You know nothing, Jon Snow – in defence of the ‘non-book reading’ fans of Game of Thrones
The trailer for the next season of Game of Thrones is out and it’s about this time of year that I ask myself – should I read the books to get my Westeros fix in the meantime? I love the world that George R. R. Martin has created and I would really love to spend some more time there, but is that the real impetus behind my desire to go download the books and read them right now?
Well, not exactly. Part of the reason I have considered reading the novels (and thus overtaking the series’ timeline) is that by not doing so I have been lumped into one or two categories that are not so appealing-sounding, and which I am not proud to admit, I may have been a little judgemental and derisive of in the past; ‘non-book readers’ and ‘band-wagoners.’ Or worse, it puts me in the dreaded category of ‘not a real fan.’
First of all, I am not trying to say I think the TV series is better than the books. I have little doubt the book are most likely superior even though I have not read them, simply due to the fact that in most of cases the book is better. (Although I have noticed that a lot of those who have read the book are quite impressed with the show.)
I may have been a little hasty in the past however, when I judged those who did not read the books of a big film prior to watching it as not ‘real fans’. I may have even scoffed aloud in the cinema when one patron shouted incredulously at the end of Fellowship of the Ring “To be continued…?!!”
I didn’t know then that twists of fate (work, babies, the infinite choice of what to read next in my limited time in the world) would lead to me joining the very likes of these ‘Non-book readers.’
I will admit to not having heard of George R R Martin’s books until they were adapted for television. The pre-show hype piqued my interest. While I had doubts about the corny comparison “The Sopranos meets Medieval Times”, I have never thus far been disappointed with anything that has followed that familiar HBO static sound and when I saw that Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage were among the cast, I joined the many ‘non-book readers’ who tuned in to see what this ‘Game of Thrones’ show was about.
I was hooked from the start. Immediately I was drawn in to this world, cheering for some characters, despising others. I feel for these fictional people, I really do, and I wonder that just because we are experiencing their stories many years after they were published and via the lesser medium of television does that make us any less “real fans?” I mean, if Joffrey is a prick, do we not scowl? If Tyrion makes a quick-witted retort do we not laugh? If we witness a Red Wedding do we not sit stunned and slack-jawed, unable to comprehend what just happened?
To those that have read the novels, I was once like you. I envy your time, your commitment, your discovery of the books in a timely manner. But do not pity me.
I really enjoy watching Game of Thrones. I watch it with my husband and then we get to dissect the episode afterwards, discuss what it might mean for other characters, offer up theories. We couldn’t do that if one of us had read the novels and knew what was coming up at each turn. If I had read the novel and not him, it would have been hard to to smirk (if ever so slightly) every time he mentioned an affinity for a certain doomed character. If he had read them but I had not, (despite not wanting spoilers) I probably would’ve stopped talking to him after ‘The Rains of Castamere’ (Oh God, you could have warned me, maybe just a little?).
But no, neither of us have read the novels, so onward we will happily ride on this band-wagon together; enjoying the scenery, immersing ourselves in this world and trying not to get too attached to any of the characters.
Are you a Game of Thrones fan?
Have you read the books?
Who else can’t wait for Season 4?