Author Topic: A Song of Ice and fire  (Read 4052 times)

Offline Vermis

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A Song of Ice and fire
« on: August 12, 2011, 03:41:33 PM BST GMT »
I was first interested in reading this after watching the first couple of episodes of the HBO's Game of Thrones, but I held off until the first season was over.  I have this thing about TV or film adaptations - they almost always hack me off if I've read the book beforehand.  Mind you, when I read the original novel afterwards, I usually think it's better than the adaptation anyway.  Jurassic Park and Dune spring to mind.  But then there's not so much disappointment when certain subtleties and scenes are cut or drastically altered.

That's what happened here.  The TV show is good, and offers some ready-made images to pop up on command, but I'm halfway through the novel and so far I prefer it.  There's a lot more information - history, locations, scenes, politics, thoughts, motivations, etc. - that weave through eachother and what was already shown on screen and make the whole setting and situation more rich and intriguing.
It also makes a lot of the characters ("So venomous they could eat the Borgias," says the blurb on the back of this edition) more sympathetic, partly because of the increased insight into their thoughts and backgrounds, but also because of what the book shows you of them.  Tyrion Lannister, chief example.  In the book he's shown as more honest and sympathetic towards other characters, and not so much in orgies or piddling off walls.  In fact, there's a lot less focus on 'ladies of negotiable affection' in the book, which confirms my suspicions that a lot of that was (awkwardly) shoehorned into the show, in line with others like Rome, The Tudors, and the Borgias.  "The American Tolkien," I heard of GRR Martin when I was watching the show.  "More like the Fantasy Frank Miller," I thought, at the time.

Mind you, talking about more sympathetic characters, Cat Stark seems to be slightly more of an obsessive nut in the book.  Only a bit, maybe, but you can more readily believe she's related to her sister.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 04:40:03 PM BST GMT by Vermis »

Offline captainspud

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Re: Game of Thrones
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2011, 03:21:41 PM BST GMT »
I jumped from the series to the second book. I found it did a complete enough job that I was never really lost or missing information.

Also: I found Tyrion to be quite sympathetic in the show. He seemed to be someone whose defining characteristic was making the best of being dealt a series of utterly crap hands. :)
"How did you know you weren't really going crazy?"
"The voices in my head kept calling me Bruce."
"Yeah, and?"
"In my head, that's not what I call myself."

Offline Vermis

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Re: Game of Thrones
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2011, 02:03:46 AM BST GMT »
I finished the first book,and grabbed the next three (for two, at Waterstones).  I've just rattled through A Clash of Kings, and jumped straight in to part one of A Storm of Swords.  I'm finding it difficult to put them down.  I'm thoroughly hooked.

Without giving away too many spoilers:

Tyrion's yet more sympathetic in A Clash of Kings, being the only one with any clout or inclination to instil anything like honest justice at King's Landing.  Poor sod.

Poor, poor Stark children.  Constantly hopping from frying pan to fire, but never without hope.

Theon Greyjoy, you fool.

Magic had been played down in the first book of this fantasy land, barring certain Others and eggs.  I think that helps make it a bit more shocking when it raises an ugly head in the middle of the second book.  I be interested to find out what happened to that particular practitioner.

A lot of deaths and maiming, that might be expected now a full-blown war is taking place.  Not many as 'big' as the one in the first book, at least in terms of the reader's emotional investment if not implications for Westeros, though some as shocking and unexpected.  It got to the point that I just started wearily accepting the red herrings as the truth. :)

And every so often you get a 'Jon' chapter that reminds you the the 'clash of kings' is like a lot of bunnies bickering outside a wolf's den.

Now, I'm off to ogle the Dark Sword site.

Offline Caerban

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Re: Game of Thrones
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 10:09:47 AM BST GMT »
Believe me the twisty-turny twisty turns keep coming. Don't get too attached to anyone. And don't believe any plot strand you think you've got figured out :)

Offline Heresy Miniatures

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Re: Game of Thrones
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2011, 10:39:13 AM BST GMT »
I'm glad you've finally jumped on the books, Warren - they're much, much better than the series, as you've discovered!

Offline Vermis

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Re: Game of Thrones
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2011, 03:53:17 PM BST GMT »
 :)

Don't get too attached to anyone.

Nooooo

Finished part one.  Severe addiction.  Losing sleep.  And so many names and lords and bannermen and young children to be married off. 0_0  I can't keep up.  Spoilers to follow.

Poor, poor Starks.

Poor Sansa.  Poor Arya.  Poor Bran.  Poor Robb.  Poor Catelyn.

You numpty, Robb.  You numpty, Catelyn.

