Banned Books Week - September 24 - 30

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A GAME OF THRONES...BOOK AND TELEVISION SERIES REVIEW

My thoughts on the book:
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin was published in 1996.  I can't believe it took me fifteen years to discover it.  I have always been a lover of the fantasy genre, especially epic fantasy such as this book, so it's quite strange that I never picked it up.  Not until I started seeing previews of a certain series that was coming to HBO in Spring 2011 did I learn that it was based on a book and then my interest was piqued... highly.  This book is both plot and character driven and that is what makes it so great.  The story and setting, while laced with fantastical elements, also have a historical feel.  It really is like a medieval historical in many instances.  As historical fiction and fantasy are two of my favorite genres, the book appeals to my love of both.  And what can I say about the characters?  They are so richly drawn...so fully fleshed out, that it was almost like they were breathing beside me as I read.  These are characters that I bled with, wept with, and mourned for.  Characters I loved so much that when something bad happened I was filled with rage and wanted to throw the book across the room--or go inside the book and throttle the person responsible! While I badly wanted to finish reading it, as I approached the end, I did not want to let it go.  And it has one of the most spectacular endings ever! I am not the type that picks up the next book in a series immediately (often going months or years between books), but in this case, it's going to be very hard to resist.  If you have not read A Game of Thrones yet, I have to ask you.  What are you waiting for?!

A book description will appear at the end of the post.


My thoughts on the HBO television series:
HBO really has a knack for bringing quality entertainment to television.  The task of bringing a story with the epic scale of A Game of Thrones (they drop the 'A' in the series) had to be daunting.  But they managed to translate the entire first book into the first season of the series and they did it without much change to the original story.  Sure there are some differences, as there always are in screen adaptations of books, but it is done so well that any differences are a moot point.  I was reading the book right along with the show and I definitely did not see anything to be outraged about.  I was predominantly pleased with the actors that were chosen to play the roles and there are some damn talented people who make up the cast.  I expect to see Golden Globes and Emmy's in its future.  If there aren't, then people aren't watching the same show.

I want to showcase some of my favorite characters and the actors that portray them.

Eddard (Ned) Stark, portrayed by Sean Bean, is the Lord of Winterfell and becomes the Hand of the king.  He is an honest and just man and prefers to deal with corruption head on which causes him some trouble, but he is a character to admire greatly.  Bean is a favorite actor of mine and he does a great job as Ned Stark.

Jon Snow, portrayed by Kit Harington, is the bastard son of Ned Stark.  He has always lived in the Winterfell household and been close with his brothers and sisters, but he never truly feels he belongs, which isn't helped by the rejection by Catelyn Stark, Ned's wife.  Jon's character is very complex and interesting and he is much like his father, kind and generous.  Harington, a relative newcomer (this is really his first role according to IMDB), is very compelling as Jon with a haunted shadow echoing behind his eyes.

Arya Stark, portrayed by Maisie Williams, is the youngest daughter of Ned Stark.  She is a tomboyish girl who would much rather wear pants and deal in swordplay than wear a dress and practice embroidery.  She has a lot of spunk and she's kind and honest.  Not surprising that she is very close to her half brother, Jon Snow.  They are alike in many ways.  Williams has an elvin quality about her and she becomes Arya, even looking like a boy when the plot calls for it.

Tyrion Lannister, portrayed by Peter Dinklage, is the eldest sibling of Jaime and Cersei Lannister, and he is a dwarf.  Always openly ridiculed by his father because of his dwarfism, he compensated for his lack of stature by building his mind.  A very smart man, he is probably the most clever character in the story.  And he's an ambiguous character.  We never really know if he is good or bad.  Dinklage is absolutely brilliant as Tyrion.  I have admired his work for years and he definitely shows off his acting chops in this show.

Khal Drogo, portrayed by Jason Momoa, doesn't really say much, but the power he exudes, both on the page and on screen, is something that has to be respected.  Momoa is a strapping hunk of a man and brings Drogo's warrior spirit to the screen and hurls it in our faces.  I have to be honest.  Every time he was on screen, I almost swooned.  ;O)

If you haven't had the opportunity to watch this yet and you have OnDemand, GO...WATCH IT! And if you have to wait until it comes out on DVD, I weep for you.  LOL! Yes, it's THAT good!

Book description of A Game of Thrones (from Goodreads):
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective Wall. To the south, the king's powers are failing: his most trusted advisor dead under mysterious circumstances and his enemies emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the king's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but the kingdom itself. 


Sweeping from a harsh land of cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, A Game of Thrones tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Here, an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal, a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness, a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne, a child is lost in the twilight between life and death, and a determined woman undertakes a treacherous journey to protect all she holds dear. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the Starks hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.


Qualifies for the following reading challenges:
Spring Reading Thing
Once Upon a Time
Alphabet Challenge
Monthly Mix-Up Mania
Historical Fiction Challenge
Chunkster Challenge
2011 Fantasy Reading Challenge
Historical Tour De Genre
Outdo Yourself 2011
101 Fantasy Reading Challenge

6 comments:

I apologize for word verification, but I turned it off and had close to 50 spam comments within 12 hours (nobody has time for that) so I had to turn it back on. Sorry!

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  1. Another good friend of mine is reading this right now and says it's excellent. I'm sure I will be reading it after I finish the other eleventy billion books on my TBR pile. Hahaha!

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  2. I was so amazed at how well the series followed along with the book. My two favorite characters in this show are Tyrion and Khal Drogo (even though they were not my favorites while reading the book) the actors did a phenomenal job with it!

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  3. Hmmm...so it was pretty good, then? Lol--you've just about convinced me to pick up a fantasy book. My son and his girlfriend are reading the series and have been talking it up. We had free HBO when the series started and caught the first episode and it did intrigue me. But sadly I will have to watch it on DVD!

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  4. i got sucked into the show after watching a teaser episode. contemplating whether or not to get hbo or wait for dvd. and i have a feeling i'll get sucked into the book series once i started reading it.

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  5. I haven't watched the show yet, but I couldn't get into the books. My mind is not geared towards fantasy. I love the movies though.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

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  6. It's amazing how the TV show has inspired so many people to pick up the books and start reading. I love it when that happens. Thanks for your review.

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