For those of us of who have read the books and seen the show, which do you consider superior?
I guess I’m a special snowflake. I read the first three books as soon as they came out, and thought they were among the best fantasy I’ve ever read. I was disappointed with the fourth book, but I thought that was probably because I expected too much. Then when the fifth book came out, it was so bad that I gave up on the books, and stopped watching the series. So I’ve only seen about two thirds of the first season.
I picked the first option, but they’re really close to equal. I read the whole series right when the fourth book came out. I loved the first three books, but ended up kind of bored by the fourth and fifth.
The TV series is amazingly well done, but I just don’t care. I haven’t watched it with any regularity or interest since the end of the first season. I guess, for me at least, the sense of danger and need to know “what happens next” was the real attraction of the books, and therefore I don’t feel the need to watch the show any more than I feel the need to reread the books.
I may not even read the last two books unless someone tells me Daenerys dies.
The first season of GoTs caused me to read the first 4 books. Book 4 was a disappointment - it was like he’d started on a whole new series. By time #5 came out I’d lost track and wasn’t that interested in trying to remember what all was going on. Martin develops wonderful, rich characters, hundreds of them, who wonder aimlessly for a while then die at seemingly random moments. Fun to read, but book 4 introduced so many new characters they all run together now.
The TV series has cleaned up alot of the excess, IMO, and made the stories more accessable. Still too many characters to juggle well.
Like with all book vs movie debates: If you want to spend a few hours with the characters, the show is great. If you want to dive deeper and spend more time with them, the books are best.
ASoIaF is just the “LOST” of the fantasy world.
Once you realise that the author/writers don’t really have a clear plan in mind and are just stringing you along for as long as possible, then it really takes the shine off the early quality and promise both initially showed.
I actually enjoyed “A Storm of Swords”, but after I found out that GRRM had written himself into a corner and didn’t even know how to progress the story I stopped dead, didn’t even bother to read the next two. A good decision by all reports.
I haven’t watched the show Game of Thrones, but at some point it will go past the timeline of the books and need to create its own ending. If it can do that to any satisfactory degree then it will surpass the books by default, because damn sure GRRM isn’t ever finishing the written version.
“I read A Song of Ice and Fire first and consider it better than Game of Thrones”
There is just so much additional detail in the books. I love the world building and the histories. I have even read the Dunk & Egg stories, which are set 100 years before GoT (and have just ordered the new Princess one, 200 years before the events of GoT, in the Dangerous Women anthology).
GRRM has said all along he knows exactly where and how the story is going to end. The path to that end has changed as he has been writing the books. You can call him a liar if you want but that’s what he says.
I voted about equal. I think the show has done about as good as it could do considering that it has to edit the massive amount of content and that giant battles are cheap to type but expensive to shoot.
That fucker needs to stop writing other stuff and finish the damn series.
I watched Season 1 of AGoT, and then read the first 2 books, before Season 2, and then finished up the remaining 3 before Season 3.
I think they’re equal- while I love the detail and world-building, it’s nice to also have the relatively tight plotting and story management required of the TV show.
Basically, for each 10 episode season, there are roughly 1000 pages of book that correspond to the events in the show. On one hand, there is a LOT more back story and character development, but on the other hand, this stuff can seem (and be) kind of aimless and heavy going if there’s no clear point to it.
Being Big, Fat Fantasy Books there’s too much in them that annoys me to no end, and thankfully HBO recognizes that no one gives a shit about how fresh the rushes are and that the plot is more interesting than repeated time-outs for a culinary rundown.
GRRM’s strengths are plotting and character. There’s nothing special about his sentences. There’s no tangible literary quality to his prose, and his descriptions - while long - are workmanlike and serviceable – like a lesser Stephen King.
The show has the clear advantage of being the product of many creative minds. It’s cleaner. It’s more interesting. And with just ten episodes a season, it is TIGHT. There will never be a bottle episode. They play to the strength of the books - which is GRRM’s excellent plotting, and they keep that fucking train stoked hot and chugging along.
I’m very curious how they’re going to adapt A Feast for Crows into the show as it is easily the worst of the lot, and I’d go so far to say it’s very nearly A Bad Book.
I’m special because you’re asking me to compare apples and oranges. The books are really good apples, with some of them being great. And the episodes are some fantastic oranges, with some mere good ones among them.
This is pretty silly, almost every single major event that happens in the entire series is heavily foreshadowed from almost the beginning. It is actually one of the best things about the series and makes rereading it a completely different experience than your first read.
Comparing the first 3 seasons of GoT to the first 2½ books, I’d say they’re fairly equal with the books having a small edge. I’m hoping that seasons 4-6 of the show will be better than books 4 and 5, though.
I voted for the books being superior, but I really wouldn’t argue too strongly with those on the other side. The show is quite unusual in that it does do certain things better than the books. You’d expect a visual medium to automatically have built-in pluses vis-a-vis the literature it was based on, simply because you can show things to add nuance and depth - we’re a visual species and visual cues can really enrich the experience.
But it is really quite rare that any TV show/move succeeds with this, because the vast majority of the time they head towards the lowest common denominator. Game of Thrones is a rare exception, even when it stumbles a bit.
From what I understand, they’re planning on combining that with A Dance with Dragons for a single season, which makes sense because there is so much meandering in those books that could be cut. Of course, that puts GRRM in serious crunch time mode to get the next book (and the one after) in time to not be passed by the TV series. One of his suggestions was to turn Feast/Dance into three seasons of the show. That’d be a great way to lose pretty much every viewer.
I watched the show first and just read the books since the end of season 3. I like both for what they are, but I agree that the last two books at this point are okay at best. At worst, meandering, boring, pointless stalling. I understand GRRM’s decision to tell “all the story for half the characters instead of half the story for all the characters” in A Feast for Crows, but I cannot imagine the frustration of readers who just wanted to find out what happened to certain major characters after the end of book 3 and having to wait a full eleven years. And even then, the answer is mostly “they’re on the way somewhere and it’s gonna take forever”.
If we compare the first three seasons to the first two and a half books, the books are better. If we average all the seasons and all 5 books it’s close.
The path to that end has not simply changed, instead it seems very clear that GRRM doesn’t know what that path is.
After “Storm of Swords” it took five years to pulp out the reportedly terrible “Feast for Crows”, then another 6 years to serve up the equally rubbish “Dance with Dragons”. Two rubbish books in eleven years? In my opinion that speaks volumes.
He wrote himself into corner and doesn’t really know how to write himself out of it again. Not helped of course by the clear suspicion that he doesn’t really even want to write any more books. For most of that 11 years it seemed he was doing everything but write another book in the series.
Feast and Dance have to be filmed together, as they overlap so much chronologically. Here’s a link to the crazily detailed timeline that some dedicated fans have drawn up for the books (massive spoilers obviously).
Personally I really enjoyed Feast, although not quite as much as the first three books, and felt Dance was much weaker. Which bodes ill for the last two books I guess.
ISTR that GRRM wrote AFOC as a huge novel, and his editors / publishers demanded that it be split, so he split it by character, not by time, which is why it and ADWD don’t share any of the same POV characters.
So in terms of filming, they’ll have to be seriously overlapped… more so than AFOC and ASOS were.
I agree with all this. Furthermore, I like the women of GoT a little better than in the books - they seem better-rounded to me.