Have You Read the Book?

HBO had a new Series premiere recently titled “Game of Thrones.” It’s a fantasy setting drama, and in my opinion, entertaining.

My friends and I were talking about it, when one asks, “Have you read the book?”


The series is based on George R. R. Martin’s series of books: A Song of Ice and Fire. The first book in that series is “A Game of Thrones.”

I have not read them. Why would I read them?

They’re good reading, no doubt. Still, I won’t read them. Why would I want to ruin my enjoyment of the Television Series?

Am I worried about spoiling the plot? No, it’s been a long time since anyone wrote something well that wasn’t 85% predictable from the end of chapter two. I say wrote well because there really should be enough foreshadowing so that at the end of the book, when the reveal hits, the reader can think, “I should have seen that coming.”

What I am worried about is enjoying the books and then discovering the Television Series pales in comparison.

There are very few movies or shows based on books that do the source material justice. In every case there will be details omitted or changed and people are offended. I don’t want to be one of those people.

For what it’s worth, The Vampire Diaries is much better in its Television incarnation that it was in prose form.

Otherwise the best a live-action rendition of an existing print story can hope for is to be a fair representation.

In other words, the book is usually better than the movie or television series.

If I see read the book first then see the movie, it’s like eating  a six scoop, caramel and hot fudge over double chocolate, coated in sliced maraschino cherries, sundae and then, the next day, having a single scoop chocolate fudge and caramel swirl ice cream cone.

Both are good in their own right, but in comparison, that ice cream cone pales in comparison. It might remind me of the sundae, but I’ll remember things about the sundae that were better.

Now, if I do it the other way around; if I see the movie then read the book, the only thing that the movie has over the book is that its more convenient to eat from a cone than a big bowl. I get to build up to the more complete, usually better, story. There’s less likely to be a sense of disappointment at the missing parts of the complex weave that make a story epic.

I must reiterate that I am talking about movies (and TV shows) based on books. When the book is written based on the movie (or TV Show), there is almost never any point to read the book.

So, Have I read the book? Not yet.


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