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A Song of Ice and Fire - Game of Thrones: Books, TV series & Quotes

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Written by   653
1 month ago

Nothing created for TV today would have such an impact as the classics from the 1950s to the 1970s. But one should never say never. Of course there might turn up occasional exceptions. A more contemporary series that has got more attention and has more enthusiastic fans than anything else in our time is Game of Thrones. I did read George R. R. Martin's books (collectively known as “A Song of Ice and Fire”) as they were released, and I liked them. I would even call his series a masterpiece in its genre (even if it is not yet concluded). I never really bothered with the TV series, however, because a movie or a TV series based on a book is almost invariably disappointing for those who liked the book. Film is a completely different medium; despite the added visual dimension, it's considerably poorer.

Moreover, I don't like getting a story in small servings over weeks and years. That goes for books as well as a TV-series. I often wait until the whole series is available, if I know when I start that it is to become a series, and then I read the books or watch the series at one time. The TV-series is now concluded. Recently I watched it, all the eight seasons, and I was surprised. It is not as good as the books, but still a very well done interpretation. Perhaps it is the only really good mature fantasy film that has been made, technically as well as artistically. It was an excellent idea to make it a long TV series rather than one or a few movies. I don't know how these very long novels and the many intertwined plots could otherwise be caught on film at all.

Game of Thrones is good fantasy because it uses the attributes of fantasy sparingly. Not too many magic and supernatural phenomena, at least not in the beginning. It increases as the series goes on. But even when it occurs, it is very well done. It feels realistic in that world. Yet the story is mainly a sort of alternative medieval history, in many instances extremely realistic. It has been criticised for its explicit exposure of sex and violence, yet that adds to the realism. It is quite in line with the cultural environment.

Another thing that adds to the greatness of this series, and that goes for both TV series and books, is that people feel very real. Nobody is only good or bad, there is no undefeatable hero who always wins in the end, nobody is always right or wrong – they are real humans, full of contradictions, and they are displayed in that way. With a little imagination, it is easy to understand why they are as they are. Everyone acts from his or her own perspective and as a result of his or her individual past. It is not only thirst for power and madness driving people; it is also simple things as inferiority complex and revenge – very fundamental human experiences and driving forces. Game of Thrones does not describe an ideal world, but a very realistic world – despite the integrated elements of fantasy. It is a realistic display of various manifestations of human nature – and human nature is not better than that.

There are very clear similarities with real history. George R. R. Martin has himself spoken about being inspired by the War of the Roses in Medieval England, as well as by Ancient Rome and Renaissance Italy. Westeros reminds of England and the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros echoes the Heptarchy, the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that preceded the kingdom of England.

To add something negative about the TV-series: the last seasons the story becomes weaker. The series had not only caught up with the books, but passed them by. That means that the story had not (yet) been written as a novel or novels, but has been pushed ahead for the sake of the series. Even if this has been made in co-operation with George R. R. Martin, story and characters feel considerably thinner and more superficial. If the novels had been written first, I'm sure the end seasons had been up to the standard of the first five or so seasons. But it is not so; unfortunately that reduces my overall appreciation of this series considerably.

The novels are richer than the TV series, and George R. R. Martin is an excellent author. Reading these novels is pure delight, despite their massive volume.

Since I know that many readers here like quotes (just as I do), let's look at a few quotes from this literary masterpiece. Note that they are all taken from “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin.

Can a man still be brave, if he's afraid?

That is the only time a man can be brave.”

... and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

The heart lies and the head plays tricks with us, but the eyes see true. Look with your eyes. Hear with your ears. Taste with your mouth. Smell with your nose. Feel with your skin. Then comes the thinking, afterward, and in that way knowing the truth.”

Have you ever considered that too many answers are the same as no answers at all?”

"It all goes back and back, Tyrion thought, to our mothers and fathers and theirs before them. We are puppets dancing on the strings of those who came before us, and one day our own children will take up our strings and dance in our steads."

Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.”

"When a pirate grows rich enough, they make him a prince.”

Copyright © 2019, 2022 Meleonymica/Mictorrani. All Rights Reserved.

(Image by simisi1/Pixabay, CC0/Public Domain.)

Here you can find my articles about History of Literature.

In my INDEX, you can find all my writings on Read.Cash, sorted by topic.

Selected older articles about literature:

Poe: A Personal View

Frankenstein, Religion & Creativity

The Kreutzer Sonata: How Art Inspires to Art, which Inspires to Art...

How I Discovered Science Fiction: A Green Brain & Dune


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Comments

The world-building behind Westeros is something else. Few authors are able to achieve what Martin has, and that's really saying something.

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1 month ago

You are right World-building is difficult, only a few authors have ever managed to do that in a convincing way.

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1 month ago

I watched it as a television series like everyone else. At first, I was intrigued by the fact that the story was divided into many directions. But as you said, it is very similar to real history. ''Westeros reminds of England and the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros echoes the Heptarchy, the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that preceded the kingdom of England.'' you really know how to read and research, I respect you

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1 month ago

Thank you!

The ability to write a story in so many directions and still knitting it together is rare; a hallmark of a really great author.

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1 month ago

Great respect..

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1 month ago

I read the series, and even the prequels with Dunk and Egg. I was and still am a huge fan. In fact, I'm waiting for Winds of Winter.

I loved the fact that each book in this series was bigger than the last and you'd still not want to put down any of them. George RR Martin is so skilled because he tells so many stories all at once and they're each so riveting.

Usually when I've read a book, you have to be really good for me to read the same thing twice. He is that good and then some. I watched the TV series and you're correct, it cannot at all compare to the books. There's so much more an author can describe and discuss with his readers that you can't condense into a show, so if you've read the books, you feel robbed by the show.

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1 month ago

The book(s) are almost always better than a movie or TV show based on it/them. As you say, an author can convey so much more than a film or show. In this case the books are absolute masterpieces, great contemporary literature. I have also read all of them twice.

I also agree about the way George R. R. Martin tells many intertwines stories at the same time, it's brilliant and not at all easy. Only a great author can handle that.

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1 month ago

Had all the books and never read them. Read the first chapter of Book 1 and I could tell it will mess up the delicate fondness I had for the TV series. Think that was why I never read it. A part of me regrets that. It is never too late eh? The last two seasons or so was disappointing after all.

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1 month ago

It's never too late. If you like the genre, and like reading, you'll surely like these books.

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1 month ago

I love game of thrones. So many great actors and sayings. The reference to the flat earth with the ice wall was cool too.

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1 month ago

Yeah, I never mentioned the actors, but they were really good.

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1 month ago

Yes, Ned Stark was brilliant at the beginning and of course Jon Snow, King of the north!! It was also funny because he had a northern English accent..!

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1 month ago

Very suitable.

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1 month ago

We watched the end of the series with a large group of friends and interpreted it as a transition from kingdom to democracy among us and laughed! It was a very unnecessary and unexpected ending.

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1 month ago

Well, I have not interpreted it like that, but it's an interesting thought. However, it would be interesting if the author created an end himself, not feeling obliged to follow the TV end. I'm sure it would be very different and probably more satisfying.

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1 month ago

It was a very enjoyable series to watch. I miss it. And of course the amazing song.

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1 month ago

Enjoyable and interesting indeed.

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1 month ago

I'm one among the few people that hasn't watched a single episode of the tv series.

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1 month ago

Then you have something good to look forward to - that is, if you like this sort of stories.

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1 month ago

Most and interestingly you have reminded me of the Game of Thrones series this is a story based on classical history and I say that this series is a force in battle since ancient times is very interesting.

$ 0.01
1 month ago

It is interesting, yes. It is also a study of human nature. The people, albeit extreme, are psychologically very realistic.

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1 month ago