GoT – why can I not read it as much as I wished?

Reading the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series by GRRM has turned out to be a long and tedious job for me.

Why? I wonder.

When I have ordered them, I could not  wait for them to arrive. And when they did a week later, I started reading them right away.

This has been a month ago. I just finished the 1st book – A Game of Thrones – last week and I have read the first 76 pages of the 2nd book – A Clash of Kings.

Pretty slow reading I have here……

Why can I not feel the excitement and the enthusiasm to dwell into reading these books?

I have three hypotheses:

  1. The fact that I have seen the show, I am kind of not interested in the books that much (although I also recognize that the book is deeper and gives more or additional details and points of view, dreams, or thoughts than the TV show)
  2. Since the author GRRM places seemingly unimportant yet critical-to-understand-the-story-type-of-clues here and there frequently, I want to pay attention to each sentence, which is tiring…
  3. I have favorite characters, like Jamie, Tyrion, Arya, and Brienne, and the rest of the characters unfortunately bore me. This hypothesis is more likely to be true as I am really bored about and not that into the Daenerys or Salsa characters. As a matter of fact, I believe I dislike both of these characters. There, I said it.

Unfortunately it looks like Daenerys is an important character in the story and as such there will be no escape from her. The same for Sansa.


Maybe I should just get an HBO subscription and watch the Season 6 starting in April rather than going thru this “OMG-how-come-I-can-not-read-a-book-I-am-so-interested-in” dilemma.


what is it with George RR Martin and love? – II

I am increasingly thinking that the author George RR Martin has the love and contradictions it causes in life as one of the central, if not the central, theme, in his book “A Game of Thrones”.

I am reading a Jon Snow chapter again where the Maester Aemon talks to Jon about the reason why the men of the Night Watch are sworn to not marry or father children (page 662). Simply put, he says that it is almost impossible to carry on a duty or being dedicated to a cause/honour unless love is eliminated from their life, otherwise at one point or the other, there will be a situation when one needs to choose (love over duty/honour, or vice versa) (to some extend of course, as their lives do not exclude the brotherly love they have for each other. I believe this is even necessary should they want to keep their order together).

Maester Aemon says that “we are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy“.

It is indeed, especially in this book.

I have not read the entire series of the books yet but so far, we have this theme meshed up in this saga in many different ways, by many different characters (Jamie Lannister, Ned Stark, King Robert).

Love is such a strong, influential feeling. I want to ask; when was the last time one has made a choice (right or wrong) for love, because of love?

On a separate note, I love it when Master Aemon says Jon that as someone who has gone through this choice before (after he makes it known to Jon that he is a Targaryen), he cannot say whether Jon should stay or go (at that time, Jon’s father Ned Stark has been arrested for treason charges against King Joffrey) and whatever Jon chooses, he is the one to live with the consequences of the choice for the rest of his life (i.e. Aeron did not impose any choice on Jon, which is admirable).

I guess Maester Aemon has suffered too much of his own choice (of not leaving the Night Watch to help his brother and his family). Apparently, when he made his choice it was the right choice. But this does not make it the right choice for all the time.

Love, duty, honour, values, choices, contradictions, and regrets; life as it is.

I am loving this book deeper and deeper every day.




a slow read: A Game of Thrones

I have been meaning to read the 5- book series of the “A song of Ice and Fire” pretty soon after I have got them; this was 3 weeks ago.

well, I am still on the 1st book, “A Game of Thrones” and all I could read was the first 466 pages…

I admit that I am not reading it as frequent as I thought I would during these holidays, but when I read I gotta read it slowly, with paying attention to any word or sentence. And that takes time.

Why reading it slowly?

The author George RR Martin has an interesting writing style. In a short paragraph something very critical for the story can happen (e.g. pushing of Bran out of the window by Jaime is merely 4 sentences in two short paragraphs (which also includes the famous phrase “The things I do for love” (page 85; A Game of Thrones, GRRM).

Do you see what I try o say? It is impossible to read these books without reading and digesting every single sentence.

These books demand absolute commitment from the readers.

This is writing in excellence. Hats off to George RR Martin.


First 50 pages of “A Game of Thrones”

I have read the first 50 pages of the 1st book, A Game of the Thrones, in the series of “A Song of Ice and Fire”.

Boy…. I am amazed how much the HBO series kept close to the book, even the sentences or the events. I am so pleased with this. I have seen the HBO series twice and as such developed visual memory as well as knowledge on the characters and events. I did not get everything, though. Now the book fills all of these blanks.

I had missed, for example, the sword of Ned Stark called Ice. I know in the later books, it has a critical role (learnt while surfing sites about the books). I also had never paid attention to the character Rhaegar Targaryen before.

Anyhow, I try not to miss any details about the lives, life events, and history of the characters or the houses in the series. This way, I hope to get a good idea about the author and the stories depicted.

I am glad that I have watched the series before and has been reading about the story-line and character on the net. Now I have a basis to further expand.

