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Game of Thrones
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:28 am    Post subject: Game of Thrones Reply with quote

Ok - have done a search and as nothing dedicated to the books arose I'll start a thread.

Started this book last night [first in the Songs of Fire and Ice series by George R R Martin] at the almost insistance of a guy I work with. The books have of course been serialised to massive acclaim as a TV production, but I have seen none of the shows and know essentially nothing about the story other than that it is a fantasy based but essentially political story about the scemes and machination of various 'houses' in pursuit of a throne.

I decided to go for the books rather than see the tv version because a) I prefer reading, b) books always seem to be better than their follow-up screen versions and c) the book was free but I'd have to buy the tv series.

After one nights reading [a couple of hours] how do I feel. Well the story certainly 'gets into you' pretty quickly. Not quite the few pages that The Times claimed in the blurb, but certainly by the end of a few short chapters my interest was getting piqued. I was a bit worried that I'd miss lots of magic and fantasy stuff - but I don't; it's there in the background and sofar that's ok with me.
I'm suprised at how quickly the charachters and details of what is essentially a very complex hierarchical and political structure have embedded themselves into me with very little concious work and with very little effort on my part. 75 or so pages in and with probably 30 or so charachters already in the frame, I'd normally be floundering to remember who was who, constantly refering to the 'House' details of the appendices and making copious notes as memory aides - but here nothing. Somehow the guy has pulled off the feat of making it all stick, even in a creaky old nueral nertwork like mine. It's a good trick and must rest on the interest that events rapidly generate as they progress.

I'm not sure whether I'm in for the long haul or not as yet, but the early signs are promising. I'm not floundering, I'm moderately interested with the hope that the intrigues and double-dealing will rapidly increase this and I'm looking forward to getting back to the book at bed-time tonight. All in all a good start.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an entire subforum in the Library dedicated to GRRM's books. Wink Would you like me to move this topic there?
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel very jealous that nothing has been spoiled for you Peter. A couple of the major plot events became common spoilers when they aired on TV. Kinda took the punch out of reading those bits. Still love the series though.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By all means Murrin. I searched by the books title and as I say aside ftom the tv show turned up nish. Perhaps the author name would have fared better. [Are you a fan by the way - your sci-fi/fantasy reading list is pretty extensive?]

I'm very definitely going to do the books before I see the tv series. I know the plaudits have been pouring in for it but for me reading has always proved the richer experience. One thing I forgot to say above is that the style of writing is an easy one. Ok - perhaps not exactly literary, but easy on the brain. [Oh - and the type 'font' in my copy is big, so good for my failing sight.]
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter, yes very definitely do the books before the TV series.

Sure the style of writing is indeed easy IMO. However, what gets ever more confusingly brain-straining is GRRM's simply vast cast list - without keeping on referring to the Appendix, it's damn nigh on impossible to remember who's who, let alone who's on who's side.

Fortunately GRRM does have an albeit belated solution up his sleeve to his hordes of actors. No spoilers here, but he has a sudden habit of offing pretty much any of his characters - including the ones unsuspecting readers might consider as being absolutely central - a) without any preamble, b) at a moment's notice and c) with an utterly unembarrassed authorially homicidal regularity. Big Grin
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I'm a fan of the series. GRRM's very good at what he does, though I could stand to see him condense things a little and move faster. Even the slower books, though, are well written and characterised to the point that you can still enjoy reading them, though.

I know we do have one member here, Syl, who's very critical of the more recent books. I liked them. Shrug.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
GRRM's very good at what he does, though I could stand to see him condense things a little and move faster.


Agree 100%. I'm finishing my first read of ASOS, and there are large sections that I could have done without. Nevertheless, the political intrigue is compelling and vastly superior to any other fiction out there. I love GRRM's ability to write captivating dialogue, and he develops characters as well as anyone in the business.

Quote:
I know we do have one member here, Syl, who's very critical of the more recent books.


I haven't heard anything good about AFFC, so I dread starting it.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The story is getting out of control, too large with too many characters that aren't as interesting as the "main" characters of the first three books.


But the first three are quite good. I mean, for a fantasy soap opera. It's a page-turner, no doubt. But it's a guilty pleasure, full of cheap thrills and shock value. It does get more magical as it moves along, however. I just wish it would move along faster.

There is absolutely nothing deep or thought-provoking about this series. Note that HBO jumped on it. They even have a new term for they style of "exposition" suited to this story: sexposition. That's where characters are having sex in the background while other characters in the foreground of the scene give crucial plot details. At least one actress has said she won't show her tits anymore, so even the actors are getting fed up with the gratuitous displays.

It is fun. A lot of fun. And there are at least half a dozen really great characters. If you can avoid spoilers, the first book really packs a punch. But repeated attempts at the same shock value have diminishing returns.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm Murrin wrote:
I know we do have one member here, Syl, who's very critical of the more recent books. I liked them. Shrug.

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I enjoyed the hell out of the first two books. They were very well written, had a unique voice, and seemed to be attempting to say something—both within the frame of the novel (if I had to put it in a few words, I'd say something along the lines of us glorifying supposed noble traits of human nature while disdaining others, each to our detriment) and without (remarking that the fantasy genre typically mollycoddles and patronizes its readers and had grown stale and boring because of it).

