A Game of Thrones

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.

Taking a Break

With the first season of Game of Thrones coming to an end, I am probably going to take some time out from comic reading to do more book reading (I currently only tend to read novels on the commute to and from work which is only about an hour each day). I have been watching and enjoying the series but if the book is half as good then this will be a great read and I will want to devote most of my time to it and the sequels (I currently have the second book as well).

I was going to say that I am not a big fan of fantasy – indeed I do tend to read science fiction when it comes to books – but the more I thought about it the less true it seemed. For instance, if you have been a regular reader of this blog then you will know that my favourite comic imprint is Vertigo from DC and a lot of their output and my favourite titles are fantasy based such as Hellblazer, Books of Magic, Fables and Sandman. But even when I think of books I have read the Harry Potter series, the urban fantasy of Jim Butcher and Mike Carey and the fantastic worlds of Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith. Also one of my favourite authors is Neil Gaiman so when I say that I am not a fan of fantasy then I guess I am talking of the high fantasy of Lord of the Rings type books.

In terms of this kind of fantasy I think I have only read Tolkein and Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant chronicles so I think it is well past time for me to try something new – well at least new to me as A Game of Thrones was first published 15 years ago. Based on the TV series I wouldn’t describe this book as high fantasy either – but that’s OK if it is not as that is not necessarily what I am after – how do you top Tolkein after all.

So I will post here less frequently than I have been but will return towards the end of the summer.