Game of Thrones accounts for prestige issue. If you haven’t watched GoT, you would be facing a huge problem during social events as invariably GoT is a common topic of discussion, and it would be extremely awkward if you have to say, “Sorry! I haven’t seen GoT”. The reaction you would get for that answer would raise you up the wall of shame. Though I am not a person who usually succumbs to societal pressures, I definitely got curious to know what this entire fantasy saga was all about. Knowing that it was 5 books (and 5 seasons) down, I had to make a choice- either to read or watch the series. I decided on the latter as it was the easiest and the quickest mode to catch up and be in par with my fellow GoTians. At the same time, I was really sceptical if I would become one of them. I have and always am an HPian and I wasn’t sure if I would share my loyalty with another series.
The HBO version of GoT started off really interesting. The fantasy world of Seven Kingdoms and the Wall was really interesting. But as the show progressed, the violence portrayed was too extreme for my taste. I realised I skipped more than 75% of every episode. At the end of 5 seasons, I sat in confusion as I couldn’t understand much part of the theory/story. This experience reassured me that books are always better than the visual representation. I purchased book one of GoT and the massive bulk of it scared me. 800 pages! I wondered if I should risk starting to read the series because if I begin, I have to read all the books too.
After contemplating for nearly 2 months, in due course of which I completed like 10 books, I took GoT out of my shelf and began reading it. All I can say is, the book pulls you into the world of grit, jealousy, deceit, politics and plotting comfortably and engages you to the world of Game of Thrones that it becomes hard to put down the book at the end of the day.
The highlight of the book is the method of writing. There is no confusion in spite of the high number of characters involved. George RR Martin effortlessly connects you to the characters, their lives and the plot of the story. A few chapters in- you would definitely find yourself shipping for a particular character, wanting them to win the game. Wish it was that simple.
For a book on fantasy, description of the setting plays a vital role. If you aren’t able to visualise the fantasy world, the characters would seem far away from reality. The author hits the mark perfectly with his description and involuntarily forces the reader to believe the existence of this alternate world.
To put in few words, the story is about a list of people fighting for the Iron throne. The story would predictably end with the winner of the throne. But the journey is not so simple. Since I do know what has happened till season 5, I know what to expect from the rest of the books. Yet, the book serves you with fantastic depth in characterisation enabling you to understand the each one better than how they were portrayed on the series.
Book 1 introduces the primary families involved in the feud over the throne. We have the noble Starks, the cunning Lannisters, the unsteady yet rightful Baratheons, and the ambitious Targaryen(s). With the death of the King, the battle begins to conquer the Iron throne. Apart from the members of the each of the family, we have some very interesting characters in Lord Baelish, Lord Varys, Ser Jorah, Jon Snow, Lord Mormont and many others whose allegiance and strategies flips the story around. The primary character of Book 1 is Lord Eddard Stark who puts honour before everything. He epitomizes the perfect candidate for the throne. But the author strikes and informs the readers that the Game of Thrones isn’t straight forward and to win this game requires more than just honour.
My favourite character of this particular book has to be Tyrion Lannister. He in a way is a huge inspiration. He portrays how it is important to understand and use one’s strengths (here it is his wit) and accept one’s weakness. He laughs at himself before others does. His chapters are a delight to read. Apart from being excited for what’s in store for him in the next books- I am highly excited with where he has reached at the end of Season 5. Go Tyrion Go!
The character which bored me was Sansa but her character is rightfully explained.
The Clash of Kings awaits next.
I would strongly recommend reading Game of Thrones to watching it. Though I can never equate it with Harry Potter, this series has found a place for its own.