Let me just start by saying, that I had never read any of the books before I began watching the TV show. And I’m glad, I think. You see, I think the pacing of the TV show is much better, much more immediate, than the pacing of the books. And only after having watched the show, did I decide to give the books a whirl. In fact, I didn’t even know the books existed until I was 7 episodes into the show.
And, I had put off watching the show for weeks and weeks. I just didn’t fancy it, and the fact that Sean Bean was in it didn’t help. It’s not that I think he’s bad, I just didn’t think he was particularly good. So it was with considerable resistance, that when my partner said ‘Fancy starting Game of Thrones?’ I finally gave in.
And what a good decision it was. Until a year or so ago, my favourite ever telly show was The West Wing. I loved it, and could never imagine anything ever surpassing it. I was sad for TV, that it would never again reach those heady heights. Then two things happened. Along came Breaking Bad, and the Newsroom. I won’t go into The Newsroom here, I’ve said enough before. But Breaking Bad changed things quite a bit.
Initially, I really struggled to get into it. I found it way too tense for me, but then I was advised by a couple of colleagues that it was just a telly show, and that I should get over myself. Quite right. So I did. And loved it. I hope that one day, I can write something even remotely close to the genius of BB. Those moments when you are shouting at the telly, warning someone, hating someone. And they just draw out those moments, they know you’re shouting at the characters, and they want to torture you. Brilliant writing.
But we have just recently, in preparation for the 4th series, watched the first 3 seasons of GOT again. And I have to say, if they get it right again this season, it will become my favourite show of all time. I remember the way I felt when we finally watched the 1st season. I remember thinking how authentic everything looked. How quiet the show is. There are two sounds that will forever remind me of GOT. A draft blowing through open windows, and the crackle of a fire in the hearth.
I love the soft scenes, where two characters come face to face and chip away at each other. I love the cleverness of the dialogue. There is one exchange, between Arya and Lord Tywin, which is just outstanding. It is the conversation about stone masons and dragons, and how she pronounces Milord incorrectly. The two actors are fantastic, and the dialogue just works brilliantly. We all have our favourites, mine is probably Tyrion. But I also like Varys, yet nobody else I know does!!
He always works for the crown, that’s where his loyalties lie. I know he comes across as sly, but give him time, he’s a good guy! Its scope and depth are, frankly, incredible. The time GRR Martin has put into creating the world, the characters and the plot is astounding. It would seem he has thought of everything. Food, slang, lineage, factions, politics, etc. It is rich and fully thought out. Reading the books is harder work for me, but still enjoyable.
I was devastated in series 3 though, when it never got to the end of book 3. I waited, patiently, so that I could discuss it with the guys I work with, yet it never came. Though I know why. There is not enough happening in book 4 for them to concentrate solely on this for the 4th season. So they stole some of book 3 for season 4. But God it felt like torture when it didn’t come. Everyone was talking about the Red Wedding, but I knew what else lay ahead!
Alas, no, I have had to wait until now, almost a year. But here it comes, and if you haven’t watched it already, get back to the beginning and start watching. You will be richly rewarded.
I am going to try and wait until we have all 10 saved up, before I start watching. I don’t like my odds.