Just a year ago I knew nothing of real merit about George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. I had read none of the books, though I knew people who had, and I had watched none of the show, though I likewise knew plenty who had. I wasn’t even sure I was interested, as I’m not a huge consumer of fantasy fiction in general. I do Conan and The Lord of the Rings and that’s about the extent of it. Maybe a little Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. No Elric.
Anyway, I had recorded all the episodes of Game of Thrones onto my TiVo with the idea that at some point I would watch it. Many months passed, though, and I didn’t touch them. Finally one day I decided to give it a try.
I would be lying if I said I was immediately enthralled. I thought, and still do, that the first episode of Game of Thrones is too cluttered with characters and confusing, story-wise. These problems get straightened out pretty quickly in the episodes that immediately follow, but it’s not a great introduction to the world or the people in it. I find it telling that the first episode was dramatically reworked after it failed to pass muster. Problems remain.
No matter. Once the show got rolling, I was addicted. I had a major plot point spoiled for me by a friend (curse you forever!), but otherwise I was able to come to the story as a completely blank slate. By the time I got to the end of the ten episodes, I was hungry for more.
My wife was ahead of the curve on this, as she nabbed copies of all the books in the series thus far and chewed through them in short order while I was still struggling through A Game of Thrones. I have since knocked out A Clash of Kings and am working on A Storm of Swords, but I still have two books to go after I finish it.
My enthusiasm remains undiminished despite the effort necessary to keep track of all this stuff. The show has diverged heavily from the second book, forcing me to hold two contradictory versions of events in my head at the same time, but I still enjoy watching. I’m very curious to see how they handle the enormous burden of adapting the third book, which is a monster. Ten episodes are not going to be enough. Twenty episodes are not going to be enough.
To further feed my fandom, I picked up the roleplaying game. I found out too late that there are some significant spoilers in the rules, so the books I’ve bought are sitting on my shelf unread until I can get through the rest of the novels. I do look forward to doing some gaming in the world of Westeros.
In the meanwhile, I have a new option: the video game. As I write this, the game is sitting beside my television ready to be unwrapped. I’m committed to doing productive things today, but tomorrow… oh, tomorrow I’m going to dig in. I’m going straight to Westeros with no stops and I look forward to as much as 50 hours of gameplay. Woohoo!
It’s going to be a long wait for new episodes of Game of Thrones once its current block of 10 episodes is complete in a couple of weeks. I plan on keeping the fire burning during that year of drought, though. Games, books, comics, whatever. I’ll devour them all. The hooks are in me deeply.