Over the past year, I've recently gotten into reading George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. I know, I'm a little late to the party, but hey, no one's perfect, right? From the moment I read the first page, I was enamored by Martin's brilliant world-building and expert prose. I was completely in love. Something about this book series was completely different to me, and at first I couldn't put my finger on what it was, until I realized that it was the rich characters and their complexity that made this series so different.
For me, there is just something so fascinating about diving into the lives of so many multi-faceted characters, and not just for the sake of the story. Characters in books, to me at least, represent ourselves and our innermost wants and desires, as well as provide glimpses into the behaviors of others that we know. In short, they mirror us. For example, I immediately fell in love with Brienne of Tarth's character. Her fierce loyalty and undying desire to do what is right reminded me of myself in a way, but also I saw some of myself in her in the way that she masked her insecurities by putting up walls. In a way, reading her character helped me become more self-aware.
In addition, I was fascinated by how these characters, both good and evil and morally ambiguous all had the ability to gain my sympathy as well as my judgement. Cersei Lannister is a prime example. Though a definite villain she is, one can't help but sympathize with the suffering that she has been through. From being shunned by her kingly husband in the early books to the loss of her children later on, it's no secret that there's more to her character than meets the eye. Even heroic characters such as Catelyn Stark and Daenerys Targaryen have their share of questionable choices as well, ones that leave readers scratching their heads as to why any "good-guy" would ever make such decisions. Of course, fiction can harbor numerous truths about the real world, and I think it stands to reason that one message being made here is that there really are no good and bad people, just people making good and bad decisions, and those decisions collectively make a complex and complete person. for better or for worse.
As I continue to read this series (I'm only on Book Three with a handful of spoilers made known to me, so I'm getting there), I look forward to reading about the characters and their specific situations. Even when some chapters may seem bleak, I'll ride it out in time, because another thing I've learned while reading this series is that resilience is part of the human condition. We have all of our ups and downs, and even if we do get defeated at times, we come back, and often much stronger, if not with a few dragons to boot.