Musings on Game of Thrones

May 15, 2013 § 1 Comment

“When you play a game of thrones you win or you die.”

 The Game of Thrones series (both the TV show and the book series) is the recently popular, emergent phenomenon. Consisting of five published books, and two yet-to-be-written/published books, it’s a fantasy series that explores themes that are incredibly pervading in our own society. And many would claim that as the reason for the series’ immense popularity.

In any case, I’m still catching up on the series (as in, I’ve yet to watch the latest episode) and only just started reading the 4th book – A Feast for Crows. So I thought, perhaps a review was in order, considering I haven’t written in a long while. I’ll try to keep this short and sweet – at a stark contrast to the books themselves!

Game of Thrones is probably one of the better books of the series (I can’t quite say because I haven’t read them all yet, but it’s a good start to the series). Even the first season of the TV show stays immensely true to the book, while managing to not be a boring copy-cat.

With Game of Thrones, probably both the best and most confusing parts is the characterization. Unlike many other books, the series blurs the line between villains and heroes, creating true-to-life characters. Perhaps my favourite part is the execution of female characters because, although the book is reminiscent of a medieval misogynistic society, the female characters are incredibly complex and varied, and often provide a critique of their misogynistic society, alongside ours.

The problem arises with the vast array of characters that arises in the series (and it seems this just gets more and more confusing as the series continues). As soon as you’ve  familiarized yourself with one group of characters, there’s suddenly another host of new names you must also familiarize yourself with. I think watching the TV series along with the book helps with that, if only to give faces to all the names.

The major problem with the book series is that the writing is rather dry, bland, banal and… to put it bluntly, bad. Most of the time it can pass for “alright”, but there were times whilst reading the books that I wondered about Martin’s understanding of syntax. The writing of the first book is not as bad as the writing in the later books, because Martin does, unfortunately, seem to get progressively worse.

Don’t let that put you off the books though. I have to say, despite the often atrocious writing, the plot and characters make the book worth a read. And there are distinctive differences in characterization (and plot) between the book and the series so I do recommend reading the book, as opposed to just watching the TV show.

Have any of you read the series? Or watch the show? Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts!

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