I admit that I do not love this series but I do like it. There is a strong likelihood I will finish it.
My main criticism of the books is that they are very dense. I do not mind long books, but these books sometimes have too many things going. There are too many characters and too many conflicts at the beginning of the novel, I can barely keep track of everyone their motives. Everyone has agendas, sometimes several. There is a lack of insincerity in almost all these characters. It’s difficult to care about all of them equally.
I was sometimes glad when characters were killed off because then it would be one less I would have to keep track. As usual, I glazed over the war and battles. I do think the book picks up halfway, and I still like Dany. I like Tyrion’s chapters, sometimes Jon’s and Arya’s. I’m a bit indifferent to everyone else. I couldn’t stand Theon.
Additionally, many of the characters do not interact or their stories do not become entangled. This can be interesting for awhile, but I do not know how many more books I can take of Jon Snow being in the far North and Dany in the far East without interacting with the rest of the Westeros plots.
Now that I’ve seen the first season of the show, I could easily imagine all the actors in the roles in my head. I do think I like Tyrion more after watching Peter Dinklage.
I like that even though this series is High Fantasy, there is relatively little of it compared to some other high fantasy series such as Lord of the Rings. I find it interesting when Martin uses it sparingly. Also fascinating is the spirituality and religion played in this book. The use of magic markedly increased from the first book. Everyone has agendas as well as their own belief system.
I found this installment ended less satisfying than the first book. While a couple of pivotal characters died or suffered, most of it continues the same. Many of the characters I care about did not have a lot of plot or character growth. It only makes me more interested in the next books though, but I really hope some of the main threads link up sooner than later.
Read June 1-2 2013.
“Game of Thrones” Season 2
What I liked:
- The acting is solid all around. My favourite is still the Dany and Ser Jonah show. I think those two capture the chemistry of their characters exactly and I find quite attractive Iain Glein. He has a lovely voice and screen charisma which I noted in “Downton Abbey”. Peter Dinklage is still rocking it as Tyrion.
- The cast is smaller than the book. Some of the characters interact with others that they did not at all in the book which is good. As a result, there are genuine moments of new suspense not featured in the book (e.g. Arya with Twyin and Littlfinger).
- Furthermore, the acting and the writing make the characters who do not get a POV in the novel more interesting and relatable. Namely, the Lannisters. I like them more than in the book. Arya is more interesting too. Her actions make more sense than in the book, but then again, TV Arya is older and seemingly more clever.
- From episode 6 onwards, the series diverges quite a bit from the book. I suspect a lot of it is from Book Three and beyond. Compared to the book, the series goes by more quickly.
What I didn’t like:
- Robb’s romantic plot. I found it contrived and cheesey in the bad way. I don’t find Robb that interesting a character to begin with and the actor, while attractive, does not seem to emote much. The couple did not exactly have a lot chemistry going on either.
- The whole subplot of Littlefinger’s brothel is still gratuitous. Littlefinger is not an uninteresting character, but the storyline is just a crude excuse to show sex and espouse philosophy of being manipulators. Seems a bit of padding. Same with the prostitute character that’s only in this series and not the book.
- In general, I have issue with the gratuitous female nudity on the show. It is as if they are contractually obligated to show tits every episode to remind you that this is a HBO show. The books do have a lot of sex, but it seems the show wants to further that more in the unearned way. This criticism is more of a generalized complaint about HBO and American cable networks though.
In Conclusion: I’m quite fond of the show since it is now moving faster than the books. I’ll follow it more closely in season four, but I’ll miss my marathons. On wards to book and season three!
Watched June 2-3, 2013.