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Game of Thrones - Book One and Season One

Updated on August 15, 2015
This is a screen shot of the title card used in the HBO Series.
This is a screen shot of the title card used in the HBO Series. | Source

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Unfortunately for me, that's always been me, a day late and a dollar short. While the dollar short doesn't apply here, the day late certainly does. Season six of Game of Thrones is being filmed, and here I am just getting into it. Now I know not everyone likes fantasy or science fiction, but I certainly do. When I saw a picture of a dragon on Game of Thrones I wondered why I hadn't watched it! I had read all the Dragon Riders of Pern Books by Anne McCaffrey, starting back in 1968. I even watched "How to Train Your Dragon", an animated film. Do you see a pattern here?

BTW The Dragon Riders of Pern series is one of the biggest selling sci-fi series ever and yes, Warner Brothers bought the rights. You know I'm going to see that when it comes out.

Whoa, I think a little dragon got my mind. Let's get back to Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones - The Book

I love to read and I'll read anything you put in my hand so when someone in my family showed up with Game of Thrones, I had to read it. The funny thing is no one has admitted to giving me the book. Not that it's a bad thing, it's just that everyone I've asked in the family, from my children to my grandchildren, has said, no, I didn't give you the book. Well, it doesn't matter. Someone gave me the book! It sat on the shelf of my desk for months because I was working on Hub Pages, my children's book, and my novel.

A few weeks ago I saw it sitting there looking so forlorn, and decided to read it. Now you have to realize I have a slightly addictive personality (that's why it took me so long to quit smoking), so when I start to read a book I can't put it down. Really. It's a compulsion. I read it riding in the car, with my little book light in bed, you know what I mean if you're a true reader. Anyway, I had it finished in three days. Of course, then I was disappointed. I wanted more! Before I go on to the more, let's take a look at the book.

Just so you know, it isn't just HBO that made this famous. Game of Thrones is book one in the series A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin. The books have sold more than sixty million copies!

The Game of Thrones centers around "the Iron Throne" of Westeros. The throne that rules the Seven Kingdoms. The continent of Westeros has a rather unusual weather pattern. Seasons, being summer or winter, can last for many years. There is a history of this continent that involves The Children of the Forest who carved faces in the weirwood trees. These faces were the faces of their gods. The Children were followed by man who wound up at war with The Children. They came to an agreement, however, called The Pact. Following the Pact was The Age of Heroes. During The Age of Heroes man accepted the "old gods', the ones in the weirwood trees. The Seven Kingdoms were always fighting each other.

Have I given you a complete back story? No, more of a synopsis with details left out, like the Others who came from the far North during the Long Night or long winter. A huge wall was built to repel The Others and keep the kingdoms safe.

The North, with the castle known as Winterfell, is ruled by the House of Stark. The seven Iron Islands are ruled by The House of Greyjoy of Pyke. Riverrun is run by the House of Tully. The Twins, which control the river is run by the House of Tully. The Vale is surrounded by mountains and is run by the House of Arryn. The Westerlands are run by the House of Lannister. Casterly Rock is held by Jon Arryn and subsequently his widow who happens to be Catelyn Stark's sister. The Reach is run by the House of Tyrell. Storm's End is run by the House of Baratheon. The Dothraki Sea is inhabited by the Dothraki people.

Have I lost you yet?

"The world of GoT is divided into four landmasses, but our main focus (as of now) is on two of them- Westeros and Essos. Everybody – and I mean, literally everybody – is fighting everyone else to gain control of the entire landmass of Westeros." (

Now that I've put you through that history, know that the characters are what matter in this book. They are what hold your interest and bring you back for more. In a medieval setting of kings and land battles, the intrigues of the ruling families draw you in. Oh, and did I mention the dragons?

People? There are tons of them in each family. The family of Eddard Stark, ruler of Winterfell, includes his wife Catelyn Stark, his children, daughters Sansa and Arya, sons Robb, Bran, Rickon, and his bastard son Jon Snow. (All bastards have the last name of Snow no matter who their father is.) Eddard, also known as Ned, is a loyal friend to King Robert, and dedicated father and husband. Sansa has eyes for and is betrothed to the heir apparent, Joffrey. Arya, aspirations to be a knight though she is a girl. I'll not say more about this family who is at the center of much that happens, at least not now.

The Lannisters, who rule the Westerlands, include father, Tywin Lannister and his sons Jamie and Tyrion (also known as The Imp), and daughter Cersei Lannister. This is a family of bad guys though Tyrion does good deeds and makes you wonder. Tyrion is resented by his father because he is a dwarf and his mother died giving him birth. Cersei and Jamie have managed to keep their incestuous relationship a secret, well almost.

Daenerys Targaryen and her older brother Viserys, are the last of the House of Targaryen. Daenerys is also the lady who brings back the dragons! Oh I love that! The last dragons, they're now gone, were held by the House of Targaryen. Viserys sells Daenerys to the Dothraki Khal Drogo.

