I am an avid fan of George RR Martin’s Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series. I have been reading them from the first book. With the TV series currently on and the next book being released in July, I decided to re-read the first 4 books. Also, I am up to date on the TV series. Here are my thoughts on both.
The books – still a great read and I am pleasantly surprised on how much stuff I forgot and a few things I cleared up upon re-reading. I do not think you need to be a fan of fantasy books to read these, they are well written with immense character development. If you have not read them, do so and what I write below may be spoilers so stop while you can.
Jon Snow is NOT Eddard’s son but his nephew. He is the offspring of Lyanna and Rhaegar. This is the promise Lyanna made Ned swear to and why he will never speak of Jon’s mother. Lyanna died giving birth to Jon. This makes him half Stark, half Targaeryan.
Targaeryan’s – Heirs to lost kingdom of Valyria, sibling weddings, white haired, and ride dragons. GRM can not tell me they were not influenced by Michael Moorcock’s “Elric of Melnibone”.
Daenrys Targaeryan – she is Azor Ashai reborn, not Stannis Baratheon. The legend says ‘reborn in fire, and awakens the stone dragon’. In the first book she walks through the fire with no real harm done to her (except her hair) and the stone dragon eggs she has hatch.
Stannis Baratheon – in one of the short stories pre-dating this series (Dunk and Egg) Stannis grandfather is mentioned and how there was a marriage to a Targaeryan. This means Robert, Renly, and Stannis all have Targaeryan blood in them.
Three heads of the Dragons – More then a few times it is mentioned how it takes three heads of the dragon to rule (and with their being three dragons the foreshadowing is quite obvious). Daenrys is a given. Jon Snow being her half brother would be an obvious choice. The third, I am supposing here, is either Stannis or possibly his daughter. She is shown in the books a few times and her jester definitely has something special about him (see below).
The Others – ghouls and zombies, yes. And based on the temple Daenyrs burned down they are not just beyond the Wall. One theory my wonderful wife put to me this week (Misreall) is that the Others also reside below the sea. It would make sense in that they do not need to breathe and it is cold the deeper they go. Patches the jester goes on about being under the sea in such a way that this makes sense. But what does this say about House Greyjoy and the worship of the Drowned God? Could the Drowned God be the Others?
The TV series – if you thought it was going to faithfully follow the books you were being naïve. There is way too much inner dialogue in the books for them to be able to put that on the screen. There have been some changes from what I have already seen. Sansa is mean rather then insipid and in the last episode there was one scene changed from the book and a second one that was never in the book.
The first was Jaime and Eddard fighting. In the book it is all on horseback with the Lannister Guards attacking and Eddard’s horse is killed, falling on him and breaking his leg. He passes out. In the TV show there is now way to film that without hurting actual horse’s so he and Jaime fight. It is done to show that Eddard is not a slouch despite the fact that he is not a tournament knight. Did I think Jaime would win if the fight went on, most likely? But the point of the fight was to show that while Jaime is a great knight, possibly the best swordsman around, Eddard is a seasoned knight with years of experience. Note the prior conversations with Ser Baristan Selmy. Jaime says he saw him do the greatest move he has ever seen and later Baristan tells Eddard he knows he is a great fighter.
The other scene was between Cersei and Robert. They didn’t fight, he doesn’t hit her, and they almost get along. Different then the way they are portrayed in the book, yes. But it shows that these are two people who have been stuck together for 17 years. There is no love between them but 17 years is a long time to live together, raise kids together, and deal with all the political ends of ruling the seven kingdoms.
These two scenes I am using to illustrate a very specific point. Yes the show is different than the books but what quality actor/actress would take a role that was all internal dialogue or required no range of acting ability?