OK, I’ll admit it. I had never even heard about Game of Thrones until HBO decided to produce the series. If someone had told me to read it a while back, I probably would have passed. But I watched the first episode of the show and I was hooked. My only problem was that huge cast of characters. Those men in armor all looked alike to me. I then decided that I had to read the book.Wow! Epic! I am at a loss of words to describe this book. I will say that once I finished Game of Thrones, I ordered the rest of the series right away. To my chagrin, my favorite book store kept running out of copies. In the end I prevailed and got my hands on the next 3 books. For those of you that are put off by the length of this book, it really does not feel like an 835 page tome. It reads fast. Chapters are not numbered; they are named for a specific character and told from that character’s point of view. It could be confusing, but it is not and the reader gets to see things from many different angles. Let’s just say I had favorites. I would speed read to get to the characters I loved. Arya, Bran, Tyrion, and Daenerys were my favorites. Sansa’s chapters made me want to throttle her. I didn’t really care for Catelyn’s chapters either. Jon and Eddard (Ned)’s chapters were interesting. I won’t go into the plot. Basically the title says it all. The smartest, sneakiest, most conniving ones seem to win (not sure if I’m right). I enjoy watching the game being played. Being honorable like Ned is definitely not an asset in this world. Ruthlessness and power hungry – those are the traits one needs. These characters make plotting and conniving seem like an Olympic sport. I love watching the side characters and the hangers on. Some of them such as Varys and Littlefinger are hard to figure out. It seems like the “Trust no one” motto would be a good one to follow. The author put a lot of thought and research into this book. Each “House” has its own motto, sigil, color, flags, etc. The symbolism of these sigils is very important to the houses. For example, the sigil of House Stark is the direwolf. Each Stark child had a pet direwolf. The Stark family motto was “Winter is coming,” something that every Canadian can relate to. Be prepared for some heartbreak. Characters do die in this book. Characters are much younger in this book than they are in the show. Be prepared for an epic read.