Better late than never, as they say. The HBO series based on George R.R. Martin’s books has been winning viewers steadily since it first aired a few years ago, and I am its latest super fan.
I had seen the ads on TV but not felt inclined to watch until a trusted friend said I definitely should. So I got out Season 1 on DVD and watched the 10 episodes in a week. I watched Season 2 over a few days, then gorged on Season 3 in a single day.
At that point I had run out of DVD releases so uncharacteristically took to the internet and streamed Season 4 – again watching back to back episodes late into the night. That means over 40 hours of high octane, beautiful, fantastical, medieval television in a single week.
How were my dreams? a friend asked. Vivid. Violent. Ridiculous.
Season 5 is currently being filmed but there are two more books and so now I’m halfway through A Feast for Crows, and loving it. The writing is so excellent – taut plot; poetic description – that I’m considering going back to the beginning. In any case, some details in the TV series are not the same as the books and I’d like to clear up the confusion.
For his part, George R.R. Martin has all the credentials to be the greatest fantasy writer ever (and some people even argue that the books hardly fit the Fantasy genre; they are closer to political thrillers). My favourite section on his website was this quote:
“Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?”
My own current novel already had fantastical elements but I am taking it further now that my brain has been riddled with knights and armour and dragons, with princesses in towers. I will write whatever I want: my other books have yet to sell outside my personal circles; perhaps something more outlandish will.
For interviews with the HBO showrunners, as well as the author, check this feature by Vanity Fair.