The buzz surrounding the TV adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones was nearly impossible to miss. Fans couldn’t stop talking about how excited they were to see his amazing world finally come to life. They talked of dire wolves, and swords, and epic battles. I wanted to share in that excitement, but since I’d never read the books I could only muster so much enthusiasm. The one bonus to this was that I had no preconceptions about what the show should be and wouldn’t be disappointed by the omission of a favorite scene. So, right along with the legions of die hard fans, I sat down to watch this grand, fantasy adventure.
It turned out to be pretty much what I expected with knights and swords and castles and even evil things in the forest that were sure to cause problems later. Oh, and there was a beheading, which I think is required in every fantasy novel. It’s right up there with hangings and the use of Ye Olde English. I liked the first episode so much that I immediately downloaded the book. Do you know that thing is nearly 800 pages long? That’s a lot of beheading, but the show held promise so I wanted to read the book. It’s inevitable that things get left out due to time, budget or creative license, so I make it a habit of reading the books on which my favorite movies and shows are based. After this, though, I may have to rethink that policy.
I should have know I was in trouble when I complained about the pace and people said I had to read the first hundred pages or so before it got good. So, I kept reading. And reading. And reading. I’m not one to give up on a book so I read through to the end and, when I turned that last page, I let out a sigh of relief and frustration. This guy makes Tolkien look concise. I know more about the color, design, and shading of the house banners of Westeros than I ever cared to know. I also know way too much about wenching, people’s eyes melting out of their sockets like jelly, and crumbling old buildings. Where the show consolidates and cuts, the book just goes on and on about details that don’t really add to the story. I know, he’s creating a world, but there’s more detail and description in this book than actual story, and I read for story.
The worst part? Now that I’ve read this ponderous tome, I’m less excited for the show. It’s not knowing what’s going to happen, but knowing just how little is going to happen that has ruined the story. I’ll keep watching the show in all it’s wenching, knightly glory, but it just isn’t the same now. And before you tell me that I really, really ought to read the second book because that’s when it gets going, you should know that puts you at risk of experiencing a beheading by my own hand.
What did you guys think? Fan of the show? Fan of the books? How did they rate for you?