|A Game of
George R.R. Martin
Book 1 in Song of Ice and Fire series. Epic fantasy novel about world similar to England in the time of War of the Roses.
A Game of Thrones follows three principal storylines as they develop in tandem with one another. The novel begins in the year 298 AL (After Landing) and continues for many months, probably into the early months of 299 AL.
Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and the North, attends the execution of a man of the Night's Watch who has betrayed his vows and fled from the Wall. His sons Robb and Bran, his bastard son Jon Snow, and his ward Theon Greyjoy all attend. After the beheading, Robb finds a dead direwolf (the symbol of House Stark), killed by the antlers of a stag (the symbol of House Baratheon), which had given birth to five pups before it died. Robb and his brothers ask to keep them and Eddard consents, on the condition that the children themselves take care of them, rather than leaving the matter to the servants of House Stark. There are five pups, one for each of Eddard's trueborn children: Robb names his Grey Wind and Bran names his Summer, whilst Eddard's daughters Sansa and Arya name theirs Lady and Nymeria respectively. Eddard's youngest, three-year-old Rickon, names his Shaggydog. Unexpectedly, Jon finds a sixth pup nearby: an albino with white fur and red eyes. Jon claims this one, Ghost, for himself.
King Robert Baratheon arrives at Winterfell with his court and many retainers, including his wife, Queen Cersei of House Lannister, and his children: Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen. The queen's twin brother, Ser Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard, and their younger brother Tyrion, the Imp (so named for his dwarfism), also accompany the group. Robert asks Eddard to become the new Hand of the King after the death of the previous office holder, Lord Jon Arryn. Eddard and his wife Catelyn learn from Catelyn's sister Lysa Arryn that the Lannisters had Jon Arryn murdered. Bran witnesses the twins Jaime and Cersei having sex, but is himself caught. Consequently, Jaime pushes Bran from a high window, injuring him and putting him into a coma. Eddard reluctantly agrees to become the new Hand of the King and travels south with his daughters Sansa and Arya, leaving Catelyn, Robb, Bran (still in a coma) and Rickon at home. Jon Snow elects to travel north to the Wall to join the Night's Watch and is joined by Tyrion, who is eager to see the fabled construction for himself.
After Eddard leaves for the south, an attempt is made on Bran's life, thwarted only by the direwolf Summer. Catelyn realizes that Bran must have seen something and been pushed from the window deliberately, and that the would-be murderers are trying to cover their tracks. She travels by sea to King's Landing and is informed by her childhood friend Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish that the dagger used in the assassination attempt was his own before he lost it in a bet to Tyrion Lannister. Traveling north again, Catelyn and her retainers encounter Tyrion by chance in an inn (as he returns south from the Wall) and take him captive to the Eyrie, where Lady Lysa places him on trial. Tyrion outwits Lysa to win his freedom in trial by battle when one of the mercenaries that helped capture him, a sellsword named Bronn, becomes his champion and kills Lysa's champion.
In the capital at King's Landing, Eddard investigates Jon's death and learns that Jon Arryn and King Robert's brother, Lord Stannis Baratheon, had discovered that King Robert's three children were actually the products of an incestuous liaison between Queen Cersei and her twin brother Jaime. Spurning the advice of Robert's other brother Renly to take Cersei into custody, Eddard instead tries mercy by offering Cersei the chance to flee. King Robert dies of a mishap engineered by Cersei whilst hunting and Cersei's eldest son Joffrey is proclaimed King before Eddard can pass the crown to Stannis, Robert's true heir. When Eddard moves against him, he is betrayed by Littlefinger. Eddard reluctantly agrees to declare a false confession of treason in return for Sansa and Arya's lives and the chance to go into exile on the Wall. Joffrey promises Sansa that he will show mercy, then reverses course and has Eddard brutally executed. Whilst Sansa is retained in custody, Arya manages to escape with the help of Yoren, a recruiting agent for the Night's Watch.
A civil war, later dubbed the War of the Five Kings, erupts. Robb Stark leads an army of northmen into the Riverlands to support Lord Hoster Tully, whose forces came under attack by Lord Tywin Lannister after Catelyn took Tyrion prisoner. Riverrun, the Tully stronghold, is besieged by an army under Jaime Lannister, whilst Lord Tywin holds a large army south of the River Trident to prevent Robb's advance. Robb and Catelyn win the support of House Frey by agreeing to a dynastic marriage among numerous other concessions. This allows him to detach his cavalry and cross the Green Fork whilst his infantry carries on to the Trident under Lord Roose Bolton, one of Robb's bannermen. Tywin, joined by the liberated Tyrion (who has won the support of the mountain clans of the Vale), defeats the Stark footmen before learning that Robb has outmaneuvered him. Shortly afterwards Robb's forces surprise and capture Jaime Lannister before smashing the Lannister army at the Whispering Wood outside Riverrun. Tywin falls back on the strong castle of Harrenhal and orders Tyrion to go to King's Landing where he will effectively rule using Tywin's authority as Hand of the King.
