Confession time: I only got into George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series this past year, and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. There are only four novels released of the planned seven so far (damn you, George) and they clock it at an average of 1000 pages a tome, but from the first page of the first novel in the series, "Game of Thrones," you become hooked.
If this is the first time you're hearing the words "Game of Thrones" in a sentence and you're a fan of epic fantasy, go out to your nearest bookstore and buy the novel. Once you're done, plan on subscribing to HBO in the spring, because everything I've heard about their upcoming adaptation makes it look amazing. And since I don't expect all of you to have been keeping religious tabs on their making of website, Entertainment Weekly has made it easy on you by sharing a very exciting first look at photos from the series.
For those of you who are fans of the books, I would suggest snagging a copy of the latest issue of EW from your nearest newsstand because some of the photos in the mag didn't make it online. And honestly, I find finally seeing Arya, Sansa and a direwolf in action worth the $4.
The photos put online do give us a peek at Jon Snow and Bran Stark, Jamie Lannister, Lena Headey as Queen Cersei and Sean Bean as Eddard Stark. Also included are our favorite plump "GoT" characters: King Robert Baratheon and Sam Tarly, and even Tyrion Lannister, Catelyn Stark and Bronn up at the Eyrie. And let's not forget Daenerys Targaryen, easily the most badass character in the entire series. Don't worry if this all sounds like gibberish to you right now, because you too will learn to love some of the most complex characters to be written for fantasy literature in recent decades.
EW spoke with showrunner David Benioff about why people who aren't particularly into fantasy will find it easy to love "GoT," and here's what he said: "Because it's not about unicorns and sorcerers. There's magic in this, but it's on the fringes." In fact, "GoT" more closely resembles Britain's War of the Roses in the first novel than it does any fantasy novels I've ever read. Yes, there's a sense of magic that has been lost over the years (as promised, it will be introduced later on in the series), but the focus is more on the politics in this different world of Westeros and the sexual and political intrigue that involved. And there is a lot of sex and politics to look forward to.
Benioff and his co-showrunner D.B. Weiss had originally considered "GoT" as a feature film, but realized the story was much too broad to condense into one three-hour movie. They realized that no one has done fantasy the HBO way before and, especially with the success of "True Blood" in recent years, it seemed like the best place for the epic fantasy to live.
"Within a week of the time when I finished ['Game of Thrones'], we said we didn't know how to do this as a movie," Benioff said. "To do the first book even as a three-hour movie, you'd have to cut 90 percent of it. I'm used to adapting books, and sometimes you have to be ruthless, but in this case we loved all the story lines and the characters. We weren't interested in that kind of mutilation. So the only way to do this would be as a series." I, for one, couldn't be happier.
Are you intrigued by the "Game of Thrones" HBO series? Were you a fan of the novels before?