Back in 2003, I bought an innocuous little work of fantasy titled A Game of Thrones. Little did I know that I would be hooked and would be constantly pushing this book to my friends' faces.
Nine years later, my book club chose this book for the February discussion. No problem, I thought; I will just Google to refresh my memory, or I could always watch the TV series, which seems to be faithful to the book, as my friends would say.
But I recently swapped my yellowing mass market paperback with a hardback from Iya, a fellow member of the book club. Somehow, this book keeps calling my name, beckoning me to the world of Westeros with all its treachery, gore, and brutality.
And so I find myself unable to sleep at 3 am on a Sunday (I normally wake up at 4-ish, every day even on weekends), turning on the lights and flipping to page 1 of Martin's AGoT. Next thing I know, I finished the book and found out that I read for 8 straight hours.
I don't normally reread, but I'm happy I reacquainted myself with A Game of Thrones. For one, Martin's work is so rich in detail, making me feel that I'm in Westeros for the first time. Also, the number of characters Martin introduced in this book felt less daunting during my reread.
Of course I already know the characters who'd end up dead and those who'll figure more prominently in next books. But somehow, this knowing didn't seem to matter that much. It's the journey not the result that made it more satisfying the second time around.
I forgot how blunt Martin's pen is. Characters, major and minor, get killed instantly, some characters copulate in public, and children are never made to believe that their world is all sugar and spice. Uttering just one offensive word is enough to get yourself beheaded.
Will I be rereading the second book, A Clash of Kings? Probably not anytime soon. Martin writes beautifully, but I think I need to take a break from reading all that betrayal, bloody murder, rape, and mutilation. Winter can wait.