Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Re reading A Song of Ice and Fire

This week, while visiting and needing a book to read, I caved in and picked up A Game of Thrones, the first instalment of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin, thinking that since I had the series at home I needn't worry about not being able to finish.

It's been about three years since I read this instalment and I am amazed at the things I am learning for the first time.

So far I've picked up a couple of new facts (or facts I don't remember) per chapter. In the prologue it's mainly been sensory details. 'The soft metalic slither of the lordling's ringmail'; 'The taste of cold iron in his mouth gave him comfort'; 'His face pressed hard against the trunk of the sentinel.'

Having read the series at least twice before and being obsessive about the TV series, this is the first time I'm reading without the pressure to resolve the suspense of the next thing to happen.

I'm finding that reading the whole story, all the detail, requires a different pacing, a different way of seeing the text. Spending more time on each sentence is allowing me to pick up the small groats of information that add up to the complex whole picture, and I'm appreciating GRRM's writing all over again.

On page 8 of my paperback copy (Cover is brown with the dragon's head, published in 2011) I learned about the Other's armor for the first time. 'Its armor seemed to change color as it moved; here it was white as new-fallen snow, there black as shadow, everywhere dappled with the deep grey-green of the trees. The patterns ran like moonlight on water with every step it took.' I find this last sentence especially, very evocative, and surely would've remembered it if I'd read it before?

I'm shaking my head over the fact that I must've just glossed over this paragraph upon my first two reads! What else did I miss?

This, of course, is the reason to keep books beyond one reading. Every so often I meet people who never re-read, they say. Hard to believe, though I'll grant you that few stories have the strength to support more than one reading.

Thank you RH, for the wonderful bookshelves you made me!