Okay, so I just finished my first week of Game of Thrones, (the book not the show,) and I'm pretty psyched so far. It pretty much coincides with finishing the third season of the show, which I'm actually pretty psyched. Surprise surprise when the first gratuitous sex scene in the book doesn't happen until six chapters in. Who'd have thunk. Anyway, I did fifteen chapters and counting, and like I said on my twitter, I have just a few notes, but I'll save that for last like usual.
First off, I know I'm late to the game, but really excited about the show. I usually wait until I finish with the books before I do the movies/TV shows. The test of a good movie adaptation is that it isn't perfect, but it holds up to the actual story AND it should only be a visual representation of the book. For example, everyone went nuts about how bad the Eragon movie was: the cast, the plot, the setting, the magic, everything. But for the Harry Potter movies, they were, for the most part, more readily accepted, even though there was a lot of content that was purposefully left out of the plot. And why? I like to think because the Harry Potter movies were never meant to stand alone from the books, but to just be a visual reference to the many events and characters portrayed in them. It also didn't over-reach like Eragon did by making major, and pointless, detours from the storyline. I also like to think that the books were already almost halfway done by the time the movies started and they didn't try jumping too far ahead of where they were at. Despite this, there were some parts of the book that were important to the plot that were left out because the directors and writers for the movies didn't know what was going to be important later on.
The nice part about the Game of Thrones show is that for the most part they are keeping extremely close to the actual text of the book. It's actually a little uncanny for me, especially after watching just one episode. For instance, the part in the show where Tyrion Lannister comes down and slaps Joffrey and then goes into the keep to have breakfast with his brother and sister is almost identical to the book, even down to what he orders from a servant for breakfast. Now that can sometimes be a little overkill for a series, or movie when it's derived from a book, but in this case it's incredible character building in my opinion and shows what an excellent writer Martin is.
Okay, so now that I've finished geeking out on the show, I think it's time that I moved on to the book itself. For this week I decided to keep it to fifteen chapters, seeing that by the time I finish with week five I'll be done with the book and ready for a final analysis. I know that on my twitter page I've been teasing a bit about the book, but I actually have found myself getting really immersed in the book, even with the fact that I've already seen everything that's happened in the show. Rather than that making it boring, it's really given me a bitter view of who I'm reading about and what's going on.
Now normally I try not to reveal too much about the plot of the books I'm reading, and for good reason. Go buy the book! The authors have worked really hard on these things, and it would be rude of me to reveal their works in detail. But with this already being such a groundbreaking work of fiction, and me doing a whole month worth of reviews, I think I can get away with a few more sneak peaks.
So the overall plot of the story up to where I'm at is the Lannister and Baratheon family went North to Winterfell to see Eddard Stark, nicknamed Ned....really? Where'd the "N" come from? Anyway, the King, Robert Baratheon had his right-hand man, named Jon Arryn, who was known by the title, Hand of the King. Jon was a mentor to both Robert and Ned and now Robert wants Ned to be his new Hand, but Ned is worried about getting engulfed in the politics and having to pick his family up and go south. But, a message comes from Jon's widow, intimating that the Lannisters had something to do with his death.
Now, Ned was going to take all but two of his five/six children with him, but the day before they were slated to go, his second youngest, Bran, who liked to climb, found the Queen and her twin brother getting it on in a secret tower. He was caught and thrown from the tower and nearly died, making him one of three children left. Not being able to take anymore time, the Baratheon's, the Lannister's and the Stark's leave for the south, leaving Ned's wife to take care of him. Ned's bastard son John Snow is going off to the Wall, basically a military encampment that mans a giant wall in the North to keep wild people from attacking the south.
While all of this is happening, my favorite character, Daenerys Stormborn Targaryn, who is descended from the Mad King before Robert Baratheon, is being sold off by her brother to a warlord so that he can get his throne back.
Now there's a lot more going on, but like I said, sneak peeks, not a synopsis and I think I'm actually cutting it pretty close with THIS much already. Most of the other things have to do a lot with politics and whatnot and I don't feel up to going into all of that. My reviews are long enough.
The first part that I wanted to get into real quick is the characters. There are two characters that I both love and hate and both of those stem from some excellent writing on Martin's part. The first is Tyrion Lannister. For those of you who don't know, (rocks, people, they are not good places to live under,) Tyrion is the third child of the Lannister patriarch. He was born a dwarf, accidentally killed his mother during birth, and has a lot of enmity sent his way. For this, and his physical shortcomings, he's trained himself to be smarter than just about anyone else. I love this character, he constantly runs circles around his friends, family and enemies and is just a generally likable guy.
The second is Sansa Stark, and I'm sorry but it just goes back to that whole thing that women can't take care of themselves in books. Which is bunk. I get the feeling she was meant to be a foil to her sister Arya, who is outgoing and tomboyish. Sansa just screams PINK all over the place, perfect and pristine and in love with Joffery the Prince. She's just so doe eyed and ready to follow the prince around that a lot of the things she ends up doing just irk me to pieces. I know that's her point, and for that I admire Martin. Because, it's easy to make a character that everyone loves, but it's a lot harder to make one that everyone hates. That takes talent.
The last thing I wanted to bring up is something that I noticed in the writing and isn't particularly good or bad. It just is. What I noticed is that each chapter is pretty much split in half between some expository monologue-ing and the actual meat of what is going on in the story. For instance, the first half of the chapter will be filled with descriptions of what is going on, who is there, what they are doing, before the character actually goes in and interacts. It's not bad because all of the information given is vital to the storyline, but it is a little bit of an eye sore for me. It's kind of like if you walked into a room and saw ten people, and took time to notate mentally who everyone in the room is, what they are wearing, who they are talking to, etc. In a book, it's a lot easier to believe that this all happens within a second or two, but in real life, your friends will likely be looking at you very strangely as you stand there for twenty minutes just looking at them.
So, week one is done. I'm starting chapter 17 tonight with all the thrills and excitement therein. Wish me luck