’s ways, she has only to find a certain person and say the words, “valar morghulis.”
The last image we have of Arya in the book is her killing a grown man (remember, she’s TEN!) and as he falls, whispering in his ear, “Valar morghulis.” She is, by far, the best character in the book because she is a little girl who is going to kick butt and take names. Unlike her sister, Sansa who is a hopeless romantic and completely powerless before stronger people, Arya is an independent minded and downright dangerous person.
I also just found out that they are developing this series for television, but sadly, it will be on HBO which means they will probably overplay the sexual content and downplay the excellent stories and characters. A shame, really.
Martin continues to impress me. His stories are masterfully written and carefully woven together. Although he does tend to repeat words so often that you think, “Was this the most recent entry on his new word of the day calendar?”, he nonetheless spins a great yarn.