Before last spring, I had never heard of A Game of Thrones(Yeah,I know, I’m one of those folks.). So, just like many other people, I went on Amazon and ordered the paperbacks. It had been along time since an adaptation, of any kind, had given me the desire to read the source material, and even saying “desire” is an understatement. I needed to read it. I needed to know what was going to happen, damn’t! It was almost like I had no choice, really. My mind would not be able to rest if I didn’t. So as soon as the first season ended I dove in. I took my time with it. I didn’t want to rush through it. I wanted to savor every word, every character interaction, and every glorious seemingly “out of nowhere” left turn. I was so happy when I was finished. I wasn’t happy because I was finished with the first book. I was happy because I realized that the show was getting it right! Sure, it’s not word for word or anything, but the spirit of the novels was there, and any changes that were made seemed to be done for the right reasons. Television and movies are a completely different beast than books, and require different things, but the obvious love of the source material is in full view on that show. I made my peace with the nature of adaptations(Thank you LotR!) a long time ago, and incessant “fanboy” nit picking is just a shitty way to be, in my opinion.
Not too long after I finished the first part of the old, A Song of Ice and Fire series(Thought you were going to get me there, eh fanboys. Ha!), I began reading the next novel, A Clash of Kings. I only made it through about 1/3 of it before “life stuff” took precedence. I just got busy. There is only so many hours in a day, and all those good excuses. It wasn’t because of lack of interest or a drop in quality on the novels part. It was just one of those things, and the rest of the series got put on, what I call, “THE PILE“. I think those of you who read often know what I’m talking about. All avid readers have a “THE PILE” of their own, and it tis’ a scary place! So, when season two started a few weeks ago, I obviously started watching, and after only a few episodes the show had moved past where I had left off on in the book. Now, I don’t know what to do!
At this point, I’m fully invested in the show. I kinda of like being, more or less, in the dark about the plot machinations. Everything is so good about it. The characterizations, and the twists and turns are something that I really look forward to every week. Being in the dark is kind of elevating the experience for me. I’m not saying that if I had read A Clash of Kings that it wouldn’t be enjoyable. No, not at all. There is enough differences between the show and the source material that I don’t think “being surprised” would necessarily be a problem. From what I understand, the major beats of the plot are largely the same. Sometimes, they just take a different route to get there. Which, by the way, I personally have no problem with. It’s kind of nice to have the ability to still be invested no matter what “version” you experience first. I might be in the minority here, but that’s just the way I feel. Dogmatic fealty to the source material is not always a good thing.
Also, I’m of the opinion that the show and book series are fantastic companion pieces to each other. They deepen and enrich each other in ways that most adaptations don’t. I think, Cersei Lannister, is a really good example. In the novels, to me anyways, she comes of a little superficial. She’s just the cold hard exterior that she puts off to the public, and little else. In the show, again, to me, she is a much more sympathetic character, and her disposition makes a lot more sense in the context of the show’s version of things. I just have more empathy for her in the show than I do for her in the books. Which is a testament to the writing, and Lena Heady’s portrayal. I’m not even going to start in about Tyrion Lannister. Oh man, this would get really long. I’ll say this, though. He’s one of the best literary characters ever put on screens big or small(There is a joke in there somewhere…), in my opinion. Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion is pretty damn good. Okay, I need to stop now. WHENEVER HE’S ON SCREEN A BIG SHIT EATING GRIN COMES OVER MY FACE! Okay, seriously, I’m done. But… No. No. No. Deep breaths…
For now, I think I’m going to watch the show and read the corresponding novel when it’s over. It’ll be cool. Every spring I’ll be all like, “Oh, well will you look at that. It’s A Song of Ice and Fire time! Hazzah!” It will be something to look forward to every year. An annual event, just for me! Honestly, though… I’ll probably change my mind once season 2 concludes. I get really impatient when it comes to things I really enjoy. It’s going to end on some big dramatic moment, and I won’t be able to help myself. Who knows… If you’re reading this, what do you think is the best way to consume the series? Book or Show first?