Game of Thrones - Book One and Season One
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." (http://www.quora.com/How-would-you-explain-the-plot-of-Game-of-Thrones-in-brief-from-the-beginning)
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.
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.
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Book vs Series
Do you think the series was as good as the book?
Much of the background or back story information here was obtained from Wikipedia; World of a Song of Fire and Ice.