I love the Game of Thrones TV show as well as the Song of Ice and Fire series that it's based on.
Years ago, when GOT first aired, I didn't watch it. I was familiar with the books, but I had never read them. GOT started getting amazing reviews and many of my friends were blowing up social media every episode talking about how great it was. So...I gave it a shot. After 2 episodes, I was like, "Why in the heck would I want to watch this show? It's sooooooo depressing!"
One of my friends (I wish I could remember who it was) said to me, "Have you read the books? If not, you should read the books."
Challenge accepted. I picked up the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire. A book coincidentally entitled Game of Thrones!
Game of Thrones is not a short book. Actually, it's rather lengthy. But, I cranked through it in about 3 weeks. The book was AWESOME! Easily one of the best fantasies I have read. Granted, I don't read a ton of fantasy. Dragons and elves and dwarfs are not really my thing. I hated reading Lord of the Rings. Blasphemy, I know. But, it was just soooooo boring.
Game of Thrones, on the other hand, was action packed! Exciting! It had everything! Mystery, suspense, politics, sex, violence, war! It was great! I was sucked in. Once I finished the first book, I simultaneously started reading the 2nd (A Clash of Kings) and watching the complete first season of Game of Thrones.
Book 5 (A Dance with Dragons) had just come out when I started reading Game of Thrones. So, I was able to quickly plow through the existing novels about as quickly as one can read a book with 800-1000 pages while being a single dad and working a full time job. I continued to absolutely love the series (although, book 5 was pretty slow up until the end), and I was constantly wanting more!
But, my cravings were mostly satisfied by the show. The show creators have done a good job of staying fairly close to the book. More so than many other movie/tv adaptations I have seen. Of course, they have to account for time and actors and blah blah blah. But, overall I have been satisfied.
Which leads me to the point of my post.
I started reading the Song of Ice and Fire 5 years ago. 5 years ago, the last book in the series came out. For 5 years, I and many other eager readers have been waiting to find out what happens to Jon Show, Danaerys, Tyrion, Bran, etc. 5 years we've had to forget the names and purposes of people like...well, the people I don't remember. Dondarion, that guy that Davos was sent to talk to, Tyrions little dwarf girlfriend, Young Griff...like, I remember these people exist, but I don't really remember why in many cases.
Yeah, yeah...it's a huge epic story. It takes time. I get it. But, maybe instead of coming out with things like The Lands of Ice and Fire (a series of maps of Westeros and the surrounding areas) or The World of Ice and Fire (stories from the I&F universe), maybe he should sit down and focus on the Winds of Winter!
What really has me miffed right now about this whole thing is this article: Vanity Fair says that the show will spoil the books!
In other words, he has fallen so far behind that there is absolutely nothing he can do to keep up with the show writers who, supposedly, know how the whole thing is supposed to end.
I frequently watch movies of excellent books I have read. I rarely go back to read the book of an excellent movie I've seen. I enjoy being surprised in books more than movies. If I know how a book is going to end, I don't enjoy reading it. Therefore, I don't read it. Yes, yes...I am sure I am missing out on the art and literature whoopla. But, I read books like Game of Thrones for entertainment. If I want enlightenment, I'll pick up something about Buddha. So, I highly doubt I will read the books once I find out who Jon Snow's mother is and who finally sits on the Iron Throne.
I don't think GRRM gives 2 craps if we don't buy his books. The dude is so rich at this point that it probably doesn't matter to him, anymore. His show is a cultural phenom bigger than Justin Bieber. He's set for life.
So, while I respect his writing skills, I find him to be one of the laziest writers I have ever read. If he actually cared about his characters, if he cared about his readers, we would have a new book by now. I should just stop getting my hopes up.