Oh yes, there are more. You have Jorah Mormont an exiled Lord who is at Daenerys side when she is "sold" off to Drogo. Theon Greyjoy, the heir of Balon Greyjoy who was taken prisoner then raised by Eddard Stark and became a friend to Robb Stark. Varys, a eunuch, who claims to serve the realm and is known as The Spider or perhaps The Spy would be more appropriate. Lord Petyr Baelsih, knicknamed LittleFinger. Sneaky and not to be trusted he is a member of the King's Small Council.

In Malta, this is the site of the Dothraki wedding.
In Malta, this is the site of the Dothraki wedding. | Source

Game of Thrones - The Series

Seldom do adaptations stay as close to the book as this one has. I was pleasantly surprised as I watched Season One. (I'm currently reading book two.) The characters are amazing, it is like the book has come to life. I must admit at first I was not sure they were as I pictured them, but after watching Episode One, I was convinced they were perfect!

For example, when the Stark boys find the wolf puppies, and take them home as their own, it is so close to what you picture in your mind's eye. The animals chosen to portray the wolves are purely wolf-like. Of course you don't even notice the absence of snow between the book and the series.

Cersei and Jaimie Lannister are fraternal twins who take their relationship to another level. Their first major cover up is the death of Jon Arryn, said to be a death by natural causes though they poisoned him. Their next attempt to cover their relationship is when Jaimie throws eight year old Bran Stark out of a window as Jaimie says, "the things I do for love". Bran recovers from his fall, but with no memory of the accident and without the use of his legs. Their intrigue doesn't end there, and the beheading of Ned Stark by their son Joffrey, believed to be the heir of King Robert, is yet another attempt to keep their relationship a secret. Ned knew that Joffrey is Jaimie's son and the untimely death of King Robert in a hunting accident puts Joffrey on the throne rather than the true heir.

The Dothraki are portrayed as the powerful, murderous people they are. Daenerys is certainly a diamond among these rough people. Her initial fear and loathing turns into love and loyalty.

Are there differences? Certainly. One of the main differences is Catelyn Stark. In the book she is more cold hearted and treats Ned's bastard son Jon as if he had the plague. She is mean to him and doesn't want him around. When King Robert asks Ned to be his Hand, a position of honor, it is Catelyn that wants Ned to go. In the TV series it looks more liked Ned wants to go. Somewhere between the book and the series she loses her strong political will. However, if you haven't read the book you won't notice. She is so very well portrayed.

There are some physical differences, but none that affect the integrity of the characters. Syrio Forel, the swordmaster is bald in the book but has a full head of hair in the series. Daenerys Targaryen is older in the series, she is two years older than in the book. The series was filmed in Ireland and the United Kingdom has rules about age and sex. Daenerys has sex with her husband on their wedding night (explicitly in the book and series) so her tender age had to be changed. In the series Arya is shown to be a skilled archer while in the book she can never shoot an arrow. The wound leading to Khal Drogo's death is much more serious than the wound shown in the series.

Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister)


Read the Game of Thrones - Watch the Game of Thrones

I leave you here. I've either confused you or intrigued you. I hope both. I hope the tiny taste I've given you makes you want to learn more. Reading the book or watching the series won't let you down, just be sure to start from the very beginning.

If you've read the book or seen the series please feel free to comment on either, as well as my hub. Enjoy.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

Book vs Series

Do you think the series was as good as the book?

See results

Much of the background or back story information here was obtained from Wikipedia; World of a Song of Fire and Ice.


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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      3 years ago from New York

      I hope you get a chance to read and enjoy!

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      3 years ago

      I haven't read the book, but watched my husband play the games. Now I am curious about it, so maybe one day when I go on vacation I will have some time to take a peak at the book. Sounds intriguing.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      3 years ago from New York

      Thanks for the info Nadine. I've never actually talked to anyone else who read Anne's books! Hope you enjoy GOT, let me know.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I read your post again because a friend has given me the first series on a UBS stick, so I know a bit about it before starting to watch it tonight. We do have something in common. Anne McCaffrey. Loved her books many years ago.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      3 years ago from New York

      Audrey as you can see I totally enjoyed what I've read and seen so far, however, I have to agree with you about killing off favorite characters. At first I thought it couldn't possibly be, but we both know it can!

      Thank you for the congrats.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      3 years ago from California

      I have read the whole series out but not seen any of them-and hate a love/hate relationship with this author's works--but I keep reading and I will read all of them--He is a bit blithe in his killing off of favorite characters--Congratulations on your Hubbie Award! Well-deserved!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Oh Deb, do find time to read at least one. I think it would be a nice break and per chance m'lady you'll enjoy it!

      Genna, season two was as good as season one. I'm reading book three right now, but my granddaughter tells me the series varies from the books as it goes on (season four and five) so I'm not surprised season five wasn't as good as season one. Supposedly HBO signed on for up to seven seasons and though the last two books aren't written they are outlined.)

      The books are amazing. Sometimes confusing in their detail and the names of everyone, and I mean everyone, passing through, but on the other hand it is the details that make it so amazing.