My problem with the series is that at about the third book, it starts to wander around in its own footsteps, advancing the plot (though with each subsequent book, not so much), but little else. As Z. said, more and more characters get added, diluting the effect of Martin's strong characterization (probably his greatest strength as a writer). The author becomes the victim of his own success (no one who matters to Martin holds his feet to the fire, especially Martin himself), and in a way, the same thing he set out to confront in the first couple of books, a figurehead of the safe style of genre fiction... now that dark and edgy are considered safe.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I tried to read A Game of Thrones three times without finishing it. I kept being disappointed by the absence of fantasy elements,* it felt more like historical fiction. I finally read it when I was getting ready to watch the TV series. I had the rare experience of enjoying the filmed version more than the book itself and so now I only read the book after I have watched it on TV. (The books were spoiling the surprises of the series.)

Like [Syl] I really like the way Martin addresses the old fantasy trope of nobility and he has significantly changed the genre through the creation of the gritty, realistic style (though not always for the best Confused). The TV series definitely lost some of its momentum during the last season, mainly due to the sheer number of significant characters' storylines that there are. In some ways this is to his huge credit. He has created so many compelling characters (good and bad) that his audience wants to know what happens to them all. The problem, of course is pacing. When the pace of a story slows down it risks becoming more like a soap rather than an action/adventure story.

I don't know if more deeper themes will emerge as it goes on, but, as well as the notion of nobility, there are also interesting explorations of family, violence, vengence, disability and power in the story. It may not have the profundity of SRD's work, but then few fantasy stories do Wink

u.

*I have since changed my mind about this and actually admire GRRM's ability to restrain the magical elements of the story so well. (See my thread on magic in fantasy.)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm now about three-quaters through GOT. It's like a great big historical soap-opera with an ensemble cast. Very little to suggest it qualifies as 'fantasy' at all really - but the story and charachters are really very engageing. One thing I'd like to know however - are the individual books self-contained, or at least after say two or three books, like the Chrons. I don't think I can do more than a couple or three books like this and it would be nice to know that there is a resolution [even if only of sorts] after a few books. If not and it is just endlessly ongoing, I'll probably read one more book and then can it - I just haven't got the stamina to keep on and on trawling the same story.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As my screen name should indicate I like his books. He's also a great fellow I'm pleased to be aquanted with.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
it would be nice to know that there is a resolution [even if only of sorts] after a few books. If not and it is just endlessly ongoing, I'll probably read one more book and then can it - I just haven't got the stamina to keep on and on trawling the same story.

Option B, peter. Sorry.

I've read the books, but couldn't stomach the series -- the "sexposition" (great term! Laughing ) did me in after just one episode.

I agree with Syl -- the first couple of books are great, but then GRRM brings in more story lines and the plots start to meander and ultimately the whole enterprise bogs down (Tyrion's journey in the latest book being a case in point...).
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stuff does get resolved, Peter. But, being that it is a series, stuff also languishes in the background...waiting, biding its time...

It's also hard to find real objective opinions on the subject of the quality of later books.... I mean, people who have been following it for years pretty much had to wait a cumulative 11 years for both books to come out... that's a lot of time to build up one's expectations and criteria of what, for them, should be happening in the upcoming book.

Go ahead and read at your own pace. It is a massive drama with tons of characters, that's what GRRM had in mind when he started it, so running into a bunch of characters shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. It only "is" because they would much rather have the story be about 3 out of the cast of hundreds... and guess what? GRRM doesn't care Razz

Full disclosure, I've only read the first three. I'll read the other two eventually, but probably not within this year.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
One thing I'd like to know however - are the individual books self-contained, or at least after say two or three books, like the Chrons.

There are resolutions, peter. Read at least two of the books and if you are enjoying it get stuck into the third. One of the over-arching plotlines doesn't really begin to get properly into gear until then.

aliantha wrote:
I've read the books, but couldn't stomach the series -- the "sexposition" (great term! Laughing ) did me in after just one episode.

They learned this from very successful series like 'Rome' (no, I didn't watch it! Razz ). It probably appeals to men more than women, but then your have Fifty Shades of Grey, ferchrissakes! Sex continues to sell, in spite of all that feminism has tried to do Confused

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
aliantha wrote:
I've read the books, but couldn't stomach the series -- the "sexposition" (great term! Laughing ) did me in after just one episode.

They learned this from very successful series like 'Rome' (no, I didn't watch it! Razz ). It probably appeals to men more than women, but then your have Fifty Shades of Grey, ferchrissakes! Sex continues to sell, in spite of all that feminism has tried to do Confused

u.

Yeah, well, I won't read *that* crapola, either. Laughing MagickMaker found an online version from before all the names were changed and said it wasn't worth paying money for. Laughing
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't realize that feminism had ever attempted to deny that people are interested in sex.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aliantha wrote:

I've read the books, but couldn't stomach the series -- the "sexposition" (great term! Laughing ) did me in after just one episode.


I had no problems whatsoever with the naked ladies prancing about. All soft and organic, and Dany has great hips. Laughing If there's anything that makes me turn away in disgust, it would be something skinny with notable implants and so much makeup plastered to her face that she resembles an inflatable blowjob doll.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm enjoying the books - but I'm leaning towards the series! Big Grin
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SerScot wrote:
As my screen name should indicate I like his books. He's also a great fellow I'm pleased to be aquanted with.


I never put GOT and your screen name together. That's cool that you know GRRM!
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