Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Game of Thrones

I know I've had trouble finding much time to write for the last couple of months.  I've got postcards to post, travel and dives to detail and much more to share.  Unfortunately, time in front of the screen - especially the one attached to my hard drive filled with photos - has been light.  I'll do my best to improve.

I've been watching the HBO series A Game of Thrones since it started a 3.5 seasons ago, and have thoroughly enjoyed it.  Despite Joker plowing through the books by George R.R. Martin (and swearing I'd love them), I just hadn't given them a shot.  Yet.  I just finished the first book in the series, and found that it was quite enjoyable.  Truth be told, it's tough to put down.

First of all, I find that reading the book helps a viewer of the show to figure out who is whom and where they came from.  There are SOOOO many characters, though, that I was not able to read without flipping regularly to the cast of characters in the book's appendix.  Still, characters in the show frequently are named once and then off screen for enough episodes I can't for the life of me recall when we last saw them.  The book helps.

And even though I do know the general plot - season 1 of the show hews closely to the first novel - it's complicated and enjoyable enough to keep me engaged in the reading of it.  I find the premise to be quite compelling: seven kingdoms, loosely held together, with the question of rightful rule very much unanswered.  The ruling houses and the dynamics between them are interesting, and the reader begins to gain insight into them from the onset.  I also find the supernatural elements to be particularly intriguing.

The book is written from multiple points of view, changing with each chapter, so while the story is all told in the third person, the narrator colors the perspective.  Martin handles this surprisingly adeptly, and certain of the narrators are particularly well executed.  Tyrion is the most amusing; Jon's chapters are probably my favorite; and Dany is a stronger character even than she is depicted on the show.

My critiques all fall into one category: the violence is a bit much.  Particularly that against women.  I could honestly do without all the rape and brothels. 

Still, I will certainly continue the series, although I may opt for a change of pace after the second book.  So next up: A Clash of Kings, also by George R.R. Martin.