Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Weekly Inspiration: A Game of Thrones

I had never heard of A Game of Thrones until my fantasy-loving friend Erin mentioned it on Facebook.  The HBO series had just started and she was raving, and since Erin is my source for all things fantasy, I knew it must be worth checking out.

As children, Sarah, Erin and I read fantasy constantly.  We were obsessed with Piers Anthony's Xanth series (which, looking back, wasn't all that appropriate for a sixth grader), and in seventh grade I read The Eye of the World, the first title in the late Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.  In high school I stopped reading fantasy for the most part, and I didn't start again until our friendship with Erin was rekindled after college.  She assured me the rest of the Wheel of Time series was worth reading, and since I was living in Kingsville, Texas, at the time, and had little better to do than sit on a stationary bike at the gym and read giant paperback fantasy novels, I picked up where I'd left off.  I made it all the way to Knife of Dreams, which I'm sorry to say I was never able to finish.  I need to get through it one of these days, since Erin assures me the series (picked up after Jordan's death by Brandon Sanderson) does get good again.

Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark

I decided to record "Game of Thrones" on HBO, although I'd already missed the first episode by that point.  I have to admit, I was a little lost at first (as tends to happen with this type of epic fantasy book and movie - there are just so many characters, and so many weird names!).  But by the third episode I was engrossed in the series.  I finished Madame Bovary (FINALLY - my god that book is long, and slow!) in California, so I purchased A Game of Thrones on my Kindle, the first novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin.  I'm a little nervous about getting involved in another one of these potentially endless fantasy series again, but Erin assures me the first five books (books six and seven are forthcoming) are fabulous.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
I'm about halfway through the book, and I have to say, this is one of the closest book-to-film adaptations I've ever read/seen (so far, anyway).  In a way it helped to watch the show first, because I am able to picture all of the characters so clearly that there's no way I can get them mixed up.  They did a remarkable job casting the show.  I have always been a fan of Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, National Treasure), and many of the other actors, who are relative unknowns to me, fit their characters so perfectly it's hard for me to believe the book wasn't adapted from the show.  So far the only major difference I've noticed is the age of the characters (which makes sense, since it wouldn't be very PC to have a 14-year-old marrying a man in his thirties on a television show; besides which, this is HBO, and what HBO series would be complete without graphic sex and nudity?).

I'm excited to read the rest of the books in the series, and I was very happy to see that "Game of Thrones" will be a series.  The show (and I'm guessing the book as well) ended on an exciting, albeit fairly predictable, note, and I am eagerly awaiting Season 2.

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