Game Of Thrones

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are." - Ser Jorah Mormont

"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground." - Queen Cersei Lannister

"The High Septon once told me that as we sin, so do we suffer. If that's true, Lord Eddard, tell me ... why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?" - Lord Varys "the Spider"

Should re-post this ramble over here:

Shit's hitting the fan in A Game of Thrones. Bout time. A book this long is going to have some problems plot and pace wise, but once it gets down to it, it's riveting. And I do admire the thought behind the world-building. I've studied a little bit of medieval history in my time, and Martin has certainly done his homework. If anything (I'll say this of Mieville as well) you'd want MORE of that on show. Why is the monarchy so influential if each house has their own army? How does Drogo distribute tribute and ensure loyalty in his khalasar? I've got my own answers, and perhaps there are answers down the line. But if the project is to make fantasy "realistic" (go from exploring myth / symbol to the kind of social commentary you find in SF) then my medieval-geek glands need just a little bit... more.

Characterisation IS kinda thin, tho. My friend who's watching the series described Prince Joffrey as Draco Malfoy without the depth, and he's right (so far...). Personally, I get the feeling Stark wouldn't last a week faced with real Anglo-Saxon / Carolingian warlords. What is this code of honour he sticks to really ABOUT? I cheered Littlefinger on every time he skewered it. Wouldn't Stark have been more interesting and convincing as a conflicted anti-hero doing beastly things in office whilst trying to protect and care for his family? Maybe that's down the line as well...

Anyway. Haven't enjoyed a fantasy book this much in years. I feel a binge coming on.

To add: I've only seen the first couple of episodes of the HBO series, and so far it seems like a pretty straight adaptation. The book is pretty televisual to start with -- chapters are always single scenes (sometimes intercut with flashbacks and dream-sequences) headed by p.o.v. characters. If anything, adapting it could have been an opportunity to fix some of the book's limitations. But instead, the world and characters were rendered even more simplistic and unoriginal, with blood and boobs tacked on most gratuitously. At times, the style reminded me of The Golden Compass film. With both projects, the creators forgot that the source material won its readers by building fully immersive worlds where social structures were coherent and you could see the dirt underneath a character's fingernails.

Also: expect all of these opinions to change once I actually finish reading the book / watching the show!

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