Firstly, no this is not a review of a Bond film you should have probably worked that one out by the title; imma be trying something new. Fret not, we’re currently halfway through the year and more than halfway through the Bonds, plenty of time until we reach what will probably be a Daniel Craig filled December – there are worse ways to spend December I suppose.
Secondly, this is not; like many of my Bond write-ups a review of the actual plot so there are NO SPOLIERS in the paragraphs below – I’m contemplating a second spoiler friendly review – you’ll just have to wait!
For those that don’t know “Game of Thrones” whilst the name of the amazingly popular HBO show is actually only the name of book one of the series of books “A Song of Ice and Fire” referring to one of the many stand-out quotes “When you play the Game of Thrones you either win or you die.”
I jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon when I the rest of the world was engrossed in season 2, by the time the world got to episode 10, so had I; then began the agonising wait for season 3. Fast forward a bit and game of thrones fans have once again found themselves in that purgatory phase between seasons; forced to wait for season 5 to get the answers we know we’re not going to like. Ok, that may sound a tad extreme, but I know I’m not the only one missing the show. To try and fill the direwolf shaped hole in my life I decided to finally pick the books up, for space, cost and saving myself from wrist strain reasons I got the e-books on my kindle something which has no bearing on this write-up I’m just throwing it out there for kicks really.
At around 800 pages it’s a decent sized read; it’s slightly longer than HP5 if that helps anyone’s perspective. Stupidly it was the size of this book that made me continue to put off starting it; que a day where I had to spend three hours on a train on my own and I was hooked to the point that I was looking forward to my train home not just to save my aching feet (a day of shopping in London does that to a girl) but so I could keep going – that being said it still took me around 6 weeks to get through it.
Structure wise I loved the way this was written because of the amount of subplots, characters and the fact that these books are spread across years and continents there is no way you could of written this from one point of view, also that technique creates a main character something I’d say that on the whole Game of Thrones cleverly avoids. Each chapter is written from the standpoint of a main character, something they can’t really put across on screen meaning you get to know each character individually in turn enforcing the whole, no main/favourite thing.
What I would say about the first season and book is that they’re pretty much completely in-line with each other, there are a few extra little parts in the book but nothing that changes the plot, they just add a bit of character depth and generally make it a better read. Also nothing major was missed out of the show – Hermione’s potion moment at the end of the Philosopher’s Stone I’m looking at you!
Now one of HBO’s biggest criticisms is that the show isn’t exactly family friendly, my view on this is that it’s not meant to be, end of. However the book is no-where near as graphic as I assumed it was going to be so if that aspect puts you off its simply not there; yes its implied but no its nothing to cause offence. The main downside of having a kindle is I can’t pass books on to other people but if I could I would defiantly pass to my Aunt, who’s avoided the show based on what she’s heard about certain ‘adult’ scenes.
Something I think the books do better than the show is bring across both sides of each and every character; GoT is renound is robbing the audience of its favourite heroes going against the happily ever after grain and dispelling the fairytale myth, but after reading book one I’m starting to think that the point is there aren’t meant to be any out and out heroes and yes I’m going to be a massive cliché and mention how much that mirrors real-life, is anyone really a complete “good-guy”?
Now we come to the inevitable question of which I enjoyed more, the book or the television show. My honest answer is – I don’t know. The book wasn’t spoiled by knowing what was going to happen and I don’t now think the show is lacking and want to rage about the sections it missed. I would happily re-visit both and will probably be planning a complete Game of Thrones re-watch come the start of 2015; if not sooner – I may be a bit addicted.
So if you hadn’t gathered from the above rant or if you’ve just skipped to the end for a bit of a summary I loved the first written instalment of a song of ice and fire, I can’t remember the last book that had me that gripped, especially over several weeks, we’re probably going back to the release of HP7.