High fantasy is normally not my thing. In general, I prefer children's fantasy, and low fantasy, to these intricately plotted other-worldly . . . worlds. Believe me, I have the highest respect for authors who can create these amazing places with characters and settings and creatures, oh my, replete with fantastic names for all of them. Normally, I just do not have the patience -- frankly, it's all the vocabulary. I honestly get tired of having to keep it all straight -- I want plot and characters to wrap my brain around. Children's fantasy has much less world-building for me to keep straight in my head. (Does this make me a lazy reader?)
So how in the heck did I find myself hooked on A Game of Thrones???? Frankly, I blame HBO. Yes, it is the antichrist, television, that got me completely obsessed with a a series that is currently numbering more than 4000 pages and threatens to take over my reading list for the next couple of months. Normally, I ignore all the adult fantasy in my library, except when I'm shelving or helping a patron, and it holds no fascination for me. But darn it if that pay cable station didn't get me hooked on an epic fantasy series. I didn't even start watching it until July! There was a lot of buzz about it, so I set the DVR and promptly forgot about it. Then one night last month, when everyone else was in bed, I decided to take a look and see if it was any good.
I. HAD. NO. IDEA. Let me just say, first of all, that the series premiere has one of the best cliffhangers I've EVER seen on television, and that, having finished the first book, HBO did an amazing adaptation -- they were able to translate a book of almost 700 pages into ten hours, with very few changes (other than making the characters slightly older). If you know nothing about this series, it's kind of like a Medieval version of The Sopranos, but with a little supernatural stuff thrown in. Or, to put it another way, Lord of the Rings, but with sex thrown in.
It's set in the mythological lands of Westeros, which is divided up into Seven Kingdoms. The lords of the kingdoms have all sworn fealty to the King Robert Baratheon at King's Landing. When the story starts, the King's Hand, similar to his Lord Chancellor, has died, and King Robert has come far north to Winterfell to ask his childhood best friend, Lord Eddard Stark, to step in as his new Hand. He comes with an enormous entourage, including his despicable wife Cersei of the House of Lannister, and her two brothers: her twin, valiant knight Lord Jaime, and her younger brother Tyrion, also known as the imp.
|Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell|
I eagerly watched all ten episodes in less than a week -- I could have stayed up all night watching if I didn't have other things to do, like supervise children and housework (I hadn't started working at the library yet). Then I had to decide if I was going to read the books, or wait nine months to see what happens next. . . . riiiight. I was on the library's wait list but it was too long, so the other day I broke down and bought it. And you know what? Even though I'd just watched the series (twice), the book was even better! George R. R. Martin has done an amazing job intertwining the book's multiple plots from the viewpoints of about seven different characters -- each chapter takes one character's perspective, and the chapters are quite short. Martin worked in television for years, so I can see how easily the book was translated into a series. (Martin was also an executive producer and wrote one the episode's scripts). I say easy, but it couldn't have been, with thousands of extras and costumes and swords and castles and so on.
Anyhow. I've probably been rambling, but if you have even the vaguest interest in fantasy, this series is really worth it, if the rest of them are anything like the first book. Seriously, I haven't been this excited about a new series since I read Harry Potter -- sacrilege! And after I finish the fifth book in the series it'll be a long wait until the next one -- just like the agony J. K. Rowling put me through.
This is so unlike most of the other books I read, but I had to blog about it. Bloggers, what about you? Are there any books or series you love that are totally different than your usual reads? Do you think of them as guilty pleasures?