I think of the early 1990’s as a “blank time” for fictional reading, as I was into the deep distraction of post-graduate school, leaving zero time for fictional reading. Therefore, when “Game of Thrones” began on television, I had no idea it was based on a series of books, with the first published in 1991. It’s not unusual for me to be a latecomer to popular books and films.
I’ll admit, the television series didn’t grab me initially. Having adopted “The Borgias” as the cable series I chose to follow (please forgive my judgment, though to me it’s well-acted), I didn’t watch “Game of Thrones” until after the season with on-demand viewing (the best thing since sliced bread). Despite film stars I like to see, such as Sean Bean, Mark Addy, and Lena Headey, I found it difficult to follow and frustrating due to the lack of a clear protagonist. The confusing relationships between the various groups of people had me wondering what the blondes had to do with the platinum blondes. While I point out negatives, I will also make note as a reader of Lord of the Rings and Dune, I applaud the originality of the story.
After reading more background about the series of books, I decided to use this series to test my new Nook as an e-reader. (I’ve tweeted about my e-reader obsession many times). For starters, the title “A Song of Ice and Fire” is great for the series. When reading “Game of Thrones” it didn’t take long to fill in the gaps I complained about above, given partly to the limitations of filmmaking and partly to my own impatience. While I won’t go into details of this huge story to avoid spoilers, I found it the writing to flow easily, building the novel chapter-by-chapter.
The method author George R. R. Martin uses to build the book “Game of Thrones” to me is an excellent option to the creation of a huge epic story. Each chapter is a character, leading to thorough character development and exposing the historical relationships they have, even if they don’t know one another personally. By immersing the reader into the lives of the many characters, it drops the reader into this fantasy world of intrigue, treachery, and adventure. Now when I think about the series, much more makes sense though I’m still in search of a protagonist; meaning not a benevolent person, but a person/people that oppose the existing evil.
I’m looking forward to completing the four books, but will take my time between the reading/reviewing of Indie writers as well as work on my own writing. I think many of us that write dark fantasy can learn from Martin’s series; if you’re like me and were clueless in the beginning, consider giving the books a chance, and definitely before writing off the television series like I almost did.