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  • Questions from a newbie (please, no spoilers!)

    I've never seen any episodes of the show, but been intending to start watching it for a while, or to read the book. I always thought I'd start watching the show first, especially since I have the first season available at home, but I haven't found the time to get around to it (especially with a bunch of other shows I have to finish fist), and a couple days ago I borrowed the book from the library (it was amazing luck that it happened to be available when I came over) and have started to read, I'm in the second chapter now.

    If there are people here who have read the book, can you please tell me:

    1) Is the Game of Thrones TV series based just on the first book (Game of Thrones) or does it incorporate the other books that Martin has released so far?

    2) Does it start where the book starts, or some time later?

    3) Does the show incorporate a lot of material that's not in the books?

    4) In your opinion, should I finish the book first before watching the first season? What order do you think is the best?

    Please, no spoilers. Through general cultural osmosis, I do know one big spoiler -
    Spoiler:
    that Ned Stark aka Sean Bean doesn't survive season 1
    - but other than that, I just know what the characters look like in the show, who they're played by, and some mild general spoilers such as
    Spoiler:
    that Jaime Lannister is in love with his sister, that he and she and probably her son Jeoffrey are supposed to be some sort of villains or antagonists, that Kai Drago has, um, a specific way of treating women, and that Robb Stark's role and his relationship with his wife were expanded in the show compared to the book.
    You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

  • #2
    Originally posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
    If there are people here who have read the book, can you please tell me:

    1) Is the Game of Thrones TV series based just on the first book (Game of Thrones) or does it incorporate the other books that Martin has released so far?
    The first season of the show is based on the first book in the series. The second season of the show is based on the second book. Season three, airing currently, is based on book three.

    I haven't read the books, but as I understand it the show attempts to be fairly faithful to the events/characters as depicted in the book, but does have to abridge a lot of stuff and has amalgamated some book characters into different hybrid characters for the sake of brevity/cast overload.

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    • #3
      I feel I can be helpful, since I'm reading them side by side with watching -- I've read the first two books following having seen the first two seasons, and am going to start book 3 after Sunday's season finale.

      Originally posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
      I've never seen any episodes of the show, but been intending to start watching it for a while, or to read the book. I always thought I'd start watching the show first, especially since I have the first season available at home, but I haven't found the time to get around to it (especially with a bunch of other shows I have to finish fist), and a couple days ago I borrowed the book from the library (it was amazing luck that it happened to be available when I came over) and have started to read, I'm in the second chapter now.

      If there are people here who have read the book, can you please tell me:

      1) Is the Game of Thrones TV series based just on the first book (Game of Thrones) or does it incorporate the other books that Martin has released so far?
      It's been proceeding a book a season for the first two seasons, although my understanding is that the third book is breaking out over seasons 3 and 4, and there are also subplots being pulled from later books for balance reasons at this point.

      2) Does it start where the book starts, or some time later?
      The first scene of 1.01 is also the first scene of A Game of Thrones, which is actually something largely out of context for most of the actual season. Commentary for the episode revealed they weren't planning on following the book in that regard at first, but that they changed their mind.

      3) Does the show incorporate a lot of material that's not in the books?
      Not very much, at least not in the first two seasons. Original content for the show becomes more of a factor starting in the third season -- for reasons frankly that I don't think even fully involved book audience can speculate in some cases. It's helpful that GRRM is an active participant in and writer for the show itself, even though he's not the showrunner.

      4) In your opinion, should I finish the book first before watching the first season? What order do you think is the best?
      IMO, watch the show first. I'm one of the people that thinks that it's best to watch the adaptation first because then the reading is an experience that adds detail, instead of the other way which leaves you feeling like you might have been robbed of something. Plus... honestly, the first episode of GoT might make you feel like "eh, this is alright", but by the end of the episode, the first plot twist, you're like "wait, what? That's how it is on this show?" Sure, it would be shocking as a read first, too, but... not as much so, IMO.

      My personal conflict is whether I really want to do as planned and go ahead and keep reading ASOIAF beyond book 3 before next season, or whether I want to preserve the "be surprised by the show" approach.