This is quite contrary to what I would do usually – I generally would not show such a deep interest in a story that I would have known about. Yet, here I am all excited and eyes and ears, reading the books. The mind of the author GRRM. The style it has been written with. And all the details that have not been captured by the TV series. Or, by me.

I do not know why these books/stories captivate so much….

Imagination? Richness of characters and events? Unexpected twists?

I do not know, but life is good 🙂


random thoughts

Well, after a long work day at home, I am finally settling down and trying to enjoy by reading stuff about, well, yes my latest interest, Game of Thrones 🙂

I know that for all things that are interesting or loved with such a tense interest eventually come an end.

I thought this morning that I would lose my interest in the books soon if I continue to keep reading about  them. My books are about to arrive next week and I heard that they are long and many (5 to be exact). Will I lose my interest? Will I get more interested in? I do not know. But I sure would like to read these stories and write about the characters.

It is very interesting though – now that I have seen the TV adaptation (twice) and read about a couple of characters mostly on the internet (Jamie Lannister and Brienne of Tarth mostly), I wonder what I am going to find in these books? All the details I was curious about? The characters as they were written by the author GRRM? How the HBO series and the original story did differ from each other?

Possibly all these.

On the net, I have found many excerpts from the books, which were not reflected in the series. Remembering this actually makes me keep interested. This per se should be enough for me to eagerly wait for my books and start reading them with affection and amazement until I am done with all.

Until, the next book in the series comes along of course.

They say the release date of the next book in the series is not known. It was initially scheduled for late 2015, but who knows what is going on. Even GRRM says the HBO Season 6, which will air in April 2016, is likely to be earlier than the book #6. Considering the fact that the Season 6 is based on book #6, it is weird…. If I was the publisher, I would have a trouble with that.

As a reader/audience I have a problem, too. Man, my problem is a) how to watch the Season 6 now that I have no subscription to HBO, and b) I am assuming the book #6 will be expensive and if I want to order it right after it is published, I will have to start saving money for it.

Well…. Let my only problems be these 🙂



one noble thing we have seen with Jamie Lannister prior to lose of hand

The Game of Thrones madness continues – my books (the first 5) are supposed to arrive next week. I really cannot wait. Since I cannot wait and do search on the net and watched the HBO series for the second time, man, I am not sure what the books will tell me anymore. I yet to see.

With the partial idea based on the HBO series (which is not deep enough to reflect all the stories told in the books) and the many different interpretation and analyses filling the internet, it is hard for me to make my own interpretations. Yet, one thing I notice is one noble thing the Jamie Lannister character did prior to the start of his transformation after he lost his hand.

This is when he stopped fighting with Ned Stark when one of Jamie’s men stabs him at the leg and put him in a vulnerable situation. Jamie punches the man and leaves the scene, without further fighting or killing Ned.

His father, Tywin, when heard the incident, tells Jamie that he should stop thinking what the others would think about him (Tywin thinks that Jamie did not kill Ned because Ned was injured by someone else along the process and it would look like Jamie took advantage of the situation should he kill him after that).

I am not sure about that.

Along the way we see a Jamie character that would not care enough to make a case (by explaining the true story) about him killing the Mad King, while he would continue to have a huge resentment about his nickname Kingslayer. I find it interesting that he would not tell the reasons for this act for years and get recognition and appreciation from others, if he was that interested in others’ opinions..

This Jamie Lannister character is interesting in too may ways; bad, good, misunderstood, bad again, noble here and there, ridiculous in moral aspects, and all. I do not know whether all his actions should fell in a well-articulated plan by the author George RR Martin, or we should expect flaws  in this character time to time (like any other character in the story or in life).

how teased are we by the characters in the GoT?

I really would like to know how the author George RR Martin writes his Game of Thrones themed books; does he plan everything from the beginning on, or does he improvise as time goes on?

There are so many characters in the series that are generally good (e.g. Ned Stark, Robb Stark) and some who are generally bad (e.g. Cersei Baratheon, Joffrey Lannister).

While they are characters with bad nature, who has not felt for Cersei after the walk of shame or for Joffrey after his death?

I know these stories develop in a world and time quite different than ours, so we cannot possibly understand it, but I keep wondering whether the author is constantly teasing us (by evoking opposite emotions on the same character time to time)?

And in the case of character Jamie Lannister; boy did we hate it at the beginning for his arrogant behavior, by pushing a 10 years old child (Bran) from a high window, for being in love with his own sister and fathering 3 kids with her, and all bunch of trolling it has done to others, and killing his own cousin or someone to escape from capture by the Starks, just to name a few.

Now, after an obvious transformation after he has lost his right hand and a change in the behavior (though we still need to remember that he is not all noble or has completely redeemed himself yet; this I say mostly based on his rape of Cersei, which I heard does not happen in the books but only in the HBO series), a substantial portion of the readers/audience are applauding this character. How have we forgotten what he has done? Is through understanding the reasons of his past behavior do we forgive? Or is thru the most recent impression (which is a much positive one) we do forget his past and see him as he is today as if he has always been?

I expect more twists, more tease from the author George RR Martin; I guess that is his writing style. Based on my own amateur writing experience (which I found full of hard corners where things or emotions change in completely opposite directions in a split second), although I must say I am teased quite a bit, I also feel that this experience is good for my own development as a naive writer.


