Reasons to read the Game of Thrones books

Reasons to read the Game of Thrones books

Chances are if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you became a fan by watching the heralded Emmy-winning show on HBO. The show has been incredible and drawn a large, diverse audience from all over the globe. People everywhere sign up for HBO Go for ten weeks at a time so that they can watch it. Well, given recent news, the show will not be returning to our boob tubes until 2019. That’s a long drought of not engrossing ourselves in the vibrant world that GRRM created. If you’re like me, then you probably agree that waiting another year and a half is far too long to return to Westeros. Luckily, there’s an alternative to consuming the show through the tv.

I decided to read the books after listening to the GoT Podcast Oysters, Clams & Cockles and jumping on board with the Night’s ReWatch which is the only podcast doing a rewatch from start to finish every Sunday until the new season airs. The ReWatch is currently in the middle of the second season, but you can quickly catch up by doubling or tripling up on episodes on Sundays. I began the rewatch soon after season 7 ended and thoroughly enjoyed the idea going back through the series, especially since I had only seen most of the episodes once several years ago. However, after two episodes, I decided I would instead read the series and keep up with the podcast as it went. I would read several chapters then rewatch the episode that it pertained to and finally I’d listen to the podcast. The books are so enthralling I ended up passing the podcast. In fact, I got so into the books that I passed the podcast by two seasons. The books are indeed works of art.

It was very interesting to experience this story from a different medium of consumption other than the show. Reading through A Game of Thrones, I realized how much Benioff and Weiss, the producers of the show, relied on the writings of George R.R. Martin. The first few episodes were a copy and paste of the text. The encounters between the characters were a word for word verbatim from the books; the detail was all from the text down to the color of characters eyes. The show mirrors the books only in of A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, the first two installments in the series. From there, the differences begin. They are mild at first, mainly just including minor characters who would not have had a major impact on the show, but they slowly evolve into significant story arcs that are all but left out of the show.

Enough of my babbling, here’s the quick hits for reading the books:

  1. The books were how Martin meant for the story to be told and it is the best method of consumption.
    1. George has said it himself, the show is great, but his story is entirely held to the books alone. He’s involved heavily with the show, but he intended for people to read the story, not watch it.
  2. The books don’t have the limitations that the show does.
    1. Martin’s imagination was able to run wild with the books at no extra cost to himself or the publisher. However, the same does not apply to the show because every actor, writer, and support add more expenses to the already expensive show. GRRM can write about 700 ft Ice Walls and people climbing it, yet the show will have to use CGI to produce the wall, use stuntmen/women to scale it, as well as pay the actors to act out the scene.
  3. The characters emotions, thoughts, and desires are explicitly stated in the books. The show requires the actors to portray all of these in the manner in which they see fit.
    1. Regardless of how talented the actors on the show are, it is possible that their interpretations of how the characters should act differently from how you think they should. The books alleviate this potential discrepancy.
  4. The food that GRRM describes is enough to entice any foodie to read the books.
    1. George annihilates the food descriptions. He delves into great detail when it comes to food, to the reader’s benefit.
  5. This will pass the time until the new season comes out and like the hosts of Oysters, Clams and Cockles say, a ReWatch is the best way to prepare yourself for the final season, so why not read the books to prepare as well!

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