Poor, poor Jon Snow.

Poor, poor Jeor Mormont.

Poor, poor Tyrion Lannister.

Poor, poor... Jaime Lannister?  0_0  That's very weird.  At the start of the book I wouldn't have minded if he got run through with a particularly blunt and rusty sword.

Samwell Tarly, go on my son. :)

I like Samwell.  I can relate to him some. :dodgy:  But given the prologue and the limited number of chapter viewpoints so far, I thought he was one of those Caerban warned not to get attached to.  He might be before long; but I was very pleased to turn a page in the middle of the book and see the chapter title 'Samwell'. :)  And the obsidian dagger, and the white walker!  Dark Sword's mini suddenly has more meaning.
I have a feeling Benjen left the obsidian cache at the fist, and I hope he's still somewhere around, maybe swinging a big dragonglass sword, and maybe even with the Children of the Forest.  But I won't get too attached to those ideas...


Some connections are slowly revealing themselves and keeping me flipping pages.  The Red Priestess has a clearer view of the overall picture than I thought, for example, and even more significance than in the last book.  Though Azor Ahai may be reborn, but I don't think it's who she thinks it is.

Onto part two!
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 06:08:46 PM BST GMT by Vermis »

Offline Vermis

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Re: Game of Thrones
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2011, 06:07:12 PM BST GMT »
Sorry Andrew.  I didn't think it'd be much of a spoiler to say that everyone keeps getting dragged through the poop.  I think that's a given at this point. :)  But I'll white out that stuff and remember in future.

Offline Caerban

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Re: Game of Thrones
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2011, 06:21:40 PM BST GMT »
Just because I'm very juvenile - http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6579356/game-of-thrones-rpg. Warning: Contains adult themes and naughty words. And Spoilers if you haven't seen all of series 1.

Offline Vermis

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Re: Game of Thrones
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2011, 03:57:35 PM BST GMT »
Caerban: I'd guess the name of the site is well-chosen. ;)

Finished part two of A Storm of Swords.  Spoilers!

A third of the way in, Robb and Catelyn's fates are a real punch to the gut.  As much as Ned's, I think.  Old Walder Frey needs to be added to Arya's list.

Speaking of Arya, that Sandor Clegane's a rum 'un.  You don't know exactly what his motives are, or were.  I don't think I've seen the last of him, anyway.  He seems too hard to kill.

Glad that Jon and Sam are still alive. :)  The defence of the Wall at Castle Black was a corker.  Mammoths and giants and wargs, oh my!  After that bit of exhilaration and hope I groaned when Janos Slynt crawled out of the woodwork, with Thorne toadying behind him.  Thankfully they were soon neutered quite a bit.  Maybe not as literally as as they should've been.

Stannis Baratheon. :)  He might be a humourless sod, manipulated by a woman with motives that are at best suspect, but I like him.  He don't muck about.

Barristan Selmy! :D

Strong Belwas' duel at Mereen.  Or rather his little victory demonstration.  Dude!  :lol:

Very surprised that Oberyn didn't do in Gregor Clegane.  0_0  Not right away, anyway.  But then that's Martin, subverting the genre and the tropes.

Tyrion's taken all he can stands and he can't stands no more.  So there are two less Starks in the world (or so it seemed), but also two less Lannisters.  The Seven Kingdoms seemed to be knitting themselves together again under Tywin's machinations, for good or ill, but looks like they're going to rip apart again.
I don't know what Tyrion's going to do now, though.  I can't see him twiddling his thumbs on Braavos for the rest of the story.

Nevertheless, the book ends on a note that's slightly higher than low, in my opinion.  Wouldn't seem that way in a lot of other settings, maybe, but for A Song of Ice and Fire it's pretty good. :)


Here's something I'm confused about, though.

All through the story it seems like only Westeros is under threat from the white walkers and the 'Great Other'.  Granted, most of the Seven Kingdoms sneer at the 'fairy stories', when they don't completely disregard them, but there's no hint of them at all in the eastern lands that Danaerys has travelled through.  Are they not connected to whatever northern locality the walkers are issuing from?  Does the continent not overlap an 'arctic circle' or ice caps?  Are the specific lands too far south to hear anything or be affected, yet?
Melisandre journeyed all the way from Asshai to Westeros to warn the people.  Dany has been knocking about a lot closer to Asshai, showing off her miraculous dragons and conquering cities, but so far the only hint that the R'hllorians are interested have been a few half-hearted attempts by Quaithe to get to her to go to that city.  It might yet happen, I dunno; but if the R'hlorrians are all about fire, wetting themselves over the Great Other, and looking for prophesied heroes, y'd think they would've put a lot more effort into it.