Jamie Lannister – initial thoughts

I have not read the books of Game of Thrones TV series, yet here are what I am thinking about the character of Jamie Lannister:

  1. He is twisted (has a relationship with her twin sister), trolling, talented, misunderstood, arrogant, and many other things. Yet, it is the only character that is constantly changing (from a bad and misunderstood character to a more decent one, albeit still twisted) and evolving. I wonder why?
  2. His name is one of the few names in the series that is “usual” in today’s life. Another one is Jon (Snow); I wonder what his name, if ever, signifies or signals.
  3. I wonder why he never made a case about himself after killing the Mad King to protect the others, especially the civilians. Does he not care or does he like his own misery (I am inclined to think so)?
  4. What exactly did he mean when he said “we do not get to choose whom we love” and “all these things I do for love”. I wonder the meaning of love for this character; love for his sister, kids (from his sister by the way), father, brother Tyrion (which is palpable), and others.
  5. What exactly does he find in Brienne that he did not find in others? What is the nature of the bond between these two characters?

It is possible that none of these are relevant, connected, or meant to be this important by the author George RR Martin. I really would like to know whether Martin initially planned the Jamie character to develop this way and with this speed and consistency?

I am not curious about the fate of this character in the novels, as the author Martin has already trained us the fans that only one thing is certain; that everybody dies and there is no guarantee for any of the characters in this story.

Yet, selfishly, I would like this character to survive a little bit more so that we can get to know it.

A list of books that I am fond of

Random thoughtfulness asked about my favorite books – what a great idea. I have been meaning to write this post for sometime; I guess that time has arrived.

The timing is great too, as I just decluttered my books and selected those that I would not give away. Among them, a number of books stand;

Crime novels: I am a fan of the mystery novels authored by Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter. Both of these writers captured my attention by their stories that are highly vivid in terms of suspense. Their writing is easy to follow and I get to learn about medical examination and all bunch of other stuff a long the way. An interesting and to me an excellent part of their stories is that in the majority of the novels, the main characters keep evolving (marriage, parenthood, divorce, and death) and some unknown clues from their pasts are also revealed. To me that is so cool 🙂 That also means that the novels are better read in chronological order if one wants to know these characters in detail (I recommend it but of course any novel as it is is still interesting).

Also, I should not forget Agatha Christie; her plots are hard to beat.

I have not let go any book written by these three female crime novelists.

I also love the crime novels that involve history: so Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is another book that I enjoy.

Other novels: Shogun by James Clavell; Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevski; and the vampire chronicles by Anne Rice 🙂

Self-help books: Recently those about decluttering were among my favorites. I believe my first decluttering book was “Throw out Fifty Things” by Gail Blanke. I at first did not believe I could find 50 things to throw away from my entire house; but now after years of decluttering, I can throw 50 things only from a room of my house. This book not only challenged me to start throwing things away, but there are also chapters in the book about the “mental decluttering” that I find most interesting.

Another series I like are the “Do not sweat the small stuff” (at work, etc.) by Richard Carlson. The book about “the small stuff at work” has helped me many times to forget the pain coming out of dealing with (or not) rude people at the work place.

Budgeting, saving, and investing: My first book on this topic was “Personal Finance for Canadians for Dummies”. I was mid 30s, slowly realizing that I was way behind saving and investing for my retirement. That was the book that I learnt about RRSP, which facilitated me to open an RRSP account for myself (RRSP stands for registered retirement saving plan available in Canada).

Generally I like reading books by Gail Vaz-Oxlade; she is humorous and feels like she is just like one of us (rather than an authoritative figure telling us what to do).

One of my all-time favorites is “The Smart Cookies – Guide to Making More Dough and Getting out of Debt” by, well, the Smart Cookies.

The list can get long, but I will leave it here for now.

cheers everyone 🙂

decluttering – books

I have been going thru my books in the last few days; I wanted to remove those which did not excite or educate me anymore.

I have purged around 250 books 🙂 They will be donated to charity or to friends. The majority of the books are novels, related to project management, diet or fitness, or self-help/philosophy books. Some of them I realized I bought but did not read more than a few pages. Some of them, especially the novels, are too easy to remember, and therefore cannot excite me anymore (the mystery is gone upon reading 🙂 ). Others are about topics I am not  interested in anymore.

I have kept some unread novels, history-related books, books on budgeting, saving, economy, and investing, cookbooks, and joy and wellness-

books purged and to be donated. My estimation is that there are around 250 books within these 7 large shopping bags. Excellent job sorting out :)
books purged and to be donated. My estimation is that there are around 250 books within these 7 large shopping bags. Excellent job sorting out 🙂

related books. These topics are so interesting to me. I am excited to have them and I sure will read them again and again.

I needed to put around 100 books to recycling – they are the ones that are battered a lot. It makes me sad to put them in recycling, but I am confident that they would not be useful to another person. The remaining 7 bags of sorted-out books I hope will find a new reader who will appreciate them.

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