I carried 5 books with me on my trip to Southeast Asia: Wild, Game of Thrones, Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill, The Wars by Timothy Findley and Icefields by Thomas Wharton. Clearly, I had overzealous expectations; sadly, I only got through 2 of the 5 titles. Which means I carried almost 6 extra pounds of luggage with me the whole trip, even though I had expected to lose weight (both in terms of my physical form and my luggage) as I roamed. I keep thinking about how many more beautiful things I could have brought back from my travels abroad if I had only read more. Unfortunately, exciting travels do not lend themselves to quiet moments perfect for reading, as I found when I started Game of Thrones. Here’s the letter I wrote after reading it:
August 7, 2013
I carried Game of Thrones from Toronto to Singapore, Singapore to Vietnam, Vietnam to Cambodia, Cambodia to Kuala Lumpur and then on to Borneo, and back to Singapore. So, while my edition is now very well-travelled, it is also a MASSIVE edition, which explains its rather bedraggled appearance.
I had meant to leave it at Changi Airport on the way back to Toronto, but a last minute taxi delay meant that I was more concerned about making my flight home than finding a convenient place to leave the book…that, and the heightened security after the most recent terrorist concerns (I imagined being dragged off the plane to explain my book deposit and being promptly placed on the no fly list).
I really liked Game of Thrones. I understand its appeal for T.V.; all the characters are so great. You hate the ‘villains’, you root for the protagonists, and you love the characters that get caught up in the villainy but still exert their own malevolent pressures.
The plot moves well, and you constantly sense that everything is moving towards something BIG. But Game of Thrones does have ONE problem, like all fantasy/adventure stories: it offers escapism at its best. Which is great when you need an escape, but not so great when you’re ON one…like a 5-week trip abroad.
Every time I started to read a new chapter, I got distracted by something happening around me. I was wrapped up in Tyrion one second, and then realized that I needed to book flights to Borneo. Or I was imagining choking out Sansa, the little twit, when a cricket-eating expedition erupted at the hostel. The simple truth is, when real life is exciting, there’s no need to escape to an exciting fictional world.
Of course, I will read the next book in the series, but from a very different state of mind…like from the hammock in my back yard. So, I hope that if you find this book, you find it on the way to a peaceful place so you can best enjoy it!