Monday, February 27, 2012

A Game of Thrones

Twas a month before April and all through my house,
Lay presents unopened, but not from my spouse.
To watch first or read, that's my decision,
I love my videos, but books yield precision.

Yes, it's true.  I've neither read nor watched these insanely popular tales penned by George R. R. Martin.  But this is about to change.

My brother, bless his heart, indulges my incessant blathering about all things medieval and fantasy.  Being the benevolent brother that he is, he even accompanied me to the theater for each new Lord of the Rings viewing.  I'm not sure whether he did so to watch the movie or to watch me enjoy it, but he went nonetheless.  And even he extols Martin's masterpiece that so many have come to love.  He's never read the books, but he does have HBO.

My daughter, beloved co-connoisseur of the genre, has bestowed upon me the box set containing: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows.  This act elevates her to favorite daughter status, of course.  (The fact that she's my only daughter is irrelevant.)

So, from whence cometh my dilemma, you ask?  Well, it cometh from that benevolent brother I mentioned.  It seems I'm to be the happy recipient of the complete first season as shown on HBO.  (Yes, I do have cable, but the piddly amount of time I spend in front of my very nice television in no way justifies the added monthly expense of premium channels.)  

Therefore, he has been elevated to favorite brother status.  (The fact that he's my only brother is also irrelevant, mind you.)

I believe I've decided to follow my usual pattern.  Read first.  Watch second.  Complain third.  I've done this with so many in the past, including, but in no way limited to: Lord of the Rings, Sword of Truth, Harry Potter, even Michael Chrichton's Timeline and the forthcoming The Hobbit.  Granted, this usually happens simply because the books far predate the movies or television series.  Had I not read them until the movies or series began I'd have faced the same perplexing anguish.

I imagine it all boils down to the detail provided by each.  A two hour movie has no hope of capturing the richness of the written word's narrative or preserving the many sub-plots within the book's cover.  And then there's the audience to consider.  A reader can savor a chapter, put the book aside for a while and dwell in a world the author helped him paint, then return later for another fix.  In theaters (and to a lesser degree, our homes) we're trapped.  The most innocuous activities serve to distract and detract.  Think: This popcorn does NOT have extra butter!  or  I can't even find the men's room in this place! 

In this instance, I believe I'll read A Game of Thrones first then watch HBO's season one and pick back up with A Clash of Kings.  I'm working under the assumption, of course, that season one is book one.  Do tell me if that assumption is incorrect and I'll adjust my plans accordingly.  In the meantime I'll sit back and enjoy some music.  It sounds like A Song of Ice and Fire.


  1. 'Complain third'. Nice.

    I've heard the series is good, but though I love fantasy it takes a lot to get me to read Epic fantasy because for me it's never as good as The Lord of the Rings, the epic fantasy to begin and end all epic fantasy. I'll be interested to hear what you have to say about it.

    1. Ah, but dude, you do know nothing is ever better than the original! And yeah, complain third, although my primary complaint with the LOTR movies was Jackson robbing Frodo of his valiant character development at the ford of Elrond scene. But I really did like the movies. A lot!