A Game of Thrones: The Comic Book Series is my 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th book read for the #TBR20 challenge…at least that is what I am counting them as…I actually read the comic books, but they were released in four graphic novel volumes, so I’m counting them for the purposes of the #TBR20 challenge!
I have had a long sordid history with a Game of Thrones.
First there was the TV show. Back in the Winter of 2013, the hubs and I watched the first season of Game of Thrones. When it ended, he was jonesing for more… Me? Not so much. I concluded it was too violent…I didn’t care much for the characters…I found the character names confusing…pile on, I hated Game of Thrones. After watching the first episode of the second season, with my husband looking on to my scowling face (I didn’t realize I was scowling…) he said, that’s it, I looked miserable. He released me from watching any more GoT.
Then there was the book.
Just because I wasn’t watching the show didn’t mean I wasn’t constantly reminded of “how good” a show GoT was, even though I felt differently. It seems EVERYbody is into Game of Thrones. “The show is awesome! The books are awesome! Go on! Read! Watch!” Read? Seriously? I reasoned with myself that if I read the book, at least I could take my time with it…ponder it, and take notes as I went. I got my hands on an ePub of George R.R. Martin’s a Song of Ice and Fire, the first book in the Game of Thrones series.
Last month, I started reading it. I got about 200 pages in, taking notes along the way so as not to get too confused with the plotlines…and then my friend Bill from Start to Continue Podcast lent me nine of his copies of the Game of Thrones comic book series, and I managed to locate the rest. That was all it took…I was hooked, and no margin notes needed!
The Game of Thrones comic book series came in eBook format (technically .cbr), so I was able to read it on my tablet, which, I have to say, was a very comfortable way of reading, and one that I haven’t really explored until now (ironic, since in my professional life I run a transcription service where I provide eTextbooks to students with disabilities). I won’t discount reading comics on paper – the feel, the smell, and the portability are things that I like about the printed page. However, being able to read on my tablet allowed me to brighten and enlarge the page if I needed to. It was a different experience, and one that I will explore further going forward.
The Game of Thrones comic books were adapted by Daniel Abraham from the George R.R. Martin book, and drawn by Tommy Patterson. I loved its execution, and how beautiful some of the slates were. You could tell great care was taken with each frame, and I really loved the watercolour quality of the colouring. I also appreciated how the comic book managed to move the story along.
Obviously, reading the Game of Thrones comic series went better than expected. I am not one to enjoy the Medieval Fantasy genre at all (I’m a Contemporary Fic gal myself), so I thought I would be getting very sleepy fast. But, Game of Thrones was different. It was more like a Medieval soap opera set in this fantastical world where people live in stone castles, feast on “meat and mead”, and pack swords. I particularly enjoyed how GoT was written like happy hour at a Medieval Times supper club, complete with addressing guys as “M’Lord,” ladies as “wenches” and in that environment having the characters speak crassly like we do today, such as “taking a shit in the woods.” I won’t go too much into the plot, except to say the story of the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons and Targaryans and how they play with each other is both immersive and shocking.
Speaking of shocking, there are things in this story that will make your jaw drop, particularly the themes around incest, and underaged brides. Now, I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed how women were portrayed in this book – I didn’t at all. Women in Game of Thrones are generally mistreated by men in some of the worst ways possible, which bothered me to watch it on the small screen, let alone see it dipicted in a comic book. I would even hazard that scowl I had on my face at the end of watching the first season had a lot to do with that exact subject matter. That said, if you are sensitive to images, or stories of domestic abuse and r—, I would give caution that this story can trigger a reaction…or just avoid Game of Thrones altogether.
Now, for the Game of Thrones name game.
Overall, I enjoyed Game of Thrones, my only real critique is how the characters are named. I don’t know if George R.R. Martin gave up on coming up with unique names for his characters or, lives to confuse his readers, but Game of Thrones is notorious for having multiple characters named the same name:
We have Robb Stark and Rob(ert) Baratheon.
Bran(don) Stark (Eddard Stark’s son) and Brandon Stark (Rickard Stark’s son).
Jon Arryn and Jon Snow.
Characters whose names sound the same: Tyrion, Theon, Tywin
And then having a main character named two names within the same sentence, as is the case with Eddard Stark, a.k.a. Ned.
See what I’m saying? It can get confusing without a notepad nearby.
At any rate, this Game of Thrones franchise has been an interesting journey. I think I am ready to rewatch the show now. And I better get on that because WINTER IS COMING…
A Game of Thrones: Comic Book Series #1-24
#TBR20 Project Participant!! (but it’s taking me a lifetime!)
The “To Be Read 20” Project, is created and hosted by Eva Stalker at evastalker.com. The goal of the project is to read through 20 books I own before buying any more books.