The following is in response to George R. R. Martin‘s “A Game of Thrones”, the first book of the “A Song of Fire and Ice” series.
After having seen the way-too-short first season of the HBO series adapted from George R. R. Martin’s brilliant book, I decided to get the book; I guess I thought there would be more in the book than in the first season, but I was wrong—the first season of the show actually covers the entire first book. How they got 807 pages into ten episodes, I will never know. What’s even more puzzling is that the HBO series was very much by the book.
I was surprised to find, near the end of the book, hints to a theme other than the multiple-kings-and-only-one-throne theme—love brings tragedy. On page 662, Jon Snow (Eddard Stark’s bastard) and Aemon Targaryen are speaking in the blind measter’s room in Castle Black. Aemon says, “Most of us are not so strong. What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms…or the memory of a brother’s smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.”
After reading this I thought about the beginning of the book when Jaime Lannister pushed Brandon Stark off the edge of the old tower when the young Bran discovered Jaime having sex with his sister Cersei Lannister. At first I thought, how cruel could one guy be to push a child off a ledge? But it seems that Jaime—even though he’s totally gross for laying with his sister—did what he did out of true love for Cersei.
Again, on page 781, Jon Snow is speaking with a higher-up of Castle Black, Jeor Mormont, who says “The things we love destroy us every time, lad.”