I finished the book last night, and I wanted to write a review. This review, though, isn't on the plot, quality, not even on the nature of the story. These are so subjective. They don't really count. Not really. We all read books differently, and a story that enchanted someone may as well disturb another person. Well, this review, however, is just my opportunity to say thank you to George R.R. Martin for writing this book, and in a way it's my chance to look back and see where I was when I started reading the book, and where I am now as I finish it.
Well, I'm not exactly a fast reader, but I'm also not a slow reader. I stay with a book for about a week, finish reading it, and then I move on to another, and another, and another. You know how it goes. This year, though, I haven't found the mental strength to commit to reading. My mother passed away in December, 2015, and it's been hard. At first, I was in shock. And then that numbness changed into anger, and sadness, and it meant staying up late watching Medium, crying, indulging in self-pity… And then it got a little better. I started writing again. I started reading again. I got sad. I got happy. I am still mourning her death, and I think I'll always will. It's just how things are when you lose someone you love.
And, when I look back, I see that throughout it all I had this thick, blue book under my arm. I got it almost exactly a year ago, when we moved back to the United States. Not longer after I got it, I got a phone call from Brazil saying that my mother was dying. I flew back south with this book in my backpack, because I naively thought I could spend the fifteen-hour trip to Brazil in Westeros to pass the time—instead, I was screaming in my skull throughout the whole flight, afraid that I was too late. It was the longest, most difficult journey I've ever experienced. I was scared. I was terrified I'd get there and my mom would be gone.
I wasn't late, and my watch started. I had this book in my bag, when I stayed with my Mom at the hospital the first night, thinking that when she slept, I probably should have something to do. But, my mother never slept. She only slept on the day she died, precisely a week later. I saw her die. I saw her perish slowly. I saw her fight for her life like she'd always done, no time for rest or peace. She battled on until the disease took her. I was there. I saw it. This book was in my bag.
I came back home, and I read A Game of Thrones in spurts for a year. And last night I finished it. You know, I only give five stars to stories I know I'll never forget. And so I give it five stars now, because as I went through hell, only George R.R. Martin's characters sounded like exactly how I felt. I don't know how he does this… His writing is like reaching into someone and pulling out all the thoughts and feeling you keep hidden in these boxes you don't really want to remember exist. There were times when I looked at his picture, and shouted “you're a wizard!” for the way this book and the characters and the plot managed to mingle with my existing life. Life and death have never been so well represented like in the writing of George R.R. Martin. I recommend it, not because Jon Snow is and will always be my favorite character in the history of literature… But, I recommend it if you're going through difficult times and you're having a hard time connecting to anything around you. This book will pull you back. It will warn you that “winter is coming” and you better find strength if you want to keep going.