Game of Thrones – On Watching and Reading It

“Winter is coming.”

Not book stuff but faintly book stuff. So I’ve finally succumbed to the demand of almost 90 percent of people in my social circle to watch this celebrated TV show of the century. (At this very moment, while typing this sentence, the opening theme rings in my head over and over. Like this is some kind of war I’m going through. Dan-dan-Dararandan..)

Game of Thrones is a fantasy drama series following the lives of kings and queens, lords and ladies, commoners, and paranormal beings of Westeros. Noble Houses coming from different lands across the seven kingdoms fight valiantly for the right to the iron throne, the highest power.


It took me five years and many dead prominent characters to start watching Game of Thrones. I am a huge believer that if a book doesn’t strike as appealing, chances are the TV adaptation doesn’t as well. Also, I thought there would be no room left for me to be emotionally tugged. Spoilers everywhere. Being compelled to listen to dozens of my friends and a sister who couldn’t stop blabbering about it is as good as learning the story by heart. What’s more, my Facebook and Instagram feeds are always dropping the bombs about the latest deaths! They stole away what could have been a life-changing juncture for me.

I hopped in with the GOT junkie leagues just a couple of weeks ago. I was watching the first episode and the next thing I knew, I finished the entire first season in one sitting! I tell you, it was such a struggle to unhitch my eyes from the screen, to prevent myself from clicking the “next” button for the second season!

I laid out the reasons why I liked Game of Thrones:

  • It’s everything but a conventional, cliche-filled story. Fairy tale ending? Nope. The good always prevails? Nah. Ironically predictable plot twists? Not here. George R. R. Martin may have his historical references but when he combined them, the outcome was magnificently original.
  • It is fast-paced and action-packed. There’s no need to scroll down your social media feed when you get bored.
  • I thought I knew every climaxes but I was still shocked and surprised a couple of times. Thank heavens they spared me some scenes to feel Martin’s cruelty!
  • It is an accurate reflection of history – lordships, knighthood, fashion statements of the royalties and peasants and the armoured, ancient royal ornate words, patriarchal system, women and children slavery, etc. And I love historical stuff!
  • I love listening to some of the characters’ sexy British accent.
  • And oh my lords and ladies, Robb Stark is so handsome!
  • George R.R. Martin had a say in making the series. That means the deviation from the book is not that big.

In connection to that, I’m seeking advice to those who have already read the book.  My sister owns a collection of all the book installments even the fancy The World of Ice and Fire. I was quite hesitant to try it actually. The book features are a typical pet peeve for me – too small letters, very thick books, sentence-crammed pages, etc.

Is the book better than the TV series?

Is it wise investing time reading if I’ve already watched the entire TV series?


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13 comments

  1. I think both the TV show and the book series are legends in their own way. I had watched three seasons of the show before I started reading the books, but the books have a very different feel, despite having the same, familiar plot. There are a lot more characters in the books- the plot is thus much more dense. While this provides a richer experience, it can sometimes become a bore since GRRM has a way of overdescribing things.

    However, the characters are much more developed, much more twisted in the books. The line between bad and good is much blurrier, and the overall effect is enchanting. It IS a major time commitment, but if you DO find yourself drawn to the books, I’d suggest taking them slow. Maybe read another book WHILE reading one in the series. Just a suggestion. 🙂

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    • You’re right. Too much description can become a bore sometimes. That’s one reason why I stopped Neil Gaiman. The TV show was gory but I’m thinking the book is way more than that which is exciting. Haha. Thanks for the suggestion. That’s what I’m probably gonna do when I get to reading the book. 🙂

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  2. Yes the books are better – I think that the first three seasons are almost as good as the books but s4 and s5 weren’t that great and I stopped watching in the middle of s5 (im sure you’ll see why)

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    • Really? Wow! At first sight, I thought the book’s gonna be like another Lord of the Rings I’m still in season 4 though and I’m dying to find out why. Thanks for the advice 🙂

