I tried reading the books by George R.R. Martin when they first came out. I spent my youth playing Dudgeons & Dragons, reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, and reading any real history of the medieval time period. I also read many other authors who set their stories in a fantasy setting, so I thought this would be a good summer read. I don’t think I made it though the first book.
The writing and storyline was too bad. In the books, Martin spent way too much time describing the food they ate. Every time the nobles met, they had some feast. Then there was the ever present talk of penises, whores and sex. As for the storyline, there were so many, it felt like three stories in one.
Martin’s need to kill off good characters was a major turn off as well. His readers says that this killing of anyone and anytime makes the story more realistic; but are we not reading for realism, we read fantasy stories to get away from the real world. There were plenty of times he could have done just this, but he decided killing the character was better, I think it was just easier.
Now, having time on my hands, and three months of HBO free, I am watching the series. As I have heard, the series is rife with gratuitous naked women, and men at times. There is plenty of needless gore and violence too. I have often said those that need to use these plot ploys just haven’t developed a good story. I realize the filmmakers have to use the plots as set by the writer or the readers would revolt. I think they still good have done a better job of implying the sex and the battles could be less about gore for gores sake and more about moving the story forward.
Now I am only halfway through season two of five seasons, yet I feel I am at the same point I was at when I stopped reading the books (not in the storyline, but just done with the story). Usually, with a movie, it;s easier to keep characters straight, but there are so many characters and too many interactions to keep them straight. The filmmakers could have used techniques that would not work in a book to explain the ties between the houses and who is who, long before the series started. It would help.
One of my biggest pet peeves, thus far is the film lighting. Too many scenes in the dark, lit only by candles. I get the want to be authentic, but it makes for poor cinematography. My screen is pitch black almost as much time as it is not. I will finish the series this summer, as there isn’t much good TV on in the summer, and I need something to watch during the day when it’s too hot to do much else.