Somehow, some way, I always seem to miss popular new TV fads. I only hear of them when they’re in their fifth season or something, and then even if I think they sound amazing, five series’ worth of box set watching just seems like a big investment of time! That’s exactly what happened with Game Of Thrones.
I noticed a slowly mounting hype surrounding the new series, a growing number of Facebook statuses and Tweets…and eventually I found myself inclined to ask a friend what all the fuss was about.
‘You mean you haven’t watched it?’
He looked at me as though I’d said I didn’t have a head, and proceeded to tell me that it was a bit like a newer, better Lord of The Rings (a big claim) and that I absolutely had to watch it or die and I should go and lock myself in a room and watch it all right now and so on. Which I’m sure, at some point, I will. But then he said these fateful words:
‘Of course…the books are better.’
Now, I find it hard to invest my time watching television, but reading books? That’s another matter. Reading on the train, reading in the bath, reading for 15 minutes before bed - it's so easy to fit in. I downloaded the sample to my Kindle that evening. My advice to you? Don’t bother with the sample, just download the book. It’s not expensive (I think I paid just over £3) and you’ll want to read it, because it’s brilliant.
For the 5 people left in the world that don’t know, Game Of Thrones concerns a medieval world in which the honourable Stark family attempt to live alongside the scheming Lannisters. It’s not a nice world – George R R Martin is a big fan of killing off his characters, but while the book is shocking at times, it is never gory for the sake of it. The book moves at a deliberately slow pace, all the while building up suspense, threats looming from the very beginning – ‘Winter is coming.’
If you’re looking for a novel that can take you into a different world, I couldn’t recommend this more. It’s not always the easiest book to read – you often know more than the characters do, and try to will them into making different decisions to the ones they make; the good guys do not always win, and the bad guys aren’t always so bad as to become thoroughly unsympathetic. But that’s what makes it human, and - despite being set in another time – suprisingly easy to relate to. Also, you've got to get to grips with quite a few different characters and names - don't worry about it too much. The important people become clear, and there will always be a reminder of who someone is if they re enter the plot. You'd need to draw a family tree if you wanted to really keep track (and I'm sure, if you Google it, someone probably has!)
I'm half way through the second book now and really enjoying that too. I know I will be finishing the book series and – okay – I might admit defeat and watch the TV show too. This is one fad that I thoroughly recommend buying into!