So I have just finished A Game of Thrones and enjoyed it very much. It probably helped that the TV adaptation was so good in the first place and made me want to read the book.
As with any adaption there are going to be differences between the book and the show – such as missing scenes, characters delivering other characters words – but I’ve got to say that while these things exist to a small extent, the TV series was a pretty faithful adaptation of the book.
There were a few major differences between the book and the TV series:
1. The ages of the characters. In the book the characters are quite a bit younger than they appear to be on the TV series. Daenerys starts the book at 13 years old – which makes her brother and the things that happen to her even creepier than in the TV series. Eddard Stark’s children are all young as well – Robb and Jon (although I don’t think Jon is Eddard’s son but I guess I will find out if I am right later) are 14.
2. Sex. I was glad to see that the frequent sex scenes in the TV show are, for the most part, not a feature of the book. The sex scenes always seemed to be gratuitous in the TV show and I think the show suffers because of them. I read an article recently that was an introduction to SciFi for the novice and one of the elements they claimed that SciFi contained that might be appealing to new readers was sex. I don’t know what they based this on as I rarely encounter sex scenes in the books that I read (the writer must have been a big Laurell K. Hamilton fan). I would hope that they were not required to give a genre series or book mass appeal.
3. Ros. The prostitute Ros has not appeared in this book. Is she a totally invented character? Is her only purpose to provide a pretty, distracting background as a major character in the story delivers some exposition? This seems to have been her role so far anyway.
4. Shae. This is one character that is made more interesting in the TV series compared to the book. In the book she just appears and sleeps with Tyrion a few times. In the TV series she is more feisty and intriguing in her dealings with Tyrion. I hope this is the scriptwriters speeding up her development in the series compared to the book. I will be disappointed if Martin’s portrayal of her does not introduce some of these elements to her character.
Having come to the books via the TV series I was confused by the passage of time. In the series there is no measure of the passage of time – other than in the development of the direwolf cubs which are bigger almost every time you see them. I was sort of disappointed that this is reflected in the original novel. Is not until late in the book when Tyrion reflects on events and mentions that almost a year has passed that you get a sense of things moving much more slowly than the pace of the novel would suggest.
Anyway I will be pressing on with the next novel and hoping that the intrigue is maintained and looking forward to more fantastic elements being introduced via Jon’s travels beyond the Wall and Daenerys’ quest for revenge.