Winter Is Coming, and damnitall I’m ready for it. I’ve been ready, since I finished A Feast For Crows back in 2005. I was hesitant when one of my friends handed me a copy of Game of Thrones, urging that I read the series. “It’s the greatest fantasy series ever written, you have to read it.”
My response, of course, was, “Is the series done?” To which my friend replied, “No.”
“Well I don’t want to start a series that hasn’t been finished.”
“No, really – greatest book ever. And he has a plan to finish it.”
“Sure, okay. I’ll read it when it’s done or close to.”
I eventually capitulated, proceeding to devour the entire series as if it were so many morsels of sweet intellectual nourishment. The intrigue, the plotting and scheming, the grand scale of myths being written; it hooked me. I’ve probably read the four books already written in the series at least a half-dozen times, each time gleaning new details our information. I’m like an addict, with any book that I’ve enjoyed really, I want the next piece of the puzzle.
The Game of Thrones series gets its television premiere on April 17th, thanks to the hard work of HBO and David Benioff, among others. The hype is palpable, to the point where people who aren’t a fan of the books (or don’t generally read books, let alone the massive tomes of A Song of Ice and Fire) are buzzing about the latest HBO series. This isn’t surprising, given today’s marketing strategies. Nor am I upset about it, being the obsessive-fan-type about some things. I think that, based off the 12 minute preview I’ve seen, the show is off to a strong start.
The temptation is to act as a sort of aggregator, collecting links to videos of Game of Thrones; there are many, so I won’t shell the links here. They all exist on both YouTube and HBO’s site, available for your perusal. Today, however, they released a 25 minute documentary – a primer to Westeros, if you will. It’s neat to watch, and chock full of information to get you geared up. Also, probably useful to keep those less savvy from being totally overwhelmed. That the producers want to put out all this information before the series really takes off, it’s evidence of their level of commitment. It also stinks of fan service, but who cares?
On April 17th I’ll be glued to my couch. It’ll keep me occupied until July 12th, when A Dance With Dragons supposedly hits shelves. I’ll stick it out through the bitter end, no matter how long the wait. Why though? Why this madness? Can it really be that good?
Well, no. But it is close enough. I know I couldn’t write it, so somebody had to. And I’ve stuck it out this long, I’ve already committed and I know that there will be plenty of other fiction to keep me occupied until the end finally comes. By the time the final book in the series appears, I’ll have probably read the series several dozen times. It holds up that well.
But maybe you won’t like the books. ASoIaF is long, verbose and complex. There are so many threads being woven together that I’ve had to read the series a half-dozen times to piece them all together and search for hidden clues. The wait has been horrendously long, though it has yet to reach the scale of The Wheel of Time or The Dark Tower. We have no guarantee that the last book won’t be finished until post-mortem (my vote is for Rothfuss or Brust), but I’m okay with that. And the books are violent, depressing and no character is safe. Maybe you just want to watch the show. I won’t judge you this time.
Coming soon in future posts: stuff.