Right now I have just finished reading the second book, and have watched a handful of Season 3 episodes. Please, in the name of the old gods and the new, do not spoil me.
I knew these books existed ages ago, but I have this stubborn thing about books that everyone loves. Books are important to me, and I don't want to love the same books everybody else does. So when I hear about a book or set of books that everyone is crazy for, I avoid it.
This is foolish, I know. It's why I didn't start the Harry Potter books until the Prisoner of Azkabahn came out, for one example. And it's why I didn't read Game of Thrones.
Plus, at first I thought it was just another magic creature fantasy story, because of the dragons. When a friend explained it was more about politics and power. I thought I might give them a shot. But then I didn't.
Hannah eventually convinced me to watch the show. We've never had HBO, but there is of course the magic of Netflix. So I watched season 1, and I loved it. H and I anxiously waited season 2 on DVD. And loved it again. Some of it seemed complicated, and I heard it helped if you'd read the books. So I found a boxed set of the first four paperbacks for pretty cheap online and had Amazon send it to me.
Game of Thrones.
I got the books at a really busy time and had a hard time carving out time to read for more than 20 minutes. When I planned a camping trip with my mom a few weeks ago, I was sure I'd be able to finish, but it wasn't til the night after I got home that I finally reached the end.
I liked it. It wasn't annoying and I didn't want to throw it against the wall even once. Knowing what was going to happen in the story was a different experience, and I wasn't as compelled to get back to the book and see what was going to happen next. But I still liked it. I liked learning the history of the 7 Kingdoms and the richness that reading the book always provides.
My biggest complaint is about the lack of complex characters. I like stories where the characters are not so black and white. I like to make up my own mind about someone and that's not really how these characters are written.
I was also annoyed that there were sometimes more than one character with the same first name. I understand that happens in real life. It can't be helped. But in a book it can. In a story with so many characters to keep straight, why choose the same name more than once?
A Clash of Kings
So then I started book 2. I started skimming in this book. It seems like there's a lot of junk I couldn't care less about. Family trees and descriptions of what everyone's wearing or eating. I like some of that, but there's way too much. I especially skim the Catelyn chapters. Am I supposed to like her? It seems like I am, but I definitely do not. A lot of times, seeing that chapter heading signaled a good place to stop for a while. Ugh.
But the thing that really buged me the most are the italic parts of book 2. Were they in the first book? I don't remember them. In A Clash of Kings though, they are All Over. To let us know what the characters are thinking and not saying. It's so much better to tell us about what they're thinking with regular descriptive words. Tell. Describe. You know, write. On the other hand, how much longer would this darn thing be if he did. 969 pages is too many already. No book needs to be that long.
This is also where the books and the tv show start to take different paths. Towards the end, there are a lot of significant changes. Well, are they really significant? I don't know yet, but they seem to be. Also different - Sansa is so much more sympathetic in these two books. I don't know if it's just the actress on the show, or the way it was written, but I never really cared so much about the girl on tv. The one in the book though - I don't hate her.
So a couple weeks ago was the airing of the red wedding episode. I don't think that's what it is actually called, but you know what I mean. Everyone knows because it was All Over the internets. They even talked about it on Good Morning America. I was having a really hard time working at not being spoiled. And I Really hate spoilers (just like River Song), so I was a little worried.
I was talking about it with my friend Eben, who read the books but hasn't seen the show. I told him I had the goal to finish both books 2 and 3 before I watched season 3 -- without being spoiled. Instead of seeing it and then reading the detailed version, I wanted to know the story and watch it unfold on my screen. I was only half way through the second book at that time, and Eben told me I should give it up and just watch the shows, because I'd never get that far without being spoiled.
Eben's usually right, so I watched some. Maybe through episode 5. And then I decided he's not always right and I wanted to read first. So I did. I started book 3 sitting outside this morning and I kind of wish I hadn't seen any of season 3 yet. I'm just going to pretend I didn't. Plus I'm kind of sure that some of the stuff from the end of book 2 was show in season 3, right? I don't want to think about it too much because it makes it harder to pretend.
So what do I think about the story?
Well I'm obviously interested. I like who I'm supposed to like and hate who I'm supposed to hate, for the most part. I don't have a guess as to how it'll all play out, but of course I have hopes and theories. It worries me a little that it's not already all written. That doesn't always turn out well, and I don't want to be a part of AARP when the end is finally told, or have it all fall apart at the end like Lost.
And I have this thing about writers who write too many words. I am of the school that believes the better of a writer you are, the less words you need to tell a story (shh, don't remind me this post is already at 1145 words at this point). A pet peeve of mine is authors who think they're so great they won't let editors tell them to scale it back a bit. This next book is over a thousand pages long, and I just can not believe such a thing is necessary. Cut some of it, George. There's no way all those pages are interesting or necessary. Is each book progressively longer? That will really start to bug me, I'm sure. I forsee a lot of skimming with this this book already, and I stopped at the 3rd chapter (it was titled with Catelyn).
So there's my post about Game of Thrones. I might mention it more as I go, now that I've said this bit about it first. And remember, do not spoil me about this story. Or I'll feed you to my direwolves.