On a similar note, nothing about the years-long seasons in the eastern lands either.  No 'winter is coming' there.  Again, I'd guess they're too far south, but I can't imagine regular mini ice-ages would have no effect on them at all.


So withdrawal symptoms until I can get back to the bookshop and grab A Feast for Crows.  And then A Dance With Dragons after that.  Considering the complaints about how long that took to be released, I think I'm going to go mad waiting for the next one.  0_0
But I'll get a bit more sleep.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 04:44:17 PM BST GMT by Vermis »

Offline Vermis

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Re: A Song of Ice and fire
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2011, 09:10:22 PM BST GMT »

Offline Blitzspear

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Re: A Song of Ice and fire
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2011, 10:01:53 PM BST GMT »
I picked up a dance with dragons on it's first day on the book shelves as i'm a huge fan and when you have waited 5 or 6 years after the last book to find out what happens next you get a bit frustrated  :lol: I've also lent all the other books to my mate after he heard about the HBO show, he likes on a boat and didn't see it. Saying that i've not seen it also  :mrgreen: Boxed set for crimbo me thinks. Anyway back on to reason of posting :lol: There are a number of short storys set in the seven kingdoms that youshould try to pick up Google The Hedge Knight and that should lead to the others. A Storm of Swords (book3) is the longest by far (page count 1128) and i was lucky to get it in one edition, they quicky changed it to a split edition for the US market To GRR'sgreat annoyance so it'said. This is the best book imho and waiting 5 years for a Feast for Crows was painful to say the least so you all very lucky coming late the the Ice and Fire party but just be warned there are 2 more books to come and if he stays true to form its gonna be a looooooooooong time till Winter Winds hits the shelves  :( I only picked it up because id read the Black company books (all 12 eventully) i think (some) American Authers put a great new spin on Fantasy books that i like.

So is the show any good or will it make me scream at the goggle box?

Blitz

Offline Vermis

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Re: A Song of Ice and fire
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2011, 10:41:06 AM BST GMT »
If you're one of those people who reads the book first, then hates the movie/show because it changes too much stuff, it might be annoying.  I'm that kind of person myself, which is why I sat on my hands until the first season ended. :)  As it is, I think it's pretty good, though it does miss out a lot of subtle stuff to cram the book into ten hours, or because of things that are easier to achieve in writing than filming.  They must be limited in what they can do with those wolves, for example.
And some of the acting could be a little better. (I.  Don't.  Know. Why.  People.  Think.  Speaking.  In.  Pauses.  Makes.  You.  Sound.  Emphatic.  And.  Forceful.  Rather.  Than.  You.  Forgot.  Your.  Lines.)

At the very least, it provides some pretty visuals for the books. :)

This is the best book imho and waiting 5 years for a Feast for Crows was painful to say the least so you all very lucky coming late the the Ice and Fire party but just be warned there are 2 more books to come and if he stays true to form its gonna be a looooooooooong time till Winter Winds hits the shelves  :(

I heard.  At the beginning I went googling and saw the complaints about how long it took ADwD to be released.  Then I read the bit at the end of AFfC (published 2004-5?) about how the book was split and hopefully ADwD would be released the next year.  Doesn't fill me with hope for the speedy appearance of the last two books. :lol:

Offline Blitzspear

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Re: A Song of Ice and fire
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2011, 05:34:46 PM BST GMT »
Excellent they have studided at the foot of Shatner  :D He invented that acording to him doing shakespear and those daily tv plays on us tv back to back. So    meny    scripts    so   many words  :lol:.

I can't wait to be annoyed at there attempt at Game of Thrones  ;) and just hope they have commited to all the books. This may make him produce the next books faster but i was never annoyed about the time scale really just exspecting some knock out fantasy for my patiance and not disapointed.

Blitz

Offline NightwindKing

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Re: A Song of Ice and fire
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2011, 12:48:21 PM BST GMT »
 Read the books as they've been coming out but have yet to read Dance with Dragons.

I started reading them to my wife...good way to spend long car rides together. And I promised her I wouldn't read ahead into DWD now that she's into it ;-)

Couldn't even finish the first episode of the show. I've got a younger brother and sister (16 and 20) and have been raving to them about the books. Sure there's sex and nudity, but it's a book. Who cares? GRRM did a good job with the amount (more and less) of description.
    But I can hardly suggest the show to my 16 year old brother, now can I, when EVERY friggin scene is full-on nudity and constant sex.

I was so disgusted with the producers...marketing and all that I understand, but really? 95% of the sex in the first episode was nowhere in the book. WTF?

Whatever. The books are/were awesome. I'll stick to those.