Books – All five of The Song of Ice and Fire series and favorite quotes

Disappointed with how the final season concluded, I launched myself into reading the series of The Song of Ice and Fire again, for the 3rd time. I love GRRM’s writing. Below are my favorite quotes for different reasons. It can be just good writing in my opinion, or some interesting details about some characters, be it their sass or their stories, or just some good life lessons.

Game of Thrones

The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die

Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities

“Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?” he heard his own voice saying, small and far away.

And his father’s voice replied to him. “That is the only time a man can be brave.”

A Clash of Kings

“They will garb your brother Robb in silks, satins, and velvets of a hundred different colors, while you live and die in black ringmail. He will wed some beautiful princess and father sons on her. You’ll have no wife, nor will you ever hold a child of your own blood in your arms. Robb will rule, you will serve. Men will call you a crow. Him they’ll call Your Grace. Singers will praise every little things he does, while your greatest deeds all go unsung. Tell me that none of this troubles you, Jon…and I’ll name you a liar, and know I have the truth of it.”

Jon drew himself up, taut as a bowstring. “And if it did trouble me, what might I do, bastard as I am?”

“What will you do?” Mormont asked. “Bastard as you are?”

“Be troubled,” said Jon, “and keep my vows”

He who hurries through life hurries to his grave

Bear Island is beautiful, but remote. Imagine old gnarled oaks and tall pines, flowering thornbushes, grey stones bearded with moss, little reeks running icy down steep hillsides. The hall of the Mormonts is built of huge logs and surounded by an earthen palisade. Aside from a few crofters, my people live along the coasts and fish the seas…

At sixteen, he was cursed with all certainty of youth, unleavened by any trace of humor or self-doubt, and wed to the arrogance that came so naturally to those born blond and strong and handsome

The wind cut like a knife up here, and shrilled in the night like a mother mourning her slain children

A Storm of Swords

Old stories are like old friends, she used to say. You have to visit them from time to time.

Bronn gave out with a chuckle, but Oberyn only smiled. “We might never have seen you at all but for your sweet sister. You were never seen at table or hall, though sometimes at night we could hear a baby howling down in the depths of the Rock. You did have a monstrous great voice, I must grant you that. You would wail for hours, and nothing would quiet you but a woman’s teat.”

“Still true, as it happens”

This time Prince Oberyn did laugh. “A taste we share. Lord Gargalen once told me he hoped to die with a sword in his hand, to which I replied that I would sooner go with a breast in mine”

He rode till dawn, while the stars stared down like eyes

“…The north will go to your son by Sansa Stark…if you ever find enough manhood in you to breed one. Lest you forget, it is not only Joffrey who must needs take a maidenhead”

I had not forgotten, though I’d hoped you had. “And when do you imagine Sansa will be at her most fertile?” Tyrion asked his father in tones that dripped acid. “Before or after I tell her how we murdered her mother and her brother?”

Dawn stole into her garden like a thief

A Feast for Crows

“I am not Cersei. I have a beard, and she has breasts. If you are still confused, nuncle, count our hands. Cersei has two.”

“Lancel, Coz. I wanted to congratulate you upon your marriage. I only regret that my duties do not permit me to attend.”

“His Grace must be protected”

“And will be. Still, I hate to miss your bedding. It is your first marriage and her second, I understand. I’m sure my lady will be pleased to show you what goes where”

Together, they shoved the dirt on top of Nimble Dick as the moon rose higher in the sky, and down below the ground the heads of forgotten kings whispered secrets

Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell’s grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan’s stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow’s smile. He used to mess my hair and call me “little sister”, she remembered, and suddenly there were tears in her eyes

“Lady? I’m no lady. I’m the queen.”

“My sister will be surprised to hear that.”

“Lord Ryman crowned me his very self.” She gave a shake of her ample hips. “I’m the queen o’ whores.”

No, Jaime thought, my sweet sister holds that title too.