      Please, no spoilers. Through general cultural osmosis, I do know one big spoiler -
      Spoiler:
      that Ned Stark aka Sean Bean doesn't survive season 1
      - but other than that, I just know what the characters look like in the show, who they're played by, and some mild general spoilers such as
      Spoiler:
      that Jaime Lannister is in love with his sister, that he and she and probably her son Jeoffrey are supposed to be some sort of villains or antagonists, that Kai Drago has, um, a specific way of treating women, and that Robb Stark's role and his relationship with his wife were expanded in the show compared to the book.
      On the subject of spoilers, I will warn this -- no matter how curious you are for more detail, don't google. I googled lyrics for a song from a show and managed to spoil myself for a huge plot development.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
        In your opinion, should I finish the book first before watching the first season? What order do you think is the best?
        To be perfectly honest, I would either watch the show or read the books. If you want both, I would first watch the show and then read the according book, but I wouldn't read further. The thing is, the first season is very truthful to the first book, but from S2 onwards, the show starts to move away from the books and most book readers I know struggle with the changes; it definitely impacts their viewing pleasure negatively. As a book reader you will expect certain scenes you loved in the books to play out in a certain way on the show, you will always compare how the show measures up to the books and often the show will disappoint you because of preconceptions you got from the books. These kinds of problems are non-existent if you go 'show-only' (or book-only). Personally, I don't regret that I never read past the first book and just continued with the show alone. I feel that I am much more satisfied with the show than a lot of book readers. But that's of course subjective.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by galathea View Post
          To be perfectly honest, I would either watch the show or read the books. If you want both, I would first watch the show and then read the according book, but I wouldn't read further. The thing is, the first season is very truthful to the first book, but from S2 onwards, the show starts to move away from the books and most book readers I know struggle with the changes; it definitely impacts their viewing pleasure negatively. As a book reader you will expect certain scenes you loved in the books to play out in a certain way on the show, you will always compare how the show measures up to the books and often the show will disappoint you because of preconceptions you got from the books. These kinds of problems are non-existent if you go 'show-only' (or book-only). Personally, I don't regret that I never read past the first book and just continued with the show alone. I feel that I am much more satisfied with the show than a lot of book readers. But that's of course subjective.
          I'll certainly read the first book and I'll watch season 1, I just don't know if I will watch some/all of the season 1 before I finish the book. I don't think I'll be that bothered by the changes or omissions, I generally don't have as much of a problem with them, as long as the adaptation preserves the spirit and themes of the book. I'm aware that some things need to be changed because of a different medium. (For instance, I've seen a lot of really silly complaints by fans of The Hunger Games about the minor changes that were for the most part necessary to translate the book into the movie. Although it's a case where I saw the movie first, loved it, then felt compelled to read the books ASAP, and love them too.)

          Also, I still don't know how much I will like the book(s); like everyone, I get very protective of books that they're big fans of, but when it comes to those that I think were flawed to begin with, I sometimes end up liking an adaptation better for not being entirely faithful to the source material. (For instance, I really enjoyed the 2007 BBC mini-series Oliver Twist starring Timothy Spall, Tom Hardy and Sophie Okonedo, exactly because it made some changes and cuts that IMO improved on the story and characterization and corrected some of the flaws of the novel.)

          Besides, the series diverging from the books may be a good thing if you get two different but good stories. I was guessing that they would have to diverge at some point, because otherwise the viewers would easily find out everything that happens by googling info from the books, and this looks like a bigger problem for a hit TV show than for a film series.


          Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
          The first scene of 1.01 is also the first scene of A Game of Thrones, which is actually something largely out of context for most of the actual season. Commentary for the episode revealed they weren't planning on following the book in that regard at first, but that they changed their mind.
          The reason I was wondering about that is because the Appendix at the end of the book with the very helpful list of characters and dynasties lists Robb and Jon as 14-year old, but I know that they're played by adult actors who don't look like they could pass as boys that age. So, I thought that the show either skips ahead, or has aged up the characters for practical reasons, so they wouldn't have to cast that many teen actors or to change the actors later on.

          So far I've only read the prologue and the first three chapters and a bit of the fourth (I rarely read at home, unless the book gets me super-excited - I do most of my reading in buses and on trams and while waiting for traffic or waiting at the dentist etc.), it's been just setup, so it's not too late to be surprised by episode 1. But I already hate a character - Viserys is such a complete and utter arsehole.

          edit: Great, I've just been spoiled on the latest development in the GOT series by someone a thread on another forum about - the fancasting for Dr Who, of all things. Some moron found it cool to mention that an actor is "free now".
          Last edited by TimeTravellingBunny; 07-06-13, 11:36 PM.
          You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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          • #6
            Oh, that. Yeah, just sort of forget the ages of any character that isn't obviously over 20 by design -- they've all been Dawson cast and really Dawson retconned into HBO friendly ages
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