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  3. I haven’t seen the TV show yet, but I’m definitely tempted.
    I read the first book on a whim when there was literally no hype around it, and I really liked the first book. It was long but it was engaging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you get to the TV show. It was really good, almost realistic. I tried reading it too before I watched the series but I easily switched to another book. But with what you said, i’ll give it a try 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with Aimalfarooq above, the books & the show are both amazing, but provide different experiences. I had the pleasure of reading some of the books first, but that didn’t make me like the show any less.
    That being said…the books are amazing! Especially now that the show is deviating from the series so much! They’re long & that makes them a little intimidating, but they are beyond worth it! Some of my favorite characters weren’t even included in the HBO series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m getting into the first few chapters of Game of Thrones now. Though they’re long and tedious, I’m loving it so far. Like what many of you guys said, the TV series plot jived with it so far. Thanks for giving me a “sneak peak” on the latest books. I finished watching up til season 5 and I’m excited to know who those characters not in the series but in the book are! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel like the books and the TV series are each their own beast. Especially since with Season 4, HBO began deviating more decidedly from its source material. Albeit, I’ve stopped at Book 3, so I’m not really the best person to speak on the matter. I’ll tell you one thing, though, the tomes demand time and effort. And if you’re up to that, you’ll be rewarded.

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    • Thanks for the advice! I’m on the first book now [I stopped halfway though but I’ll get back to it again, of course]. I’m really wondering how GRRM allowed HBO to deviate so much from the 4th book considering he’s part of the production team..

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  6. For me, it’s one of the rare adaptations where the answer to which is better is just “Depends.” I loved the first book, but liked each one since then less. Abandoned reading it altogether in book 3. But it’s because I prefer tightly plotted fantasy, and lose interest when the story starts wandering. The TV show is letting me get through a series that I’d never have the patience to finish otherwise. For me, I prefer the show.

    But there are parts of the books that don’t translate to screen. GrrMartin is a master of viewpoint, and seeing the difference when you finally get a POV from a character you’ve only seen from the outside is remarkable. Jamie Lannister, for example. When you’ve only seen him through the eyes of the Stark family, it changes everything to know what’s going on inside. In the show, you see those layers from the beginning and you don’t have the moment of realization.

    Which also gets to the other reason I prefer the show. They’ve done such a good job with casting, performances, framing and cinematography that it’s hard not to enjoy it. The characters who were POVs in the book I still like or dislike about the same, but on the show I’m falling in love with all the characters who weren’t POVs for the first time. Because he’s so good at viewpoint, the characters who don’t get that deluxe treatment were just names to keep track of and I never really connected to any of them. On the show, they’re a surprise and a delight, because I didn’t particularly notice them at all in the books, and on the show they’re beautifully performed, nuanced characters.

    As the show leaves behind the books, there are more differences, but I feel a little better knowing I’ll at least get an end, whether GrrMartin ever finishes or not. And when I’m honest with myself, I know I’ll never bother to pick up the books again, so it’s the only way I’ll participate in this world. (I watch the show with a group who are a mix of both book and TV fans, so I still get to know all the ways in which it differs, in excessive detail.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kimberly! Thanks for this! I’m glad to hear your thoughts on the book and the series.
      You’re right. GRRM is a master of viewpoint and he has this capacity to let his words transform a character in a way where his readers would either develop love or hate towards it. On TV, it’s completely unpredictable since you’re not just sitting behind the lens of one character unlike in the book which sparks more excitement.
      I guess this is one of the few books which has an equally good (or even better) TV adaptation. I’ve ben through reading the first few chapters (for weeks now! Gosh what a struggle!) of the first book. What I liked about it is that I get to notice tiny details which weren’t spotlighted in the series. However, I feel the TV is good on its own that I hardly feel compelled to read the series.
      I’m looking forward to fangeek-ing (had to come up with an appropriate verb!) with you on the sixth season! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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