A Dance With Dragons

On starless nights the great cliff was as black as stone, a darkness towering high above the wide world, but when the moon came out it shimmered pale and icy as a frozen stream.

The dwarf rolled over, pressing half a nose deep into the silken pillows. Sleep opened beneath him like a well, and he threw himself into it with a will and let the darkness eat him up

“You should thank the Father Above. He gives gifts to all his children.”

“He does,” he agreed pleasantly. And when I die, please let them bury with me a crossbow, so I can thank the Father Above for his gifts the same way I thanked the father below.

On moonless nights the water was as black as maester’s ink, from horizon to horizon. Dark and deep and forbidding, beautiful in a chilly sort of way, but when he looked at it too long Tyrion found himself musing on how easy it would be to slip over the gunwale and drop down into that darkness. One very small splash, and the pathetic little tale that was his life would soon be done.

The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife. Snowflakes drifted down soundlessly to cloak soldier pines and sentinels in white. The drifts grew so deep that they covered the entrance to the caves, leaving a white wall that Summer had to dig through whenever he went outside to join his pack and hunt

The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife. The days marched past, one after the other, each shorter than the one before. The nights grew longer. No sunlight ever reached the caves beneath the hill. No moonlight ever touched those stony halls. Even the stars were strangers there. Those things belonged to the world above, where time ran in its iron circles, day to night to day to night to day.

Once outside the godswood the cold descended on him like a ravening wolf and caught him in its teeth. He lowered his head into the wind and made for the Great Hall, hastening after the long line of candles and torches. Ice crunched beneath his boots, and a sudden gust pushed back his hood, as if a ghost had plucked at him with frozen fingers, hungry to gaze upon his face

Let them laugh. His pride had perished here in Winterfell; there was no place for such in the dungeons of the Dreadfort. When you have known the kiss of a flaying knife, a laugh loses all its power to hurt you

In the godswood the snow was still dissolving as it touched the earth. Steam rose off the hot pools, fragrant with the smell of moss and mud and decay. A warm fog hung in the air, turning the trees into sentinels, tall soldiers shrouded in cloaks of gloom.

Alys Karstark leaned close to Jon. “Snow during a wedding means a cold marriage. My lady mother always said so.”

He glanced at Queen Selyse. There must have been a blizzard the day she and Stannis wed

Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever.”

“For the Watch”. He punched Jon in the belly. When he pulled his hand away, the dagger stayed where he had buried it.

Jon fell to his knees. He found the dagger’s hilt and wrenched it free. In the cold night air the would was smoking. “Ghost”, he whispered. Pain washed over him. Stick them with the pointy end. When the third dagger took him between the shoulder blades, he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow. He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold…

And now our watch has ended

I wanted to jot down something right after the episode when the feelings were fresh, but the courtesy of not spoiling other viewers made me wait for 24 hours. So here we go.

The show in general

Last night was the last episode ever of Game of Thrones, one of, if not the most successful TV show in the history. As an avid fan, it is bittersweet to see the end of the show. On one hand, it’s great to finally see closure after years of following the beloved characters. On the other, what do I look forward to every Sunday night moving forward?

The show was originally based on the Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin. The longer the show went, the more it deviated from the book. It continued till the end of season 5, when the show already went ahead of the books. The criticisms started to pour in regarding the quality of the plot. The critics do have a point. Holes, to an unacceptable extent in some cases, began to show. Negative reviews peaked in the last season, especially in the last four episodes. On top of unreasonable plot lines and events, the show made horrible mistakes in editing, including the famous Starbucks cup in episode 4, Jamie’s hand in episode 5 and the water bottle in yesterday’s episode. Since the show was known for attention to details, viewers’ barbs were deservedly warranted. It’s impossible to find an excuse for such mistakes when you had two years of preparation and shooting.

