And now my watch has ended . . .

GOT - All Men Must Die

He was blood of the dragon, but now his fire has gone out. He was Aemon Targaryen. And now his watch has ended.

from A Feast for Crows – GRR Martin

The fourth season of Game of Thrones ended a couple of weeks ago and I’m already suffering from GoT withdrawal. Which is quite interesting considering that I only became a fan recently. Although I was aware that GoT had been on television for several years, I hadn’t watched it. It started during a period when I was not watching much television, and then I just could not be bothered to catch up. Also, other than JRR Tolkien’s works (Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit etc), I am not a huge fan of the fantasy literary genre and had not read the books (A Song of Ice and Fire) on which the series is based. All I knew was that two of the main characters were a dwarf and a boy king, and that the books as well as television series had a cult following.

Just before the start of the fourth season of GoT, a local television network made available “box sets” of the first three seasons for download. So I thought: why not? I’d watch the first two episodes, and if I liked those, I’d watch the rest. I was hooked within the first 30 minutes!

So what appealed to me about this series? Definitely not the graphic violence or the often gratuitous (and mostly female) nudity. In his books GRR Martin has created a very rich “Middle Ages”-type world filled with interesting and complex characters. It’s a brutal world – think a Middle Ages saga meets Survivor – in which the good do not always prevail and Martin has the courage to regularly kill off major – and beloved – characters. It really is a case of “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast” (the Survivor series slogan). Benioff & Weiss (the two show creators) have, with GRR Martin’s assistance, recreated the GoT world accurately (according to what I’ve heard) and beautifully. The cinematography, locations and production design are all stunning and the series has a very talented and engaging cast. I haven’t been this excited about a television series since the early days of Lost.

Wanting to know more about the series and understand more of the background to the world it is set in, I turned to the Internet to find some fan sites. I came across two very good podcasts which do a post-episode analysis, by podcast hosts who are a mixture of book readers and non-readers.

The first is Game of Owns which not only does a post-episode review, but also produces content (interviews with some of the show cast and crew, and a book club) during the long off-season . The other is A Cast Of Kings which is only active during the show season. Both podcasts discuss events in the show/books up to that week’s episode and do not spoil any events or storylines ahead.

Another great GoT resource is the Comic Book Girl 19 (CBG19) show on YouTube. CBG19 knows her stuff (being a book reader) and has a very entertaining and charming presenting style. Besides doing episode reviews and lists of favourite scenes from each season, she and her team also do Epic History videos. Which are great if you find the whole GoT world a little confusing – and very entertaining even if you aren’t confused.

What I’ve gathered from these various resources is that some book readers are unhappy with changes made to some of the characters and plot lines. It is also probable that with two books in A Song of Ice and Fire still to be completed, the show creators will run out of book material to base the television series on, before the final book has been completed. That the television show will diverge more and more from the books. Others again, have voiced the opinion that Benioff & Weiss will prove effective editors of the later books which could have been more tightly edited.

I’ve written about my views on books and their film adaptations before (click here). I have never felt that a film adaptation has to follow the book exactly, but it should be a true reflection of the characters and the spirit of the book. The television series inspired me to start reading the books. Although I’m not very far into the series, I feel at this stage that the show creators have done a great job in their adaptation. I will give you my final verdict on this in a later post. My hope is that with GRR Martin’s guidance they will bring the television series to a satisfying conclusion – unlike the ending of the Lost series which was a huge disappointment to fans.

Do you watch Game of Thrones? Have you read A Song of Ice and Fire? I would love to hear your views, so please leave a comment.

The job of the movie as far as I’m concerned – the novelist – is to take the minimum intention of the novel and illustrate it with the maximum of freedom. In movie language, in movie grammar. There’s hardly a line left, there’s hardly a scene intact that comes from my book, yet I don’t know of a better translation from novel to film.

– John le Carré talking about the film adaptation of “The Constant Gardener”.

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Categories: Books/Book Reviews, Film/Television/Radio, Random

Author:lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)

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10 Comments on “And now my watch has ended . . .”

  1. July 1, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    I’ve wanted to read the books for a while, but haven’t found them in our local library yet. They have the first two books in their catalogue (“A Game of Thrones” and “A Clash of Kings”), but they’ve always been out. 😦

    I’m going to check with our nearest video stores whether they have copies of the past seasons… clearly I’m missing out on quite a phenomenon!

    • July 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

      Reggie, if you can’t get hold of the books yet, try watching the first episode of the series. It will either inspire you – or not – to get further involved. I found it good to see the television adaptation first.

      • July 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

        Good advice, I will try that.

  2. July 1, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    I’m sorry to say, I haven’t watched any of it or read the books. However, you have definitely piqued my interest. Maybe I will start by reading the books. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lisa. Hope you and Willie are having a lovely week.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • July 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

      Hi Kathy! You’re not the only one to have missed out on all the initial hype! 🙂 I found it easier to watch the television series first and get into the GoT world that way. From what I’ve heard the first three books in the series are very good. Not everyone is that inspired by Books 4 & 5. Let me know your thoughts if you do read them.

  3. Eha
    July 2, 2014 at 5:04 am #

    I have heard a lot about the series in Australia, yet I too have yet to view a single episode 🙂 ! Am not interested in the world of fantasy in any form nor have ever been!! Living rurally I do watch some TV/videos most nights, but perhaps boringly, besides various news and news documentaries I am very much into political and economic debates, interviews, cookery & lifestyle presentations, besides biographies and nature . . . there is only so much time. But you have presented this in such an interesting fashion I really have to find out, even if just for a few episodes, the reason so many people mention GoT almost synonymously with TV!!! Greetings across the ocean . . . .

    • July 3, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      Hi Eha! 🙂 Not everyone is going to enjoy these books. The television series is easier to digest than the books. I’m usually also more factually orientated in my reading and viewing, but found GoT to be total escapism. Something else to occupy my brain on days when I’m not feeling great.

      • Eha
        July 4, 2014 at 5:05 am #

        I shall try and possibly for the very same reasons !! It’s just that fantasy and science fiction and I simply don’t seem to occupy the same space 🙂 !

  4. August 12, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    It’s amazing the lengths that the characters go to – to outwit, outplay and outlast! What I love is how the women are just as strong as the men, if not more. With ‘Game of Thrones’, we see how different people are given different weapons, physically and psychologically, and how they use them. And who they become as a result is always interesting.

    • August 20, 2014 at 8:38 am #

      Hi Eden – great to meet another GoT fan! I love the main female characters in GoT – they’re all different but all have inner strength. Which is I think a reflection of real life where women are often the ones with inner strength in a family.

      Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! 🙂

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