I finished A Game of Thrones a while ago. It turned out to be a book I couldn’t wait to finish, but never wanted to end. I’m not sure how to write this “review” (of sorts) because such an epic tale cannot be encapsulated in a blog post.
I first started this book about five years ago. The series (only 4 books at that time) was a gift from my brother and so, trusting his literary taste, I was excited to dive into a land of ice walls, sinister plots, and classic heroes. But I was horribly disappointed. I couldn’t keep the characters straight and all I took out of the few pages I read was that Stark family must love wolves.
Now that I’ve been through all five seasons on HBO and the entire first book, I want to completely erase my previous experience and reaction. Oh wait, see? I did. 😉
I have to admit that watching the series really helped me keep the characters straight. It did make certain events more painful and set ups for future events (eg. “The Red Wedding”) clearer and sadder. Even though the first season followed the book extremely closely, it didn’t ruin the plot for me. Not in the least.
The book is always better. I’ve said that before, let me say it again. The book is always better. Three major ways stand out:
1st – The characters. The men and women of Westeros are vibrant on the show, but they take on an added layer in the book. Conversations and descriptions that are absent from the show really sing from the pages.
For example, there is a lot more detail about Ned’s affair, Jon’s looks and parentage, and The Hound is a lot more sympathetic as a character much sooner than in the show. Also Tyrion – who is poignant and hilarious in the show – is even more so in the book. Yes, these are my favorite characters. Plus Khal Drogo. Because he’s gorgeous. 😀
2nd – The setting. As with the characters, so it is with the setting; for me, the characters are more important. The descriptions of Castle Black and Winterfell stick out to me, but that could be because (aside from Daenerys) the Starks and The Night’s Watch are my favorite pieces of Westeros.
3rd – The sex. Martin definitely has his characters get down and dirty but the written scenes don’t even come close to the ridiculous orgies splattered throughout each season. I felt, especially after season 1, most of the sex scenes were gratuitous and largely uncouth. This is the story of a mainly debauched people in an uninhibited time. I get that. I still think that much graphic content actually detracted from story. But sex sells and I guess that’s why most people watch HBO…