Jaci: For our final bookclub book until I next depart, we returned to A Game of Thrones. Or, I returned to A Game of Thrones. One of the benefits of a paper book–it can’t be accidentally archived mid-read. Ben finished it back when we started it.
Ben: So just a note, this was published on January 31, but due to some issues with the website, it only just showed up now. But hey- perfect timing- the HBO miniseries Game of Thrones is coming out on April 17, and there has been a lot of buzz about that!
Jaci: This books is a pretty straight-stick high fantasy, a genre that I enjoy on occasion. My favorite examples of the genre are the His Dark Materials, Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter series. By comparison, this seemed a bit…hokey. And yet, at sea, it was impossible to stop reading. The themes of separation from loved ones and decisions almost made for you, in particular, rang true for me.
Ben: Oh come now, hokey? George R.R. Martin is considered a king of this genre (and he even looks like a part of it, if you’ve seen his interviews). Now a big miniseries is coming out, this has to be more than just hokey! I think the issue was that once you dive into a fantasy world, you have to stay in that world, coming in than out of it causes fantasy-reality lapse issues.
Jaci: Once I finally reloaded the book to my Kindle in Rome, I had a much harder time getting back into it. Because, at that point, I was only ten hours away from reuniting with Ben. It was as though I was the King’s Hand and my time in the Red Keep was drawing to a close at last, allowing me to return to Winterfell and my family. (Is that too much? And is it any wonder that I’m a big fan of Arya?)
Ben: Ok, or that- maybe I am just better than fantasy!
Jaci: Ben’s response to my complaints on the length of the book: stop bitching and read it.
Ben: I devoured this book pretty quickly, and the next one too, but I didn’t quite make it into the third one. Length isn’t really a problem for me, and now that I have a new Kindle also, it goes so quickly. There are so many varied story lines- Jon, Arya, the various houses and kings that are all in conflict, and even politics on the other side of the world, and they never seem to intersect! In fact, the lack of intersection kind of drives you, you push forward hoping that you aren’t reading 8 different stories and that they’ll all come together in one giant climax.
Jaci: Toward the end I got back into the flow of the story, and the last 20% or so flew by. I was actually thinking about adding the rest of the series to our refreshed bookclub list come summer, but Ben’s already ordered the rest of the series, and I don’t know if we’ll be able to wait that long!
Ben: I think we can put the rest of them on, you just have one book of catch up to do, and the rate we’re going, you mind as well!
Jaci: So, at this point I would like to comment on the utility of the bookclub in general. In my opinion, it really helped. Couples that live together all the time don’t have to try as hard–they have a shorthand language of shared experiences. We were able to mimic that effect to a certain degree by reading the same books. If I blurt out, apropos of nothing, “I don’t want our children to be like Sansa!” Ben immediately gets that I don’t want them to be idiotic spoiled brats with nothing but fantasies and fairy dust between the ears. And, even though we were apart, the bookclub was a way to spend some time on our marriage every week. It helped us put in the work.
Ben: I can’t agree more. I’ll bottom line it for everyone- the book club saved our marriage from the Navy, period.
Jaci: And with that, the bookclub is officially on pause. Look for us to resume Summer 2011!