For better or worse, Game of Thrones ended in 2019. The spin-off might be a long ways off and farther still is Book 6 of Song of Ice and Fire. So what is there to read to quench your thirst for bloody battles, backstabbing and morally ambiguous characters? Look no further because the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie can sate that thirst. Here are my 6 reasons why fans of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire should read the First Law Trilogy.
- Bloody Battles
As the savages of the North threaten the Union, war is inevitable. One man is uniting the northern clans against the Union. Logen Ninefingers, the Bloody Nine, one of the most famed and murderous barbarians of the land has been cast out. He just might have to help the Union bring down the tyrannical King Bethod. If I had to compare Logen to someone it’d be the Hound; they are both brutes capable of bloody violence but they find themselves regretting some of their actions.
- Morally gray characters…
…or your plain bad ones! Devious, scheming and merciless are some of our main characters. They might have some moral qualms with the violence they unleash at times but this is an unforgiving land. Best to squash those moral qualms along with your enemies heads.
“Once you’ve got a task to do, it’s better to do it than live with the fear of it.”
Abercrombie does a good job at giving us a new land, rich with history. Game of Thrones often looks back at the history of that world and how the past shaped the course of current events. This series does much the same as events from 1000 years ago centered on Bayaz, the wizard, are explored giving the series some interesting backstory.
- Character development or lack thereof
Some of these characters go through ups and downs. The desire to be good is sometimes there but is it enough to change a person? Can a lifetime of evil deeds be forgotten?
a sword has a voice.
Sheathed it has little to say, to be sure, but you need only put your hand on the hilt and it begins to whisper in your enemy’s ear. A gentle word. A word of caution. Do you hear it?
Now, compare it to the sword half drawn. It speaks louder, does it not? It hisses a dire threat. It makes a deadly promise. Do you hear it?
Now compare it to the sword full drawn. It shouts now, does it not? It screams defiance! It bellows a challenge! Do you hear it?”
The maneuverings of the tortured man turned torturer, Sand dan Glokta, make for some satisfying reading. How does a man with constant pain, who can barely walk and chew extricate himself from dangerous situations and political conundrums? Being utterly ruthless of course.
Still, why choose this life? Why make others suffer as Inquisitor for the Union? Glokta is no stranger to moral dilemmas but by the end of this series, the path for him has already been laid out.
Cersei might find a kindred spirit in Glokta with all the backstabbing plots these come up with but in my opinion, Cersei can’t hold a candle to Glokta.
- Rooting for the underdog
Logen, Glokta and officer of the union, Jezal dan Luthar, have one thing in common. They are the underdogs. Nothing like rooting for the underdog and wondering just how the in the world will they escape a besieged city, an angry mob of beasts, the Shanka, or surviving a journey to the farthest reaches of the world.
“Every man has his excuses, and the more vile the man becomes, the more touching the story has to be. What is my story now, I wonder?”