Today I want to talk about the first book in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series and the TV version of it. I already wrote on the TV show in general. But finally I got around reading “A Game of Thrones”.
In the first book we get to know our heroes (and enemies). We start out somewhere up North in Winterfell, where we encounter Lord Eddard Stark and his family. He is visited by Robert Baratheon, the King, with his entourage. Ned Stark becomes the new Hand of the King (some sort of advisor) and goes to King’s Landing (the capital of the Seven Kingdoms). He takes his two daughters Sansa and Arya with him, Leaving behind his wife Catelyn aswell as his sons Bran, Rickon and Robb, not to forget his bastard John Snow. (From now on I divide the plotlines to make it easier to follow)
During the royal visit Bran falls from a window and is in a coma. Before he wakes up without the ability to use his legs he gets almost killed by an assassin. Catelyn finds out that the dagger he had with him belongs to the Lannisters (the Queen’s family).
At King’s Landing:
Ned learns his duties as Hand and comes to know that the former hand who passed away might have been murdered. By the end of the season he uncovers a conspiracy. His older daughter Sansa starts to get involved with Joffrey, the crown prince, whom she is supposed to marry someday. Arya doesn’t feel to comfortable at court. It only starts to get better when her father allows her a teacher to learn how to fight with her sword (Jon gave it to her as farewell gift). Soon after that Robert dies during a hunting trip. When Ned tries to reveal that Joffrey isn’t the rightful heir as he is not Robert’s son but Cersei’s (the Queen) and Jaime’s (her brother) he is called traitor and finally is executed. Executed by Joffrey who is now king. Arya flees from King’s Landing.
Robb calls the banners and summons an army to march South in order to avenge his father. He is met halfway by his mother. Catelyn went South before to show her husband the dagger and on her way back she captured Tyrion Lannisters (the Queen’s other brother, also called the Imp) and took him to the Eyre where her sister lives. Lysa’s husband was the former Hand of the King and probably murdered. They allow Tyrion a trial by combat. His fighter wins and Tyrion is free.
In the North:
Jon Snow decides to join the Night’s Watch, an army who protects the wall. They have to deal with what lies beyond. Rangers have gone missing and very strange-looking corpses are found. One night the Night’s Watch is attacked by a dead one. Jon kills him with fire. When he finds out about his brother marching South he things about deserting but changes his mind.
Across the Narrow Sea:
Daenerys and her brother Viserys are the only living children of the man wo was King before Robert. When the war had begun and Robert took the throne they fled South and have been in exile ever since then. After all this years Viserys is still determined to win back the throne. In order to get an army he marries his sister to Khal Drogo, a Dothraki king. But Viserys is not only impatient he also looks down on the Dothraki and his sister. One evening when he freaks out a little Kahl Drogo pours liquid gold over his head to give him the crown he desires so badly. Viserys is dead but Daenerys still wants to go back home and conquer the throne. She soon gets pregnant and her husband decides to give the throne as present to his unborn son. On the way Khal Drogo is wounded badly. In order to save his life Daenerys asks a woman for help who knows black magic. But only life buys life – so her baby dies. What is left of the Khal can’t really be called living, he’s not there so Dany suffocates him under tears. She burns the witch at the stake and walkes in the fire herself. She takes three fossilised dragon eggs with her she got as bride gift. The Targaryens are said to have dragon blood in their veins. When the fire is burned down Daenery sits in a pile of burned wood, unharmed and with three baby dragons on her shoulder.
Book vs. TV show:
It is unbelievable how much effort was put into bringing this book on the screen. The locations are breath-taking and the cast consists of the finest actors. Game of Thrones has an extreme number of characters which are not easy to remember. In the TV shows it’s easier to distinguish the people because you get a face to remember. While it’s easier to remember the names as they are mentioned in the book more often. In the TV show it often took me a while to learn a character’s name although I already knew that e. g. this is the King.
Some of the events in the book are so monumental that it’s almost impossible to simply imagine them. For me some of the events unfolded fully when I saw them in the show like Visery’s crowning or the battles on Robb’s way South.
What also deeply impressed my in the show was the creation of the Dothraki language. In the book it is mentioned that it exists but not how it really sounds. In the TV show you get to hear it in full dialog with subtitles.
What I like in the book is the different perspectives. Each capture focuses on one person and how he or she sees the events. This gives you a deep inside on the character. However, in the TV show you get a better look on the full events and surroundings as there is no focus on one particular person.
Another point the TV show managed to do very well is the “supernatural” things like dragons or dead men walking around. These things look very real and not like something computer programmed.
In the TV Show it sometimes feels like the try to push to many climaxes in one episode while in the book the stories have more time to unfold. Furthermore, I enjoy Georg R. R. Martins writing style very much. Although we are in a completely imaginary world it is easy to follow him.
Another interesting point to me is the “death of the protagonist”. In the TV show you see Ned dying and it feels like your main character dies within the first five minutes of the movie. In the book it does not come across as drastically. Sure Ned is an important character but it doesn’t feel like you lose the main focus as it is in the TV show. I suppose it has something to do with the different focuses on people I mentioned above.
Both the book and the TV show impressed my deeply. GeorgR. R. Martin created an entire world with so many details. The TV show managed to present this world very nicely. It’s good to read the books to get a better inside in the characters, the TV show helps with fully understanding and imagining the big events.
The second book already awaits 😉