By Alicia Ballard
Game of Thrones is a wildly popular television series featured on HBO. The series started in 2011 and will be entering its last season in April of 2019. The television show is based on the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. A full fifteen years passed between the publication of the first book, A Game of Thrones, and the first episode. The book series spans five novels with the last two in the works.
Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire are intricate and complicated stories with a plethora of characters and side-stories. Most readers argue that adaptions fail to capture the depth of the novels they are based on. This is especially true with the massive world Martin has created. With the show coming to a close and two books left to be published, it is obvious that the show has drifted from the novels.
George Raymond Richard Martin was born September 20th, 1948 in New Jersey. Martin started writing very young, he would sell monster stories to the neighborhood children for pennies. In his teens Martin wrote for comic book fan magazines. He sold his first professional story in his early twenties titled “The Hero”. In 1986, Martin moved to Hollywood and was signed on as a story editor for the Twilight Zone. One year later he became Executive Consultant for the CBS series Beauty and the Beast. In August of 1996 A Game of Thrones, book one of the Ice and Fire series, was published.
In 2019 fans wait with baited breath for the final season of the show and the next installment of the book series. Some fans would argue that reading the books after watching the show is pointless because they have seen everything already, but the show started to drift from the novels as early as the second season.
Without going too far into the spoiler zone, one major difference is character’s ages. Characters in the books are significantly younger than their television counterparts. For example: Daenerys Targaryen is around thirteen in the novels, but she is around seventeen in the television show. Jon Snow is fourteen in the first novel, but is around seventeen in the show.
Some changes to story is understandable, as television shows and movies can’t go into depth with characters and motivations as books can. Books can span hundreds of thousands of words, hundreds of pages, and several novels while screen adaptations try to tell a story with in a set number of minutes. Thus, storylines and characters have been simplified, combined, or cut entirely.
The twists and turns of the novels will still keep even the most versed Game of Thrones fans guessing as they read through the series for the first time. Some things may have already been revealed to them or themes may be familiar, but the way in which Martin weaves his story will make them feel as if they are entirely new situations. The characters will similarly feel just as new.
If you enjoy reading high fantasy, dark fantasy, realistic fantasy, or you are a huge fan of the show and want to enjoy it in a different medium, you can start with the first book “A Game of Thrones” available for checkout at the El Reno Carnegie Library. Enjoy graphic novels or already read the books? Try reading Vol. 1 of the Song of Ice and Fire graphic novel. Want to read from the universe of Westeros? You could try “The Hedge Knight”, available in novel and graphic novel. If you are interested in the history of Westeros or the reign of the Targaryens try “Fire and Blood”.