June 6, 2015

When the show is better than the book - Game of Thrones

In January, I wrote a post with some examples of when a book isn't better than the movie. At the time, I couldn't think of any cases where I disliked the book but really liked the screen adaptation. There is one now.

I know I'm late to watching Games of Thrones. Part of the reason I haven't seen the show before now is that I don't watch much TV and I don't get HBO, so the chances of my catching anything on that channel is virtually nonexistent. Even when episodes became available on Netflix, I resisted the urge to watch it despite all of the good reviews I heard because I didn't like the books. I thought the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, was average at best. Then I read the second book, A Clash of Kings, and it took me a long time to painfully wade through it. I couldn't understand why so many readers loved the series, so it made me wary of the TV show as well.

It turns out that I needn't have worried. The screen adaptation of George R.R. Martin's series is vastly more enjoyable than his books. Something about the books made me view the story as a one-dimensional never-ending soap opera, but once I saw the world of Westeros on the screen, it came alive for me. Characters who I didn't care for in the book were suddenly more interesting. Plot lines that were confusing or boring became intriguing.

I'm still only on season 1 of the TV series, but I'm enjoying it so much that I plan to continue. As for the books, there's a chance that I'll go back and re-read the series from the beginning now that I have a more favorable picture in my mind. Maybe this time, I'll make it past book two.

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