Regarding the declining quality of the script, I, like millions of fans, was disappointed of course. However, it’s important to remember that a movie script is different from a book. GRRM has been working on his 6th book since 2011. It takes a lot of time to build out the world that he created. Meanwhile, the writers only had much more limited time to work on the script. Plus, it is challenging and expensive to keep up with the tapestry of characters and plot lines that GRRM may have come up with himself.

Additionally, being true to the original works would mean more seasons. Some of the actors and actresses spent 10-11 years on the show. It’s understandable that even though the show brought their career to new heights, they may want to go something else and grow out of the characters for which they have become famous. Take Kit Harington, who played Jon Snow for instance. He repeatedly said he would love to be able to say: he is no longer Jon Snow and that he wouldn’t accept a role like that again, unless it was really really appealing. Jamming many storylines into a limited number of episodes definitely resulted in plot holes and criticisms.

The last episode and the ending

The ending is indeed bittersweet. Many beloved characters died. Jon was sent to the Wall. Meanwhile, the Starks fly high again after years of agonies and tragedies. Good-natured characters such as Podrick, Brienne, Samwell Tarly, Ser Davos, Bronn and Tyrion got a satisfying outcome.

However, I did have serious problems with some points in the finale. Why did Bran have a better claim/story than Sansa or Jon Snow if having a good story were the criterion? What’s the point of having the Night’s Watch and the Wall now that the Night King was dead and the Free Folks were already accepted? Why were there still many Unsullied and Dothrakis after the Great War? A lot of Unsullied were killed in Meereen and in the raid of Casterly Rock. And why did Drogon spare Jon’s life? He is a Targaryen, but Jon killed Dany and should have been dead by the dragon fire. The whole season made his whole true identity, which is the biggest secret of the whole kingdom, truly irrelevant.

Final thoughts

Regardless of the show’s flaws, I still love it and feel lucky to live through the culturally impactful series. The show emphasizes the value of honor and loyalty, exemplified by characters such as the Starks, House Mormont, Theon, Brienne, Jamie and so on.

Now that the show is over, I really look forward to the books. I highly recommend that you read them. Here are a few great passages:

All that ended abruptly the day his father returned from a sojourn in King’s Landing. That night at supper Tyrion surprised his sire by walking the length of the high table on his hands. Lord Tywin was not pleased. “The gods made you a dwarf. Must you be a fool as well? You were born a lion, not a monkey.”

And you’re a corpse, Father, so I’ll caper as I please. “You have a gift for making men smile,” Septa Lemore told Tyrion as he was drying off his toes. “You should thank the Father Above. He gives gifts to all his children.” “He does,” he agreed pleasantly. And when I die, please let them bury with me a crossbow, so I can thank the Father Above for his gifts the same way I thanked the father below.

A Dance With Dragons

The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife. The days marched past, one after the other, each shorter than the one before. The nights grew longer. No sunlight ever reached the caves beneath the hill. No moonlight ever touched those stony halls. Even the stars were strangers there. Those things belonged to the world above, where time ran in its iron circles, day to night to day to night to day.

A Dance With Dragons

Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell’s grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan’s stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow’s smile. He used to mess my hair and call me “little sister,” she remembered, and suddenly there were tears in her eyes.

A Feast For Crows

“How could I not love him, after that? That is not to say that I approved of all he did, or much enjoyed the company of the man that he became… but every little girl needs a big brother to protect her. Tywin was big even when he was little.” She gave a sigh. “Who will protect us now?”

Jaime kissed her cheek. “He left a son.”

“Aye, he did. That is what I fear the most, in truth.”

That was a queer remark. “Why should you fear?”

“Jaime,” she said, tugging on his ear, “sweetling, I have known you since you were a babe at Joanna’s breast. You smile like Gerion and fight like Tyg, and there’s some of Kevan in you, else you would not wear that cloak… but Tyrion is Tywin’s son, not you. I said so once to your father’s face, and he would not speak to me for half a year. Men are such thundering great fools. Even the sort who come along once in a thousand years.”

A Feast For Crows