I should really wait until I am done with reading all the books before I compare Game of Thrones, the book to Game of Thrones, the series but I’ve only finished the first one, meaning I have 4,000 pages to go. I’m not that patient.
It is very unlike me to watch something before I’ve read it. And very unlike me to read the fantasy genre. I read Lord of the Rings, the granddaddy of them all, every summer when I was a kid, and my first thought upon encountering George R.R. Martin was, “He has got to be kidding, stealing Tolkien’s famous initials.” I found that very pompous. (I’m now changing my name to J.K. Dunn. Or maybe e.e. dunn.) I was predisposed not to like him for that reason alone.
I ignored the books but gave the show a try because it had HBO’s huge budget behind it. Those aren’t CGI’d mountains and coastlines and castles and deserts. Those are Iceland and Croatia and Ireland and Malta.
The first season did a good job of getting most of the exposition that we needed out there. They did a bad job with the early battles in the war, which I can’t fault them for. Too many extras would be needed if they filmed that and didn’t want to resort to CGI. They did a horrible job explaining how Jamie Lannister came to be captured by the Starks.
I liked how each chapter was told through the POV of one of the main characters, and mostly liked how those characters would sometimes lie. Then you’d hear a different version of events a few chapters later. Martin doesn’t explain which one is lying, leaving it up to his readers to figure it out. Littlefinger told us he won the knife that was used in the attack on Bran from Tyrion because he bet on Jamie to win. Tyrion told us later he’d never bet against a Lannister. And that’s all we needed to read to know Tyrion was telling the truth.
I liked how, not counting a few glaring exceptions, the bad people are often good and the good people are often bad. Lots of grey. I keep wondering if Arya will forgive the Hound, because his good is catching up with his bad.
I started reading the series because I was blindsided by the Red Wedding and didn’t want that to happen again. I want to learn of the surprises from the book, not the TV show.
I was shocked by the Red Wedding but I didn’t care in the least. Martin has not killed off anyone I care about yet. Ned? He so had it coming. Telling your arch enemy you found out she had an incestuous relationship with her brother and Joffrey is a pretender to the throne? I have no qualms when they kill someone that stupid. I hated Catelyn from the beginning with the way she treated Jon Snow. It’s not his fault he is a bastard. If she needed to take it out on someone, she should have taken it out on her oh-so-noble husband when he had an affair, not on the innocent child. And Robb? Lord, another idiot. He should have been left back in Winterfell fighting with wooden swords. And Sansa can go anytime, too. Poor Sansa. It’s not her fault she was raised to be insipid.
I haven’t figured out who I think has the best claim to the throne yet but I don’t see how it can be Daenerys. Her father was killed and his throne usurped. I know she sees it differently, but that’s the end to her claim. Although she does have those pesky dragons. Stannis probably has the best claim. Laws of primogeniture do not automatically mean the throne goes to the first born male heir; sometimes they go to the eldest brother. (Or else, we’d never have Hamlet.) I imagine we’re going to see a lot more of Gendry, who would have an airtight claim to the throne if they had DNA testing. Illegitimate children can win the throne, as witnessed by Elizabeth I, after Henry VIII decided to take on the Catholic Church and ended up making his marriage to Anne Boleyn null and void.
I imagine I love whom everyone else loves: Bran, Arya, Jon, Tyrion and sometimes, Dany. That’s three feuding houses there so they can’t all win. If the Starks win, I can see them not killing Tyrion because he has a strong bond with Jon. I fear for Dany. But again, pesky dragons.
Something happens in the Seven Kingdoms and everyone knows about it instantly. How do the ravens know where to go? These people up and move about all the time but the ravens just seem to know where they’ve gone to. I will give Martin a pass on that one since I gave J.K. Rowling a pass when she did it with her owls. And when Tyrion was captured by Catelyn, he knew the names of all the people he saw, people not connected with his house in the least. Honestly, do they have Facebook?
OK, it’s a summer read. I shouldn’t worry about it so much. I promise to read something serious in the fall.
Quick thoughts, mostly because I am feeling too lazy to construct a proper paragraph now:
Things I want to happen: I want Arya to find Nymeria. I want Syrio Forel, the Dance Master, to show up again if and when the show shifts to Braavos, and I want to find out what happened to Benjen. The chances of most of those happening are tiny, but hope springs.
I want to say “Seven Hells,” “It is known” and “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” all the time.
Why isn’t George Martin on Twitter? Because he can’t limit himself to 140 characters. Ba da bing.
I think Cersai is in for a rude awakening now that she has Jamie back. If ever a man has changed….
Peripheral characters I love the most: Bronn, Samwell, Davos, Brienne, Shae, and, mostly, Hodor. No, not really. Mostly Bronn.
It’s HBO, so we’re going to have a lot of unnecessary T&A, but at least the naked women on this show look like normal women, not Hollywood surgically-enhanced horror shows.
I was annoyed right off the bat because we had zombie-like creatures. I’m not sure why I can accept Aurochs and direwolves but I have a hard time with the Others.
Maybe the direwolves will kill the dragons.
On to Book Two!