I was trying to wrack my brains to come up with another book for you guys, then I realized I had one, or should I say a whole series, sitting right in my lap, (not literally of course. The combined weight of those books would break my pelvis.) I’m taking about the Song of Fire and Ice series, or Game of Thrones, whatever you’d like to call them. As I’ve not so subtly hinted before, I’ve read and enjoyed them. What people generally want to know when I say that I’ve read the books is whether they too should read them. Well, if you’re going to ask, I’ll answer. Oh, and I’m promising no spoilers here people, for the show or books, just to be nice.
Most people ask me if they should read the books after they’ve already started watching the show. I most certainly did not start reading the series when it was first published back in the nineties, as I was either not born yet or mostly illiterate for the majority of that decade. I don’t wanna think how quickly It was only after I watched the show and my uncle mentioned something about the series being adapted from books that I even knew it was originally a thousand upon thousand of pages book saga. I was on the fence about whether to read it myself until second season ended. I’d been binge watching the show to catch up on old episodes and then keep up with the new. When I faced my first ever GOT dry spell, it only took a couple months before I broke down and decided to go start reading the series.
Oh, right, another disclaimer. I technically listened to the series on audio book. I had limited time to devote to reading for personal entertainment at the time, and so decided to add it to the audio book list so I wouldn’t have to fall behind on my other books piling up. I definitely recommend audio books as an excellent way to fill time while running errands, doing relatively mindless chores, or working out. It’s definitely one of the few ways I could’ve gotten through a series the size of Game of Thrones while also dealing with my English major reading list. The guy who narrates the series, Roy Dotrice, is really good.
Anyhow, I devoured all the books as soon as I could get my hands on them. That still took a while, but I enjoyed myself immensely. Getting to reread the parts I’d already seen on the TV show was no chore, as they were as well written as the show is well made. I only paused before reading the third book, as my aforementioned uncle, the nerd connoisseur of the family, (I’m only the nerd connoisseur in training,) and a couple others who’d read the series, felt that the series got way too slow after that point. I took the plunge and read it anyway. Can’t say I regret it.
I will say that the course of events does slow down quite a bit through the course of the novels. Specifically, I mean when you look at where most characters start at the beginning of the novel and where they end the book, and you’ll definitely notice the pace slowing down, but that’s just the big picture. We’re not talking extended books of the Simarillion slow here, people. George R.R. Martin’s style is still solid, and there’s still plenty of intrigue, sudden deaths, and descriptions of food. Oh yeah, that’s one thing that doesn’t translate to the show. Martin is constantly describing the different feasts and meals all of the characters are having. I feel like HBO took the scenes where Martin described food and replaced them with sex scenes, because they felt he didn’t have enough, and Mr. George R.R. Martin does not skimp on the sex by any means.
Again, it is a huge commitment, but even if the overall pace of the story arcs slow down, the books are no less rewarding a read for people who love Westeros, the Dothraki Sea, and all that. There’s definitely no need to under take the quest unless you really want to, because the TV has so far been incredibly loyal to the series. Most fans who’ve read the books , myself included, agree that the changes made in the series are understandably made the necessary streamlining of the story for television adaptation that remained faithful to the overall tone and spirit of the story. If you’re daunted by the idea of reading a series with the average book being one thousand plus pages, I can’t say I judge you, especially since the TV series seems to be taking over the narrative anyhow, hopefully for the better.
Overall, the Song of Fire and Ice series is no light commitment, but it’s definitely worth the praise and devotion that gave it a devoted fandom and eventually a stellar HBO deal.