Monday, 3 November 2014

Let the Game, of Thrones, begin

I know, it's cheeky. Just had to be done.

Now, I haven't updated this blog for a while now. Between the job, relocating to a different country and working on a new novel in Arabic, there was just no time for the blog. But twenty pages into A Game of Thrones and I was moved once again to speak up, or write down. Sorry again for that!

I've always read about how in order to garner more readers for your blog you should write about topics that interest your target demographic and stuff like that. I'm sure the advice is true, but I still find more pleasure in putting down what comes to mind when I am moved to write and hoping that a like-minded soul will find it, enjoy it, and that it might make the few minutes of their day it will take him or her to read it just a little bit better. And yes, I don't intend to keep you reading for more than a few minutes.

So, A Game of Thrones. I've watched all four seasons of the TV show and I have read about the books a lot. One of the reviews said, quoting loosely, that "it grips you from the first page and never lets go". Or something like that. But when I began to read it, keeping that quote and many others like it, in mind, and expecting to enjoy the ride, I did not expect it to be THIS good. Reviews usually exaggerate. But not these ones. A few pages in and I was like WHAAAAAAAT! I must tell it to the whole world. And here I am telling it to you. Could you please share it with the whole of your world? I need more views on this thing. Just kidding. Not really. (cue awkward laugh)

Those who read the books will relate
Back to A Song of Ice and Fire. After watching a few episodes of the show, being the book addict that I am (you can check how addicted I am by reading my other posts here and here), I decided I must read the books. I was trapped in the age-old dilemma of book lovers "Book first or TV show/movie first? And will one ruin the other?". It's not really age-old, just as old as the age when they started making books into TV shows and movies.

But nonetheless, I had started watching and I was hooked and from what I understood the books were so much grander in scale, I was bound to have fresh surprises anyway. I went ahead and did my research (again, book addict, some would say, nerd, but that is neither here nor there) and decided I wanted the hardcover Bantam copies and in the part of the world where I live they were not available. So I ordered them online from a bookstore in Dubai. Kinokuniya, if you must know. Visit if you are ever in this part of the world and you won't regret it. I picked them up myself after giving them strict instructions to store them well and keep the books in mint condition. I handled the books as a careful cargo should be and they travelled with me on three flights till they landed safely on my bookshelves, all set next to each other taking up almost half the space on that shelf. They look beautiful. And the sheer size of them is a clear indication that there is A LOT to enjoy in these tomes even if one has watched the show. It didn't take much to realize that. As I said, twenty pages.

The great thing I liked is that watching the show first is actually helping keep all the characters, Houses and geography a little clearer than it would have been if I were reading the books first. And although all the scenes in the few pages I have just read are all included in the opening fifteen minutes of the show, the prose itself is enjoyable; savory; melts in your mouth and goes down smoothly. Again, addict, what do you expect!

The other thing is realizing that if the writing and the story is this good on the first few pages, how great will it be when we get to the parts where people start to get their heads, and hands, chopped off. Reading a story when you know nothing about it is a journey of discovery and is so much better when the story is actually good. But I think it's safe to say that with the scale of this epic fantasy, George R.R. Martin, created a work that is so grand that no matter how good the show is, you can still be excited about the book. And knowing what is yet to come within the next pages and be anticipating it is another great feeling I only felt once before when I read The Godfather.

I promised to only keep you for a few minutes and thanks for sticking around. Go see the show if you haven't. But more importantly, go read the books, even if you have. I have started a series of blogs called Project: Ulysses about my plan to prepare myself for, then actually, reading Joyce's classic novel. Yes, as you expected, there is only one post in that so-called series, but I will update it, after I finish A Game of Thrones. And in the meantime, I am thinking of beginning a Project: Game of Thrones series. Go to your local independent bookstore, buy a copy of A Game of Thrones, then come back and tell me what you think. Maybe we can do this project together.

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