Sunday, 14 July 2013

A Song of Ice and Fire Book Club: Chapters 1-14 - of direwolves and Lannisters

House Musk

First of all, I'd like to apologise to the other members of the group for posting this a day late. Yesterday our internet connection went down (I think someone has been cutting cables, tut, tut), so this is the first opportunity I've had to get back on.

So, here we are with the first catchup of the Book Club. We are making our way steadily through the first four A Game of Thrones books in preparation for the fourth series being released next March.

The plan is to have a catchup every other Saturday, with each of us posing a question to be answered by the rest.

The brain behind the Club is Jamie, who resides at, and joining him is Allison at Geek Banter, Ria at Bibliotropic and myself.
Make sure to head on over to the others to see their thoughts too.

And now to the questions for this week:

Jamie: In the few chapters that we've seen already, Tyrion is amazing. His snark and wit mark him out as one of my favourites. Do you think his role is more the comic relief or a juxtaposition for the cruelty of his sibling Lannisters (opposites in appearance as well as personality)?

I think that his difference in physical appearance is certainly not the only way Tyrion Lannister is set apart from his siblings. In the beginning he is portrayed by his brother and sister as something less than them, referring to him as 'the Imp' and immediately placing him lower down in their eyes. As we see him apart from them though, we see that there is far more to him than they'd care to advertise, and his intellect and manner of dealing with situations marks him out as someone not to be overlooked, if you'll pardon the pun.
I think he is definitely meant to be a contrast to the cruelty and morals of the rest of his family, and at times I wonder if he is sometimes ashamed to be associated with them. He can see the benefits he has in being part of the Lannister family, not the least of which is that he has lived and grown to a man. This may be a heavy price to pay though for being tarred with the same brush.

Heather: Have you already seen the television series before reading the books? If yes, has it influenced how you read them?

I am currently half way through watching season two of the television series, and inevitably, it means I am seeing the characters in the book as the actors who play them.
This causes a little dilemma though, as the characters in the book are a little younger than they appear in the series. Robb, for example, is only 14 in the book but Richard Madden certainly looks older than this. So far the book is quite close to the series too, which means I picture it as I have seen it on the screen. This is bound to change though, when I get onto the books that are yet to be adapted.
I have to admit, when considering these questions it is hard not to bring in my knowledge from what I've seen in the series so far, and concentrate on the chapters we've read up until this point. 

Allison: What do you think the names chosen for the direwolves say about the children's personalities? And for  a silly bonus question, share what you would name yours (come on, I know you've thought about it :-P)
(and for a silly bonus question, share what you would name yours (come on, I know you've thought about it :P) - See more at:
(and for a silly bonus question, share what you would name yours (come on, I know you've thought about it :P) - See more at:

The names given to the direwolves by the Stark children seem to be a reflection on their own personalities and how they see themselves.
John Snow doesn't see himself as a true Stark, merely a presence among the rest of his half-siblings and so Ghost is appropriate. He believes that although he is present among the house, nobody really sees him or pays much attention.
Sansa has taken to her role of the eldest daughter, excelling in the finer details of what  being a lady entails, such as needlepoint. The name Lady for her wolf demonstrates how she sees herself.
The differences between her and Arya are obvious, with Arya showing no interest in the pursuit of being a lady, instead wanting to join her brothers in combat training. Nymeria was a warrior-queen, and so this choice of name reflects her desire to be something more than just a lady.
Shaggydog is typical for Rickon, who is still very young being only 3 years old. This name shows how literally he still sees things and how unaware he is of the greater world around him.
Grey Wind was named for his colouring and speed, a speed which Robb exhibits in his swordplay. 
Summer is the name of Bran's wolf, which we haven't learnt quite yet in this part of the book. The Stark's words are 'Winter is coming', and so Bran's choice of name could be a reflection of his optimism that although winter is coming, it will not last forever. 

If I had my own direwolf, I'd probably name it Mexico. For as long as I've been able to drive I've longed for a MkI Escort Mexico. One day I will own one, one day ...

Ria: "[...] a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." What do you think about the veracity of Tyrion's line there, especially in a world that seems to prize physical strength more highly than intelligence?

Tyrion is well aware of his weaknesses, which centre around his physical limitations. One of the only strengths he has is his mind, and is able to talk himself out of situations that could possibly lead to a physical conflict and put his life in danger.
This in itself makes him a danger, as others with more advanced physical abilities may see his intellect as a threat. His use of words can manipulate others to his will, especially if they don't fully understand his meaning. He reads his books to understand the past and the world around him. This is his whetstone, for sharpening his mind so he can successfully maneuvre through the different peoples he comes into contact with.

I have enjoyed the questions for this catchup, and look forward to more reading and more thinking over the next couple of weeks!


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