After watching the first season of „Game of Thrones“ on TNT and learning to my dismay that I would have to wait until November for season two, I bought the first four e-books of „A Song of Ice and Fire“. (There are editions where a the books are split into two parts). Currently I’m at the beginning of book 3 (or 6, depending on your edition).
The series is in a world defined by medieval stasis – the ruling clans have done so for thousands of years. In this feudal world the seasons differ – it’s perfectly possible for the summer to last a couple of years, making the (potential long) winters fearsome. There is magic (or supernatural events), but at first it’s very toned down – in fact, magic is hardly believed in (like the Force in Star Wars, Part IV). The main plot line is the different faction’s fight for supremacy on the contintent Westeros.
The TV Series
Having first seen the first season and then having read the book I was quite asonished. The book and the series are practically identical – it doesn’t matter at all if you watch the series or read the books! Some of the dialogues have been taking word for word from the books, the structure (each chapter focusses on a different player) is exactly the same, the miniscule differences between series/books make very much sense – Lord Of The Rings has been adapted much worse (or the unspeakable Harry Potter movies). Kudos to HBO!
Due to a similar setting (medieval stasis) and the length of the opus it’s tempting to compare it to Lord of the Rings. One of the most striking differences between the two worlds: the realism. In LOTR the characters often behave like out of a fairy tale (honor, duty, and so on). In Westeros on the other side there is honor and duty – but often just given lip service, shifting allegiances, and so on. There are two notable exceptions:
War is a very diry business:
There’s another difference: I find LOTR occasionally rather boring – I had to force myself to continue reading the books. Removing, say, a third of the content of LOTR would make the books much more interesting. In contrast to this, A Song of Ice and Fire never bored me – on the contrary, George R. R. Martin did shock/horrifiy me a couple of occasions 😯
There’s only one small aspect which bothers me a little bit – in my opinion there’s too much fights/wars, I’d like a little more background stories or something similar. Nevertheless, excellent reading matter 😎