In most fiction it is fairly easy to tell which character is the protagonist. Some gifted authors may lead you to sympathy for a rogue character, but you still have that gut instinct that you are cheering on the right person. Or even that there is a protagonist.
So what do you do when you read an author like George R. R. Martin? A phenomenally gifted author, Martin is someone for whom you cannot let down your guard. In his A Song of Ice and Fire series, which has become blazingly popular with the new HBO series, Game of Thrones, based on the first novel, you find yourself constantly looking for the hero. Which character should you cheer for, who will prevail in the end? It is hard to choose; there are so many intricate characters, so many interwoven plotlines.
Well let me tell you a secret. Don't get attached. Martin pulls no punches, and to quote my review (egotistical, I know) which goes live today, "No character is safe, no ending assured." That is the truth of Songs of Ice and Fire and that is the truth of his newest, wonderful installment, A Dance With Dragons, which is on shelves today!
Go ahead and cheer for the ones you love, I do. But prepare for the heartbreak. George R. R. Martin is a master, and the reader is but a slave to his imagination. Winter is coming!