Lord Renly Baratheon flees south from King's Landing to Highgarden, stronghold of the powerful House Tyrell, and there is declared King of Westeros by acclamation, becoming the second of the war's five kings. Robb Stark becomes the third, when he is proclaimed the King in the North by all the Stark and Tully bannermen present.
In the prologue, three men of the Night's Watch, led by Ser Waymar Royce, are ranging in the lands beyond the Wall. They stumble across the massacred bodies of several wildlings. They are confronted by several creatures of ice, the fabled 'Others' of legend. Ser Waymar fights one, but is killed. The second man, Will, investigates Royce's corpse only for it to come to life and strangle him. The third, Gared, is so terrified of what he sees that he flees south to the Wall and then beyond. He is the deserter executed by Ned Stark in the first chapter of the book proper.
Jon Snow chooses to join the Night's Watch after his father departs for King's Landing and travels north with his uncle Benjen Stark, the First Ranger of the Watch. At the Wall Jon finds that the Watch is beset with problems. A new King-beyond-the-Wall has arisen in the northern lands to rally the wildlings to his banner. This man, Mance Rayder, was once a brother of the Watch before fleeing to join the wildlings. Jon also learns that the Watch is grievously under strength, mustering barely a thousand men to cover the three hundred miles of the Wall, and its manpower is now made up of murderers and criminals who chose the Wall over execution or imprisonment. Some time after Jon's arrival, Benjen vanishes whilst on a ranging beyond the Wall.
Jon and many of the other younger men are remorselessly bullied by the master-at-arms, Alliser Thorne, but Jon concocts a plan for them to stand up to him. Jon wins the friendship of Samwell Tarly, a craven but intelligent boy from the Reach, and also that of Maester Aemon. Jon is startled to learn that Aemon is a member of House Targaryen, the grand-uncle of the now-deposed Mad King Aerys II, and (according to A Feast for Crows) the oldest man alive in Westeros.
Jon is eventually promoted to the status of full brother of the Night's Watch, but is dismayed that, instead of being sent to the rangers, he has been made a steward, servant to the Lord Commander of the Watch, Jeor Mormont. Sam points out that this is not an insult; "the Old Bear" is going to keep Jon close, as fathers keep their heirs nearby. Jon is being groomed for command. While Jon (and Sam) say their vows just beyond the Wall, Ghost returns with evidence that the corpses of two of Benjen Stark's men are nearby. The corpses are carried back to Castle Black, where they come back to life and attack the Commander's Tower, including Mormont. Jon succeeds in (re-)killing the wight by burning it. Shaken, Mormont resolves to lead the Watch beyond the Wall in strength to test Mance Rayder's strength. Although news of his father's death causes Jon to doubt his calling, he decides his place is with the Watch. Mormont takes this time to pass down the Valyrian-steel sword of House Mormont, Longclaw, which Jon will bear henceforth.
In the Free City of Pentos, Magister Illyrio Mopatis and the exiled Prince Viserys Targaryen conspire to sell Viserys' thirteen-year-old sister Daenerys in marriage to Khal Drogo of the Dothraki. Drogo commands a clan of forty thousand mounted warriors whom Viserys plans to use to reclaim his homeland from the usurper Robert Baratheon. Among the wedding gifts are three petrified dragon eggs from Ilyrio. Unexpectedly, Daenerys and Drogo find love as they journey east into the vast grasslands of the Dothraki sea, and Daenerys becomes pregnant with a son, to be named Rhaego after her dead brother. Ser Jorah Mormont, son of the Lord Commander of the Watch and a knight exiled from Westeros for dealing in slaves, joins Viserys' entourage as an advisor on the current state of the Seven Kingdoms.
Viserys becomes angry about how long he must wait before Drogo decides to invade Westeros and, in a drunken rage, insults Drogo grievously. Drogo decides to crown him right thereŚwith molten gold. Daenerys picks up her brother's quest to reclaim the Iron Throne, but Drogo is just as obstinate with the moon of his life as he was with the Beggar King. The tables turn when a Westerosi assassin, in the pay of King Robert, nearly kills her and their unborn child; a furious Drogo agrees to invade Westeros. However, during a warm-up raid on the peaceful Lhazareen, Drogo takes a wound which festers. Daenerys loses both Drogo and her unborn son to the machinations of a Lhazareen witch, who Danaerys has burned in her late husband's pyre. Daenerys had previously felt the eggs and found them warm to her touch, though no one else could feel the warmth. Before she had placed them in a small fire and thought that the flames made something in the eggs alive. While the witch was being burned she placed the eggs in the very hot fire. Incredibly, the eggs hatch, and Daenerys Targaryen, the Stormborn, becomes mother to the first three dragons seen in the world for one hundred and sixty years.
A Game of Thrones. (2008, March 31). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:29, April 18, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=A_Game_of_Thrones&oldid=202353642