Friday, June 21, 2013

A Game of Thrones...and Confusion.

There are many people out there who may be shocked to read this, but A Game of Thrones was actually a novel (well, the first from a series of novels called A Song of Ice and Fire) written by George R.R. Martin, well before it was a smash hit television series on HBO. The first novel was published back in 1996 and the series has been nominated and won numerous awards. However, what will not shock anyone is the fact that novels are always WAY better than the television or movie version of a story.

The only exception I have ever found to this rule is The Notebook which was a dreadful and boring novel but a romantic and heartbreaking movie which makes me sob like only one or two other movies can accomplish (Philadelphia and What Dreams May Come).

I watched the first 2 seasons of Game of Thrones and while yes, I did enjoy it, I never felt the desire to continue watching the show when season 2 came to an end. In terms of factors such as costumes, set design, fight scenes and acting, the show is fantastic and remarkable. The battle between the families and the politics involved in the show are great to watch...but for me, there was just something missing. I was never revved up and waiting on pins and needles every week to see what was going to happen.

At first I didn't want to admit the problem. It made me feel a bit stupid when I figured out why I wasn't enjoying about the show. But now I can freely admit that for me, I just couldn't keep the names of all of the characters, families and lands separated enough to keep track of what was going on and why buddy wanted to kill this guy and why everyone hated each other so much. Too many people with too many names and too many lands to keep track of was taking away the story line. Am I a complete moron for this? Shouldn't I be able to follow the story line of a TV show without being twisted in confusing?

 Now that I have openly confessed my confusion about the show, every single person who also watches the show has admitted that they have the same problem and that the story line is hard to follow a lot of the time because of all of the names. Seven kingdoms are a lot of kingdoms and people to keep your brain wrapped around. Overall, it felt good knowing that I was not alone in my struggle for understanding or following a TV story line.

But the thing is, is that I liked the story line and wanted to get to know it more personally. And there is only one way to do that: Read the books! My dad and sister both read the series many years ago (well before the TV show came out) and when they finished them, dad was always telling me to read them because he knew how much I would like them. Unfortunately I was up to elbows in school work around  that time and my pesky desire to get a university degree was getting in the way of my leisure reading. So last week when I went home to visit the family, dad handed me the first 4 novels and told me to get started.

I am now 138 pages into the first book and I can honestly say that I understand the characters and politics of the story way better after reading only 138 pages then after watching 2 seasons of the show. Like, unbelievable better. The thing about reading the books is that it is way easier to keep track of characters because of the dialogue that occurs in books. On TV, there is no, "Bob said" or "Tom replied" so unless someone verbally says, "Oh Bob, I can't believe you would say such a thing!" it can be easy to lose track of the characters. Novels have the advantage of being able to go into depth and detail about everything whereas if you try to do that on TV, then people just get bored. You can actually get into the heads of the characters; know what they know, feel what they feel and understand their points of view in a way that TV can never offer. What I am also loving about the book is that I find that I cannot skim or skip lines when reading it because there is so much information packed into the pages that if you skim a line, then you might miss something fairly important which leaves you to have to go back and reread what you missed. I am finding that I really have to devote my brain and attention to the novel which is a very refreshing feeling to have again.

So to all of those who are looking to actually figure out and fully comprehend what they just watched for the past 3 seasons on Game of Thrones, I recommend picking up a copy of the (at least the first) novel and get sucked into the fantasy that George R.R. Martin cleverly created for the world to enjoy. So much better than TV.

Besides, what else do you have to do with your time? Winter is Coming after all.


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