Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are truly closed to the possibility that a fantasy series might in fact be “your thing,” you’ve probably been exposed to this little story Game of Thrones. Most of us have recently come into contact with this epic series thanks to HBO, however there are many tried and true fans for whom this televised version is a gift from author George RR Martin, who also writes the show. This gift he hath bestowed on them is a sort of a payment in return for more than a decade of frustrated fanship. Why frustrated, you ask? Because although the first installment of A Song of Ice and Fire was released in 1996, the subsequent volumes have been published at such a sporadic rate, with the latest one, A Dance With Dragons (Volume 5), taking nearly five years to complete.
Now is this a problem for me? No! I’m like you; I just started reading the books after I saw the first two seasons of the show. What’s worse is I skipped the first two books and went right to the third, because I had to know what happened next. Now that I’ve completed the fifth, A Dance With Dragons, my person cooly stated that he would have no sympathy for me, for having read the first 4 books as a youth, he had to wait out each of those long five years until this last one was finally released. I responded with equal sass as I respond to any of you who thinks it’s lame I skipped the first two: at least I can go back and read the first two books, you are all going to have to wait until late 2015 for any more of this man’s incredible storytelling. But before this gets heated, let me pivot to my point about the HBO series being a gift to true fans…
There are countless fantasy series out there and a very dedicated audience for whom they have been written. A Song of Ice and Fire is one of capital E-P-I-C proportions. To have read this book as a youth and conjured your own images of Arya dancing with Needle or of Tyrion tramping through King’s Landing is something I will never know. But I imagine for such intense (dare I say obsessed) fans, to actually see this expansive story realized on television must be truly incredible. Likewise, I have to imagine that this is also a gift for the author, George RR (we’re pals).
Having initially intended for this series to be a trilogy and then expanding it to a seven-parter tells me that Martin wasn’t entirely certain where each of the numerous story lines would go when he started writing them. Because of this there are certain characters whose stories disappear and then reappear sometimes books later; Theon, I’m looking at you. Now, with the television series, Martin has the opportunity to creatively explore in real time that which, in the books, he only recollects for the audience after the fact. He is able to do what all artists must want to do, improve upon his work, but he gets to do it in a way that the audience respects rather than reviles. Poor George Lucas was not so lucky.
Lucas made the crucial mistake of taking away a piece of the art from its consumers. As one said consumer, I speak for us when I say we will not abide that shit. No, we will not. Lucas took away the original Star Wars and left us only with the altered version. Martin gets a pass because, while the television show takes significant creative liberties, the books themselves remain untouched. I do have to wonder, however, if Martin’s writing of the final two books will be influenced by his writing and producing the television show. What do you all think? And what do fans of the books think of the show’s casting? I’m very curious; did Jon Snow really look like such a pretty boy in your heads? Surely not…
One response to “Game of Thrones: A Gift”
Sanoj Jose (Author, My Day Out With An Angel)