A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
One, I had bought A Feast for Crows (book 4 of the series) when it came out and never got around to reading it. It’s not that I decided I didn’t want to read it, it’s just that other books got in the way. I’m a slow reader (I think I’ve mentioned) and while I don’t have a terribly short attention span, I find it difficult to spend thousands of pages in a story, go away from it for several years, and then step back in. All while other stories are waiting to be read.
Two, the TV show. I have a fascination for retellings. Translations, cover songs, books to movies (and movies to books) are all interesting to me. What gets kept? What gets truncated or removed? How does form or language affect the telling or even the story itself? Interesting stuff for a writer. A Game of Thrones, the TV series, is a good adaptation. It streamlines the story, and it is a story (like The Lord of the Rings) that needs streamlining. Gone are the paragraphs describing the details of everyone’s heraldry. Gone are the lineages. Do these things add to the story? Well, yes. They add detail and scope to the world. Do they hinder the narrative? Well, yes. Sometimes in Martin’s writing it’s hard to pick out the important details. In a visual adaptation, it only takes a few minutes to show these things. As viewers we are left with a vivid world where only the important people get close-ups.
Three, Tor.com is doing a read-through. Actually, Leigh Butler isn’t finished with A Game of Thrones, but I went ahead a week ago and finished on my own. Even if I don’t read Bulter’s Eep!-and-Sqee! review of chapters, the read-through keeps me reading steadily. Not the fastest way to read books, but I’m not the fastest reader (as I think I’ve mentioned).
In all, the book isn’t quite as good as I remembered. Some of the characters are a tad bit caricature. Some of the institutions are a little less than realistic. There are lots of names and lots of details and occasionally these detract from the story. Still, I’ll dive into A Clash of Kings with a sense of enjoyment when the time comes.