George R.R. Martin’s saga has been taken to TV now. I recently had the chance to see the first season of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ (TV title, ‘A Game of Thrones’) and I have to say that it is a rather pleasing conversion. I guess that is the added value of having the author of the literature working alongside the TV producers.
Besides watching that, I also re-read the novels — all four of them, in expectation of the fifth one coming out just this month. There’s much to say about the quality of Martin’s writing, but what struck me the best this time round was that all of the characters in the books evolved. They were, indeed, more human than the people most writers have in their stories.
That in itself meant that the level of realism was deeper than elsewhere, and that the characters I enjoyed changed as they changed. People do see themselves more like a person during one period, and then later differently. It was interesting to see the same thing happening during the course of a few days which I took to read the books.
If I were to bring out a good example, then it would no doubt be Jaime. I didn’t like him all that much in the first book, but events in the third made him one of the most enjoyable characters that I could read about. He just grew out of his cocky useless self into a person who has seen life — I don’t think I’m very much off the right track if I say that most people take decades to realize what he managed (due to the aforementioned events, which I will not write of in case it would act as a major spoiler) in a few months, years.
Aside from that, the fate of House Stark no longer seemed as tragic as it did when I first read the books — yes, they are not the luckiest people around, but the impression I got from them is that you reap what you sow (unless “We do not sow”). They are certainly the one most people can relate to easiest (which, I’d say is just as easily an irony of writing since they also present the qualities which are the hardest to emulate) but that applies most in the case of Eddard. For Robb et al., it is more a repetition of histories than anything else — in all, more sad than dramatic.
And the Night’s Watch — I did like their resolve. Made me think of some of the early Templar commanders (and wish I had my history of them with me over here). ‘The night is dark…’
Oh, and it would be injustice to not mention Lord Beric Dondarrion — a pity that he has only had around 10 seconds of screen-time up till this point in the TV show.