So I spent my whole summer in 2017 reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I’m pretty sure I dedicated about 5 months to reading all the books and, overall, I really liked them!
I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about my thoughts on the books vs TV series, where I think they went right/wrong, what I think could have been done better etc. etc. But I really haven’t been motivated enough to sit down and write out all my points. I’ve finally managed to find some motivation lurking round the corner somewhere, so here we are!
Just a note before we begin, but I hadn’t read any of the books before watching Game of Thrones (which I love with a passion and which was my original venture into the world of Westeros). Also, I will try and write this as well as I can with minimal spoilers!
I found that from the start of reading the books that the similarities between the TV show and book series decreased more and more as the books progressed. I found that the first book, “A Game of Thrones”, was very much identical to the show (or the show was very much identical to the book!) and, as the books went on, they became more and more different and diverted slightly from the way the TV series had gone. By the end of “A Dance with Dragons”, I found that the similarities between A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones were the least in the whole series!
But that’s not to say that I prefer one to the other. I’ve found that the TV producers have left out more events, more characters, more story lines… But I really don’t think that it has hindered the TV show success and enjoyment (for me, at least) in any way! I wouldn’t quite go as far as to say that Game of Thrones is an improvement on A Song of Ice and Fire, or that the world of Westeros is portrayed better in Game of Thrones. The TV show does, of course, leave out a lot of the detail, whereas the books exhibit such a detailed and well-executed story line and backstory. The fact is that the books probably aren’t the easiest thing to adapt for the big screen. Each chapter in the book is told from a different character’s POV and a lot of information in the books is left to the imagination of the reader.
I found that, because I had watched the TV show before reading any of the books, I was actually surprised by some elements of the book! When reading the first couple of books, the events and storylines are pretty similar between Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire so you kind of forget what it feels like to be surprised and then BAM George R. R. Martin hits you with something completely different from what the producers did in the TV series and you fall in love with the books even more!
Normally I would say that books tend to describe landscapes and settings way better than TV shows or films can. That’s definitely one of the main reasons why I normally prefer books to films. But, in the case of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, I feel like I loved the atmosphere and feeling I got from both. Game of Thrones’ CGI and editing is done so perfectly that the wintery landscapes, harsh settings and mythical creatures are so intense and dramatic, and I get those same feelings from reading the books too.
Overall, I would say that I love both the TV show and books equally. I love the element of surprise you still get even after, either watching the show already or reading all the books, because of the fact that some story lines in Game of Thrones deviate so massively from the story lines in A Song of Ice and Fire (which is something I normally hate).
I definitely can’t wait for George R. R. Martin to release his next two books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series! (Please be soon. Preferably this year….).