      Thanks for the vote and share, glad you enjoyed.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      GOT is one of the few series I watch, currently. (Oddly enough, I thought I would hate it.) Not much on TV these days. I only began watching this production last year, and had to catch-up on all of the installments; it took me this long before the more recent season aired. I haven't read Martin's series, but look forward to when I have a chance. It is impossible to convey all that good writing imparts to the screen, and this story is intriguing...chock-full of its own poetic force, metaphor and symbolism, and of course, power. So I was pleased to read that at least season 1 is faithful to the book. Your synopsis of characters and story-lines nailed it, Mary. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the season that just closed as it seems to have lost the intimacy that made preceding installments more compelling. And Peter Dinklage's portrayal of Tyrion is mesmerizing...I can't imagine this series surviving without him. Excellent write. Voted up and shared.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I haven't seen or read, so I am at a bit of a disadvantage, methinks, m'lady. Perhaps, I shall try to read the book between researching my birds. It could be a good break in between...

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Sorry I missed your comment on my first go through here Nell. Sorry you can't see the series, but the book is great too. I'm enjoying the comparison for sure.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thanks Larry, it's always easier when you have good material to work with.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Wonderful overview and comparison.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi mary, I would love to see the series, but can't get Sky, but I have never read the book, maybe I will, I know from the few programs I have managed to see its wonderful! have fun reading then watching! lol!

    • Cogerson profile image


      4 years ago from Virginia

      Interesting hub. And I thought I was behind when it comes to I binge watch the series when the latest series comes to DVD. I avoided all spoilers from Season 5....and then an article on ESPN ruined a huge spoiler for me....why was ESPN sharing G.O.T. plot twists I will never know.

      Nice look at the book series and the tv series. Thanks for a nice hub. Hey let me tell you about what happens in season 2....where do I begin...Well I was shocked when Tyrion Lannister .................

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      Ah, this is one of my favorite fantasy series. Glad that you've shared it here!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      You're welcome Bill. I don't like coming in in the middle so I had to start at the beginning. Having the book on hand, I had to read that first! I'm reading book two now.

      Mike I think I lean more toward fantasy though I read both. Pern has been called both Sci-Fi and Fantasy so...was definitely one of my favorites though I must admit I didn't read all 22 books.

      I am certainly honored to have you say you are a fan of mine Sha, the feeling is mutual. GOT is historical in a sense as well since it leans on medieval times.

      drbj you'll love it! The intrigue and arranged marriages, family ties, etc. do make for interesting viewing. I'm reading book two now so I'll see how that one fares.

      Thank you so much for the compliment Faith. After writing this I was afraid it might be too vague but apparently not. It is a good read, honest.

      Thank you Ruby, for the great compliments. How nice to know that one of my favorites thinks the same of me. You can always skip the book and go right to the series. Obviously at this point I can't speak to the entire series, but the first one is good.

      Nadine I hope you will watch it and like it. I'm sure it must be available for Kindle. Since its sold so many books I'm sure its spread to Kindle too.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      4 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Now I'm intrigued after reading your review. I asked a friend who sees a lot of movies if she has seen the series: Game of Thrones and she said YES she has it on her laptop! So next time when I see her she will add the first series onto a UBS stick for me to watch. I have not seen the book on the bookshelves, but it might be available on the kindle? I have to investigate.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I must admit that Sci-Fi is not my cup of tea but you are one of my favorite writers so maybe I've missed a good book and series. Thumbs up on your review!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      I love the enthusiasm in your words when you are excited to share something that is of interest to you. Both the book and series sound intriguing. When it comes to Sci-Fi I tend to lean towards space, but may have to check this out after reading your stellar review.

      Blessings always

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      4 years ago from south Florida

      I have missed this series, Mary, but did remember to record each episode so one day I shall view them all. Because you did such a great job with your introductions and synopsis. Promise!

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 

      4 years ago

      Science fiction is not my cup of tea, but my husband loves

      this show. I swear, every time I walked through the room,

      somebody was killing someone.

      This could be your time, Mary. Sci-Fi is really big, right now.

      What direction would you go if your wrote a sci-fi book?


    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      I haven't read the books nor seen the series. I'm not a sci-fi fan, but I am a fan of yours, Mary. You did a wonderful job of filling us in on what Game of Thrones is all about. Your enthusiasm is evident in this post!

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Mary - I missed this series. All my sci-fi takes place in outer space. I have read a lot, but somehow escaped fantasy. Enjoy your series and I hope Warner Brothers hurries up with Pern.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bev loves this series and has seen all of it. I came in a wee bit late. I've only seen Season Four I think, but I did really enjoy it. I already have some favorite characters and now I'm hoping to find the time to have a marathon watching session and get caught up. :) Thanks for the primer.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      You are certainly welcome. If you liked the book Frank you will like the series, HBO did a great job. Of course having the author working right there with them was certainly a help.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      Til I have read the book but I have not seen the series yet... but maybe I will now.. thanks for this informative hub.. bless you


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