In honor of the upcoming second season of “Game of Thrones,” I decided to pay homage to one of my favorite books-turned-TV-shows. George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy is complex, intriguing, and incredibly diverse in it’s characters; it is a series of novels that are truly captivating. HBO is, most likely, the only network that could have adapted GRRM’s written work into an amazing TV series, whose first season enchanted both the avid readers and newcomers to the story. Here is my Not-Quite-Mook review on A Game of Thrones!
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book #1) – Written by George R.R. Martin
This is a bit of a flip-flop situation for me. I began watching the HBO series without knowledge of the books, but I immediately ceased viewing and picked up the novel when I discovered “Game of Thrones” was an adaptation. There is no denying GRRM’s keen sensitivity to detail and a ridiculous ability to create characters. There is a Tolkien-esque inspiration here when it comes to character creation and incredible world-building. GRRM’s fantasy series is absurdly complex and vividly real. Make no mistake, he is one talented fantasy author.
Once delving into A Game of Thrones, it is difficult to not be immersed by this world. I am totally obsessed with alternating person view, mostly because it breaks up the story into bits and pieces that have you thinking “huh?!”, but also because it gives you something to look forward to. From the get-go, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion “The Imp” Lannister, and Jon Snow were my spotlight characters and the ones I looked forward to reading about the most. Additionally, I found a true love-to-hate passion for the Lannister twins. In GRRM’s world, the characters’ House is everything, and they stay true to their family ties whether it is good or bad.
A Game of Thrones, as a stand alone novel, is compelling and direct. Perhaps GRRM rambles on at certain points and maybe there is a bit too much detail every now and then, but these qualms were forgivable. Unlike the later series novels (IE: A Dance with Dragons… snooze) A Game of Thrones is jam-packed with information and storyline, and finishes with the reader thinking “HOLY $#^&!!!” … and eagerly anticipating the following novel.
“Game of Thrones” – HBO Series Created by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
As I confessed above, my first introduction to this world was the HBO series. By the first 20 minutes of the pilot episode, I was hooked and knew I needed to read the [what I expected to be amazing] novels. Instantly, I was struck with how accurate the opening scene of “Game of Thrones” was to the prologue of the novel. These moments mean close to nothing to the viewer and reader at this point in time, and often gets forgotten about once the drama of the story begins. Now, after reading the series, I am very thankful the writers and directors of the show choose to keep this scene part of the pilot episode.
As the TV series progressed, Tyrion Lannister played by Peter Dinklage became the frontrunner of the show, as he was hilarious and sarcastic in all the appropriate ways and well-deserving of his Emmy win. Aside from Tyrion, I truly felt all the characters were cast well. One advantage I had reading the books was understanding the character dynamic and, to be honest, their names. One faulty element of GRRM’s world is his endless number of characters. The very friend who told me to watch the show to begin with didn’t even know who Littlefinger and Varys were by name–which is completely understandable. It is hard to keep track of the characters when there are so many. Without saying, the final episode was just epic and definitely pulled in watchers for the next season and *SPOILER ALERT* dragons!!!!!
Season two can’t get here soon enough. Every “WAR IS COMING” advertisement I see makes me giddy with joy. Lost characters will be missed, but having read the novels I know there are many more to come, along with twists and turns galore. Thank you HBO for creating a wonderful series! Tune into HBO on April 1st at 9PM to catch the series premiere.
Not-Quite-Mook Rating – ★★★★★
Check out a recap of Season One below!