With Apologies to George R.R. Martin

12 04 2012

I want to go back in time a few years to a moment when I first read that HBO was planning to make a series out of George Martin’s A Game of Thrones. I remember feeling vindicated. I don’t read a lot of fantasy. I have read fantasy. In middle school and in high school I tore through a novel a week and half of them or more were fantasy. Ninety percent of those were total crap. Honestly, only Tolkien was not crap. The rest were based on D&D or were part of the sword and sorcery explosion that followed the success of Tolkien. The worst non-D&D novels were the David Eddings  crapsplosions known collectively as The Belgariad. Wow, that was a poo-fest. So in the late nineties when my cousin Chad introduced me to A Song of Ice and Fire by George “Armstrong Custer” Martin, I thought, “great, another shit-sandwich.” I let the book sit on a shelf for six months. Luckily it was a shelf in my bathroom because one day while… occupying that room I realized that all I had to read that was close at hand was a Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet and Martin’s book. I read the pamphlet, but it was only three pages long and I was eating a lot of curry, so I cracked the novel. Four hours later my ass was numb and I had become a citizen of Westeros. A note: to become a citizen of Westeros you actually don’t need to read the books but you do need to spend four hours in the crapper. I have read the books with a relish I haven’t had for any other series. I join fan sites. I have obscure theories. I am a fanboy. The problem with a being a full on nerd is that I feel the need to share the joy of Martin with everyone around me, and I soon discovered myself going house to house ringing doorbells with a copy of A Game of Thrones in my bag. I was often chased off by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Hello friend! Have you heard the Good News? The Night’s Watch has your back!” I made a total of zero converts. I should have followed around the Mormons. Yet when HBO announced that it was making the books into a series I discovered that pitching the books became much easier. In fact, I started seeing people- civilians- reading the books. It was a heady time. I was never worried about the quality of the series. It was HBO for Seven’s sake. They don’t make no trash. Right? I enjoyed the first season, or I convinced myself I did. There were little things that bothered me, details really, but I just let my eyes glaze over and squinted a bit. After the season’s (truly) great finale, I settled back and reread the books and awaited season two. Now, two episodes in, I am going to admit that I can no longer squint. I hate it.

The reasons? So many, too many reasons. Characters that never make their appearances. Characters that are simplified to the dimensional value of cardboard. Characters that know things they could and should never know. I can go on. I won’t. This is a simply a statement of faith: A Song of Ice and Fire are the greatest fantasy books of all time. The series is something else. I will not be watching it any more. George will shed no tears for me- and he need not. I have been a fan since Fevre Dream, but I don’t need to subject myself to a weak series just because I love the books. I’m done. I’m out.

All I will miss is Peter Dinklage’s portrayal of Tyrion Lannister. He is by far the best part of the series.

And that is all I will say about that.

The science of fiction.

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